This year has been an amazing year in terms of England cricket team. When we arrived in Brisbane a little over a year ago we were all excited that possibly England could pull off a shock win. I for one thought we had a great chance with three new players coming in. Sadly all have since all been dropped due to lack of runs. The team was clearly undercooked…. the ODI’s against the Aussies were completely different, they took it to them and hammered them in their own backyard. The New Zealand test went the same way – all out for 58 in Auckland hence we lost the series. We were better in the ODI’s once again winning 3-2.
I have taken some stick, due to my support of Surrey, as I keep calling for Jason Roy to be given a chance in test cricket. Bairstow is now at three, we seemed to have played the whole world and now just awaiting the dog to play there! Roy really took it to the Aussie bowlers and I do think at some point he has to be given the chance! Root has said on many occasions he wants to bat at four, after six or seven overs he seems to be at the crease, I think there is a lot of potential changes to the lineup which I’m sure will unfold in due course!
In the summer we said our goodbyes to England’s greatest ever batsman in Alistair Cook. I would had liked him to go after the record but when you know you have no more to give then the time is right to move on. I was lucky to be at the Oval for his innings and witnessed a very emotional day! The way England beat India to win the series was outstanding, everyone played a part in the tests and ODI’s.
Sri Lanka would turn out to be completely different in conditions not conducive to England. We were aided by Leach and new wicketkeeper Ben Foakes who both played magnificently. I did say to the group he could make the transition from county to international cricket having seen him impress during the season and was integral part of Surrey winning the championship. I expected a big win and wasn’t surprised. Sri Lanka are not the team they were and could take as long as the West Indies to become a force again!
Next year is a huge year in Cricket- we start with a glorious trip to the Caribbean, so many events already planned for you to enjoy. I expect us to sell out, so please don’t delay if you want to go or you may be disappointed.
2019 is Ashes and the World Cup, I’m sure we will welcome the return of Steve Smith and David Warner to the Australian side, just like we were welcomed in Australia with the #BeatEngland slogan! I’m sure it will be an enthralling summer of cricket and I expect England will be triumphant in the Ashes. The World Cup won’t be easy but I agree we are firm favourites,. I think the biggest dangers to England are India and Pakistan and of course being England we do have a self destruct button. We will need to dispatch Pakistan in style, they hammered us in the ICC trophy and we need to be better prepared or it could go the same way. Winning becomes a habit so does loosing. If England loose it will be a hammer blow and could affect our chances in the World Cup!
Over the last three or so years, I have met so many lovely people on our tours and had the most amazing time hosting you all. This week we received a testimonial from Bruce who wrote, “a lot of the group can be ‘serial tourists’ and have used ICT before but if it’s your first time or umpteenth time, you join the tour as strangers and leave as friends” for me it is just that. Bruce has become a friend during the tour of Sri Lanka as well as many others. I do try and keep in touch with as many of you as I can and receive regular texts, calls and emails from many of you which I thoroughly enjoy.
I would like to take this opportunity in thanking all of you for travelling with us and wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year. I look forward to seeing many of you at our reunion of previous tours at the George IV, Chiswick on the 19th if not the forthcoming tour to the Caribbean.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year