Still up in the air
Bumble's back with more tour tales, support for Ricky Ponting and a warning for England fans.
Last Updated: 03/11/10 4:54pm
I continue to lead the life of a thespian. If only I knew which part of Thespia I came from...
I've been treading the boards across the country all week. I even had my picture taken alongside a picture of Sir Laurence Olivier at the Richmond Theatre.
In fact, there was a chez lounge in the theatre, which Larry (as I know him) had lounged on. I've been on it as well now, so I'm officially a luvvie.
The theatre tour is going well. Like a football match it's a game of two halves - split into two lots of 45 minutes - and most of the dates are now sold out.
We managed to get the relevant papers and inoculations to visit the People's Republic of Chelmsford and escaped unscathed. Nasser didn't turn up, but that's no surprise. It wasn't free.
We also had an interesting journey back from Buxton. Mrs Lloyd was in the back of the car (Minty was in the front) when a fracas broke out between The Brigadier and the Group Captain. It was all very fraught.
Also, Julian Clary seems to be following us around. Peter Hayter, who's on stage with me, is big pals with Julian. We get messages from him - but I couldn't possibly tell you what they say.
I must also mention that my fellow thespian James 'crime won't crack itself' Quinn from Early Doors will be on stage at the Joshua Brooks in Manchester from November 2-13.
He's starring in six short plays called 'JB Shorts' and I'll definitely get along. I don't know how I'll manage it in between my tour and the Ashes, but I'll get there somehow.
Itching to start
All of that hasn't left me much time to see much cricket, but I have been following all the England boys on Twitter.
You can tell they're really excited to be out there. They're now starting to get into some serious preparation and they'll be itching to play.
However, what I would say to England supporters reading this blog is this: don't read too much into the first two warm-up matches because the players will be severely jet-lagged.
My ideal way to travel to Australia would be to break the journey up and spend two or three days stopping over somewhere on the way. I've done that trip many times and when you do it all in one hit then it really affects you.
So the cricket is likely to be substandard in the first couple of games and I'd be amazed if they produce anything special.
They will be useful matches for the players to acclimatise, but they'll still think they're in the air. They need to find their feet this week.
As for the Aussies, don't read anything into this one-day series against Sri Lanka.
I don't think that will have any bearing on what happens against England. They're playing competitive cricket, which will help them, but little else.
As I've said many times, Australia are in for a reality check with no Warne and no McGrath. They'll be competitive, they'll be strong in their own patch but they're not the team that they were.
And I'm not convinced by the suggestions that Ricky Ponting will lose the captaincy if they lose the Ashes. Where's the alternative?
Whoever you bring in will still have to work with the same attack. Michael Atherton was a terrific captain, but sometimes he didn't have the attack to work with. That's what it comes down to
Do Australia have a better captain than Ponting? I doubt it.
The other day, I called into a place for lunch, enticed by the big sign outside proclaiming it to be "Sausage Week".
There were posters of pork and apple sausages, pork sausages, ginger and cider sausages, black pudding and all sorts of things.
I thought: "I'll have some of that" and asked the man behind the counter for three sausages.
"I'm sorry sir, we've run out of sausage."
So on the Tuesday of sausage week there was quite simply, not a sausage.
I had gammon instead.