If you’re wondering what has been happening to Reverse Sweep since he shut down – and strangely the blog figures show more interest now than at any time in the recent past (perhaps that’s the rubberneckers sneaking in to look at his decaying corpse) – you might be surprised to discover that has taken up an offer to become a professional mystic because of his already rampant success in his astrological predictions for the coming Ashes, compiled with the help of his secretive colleague Mystic Mags.
Seven of ten predictions he made for the Wisden Cricketer’s pocket-sized Ashes supplement, Battle for the Ashes, made the final cut as you will see if you turn to page 58 of that organ, but curiously two of the three that failed to fit the space have already come to pass. So is there some strange secret conspiracy at the heart of the world’s best-selling cricket magazine and should those mentioned in the remaining dispatches be afraid. Or be very afraid. Especially if you’re a Scorpio!
Since, due to rabid sub-editing, you now won’t see them anywhere else, here are the original ten supplied to the Wisden Cricketer at the beginning of June, which, should you be doubting Thomases, I’m sure you can confirm with the magazine if necessary.
It just leaves RS with the question: has Reverse Sweep, in the true rebellious spirit of a man who unleashed such an abomination upon the cricket coaching manual, done a deal with dark forces?
Here are the predictions as filed; those items in bold are those mysteriously omitted by the magazine, yet with Vaughan retiring and Brett Lee injured, have already happened. Conspiracy theory, or just spooky?
1 The lingering effects of the second of four Mercury retrogrades (planet travelling backwards) implies communication problems at Cardiff. Be prepared for an unusual proliferation of run-outs.
2 He swings it in, he swings it out. But can he swing it for England? Leo Sun James Anderson “can go beyond himself until July 26”. It could signal his first Test ten-for – and at Lord’s
3 Andrew Flintoff’s injury woes continue at St John’s Wood as his chart is “hit by an accident-prone conjunction between Uranus and Mars”. Expect the pedalos in nearby Regent’s Park to get some action
4 Kevin Pietersen is at his most crotchety throughout 2009, blunting his creativity. Those looking for new strokes to add to his personal batting lexicon of “flamingo” and “switch shot” will be disappointed
5 Saturn in his career house is pressurising Ricky Ponting’s three planets in fiery Sagittarius, “exposing his limitations as a leader”. Not for the first time, he will be rescued by his team.
6 Aussie plans to target captain Andrew Strauss will send the Piscean diving for the sanctuary of the team bath by the time we get to Birmingham, Saturn’s opposition to his Venus and Mars “signalling setbacks in August.
7 “Lack of recognition in his career” may force triple Scorpio former captain Michael Vaughan to seek greener pastures. So no comeback at No 3 – maybe a media opening seems more appealing.
8 Brett Lee is labouring under similar stars to Vaughan, but fellow pace bowling Scorpio Mitchell Johnson should find his newly-discovered inswinger coming out fine and making a mess of England’s top order.
9 Mars in his ninth house of travel gives Ravi Bopara “conflict with foreigners”, while Mercury in Gemini affords him “facility with the spoken word”. He’ll win any sledging skirmishes.
10 Jupiter joins with Neptune, the planet which rules illusion – and, by association, spin bowling. Virgoan Shane Warne may yet have to tear up his Sky contract and take to the field.
THE WINNERS? Australia’s horoscope stems from the moment, on the morning of January 26, 1788, that English settlers reached shore, making Australia an Aquarian nation. Aquarius is in Jupiter, planet of good fortune, all year, while the ECB horoscope for August shows a “bad-tempered” organisation “beset with problems”. Draw your own conclusions!