7 Reasons Windowgate Is Baffling
If you’re at all interested in cricket or windows, then you can’t have failed to have noticed that, in a tale that came to be known as Windowgate, a window in the England dressing room got broken by Matt Prior at Lord’s yesterday. This story then snowballed taking many unexpected twists and turns along the way. I was listening as events unfolded. Here are seven reasons that the story is baffling.
1. The Explanation. The ECB’s initial explanation for the incident was that “the glass had been broken after Prior’s gloves ricocheted off a kit bag and knocked the bats, resting on the window pane.” This seemed almost entirely plausible. To the abjectly mad. People who have no concept of the relative mass and density of gloves and bats might also be misled by this statement. I, as an owner of both gloves and bats, however, am not taken in by what we can only call the Magic Glove theory. I can categorically state that in over thirty years of glove ownership, I have never seen one ricochet.
2. The Withdrawal Of The Explanation. By the time the explanation was withdrawn, my speculation had become fevered. So if it wasn’t a Magic Glove, what was it? Was a lone glove-man in the England dressing room hurling gloves at bats from a grassy knoll? Were bats being hurled from book depositories? Were books being hurled from bat depositories? Was there a shadowy third glove-hurler in the showers? Oh, they’ve withdrawn the explanation now. Wait! That makes it seem even more sinister and mysterious.
3. The Explanation For The Withdrawal Of The Explanation. On withdrawing his initial explanation, England spokesman James Avery said that he “had been working from second-hand information”. He failed to mention that not only was the information second-hand, it was also implausible gibberish. After all, second-hand information isn’t intrinsically bad. I didn’t find out about the sinking of the Titanic first-hand, and I’m fairly sure that you didn’t either. I’m confident that it happened though, and in the manner that it was told to me. To blame the implausibility and inaccuracy of a laughably shoddily fabricated account on it being second-hand is preposterous. What he should have done is blame it on an idiot, because there’s definitely one involved there somewhere.
4. The All-New Explanation. The ECB then had another go at explaining the breakage. “Prior had his bat on the ledge where the wall met the window of the dressing room. The bat handle bounced off the wall onto the glass and the glass broke.” Ah, this sounds more plausible (as most things do when there isn’t a magic glove involved). This account of events is far more believable than the first, unless, that is, you’re an exponent of that arcane and little-known (to the ECB) science, physics. Newton’s law states that “to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”, and that holds true in this case. In my over thirty years of bat-ownership, I’ve never seen one move of its own accord. I also believe that if England possessed a magic or sentient bat, Straussy would have been using it in the second innings, so we can be certain that this is a conventional cricket bat. This means that for it to have bounced off the wall, there must have been an action to which the bat was reacting. In this case, the only possible explanation is that the England dressing room at Lord’s has a twitching wall; a wall that twitched and caused the bat handle to bounce onto the glass, which then shattered. In the interests of research I googled “Lord’s twitching wall” and found no account of it, which is strange for a cricket ground with such a well-documented history. I smelled a rat.* The second explanation was no better than the first.
5. Just What Are They Trying To Keep From Us? So if neither of those explanations are to be believed, what could possibly have happened in that dressing room that would cause the ECB to go to such lengths to cover it up? Some sort of second Roswell incident? Was Glen Miller in there? The Loch Ness Monster? All the ECB seem to have achieved with their accounts of the incident is to fuel much conjecture, discussion, speculation and publicity.
6. I Have A Theory Of My Own. Some may call it fanciful, some may call it far-fetched, some may call it pie-in-the-sky, but here’s what might – in my mind – have happened. Competitive sportsman Matt Prior, who was, according to an eye-witness, “…cursing and muttering when he walked up the stairs to the pavilion”, furious at being run out, entered the dressing room and angrily hurled his bat to the floor. It then ricocheted off the floor and struck the window, causing it to break. This theory of mine is unsubstantiated, unlike the Twitching Wall theory, which has been endorsed by Andrew Strauss (though he was on the balcony at the time and didn’t see it himself), but it does have some advantages over either of the explanations offered by the ECB: It’s plausible, it’s physically possible, it doesn’t involve a magic glove, it doesn’t involve a twitching wall, and James Avery didn’t say it.
7. The Biggest Mystery Of All. If my theory were, in fact, true, no one would have batted an eyelid at that course of events. No one was badly hurt and Prior apologised and was fined. We would all have put it down to a bit natural frustration and moved on. The ECB seem to have taken what was a very unremarkable incident and have turned it into Windowgate: An epic tale of ineptitude, implausibility, bullshit and chicanery. Quite why they did this is the most baffling thing of all.