(With apologies to Rudyard Kipling)
If you can keep your wicket when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming their predicament on your slap to point;
If you can trust yourself to take on the short ball when all media doubt your ability to survive,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream of escaping with the draw—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think about the match situation—and not make thoughts about the match situation your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the partnership with an out-of-form Stuart Broad you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build up Monty with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings in the first innings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, just before the 2nd new ball is due.
And lose, and start again at your 2nd innings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To take ball after ball down the legside from Steven Finn.
And so hold on to them when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on! Even if he doesn’t deserve a wicket with such dross”
If you can talk with commentators and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Giles Clarke—nor lose the common touch,
If neither @Bailsthebadger nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of encouragement behind the stumps to a flagging team in the field,
Yours is the England vice-captaincy and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Matt Prior, my son!