England’s test match woes over the winter has been the peak in a steady regression for the side in the longest format of the game. It’s come at a time where England’s one day side have been on a steady and consistent up curve for a few years, culminating in them being one of the most feared sides in the 50 and 20 over format – saw 12 English players picked up by the IPL and priced up as early favourites for the world cup.
England’s problems (certainly overseas) has been the inability to produce fast bowlers, high quality spinners and batsman capable of batting long innings and produce scores of well over 100. It’s a problem that is not easily remedied. The first round of County Championship matches has just finished and has been the familiar story of ball totalling dominating bat with wickets in April generally damp, green tinged and loaded totally in favour of the bowlers with accurate medium pacers able to hit a consistent line and length and picking up large hauls of wickets. A situation where a spinner would not be really required for a side. Pace bowling not really required with the pitches on the slow side and nagging accuracy a more potent weapon and batsman are batting in the knowledge they have a potentially unplayable ball just around the corner.
The most obvious solution would be to play the majority of the 4-day match’s in the Hight of summer in the months of July and August. This would see pitches at their best with flatter wickets in warmer conditions with batsman able to bat with more confidence and the need for a quality spinner or bowler with pace to get something out of a wicket where just bowling line and length would ensue success. The problem being that with not much money in the county game and some clubs basically basing their survival of the success and full houses which generates the income from the 20/20 blast competition. The prime months of summer are full of 20/20 cricket with no 4-day game in sight.
There is no obvious solution to the predicament of trying to get too much cricket to fit into such a short time in the British summer. For now, though, the sun is shining, and the pitches could dry out quicker than usual to allow both formats to flourish in the coming months ahead. Here is hoping for the sun to shine and the early cricket to not be its usual damp and soggy affair.
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