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From the sublime to the ridiculous
THERE are two things in the world you never want to let people see how you make them: laws and sausages.
And while in the making of laws, we have been reminded more than enough times in the last month that a week is indeed a long time, the same seems rather pertinent to the life of the cricket club formerly known as the nailed on favourites to win the County Championship.
The making of weekly cricket columns holds slightly less intrigue, but the shifts since last I laid weary finger on keyboard seem to have gone from if not quite sublime, then almost certainly ridiculous.
One drawback to writing this weekly column is that the deadline frequently comes frustratingly in the middle of a Championship game, so covering the return game against Kent had seemed out of the question.
Way back through the mists of time at Canterbury, back to back defeats had seemed a distinct possibility after hardy old fan of the pie, pint and tab Rob Key bullied a below-par bowling attack to the extent that people whispered "England" behind their hands then remembered Andy Flower preferred futuristic robot cricketers who are ripped and indeed torn.
Given that the game was being shown live on Sky, Britain's very own home of hyperbole, the majestic nature of the Ben Stokes innings that followed it had much drooling and frothing with genuine mumbling of "future of English cricket" in a way that convinced us all that the season was safe, quicker than you could forget the Test career of Rikki Clarke.
While Kent's batting collapsed in a pleasing enough way aided by some good, but hardly outstanding bowling, we all presumably sat and thought that The Colonel was the saviour, the change of captain a masterstroke and that the title tilt was back on.
Oh how naive we were.
What followed were three baffling days in which the panic button has not necessarily been pushed, but certainly located and the special miniature sub-toffee hammer used to break the glass around it polished and nervously eyed.
Leaving the Riverside or the Sultan's Own United Arab Emirates County Riverside or whatever we shall soon call it, on Sunday, I wracked my brain for which phrases of the rich cornucopia of the English language I could call on to best convey the display against Leicester.
Rubbish. Absolute Rubbish.
Perhaps it was the timidity of the batting display which then infected the bowling as soon as Du Toit and McDonald got motoring which was the most infuriating, but the scene was set from the second the new skipper couldn't get the ball off the square in the first few overs.
But blips happen in one day cricket, so we could forget and move on and columns could be written in reflection.
Do we win prizes for naivety yet?
Writing in the immediate aftermath of the humiliation, for it is that, against Kent, it's now difficult to second guess just what's gone wrong.
Yes, the presumably permanent MASH unit camped in the car park, now dealing with the vital presence of Blackwell and Stokes can't be ignored, but the performance with the bat seems to mental as much as anything, failing any hitherto untold voodoo doll or building work on a pet cemetery shenanigans.
What is for certain is that leadership doesn't just need to come from the fledgling captain, but from all of the senior players.
Simply avoiding defeat against Warwickshire would seem like an achievement right now, but what processes go into that, ugly or not, seem rather distant right now.