On the field
Still plenty of cricket this month, and I did my best to make the most of it while I was still hibernating at the family home in Somerset: guaranteed television and definitely no commute or office time getting in the way of my cricket watching. As I had instantly got hooked on the PSL when it began in February, I kept getting a decent dose of it – until it had to be postponed due to COVID outbreaks… Oh well, I’ll see the hilarious graphics & hear the fanfare in June.
As with February, the main event this month was the closing stages of England’s tour of India. It was a disappointing result in the final Test; I really did think we might pull things back a bit, and though India absolutely did deserve to win, I think the 3-1 scoreline didn’t accurately reflect the series as a whole. I was rather more hopeful for the T20 series, especially with a comprehensive victory in the first match and getting the toss advantage for the final match, but things didn’t quite work out – and at least by the end of the series, winning the toss wasn’t as much of an indicator as it had been in the first three games. This series loss aside, I then thought that this put us in pole position for the ODI series: many first choice players available, players finding some form. But again it wasn’t to be. It’s a shame, as anyone who didn’t watch the whole tour would see the three series losses and presume it was a complete disaster, when in fact there were plenty of positives dotted through each format – and obviously some clear things to work on. And the emotional reaction to a debut half century from Krunal Pandya during the ODI series showed a human side to the Indian team that has perhaps been overshadowed by Kohli’s onfield antics since the second Test, and brought me back to the realm of opposition appreciation after some time in the wilderness.
I saw a teeny tiny amount of the New Zealand v. Bangladesh ODI & T20 series, but not as much as I would’ve liked – I could only do so much late night cricket watching and early starts. Similarly, I didn’t see too much of the West Indies v. Sri Lanka tour (ODI/T20/Test) as it clashed with a few things, plus there were a few later starts for those of us in the UK. I’m always happy to see a bit of Afghanistan, so I made sure to catch a bit of their short Test & T20 series against Zimbabwe.
On the page
Andrew Symonds – Roy: Going for Broke ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
This book has been sitting on the shelf patiently waiting to be read for many years, so I thought it was about time it got an outing. I didn’t really know anything about Symonds – other than his destructive cricketing abilities – so it was interesting to find out about his adoption and relationship with his nationality & race; it would have been nice to dig a bit deeper into this area (especially given the high profile incident later in his career with Harbhajan Singh), but it’s his personal life after all – it’s entirely up to him how much to share. The inclusion of graphics makes the stats sections less dry (and I say that as a stats fan), plus it’s a nice touch to have little stories from his closest teammates & friends dotted throughout. It’s a quick read, but pretty entertaining.
On the box
Beyond the Boundary: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Australia 2020 (Netflix) ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
I’m still finding my feet as far as current players go, so it was great to find this hour-long highlights show of the most recent Women’s T20 World Cup. After getting my head around the fact that they just managed to get the entire tournament in before the world shut down, I was filled with joy at the story of the Thailand team (especially their excitement at playing against some of their idols) as well as disappointed at the England team’s results. Overall though it was brilliant to see how well attended the final was, and that women’s cricket seems to be going from strength to strength.
Not much else going on this month, as everything’s warming up either for the County Championship or the IPL… I was very happy that Middle Please, Umpire returned for a second series – and their first guest was only Joe bloody Root! I’d definitely recommend giving it a listen, for the interview and also for Miles absolutely losing it at the end. I also started listening to Mark Nicholas’ new podcast, Not Just Cricket, which opens with a fascinating chat with Virat Kohli.
Featured image credit: BCCI