Mark Wood is playing The Entertain Yourselves Test

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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.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. All true. But I feel a bit of a scrub for being pleased that Woakes has been passed over. I really like Chris Woakes, possibly more than his objective worth warrants and I feel he deserves better of me.

  2. “So this week’s fresh growth is, appropriately enough, Wood. In truth, he is not so green. ”

    Wonderful & deliberate over-use of the metaphor.

    I too like Chris Woakes, but it is hard to over-metaphor his name in the same way as Wood.

    I suppose this is leading me down the road of nominative prejudice.

    Hands up – I am insufficiently woke…or insufficiently Woakes. Don’t be shook, it’s just my extra boomer aesthetic. Done.

    1. It wasn’t a deliberately open to interpretation headline but always happy to achieve one, even if by accident.

    2. I prefer pitches with more bounce and a bit less attrition, but I think this pitch should evolve over the five days and make for an intriguing contest.

      As I only had limited opportunities to watch today and will be in a similar boat tomorrow, I am rather hoping for a match that does its main unfolding on Saturday and Sunday – I suspect most people around here feel similarly.

  3. We’re under orders to entertain ourselves for a few days.

    I have observed that the U19 World Cup has started today in South Africa. Last time that happened, 1998, England won the tournament.

    That sent me on ramble of reflections about how I followed such matches back then, those 1998 players and the people I was hanging around with back then.

    Rob Key is in it. So is Charley the Gent and that gang:

    Enjoy or ignore as you prefer.

  4. Been up pretty much most of the night, supposedly working, but I did watch a couple of vids on my second screen whilst considering why H.E. need to remove and reinstate an entire embankment from a bridle path the runs over the M4 motorway.

    Don’t know if you all saw the Crossing the Line documentary:

    Also, there’s a book signing with Shane Warne chatting to Mike Atherton:

    Just thought I’d share, while supposedly amusing ourselves.

  5. Why am I awaiting moderation? Didn’t I get my fake name and email address correct? Some spy I’d make!

      1. Multiple links triggers moderation (4, 4)

        Gert Rigs

        (A Gert Rig is a type of chain component, one that allows a greater degree of flexibility than the normal arrangement. It was very common among Flemish hand-weavers in the late 16th Century, but it has become somewhat rare these days. I believe there is a fine example on a canal-side winch in Shrewsbury.)

    1. Indeed, it’s been a good few minutes in England for those of us who “don’t do” sleep-in Sunday mornings. Daisy’s pumped.

  6. Entertaining stuff from Mark Wood this afternoon.

    Elgar’s pole cartwheeling and then Wood himself cartwheeling to catch de Kock…

    …as it were.

      1. Indeed, twas done twice today; Sam Curren dispensed with de Kock’s pole before getting himself in this morning.

        Daisy seemed more concerned about the boy Curren’s bad hair as she was with de Kock going down in such an inglorious fashion.

      2. I’ve always found both Curren brothers to have creepy haircuts.

        Another reason to back Wood.

    1. Think there was only one time he did it as a celebration.

      He mostly just used to do it in the outfield to pass the time. It was surprisingly low key.

      Occasionally he’d ramp it up a bit and do some imaginary jousting with his then Durham team-mate Mark Stoneman. “I’d be the Duke of Ashington and he’d be the Earl of Sunnyside,” he said.

      1. Ha ha.

        Given Michael Holding’s well-known enthusiasm for the horses, I’m surprised he never backed Mark Wood to win the imaginary 3.30 at Sedgefield.

  7. Turned out to be an entertaining Test in the end! Unless you’re South African. Hopefully even the Saffer fans got something out of the lower-order boshery.

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