“There can be no summer in England without Cricket.” wrote Neville Cardus, an English author. Truly in the long days of English summer when there is no school or not much else to disturb, people make their way into the grounds or glue themselves with the T.V or the radio for County Cricket or International Test matches.
After last year’s world cup and a headingly heroic by Ben Stokes in the last Ashes, every cricket fan was eagerly waiting for another exciting summer. Although, due to Coronavirus the whole world has come to a standstill, no cricket was possible in England in may.
The Great Fan Base of “Barmy Army”
When every Cricket board was looking for the September-October window or even the next year, ECB informed that cricket would return to England from July 8 behind close doors for the very fist time post the COVID pandemic. That means, every spectators of Barmy Army would miss their players in action with a cup of beer in hand but still it would be far better than a Cricketless English Summer.
West Indies had flown to England for 3 test matches in 3 weeks. After landing to Manchester, they had gone through a three week quarantine period before moving to the bubble of Ageas Bowl, which had contained the players, match officials and the the broadcast team with everyone stayed into the hotel besides the ground. Everyone had to go through tests before going to the ground.
Black Lives Matter Movement:
But can you imagine a test match in England without rain ? no, never. Although when the action began, test cricket needed just 10 deliveries to get its first victim after resumption. This series was also played for one of the most important aspects of the current world, Black Lives Matter (BLM). ECB had also made sure that the players should sanitized their hands during the games and we had also seen the umpires to sanitize the balls after being hit out of the ground or if someone mistakenly use saliva on it.
Stuart Broad Picked up his 500th Test Wicket:
Lots of discussion went on the omission of Stuart Broad from the 1st test that might be the reason behind England’s loss in the match. Teams then had moved to the bubble of Manchester for the 2nd & 3rd test. An all-round performance of Ben Stokes helped Joe Root and his troops winning the game which brought an extra excitement for the last test.
On the fifth morning, Stuart Broad, in his 14th year of test Cricket reached the milestone of 500 test victims when he scalped opener Kraig Braithwaite, who co-incidentally also was the 500th wicket of Jimmy Anderson. England went on to win the test match and series by 2-1 thanks to Broad Bluster. “It’s been challenging in the bubble, mentally getting worn out.” Said West Indies captain Jason Holder “Same hotels, same rooms, definately been challenging.”
Jimmy Anderson Touched 600th Landmark:
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board also had agreed to play 3 test and same number of t20s with the first being played in Old Trafford before teams moving to Ageas Bowl for the 2nd and 3rd test matches. Due to Shan Masood 150, Pakistan remained favourite for most of the time to win the test math. But a worst session on day 3 saw England coming on top, thanks to a brilliant partnership of Buttler & Woakes.
The second test was dominated by rain and bad light. Both teams could only play their first innings and just like the last test series, the whole focus shifted to the 3rd and final test of the summer. Young Zak Crawley’s superb 230 and a special innings of Jos Buttler saw England posting a mammoth score. James Anderson took his 29th 5-fer and becomes the first pacer in the history of the game to take 600 test wickets. Another draw match means Eng will enjoy another series victory by 1-0 which again shows us that one bad session could cost you the whole test series.
A Tough Bubble Life For the Players:
In between those two test series, we had also enjoyed a good ODI series between England and Ireland. England has taken so much responsibility along with the other teams to maintain the bio-secure bubble. In a world where we have seen 11 members and two Indian player of the Chennai Super Kings franchiese has been caught by the corona virus in 24hours in the bubble in the IPL preparation camp, the England Cricket Board (ECB) has done exceptionally well to maintain the rules and protocoals of the bubble and play two back-to-back test series. They are also going to organize a series limited over formats against the touring Aussies.
That’s a terricfic job from ECB, the match officials and from the players of all the teams who have come, been in the bio-bubble for so many times, always keep themselves charged up and fit with all those mental toughness, after been away from the family. We all wil hope to see the same way of taking responsibility from rest of the teams and their boards.