We’ve a growing problem with what might be called the ‘dissection of the nation’s cricket system’ piece. More specifically, we’ve a problem with the increasing readiness to publish such articles.
The state of the cricketing nation piece is when a writer draws far-reaching conclusions about the way the sport is run, based on the results of the national team. Typically, a prolonged run of poor results will lead to a dissection of both the domestic game and the elite system. The writer might also try and look at deeper cultural issues which might somehow be affecting what is being seen at the top level.
It’s a tough article to write, because there are so many factors and so many variables. It works best when you’re damn certain that something is very wrong. It works less well when your team just happens to have lost its last match and hasn’t actually been performing woefully for a prolonged period.
The reason why such pieces currently seem a bit flimsy is because a few months ago, they were being written about Australia and now they’re being written about England. If fortunes can turn that quickly, it probably isn’t down to deep-rooted, fundamental issues with the way the sport is being run in one country or the other.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t things which could be done better. It’s more recognition that the performances of 22 players aren’t the most accurate barometer when readings are taken over a short period. The state of the cricketing nation piece has become a knee-jerk response to a defeat. It’s like the thinking man’s “sack ’em all” diatribe.
All of which is a vague and tangentially-related preamble to a link to our latest Cricinfo piece. It’s about the England team being old and past its best, even though they’re younger than the Aussies. It draws on some of the issues highlighted in state of the cricketing nation pieces, but it isn’t really about that. It’s mostly about little more than the fact that people often form opinions about cricketers based on their age without ever actually checking how old they are. That really irritates us for some reason.