Monday, February 27, 2006
Staring down the barrell
I don't like cricket, I love it - not only the lyrics of the legendary Dreadlock Holiday, but also an accurate description of my feeling towards the most English of all sports.
Having followed England since I was a boy, the last two years or so have been by far the best and most entertaining. Demolitions jobs of the West Indies (twice), New Zealand and Bangladesh have been matched by solid professional, and at times inspirational, displays against South Africa and, of course, Australia.
This followed by a tepid and disappointing tour of Pakistan and now the hardest place to tour India. At full strength England would be hard pushed now, with all and sundry injured, the propsects look bleaker than those of Sunderland trying to stay in the Premiership. OK, not that bad; but on the road.
Captain and vice-captain Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick both gone (wuth a knee injury and personal problems respectively), shining light Pietersen and back-up Paul Collingwood both need a good long Radox for their bad backs. And then Simon Jones, the man we desperately need...badly, coming back from injury the poor man has been laid low with a case of Gandhi's revenge and now an ankle injury.
Things do not look encouraging, especially with captain-elect Freddie Flintoff and by default star batsman, Andrew Strauss bang out of form. Just not cricket, is it?
Looks like Freddie's going to have to do it all for us. I'm waiting for the moment when Geraint Jones steps on stray cricket ball the morning of the first day and so Freddie decides to put on the gloves as well as captain, bat, bowl and act as talisman. He'll even keep to his own bowling, I'm sure.
Sting 'em bees.
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