Kids! Like cricket and think you've got what it takes to make it big? Have you considered becoming a county cricketer? With these handy tips, this is your chance to make it as a pro with the likes of Northamptonshire, Glamorgan, or exotic Derbyshire!
If you are going to be a county cricketer, there are some important things that you need to know:
1) Bant is everything
A player will not be judged by his peers on the basis of his skill, ability or match performances, instead he will be viewed solely on the quality of his bant. Bant is an all-encompassing skill, which is important both in the dressing room and on Twitter. Even if a player is averaging over 100 for the season, if he has no bant, he will not be accepted into the pack.
2) Nando's is the food of champions
For county cricketers, there is only one place to eat - Nando's. The chicken emporium will become your home for the summer months on the road, and peri-peri will become the blood that runs through your veins. It's been rumoured that certain players mix the extra hot sauce into their on-field drinks, but this is to be confirmed.
3) A nickname is essential
Once you've shown that you have bant and can handle a whole chicken to yourself, aspiring county cricketers will need to get a nickname to prove their worth to the team. Some players like to be inventive with theirs, but for English players, simply adding a 'y' to the end of the surname should suffice.
4) Be willing to travel
Much of a county cricketer's life is spent on the road, trekking around to fulfil the fixtures of the ECB's latest harebrained competition, so any aspiring county player will need to have a working car and a very good knowledge of the various motorways and B roads of the UK. A map of some sort is essential equipment for any county player - even more so than a bat or pads. There's no point in honing your forward press or slower ball if you're going to spend match day sitting in a lay-by outside Thurrock wondering if it was a left or a right at the aerodrome.
5) Get down the range
If there's one thing that cricketers love doing, it's playing golf. Days off will be few and far between, but any downtime will be spent on the course, and if you can't play very well, you're nothing. That's why it's important that any available moment is spent finetuning the backswing, practising sand saves, or draining mid range putts. Only then can you be considered a proper county cricketer.
The journey from excitable youngster to gnarled county pro is a long one, but with these tips anybody can make it big in the county game. Remember kids, it's a long tough road, but if you apply yourself, you too could become the next Graeme Wagg, David Masters or Luke Sutton. Good luck!