05 January 2007

Just a fan

When Chris Read was belatedly recalled to the England cricket team in August, the BBC’s Jonathan Agnew wrote:

“It is to be hoped that [Read’s] return comes with the similarly generous guarantee of an extended run that Jones was given in Antigua."

Which I thought was admirably even-handed of him, and I said so in one of my earlier rants!

Yesterday, after Chris Read had played 3 and a half Tests, Agnew wrote:

“[Read] is not a number seven batsman at this level”.

What price generosity and even-handedness?

Of course, I berated him on the Test Match Special blog – but in truth, I have to wonder if he is right. Ready’s scores of 3, 26 not out, 2 & 4 in this woeful Ashes series can hardly be characterised as a man seizing his opportunity – even though his wicket-keeping has, of course, been world class.

Chris Read’s misfortune in coming up against one of the truly great test sides, at the top of their devastating form, reminds me of the fate which befell many England batsmen in the 1970s, when granted the dubious privilege of a tour to the West Indies!

The truth is that, in almost every department – including management and preparation – this England team has been soundly beaten by the best team in the world. What this tells us long term about the abilities of the players involved is difficult to say. They have played well against lesser Test sides, and it may be harsh to discount them on the evidence of this hammering, embarrassing as it has been.

My fear is that the customary rush to judgement will be unfair on many of them – Chris Read included.

Anyone wondering about my record as a sports pundit might also like to know that, after my early and vehement criticism (see September 06 archive), my beloved Green Bay Packers managed a record of 8-8 in the NFL regular season and very nearly made the playoffs. Their season, which began with a 26-0 shutout loss to their old rivals the Chicago Bears, ended with a 26-7 win at the Bears. Symmetry and hope for continued improvement – hope deferred if legendary QB Brett Favre does not return for another year!

After all, in Football as in Cricket, what do I know? I’m just a fan!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home