I've just been looking at the schedule
the England and Wales Cricket Board have announced for next summer's internationals and two thoughts struck me. The first, which has been noted many times
in the media, is 'that's a lot of cricket'. There are very few gaps between internationals and I suspect that many of the leading players are not going to be playing many games for their counties. If it's not the case already, I'd expect that by the end of next season James Anderson will probably have played more cricket for England in his career than he has for Lancashire.
But, the one thing that really caught my eye is that we're hosting the ICC Champions Trophy next year - in September
. Leaving aside the question of who'll actually be going to the games, it seems to me that the ICC and ECB are both crossing their fingers hopefully in expectation of good weather around this time next year. The nights are already closing in, and with the final scheduled for September 25th, it's not going to take more than a few showers to leave the entire tournament in chaos. Evenings are already cool enough to make any day/night games a challenge in averting hypothermia (does cold air aid or hinder swing?) and as the tournament is primarily a knock-out one there could be a few 10 or 20 over matches resulting, and knowledge of the Duckworth/Lewis tables could be the key to victory.
With a tour of South Africa, winding off the year I suspect the players will be glad of the break they'll get at the start of 2005. They'll need it, because after a couple of tests against Bangladesh, the main tour that summer is the return of the Australians...