Wednesday, 10 October 2012


It has to be said that Fantasy Bob is not very good with heights.  He is not reduced to a quivering wreck like James Stewart in Hitchcock's Vertigo, but, all the same, if there is a tower to climb and look over the edge of, he would rather not.  Not that this was ever acceptable to son and heir who with great excitement insisted over many years on being escorted up the narrowest of staircases to look over the edge of whatever it was.  The fear of falling over was always with FB even as he stood braced against the central wall several feet away from the edge, with the same kind of feeling as he feels when a leg spin bowler starts his run up.  At an early stage Mrs FB declared that this was man's work.  And duty had to be done.  But all the same.  It was tough and contributed greatly to FB's present careworn appearance.

FB therefore finds it hard explain the psychology of Felix Baumgartner.  Baumgartner's reputation rests on jumping off skyscrapers but this week he is planning to go a bit higher by stepping out of a balloon 23 miles up and falling back to earth.  Mr Baumgartner is reckoned to be likely to break the sound barrier in this stunt and no one really knows if this is a good thing or not. It may change the configuration of Mr Baumgartner's internal organs in a manner he will come to regret. FB is very sorry he can't join him and wishes him well, even as his adventure has been postponed due to adverse weather conditions.

Felix Baumgartner about to jump
It is safe to assume Mr Baumgartner is not a cricketer.  If there is a skill involved in falling 23 miles, it does not seem transferable to the cricket field.  In fact falling any distance is not a skill of much use on the cricket field.  It is a game played predominantly in the horizontal dimension.  And, from FB's point of view, much the better for it.

However FB is sure he has been present when cricketers have broken the sound barrier.  While batting in his usual phlegmatic fashion and having nudged the ball behind the wicket FB has on occasion found his batting partner breathless behind him to be followed by the call of 'Yes'.  His only conclusion is that his partner must have beaten his call to the other end, breaking the sound barrier in the process, with no apparent damage to his internal organs.

A similar phenomenon has attended FB's more recent attempts to field in the slips where he has been put in the charitable thought that it would save him the embarrassment of a long chase to the boundary.  FB has on more than one occasion observed the ball arriving at him before it could possibly have been hit by the batsman.  This may imply that it has moved faster not only than the speed of sound but also of light. This is remarkable in its own right but in FB's experience renders it pretty difficult to catch.

FB hopes Mr Baumgartner's stunt will be able to gather data which will allow these phenomena to be examined.


  1. For an allegedly slow game, cricket can be played at lightning speed and FB's reminiscences in the field will strike a chord with many players. I remember reading some time ago of research done by a psychologist which concluded that a batsman has no time to change his shot once a fast bowler has let go of the ball. So it's not just in FB's imagination.

    1. Many thanks. FB didn't think he had any imagination.