This Test, Day 2 – I Should Have Seen It Coming, Turned Away, Kept Running

Regulars will know one thing about me, and that is I won’t insult your intelligence. I volunteered to do today’s match report when the rota was set, but I have not, as yet, and I am starting this piece just before the end of the second day’s play, seen a ball. I didn’t even catch the highlights last night. So I am not going to be able to give you an account of anything that happened today. I don’t even know what Devon Conway looks like. I’m certainly not going to wade in on the Ollie Robinson tweets, and sorry, but I am just not. I don’t know how good or bad the coverage has been. I don’t know whether we bowled well in the spell when the wickets fell just before lunch. Part of me thinks I should stop here and just let you come back tomorrow when someone who might have been able to watch the play can do the honours.

But then, stop. I did this sort of thing when I hadn’t seen the play in previous years. I never saw the full horror of Day 4 at Headingley in 2014 yet wrote on it at length! That was down to three salient differences between 2014 Dmitri and 2021 Dmitri. The first is that I cared a lot more in 2014. I would follow the play, sneakily at times, on the cricinfo desktop, had wicket alerts on my phone, and yes, converse with some of the blog respondents. They were different, more “exciting” times. The care for the blog drove me caring about cricket. That fire is just not there at this stage. I doubt it will ever, really, return.

Secondly, my work has changed. I am busier, much busier, and arguably doing a whole lot better than 2014. The role takes up more of my time, and brain-space. In 2014 I felt like part of the scenery, now I feel like I am creating some. I have been one of the “fortunate” ones to have a full-time, fully-paid job working from home. I know there is a whole world of hurt out there, and it makes me angry. But don’t be angry at me. I’ve thrown myself into it, and done OK.

Thirdly, and for those of you who have been with me through the fraught early days of How Did We Lose In Adelaide, you will know that I have struggled with chronic anxiety. So why write a blog and invite further? Don’t seek answers for questions where you are in denial has been my modus operandi. I have struggled immensely in 2020 with mental health issues, and a bit more earlier this year. I am not afraid to admit it, I am not ashamed of it, I think it would do well for people to be honest with themselves about it, but to each their own. It’s why the Naomi Osaka story resonated.

The causes of anxiety are unpredictable, but putting additional pressure on oneself is usually not to be recommended. I’ve been stressing a bit about what to write on here all day. It’s not logical – the world won’t give a crap if I don’t write on something, especially cricket – but I feel like I’d be letting down our readership and my colleagues, and I’m not doing that. During that frantic HDLWIA period where I felt like I had to react to everything wasn’t a craving for attention, it wasn’t to let the loyal readership down. Because the thing guaranteed to cause anxiety is feeling I have let people down.

You came here for a cricket report. New Zealand resumed the day in a strong position, built on it before Nicholls was bounced out by Wood, whereupon a cascade of wickets put England in, what could have been considered, a strong-ish position. The latter order wagged, or wagnered, a bit, and took the visitors up to 378, with Conway the last man out for 200. An impressive debut, and I look forward to watching it on the highlights when I have some time. Robinson finished with 4 wickets on his debut, Wood 3, Anderson 2 and our vice-captain 0 (presumably on the hot-seat for Edgbaston). England started in rickety fashion, falling to 18 for 2, before a steady partnership between Rory Burns and Joe Root took the hosts out of immediate danger.

So I’ve had a sneak look at social media, and while it is reassuring that some things don’t change (Selvey babbling on about wind direction and being his usual frightful snob) the new cricket media is really quite disheartening. I realise semi-permanent rage is destructive and can get boring, but it felt exciting to write. I see no-one even close to doing that now. Maybe it is there, and I just don’t see it. Fellow travellers have changed tack, others long for wistful pasts, finding the green shoots of nostalgia in a pandemic freak-show. I see sport stripped to the bones for television, the purpose and meaning relegated below fulfilling TV contracts and making sure the players (and officials) get paid. We persuade ourselves that this is better than nothing, that it is great to see test cricket against New Zealand at Lord’s, but then we aren’t picking our first team, the IPL takes some priority, the calendar is a mess, the World Test Final is played, necessarily, in a ground with no tradition when others might be available, and yet we are to be enthused. I’m just not. I see hobby horses mounted with no room for those scared of the equines, or doubting their ability to sustain the weight of the argument. I see our own authority flogging their own horse, or might it be donkey, for the latter half of the summer, with no regard at all for those pointing out the potential folly.

I never got into cricket blogging to be “someone”. I got into it because I loved writing. That I put that in the past and not present tense is massively important. It isn’t confined to cricket. I haven’t done anything on my personal blog either. A sign of poor mental health is giving up the things you love doing. I realise now that there has been that warning for some time, probably two to three years. I get bursts of enthusiasm, but they are fewer and further between. My pride in this creation means I will never give it up totally, I just can’t. But I wrote in real time, with real life, and real views. It’s how I think I write best. Somewhere down the line I stopped really enjoying test cricket, and only followed it. It is the greatest game, it is being treated with disdain, and yet people still keep the fire going. I admire them for it.

You know, back in the day I cared enough to get into “spirited debates” with people like John Etheridge. Tonight, just before the end of play, he tweeted this:

Chris wrote about it yesterday. It’s just a straight up giveaway about how the cricket authorities think you should be treated. Test tickets are not cheap. The punter takes a lot of the weather risk, already. That the players fart about all day and come up so many overs short, and not a single meaningful action is taken, is just about as contemptuous as can be. Then you are told if you moan about it that you are causing trouble, no-one at the ground seems to care, that it is just par for the course and you know what you are paying for. Still it goes on. A theme persists, pay your ticket money, buy your subscriptions, and shut the hell up. Every single ticket holder should get 10% of their money back. No questions asked. You have their payment details, their address. Refund them. From 1-9 overs short, 10%. From 10-18 overs, 20%. I’ll bet they’d get the overs in.

England finished the day at 111 for 2. Rory Burns on 59, Joe Root on 42. 8 overs short (“a disappointment” says Bumble). Enjoy tomorrow.

Song lyric – Should Have Seen It Coming by Franky Wah featuring AETHO.

19 thoughts on “This Test, Day 2 – I Should Have Seen It Coming, Turned Away, Kept Running

  1. Miami Dad's Six Jun 3, 2021 / 8:35 pm

    I also found yesterday I could not be bothered to comment on the offensive twitter inanities of a 19 year old. I just can’t muster the enthusiasm for the debate, and I can see that there is a debate, with two sides and nuances, precedents and moral stand points everywhere. I think the commentators on this blog collectively nailed it, Marek stood out as basically saying what I felt, only better than I could get it across. Deleting Twitter/Facebook for periods definitely helps my brain relax.

    It’s an OK Test match on a chairman’s wicket. NZ threw away 450. I like De Grandholme as an option, England used to have Trott/Collingwood/Butcher who could swing the old ball at 70mph and keep it relatively tight, but now we’ve Joe Root as our front line spinner.

    Glad to hear that you’re in a decent place, too.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Jun 4, 2021 / 10:02 am

      There are far more evil racist and discriminatory issues being perpetrated on a huge scale, but hey, let’s feed the righteous and clickbait machine with a much easier and more tangible perpetrator. That’s all I am going to say.

      Like

  2. quebecer Jun 3, 2021 / 9:05 pm

    I can help with one thing: Devon Conway is kind of short and unobtrusive looking. Bit like Langer in his batting. Not quite as nice on the drive, but effective. There. One less thing, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Neil Jun 3, 2021 / 9:38 pm

    The WTC final should be at Lords, however India insisted on a ground with a hotel. It’s a shame but understandable.
    Not sure on the situation with fans, I was chatting with a Hampshire member a few weeks back who said Hampshire didn’t want any because of the cost.

    Like

    • OscarDaBosca Jun 3, 2021 / 10:09 pm

      Are there not hotels in St. John’s Wood? I can think of a few the Indians would like.
      Watched it in the background, planning on going to Old Trafford to see the Indians (was assuming they would cancel it when requested and still shocked they stood firm)
      Test Cricket is still the greatest game, but it is clear the authorities don’t regard it as such so why should I care. I have a similar malaise regarding England and the game as LCL which is a shame.
      Glad to see you’re still writing and I for one love your output whether the days play is front and centre or an aside to your thoughts on other matters. You are a great writer.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus Jun 4, 2021 / 9:57 am

        Thanks Oscar. I don’t believe the last part, and never have (my employer may have something to do with that), but it is very nice of you to say so.

        Like

    • thelegglance Jun 4, 2021 / 12:42 pm

      I believe the issue was that at the time it was scheduled, the Covid situation was much worse, and the only two grounds that could offer a fully biosecure venue were Southampton and Manchester, and the feedback of the Manchester arrangements wasn’t positive for the players. So they chose Southampton.

      Sure, now we can argue Lord’s would work, but at the time there was far more uncertainty.

      Like

      • dArthez Jun 4, 2021 / 12:52 pm

        Think in general with such competitions, one should avoid the chance that one of the participating teams is playing at home. Maybe make the third-ending team in such a championship host the #1 and #2 teams.

        Covid of course wreaked havoc, and as such even finding a venue in many parts of the world would have been a challenge.

        Like

  4. man in a barrel Jun 3, 2021 / 11:25 pm

    There’s a hotel on the same block of land as Lords, which overlooks it. So that cannot be the reason.

    Absorbing day’s cricket. Conway made the game look simple. To my mind, Langer was always struggling and battling, I think Conway is more in the mould of John Edrich. He just gets the job done. Not attractive but efficient. Once Nicholls was out, it was strange how the others folded, until Wagner came in and ran amok. It looks like inconsistent bounce is the problem, which is why Wood was effective when he banged the ball in short.

    The New Zealand bowlers seemed to get more out of the pitch. But they are, Southee excepted, the kind of old-fashioned medium pacers that England refuse to pick. Jamieson would be very dangerous if only he stopped trying to bowl 6 different deliveries per over. Mohammed Asif would probably have 5 wickets by now. Burns is not a reassuring sight at the crease on a pitch like this but applaud his guts for toughing it out.

    Like

  5. dArthez Jun 4, 2021 / 12:10 pm

    Great to hear that things are mostly working for you LCL. Mental health is a really underappreciated aspect of our existence, and I do hope that you can keep well. Cricket writing, blogging, are all of secondary importance to that. .

    As for the cricket, can’t say I am too excited, even with New Zealand playing – cricket itself increasingly starts feeling as if it is going through the motions, almost ritualistically. I think that is the case for a lot of people across the world.

    Like

  6. man in a barrel Jun 5, 2021 / 12:00 am

    Wow, I look like the guy on the spectrum, writing about the cricket instead of the other stuff around this match. I will say that the ECB sanction on Robinson looks ill-judged. Especially since the pundits expect Overton to take his place. But then, I am on the spectrum.

    Like

    • dannycricket Jun 5, 2021 / 7:29 am

      It certainly seems ill-judged now that people are highlighting tweets and other social media posts from half of England’s white ball batsmen, including their captain and vice-captain, which could be construed as mocking Indians. As opposed to Robinson’s tweets, these cricketers were a lot older and actually employed by the ECB at the time so it seems certain that Harrison will be even harsher with them. Right?

      Like

      • dArthez Jun 5, 2021 / 7:58 am

        Let’s just say the ECB campaign against racism is such a spectacular success, ,that given the treatment of Robinson, they might not even have any representative team left by the time this Test ends. That is assuming, that they are not being hypocritical. The alternative would be to publicly display that the campaign was a farce. Which is certainly not beyond the ECB either.

        Well done lads! Now the good people in England know why millions, upon millions are spent on hundreds of ECB office bearers and office workers.

        Like

  7. Miami Dad's Six Jun 5, 2021 / 12:51 pm

    England have collapsed this morning to 160 for 6. Burns is still there, to his credit. The ball has swung, like, a tiny bit. Absolutely alien conditions for the rest of them, obviously.

    “Pope reminds me of Bell” cracks me up most when he gets out tamely after looking good on 20*.

    “Bracey is an Ed Smith pick” the ball before he got out was also funny.

    Lawrence’s shot looked utterly bereft of batsmanship.

    Barney Ronay described Mark Wood as “England’s best all format bowler at the moment” in the Graun last night. I completely agree. He is, after all, England’s only all format bowler at the moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Marek Jun 5, 2021 / 1:28 pm

    “”Pope reminds me of Bell” cracks me up most when he gets out tamely after looking good on 20*”.

    Maybe that’s why…..!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miami Dad's Six Jun 5, 2021 / 1:46 pm

      Yep, that’s why I found it so amusing.

      I know Bell was better than we remember him – he’d comfortably be England’s second best bat if he played now, but the naturally gifted style followed by a tame dismissal felt absolutely typical.

      Others things to find mildly amusing.. “we want to head into the Ashes having won 7 Tests this summer” – Joe Root. 3 days in that’s already looking fanciful.

      Like

  9. dlpthomas Jun 5, 2021 / 3:27 pm

    If you ignore the whole twitter thing, Robinson has had a good couple of days. He would appear to have both the talent and mental tougness needed to play test cricket. (but I still don’t think he will get wickets in Australia)

    Like

    • quebecer Jun 6, 2021 / 6:42 pm

      I was BTL the other day, and a poster (who I think is quite smart) said of Robinson and Overton in Aus that it won’t be that bad because neither will play much. It’s funny, but also a fair point. Jimmy, Stu, Jof, Mark Wood, Olly Stone and Chris Woakes are all surely ahead of both of them so it might not be as bad as all that for Robinson and/or Overton in the Ashes.

      Like

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