‘A MISTAKE is only a mistake if made twice,’ is clearly a belief that neither the ICC nor the English Cricket Board subscribe to.
That can, surely, be the only conclusion to what, for the second time in four years, seems destined to be a largely forgettable World Cup for both cricket fans across the globe and those of us hoping that Andrew Strauss’ men can follow last May’s Twenty20 triumph with further one-day success.
Lessons have clearly not been learned from 2007 when a bloated format meant the competition went on for what seemed like an eternity, a feeling we are likely to experience again in the 43 days it will take to complete this year’s World Cup.
Such a ridiculous length of time would be excessive in a football World Cup when 32 teams are competing but only 14 countries are involved in the ICC jamboree – so why the convoluted way of deciding the quarter-final line-up? I was fortunate enough to be at the Bridgetown Oval for England’s final group game of the 2007 World Cup as Brian Lara’s farewell to international cricket ended in a one-wicket defeat for the West Indies. The game was enjoyable, though ultimately a pointless affair considering both teams were already out. I fear a repeat next month.
In terms of English hopes of success, a failure to learn from the past has also been evident in a pre-World Cup schedule that is, if anything, even more draining than four years ago when the team arrived in the West Indies looking flat.
An Ashes tour in which England had been thrashed 5-0 in the Test series but triumphed in a three-team one-day series that took a month to complete had clearly taken its toll, even allowing for the couple of weeks break that preceded flying out for their first warm-up game in the Caribbean against Bermuda.
This time around, Strauss’ men have not even been afforded that respite with their time at home before flying out to Bangladesh a week ago amounting to just four days.
It is a crazy situation ahead of a tournament that will be played in a hugely testing environment and one that I believe will cost England dear.