The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - PIERS MORGAN -

Tonight, I was in a north Lon­don hostelry with a group in­clud­ing for­mer Eng­land cricket cap­tain Michael Vaughan and tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter Tim Love­joy when a tall, thick- set man ap­proached me and an­nounced: ‘I don’t like you.’

‘I see,’ I replied. ‘Would you care to elab­o­rate on that state­ment?’

He paused for thought, then shook his head.

‘ No thank you, I’ve just al­ways wanted to tell you that I don’t like you.’

‘Well, that’s very kind of you. Much ap­pre­ci­ated.’ ‘No prob­lem, have a good evening.’ And he marched off for another pint. Ashes-win­ning fast- bowl­ing hero Si­mon Jones, In­dian all- rounder Yu­vraj Singh – who hit Stu­art Broad for six sixes in one over – and exEng­land and Sur­rey star Adam Hol­lioake, who is now a pro­fes­sional cage fighter in Aus­tralia.

Jones – who like Brett Lee is a lovely guy when he’s not pep­per­ing peo­ple with bounc­ers – bowled so fast that he nearly broke my arm with a ball that flew off one bats­man’s flail­ing bat, ca­reered off my wicket-keeper brother’s gloves and smashed into me stand­ing at first slip 25 yards away from the wicket.

He also displ ayed his leg­endary Ashes ’05 ag­gres­sion when one of the cocky vil­lage play­ers smashed him over his head for four and held his bat tri­umphantly in the air a lit­tle too long. ‘Take your f****** bat down you p****,’ Jones snarled. ‘No­body’s tak­ing your f****** pic­ture!’ ( The bats­man con­cerned later de­clared this one of the great­est moments of his life.)

But de­spite Jones’s 85mph thun­der­bolts and world- class sledg­ing, Hol­lioake’s su­perb hit­ting, and Yu­vraj’s spin bowl­ing, we still lost. To add to my ig­nominy, above my usual space in the dress­ing room the vil­lage boys had stuck a load of pho­tos of me and Kevin Pi­etersen with ‘I love KP’ love­heart ban­ners. Iron­i­cally, my mis­sion to beat the vil­lagers seems as des­tined for as much suc­cess as my mis­sion to have Pi­etersen re­in­stated into the Eng­land team. A text ar­rived. ‘Hi Piers, I hope you’re do­ing great. This is my new num­ber, Ch­eryl x’ ‘Which Ch­eryl?’ I replied. ‘ The one and only!’ came the re­sponse.

‘That nar­rows it down to 3,’ I said. ‘Are you the one that can’t sing?’ ‘Ex­actly! Got it in one!’ ‘ How’s your French com­ing along?’

‘Very well thank you, how’s your English? ‘Bet­ter than your French...’ ‘I am cur­rently in the pres­ence of His Royal High­ness.’

‘Give His Majesty a tweak on the cheeks from me.’

I’ll leave it you to work out which Ch­eryl it was, and which ‘royal’ she was with... but be mind­ful that The X Fac­tor au­di­tions hit Lon­don this week.

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