Despite occasional accusations of journalism, we do not consider ourself part of the British press. We’d like to take this opportunity to distance ourself from two specific themes that are currently appearing in the cricket pages.
Indian players don’t care about Test cricket
This is a fairly regular subtext to articles and Vic Marks finishes his latest piece for the Guardian rather more explicitly:
“The future of Test cricket needs all of India to be enthralled by the longest form of the game. A good start would be some evidence that the Indian players themselves are excited by the five-day format.”
This seems a cheap shot – and an unnecessary one at that.
If that sentiment arises from India’s abbreviated preparation before the series, the players don’t get a say in that. If it’s because of their demeanour in the first two Tests, they were being soundly beaten. It’s hard to be all ‘Test cricket! Hell yeah!’ when Tim Bresnan’s flapping you to the boundary again and again.
Marks (who we’re sorry to pick on, but his piece was the last we read this morning) also points to India’s fairly insipid efforts in their last match against Northampton. One, that match was very far removed from Test cricket, even if it did constitute preparation. Two, this tour isn’t going well. That’s probably the main reason why Indian players appear less than enamoured with Test cricket right now.
They’re two-nil down, they’ve the weight of a sixth of their world on their shoulders and half their senior players are injured. In short, they’re having a shit time. Never mind Test cricket, they’re probably struggling to enjoy YouTube footage of fat people falling over.
They have Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman in their party. They care about Test cricket. They’re just struggling with life.
England will become the top-ranked Test side
This is another media theme we take issue with. There’s a small gap between ‘being reasonably confident based on the evidence’ and ‘let’s see how many chickens we’ve got!’ A few people are hopping over it.
If you ask which team we would bet on in the third Test, we’d say England, so in a sense we expect England to become the top-ranked Test side. At the same time, one of the defining qualities of sport is that you never know what’s going to happen.
We enjoy not knowing. It’s a fundamental part of the experience. Assumptions irritate us because by their nature they don’t acknowledge this fact. Let’s just watch and find out. Live in the moment. It’s England v India – enjoy it.