A year of England cricket (2021)
At the start of 2021, I was looking forward to following the fortunes of England’s men’s cricket team, noting they would be playing arguably the best three teams in the world: India, New Zealand and Australia (not to forget the World T20 finals – this form is now growing on me), and hoping for good things to come, from a side hyped up as potential world beaters, with a number of players lauded as being world class and match winners. While I don’t watch much live or cricket on the TV, I follow the BBC website and its TMS Special Internet live broad and pod casts. As an aside, and evidenced in the picture above, the obsession with Black Lives Matter and Lockdown restrictions spoils it for me. It should be all about cricket.
It all started promisingly, with a solid win in Sri Lanka at the start of the year, but then resounding defeats in India (half expected when playing against a top team in unfamiliar conditions) and then New Zealand in England, with home advantage normally being significant, which brought me down to earth. Today, England lost the second test of their two-day series and were outplayed by a considerable margin. The way their batting collapsed, lack of penetration in their bowling and poor fielding were obvious factors, although one sensed the battle was mainly lost in the mind – there seemed to be a lack of belief and resolve to match obvious talent.
It gives me no pleasure in saying this that, even though certain key players were missing and New Zealand played very well and did so according to their strengths, there can be no complaint and when it comes to mitigating factors, these are hard to justify. Obviously, one typically looks for silver linings in the clouds, although it is difficult now to see. Of course, I hope England can recover and believe it is possible when they face stern tests later in the summer against India and then when they go to Australia. In the meantime, I look forward to the two best teams, India and New Zealand, playing in the first World Test final and hoping that my own team, Essex, can improve.