The Lords Museum is a fine resting place for the Wisden Trophy, won back by England at Old Trafford yesterday for the final time. It will now be replaced by the Botham/Richards trophy, created to honour the friendship between the great Sir Ian Botham and Sir Vivian Richards.
Although the final day was a little underwhelming as the West Indian batsmen wilted in the face of Englands' pace attack, with Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes skittling the West Indies by mid-afternoon. You could be highly critical of the West Indies, on a day where the rain was imminent, they showed very little fight and determination to dig in and survive the day. It was fitting with the way the West Indies batted that only minutes after Backwood edged one into the grateful gloves of Jos Buttler down the leg-side to seal England's victory, the heavens opened and the rain lashed down.
You could choose to focus on Shai Hope's loose shot or the poor running between the wickets. However, that would be an injustice to the West Indians who chose to tour during a global pandemic. It would also be an injustice to the England bowlers who maintained their line and lengths perfectly, attacking the batting of the West Indies players with bespoke plans of attack and fields, don't look now but Joe Root has now won 5 straight tests as captain.
However, this isn't a post to go through the on-field events, this is a post to celebrate that international cricket is back. It's a post to celebrate the West Indies who decided to tour a country badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It would have been easy for them to stay home, the Caribbean, by and large, has done well to avoid the global pandemic, yet they knew the importance of getting cricket back and running. Jason Holder has said that a reasonable payback would be for England to tour the Caribbean this winter, bringing money to the region. I don't know if the schedule will allow that with England due to tour India and make-up their lost series in Sri Lanka, but if time allows, I'd 100% support England paying the West Indies back in the right way.
The series just gone showed us all how international cricket should be played. Hard, competitive, but with a good nature. The West Indies competed well, despite missing some key components of their batting line-up. We saw some excellent batting displays, some tremendous bowling and we even saw Carlos Brathwaite reading the shipping forecast, what more could you want from the first series of the summer.
Now we move on to the Pakistan series. Another cricketing country that will be desperate for England to replay them by touring in the near future. International cricket has returned to Pakistan recently, but they're yet to entice one of the big nations, with England the most likely to return first. With all due respect to the West Indies, Pakistan should present a tougher challenge for England. They're batting is deeper and their bowling is too, they have a number of dangerous seamers, and in Babar Azam they have one of the best batsmen in world cricket.
International cricket is back, county cricket is back, let's keep this summer going.