An Englishman in Nagpur

The shocking form of Jimmy Anderson and the more prolonged decline of Kevin Pietersen may be symptomatic of their reduced levels of desire, although it seems certain, at least in Pietersen's case, that there's something more complex going on. This is something to be examined at greater length another day.

One Englishman at the World Cup who certainly won't be struggling for motivation is Ian Gould. After a long career in the English county game, Gould failed to make an impression as a coach and said a while back that becoming a first-class umpire was the best thing he'd ever done. He's a sharp, proficient official with a businesslike but avuncular manner that seems to create a good rapport with all the players he comes into contact with.

Yesterday he was standing at square leg as Sachin Tendulkar sent one of the most sublime straight drives that even he has surely ever hit back past Morne Morkel to move from 14 to 18.

Even from the viewpoint of a gorgeous Spring morning in England, it would have been a privilege just to be at Nagpur. To be on the field and play a part, when your playing days are far behind you, must be just about as good as it gets.

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