Saturday, 29 October 2016


Fantasy Bob has noticed a blizzard of publicity around the newly published book by Mitchell Johnson in which he describes as toxic the dressing room atmosphere in the Australian team under the captaincy of Michael Clarke.
Clarke and Johnson in happier times

As FB well knows, as publishers vie for the Christmas trade, a skipper is always at the mercy of this type of sensationalist revelation as this extract from a forthcoming volume of memoirs shows:

Yeah I remember the first time when I'm a junior cricketer and I have to play under Fantasy Bob's so called captaincy like it was yesterday.  Course, I should have guessed what was coming when my Dad leaves my kit at the gate.......yeah, like I had to carry it to the dressing room myself - and I'm like I'm shocked - I mean if your Dad can't carry your kit into the dressing room what are Dads for anyway.....but he's like I'm off laters buddy I drag my bag to the dressing room and the atmosphere was...well I'd never experienced anything like it...the linament that Fantasy Bob is slapping on .....made my throat catch .....made my eyes water...Dad is well right to scarper it was like the Government should do something about it or I sit beside the other juniors... we're all holding our breath...the kid on the end is turning purple already....then I'm looking around cos my Dad's said I could learn from listening to the older players he knows anything.... cos all there is is a lot of chat from FB about Gustav Mahler... so I text the junior next to me to ask him who this Mahler man he like the opposition opening bowler or something... but my pal texted back to say he's just some old guy from some sixties the Beatles or something...then FB is up and says time for the toss and we can all breathe again and this other senior player says better get ready to field I thought we would bat - him: you don't know FB, last time we batted first he had had hair on his we go out to field and FB like says to me you just stay close by me ...OK I says you want to chat about bowling changes to me he says I want you to run after the ball when I miss like finally he asks me to bowl and I say like I'll have 3 slips and a gully... and he's like OK everyone on the fence ...and I get 3 wickets from catches in the deep... and then I'm like batting and FB is at the other end and he says you run when I call and I'm like thinking doh he can't run at all what's he on about... but he calls me for three runs at least once an over and I'm like well shattered but I score the winning run....

Yeah.  Like it was well toxic.

Sunday, 16 October 2016


Alien territory for FB
It is a few weeks now that silence has reigned in Fantasy Bob’s household. No more the regular sound of a thump of a body falling closely followed by an agonised shriek of ‘For goodness sake! Did you really have to leave that wretched kit bag just where I am bound to trip over it!’

Mrs FB has been able to set her foot where she will with minimal risk; for her consort’s cricket kit has been neatly stowed for the winter and no longer spreads itself menacingly across her path. Not that FB has got any thanks for his heroic efforts.

Indeed, the dust had hardly settled on the season and he had barely recovered from his efforts at kit stowage when she observed, ‘The car has almost 150,000 miles on the clock.’ As a statement of fact, FB had to acknowledge that this was incontrovertible. But his observation that this compared more than favourably even to the number of first class runs score by Sachin Tendulkar merited a more engaged response from his life partner. It was as if he had said nothing, for she went on, ‘We need to think about a new one.’

A linguistic philosopher of more skill than FB might have observed that the use of the word think in this sentence was inappropriate since the force of the remark clearly indicated that the speaker was determined on the action described. That linguistic philosopher would also have needed considerable courage to pit himself against the illocutionary force of the utterance. For it was immediately revealed that Mrs FB had worked hard since the season end to establish that there was an ideal vehicle available in a near by show room. 'And we're test driving it this afternoon,' she concluded.

So it was that FB found himself in the alien environment of a car show room feigning understanding as Mrs FB engaged the salesman in a detailed discussion of the relative merits of automatic transmission with manual override, now fitted as standard, and the all wheel drive option, also now fitted as standard.As the salesman reached the climax of his presentation describing the rain sensor, now fitted as standard, FB met his eye. For there was one vital issue that had not been addressed. 'Very interesting - but do you know how many junior cricketers and kit this motor can carry?' If the salesman heard the deep sign from Mrs FB he was not distracted. Instead he swiftly consulted his notes, 'There are 575 litres of luggage space but fold down the rear seats and you have 1,600 litres.'

How many junior cricketers can be fitted in this space?
This would have been extremely helpful had FB known how may litres a junior cricketer consists in. But he did not. And there was no junior cricketer readily available at that moment to be subjected to measurement. Direct investigation was necessary. Making use of the power opening system on the key fob, now fitted as standard, FB raised the tail gate. He was still uncertain - what did 575 litres of kit bag look like? There was only one thing for it. He climbed in and measured his length. The sotto voce 'Oh for goodness sake.' from Mrs FB was below his aural threshold. He scrambled out and powered the tail gate closed again.

'575 litres?' he said, as he collapsed in exhaustion from his efforts. 'Well, I think it should be enough.'

A financial arrangement having been transacted, FB and Mrs FB returned home. As they moved off, Mrs FB remarked, 'I suppose this means that you think you have another season in you?'

That linguistic philosopher might again have queried whether the use of the word think in this context was wholly appropriate. Hope might have been more relevant. But there was no linguistic philosopher available. And hope, in any case, springs eternal.  It is now fitted as standard.