It’s Harry Brook’s turn at the bar

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After one innings victory apiece, the third and final Test between England and South Africa will surely end up either a high-scoring draw or a low-scoring tie. England’s new number five, Harry Brook, would presumably prefer the former as all things being equal that increases the chances he’ll make a few runs.

The “next cab off the rank” analogy is getting quite a few airings this morning, but it’s not one that makes sense to us. Taxi ranks are typically very orderly which means it’s obvious to everyone which vehicle is ‘next’.

Striving for inclusion in a Test cricket team is not like that. It’s more like waiting to be served at a busy UK bar where the queue exists only in the mind of the person or persons pulling the pints. An experienced bar person will have a mental log of the sequence in which everyone arrived at the bar and will serve them in order. An inexperienced bar person will serve whoever’s nearest and piss a lot of people off in the process.

If you’re a customer, you can’t assume you’re dealing with the former, so you need to be conspicuous. But at the same time, you can’t be toooo conspicuous, because then you mark yourself out as kind of a cock which is a great way of getting yourself demoted a few positions. (A semi-furious stare while actually, physically waving bank notes around was a memorable offence back when we worked behind a bar. Literally shouting “Oi!” was another that may be less archaic.)

Harry Brook’s got waiting to be served a pint of Test cricket about right. A blazing innings in The Hundred would be the equivalent of trying to use cash as a lure, but Brook’s conspicuousness has been better calibrated.

He started off by making a noticeable but low key entrance at the 2018 Under-19 World Cup. “There was something about Brook that had stardust on it,” observed our correspondent D Charlton at the time. Since then, he’s consistently kept himself prominent without ever giving the impression of being too attention-seeking.

He’s made high scores in low-scoring county matches, he’s been worth his place in the PSL and the Big Bash League without making it to the IPL, he’s made heaps of first-class runs and he’s made three figures when playing for England Lions.

So what you having, mate? And more importantly, are you going to become a regular?

The depressing arsehole that is autumn is waking from its slumbers. Pretty soon it will grip you in its rotting talons and bore you rigid with talk of Champions League places and VAR. “I wish the Lord would take me now,” you will think. Or at least that’s the fate that could befall you if you aren’t signed up for the regular shafts of summer sunshine that are the King Cricket emails. If we can make it past the winter solstice, we promise to drag you with us.


  1. High-scoring draw or low-scoring tie? Unless the weather forecast improves a bit we could be in for a low-scoring rain-affected draw.

    Having said that, we’ve had less rain in London these past few days than the weather forecast led us to expect. But when it has rained, it has at times been proper wet rain.

    1. In these parts, we’ve largely been in ‘tomorrow never comes’ territory the last week or so with forecast downpours forever just out of reach. It’s been decidedly greyer than the last few months though. Think normality is close.

      Autumn is coming.

    1. Loved that link, Sam, thanks. I have incorporated the verb “to barlow” into my vocabulary henceforward.

      My most visited Ogblog page is the story of me seeing Robert Plant’s 1981 secret gig at Keele, which starts with a polite gesture on my part, which needs a verb of its own, the antonym of barlowing:

      Suggestions for that verb would be most welcome. “Planting” has all manner of other connotations making it inappropriate.

    1. Alex Hales’s back?

      I was taught that all names ending with an S should have the possessive apostrophe-s added (James’s, Charles’s) except for Moses and Jesus. This is certainly the case for the various St James’s things in London; his park, his palace, his second hand car dealership specialising in Japanese imports. I’m not sure why Moses and Jesus get different treatment.

      The ones I’ve often wondered about are those organisations whose name already contains a lost possessive, like the pharmacy of John Boot, or worse, the business of Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer. What happens with things belonging to those companies, like Boots’s lorry? And what if the possessive apostrophe is left in, as it is famously with Lord’s? How do we refer to one of their lorries?

      This is the mess we end up with from incorporation. In fact, this is the mess we get from having any form of cooperation between humans.

      1. From an editorial perspective, the best approach is pretty much always to write a completely different sentence.

      2. I see. So instead of saying, “Lord’s’s collection of novelty cricket bats”, I should say instead, “There is sand everywhere, everywhere I tell you!”

  2. More atypical London rain while Old Trafford manages a 4th day of play despite the fact that Everyone Knows It Always Rains In Manchester

      1. It’s Lord’s. We honestly just assumed there was a viewing area specifically for people in palanquins.

      2. Somewhere in the Lord’s archives no doubt there are architects plans for such.

        Meanwhile, after rain stopped play yesterday, today it’s reign stopped play, at both the Oval and Lord’s.

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