Too many test matches are turning the England cricket team stale

We need to cut the number of matches if we want our players to be at their best

Share

I have been an avid follower of cricket since I was five. I am a member of The Primary Club and I’ve attended England matches as far away as Barbados.

I’m also fairly regular at Lord’s, if I can get away from the endless meetings which seem to dominate my diary these days, and love watching local cricket matches on village greens, or seeing my sons play.

But even I am losing enthusiasm for the never-ending schedule of Test matches which the England and Wales Cricket Board have organised for this summer.

It really has been a pretty awful summer of sport for England fans – be it cricket, football, tennis or cycling – in sharp contrast to the glorious successes of 2012. I won’t pretend to know much about the other sports (although I know that our football performance was pretty dire!) but I have some pretty firm ideas about how Alastair Cook and the England cricket team can end their miserable run of defeats.

The pressure of being a captain has clearly got to Cook, who has not made a century in 27 innings and has overseen nine Tests without a victory. He is averaging only 14.33 in the five Tests that have taken place this year – yet this is a man who has scored 25 Test centuries, an England record.

This pressure has taken its toll not only on Cook’s batting but also on his decision-making, which is crucial in the role of skipper. Since winning the Ashes last summer, Cook has overseen a 5-0 annihilation by Australia and I believe his decision not to declare in the first Sri Lanka Test at the start of this summer cost us the series, which we ended up losing 1-0.

This is a man who is not enjoying leading the England team, and his comments about the “tap on the shoulder” earlier this week were telling. It sounds like he wants the selectors to appoint someone else captain and let Cook get on with being a successful opening batsman.

But instead of Cook being able to regroup – to refresh and rethink our strategy – he has to go from a Test match that finished on Monday to one that starts as soon as this Sunday. Test four and five follow soon after.

Read more:
Strauss backs Alistair Cook but refuses to tip him for long-term success

The schedule this summer is so crammed that ticket sales for the third Test, in Southampton, are low, and there’s reduced corporate sponsorship for the match. Normally, businesses queue up to have their name splashed on boards at national sports fixtures but with five-Test summers becoming seven-Test summers it seems that once again, you can’t buck the markets.

Companies know audiences are low because people are bored of watching a tired England team playing endless Test matches which used to be exciting and exclusive.

The focus on quantity rather than quality is something which many of us feared when we saw Allen Stanford fly his helicopter into Lord’s with $20m to launch the 20Twenty series back in 2008. While Stanford serves a 110-year sentence for his Ponzi scheme, his influence on the ECB is still resonating.

We need to cut the number of matches we are playing, and let our players perform at their best when they do take to the hallowed turf at Lord’s and other grounds beloved of cricket fans. When we know we will be getting a quality performance and not conveyor-belt cricket then we’ll be buying our tickets and shouting our ever-helpful advice from the stands once again.

Ukip’s reshuffle is informed by quality, not quotas

Ukip yesterday released details of our new team of spokesmen and women who will help to take the party forward to the General Election and beyond. One of the benefits of not having all-women shortlists and similar is that we know the women who represent us are there on merit.

This is a key reason why, compared with Cameron’s reshuffle – which looked to all the world like a PR exercise – my team not only has a higher percentage of women in top positions but voters can be sure they are talented and hard-working.

Newly elected MEP Louise Bours will be taking the health portfolio and will be directly countering the preposterous assertions by Labour that Ukip would privatise the NHS. The role of communities spokesman has been taken by Amjad Bashir MEP, who lives in Yorkshire and is a successful businessman. As a Muslim and a proud patriot, he is an excellent example of how communities in the UK can work together and embrace their differences rather than exclude each other.

Steven Woolfe, who took to the stage with Mr Bashir at our London conference in May, will be our spokesman on immigration. Of mixed heritage, he is a key figure in promoting a sensible immigration policy based on need and quality. He will also maintain his role as financial spokesman – an area he proved he knows when he questioned the president of the European Central Bank last week in Strasbourg.

And I have handed the portfolio for voicing our tax and spend policies to Patrick O’Flynn whose journalism experience in will ensure he can articulate our vision.

READ MORE
How to deal with Putin without crossing a moral red line
Adele knows that privacy is the best gift she can give her son
Israel is attempting to deal rationally with its enemy

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The campaigning is over. So now we wait...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
In this handout provided by NASA from the the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, weather system Arthur travels up the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida in space. The robotic arm of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System or Canadarm2 is seen at upper right. According to reports, Arthur has begun moving steadily northward at around 5 kt. and the tropical storm is expected to strike the North Carolina Outer Banks  

Thanks to government investment, commercial space travel is becoming a reality

Richard Branson
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week