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Well that was fun, wasn’t it?

by Tractor

Faced with the prospect of no cricket all summer, we did pretty well across the international and domestic formats. And we got a break from the Hundred (and all its negative publicity: I’m actually trying really hard to reserve judgment).

In fact, there has been so much cricket crammed in back to back that I can barely remember back to the earlier Tests. And I’m already three days late in writing this for Freddie so I need to get a wriggle on and come up with something to say. So, in no particular order, a little time to reflect on what we’ve seen:

James Anderson: 600 Test wickets. An outstanding achievement and every time I see him play, I think again how smug I will feel in 50 years’ time when I tell the yoof that yes, I watched him play on many occasions and had a few conversations with him. I was lucky enough to witness Shane Warne reaching his 700th on Boxing Day 2006, which was bizarrely one of the better memories of that whole tour because after Adelaide, who wanted to remember much else of it, anyway? And to have seen Jimmy’s 600th, albeit on TV in an empty stadium, is another privilege. We all know this, but for the Burnley Express to be still going at his (very dashing and debonair) age is remarkable in itself and it’s hard to argue against him touring Australia next year if he wants to.

For the Burnley Express to be still going at his (very dashing and debonair) age is remarkable in itself and it’s hard to argue against him touring Australia next year if he wants to.

Stuart Broad, too, reached his own milestone of 500 wickets earlier in the summer. I’m always quite surprised by how many people don’t like Stuart Broad. What’s not to like? I find the criticism of his ‘mental weakness’ in batting since his HORRIFIC INJURY to be bizarre and although we like to laugh at his terrible use of DRS when he’s convinced he’s bagged a batsman leg-before, the statistics actually prove that he left that behind a long time ago and is usually pretty accurate in the grand scheme of things. I loved his interview on Sky after being dropped for the first test: he was polite but firm, professional but passionate. I’d say he fully deserves his holiday this month after another smashing summer.

Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope (friend of Addis, we have video proof) had really strong summers and when I heard the two great Simons (Hughes and Mann) discussing their futures I did chuckle when one (I forget which, it was a while ago) said he thought Zak Crawley wouldn’t be a great cricketer, merely a good one: only 12 Test centuries rather than 20, was the prediction. I’d take that! And Jos, dear Jos, well he kept the faith and came out on top.

It does just seem too easy to criticise individuals in a way that totally forgets that they are human beings, and none of us face that kind of nasty criticism in our day to day lives. It’s all very well talking about scrutiny and mental toughness but I am again surprised by how mean some spectators are about individuals like Jos.

It does just seem too easy to criticise individuals in a way that totally forgets that they are human beings, and none of us face that kind of nasty criticism in our day to day lives. It’s all very well talking about scrutiny and mental toughness but I am again surprised by how mean some spectators are about individuals like Jos.

Jofra Archer had more very promising bowling spells and it was a shame that there was distraction thanks to his breaking of the bio-secure bubble. Almost certainly, there wasn’t much danger in it but out of respect to the West Indies and Pakistan teams, who endured their bubbles for far longer, of course he shouldn’t have done it. I am yet to be convinced that England have the right balance to be able to use Jofra only in four-over super-quick bursts. It would be lovely if we could, but my own mind favours someone who can do pace and workhorse, and that’s Mark Wood. Please don’t come back at me: I know I have hugely over-simplified this but I’m past my word count and past my bedtime so it’s over and out from me, and I look forward to finding out where and when our next cricket will be.

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