Friday, 8 May 2015

Column 13, 2015 – Mediocrity

Printed in The Cricket Paper, issue 116, Friday May 08, 2015.
[Full text below]

“I’d certainly be disappointed if we don’t win, because I am pretty sure they are going to have a mediocre team.”

It is unknown whether these words were uttered at Eversley Cricket Club prior to our encounter in the National Village Cup on Sunday. It would certainly have been fair enough if they had been. Even at our strongest we would cheerfully describe ourselves as mediocre. The same could not be said of the West Indies.

Eversley is a big club. They have a beautiful ground, an indoor centre, six age group sides, two girl’s teams, a ladies side and four men’s XIs. I’m confident they didn’t have people on email, text, WhatsApp, twitter, facebook, and even the good old fashioned phone all week, trying to get 11 yeses.

When a little single-side outfit like ours plays a big club in a knockout competition, turning up with 10 players is not only a bad idea, it seems somehow almost rude. Like we’ve deliberately set out to waste their time with our mediocrity.

Between Thursday and Saturday we must have gone through 40 people for that 11th spot. If we were going to waste their time, it wouldn’t be for lack of trying. Through arm-twisting and cancellations, we did eventually get 11.

By drinks they were only going at four an over, and we dared to daydream.

“If we don’t win, I can tell you now there will be some enquiries why we haven’t.”

Outgoing Yorkshire and incoming ECB chairman (same person) Colin Graves seems to be eyeing the spring-clean broom.

The ECB have also been leafing through dusty address books, doing some frantic late-evening phone-calling to see who’s up for it. The director of cricket position has piqued the interest of several old boys who might be tempted back, a few more have firmly declared their unavailability. Sounds familiar.

Additionally, it may not be insignificant that as England were in the process of losing a Test match in Barbados, the successful and highly respected coach at the new chairman’s former county turned down the opportunity to coach South Australia.

Just hang on a minute there, Dizzy old son. Stay available.

However, it now appears Moores will be spared the implied threat of a formal enquiry before the start of the international summer, as apparently ‘some enquiries’ merely meant ‘some questions’. Presumably along the lines of “So. What happened there, then?”

Eversley, too, spared themselves the enquiries, in their case by employing the clever tactic that eluded England: winning pretty comfortably, as expected. They ramped it up to nearly 10 an over after drinks, smoothly taking the chase beyond our reach.

Our defeat was sealed just as the West Indies began smoothly taking victory away from England, in a decidedly non-mediocre fashion. Still, there may yet be some hope. Last time England lost a Test in the West Indies was 2009. Then they came home and promptly won the Ashes. Perhaps it’s all part of the plan.

- ends 496 words -

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