I know it is late but today's victory by England over Australia in a One Day International cannot pass without mention. Nor for that matter can my hitting the winning runs in our village cricket match on Saturday (A sweet straight drive back past the bowler for four. No backswing, just timed it and leant on it.)
A little inkling of what is to come this summer was on show today in Bristol. We have waited long enough, but a completely new generation of young, hungry, talented England cricketers are ready to strip Australia of their dignity this summer. The team is properly led for the first time in nearly two decades (Vaughan), the bowling is strong and fast and accurate (Harmison / Gough), the fielding is awesome and inspirational (Collingwood / Strauss), and the batting is belligerent and fearless (Flintoff / Pieterson).
Cricket matches of all descriptions are won and lost in the field and finally one feels that England have remembered this. At the end of the day, there is only one way to guarantee winning a test match - and that is to bowl the opposition out twice. Our bowling attack is now strong enough to tolerate one person having an off-day.
But fielding is where you really see how a team is feeling. A team on the up has fielders who are right there all the time, who will run down every ball, stop anything as a matter of pride and make catches and stops that actually inspire each other to even greater heights. Every player on that pitch today will have been lifted a foot watching Collingwood pluck that ball out of the sky. They are responding to each other. They are a team and it shows.
Cricket is not boring. It requires patience, stamina, courage, skill, and intelligence. Cricket is exciting. Cricket rocks!