That win doesn’t alter the fact that England’s winter in the sub-continent has been a disaster. For some reason our middle order forgot how to bat. Strauss, Cook and Trott all performed Ok but Bell and KP had shockers in the UAE and Morgan proved that he isn’t test class. However I firmly believe these performances were just a blip and our top five batsmen will come back stronger. Note I say “batsmen” and definitely NOT “batters”, horribly terminology! England are still officially No.1 in the world but only just and we hardly seem to deserve that tag.
Next up is a home series against the West Indies (I’ll be at the Trent Bridge match) which on paper should be a comfortable England win. WI are an inconsistent team at the best of times but they do seem to be unearthing some talented young players and Darren Sammy seems to be doing a good job as captain. Hopefully these can gel into a decent team over the next few years but it’s hard to imagine another great West Indian team like that of the eighties. As I write the Windies are playing a slow scoring test match against Australia in a series they trail 1-0. Neither side has looked top class in the series so far. All the Aussie runs are coming from Clarke and Hussey again. Aus should be good enough to beat Australia but they haven’t impressed so far.
Following that is the main event of the summer, England vs South Africa for (only) a three match series. Since SA resumed international cricket, test series between the two sides have always been tight and I expect this one to be no different. If one or the other can win the series clearly then they will be justly crowned No. 1 in the world. I’m confident there will be a result and England will be the winners!
The latest book I’ve finished was “Twisting my melon”, the autobiography of the one and only Shaun Ryder; vocalist and lyricist for Happy Mondays (one of my favourite bands ever..) and Black Grape and more recently a reality TV star. The words on the page are all Ryder, you can almost hear his voice as you read it. Obviously all autobiographies are biased towards the writer but there is a real honesty to this one. I’ve been a fan of Shaun for over 20 years and followed the ups and downs of his life and career closely but even I was shocked by the extent of his drug habit(s). It was really interesting reading Shaun’s take on the rise and fall of the bands as was the insights into how the songs came about. An enjoyable read for long-time fans but it did fizzle out a bit towards the end.
It’s just occurred to me that I’ve met both Shaun & Aggers and shaken their hands over the last couple of years. Both were nice gents too, Shaun outside a gig in Norwich, a little shy and Aggers signing books at Trent Bridge, confident in his environment.