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Imponderable Question

Matt Prior got pissed off/dropped his gloves/sang in too high a note and broke a window.  Big whoop.

Of course, as it is a scandal similar in importance to the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in 1972, we have to call it “Windowgate”.

But what if Matt Prior had lost his rag 30 seconds earlier and smashed the players gate?  What would we call it then?

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T20 Trouble

If ever you wanted to see the difference in how clubs feel about T20, yesterday was it.

I park right next to The County Ground at Chelmsford.  I have never seen so much pandemonium as there was yesterday.  Cars were parked all over the road and great swarms of people were marching down the narrow streets surrounding the ground to get in. 

As I got to the car park to go home, one guy asked me if I was going so he could get a space in the crammed area.  Barely two steps later, another guy asks me the same question.  “I think that bloke is getting it”, says I.  “‘E only just fackin’ got ‘ere!”, says my new friend, who marches over to remonstrate with Man 1.  All this over parking for a game of T20.

Maybe all the “killing the goose the laid the golden egg” stuff is scaremongering?

I then get in and flick the TV on to catch a bit of the game at Old Trafford.  If I had gone to this game, I would have significantly increased the audience.  There are literally a handful of people there, and it makes Day 5 of the Cardiff Test look like carnival time in Rio.  Yes, it is on TV and the weather is not great, but it seems clear that Lancashire fans could not give a shiny one.

Therein lies the problem  – how do you keep everyone happy without just decreasing the number of counties?

If you were in charge of English cricket, how would you promote T20 cricket?

Generic broken stumps, bright colours and a prominant player padded up and playing a shadow slog over cow?

Or, you could have done what the ECB have gone for – monster grasshoppers trapped by branded lighters.  Baffling.

There are two positive reactions to bullies.

In 2005, England went up to the big bully and pulled his trousers down.  For a brief moment, everyone loved them.  The problem is, this just makes the bully angry.  They pull their trousers up, do some push-ups, then pound you into the ground.

In the past two years, England have taken the option.  They have gone away and pumped iron, swallowed a bunch of pills and looked in the mirror every night cursing what they see.  They knocked the bully spark-out, then kicked him while he was down.

Now you are left with a load of muscles.  Do you relax and become fat and lovable or keep pumping and become the bully?

Going from being 20/3 one morning to merrily blasting the ball around Lord’s at 8 an over the next suggests which way England want to go.

2011 sentence – England beat Sri Lanka by an innings, having bowled them out on the last afternoon for 82.  Already down to  two seamers, their remaining seamers bowled with pace and venom, their spinner took 7 wickets in the match and there were two hundreds and double ton from the top 5.

Pre 2009 sentence – England beat Sri Lanka by an innings, having bowled them out on the last afternoon for 82.  Already down to  two seamers, their remaining seamers bowled with pace and venom, THEIR SPINNER TOOK 7 WICKETS IN THE MATCH and there were two hundreds and double ton from the top 5.

England have always had players capable of scoring runs and seamers who could run through a side every now and then, even in the late 90’s.  

But Graeme Swann has changed our perception of what is expected of an England spinner ever so slightly.

Everyone gives up on England winning, and laughs at their attempts to do so.  England win.

What do you do now?

The running theme seems to be to point out that Australia would not have done what England did.  “Sure, England bowled out Sri Lanka in less than a session, but would Steve Waugh have let Ian Bell get his hundred?  Not a chance!”

No, he probably wouldn’t have.  Australia would have won two overs earlier, and Steve Waugh would be lauded for his steely captaincy which undoubtedly won his side the unwinnable.

Only Andrew Strauss let his player get a hundred AND won the game.

Why is Steve Waugh’s way better?

Down, down….

When you are 40/5 chasing 350, it’s OK.  You were probably going to lose anyway.

When you are 40/5 chasing 110, it’s horrible.  You should not be losing.  At 40/5, you should probably still be OK.  But you know you won’t. 

 A quiet washes over the whole team, fuelled by the feeling that ice-cold water is suddenly coursing through your veins.  All of a sudden, you forget how the hell it was you scored that hundred a couple of weeks ago.  The gap between each fielder seems too small to fit the ball through. 

After finding the fielder for 3 overs, there is only one option – go over the top.  And that is where it all falls down.  Try to defend, and you are caught behind.  Try to attack, and the ball goes straight up in the air. 

You are a deep-sea diver, and someone has cut your air line. 

As an England fan, yesterday was a wonderful day, possibly the day when England went from being “decent” to “bloody hell….”.  I enjoyed it immensely.  But as a cricket fan and player, every time I saw that Sri Lankan dressing room something in my stomach lurched a little. 

We have all been there.