A little bit about me and my little blog

This is by far not the first cricket blog to be written and it certainly won't be the last (or necessarily the best). But it's mine.

This is mainly an excuse for me to carry on about a sport that has been something of an obsession since I was knee high to a middle stump. An obsession which has never left throughout the many highs (behave, there have been some) and lows (and boy have there been many of those…..) of being and England cricket fan in the years since.

The views and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Sometimes light-hearted, occasionally irreverent, hopefully never offensive.

What gives this fool the right to have an opinion on this great sport? Where are his credentials I hear you ask? Well I think my catch at mid-on in the inter-house final at Heath Grammar school in 1981 speaks for itself…..

Saturday, 11 May 2013

England V New Zealand - home series 2013. Part 1 - the squad announcement.

To any cricketing outsider ( yes there are such deluded people out there in the world) hearing the sports news, they could be forgiven for thinking that the only international cricket that England are involved with for the foreseeable future is against the Aussies. The back-to-back Ashes series is looming ever larger in our minds, and yes, I too have been guilty of obsessing about the return of the old cricketing enemy. In the process, forgetting about about a rather important Test series that takes place before any ball is bowled in anger ( or hopefully frustration) by an Australian. I was going to use the name 'Mitchell Johnson' as the example there, but he is neither a bowler or even in the Aussie Test squad, thus in one fell swoop thwarting the Barmy Army of half a dozen rather amusing songs at Mr Johnson's expense.

Before all the Ashes malarkey starts, there is the not insubstantial Test series against New Zealand - you remember them? The side that at times gave us a pretty good kicking in the series earlier this year, with only the heroics of a certain Mr Prior single-handily saving the series with a gallant draw against almost impossible odds. After that he went on to part the Red sea and bring peace to the middle East before returning home to deliver presents to needy children around the whole of the UK. Well that's how I remember it anyway….

Joe Root giving the Kiwi's a good pre-Test kicking.

After my quite frankly laughable prediction of that last series that we would win 3-0 I'm going to resist the urge to make another fool of myself. Besides which, there are plenty other parts of my life where can make myself look like a complete fool, many will testify to that. All I will say is that my natural optimism, some may say undying delusion) combined with the quality of the England squad announced today, tells me that we will win this particular series. Though by what margin, I'm not sure. What I am sure of is the exciting calibre of young players coming through. I don't think that I'm going out on a limb by predicting that Mr Root is a potential rock solid opener that will be around knocking off all manner of records for years to come.

For those who may not recognise the players below announced for the 1st Test squad they are; 

Alistair (Captain heroic square jaw) Cook.
James (Golden god) Anderson.
Jonny (world staring champion, 2012) Bairstow.
Ian (don't call him the Sherminator) Bell.
Tim (I'm from Yorkshire tha' knows) Bresnan.
Stuart (I'm not injured today) Broad.
Nick (my Grandad was quite good) Compton.
Steven (I'm very interesting) Finn.
Matt (healer of humanity) Prior
Joe (Cub scout, 2nd level probationer) Root
Graeme (spin god) Swann
Jonathan (OCD at the crease) Trott

The squad announced today - not sure why Johnny Bairstow is doing his cat-walk pose though…

I was going to do a player by player profile for the announced squad in this blog entry as a little pre-amble for the first Test match. However a combination of an already existing familiarity with the current players, plus a an impending appointment to be round at the pub in an hour or so has curtailed that notion. Suffice to say it will be interesting to see who, from the rogues gallery above, will be the 12th man drinks and spare bats carrier. The prevailing opinion on the various forums seems to be that Mr Bresnan may be the one to miss out. My opinion, for what it's worth ( some would say, not a damn) is that it will be either one of Messrs Bairstow or Bresnan will be the one getting some extra net practice during the day. 

For me it looks a well-balanced team, as long as Swann is fully fit after having his bowling arm amputated and replaced with another Bionic version a few weeks ago. Kp is still injured after hurting his texting finger and so misses this series and that Champions Trophy nonsense. The rumours that I'll stop referring to it as that Champions Trophy nonsense if we win it have yet to be confirmed.

We (players and fans alike) need to lose some of the cocky approach that seemed to be apparent in the series in NZ and treat them with the respect they deserve. What is clear is the need for the England boys to play well and win well, a last grasp drawn series this time will not be anywhere near good enough. Apparently we play the Aussies soon.

So, Lords it is this Thursday for the return of god's own format of god's own game.