I love cricket. I love watching it. I love playing it, but I've got a problem. My wife is due to give birth today - the first day of the second England vs India test match at Lord's. And I've got a ticket. To the game, that is. I understand that the NHS does not require tickets for delivery rooms, despite the huge rise in demand for bedside seats.
Last month, it was revealed that 95 per cent of fathers were present in the delivery room at the moment of birth - a welcome development from the days of pacing hospital corridors. But what about the missing 5 per cent? Did they all have test match tickets?
Denis Thatcher recognised the therapeutic value of a day at the cricket and chose it over the delivery room when his twins were born. I'm pretty sure my grandfather would have taken much the same line, had my mother and uncle been born "in season". Mind you, that was the man who, as he walked my mother up the aisle, mused out loud whether Colin Cowdrey should declare before 300, so perhaps not the best role model for the modern chap.
Were I to attend the test today, I am drawn to the possibility that in years gone by I could have had my name read out over the PA system, announcing to the assembled throng that my wife has gone into labour. Cue cheers all round. This sort of thing used to happen all the time at the FA Cup final, but the advent of mobile technology has sadly seen the demise of this sporting tradition.
In the days when it did occur, I believe it was customary to name one's offspring after whoever was on the pitch at the time. Mahendra Singh Edwards has a certain ring to it, although not one likely to amuse my wife. It's a shame that it's not Sri Lanka facing England, for their players have spectacularly long names. Even she could not help but be impressed by the monicker Herath Mudiyanselage Rangana Keerthi Bandara Edwards, or HMRKBE for short.
As the big day dawns, so the dilemma heightens. As I see it, I have four options. The first is to behave like an adult, reflect that these things happen and give up the ticket. This would, no doubt, ensure that the baby won't arrive for another two weeks.
It would also engender the derision of my less mature friends who, having completed their breeding, are safe in the knowledge that they will never have to face such a choice but nevertheless seem to speak with more bravura when their wives are not around.
The second option is to arrange to have the baby in the Wellington Hospital, next to Lord's. But, as a private hospital, it would make for a very expensive test ticket.
Probably my largest sporting expense to date - and that's against a litany of sports-spectating profligacy (current record holder, England vs Algeria in Cape Town during the football World Cup).
Option three is to bring my wife along to the game, having first tipped off the St John ambulance to stock up on laughing gas. There are a couple of flaws here. First, she doesn't like cricket, so is unlikely to agree to join me (I could try the old Fawlty Towers line about offering to take her to see India. Then again, maybe not).
Secondly, while being a cut above most sporting venues, Lord's was not built with the comfort of heavily pregnant women in mind, especially over seven hours of play.
Option four: go to the match with friends, sans wife. My ever tolerant other half says I should go, so why not? Well, a lot can change in 24 hours, not least a woman's opinion. Could I relax if I do go? Usually by about 2pm at Lord's, and after a couple of glasses of something agreeable, I have reached a zen-like plain of wellbeing - but I reckon this time I would be somewhat fidgety.
All in all, I think the simplest solution would be for Lord's, with all its other facilities, to provide a delivery room for ticket-holders. I therefore call upon the MCC, as part of its development plans, to build a maternity wing in the, forgive me, Nursery Ground.
For now, though, it's decision time. Having weighed up all the options, I think there is only one course of action open to me. It's the course that reflects how far we menfolk have matured since my grandfather's day, the course that puts cricket in a proper perspective, the course that in years to come will serve as an example to my first-born.
That's right, I'm going to the game.