The Year Ahead
Happy 2017 everybody! I hate winter in general (too difficult to get away to watch cricket most of the time) but I LOVE early January because it’s all about future planning, itinerary building and goal setting. The exercise and diet are still going well, which means we can happily turn our attention to what’s coming up in cricket to keep you watching, listening and ball-by-ball text commentary following all year round*.
Aside from the obvious India v England ODIs and T20s, the Big Bash League continues, with more and more English players taking part in this useful scheduling slot. The final takes place on Saturday 28th. Look out for: Kevin Pietersen being moronic on commentary. Avoid if: you’re a purist; BBL has more flashy gimmicks than a Mark Zuckerberg keynote speech.
It’s a month of limited overs cricket, but the most useful watching for future well-informed chat will be South Africa v Sri Lanka and then New Zealand v South Africa. Look out for: South Africans you may be getting your first glimpses of before they hit our green and pleasant shores later in the summer. Avoid if: you find it hard to watch South Africans winning; there’s going to be a lot of it this year.
It’s England in the West Indies! Hooray! We should win! Except…oh…it really hasn’t been easy to consistently beat the Windies for years. This could be one of those highly forgettable tours thanks to disappointing results. Conversely England could smash records left, right and centre. Look out for: Chris Gayle making inappropriate comments to media outlets. Avoid if: you like your cricket to be predictable, because this series is sure to be anything but.
Woohoooooooo the County Championship is back!! I’m from a minor county, so I don’t really understand all the many confusing points on offer in these matches, but now that I’m (temporarily) based in Essex I’m determined to try to work it out this year. This is my most-attempted and least successful New Year’s resolution, by the way. Look out for: the next up and coming English spinner. Seriously, please, we all need to look out for him! Where is he?!?!? Avoid if: your maths isn’t good. It’s bloomin’ complicated stuff, this!
It’s another ODI month, this. Take your pick from England v Ireland, Ireland in a tri series with Bangladesh and New Zealand (this seems like slightly desperate Champions Trophy preparation from the Black Caps) and then England v South Africa as their tour kicks off. Look out for: England batting performances from Jos Buttler; just a hunch. Avoid if: you’d rather watch the end of the football season. Let’s be honest, this month is cricket is warming up while other things are reaching their climax.
I am also very excited about the Champions Trophy! Everyone forgets this one exists, and then it sneaks up and turns out to be the best international limited overs competition going. It’s snappy, always throws up surprises. Look out for: South Africans choking in a crucial match. Avoid if: you want to stand in solidarity with the Associate Nations, who are excluded from this tournament like 16 year olds turned back by the bouncers on their cricket club mate’s 18th birthday. Harsh, but probably for the best.
* Until June. I am a purist and won’t be watching the BBL, so I’m not going to have much to write about for February’s edition unless I save July through to December for then. See? I told you January was a time for forward planning.