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
Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt: Examining the Impact of 'Taker's WWE WrestleMania return
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
It's time to stop the 'small club' jibes after Chelsea signed £200m Yokohama deal
Paul Scholes: Jose Mourinho's attempt to influence football's decision-makers is not working. In fact, it may have backfired
After record-breaking £5.136bn Premier League TV deal, why are Everton the only British club to win in Europe?
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...