October 26, 2011

England

Cook's Losing Symphony

Andrew Hughes
Former England and India captains with board officials at the 100th England-India Test, England v India, 1st Test, Lord's, 4th day, July 24, 2011
The former captains of England and India were invited to Lord's to commemorate the third straight day without rain  © Getty Images
Enlarge

RELATED LINKS

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

RSS Feeds: Andrew Hughes

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Eliot on (December 26, 2011, 5:06 GMT)

I'd join Marsh and Lillie at the bookies in 1981, too. I'd go back a couple of times with my winnings, too.

Posted by Testcricketisbest on (November 3, 2011, 1:58 GMT)

@Rahul Sharma What a bore you are. And as for your gloating, it is as second rate as the formats you are championing. Test cricket is the superior game, and only a true cricket connoisseur would know as much.

Posted by Richard on (October 31, 2011, 13:17 GMT)

If I had a cricket time machine, I would go back to 1976 and advise Tony Grieg not to bother with interviews but to do his talking on the field.

Posted by Andrew Hughes on (October 29, 2011, 21:58 GMT)

Thank you everyone who took the time to comment

Of course, I did mean Saturday. England Women are playing on Thursday, but their pride is intact.

Biggus, I hope Test matches last that long and that we're both still around to see them. I may not quite have reached 114 but I will still have received my centenary telegram from King Wililam by then.

Don Bradman, Garry Sobers and Hanif Mohammad are all players worth using a time machine for. I'd add George Headley to that list too and I'd quite like to spend some time in the 'Golden Age' of Ranjitsinhi, Jessop and Trumper.

Posted by Buzzy Leggie on (October 28, 2011, 14:20 GMT)

Well seein da Don nd King would be good!!! Not to forget dat epic of Hanif Mohammad's against the WI.. And finally I would approach all who defamed cricket and would try and pour sense into them down till da fixin scandals!!

Posted by Sai on (October 27, 2011, 5:17 GMT)

They are now officially the world's best "hit and giggle team! ROFL :D T20 sucks!

Posted by SamIam on (October 27, 2011, 5:16 GMT)

Test cricket is like the buggy whip industry in the age of automobiles. Five days of cricket is a relic of the colonial era. R.I.P.

Posted by landl47 on (October 26, 2011, 23:24 GMT)

I'd use my time machine to go back and watch every century Garry Sobers ever made. When I'd finished that, I'd go back and do it again.

Posted by hash on (October 26, 2011, 20:13 GMT)

It's been generous of England to not leave themselves any excuses for their losses over the course of the five matches. They lost chasing and batting first. They lost with Bell and without. With Swann and without. With KP and without. This tour should be considered a scientific expedition that has proved conclusively that England have absolutely no clue how to play in India.

Posted by seeget on (October 26, 2011, 16:07 GMT)

"hit-and-giggle" might be the best characterization of T20 cricket ever :)

Comments have now been closed for this article

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

All articles by this writer