Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Every team needs a talisman

Every team needs a talisman, someone with the ability to raise a team, to win a game single-handed, to transcend the abilities of his colleagues and opponents.

Sefton's is Vinny Abel, a man who can bowl with either arm and once, in the same game, hit a ton and took a hat-trick as part of a five-for.

Vin has little understanding of the LBW law and does not take a guard when batting. The only part of his game in which he cannot excel is his fielding, which is as languid as his attitude to defensive batting.

Vinny has been out to the first ball of a game three times. He may be out hitting a long hop in the air to mid-off as easily as he may thrash a six that clears the boundary, Mossley Hill Drive and lands in Sefton Park.

His wobbly in-duckers are always a threat at third-team level, but can often be wildly inaccurate. Just as often, though, they are devastating. Vin has an analysis of 7 for 20-odd in at least two Sefton games.

Off the pitch Vinny enjoys Friends, Lost and Harry Potter.

Like every enigma – every Dominic Cork, Chris Lewis, Chris Cairns, Shahid Afridi – Vinny is as often frustrating, because his weight of talent often seems unfocussed.

But just as often Vinny is the best player in the league, bar none. He wins games single-handed.

In his own way, among his peers, at the far-from-heady level of third-team cricket, Vinny is a genius. He's the most valuable player at the whole club.

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