He’s such a pleasure to watch that if I were a mad billionaire who hosted parties that people came to, just because there was a lot of booze and freaky sh*t going on, I’d hire Ian Bell, strip him naked, oil him up and make him practise his cover drive for hours on end in a giant birdcage. Test cricket, though, isn’t that simple. So says Jarrod Kimber who, whether in bed with Mitchell Johnson (not literally), in the press box trying to lick Richie Benaud’s trousers or getting up close and personal with the Npower girls, he goes where other cricket chroniclers fear to tread. Having left behind a film-making career in Melbourne and with marriage to his Pom girlfriend imminent, Kimber, the Australian author of the cult cricketwithballs.com blog, finds himself in England for the 2009 series. From his couch, in the stands and with occasional press passes from the Wisden Cricketer he produces a totally unique take on events on and off the field: when he’s not rubbing shoulders with cricket’s glitterati, he’s probably rubbing Steve Waugh up the wrong way. But amid the bawdy humour and ribald ranting is the kind of penetrating insight and love of the game that by the end of the summer had journalists of a more conventional nature tapping cricketwithballs into their search engines!
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