Cricket log 2004
Ah, what a vintage year 2004 was... That's what spaceman is hoping for anyway, and that's why, on these pages, the cricket log 2004 will tell the story of England's international matches and Lancashire's domestic campaign. Spaceman will be giving some eye-witness reports from Old Trafford, having renewed spaceman's Lancashire membership and with the intention of getting tickets for every day of the Test match against West Indies in August.
England's cricketing year consists of a tour of the West Indies in March, April and early May, before heading back to Blighty to play a three-Test series against New Zealand in late May and early June. A triangular one-day tournament with New Zealand and West Indies takes place in late June/early July, before England face a four-Test series re-match against West Indies in July and August. A relentless summer programme then sees England play three ODIs against India in September, followed immediately by the ICC Champions trophy.
It is still uncertain, at the time writing, who England's next opponents will then be. A controversial tour of Zimbabwe is scheduled for November, but this currently subject to the political wranglings of the ICC and the ECB. It could be a tour shorn of first-team players as a strike affects the Zimbabwe team and England players such as Mark Butcher and Graham Thorpe have expressed their doubts about touring. A tour of South Africa in December (and early 2005) completes England's mind-bogglingly busy season.
Lancashire meanwhile have their own agenda. They are aiming to win the County Championship outright for the first time in 70 years (they shared it about 40 or 50 years ago). Yes, that's right, 70 years. Over the last few years, they have been the perennial runners up, apart from a couple of blips in 2001 and 2002. Having gained promotion last year to the top division of the National League, Lancashire are also hoping to return to the one-day winning ways of the late 1990s. And do better in the Twenty20 competition, having not got out of the group stages last year, its inaugural year. They have a good squad and spaceman hopes that good times lie ahead.