Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Occupying Time At Brisbane Airport...With A Few Friends

Michael Vaughan was never one to hang around at the top order for England and he certainly got the ball rolling in the cricket spotting stakes today as I awaited my early morning flight from Brisbane to Adelaide.

He was milling about with a few journalists from the papers back home, as untroubled by the news of the delayed flight as he was by a Brett Lee bouncer.

Next thing I know there's an announcement over the tannoy:

"Could the following four passengers please report to the Qantas check-in desk: Kevin Smith, Brian Jones, Simon Bradley and Kevin Pietersen. Thank you."

Funny I thought, that last passenger has the same name as the cross-nationality thrasher the Aussies love to hate. Bit of a coincidence.

It was finally time to board the late-running flight and as I struggled to cram my rucksack into the overhead locker, what with all the England embossed paraphernalia, it finally dawned on me: hang on I'm on the same flight as the England cricket team.

I turned round to see the imposing figure of Stuart Broad towering over me, thankfully without the new cherry in his hands. The beanpole was stooping to prevent a hole in the ceiling and more technical problems for Quantus. Then, as I took my position at the non-striker's end, ex-captain and current batting guru, Graham Gooch, was standing patiently as another mere mortal tried to force his bag into the little remaining space above his seat.

I say, 'patiently'...a, "Are we going to be here all day?," was clearly audible from his formely tasched topped lip. Funny, hanging around all day never seemed to bother him when he was a player.

As Graeme Swann, Ian Bell, Monty and assorted backroom staff took their seats around me I was left bemoaning my luck as a middle-aged woman from Camp America took the vacant seat next to me rather than an England legend in waiting. Still, she gave me a free lift to my hostel on landing in Adelaide.

But where's the skip? Obviously they've split the party in two. Insurance reasons probably. Wandered off the plane to the magic carousel and found myself stride for stride with Strauss and Collingwood. Almost like I was escorting them to the middle. Gave Strauss a meek, "Good luck on Friday, Straussy," which he met with a level, "Cheers buddy," as he led the boys to the exit. In domestic, aviation travel as on the fair pitches Down Under.

After nearly being bowled over by Steve Finn on entering baggage reclaim, the England players were conspicuous by their absence. Don't want to risk a torn bicep picking up all that cricket gear after all. But hang on isn't that Nasser Hussain in classic holiday garb? Standing next to Bumble, Beefy, Michael Holding and Athers? Looks like the Sky team were on the same flight. Both and the legendary West Indian were engaged in an animated conversation about the latest runners and riders in the local horsing stakes. I could swear Sir Ian's thoughts were wandering to which bottle of red (s) would best compliment his evening, slap-up meal.

Thankfully the carousel is above pandering to A-list cricketing celebrities so I picked up by backpack and left them all to it.

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