It’s been a long while since we shared our thoughts on the world of cricket. A lot has happened in that time. With England and Australia set to do battle once again, in both ODI and Test cricket for both men and women no less, it is high time we covered some of the last 18 months.
The best ODI side in the world
So England are the best ODI side in the world. They were briefly displaced by India but are now back atop the pile. The style of cricket England have played has been fantastic, including a 5–0 mauling of the Australians in 2018 which included a world record ODI score of 481. We were lucky enough to be there. England and India are rightly clear of the rest, but player-for-player England are the better side. Any ODI world 11 would certainly contain a number of England players: Roy, Bairstow, Root, Buttler and Stokes would all have a very strong shout, and whilst England’s bowlers may be more closely challenged by others they are a very effective unit with no weak links.
Let’s get it over and dealt with. It was very tempting to write something at the time, but we try really hard to stay focused on the positives of the game. There are plenty of positives to be found here. (1) The Australians have been reminded of the importance of the spirit of cricket and can hopefully start to play hard but fair as their great side(s) of the 90’s/00’s did. (2) The authorities dished out appropriately hard punishments which have sent a loud and clear message. (3) The players weren’t the only people held responsible: quite rightly the toxic culture in Australian cricket was recognised and heads in Cricket Australia rolled. We feel that perhaps Steve Smith was given a harsher punishment than justified if it is true he wasn’t involved in the planning. On the other hand, David Warner has been given far too many chances, if it was up to us he wouldn’t be playing international cricket again.
What an absolute legend and incredible servant of the game. He will be very sorely missed. Over 12,000 runs at an average of 45 is a fantastic record for any batter in the modern era, and even more so an opening batter. His exceptional 147 was a fitting final innings for a true legend of the game.
The world cup
What a topsy-turvy world cup it has been. England having a wobble but then finishing strong. New Zealand starting strong but then scraping into the semi-finals, and then making it through to the final. A very average Australian team thrashing England in the group stage and nearly finishing top of the group. Afghanistan didn’t win a game but were involved in several very close and exciting games which provided enormous entertainment and more than justified their inclusion in the tournament. Pakistan their mercurial best almost making the semi-finals depite being crushed in the first game by the West Indies.