Got those New Year work blues? Already broken your resolution? Sick of being constipated after all that turkey and stuffing? Well thank the new born baby Jesus I’m not the only one! Despite many schools still being on their holidays, your cricketing lessons continue. After all I can barely stand up after consuming twice my bodyweight in food. And cider. Boy was there a lot of cider. With cricket going under the radar during the football fixtures, let’s learn what cricket lessons we’ve missed…

1) The Nativity

The Boxing Day test match is a tradition which dates back to that time Joseph needed a distraction after watching his wife give birth to a baby, despite claiming that she was a virgin. In a fit of rage he persuaded the angel (Shannon) Gabriel to throw a ball shaped donkey pat, which he promptly smacked across the inn courtyard. Being strong armed and fuming, Joseph hit the pat so hard it cleared the nearby house, causing one of the shepherds to exclaim, ‘Cor blimey what a sexy shot!’ Hard of hearing his mate, David Shepherd raised his arms to the heavens yelling, ‘Sixy shot, that don’t make sense. Let’s call it a six!’

Next Joseph gave the crook he’d used as a bat to one of the Wise Men, Alastair. Placing his gift of gold behind him, Alastair stood resolutely in front, determined this lunatic of a husband should not destroy his present to the King. Unloading his frustrations Joseph whirled arms and hurled the pat straight to the gold. Deftly the Wise Men, (for he was the wisest of all) securely blocked the attempt. Undeterred Joe believed the pat touched the leg first and screamed towards Shepherd, ‘How’s that fair?!’ But Shepherd merely smiled. Suddenly a piercing baby wail broke the silence. ‘Fucks sake,’ muttered Joseph, ‘I better go and help out. Let’s have a break and come back to this.’

Two births occurred that night in the manger. One would become the light of the world, the other a crazy man who claimed to be the Son of God.

2) Tourism

After another accurate religious lesson let’s return to some cricket. For on Boxing Day 2018, the start of the third test between Australia and India began. Whilst patrons of fresh air encouraged slumped families to move their lazy asses on a breezy walk through the park, over in Australia the main course was only just being served.

As Nana glugged her fiftieth sherry of the season, Virat Kohli slurped from the sweet waters of success. For his India side retain the Sunil Gavaskar Trophy, taking a 2-1 series lead. Losing by 137 runs after being bowled out for just 151 and 261, it’s not hard to guess which list Tim Paine’s men were on.

More sluggish than a couple’s sex life after those Brussel sprouts, the Aussie batsmen barely stirred. Pat Cummins’s 63 was the top score of both innings, whilst on the final day they lost within 4.3 overs. Ripped apart by the fearsome pace attack of Jasprit Bumrah, who steamed to career best figures of 9-86. Exploiting the hard surface, Bumrah charged in like a man who’d swapped mulled wine for mulled cocaine, as he hit the deck. He’s firmly on Santa’s ‘Nice List’ achieving the best bowling figures by any Indian bowler Down Under. Like Rudolph leading the reindeer, Bumrah is the spearhead of this attack, alleviating pressure on the batsmen. Who were able to declare twice, setting the hosts 399 for victory.

With the final test starting tonight, India have enjoyed their New Year celebrations. As for the Aussies it’s been one hell of a year to forget. 2018 has been a vomiting toilet bowl of misery for those baggy green caps. Let’s raise a glass and hope they reach greater heights in 2019 have another atrocious year and get completely spanked in the Ashes!

3) Fast Food

Who fancies a delicious, thick slab of meat, served between two soft baps and served with crunchy chips? Everyone who goes to Maccy D’s presumably.  Instead they bite into a mush of a burger, heavily laden with gherkin and the pungent taste of rotting cow carcass. One thing’s certain. You’re not lovin’ it. However swap the patty for a cricket ball, baps for bats and soggy lettuce for brightly coloured kits and you’ve got yourself a tasty competition. The Big Bash League!

With franchise names like Sydney Thunder, Perth Scorchers and the Hobart Hurricanes, this competition has taken the cricket world by storm. England star Jos Buttler is proving why he is one of the most sought after cricketers in the world, having just demolished a third half century in four innings.

Playing for Sydney Thunder, Buttler is transforming this fast food cuisine into a Michelin star restaurant. His slog shot is no mere Shane Watson brute power; it is the sprinkling touch to third man, seasoned skip down the wicket and fiery flick over the shoulder. One of the shots he played against Perth Scorchers hasn’t even been imagined by cricket coaches. A sort of dance routine where in one fluid motion, Jos pirouetted like Darcey Bussell. Before your brain had figured it out, the ball had been caught in the crowd. A visionary, a master, a true chef.

Meanwhile Joe Root averages 13 in five innings and has the look of a man who’s spent the morning crouched over the loo bowl after sampling a dodgy kebab the night before.

4) Feminism

As the centenary of women first being given the chance to vote concludes, it is fitting that a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst is unveiled in Manchester. Standing tall with an arm outstretched, pointing the way forwards for women’s rights, the city honours one of the most influential women the world has ever seen. Hundreds of Mancunians marched in imagery of the WSPU. Who resisted the bigoted minds of men and stood up for what is right. How poignant then, that one of Lancashire Thunder’s own women, Sophie Ecclestone has been named ICC Emerging Player of the Year.

Taking 35 wickets in nine ODI’s and 14 Twenty20’s, Ecclestone helped England reach the final of the World T20. Despite losing to Australia, her year has been one of success, particularly as it was her first as a full time England international. Although she made her debut in 2016, Ecclestone undertook the heart wrenching decision to finish her A Levels, before committing to cricket. As such she missed holding aloft the 2017 World Cup, but did achieve a hat trick of passes in school. Over the past year she has made up for lost time and the determination in completing school has transcended into her bowling.

Leading wicket taker against New Zealand, player of the tri series which included South Africa and now Emerging Player of the Year. Sophie Ecclestone wants to be the best spinner in the world. And you know what? She might just get there. At 19 years of age Ecclestone may not have been able to vote in 1918, but in 2018 she has been a beacon of light for women’s cricket.

5) Epiphany

Finally this week a lesson for all you cheats. For cricket welcomes back one of the Three (Not So) Wise Men, Cameron Bancroft. After serving his nine month sentence for ball tampering, Bancroft took part in a competitive cricket match, as the Perth Scorchers took on Hobart Hurricanes. With the eyes of the world upon him, would it be a triumphant return for balls-rubbed-raw Banny? A zero to hero story which Hollywood would snatch up? Tears of happiness rather than sadness?

Not on your nelly!

Cameron managed 2. A fitting return for the guy who last week claimed the only reason he cheated was to ‘fit in and feel valued.’ Because of course he’s actually 9 years old. It remains to be seen how out of speed Bancroft is on the international stage and we look forward to his other matches in the BBL. After all there’s a couple of other Wise Men whose epiphany is only three months away…

On that note here ends the first lessons learned of 2019. New Year, new resolutions, same old tripe from your favourite satirical cricket site! First homework of the year is too attempt a taste test of burgers from McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC, create the Nativity scene mentioned earlier and still be undertaking your New Year resolution by next week. I’m off to sample some cider down the pub go on a nice long walk around the park. Class dismissed!