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73 for 1

When I was a kid I lived next door to a public park. My pals and I played football there in the winter, and in the summer we played cricket, under the watchful eye of a benevolent ranger who could have banned us if he chose. The wicket was 22 paces long, (when you’re nine years old that’s not a lot) and we had all the gear, stumps, bails, a leather ball, and pads. (One boy learned the hard way that there is a right and left, even though they look the same; the buckles always go on the outside.) We played every day we could and we never got tired.

However all we had to do when the game was over was walk home.

The England cricket team, on  the other hand, have been on the road, with only a few days break, for months on end. They play under a different type of pressure. I’ve just finished Marcus Trescothick’s book, which tells the story of his emotional collapse under the pressure of touring, and that ain’t funny. As I write they are playing West Indies in a game that may determine whether or not they can go home, covered in the shit and derision that will be thrown at them for first-stage failure by their media, which seems to consist almost entirely of ex-players who didn’t do any better in their own day, or stay on to face fresher, stronger sides as their own exhaustion levels rise. Physically, they will give of their best as always I’m sure. Mentally?

In recent years England have become good at winning Test series against Australia, three out of the last four. (That said, if you add up the matches won and loss in all those series it doesn’t look quite do good.) Against the rest of the world, and in other forms of cricket, they’re mediocre. That isn’t going to change until they ditch the Aussie obsession and until their managers put realistic scheduling before money.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Phil Hull
    March 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    The Marcus Trescothick book is a must for anyone who thinks they are depressed – he shows, without pulling any punches exactly what depression is all about. The roots of his problem are incredible in that they can be traced back so far into his childhood. The most incredible think is that he has managed to play at the top for as long as he did. He still gets loads of stick when he plays at Bristol – much of it very personal and it appalls me to hear it. We expect too much of our sportsmen and his is a tale of what happens when the pressure is too much.

    • March 22, 2011 at 10:54 am

      Shame on those Bristol people. I won’t call them fans; sport attracts the idiot element, more’s the pity.

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