Thursday, April 17, 2008

England awakes

The sun begins to peek around the clouds, the mind turns to Pimms, we brush the dust from our neglected Betjemans, we reacquaint ourselves with the sleepy willows beside the river bank and rejoice once again in the English summer.

The excitement of a gentle joys and quiet passions of another cricket season wells up once again, just as quickly as the receding bitter memories of winter torments in hostile climes are suppressed.

Huzzah! The summer is here and the cricket returns!

And these initial days of a nascent season already remind us of staple truths from our youth: Mark Ramprakash is still a run tycoon; Andy Caddick still manages to bound in and the best players are still Australian.

I haven’t made any great predictions for the County Championship, other than the obvious coronation of Somerset. Championships are like political elections. Champions rise and fall, underdogs emerge from apparent obliteration, journeymen made are converted into heroes and giants tumble. It is an unpredictable, stochastic and utterly glorious affair.

I anticipate this on-coming season with greater relish than any pretender twenty20 circus or over-hyped international tournament. This is cricket in its purest, essential incarnation: a languid, leisurely past-time aimed at maximising outdoor pleasure in the few patches of sunlight through the clouds. Wonderful.

Of course, getting carried away with the romance of an English summer is impossible to suppress after enduring one of our winters. But, it is a weakness that must be indulged.

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