England in the Caribbean – 9th February 2019

As each hour goes by in St.Lucia it’s becoming increasingly difficult to imagine becoming frustrated with anything. It’s far from perfect, but the people looking after us are ridiculously relaxed and calm. I left my wallet in the hotel before leaving for the ground and the taxi driver said: “No problem. You can pay me when we see each other again – in anther life is also fine. I may need it more then…”

There is a wonderful tradition, not unknown in South Africa, of course, of naming infant girls with a mixture of their maternal and paternal grandmothers names. Actually, it pertains to boys here, too. But there is less attention to conventional aesthetics – the less ‘normal’ the name, the better. The management could not have been more helpful, Although Sanovkik was unable to explain the derivation of his name.

Joe Root’s media requirements before a Test match are formidable. One-on-one interviews with Sky, TalkSport and the BBC are followed by the written press gathering which resembles a scrum given the preference in these parts to conduct the press conference on the outfield rather than a more formal setting. All the journos need to be close enough to ask their questions and hear the answers so it’s not as ‘aggressive’ as it might look.

“We may have made the odd wrong selection on occasion for the first two Tests,” said Root with presidential tact and understatement – especially as he wasn’t responsible for them. “But we have one more chance to put things right and show how we are capable of playing, and we intend to take that chance.”

Kraigg Brathwaite spent 15 minutes in ‘visualisation’ mode at the crease before he endured a similar (though not as long) series of media engagements. There were all sorts of things going on around him with ground-staff and TV crew preparing wickets and digging stump-mic holes but he was oblivious to it all. Utterly transfixed and focused. At one stage he was physically moved aside but appeared not to notice, Inevitably, he said how important it was for the home side to complete a 3-0 sweep.

Sir Alistair Cook continues to be a source of huge wit and amusement on tour – what a difference a change of role makes. Describing his own reaction to last night’s taxi driver asking whether he would like “any weed or other fun” was priceless. Obviously this never happened with the team bus driver on England tours, But he can keep the details for his after-dinner speech dates.

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