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Wedding plays second fiddle to cricket

Danny Briggs

COLOMBO – A kindly message to the future mother-in-law of Danny Briggs, proud husband to be and excited England spinner: when he remarked in Colombo that the World Twenty20 was a priority compared to his wedding, the words probably just got tangled up and it did not quite come out as it should have.

After all, he had just taken three Pakistan wickets in England’s final warm-up in Colombo and can now anticipate playing a central role in their defence of the trophy. If he did not seem entirely abreast of the detailed arrangements for his wedding, it was probably just a touch of the sun.

He might be flighty as spinners go, but he does not seem at all flighty off the field. He is a softly-spoken, polite lad who still lives on the Isle of Wight and travels over for Hampshire matches on the ferry.

If Briggs’ future wife, Linsey, was naïve about the itinerant life of a professional cricketer, she was naïve no longer when their wedding, scheduled for the end of September, was postponed until October so England’s up-and-coming young spinner could take part in World Twenty20.

Actually, even the rearranged wedding date is far from perfect as it clashes with Hampshire’s qualification matches in the Champions League, meaning that Briggs will only fly out if Hampshire reach the final stages. For cricket obsessives, it is a bit of a shame that it was not postponed for a second time, but priorities can be tricky things.

Briggs himself, the first of Isle of Wight cricketer to represent England, shrugs it off manfully. “It is so busy with cricket, you never know where you are going to be,” he said. “I do miss the Champions League qualification because of the wedding, but I changed wedding plans once for World Twenty20, which was obviously the priority. I will fly out if Hampshire qualify.”

It is to be hoped that the Champions League does not cause the honeymoon too much disruption.

England’s World Twenty20 campaign begins in earnest at the R Premadasa Stadium on Friday and instead of his wife-to-be whispering sweet nothings in his ear under candlelight, he is likely to be faced by the wanton aggression of Afghanistan’s batsmen under floodlights. He cannot be sure of selection, though, so early in the tournament on a Premadasa surface that will favour the pace bowlers more than spinners before the pitches tire, but his time will come.

The wedding is in Taunton, but his thoughts after he had seen off Pakistan were with cricket and he was not noticeably eager to discuss family arrangements with a bunch of journalists. “My wife to be and her family are organising everything,” he said. “It’s their choice, I just go along with it.”

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