Posts Tagged ‘Test Series’
Morale on the allotments was lower than a snake’s belly this morning. Mud does that to you and we gravelled in a grudging way, knowing that we face a week of similar conditions. Anyone passing the gates might conclude at first sight that highly motivated codgers were defying the elements with a song in their hearts. But things are not always what they seem!
On the national stage that is being amply illustrated this morning. The left-wing papers are talking of Clegg’s fury and his intention to rebuild our ties with Europe. Their more numerous right-wing peers point out that Clegg initially supported Cameron’s veto, an act that paves the way to a better tomorrow. The odds are that both views are wide of the mark, certain it is that the chance of Clegg surviving to rebuild anything is akin to my opening for England in the forthcoming Test series against Pakistan.
But the greatest veneer of deception surely covers this morning’s headlines about the supposed breakthrough in Durban in the governmental talks about climate change. At first glance it sounds marvellous news, at last world leaders are going to actually do something about carbon emissions which every bit of evidence suggests are causing a potential Armegeddon to build up as the icecaps melt, the rain forests come down and the big polluters, America, China and India, continue to belch out more and more destructive emissions.
On the face of it the last minute agreement reached in Durban merits the ecstatic headlines. But it isn’t what it seems. The world’s leaders have merely agreed to write a comprehensive global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, covering developed and developing countries, to come into force in 2020. The next phase of negotiations covers “a protocol, a legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force”, so the amount of wriggle room left is considerable.
Even if a real deal emerges there will still be a long way to go for Durban didn’t so much as discuss how far and how fast countries must cut their emissions. Considering that emissions have risen 50% in the past 20 years and that with every further increase we have less and less chance of keeping global temperatures to within a further 2C, it is hard to confidently cast aside the latest warnings from scientists about climate change becoming “catastrophic and irreversible”.
Governments will now begin negotiations on what the new climate agreement should look like. We are told that the outcome must be wrapped up in 2015 with a legal document ready to be signed. Governments will then have 5 years in which to ratify it. Whether that will happen in the case of the “big three polluters” is open to doubt, given the possible effects on their economies. Right across the world powerful national and vested interests are involved and many refuse to believe the evidence, in the way that someone with a fear of dentistry ignores a decayed tooth right up the moment when it is too late to save it.
I apologise for being negative and sincerely hope that some good comes out of the Durban talks which at least have produced an intention to consider action. But it helps no one to pretend that suddenly the world’s leaders have come to their senses and, hey presto, the planet is saved.
Nothing so far has countered the scientific forecasts that a large part of the low-lying areas of the world will be under water within three or four decades. So I guess that the news that ‘Little Mix’ have won the X Factor isn’t that important in the great scheme of things.
There are of course many who advocate just waiting to see what happens but that sounds dangerous. It reminds me of the story of a London cabbie who was driving a Bishop and, as cabbies tend to do, launched into a tirade. He said that the ‘Bish’ would look mighty silly if, having denied himself the joy of sinning, found upon dying that there was nothing more. Ah, said the Bishop, but not half as silly as you will if you find that there is.
Some say never believe what you read in the newspapers. I say things are seldom what they seem. Same thing really!
Another golden, sunny morning. Someone up there must know that the roof of our new allotment building is still incomplete and the race is on to complete the job before the monsoons reach us. Even the hens seems unsettled by the chaos, egg production has plummeted faster than George Osborne’s economic recovery graph.
As often reported, we have a significant number of crciket buffs in our midst. And the mood at the end of the Test series against India is subdued. Yes, we are deighted that at last England is rated at the top of the world’s Test league, but we are worried that the whole future of Test cricket is in serious jeopardy. Frankly, the Indian matches were a farce. Yes, it was good to watch Ian Bell’s fluent batting performance, but it was hard to escape the conclusion that the Indian bowling attack would provide little challenge to any good club line-up. Worse still, with the honourable exception of Rahul Dravid, the vistors looked weary and totally disinterested. Like Sri Lanka before them, they posed no serious threat to a much improved England team and Test cricket is meant to be a, er, test.
With the exception of England and Australia, most of the Test-playing countries have become obsessed with the shorter form of the game, especially the Twenty20 version. India is a nation besotted by cricket but its massive following has fallen in love with the one-day game to the extent that Test matches are now a mere add-on. The players likewise, there are serious fortunes to be made in the Indian IPL quick-fire tournament and it has become for many spectators and players alike, the number one attraction.
Test matches in the West Indies now attract miniscule attendances, Pakistan can only play away from home, New Zealand attendances have plummeted and in Australia the unusual spectacle of a team incapable of beating a Co-Op egg has disenchanted thousands so used to watching conquering heroes. Even in South Africa there are clear signs of a drift away from five-day cricket.
Here in England there is still a passion for Test cricket but, given that every other side has declined so much, one cannot help wondering for how long people will pay good money to watch the sort of one-sided rubbish witnessed over the past few months.
One would like to believe that the international cricket authorities are giving all this a good deal of thought. But one doesn’t, because even there the powerful influence of the new age of quick bashes is taking on a stranglehold. We have already reached the point where Test series are being fitted in around one-dayers and twenty over games. We have already reached the point where players are jaded as a result of two much cricket. We have already reached the point where in an age of shortened attention spans the fans are voting with their feet.
Like most cricket fans I enjoy the Twenty20 matches and will certainly be glued to my seat come Saturday when the UK tournament reaches its climax at Edgbaston. But I constnatly remind myself that the stars would not be stars given no Test matches or County Championship games. If those go we will be into an age of sloggers and defensive bowlers and will have lost for ever the sheer beauty of beautiful strokes and brilliantly aggressive fast and spin bowling.
At its best Test cricket is an enthralling experience but already we are reduced to fleeting glances. Watching Anderson and Swann battling it out with Tendulkar on the final day of the fourth Test was pure theatre, with every ball and every nuance looming large. Sadly that was the exception rather than the rule in what was billed as the clash of the giants.
Interest in Test cricket can only be revived by top class teams and given that playing for ones country has now become a second priority for many international players that means less one-day cricket and more time spent on honing skills. Frankly I doubt if the will for that exists in an age when the quick buck is God.
But the demise of the longer form of the game is in no ones interest. Have we really forgotten so quickly those memorable Ashes, those heated battles with teams from the sub-continent? I fear so for asked to name the Test stars of today most fans would struggle for more than a dozen names having listed the entire England team.
Unless the International Cricket Council recognises that without the firm foundation of Test cricket the odds are that the game itself would wither and die, the future for the greatest sport of all looks very grim indeed!
TODAY’S GENERAL KNOWLEDGE QUIZ..TEST YOURSELF! 1. Where is fibrin found in your body? 2. What is the vegetable common to the Indian dishes of Aloo Gobi and Aloo Palak? 3. Which group had hits including “Homely Girl” and “Kingston Town”? 4. The word “ketchup” comes from which language? 5. Who presented “The secret life of the Manic Depressive”? 6. Who first took the much-covered song “Light my Fire” to No. 1? 7. With 7 goals, Lua-Lua was top scorer for which Premiership side? 8. Woburn Abbey is the home of which family? 9. What is a durian? 10. Which film starred John Cleese as an under-pressure headmaster?