Normally during my state-mandated hour of exercise a day, I run to Oval cricket ground. Not only is it a nice run, through a leafy London suburb, it's also the closest I'm getting to any proper cricket at the moment.
So, at the mid-point of my run, I stop just between the two main stands, climb up the railings, poke my head over the top of the barriers and look out across the lush outfield; imagining its a late Summers afternoon, long shadows stretching across the pitch as the tangerine sun begins to set on South London. Jofra Archers charging into bowl, we've got 53 for 4, and everything is normal. Everything is normal. Ahhhh. That's better.
Obviously, we’re all missing stuff at the moment. But the unfortunate fact is last year was one of the most exciting and mental years for English cricket probably….ever.
For those of you who don't know much about Cricket let me give you a quick rundown. For starters, we won the World Cup. Yes, that's right, the actual cup for being champions of the world and also managing to do it in the most mental way possible. We not only drew high-octane Ashes series but witnessed what's now widely regarded as 'the best test of all time' at Old Trafford, where a possessed Ben Stokes displayed the most mental batting performances of all time. It was one of those summers that reminds us all why we like this totally insane game.
The thing is, it was all so exciting. Cricket, historically, has this reputation as a bit 'boring'. It's for sad acts that haven't really got anything better on a Sunny afternoon. No matter how many times I tried to tell my mates, it was 'aight' after a couple of beers. I always seemed to be on the losing side of the argument. But that summer everything seemed to change.
There is a genuine possibility of there not even being a ball bowled this season. So, for now, I'll have to do peering over the top of the barriers and using my imagination. I'll look longingly into the distance for as long as it takes. Might even see if they'll let me have a little run out onto the pitch. Its worth a go, not like anyone else is using it, right?