In some ways it was hard to know what year it was. Playing their first one-day international since winning the World Cup, England made 258-8 and were then conspicuously short of weirdness in the middle overs with the ball.
The difference is that this was day one of a project to build a new side for the next World Cup, rather than a limp performance in the group stages of the same competition. You’d trust Eoin Morgan to work out what is and isn’t going to work before 2023, wouldn’t you? We’d trust him to do most things. (Maybe not dentistry or anything like that, but most jobs that involve little more than clear thinking and common sense.)
Speaking about the defeat afterwards, England’s captain said: “Failure is a huge platform to try and catapult yourself forward, and learn from your mistakes.”
This is interesting, not so much for the desire to move forward (international captains have long been disappointingly averse to moving backwards, sideways, or even diagonally) but for the mode of conveyance.
When we think of catapults, we tend to think of the siege scenes in The Lord of the Rings. Sieges constitute quite a large proportion of those films. If Lord of the Rings characters aren’t gazing wanly into each other’s eyes or speaking in feared tones about some ancient mystical threat or other, they’re generally involved in a siege.
Catapults feature prominently (so do trebuchets, but let’s not get into that whole thing) and while the projectiles are usually rocks, we’ve a dim recollection of an orc climbing onto one too. We really wanted to watch this scene again to see what happened to that orc as that would give us some idea whether Morgan’s correct to see catapulting as a legitimate way to get from A to B or whether he’s massively, massively incorrect.
We can’t find the scene in question and we can’t be bothered to watch all of the films from start to finish to find it. We can however get a feel for what might have happened by looking at how the catapult normally works.
For example, according to The Lord of the Rings films this is what happens when you catapult a rock at a stone wall.
When you catapult a rock at a stone wall, the rock obliterates the stone wall.
The way Morgan talks, being catapulted involves making rapid and desirable progress. But what about the landing?
Imagine that you’re the rock. Maybe you envision yourself soaring through the air before spidermanning to the wall, ready for action.
We’re here to tell you that would not happen. We’re here to tell you that your limbs couldn’t sufficiently soften the impact, so there are no ninja moves here, there is only a sad smear of blood and gristle.
‘Catapulting yourself forward’ sounds like a great and positive thing, but it is actually a very uncontrolled way to progress. We would far rather see things go a little slower. You’ve got almost four years, Eoin.