If any of you have ever seen the youtube clip of the fake caller on the OJ Simpson stand-off over two decades ago, you may recall one of his phrases being “this is quite the commotion”.
This sums up England cricket in five words. This is quite the commotion. I thought I’d take a few minutes out of my day, on my lunch break, to review where we are at this time. It’s like an episode of that (in)famous US programme of a byegone era called Soap. All this, and more, will become clear….
Last year England lost the Ashes 5-0.
As a result, the coach of the test team resigned.
As a result the coach of the test team took on a supremo role with purpose not clear.
A new Managing Director had been appointed, and on his gardening leave (or whatever) watched a three-day test at the fag end of a disaster.
As a result of these observations, and in concert with an outgoing coach, Kevin Pietersen was identified as a problem to deal with.
As a result, Pietersen was told that England were moving on without him.
As a result, PIetersen sought freedom from his contract to earn money in the IPL and CPL.
As a result, England excluded their top runscorer on the previous tour.
The captain remained unchallenged despite 10 tests passing since his last century and, of course, a 5-0 loss.
Given the Chairman of Selectors had resigned, a new Chairman was in place. His name is James Whitaker.
After the coach had rsigned, the ODI coach was seen as favourite to get the job.
However, mutterings early in the piece suggested a former coach, who had been the former coach’s coach, should become coach again, because the preceding coach had fallen out with the ODI coach, and the preceding coach had an important role in deciding the next coach. Got that?
We had new selectors. One was a coach who did not get on with Kevin Pietersen.
The new coach was appointed, The ODI coach, not allowed to pick his primary T20 player, did not succeed, and lost to the Netherlands. This provided enough justification to deny the ODI coach the full coaching position, and employ the former coach, the preceding coach’s coach, as new head coach.
That the new coach, like the preceding coach, but unlike the ODI coach, had disagrements with Pietersen in the past, he was appointed coach.
The new MD, now not on official gardening leave, called the former coach, who had been sacked before the preceding coach took over, was the best coach of his generation. Or was it finest. Who cares?
There was aplomb all round.
Then we lost an ODI series to Sri Lanka, where we played dull cricket and Alastair Cook scored few runs.
Then we drew the first test, which we would have won but for “six inches of carry”, and Alastair Cook scored few runs.
Then we lost the second test, where we held a sizeable first innings lead, saw brainless bowling and braindead captaincy on Day 4, and lost with a a ball remaining (if we had survived two more balls, added to a few inches of carry = test series win), and Alastair Cook scored few runs.
Then we backed our captain, and also backed a former captain who uttered a naughty word on TV about Kevin Pietersen.
We drew the first test against India, which was dull and featured 10th wicket partnerships, and Alastair Cook made few runs.
By this time, our MD had looked up the meaining of the word Confidentiality in a dictionary.
We lost the second test against India, on the back of abject first day leadership, and poor batting on Day 5, and Alastair Cook made few runs.
But he was a man made of steel. Or is it iron?
Then, there was a miracle. Cook scored 95 runs in Test Number 3, and there was much rejoicing.
He followed it up with another 70 or so in the second innings, and India were vanquished.
There then followed the 4th Test, and another win, with great comfort, and then the 5th test, with a repeat. In the 5th, Cook made another half century, although he was dropped a few times. But there was much rejoicing.
Meanwhile, KP was not scoring runs in T20 cricket and was booed on Finals Day.
On the back of the amazing turnaround, facilitated by a good environment, we went on to be humped in an ODI series in India. Alastair Cook made few runs, and questions were asked in the parish. “Not going anywhere” said the powers that be. Test series win. Good environment. Exciting and fresh.
Squad named for Sri Lanka tour, and Cook is named captain. No doubts…..
I’ve run out of time, so will continue this in the next day or so. It’s a soap opera all right…..