"From the Platform End, Thomas Dunne," Thomas Dunne imagines as he saunters up to the wicket to deliver his first ball of the over.
It’s a hard wicket, very flat and there doesn’t look a lot in it for the bowlers. There’s a bit of rough just outside the crease, as though hundreds and hundreds of people have passed over it daily, which could encourage the spinners but apart from that it could be mistaken for a really busy railway platform in the heart of Manchester. Oh wait…
"Now arriving at Platform four, the 11.00 service from Hadfield," was what was actually announced as Thomas Dunne sauntered in from the Platform End.
And Thomas Dunne isn’t Shane Warne, he’s a ticket officer (to protect Network Rail, and their staff who do provide a decent service, I have used his real name to single him out and try to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Also by using his real name, I can give him a few pointers on his very weak bowling action. If you’re reading this Thomas, see below).
Like Shane Warne (pre-Liz Hurley) he is slightly overweight and balding. Unlike Shane Warne, he probably doesn’t have thousands and thousands of pounds to rectify this with Advanced Hair Studio.
As I step down from the 11.00am service from Hadfield to Manchester, calling at Glossop, Dinting, Broadbottom, Hattersley, Godley, Newton-for-Hyde, Flowery Field, Guide Bridge, Ashburys and Manchester Piccadilly, I see Thomas deliver his first ball of his imaginary over.
It’s not a textbook action and his delivery is definitely sliding down leg. Had Aleem Dar unexpectedly commuted into Manchester on the 11.00am, he would have no doubt signalled a wide. Unless Thomas Dunne is involved in an imaginary test match.
Following his first delivery, Thomas realises that, despite his physical appearance, he is not Shane Warne and casually walks over to his portable ticket desk, where he should have been all along.
"Sorry about that," he says as the queue begins to build, "My colleague has gone to the toilet. He’s been a while. He better hurry up," he adds.
"Return to Flowery Field, with a railcard please," I say because I have no interest in responding to his colleague’s toilet habits.
"That’s £2.30," he replies.
"No it’s not."
"Oh. No. Sorry. £2.10. What am I like?"
Well. What are you like? I don’t know but from what I gather, you’re a rubbish cricketer who thinks Piccadilly is Lords and that it’s appropriate to talk about how long your colleague visits the toilet for whilst representing the company you work for. You’re also not very good at maths (and/or working mini computers to print rail tickets).
Needless to say Network Rail, I was not bowled over by your employee’s services.
Here’s a few tips to improve your action… (taken from http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/skills/4172964.stm)
There are five basic components to bowling. They are:
* The run-up
* Follow through
Step One: The run-up:
* As you set off from the top of your run-up, start by using small steps before changing to larger strides.
* Keep your arms close to your body and your head steady - keep your eyes fixed on the target - the batsman.
Step Two: The bound:
* As you approach the crease, turn your body to get side on and lean back slightly.
Step Three: Coil:
* The coil is the spring from which the ball is released. Keep the ball close to your chin with your head looking behind a high front arm.
* As your back foot lands on the pitch, keep your body upright. Your back leg should remain stable and support the body while the front foot should be raised slightly.
* Your front foot should be pointing to the batsman as it lands with the leg braced ready to take the full impact of the delivery.
Step Four: Release:
* As the shoulders begin to rotate, push your bowling arm forward and down from the coil position, with your non-bowling arm pointing to the batsman.
* The arms should rotate through with the ball released at the top of the delivery arc.
Step Five: Follow through:
* As you follow through, fold your bowling arm into your body and swing your hips around to finish.
* Your momentum will take you towards the batsman but make sure you don’t run down the middle of the pitch (or in your case, platform).