After what can only be described as a hard fought and gritty day of cricket yesterday, did anyone really believe England would roll over in India in a session this morning? I certainly didn’t when I volunteered /told it was my bloody turn to write today’s match report despite knowing that I was due to meet a friend for lunch. Still, I thought it would be easy to catch up on things especially as it was a bright sunny day in Headingley. Oh, how I was wrong.
So, I’m in the situation of having to write up the report despite only seeing the first half hour of play and consequently one wicket to fall, that of Pujara who misjudged a seaming delivery from Robinson and was given out LBW on review. From there it was a procession of Indian wickets many of which were casual wafts outside the off stump, which never ends well in English conditions. Naturally the most concerning for India, aside from Pant’s dreadful form, is the continued struggles of Virat Kohli who once edged a ball to the slips on a 4th stump line. It is somewhat reminiscent of when Kohli first toured England and whilst no doubt he remains one of the world’s premier batsmen, there is obviously a technical flaw in his game as all six of his dismissals have been pretty much the same. I have no doubt he’ll be working hard to address it, but fast bowlers from every cricketing nation will all have a keen eye on his form in the rest of the series.
Naturally, the English bowlers couldn’t have cared less if they tried. Robinson was once again the pick of the bowlers with a nagging off stump line and length that Josh Hazelwood has earnt his living from. I thought he bowled well yesterday without much luck, so a Michelle was fully deserved. Robinson was ably assisted by Craig Overton, who despite seeming to be the odd one out in most squads, bowled with good control and Moeen who as he often does, bowls some outstanding wicket taking deliveries but can also mix it up with some dross.
The best thing about the Test (no it’s not Jarvo) is the sheer turn around in fortunes from the result at Lords. Many, myself included, pretty much wrote England off after the calamitous defeat at Lords, so to go to Headingley and then thrash India by an innings and 76 runs shows how Test cricket is still the greatest format. The ECB’s treatment of their Test squad is nothing short of shoddy, but for the players and coaching staff to rally round after the Lord’s disaster and to then produce a performance like the one we saw, shows that we should give them some great credit as a squad. Of course, they won’t be able to claim any of the £2.1million bonus on offer, that’s only available to those who are trying to kill our county game. Plus ca change!
On a final note, now the Headingley Test match is consigned to the books, it must be time for the ECB to grow a backbone and pressure Yorkshire County Cricket Club to release the Azeem Rafiq report. I find it incredulous that no-one from the top echelons has realised the damage this is doing not just to Azeem but to the wider game with rumours and counter rumours abound. My guess is that no-one from Yorkshire will come out looking good from it, hence the delay, but if we’re serious about trying to promote equality and eradicate racism from our game, then the release of this report can’t come soon enough.
As always, any thoughts on the game are gratefully received below.
Some comment about Root being “England’s most successful Test captain” because he’s won more games than Vaughan. I’d imagine he’ll also become England’s least successful Test captain by the end of the year.
One from the “stop me if you’ve heard this one before” files: England reportedly hopeful that Woakes will be fit for the fourth test.
This is the man whose only multi-day cricket since the game that started on Aug 21 2020 is a 2nd XI match–and, poor Indian performance notwithstanding and with respect where it’s due, I suspect there may be a slight step up in intensity from Worcs 2s to India–and whose only other cricket since his injury is four overs in the Blast on Friday night.
Not to mention that Archer bowling 29 overs in a seconds match in May after an injury (Woakes bowled 25) didn’t mean a whole lot once he’d played–or rather, failed to play–a real f-c match.
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Strange that Colin Graves, backer of YCC, did nothing to modify the way counties are charged to put on a Test match. The loss of 2 whole days’ play will hit them hard. Let’s not speculate on any involvement of the aforementioned man and the report
Why not? Surely, he was chairman for a period of time under consideration in the report, in which apparently nothing much was done with the complaints. That hardly makes him come out good. He might not have been actively implicated in wrongdoing, but that does not absolve him from responsibility either.
If the man wanted to clear his name, he could have pushed for it. Don’t think he has no influence whatsoever.
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Any chance of a cover up? Let’s not speculate
Does anyone understand why, now that close contacts of Covid-positive people don’t have to self-isolate, Surrey can’t field a side for tomorrow’s Championship game because a single member of their squad has tested positive–despite having fielded or having on their staff at least 29 players this season apart from the second overseas player?
I mean sure, the side might be extremely oddly balanced and might involve quite a few academy players, but if Kent can manage it at around 12 hours notice, then I’m sure county cricket’s richest club can in 48.
This kind of thing–along with the total farce and web of misinformation that was the Glos Covid incident a couple of weeks ago–really aren’t doing county cricket’s reputation any good.
Has my comment about the Rafiq case been captured by cyberspace, the mysterious workings of WordPress or the censor?!