Maybe this is the early spring sunshine speaking, but this could be precisely what English cricket and Giles Clarke need after the Stanford scandal and the quiet death of the EPL.
The IPL is the world of the ‘what if’: it gives Warne and now Pietersen the chance to show the captaincy skills that have been passed over at national level; it lets us see whether a top order of Gilchrist, Afridi, Gibbs and Symonds could top 300 in 20 overs (last year, an emphatic no for the out-of-pocket Deccan Chargers); whether old pros like McGrath can still contain the finest young talents (an equally emphatic yes so far); and, most importantly, whom Harbajhan can antagonise other than the Australians.
With the ICC World 2020 also coming up in June,
At the risk of sacrilege, it may appear the biggest problem is that
Far from it: as Andrew Miller argues, the conflict between Sky, broadcaster of the West Indies Test and one-day series, and Setanta, holder of IPL rights, might be deadly. The hijacking of the county 4-day season (which begins, like the IPL, in mid-April) will surely also cause some sort of kerfuffle, though the first round of May’s Friends’ Provident Trophy might perhaps migrate to reserve grounds without too much fuss. And surely the weather ought to be an issue, particularly when a South African summer is the other option?
Perhaps, then, this will all remain in the world of the ‘what if’ and be forgotten, in a few days, along with the spring sunshine. Now, though, I’m not so sure – and I’m beginning the week excited, but worried about the primacy of Test cricket.