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HELMETS


“Mornin’ Skip.”

“Good morning, George. How are we, this fine morning? What do you reckon, Should we have batted or bowled?”

“You know my feelin’s about that, Skip. Bat first. An’ if it looks like a good day to bowl, give it a second thought… an’ then bat! ‘Cept you didn’t always follow that advice, did you, Skip?”

“Well, much as I valued your opinion, George, sometimes I felt it was worth a gamble. Besides, I loved the look on your face when I got back to the dressing room having chosen to bowl. You looked as if murder was on your mind.”

“Well, it bluidy well was. All I wanted to do was put me feet up for a few hours wiv a fag an’ a coffee. An’ you’d say to me, loosen up, George, we’re in the field. Not bein’ a bowler, you had no idea how stiff you are in the mornin’.”

“Ha ha, yes indeed, George. It’s a batsman’s game, you always said. Still is, isn’t it?”

“Beer for bowlers, bunk-up for batsmen….and I’m an all-rounder!”

“You an all-rounder? In your dreams, George.” “All we’ve got left now, Skip.”

“I don’t know, George. You still look as if you could bowl 20 overs off your----- Good God! D

id you see that shot?”

“Bluidy ‘ell! What do you call that…..? Christ…. it hasn’t, has it? Yes it has – it’s gone for six! Well, bugger me. Six over long-stop. They’ll soon ‘ave to bring long-stop back into the game. Remember that position when we were at school?”

“I wonder whether long-stop is on the off or the leg side. I have to say that was the most staggering shot I’ve ever seen. We would never have dreamt of doing that when we were playing, would we?”

“Bluidy sacrilege, if you ask me. What’s the game coming to, Skip?”

“Oh, I don’t know. You must admit it’s all rather exciting.”

“That’s cos you’re a bluidy batsman. Who’d be a bowler these days, eh?”

“That’s what you used to say 50 years ago, George. The game’s moved on. I mean, just look at that. What a wonderful piece of fielding. And he’s a fast bowler! You must admit fielding these days has-----“

“Wouldn’t catch me flingin’ meself around like that. My job was to bowl, not dive around in the field.”

“Good Lord, he’s played that shot again. Well I never.”

“ ‘Elmets.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“ ‘Elmets, Skip. That’s wot’s made the difference.”

“Ah, I see what you mean. I thought for one moment you were referring to----“

“Nobody would’ve dared to play that shot when I was bowling. But wiv an ‘elmet….”

“I agree. How often do you see these days a batsman getting crusted? And all he does is take off his helmet, give it a bit of a quizzical look, shake his head and put it back on again.”

“It’ud be ‘ospital for them. Not now. Made all the difference. Not worried about gettin’ sweded so they go for their shots. Taken fear out of the game. Pity that. I used to love the look of fear in their eyes.”

“Thus spake a true fast bowler. But come on, George. You would have worn one, surely.”

“Me? I’m a Catholic, Skip. Weren’t allowed.”

“I know I would.”

“You wouldn’t. They don’t make ‘em that big.”

“You know, I think the reason they get hit so often these days is because they don’t watch the ball. Without a helmet, if you don’t watch the ball, you’re dead. I’m sure they must shut their eyes when they have a swing at it. Never take your eyes off the ball. We were taught that at prep school.” “Do you reckon, Skip, if I’d gone to prep school, they’d have made a batsman of me?”

“Unlikely George. You were born to bowl fast. And how lucky we were that you did.”

“Don’t like ‘em.”

“What?”

“ ‘Elmets. Look all wrong.”

“We would have got used to them. Anything to prevent serious injury can’t be a bad thing. And look, you wouldn’t see shots like that. All adds to the vibrancy of the game.”

“Huh. All fours an’ sixes these days. What happened to maidens?” “None left, George, after you retired. Well, it’s twelve o’clock. Time for a little snifter, don’t you think. What’ll it be, George, G and T?”

“You know perfectly well I don’t touch that muck.”

“Right, half of bitter it is then.” “ ‘Arf? You must be jokin’. Never do things by ‘arf – you know me. Mind you, we always wondered where all your captain’s expenses went.”

“Shot!”

“I dunno - what’s the world comin’ to?”


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