As a fan of Plymouth Argyle, Derbyshire CCC and a follower of the England football team, I feel that I am qualified to look at the failures of the England One Day Cricket team. Imagine my joy when this book fell into my hands.
The title is based on a famous misquote from Peter Moores, and is a history of England’s record of the last twenty years in the Cricket World Cup, from Nearly-men to Nowhere-near-men. The front cover shows a wonderful piece of defiance: Nasser Hussain’s famous finger gesture to the press box at Lords following criticism from pundits and journalists about his inclusion in the England team.
Firstly, i was impressed by not only the number of contributers to the book, but also the contributions that they made. They were sincere and, unlike the selectors and those who run the game, actually saw what was wrong and the reasons for such a poor recent history.
What comes across quite well is the notion that “Test is Best” and the general attitude towards one day cricket in this country by those in charge. All the World Cups from 1992 to 2015 are covered in a clear and concise way, and there is a chapter on Adam Hollioake’s experiences as well as a fascinating chapter on Twenty 20 Cricket.
Its all here: the fiasco of Zimbabwe, Fredalo, the Hollioake experiment, and the excitement of Stanford’s Twenty 20 Challenge but what makes this really book stand out are those contributions from former players, coaches, ECB members and journalists. They give a very rounded, behind-the-scenes view and make it an interesting, fascinating and mind boggling read.
Most importantly for England cricket fans, the book gives an insight into how far we have fallen behind other major Cricket nations in terms of the development of the one day game.
Issues of lack of International One Day Cricket experience; playing World Cups straight after tours or ashes series; lack of one day specialists; actually winning consistently in this form of cricket; the general power struggles between County and Country and; the mystery that is Jade Dernbach’s international career are all mentioned here.
Accompanied by the Cricket Geek’s trademark comedy, the reader is pulled into a sort of ODI cricket Groundhog day and the lesson ultimately learned is that England’s grand plan for cricket world domination goes something like this:
- Make a plan
- Stick to said plan until the tournament is just about to start
- Endure false dawns
- Scrap plan
- Make many baffling decisions
- Have a poor tournament
- Promise to get it right next time
- Repeat every four years.
Frustration reigns supreme. Bring on the football.
But if the above makes it sound like the book is all doom and gloom, you shouldn’t worry – it isn’t. The final chapter leaves you with some hope for the future of English cricket.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading 28 Days Data. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys any sports book, never mind Cricket. It is entertaining, wonderfully written, and contains a few facts that I found astonishing. But I’ll let you find those yourselves. Even Sachin Tendulkar gets a mention. Pete Miller’s thousands of adoring Indian fans will be overjoyed.
28 Days Data: England’s troubled relationship with one-day cricket by Peter Miller and Dave Tickner.
Published: 26th July 2016