Did the Australia v England one-day series feature everything we'd hoped for? It really wasn't far off. Think of everything you love about cricket. Think of everything you want out of one-dayers, specifically. Did this seven-match series deliver?
Four wicketkeepers in one match
Check. Matt Prior, Steven Davies, Brad Haddin and Tim Paine. Nothing says first XI quite like twice as many wicketkeepers as you would expect.
Injuries and squad rotation are great when they get this far out of hand. At one point it was suggested that Andy Flower might get a game. This is the international cricket equivalent of roping your dad in to play in the back garden because Paul's sister's gone home in a mood.
Someone flying round the world to lose a dead rubber Check. You know it's a big match when a player's willing to fly from St Kitts to London to Singapore to Perth for it. Liam Plunkett endured the same Denzel Washington film twice. That's how committed he was to helping England to a 5-2 defeat instead of a 6-1 defeat. Shame he couldn't succeed in his mission.
Very little tension at any point in the series
Check. A one-day series is not to be enjoyed. It is to be ignored, or possibly watched if you put the telly on and they happen to be playing at that exact moment. In this regard, Australia v England was an enormous success, because at no point did it constitute must-see television.
Tension peaked at 0-0, shortly before the first match, and dissipated from there, allowing you to get plenty done. It was particularly well organised to have England win the fourth match, right in the middle of the series, removing the chance of a whitewash just as the prospect became worth talking about.
All in all, the lack of tension was very considerate considering that the self-assessment tax deadline was fast approaching for much of the series.
People who aren't in the World Cup
Check. With a World Cup looming, it was important not to over-expose the big names. Thus we got to enjoy the performances of Adam Voges, Steven Finn and Chris Woakes, knowing that they were of virtually no consequence. Or were they?
The constant threat that someone important might get injured at any moment
Check. What drama! Pointlessly endangering sportsmen prior to a major competition is truly thrilling for spectators. With such massive consequences, injuries sustained at this time have major emotional impact.
This is clearly the way forward for cricket, so here are some more suggestions as to how this form of excitement can be better exploited:
- Scrap pre-match touch rugby in favour of full-contact rugby
- Ban batsmen from using protective equipment in the nets
- Have the best player on each side play "five-finger fillet" - the stabbing-between-the-fingers game - immediately before every match
Clarity on what Luke Wright actually is
Unfortunately we cannot say "check" for this. Even a seven-match series isn't long enough to clarify whether Wright is a batsman who bowls, a one-day bowler who slogs, a fielder who bats-and-bowls or simply a blank canvas who doesn't get injured.