Saturday, November 25, 2006


Dear Harmy

I know the chances of you actually reading this are pretty slim (as slim as England's chances of saving this test in fact) but I know that some journalists dip in and out, so maybe someone might wave it under your nose.

In case you weren't aware, television coverage of test matches in Australia starts around midnight back here in the UK. That means that millions of cricket lovers here are going without sleep and putting in pretty shoddy days at the office in the name of 'following England'. In addition a lot of the England supporters you can see in the Gabba have spent their life savings on the trip.

Bearing that in mind, I have to say we deserve better from you than the abject contribution you've turned in so far. 'Shoddy days at the office' fits quite nicely in fact...

We know that Freddie Flintoff is your best mate and that the hope was that he'd be able to motivate you to perform. Well, the fact is, I'd say you're bloody lucky that he is your mate, because a lot of skippers I've played under would have taken you behind the pavilion and ripped you a new one for the big girls blouse display you've put on over the past couple of days.

We know you're homesick - Lord knows you tell us often enough, but sometimes professional sportsmen just have to get on with it. You are being paid good money to do something that thousands of us would do for nothing - yet all we seem to hear is your whining about how much you miss being at home.

Talking of 'telling us' - you need to do something about your whole attitude to interviews. Go and find a copy of 'Bull Durham'. Not only is it an excellent film, but it contains the best advice ever given to a sportsman on how to carry out media interviews. In short, you just repeat bland statements about how you're pleased to have the opportunity to play, you'll do your best, and with God's will you should be successful. That's it - that's all you have to say.

You know what - if you're missing home that much, and don't feel you can contribute anything to England's performance, why not just get on the next plane home? The England team management have invested a lot of time and credibility in you, and your way of paying them back appears to be by strolling round the outfield in a blue funk because everything's not going right for you. Your body launguage suggests you'd rather be somewhere else entirely. OK, then go away. Let's give someone like Saj Mahmod or Liam Plunkett a go - two people who actually seem to care.

In Australia, more than most other countries, the new ball is crucial. Batsmen need to be taken out of their comfort zone from the word go. Why not try doing that? Try bowling a stream of bouncers, try going down the wicket and abusing the batsman... for heavens sake, why not try bowling a beamer? (Only don't tell anyone I told you...) At least it'll give Hayden and Langer something to think about - because at the moment all they're having to do is wait for the next long hop or half volley to put away - and at the same time Freddie is standing at slip, worrying about the next ball that's going to head in his direction, and thinking 'maybe I should just take the new ball myself'.

Lastly, don't ever, ever, EVER, apologise to an Australian again - at least if you do, don't do it in the media. England (that's the team you're playing for by the way) gained precisely nothing from your apology to Ricky Ponting, whilst Australia got a good laugh and a big psycological boost.

I know this has probably been gratuitously nasty - maybe even rather childish, but that's the way I feel right now. I don't think you actually care enough about the outcome to be playing for your country - whereas there are millions of us who probably care too much.

If you prove me wrong and start performing in the rest of the series, I'll very happily issue an abject apology.

Yours sincerely

One very disgruntled England fan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said, bravo.

Though, we can't solely blame Harmison for this mess...