Watching cricket on different grounds gives rise to the ‘traditional’ compare and contrast questions posed so many years ago in literature exams! The silence of the Lord’s Long Room is almost church-like while the ‘disco’, chanting and local bands of the Caribbean could not be any louder.
But it’s not just the noise level, the welcome is also a stark contrast. At Lord’s yesterday the first steward was welcoming, the second wanted to discuss the forthcoming test series (quite spontaneously) and so the welcome continued.
At Chelmsford today I was greeted with ‘open your bag’, a grunted welcome from the ticket steward but the announcement from the PA guy (there is no one to compare in the Western world to the guy here) that he was ‘obligated by the ECB to read out their anti-discrimination notice before the start of play’ just jarred.
Obligated? Doing so because he’s required to? The tone of voice hinted that he wasn’t happy doing so? Or am I reading too much into it? Essex are in enough trouble already off the field! This tone just doesn’t sit right with me. There’s no ‘obligation’ – it’s a statement of fact, it’s stating the obvious but we shouldn’t be in a position where we need to have to make these types of statements but we are…
Meanwhile a match is going on! Essex had a good day yesterday with a couple of centurions – a 37 year old called Cook who people reckon should be playing for England and Nick Browne getting in on the run fest.
By lunch on Day 2 they had reached 359/6. Two new players for Essex – Critchley (ex-Derbyshire) and Rossington (ex-Northamptonshire) making steady progress.
It’s a shame that the younger Essex players we saw last year are not being given early opportunities but I suppose with Essex losing ten Doeschate, Bopara and Chopra over the past few seasons, some experience is needed if rewards are to be pursued!
One other contrast of note is the one-eyed Chelmsford faithful – any and every Kent success or positive play met with silence, every Essex with rapturous applause! Not like most of the other grounds I’ve experienced!
The pitch looks great for batting but there’s the odd variable bounce already and Essex don’t have Harmer to spin them to victory. It will all unfold as the match progresses!
Critchley is out on the stroke of tea for 132 and Essex 514ao. There are no demons on this pitch and there’s no reason why Kent cannot put together a good reply…other than the demons they may have in their heads which says ‘its impossible to win from here! Let’s see.
The cold weather wins and I admit defeat for the warmth of being indoors – anywhere – as Kent reach 42/1 off 8 overs, starting off like an express train.
Compare today to yesterday – big innings played both days, win the toss and bowl in both matches not a good idea and cold, oh so cold!