Well done India.

Four and a half days of to-ing and fro-ing, and tense, delicately poised cricket, and then an hour of buckling on the fifth day after lunch. Excruciating listening.  ’Just what keeps you coming back tomorrow’ as Blowers said. Hmmm. What a shame for England.

Interesting that Geoff Boycott thinks it would be a sign of strength for Alistair Cook to resign rather than a sign of weakness, and thinks Cook is looking at it from the opposite (wrong) angle. Downton and the selectors will be having some long talks before Southampton. Vaughan obviously wants Cook to move on too. Looking forward to my trip down to the Rose Bowl next week. But Gordon Bennett, what a mess.

 

Jimmy’s tears, Shane’s hand, and impatient KP.

The series against Sri Lanka was so tight. I was glued to TMS as we tried to save the second test – which we so nearly did. Don’t blame Anderson for crying one bit. He batted far longer to save it than he and Monty had to in Cardiff a few years ago to save an Ashes test. Should Moeen Ali have sheltered him from the final six balls? Maybe. But Ali got us a long way to that position in the first place. The test reminds me of a book I read at school called ‘Playing it Right’. Still love that book, and when I was a teacher, I wanted pupils to take to it, but maybe it was just a generational thing.

Went to the MCC v ROW match last Saturday. So frustrating for everyone concerned that Brett Lee accidentally bowled a full bunger and Warne’s hand was broken, meaning we didn’t get to see him bowl. It would probably have been a bit closer if he had had the chance. Still, it was a fun spirited day to celebrate the bicentenary. Long live Lords.

I was driving to an appointment this morning when I looked across and saw Kevin Pietersen perched up high in his black jeep. His missus was next to him, probably giving him a hard time for beeping at the cars in front for not reacting to the Green Light quickly enough. Maybe he was in a foul mood because he is not up at Trent Bridge.

With the Indian’s score at 259-4 at the end of the first day’s play, it could go either way tomorrow, although I fear the track is so flat there is only one way it will go.

 

 

Drama. What a Nail Biter.

The recent test match against the Sri Lankan team at Lord’s goes some way to confirm that all good things really do come to those who wait. I only picked up scraps of info throughout the first first four days. That is one of the truly lovely things about test match cricket. When you can’t be listening to TMS all day, or watching Sky, or better still actually at the ground, there is this thread which enhances your life for five days : Cricket. It’s like dipping into a favourite Soap Opera which you can just pick up like a deal in the sales. Those that give a monkeys feel part of a very special tribe.

We started poorly, then Root, who seems to love batting for England at Lord’s more than Jeanette Winterson likes lettuces, dug in. Well done Yorkie.

Fast forward, on a flat batting wicket to day 5 tea time. And slowly, ever so slowly, like a patient well behaved child unwrapping the Christmas present she has always dreamed of, we’re in with a chance.

Stand your ground Rangana Herath! Amazing the facts that technology throws up. C’est la vie say the old folks – goes to show you never can tell.

And how about the inside edge onto the pads to deny England the win? Sri Lanka that is one of your nine lives. Looking forward to Headingly already.

Sunday at The Oval

Surrey are a sorry state right now. Floundering around the bottom of the second division, and in need of KP and Graeme Smith to pull them out of the myre. For that matter anyone. Saffers – anyone. Linley looked alright. I mean his action was pretty smooth to my eye. According to my SE11 cricket mafioso contact he’s just a ‘journeyman’. Hey – what’s wrong with Journeymen. “Thaaat’s when she said she was pretendin’” I mean it’s one of Eric’s dopest albums for f’s sake. Digression.

Boy was it cold at the Oval. This country is in need of some dramatic Geo-Engineering. Or maybe I am. Engineer me somewhere hot with cricket. Simples as those measly Meerkats say.

Tavare, Great Chris’ Nephew put Gloucestershire on the map with a handy 59, but all out for 168. I ask you?

The sadness is, Surrey finished Day 1 some 50 runs short of that with only 4 wickets in hand. Truth be told, it was a bowlers day. Which is always pleasing to see, but I left the Oval with a slightly hollow feeling.

Despite my Mafioso’s best intentions, of sneaking me into the Pavillion and presenting me with a free Tea time cup of tea (The Carrot Cake was extra but worth it), I just felt sad that no one supports County Cricket anymore.

There were barely 100 people in the stands. Empty is not the word. It was emptier than a pint at 5.03pm on a Friday on Upper Thames Street.

What to do?

Lambeth needs to get cricket into the umpteen Council Estates around the Oval. Sure the kids could go into the ground for a quid. But you need mentors and adults leading the charge. Let’s be frank, if Surrey signed up Chris Gayle, the problem would be solved. Do it Surrey.

 

 

 

Like a rusty chain needing oiling.

And so the season has begun. My Twitter feed full of invitations to ‘..come and see Finn at Lords’; ‘…Trott to take a further break’; ‘Cook and Carberry back on form’. Last time I heard Cook and Carberry were on form seems like a very long time ago. Bridge. Water. Under. I feel like I have gone through three Divorce cases and the death of a favourite cat in the meantime. Being a devoted supporter of the England XI is no easy task.

Whilst limbs are being stretched on April sun blessed cricket pitches countrywide from Horsham to Durham, there is the small matter of the IPL getting underway in India. I watched a few minutes on ITV4 yesterday. The match was not close at all, with Kohli being dropped left, right and centre, to provide the Rajasthan Royals with a convincing victory.

I have not given up total hope of being able to organise I small match myself this summer, it will be no mean feat. More anon. Happy Easter!

Thumbs down for Root and no knees-up for Broad

Going into the second of the three T20s in the Windies without Root and Broad will be tough. Hopefully Bell can provide some magic though. We are taking on New Zealand on Sat 22 March in the T20 World Cup, and need to be on the money for the likes of Brendon McCullum.

Fingers crossed Sat 5th July is a Pearler, as taking my Dad to Lords for the MCC v ROW one dayer.

PA

No, I’m not looking for one, and neither does it stand for Personal Assistant. I saw on Twitter (where else) that Lords were looking for a new Public Announcer. The current chap, I failed to see his piece to ITV News Camera on Sunday afternoon, is stepping down apparently. But, anyone who has spent a day there in  the Summer can hear it immediately. “Curtly Ambrose from the Pavilion End”.

So I clicked through on the pages on my smartphone (sometimes I feel like the guy in Shawkshank Redemption who gets let out of jail late in life only to find ‘..the world has got itself in one big hurry’, such is the ease and speed of technology and communication now) and I found myself actually reading a transcript which should be loaded up to SoundCloud. It was quite fun, the trick of course is to nail the pronunciation of HalfaDozenMarsBars as Twelfth Man would say. I really got into it, until I hit the line, “Play is suspended for the day”. Hey – don’t shoot the messenger. No room for tomfoolery!

There I was, sat in the armchair on Sunday afternoon, having nodded off repeatedly to the dulcet tones of Cozier and Richards playing the PA at MCC just for fifteen minutes. Will you be applying?

 

Delhi DareDevils bag our man

£900k for KP. A snip. The eyeballs will be nowhere but on Kev himself during this IPL. What an utter shame and a shambles that he will not play for England again. Hopefully this is a lesson to Captains future, the ECB and anyone else involved. Manage efficiently and effectively at all times.