Here’s a comparison. The Rugby World Cup finished last Saturday. England played in the final. Their next international fixture will be on the second of February.
England’s final match in the Cricket World Cup was on the 21st of April, against the West Indies. Their next international fixture, a Test match, also against the West Indies, was on the 17th of May. If by some miracle they’d made the final of the World Cup, it was played on the 28th April.
Okay, so maybe every cricket website you read is repeatedly making this point and maybe every newspaper too, but the fact is we’re all right about it. International cricket is no longer special. The word ‘everyday’ can be synonymous with ‘mundane’ – the everyday grind; your everyday clothes. Mundane, commonplace, routine, everyday. Cricket is played every day.
Cricketers ‘retire’ from one-day internationals or Tests in their twenties; players are rested from matches or even tournaments; and international fast bowlers cut their pace to increase their longevity.
The latter’s been happening in county cricket for years. It’s something county cricket’s always been criticised for. ‘Too many matches mean that there are no fast bowlers on the county circuit, so young batsmen aren’t prepared for Test cricket’.
Well now its relentless fixture list is perfect preparation.