Having speculated on what might be sitting on the desk of Trevor Bayliss, what might one find on that of his opposite number – aside from a ashtray of course?
Bowl neither short nor wide, making him play with a vertical bat at all times. Expect a game of cricketing chicken outside off stump, but do not blink first – let him chase one on a fifth stump line rather than bowl too straight. Have short leg remind him that this kind of scoring rate got him sacked from the ODI side. Occasionally ask the team’s highest available soprano to sing a phrase from Pie Jesu as a requiem for his captaincy “seeing as it’ll be finished off at The Oval”.
Full on fifth maybe even sixth stump with three slips and two gullies. Have the keeper hiss “Hit me” repeatedly like the Danny DeVito character in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Shout, “Just like Dizzy told us he would!” when he gets out.
Aim at the off bail or fuller with a 7-2 field early on when he doesn’t like to play shots. Use two gullies to catch the edge if he tries to release pressure with a square drive but still has his weight on the back foot. Shout, “Here comes the pound store KP” when he comes out to bat.
Full, but not too full on a fourth stump line, to make him come forward and slightly reach for the ball. Use Ryan Harris immediately he comes to the crease as the nearest thing to a Glenn McGrath, whose method would have been ideal for Root. Blank him completely at all times on and off the field – eventually he’ll probably try to strike up a conversation with the umpire just so he can hear his own voice.
Bowl wide to get him used to leaving the ball, then deliver one on off stump to test if he knows where it is. Ask him if he’s enjoying all the public interest in the 2005 series.
Bowl full and straight with a long off, cover sweeper, third man and long leg to avoid him scoring the boundaries he craves. The big inside edge on to the pads is always in play, so use a silly point but not too close. Make sure every member of the team knows at least three playground insults from this list and have them whisper them to him at every change of ends – that should be plenty enough to wind him up into a locker punching rage.
Bowl a tight line and above all else, do not let him free his arms and start timing the ball on the offside. Ask him why he can’t spell either his first or second name. Tell him to admit it – he’d rather be an Australian wouldn’t he?
Just short of a length on a fifth stump line with three slips and a gully to catch the one he chases. Ask him why a specialist batsman is in at Number Eight and whether he finds the adjustment from Division Two to Tests tricky. When he bowls, have the non-striker shout, “Kerrigan Time!” and after the first four, tell him that Broady doesn’t look very happy. After his second over, shout “Broady – get loose. You’re on again this end”.
Bounce him and york him with nothing in between. When he’s bowling, ask him what 78mph is in kmh as you want to know exactly what the speedgun is showing. Say that you enjoyed the adverts he did with Hardy’s Wines and had he thought of doing that stuff full-time?
Cover the off stump and watch for the one that straightens from wide on the crease. Tell him that he sounds like Steve Harmison, but he’s slower and shorter.
Leave as much as possible of his new ball spell – which could be as many as five balls per over – and seek to attack his second and third spells. Tell him that you agree that the sledging has gone too far, so when he comes out to bat, ask him to get ready for a nasty bruise on the arm.