19 September 2007

It's "I told you so" time!

No prizes for guessing then that I am returning to the subject of England's wicket keeper!

You will recall, gentle reader, that in my capacity as cheerleader for Nottinghamshire 'keeper Chris Read, I asked a pertinent question regarding the new coach's favourite, Matt Prior (see "So Prior can bat ...")

The question was "Is he an England wicket-keeper?"

Well, not only do we now know that Prior is a poor 'keeper, his batting career has taken much the same course as that of his predecessor Geraint Jones. Like Jones, Prior began with an impressive century but has since done little or nothing with the bat; and as his batting has deteriorated, the spotlight has eventually illuminated how truly mediocre he is as a wicket-keeper at Test level.

Naturally, as with Jones before him, it's not Prior's fault. What was he going to say when they invited him to play for England? "Well, thank's a lot, but I don't really think I'm good enough!" ? But he isn't good enough, as discerning Read-fans suspected all along.

And now the unfortunate Prior has broken his thumb. So who's next?

David Graveney and his selectors [whatever happened to that post-Ashes-debacle review? Graveney's still there, in spite of everything ...] have come up with the answer! Having repeated their previous policy of the coach's favourite - Peter Moores used to be Prior's coach at Sussex - they've switched to the captain's favourite - they have chosen Phil Mustard. Mustard happens to keep wicket for one-day captain Paul Collingwood's county of Durham.

Now I don't know anything about Mustard. The reports of his selection - as yet just for the one-day tour - point to his batting average of 49.61 in one-day games this season. There's no assessment of his ability as a wicket-keeper, of course. Chris Read has a one-day average for Notts this year of 51.85 by the way, but it may be that the more telling comparison is between Read's average in first-class games this year of 55.16 and Mustard's mere 25.75.

Of course, you would expect me to drone on about Ready, wouldn't you. But Graveney's "Anyone but Read" policy is alive and well. No doubt he hopes that captain Collingwood's judgement in wicket-keepers is better than his choice of pre-match relaxation!

I ought perhaps to refrain from asking the obvious question about a player called Mustard - but, particularly as a wicket-keeper, we will need to find out if he cuts it!!

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Catching up - again!

Well now ... what happened to August, you might reasonably ask?! The answer is - as you might guess - that we were on holiday for part of it. But we have been back for almost exactly a month now! And no blog posts.

We had a really lovely holiday in South West Ireland - the Dingle Peninsula - which I would certainly recommend. Who knows, I might even post some photos eventually. But it does seem to have been very busy since we got home. Hence I have an excuse for the lack of postings - to be taken alongside the usual excuse, of course - that I'm not very good at keeping up!

I have taken services in a few of the local churches I don't normally get to - a combination of holiday cover and a vacancy in a group of parishes in our Deanery. I quite like the opportunity to worship elsewhere from time to time - I don't feel the mild to moderate terror I used to, though those who know me will readily attest that I like my familiar routines! And people generally seem very accepting of me, which is both nice and an encouragement.

This week I get to preach in our own churches for the first time in a while - which is good from my point of view, whatever the regulars might think ;-)

So that's the story to date - holidays and work. But there is one other thing I just thought, which will be the subject of my next post ... [Bet you can't guess what it will be!]

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