Monday April 13 2015 has a big red ring round it in my diary. Because that is the date when I can start watching cricket again… proper cricket.
Before then, England’s cricket team will be playing scores of one day games – the series that is going on now against India plus a one day tour of Sri Lanka in December and a triangular tournament in Australia in January.
The next time English cricket players put on white clothing in a competitive match will be the First Test against the West Indies in Antigua beginning on Monday April 13, 2015.
By my reckoning there will be 15 one-dayers in the coming weeks and that is all BEFORE the World Cup starts in earnest with England’s opening clash with Australia on Valentine’s Day 2015. And as far as I am concerned that is a drought, because I won’t really be following it.
The reason I am moaning, along with countless other people I would suggest is that I love cricket. Visiting the Test Match Special studio last year was one of the greatest days of my life… which is why I will feel bereft this winter.
I just can’t take one-day cricket seriously. It’s not just the garish outifts they wear, the smash hitting, the fireworks and loud music that they play every time some beefy all-rounder (and more likely a player who wouldn’t hack building a considered Test Match innings) hits a four or a six. It just lacks all the subtleties and nuances of the five day game, which as we are constantly told these days is under threat from the more lucrative smash-and-grab shorter form.
Henry Blofeld, the legendary cricket commentator once told me that “while one-day cricket is an exhibition, Test cricket was an examination”. And he was in no doubt which form he preferred.
Think of all the brilliant finishes in recent Test Matches, most recently Sri Lanka’s last minute, last wicket, last gasp effort to save the Lord’s Test this summer. I know the phrase thrilling draw seems like a contradiction in terms, but any cricket fan will tell you that it really means something when it comes to Tests.
We can also think of England’s brilliant victory in the 2005 Ashes Test at Edgbaston when they got Brett Lee out to win the crucial game with Australia. And ever since that glorious Ashes win there hasn’t really been a duff Test series involving England, even if the recent 5-0 thrashing in Australia was hard to take.
I watched the whole of that series mesmerised by England’s capitulation and the brilliance of Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson. But I can’t see myself tuning into many of the one-dayers. Roll on April….
Coverage of England’s latest one day international against India is on Sky Sports 2 on Saturday, starting at 10am