Everyone’s happy. England are playing a really exciting brand of ODI cricket. There’s thrill a minunte stroke play, a new approach, a wonderful fresh positive attitude. It’s New England. Wow. Get it. New England….
So feel free to add your comments below as the 4th ODI takes place at Trent Bridge. I’ll be stuck in a dreary training course, licking my wounds from a horrible day, both personally and professionally, and feeling bitter that people will be enjoying the crash bang wallop of cricket.
At about 12:30 in the latest Switch Hit, George Dobell said something along the lines of “after two years of cynicism about the England team and the ECB, the public are falling back in love with English cricket again, and that’s the most important thing”.
I can’t get angry with George. I really can’t. He’s the only one who could possibly have said that and got away with it. But it got me thinking. Stand by for an even greater load of old nonsense. I’m gonna tell you a story…..
Let’s go down memory lane, and have a bit of catharsis along the way. A good few years ago I went out with a woman who, it is fair to say, I was batting over my average with. I hadn’t a lot of self-esteem, and this brought confidence and a verve to my life. I walked with a swagger, I felt good about myself. It was great. Then I found out I was being used. Used as an emotional crutch, and things turned. Suddenly I found that I was miserable with her, and even more miserable without. Then I was dumped.
Oh, don’t be a tart, I can hear you say, but stick with it. In cricket parlance, the early 2000s were that woman. We had a tremendous team, flawed but exciting, and it was arguably more than we deserved. We knew it couldn’t last, but effing hell, wasn’t it great? Beating South Africa away, seven test wins in a summer and then the Ashes…. the Ashes in 2005. But then things were never the same, and the following few years I followed the team, even away to Oz, but this wasn’t a new era. It was good, but it was also making me miserable as our team floundered.
Anyway, after the first dumping, we got back together. It was nice, for a while, but we knew it wouldn’t last, there were too many fractures, hey, even a lack of trust (ho ho ho).
That period is England 2010-12. Great at times, so much so that you forget the big losses like Pakistan or South Africa. But there were some good times, very good times. But again, you knew a let-down was coming, and some of the rough periods….
Then we split up, permanently. Oh, I didn’t give up, but it was not going to happen. She’d toy with my affection a bit (India 2012….) but then slammed me down with an embarrassing put down (Ashes 2013/14). Then came the waste period, as I had bitter recriminations and couldn’t, as the cricket parlance said, move on….
A few years later, when I first was going out with my lovely wife, I was at work one day when I heard that voice on the phone. “Hello Dmitri, how are you…” I now found myself in a dilemma. Should I seek out the familiar seductive voice on the phone, or move on permanently and ignore it. “I’m down the pub, near your work. Would you like to meet me?”
That, my dear friends, is the current England ODI and test team. Pulling on your heartstrings. You know they haven’t really changed, and that it’s better with the life you live, but you aren’t a silly lovesick puppy any more, in need of a relationship where the other party effects care, but actually doesn’t really need you. But, but, but…….That ex is the ECB. Writ large. Flashing their seductive voice with new eras, and flashy play. But they don’t really care about you. You are there when they want something, and nothing else.
So, George, I’m not going to stop being cynical about the ECB at all. Not at those ticket prices. Not until I hear a mea culpa from them over outside cricket that doesn’t pin it on the bloke they chose to employ. Not with their attitude to the supporters. Not even if England’s players play an exciting, wonderful brand of cricket. I’m not coming back to the fold on the back of the cricketing equivalent of one bloody phone call.
Here endeth the oddest post in Being Outside Cricket. On a day when I was told I didn’t get that promotion, after I’d been told that a client of our’s had passed away at the weekend, it’s been a day. A really bad one.
Lord knows what will happen tomorrow. I only know that it really can’t be worse than today.
Send the men in the white coats. I’m prepared to be laughed at. Because after this day, laughter’s about all I have!
Good night, good people. Keep smiling and ignore that bloody phone call….