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It arrived at Christmas time. The book, long foretold by the prophet Jrod. There was snow all around. Messengers from the far exotic South arrived bearing the book, and yet I was not in to receive it.

The book was therefore left next door , a household of Jehovah’s Witnesses with South African in-laws. The book would never have survived had the inhabitants of said house been aware of its title or subject matter. The book was ‘When Freddie Became Jesus’.

The Village Cricketer's bookshelf

Ignore the title; this is not a book about Andrew Flintoff, or Jesus. Although the great Lancastrian features strongly and the author (Jarrod Kimber, aka Jrod) gets biblical with his language, this book is about the Ashes first and Jrod second. The biggest sporting event of the year and how Jrod fit into it : working as a cricket writer for the first time, being an Aussie in London and preparing to get married.

The Ashes = Two equally shit sides fight out an ancient rivalry that no one understands, but everyone cares about… An Ashes battle doesn’t have to be two champions to make it good to watch. These teams were evenly matched. So even though it was slapping and hair pulling, it was a tight contest of slapping and hair pulling.

The Ashes and Uncle Jrod (to give him his full pseudonym) are two entities that I have grown enormously fond of. It’s love, but good old-fashioned pat-on-the-back man love, nothing that would threaten Mrs Rod.

From reading his book, it is apparent that Jrod hates quite a few things: including Andrew Hilditch, Jerusalem, Stuart Broad, Shane Watson, and his year 11 English teacher. It is also obvious that he loves cricket, and it is this passion for the game, appreciation of a good contest and a hugely entertaining and irreverent writing style that really makes this book stand out.

If you’ve ever read Cricket With Balls (and if you haven’t you should), you’ll be familiar with the tone. The book format is similar – albeit easier to read when on the bog – but frustrating in that you cannot leaves comments mid-dump for the author’s consideration.

Don’t get me wrong, the book has faults. It’s got a few typos (including getting the URL for The Village Cricketer wrong (its ‘thevillagecricketer.com’, not ‘village cricketer.com’), he used my gag about him nearly killing Richie Benaud with swine-flu, and I was unable to find a copy of the book in either my local library or Waterstones (so you’ll have to buy it online).

But that is nit-picking.

‘When Freddie Became Jesus’ is an entertaining yet perverted romp through this year’s Ashes action. It’s amusing, well structured and really takes you back to watching the action unfold. It is also written for the common man. You aren’t being talked down to by a stuffed-shirted egg-and-bacon type, or ranted at by your typical one-eyed-Aussie commentator (Richie excepted), you get the passionate but fair thoughts, observations and commentary of the guy next to you in the pub (provided you’re sitting in a pub in South London, and there is a scruffy looking Aussie with you, and he’s called Jarrod, and he is working on Cricket With Balls).

It’s funny. He describes Steve Harmison as “a gerbil crossed with an electric tie organiser”, exclusively reveals that Shane Watson is the fiendish creation of a mad Nazi scientist and North Korea, and exposes ‘The Thorpe Dossier’, the thoughts of England’s great nuggetty left-hander on the Australian side and how to beat it.

Did I mention it’s perverted too? Jrod fantasizes about a lubed –up, caged and naked Ian Bell, and contemplates a raunchy threesome involving Graham Onions, Lily Allen and Graham Onions’ girlfriend.

I once said that there was only one Australian whose opinion on cricket I respected –Richie Benaud. There are now two. Oh, and Jrod, I’ll proof read your next book if you like. ‘When Freddie Became Jesus’ now sits proudly on my bookshelf, between ‘The Art of Captaincy’ and ‘A Lot of Hard Yakka’. Right now, a couple of beers in and a Christmas movie on the box, it’s better than both.

It might be a little early, but I wanted to get in first. Thanks to the genius of Elf-Yourself and JibJab, and with a little help from Richie Benaud, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Kevin Pietersen and Geoff Boycott, The Village Cricketer is delighted to wish you all a very happy Christmas. Where else would you see Richie dancing hip hop?

Click on this link, genius: http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/ypgN0c9J0gzDdgDQeJbj

Happy Christmas from The Village Cricketer

Happy Christmas from The Village Cricketer

I don’t watch Strictly Come Dancing. Well, not all the way through anyway. My bird Sky+’s it, and occasionally makes me watch Ricky from Holloaks, while I oggle some scantily clad nubile dancers shaking what their mommas gave em! Boo ya!

It is a show, however, that cricketers have done verl well at. Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash both won it, I believe. This year Phil Tufnell didn’t. He is, however, a legend. I prefer him on Question of Sport anyway.

Listening to Radio 2 the other day, I was treated to hearing the bizarrely named song Meeting Mr Miandad, by The Duckworth Lewis Method, a cricket-inspired Irish pop group formed by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy and Thomas Walsh of Pugwash. If I get hold of a copy of their album I’ll review it on the site. A cricket-inspired Irish pop group, whatever next?

Whilst ponies are strong despite their diminutive size, it’s just possible that Dizzy’s height and weight could be against him in this one. Tuffers is smaller and lighter than Gillespie which could really help his cause here, but what about that age difference between them both? Do you think he’s got enough stamina and ‘True Brit’ tenacity to beat the lanky Aussie and make it to the finish line first, or will it all end in a heart–stopping photo finish?

I’m supposed to be going to a barbeque in a couple of hours time, but ESPN Classic is dedicating a whole series of shows to Freddie Flintoff’s finest moments in international cricket. Channel 442 on Sky, I might stay in.

Now then now then, England have enjoyed their best day of Ashes cricket since September 2005. The ball moved, the ball bounced, and the Aussie batsmen kept missing it, chopping on and hitting it up in the air. After Alistair Cook was in the runs yesterday, James Anderson and Stuart Broad both performed well today, which is doing wonders for the number of hits on this site. Over the last couple of days The Village Cricketer has had its best days ever, with more than five times the amount of traffic than normal. And what are you all reading? Here are the top five most visited The Village Cricketer posts over the last week:

1. Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Alastair Cook naked – for charity mate
2. Nathan Hauritz’s finger
3. Is he insane?
4. Bloggers Ashes – the result
5. TVC gives thumbs up to Empire of Cricket

Yep, when one of Broad, Anderson or Cook make headlines for England, the post I did on their naked centrefold for Cosmopolitan magazine gets a huge amount of visitors. A shame indeed then that I don’t have any pictures of Andrew Strauss naked, Kevin Pietersen naked or Andrew Flintoff naked. Naked cricketers it seems, are very popular on the internet.

To give you an idea of how many hits TVC is getting, if the current rate continued we’d have a higher monthly circulation than the Cycling World, Total Fly Fisher, Golf Punk and Bowls International magazines.

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