By Steve Charles
As they say nip the evil in the bud, if we take this phrase reversely, the reason for continuous domination of English teams in the international cricket gets clear. With no doubt, the English players have faced consistent defeats against Australia during the first decade of the 21st century, but they have competed well against the other cricket teams during this period. It is not a good idea to compare the English Cricket Team with Australians for the same period since that was the period of Australian domination in the international cricket. They did not let any other team to win even a single World Cup during this period. So it is better to leave Australia and compare the other international teams with England.
And if we do so, the English cricketers are not behind any other team like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand, etc. Why is it so? It is because the English cricket has a solid base. Of course the English players understand that cricket is their ancestors’ invention and they must not let it go into the hands of others.
England has 18 first-class counties and all of them have a history to tell. All counties are maintaining the traditions of English county cricket. Players to become a part of these counties normally come from the grass root level. They have to pass through a number of tests before participating at this level.
The first-class county season starts with the end of the university academic year. In this part, the first-class counties play the three-day matches against the university cricket teams. It is the early part of English cricket season. The county clubs warm-ups for the real competitions starts from these matches, at one side, and the fresh blood for the junior county clubs also comes in the eyes from the other side. The players to emerge from these competitions usually join the minor counties—most of them cannot be afforded to get the first-class status.
Cutting short, only the best players come out of this basic cricket structure. They are the best players and so are chosen for the national cricket team of England—where the best coaches shine them further to compete against the world’s leading bowlers and batsmen.