Blair bats for England in 10 Downing Street!

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Tony Blair got into the pre-Ashes fever in London but was forced to admit that if England's cricketers play like him, then arch-rivals Australia have nothing to fear.

The British Prime Minister - often under fire for his use of spin - took to the crease at an improvised 10-minute net session with youngsters in the corridors of his Downing Street home and office in central London.

His grip on the blue plastic bat would have had coaches wincing as he blocked under-arm donkey drops to avoid damaging valuable paintings and ornaments as part of an event to highlight sport's role in society.

He later told an audience of stars from the sporting, political and media world: "We were playing a little bit of cricket downstairs outside the Cabinet Room, and I'm afraid I gave a quite shamefully bad performance.

"Let's hope that it's not being emulated 3,000 miles away from here."

He added sheepishly: "It was only when I started playing with these kids I realised they were really, really seriously good."

England, who won back the Ashes last year after a 16-year drought, prepare to defend their title starting at Brisbane on Thursday morning.


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