Will Sri Lanka’s tour that is technically already well underway ever really get underway?

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We’ve half-followed some underwhelming international series that we don’t especially care about before now, so we like to think we know a thing or two about the genre. Sri Lanka’s current tour is shaping up to be a fine example.

Exclusively white ball tours can often be shoulder-shruggers. It’s not so much lack of enthusiasm for the formats themselves so much as that they tend to be sandwiched between far more obviously interesting engagements.

In England, white ball tours generally plug a gap that doesn’t especially need plugging between the first international cricket of the season and the big Test series of the summer. Or sometimes they lead into a big tournament and basically amount to warm-up matches.

England v Sri Lanka comes ahead of a five-Test series against India, a World T20 and an Ashes. These sorts of series can at least normally claim to be the biggest cricket matches taking place in the country at the time – but the T20 leg was basically decided while a World Test Championship final was taking place.

Throw in the fact that the games are taking place on damp evenings in front of crowds stunted by Covid restrictions and it’s really hard to convince yourself that they’re a Big Deal.

But maybe things will pick up now the World Test Championship is receding from view.

But then the next match is a dead rubber. And then we have three matches in a format where the next World Cup is over two years away.

So… um…

Speaking of series that may be passing you by…

The Perth Test episode of the Ridiculous Ashes is now up. You can find it (along with the first two episodes) here. Have a listen – critics are calling it, “a cricket podcast”.

About halfway through this episode, we realised that almost all of our nominations of ridiculous events – from both England and Australia – arose during one 20-minute spell. It was quite the passage of play, to the extent that Tim Bresnan catching Shane Watson for six didn’t even make the cut.

15 comments

  1. One could argue that for England any series apart from the Ashes are insignificant and don’t really matter. And that any match or series are warm up to try out new players and to get a good squad together ready for the Ashes even though we don’t really ever see newbies come into the team, and when they do they are out again for being racist and sexist.

  2. I miss County warm up matches though I’m not saying they’d have converted the SL series to a must-watch event. But if you see that so-and-so has shellacked a century against Worcs or such-and-such skittled the Essex middle-order, it does introduce some characters to the cast of the summer and make you wonder how much hay they’ll make against England. (Plus there may be benefits of acclimatisation to raising the quality of the matches, of course, though I’m focusing on the contribution of County matches to the narrative flow of a tour.)

  3. Did anyone else see Eoin Morgan’s claim that Chris ’38 Test matches’ Woakes was unable to bowl 4 overs in the second T20 because he’d bowled 3 overs the day before? Or did I misinterpret that?

      1. Didn’t see/hear that particular comment, but I thought I heard Eoin Morgan talking about pace bowlers bowling three or four overs “off the reel” in the context of T20 cricket tactics, where it is usually the done thing to change bowlers frequently, because batsmen get used to individual bowlers.

        I don’t think Eoin Morgan would have been suggesting that a bowler might not have the legs for more than seven overs in two days.

      2. It was at the toss:

        “I would have looked to do the same, we like chasing, if we play well it suits us. One forced change, Jos picked up a calf strain yesterday, and Chris Woakes can’t play two days in a row, so Dave Willey takes the new ball”.

        (from the ESPNCricinfo live commentary)

  4. Pavel Florin is from Cluj-Napoca. Pavel Florin.

    Pavel Florin is 42. Pavel Florin.

    Pavel Florin just took two T20I wickets for Romania against Serbia. Pavel Florin.

    Pavel Florin had no chance to bat for his country today as Romania’s openers knocked off their target of 116 in 5.4 overs, at a run rate of 20.47. But it doesn’t really matter because he’s more of a bowler anyway. Pavel Florin.

    3-0-22-2 with an economy of 7.33 rpo, nine dot balls, no wides or no-balls, and hit for two 4s and a 6. Pavel Florin.

    Sympathies to Jovan Reb and Nemanja Zimonjic, both caught off the bowling of Pavel Florin. Pavel Florin.

      1. I appreciate the Romania national side playing him rather than trying to push their way up the ICC rankings with an exclusively ex-pat team, as they probably could have done – the eligibility rules are more flexible these days. Nuanced article about ICC eligibility rules, which may also be of interest to this site’s rugby league contingent: https://emergingcricket.com/opinion/of-eligibility-and-expats/

  5. Can’t imagine Sri Lanka would be wanting to drop any of the ODIs given their already precarious World Cup qualification position.

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