5 days in the life of


Related Topics
MONDAY: It's a good day for a trip to Victoria Falls. Such a sight can only lift the spirits. There is still an element of shock in the camp after we came so desperately close to winning the first Test against Zimbabwe yesterday. Unfortunately, the game finished as a draw with the scores level. That happens infrequently enough for it to have been the first time in 120 years of Test cricket. You couldn't make it up. Still, the team is in good spirits, eroded only slightly when one of the two pilots fails to show. He has malaria. The four who have seen the Falls before drop out but 14 of us still pack into a 12-seater plane. It is an artist's dream and I immediately put it on the list of places to which I promise to take my wife one day. So far all these promises have been hollow but now this one is in writing I shall have to keep it. I sit as co-pilot on the journey to Harare afterwards. The colours of the African sky are breathtaking.

TUESDAY: Overnight rain - more overnight rain, that is - means practice is cancelled. A painting trip to a place called Balancing Rocks not far out of the city proves fruitful. The result of my labours should mean another painting winging its way to my gallery in Chipping Sodbury. Since it opened in the High Street 18 months ago trade has been brisk. Painting is now my other profession. I've got plenty of cricket left in me but if I wanted to I would turn to painting. Nothing pleases me more than when somebody who has no idea I play cricket comes in and buys one of my works. I paint wherever I go and Africa has been fertile territory.

CHRISTMAS DAY: We're due to practise, which is as it should be. We're here to play cricket and there's an important game tomorrow. We can't get started until 2pm and then only for an hour. Tactical talk afterwards, but that has to remain confidential. Call the wife and children back home in Gloucestershire, including Catherine, our three-week-old daughter whom I have not yet seen. My timing is awful sometimes. I listen to them opening their presents and later listen to the Queen's Speech, with the phone at home pressed against the television. I'm a great monarchist. The new tourists put on a pantomime, extracting the Michael out of the old stagers. Robert Croft mimics me for the purposes of which I lend him my trusty hat - only because it's in the same room. Chris Silverwood does a superb Darren Gough and John Emburey and David Lloyd (first-time coach and manager) join in. It's all convivial and relaxed. Read a chapter of His Way, Brian Clough's autobiography, before turning in.

BOXING DAY: It's hard being out of the side. But I get up as usual prepared to play. Mornings of match injuries have happened before. You must be ready. You train as usual. I tend to beam in on Alec Stewart who's keeping wicket instead of me, trying to make sure he's got everything he needs. It gets harder. I've been left out before and come back and this time I'm more determined than ever to return. It's important for me to stay vibrant for the rest of the lads, the ones who are playing. It hurts but I have to conceal that. Do some 12th-man duties, making sure they have the correct drinks, have some net practice and do some shuttle runs. They keep me fit and on the first day of the match help me to let off steam, let rip my feelings. I always drink lots of tea and if I'm not playing the consumption goes up. It feels about 80 cups a day. The team don't do themselves justice. We know we've played badly; we can't get a grip on the match. I'm sure we're not suffering from Sunday's result but maybe our desire to take the match by the scruff of the neck works against us. Wickets keep falling. A deeply frustrating day. We've let ourselves and our fans down.

FRIDAY: Creepy (John Crawley) and Tuffers (Phil Tufnell) eke out some precious runs in the morning. Tuffers plays extremely well in support. My morning is made by having a chat with the actor Peter Vaughan, whom I last saw in the film Remains of the Day. He's a big cricket fan and we compare notes on the frustrations of our respective jobs. England bowl well, a couple of decisions go against us. There's still a positive mood, one that says we can win. There's a lot of cricket left on this tour and I've just got a sneaking feeling I'll get my chance yet.

Jack Russell MBE, the Gloucestershire and England wicketkeeper, is on tour in Zimbabwe.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, with her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes  

If children are obese then blame food manufacturers, not Zoella

Jane Merrick
Amos Yee arrives with his father at the State courts in Singapore on March 31  

Singapore's arrest of a 16-year-old YouTuber is all you need to know about Lee Kuan Yew's legacy

Noah Sin
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor