You go away for a few days and the unthinkable happens. England at least appear to have settled on a pair of one-day openers.
It’s like we’ve been to a faraway planet and have returned to a parallel earth. We had to switch Radio 1 on for a minute just to check that most people are still cow-brained.
It’s hard to express just how unlikely this is. There are rules about this sort of thing. England’s Test team is sacred. It is kept in a locked cupboard and only dad is allowed to touch it in case someone gets one of the settings wrong. The one-day team is a big, brightly-coloured, plastic toy for babies that makes sounds when you faff with it.
No parts of the toy invite a press and a squeeze more than the two opening slots. The chunky plastic is oh-so-inviting and both children and adults can’t help but jab at it.
Since Alastair Cook made his Test debut, England have used seven opening batsmen in the longer format. Two of those batsmen – Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan – have retired. A further three – Jonathan Trott, Mike Carberry and Ian Bell – have played one match each at the top of the order.
In that same period of time, England have had 16 one-day openers, including Mal Loye, Ed Joyce, Joe Denly, Luke Wright and no fewer than four different wicketkeepers. You might think 16 is a lot, but think about how many ways you can combine those names.
It’s not like there’s been an ever-present. This isn’t the charts. It’s not all ‘blah-de-blah, featuring Rihanna’. Instead, it’s a near endless list of ‘blah-de-blah, featuring blah-de-blah’. To have this uncertainty replaced is profoundly unsettling.
A ‘balls’ joke.
You can tell we’re on holiday.
As most of you know, this site uses pictures taken by Sarah Ansell. While perusing her site last week, we found this beauty:
We like the way the ball is behind his head.
As a batsman, it’s never good to have the ball behind your head. This is never more true than when it has arrived there via the stumps.
A lot of people are backtracking on Michael Clarke’s captaincy. He was astonishingly unpopular when he got the job – largely on the grounds that he looks like he drinks Smirnoff Ice – but many Australians seem to have warmed to him, what with all the wins and all.
On top of that, we’ve noticed that Clarke has moved up to number three in the rankings for Test batsmen. It’s all going well for him, of late. But is he all that?
He ain’t all that.
Okay, so maybe he’s won a few Test matches as captain. But how well would he captain if his players were all made out of dough and egg white? Hmm? How well would he captain then? Bet he wouldn’t win many matches with that side, would he? Captain your way out of that one Captain Fantastic.
And yeah, he’s hit a few hundreds in recent times. But how many runs would he score if he was encased in a giant fat suit and had to use a spatula instead of a bat? Not many, we’d wager. Bat your way out of that one Commander Sensational.
In conclusion: what a giant bell end.
We’re going to the Lakes. But it’s okay, we’ve got stuff written and ready to go. You might well ask why we didn’t use some of that stuff yesterday. Well, er, it was already scheduled for next week and we, er… dunno. Shut up.
This opens up the delightful possibility that Sachin Tendulkar will hit his hundredth international hundred and we won’t react to it. Bright-eyed Sachin fans will doubtless head straight to King Cricket as soon as he reaches three figures, but they won’t be greeted by a paean to their hero; they’ll get a photo of Tino Best accompanied by a limp and faintly crude joke.
Back Wednesday. Or Thursday. Behave yourselves.