I spent the duration of the last Test in Ireland, and having decided to just rely on close of play texts from Birmingham I hoped for a stress free break from the game that if truth be known, I love the most despite being saddled with Yorkshire and England as my teams for life.
Not a chance, especially as Flintoff’s first innings blast with both bat and ball, put England in with a decent chance of levelling the series.
When I heard late on Friday night that Collingwood had come good with the bat, and in a situation where it really mattered I was absolutely delighted, a sentiment that was elevated to manic joy and fist punching “come on!”s whilst watching the Proteas collapse to 90/4 at Donagh’s house in Ballina courtesy of Sky Sports.
I had absolute confidence we would win. Monty was making the thing talk and at the other end Anderson was steaming in at 90MPH, and then there was Freddie…
Thus news of defeat, delivered to my Limerick hotel room confounded me and led me to reflect on my calls after the Lords Test that Vaughan’s time was up.
Michael Vaughan was the best batsman in the World in 2002, bar none. He then went on to be England’s greatest Skipper since Brearley, making the dreams of the nation come true during that incredible Ashes summer of 2005 and allied with his supreme dignity Vaughan became the ultimate role model as a pro, and as a man.
I watched his resignation on YouTube and Hemmingway’s definition of Grace Under Pressure sprung to mind. He loves the game, he loves England and he loves his wife and kids. Perfect.
As for what happens now, I fear we are into the pantomime season four months prematurely.
Pietersen plays for himself and it works, by and large, but his dismissal in the last match when he was in a position to put the tourists away epitomised why he should not be Captain as the whole reason that he got himself to 94 not out came about because he was un encumbered by the Captaincy.
Swings and roundabouts, and I refer to previous stints by Botham and Flintoff as to what happens when your talismanic figure is elevated to odious responsibility.
Strauss, Strauss and if in doubt Strauss regarding the Test Captaincy, but I fear being passed over again will be the nail in the Middlesex man’s long term international career.
But one thing is for sure. With KP at the helm boring is not a word that will ever be associated with English cricket.
Tantrums, but hopefully some tiaras to follow….
One last moan at the selectors for the road…
Ravi Bopara. No one is denying the bloke is a talented larker. But he is a one-day specialist, as his figures show and it is unlikely that he will make a top order batsman in the Test arena.
But he can bowl a bit. And I mean a bit. 85 wickets at 43 ain’t gonna scare Test class batters so once again this obsession with so called multi dimensional cricketers sees the talent of Owais Shah pushed shamefully into the shadows.