Righto, let’s get though some emails.
“This has been done a few times,” Bertie Wooster says of the task linking players from dawn of Test Criket time. “The war is an issue (Hutton is needed there) and then there’s a bit of fiddling in the 70s. I *think* the answer is eleven. Shaw takes you 1877-80, then Grace, then Rhodes. Rhodes played with Ames. Ames played with Hutton. Hutton played with Close. Close played with Woolmer. Woolmer played with Gooch. Gooch played with Thorpe. Thorpe played with Bell. Bell played with Root. That’s 11. Toodle pip.”
Beautifully done. Let’s assume Root plays for another eight years? Root might play with… Athers’ son, who is making his way nicely through the junior ranks. Sky Cricket are now showing a package on his 185 at Jo’burg in 1995, if you fancy it.
Now to Alistair Connor is diving deep into my mind. “It’s not cricket, it’s an earworm,” he says. “From my youth. You set me off in Over 4 with your need for round numbers and right angles. So here’s your new theme song :
Never leaves a gap unfilled
Always pays on time
Always fits the bill
He comes well prepared
Cube top, squared-off
Eight corners, 90 degree angles
Flat top, stares straight ahead
Stock parts, blockhead
— Devo, Blockhead, 1979
As the kids say, I feel… seen.
A quirky addition from Mark Slater. “While his test appearances are not likely to have featured in the missing gap mentioned in the 20th over discussion, I think there should be recognition of Fred Titmus of Middlesex and England – who played first class cricket in as many decades as did WG Grace (because Mike Brealey spotted him in the crowd and invited him to bowl on a wet pitch some few years after his official retirement). To think that the powers that be would not allow such a thing to happen nowadays.”
If only so! Not quite the same, but always liked the story about the day Harry Redknapp let an angry fan come on a play for West Ham.
Brian Withington on drinks-break psychology. “May I be the first to offer advice for any batsman facing a drinks break: ‘Make sure you end up at the non-striker’s end going into the break’. However, we might then need to start investigating the prevalence of run outs the ball before a drinks break, but that’s for another day.”
It’s definitely a thing and absolutely shouldn’t be these days.
A cheeky lookalike from David Brown before I hit send “Are Rassie Van Dussen and Laurence Fox related?” I feel dirty including the name of the latter in the OBO.