You used to be known on the cricket circuit as Foxy because of your flowing locks of auburn hair, your vulpine swoops on the ball in the covers and, presumably, the way you snatched ducks when playing for England. Just now they'll be calling you Faxy.

'I shall be filing for divorce,' was what your wife, Nicole, saw as your fax emerged from the machine in her parents' house in Australia the other day. 'I will, of course, make a fair and honest offer based on legal advice. There is no need to consult a solicitor.'

Bit chilly isn't it, even as Dear Nicole letters go? And about as empty of emotion as the stands at Durham County Cricket Club during a four-day championship match.

'I couldn't believe the cold and callous way he did it,' your wife told the Mirror yesterday. And the newspaper agreed. They printed the word in capitals - FAX - to underline how brutal it all was.

Bad news is bad news, I know. Bad blood is bad blood, but there is something about a fax - the way it can be read line by line as it emerges from the machine, the manner in which it can appear suddenly out of the ether without so much as a warning plop on the front mat, the fact that you don't even have the chance to steel yourself as you open an envelope - that makes it only fit for blander stuff. I mean, how would you have fancied being dropped from the first eleven by fax?

Mind you, I've heard of people sending nastier things down the telephone wires. I know about a woman whose partner faxed the information that he no longer wanted to contribute to their child's upbringing to her office, so that most of her colleagues could read the news before she did.

That was really bad. But you didn't look too good yesterday morning either, after your missus had told the tabloids what you'd done; faxes, you see, are no place for intimate conversations. I presume she saw your fax first, before her parents. And even if its contents were not too unexpected I can see why she hated it.

It seems irrational, doesn't it; a message is a message. And if you've got a fax, use it. I know Australia is a long way away and you might like to know when she's actually getting it. But as for typing the thing on Lancashire County Cricket Club notepaper I suppose it does remind you of your finer hours, before you were shuffled off to Durham, times like your benefit year, when you banked a record pounds 152,855. Anyway, 'waste not, want not' is a pretty good maxim. And as faxing is a hell of a lot more expensive than the post, you might as well save money using up your old notepaper.

You told the Sun yesterday that you would only talk to them about cricket. Well, on that subject, can I say I've watched you play over the years, and I've enjoyed your batting. I've had more than my share of suffering, too. I'm a Lancashire follower, after all. So I'd love your autograph for my son. But send it by post, please.

(Photograph omitted)