Summer loving. Not.

Here at TGECF we’ve largely turned our barely comprehending ire on the individuals responsible for Saturday’s brutalising.

It’s now time to delve into the summer ahead. This should be a mouth-watering prospect, despite the fact that anything we’re really interested in will get lost in an unending saga around Wayne Rooney’s suspension and journalists padding out Olympics features about people they’ve never heard of who compete in sports they don’t care about.

In spite of this less than heart-warming prospect there’s plenty to look forward to. Three matches against a West Indies side that look to be recovering something approaching competitiveness could make for exciting viewing. It surely can’t rain as much as it did last summer against Sri Lanka (we say confidently, thereby ensuring it will tip it down on the days we’ve got tickets for) so we should get a more compelling contest than last year’s three Test washout.

After this, it all goes a bit pear-shaped. Three ODIs against the Windies? Fine.

Then we must have a break till 19th July, a chance for the players to have a break or, shock horror, play for their counties. Then we start what promises to be the centrepiece of the summer, a heritage series against South Africa surely? A four or five match rich tapestry where we’ll hopefully get the gladiatorial contest for the Test number one slot we were robbed of last summer, by Indian ineptitude and England’s brilliance? Erm… No.

Instead of trying to ensure we have a summer that works properly, the ECB have, in fairness, partly been stuffed by events beyond their control. The frankly totalitarian regulations surrounding this summer’s principal non event jamboree, the Olympics, mean they don’t have total freedom to schedule events, as they’re not allowed to have competing international events anywhere touched by the games’ leprous tentacles.

Right, that brief disclaimer aside, we can now really get stuck into the main crime of the summer. Five ODIs against Australia. Five. From 29th July to 10th August, at the expense of a proper series against the Saffers. Leaving aside the fact that the best way to commemorate the dear departed Basil D’Olivera would surely be to have a proper competition for the trophy which bears his name, this is mental for so many reasons.

For one thing, it is a sod of a long time till the next World Cup in 2015 and England have spent the last few years trying to guilt trip world cricket by banging on about the importance of Test cricket. We’re in agreement with them on this, but it would be nice if they’d, you know, do something about it, rather than surveying the summer stretching out before them like a canapé table and deciding to stuff their jowelled faces on cheap sausage rolls and crisps than the more refined options on offer.

Perhaps most importantly, they’re in danger of killing the golden goose of English cricket, the rivalry with Australia, for short term gain. Next year there are ten successive Ashes Tests for goodness sake. This is killing the goose with the gold plated, liver-stuffing grain pipe, ramming as much as possible down the throats of the viewing public till they explode or get so sick of the sight of Peter Siddle’s terrifying orc-visage that they just lose interest.

Bearing in mind England and Australia (only when they’re winning) are the only places capable of summoning a decent crowd for a Test these days, you think they’d be careful about this. But then, the ECB take as much long term care of the game here as the captain of the Titanic eyeing up a speed record during the iceberg season. The campaign to at least get a fourth Test against South Africa garnered plenty of popular and media support, end result? Nothing.


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  1. The TGECF Awards 2012 (Part 1) « Two Grumpy England Cricket Fans

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