I am currently in a bit of turmoil. Personal reasons to some degree, also been told I’m moving positions in my work life to a newly created post which I want no part of but have no choice, it seems. So unhappiness is not uncommon in those that have followed my path, and nor are the ups and downs of moods. So it is with this in mind that, other than my rant at Downton the other day, I’ve taken a back seat to watch all those follow the words I said at the start of this wonderful adventure car-crash and that resonated with so many of you.

Downton with aplomb - brenkley

However, let’s do what I used to do, and fisk some load of old twaddle. I’ve selected Brenkley. That should come as no surprise. I don’t know who has been saying he’s seeing the other side because this load of old establishment shite isn’t giving the game away.

England refused yesterday to buckle to the demands of the mob. In many ways, it was an admirable stance, which did not exactly ignore the  evidence but tried to lend it balance and perspective.

We’re off to a flyer. Those that have pointed out the failings at the start of this gruesome twosome are “a mob”. Nice one. And by ignoring those who are being proved right every day this is “admirable”, and by doing so they are showing “balance” and perspective”. Taking the opposite view those of us who have pointed out the failings are contemptible, we are unbalanced and lacking in perspective. Good start. I’m looking forward to the rest of this…. (unless Brenkley is taking the piss, and frankly, if this is satire, it’s good, because I’m not getting it)

In short, it seems that as nobody expected much from the World Cup campaign and despite the fact that it has gone much worse than anybody could possibly have imagined in their most horrific nightmare, everybody can carry on regardless.  No one will be sacked, or asked to resign or pushed conveniently aside.

Downton thought we’d be a bit of a force to be reckoned with, didn’t he? You giving him a free pass? So this it what it comes to. Go in with a defeatist attitude, lose, and it’s all OK. Those who put the structures in place, those who cleared the decks, those who focused on ODI cricket and those who planned our campaign should stay. Because we’ve always been crap. That’s the attitude that gets you to the top of the pile. I do hope Brenkley is taking the michael here.

Because if he is, I’m missing the gag.

A review is being launched….

Do stop it Aggers.

as soon as England return home next week after completing their programme with a fixture against Afghanistan on Friday. But it is seeking reasons for the failure so they will not be repeated – a mantra heard often before – not heads that should roll.

Those reasons will not be the MD who set this course, or the greatest coach of his generation. I see 1999 referred to a lot as our worst ever performance. Let’s remember we beat Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in that competition and finished 4th in the group thanks to a bit of a freak result in the South Africa v Zimbabwe game. Here we are 5th in the group. This is the worst ever. Seek a reason for the worst ever World Cup performance after the worst ever Ashes performance last year when a review was deemed unneccessary other than to fire one of your marquee players and give the old coach a nice domestic number. I don’t trust these people to review a Janet and John book.

The loss of four matches from five in the tournament, which has led to England’s elimination, is a matter for grave disappointment, but no more.

Who is saying this? Brenkley? Is he mad? Or is he doing this in an ECB voice, because it’s bloody hard to tell at this point…. In a sense he is right, it is sport, and that isn’t life and death. But it’s not an old boys club either, and the rest of the world don’t seem to be so matter-of-fact oh-well about it.

Peter Moores was the right man when he was re-appointed as head coach 10 months ago and he remains the right man now.

I’ll let that statement stand for the ridicule it deserves… I’m sure I heard that about Alastair Cook about a billion and one times.

Whether the public will be appeased by that, or whether they expected precisely this sort of return and will put up with anything, will gradually become clear as the summer unfolds.

Public appeasement? Nice. We want to see the best for our team. Very few people believe that is represented by Moores and Downton. I feel a little for having a pop at Moores, but you know, Bunkers, many of your colleagues in the press box (and Etheridge doesn’t hide his views) are in our camp, not some ECB “don’t give in to the great unwashed” camp. Many think Moores needs to go. It is nice to be joined by them after this time, when we haven’t exactly been proved wrong, have we? You carry on, old fruit….

To rely on survival on the grounds that we don’t give a flying one about ODIs is contemptuous, and seems to indicate this mob that is invoked in the early part doesn’t actually exist. Make your mind up.

It would seem certain that England cannot go on losing after performing so poorly in a tournament for which they specifically prepared over a period of five months.

Because, as the mantra goes, we only give a shit about the Ashes.

Paul Downton, the managing director of England cricket, who calls the shots, was calm and unflustered yesterday when he dealt with a string of questions in a  conference call.

Obsequious. I like that word. Think it applies to both you and Downton. Personally I thought he made himself look even more of an incompetent, out of touch, should never have been appointed imbecile in the interviews I saw, but hey, you make your own mind up.

He was in London, his interrogators were in Sydney. For all we knew he might have been pulling faces into the telephone but much as he might have felt like it, that is not his style.

No. I call it misplaced arrogance. That’s his style. Incompetent buffoonery. More his style. Out of his depth that he’s below fish with lights (thanks Andy), is more his style. You keep kissing his arse.

“I’m not saying everybody’s job is safe and I’m not saying that everybody is going to be sacked,” he said. “It feels as though, from your perspective, there needs to be a scapegoat. There needs to be a target.

Do stop it Aggers.

“All I’m saying is we’re in a position where we’re a transitioning side and that will take time. We have to take the right decisions to ensure we do that as quickly and smoothly as we can. But it’s too early to say yet in terms of any definitives: he’s going or he’s not going.”

Meaningless business-speak, unmeasurable, aspirational cock-waffle. May I also point you to this tweet by your’s truly on Sunday.

I’m actually worried that I can predict this shit. By the way, regretfully, this was not “all I’m saying” from Downton. When he does appear from the cupboard under the stairs, you can’t stop him.

Downton backed Moores continuing in his role. It would be easy to say that he had to do so considering he was instrumental in his reappointment 10 months ago. But there was something oddly reassuring in his comforting words. This was not a man who would be easily swayed from his course, whatever the accusations of misguidedness.

Because nothing screams “fucking incompetence” like bad appointments prolonged, just to prove how god-damn awful they really are. You, Bunkers, might find that “oddly reassuring”. I call it complete insanity. “Hey, I can’t drive an F1 car, and I’ve just totalled it. I tell you watch, let me drive another one…and for kicks, stick a load of people in the way. I’ll be fine…..”

“The first thing to say is that whilst we’re hugely disappointed with our performance let’s put it into context again,” Downton said. “Peter was appointed only 10 months ago and as I said on TV yesterday whoever was appointed to that position was always going to have a bit of a job.

Well, it was 11 months ago, but I’m being picky. Downton’s as good with numbers as he is picking England coaches. I’d have expected a bit more from the “greatest coach of his generation” than this. I mean, really I would. I’m sure a team to be reckoned with was also on your mind as well Paul, but hey, you cherry pick what the hell you want. It’s transition time (as if he and his appointment had absolutely no influence at all…. all those players they “bigged up”, all the illusory “progress”) and that’s the message. Scoundrels.

“We’re in the middle of a very significant rebuilding phase. We offered six new central contracts during the summer. My first job when I came in here was to try to re-establish a Test side which we made progress with in the summer. The next job was to get to the World Cup with as competitive a side as we could. We always knew we were coming from behind, we haven’t won back-to-back one-day internationals for well over a year now. All I will tell you is that there are no quick fixes in this situation. Look through  history, look at any very  successful side which has broken up, how long it takes sometimes to rebuild again.

India recovered in a fortnight. We have more players returning to a World Cup (6) than India (4) and Australia (5). Beware of false prophets spouting codswallop. Also, who has presided over this lamentable ODI run?

“I am very confident that in a year’s time, in two years’ time this group of players will be battle hardened and will be more competitive.”

Jam tomorrow. Blah blah blah…. They may even be a team to really be reckoned with. Did you let him get away with this unmeasurable cock-rot?

Downton is seeking to buy time. The trouble is that sport demands results and this is the sixth World Cup in succession in which England have played badly.

Oh, we are so picky. They set the quarter-final as a low bar target and they couldn’t even meet that. We don’t have a right to demand something better than that? Really? REALLY? We are so damn unreasonable…. It’s such a trouble that we might expect a bit more bang for our buck. Such a nuisance…. After all, who targeted this tournament or are we supposed to forget this?

For this one, they moved Ashes series, to ensure players were not turning up drained after a tough series against Australia, and concentrated solely on one-day cricket for almost six months. The result was still calamity and worse a side that did not lack skill but was intimidated by the event.

Nothing to do with the coach then? The management who prepare them for this?

If Downton is supported by his own bosses at the England and Wales Cricket Board, and all the indications suggest he has their faith that corners will be turned, it would be presumptuous of him to expect two years. That is an eternity in any walk of life and he should know from his former career in the City  that fortunes can be won and lost five times over in that sort of period.

“all the indications suggest he has their faith”. Well, I’d suggest they check faith at the door and check that uncomfortable thing called evidence. Read HDWLIA. There’s plenty there. Listen to Geek and Friends podcasts, read Twitter feeds, read BTL from those not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Hell, start reading some of the press, even NEWMAN. They should go now. If they don’t, then they are treating the fans with contempt. Even those that don’t think they are. If I cock up my new role in the first year so badly that we lose tons and tons of money, it wouldn’t be another two years, I’d be gone. This bloke has no track record in cricket management at international level and he’s failed. The coach has a failed track record in international cricket, and he’s failed again. I see one trend. You believe in faith, ECB. I know who is probably right. I have evidence, you have hope. That’s worked for Cook’s ODI form, the KP saga et al…

The Ashes this summer will take on a different hue.  England were a laughing stock in Australia and New Zealand yesterday – and more. In two separate appearances on radio programmes in both countries, trying to offer some excuse for the poor beleaguered Poms, the presenters in both cases called England spineless.

That’s ok. No doubt they are a mob too. Damn colonials. You see, they don’t suffer fools down there. We don’t mind them if they are the right kind of bloke, or the right kind of family, or former cricketers employed by JPM.

Moores wants desperately to prove himself as a capable international coach. He would regret it forever if he left now with not only business unfinished but also because he has never quite yet shown he can cut it internationally as he so patently has at county level.

When I was younger, I was desperate to prove that an overweight, asthmatic, low-income clerical worker could convince Elle MacPherson that I was Mr Right. Sadly, I had to look at her calendar instead. Elle, I have unfinished business, but don’t tell my lovely Missus, eh….

Jesus, this sounds like a love letter. He so wanted to succeed, but leaving this business unfinished would be of regret. This is putrid.

“Clearly he said yesterday that as head coach he feels responsible,” Downton said. “We all feel responsible frankly because we feel we have let the country down and nobody wants to do that.

You don’t feel responsible, Downton. Your entire interview round has been to put forward why you aren’t responsible. This, above all, sickens me. He doesn’t feel as if it is his fault at all. Inexperience, transition, programme not set by him, not aware of T20 impact (I mean, for heaven’s sake, I’d sack him on the spot for that shite) etc. It’s excuses as to why it isn’t “their responsibility”. You let him get away with this.

“As far as his ability is concerned I still feel he is a very high quality coach, so, no nothing has changed since we appointed him 10 months ago. You don’t become a bad coach overnight but the scale of the issues we have got to deal with are significant as everybody has seen.”

It took him his next bit to say he (and Moores) weren’t responsible with these pesky “significant issues”. Many of us believe one of these “significant issues” is your serial incompetence, Downton.

Downton somehow brought to mind the daft wisecrack  in a Carry On film from 50 years ago. “You’ve stood on my Indian dress,” said Barbara Windsor. “Sari,” said Kenneth Williams. “Don’t  mention it.” Everybody’s sari and that makes everything  all right.

No? Me neither…. Tell me I totally missed the point of this article. Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me this is one joke I just didn’t get.

Have a nice evening.

24 thoughts on “Mob

  1. OscarDaBosca Mar 12, 2015 / 8:04 am

    Wagons being circled, those ‘inside cricket’ know best. Mediocrity and incompetence rule. I hate England losing (even though I would admit I am ambivalent to ODI cricket and prefer Test and then T20), but perhaps only the shock of losing to Afghanistan will lead to change. Selfey is now at it in the Guardian (but for Jordan’s run out we could have won it is the gist of the article), Atherton is rewriting history regarding the ‘data’.

    The refusal of Downton to even be self aware enough to understand that the advent of the internet allows all of his nonsense to be disavowed within seconds is perhaps the worst aspect of his reign. The coach has failed twice, the players are much better than what we have seen, so the buck surely stops with the coach. Instead we have more mantra’s ‘we have an inexperienced team’ (that is more experienced than most of those that have beaten us in this tournament), ‘we concentrated on the test team first’ (that went well losing to Sri Lanka and their ‘county’ bowlers, and beating an Indian team that turned up once (and won in conditions that were ideally suited to our bowlers).

    I truly despair at the fourth estate, their refusal to question any aspect of the past 18 months and the fact that until we lose to NZ and Aus in tests this summer, nothing will be done.


  2. Mark Mar 12, 2015 / 8:07 am

    Yes it’s cringing stuff. But it’s like so much off the way Enland is now run. Crony capitalism and falling upwards. Right school, and good family is so much more important than performance.

    As for Brenkley, he seems unable or unwilling to give an impartial opinion. So instead he just regurgitates Downtons own words and leaves them as damming evidence. This may have something to do with the fact that Downton has been lecturing and hectoring the media about what they should write. On 5 live Monday Mark Butcher said he was buttonholed by Downton at a test venue last summer and told he should stop criticising the England team. Blind obedience is all that is required. We can add these media pep talks to Clarke storming the Sky box to tell Warne what he can say about Cook.

    You would think the cricket media would have more self respect. In Mark Butcher’s case he didn’t change his views or stop expressing them. Unfounately most of the media have turned themselves into an ECB version of Pravda. Lemming like devotion to following their masters over a cliff.

    In addition to this cowardness they really do hate KP more than they love England. If removing Downton and Moores even slightly opens the door to KP , they would rather stick with the failed management and a crap England team. It’s how they roll.


  3. Boz Mar 12, 2015 / 8:12 am

    Elle MacPherson hey? Please, come in and take a seat …. now, it seems to me that a nice head massage, a manicure and pedicure, and a glass of fine champagne might do the trick … throw in a couple of tickets to a good musical and a lovely all expenses paid dinner for two to round things off …. pass the bucket! :0)


  4. Boz Mar 12, 2015 / 8:42 am

    In the light of what has been written above, I bring you Nick Hoult’s article this morning in the DT

    This comment is really interesting:

    The ECB has complained informally to the BBC about the fact Moores did not say the phrase, as reported, that he would look at the “data” when asked about England’s defeat to Bangladesh on Monday. In fact Moores said “we will have to look at it later”. The ECB are very sensitive over this issue but in his next interview with Sky, when asked a question about Morgan, Moores said “we have to analyse the game data later.”

    Why doesn’t the BBC just tell the ECB to F*** O**?

    Why hasn’t the ECB approached SkyTV with the same complaint – they can’t because it is what Moores said

    Time for the ECB to stand down – their controlling delusionality is getting us all a bad name!


    • Mark Mar 12, 2015 / 9:39 am

      This is getting ludicrous. It’s like the the Stassi. But not surprising since the ECB is run by ex city wide boys who believe up is down and black is white. They are used to bullying and intimidating anyone who does not get with the program.

      Time for the media to stand their ground instead of the Lilly livered response so far.


  5. Rav Roberts Mar 12, 2015 / 8:46 am

    Still.. could be worse. (And it WILL get much, much worse).


  6. SimonH Mar 12, 2015 / 9:16 am

    It was all fate I tell you, fate!

    It all came down to our No.9 setting off on a hare-brained run and given out (by an AUSTRALIAN third umpire. Hear that dog whistle? AUSTRALIAN. We don’t like them. Booooo). for nought on a marginal review. All the megabucks, moving the Ashes, technical directors of elite coaching, Loughboroughs, men with clipboards, Level Four awards, goji berries, tightness as a unit, playing like blokes, crunching the stats, looking good in the nets, and everyfriggingthing else I can’t even remember – and it came to that. Against a team they think is so shit they are refusing to play them for eight years…..

    Those fates. When they have your number what can you do. What can you do except feel comfort at the words of Downton?


    • Mark Mar 12, 2015 / 9:51 am

      It might be time for a players revolt. They are being hung out to dry one by one by the likes of Selvey to protect a corrupt governing body. They should realise that like KP they will be used and then dispensed with.

      Protecting the machine with all its freebies to hand out to its courtiers is paramount. The only action left for the fan soon will be boycotting all cricket, and cricket offshoots like sponsors and TV, and bankrupting the lot of them.

      Downton is like the old man behind the curtain pulling leavers, and turning wheels to make it all go away. Time to pull away the curtain and expose the farce.


  7. SimonH Mar 12, 2015 / 9:29 am

    George Dobell’s latest:

    This from Farbrace:

    “Stokes is a fantastic, exciting talent, we all know that. And yes, Ben is probably unfortunate that he batted eight”.

    Unfortunate? Who put him there you lunatic numpty? Batting orders join the million other things that they talk about in this passive, we-have-no-agency sense…..

    Farbrace is odds-on to be team coach next May in my book. Moores will not survive the new regime, Gillespie almost certainly won’t accept the role nor will anyone else and so it will be Farbrace. Look for the mentions of Moores being replaced by his deputy last time. I’ve seen one already. There will be more.


    • Mark Mar 12, 2015 / 10:03 am

      Oh dear lord, Farbrace actually said this. “We’re all in this together”

      The bullshit phase of the Modern English elite to lie about how they are rigging everything for themselves.


  8. Rav Roberts Mar 12, 2015 / 9:55 am

    There could be worse to come. England know that defeat to a dangerous Afghanistan side would heap fresh litres of humiliation on to their embarrassment.

    As Farbrace put it: “If losing the game to Bangladesh was terrible we couldn’t possibly imagine what it will be like if this game goes against us. That would be horrendous.”

    Nothing better than a future coach instilling fear of failure into a team…


    • Mark Mar 12, 2015 / 10:08 am

      Nah, it’s a meaningless match. If England lose it can be put down to the fact that they are already out, and the players are shot to pieces. Which would in fact be true.

      Yet if we win ………

      I’m sure Selvey will herald it as the “fightback has begun” or some such waffle.


    • d'Arthez Mar 12, 2015 / 10:13 am

      Moores makes the same mistake as some of the data collecting agencies. Too much data can obscure reality, more than anything else. The players have been suffering from that for the entire second stint of Moores – who can forget Anderson’s admission in which he basically said: “Screw the plans, let’s bowl as I think is best” when Team ECB turned the series against India around?

      The problem is that, the last time someone hinted at impertinence he was publicly hung, quartered and beheaded. And after that, the court jesters still have to have their bi-weekly kicking of the corpse. That is not exactly a positive precedent for a players’ revolt. And they won’t get results, until either the opposition is markedly inferior, or they forgo the nonsense plans hatched by Moores, and the laptops.

      For all the hangers-on in the England setup, the performances would have been better with 90% fewer support staff. All this nonsense about each of these hangers-on getting out an additional 0.5% performance, is based on several flawed assumptions. The whole world knows this. The whole corporate world knows this. And yet the ECB, remain willfully oblivious.

      I fear Farbrace has been infected with this idiocy as well. If so, that would be terrible if he does get the job, when the ECB decide to sack Moores.


    • Rav Roberts Mar 12, 2015 / 10:27 am

      Who’s the tea lady?


    • d'Arthez Mar 12, 2015 / 10:31 am

      At least the video leaked that there was a “Plan B”. Somewhere.


  9. SimonH Mar 12, 2015 / 10:06 am

    Lots of quotes from Chris Jordan’s press conference but first mention I’ve seen of –

    “It stinks” (P. Newman).
    ” Play in a cold April at Derby and prove your loyalty” (M. Vaughan)


    • SimonH Mar 12, 2015 / 11:35 am

      Thanks for the link – very interesting.

      I’d love to see the packages they had for Bangladesh. I don’t think they knew anything about them. I didn’t see one bowling plan tailored to a specific batsman’s weakness (admittedly that’s not unique to this game!) and when batting I thought they looked surprised by Rubel Hossain’s pace.

      The game plan looked to me –
      Bowling: demolish the top order with our swing then bounce out the rest because these sub-continentals don’t like it up ’em (at 82 mph).
      Batting: nurdle the spinners and smash the seamers.


      • Rav Roberts Mar 12, 2015 / 12:49 pm

        Geez you’ve seen the top secret plans then?!?


    • Mark Mar 12, 2015 / 11:50 am

      Funny this should come out in a Murdoch rag the very day the ECB is attacking the BBC for reporting on Moores quote about looking at the data.

      I like Atheron a lot , and he is usually is his own man. This ECB/Moores puff piece is not worthy of his talents.


  10. Rav Roberts Mar 12, 2015 / 11:22 am

    It’s *always* about damage limitation at the ECB..


  11. Mark Mar 12, 2015 / 11:54 am

    It seems the English cricket media is back to where they were last spring. Moores and Downton must be protected at all costs to stop any chance of a KP return. The media are desperate for them to hang on till the the end of the summer. ECB=CULT


  12. Steve Turner Mar 12, 2015 / 4:13 pm

    Missed your fisks Dmitri, this one’s a good ‘un although it’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, what a shocking article. I was starting to have hopes that old bonkers Bunkers was starting to turn the corner with some of his recent articles, maybe he’s had a tap on the shoulder. Did anyone else pick up on a real gem amongst gems in our glorious MD’s interview on Sky. When the subject of the eleventh-hour captaincy change came up, his response was; ‘well hindsight’s a wonderful thing’
    He really did, honestly. You can’t make it up.
    What is it going to take for heads to roll?
    Adapting the Manic Street Preachers ‘If you tolerate this then the Ashes will be next’


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