Ed Smith

Delightfully not cricket

A brilliant sporting satire

Even brilliantly accurate satirists can become boring unless they have something to say. That is the triumph of CrickiLeaks. Purporting to be a series of spoof Ashes diaries that reveal the innermost thoughts of famous English and Australian cricketers, CrickiLeaks doesn’t just superbly capture the players’ voices and vocabularies, it also makes them say surprising, hilarious things.

Like a champion batsman, CrickiLeaks raises its game when the challenge is greatest. Consider the difficulty of taking on Geoff Boycott. Every cricket fan has heard dozens of decent imitations of Boycott’s thick Yorkshire accent and self-confident manner. How could a satirist put anything new into Boycott’s mouth?

Here’s how:

I first met Bob Dylan when he came to watch me get a hundred on a seaming pitch at Scarborough in 1966. He asked me for a couple of tips and I told him my door’s always open… Dylan was having some problems with his technique, so I suggested to him that he should think about his head position and, if that didn’t work, go electric.

According to the CrickiLeaks version of history, it was Boycott who shouted ‘Judas!’ at the Dylan concert at the Manchester Free Trade Hall. Hence the folk-to-electric turning-point in Dylan’s career only came about because Boycott was furious that the American folk icon ‘reckoned Raymond Illingworth were twice the captain I’d ever be’.

They patched it up, though, Bob and Boycs. ‘I respected him and I know he thought a lot of me. Great player, but of course he never had to play on uncovered pitches.’

The diaries of David Gower and Graham Gooch are adjacent entries in Cricki-Leaks.

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