The Ashes tour caravan is in Northampton at the moment for a two day game between the English Lions and an Australian XI that, frankly, means nothing and is a monumental waste time.
I am an advocate for playing tour matches preparatory to a test match tour as well as such matches between the early test matches of a tour to give those not in the test team a chance to shine and those who have played in the previous game a chance to rest.
Indeed historically the most regular time at which there was not a tour game between test matches on an Ashes tour was between the last two tests in the series. Yet that is what has been put into Australia’s schedule on this tour.
To add insult to injury it is not even a first class game! Why play a two day fixture which is nothing short of a net for both sides at this time of the tour? Surely this game would have been better programmed between the 3rd and 4th tests in the series rather than giving the players only a 3 day break.
No wonder players from both sides started to look a bit weary in the 4th test and now we have news that Tim Bresnan has a stress related injury. The stupidity of the ECB and those at Cricket Australia Towers in scheduling back to back test matches and then an 8 day break to accommodate a game that means nothing is nothing short of breathtaking and perhaps more than a bit negligent.
For those wondering how seriously the Australians have taken this two day fixture: that demon bowler “The Myth” Warner bowled first change and only two fast bowlers have been selected.
Of course it would not be a game in England without a final insult for the Australians: in what is really a two day net session there was a session knocked out due to rain and then the England Lions won the toss and batted all day one. So any semblance of use for the Australians in regaining some confidence with the willow will have to wait another day!
All in all this is a bit of a shambles isn’t it? As I said earlier I think tour games are an essential part of the scheduling of a tour but the schedule must done right. If the ECB and Cricket Australia Towers are to be marked on their efforts this tour as indicated by this game in part they get a resounding FAIL mark!