From the Nursery End: It still doesn’t feel like summer
16:34 18 May 2012
The first Test is underway and the County Championship is a third of the way through and yet it still doesn’t feel like summer.
That’s got be because I’ve watched all my cricket this season in winter clothes while vainly trying to find shelter at Lord’s from the biting Easterlies and Northerlies. Watch out for those Easterlies, coming over your shoulder at the Nursery End - they’re either freezing or stultifyingly hot.
When it warms up and the pitches get back to normal Middlesex won’t have to play Ollie Rayner for his batting. There’s always something special about a nightwatchman’s century (143* v Notts) which is a lot to do with annoying the hell out of the opposition, much like a 10th wicket stand.
Some summer weather might also help a few more catches to stick – how many did Andrew Strauss put down at Trent Bridge? For anyone who’s played any sort of cricket at any level, it is an undoubted truth and one of the mysteries of the universe that the ball on a cold day is much harder than it is on a warm day.
Seeing Shiv Chanderpaul playing for the West Indies reminds me. You don’t see many two-eyed stances these days – I’m sure there used to be more around, though calling Chanderpaul’s a two-eyed stance doesn’t do it justice. A few more degrees and he’ll have his back to the bowler. What it reminds me of is John Carr, a right-handed version of Chanderpaul.
During Carr’s second spell at Middlesex (he left for a few years to work in a bank - why would anyone do that?) he hit an amazing run of form. I was there for his 261* and record sixth-wicket partnership with Paul Weekes of 270. I forget most of the cricket I see but I still have an image of that innings, of sitting in the Grandstand with Carr cracking cover drives and the ball smacking into the fence, and the hapless Gloucestershire fielders turning and trotting back to fetch it again. I’ve just looked it up. I can’t believe it was 18 years ago. And that run of form was seven innings totalling 854 runs for once out, which left him on top of the first-class averages for 1994, despite Brian Lara’s 501*.
After his absence from Middlesex cricket last year, we welcome back Eoin Morgan from his highly paid cricket-watching holiday in India. He’s starting modestly with a game in the seconds, and then presumably he’ll slot in at four or five, with Denly going back to opening now Strauss has gone.
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