Another Test match English summer finds itself up against it before a shiny red ball has been bowled.
Hundred-ball cricket is being talked about as the groovy thing that will attract that untapped new “casual” audience of mums and kids. Why, even Sky Sports has got a new trailer with a feisty Anya Shrubsole kind of gal chewing gum. David Beckham would approve. How about calling it “Cricket’s Got Talent”?
Meanwhile, Victor Meldrew, otherwise known as ECB chairman Colin Graves, thinks that the yoof aren’t much interested in cricket anyway. Why invest five days in a Test match when the youngsters can play a game called “Fortnite” that moves along at 10-times the speed? Poor Andrew Strauss has had to down tools to look after his stricken wife while his replacement is that Flower of sunshine, Andy, or the “mood hoover” as KP calls him.
At least all of the above is far more newsworthy than Harry Kane proclaiming that we can win the World Cup. That’s a bit like Joe Root insisting that he can win the Ashes. When can we ever believe anything that comes out of the mouth of a sporting England skipper? Root and Kane sounds like a nightmare dentistry practice anyway.
To be fair, Yorkshire’s finest is busy laying down the law to the last chancers in the Test squad and it seems to be taking some early effect. Mark Stoneman has visibly lost weight and hopefully gained an appetite for runs, given that he is an opener. Root himself will take on more responsibility to push on and score big , moving up to No3. Jonny Bairstow has also taken it upon himself to push his case for promotion to five, rather than push his face into the opposition in student bars.
The new England era of responsibility is here and now. Jos Buttler is the eye-catching pick for those that like some post-top order T20 smashing within the confines of Test cricket. New national selector Ed Smith was doing rather well to justify all these right moves as cool…. Until he went all Peter Moores and started talking about analytics and Buttler’s Test average, insisting that the selection was based on just “a feeling”. Oh, Ed…
Then there’s Dominic Bess, a feisty and self-confident off-spinner they say. Dom has some swagger about him for a 20-year-old who has only played 16 first-class matches. He even proved that he isn’t wooden by making a joke about IKEA, where he was shopping with his girlfriend when receiving the call to arms. The Somerset boy-man says he is “very competitive” and an “attacking off-spinner”. Root added: “He’s full of confidence, he has a lot of energy and he’s very switched on.” I thought npower didn’t sponsor English cricket anymore?
Root will hope that he can tackle the mercurial challenge of Pakistan at Lord’s without having to resort to any more banal compliments. England badly need results not another energy bill statement.