Killing Puritans

Ah yes. Always going to throw in an Armand van Helden reference where I can. If you thought not, well, you don’t even know me.

But the main reason for invoking the above album name is because of George Dobell. Those of you who have not listened to his podcast with Peter Miller, aka The Cricket Geek, should. End of. Those of you who think the “campaign” I’ve run here and on my previous incarnation, and that The Full Toss has been on too, is one based on bile and rancour need to listen to it. You have to. Choose not to believe George when he mentions when the ECB deliberately leaked misinformation on an individual, and instead believe Selfey with his “anal about leaks” comment. Choose not to believe George when he said that individual items on the dodgy dossier were leaked to journalists, and that when the full document became public property the ECB tried to sue, and instead believe the mainstream media who believe their work is good journalism rather than the beneficiary of crumbs from the table from above.

This podcast has so much to recommend it. Readers of the previous incarnation will not be surprised at my “bigging up” of George Dobell, and also Peter does a superb job of keeping the fires burning. The podcast leaves you wanting more, almost as if you’d just like to go down the pub with the bloke and get the lowdown as he sees it. There is definitely a “I know a lot of what is going on, but can’t tell you” but the fact is, he lets you know a lot more than the ECB line.

The podcast is also good on the current England set-up. From Dobell’s standpoint it is clear to him that Andy Flower remains a key influence in the England firmament. There is some even more damning stuff around the fall of the Flower Empire, which I’ve not seen or heard in such graphic detail, and the story arounf Boyd Rankin, for instance, really needs to be examined if he was told to play with what was a pretty bad shoulder injury. Flower seems to be the sort of bloke Downton is in awe of, and this is worrying. Dobell clearly initmates that it is Flower pulling many of the strings. Maybe, just maybe, we are getting some clarity on the KP exile that the ECB don’t want to admit.

I’ve got a bit of sympathy for the Moores stuff. As you know, I’m not one who wants to plunge the knife into him, but it is inescapable that this team set the 2015 World Cup as a goal, and the preparation was farcical, the late switch of plans a hint of indecision and the current performances are lamentable. Moores is going to be in the firing line, big time, if this doesn’t turn around. The narrative, set by a friendly media last summer, was that he had created a good environment, and that young talent was thriving under him. People ignored the dodgy start against Sri Lanka, leaped on the turnaround of the India series, and put the late season ODI collapse down to end of season blues. Moores had a friendly press after their initial scepticism.

Moores, as Dobell says, doesn’t do himself any favours in press conferences. He does always seem a decent bloke trying his best to me, and if that sounds slightly patronising it isn’t meant to be. Moores was handed a horrible bed of nails to lie on, and he’s starting to show the marks. The latest interviews seem to indicate that the plans are right but the execution is at fault. Fair enough, but the players look shit scared when they go out there. The problem, and I know it is extraordinarily simplistic, is that our lot go out there as if this is a job of work. Many of us who do jobs don’t love what we do, and hence we don’t perform to our best. Some respond to the threat of the Sword of Damocles, and others retrench and play it safe. How many of this lot actually look like they are enjoying playing the game out there? I felt a little bit of that once we turned it around against India, but it needs the team to grasp the nettle before we get into winning positions. Given what we’ve been told about the regime that ended in Australia last winter, it seems fun was well down the agenda. Was it really true that players were asked not to celebrate birthdays because it could disrupt the team? This is sport, not a war. It’s meant to be enjoyable, not a torture. I perform better when I’m enjoying it, not when it is a matter of fear. I have been told of players snapping at journalists for daring to suggest there may be alternatives to them in the team, as if some believe they have a right not to be questioned. They may be a likeable bunch, according to George, but that message isn’t getting through here.

There are so many nuggets in that podcast, that I urge you all to listen to it. So, before this evening’s entertainment, let me leave you with a quote from Nick Hoult’s article…

Michael Vaughan, Paul Collingwood, Cook and now Morgan all found run making difficult while Moores was the head coach. The only one who did not struggle was Pietersen, partly because his tenure was brief, and he probably did not listen to Moores anyway.

But, never forget, KP was the problem. The real problem. The thing that needed to be dealt with.

My thanks to Mr Miller and Mr Dobell. Do it again soon.

On other parish news, here is where a friend of mine has been recently and mailed to me today…



18 thoughts on “Killing Puritans

  1. julie Feb 21, 2015 / 9:00 pm

    Am off to find that podcast.Thanks for pointing me that way.Wish I was wrong about Andy Flower but after hammering my beliefs all year it’s nice to see others agree with me.He is the poison within the ECB and the reason for KP’s destruction.Why is he so bitter as to pull Eng cricket down?? I just don’t know.


    • Zephirine Feb 21, 2015 / 9:19 pm

      There’s an extraordinary bit about how Dobell feels when he gets a call or text from Flower….

      I don’t think Flower is consciously bitter or trying to harm England cricket, Julie, I think he’s just utterly convinced that he’s right and will never see that others might have a better way of doing things. And he’s obviously an extremely controlling and dominating personality.


  2. Zephirine Feb 21, 2015 / 10:32 pm

    I was longing to know who was the one England cricketer that Dobell thought was a really nasty piece of work, but I don’t expect ever to have the answer. It didn’t seem to be anyone in the current side.

    It is interesting though – even as honest and open as Dobell is, he still at times was almost tying himself in knots saying that even though he thought X or Y was rubbish at their job he was still sure they were a nice person. And when Peter Miller was talking about not wanting to trash Hugh Morris because he’d see him around at Glamorgan, the quip ‘Welcome to my world’ was telling.

    Of course, being close to these people is an advantage when they’re succeeding, it’s only when they’re screwing up that it gets so tricky.


  3. SimonH Feb 21, 2015 / 10:54 pm

    The points about Loughborough were fascinating. Fast bowlers made slower….. unorthodox spinners driven out of the game….. men with blazers and clipboards devising ever more bizarre ways to justify themselves….. it all rang very true.

    It would be bad enough if the money the ECB are screwing out of spectators and smaller nations was being wisely spent but pissing it down the drain on a white elephant is just wretched.


  4. Pontiac Feb 21, 2015 / 11:00 pm

    If you treat the players to the kind of schedule they are expected to play, then of course they will treat it all like a job. I mean, look at how they dragged Bell to the Carribean then back to the World T20 and he never got a game.


    • LordCanisLupus Feb 22, 2015 / 12:06 am

      It can be a bit simplistic, but you know, it might work. Go out and have some fun. Relax. No-one expects you to win it all, so let’s free our minds and give it a lash.

      Australia pick Glenn Maxwell because he might come off in a big way every now and again. We don’t pick Hales because we think he’ll fail more often than not. It’s fear that guides us….


  5. SimonH Feb 22, 2015 / 6:49 am

    newman on Moores:

    “Should a man who has had to take over on the back of two 5-0 Ashes thrashings be under such scrutiny less than a year after been charged with lifting England back from the latest of many ‘rock bottoms?’
    Well, yes. Moores, to me, remains an enigma. He is incredibly highly regarded in the domestic game and prominent voices among those I canvassed when it became clear he was going to pip Ashley Giles to the job last April assured me that England were making the right choice.
    ‘His only mistake last time was making Pietersen captain,’ a man whose judgment I trust more than almost any other in the game told me when I expressed doubts. ‘He sprinkles magic dust wherever he goes,’ said another”.

    Where did those quotes come from? “His only mistake” – where do you start with that?

    Elsewhere, apart from being about 12 months too late, Brenkley’s piece in the Independent is rather good. He sees the link between Moores and Downton – after “the greatest coach of his generation” how could Downton survive Moores’ sacking? But then how could Downton survive calling his captain a “natural” leader on Monday and sacking him on Thursday? By utter shamelessness…..


    • Zephirine Feb 22, 2015 / 11:00 am

      “a man whose judgment I trust more than almost any other in the game”
      Possibly the one he sees when he looks in the mirror?


  6. Arron Wright Feb 22, 2015 / 11:18 am

    I just posted this on Vic Marks’s article about England v Scotland, as I was growing tired of reading godawful complacent tripe from England fans. Not so much about the Scotland match, but as if New Zealand delivered a freak performance and the Tests this summer (against a team led by a coach with a 50% loss ratio at home, including the only early summer defeat this century) will be a different matter.

    England’s last six results against associates in ICC world events* (most recent first):

    L W L W NR L

    Not a very good record really, is it?

    * Netherlands WT20 2014 (L)
    Afghanistan WT20 2012 (W)
    Ireland WC 2011 (L)
    Netherlands WC 2011 (W)
    Ireland WT20 2010 (NR)
    Netherlands WT20 2009 (L)


  7. Arron Wright Feb 22, 2015 / 12:48 pm

    Death, taxes and this being the next piece of clickbait we see all over the newspaper websites:


    • LordCanisLupus Feb 22, 2015 / 1:05 pm

      If pictures of him bombing in a swimming pool in Barbados can make the papers, this is a dead cert.


  8. SimonH Feb 22, 2015 / 4:18 pm


    • Arron Wright Feb 22, 2015 / 4:34 pm

      It appears he is cricket’s answer to Edith Piaf/Norman Lamont:


    • Zephirine Feb 23, 2015 / 2:47 pm

      Why don’t some of the Associates just start playing longer-form matches against each other? Start with 4-dayers and then progress to 5-dayers. Oh, just friendlies, of course, nothing for the ICC to get upset about…. then once they get good at them, they can set up a programme of regular tours playing 5-day games. They could call them Stet matches or something.


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