I’m looking forward to going back to work on Friday. I don’t love my job or anything like that, but the end of 2014 has been a bit of a ball-ache in my personal life; I’ve got a minging cold at the moment, and a ton of stuff to sort out in January that make actual work seem like a mightily trivial concern. Well, more of a “mightily trivial concern” than normal…
So I got to thinking about my hopes for 2015. Of course, “personal life” hopes are boring as hell, so more specifically, I got to thinking about my hopes for cricket in 2015. Happily there were 5, which if I wasn’t an adult could well be one of my favourite numbers.
1. I hope the England and Wales Cricket Board can provide me with a cricket team worth getting behind again.
It is difficult to describe how I feel about them at the moment, but it certainly feels quite ‘cool’ to enjoy them not winning. It’s not that I particular want any individual to fail, but when there is a confused mess of an England set up, from top to middle, providing me and many others with practically countless occasions where it has been too easy to shrug off a loss or shocking performance and just think “I told you so”, it isn’t a great situation for anyone really. I want to feel anger about losses, not ambivalent – and certainly not borderline smug.
2. I want to watch more cricket live this year.
A combination of time constraints, employment, botheredness, car issues, and even (bloody) weddings put paid to most of the times I had earmarked to attend cricket last year. I saw one day of cricket in total, at Lords against India…Day 4. I enjoyed it, in spite of it being one of the worst days English cricket has seen since…Headingley, about two months previous? I always enjoy cricket though. I’ve lined up a day at the impossible to reach Bowl against New Zealand in an ODI, and I must watch Hampshire/Somerset more this year too.
I’m actually planning on playing some cricket again this year. Hopefully at a terribly low standard. I want to bowl leg spin, and bat at 7. I want to field at cover point. I want at least one score above twenty, all via boundaries. I don’t want to be stood at deep backward square leg in the drizzle. I want one of those terrible cricketer tans; above the neck and on the forearms only.
4. A Resurgent West Indies.
They have Kemar Roach, averaging less than 26 with the ball in Tests. In Kraigg Brathwaite they have a 22 year old opener with 3 Test tons to his name in his last 11 Tests. They have Shiv Chanderpaul, defying the ageing process, with his stance becoming squarer by the innings – (the next time you’ll see him he’ll be batting right-handed!*).. They’ve also got the most fractious relationship between their board and their players in world cricket. They’ve got the threat of a £30m fine looming over their heads following the withdrawal from the tour of India. They barely play any cricket and have sacked their three best players. I don’t know how, but please get good, West Indies. If you can’t do it for regional pride, or to pay homage to your glittering history, or just for the sake of the global game of cricket, then please…do it for me?
*not my phrase, but worth stealing.
5. A good World Cup.
First of all, let me state: the format is fucking terrible. Like, genuinely god-awful. I actually looked into going out to Australia to visit family/friends during the period of the World Cup – I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the fixtures and format. There is no incentive for anyone to travel to any of the host cities. You’ll get one game, two at most if you’re happy to stay for 3 weeks. Given there are only 12 teams competing, I can’t believe one country doesn’t host the tournament on it’s own; at least then fans might see some cricket for their mileage.
What’s the thinking behind the two groups of 7 teams format? Surely there’s more to it than just an excuse to get India to play more games in the tournament? SURELY?!! I literally have no other reason as to why else it could be a good idea.
Anyway, I hope the associate nations come good; best of luck to Scotland, Ireland, the Afghans and the UAE. I also hope the low ranked, useless nations who are Full Members perform well too – I’m thinking Zimbabwe, the aforementioned Windies, and, yes, even England. I’m hoping for tight finishes in every game I watch. I’m hoping for, well, a World Cup that won’t happen. A winner not from India or Australia, ideally.