This Summer has proven to be not only one of the warmest on record but also one of the most productive for an England Cricket team in a long while. Engage’s Nicholas Gibbens takes a look back at the Summer of 2018.
England v Pakistan
England were off to a sluggish start against Pakistan back in May, when at Lord’s, Home of Cricket they were beaten comprehensively within 4 days by a margin of 9 wickets.
A lot of soul searching was needed after a below-par winter in Australia and New Zealand, and there were more questions than answers when the teams headed to Headingley for the second test.
A hallmark of this England team under Root has been inconsistency, unbeatable one week and then undesirable the next. The Leeds Test was no different, a revitalized England team, spearheaded by the dependable Anderson & Broad partnership, bowled Pakistan out twice in conditions that have historically suited English bowlers.
Returning to the Test team at Lord’s — a decision made by the newly appointed head of selectors Ed Smith — Jos Butler along with a young Dom Bess put in match-winning performances. A great start for Smith and his new team of selectors.
In short, Butler’s selection had come off the back of an effective IPL, where he saw five 50+ scores in a row — equaling the record alongside the great Mahendra Singh Dhoni. After one of the most fruitful summers for any England batsman, I think we will be seeing Butler in Test Whites for years to come.
England v Scotland
A move to white ball Cricket with a one off ODI against Scotland would see the most exciting game between these two teams in the history of the fixture. Scotland racking up 371/5 in their 50 overs on a very small Edinburgh Grange ground. England ‘only’ mustered 365 in response. Cue the celebrations.
England v Australia
Due to the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 Australia would be entertained a year early in five ODI’s and one T20. Australia were missing 5 front line players due to injury and various misdemeanors allowing a full strength England to show their class in the white ball format; winning five out of five, and breaking the record for the highest ODI total along the way. The T20 did little to halt English momentum, completing the whitewash at Edgbaston.
England v India
India’s arrival halted the English summer party, comprehensively winning their opening contest in conditions more reminiscent of Mumbai than Manchester. India was always going to provide much sterner competition, and with the little known Kuldeep Yadav in their line up bamboozling English batsmen, the true contest of the summer was beginning. England leveled the series but the final matched proved decisive as India took the T20 Series 2- 1.
England wrapped up the ODI series 2 – 1 with back to back hundreds from Captain Root (Drop the mic). A timely return to form leading into a five tests. However, it turned out that the Test Series was dominated by one man, Virat Kholi scoring 593 runs at an average of 59.30; at times taking on England’s bowling attack single handed. Special mentions for Jos Butler England’s top batsmen and player of the summer, Alistair Cook who retires as England’s GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), James Anderson who is now the leading Fast Bowler in Tests with 540 wickets, and finally Sam Curran who has burst onto the Test scene with both ball and bat. A man, and hopefully a team, with a very bright future ahead.