When the England captain ain’t making runs, the drill goes like this: journalist asks one of his team-mates about his loss of form; team-mate describes him as ‘world class’ and says there’s nothing to worry about.
It was Joe Root earlier in the week and now it’s Jimmy Anderson’s turn.
“Morgs is a world-class player and has been for however many games he’s played. He’s been great for us and we’re just hopeful he can get some form because we’ve seen how destructive he can be when he’s in form.”
While Root may not actually have used the term ‘world class’, that was the gist and it’s certainly a phrase you’ll hear a lot from England players – often about struggling team-mates, but also in reference to far-from-struggling opponents.
But what is world class? What does it mean? If it means suitable for the World XI who are pencilled in for a several millennia long tour of GU Piscium b or wherever then the term is being thrown about a little too freely. If it simply means ‘among the best in the world’ then it seems something of a back-handed compliment. Surely any international cricketer is by definition among the best cricketers in the world?
Don’t suppose it matters really. Australia v England tomorrow. We’re actually – genuinely – looking forward to it. Come on the Englands. Show your (world) class.