It’s stupidly early in the season to be playing Test cricket. Heck, the domestic season has only just kicked off, and even the Haddocks have only had one game in the Cardiff Midweek League – played 1, won 1.
There have been seasons where England have played seven Tests before, but the unrelenting rise on one-day cricket means that we have some really stupid international fixture scheduling.
After this week and next, there’s a seven week gap to the big game – the first test against Australia in Cardiff on Wednesday 8 July; June is given over to the 20/20 World Cup. The final one-day game with Australia is on 20 September.
Whatever happened to Tests always starting on a Thursday? And there always being a week off between games. All that’s gone out of the window, and as a result people get out of the routine of following cricket.
A bunch of players in the England and West Indies teams have just this week returned from the Indian Premier League in South Africa, hardly the best preparation for a Test series. OK, I know I’m starting to sound like Sir Geoff boycott on this, but he’s right.
It’s the same with domestic cricket. It used to be Sunday league, 4 day games around those (Thurs, Fri, Sat & Mon), and Benson & Hedges/Gillette knockout cups in midweek. For the past month there have been games going on in a multitude of competitions at the same time. But now the next round of county championship games is over a month away. Players don’t know if its whites or pyjamas, and fans can’t be bothered; witness the half empty stands on days 1 and 2 of the first Test.
I should say that the new coach has done a good job in shaking up the England team and getting some new blood in. Swann, Onions (am I the only one who thinks he bowls like Alan Denning?) and Bopara have all done well so far.