You’d think someone would have realised, wouldn’t you?
England have been preparing for this Cricket World Cup 2019 ever since Bangladesh humiliated us by sending us home early in 2015.
We’ve prepared pretty well, all things considered. After all, we are currently top of the world rankings. We have the most feared batting lineup in world cricket. We can even afford to bring in a 90mph speedster at the last minute to boost our already more than ample bowling attack.
We smashed Pakistan, winners of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, in our final series before this great event is due to get underway.
It’s almost fair to say no more preparation was needed.
So why, oh why, were we playing Australia in a “practice” match in Southampton on Saturday?
OK, had we beaten them you could argue that any chance to stick the boot in to our biggest cricketing rivals should not be turned down.
But what we have ended up doing is handing the advantage to the Aussies.
Let’s give Steve Smith the chance to get used to some of the terrible banter he is likely to get for the first few matches of the tournament.
Better still, let’s help him get used to English conditions by serving him up a ton.
Better than even that, let’s let the Australians actually beat us so their mentality of “we’re better than England no matter how good they think they are” actually has some validation.
If that wasn’t enough, let’s get a few injuries along the way as well.
In training the day before, skipper Eoin Morgan managed to get a small finger fracture meaning he sat out Saturday’s farce.
Mark Wood is never too far away from breaking down injured and, guess what? Wood pulled up lame when bowling meaning that David Willey’s broken heart might get a chance to mend itself sooner than he would have expected.
Jofra Archer was supposed to have been able to put his feet up on Saturday and instead found himself on for Wood and chasing down the ball heading to the boundary. Archer slipped, looked like he’d hurt himself and was also taken off the field as another “precaution”.
Joe Root was delighted as he hadn’t expected to get kitted up and found himself getting an unwanted game. Better still, England coach Paul Collingwood, well into his fifth decade, found himself needed in the field wearing someone else’s shirt.
It all started to feel somewhat village.
England were ready. They didn’t need this game. They didn’t even really need the one against Afghanistan on Monday (which will have probably been played by the time you read this).
They could only really lose from Saturday and they managed to do that with aplomb.
Never, ever forget. No matter what the ODI rankings say there is still the small matter of going out and winning eleven (I think) games of cricket to win the tournament. And I can certainly think of a few other countries more used to doing that than us.