England October 26, 2011

Cook's Losing Symphony

It hasn't quite been music to the ears

Friday, 21st October The Test Championship has been delayed until 2017, or to put it another way, the Test Championship has been indefinitely postponed. The ICC loves a gimmick and they toyed with the concept for a while, but inevitably they grew bored. Perhaps now people will understand: the ICC is not interested in preserving Test cricket. The BCCI don’t care either, nor do the PCB, Cricket South Africa, Sri Lanka Cricket or the West Indies Cricket Board.

We can’t really blame them. They already have two profitable international formats, which is one more than FIFA. Why would they care about a third that doesn’t make any money and which no one bothers to turn up to watch? And what about the English? Tests still turn a profit here, so surely we should be leading the fight to save them? Nope. As long as the sun shines on a packed Lord’s every June, we don’t care.

I don’t expect we’ll bother doing anything about it until it’s too late, when there’s only us and our favourite cousins left playing the five-day game and the Future Tours Programme consists of nothing but the Ashes. Those who claim to love Test cricket need to get moving because at this rate, it’s going the same way as top hats, penny farthings, the curly perm and responsible investment banking.

Sunday, 23rd October News that scientists have made a neutrino travel faster than light is exciting, but somewhat overdue. I’ve seen Doctor Who and I’ve read the blurb on the back of Stephen Hawking’s book, and frankly I don’t know what took them so long. Still, they got there in the end. I’m expecting a time machine to be in the shops next Christmas and I’ll be using mine immediately. What will I use it for?

Well, for starters, I’ll be paying Adolf Hitler a visit; explaining to Christopher Columbus that I’ve just come back from the Americas and that there really is nothing to see; and then whizzing back to 1980 to confiscate and burn that brown corduroy shirt that should never have come near my wardrobe. And then I’d get down to the important business.

I’d start by taking 11 helmets, chest pads and thigh protectors and leaving them in the Australian dressing room at the SCG on the morning of December 2nd 1932. Then a quick trip to Brisbane in 1960 to watch the last day of the tied Test, before selling my house, transporting the proceeds to Leeds in July 1981 and joining Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh in the queue at the bookies.

What would you use a cricket time machine for?

Monday, 24th October So England’s series ends with a heavy defeat, a nice bookend to the tour to go with the heavy defeat with which they began and the three heavy defeats they suffered in between. Cook’s Losing Symphony has not been easy on the ear and the fifth movement followed the established theme: a harmonious opening followed by a swift and alarming descent into cacophony and discord. With a four-letter motif.

But before they leave the subcontinent (and they may have difficulty getting that bulging swear box through customs) they have one more show to put on. They are now officially the world’s best hit-and-giggle team and so Thursday’s game is a chance to restore some pride. Or perhaps, given their performance against the West Indies 3rd XI last month, a chance to lose in three hours rather than six.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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