The Year Ahead - part 2
So, as promised, here is my cheapo article for February. Let’s be honest: the toy cricket going on around the world right now just isn’t top of the agenda. This Tractor is off to Rome for some Six Nations rugby and is generally plotting the next tour she might get away on, so no real apologies for setting you up with your July to December cricket preview.
The main event will finally be here: England vs South Africa at the Home of Cricket. There’s not much more to say but these are always entertaining Tests and have been high points for me over the last 19 years. The series continues throughout July. Look out for: Tractor in the Coronation Garden with a picnic. Avoid if: champagne corks popping onto the outfield aren’t your thing.
And then a month I am MUCH less sure about. My birthday? Yes. The first day/night Test in England? I’m terrified. There’s just something so beautiful about cricket on a late summer’s afternoon and I’m not sure I can handle stretching that out into the twilight. Look out for: slippery ball, slippery run ups, slippery catching hands. Avoid if: you don’t want to listen to Michael Vaughan’s repeated love of day/night matches. Yawn.
It’s England hosting the West Indies! Hooray! We should win! Except…oh…it really hasn’t been easy to consistently beat the Windies for years. Are we in danger of West Indies fatigue? Twice in a year seems a little excessive, especially as this visit drags well into September. Look out for: Chris Gayle making inappropriate comments to media outlets (still). Avoid if: you like your cricket to be predictable, because this series is sure to be anything but (as above).
One can only hope that there are a LOT of unconfirmed fixtures this month, because Bangladesh in South Africa really ain’t floating my boat. Look out for: trick or treaters. Avoid if: you have anything better to do…paint drying might do the trick.
Thanks GOODNESS for that! The Ashes are upon us once more, and for once not feeling slap bang on top of the previous series. This one has the potential to be the most evenly matched series down under for many years and there’s nothing I’d like more than a 2-1 win for England with a couple of exciting draws to enjoy. Look out for: the Australian media, especially when the Baggies underperform and the press turns on the team. Avoid if: you’re still scarred from Adelaide 2006. Freddie, I’m looking at you.
It probably sounds old fashioned, but I do love when the winter series is a proper winter series that straddles Christmas and even the new year, like this one does. We’ll almost certainly be one nil down at the start of December after a hiding at the Gabba, but this month is our chance to scrape back some ground in Adelaide (day/night Test, boo, hiss!) and, well, who knows where, because they’ve scrapped Perth without a confirmed replacement. Look out for: the Third Test venue. Avoid if: you are too furious about the day/night format slithering all over the biggest series in cricket to keep your eyes on the action.
* 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.