November 14, 2008

It could be a long short tour

As I write, England and India have just embarked on a seven-match marathon of one-day internationals, as a prelude to an embarrassingly short two-match travesty of a Test series

As I write, England and India have just embarked on a seven-match marathon of one-day internationals, as a prelude to an embarrassingly short two-match travesty of a Test series. England are struggling to restrain the Indian batsmen and emerge from their post-Stanford fug, and the mesmeric Virender Sehwag is again making it seem that there must be more than 360 degrees on his compass, and reminding the world how small a cricket ground can appear with the right man standing in the middle of it.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this series will be the two sides’ respective reactions to their recent performances. Will India be energised or satiated by their demolition of Australian invincibility? Will England be distracted and disjointed by their Stanford failure, or united and refocused?

England’s efforts in Antigua might be charitably described as pallid. From an English cricket supporter’s perspective, it is hard to see any discernible benefit from the Stanford extravaganza, unless you particularly enjoy seeing something you love thoroughly debased and humiliated. The Ashes are looming, and the next six weeks will play a major part in deciding whether England and their supporters begin the series with hope or confidence. At least fear should be off the menu in the post-Warne-McGrath-Gilchrist-Langer-and-Martyn era.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments