With the resignations of Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood, the Dressing Room moles were fearful, yes fearful, that access to the secret sanctum would be horribly curtailed. Our spies planted listening and video devices just outside doors, in lavatories and in the temperature-controlled glove-boxes of top cricketers in the hope that we might still be able to bring loyal readers some inside info.
Thankfully we didn’t need to depend on that (though some extremely interesting stories did emerge, but sadly too legally actionable to bring to you in these pages). It turns out that Captain Kev has been a keen reader of the Tapes since their first publication back in the West Indies, and having read the last one, he is quite comfortable with anything we want to publish.
Now, as England are looking to rub the Saffer noses in a One-Day Series defeat, we have some insight into Kev’s motivational approach.
KP: Boys, you’re back – back with us, looking to stuff the oppo again. It’s so good to see you. Fred, Steve – I love you so much and of course, you know you don’t even really have to turn up so early. Come here, let me embrace you with my over-whelming love and warmth.
IRB: Hi Cap – was I OK?
KP: Belly, Belly – you know how much I rate you. What a fine stand that was. Who are those silly silly journalists who say you score too slowly. You are doing MY job. It’s what I ask – and Ian, Ian, Ian, you are so good. Love you babes.
Hey here’s the mouth and gloves!
Matty, Matty sweetie – how’s it hanging? Going fine, no finger injuries? Haven’t fallen over and done your scafoid? No cool, but even if you had, you’d be up for it, wouldn’t you? For me?
All of you, a mere broken bone wouldn’t stop you playing for me?
Nah course not.
Where’s Sami – Sami – with a five-fer? You should be up front here, my boy – stop lurking at the back. We’ll have no lurkers here [KP waits for the appreciation of his reference to The League of Gentlemen – proving that he is a Jolly Good Englishman].
Now that was fine, kaffir [shit did I really say that?], fine Sami, and you have just been such a great thing for this team. What we have to focus on now is how to get the whitewash.
Freddie: Kev, could we find another fast bowler to give me and my mate Steve a bit of a long term option? I’m thinking about – well, you know who.
KP: Look Fred, I know how much you love Si, but he broke down again this summer. I know his figures have been really good, and you know guys, there’s not a Welshman I love more than Si, but he’s not ready yet.
Fred: Well who else can we have to back up the squad? Ryan’s hurt, bad, and maybe so bad we won’t have him around for a while. You’re not going to get that Aussie bloke, are you?
KP: Fred, Fred, Fred – I know you’re worried about second and third change, but would I upset this Dressing Room by bringing in a stranger? Oh no, no, no.
Lads, we’re a unit, a fine unit, and whatever Mooresy says, you know, I’ll be running selection by you guys. If we need extra bowling, well if it’s spin we’ve got Swanney and Adily to bring in. If you want another fast guy – you know my door is always open, and together, yes, together, we’ll find someone.
Now, my boys, we’re going to go out there tomorrow, at Lord’s, the very true and wondrous home of cricket, and we are going to put runs on the board, and we are going to take wickets.
As a team. As a team that is going up, up, up in the rankings. Because we are one.
We are a unit, we are a machine, and most of all, we will win.
The Team together: Because we love you Captain Kev.
As the tape fades out, we just get a little glimpse of how KP feels – he looks in the mirror and doesn’t even see his own image. He sees the face of Michael Vaughan and, running his fingers through his lustrous locks just says –“ See Michael: you didn’t have to swear at them.”