Many of you may have see the superb documentary Fire in Babylon since it first aired in 2010 or perhaps more recently as Channel 4 showed it last week. For those that haven’t though we recommend you watch it as soon as you can, especially if you plan on attending one of the England fixtures against the West Indies this year.
Fire in Babylon charts the history of the West Indies cricket team in the 1970’s and 80’s – one of the most turbulent and controversial decades in sporting history. Their rise from underdogs to one of the most dominant cricket teams ever is a truly compelling story told in a manner befitting their team – with humour, passion and power. Although the teams have changed and the upcoming England-West Indies fixtures aren’t set against such a turbo charged atmosphere, one can’t help but become hugely excited for the summer ahead and the cricket hospitality opportunities.
The West Indies tour of England begins mid-May at Lord’s in their first of three test matches, and also includes three ODI matches in the latter half of June. Lord’s has traditionally held the honour of holding England’s opening summer fixture and is the perfect stage for the grand opening of England’s summer internationals. Edgbaston holds the 3rd and final Test match; Edgbaston is known for having one of the best atmosphere’s of any cricket ground and also has hospitality facilities the ECB praised as ‘marginally better than Lord’s’. The newly opened Jaguar Club provides a luxury, modern facility in which to entertain in as well as superb views of the pitch.
The highlight of the West Indies 3-game ODI series versus England is surely the day/night match on June 19th. Second only to Lord’s the Oval is England’s best ground and was the first ground in the UK to host Test cricket. The sense of history here is palpable and one can easily imagine back to August 1976 where the West Indies demolished the England batting order thanks to the fast bowling of “the four horsemen of the apocalypse”: Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Colin Croft and Joel Garner.
England will also welcome Australia later on in June as they start their five match ODI series at Lord’s, before heading to the Oval, Edgbaston, Chester-Le-Street and Old Trafford. England playing Australia is always a headline event and this series is a great chance for either to side to get one up ahead of the Ashes next year. Any one of these five fixtures will be absolutely unmissable and it’d unsurprising to see this series head to a fifth-match decider.
Finally South Africa will be playing England in a mammoth tour spanning July to mid-September, including three test matches, five ODI’s and 3 Twenty20 matches. South Africa are currently ranked as the world number two Test match side and will provide the perfect opportunity for the number one ranked England side to cement their dominance in international Test cricket.
The opening Test match at the Oval will undoubtedly set the tone for what is likely to be England’s toughest opponents this year. England will have to ensure they get a good read and rhythm of South Africa’s bowlers, including the number one rated Test bowler Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and the legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis. Our Bedser Boxes will provide outstanding views of England’s famous batsmen against South Africa’s fierce bowlers.