The conventional one-day game is probably the least popular format in England right now.
Seven 50 over matches have been tacked onto the end of a summer that’s already seen a Test and one-day series against the West Indies, the Twenty20 World Cup, the Ashes and what would have been a couple more Twenty20 matches if it hadn’t pissed it down. That scheduling hasn’t done the format any favours, but even without that, people are getting a bit tired of it.
People have talked about getting shot of 50 over cricket altogether and we’ve a lot of sympathy with that point of view, but we wonder whether it would be worth retaining the World Cup.
When we say that, we mean retain just the World Cup – no other one-day internationals whatsoever. It’s kind of harsh on some of the associate nations who rely on one-day cricket fixtures, but we like the idea of all the world’s best players getting together only once every four years and just about nobody having the first clue what’s likely to happen.
It would be an event and it would be worth talking about.
We’re warming to the idea that England’s one-day cricket is like life – all crushing disappointments and anticlimax.
You want to be a winner. You want to succeed. You try so very hard to become competent at something, but everything you learn seems to be immediately rendered irrelevant by some development in the wider world. You’re irresistibly drawn to mediocrity whatever you do and more people than you can count are massively disappointed in you pretty much all of the time.
You’re there in body, but essentially you’re just killing time until the umpire raises his finger.
Autumn. The cricket season ends. The plants die. Every sunny day is tainted with the thought that it might be the last. On the field there’s the Pro40 and one-day internationals and all there is to look forward to is the Champions’ Trophy. If a cricket tournament could be a November Sunday morning in Redcar, then the Champions’ Trophy would be just that.
We’ll be honest. We’re struggling a bit right now. But don’t worry, we’ve got a ludicrously buoyant post coming up tomorrow that’s all sunshine and positivity. It’s about England’s one-day cricket as a metaphor for life.
Brett Lee is nearly 33, but he’s tried to obscure this fact by getting a spiky haircut.
Unfortunately, spikiness is only considered a youthful hair quality among the middle-aged, so Lee’s made an error here. It’s the kind of hair that looks like it should have a Global Hypercolour T-shirt underneath it – and in fact, in that one-day kit, it pretty much does.
That said, he’s still bowling at 95mph, so he’s not quite ready to embrace caravan holidays just yet.
As an England supporter, it’s tempting to think that you’d take the Ashes over a one-day series win.
No other nationality would think like this. Most people would at least entertain the idea that their side could win both and might even be persuaded into thinking that they were in fact more likely to win a one-day series after beating the same opponents in Test cricket.
But we’re not like that. We’re English. We’ve won the Ashes and now we have to pay for it. Life is about enduring almost perpetual misery to justify fleeting moments of happiness.
It’s about three months of rain making one day of sunshine so much more cheering. It’s about growing up eating corned beef sandwiches so that you can go abroad when you’re older and be impressed by every meal. It’s about having Optimus Prime for a day, accidentally breaking his arm off and then having a rubbish, one-armed Optimus Prime for three years, at which point his other arm breaks off and you’ve got a no-armed Optimus Prime from then on.
In short, it’s mostly about being unhappy.
We know that many of you spent your childhoods betting how many quail eggs your servants could find in half an hour, but we went to a normal school.
We played football pretty much every day for five years and never once got injured. When England’s cricketers get a football out, it’s like a battle scene from Braveheart. Even Andrew Strauss admits it, saying ‘it gets the blood flowing’.
Joe Denly‘s injured this time, but Matt Prior and James Anderson have also fallen foul of this seemingly life-threatening sport within the last year or so.
Maybe this is what happens when you pit competitive individuals against each other in a sport they can’t play. We move that the ECB force the players to wear huge foam costumes when they warm-up from now on, like from It’s A Knockout.
A week or so ago, Adil Rashid hit two hundreds in successive innings. In Yorkshire’s two innings in the field adjacent to those hundreds, Rashid took five wickets in each of them.
England will naturally be looking for a seam bowling all-rounder to replace Andrew Flintoff – perhaps Rashid’s team mate, Tim Bresnan – but is that the best ploy?
With Stuart Broad offering fast-medium seam and James Anderson offering fast-medium swing, England really need a vicious fast bowler to take wickets on the world’s flat Test pitches. Is there one?
Not really and even if there were, he wouldn’t be able to bat. So why not pick a leg-spinner? If Broad, Anderson and Graham Onions can’t get wickets on a given day, a fourth bowler of similar ilk isn’t going to help one bit.
Leg-spinners can get wickets on flat pitches. Adil Rashid is a leg-spinner. And he can bat.
This is the vibe we’re getting at the minute, but prior to the Ashes, Paul Collingwood averaged 58, 43, 61 and 68 in successive series. Paul Collingwood never gets much slack.
It strikes us that if you say someone’s got no talent often enough, it colours people’s views in itself. Yes, Collingwood had a poor Ashes overall. However, where some players are deemed out of form after a poor series, Collingwood’s dismissed with a short, sharp: ‘He’s crap’.
We’ve got the winners of the cricket T-shirt competition we ran about a month ago.
We ran the competition late and we’re announcing the winners late. That’s pretty much the way things work round here.
At the weekend we were 45 minutes late meeting our friend and it was only a one hour journey. Fortunately, he managed to be two hours late, despite setting off at the same time as me. ‘”I had to stop for a sleep,” he said.
Anyway, here are the winners.
- Thomas Bastin
- Sam Blackledge
- Simon Daffen
- Murray Nixon
- Sue Nolan
You should receive your T-shirts by Friday.
We’re reviewing Ashes Cricket 2009 at the moment. It’s actually pretty good, although we’re going to play it a bit more to check there’s no massive flaws that ruin the illusion.
There was a slower ball bouncer in the original Brian Lara Cricket which would clean bowl cowering batsmen every time. We couldn’t play the game after we found that. We had to leave the house and speak to people instead. It was horrendous.
So far, we’ve found that batting’s harder that bowling – but it always is in these games. Our World XI side got past 50 in our first innings though, which is way better than you usually manage with a new cricket game. Nevertheless, we do make one recommendation if you’re going to get the PC version of Ashes Cricket 2009: grow some additional fingers.
Between directing your shot; choosing to play off the front foot or back foot; and then playing either a defensive shot, attacking shot or lofted shot, you’re having to make use of at least one unreliable finger. Apparently you can move around the crease as well, but our batsmen have been more Inzamam-ul-Haq than Jonty Rhodes thus far.
Buy it from Amazon now if you can’t wait for our proper review.