England v Pakistan can be the healthy distraction the ECB so craves

English cricket may be in a state of flux (or crisis), but the visits of Pakistan, India and Australia should provide genuine exhilaration on the international stage this summer

Come Thursday there will be that unique hum of excited conversation around the stands at Lord’s. The ground will look a picture, the sun should be shining and when the two decorously blazered captains make their way to the middle for the toss all will seem well with the cricketing world. This may be a veneer of contentment and calm since the game in this country is in a state of flux (say the optimists) or crisis (say the pessimists).

Still, as the umpires make their way through the Long Room there will be a ripple of applause and another international summer of cricket will be under way.

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