Ah, with that off my chest, let us turn to the latest by Dmitri #1 George Dobell:

England have lost 16 of their last 21 ODIs against Full Members. The last four of those have been thrashings. In the last five-and-a-half World Cups they have won five and lost 17 matches against Full Member nations. They have not won an ODI series for a year; when Ashley Giles was coach, Stuart Broad was captain and Michael Lumb made a century on debut. They have dropped several chances in recent games, including Aaron Finch before he had scored in Melbourne and Lahiru Thirimanne on 2 in Wellington. Both went on to make centuries. Sunday’s result was not an aberration.

Root, of course, was in an impossible position.

Joe Root was put up as the interview person for the day or so after the loss to Sri Lanka. Many are questioning why Moores wasn’t fronting up. I made many of those same accusations in Sri Lanka (how he came out when we won a game, then didn’t speak until we’d lost the series) and was told I was being unfair. OK. But come on. Root was emotional after the game. This can’t be right, can it?

The man who, at 24, had just become England’s youngest World Cup centurion deserved a better fate than being wheeled out to explain the team’s latest calamity. The ECB might as well have thrown out a piece of meat.

I concur, George.. now to the pay-off.

But their logic was simple. They no longer trust some of those in management to defuse situations – Paul Downton was originally pencilled in to take this press conference and every time Colin Graves speaks he undermines his executive team – and they hoped that, by producing one of the few men who has performed well in recent days, they might distract attention from the wretched performance of England’s most senior cricketers in the field.

Well I never. That’s just so out of character. A trait we were mentioning, what, a week into his tenure?

That’s “guesswork”.

It was a desperate ploy. The ECB knew full well that a report leading with Joe Root’s century would be like leading a report into the sinking of Titanic by noting that the band played beautifully.

It’s why we like you George. You tell us things we don’t know, and you do it as if you are our eyes and ears.


26 thoughts on “Reporting

  1. SimonH Mar 2, 2015 / 9:44 pm

    I’m not sure which is worse – that Downton was going to take the press conference in the first place or that, having been pencilled in, he then either bottles it or is pulled by his superior because he can’t be trusted not to make a complete arse of himself.

    Oh well, it’s always worse somewhere else. Some may remember this chap:

    He’s standing for President and Treasurer of USACA – the governing body of the USA who are going to be competitive with New Zealand in the 2023 WC (according to Dave Richardson). Of course the USA could always follow the standards of governance at ICC full-member nations and just do away with the election altogether.


    • Vian Mar 2, 2015 / 9:55 pm

      If he’d done the press conference, there’d have only been one subject. Would have been somewhat unfair on the team, so I can’t disagree that removing him was a good idea.


  2. Rooto Mar 2, 2015 / 9:51 pm

    Dobell does the work, puts the information through a proper journalistic filter, and files his copy. It’s so simple and straightforward. Why don’t more of them do it? It’s not as if either he or Nick Hoult are struggling for access (thereby demolishing the last fragment of emperor’s clothing that the famous Gang of 4 were clinging to).
    There’s no logical reason except friendship plus lack of professionalism plus contempt for the poor bloody reader.


  3. Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 2, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    Bottled it. He can certainly fire on all cylinders at the minions but what if he is in the position of being fired at? Totally different for this miscreant. Beggars belief that out of all the players Downtown would have put such a young player in the firing line. Shows that Root has a lot more bottle and courage and talent in his little finger than Downton has in all his body. ECB just doesn’t and will not face the music of its own failure.


  4. Boz Mar 2, 2015 / 10:37 pm

    Can I be forgiven for believing that there maybe a crack, a fissure even, opening up within the management of English cricket? Whilst the players are in the southern hemisphere playing in the competition that they have all planned and prepared for for 4 bloody years – the ECB are beginning to fall apart – is this for real? If it explodes how are the players going to get home – swim?? Is Downton scurrying back to the UK to ‘clarify’ things with Graves – who after all doesn’t officially take up his post until May (not tat Downton didn’t fiddle before he was in post? Is Graves aiming warning shots at the appalling band of ECB managers?Are the ‘home’ press trying to support the ECB whilst trying to save face themselves? Selvey and Etheridge are just plain nasty, is this symptomatic of the dilemma of their own making? This might be worth staying up for….. :0)


    • Pontiac Mar 2, 2015 / 10:58 pm

      C’mon man. This is England, not West Indies.

      Of course, West Indies have more practice in handling this kind of thing….


  5. Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 2, 2015 / 11:12 pm

    I feel genuinely sad to read Mr Selvey’s piece. It really is so appalling. What on earth has happened to him? A good writer with so many admirers but many have now disappeared and become “disengaged” from his writing due to the pure venom in it. I think his reign of terror is coming to an end. I am not sure Graves will put up with this stuff from these people. I sincerely hope his broom is big enough.


    • Pontiac Mar 3, 2015 / 2:00 am

      Well, it shouldn’t be up to the ECB what any individual journalist is allowed to say!

      Selvey as much as any of them should be free to interview players, ask questions at press conferences, and report and analyze these on the record statements, and report and analyze likewise any *off* the record statements, knowing there that the credibility of himself as a journalist and the publication he is writing for lay in the long term consistency, fairness and accuracy of these judgment calls, measured against the on the record statements, and actions and on field results that are available to ALL interested supporters.

      The problems come in when the writing becomes, over time, inconsistent with itself, and with the facts. After a while that bank account of experience and authority is empty. This is where it’s not journalism anymore, but pure performance, like advocacy-blogging. Which any media outlet is going to publish because it gets clicks. Bloggers are supposed to like clicks too. And if I want any kind of insightful analysis of cricketing matters, I will go with people who haven’t lost all credibility; some of them even blog.

      I still click on Selvey’s articles myself, because there are usually two or three pretty good columns to be found BTL,, if they haven’t been erased.


      • Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 3, 2015 / 10:03 am

        You are right of course Pontiac and that may have been the case before this present era but we know it isn’t true anymore in the case of Selvey. He is so entrenched in the inner circle that he just cannot see wood for trees. He is far too close to the centre to be able analyse anything. He shouldn’t be allowed to have so much power of knowledge with which to use it to beat the “outsiders” over the head! I don’t mind if they do analyse and report on matches but some of them don’t they just become aggressive, nasty and offensive towards those who do not agree with them.

        I hope with Graves in charge he doesn’t take any rubbish from them. He ought to stop them from getting to near to the ECB Executive. There should be a distance. This cosy stuff lead to press being less independent in their thinking and their writing, and publishing pieces that have come with a lot of bias, little evidence, if any at all. Newspapers should be more vigilant as well, but I won’t hold my breath that that will ever happen.


  6. Mark Mar 2, 2015 / 11:45 pm

    Moores is the Glen Hoddle of sporting man management. Crack pot theories and faith healers. Sending Beckham out to face the media rather than explaining why some of his players had not even bothered to practice penalties. And famously telling everyone who would listen that Michael Owen was not a natural goal scorer.


    • Boz Mar 3, 2015 / 10:17 am

      Brenkley could not have written this piece without being on hallucinogenic drugs – you can visualise it, in his lounge with other journos, lights down low, Jefferson Airplane on the hi-fi and a happy buzz laced with mischief – it’s rather funny coming from him – don’t tell me the worm is turning


    • d'Arthez Mar 3, 2015 / 10:44 am

      This piece just confirms that the best thing Graves can do, before sacking Downton and Moores, is to fire the entire ECB PR-department. That ECB statement on Graves needing media training ought to result in a sacking or two.

      “Ultimately, if Graves is honest and open in his dealings with the press at large, he will find that has its own reward. ”
      What reward would that be? Disillusioned fans, who hate the cricket writing press even more than the ECB at the moment? That deflection strategy might work for a little time, but the lack of credibility will eventually haunt the ECB just as much as it haunts the press.


      • Vian Mar 3, 2015 / 10:45 am

        Seems to me he’s decided to be open and honest with supporters and amateur players instead.


      • d'Arthez Mar 3, 2015 / 11:09 am

        Yeah. I don’t think it is a case of poor judgement by Graves at all. He seems to know what he is doing, and he has the cricket administration record to back that up – and the Shazhad and Rashid example that has been given, shows that he does not always desires to be all nicey-nicey about it, and does not coat all the players in teflon, just to shield them from the big bad world outside of the ECB / Yorkshire CCC.

        What I meant to convey is that Brenkley’s definition of “open dealings with the press” is something that is completely alien to the fans and supporters of the game. Brenkley’s lines have not been radically different from say Selvey. Nuances, yes – and at least he seems to realize that the wind is blowing another way, but that does not undo all his reporting in 2014.

        Fans have been subjected to a spineless press, Brenkley included, that has persistently chosen to ignore everything that was wrong within the ECB and English cricket, and went like a rabies-infected dog after one man only, who was to blame for everything. Brenkley would not mind to continue going down that road, but it will kill of popular support for the game and the ECB quickly.

        If Graves communicates with the common man and woman in an open and transparent fashion, that would do cricket in England a world of good.


  7. Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 3, 2015 / 10:33 am

    What a damning piece by Brenkley. I loved this bit: ‘The Pietersen issue is destined never to fade. Graves made some unfortunate comments on the radio, which he later embellished in another interview when he could have retracted them. The reason, it was quickly said by a deeply embarrassed organisation, was that Graves had not had any media training.’

    Graves needs ‘media training?’ If Graves needs that then certainly Downton needs it in absolute buckets. The idea that Graves cannot think for himself or speak for himself really is pretty low even for Brenkley. Mind, he is now between a rock and hard place which I love. He is squirming somewhat. Unlike Selvey who is all brute force and ignorance.

    Brenkley may be a turning womb but I wouldn’t trust him not after all the rubbish he has paraded as “journalism”. Hopefully he will be another “worm” who will be crying into his beer in the future as the new man takes the reigns.


  8. Vian Mar 3, 2015 / 10:44 am

    Maybe I’m on my own, but I don’t think that Brenkley piece is at all bad. His comment about the media training required for Graves includes “so it was said” – the scepticism is quite clear.


    • Arron Wright Mar 3, 2015 / 11:02 am

      You ate not alone,


      • Vian Mar 3, 2015 / 11:16 am

        I not billy no mates in da restaurant?


      • Arron Wright Mar 3, 2015 / 11:28 am

        Oops. iPhone while wearing gloves not best idea.


  9. SimonH Mar 3, 2015 / 12:25 pm

    I hate the misuse of the word ‘agenda’ to mean ‘views I don’t like’ but how else can this Guardian headline be explained:

    “Scorns”? Pietersen tweets that England don’t have the best team on the park and are too obsessed with stats. Pietersen is just expressing what a heck of a lot of people think. Who doesn’t think that about the stats obsession? As for the best team, Pietersen no doubt includes himself in that (and given his record why not?) but he clearly doesn’t only mean himself – he has consistently backed Stokes for example.

    As for Pietersen being undiplomatic in his timing, this goes to the heart of English cricket’s problem with Pietersen for me (or one of the problems). He should keep schtum and not tell some hard truths when England are stinking the place out? That was fundamentally what they hated about him at the end of the Ashes. Don’t rock the boat old boy! Don’t undermine that carefully crafted media image of our unparalleled magnificence. Don’t hurt anybody’s feelings. The cosiness of the English cricketing establishment drives me up the wall – if only they could grasp that a bit of cathartic conflict is necessary sometimes.

    The article has no comments but that is fairly standard for the Guardian with PA stories so complaints about that this time. However if ‘the Spin’ isn’t about the reform proposals for English cricket after the Guardian has denied any comments on these for over a week I’ll be going back up that wall again…..

    (On Brenkley as I linked the article, I’m closer to Vian’s position. Brenkley has been quite scathing about England recently and at least he’s picked up on the press conference. Of course it’s also all too late and I can see why there’s a reluctance to give him much credit after “aplomb” and all that).


    • Vian Mar 3, 2015 / 12:39 pm

      I was actually somewhat surprised Brenkley went so wholeheartedly behind the ECB over the last year. His record isn’t one of being a guttersnipe, nor of being a craven acolyte of the ECB. His career has been one of being a decent enough cricket journalist.

      For me, Mark Butcher’s criticisms of the media apply to Stephen Brenkley more than most, because he is capable of far better, and has shown that in the past. He let himself down – not by criticising Pietersen, Lord knows that’s reasonable enough, but by failing to hold the ECB to account.

      There’s little more disappointing than being let down by someone capable of better.


    • SimonH Mar 3, 2015 / 2:05 pm

      Or as Dave Tickner put it much more succinctly than my ‘wind-baggery’:


    • SimonH Mar 3, 2015 / 3:18 pm

      Waiting for the Guardian headlines – Lawrence Booth scorns England’s stats obsession:

      (Although if you like a good stat, try these about England’s bowling: “After the weekend matches, they had claimed only 22 wickets in four games, a lower ratio than anyone except Zimbabwe and the UAE. And they had leaked 6.33 an over, more than anyone except West Indies).

      – and Michael Atherton scorns England’s team selection:


    • Arron Wright Mar 3, 2015 / 3:35 pm

      BTW Simon, the proposed reforms are even excluded from a weekly roundup in the last paragraph. And, at the time of writing, this is the first Spin I’ve ever seen that isn’t open for comments.


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