While Yorkshire might have been disappointed about the uptake of tickets for the Test match, Friday’s T20 clash against Lancashire has been sold out for weeks.
Andrew Flintoff definitely won’t play but even so, around 18,000 tickets have gone in comparison to 36,000 for the five days of the Test.
If this game is anywhere near as good as Yorkshire’s five-wicket win at Old Trafford earlier this month it will be a cracker.
All eyes will be on Aaron Finch v Jos Buttler but there are plenty of other terrific players on view and I know they will be right up for it. The buzz out on the pitch at Old Trafford was fabulous, so Headingley will be rocking.
Yorkshire have a little ground to make up on Lancashire having played three fewer games but that’s for another day. When I used to play all that mattered – even if we’d had a shocking season – was beating Yorkshire and nothing’s changed!
People were saying that £32 is a lot of money for a day at the Test but with the greatest of respect I don’t think it is because you’re getting seven hours of international sport. It’s a real event and a fiver for the final day was the best value ever!
Yorkshire tried everything to get people into the ground although there were all sorts of mitigating circumstances for supporters, not least the fact that Yorkshire have got four T20 matches in the next week – and you’ll always get the parochial county supporter who will favour his own club over England.
In the past, Test matches were an absolute event but they are cramming that many in (this summer we have seven when at times in the past there has been a maximum of five) that some people are choosing carefully because we’ve got so much other cricket around.
All credit to Sri Lanka for winning the series but you’ve got to be joking if you think two Tests make a series. It’s an absolute nonsense.
It reminds me of 1998 when we played five Test matches against South Africa and absolutely bust a gut to win, then had to play a match tagged on at the end against Sri Lanka, and we got beat.
That’s the match people always talk about – no-one ever comes to me and says ‘oh, but you beat South Africa 2-1’; they talk about that last game when everyone was out on their feet.
Let’s get down to brass tacks – the main event is India and there are five Test matches coming up. England have to get their crackerjack bowler Jimmy Anderson back in the right frame of mind because he’s got a huge six-week workload ahead of him. Good luck, Jimmy!
My own adage is that ‘a race horse will want to run every day, but it won’t win if it does’. It has got to be primed.
You could tell at the end of the second Test that Jimmy was mentally spent. He did everything that he could do as a number 11 batsman to help Moeen Ali save the Test – he gave everything, showing great fight, graft and resolution and it led to one of the most memorable Test matches.
There was also evidence that Stuart Broad was limping, which is bad news with a tremendous amount of cricket to come. The word that will keep cropping up this summer is ‘rotation’ and Ben Stokes will certainly play a part.
The batters look to be settled and the new lads – and Joe Root – have done what they needed to do, which is score centuries.
Sam Robson, Gary Ballance and Moeen Ali have all scored centuries; now they need Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, who averages 29 in his last eight Tests, to contribute some big runs.
It was a wonderful achievement for Sri Lanka to win in all three forms over here – a feat that is down to the endeavours of the captain, Angelo Mathews, and the management.
They play tough, uncompromising cricket. Don’t think for a minute they don’t. Unfortunately they crossed the line in terms of their unsavoury behaviour on the final day, which was very visible.
Mathews was right in the thick of it and has to set a better example. I’ve talked before in this blog about yellow cards and red cards and this was a case in point. Umpires have to be given licence to be much, much stronger.
All teams engage in this sort of thing. I know that people say ‘what’s on the field stays on the field’ and I fully agree with that, but when poor behaviour is totally visible to millions of people, it’s totally unacceptable.
Somebody like Steve Waugh was a past master; he’d be flinty-eyed and the most important thing is that he would never move from his fielding position. He never came swaggering up to a batsman, pointing a finger; he would engage the batsman from his fielding position and nobody would know what had gone on.
When people talk about ‘the Spirit of Cricket’ I say, ‘show it to me’ because it doesn’t exist; it isn’t written down. So I’ll say it again, give umpires more power.
I played golf yesterday with my weekday partners Oggy and Nick. Oggy once again got 44 points, playing off 10, and a hole-in-one.
He’s a very exuberant lad, is Oggy, and when he got his hole-in-one he shouted – and they could hear it in the next village – something like ‘good gracious me, I think that’s gone in the hole!’ Or words to that effect, which seemed to disturb the lady on the green adjacent.
In jumping up and down celebrating, he pulled a hamstring.
One more thing – a book’s arrived through the door this week about England’s cricket tour to Nazi Germany in 1937, called ‘Field of Shadows’, and it’s written by Dan Waddell, Sid’s lad. Go get yourself a copy.
Now I’m going training, then I’m driving to Thirsk for a bit of cycling up there and then I’ve got to build a wall. I picked my chainsaw up yesterday from the menders and I’ve got some logging to do as well.
I’ll probably finish up at either the Carlton or the Fauconberg…