Has English cricket hit a lower point?
Friday 27 December 1996
English batsmen are no strangers to this type of surface and yet with the glowing exception of John Crawley and, to a lesser extent, Nick Knight, they simply did not have the stomach for the fight. As in Bulawayo, it was the sort of pitch which immediately told a story. It was soon obvious that this was likely to be a low-scoring match, and the very thick and holding outfield endorsed this point.
With the ball coming so slowly on to the bat it was unwise to try and drive anything but the full half-volley, and then only with the foot right to the pitch of the ball. It was the surface on which ones and twos, and not boundaries, were going to be the main source of income. They were conditions in which a three-and-a-half-hour 50 would be invaluable and a seven-hour hundred may be a match-winning innings.
Yet six batsmen were out driving and four of them at balls outside the off-stump without moving their feet across. This begs the question of what was happening in the dressing-room? What were all England's advisers doing? Were they making sure the batsmen knew how to play on this kind of pitch? Did they remind them that certain strokes were business strokes and others were too dangerous?
Was their advice ignored or was it never given? Whatever the answer to that, one is left wondering if English cricket has ever hit the low point it reached yesterday in Harare. It may have been that David Lloyd was so busy defending himself after his hysterical and ill-mannered remarks he made so publicly after the exciting finish in Bulawayo that he did not have enough time to attend fully to the cricket.
The lovely Harare Sports Club was seething with indignation about these unfortunate comments and the words he apparently exchanged with the chairman of the Mashonaland Cricket Association when he tried to congratulate Lloyd on the thrilling finish. The many England supporters were as upset as the Zimbabwean.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United vs Newcastle match report: Brilliant Wayne Rooney scores twice to fire up United's unlikely title challenge
Championship round-up: Emile Heskey back with a bang in Bolton victory
Arsenal vs QPR player ratings: Could anyone outshine new Gunners hero Alexis Sanchez and who was worse than villain Olivier Giroud?
Manchester United 3 Newcastle 1: 'I'm playing like Paul Scholes,' says Wayne Rooney
Sports Quiz of the Year 2014: The Questions
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...