Congratulations to England’s 50-over cricket team. But let’s keep a sense of proportion. English sportsmen won World Cups in 1966 and 2003 by outscoring the opposition. The cricketers won thanks to the small print in the Ts&Cs. You’d need the soul of a contract lawyer (or the breathless enthusiasm of a TV presenter) to regard that as a comparable sporting achievement.
What would have been so offensive about having co-champions? The first ICC Champions Trophy (another One-Day International cricket tournament) was shared by India and Sri Lanka. The result on Sunday at Lords – as, not far away, at Wimbledon – was unsatisfactory for being contrived. Cricket used to be a game in which a draw or a tie was an acceptable conclusion. In the most famous case, known as The Timeless Test, England and South Africa slugged it out over nine days, whereupon they declared the result a draw so that the English players could catch their boat home. At the time England were 654 for 5 in their second innings, chasing 696 to win. Another hour’s play would have been enough, but a draw was in their blood.
If the 50-over white-ball triumph has whetted your appetite, the first six weeks of the new football season overlap with the cricket season. On a Saturday afternoon, football and cricket will usually clash. But if you’re traveling a long way and making a weekend of it, you could take in some top-class cricket. Here are a few examples:
Swansea City at Derby, 10 Aug; T20 Blast Derbyshire v Durham, 9 Aug
Luton Town at Cardiff, 10 Aug; T20 Blast Glamorgan v Surrey, 11 Aug
Liverpool at Southampton, on 17 Aug, T20 Blast Hampshire v Surrey 16 Aug
Bristol City at Derby, 20 Aug; County Championship Derbyshire v Gloucestershire, 18-21 Aug
Plymouth Argyle at Northampton, 31 Aug; T20 Blast Northants v Worcestershire, 30 Aug