Dmitri’s Dirty Dozen

I listened. I read the rage. I felt your pain. I feel the anger stirring in my bones. Or somewhere else. Here we go. Reminder, this is for events in the last three months only. I intend repeating this at the end of June.

Before I start, these are not in a strict order, but the nearer the top, the more likely you are to have annoyed me.

The press people in here have annoyed me overly in the last three months. This is not a reflection of their overall perception when it comes to my always popular journalist list, which will appear soon.

Thinking also of doing one for the TV personalities too, just so Mark Nicholas can be the Paul Newman of that poll.

OK. Here we go.

1. Paul Downton. Absolutely no shock there. He had a shocker in 2014, and now 2015 has come up and bit him on the arse. The main problem I have is that if anyone in a high position in most all organisations in this country had been this bad, he’d be gone. The World Cup was his Christmas sales, and he’s the cricketing equivalent of shutting at weekends. He bigged us up as a team to be reckoned with, and when we weren’t, he hit the media cycle at full blast before the Bangladesh’s could exit the stadium! His message “not my fault”. Many claim him to be a nice man, a man who builds teams, a consensus builder. I suggest they look at the evidence so far. If he’s still around at the end of Quarter 2, Graves and Harrison are nothing but a false dawn.

2. Giles Clarke. We’ve heard barely a peep out of him. This is the one thing he has done right. If, as we suspect, he’s stopped the dismissals of Moores and Downton on his watch (this has been intimated – that the new duo didn’t even try because Clarke wouldn’t have it), he’s made his personal pride more important than the future of the game. He’s seen as the impediment. An unpopular leader over a revolting set of counties. Who were so pissed off they couldn’t even fire him, so shunted him to a sinecure in the ICC where he can rule world cricket with Srini’s hand up his [fill in the blank]. He won’t be gone in three months, he’ll be around for an age. His dead hand has still got control. We couldn’t finish him off. Because the establishment, of which Graves is a part, can’t do that. His first task was to rid us of this pariah, this embarrassment. Instead, we’ll have him lording over world cricket. God help us.

3. Peter Moores. The greatest coach of his generation put out that rubbish. Players play, we know that, but the whole set-up was wrong. We could all see it from a mile off. His nice man persona, his affability and cordial relations can’t disguise that this man looks fundamentally out of his depth. I don’t want to have a pop at him, he’s far too decent, but we are going backwards. The World Cup was a key objective and he blew it. He’s not getting the most out of his players in one of the fundamental formats of the game, whether we like it or not. Ignore that data stuff, it’s a smokescreen. You need a technician but you also need a motivator. Moores isn’t the latter. We can all see it. It’s painful. I’d gladly eat my words if we win the Ashes this year. Gladly. But I can’t let that campaign go.

4. Alastair Cook. I’m not quite as down on the comments he raised with the reporters in Abu Dhabi, but clearly he’s suffering from a real image problem right now. He’s associated with the dying embers of the Downton/Clarke axis of incompetence and it is too late to distance himself from it. So while many of you have interpreted his remarks with due rage, I want to temper that a little. He was treated badly by the powers that be last December, but it was their sheer incomptence in struggling to make the correct decision at almost the worst time possible that was bad. Bleating about it now, and then making the story about him not particularly wanting KP back (a number of sources quoted his rage at the prospect) has left a bad taste. It’s because if anyone in the England set up that needs to score runs in county cricket to have a place in that team it is “no test tons for nigh on two years” Cook.

5. John Etheridge. This one, I admit, is personal to me as none of you have mentioned him. However, he chose to pick a fight, albeit a little obliquely, with this blog and blogger, on the back of a harmless use of a picture in an old Wisden Cricket Monthly of Doug Ibbotson. Many of you may remember it as a storm in a teacup, and to a degree it was. But timing is everything. It was a combination of the message and the timing that was so bloody annoying, and the accusation of this blog being the product of guesswork (which I have never pretended it wasn’t – I have no access), when those being paid to write are not exactly covering themselves in glory in the post-Ashes era was the most galling thing. They backed the wrong horse, not us. We’ve seen little to prove us wrong. Our reading of some of the issues hasn’t been bad at all for guesswork. None of us said Downton showed aplomb and was impressive. None of us took copy from leaks from the ECB. After he had a pop, you did back.  Then to say some were perhaps OTT in responding was the cherry on the trifle. While this won’t be reflected in another piece I will do soon (the ever popular top 10 reporters piece), I was disappointed by his approach. As I say, a personal one. Because Etheridge is one I have hope for. I don’t know why…

6. Dave Richardson. The only thing that could complete this guy’s quarter of a year would be to be appointed as a new press officer for the ECB. Paul Downton has competition for the most out of their depth face of a board/commission in cricket, and this is a world Srini and Clarke occupy (at least these two have seemed to learn to limit public utterances). This was a World Cup with precious few competitive games between the test nations, and illuminated by the characters and performances of some of the “lesser nations” as the ICC clearly thinks thet are. Ireland should have shut him up, but still he has to bow to the TV tune and maintain a 10 team World Cup is better. It’s not a simplistic issue, no matter how some paint it to be, but surely we should err on the side of expansion of the game over limiting the scope? He’s been atrocious, come across as out of touch and arrogant, and been the target for lots of rage. Come join the ECB, Dave.

7. Simon Hughes. I’m worried. Still a few left and room for Newman is running out. Why Hughes? Well he’s the editor at large of The Cricketer and he’s using it to full effect. I blame editors for cartoons like the one disparaging Pietersen. I blame editors for letting pieces like Pringle’s through citing propaganda from KP’s side as if it was all one way. I blame editors for setting the tone. Then, on top of that, whether it be personal animosity towards Pietersen or loyalty to former team-mate Downton, or a mixture of both, he throws his “analyst” tag out of the window and abandons any pretence at logic. He endorsed that piece from Holden a few weeks ago and floundered when challenged. He’s made a strong play to get into the journos top 10 – he’s a dead cert, and may well get a very high new entry placing – because he combines his personal animosity with an implied “don’t you know who I am” persona. The very personification of what we know as the “Tyers Tweet Tendency”.

8. Mike Selvey. At the risk of alienating some of my readers, who I believe are developing what I would call “a bit of a thing” about Selvey, he’s not really incurred my wrath to your levels. As I said, I think some of that is due to people having a high opinion of him and feeling let down. I never started there. I know your writers are a matter of taste, but his really really awful stuff was last year. He is, though, protected like there is no tomorrow on The Guardian BTL, and treats critics with an aloofness and contempt that if he just TRIED to engage he’d find there’s a kinder, calmer voice out there. He seems unable to pick his spots, his words anger, his approach seemingly of a different age. But he’s not Simon Hughes this quarter, although, I’ll grant you, he’s worthy of a place here. Is Ali a threat – he’s started very well at the Guardian – because Selvey seems to annoy more than enjoy these days.

9. David Saker. His one and only appearance in a dirty dozen, we hope. All we can say is that if you are judged by current performance, the way the bowling fell off a cliff in the last couple of years, with our best prospect regressing alarmingly before our eyes, then Saker should have been booted out a while back. Instead it was the same old same old. Lightning rod for criticism, protected by number 8 in print, and then leaving with no regrets from many outside cricket. His stock, so high after 2010/11 has now become a laughing one. As we bowled bouncer after bouncer in a World Cup, getting carted about, the coach was not for turning. Both he and Moores went on and on about “plans” and when they failed they “weren’t executed properly”. No. He’s gone. Thankfully.

10. Jim Holden’s one article of note. You know when there’s an internet meme going about when an article on the Diana and the Weather rag, the UKIP love-in Express catches attention. Jim Holden was always someone I liked to read, and although I didn’t agree for a lot of the time, it was good stuff. The article in praise of Cook and slagging off Pietersen was just gobsmackingly rubbish. D’Arthez tore it apart. I tore my hair out, and there’s not a lot of that. It’s bad because it completely ignores Cook’s last two years in the job, with batting form going out the window, and then turning on Pietersen as if his points were new. When he brought Piers Morgan into it, then he’d lost the plot. When the people who backed your article were Hughes and Newman, and when the people who would approve of it were Downton, Whitaker and Clarke, you may be batting on the wrong team, Jim. Terrible stuff.

11. James Brayshaw. Man it was a toss-up between him and Dominic Cork. The latter is turning into the Robbie Savage of cricket, slagging KP off for many crimes that could have been levelled at him (“show pony”). But I’m always an avid viewer of Australian test and ODI cricket in the winter months, and Brayshaw is just off the charts atrocious. I mean so lost in the ether, they’d make seven series about him and tell us it’s all a dream. I expect a little bias to the home team, but this is partisan cheering. Geoff Lemon tore the Channel 9 team apart. In his piece he said “James Brayshaw has the emotional depth of a sock puppet during a button shortage.” I gave that a standing ovation. We were spared him during the World Cup, thank God, but his grating man-love, his fawning attitude scarred me. I know, it’s pointless hating him, but then I can mention Brad McNamara….

12. This is difficult. All of the following are going to be left out. Paul Newman. Derek Pringle. Andy Flower. Stephen Brenkley. Nick Knight. Mark Nicholas. Australia. Shane Watson in particular (gobbing off at a Scotland bowler – big man). Srini. Colin Graves. Tom Middleton or whatever his name is. Kevin Pietersen, Piers Morgan and those BTL stalwarts we all know and love. But number 12 has to be James Whitaker.  For that interview with Pat Murphy. Like any man completely out of his depth he keeps his public utterances to a minimum. His first as chairman was memorable for the phone going off and wilting under the pressure of Tim Abraham. His last was memorable for keep mentioning plans that someone wasn’t part of, and the justification more or less being Gary Ballance. I like Ballance a lot, but after you’ve parachuted him into the ODI team with no return whatsoever, I’d have kept that quiet. David Graveney had no caps and if I recall, was a leader behind an apartheid rebel tour. We didn’t feel the need to get angry at him for lack of experience. Whitaker has something else. That knowledge he isn’t good enough. That he cannot cut the mustard. That he cannot represent a policy so stupid, so immensely dense, so beyond understanding that any attempt comes off as imbecilic and easily picked apart. He’s my last in the dirty dozen.

Thanks for all the help in putting this together. Hope you enjoyed it, and although you won’t agree with my views, the prompting helped no end….

Quarterly

Well. It’s a windy old night in London town, and the winds of change are blowing around English cricket. Or are they?

Unless I get distracted by someone or other wanting light refreshment tomorrow evening, I intend wrapping up the first quarter of the year with a special post. It will be called Dmitri’s Dirty Dozen, and I’ll be doing a list of 12 (hey, that education did not go to waste) people in the cricketing world to have really got on my nerves this last three months.

There will be the perennial faces of establishment rot – Downton, Clarke and Whitaker – and the pillars of the press (who will win the little sub-battle to be crowned the journo who cheesed me off the most), but at this point I need your contributions. Who has really annoyed you in the past three months? Who needs telling?

I’m not going down the Full Toss route of bowing down to those Aussies, as we need to keep some pride intact, and not give in! But they are right in saying not so long ago we held the aces, and then decided to revert back in time. Let’s get some fight going!

Test cricket is not far away, the county season will be starting soon, and our summer is not far away. Will it be as tumultuous as the last summer? I have a feeling it might be.

Let me have your suggestions by noon tomorrow for the article. Then the piece gets written. As usual, my decision is final! Also, suggestions for the man of 2015 so far. I’ll take that on board too.

Get suggesting!

Unmoved

I didn’t watch a ball.

That’s a really poor confession by a cricket blogger who has been going on about how important ODI cricket is to this country and how we can’t take it seriously is holding us back. But I didn’t watch a lot of the 2011 Final (shopping), 2007 (at football) and 1999 (playing cricket). I woke up several times to see this was a pretty one sided final, so I stayed in bed. Well done Australia, but it was a bit like Germany winning the football world cup. You recognise their brilliance, their technical and mental superiority, their will to win and their drive, but you can’t help but hate that it’s your most accursed rivals doing it. It’s a bit like cheering on the dealer at the blackjack table.

What is clear, from the re-run, is that once again Australia were the best at taking wickets. For all the talk about the batting, the sixes, the big bats, small boundaries et al, it was Australia who didn’t look like conceding 300 and facing difficult chases, or taking on water in major chases of their own. Their only loss was the only one away from home, when they walked into a maelstrom in Auckland, and were beaten by New Zealand. I don’t think many seriously believed that result would be repeated last night. We hoped, but at the end, we never got the performance we wanted to see. But they were the stars of the tournament for me – their no fear attitude, their resilience in many games, and their sheer joie de vivre is an example to many nations.

Australia have much of that energy and passion too, and they have the better players (for now) in the crunch. This has been a sobering tournament for many outside the ANZAC region. These two teams had the best bowling line-ups. India took a lot of wickets, and won a particularly impressive victory over South Africa, but once up to one the top two, they were easily beaten. It may be an interesting debate to see if India would have beaten New Zealand in a game of importance, but that’s by the by. This format only really gets interesting when it comes to the knockouts.

Which goes against the grain, I know. While watching Ireland play really, really well, ultimately this competion is about who wins, not who does well early. Colombia and Costa Rica and Chile all played some superb football in the World Cup last year, but they never made the semis. Ireland, sadly, have to face the commercial realities. India, and therefore the ICC, don’t give a shit. We can moan and complain all we want, and I really want to moan and complain, but there’s little point. Sport has been stolen from us by TV companies, sponsors and big businesses. By businessmen who care about the bottom line. It’s of no interest to them that the associates had certainly moved a step forward, even if the results of all but Ireland didn’t reflect that. As a supporter of a lower league football team, I’m still livid about the Premier League. There’s only so much resentment I can have in my heart. Of course it’s wrong what they are doing to the World Cup. I would be stunned if anyone gave a crap about the views of any fans outside of India. If they kicked up, then maybe, just maybe, there might be a change.

I see there is a debate about this being an outstanding tournament. It was pretty good, but not outstanding in my eyes. I’m with those who say there weren’t enough iconic matches, close fought contests to live in the memory. Too many hammerings. So the Irish wins over West Indies, UAE and Zimbabwe are only really joined by the New Zealand v Australia game and the iconic match, and shot, of the tournament – New Zealand v South Africa and Grant Elliott’s six. That was a MOMENT. I have nearly all that game recorded, and I’ll be keeping that, I can tell you.

We’ve got this far without mentioning England. We were a monumental embarrassment. The passage of time has not eased my anger. Not in the slightest. I see invocations that we should “build for 2019” and that this means a certain player should not be picked. Stuff that. I couldn’t trust this lot to build a six inch wall with lego bricks. They were meant to be building towards this, but some rocket scientists couldn’t tell our decent team was getting old, and that of all of that team to back in an ODI format, a beautiful batsman with 3 ODI hundreds up until end 2014, and a captain with all the invention and flexibility of a steel cage, rather than a bloke who may not have smashed it out of the park but seemed to make scores and a maverick with a penchant for being a bit out of line. In my opinion Root, Buttler and possibly Ali are the only three who are certain to be in our 2019 team, injury permitting. The rest requires inventive thinking, patience, skill and a bit of luck. It will need the second of those in abundance. The mob in charge only have patience when they might be proved embarrasingly wrong. That’s the management skill of a dinosaur.

Many times last year we were angry at the way the Ashes had been thrown to the wind, how there was no proper review of the failures, and that history should never forgive those people for this if they didn’t do well in the World Cup. For this was what we had cleared the decks for. To have a proper go at the World Cup. Oh yes, I know the Aussies wanted it moved too, but we were the only country not to play tests in the run up to the World Cup. We had the plans, the opportunity and the schedule that the ECB wanted in the run-up to the most important international tournament. The rest is history. We made it about a captain’s retirement gift, which we decided not to give him anyway. We made it about undermining players like Woakes and Taylor by changing their roles on the first day of the competition. We made it about data. We made ourselves a laughing stock. My Aussie mates are laughing at me for giving a stuff about this lot. They see our lot as a class-ridden, public schoolboy, pampered secluded bunch of people you’d take home to your mum. They see us as an establishment team. A team for the toffs. Good grief. Up until that last Ashes tour, they were beginning to get a bit cheesed off of us beating them. We’ve fallen miles.

So that’s the World Cup in the books. I had a good time, the blog was well populated with excellent comments, and great insight on many occasions. We now move forward to England’s tour of the West Indies, county cricket and more KP. I’m sure there’s still a lot of fuel in the tanks.

As for the competition, I’ll try to do the calculations this week. I know I got the highest team score of the tournament spot on (417) so maybe I should just declare myself winner!

Carry on…..

UPDATE – Lead picture and story on the Mail’s cricket page…. dog whistle anyone?

Mail Obsession

2015 World Cup Final – Australia v New Zealand

Well. The Final.

I’m not one for previews, as I think the hype of these things gets too much. Too many people getting far too carried away, with silly press, silly angles and me being world class Mr Grumpy.

I want New Zealand to win. It’s anti-big three, the Aussies need something like this in their own back yard to go spectacularly wrong (with apologies to my Aussie mates), and well, the Black Caps appear to be nice guys playing above themselves.

But the Aussies are going to win. Just feel it in my bones. They needed to be got shot of before the Final for me, and they never really looked like being defeated in the knockout phase.

Comments as and when. I’ll be on, I’m sure, in the morning. Good luck New Zealand.

Oil

Hello.

Well, I’ve seen a lot of the stuff over the past few days, and also noted that the Sun have commissioned a Yougov poll on Kevin Pietersen. Yes, you read that correctly. This has got seriously stupid

It’s a Saturday night, I’ve been off my feet all day, and recovering from a superb do last night. Everything is concentrated on the World Cup Final and there will be a post put up for that. I will then do the totting up of all the points, and hopefully announce a winner in the next couple of days.

  • PK Troll has Australia
  • SimonH has New Zealand
  • Gambrinus has New Zealand
  • Arushatz has Australia
  • D’Arthez has Australia
  • John Owen has Australia
  • Rooto has Australia
  • Grumpy Gaz has Australia
  • Arron Wright has New Zealand
  • Steve has Australia

The rest of us, bar one (Sir Peter), had South Africa.

Of course, the heart-strings were pulled by Martin Crowe’s piece. It would take a heart of stone not to be saddened by the thoughts in there, but also the inspiration this sort of thing might have. I think most of us are old enough to remember how good Crowe was, and what it would mean to him and all that went before. I wish New Zealand good luck, and Martin Crowe any comfort he can take. Truly awe inspiring writing.

Thank you for all the comments. Cool refreshment of choice was a beer called Freedom last night. Very agreeable, and not Czech.

Enjoy the final.

Farewell

Just a quick note to say no posts today as I am going to be celebrating a great career of a colleague of mine tonight.

But keep the comments flowing and I’ll look in. Yesterday’s tweet barrage by the media behemoths was something to behold. They are all over the place. Pride goes to that Pringle tweet for sheer haughtiness. I’d give it 11 out of 17 for preposterous bluster.

Meanwhile I am trying to determine “The Anslyst’s” analysis in the KP stuff. Blind hatred as analysis. Hurrah!

Have a good day people.

2015 World Cup Semi-Final – India v Australia

Can’t they both lose?

Comments below. I’ll be awake a bit earlier tomorrow, so I’ll try to watch some of this on the train if I can get my Sky Go up and running.

We are all Black Caps now (presumably if you aren’t Indian or Australian or desperate to win the contest).

Thanks for all the nice words below. It’s always good to know people like the blog.

Amazed

This is the self-congratulatory one.

When I had to close HDWLIA for reasons I still can’t fully go into, but feel OK enough to put it back up now (https://dmitrihdwlia.wordpress.com/), I was worried. I set up a new blog, this one, the same day and waited for people to either get the hints I was trying to send privately or word of mouth to spread that Dmitri wasn’t dead, but just reincarnated somewhere else, as LCL or whatever you want to call me, and with a new blog.

I wondered if it would work, or HDWLIA was the best it could be. Let’s be frank, it was knackering. I was piling out post after post after post, and it was tiring. I thought I might cut back a bit here, and I do. But the commenters have really stepped up. SimonH is much quicker to the newspaper articles than I am. You know the score quicker than me. I just feel like the Ranter in Chief now…..

I do keep an eye on the hits, especially as I post less frequently now. So when I got 40-odd that first day I was mildly relieved. Then ZeroBullshit blew my amatuerish cover on TFT and you all started finding it. The stragglers are catching up and we are back to our normal mob, with a few newbies.

I am absolutely amazed to say that as of 25 March, this blog topped over 40000 hits in a month. Let me put this into context. The best month of HDWLIA, at the peak of its powers maybe, when I was getting major attention on Twitter from the Aggers and others of this world, was 39,102. With a week to go, and yes, aided by the World Cup I know, I have 40,100 as I write this. I am regularly pulling in over 1500 a day. It’s not a major newspaper. It’s not even a blogging behemoth. But bloody hell. Thanks everyone. It really does mean the world to me.

Keep moaning.

Furious

Let me kick this off with some blatant self-promotion:

The front of this bloke. Seriously. He’s wandering around giving unattributable interviews, carefully couched to convey that message he wants out there, but subtle enough to maintain his affable bloke persona. People buy it just as easily as they buy all the stuff about Pietersen. We all know it, the one about “every dressing room KP’s ever been in”. I love that one – I’ve worked for my organisation for a long time, and had ten or so roles there, and I’ll bet I moaned about every job I had at one time, every one of my colleagues at one time, and every one of my managers at one time. Even in all the jobs I loved! Christ, we had a night out last night doing it. KP’s not allowed to do it, but Cook is…. Cook can cast aspersions in his ever so polite way, and we’re supposed to forget he’s the most media-trained, reliable drone spokesman the ECB have ever put in front of a camera.

The bit that sticks in my craw is the supposed fury Alastair Cook would feel if Pietersen came back into the team. Really? As I put in the tweet above, he should thank his lucky stars he is still in the team, let alone be angry that someone else might be. You know that line that was spun a few years ago, during the series against Pakistan (the one where KP was dropped at the end of it for the ODI series) where Cook was supposedly fighting for his survival before he got his head down and made one of those gritty hundreds that you don’t really remember unless you were there (by far the most interesting thing about it was how he got past 100)? Cook’s scores in the 9 months up to that “career saving” innings were as follows:

v South Africa (you know, not bad)

15, 12, 118, 65, 55, 21, 1

v Bangladesh (take it or leave it)

173, 39, 21, 109* and then at home 7, 23, 29, 8

v Pakistan

8, 12, 17, 4, 6 then 110

Notice there – 3 centuries up to the second innings at the Oval, including a hugely important one in a win in Durban. and two on his first tour as captain to Bangladesh. Yes, he had a ropey time of it in England, but hell, he’s been doing that for a couple of years now and no-one seems to give a flying one. Compared to his current trot, this is Bradman type batting. Yet he was under threat then, and no-one is calling him out for his “fury” in the press corp now. This bloke has no right to be in the team on form, and if it is his leadership keeping him there, well seriously, god help us.

There was a fair bit of tut tutting over the last podcast of Geek and Friends, where there seemed to be a distinct softening of tone over the ECB stuff, with all the protagonists being the sort of people with the best interests of England at heart, and just being misguided and useless. I am not as hard on them as some of you were, because I see a bit where they are coming from. What I abhor is their (the ECB) stubborness. In the face of masses of evidence, in the face of wonderful modern management and statistical analysis techniques, the best gurus, the best coaches, the most money, the  best facilities, our strategy appears a simple, but rather fucking crap one. Wait long enough and Cook will score runs, Moores will be the coach we all think he can be, and you can forget your damn KP. This isn’t some nice guy scheme, it’s a self-preservation society. In the words of Madness, presumably titling their song for Graeme Swann, it’s pass the blame, and don’t blame me…..

Do not, I repeat, do not fall for this bollocks. It’s nothing more than a confession of their ineptitude and their unwillingness to change. Stick a daring move or two at the start, call everything transitional, back a teacher’s pet, and let’s see what happens. But whatever you do, don’t do anything drastic until they start aiming their arrows at us, and ridiculing us. Then we’ll think about it.

I’ve felt this for a while about Cook, and that is he plays the role of dutiful pupil really well. From the outside all the people look at the dutiful, teacher’s pet and say what a lovely boy, and I’d be so proud of him if he was my son. The other kids might not appreciate it, especially if teacher’s pet become head boy and gets a bit of power. You either stick with him, and yes, like him or you go against him and take risks. This seems the analogy to me. The thing with those sort of kids? The entitlement starts to set in. Their place is pre-ordained. Woe betide any challenger.

Yeah, I’m making this shit up. Of course I am. Sam Robson can score a test ton and have flaws in his game, but your captain can show the same flaws but because he got over them in the past he’ll do it again, so we’ll keep him. Nick Compton made two tons in successive tests, and hasn’t been seen since a couple of poor test matches got him the boot. Michael Carberry? Well he was never going to stick after a series where he took shot and shell and coped a little better than his skipper. Joe Root clearly was wasted there, what with scoring 180 once…. He got dropped three test matches after making an 80, which is the sort of score that would get our media in paroxysms of delight if their lovely little angel did it.

No. They are waiting for the next hundred, so muppets like Swann can shove it down our throats, and tell us to do one, or whatever charming turn of phrase he’ll pop up with next. If it comes in the West Indies, and it really, really should, we’ll get it full blast. As if we’ve been wrong for the last year and a half, as his form dived, his captaincy tanked and the ECB went into la-la mode.

Meanwhile, while the Cook bandwagon stalls, we have the sight of KP signing for Surrey. I’m sure I’ll wend my cheery little self down to Kennington’s Shangri-La, to watch Kumar and KP, but it’s a sideshow. Like it or not, Booth is probably not far off the mark when it comes to his comment that the aim is for KP to ply his trade with no real prospect of selection, as if by doing this these people have been so damn clever. Well, they haven’t been, because if they think this nonsense is pulling the wool over my eyes, and many on here, then their taking us for even bigger idiots than the “outside cricket” meme implied. If they are being deceitful, thinking this is ever so smart, then let them answer to those who pay the bills, who keep the game going.

I thought we might be coming to the end game, but we aren’t. Nowhere near it. Moores is allowed another tour, to no doubt create a good environment, while Cookie gets another stab at captaincy where you can bet your life that a victory in the series will be recorded as only the second series win in the Caribbean since 1967. Wait for it, you know it’s coming. I mean, this sorry outfit in the West Indies will be put on equal footing with those greats of 20 or so years. It’ll happen. The Cook Captaincy bandwagon will be off an running, and the KP sideshow will be relegated to….. well, given past form, the first cricket story in most papers.

OK. That’s my thousand or so tonight. Thanks for all the comments, hits, support etc. Life is so much more busy now that I can’t post as much, but hope that what I do put up here is doing the business.

There will be a thread on tonight’s semi-final coming up, and also a little bit of self-congratulatory news. So until then, wait for it…

I’ll leave you with this (as recommended in the comments)

2015 World Cup Semi-Final – New Zealand v South Africa

The first semi-final will send a new team to the World Cup Final. Will it be Dmitri’s tip for the championship, South Africa, or will it be everyone’s darling team, New Zealand.

Needless to say, I have a job to hold down and need to sleep, so won’t be watching much. But you can comment away downstairs….