It’s a good job I don’t have a fan base. I think it’s fair to assume that two necessary ingredients of successful blog writing are ideas and motivation. Most of the time, I lack both. Occasionally ideas do come, sudden, monsoon-like, and I write a messy paragraph or two. This usually occurs when I’ve had access to live test cricket (either via TV or radio). Today, though, I got fed up of waiting for the monsoon so I artificially inseminated the clouds (or whatever it is they do with clouds). This light shower of words is the result.
Like most British showers, this isn’t necessarily indicative of what will follow. But who knows, now that I’ve done this post I may get two or three out in quick succession, Stuart Broad-style. Actually, rather than using a bowling analogy, I shall think of my ‘posts to days’ ratio as runs to balls. At the time of writing, I am 2 from 46 (strike rate – 4.35, minutes at the crease – 66,240). I am a keen admirer of patient batting, but let’s hope I pick up the pace a bit. Consider this meagre post a reluctant single off the edge of my bat, with which I move to 3 (47).
The other night, I was watching as one of the TV cameras caught England captain Joe Root mouthing the words to Jerusalem, while the Barmy Army’s chorus roared around the MCG. His team had taken to the field on the fourth morning of the fourth test, with a first innings lead. They were gearing up to bowl Australia out and complete their first win of the 2017/18 Ashes Series.
I don’t consider myself a patriotic person but the sight of Joe Root, ten thousand miles from home, understatedly singing the English anthem, was a stirring one. Following weeks of disappointment and criticism, here was a man fragile but resurgent. He appeared emotional and determined. His team had spent the previous few days turning the tide, answering the critics. Root appeared on my screen as a wounded man on the mend, participating in hymn, gathering strength, willing his side to victory.
England needed a win to restore pride. That’s what we were all thinking, going into that fourth test with the series at 3-0. England didn’t win. The result was a draw. Nevertheless, some pride was restored. I believe that’s what we saw when we saw Joe Root singing Jerusalem. The broadcasters knew they had noticed something special happening. The camera excitedly focused on the young captain. And, for a few seconds, we saw pride being restored.