Cricket in Parliament, and Arundel Castle

This just came through. It’s rare to hear about cricket in Parliament – I hope the Prime Minister will wish England good luck on the eve of The Ashes this summer, as he does with Football teams. Perhaps we should all email him

This is Nick Herbert’s maiden speech (pardon the pun) as conservative Member for the Arundel and South Downs consistuency and, after waxing lyrical about how beautiful an area it is, he starts to talk about the ground.

I can well understand Howard’s dismay at being unable to continue to represent such a beautiful constituency. I say with some care, given that I know that some of my hon. Friends present also represent beautiful constituencies, that Arundel and South Downs must be one of the most beautiful constituencies in England. Thirty miles broad—twice the size of the Isle of Wight—it can take almost an hour to drive from one side to the other. It famously contains the town of Arundel and Arundel castle, where indisputably the most beautiful cricket ground in England is found. Each year, a visiting touring side plays the Duke of Norfolk’s XI or another side constructed to give the tourists their first game. This Thursday, we look forward to the visit by Australia, which is to play its first game of the tour at Arundel. I hope that a member of the Professional Cricketers’ Association Masters XI will replicate the success of my great-grandfather, who, when playing for the Duke of Norfolk’s XI against Sussex at Arundel, took five wickets for seven runs. For those who might not know much about cricket, let me emphasise that five wickets for seven runs is quite an achievement. If we can begin with that sort of performance against Australia, it will stand us in good stead for a great Ashes victory.

As he says, Australia play a PCA XI at Arundel on Thursday – the traditional tour opener for tourists in England. Relaxed atmosphere, and opposition, to say the least…or not! My mistake – the PCA are fielding a decent team:

Stephen Fleming (Captain) Notts & New Zealand
Chris Cairns – Notts & New Zealand
Paul Collingwood – Durham & England
Devon Malcolm – former England
Darren Maddy – Leics & England
Chris Read – Notts & England
Chris Lewis – former England
Graeme Swann – Notts & England
Mark Ealham – Notts & England
Phil DeFreitas – Leics & England
Kevin Pietersen – Hants & England

Decent-ish. Do we read anything into Kevin Pietersen’s inclusion in this “friendly” game, and the 20/20, and the clutch of ODIs?

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