Do you know how far it is from Australia to England? Miles. Absolutely bloody miles. Do you know how long it takes to complete the trip? Ages. Absolutely bloody ages.
Cameron Boyce flew from Australia to England for this match. He bowled one over. It went for 19. He didn’t bat. He’s going home now.
We become enraged if we walk down to Tesco Express and they don’t have any sourdough. That’s maybe a half-hour round trip and we only embark on it if we’re also going to a second shop for something else. This is even worse than that because the experience has not merely been unproductive, it’s been counterproductive. It would be like arriving home at the end of your failed sourdough mission only to discover you’d trod in dog shit and also lost a fiver.
England won the match, largely off the batting of Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali, both of whom made 70-odd. Morgan’s had a month off and reckons it’s been the perfect preparation, leaving him fresh and keen to get stuck in. In contrast, Moeen Ali’s been slaving away, but doesn’t seem to care. Before the match he said: “If there was training every day, it would be the best. If it was games every day, it would be the best. I love it.”
So do cricketers need more rest or regular cricket? Maybe, just maybe, it depends on the individual.
There’s a possibility Moeen might open in the UAE in October. We hope he doesn’t. When Alastair Cook played one-day cricket, he lost the ability to leave the ball with conviction. If Moeen opens in a Test match, he might lose the ability to scythe at wide balls with absolutely no thought for the consequences.
Scything at wide balls with absolutely no thought for the consequences is very much what Moeen’s batting is all about. Commentators always marvel at ‘checked drives’ and ‘little more than a forward defensive but it’s gone for four’. Giving it a right big yahoo with the bat is going out of fashion and Moeen’s willow describes a bigger arc than anyone’s. Long may it continue.