|Famous Archery Venue |
to be adapted for other sports
How will cricketers prosper in such unfamiliar surroundings? There are reports that the South Africans have trained for the extreme challenge posed by the slope at Lords under the guidance of explorer adventurer Mike Horn. Horn's idea of a gentle stroll is a 2 year walk round the equator, followed by a trek round the Arctic Circle to cool off. Under his instruction the Saffies hung off various mountains in the Alps and mountain biked up slopes almost as severe as at Lords and were generally very outdoors and very extreme sports. All about fitness, resilience and team building apparently. This type of venture seems to be the vogue for elite performance squads these days. So much so that Fantasy Bob has noted Horn's address and may be getting in touch with him to arrange some similar pre-season toughening up for his All Star 4th XI next year. It is clear that the team's performances have not benefited from the lax pre-season regime although several players underwent extreme resilience training during weekly visits to IKEA.
The Test match, which should be the grand climax to the season has been overshadowed by the Pietersen soap opera. As far as FB is concerned the ECB did right by dropping him. But while the affair does not reflect well on Pietersen, he might well be asking what kind of friends his S African textees are who would shop him in such a cowardly way. Far from honourable.
For this reason FB hopes that England can put the nonsense behind them and get a result. He congratulates Strauss on his 100th Test appearance and hopes that he can get another century to equal England's record, held jointly by Boycott, Cowdrey and Hammond. FB assumes that the no spinner idea was Headingley specific. Swann must be due a 5-fer to add to the one he got at Lords 2 years ago. FB wishes good luck to Johnny Bairstow in particular - found wanting against W Indian pace it is a big ask for him to step in against Steyn and Morkel who must be licking their lips.
England's backs are against the wall. Each of them must play to their full potential to come away with a series squaring result. Just like FB's All Star Fourth XI this weekend.