Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Gift Tae Gie Us

Robert Burns
- could he play leg spin?
Recent discoveries suggest that Fantasy Bob and Robert Burns had much in common. 
This  effort was discarded by Burns (though he later used bits in other poems) but it confirms he and FB shared a weakness against leg spin bowling.

Oh thou! whatever title suit thee,
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie!
The Batsmen true can ne'er refute thee,
Thou Hellish sinner.
In the Devil's sway we'll put thee,
Reviled leg spinner.

When auld lang syne Benaud and Warnie,
Were clearly baith the chiels o' Hornie,
Made English batsmen grope forlornly,  
It turned sae vilely.
But there’s no mortal human born, he
Beats Bill O’Reilly.

An' noo despite his monstrous patter,
Could Fant'sy Bob be cried a batter?
Forbye he gies the ba' a clatter,
Wi' michty fleg, he
Finds his vain pretensions shatter,
Against a leggie.

Ye'd hae tae see it tae believe it,
He disnae ken tae play or leave it,
He'll aye end up just trying tae heave it,
Then mak' tae thump it,
Gie it the charge and so maun grieve it,
Oh Bob!  Thou'rt stumpit.

The coach says watch the ba's rotations,
Advice that gies Bob consternations,
An’ hours o' tortuous vexations,
Thru' sleepness night.
Hoo can Bob mak sic observations,
Battin' wi' e'e shut tight?

Leg spin - it's Satan's bowling action,
For darkness marks its malefaction,
Tormenting batters tae distraction,
Oor nerves are shoogly.
Then will the De'il sense petrifaction,
An' bowl the googly.

Oh wad some power the gift tae gie us,
Tae play leg spin as naethin' devious,
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
Stop melancholy.
And dream some day that ithers see us,
Bat just like Kohli.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Call Centre

It was not through choice that Fantasy Bob recently spent a number of hours that might have been better spent perusing the pages of Wisden in telephone discussion with residents of Mumbai.  Nor was he engaged in research as to the thoughts of those locals into the prospects of England's coming ODI tussles with India.  That might well have been a more purposeful conversation than that in which he found himself immersed. There was no cricketing purpose attached to his actions.  However bit by bit there came to be a familiar cricketing feel as the conversation left him floundering at apparently simple deliveries.

FB's decision to change broadband provider may in the course of time prove to have been inspired - on a par with the one occasion on which he opted to bat having won the toss.  But the first viewing of the replays on Hawkeye suggest the contrary.   Indeed there were a few loose ends which it would appear could only be addressed by phoning the new provider's call centre
Hey - who wants to speak with Fantasy Bob?
He navigates a seemingly endless series of menus and waits an eternity for a human being to become available.  He imagines the scene at the other end of the line in the distant sub-continent, ' Hey guys - looks like it's Fantasy Bob on the line - who wants to speak to him?'  'Not me,' the crew answer with one voice.'  OK,' says the boss, 'I'll play some completely dreadful musak, that should get him to hang up.'

FB's ears are bleeding but he hangs on gamely until, finally, a human voice appears.  It asks in a friendly manner for his account number and then says 'I need to check your security question - where were you born?'
FB knew the answer to this one - he boldly stepped to the crease.
'That is incorrect.'
'What do you mean incorrect?'
'It is not right.'  This answer didn't advance FB's understanding much.  He tried again.
'I assure you I was born in Aberdeen - you know, where Bradman played his last innings for Australia.'
'Aberdeen Australia - I am sorry it is not right.  We cannot proceed further.'
'No Aberdeen Scotland.'
'It is not right.'  The certainties that had structured FB's identity began to crumble.  It was an uncomfortable feeling.  For if he wasn't born in Aberdeen, where was he born, if indeed he had been born at all and who was he?  He tried to get on the front foot.
'Well, where was I born then?'
'I cannot say.  It is for you to tell me.'
'But I have.'
'Where were you born?'
'That is incorrect.'
'Do you have another security question?'
'Well, ask me it then.'
'I cannot until you tell me where you were born.'
'That is incorrect.'  A feeling familiar from the cricket field stole over FB.  There could be only one explanation.
'Tell me do you play cricket?'
'Yes sir.'
'And what is your bowling action?'
'Leg spin.'
Slowly, FB put the phone down - he knew he would never get bat on ball.  He would have to call again when the bowling had changed.