January 2011 - starts with FB on the ski slopes but the message coming through from Melbourne that the Ashes have been retained. FB's Australian ski instructor is well pleased with the news and assures FB that there was no connection between this and his decision to lead FB on a suicidal charge down the blackest of black runs.
February 2011 - the start of the Cricket World cup - England almost blow it against the Netherlands and then tie with India in a pulsating encounter. More importantly indoor nets resume for FB who discovers stiffness in body areas that he was not previously aware of having.
March 2011 - as the World Cup continues, the last flourishes of Murali and Shoab Ahktar are seen. England are destroyed by Sri Lanka. Speculation continues about whether this is the end of Ponting's career as his box breaks a TV in the dressing room. Following Australia's semi final defeat he retires from the captaincy. FB joins club colleagues in the ritual rolling of the wicket delivering blisters to body areas that he was not previously aware of having.
May 2011 - a severe lack of rain in Scotland means that the start of the season is unimpeded. Fantasy Bob proves that miracles can happen - after Wittering in praise of a team mate's success in carrying his bat through the innings, he does the same in the subsequent match. Both matches end in glorious defeat.
June 2011 - England and Sri Lanka play 3 test matches - the highlight of which for FB is Sangakkara's first hundred in England - followed closely by his excellent Cowdrey lecture in which he gives insights into the power of cricket in bringing a civil war torn land together. FB injures himself and withdraws from action whereupon his team celebrate with an unexpected but handsome win.
August 2011 - the continuous rain makes life frustrating for Scotland's cricketers, doughty groundsmen begin to fashion arks out of redundant equipment but after a tight series of end of season encounters, Carlton are crowned Scottish champions. There is disaster for FB as his treasured bat splits during a late season net practice. How can it ever be replaced? England wallop India in 4 Tests as India seem not to bother with such concepts as practice and application. Only Dravid seems committed. England show excelence in all departments and therefore deservedly top the Test rankings. In one match that did happen in Scotland FB had to be taken to a place of quiet safety following his team mates' dropping 8 catches off his bowling in one match. Statisticians have yet to confirm if this is a record.
September 2011- Carlton win the Scottish T20 trophy to prove themselves the dominant force in Scottish cricket. With the season over it is award time. To the surprise of absolutely noone, FB misses out on any award although he may have run Jonathan Trott close in the ICC's cricketer of the year award.
November 2011 - the spot fixers are sent to jail. There are shamefully short test series between S Africa and Australia and Australia in NZ in which a new rule that any fast bowler playing his first test must take a 5-fer is tested. The ICC pronounce it so successful that they will consider abolishing it. There are 2 of the closest and most dramatic tests in recent years as Australia's batting weakness begins to worry all observers.
December 2011 - Virender Sehwag scores 219 to set a new ODI record. Ed Cowan is picked for Australia to boost their batting - this means that when the teams line up for the boxing day test, there will be a former Scotland player on each side since Rahul Dravid also played a season for Scotland. FB is pretty sure that this is the first time this has ever happened. Fantasy Bob discovers that following the restructuring of Scottish cricket leagues, his all star Carlton 4th XI is administratively relegated to a lower division. FB suspects this is a plot to ensure that certain players in certain sides have the chance to feature in FB's world famous match reports. The East of Scotland Cricket Association have had to decline applications from all corners from sides seeking similar opportunities. FB finds a replacement bat which will be in his stocking at Christmas. FB decides not to send Poonam Pandey a Christmas Card.
|Pandey - last appearance in FB's blog|
The year ends with England preparing to face a resurgent Pakistan in a 3 Test Series in the UAE in January. Perhaps next year will see the return of international cricket to Pakistan. And Australia face India as distinct second favourites.
Cricketers who are no longer available for selection include - Graham Dilley, Fred Titmus, Nawab of Pataudi, Trevor Bailey, Terry Jenner and Basil D'Oliviera. They leave memories and a fine legacy. Some are illustrated above.
FB's cricketer of the year is Rahul Dravid for his exceptional display of technique and application during the Indian disaster against England - 8 innings, 3 centuries - 461 runs at 76.83.