Radio cricket brings back glorious English summer

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England cricketers out-spin India?

In India?

What’s next England footballers out-pass Spain?

In Madrid?

Perhaps not. But let’s stay positive.

Whether it’s the relative dearth of success of our local football teams at the moment or these long winter nights, the early morning radio reports from India give the games an air of far-fetched mystery.

Waking to good news from the other side of the world - before you have remembered there’s even a test match on - is one of sports great feelgood moments.

Discovering that Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann had taken 19 wickets to win the second test against india in Mumbai - only the fourth time and the first since the days of Jim Laker and Tony Lock that England spinners have taken 19 wickets in a Test- re-invested the commentary with some of the gravitas of Test Match Special on the BBC Third Programme in the 1960s.

It took me back to the genesis of my cricket interest, and in many ways the peak of it, back to one glorious Boys Own summer when England played the West Indies of Basil Butcher, Rohan Kanhai and Wes Hall.

I think I must have got on my Dad’s nerves enough to warrant putting on the test on the car radio as he steered the stately Austin Cambridge through the lanes and villages of Cornwall in a heatwave.

For an 11-year-old still basking in the ecstatic glow of England’s footballers winning the World Cup just a few days earlier, the high-waisted 1950s pairing of Colin Cowdrey and Tom Graveney looked like a throwback to the Compton Brylcreem era.

But every four they hit and every wicket John Snow and Ken Higgs took that summer were like another self-administered dose of sporting morphine to a country hooked on its own success.

Hearing the expoits of Graveney, Colin Milburn, and Colin Cowdrey battling against the superior West Indies and occasionally besting them was heady stuff.

But Tom Graveney was the star of that cricketing summer.

Already past it and with a waistline heading towards mid-on, Graveney shone in glorious bursts of Scholes-like intensity made all the more memorable by the fuzz of the Motorola as we tootled between beach, moors and campsite.

England were playing West indies at Trent Bridge in the third test when Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup at Wembley. Our crackling holiday radio over the next few days just kept that perfection going a little longer. England lost the series but little did we know it then that our national sporting lives would rarely be that good again.

*So who’s sick of hearing about Chelsea, Abramovic and Rafa Benitez?

Great side though they are - they’ve played the best football in this country so far this season - their off the field nonsense is just boring now. Racism claims against referees, John Terry and his non-racist remarks to Anton Fedinand, Di Matteo out, toothless Torres and flaming Pep Guardiola on the way.

But so what? Some clubs stick with managers and do well, others hang on too long and get completely lost. Chelsea’s approach is based on an Italian or Spanish model of changing the coach every two or three years - and who can argue with that after their success?

No-one, so let’s give it a rest.