England's Cricket Team: Hit Us For Six, Walter

RangersMedia .co.ukCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2009

Here is an opening line that would lose most readers. Have you been following England's cricket tour of the West Indies?

Thought not.

Never mind, bear with me for just a minute.

In the end, the West Indies won the four-game series 1-0 with three draws. England spent a long time almost getting on top of their opponents. Despite being the better side most days, England paid the penalty for one day of madness, when they were tumbled out for 51.

Getting their noses in front allowed the West Indies to play defensive, boring cricket (or even more boring cricket for those of you who hate it) and grind out the series victory. England could not put enough pressure on them to force errors.

Think back to last Wednesday. The scores were 0-0 at Ibrox and 1-1 at Rugby Park. A goal for us would have, I reckon, put pressure on timmy and could have forced a mistake or an advantageous cavalry charge for Killie. Instead, like England, we failed to put the squeeze on our enemy and once more, we find ourselves scrabbling to make up ground.

The England captain, Andy Strauss, is generally thought to be a good egg but a tad cautious. Not entirely unlike our dear leader, Uncle Walter. There is an uncomfortable parallel for this viewer to seeing England play well and get 95 percent of things correct but fall just short.

I think the lesson has to be, in sport, as in life, you have to go for it sooner or later. Drifting along conservatively can get you somewhere, but I doubt it will be the top. Chances need to be taken, risks gambled, and dice need to be thrown.

Even worse, we are now at the point where there's no more chances. If we lose again, the league is a goner. Not necessarily because they are any better—they are not—but if we cannot guarantee three points against the lesser teams, the reality is that we will finish second.

Here we are again, in the most familiar of pubs, the Last Chance Saloon. Might as well go down fighting, be hung for a lion as a sheep, etc. They may be clichés, but they are true!

None of us like losing, but the memory from last year of losing defensively is still a bitter one. If we have a go and find we are not quite good enough, I can accept that. But to end thinking we could have done more—that would be almost unforgivable.