East Zone v West Zone at Valsad, Duleep Trophy #2

I wasn’t planning on writing a post tonight, but I thought I should, considering all that has happened since I last posted: Australia completed their 4-0 whitewash of India, Pakistan shocked the world and England, winning the series 2-0 with one Test left to play, and Zimbabwe was positively crushed by New Zealand in Napier.

What does this tell us? That every Test nation is positively shit in foreign conditions.

(I stole that from someone on Twitter, but I cannot for the life of me remember who it was – sorry, forgotten Tweeter.)

But is that really true?

There have been 32 Test series since the start of the 2010 Summer in England, and the hosts have won 12 of those series. 11 were draws. Nine were won by the visiting nation.

Almost an even three-way split.

Now, of course, the above was an unscientific analysis – it does not account for India playing in Sri Lanka in familiar circumstances, for instance, but I think as a 30,000 foot overview of World Cricket, it speaks volumes: winning away from home is not impossible, and England and India should not be let off the hook for their capitulations, and on the same note Pakistan and Australia’s teams deserve ALL of the plaudits they are getting from the press.

And it also tells me that cricket is in dire need of a Test Playoff.  Imagine if we were to get treated with Pakistan v Australia this summer at Lord’s?

But, no, we get three weeks of International T20s instead.

Yawn.

But do really need the Test Playoff?

I mentioned over on Twitter that cricket has made me rethink all that I know about sport. Specifically, I meant test cricket, and how there is no championship, no season: just series after series after series.

It is a statement on infinity, on endlessness.  Test cricket does not last five days, it lasts forever, and ever and ever. That’s its lesson, that’s what it is teaching us.

That is an utterly foreign concept for me, and I think that is why I crave the Test Playoff – my mind is trying to find a pattern in the wallpaper; and maybe that is something I should avoid trying to do.

Reprogram myself to look at sport from a different angle.

Like England playing Pakistani spin in the desert.

A few housekeeping notes:

– the 199 series returns tomorrow.

– Look late next week for a Limited Overs style preview of the Bangladesh Premiere League.

– No test matches, aside from the dead rubber in the UAE, until March the 7th (New Zealand v South Africa.) After that: it all starts up again with England in Sri Lanka and Australia in the West Indies.

Which is fine, I need a break.  Last week was wild.  I ate and drank nothing but Test cricket for five straight days.  My days started with Zimbabwe and New  Zealand and ended 12 hours later with Pakistan and England; Australia and India were sandwiched inbetween.  I slept maybe five hours a night.  That kind of schedule is not compatible with a healthly lifestyle, so I think I am going to enjoy these next few weeks.

Until next time.

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