I often get asked how I fill my time when we are batting or when it’s raining and cricketers have nothing to do!
I have several methods of procrastination and they often get ticked off in a certain order.
Firstly, I always attempt The Times crossword. Before I impress you too much I must highlight the word ‘attempt’ and also acknowledge the fact that it is in fact the quick crossword in the T2 supplement of The Times. However, I think it’s still pretty impressive. I always enjoy being a 27-year-old male sportsman and watching the Shop Assistant lose his mortgage on the fact I was odds-on to pick up The Sun or The Star.
The variation in difficulty of the T2 crossword never ceases to amaze me. My usual method of approach is to put in all the easy answers, pass it to Rob White and then continue to do it ‘together’ (the crossword). If I get slightly frustrated with it then I then look for one of the 10 copies of The Sun or Star that the other lads have inevitably bought and try my hand at their “Two-Way Teasers”. (Other crosswords!)
If I have a good run with the crosswords then I continue on to the Sudoku and massage my ego by congratulating myself on my obvious intelligence.
If I get totally disillusioned with the puzzles then I put it down to one of my rare unintelligent days and move on to my next time-killer.
It is worth mentioning that if we have time on our hands, we will, as bowlers, head over to the indoor school and have a bat on the bowling machine. I personally feel like Don Bradman on the bowling machine, but when I find myself facing bowlers in a match situation, I probably bat more like Don King.
Whilst I’ve made the effort to walk all the way over to the indoor school at the other side of the ground, I would probably pop next door and do a gym session of some description too. During the season, it is all maintenance work so we don’t get stiff and sore leading into the next days play.
After a hugely productive morning, the only thing on my mind whilst I head back over to the changing rooms and see Rob still trying to complete the T2 crossword, is a huge and probably slightly early lunch.
If it is a batting day then, this season particularly, after lunch probably means putting some whites on preparing to bat at number 10 or 11!
Rain after lunch means dire boredom is likely to set in if I don’t do one of two things. The only problem is that both things require me to have brought something to the ground that morning, and one of them depends on other people also being keen.
Poker requires me to have a fiver on me and also needs me to generate the interest of members from my own team and, indeed, from the opposition. The great thing about poker is that once there are 4 or 5 interested players it can last a good couple of hours. The downside is that I’ve often lost all my chips after 20 minutes. However, once all the chips have been counted and money added to the pot at the start, it’s still a good time-killer.
The other post-lunch option would be to continue reading the book I am currently engrossed in at home. If I remembered to bring it. The biggest problem here is to find a quiet enough corner or room where none of your ‘mates’ can come over and stick their finger in your ear or throw grapes and the odd cashew nut at you. When boredom reaches these levels, it’s not only yourself you need to worry about…
At this stage of proceedings, if it’s still raining you really hope that the umpires fancy an early finish or use their common sense (the former often the more likely with umpires) and call play off for the day. With any luck, I will get home in time for Deal or No Deal and Friends double bill. I never get bored of them. If it’s really early, Only Fools and Horses is usually on at 3pm.