Fogies at the WACA

Where did that word, fogies, go? It’s hardly ever in use these days. Anyway. A bunch of them are playing in a Legends Twenty20 match at Perth today, including Angus Fraser, Devon Malcolm, Dennis Lillee and a frightening looking Merv Hughes.

Those links are to the photos at Cricinfo.

Too busy, too famous for an autograph?

I was never much of an autograph hunter in my youth. Perhaps my Dad instilled it in me, but the only autographs I ever wanted were from people I considered great: Weekes, Sobers, Haynes…err, Gatting. In fact, during a Middlesex game I ran down the steps in the Mound Stand to where Angus Fraser was grazing, at fine-leg, and queued up to get his autograph. In front of me was a portly, middle-aged gentleman who (can’t believe I remember this) had two pairs of glasses: one on top of his head, and the other on his nose. What amazed me, though – I was about 12 at the time – was the book or tome he was holding. In it contained thousands of autographs, not just of cricketers but seemingly anyone able to scrawl their name with a biro. To this day I wondered what fascinated him so much about it all. Why would anyone want an autograph anyway? The only reason I got Angus’s was to try and have a chat with him and ask him how I could play for Middlesex!

Anyway, enough ramblings. Two rather interesting letters in the Times for tomorrow:

Sir, I have just returned with three small boys from watching a wonderful English victory at Headingley, just the sort of day to get our young captivated by the sport. But, alas, no longer do the players pop out at lunch to sign autographs, as Lloyd and Gower did for me as a child; and so we went to where they leave. After waiting for an hour most of them walked straight past. The worst offenders were those who are supposed to be role models for our young, such as one who pretended to be on the phone and our captain, who ignored everyone. Considering play finished at 3pm surely they had a spare moment?

JANE HARPER
Kirkbymoorside, N Yorks

Sir, What was striking about the crowd at the Headingley Test — aided by the sensible ticket pricing — was the great diversity of the crowd. Around me sat people from 8 to 80, from every class, women of all ages, England and Pakistani supporters intermingled, even a solitary — though somewhat baffled — Estonian student.

STEPHEN O’LOUGHLIN
Huddersfield, W Yorks

Ignoring my cynicism and indifference to the world of autograph hunting, it’s sad that the England players alluded to above didn’t have the time to sign anything. I can’t imagine that is in anyway a reflection on the team, though.

Barmy Army Ashes tours 2006-07

It’s been mere hours since I last mentioned the A word, so it’s high time we mentioned it – and the Barmy Army.

From humble, albeit boistrous beginnings, England’s Barmy Army has morphed into a commercial venture offering serious fans the chance to tour with Brits (and others) following England. From what I can gather, they’re a great help and offer great support to the team; during England’s darker days in the mid-1990s, it always brought a smile to my face that hundreds of people could drunkedly chant “Barmy Army! Barmy Army!” in the face of 70 for 8 with Gus Fraser at the crease. Not Gus’ fault, of course – in fact, he’s an utter legend in Barmy parts and even not-so-barmy parts.

With the own-goal netted by Cricket Australia this week, it looks like the Barmy Army (who according to an insider have deals and connections in the cricket-ticket-world – the illuminati, if you will; ticketing masons, even) have a feast of tickets to go along with their other tour offerings. See here for details.