You’ll have noticed that the site’s been a bit quiet this week and we’re afraid it’ll continue to be quiet throughout this Test.
Sorry about that, but we’re figuratively tied up at the minute. Can you talk amongst yourselves until we’re back?
Preview-wise, this Test will be another without Jimmy Anderson. We wrote about that once and we still feel exactly the same.
Jimmy’s absence is becoming a more common thing and we can only presume that he’s deliberately trying to soften the blow of his eventual departure by phasing himself out. Very thoughtful of him.
On the upside, cricket is a little kinder than life because every sad departure necessarily brings with it an uplifting new arrival.
Okay, Jimmy’s not actually departed the game quite yet, and technically Mark Wood’s not a new arrival, but you get what we’re driving at: the sadness is immediately offset, even if it can never be negated.
We all have favourite players, but the numeric nature of a first XI means there’s a certain one-in/one-out rejuvenation that distracts from unhelpful rumination on the vast, incomprehensible relentlessness of time and one’s own fleeting appearance within it.
So this week’s fresh growth is, appropriately enough, Wood. In truth, he is not so green. He was 30 this week, but 30’s pretty young these days – look at the man he’s replacing for proof of that.
We’re almost always in favour of picking Mark Wood for reasons explained in this Mark Wood v Chris Woakes piece (which seems to have done some Dorian Grey, doodle-in-the-loft type deal itself).
The short version is: whenever you have a choice between a player who is possibly electrifying and one who definitely is not electrifying, you should always pick the possibly electrifying one. This applies even if there’s a more than reasonable chance he won’t perform as well as the other guy.
There’s a lot of getting by in life, so you might as well seek out and embrace the memorable highs.