May 17th 2012. Lords. There will be a general hubbub of excitement. A buzz. Excited anticipation of a Summer to come. A Summer where men will battle over 22 yards. Going to war with cork and willow. Challenging the temperament, the nerve, the mindset and the technique of the opposition in the ultimate sporting test.
A toss of the coin can be so crucial. The weather can influence, the pitch can turn, the batsmen lose their heads. Momentum can be gained and appear unstoppable until the tail begin to wag. The bat bites bag against the hooping ball, the heads in the field begin to drop and the scoreboard just keeps on ticking.
Persistence, perseverance, power and poise in equal measure can see success beyond belief. The pure white shines bright against the lush green turf. A spinners wicket? A batters paradise? A green beauty? Questions hang over the ground like Chris Tarrant in his chair. The answers will be revealed slowly, steadily as the plot unfolds. True sporting theatre is promised and so rarely fails to deliver.
Some say the game is dying. Some say that the boom boom quick fire short forms of the game are the way forward. Nonsense. Test cricket remains the ultimate challenge for a cricketer. Can they cope with the pressure, that ball that moves past the edge, the sledging from behind? Can they deliver the ball on the money consistently, probing and pressing on a line, to find a way of beating the man down the other end.
Yes, test cricket is back. And my it feels good!