It is with great regret I conclude that the British public have lost our minds. We’ve spent the summer basking in a heatwave: sun-worshipping and blaspheming.
These rising temperatures are no cause for celebration. For as the summers get hotter and hotter, our cricket pitches get drier and drier. And with such changes come consequences.
I am talking, of course, of the existential threat that climate change poses to the dibbly dobbler bowler. This noble breed of cricketer is tailor-made for cloudy May mornings on seaming green tops. Plodding, slow but with an unerring propensity to nibble it about. As lethal in traditional English conditions as they are when let loose in a pie shop.
But as our summers get hotter, the dobbler faces extinction. It is time for action. South London’s Kings Road Cricket and Social Club, spiritual home of the slow-medium pacer, are officially launching our campaign to save the dobbler. To kickstart it, we’ve created the ultimate XI of English wibbly wobblers. They’ll dibble, they’ll dobble, they’ll nibble and wobble and they’ll obliterate sub-continental opposition under cloudy overheads.
Here’s to wibbling cricket balls and wobbling waistlines.
Darren Maddy – As a biffer of some repute, Maddy is the obvious choice at the top of the order. Opened for England in that fateful 2007 World T20 campaign, but don’t let that put you off. He knows the value of a quick-fire 30 in swinging conditions, and will bash his way there more often than not I reckon. Can wibble as required.
Paul Nixon (k) – We need somebody particularly sharp to stand up to all of this medium pace. It has to be Paul Nixon because he’s mouthy, will gobble up nicks and stumpings, and also gives us a left hand option up the order. Put that ramp away though Nicko.
Ravi Bopara – Ravi fluffed it at 3 for England (do you see that there’s a theme developing here) but for us, he is elegant and perfect. Has a lovely cover drive and has evolved into a pretty useful wobbler. First class average of over 40 is surprisingly high.
Ronnie Irani – Loved him as a child just because he’s got such a cracking name. Gives us some height to balance out all the little fellas around him, and for my money is the stardust in that top four. Extra height, even at 68mph, could come in handy. Bounce and nibble, lovely.
Paul Collingwood (capt) – The talisman of our side and captain. Relentless run machine and a superb fielder, which he will need to be when he looks to his right and finds Derek Pringle at extra cover. Can dobble but won’t bowl much as he has his hands full with captaincy and jerking his bat across the line on his way to another hideous century.
Tom Abell – The most controversial pick in this team, just edging out Adam Hollioake. This is a selection with an eye to the future. Tom has shown some dibbly promise this season, and also has captaincy experience. Gives us some steel in the middle order and is Collingwood’s natural successor. Surely crucial key to the long-term viability of the wibbly wobbler.
Dimi Mascarenhas – Wild card pick, just call me Ed Smith. Naturally he can dobble, but it’s the explosive hitting down the order that attracts me to Dimitri. In a low-scoring game, a few lusty blows from his mighty blade might just swing the game for us. Swing with the bat, swing with the ball. He’s also quite cool, and most of this team is not. We need somebody marketable and Dimi is the guy.
Darren Stevens – The finest wine in the country, he grows more delicious by the year. Takes the new ball and fields at slip. Watching him able along and take a wicket without breaking 2mph stride is one of cricket’s purest joys. To my mind, the greatest cricketer to never play for England, expect him to bowl very long spells first up.
Mark Ealham – Will take the new ball with Stevo. And as a Kent fan, let me just take this moment to highlight my pride at my county’s propensity to develop such superb wibblers. We must be the envy of the county circuit.
Stuart Turner – A recommendation from my esteemed boss at work, who is more than double my age. No idea who this chap is, but the internet assures me he swung it both ways at no great pace and took over 800 first class wickets. Good enough for me, first change Mr Turner.
Derek Pringle – The man, the myth, the worst sports writer in history. Odd type of Pringle in that once you pop you really don’t want to do anything but stop. But what Derek did beautifully was nibble it about. His average at test level is nothing to write home about, which makes him perfect for this team.
Mark Alleyne – Too good for the this side, ascended to Dobbler heaven long ago.
Craig White – Just too quick to truly be a dobbler. A shame.
Adam Hollioake – Desperately unlucky to miss out. If anybody loses form in the top 6 he’s in.
Peter Jackson Eastwood