Ashes Diary: Super Cooper blows his own trumpet

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The Independent Online

The Barmy Army is, quite understandably, not everyone's cup of tea or schooner of VB, but the England team claim to take heart from their ceaseless chanting.

They would have been delighted last night then to take to the field accompanied by the strains of the Army's trumpeter, although not as delighted as the man himself. Four years ago Billy Cooper, a classically trained musician, was thrown out on day one while playing the Neighbours theme song but this time The Gabba authorities have changed their (ahem) tune.

Cooper was part of the "official entertainment package" for day one and free to trumpet to his heart's content. Oh what joy.

Sight for sore eyes

"Blindfold cricket has made top 10 most watched in last 24hrs of YouTube!!" tweeted Kevin Pietersen yesterday (presumably he wasn't watching The Inbetweeners with the rest of the lads). "Wow, people must be bored!! Ha ha." KP's triumphant tweet relates to a video of him blindly smashing sixes – one ball goes through a window – which has become an internet sensation with over 72,000 hits. So that's what Graham Ford taught him in South Africa before the Ashes. Maybe when Xavier Doherty comes on KP should reach for the blindfold? But is it real? See for yourself at

'Inbetween' days work for England

The England boys prepared themselves for the first Test by watching the Channel 4 comedy series The Inbetweeners yesterday with Graeme Swann tweeting first: "Inbetweeners now to please cookie [Alastair Cook]. The head of sixth form is one of my heroes." Then James Anderson: "Had an afternoon of The Trip and Inbetweeners. Steve Finn is definitely Neil, Cookie is Will and Swanny is Jay!" Finn had the last word: "That just leaves Jimmy to be Simon."

Warne does a turn

The cricket boot was on the other foot last night in Australia as Shane Warne interviewed Michael Parkinson on his new chat show, imaginatively entitled Warnie. (Still that extra "i" makes it a tad more imaginative than "Parkinson". We wonder what sort of questions Warne tossed up and whether Parkie was able to play them with a straight bat?

From Lord's to The Gabba – by bike

15,500 miles, 23 countries and 411 days later Oli Broom is at The Gabba for the first Ashes Test Down Under. The 29-year-old from Berkshire, who went to the same school as England captain Andrew Strauss, arrived at the Brisbane ground yesterday after setting off from Lord's by bike in October last year. Surely there are easier ways to get a ticket to the Gabba, Oli? Like ask your old school chum? Oh, but his 14-month journey raised £30,000 for the Lord's Taverners charities. Good effort then.