For two days in a row I have to rebut the heinous slurs of the right-wing media. Yesterday The Sun on Sunday on my work in Albania, today mon vieux ami-ennemi Piers Morgan in the aptly named Mail on Scumday.
I do not allow the wretched rag in the house, just as I don’t allow our dog to foul the carpet. But what with Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and all the rest, you cannot avoid the odd link sneaking through one’s defences, and here is Piers’ wholly inaccurate account of a recent cricket match in which we both participated.
Take a look at the picture of me taking the selfie with my mates KP, Lara, Murali and Sachin and you get close to the profound jealousy my mateship with these guys inspired in Morgan, who tweets more about cricket than he does about current affairs, despite knowing even less.
But the worst thing for Piers – which somehow is not mentioned in his MoScumday piece, is that before we bowled, we had to bat. As he is a dreadful batsman, he was in at Number 11, and didn’t get a bat, because I – Number 7, standing in for Freddie Flintoff – was still at the crease, having hit 26 off nine balls, including boundaries off both Kevin Pietersen and the world’s best ever left hand swing bowler, Wasim Akram.
Piers had accompanied my walk to the crease with cries from the boundary of ‘knock his head off, Wasim … you’ll be back in a minute, Campbell …’ only to be stunned by my wonderful knock, all the more wonderful because it was the first time I had played in several decades.
So as Piers sulked, my mates Sachin Tendulkar and Gordon Greenidge and Brian Lara were carrying me off the field shoulder high having steered our side to a reasonable score. As Shane Warne rightly said: ‘Christ, Alastair, what a winner you are compared to that total loser Morgan!’ Indeed, Shane, indeed.
And of course the winning mentality (the subject of my next book out next year) is what led me to do a Mankad on young Arjun Tendulkar, who was thrashing Morgan and others all around the ground. The boos Piers mentions were heard only by him. Shane Warne did not withdraw the appeal, the umpire, journalist Mike Walters, just didn’t accept it. Alas, I was surrounded by non-winning wimps.
As for Piers’ claim that I was hit for more than he was, this I am afraid is plain fantasy. As he rightly says, he was hit repeatedly for six by KP having texted me in the morning to assure me ‘my sole mission is to get KP’s wicket today.’ Ho ho ho. Nobody hit me for six. So the day proved I was a better batsman and a better bowler than Piers, and more committed to the art of winning.
With my cricketing superiority clear to all, Piers tried to show a bit of football knowledge over tea, refuting my confident assertion that Germany were the best team in the world by trotting out one of the most outmoded and irrelevant pieces of sports data in the whole of pundit land — ‘no European team has ever won the World Cup in South America.’ As I said in The Guardian on June 17, ten days before I hit Wasim Akram back over his head, ‘Germany will win the World Cup.’ This is despite Mertesacker and Ozil who have been weak links due to their Arsenalisation. But Mertesacker has been dropped and Schweinsteiger, Kroos and Muller will carry Ozil, just as Sachin and I carried poor old Piers.