(With apologies to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe)
Lord’s. The Balcony. I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat, and a laptop that was trying to work out how many more runs we needed to not get beat by Sri Lanka. I let the batsmen stay out there.
Prior came back in. Some bad business with a dame called Bell. From 22 yards away, Bell looked like a lot of class. From 10 yards away he looked like something made up to be seen from 22 yards away. Prior had got too close, Bell had given him the long goodbye. Now Prior was back and he was mad as hell.
I looked up. It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window. I told this Broad to get out of my sight and not come back until we had a target I could get my teeth into: maybe 450 in six overs.
There was a crash of glass, and a shouting from some of the old fossils down below. I raced over to the dressing room like Samit Patel doesn’t when I give him a beep test. Prior was standing there, next to the smashed window.
I knew right away what had happened. Prior was shaking; he looked he could snap like Pietersen did when he saw that left-armer hanging around the practice nets with a big shark’s smile and a pocketful of ambition. I shook Prior, hard.
“This is how it went down,” I said. “You came back in and put your gloves on the floor. You turned round to do your warm down stretches. You slipped. You flew up in the air. As you fell, you knocked this bat into this coffin. This rare coin fell out, bounced and smashed the window. You got that?”
He nodded dumbly.
“Now get down there and sing those members a nice little song,” I said.
He went out. I got an official team England isotonic sports drink bottle and filled it up with electrolyte enhanced vitamin water. I took a drink. It was going to be a long, hot summer.
By Alan Tyers
CrickiLeaks: The Secret Ashes Diaries by Tyers and Beach is out now