TICKETS will shortly go on sale for next year’s World Cup, with Emerald Headingley set to stage four matches, including England’s game against Sri Lanka.
Interest in the competition will be high; so much so, England captain Eoin Morgan is adamant that it will not be the last such 50-over global showdown, despite the ever encroaching threat of T20 and, if the England and Wales Cricket Board get their way, T16.4 (yuck).
“There are more World Cups ahead,” said Morgan, as though gazing into a crystal ball. There will be 50-over World Cups in the future.”
Not so long ago, as readers of these ramblings may remember, presuming they were actually able to stay awake for long enough, I would not have batted an eyelid if 50-over cricket had suddenly keeled over and died a death.
The format, in my view, had been rendered pedestrian by T20 and my position – and indeed that of quite a few players – was that the best solution would be to play first-class and T20 only, which would have created more space, too, in an overcrowded schedule.
Not any more, however.
If you cannot enjoy the one-day cricket that England are playing, with the 50-over format at least allowing the game to develop in a way that T20 does not, then it is a shameChris Waters
Thanks largely to Morgan and his band of merry men, I have completely changed my mind on 50-over cricket and come to discover an enjoyment for it that I thought I had lost forever, with England having played some of the most exhilarating one-day cricket one could possibly wish to see in recent times, following on from the fearless example set by New Zealand and their former captain, Brendon McCullum.
In fact, and I promise you that I am not sickening for something, I am actually looking forward to next year’s World Cup – not least because England have a great chance of lifting the trophy on home soil.
Granted, many people said the same thing last year when England hosted the Champions Trophy and fell at the semi-final hurdle against Pakistan, but no-one will fancy playing this England side on their own patch, particularly now that they have experienced the disappointment of coming up short under the pressure of being favourites, which they can, hopefully, use to their advantage.
Why, I might even pinch a £50 note from the sports editor’s money belt and put it on England to prevail – assuming, of course, that I can track him down first on the golf course.
But enough of such irreverent tomfoolery.
The point is that England are playing some outstanding one-day cricket at present, regularly posting totals in excess of 350 and even going beyond the magic 400 figure twice, including when they registered the format’s record score of 444-3 against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in 2016.
The side is positively packed with match-winners, with both bat and ball, and the fielding skills are second to none.
If you cannot enjoy the one-day cricket that England are playing, with the 50-over format at least allowing the game to develop in a way that T20 does not, then it is a shame, for you are missing out on a treat at present.
If 50-over cricket can withstand the threat posed by T20 et al, then it will be thanks in no small part to Morgan and the way that his side are taking the format forward, in the process creating a buzz of anticipation in the build-up to a World Cup that they are more than capable of winning.