It’s the Bowlers’ Bar at Lord’s two weeks ago. ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ is in full swing on the jukebox. It has been a long night. Balloons and empty glasses litter the place. MATTHEW HOGGARD, a dishevelled old bowler in an out-of-date tour suit, is holding court at the bar.
‘Ave a sup on me. Gi’em all a sup. And gi’ them ECB hoodlums a sup.
(We see two other men, PETER MOORES and JAMES WHITAKER, standing near Hoggard at the bar, raise their glasses in salute.)
It’s grand bein’ home. Cheers.
(ALASTAIR COOK enters with a glitzy WAG. Hoggard looks up and sees him.)
Ey up, Cooky! Look at thee, all grown up an’ ont town. Ey, sitha Cooky. Cooky! EY! COOKY!
COOK (to MOORES and WHITAKER)
Oh blast, I forgot you were having a shindig for him. Best go say hi.
Hello Hoggy, are you well?
Get thissen over here, I’ve not seen thee in six fookin’ years. Jesus H Christ. Tha looks gradely.
(Cook walks over and Hoggard, too aggressively, grabs Cook around the neck. Cook doesn’t like it.)
Watch the suit, it’s my airport suit!
Watch the suit? Ey, I’ve known thee since way back. Don’t go gettin’ all maungy on me, lad.
That’s fine. Just, please, no piddling with my plums, Hoggy, ok?
Cooky, if I were piddlin’ wi’ tha plums, I’d tell thee to c’mere and shine me ball.
(Cook’s smile turns to a glare as he realizes Hoggard is making fun of him. The men at the bar are roaring with laughter. His girl is looking glumly at her shoes.)
This kid were great. We used to call him Spitshine Cooky. Swear to God. Ee ‘ad these dry ‘ands, mek that nut look like a fookin’ ballbearing, ee could. Champion polisher. Like Len Ganley at t’Crucible.
No more shines, Hoggy.
I said no more shines. Maybe you didn’t hear about it, you’ve been away for a long time, they didn’t go up to Headingley to tell you. I don’t shine balls any more. I’m England captain now and my job is to win games of cricket for England.
Oh, give over, mardy bum… I’m pullin’ tha plonker a little bit, is all. Don’t get chuffy about it.
Sometimes, you know, it doesn’t sound like you’re kidding, Hoggy. I’m just trying to win games of cricket for England.
Cooky, I’m kiddin’. I’ve not seen thee in ages an’ I’m ticklin’ thi tackle, and now tha’s gettin’ all pissy. Sorry, lad, no offence, eh?
No, I’m sorry too, it’s ok.
Up yer bum.
(He pulls his glass to his lips, reconsiders, puts it back on the table.)
(Deliberately) Now get over ‘ere and shine me ball.
(Exploding) You ruddy, ruddy sod!
(Moores pushes Cook away from Hoggard and gets him to the door)
Aye, aye. C’mon lad!
(being pushed back and out of the door by Moores) Peter, he’s gone too far! I’m just trying to do my job, which is winning games of cricket for England, and I’m finding all this criticism quite hard to take, to be honest with you. Something needs to be done!
(Cook leaves with the WAG)
(Conciliatory) Hoggy, Hoggy, I’m sorry, Alastair is still learning and he doesn’t always get things right. But we still believe he will get it right the majority of the time. He has our 100% support. He doesn’t mean any disrespect.
No disrespect? Is tha mad? Teach the soft get some fookin’ manners. Hey Mooresy, what’s right is right. Am I right?
I’ll have to have a look at the data.
I mean the kid’s over ‘ere, we’re all utched up and lovey dovey, and two minutes later ee’s got monk on.
Well, I’ve got a huge amount of respect for Alastair as a player and as a captain. He knows the England captain should always be robustly debated but I think you were a little harsh in your criticism of him.
Oh give over. ‘Nother Pedigree, gaffer.
(Time passes. We see the last people outside cricket leaving the bar, as Cook re-enters. Hoggard is drunkenly ranting to Moores.)
It’s changed now. You’ve been away for six years, everything is different.
It’s about respect, is what it’s about, Mooresy. I won fookin’ Ashes in 2005. 16 wickets at under 30.
The data looks good, Hoggy, I’ll give you that.
(Hoggard senses trouble and looks around to see Cook. Moores grabs his arms from behind, Cook draws his inner steel from his jacket and, frenzied, stabs Hoggard in the chest over and over again.)
Get the door!
(almost crying) I’ve won a lot of games of cricket for England! I won an Ashes series, I won away in India! I’m proud of my achievements as England captain!
(Whitaker pulls a kit bag from behind the bar to transport Hoggard’s body.)
This is really bad. What are we going do with him? We can’t just dump him out on the Nursery.
Don’t worry, don’t worry. No one’s going to care – he’s not from the right sort of family. Come on, let’s get another sheet to wrap round the body. We need an extra cover.
Ok, I’ll take Trotty out of the slips.
I’ve read this elsewhere recently – still makes me smile tho’! (…and don’t we all need something to smile about!)
Nice effort, but this, from Giles Clarke, is far funnier (though not in a good way):
“The game will give a simple message to those who seek to establish rebel leagues. Without volunteers, there is no cricket developed anywhere. It is not something to be traded as a purely commercial activity.
“It is ingrained in the hearts, minds and cultures of men and women across the globe and in our multicultural societies. Volunteers in cricket do not want to work for profit seeking enterprises, and nor will we allow greed to take away from the game its values, and the funds which support its grass roots and its future.“…
It’s a real bundle of laughs when one sees the hypocrisy underpinning everything with which this miscreant is involved. Greed and power and and volunteers, no profit seeking enterprises. Yay right. Does he know what a charlatan he sounds like? Remember this is the man who got cricket involved with that Stanford man — now serving 100 plus years in prison!!! Someone have a chat in Clarke’s ear as he is so delusional.
Last line got a proper laugh out of me :)
(Now I really need to rewatch that film)
Just a small correction to make in the following line:
Cook draws his inner steel from his jacket and, frenzied, stabs Hoggard in the
chestback over and over again.
Anybody who runs to the coach after a players-only team meeting is only capable of stabbing people in the back. He doesn’t have the balls to confront anybody head-on like a man.
I have no love for cook, but this is character assassination gone too far even for a satire..
It’s a joke. Not meant to be taken seriously. We posted an article that was very supportive of Cook last week. To be honest, I think Hoggard comes out worse! :-)
I think Hoggard’s a brilliant character, nothing like the real one I’m sure.
I agree entirely! Leave the guy alone, despite our varied opinions he’s still a fine cricketer and we need him on top form. The captaincy is an entirely separate issue in the hands of Strauss(y)!
Maybe a bit of context might be useful. I wrote this more as a lament for Cook’s corruption by the captaincy than out of any real personal malice towards him. Remember 2010, when he was happy in the ranks, great team man, driest hands on the field? When, as chief ball polisher, he had just the right level of responsibility?
Contrast that with the modern-day Shakespearean tragedy of his captaincy. This hollow-eyed, sullen, paranoid shell of a man, shackled to a role he’s temperamentally unsuited to, trapped by pride and vanity, never able to escape or move forward, endlessly repeating his mantra of winninggamesofcricketforEngland without giving any confidence that his leadership is contributing to that goal.
The then-and-now just struck me as bleakly funny, especially after I’d made the Goodfellas connection. I suppose you also have to be fairly well acquainted with the film to fully get it, and I know not everyone will be.
In summary then: relax. Like James said, it’s only a joke. (Also worth noting that much of the non-Hoggard dialogue is drawn from real utterances by the protagonists. I’m not the first to point out that England cricket is more than capable of satirising itself at the moment.)
You are a very clever man Richard. I take my hat of to you. Very good, funny and sadly true in lots of respects.
Dude, it’s a very famous scene from Goodfellas, pimped Yorkshire style. It’s a joke.
Good one PT – I agree!
It’s “my airport suit” that I find hilarious, after one of cooks many strange interviews.
Did he really say that? Must have missed that gem.
I think it stems from these comments about Adam Lyth (who was of course overlooked in favour of “Trotty”, so the airport suit was the highlight of his tour).
“That is what playing cricket for England means. To get that opportunity to stand in the airport in his first England suit is something he will remember forever.”
That was an interesting article, and I missed this comment the first time:
“Contrary to what you may read in the media I’m a long way away from that decision [Pietersen]. It’s not down to us,” said Cook.
So Cook also has nothing to do with the “trust issues” ?
Who then are these players desperate that Pietersen plays no more in the England team ?
Pringle and Strauss ?