G'day to all of those reading, This is my first of what should be a semi regular column, generally looking at the state of the English game.
Once upon a time the word "year" in the title would have read "season", but now cricket is a global game meaning the sport is becoming increasingly year long!
1) England not to get thumped in the Ashes: To be honest, this hope is diminishing by the day as England find new and exiting ways to shoot themselves in the foot spectacularly. I'm a realist and know it's highly unlikely that England will take the series, but one live test can't be too much to ask for can it? This is one year where Glenn McGrath's traditional 5-0 prediction looms with a democlacian brilliance.
2) Andrew Strauss to be given time to grow into captincy, especially in one day cricket: Changing the skipper won't suddenly make us into one of the best sides in the world, KP presided over a 5-0 (and would have been 7-0 in all probability) drubbing at the hands of the Indians, so why should we suddenly become brilliant overnight? England haven't coped with the pyjama stuff since 1992, A product of our domestic system?
3) King Kev to get back to doing what he does best. Being one of the best batsmen in the world. Ask any bowler who they'd least like to see turn up at the other end and there can only be one answer. Maybe we'll see another new shot in 2009 to go with the Flamingo Clip and the Reverse Sweep.
4) Someone to do something sensible about over rates and ticket prices. It's about time that test cricket bucked it's ideas up and didn't let the hit and giggle lot have good reason to abolish it. There's nothing like the ebb and flow and the drama of test cricket. A good Ashes series would help this.
5) Surrey to get out of Divison 2.A Test match county doesn't deserve to be playing with the also rans.
6) The continued re-emergence of spin bowling.It's an equal weapon to fast bowling. The quick and nasties aren't the be all and end all. In addition spinners tend to be more interesting characters. Tuffers, Warney and Murali or Andre Nel, Brett Lee and Steve Harmison. No Contest.
1) 5-0 Will happen.Even with Australia's much publicised venerability, destroying all before them is something that comes naturally to these types.
2) The ICC/MCC/ ECB still resisting the introduction of technology into the game. Human mistakes should not spoil top level sporting contest. If technology is available, the game's governing body owes it to the players and spectators to make use of it.
3) Giles Clark to be re-elected chairman of the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board). The man who sold the family silver to sky by taking the game off free-to-air TV has damaged the game irreparably. Children who would have been inspired to take
4) Sir Allen Standford to continue with his vulgarisation of the great game. The sham in the West Indies last year fooled no one. No wonder the England WAG's were the most interesting thing going.
5) A Damp Summer. In an Ashes year and with the ICC twenty20 the sun making an extended appearance is vital
6) More players referring to themselves in the third person.Why? Why? Why? Delorean Gray never refers to himself in the third person. Oops.
Picture: Jade Dernbach Bowls for Surrey Against Durham at Guildford, 2008. Taken by me.