So, what’s this? Cricket? Ah, yes. The other love of my life and, fortunately for me if certainly not you, a subject I can also point the finger of fun at readily.
You see, I take cricket even less seriously than I do that other game I spend winters obsessing over. Which is great, considering we have just launched this slightly tongue-in-cheek look at England’s most popular summer pursuit.
What will you get from me over the next few months? Not a lot of county stuff, I admit. Since leaving Blighty for the European Capital of Cricket (Spain), I have followed Surrey’s antics even less closely. In return, however, I do have a lot to say about that national team of ours – which is where we shall start today.
Moeen Ali, safe in the loving arms of the IPL, has critically appraised his winter contribution to the England setup at concluded, correctly, that he would have dropped himself even sooner than they did. Ali had managed go 50 caps (when did we stop calling them matches?) without being left out but his form in Australia and New Zealand was so poor that even Joe Root had to admit he’d lost confidence in about the only guy in England who can bat and spin the ball (a bit). The problem for Moeen, as we all saw, was that he had forgotten how to bat and he certainly wasn’t getting any wickets which is not a lot of good if you are in the side as an all-rounder. We really don’t want to have to start pretending that any of the quicks are capable of wearing that label and Ben Stokes was still persona non grata. He’ll be back though, will Moeen – be it as an opener, 3, 4 5, 6, 7 or 8 at some point in the future, I am sure.
Alastair Cook had a few things to say yesterday, time that personally I feel could have been spent trying to find that world-class opening batsman that must still be in there somewhere. Firstly, England’s record run scorer has no intention of retiring from Test cricket, though a bad summer could well mean that decision is taken away from him. Cook claimed that at “no point has he woken up and not wanted to bat,” which begs the question why he kept getting out then if he loves it so much. Secondly, the former Test skipper suggested that England had ‘suspected’ Australia of ball tampering in Perth due to the fact the ball was reversing in wet conditions. Well, I guess it is easier to start clinging to that than the fact that we got absolutely battered down there. I think the more worrying thing is that it looks like Australia didn’t have to cheat to beat us, they just beat us because they could.
I won’t bring football into this very often, I promise, but the ECB have confirmed that West Ham United’s Athletics Stadium will not be used for any World Cup matches next summer. Christ alive, it is barely a football stadium let alone a cricket arena. Mind you, it is unlike the ECB to get the basics right. Oh, wait. It was to do with ODI cricket so it was top of the agenda.