When England lost to Bangladesh at the World Cup, the British media stuck with the word ‘even’ – as in, ‘England are so bad, they even lost to Bangladesh’.
That line was a good fit for the narrative of the time, so it would have been counterproductive to investigate, let alone advertise, the merits of the winning team.
Since then, things have changed. The England one-day team has earned itself a heap of goodwill from the press and this means that there’s currently no real motive for talking down the opposition.
It’s nothing personal
Foreign readers, this is the truth of the matter. It’s not about you. The English are an increasingly insular people and so their apparent condescension is often just a vehicle for self-criticism. Arrogant, dismissive words about your cricket team are just a setup so that the England team can be made to look even worse.
This has been the attitude for so long that much of the media has been obliged to make a jarring leap of tone for the series just gone. “No, listen – Bangladesh are actually pretty good at home,” has been the recurrent message. “Who knew?”
They’ve presented that question as rhetorical because the answer “well apparently not you” doesn’t reflect well on them.
A lot of people did know, however, which has made their coverage seem a little odd.
All of which is just a bizarre excuse for our own slothfulness
You’ll notice that in contrast to this, we’ve hardly covered the series at all. This is not because we’re not interested – far from it. It’s just that our usual themes for one-day series – that there are too many matches and the outcome rarely seems to mean much – really didn’t apply.
Three matches was the perfect number, the teams were well-matched and the series as a whole was meaningful in that it has changed perceptions of both teams to some degree.
Quite simply, we had nothing to say.