England are in the West Indies for three one-day internationals (ODIs) and five T20s. The main coverage is on TNT Sports, which is what BT Sports has apparently become. There are however medium-length highlights packages on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel.
Fifteen minutes is a really weird duration for highlights. Like the sport itself, cricket viewing tends towards three standard lengths.
- Live action
- 30-60-minute highlights show
- Web snippets (individual moments or a helter skelter five-minute package)
This means that you probably don’t really know how to approach a 15-minute viewing. Do you squeeze it in between other things? Do you make a drink and settle in? What is this?
It might be worth trying to get to grips with the format over the next few weeks though.
This maybe isn’t saying a lot, but as bilateral white ball tours go, this is quite an interesting one from an England perspective.
The T20s are obviously very relevant prep for the T20 World Cup in June, much of which takes place in the West Indies.
The ODIs are arguably even more interesting though, what with the whole post-World Cup clear-out and everything.
In with the new
As a child, we remember feeling really quite profoundly discomfited by the episode of the Dukes of Hazzard when they swapped out lead characters Bo and Luke and replaced them with Coy and Vance. Or maybe it was the one where Bo and Luke returned and Coy and Vance buggered off again. It doesn’t really matter which.
We didn’t really care about the characters because we didn’t really know what the show was about beyond that the car had a great horn sound and sometimes did a jump over a creek or somesuch.
We did understand on a fundamental level that replacing the two main guys was a weird move though; one that took us out of the fictional world of Hazzard County. You can’t just have exactly the same story and setup in exactly the same setting with two substitutes taking on pretty much exactly the same roles as your previous stars. The fact that everything else is identical in that situation only serves to highlight whatever differences there are, no matter how small. The overall effect is just odd and unnerving.
This may very well be the first time anyone’s told you this, but sport isn’t exactly like the Dukes of Hazzard. Lead characters can and will be replaced. International cricket is really a whole load of ever-changing ensemble casts being repeatedly pitted against one another.
There are moments though when changes feel a little more jarring. A week or so ago Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan were opening in a World Cup and now here we are with Phil Salt and Will Jacks and there’s a pretty strong case for saying that this is how things are now.
There’s a useful freshness to Salt and Jacks. The new men selflessly flirt with irresponsibilty in a way more established players often move away from. After them, Joe Root and Ben Stokes have made way for two more jaunty openers who are always worth watching: Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett.
These players feel less like stand-ins than they have in the past.
Digging into the (fairly predictable) story behind the appearances of Coy and Vance, it turns out they were brought onto The Dukes of Hazzard purely to paper over absences resulting from a contract dispute. Audiences didn’t really take to them though. They concluded that even if it still bore the same name, and all the basic mechanics were unchanged, what was being broadcast wasn’t really the same show any more.
You can draw your own parallels on that one. And after you’ve done that, sign up for our email.