Staying the Same, Changing

With the 2007 English season finally out of the way and the first World Twenty20 also put to bed, the mind turns to everything else that's going on in the perpetually revolving, often crazily over-burdened, cricket world.

Australia in India, South Africa in Pakistan, England in Sri Lanka. There is, as always, a lot happening, but the more things change the more they remain the same. As I write Jacques Kallis is unbeaten on 118 at the end of the first day in Karachi and Mahela Jayawardena has top-scored for Sri Lanka against England in Dambulla.

Elsewhere, though, things have moved on. It was announced at the end of last week that Allan Donald would not be taking up a full-time appointment as England's bowling coach and would instead be joining his old team-mate Ashley Giles back in the brave new world of Edgbaston. This is a pity, as Donald clearly had a beneficial effect on the performances of England's wayward seamers last summer and it remains to be seen whether or not Ottis Gibson, for all his magnificence in Durham colours, can do the same.

In India, meanwhile, the national 'A' team and their South African counterparts finally managed to get on the pitch for their first (or third) ODI in Rajkot. India gained a narrow victory, largely thanks to Subramaniam Badrinath, the Tamil Nadu player who's been hovering around the side for the last couple of years or so and who's built up a nice portfolio of decent performances. I noticed last week that he's been given a 'Grade D' contract by the BCCI; it'll be interesting to see if he can kick on, as India, whatever their recent achievements in the longest and shortest forms of the international game, will soon be needing some high-quality reinforcements.

The same might be said of England's batting once this afternoon is out...

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