From what I have seen, incoming England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves has the appetite to implement change that will improve the structure of cricket in this country.
He is due to start work next month and will arrive with a fresh mind and, hopefully, will be armed with certain long-term ideas that can really make a difference at the top level.
As I have discussed previously, I believe that we play too much four-day domestic cricket and that our Twenty20 competition needs reforming. Mr Graves appears keen to introduce the franchise system into T20, for instance – something I am in favour of.
I would, however, disagree with his idea of shortening Test matches from their present five-day duration to four. I firmly believe Tests should remain as they have been and currently are.
Test cricket has worked extremely well over the years and I don’t see why that should be changed now, if for no other reason than that a sustained period of rain could completely destroy a four-day match.
England fly to the West Indies today for their three-Test series. It is a privilege to tour such fantastic places and if the guys can get off to a good start in the first match in Antigua, which starts a week on Monday, then the entire experience will be far more enjoyable.
Tours are often shorter these days and pretty intense. Matches are crammed in so there is not the same scope to do some of the fun things away from the pitch which may have been possible 10 years ago.
It tends to be a case of rest and recuperation after a match, followed quickly by the start of preparation for the next contest.
But it’s still important for players to enjoy themselves and try to escape between games in the free time that is available. It’s down to individual preferences: a lot of guys play golf; others will just sit in their room and read while others go sight-seeing.
The England set-up has always mixed up dinner groups to ensure players are socialising with other people and not going out with the same individuals all the time. Talk over dinner inevitably turns to the game going on or upcoming plans.
Everything is certainly less pressurised, though, when you’re winning. Everyone is in a good mood and confidence is high when you’ve got the upper hand on the opposition in their own back yard.
If all is going well, like on the successful Ashes tour of 2010/11, things tend to be more acceptable. If someone is photographed out at all hours on a night out with teammates, nobody tends to care if you’re winning.
Contrast that to the last Ashes tour, which went pretty badly from the start. A couple of the guys were seen in a nightclub and that was viewed as players having a jolly, even though it was no different to anything that happened on the previous tour.
England need to get back to playing some good cricket on this tour with a pivotal Ashes series coming up in the summer. That is imperative, and the whole touring experience will be enhanced by playing well and winning.
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