It’s almost as if other boards have a reciprocal arrangement with the ECB, to make sure that the aggregate total of woe and misery in the British Isles never deepens below a specified nadir.
Consider the 2006-07 Ashes series (for those that acknowledge its existence). England were battered in the tests; yet triumphed in the one dayers. In fact, this appears to be a dynamic well-maintained in most Ashes campaigns.
So, I totted up all England’s results and put them into a spreadsheet, covering a period from 2000 until 29 November 2009. For this period, I have calculated their cumulative score. Each victory is given a +1, each draw/tie/abandoned match a 0 and 1 is subtracted when England lose. Here are the results:
However, this high-water mark slips quickly below the surface, as their scores slides into negative figures.
Thereafter, they manage only to keep their heads above the water, with the score just into the positive. As of today, their score is exactly 0.
What does this signify? That England are unable to ruthlessly exploit advantage? That they are unable to push on? Are we most comfortable at give-and-take mediocrity?
Certainly, starting the decade at zero, and still sitting on a duck as the naughties come to a close is an unlikely statistic. Even given the bounties offered by Bangladesh, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.
This period encapsulates entire careers, and witnesses a number of cricketing generations. Yet, none seem able to permanently impose the success that their talent implies.
Will the English never relinquish themselves from their own averaging tendencies? Are we happiest sitting at a statistical mean?
Maybe we are just rubbish in the mind?