I know, I know, to many people producing one blog article very six months may seem like it's taken from my own unpublished autobiography 'Lacking in any real effort and just plain lazy'. Though of course there are those who would argue that there is a flip side of that argument. In other words there may well indeed be many more people who have previously read this blog who would no doubt suggest two articles a year is still too high for those who actually have some semblance of a life. Harsh, but probably accurate.
Well in fact I will have you know that after numerous enquiries as to whether I would ever put finger to keyboard again in the name of god's own game I decided that it was time to do just that. Actually......... it was just one enquiry, but it sounds far better in my mind to think rather like the Brexit vote here in the UK, or the election of Donald Trump over there in the U.S of A, that the silent majority are out there willing for the return of Harold and his cricket blog.
The rather insignificant fact that the Brexit and Trump voters are borderline moronic imbeciles who may be taking us to the edge of social armageddon is something that I won't dwell on for now.
I know what you're thinking - "Yep this is just like old times now that the blog has returned' - in other words I'm blathering on about things that have very little to do with cricket and simply splashing around in my personal swimming pool of self indulgence. Well I said that the blog was back, I didn't say that it had actually improved in any way.
However, as we're on the subject..........
The horror in Bangladesh.....look away now.
The germination for putting together a cricket article probably took seed a day or so ago, just after I had finally recovered from my incredulous fits of laughter at the Aussies being bowled out for just 85 runs in their first innings against the South Africans. Ahh, good times. It was at the moment though that I realised that I really had no room to be smug, as we know, being an England supporter means very few moments of ever remaining smug at the misfortunes of other cricket teams.
The sobering thought was that only a week or two ago I felt that I had time-warped back to those crazy depressing days of the 1990's when England teams seemed hell bent on formulating ever inventive ways of losing a cricket match. The capitulation in our second innings in the final Test against Bangladesh from a position of match winning strength to an unseemly dive into match losing collapse was a thing of bizarre horrific beauty. In truth I didn't know whether to laugh or cry - so I did both in equal measure.
In time-honoured fashion this lead all the so-called experts to predict a 5-0 kicking and thrashing from the Indians on the tour straight after Bangladesh that seems to want to break the world record for cramming as many cricket matches in that they can before Christmas. To be honest, I too wasn't all that confidant at the prospect of suffering the same recent fate as the South Africans who were well and truly tonked into oblivion on pitches where the ball turned every which way but loose. After all, the phrase "England can't play spin' has been uttered in cricketing circles almost as often as the phrase "England collapse again' for many a year.
Well, far be it for me to get carried away, but if the first Test in Rajkot is anything to go by then the series may well be a little bit closer than many people were predicting.
At the time of writing this article the final hour of the first Test match of the Indian tour is underway with England threatening to pull off an unlikely victory but seemingly to be stopped not by the opposing teams, but because time is quickly running out. Oh the little teasers.
So what has led to this blogger's bout of optimism? Well perhaps the main contender my optimism/delusion would be the possibility that for the first time since a certain Mr Strauss was busy giving the Aussies a much needed slapping England may actually have an opener that actually looks comfortable, er, opening. At 19 years of age (19 for crying out loud!) Haseeb Hameed already looks like sending the message that the conveyor belt of opening partners for brave Captain Cook may finally be grinding to a welcome halt. I know that it's the time-honoured tradition of fans to build someone up well before we decide that actually we were given duff information and it turns out that they're not the next Botham/Gower/Gooch et al. Somewhere in the world Graham Hick is currently looking sheepishly at his shoelaces whilst trying to avoid eye-contact.......
However, something tells me that we may onto the real deal with Master Hameed. I must admit that the fact that he's 19 makes me more than a little bitter and envious, after all at 19 my sights were set more on how many girls I could avoid getting up the confidence to chat to an a Saturday night rather than confidently facing the world's best bowlers....... the fact that I had very little observable cricket talent has nothing to do with it. So putting aside my unbridled envy for one moment......
To say that he looks confident and assured would be something of an understatement - in fact I would say that, particularly in the second innings, he was the far more calmer of the two as brave captain Cook jumped about as he did his best to install some nerves by proxy in our new hero. After scoring 31 in the first innings Hameed went on in the second innings to make the highest score by an England under 20 batsman since 1937 - not bad eh?
I know that he has a reputation as something of an old school throwback in his 'steady as she goes' approach to batting, not for nothing is he nicknamed 'Baby Boycott' (I would hope more for his batting rather than talking an endless pile of crap). However I have to say that the straight six that he hit as he made sure that he imposed his will on the spin bowling of Ravindra Jadeja was simply stunning, a thing of beauty if truth be told.
I know that I'm joining the 'build them up before knocking them down brigade' but this boy looks a genuine player.
So beware, more will come from this blog as the series progresses - don't say that you haven't been warned.
And talking about sweet timing because as I write this last sentence the first test has finished in a draw.