Spit and polish with a hint of minty freshness

The cat is out of the bag. Tresco has got the weight off his shoulders and confessed. His main role in the successful Ashes campaign of 2005 was ball preparation. After exhaustive studies, he found that saliva produced while chewing Murray Mints was the best application for swing – it produces a lovely glaze.

We all knew they were doing something to the ball. It was obvious. Bracks new exactly what it was but he was told to button it and apologise for making such outrageous allegations! Reverse swing is all about ball preparation. The Pakistanis were masters of it not because of their incredible skill but because they knew what to do to the ball. Why would it be that in a Test you have six pace bowlers, all with quite different actions and three from one team reverse swing it and the three on the other team don’t?

You would all know that applying any foreign substance to, or tampering with the ball in any way is illegal. Picking at the seam with a thumbnail, gouging the surface with concealed bottle caps or applying brill cream (ref. Keith Miller) are all against the rules. Marion Jones had to give back all her medals because she was a cheat. Michael Johnson gave back his relay gold medal because he didn’t want it anymore – not because he was a cheat but because the rest of his team were cheats. Will England be giving the Ashes back? Oh, Australia’s already taken care of that. Will the lads be giving back their MBEs? Not likely.

Anyway, Trescothick has explained a few things. For a start, it has explained why Marcus had mental health issues (stress induced). Carrying all that guilt around takes a toll. And not only that. He was once again given the job of ball preparation on the doomed 2006-07 Ashes defence. Imagine the stress of arriving in Australia and finding that you can’t buy Murray Mints. What a dilemma. And that explains why England couldn’t swing the ball and lost 5-0.

Casting a wider net on that tour, it also explains a certain incident involving the drunken England skipper and a small water craft. It has believed until now that these were simply alcohol fuelled high jinks. How could we doubt Freddie Flintoff? Flintoff’s drunken maritime endeavour was actually a mission of great nobility. He was trying save the day by sneaking across to New Zealand where he believed that Murray Mints were readily available. For some reason, New Zealand stocks a whole lot of British product (such as Toffee Pops) that you just can’t get in Australia. Freddie had been told down at the pub that New Zealand was “just across the ditch”. Well, how big could a ditch be? He reckoned he could row there and back in a night and not be missed.

And the big winner is Murray Mints. Following Trescothick’s revelation, Murray Mints have just signed an exclusive deal for Coles and 7-Eleven to distribute their wonderful product – guaranteed to make six stitchers seam for up to 50 overs. It’s just in time for the Australian summer. All over Australia, from park cricket, right through grade cricket and Sheffield Shield, first slip will be chewing those magical little white pills. The very best exponent has a chance to go on the 2009 Ashes tour in an advisory capacity as the “Murray Mint Mentor”. The mind boggles.

Man. Talking about magic little pills, I think I’ve had quite enough of them myself.

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