Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Batsman 007

Fantasy Bob was interested to discover recently that Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond,  was a school mate of legendary Test Match Special commentator Henry Blofeld.  Whether they were good friends or not FB does not know, but when Fleming came to write his stories he alighted on Blofeld as his hero’s arch nemesis.  It was only the fear of the libel laws that caused him to change his villain’s name from Henry to Ernst Stavro. 

Early sketches show how hard Fleming had to work to remove the influence of his school friend from his writing.  Here, Blofeld interrogates his henchmen Mr Osato and Helga Brandt on another failed attempt to dismiss Bond for a low score, all the while maintaining his TMS commentary.


'What a lovely day here at Lords – it’s a blue sunshine here today.'   Blofeld shows the x-ray of the Gray Nichols Nitro to Osato and Helga. 'Only one person we know uses this sort of bat. James Bond.'

'But Bond is out!' says Osato nervously.

'My dear old thing Bond is alive. Unless you bowled him, Mr. Osato.'  There is a murmur of excitement from the crowd outside.  'And Monty Python comes up to bowl………….. sorry Monty Panesar comes up to bowl.'

'I gave Number 11 the strictest orders to run him out.'  Osato and Helga look anxiously at each other, the sweat gathering on their brow.

Blofeld chuckles, 'I daresay you jolly well did old chap, but did he?'  A loud groan comes from the match.  'Oh dear me, that is jolly unfortunate, he's put that down, a catch he would have held 99 times out of one thousand.'
          'He failed.'
For a moment Blofeld thinks Osato is referring to the lapse in fielding on the pitch far below them, but he turns his gaze on his lieutenant and chillingly smiles while the white cat on his lap begins to purr.  'My dear old chap, this organization does not tolerate failure. ... and now from the Pavilion end Ryan Stringfellow ….no I mean what d'ye call him ......... Ryan Sidebottom.'

Osato is desperate and begins to plead, 'I know, but..'  He is cut off by a dismissive gesture from Blofeld whose anger is now rising, 'And my goodness didn’t Bond capitalise on his luck.' he says, 'it was an astonishing performance. Now my dear old Osato.  Bowl Bond! Now!'  Some light applause can be heard. 'And that's the end of the over.'

Undetected by the authorities, Blofeld has constructed a pond behind the commentary box.  It is seething with piranha fish.  At Blofeld's instruction, Osato crosses the bridge over the water and reaches the other side.  As the fielders move at the end of the over, Helga starts across and Blofeld hits a pedal that causes the bridge to drop sending Helga into the piranha-filled water. The lethal fish immediately converge on her and she is dead in seconds. Osato looks on in horror.

Suddenly there is a commotion in the commentary box.  Blofeld looks up in expectation of chocolate cake but instead the door bursts open and appears there appears Christopher Martin-Goldfinger with a captive James Bond.
 fighting fish, fascinating creatures. Brave but, on the whole, stupid. Yes, they're
Blofeld's thin lips curl into a smile, 'And so Mr Bond we meet again.   Choose your next witticism wisely, Mr. Bond, it may be your last.'

Bond struggles against the ropes binding his hands,  his Gray Nichols Nitro for once useless to help him.  He remains defiant.  He looks straight at his adversary.

' Do you expect me to talk?'  

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