Fibber In The Heat by Miles Jupp

51f6+OjozQL._ Miles Jupp is a comic actor (Rev) and stand-up who began working life playing Archie the Inventor in children’s TV show Balamory. Somewhere in between these phases of his career he decided to become a cricket writer and Fibber In The Heat is his account of trying to cover England’s 2006 tour to India without any actual accreditation or indeed even paid work to do. BBC Scotland doesn’t answer his emails (there is, it eventually turns out, a good reason for this), while what the Western Mail wants is anything to do with Welsh player Simon Jones. When Jones is injured and doesn’t make the tour, its newsdesk will only consider running an interview with captain Andrew Flintoff if he says how much the team is missing Simon Jones, It’s an unpromising start and things don’t substantially improve. Much of the humour comes from Jupp mingling with the press pack, hoping desperately that he will not exposed as a fraud or – much worse – be outed as Archie. Cricketing legends such as David Gower and Ian Botham come across rather well – perhaps surprisingly so – being actively friendly and welcoming towards the new boy. The Test Match Special team, and in particular legendary producer Peter Baxter, are likewise helpful and encouraging when they really don’t have to be. By contrast English journalist Mr Who The Fuck’s That?, as his name suggests, is none of these things. By the time England win at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium to square the series, Jupp has decided that journalism is not for him and is cheering the players on from the stands. A harsh analysis of all this would be that it’s pretty thin stuff: arguments over taxi fares, unscheduled and lengthy visits to the lavatory, the eccentricities of hotel billing in India, poverty, elephants and so on and so on. However, Jupp is amiable and funny with the odd lovely turn of phrase: on one flight TMS summariser Vic Marks waking up is ‘like a kindly tortoise beginning to stir after months of hibernation’, while journeyman England player Shaun Udal, having an unlikely international swansong at the age of 37, is ‘occasionally beaming round the plane like a benign old uncle on an unexpected day trip’.

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