Desolation

Quick thoughts in my lunch break.

I really did not think I’d have to be writing this now. There was a part of me that thought that we’d even scrape a quarter-final and then go out in the smis and this could be dressed up as a reasonable effort for a team in transition. But no. Here we are. Hoisted on our own arrogance. Out because we aren’t anywhere as near as good as we should be, nowhere near as ruthless as we need to be, and as far away from honesty as we’ve ever been.

I’m not happy, Neil, Kev, Pam et al. I am absolutely effing livid. I’m not a bloody genius, but this was always coming. You don’t get stuffed 5-0 and 4-1 in tests and ODIs like we did last year without there being something seriously wrong. Window dressing it by scapegoating an individual is not the way. It never has been the way. Just as if we sack Moores now and that’s the end of it won’t reconcile us to honesty now. Graves and Harrison have a hell of a job to do in (a) picking us up off the floor, for despite all this “we don’t care about ODIs” bollox I’ve been hearing, this is the floor (this is a “low ebb”) and (b) setting course a path that allows all on board, allows us to do what we really want to do, and be hopeful and confident that things will change.

I went to the first two days of that 1999 test v New Zealand at The Oval. There was despair then. We brought in Duncan Fletcher, Nasser Hussain was a powerful, authoritarian captain, and they brought in new players. They never feared doing so. Not all came off, but many did and became the framework of the Ashes winning team. Those that may have wandered off the reservation could come back (Thorpe) and flittering talents (Flintoff) were persisted with. All the while there was a coach that exuded competence. Not for him targets, drive and regimes of fear – no, he was a more silent presence, one not to be trifled with, but recognising talent. The ECB under McLaurin and Morgan were never the problem, and in fact the only issue seemed to be David Graveney bustling in for a ton of credit,

We can do this again. Jason Gillepsie, Gary Kirsten, whoever can come in and build a team again. We need to trust talent and not try to change it, harness it. We need to play the game, not the data. For heaven’s sake, they need to bloody enjoy it – it’s like purgatory for them at the moment.

We’ve been proved right again. It’s no shock. Keep doing the same things, and the results won’t change. Of course Moores has to go, but then he should never have been appointed. A new ODI team needs to be formed now and the growing pains allowed to happen without panic, and that needs to be under someone who will let them be free, rather than tie them to data. Formulate plans, but be able to adapt. And most of all, the men who appointed him should be drummed out of English cricket forthwith for the abject failures thet are. Mr Downton, Mr Clarke, and probably Mr Flower. A new dawn needs a new house, and one clean of past practices and flawed idiocy. Go. I beg you.

More, much more, later. To those of you who think I’m writing this with anything but the heaviest of hearts, remember this. I was there, in Adelaide, in 2006. I feel like that now. I can assure you, I wasn’t happy. More shame on you if you think I am,.

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44 thoughts on “Desolation

  1. ZeroBullshit Mar 9, 2015 / 1:32 pm

    As I wrote on the previous post, Graves now has carte blanche to remove all the incompetents in the ECB. He should be tough and wield the axe. English cricket needs a thorough examination followed by a superior approach, and this is the perfect opportunity.

    Like

    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 9, 2015 / 2:48 pm

      Oh bloody hell I hope Graves does get rid of them all: Downton, Moores, Flower, Saker, Whitaker, et al, and tell Clarke to go an stuff himself and stop interfering in England Cricket. He’s done enough damage. Just unbelievable stuff. Just awful. Truly awful.

      And Moores just says he needs to look at the stats? Hells bells. What is wrong with this man? I despair with this sort of stuff from the “best coach of his generation!”

      Who will the usual suspects blame this time? KP? The Team? The Selectors? The coaches? Just so much rubbish that has been fed to us all by all these bozos. What will Selvey, Pringle and Newman and the rest say?

      Well what goes around may finally come around? Just have to see if Graves has the bottle to get rid of them all and shut the door on all these awful reporting “insiders!” No more of this leaking. A good decent clear out is what is required.

      Like

      • ZeroBullshit Mar 9, 2015 / 2:55 pm

        I do not trust Graves. But people like Geoffrey Boycott do. And Boycott knows him. So let us hope for the best.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Mar 9, 2015 / 3:51 pm

        Agreed ZB about not trusting Graves – he was right in there when all the terrible decisions were being made and he is up to his neck in them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paule Mar 9, 2015 / 5:59 pm

        The ‘Irish-born English batsman’.

        Like

  2. Grumpy Gaz Mar 9, 2015 / 1:55 pm

    Picture the team meeting; the coach asks for input from the players on what went wrong. The players remember what happened to the last guy who gave an honest opinion and silence descends.

    Now picture the build up to the summer test series. Picture Cook trying to rally the troops and restore shattered confidence. Yeah, that’s going to work out well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hatmallet Mar 9, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    It’s the hope that kills you. I always want England to win, I can never want them to “lose to win”. I wasn’t particularly confident of victory, but you always hope someone will stand up.

    It really is fricking dire. England had the right players, an in-form Stokes for Ballance aside, even if a few pieces came together late in the day (e.g. Cook out, Taylor in). Then they change it again on the eve of the tournament and it takes them 4 games to admit they were wrong. The tactics were off and their batting order, despite their protestations, inflexible.

    It’s depressing to see Morgan and Broad quote stats in interviews and press conferences. Even worse to see Moores saying they’ll wait for the data – if you can’t see what’s wrong without data, you shouldn’t be in the job. As it is, you may not have it for longer.

    All the stuff around Downton, Cook and KP will no doubt have been a distraction over the past 12 months. But you reap what you sow. The ECB didn’t need to make the decision they did when they did, but they did anyway, Going further back, they didn’t need to wreck the schedule, play too many Ashes series and ruin several senior players in doing so. They still did. Heads should roll. If Groves has any bollocks, I’m sure there will be some P45s in the post soon.

    Elsewhere, I’m sure some BTLers will continue to say it’s only ODIs, it doesn’t matter. It does matter. Successful teams get their success because they do all they can to win every game, whatever the format, whoever the opposition. If you accept losing in one format, you can’t stop that attitude infecting the other formats.

    Like

    • hatmallet Mar 9, 2015 / 2:19 pm

      Oh, and it turns out that Giles Clarke was right all along. Last year wasn’t a low ebb…

      Liked by 1 person

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

      Oh these people will definitely say that ODIs are not important. That’s what they do isn’t it? I suppose that is why Downton was rushing around having a go at all the former Cricket Captains’ telling them off because they were such naughty children.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mike Mar 9, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    Agreed – time for a sensible, sober, calmly executed and well thought out re-asssment of how we run the England team in the short to medium term to run alongside a long term re-think about cricket in this country as a whole.

    Primarily though, scapegoating is not the answer here, this lot need to be brutally honest with eachother and themselves without immediate reprucssions and identify all the many many many things that have gone wrong and try and rectify as many of them as possible or at least work out a way to stop them form happening again in future.

    Picking players based on form and fitness only would be a start.

    They’ll probably just sack Peter Moores and blame Eoin Morgan.

    Like

    • ron Mar 9, 2015 / 5:42 pm

      Downton is telling the media that they could not have ‘ done the preparation better’ but there were injuries to Broad, Anderson and Ballance plus they had to change the captain plus he thought the Tri-series was a good start for the WC. He’s now looking at rebuilding … none of this was his fault – so your suggestion that the ECB be honest with each other is somewhat alien to this cabal of no hopers

      Liked by 1 person

  5. d'Arthez Mar 9, 2015 / 2:22 pm

    I am not an England supporter, but I can understand the emotions you are all going through. If this was the best that England could do, the performance would be acceptable. Or if the opposition in the other games was spectacularly good – think of the Ashes 2006/07 team. A team can unravel under the sheer pressure of excellent batting and bowling, like what happened in Adelaide nearly a decade ago.

    But that is so obviously not the case. The various comments by pundits such as Key make that abundantly clear. If Bangladesh’s bowling attack is hardly county standards, what does it say of England’s batsmen that they can’t even last 50 overs against them?

    The insularity of the ECB and most pundits is staggering. No one who is not caught up in a prejudiced view of England as superior in all matters, would have given more thought to the opposition. And not dismissed them out of hand. Twice in 2014, the ECB and their stooges did that. The result: a humiliating loss to the Dutch, and more abject performances against Sri Lanka.

    If Moores is indeed the outstanding coach of his generation (probably the worst international coach of his generation), why was hist first stint such an absolute failure? And why was he picked ahead of others then?

    If the problem during the Ashes was Kevin Pietersen, why have results deteriorated since he was axed? Results have deteriorated, and that is almost achieving the impossible.

    If the laptop is right, why do the England batsmen and bowlers not produce the results?

    If England is run professionally, why could Prior basically pick himself, despite being patently unfit? Cook gave that one away.

    Apologies to stakeholders.

    The outside cricket gaffe.

    And many, many more legitimate questions, with damning answers, that surround the ECB.

    Here is to hoping that Graves fires at least a few dozen people for proven incompetence. The results will certainly allow him to do that.

    England supporters deserve better than what they’re getting from the ECB. Much better.

    Like

  6. Arron Wright Mar 9, 2015 / 2:58 pm

    Apparently Downton’s on The Verdict now!

    First time in months I wished I’d kept Sky.

    Like

    • Arron Wright Mar 9, 2015 / 3:00 pm

      And according to Dave Tickner, it’s a train wreck.

      Like

      • Arron Wright Mar 9, 2015 / 3:02 pm

        Here’s just one morsel:

        Like

      • Arron Wright Mar 9, 2015 / 3:12 pm

        Other, er, “highlights” here:

        https://twitter.com/tickerscricket

        Or just put “Paul Downton” into Twitter search. He was in the top ten UK trends during his interview.

        Like

    • paule Mar 9, 2015 / 6:14 pm

      Nice to see a journalist talk about credibility.

      Like

  7. lionel joseph Mar 9, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    the wikipedia entry for the peter principle had been edited today to become the Peter Moores principle. I feel a bit sorry for him to be honest. To be exposed as lacking the necessary ability twice must make for a pretty horrific experience.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Grumpy Gaz Mar 9, 2015 / 3:44 pm

    Let’s take the positives:

    – All the players passed their post-match skin-fold tests.

    – erm..

    Like

  9. Arron Wright Mar 9, 2015 / 3:49 pm

    I doubt you’ll find a better, more succinct summary of Paul Downton, his interview and his influence on English cricket than this:

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Mar 9, 2015 / 4:02 pm

      I must have listened to nearly 2 1/2 hours of post-match “analysis” on Sky.

      Pietersen was mentioned once – by Michael Carberry on the Verdict. Colvile could not change the subject fast enough.

      It isn’t all about him of course but it is about him a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Mar 9, 2015 / 9:31 pm

        At one point somebody mentioned KP and Gower actually said “I hoped we’d get through today without his name coming up” or words to that effect.
        What’s the problem, David? Did he steal your Most Unfair Sacking record?

        Like

  10. Mark Mar 9, 2015 / 4:41 pm

    Has Selvey resigned yet? And if not why not? Why does the Guardian persist with someone who is wrong all the time?

    My problem with Moores is a broader one. I don’t like this football manager, supremeo role that has taken over cricket. It is by far the most individual of all team sports, and the notion you can fit everybody into a same size fits all system is crap. Also, you get a much wider group of people from different backgrounds (or at least you used to) who play cricket.

    As the power of the coach has risen, the captains have seemed to lose authority. How can you captain when you have another man above you who relies on convincing the senior management he is the one making the decisions. The laptops, the boxes to be ticked, the diet sheets, the ground measurement statistics have all mushroomed. Yet the basic cricket instinct decsions have become poor. Why not bat first on a belter of a pitch? As Bob Willis said, to protect their bowling. So the batsman would have the pressure of winning the game.

    Why are we producing so few good bowlers? Broad and Anderson were always going to be a risk after a long summer and surgery. But in truth no one was really pushing them for places. What a mess! And what a waste of all the Sky money. It has not been invested well.

    Like

    • Grumpy Gaz Mar 9, 2015 / 6:02 pm

      It was telling that when Morgan was appointed, Moores made a point of his ability to take on board the opinions of others i.e. do what he’s told by the laptop and don’t question ECB policy even when it is obvious it aint working.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto Mar 9, 2015 / 5:29 pm

      No, still turning targets away from his mates.

      Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Mar 9, 2015 / 5:36 pm

      Really? I’m not so hopeful. Moores is the lightning rod here and there is not a word about the people who appointed him. BlueEarthCitizen is doing a heroic job BTL reminding anyone who loses sight of that. Also magnificent work from BlueNile81 who dug this out from Selvey last year:

      “Peter Moores, the head coach at Lancashire, should succeed Andy Flower, of that I have no doubt. Were I Paul Downton, I would scan the list of contenders – some self-promoted, others having hats thrown into the ring by third parties – and then I would get in touch with the man who is not only arguably the most accomplished coach in the county system but one of the best in the world, whose skill deserves to be on the international stage”.

      That’ll be modded for sure as quoting Selvey’s past words is so offensive small children and the elderly must be protected from them.

      This one from tobyisgreat also deserves saving for posterity:

      “Dear Mr Selvey,
      Lots of folk BTL have criticised you for your support of the England hierachy (aka Giles et al). We were always slagged off as being ‘outside cricket’. But the commentators BTL have been correct in that the England cricket team has been wrecked by the techno freaks who were the ‘so-called’ coaches. BTL were correct. Isn’t it about time you and your fellow journalists had a bit of humility and accepted that there are mega cricket supporters in UK who understand the game and are seriously fed up with being fed articles by folk like you who tell them they know nothing. BTL knew this England team was rubbish and anticipated the early exit. So do not give us a lot of ‘explanations’ – ECB (where is the EWCB?) are a disgrace, have sold out the sport and destroyed a wondeful game. I have watched cricket since the 1950s and am DISGUSTED!”

      Finally, while giving Downton, Clarke, Flower, Whitaker and Saker a free pass did you notice who Selvey discovers is finally to blame:

      “As regards one day cricket it will require a whole cultural change in the way the formats are viewed, not just within the game but in those who follow cricket”.

      It’s the fans! I knew it – it was us all along!

      Liked by 1 person

      • ZeroBullshit Mar 9, 2015 / 5:53 pm

        I accept the blame on behalf of all the “Outsiders.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Mar 9, 2015 / 6:40 pm

        I foolishly posted when I’d read only the first half of the article.

        I should have known better.

        Like

    • geoffboycottsgrandmother Mar 9, 2015 / 9:37 pm

      Not the only one, if you’ve seen Etheridge’s latest tweet

      John Etheridge ‏@JohnSunCricket
      Last year, Paul Downton asked me whether he should re-appoint P.Moores. I said ‘no.’ More importantly, so did at least 2 former Eng captains.

      I must have missed it where he reported this last year.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus Mar 9, 2015 / 9:38 pm

        Etheridge greeted the appointment with barely concealed contempt last year, so he’s not turned on that score.

        Like

  11. Rooto Mar 9, 2015 / 5:24 pm

    Well expressed, Mr Host. I crossed my personal Rubicon last night, I was willing Bangladesh on, shouting at my phone as I walked home at lunchtime, not the usual “Com’on Jos”, but rather “Com’on Shak. Get ’em out. They’re shit.” And I believed they were shit.

    Of course, I don’t feel happy about England. But I feel excited. Excited that circumstances and incompetences have conspired to offer us a fabulous opportunity to clear out the Augean stables and make a fresh start.

    I also feel nervous. After all, we’ve been treated poorly, and so many wrong turns have been made, yet we still treat them like normal functioning adults, capable of doing the right thing in extremis. We are now in extremis, and I’m not at all confident that the right decisions will now be made.

    (For one, how can we get Flower fingered for this muck-up? I don’t see a way to get him out quickly)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rohan Mar 9, 2015 / 5:51 pm

    What a conundrum! As I listened to the denouement on TMS, some sixth formers were working on some projects in my classroom. I was trying to explain how I was glad we were losing, but also not happy at the same time, as I wish for a strong, powerful and purposeful England team. I also tried to explain to the sixth former that I hoped this loss would bring much needed change in terms of coach, management and wider coaching setup…….yet had a nagging feeling Dowton might get away with brushing it all under the carpet. Once I had finished my Sixth Firm student politely asked what is cricket anyway, I don’t get it? Herein lies a bigger problem, he had no clue about the game I love as it is closeted away on SKY.

    Great read your Lord, keep leading us on until things change for the better!

    Like

  13. paule Mar 9, 2015 / 6:03 pm

    No-one hates England. We love cricket and want England to do well. We abhor the ECB and poor journalism, based on little more than leaks and briefings. If some of us appear happy, its from a quiet desperation, in the knowledge that nothing will change if England progress. We need change, if Colin Graves can see that, I’m sure your average England supporter can.

    Orwell was right, as usual, English cricket resembles ‘a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts….A family with the wrong members in control’.

    The patriotic argument as Orwell further notes, is always the last refuge of the scoundrel and the vacuous.

    Like

  14. Grumpy Gaz Mar 9, 2015 / 10:02 pm

    The next match might be interesting. Whoever is leading England run scorer can expect to be sacked for no reason after the tournament. If there are a few guys in the running for that we might see a few dodgy run outs.

    I guess we can also expect Moores to be promoted and Morgan to be backed for the next year even if he scores no more runs.

    Like

  15. BigKev67 Mar 9, 2015 / 11:13 pm

    LCL,
    I’ve reserved my scorn for those who have said specifically that they wanted England to lose – and you’ve never done that. That said, my tweet last night was mean-spirited and unecessary and I apologise.
    As for “we don’t care about ODI’s” I can only be honest. I really don’t much. I watch them because they’re cricket and some is better than none, but I have very little investment in the outcome. I accept that makes me part of the problem rather than part of the solution – but so be it. Test cricket is a game I love. One Day cricket is a game I watch.
    But my ambivalence about short form cricket goes to a larger point. What else explains our awful World Cup record? Our problems with ODI’s are systemic and pre-date Downton and Moores by many years. I’ve long thought that the ambivalence about ODI’s goes deep to the heart of English cricket. I may be wrong – but if I am I haven’t heard a better explanation. And if I’m right – unless that mindset changes it won’t much matter who the coach is.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Mar 9, 2015 / 11:22 pm

      Kev,

      Unfair to lump you in with the other two – one of which accused the likes of us as smirking over the loss.

      You can’t force interest, and that’s taken. But this has a real risk of infecting the whole of our cricket, and deep down, I think we all know it….

      Like

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