I couldn’t sleep last night. I have no idea why.

I used to get this a lot on Sunday nights. And I will again soon as my adventure begins to draw to a close. Firstly, what the hell do I do with my life once the booziness and badinage of this trip has warn off and all the highs of the last few months have been coldly filed into the memory bank?
Even then, I’ll probably hate what I end up doing anyway and it’ll be back to those bleak thoughts. The thought of another Monday, another week’s fruitless trudge for dismal reward.

Could it be that? Or, following my dalliance with 5 Star luxury the night before, my bad karma catching up with me.
Or my unceremonious return to hosteling. Current gripes? Good looking lasses with blokes out of their league (If that’s the current trend, how come I’m missing out?).
And big groups of do-gooding types (teachers or church groups, that type of thing) hogging the facilities, the rest of us consigned to kitchen corners as they loudly and lengthily prepare their Last Suppers.
And the fact that my current billets are right next to the adjoining creaky wooden stairs and the nocturnal cattle herd (a unique selling point for any hostel, you’d have thought) that use them for sprint training.

As I was trying to count sheep (lots of them down here admittedly, I got two thirds of the way through I reckon) and wrestle with the Black Dog a single, beautiful thought fought its way through the darkness, like the band’s greatest fan* straining through the stubborn drunken phalanx of tottering bodies to get their spot beside the stage. Something I read from Mr Derek’s article in the Telegraph an hour or two earlier;

Saturday was England’s first ODI series win against New Zealand for twenty-one years.

Brilliant. That really is brilliant.

This says three things to me. Firstly, under Alastair Cook, England are establishing a welcome habit of breaking long-standing records. Witness, firstly the Test side’s dramatic series win after a quarter of a century in India in December. And now the latest triumph in New Zealand. For all the Kiwi fans protestations, New Zealand are traditionally tough competitors at this form of the game and to win here is a sign of England’s growing confidence, a sign of a hitherto un-hinted at long term planning, player selection and tactics as firstly the Champions Trophy then, belatedly, the World Cup approaches. Keep on winning lads.
Secondly, it shows a further, worrying decline in New Zealand cricket. Blackcaps supporters, granted are quick to jump on both success and failure bandwagons as soon as they’re hastily assembled, but losing their way, at home, in One Day Internationals should sound alarm bells that have previously been ringing at Test level. It pains me to see this kind of second team (if you’re ever allowed such a thing, especially internationally) to me go through this. Their hardcore support deserve better.
Lastly, this has the makings of a very good limited overs England side. I like the make up of it, I like the longevity of it and I like the hunger of it. Young tyros bursting to show off their talents on the world stage mixed with canny performers who know this format inside out topped with the cream of world cricket talent and a collective urge to prove they are the best in the world. This is the beginning of an exciting chapter for this team.

A happy idea indeed. Forget counting sheep, I allowed my self to slip into subconsciousness with thoughts of stirring victories and a positive future for English cricket.

Sweet dreams.

*Like me at a Wait For Jude gig, for example. Hello Scott, Gav, Greg and axeman Pete.

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