Cricket World Cup: Australia & New Zealand 2015
Lets examine the data
Kia Ora all
I am reporting a little earlier than planned, I wonder if anyone is still reading this!
I had a lovely dream last night.
In my dream Mr Colin Costcutter, the new chief of the ECB with effect from May, had converted Lords into a poundshop, and the England coaching staff, players and selectors from this tour were working in there on minimum wage, zero hour contracts, stacking shelves with tins of budget beans and vegetables.
Unfortunately, then I woke up.
Lofty & I have been in Adelaide for the last week, grateful beneficiaries of the hospitality at Chez Blade.
Their house is undergoing a major renovation with a brand new dormitory being created at the front of the house to accommodate future Addis Army tours.
There is also a new member of the 'family' - Zara the attack dog.
Zara is trained to go for anyone wearing blue and white, or claret and blue.
Last Tuesday, purely by accident, Lofty and I found a way to get to Mclaren vale by public transport - two buses and a train.
This was a blessing in disguise, as for the next three days we found ourselves quaffing red wine all afternoon, then tottering back to Henley Beach, and on Thursday Mrs Blade took the day off work to accompany us on a stagger session.
I suspect Mrs Blade wishes she had booked Friday off as well!
A good word for Adelaide buses here. Our destination on Thursday, the Salopian Inn, was in between bus stops on the main road through the vineyards.
On noticing where we wanted to get off, the driver asked us if we lunching there: to which we replied in the affirmative, then he promptly pulled up his bus in between stops on the grass verge right outside the Salopian front door.
After lunch, we encountered the same helpfulness when getting off the bus at the Mclaren Hotel.
Now that is what I call service.
The drivers must be used to dealing with wine-soaked tourists.
Whether they will ever get used to dealing with Lofty is another question.
On the way back home he boarded the bus in the centre of Adelaide despite his card having a balance of just 0.74 cents and in full knowledge that the fare would be at least three dollars. The tag-on machine was not fooled, and Lofty was summoned to the front of the bus to see the driver for a telling off and made to buy a ticket.
Seeing the state he was in, the driver kindly sold him a cheapo Seniors ticket (OAP to you Poms) which Lofty gratefully grasped.
All would have been well, except the Ticket Inspector unfortunately got on at the very next stop and began a Gestapo-like checking process of all passengers. When he reached Lofty, the requisite 'Seniors' ID was of course not available, and a heated argument ensued between Herr Inspector and Lofty as Mrs Blade and myself held our heads in our hands.
Lofty eventually got away with it, but he is now known as a 'farebludger' throughout the Australian bus network.
On Friday the 13th of March Lofty flew to Melbourne to take in the Grand Prix, and England played Afghanistan at cricket over in Sydney.
On the BBC Sport website assistant coach Paul Farbrace said "Defeat to Afghanistan will be unthinkable."
I seem to remember the coaching staff saying something like that before the Bangladesh game too, but in one sense they are correct.
I haven't given the slightest thought to watching the game, so in that sense 'unthinkable' might be correct terminology.
I do not normally quote Australian newspapers, but today's copy of the Advertiser contains a spoof article which I thought some of you might like.
Surprise, surprise, it is about the England Cricket Team.
"Greatness is contagious, but as England has discovered, so is mediocrity."
"We're not saying we will beat Afghanistan" said Moores, clutching a wad of printouts. We're saying the data here doesn't say we can't beat them. Which, when you study the curve of our performance graph, means the probability parameters are in alignment."
'England's plucky efforts against more traditional cricket playing nations have made them a crowd favourite and put pressure on the ICC to review the policy of reducing the number of so-called minnows at the next World Cup."
Enough, but I'm afraid I have no sympathy.
As even our coaches admit, the team deserve all they criticism they will get.
A meaningless victory over Afghanistan duly ensued, watched by the sparsest crowd I can recall seeing at an International game of cricket.
Then I should imagine it was off to Sydney airport as soon as possible for our brave boys.
The Melbourne Grand Prix took place last weekend and as I know nothing about motor racing I will have to believe Mr Blade when he says that due to the shortage of cars, only Lewis Hamilton took part.
I bet Lofty could have given him a run for his money in our Toyota Corolla hire-car!
On the day of the Grand Prix The Blades and myself were at the Adelaide Oval supporting Ireland in their brave attempt to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.
Unfortunately after a bright start Ireland's innings subsided and Pakistan chased down their below par score in a rather self indulgent way, with the opener using up most of the balls remaining in his quest for a century, aided and abetted by wholesale blocking at the other end to enable him to retain strike.
Not the most compulsive viewing, and the latest in a line of mediocre games we have watched.The Blades left after about twenty overs of the Pakistan innings, and I left after about thirty five.
The conclusion of all this is that the Blades and I are now faced with watching Australia v Pakistan (again) on Friday in Adelaide and whilst an upset is hoped for I cannot really see it.
Obviously I hope I'm proved wrong.
So, like England, lets examine the data - has this World Cup been a success so far?
* If you want to see England win the trophy - ha ha, no, forget that one.
* If you want to see England win a meaningful game - forget that one too until the next tournament (in England.)
* If you are happy just watching England play well - forget it until next time.
* If you want to see exciting cricket - by and large no. With a few honourable exceptions most of the stuff we have watched has been dull, and lacking in ebb and flow.
However, if you are content to use the tour simply as an excuse to escape the British winter, to see old friends and to make new ones, then I guess the tournament does have its uses!
I will send a final report with our experiences of the quarter finals. semi-finals and final once these take place, after meeting up with Lofty once again in Sydney.