In cricketing parlance, I feel like I am doing a bit of a Joe Root. I’m knackered after 18 months non-stop, and need a rest! I’ve come home from work this week and just not been bothered to blog. I am sorry, but it’s the way it is. I’m thoroughly bored with watching England playing Australia, I am more than a little disenchanted with the way things went after the Ashes, and, frankly, I wanted to do some other things. Catch up on some TV shows, update my music library, do a bit of reading. That sort of thing.
Yesterday (Friday) I went to Middlesex v Yorkshire. It was a remarkable game of cricket, but only if looked at outside of the context of the recovery the North Londoners effected. Yorkshire’s intensity yesterday was decidedly lacking. They had a lot of bad luck early as there was plenty of beating the bat with the new ball, but once the shine had gone off it, and the drive I suspect that plays a huge part in Yorkshire’s dominance waned with the title in the bag, Middlesex grew into the contest, then took it by the scruff of the neck. It’s really nice, and reminds you of what the game brings, when you see someone’s maiden hundred. I saw it when Toby Roland-Jones, batting at number 10, put on the afterburners in the late season sunshine, and clumped the remaining 20 or so he needed in three overs to get over the line (and then, having done so a couple of balls before the close, played perfect defence to keep it a nice “red-inker”). It was lovely to be there.
Earlier I’d watched Nick Compton make the last 60 or so of his 149. He’s a frustrating sort is Nick. He played and missed a lot, at times looked really vulnerable, but then he would unfurl a shot of the truest class, and you wondered why he’s not anywhere near the fold, it seems. It was also noticeable that he wasn’t best chuffed with the LBW decision he received, as he stayed at the crease for ages before wandering off. His was one of the three wickets to fall all day, so I suppose he might have been a bit miffed at missing out on a double hundred.
One nice side event from yesterday was meeting Chris from the blog The Declaration Game for a few minutes. Always good to speak to others who write about the game and he’s a charming, polite and really knowledgeable guy. The other nice thing was when we met he was talking to Tim Wigmore, of Cricinfo and The Second XI fame, and again, great to chat to him about what he does, how he goes about it, and his book. I said I do need to buy it, and he encouraged me to do so as he’s passionate about associate nations! My apologies to Tim – my mate was wearing an Ireland cricket shirt, not a Gaelic Football one (and he berated me all night about that mess up). Suffice to say, for someone like Tim, it ain’t all glamour in the job he does, but like all of us, he loves the game dearly. So great to meet up with them both.
So what now? Arron, of course, reminded me that today is the 10th anniversary of Kevin Pietersen’s Ashes saving knock at The Oval. Needless to say, that’s not about to be commemorated anywhere that I know of (not that I’ve looked) but it was one of the most audacious, and one would say un-English, innings you will ever see. Sure, he had some luck, but who begrudges that luck. The question that I’d love to be answered honestly by those who slag the bloke off is “do you wish that innings had never happened?”
Tomorrow there’s a deciding ODI against something that purports to represent an Australia ODI XI. We should win. Like the test team, though, major questions need to be asked about our team. Hales won’t be our opener in the UAE, as he needed an ODI launch-pad and instead he’s now being questioned, and please, please, please don’t think Roy could open. The opening bowling took wickets for the first time yesterday, but hasn’t before. Are we going to trust Willey anytime soon, as for some reason he appears to have a little bit of a knack? The batting is still not rock solid. I like the approach, I like some of the execution and we need to play with a youthful verve. But the acid test is 2017, not now.
Tim was interested in the journo poll – obviously not read the blog post in question – and I know that some of you are itching to participate. It won’t be long. The oft-promised Final Ashes Panel will be up too – I promise.
So, ten years to the day, we can all enjoy this. Can’t we? The last test hundred made live on terrestrial FTA TV.