“There is a distinct difference between suspense and surprise, and yet many pictures continually confuse the two.” – Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock may have been discussing the finer points of filmmaking, but he could have just as easily been talking about sport—an endeavor defined by soul crushing anxiety. Yet, of its innumerable permutations, perhaps no sport is better representative of terror in its most distilled form than cricket. And considering that one of Hitchcock’s films uses the 1938 Ashes as a major plot point, who’s to say he wasn’t acutely aware of this fact?
Filed under Test, The Ashes
Darren Bravo in Barbados. Photo Credit: YouTube
Bar English supporters, no one wanted to see Joe Root step into the crease in Barbados. Throughout the series, Root had terrorized the West Indies bowling attack—the most impressive performance being a masterful innings of 182 not out in the second Test. For nearly six hours, Root had been nothing less than omnipotent, swatting 21 boundaries, including four sixes. As England’s tenth wicket fell, Root stood alone—the architect of a 464 first-innings total that would ultimately undo the West Indies.
As Root strode out of the English dressing room a week later in Bridgetown, the outlook of a West Indian victory looked no less promising. Yet, with the third Test on a precipice, it would be Root who would fall. With Jason Holder bowling, Root attempted a defensive stroke: The ball caught an edge and carried into the open palms of the man at first slip. After facing just 13 balls and with a solitary run to his name, Root was dismissed. The Kensington Oval roared. Holder leaped into the air, his fist clenched, howling emphatically. Smiles stretched across the faces of the West Indian fielders. They realized how momentous this catch was. Root was gone. England had managed just 28 runs at the cost of four wickets in their second innings. Victory seemed within reach.
Jason Holder celebrates his maiden century in Antigua.
The West Indies are finished, don’t you know? They’re in irrevocable decline. Cricket in the Caribbean is dead.
Fortunately, no one seems to have told Jason Holder and Jermaine Blackwood.
Colin Graves, the incoming ECB chairman, is a self-proclaimed “cricket nut.” Amid lagging attendance and claims that the game’s longer formats bore modern audiences, Graves has made it his mission to “reclaim cricket as the national summer sport.” Graves wants to see the game thrive. He simply loves cricket, you see.
That’s why it’s a bit baffling that he wants less of it.
And’s he’s back—well, back at Surrey at least. After a pitched, yearlong battle with the ECB, the “muppets” who have the gall to make less than him, and every cricketer who’s donned the whites for England since 2005, Kevin Pietersen has returned to county cricket in an attempt to cross a bridge he torched just months ago. Surely, this will go splendidly.
But Pietersen—whose biography savaged the English cricket establishment upon its release in October—isn’t the first cricketer to cripple his career with an ill-conceived editorial. Along with cricket’s bounty of fine literary works and authors, there’s a history of cricketers being less than prudent in what they put to paper. Enter Cec Parkin, an English off spinner who, much like KP, knew how to rustle the feathers of the establishment.
Although the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup is now in the rearview, there is plenty of exciting international cricket in the coming months ahead.
One tour on the calendar this month that is of great excitement to From Hyderabad to Hove is England’s tour of the West Indies beginning on April 13th and running through May 5th. Windies will feel they can go on and take the series at home given England’s current lack of form.
The 2015 County Championship returns on April 12th with defending champions Yorkshire taking on newly promoted Worcestershire at New Road while Durham travel to the County Ground to face Somerset. The full list of fixtures is below with the start times given in EST.