All the recent cricket talk in England seems to have been about the impending Ashes series. Who Australia is sending to England, who isn't going and how much England is going to beat them by.
I don't want to spoil the English fun, because we all know that us Kiwis support New Zealand and anyone else playing Australia, but before the Ashes series starts, we have a little unfinished business with the English.
Our Test series continues where we left off in Auckland. It's only 51 days between Tests. That's just like an extended lunch break. The fact that the Black Caps have flown for 24 hours to follow the English cricket team to their home turf is neither here nor there. There is a certain desire to finish what we started in Dunedin, continued in Wellington and came so very close to completing in Auckland.
It's a shame that there are only two Tests between the Black Caps and England as I am sure we would have liked one more.
Admittedly, with the exception of Dunedin perhaps,the conditions in England will probably be quite different to those in New Zealand. New Zealand had late Summer conditions and the country was under a drought. So the pitches were hard and dry, with quick outfields. England, by contrast, is in the early part of the season and pitches are likely to be much greener with overhead conditions perhaps not quite as dry. .
But the BlackCaps won't be too concerned about the playing conditions. The winning comes from within. Brendon McCullum and his lads showed that they have the mental temerity to fight back and fight on when they need to. They showed their loyal supporters they can be aggressive, and surprised us all with their guts and determination.
Most New Zealanders will talk about that series as though we won it. We've taken the moral victory at least. You have to understand the New Zealand psyche to see where that comes from.
We are a little country with a population of 4 million or thereabouts. That is all. That's roughly the size of Wales, or possibly Ireland. Our Australian cousins amount to 23 Million and there are about 56 Million English.
We don't normally expect to win on the world stage. Except maybe at rugby, and even then we are still surprised when we do.
If you imagine a sports banquet, New Zealand would be the soup whilst England and Australia are more likely to be the roast chicken with all the trimmings. One would normally wolf down the soup as a starter to get to the main course. However, once in a while, you come across an exquisite pumpkin soup that you want to linger over and enjoy just a little longer before you put your spoon down and pick up your knife and fork.
Understated coverage suits us. Focus on those Australians. Concentrate on the roast chicken. Forget about the soup. It may just surprise you how delicious it really is.