Over the last few months we’ve been trying to educate the uninitiated into the ways of the wonderful world of cricket punting. So here’s another important lesson in the wake of England’s defeat by South Africa in the second Test at Nottingham.
Don’t believe everything you read after England have lost a game of cricket. Particularly at home. The cricket journalists tend to suffer a collective meltdown due to being stationed together in a overheating press box directly in the sun and they thrash out their fury on their keyboards.
England were called many terrible names after the loss by a whopping margin. Michael Vaughan, a former England captain, said they didn’t respect the game. Geoffrey Boycott, a rent-a-moan who is never happier when reinforcing his rep as a curmudgeon following a loss for his beloved, said they were “tripe”. And across the media you would have found reasoning for England reacting to the series-levelling result – yep, they are not even behind – by axing not one but FOUR players.
It would be very tiresome if, as punters, we decided to ignore it. You see, when betting on England cricket it is very important not to get caught up by press reports because, by and large, they give a grossly distorted view of the team’s chances.
There has been no mention of the rather important fact that there is a toss bias at Trent Bridge. The team that bats first wins. But that would be the facts getting in the way of their rants.
It is the same after England win a match, with one slight difference. England are a good team who are about to push the button on a long reign as the best side in the world. But the opposition are not up to much are they? That’s right, anyone England beat get the same treatment as England when they lose.
And it is very hard not to get suckered by the former. By and large cricketers and teams do not go bad overnight. Neither of these teams are the best in the world. But they are not as bad as they have been made out to be after each of their losses.
What will be key in this series is the toss. The outfits are probably as strong (or weak, if you like) as each other so winning the toss and batting first could be crucial. This will give the edge to the team who puts a total on the board and has the ability to defend around 250 on tired, wearing pitches with ease.
When that happens – as it did at Trent Bridge although South Africa set England a huge total – then it creates an illusion that one team is very good and the other, well, tripe. It’s just not true.