It seems appropriate after a defeat in Wellington to quote the great Duke. It seems to sum up the position of our cricket team at this time. This is a team that looks on its knees, knowing it must “learn lessons” and fast.
I tweeted earlier that I’m not giving up on this team. I’m not basing this on any logic, any analysis, any particular confidence, but this is clearly an underperforming unit at this stage and it can, and probably will get better. Let’s review the team at the end of the competition when the knife can well and truly be stuck in. But clearly this is not going well. I can deal in understatement with the best of them!
Am I angry? Does it matter if I am? No-one has paid a jot of notice of the “refusenik” anger for the past 12 months so what does it matter if we go crazy now. AndyInBrum summed up so much of the pent up fury in his BTL piece on The Guardian that I’m not even going to attempt to outdo him:
Remember last year when Giles Clarke said england weren’t at a massively low ebb? He was right.
I’m gutted we got thrashed & good players are getting a tonking, but I would be lying if I’m not feeling smug about it at the same time.
I told you so, I told you that the leadership Omnishambles at the top of english cricket would lead to this, I told you sacking KP was a mistake, not just for spurious form reasons, but for the utterly incompetent, vindictive, spiteful way it was carried out.
I told you that Paul Downton was an incompetent so far out of his depth that fish with lights were above him.
I told you the signing of Moores was a disaster, I told you the failure to address the myriad failures of the ashes series would be a disaster, I told you the continuation of Cook as captain would be a disaster, & now his removal was too late, but better than nothing. We told you the bowling coach was doing it wrong, that the bowlers were bowling repeated utter dross, & that bowlers bowling well, fast & dangerously in County Cricket were coming to team england and regressing horribly
We outside cricket, told you this would come to pass, & we’ve been ignored, moderated or dismissed as irrelevant KP blow yards.
Well we told you so & it happened, so stuff you & the horse you rode in on
But let me tell you what grates at me. Like the nails down a blackboard, like a Downton interview, like a westcorkthinktank patronising…. it’s this:
We’ve never been any good at one day international cricket.
We only care about test matches.
This make my blood boil. Australia seem to be able to switch between the two with no difficulty whatsoever. South Africa are the world’s number 1 test team, yet they always fill their big ODI games, and certainly prioritise both forms of the game. Why in the name of hell do we think we are so damn special that a form of the game at which an undisputed World Champion will be appointed in a competition that is held every four years is beneath us. That we shouldn’t care? I’ve read this defeatism, and it makes me livid. It’s not as if we performed well in our holy grail of Ashes test cricket the last time we did it. We used to sell out our ODIs with ease, so it isn’t a lack of public interest. Or it wasn’t.
The ECB, for all we slag them off for their stupidity, cleared the decks to prepare for this competition. They got us to play a somewhat daft ODI series in Sri Lanka as a warm-up, and then got a Tri Series gig in the Big Three Cup. They’ve lined this tournament up. I actually don’t want to throw them under the bus for this bit. Where we cocked it up is we decided, 12 months before the competition, to do what we did. We know what that was, and for me I lay the complete farce this has been so far squarely at the door of my bete noire, Paul Downton. It was he who was the man behind the now infamous dismissal of Pietersen. It was he who was the man behind the selection of Peter Moores as the coach. It was he who was the man behind the unequivocal backing of Alastair Cook as captain in both tests and ODIs. It was he who was the man behind the maintenance of Cook as that captain for ODIs because he deserved chance after chance (and hoping he would come good). It was he who was the man behind the public backing of Cook in Sri Lanka, and then was part of the decision team that sacked him, at practically the last possible moment. I love Andy’s line about him being so far out of his depth that he’s below fish with lights! I wonder what needs to happen for this man to vacate his post…..
But you know that’s what I think. Those of you (that’s probably 99% of my visitors) that frequented my previous place will also note I’ve been pretty quiet on the Peter Moores front. While I wasn’t exactly decking the bunting at his appointment, I want to be as even-handed as I can about his performance, but my patience is wearing thin.
Last year I said this:
Appointment of Moores – I don’t believe it to be a conspiracy, borne out of Flower’s removal and then the need to have KP out of the way for him to be brought in. However, I won’t be admonishing those that think that given a large amount of circumstantial evidence to suggest this could be the case (Selvey pumping him, the “greatest coach of his generation” twaddle, his closeness to Flower etc.). I think the job was Giles’s to lose, and Giles lost it.
I have absolutely no hope for the future. Good luck Peter Moores. Good luck Alastair Cook. This is your bed, prepared using the sharpest nails by the ECB. Go lie in it.
Moores has not impressed. James at TFT points out on a regular basis that he has never won a one day trophy as a coach, but he’s still the outstanding coach of his generation. Moores comes across to me as a genuinely decent bloke. I fear that the culture among major sporting teams in this country is that we seem somewhat resistant to home-produced coaches, seeing them as ordinary compared to an exotic overseas appointment. I think he also had the obvious issues from the first time around that weigh him down no matter how much people deny it. The smell test is that this is not working, no matter how hard he is trying. The selection of Ballance at number 3, and then dropping Taylor down to six on the day of the first game of the World Cup has panic written all over it, even if it is a rational decision in his eyes. I felt his justification, and subsequent comments smacked of “not my fault” after the Australia game, and to a degree, it isn’t his fault if batsmen play crap shots. But this is a team, whenever you listen to them in that management drone drivel they specialise in , that talk incessantly about “getting the right plans”, “doing the basics” and “executing our skills”. It is said a good coach can be reflected in on field demeanour and fielding quality. These seem not to have improved no matter how much we are told about the dream pairing of Cook and Moores “are creating a good environment”.
Moores knows that the attention is starting to move his way. With Cook out the way, and Downton seemingly impervious to the hatred his presence ensures, it is Peter Moores who is in the hot-seat. Saker is on his way out, Paul Farbrace seems to have become the invisible man, and the layers of protection are being stripped away. It’s not looking good. We’ve entrusted a World Cup to this man, and it seems the last line of defence is the old defeatist one that I stated above. “We’ve never been any good at it”. That doesn’t wash.
If this tournament ends in abject failure, heads have to roll. We cleared the decks for this. We supposedly prepared for this. We ruined the Ashes in many peoples eyes for this. We have a brutal 2015/6 for this. To then rely on lazy presumptions that the fans don’t care, and an Ashes win will satisfy us, are taking the punters, as usual, for fools. This is not either/or. It never has been for teams that aspire to be great. I presume that’s what we want. After all, we won a World Title at the shortest form of the game, so that canard of being no good at this sort of game for some endemic reason is absolute shite. It’s a crutch for those who can’t face the fact that the people that made THAT decision are, in fact, charlatans. Because to admit that would be to admit you-know-who had a point. I saw someone today, who I know has encountered KP, say he’s rather have B*llock cancer than have him back in the team. That’s the sort of thinking I adore.
I’m not going to bother with these players. What’s the point? They got us into this mess, they need to get us out of it. By any means necessary. If they don’t, then eyes need to be cast in the direction of the likes of Stuart Broad, Eoin Morgan and Ian Bell in particular, as well as Jimmy Anderson who disappoints me more and more in this format. There’s a lot of talking, and not a lot of doing.
Oh well. 1500+ words of ranting, and I’ve only scratched the surface. There’s plenty more out there, so read them as well. TFT, Peter Miller et al. Eviscerating stuff showing the disappointment we feel. We care. We really care. Why people think we don’t is beyond me. Utterly beyond me.