Conversations in a cricket changing room tend to revolve around some common themes, typically; football, cars, and who has the best bit of willow in their bags. A few of the hot topics at present however, are Duckworth Lewis, South Africa, and it seems that KP is an ever present conversational piece in the media.
There are very few batsmen in the world that could have played the innings that KP played against us at Guildford a couple of weeks ago. I have always felt that it is disappointing that the international stars do not play more county cricket, but it is surely even more worrying that international cricket has got to the point where the stars are not turning out for the national team. The England team will be successful with or without KP as there is a wealth of talent in and around the squad, but hopefully his absence, and that of Jacques Kallis for South Africa in the forthcoming ODI series, might prompt more consideration into the various international schedules.
It is not surprising that KP’s innings and the match against Surrey was curtailed by the rain. I am finding it hard to think of a match this season that hasn’t been interrupted in some way, and we are quickly becoming experts in statistical derivations as inevitably, Duckworth/Lewis is used in nearly every limited overs match. Unfortunately for us as a side we have ended up on the losing side of the equation more often than not this season.
With the T20 finals day line-up now completed I really hope that the jet-stream that has blighted our summer stays firmly in the north Atlantic. Although two super overs last year provided some nerve jangling entertainment, it would be a pity if the eventual winner were decided on an equation. Duckworth/Lewis fundamentally considers two primary factors, wickets remaining and overs left to bowl, along with data and some fancy mathematics. Therefore reducing the number of wickets a side has available along with any reduction in overs would keep this fundamental balance. There are probably more sophisticated solutions, but T20 cricket is transforming the limited over format, so it only makes sense that Duckworth/Lewis keeps pace.
Ironically the sun is shining now, and without the probability of rain we are without a fixture for this week. It would be a shame for it to go to waste, so in order to keep the competitive spirit there is nothing like a game of golf to get the juices flowing. In and around some much needed time off, it also gives us a chance to get some fitness and gym work done, in preparation for the next tough phase of the season. We are one of four sides that look like we could be fighting for relegation survival, and these little breaks can really help in refocusing and reinvigorating the team. We still have an opportunity to win a trophy this season in the CB40, and a Lords Final is another special day in a county cricketers’ career.
This week has also given me a chance to watch the end of the test match at the Oval. It was a fantastic lesson in high quality mental and physical strength from the South Africans. They showed that by doing the basics better than England, relentlessly combining discipline and individual flair over long periods of time, they could put the world number 1 side under pressure. England will be bruised after the first test, but all the great sides bounce back with a bite, so I expect Headingley to be a great contest. There is no doubt in my mind that these are the two best sides in world cricket at the moment, it is just a pity that all will be decided after three tests and not five. A victory of England in the second test though would make for a fantastic finale at Lords, and with the prospect of being hailed the best side in the world up for grabs, it would be a real spectacle.