To whom it may concern,
I am pleased to confirm that my England team and I have agreed to tour your fine country of AUSTRALIA, subject to the following critical conditions:
1. No Steve Smith
In the 2019 Ashes, Steve Smith scored 774 runs at an average of 110.57. In the 2017-18 Ashes, he scored 687 runs at an average of 137.40.
Even the most one-eyed Australian fan (and a big hello to Michael Slater if he’s reading) can surely see that this isn’t fair. Batters should average around 30 or 40 in a series. Or, if they’re really good, 50 or maybe even 60. But more than a hundred? Come on. If Smith can’t keep his Ashes runs under control, he shouldn’t be playing.
(And while we’re at it, no like-for-like Steve Smith replacements either. Last time, when we fell back on our tried and true Ashes tactic of bouncing the bejeezus out of the guy averaging in excess of a hundred, it just led to you uncovering another one of him. As the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, Labuschagne on me.)
2. Tim Paine to make all DRS decisions for Australia without assistance from clearer-thinking team members
Even with Smith playing the majority of the most recent Ashes series in England, we still managed to draw it, thanks primarily to Ben Stokes’ heroics at Headingley.
Of course, Stokes’ innings would have fallen a couple of runs short of victory had Australia been able to review an LBW shout in the penultimate over of that match. Fortunately for us, Australian captain Tim Paine had earlier burnt his final review on a far more speculative DRS to one that had pitched well outside leg stump.
(Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
We note with interest that Paine’s reviewing seems to have not improved in the intervening two years (admittedly it’s a bit hard to tell for sure given how little Test cricket Australia has played in that time). Please ensure, therefore, that Paine receives no assistance from team mates, substitute fielders or interview drones in his DRS decision-making.
We would also like to confirm that as many run out opportunities as possible will be attempted via the hands of Nathan Lyon.
3. Cummins-free zone
What’s going on with this guy? Handsome, decent, intellectually curious and the best Test fast bowler in the world? No, we won’t be having that. Please remove Pat Cummins from your squad.
While you’re there, it’s probably safest to get rid of Josh Hazlewood too. He’s also a thundering nuisance, what with his impeccable line and length that’s always questioning the batters, challenging them on each and every delivery. (Mitchell Starc can stay.)
Please replace Cummins and Hazlewood with bowlers who England have previously found innocuous and trivial to score against. (We understand this may take some time.)
Note: Any replacement Australian bowlers who we’ve previously found innocuous should play this series with zero (0) intimidating moustaches.
4. No swears
To be frank, some of the language that’s been inflicted on our English ears in previous series has been crass and unacceptable.
We would like to confirm that the following words will be banned from this upcoming series:
- B***** F***** A**
- S**** W****
- S**** W****
Actually, for simplicity’s sake, maybe David Warner just shouldn’t speak at all.
David Warner (Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
5. Can’t be out first ball
Remember in the final innings of the fourth Test of the 2019 Ashes, with England needing to chase 383 to win (or bat four sessions to save the Test) and the urn on the line, how I was out first ball?
Yeah, we won’t be having that this time. If it’s good enough for backyard cricket, it’s good enough for the Ashes. (To that end, we are also open to further discussions on ‘one hand, one bounce’ catches, and also play continuing until one of the players’ mums calls us inside.)
We understand that we and our families will be forced to quarantine for two weeks before being permitted to enter your country. Fine. Whatever. You do you.
But you know what would make that quarantine infinitely more pleasant and help us overcome Bubble Fatigue™? Puppies, that’s what. Puppies are great. Please ensure fifty (50) puppies of various breeds are delivered to our quarantine retreat and at the end of that fortnight we will choose our favourites to tour with us and brighten up our dressing rooms.
(To be clear, we are referring to actual canine dogs no older than eighteen (18) months. Don’t go looking for loopholes on this. We will not accept Michael Clarke in our dressing room under any circumstances and have hired Simon Katich as our consultant on this matter.)
Those are our critical, non-negotiable conditions. Other aspects of the tour that we ask you to seriously consider are:
- Be nice to Jimmy. He’s very old now.
- No clean sweeps.
- Stop referring to the ground in Brisbane as ‘the Gabbatoir’. That’s gross.
- If Jonny Bairstow headbutts an Australian cricketer, let’s not make a big deal out of it this time, huh?
In return, we promise not to allow that Jarvo 69 person out of England.
Assuming these conditions can be met, we look forward to touring AUSTRALIA.
Yours in Big Three Cricket,
Joseph (‘Joe’) Root
Twitter, Instagram, OnlyFans: @root66