Monday 19 January 2009

Days of Grace

Someone should write a thesis about cricket grounds in winter, or a poem at least. On saturday I passed Farnham's, by the castle on the hill above the town. It was covered in frost, the grass on the outfield white and too long. It looked half the size it does in summer. Today, I was at Lord's, where the Nursery had pools of water in the saddle of the square and mile-wide rainclouds were banking up over the Pavilion. The place felt sombre and untended. 

Along the back wall of the bar at the indoor school are photographs of everyone who's ever captained England. In a sure sign that confusion still reigns, it ends with Marcus Trescothick. I counted twelve men who'd lasted just one Test. KP's total of four leaves him well ahead of John Emburey (two) and Allan Lamb (three), and puts him level with Lord Hawke. 

There are more pictures lining the viewing gallery upstairs. One is of WG Grace, walking out to open for England against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1899. He was 51, and it turned out to be his last Test. Coming down the steps behind him was his opening partner, CB Fry. Victor Trumper and Wilfred Rhodes were making their debuts in the same game.

English cricket was in a state of flux, with Grace realising that his time was up and the side about to lose its captain. It still is of course, and probably will be in another 110 years, when someone is looking at a picture of Kevin Pietersen* and wondering how it was to watch him bat. Everything passes, and summer always comes. 

* Provided they remember to put one up.


Anonymous said...

Its a sad state of English cricket affairs honestly. They have lost out on their captain for a few years. KP really was the one.

Damith S. said...

Hope to see these first hand one day ToB.

Wonder how long it will be before Strauss's picture ends up there.