Aaccording to reports, the England team took a charter flight to Hobart. Watching them play at the Bellerive Oval on the first day, it looked more like they had traveled with old sail bark and, like Abel Tasman, arrived at the ship soiled, sore, and worn out, half-starved after six months out of weevils. picking cookies. Battered, bruised and bruised, suffering from strains, ailments, aches and collapses, loss of shape and lack of faith. Between the 11 of them, it felt like if you picked the best bits of each, they could just about put one fit, functioning, and happy Test cricketer together.
The record books show this is the shortest Ashes tour the team has ever taken, but it looks like it should be starting to feel like it’s dragging on for a very long time.
The brief elation that she and everyone else felt after Joe Root won the toss on a grassy, damp, green and unexpectedly familiar type of pitch and Australia dropped to 12 to three, quickly spilled over as Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head launched. their brilliant counterattack. England started falling apart almost as soon as Root made his first bowling change. Chris Woakes, hopelessly lacking in form and good feeling after being kicked out of the team, seemed to have forgotten how to do that one thing that was always so natural to him, and couldn’t settle for a line or a length. Mark Wood didn’t do much better.
Then Ollie Robinson left injured just after lunch, and when he came back, he spent the rest of the day geriatric about the outfield, sometimes throwing the ball under the arm back from the deep end. With Ben Stokes unable to bowl as he came into play with a side strain, Root’s only option was to bowl himself, ultimately delivering England 10 overs of part-time off spin in befitting conditions . – Made for seam bowling. The Stumps score should have felt encouraging, but instead spoke of a missed opportunity and a missed opportunity.
So as the day went on, thoughts drifted away from what will happen in this game to the more pressing question of what will happen when it’s all over. Fortunately, the CEO of the ECB, Tom Harrison, was on hand to brief us on the details. Harrison gave an interview to the BBC outlining some of his ideas for the future. Are you craving more of this? Harrison hardly ever gives interviews, and yet, as soon as he says something, he has a strange talent for making you feel like you’ve heard enough.
Harrison explained that we were actually looking at this latest defeat of the series all wrong, and it really was “a brilliant opportunity for us to come together as a game” to “re-set the importance of red ball cricket in our domestic schedule.” ” and ” recalibrate how we play first-class cricket in the UK”.
This would be more convincing if Harrison hadn’t been in charge of the same system he now blames for this failure for the past seven years. It would also have helped his cause if the biggest impediment to that recalibration he wants wasn’t the dazzlingly expensive whiteball tournament he launched, which is now being spread out like a doberman on a couch in mid-summer.
Harrison also returned to another of his recent themes, “the volume of cricket”, and again, he’s absolutely right. There is too much. The question is whether he’s noticed that a big part of that is because he’s just launched an unnecessary fourth format of the sport. There was another strange little irony when he spoke of the only tangible measure he has taken so far. He said he had written to Cricket Australia asking them to help set up a system whereby English players could play in the Sheffield Shield (after all, they can hardly get a game of first-class cricket in their own country). So more cricket for the men he says should play less of it.
There is also an ounce of good point in this. If you looked with the right kind of eyes, you could see how Labuschagne and Head took advantage of playing England’s county cricket in the way they took on the English sailors on a green field in Hobart. But there are only six Shield sides and the competition for places on them is pretty fierce. Good luck convincing them that they should also help develop young English players. In addition, this current England squad has a lot of experience in Australian conditions, be it in Grade cricket, or the Big Bash, or on A tours. It is one of the things the ECB has done well in recent years.
That’s before you even think about what exactly they’ll find time for in the schedule. All that aside, it’s a great idea, just way off the list of things England needs to fix. They may have to wait until they bring it up with the players. If they tell this couple they’ll have to spend even more time in Australia, they could end up with a mutiny. Oddly enough, listening to Harrison makes you wonder if that’s exactly what English cricket needs.