Am reading the autobiography of a cricketing great and was planning to come back to blogging here with a review of that book but events on a few cricket fields prompted me to rush my comeback. Not that any one was waiting with bated breath, but hey, this is my blog and I am entitled to my delusions of grandeur. But I digress.
At the AMI Stadium in Christchurch, India serenely marched to 392 for 4 in 50 overs. With a score like this, you’d expect the bowlers to just turn up and sew up the match. No, not in today’s times. New Zealand roared off the starting blocks, Brendon McCullum was outscored in a rumbustious opening stand, and the Kiwis lost not because of the formidable total they were up against; they lost because they had an inexperienced middle order. They still managed to score 334, in just a ball over 45 overs.
Over at Kingsmead, Durban, Mitchell Johnson treated us to a rare frightful spell of hostile fast bowling on Saturday. (No malice intended, but the sight of blood spilling from the jaw of Jacques Kallis must have been heartening to bowlers the world over.) But normal service resumed today as a rookie playing in just his second test managed a century in each innings.
The anodyne series between England and West Indies continues at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, and while England might just win this game and square the series, it does not take away from the batsman-friendliness of the series barring the one session of shame for England. Paul Collingwood averaged a shade under 46 before the test started and Matt Prior was at 40.42. Graham Gooch ended his career with an average of 42.58, Allan Lamb finished with a Himalayan 36.09 and that epitome of grace, David Gower managed 44.25. You decide the pecking order of English cricketing greatness.
To borrow a phrase I heard Ian Chappell use long ago, is run inflation well and truly on? Do we need to recalibrate cricket the way we knew it? Or is the game on its last legs? Only the likes of Johnson and Dale Steyn can help preserve the balance. But how long can they fight the elements?