Jeremy Wells
Jeremy Wells on cricket

Jeremy Wells: You've been missed Jesse

'I've heard you've returned to first-class cricket. I can't wait to see you bat again. I've really missed you.' Photo / File
'I've heard you've returned to first-class cricket. I can't wait to see you bat again. I've really missed you.' Photo / File

Dear Jesse,

Let me start by congratulating you on your recent success as a charity boxer. I always hoped you were going to waste Mark Whatshisface from Radio Sport but I was overwhelmed by the feeling of satisfaction I gained from actually watching it happen.

Boy he looked like a muppet, particularly when he talked up his coach pre-bout like he was the boxing love child of Muhammad Ali and Lennox Lewis before entering the ring wearing a pair of Diadora cross trainers. When he turned his back during your onslaught I understood why Sparc wasn't funding the dude.

Still, Whatshisface did turn up to the fight and you have to either be stupid or have balls to do that so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he's stupid. I wonder if he thinks that international cricketers facing 150km/h bouncers are gutless now? Whatever the case, I'm sure he'll forget his humiliation when the talkback lines stop flashing and he has to resort to slagging you off to generate some discussion again.

But enough about him, I wrote this letter to you.

I've heard you've returned to first-class cricket. I can't wait to see you bat again. I've really missed you.

I love that shot you play to a short of a length ball outside off stump where you stand there and smash it with a semi-crossbat through cover. Sometimes, when it's a bit wider, it goes through extra cover. Sometimes it goes through point.

I don't really care where it goes to be honest. The bit I love most about it is the stillness of your head when you play the shot and the way the ball rockets off your bat. You make batting look easy.

After you announced your break from international cricket I stayed up watching tedious IPL games just to get my Ryder fix - which proves how hopelessly addicted to your batting I am.

This is going to be your season. I've had a psychic reading with celebrity clairvoyant Kelvin Cruickshank and he said you're going to make a test century against England next year. Shake's gone so you can slip your way back into the side and all will be forgotten.

I'm sure the media will discuss your past indiscretions over the top of images of that tiny toilet window in a Christchurch bar that you smashed while wasted seven years ago but you'll just have to ignore that. I'd MySky the news and fast-forward any cricket stories if I were you.

The fans don't care if you get drunk every now and then and do something silly. We don't judge you on how you behave off the field - it's not important. I'm sure if the people judging you were scrutinised half as much as you've been they would have gone into hiding coaching cricket at an English public school somewhere or eked out a living selling their memorabilia on Trade Me.

Please ignore all this rubbish about role models. You are a cricketer and by timing the ball sweetly you inspire kids to play better cricket. You encourage them not to over-hit the ball. Best of all you demonstrate how to put pressure back onto the bowlers. That's the kind of role model I want for my son.

Obviously, I'd prefer if his role models didn't smash windows in bars during their spare time but everybody makes mistakes. I once stole some grape Hubba Bubba from Bob, Bev and Mavis' dairy across the road - something I often regret when I'm struggling to get back to sleep at 3.40am.

So that's all I want to say really. Sorry that I had to put this letter in the Herald, it's just that your phone number and address weren't listed in the White Pages so I had no other way of contacting you.

Look forward to watching you again.

Jeremy Wells

- NZ Herald

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