Domestic parades

There is one thing to be said of one-day tournaments. No one expects an English impression. Of course, my inner patriotic flag-waver occasionally gets over-excited by gritty half centuries and out-swingers that inevitably evade the edge, but it was evident from as early as the tentative pushes played to Dwayne Leverock’s tweakers that this World Cup was going to be little different to the last.

So back to the drawing board, and the full length game. As any revising teenager will tell you, time is short between England’s return and May 17th. Yet somehow, Peter Moores, along with a criticised selection committee and a captain under pressure, must select 11 players to take the field at Lord’s. Although it has been a long winter for many of those returning from the Caribbean, it is surely a question of how many appearances they will make for their counties, and not whether they will appear.

Whilst those in the national one-day squad have been touching up the Bajan suntan, some of the Ashes party have already started their first-class accounts for 2007 with mixed success. Pleasingly, the first round of Championship matches has not undergone a domination of rain or, indeed, of any particular discipline. Both teams failed to successfully remove the other at a high scoring game at Taunton, while Mushtaq Ahmed ran amok in the first innings at Sussex after declaring himself below full match fitness. Alastair Cook made his second century in as many games after captaining the MCC last week, Hoggard made a good second innings four-for, while Will has already flagged Harmison’s impression on return. Geraint Jones, however, compounded his disappointing winter with single figures in both innings, and Ashley Giles spent the first week of the season in Colorado undergoing exploratory hip surgery.

Difficult decisions will have to be made before England play again, not least being how much rest to give the players returning this week. Unfortunately for both Jones and Giles, their names almost certainly will not be amongst those causing concern.

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