World Cup Match 19 – England vs. West Indies

Sadly, the rain intervened once again yesterday with the India vs NZ match called off without a ball being bowled, though that only gave us more time to read Dmitri’s passionate and pugnacious piece, which gained some great traction including a retweet from Jim Maxwell. If you haven’t read it yet, then please click here, you won’t be disappointed. Of course, the piece did ruffle a few feathers within the journalistic community who seemed to take umbrage with the content, though not from the some of the excellent journalists who there are many, but from those who do not quite meet those standards. One can argue that one doth protest a little too much with regards to a couple of those comments flying around.

It does amuse me still that many in the various journalistic circles just do not get why we are we pull no punches in our assessment at times. They don’t get how 4 individuals who do not get paid (nor would we want to) are so passionate about the subject and won’t back down even when we are told to ‘pipe down’. They don’t understand how many (and not just us) can smell an ECB puff piece a mile off and that quite frankly, those who go down such a route are compromising the many excellent journalists out there, who are willing to speak their mind and are willing to criticize the ECB when they see fit. They also don’t understand how more and more individuals who are rightly concerned about where the game is going under the ECB’s watch refuse to be patronised or even worse, sneered at by those who claim to be bastions or patrons of the game. Those who are in positions of power are not willing to talk to the fans who they regard as the great unwashed, so naturally it is even more disappointing when those that do have access to them write something more akin to an ECB press release than a serious journalistic article questioning why the ECB continues with this white elephant in the face of huge opposition from the general public.

The thing is that game doesn’t belong to them, nor does it belong to the ECB or the ICC, it belongs to the fans and the players. Cricket would not exist without the fans. Without the fans there would be no TV deal that allows Tom Harrison to trouser £700k a year, nor would there be any money from gate receipts from overpriced international tickets or revenue from overpriced England merchandise. The ECB can hark that they have the best interest of cricket at heart, but when you lose the fans, then you lose the one thing you need to make cricket sustainable. Yet here we still are in the middle of a World Cup which only a select few can watch, reading and listening to various members of the ECB and those that would like a piece of it, talk about how the Hundred will be a great success and pointing to their  research as some sort of validation. Yes, the same research that they refuse to publish, when 99% of cricket fans in the UK want nothing of it. It’s laudable in a sense that they want to grow the game (if they really indeed do), but forcing a competition that was designed on the back of a fag package down the fans throats and then refusing to listen to those who have lined their pockets for years through forking out for Sky or going to matches is not just arrogant, it’s reckless. We know that there are many who agree with us and there are many who don’t, but we do this as a labour of love, no more, no less. If it means that we upset a few individuals who can’t deal with criticism, then so be it, at the end of the day it’s the opinion of 4 individuals who are passionate about the game we grew up with and love.

I could go longer, but I don’t want to flog a dead horse (unlike the ECB) and think you get the point here.

As for today’s game, the good news is that the weather seems fairly settled down in Southampton so we should see some of game, even if it isn’t the full 50 overs a side and for England this is where the competition really starts. The West Indies have looked a dangerous side for the whole tournament (and did when England last toured there) with a mixture of dangerous quick bowlers and batsmen who can take a game from you in double quick time. The West Indies were unlucky that the game against South Africa was rained off when they were in a strong position and in all reality, they should have beaten Australia when they had them on the ropes at 6 down for not many. Naturally the West Indies will hope that big Andre Russell is passed fit for the match as he is the type of player that can win a game on its own and from a purely entertainment point of view, I do hope he can play.

As for England, we have our own injury worries with Mark Wood yet again pulling up lame in training. It’s such a shame for Wood that every time he looks like he is getting going within the international arena, he picks up an injury that brings him back to square one. I hope for his sake that England don’t force him out there if he is not 100% fit. The other question will be if Moeen comes back into the side in place of one of the quick bowlers. In an ideal world, having 4 seamers and 2 front line spinners makes the attack feel naturally balanced; however with Moeen continuing to fail with the bat, then if it is seamer friendly, then I hope they go with the same set up they had against Bangladesh.

Here’s hoping for a good game and naturally feel free to post any comments or thoughts below: