Monday, 9 November 2009

The Real Deal

The lack of recent posts on this blog is indicative of the low-key start to England's tour of South Africa. Even cricket die-hards seem unaware that the first international match of this winter tour is on Friday (the first of two Twenty20 matches). What chance does the average sports fan have when the impressive victories against the Diamond Eagles and the Warriors (love those names!) have hardly been mentioned on the BBC or in the papers?

Yet this tour is the real deal. England, on a high after their Ashes success, are about to come up against the number one ranked Test side in the world - we will learn a lot over the next few months. Do the doommongers who point out that England should never have won the Ashes anyway, after scoring two centuries in the entire series, have a point after all?

And we will learn a lot about Stuart Broad, England's poster boy, the heartbeat of the team, the future, the new Ian Botham. He may be an 'Ashes hero and all-round good bloke' according to the Independent on Sunday, but can he continue where he left off in the summer? Can he bring that bowling average down from 35.78? At the same stage in his career, Beefy's average was 19.27.

At least, for once, we have something approaching a decent schedule to work with. Three, yes that's right, three one-day warm-ups before the Twenty20s, and another before the first of five ODIs, then two two-day matches (okay, nothing's perfect) before four Tests. Now I am excited.

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