Tuesday, 21 August 2007

The anti-climax of one-day internationals

I was delighted with England's victory today in the first one day international against India. This is a pretty rare thing these days in English cricket. Our one day form has been abysmal. But the delight at seeing such an emphatic win, with centuries from both Cook and Bell, doesn't help to lift that general feeling of anti-climax that hangs around yet another lengthy series of one day internationals, this time bolted on to the end of the British summer. Like most English cricket fans, I like test matches (the old-fashioned five-day form of the game). In the old days, the test matches would start later in the summer (June) and would continue to the end of August. The last test match at the Oval meant that summer was almost over and it was time to go back to school. But now the test matches finish in mid August and we have a whole bunch of one day internationals from now until early September. When a one day series precedes a test series, the one days whet your appetite and help you to look forward to the real action. When they come afterwards, they just feel like afterthoughts.

Several things made the beginning of this series of seven one day-ers feel even more like a damp squib. England's one day side is quite different from the test side, different captain, some different personnel, and it makes it feel less like a continuation of the summer than it would if it were the same side, as it used to be years ago. It was in Southampton, too, and not at a test ground, and under lights. I don't know that floodlit cricket really works in England. I once went to a floodlit match at Edgbaston, Birmingham, England v. Pakistan, the night of the 2001 general election, and the atmosphere feels odd, not least because it is rarely hot enough in England to make one enjoy sitting outside all evening.

Still, if England keep performing like they did today, I might manage to be less grumpy about that anti-climactic feeling that the cricket season is hastening too quickly to an end.


Anonymous said...

I agree, the lack of tests in the late summer has been a bit of a let down and one day games just aren't the same, not least because England generally do far worse in one dayers than in tests (last night being a pleasant exception).

It's a sad reflection on one of the ways that TV coverage is changing the shape of the game.

That said, I won't complain too much if we play like we did last night in the rest of the one day games :)

Jacqui said...

Well, my Dad will be pleased with any good result, any time of the season.