Tag Archives: Joe Root

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April 1, 2016 · 7:52 am

In An Enchanted Garden, Melbourne

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“Jimmy, what yer doing?”

“I’m building a pyramid, Joe.”

Two England cricketers were in the grounds of the Melbourne Rudolf Steiner School. Joe had been on his way back from the pool ( a real woodland pool, not a Hockney blue hotel pool, an idyl of a pool.  His flip flops had been making a pleasant, comforting sound on the woodland path.  But the relaxing clip-clop sound had been suddenly interrupted by discordant crashes of a hammer beating metal, coming from a maintenance workshop.

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Inside he had found Jimmy who, despite the heat, wore thick overalls, gauntlets and a welding mask pushed back on his head.

“I find it therapeutic, Joe, building simple shapes.  You should try it. Here you are; go for a cube,” he said, handing Joe a bucket of plasticine. “It’s an idea I got from a wise man when I started playing cricket in Burnley.  It’s my way of replenishing inner and spiritual resolve – it’s all taken a bit of a battering of late.  I need a top-up.”

“I’ll get Johnny,” said Joe, taking his phone and thumbing out an @jbairstow21

–         @joeroot05 can’t mate. Not don no Xmas shopping yet.

“It all helps with the clarity of thinking, Joe.”

Joe gouged some plasticine from the bucket and began rubbing it vigorously into a warm ball, transmitting heat from the living to the inert.

“Good start. Just picture the shape.  See it clearly.”

Joe used his palms at first to shape the six sides, but then searched the workshop and found a couple of pieces of wood to give sharper edges to the form.

“Thinking is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear, Joe. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas.”

It was Bressy who joined them first.

“I’ll go for a cone: a big one.”

He disappeared outside returning with earth and a bucket of water from the pool which he mixed into a dark satisfying paste.

“Who needs those mindunfcukers.”

“Bress, you won’t get the best out of this if you accept that level of aggression to remain within you. Close your eyes and really see that cone.”

“Gotcha Anders.”

“The need for imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility – these are the three forces which are the very nerve of cricket,” said Jimmy.

By this time, Joe had made five perfect cubes, all in a row.

Bresser’s cone was really impressive.

“One for the Yorkshire sculpture park,” quipped Joe.

Jimmy’s pyramid, which was on a semi-monumental scale, was taking form, the welding arc colouring the workshop blue.

“It’s an idea I got from seeing one at Selly Oak railway station: ‘Birmingham toys, all men praise, And riches spring daily from Birmingham toys.’

“This tour has homogenized us.  There’s been no room for the different needs of our individual psychology. You see, choleric risk takers, like KP, phlegmatic laid-back types, you know who I mean, sensitive, introverted melancholics, the Skipper to name the obvious one, and sanguine types who need to take things lightly and flippantly, like Swanny, are all going through the same flour mill. Real professionals do it for themselves.”

By now the remaining Big Quicks had joined them.  Used to working in ‘the fast bowlers pack’ down field from the rest, they went for a joint undertaking: a spire.

Ten eyes with one mouth declared, “It’s going to have a five sided base and be twenty bloody foot tall.  Where’s the wood?”

“Common purpose must leave room for many differences to thrive.”

“Yea, pass me some more plasticine, someone.”

Third Man and the Squire would like to thank the staff, pupils and parents of the Melbourne Rudolf Steiner School for the making of this documentary, a re-enactment is planned for the weekend. Members of the Barmy Army are welcome to join the event.  Meet at the school, 213 Wonga Street, 12 noon, Saturday. BOM: bring own materials.

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Oh What a Lovely Tour or Lions Selected by Donkeys

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Up to your waist in ordure,

Up to your chin in balls –

Using the kind of language,

That makes the umpire blush;

Who wouldn’t join the series?

That’s what we all inquire,

Don’t we pity poor ol’ Compton sitting beside his fire.

Chorus

Oh! Oh! Oh! it’s a lovely tour,

Who’d not be a cricketer?

Oh! It’s a shame to take the pay.

As soon as the five minute bell

We feel just as heavy as lead,

So we never get up till the head coach brings

Our Red Bull up for us.

Oh! Oh! Oh! it’s a lovely tour,

What do we want with runs and form

When we’ve got this media storm?

Take guard! Ball turns!

How shall we spend the money we earns?

Oh! Oh! Oh! it’s a lovely tour.

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Above: Joe Root.  Top: Stokes, Bairstow, Anderson,Cook and Swann – Christmas Fancy Dress

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Cricket, Meet the Millennials

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England’s turmoil in Australian is unmasking some good old crisis-induced cognitive dissonance. (Pace Stayte and thanks for the image)

Over at Cricinfo, England’s performance at Adelaide elicited a broadside from George Dobell listing factors that, in his opinion, have weakened English cricket.

He is especially harsh on even tries to sledge young cricketers, writing that, “The decision to rid the domestic scene of non-England-qualified players and offer young player incentives saw a generation of experienced professionals replaced by kids who should have been forced to work harder for a career in the game.” (TM’s underlining)

Yet there is general admiration for the way Joe Root handled Mitchell Johnson’s verbal as well as his physical assaults.

Fewer people seem to have noticed the similarly disarming stage yawn with which Ben Stokes countered Johnson’s histrionics and sent ‘the old man’ off on one.

Nothing you can do can ‘mentally disintegrate’ a person who, in terms of the cultural and social environment you and they have grown up in, is to all intents and purposes of a different genus.

You might as well try sledging a duck? Or a cow? Or a tortoise?

They just find you mildly amusing AND because the cultural and social environment that they inhabit – and to which you are a total stranger – is a world of Instagram and Snapchat where Messenger is as far back in time as Linear B there’s:

Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy.
There’s nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you
in time – It’s easy.

“Thank you John.”

You see, there’s a dividing line that runs roughly through 1990.  Anyone born before this is, as far as anyone born after it, FROM ANOTHER PLANET.

Cricket – Meet the Millennials.

They’re going to surprise you and, not just because of their imperviousness to antediluvian sledging, they are going to be fun to follow.

A CBS news feature reports, “The workplace has become a psychological battlefield and the millennials have the upper hand, because they are tech savvy, with every gadget imaginable almost becoming an extension of their bodies. They multitask, talk, walk, listen and type, and text. And their priorities are simple: they come first.”

In cricket, the Millennials have been coming up against overseas pros like Ol’ Man Johnson from the age of 14 in their premier leagues.  They have been playing with and against each other from the age of 11. The weak ones, the ones that couldn’t react with a rye ‘smile’ or impertinent ‘yawn’ or as one young lad did to huge effect: blow the big angry fast bowler a kiss; have already been weeded out.

Dobell underestimates the heat of the fire in which these young cricketers have been forged. Why should they flaunt it? Would they expect a duck, a cow or a tortoise to understand them?

The other thing that separates them from every cricketer that has gone before is not just their ways of relating to each other it is the different types of cricket they have had to learn to play: 5 day, 4 day, 3 day, 1 day and T20. For them cricket is a hoot-n-nanny of ever changing opportunities to experience delight. There is no fear – perpetual and unconditional parental approval has given them a rare freedom.

These changing formats also bring difficulties.  Their hands are low, they slap, they are often strangers to their ‘elbows’, they only know relatively light bats with massive sweet spots – their edges fly over the ropes – light bats? Well, look at their physiques.  They can wield a 2:10 with the same bat-speed and dexterity with which the great Zaheer Abbas flicked his 2:4. They could be quick – very quick – if the ducks and cows and tortoises give them their head – and the rotations they can put on the ball will make it turn on a billiard table.

That is why England cricket doesn’t need globe-trotting hacks from the paleolithic, Mr Dobell.  It needs to give these born entertainers space to learn and develop and take the game where no one born before 1985 can imagine,   (Look what those Millennials from Lancashire did in 2011?)

The nearest that fossils over 24 can get to it, is to imagine what it was like when they first heard the rest of those Lennon lyrics:

There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
It’s easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

Johnson, Love is All You Need.

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