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A refreshing new routine




What have most of us, perhaps not forgetting the many key workers who have kept the country going, missed during lockdown and over the past 12 months?

Some would say seeing friends and family, going to the pub or a restaurant, holidays and even work. What they all amount to is structure and routine.

As a sports fan, that to a degree has been maintained with major sports continuing to be played.

England's Barmy Army cricket fans abroad.
England's Barmy Army cricket fans abroad.

Football’s Premier League is now on every day at every time. It’s never ending. The other night a leading match finished at nearly 11pm on a Sunday night.

Horse racing, cricket, tennis, and golf are still being played albeit on a random ad hoc basis in some cases.

The main decision as a TV spectator is whether you switch on the fake crowd noise or resort to hearing the screams and shouts of the players. Personally, I prefer the fake noise.

One recent sporting occasion for cricket fans which may have brought back some routine has been England’s recent Test matches in India.

To start with, the matches have returned to mainstream TV on Channel 4 and have been available to all.A definite plus to the game which hopefully has seen the ‘Joe Roots’ of the future tuning in.

I am sure there have been many cricket fans who have been setting alarms to watch the live coverage, which usually begins at 3.45am, with play starting 15 minutes later.

The first question is when to set the alarm?Do you miss the first session and get up for the lunch interval, 6-6.40am UK time?

Do you get up before the birds are singing for the start of play? When you do arise for the start of your day’s play, do you glance at your phone for a score flash?Decisions, decisions?

Once you have made the decision there is the customary, not in my case, sliding out of bed and creeping down the stair’s moment, trying to not wake anyone else in the house challenge.

The latter depending on the sound of your alarm, the sleep patterns of others and the house’s floorboards might be more difficult than England’s survival on the beach at Chennai in the 2nd Test.

However, once settled in your favourite chair or sofa with a large cup of coffee to keep you alert, your routine is set.

I dare say supporters have added bacon sandwiches, rounds of toast, fruit and all manner of delicacies watching Joe Root’s team battle against their powerful hosts.

Possibly, other members of the family may have joined England’s ‘Sofa Army’ latter in the morning, though hopefully not to switch channels and watch Lorraine!

Certainly Joe Root must have cheered up cricket fans in the 1st Test with his magnificent 218, and along with the batting skills of Ben Stokes, Jimmy Anderson’s famous second innings over and the spin bowling of Dom Bess and Jack Leach, England won by a comfortable 227 runs on the last day.

Perhaps an early alcoholic drink was added to the refreshments to celebrate England’s’ famous victory.

With play usually finishing each day at 11.30am, the cricket devotees amongst us would add in the after-match summaries between the experts and our routine was set for five or, in the second test, only three-and-a-half days when India took their revenge on the sand.

The rest of the day supporters would remain in a zombie-like state as they recovered from that bacon sandwich at 4.30am, too much coffee and disrupted sleep patterns after they had drifted off during a slow passage of play.It’s a bit different to the afternoon snooze at the UK Test after the lunchtime beers, but similar.

A 3.45am wake up in deepest January and early February isn’t the norm for most of us, but hey, this is not a normal time.

We all just crave a little routine which two weeks in Chennai have just given us.

Roll on Ahmedabad and the next two tests.Time to set the alarm.



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