ANY GIVEN MONDAY
A recent addition to the list of pointless things to attempt in this short life: trying to make sense of James Neesham's international cricket career.
Because we're humans, we tend to take comfort in things we can easily predict. We like orderly lines. In sport, we like plotting points between the start and the end of a career to see a broad arc.
But Neesham's line is not just blurred, it's like the map of London's Underground as drawn by a three-year-old.
Just three days prior to his timely 5-31 intervention against Afghanistan, Neesham conceded 24 runs off two wicketless overs against Bangladesh, before throwing his own wicket away in guileless fashion at a crucial time of his team's chase.
In that game, at that moment, he was a liability.
In Neesham's case, you can't be a liability without the 'ability'.
Three days later he's a match-winner.
That's about where we're at with Neesham – which is somewhere, but nobody's really sure where.
What we do know is that's it's better than where he was a year ago, when he seriously contemplated giving the game away for good, and not quite where he was in 2014, when he scored a test century on debut and for laughs added a second one in his next test.
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With his nippy, if straight up-and-down bowling and fabulous fielding, a long and prosperous career in whites was assumed.
Neesham has played 12 tests in total and the last one was more than two years ago.
His one-day international career started a year earlier and far less spectacularly. He played himself out of the 2015 World Cup squad as much as Grant Elliott played his way in, and his failure to adapt to the demands of the top order hinted at fragility behind the swagger.
Neesham became known as a bit of a lip-dropper, someone that was, perhaps unkindly, a bit of a pain in the arse to be around when things weren't going well whether it be through form or fitness.
When he hit 47 not out from 13 balls against Sri Lanka earlier this year it was his first ODI for 18 months. In that time he'd been injured, swapped Otago colours for Wellington and seriously canvassed the idea of doing something altogether different with his life.
Instead of playing his way out a World Cup squad he put his hand up high.
Then Bangladesh happened and you couldn't help but wonder whether the demons of doubt were winning again.
"I would have thought a bit more about the Bangladesh game in my first stint in the team. I probably would have let that occupy my mind-space for an extended period of time, but I just walked off the other day and thought, 'Well, you get a bit of tap every now and again'," Neesham said.
And perhaps that's where the answer lies to the vexed question of where Neesham's career is at?
He doesn't have a clue and that might be what works best for him. One day he's getting tapped, the next day he's doing the tapping and just as long as his good days remain outrageously good – which they've always tended to – then the bad days are accepted as part of the package.
If he has finally found peace in his haphazard career, perhaps we all can too.
THE MONDAY LONG READ ...
To be straight up with you, longread reading has taken a back seat to CWC19 watching. But I'm reliably informed by former professional gambler Steven Holloway that this is an engaging and informative look at the sports betting industry. From The Ringer .