For someone whose eyes start to glaze over at the first mention of statistics, two such, which came to light during a Times + event at Lord’s just before Christmas, stirred something in me that was close to interest. The first was that 2011 was the first time in nearly six decades that no dark blue cap, crested with the three lions and a crown, was handed out to an England debutant- only the second time since the Second World War that this has happened.
The last time the England team was so hard to break into was 1953 and the second statistic bears some relevance to that time-line as well. Andrew Strauss has now played in more winning Test matches than any other England player- Colin Cowdrey included, who now sits one behind Strauss’s 44 wins. Cowrdey made his debut in 1954 and played in the last England team of whom it could be said, incontrovertibly, that that they were the world’s best…..