When Darren of The Commentary Position asked me for my Champions Trophy predictions, I didn't hesitate to suggest that England would lose all three of their group games.
Fortunately I was completely, and predictably, wrong, and relished the sight of Shah, Collingwood and the hitherto underestimated Eoin Morgan putting South Africa to the sword yesterday.
It remains to be seen where Colly's Test career goes from here, while Shah's appears finished and Morgan's hasn't started, but in the one-day arena all showed yesterday that they're likely to remain vital cogs in the England 'machine' (not sure that's the right term, really) for a while to come.
With people starting to mutter about his place - and with some of his fielding and running how can you not? - Shah's timely reminder of his huge if somewhat eccentric class was especially welcome. He may often give the impression of a man who's trying to make something which he finds easy look difficult, but he really can bat. While the way in which he started to go into his shell as his hundred approached betrayed the continuing uncertainty of his mentality, 98 made with that degree of dominance and style isn't bad to be going on with, as long as he continues to try to improve his work in the field.
As for the wider reasons for England's resurgence, well, it helps that they're not playing Australia and they're not playing at home. After a long series of defeats a change of opposition usually helps, even if, on paper at least, they're just as good as the last side you faced. And, while the vast majority of England's one-day history has been as barren as the Gobi Desert, their brief periods of plenty - the 1992 World Cup, the 1997 Sharjah tournament, the 2007 Commonwealth Bank Series - have often come away from the capricious conditions and fevered media of home.
Also, England just lost a one-day series 6-1. As another classy eccentric, Bob Dylan, once said, 'when you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose'.
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