January 2009. The England cricket team is in disarray. Captain Kevin Pietersen and Team Director Peter Moores have departed and the team is languishing at 7th in the World Test rankings. It’s been a painful fall from the heights of regaining the Ashes on home soil in 2005. Injuries, loss of form and retirements have seen the team and back room staff change rapidly. It’s time to draw a line in the sand. Andrew Strauss is named captain with assistant coach Andy Flower appointed Team Director.
‘We’re going to start again, and we’re going to start again like this.’
Flower wastes no time in setting the team a goal. Two years to become the number one ranked test team in the world.
‘The Edge’ goes about charting the progress towards that objective via behind the scenes footage from the time and recent interviews with the participants.
If you remember how things unfolded, then this serves as an interesting insight. If you don’t, then the timeline is fairly well covered and you get a decent feel for how they all went about their work. The story of Jonathan Trott best reflects the rise and subsequent fall of the team. From his early eccentricities and clarity of thought, his strong form deserts him as his metal health starts to rapidly deteriorate. Now retired, his tearful reflections at the end of the documentary on what he misses most about cricket, show just what a strong team England built almost a decade ago and the lifelong impact it will have on him.
Andy Flower features heavily. Many of the players look back on what he was like to play under and it certainly wasn’t easy. Ian Bell says ‘Even now if I pick up my mobile and his name comes up on that, I think, ah, shit, what have I done now.’ Flower himself acknowledges that if he had his time again, he would have done some things differently. He also admits his family life suffered in his pursuit of their ultimate goal.
It’s refreshing that Trott, Flower and to a lesser extent, the experiences of Steven Finn, Tim Bresnan and Monty Panesar are focused on more than the likes of Pietersen, Strauss and others; it’s where the documentary succeeds. That said, as much as I enjoyed ‘The Edge’ it often feels a bit rushed. In the age of the multi part sports documentary, a four or five part series would have given the opportunity to provide certain aspects of the story with more depth. As it stands though, at 91 minutes, it’s a quick, easy view that gets where it wants to and gives you food for thought way beyond the on-field action.
*The Edge is available to view in New Zealand on Amazon Prime (a 30 day free trial is available).
Follow Aiden on Twitter