Finding myself free and single in 2011 I reconnected with one of my first loves, cricket. I was brought up at the side of a cricket pitch, running free while my Dad kept wicket and opened the batting. As I got older I progressed to scoring, there was no way I was making the tea!
I joined Essex as a member in 2012 and started following Test cricket the following year.
Since 2013 I’ve seen – Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan, India & Ireland. That’s some cricket watched and some true superstars of the game seen.
I missed the era covered by the Edge, so didn’t witness Andrew Strauss play at all, I did see Kevin Pietersen but as a County Cricketer rather than an England star. I was lucky enough to watch Jonathan Trott play a wonderful innings at Lord’s for Warwickshire when they won the Royal London One Day Cup, he scored 82 and was a delight to watch. I got to see Ian Bell and Matt Prior play for England a few times along with Steven Finn who made a few appearances in this tale.
Alastair Cook, who retired last summer played in all but one of the games I’ve seen, along with Jimmy Anderson. Stuart Broad was and is a fixture too.
The Edge tells the tale of a team at rock bottom who rose to the top and then fell back down to earth. Andy Flower took over the reins when England were in a state of disarray in 2009, his first test match saw England bowled out for 51 against the West Indies. From that low he took England to the top of the rankings.
The film shows the hard work that went into getting them there, it shows the bonds that were formed and just how important the team ethic was.
A lot of the talk I’ve seen is around the whole Pieterson affair, it does get a mention but it’s by no means the biggest part of this story. What is clear is just how hard it is to be a sports person performing on the biggest stage. I was shocked by how drained Pieterson was before the whole South Africa texts thing blew up. There are definitely opinions to be formed on how he was treated within the England set up.
Reading through a BBC article about Flower it’s interesting to see his brother, Grant, talking about his knowledge of the phsycological side of things, when the mental health of several players very clearly suffered.
He has read a lot of books about psychology and listened to a lot of tapes,” he said. “He has spoken to a few psychologists and other coaches who have delved into the world of psychology.
“He’ll find out everything that he can and won’t leave anything to chance. Sometimes it screws up your family life as his wife and kids would probably tell you.
“You are away from home a lot and even when he’s home he’s working round the clock, doing homework on the other teams.”
The film shows the rigorous training regime the players went through, including a training camp with Special Forces. Again, taken from the BBC article, it’s interesting to see that Samit Patel, a man who’s been a great cricketer, was excluded by Flower for his lack of fitness. An ex-team mate Henry Olonga on Flower’s attitude to fitness –
Andy doesn’t tolerate unfit players,” said Olonga. “He expects all the players in his squads to be fit, something which perhaps wasn’t such a priority with other coaches in the past.
“He is also a fan of players thinking for themselves and thinking on their feet. England do seem to have become great thinking cricketers in the last few years since Andy has been in charge.”
I really enjoyed the film, it gives a great insight into the workings of a top class team. It also confirmed for me that I never want to watch England play in Australia, I’d last for about 5 minutes before getting into an argument!