|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
So what if England didn't win too much last summer? The video chronicle makes for compelling viewing
January 24, 2009
Any DVD called England's Summer of Cricket 2008 should be a seminal record of the game's shifting sands: helicopters landing at Lord's, players auctioned for millions of dollars, and bitter power struggles between governing bodies.
The problem is it has to contain the cricket. It can be only as good as the material it has to chose from - and bore draws at Lord's, an awful lot of rain and England losing do not help. There were good games and great moments. The trouble is that England were on the wrong end when it mattered.
Despite this the DVD is compulsive viewing. And that is because it is put together by Sunset and Vine, the company that produced Channel 4's coverage and still does Five's daily highlights. This is essentially Five's highlights of all the internationals edited and slung together.
Mark Nicholas gushes his way through the summer, Geoff Boycott is brutal and accurate, and Simon Hughes is fantastic. As The Analyst on Channel 4, Hughes offered insight that Sky fails to match.
Additional details knit it together well. The news-round before each Test explains what happened off the pitch: Stanford's millions, Pattinson's selection, Vaughan's resignation. As a refresher it is priceless.
How good was England's comeback at Old Trafford against New Zealand? How poorly did Ryan Sidebottom bowl (the end-of-day summaries constantly refer to him as "off-colour")? How good was Graeme Smith's knock at Edgbaston? Who played the innings of the summer? (Answer: Ross Taylor, 154 at Old Trafford - the flair of Lara, the technique of Tendulkar.)
You might not want to see Daniel Flynn's tooth slowly dislodged from his mouth but then the same goes for much of England's summer.
England's Summer of Cricket 2008
2 Entertain, 682 min, £29.99
© The Wisden Cricketer
Jimmy Adams talks about the West Indian love for fast bowling, batting with Lara, and living a dream for nine years
Numbers Game: Only 15 times has a player achieved 300 runs and 20 wickets in a Test series. Bhuvneshwar could be the 16th
Rob Smyth: If England are going to win nothing, history suggests it might be worth their while to win nothing with kids
Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Graeme Smith's terrific record in different conditions
V Ramnarayan: Binny did well at Trent Bridge, but surely he must make way for Ashwin now?
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?