|Politically Incorrect for
|England's World Cup may be over, but
nobody should be wearing a black armband.
There were so many positives came out of the ill-fated trip to Africa
that England may just be fancying their chances when it's time to
go to the West Indies for the next one-day spectacular.
That's unless we've declared war on Antigua or Jamaica because,
let's face it, if the authorities had seen sense and agreed to switch
the Zimbabwe match, then England would be in the Super Sixes now.
| England's fate was all
but sealed when politics reared its ugly head and the ICC refused
to move the game to a safer location. Nobody should blame them for
At least our boys made a pretty decent fist of it and some made
a real name for themselves
not least Jimmy Anderson, who I
am convinced is going to be a very big star in both the one-day
and five-day disciplines. Two man of the match awards and little
more than a year ago he was playing for Burnley. Not bad at all
for a 20-year-old.
Probably his finest hour came in Cape Town when he ripped the heart
out of the Pakistanis and was mobbed by his teammates after completing
one of the great 10-over stints. It was my privilege to be sitting
next to his father Michael and his granddad throughout his spell
and how proud they both were and quite rightly so.
Jimmy has an old head on young shoulders and if he progresses at
his current rate then our new ball will be in safe hands for the
next decade or so. If Steve Harmison trains on and Simon Jones returns
as well, then we will have an attack that will be the envy of the
The defeat of Pakistan was obviously the highlight of our campaign.
It was a great sporting occasion with more than 20,000 English fans
inside the ground making it seem more like Lord's than Newlands.
But it also highlighted one of the anomalies of the World Cup -
the big edge winning the toss makes in day-night matches. Nasser
Hussain won it and batted and that was almost it even though we
limped to 250-ish rather than raced there.
Our total, after Michael Vaughan's splendid half century, owed much
to Paul Collingwood's performance in the middle when it looked likely
we might be skittled out for less than 200.
Collingwood really came to the party at the World Cup and proved
that he is capable of playing the kind of innings to be tailored
to any situation. He and Anderson have definitely been the finds
of the Tour.
The toss was all-important again in Durban and we were not as lucky,
the resulting loss making victory over Australia essential. They
came very close indeed, but not close enough as Michael Bevan steered
the favourites through.
The atmosphere in Port Elizabeth was nothing short of incredible
and it was a fantastic to be a part of it for a change rather be
in the dressing room. It is an experience I believe all cricketers
Finally a word in praise of Freddie Flintoff. He played with a maturity
throughout the World Cup that has not always been evident in his
career. Maybe the penny is beginning to drop and the world of cricket
will see more often the superb talent that the people of Lancashire
are already aware of.