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…..

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

England V West Indies (First Test) - Day 1

Day 1 

Not a cover drive from Bell, but it will do.
The recent nonsense surrounding whether a certain Mr Pietersen will ever play for England again has quite frankly been a complete and utter bore. I'm one of his biggest fans and even I'm sick of it, we need to move on and we need to move on quickly. The consequences of the KP obsession has had numerous consequences, few of them are good, some are bad and some are downright damaging. For me, one of the most damaging consequences of the 'will he won't he play again?' obsession has been for us to lose sight of what the much-maligned England team still has in terms of great players.

I sincerely believe that in a few years time when Ian Bell retires we will look back on this time and regret the total fixation with KP and suddenly realise that we have lost a player of the greatest stature. I'm not saying that Bell isn't regarded as a fine player, because he obviously is, but I sincerely don't believe that we fully appreciate the calibre of player that we have in the guy. My fear is that we'll realise it far to late. The events of the first day encapsulate this issue perfectly.

I have to admit that I missed the toss and the wicket as I was otherwise engaged in washing my Yorkshire Terrier - and no, that's not a euphemism. My dog Jasper had earlier that morning decided that rolling on a week old pile of rotting seaweed on his walk along the beach would be simply excellent. Unfortunately the smell that accompanied us back to the house (which I had cunningly timed to take place just before the toss) wasn't excellent. In fact it was bloody horrible. So when I finally was able to sit myself down in front of the TV and saw Messrs Cook and Trott about to kick things off I immediately we assumed that we had won the toss and elected to bat. What a fool I was (no change there, I hear you say) because the West Indies decided to employ a cunning plan by using their depleted attack (just four front line bowlers) to bowl first on what all experts (sic) regarded as something of a flat track. Hmmm, sneaky buggers.

It seemed that they were indeed onto something when, after watching the first couple of balls, I returned after hand drying my pooch (again, not a euphemism) to see that Jonathan Trott's return from the Test wilderness had lasted the grand total of three balls. Bugger, we were 1 for 1. Things quickly went from bad to worse when Capt courageous Cook had once again met his nemesis, the dastardly evil Dr. Faulty Footwork and promptly headed back to the pavilion. It's quite clear to see that the two openers are clearly out of nick......speaking of which.....Things quickly went from bad to worse when Gary Ballance decided that his record of being dismissed on 10 runs needed further cementing by doing the same again. This now means that he has been dismissed on 10 in four of his last five innings - who says we haven't found a constant number 3????

Joe Root - he's from Yorkshire, you know....
By the time we were 34-3 I happened to take a few minutes from watching the unfolding events to have a look on Twitter etc to gauge public opinion. Well what a bloody mistake that was! If the level of vitriol and anger was anything to go by, the general consensus was that whole  of the current team and coaching staff were to be publicly hung, drawn and quartered. It was the only way to teach them a lesson. 

If that wasn't enough then the clamour I saw online for KP was deafening in the extreme. The howls were not only for him to be reinstated but also to given the captaincy, bat in all 11 positions and open the bowling . The general social network acknowledgement of the early events was that yet another Test match disaster meant that it was now the end of civilisation as we knew it and we were all going to die. Once again we were forgetting about Mr Bell.

It may seem strange to say that a man who has now scored 22 Test centuries is still often talked about by pundits in terms of what he can't do and the ways he often gets out, rather than about what he can do the runs he scores. In some ways Ian Bell has never quite received the level of love and respect that other players (sit down KP, this has nothing to do with you) have gained. Yes I know that he can occasionally be infuriating in getting out when it seems a huge score is on the cards. However mark my words, it won't be until he is no longer part to the test team that we fully realise, and celebrate, what a genius of a player we have....... and I haven't even mentioned his cover drive - be still my beating heart!

By the time Lunch came, our brave England boys had crawled and stumbled to 49-3 until the imperious Bell, aided my the ever-increasing Mr reliable Joe Root decided to give the West Indies a bit of the old run around as they went on to build an impressive partnership of 171. By the time Ben Stokes had come in and seemingly remembered how to use that funny looking bat thing to score a quick firing 71 the Windies were clearly tiring and control of the first day was ours.

The first hour of day 2 will be crucial. If we can continue to dominate then the Test should be ours to lose. 

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