Monday, 29 September 2008

In deep

There are a variety of unusually placed cricket grounds around the world. When I was but a lad I played the one or two games at Grenoside CC in Sheffield. Grenoside is on the side of a large hill…and so is the cricket pitch. The wicket area was flat(ish) but not much good. The worst position to field, by far, was in-the-deep down the hill. It was a tricky place to be. For a start you could not see the batsman play his shots because he was over the lip of the hill. When a shot was played down the hill the first I heard was the fielders shouting that there is a ball coming, followed by a short sprint in the general direction of the ball. Of course I had no chance because I am on a steep hill and the ball just accelerates passed and on down the rest of the hill. In reality you are not a fielder but a ball fetcher – a ball fetcher with at least another 100 meters to go. Getting into a position where I could throw the ball back took a while and the fielders just milled about vaguely amused. It really wasn’t much fun fielding down the hill.

It seems that the England cricket team, like those who played at Grenoside, are not playing on a level playing field. The members of ‘Team England’ have a place in the Pavillion at the top of the hill and seem to be forever having their tea while talented county players flail away unnoticed down the hill. The squad for the tour of India was announced today and Michael Vaughan is not on it. We knew this prior to its announcement because Vaughan has been given a three month sabbatical. Sabbatical? Vaughan’s recent Test form has been terrible. He gave up the Test captaincy and made himself unavailable for selection. He then returned to play for Yorkshire so he could make some runs and get some form back – something he failed miserably at. He was rewarded for all this by having his central contract renewed and now has been given a sabbatical… he must have compromising pictures of Geoff Miller and Max Moseley or something. Cricket is supposed to be a competitive game and surely the selection process must be the same. What on earth must the players who just missed out on a central contact feel? How can the current selection policy possibly be on a level playing field?

1 comment:

Brian Carpenter said...

I completely agree about Vaughan, Rob. Miller in particular seems unable to grasp the concept that maybe, just maybe, Vaughan isn't the player he was and may never be again. He's almost 34 and has a chequered fitness record to put it mildly - he's never going to be the player of 2002-3 again, but will he even be the player of 2005? They seem determined to give him the opportunity to do so, but I wonder what some of the other players think of that?