Hove is where it’s at

Just got back from my first press conference at Hove (Sussex for the uninitiated, compassless among you). It was bloody cool. A bit of a shambles, if I’m honest, and the press girl there admitted as much (“It’s usually a lot better organised”) but it was relaxed and I managed to speak to Mushtaq Ahmed, who was both interesting and very intelligent. He had some interesting stuff to say about Pakistan, religion, spin and other stuff. What a legend. I wanted to scream out “Bowling mushy!” but managed to restrain myself. Of particular coolness was when a photographer barged his way into our chat and said “quick ‘ead ‘n shoulders musha would you?” Now, apart from mispronouncing his nickname – a cardinal sin – he was downright rude, and Mushy retorted with “Not now, I’m speaking to Cricinfo” which rather put the little weezle-snapper in his place, not to mention wake me up to the fact that I actually work for Cricinfo. It’s all very bizarre.
Another geezer wasn’t at all impressed at my employers, and rather looked down his roman nose at me as if to say “pah. Cricinfo. PAH. Bunch of johnny come latelies.” I’m sure it won’t be the last time that happens but it’s nevertheless surprising that CI produces that response.
I was one of only two written “journos” there, that I noticed. There were four radio people (four! Surely there can’t be more than one radio station in Hove?) and a couple of TV people. Annoyed that I didn’t get to speak to more players, one of whom was particularly elusive; after his photo shoot, he sprinted into the pavillion never to be seen again! Ah well, twas a good learning experience (nail them, in other words, when you can).

Before getting there, I managed to get lost, and sought help from an elderly gentleman who, with a red jumper, looked like one of those people from Butlins. He looked fairly respectable and knowledgeable (doesn’t that always go through your head when you’re asking for directions? “He won’t know where xyz is. Look at him, he’s a wreck”). Anyway, he then proceeded to eff and blind like a good ‘un.

“Fackin ‘ell, you want the cricket graaaand? You’re miles out mate, fackin miles.”

“Oh bugger. I thought I’d gone wrong, yeah. I was heading down to the sea”

“The sea? You’ll end up in fackin France and you wouldn’t want that.”

I didn’t bother mentioning that the sea was probably a hypothermic 4c, nor the fact that I would rather stick pins in my eyes than try and swim 20 miles across the English Channel. The cheery old fella was useful enough and I found the ground in good time. I wasn’t fackin miles out, actually.

Now preparing for the county season which begins tomorrow. We have a whole mass of previews going up, so keep your minces peeled on Friday. Am off to Lord’s hopefully tomorrow, and almost certainly on Saturday, so will bore you with photos and thoughts on MCC v Nottinghamshire.

Ta Scott for keeping the blog fresh and tasty,

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