The Press Tent: GE2017 Edition
Theresa May’s ill-advised decision to call for a general election spilled over into the world of cricket journalism and we can’t decide if it was hilarious or tragic.
Little bit of politics
Clued-up readers of the Press Tent – and, let’s face it, is there any other kind? – will know that the good people of the United Kingdom have gone to the polls for yet another general election. At press time the polls remained open, but by the time you read this it should be clear enough whether Theresa May has won a big majority or a massive one.
But what is certain is that an election has taken place. And this has not gone unnoticed at The Cricketer, which is, like all things English cricket, a Tory bastion despite currently being helmed by English cricket’s 39th Most Powerful Man, the vaguely progressive Simon Hughes.
Nevertheless, the magazine’s Huw Turbervill has noticed something uncanny. This 2017 election is happening in the same year as Some Cricket. Using this as his leaping-off point, the intrepid correspondent has gone back through the archives and discovered that this coincidence is no one-off. Remarkably, in the year of every UK election since the war, there has also been Some Cricket.
The statgasms don’t stop there. England have won some series in election year, while losing others. The County Championship has also been won (or shared) by one (or more) of the 18 first-class counties in every single election year.
Turbervill, perhaps unsurprisingly, is unable to spin this cricket-election tie-in beyond 269 words and resorts to a classic student word-count-padding technique of simply listing all the election results since the war, alongside the salient cricket details. We’ve all done it.
He does also manage to accidentally call the Prime Minister a man (“Messrs May, Corbyn, Farron and co…”) and has surely buried the lede in reducing an anecdote trailed in a sub-heading that would also have made a cracking Half Man Half Biscuit song – “Mrs Thatcher was a Worcestershire Fan” – to a throwaway line about the Ladies Pavilion at New Road.
“The British public,” muses Turbervill, “has had its fill of elections and referendums in recent times.” Indeed.
The entertaining feud between Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi continues. It’s fair to say the pair don’t get on, andhaven’t done so for at least a decade.
After Shahid Afridi singled out the feisty Gambhir as the only Indian cricketer he couldn’t be friends with, Gambhir has suggested that Afridi’s brain may share its owner’s body’s apparent ability to defy the passage of time.
Into the unlikely role of mediator steps Shoaib Akhtar to declare both men “beautiful humans” whose decade-long spat is down to a simple misunderstanding, and reckons the pair can and will hug at their next meeting.
If Shoaib manages to sort this, we need to get him involved in the far less thorny USA-Russia thing.
Long to rain over us
It is a well established fact that England is the only cricketing nation where it ever rains, and it has been raining plenty during the first week of the Champions Trophy.
After Australia suffered a frustrating washout against Bangladesh – admittedly one featuring some of the self-defeating nonsense at which cricket truly excels – Steve Smith cut a frustrated figure, passive-aggressively blaming the day-night scheduling and then the groundsmen, who “perhaps could have shown a bit more urgency” but confusingly also “did the best job they could”.
Yet this ignores the fact that the rain has helped, not hindered, Australia. After two games of the tournament Australia have precisely the amount of points they deserve, while rivals New Zealand are one point down.
And all this while England, previously the most reliable comedy performers in one-day cricket, have cannily played their games when it hasn’t rained and, almost as cleverly, won them.
Michael Vaughan latest
It is with a heavy heart that we must confirm Michael Vaughan has been at it again this week. To save time and our own sanity, the Press Tent will in future only provide updates in any week when, against the odds, Michael Vaughan has not been at it again.
Nasser Hussain Commentary Exchange of the Week
Kumar Sangakkara: “We had some good chats when we played. You had a lot of nicknames for me. The only one I can repeat on air, I think, is ‘Cymbals’.”
Nasser Hussain: “Yeah, there were others… South Africa are 130-1.”
Read of the Week
Vithushan Ehantharajah writing about Kumar Sangakkara’s batting is very nearly as good as Kumar Sangakkara’s batting. This piece on the hundred that wasn’t is masterful match reporting.
Broad v Warner and Root v Lyon – the key Ashes clashes this winter
The match-up between the rival pace attacks also promises to shape the series.
Ireland’s Amy Hunter becomes youngest batter to hit international century
On her 16th birthday, Hunter struck an unbeaten 121.
Joe Root credited for getting England’s strongest squad together for Ashes tour
Concerns over Australia’s Covid travel restrictions and the prospect of multiple withdrawals were real enough last week.
England’s squad for Ashes tour has a familiar look about it
Fears over players opting out due to concerns over Australia’s travel restrictions have not materialised.
The Ashes: Matthew Wade says there are ‘challenging parts’ to Covid requirements
An ECB board meeting on Friday approved the tour Down Under ‘subject to several critical conditions being met’.
On this day in 2013: Sachin Tendulkar calls time on cricket career
The India batter remains Test cricket’s highest run scorer with 15,921 runs.
England prepare to name strong Ashes squad as withdrawal threat eases
Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer are likely to be the only high-profile absentees after the tour was provisionally given the go-ahead.
ECB gives green light to men’s Ashes tour subject to ‘critical conditions’
Australia’s rigid Covid-19 restrictions are understood to have caused concerns among England players.