england cricket

Until last week, Toby Roland-Jones looked a pretty safe bet to be on the plane to Australia for that most celebrated of cricket competitions, the Ashes. Opportunities to participate in the oldest rivalry in cricket are rare and, for those chosen, a childhood dream is realised. For the Middlesex paceman however, that opportunity looks like it has been snatched away by the cruel ghost that haunts fast bowlers everywhere, stress fractures of the lower back.
The spirit and sportsmanship of women players offers real potential for sponsors and brands alike, all of which I hope will also filter down to more grassroots participation. The success of British women's sports teams and the increasing audience numbers is helping to attract attention and where audiences are, advertisers and sponsors will follow.
When England's chances of winning were in doubt, they found a way to become champions - for me, that's what sport is about; the competition, the teamwork, the incredible talent, the excitement, and the euphoria of winning. And I wholeheartedly believe that both the England and Indian team yesterday proved once and for all that that is what women's sport is about too.
Lord's and Bristol were both resplendent at the weekend. Lord's has a natural advantage of being the home of cricket but the four day finish and an easy England win has to give way to the nail-bitter that was Australia's ultimately unsuccessful run chase in the West Country.
We jump on these sporting narratives because they help us understand a complex set of circumstances and seem to make an unpredictable tournament seem more predictable. These narratives are continued by brands, media and rights holders because they successfully bring people closer to the game, but they don't necessarily speak to what is really going on. To truly judge England at major tournaments, the skill is getting behind the headline, and finding the complicated reasons, not the simple ones.
Cricket captains tend to have a limited life span in the current climate. The South African Graham Smith, unusually given
Despite overcast skies and intermittent rain, the Big Bash Derby between Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars on New Year's Day attracted more than 71,000 spectators - down on last year's 80,000 crowd, given the conditions, but still an attendance figure that marketing directors in England can only dream about.
England are producing spinners but they need to be thinking about the longer format of the game and how they can get wickets. It is easier said than done of course but England will continue to struggle in the sub-continent until we can answer this conundrum of what to do about spinners in English cricket.
The second Test between England and Pakistan beginning tomorrow (July 22) at Old Trafford has acquired a strange tension, which is vastly more intense and different from the buzz surrounding the crowd reaction to Mohammed Amir's return to the stage where he had let the cricketing world down.
England cricket supporters will not doubt lament the defeat to Pakistan at Lords over the weekend as what might have been. Chris Woakes came out as a hero in defeat and there were cameos from some of the batsmen but no hundreds to match that of Misbah Ul Haq that might have made the difference.