ENGLAND begin their one-day international series against Australia tomorrow, but it is hard to escape the feeling that I’d rather it wasn’t happening at all.
It’s always nice to beat the Aussies, and I think England will, although they’ll certainly provide a sterner examination of our 50-over credentials than West Indies.
But I’d much sooner Andy Flower’s men had one more Test against South Africa in their summer schedule than a watered down series like this one.
What we are used to in this country are Test series against the very top sides in the world, but this is far from an Ashes, which always makes you tingle.
I understand, of course, that England cricket chiefs have to maximise revenue and contests such as these play an important part in funding the game.
But I found the recent 50-over matches against the Windies boring; one-sided matches in which it was soon all too obvious who was going to win.
If these encounters with Australia go the same way, then those people who have paid £50 a ticket to witness the spectacle may think twice about repeating the exercise.
In any case, Australia are a team in transition but well rounded with, aside from the usual suspects, emerging talent among the bowlers, in Pat Cummings, and the batsmen, in David Warner.
Yet some of those players will be slightly unfamiliar with conditions here, not helped by rain restricting their practice, and I expect England to take an early lead and win the series.
Andy Lloyd is a former England Test opening batsman and captain and chairman of Warwickshire.