2015 World Cup Quarter-Final – New Zealand v West Indies

I await your comments on this, the final quarter-final. None have been particularly close, and this has the potential to be one-sided too. But one can hope that we see a game of some class and excitement.

See you on the other side.

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65 thoughts on “2015 World Cup Quarter-Final – New Zealand v West Indies

  1. Escort Mar 21, 2015 / 12:27 am

    West indies to win?

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  2. d'Arthez Mar 21, 2015 / 12:42 am

    New Zealand won the toss and bat first.

    Gayle is in for West Indies, who have dropped Smith. Benn in for Roach. Not sure if that is going to work, but we’ll see.

    Think New Zealand will go through. West Indies are one of the poorer chasing sides (the only Full Member never having successfully chased 300+).

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  3. Timmy Mar 21, 2015 / 4:35 am

    Guptill gets a double century! Congratulations sir, brilliant knock.

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  4. Timmy Mar 21, 2015 / 4:49 am

    Guptill, 237* from 163 balls.

    NZ 393-6

    Must be game over.

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    • Timmy Mar 21, 2015 / 4:59 am

      Highest individual scores at 2015 World Cup

      237* – Martin Guptill v West Indies
      215 – Chris Gayle v Zimbabwe
      178 – David Warner v Afghanistan
      162* – AB de Villiers v West Indies
      161* – Tillakaratne Dilshan v Bangladesh
      159 – Hashim Amla v Ireland
      156 – Kyle Coetzer v Bangladesh

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    • Boz Mar 21, 2015 / 5:01 am

      yeah, but Cook’s back with 35 so we’d all better watch out!

      Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Mar 21, 2015 / 11:38 am

        The stats regarding Alastair Cook that won’t be mentioned:
        In his last 14 series (including the Champions Trophy), across formats, Cook topped 237 runs three times.

        He needed 5 Tests against India (7 innings, 298 runs)
        Away Ashes against Australia (10 innings, 246 runs)
        Home Ashes against Australia (10 innings, 277 runs)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Marge Mar 21, 2015 / 7:08 am

    Am i the only one who finds this a bit dull? I was listening at about 3.30 am and turned it off with 9 overs left to go and commentators saying WI looked dispirited, thinking this is just going to be a runfest, which it obviously was. And well done indeed to Mr Guptill, brilliant batting. Trouble is if we only encourage people to come and watch cricket by serving them up batsmen hitting 6’s every over, they’re even less likely to watch test cricket which they’ll find unbelievably boring. What do others think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvyk Mar 21, 2015 / 8:04 am

      If the ICC was in charge of football, the game would be reduced to a penalty shoot out, with over-sized goals.

      Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Mar 21, 2015 / 8:43 am

      It is dull.

      Once the team batting first, reaches 350, the stats are:
      Played 80, Won 76, Lost 4.

      Yawn

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    • Boz Mar 21, 2015 / 9:45 am

      This is a good point Marge. Alastair Cook is the antedote to all of this ‘power’ batting. Square of jaw and self-righteously correct in all that he does he has returned to form with a classic 35 in the Emirates where apparently he failed t score of half his 26 balls. Each of his strokes was a great example of delivering the bat to ball – unlike Guptill’s rather tired approach, whilst still using excellent cricket shots to amass 237 of 160 balls, it was ungainly and certainly of dubious professionalism – hell, he even put the ball on the roof of the stadium – whatever next ……

      Liked by 1 person

    • BigKev67 Mar 21, 2015 / 3:27 pm

      Totally agree Marge. Much of the charm of cricket lies in the delicate balance of bat and ball, and the more the short forms are prepared to sacrifice that for a series of charmless thrash-fests, the less I’ll be watching.
      There have been some spectacular individual batting efforts and I absolutely acknowledge the skill involved – but in six weeks of cricket we’ve had maybe 3 memorable and close games. And not a score of 300 in any of them.
      Good bowlers getting clubbed everywhere loses its appeal for me pretty quickly. I can stomach it in a T20 but a 50 over game should present the bowlers with a more even contest. Self evidently it does not, and balance urgently needs to be restored. I’d start with removing the 10 over bowling restriction.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. d'Arthez Mar 21, 2015 / 8:39 am

    Remember, this is the same ground where England scored “309, above par” versus Sri Lanka, only to lose by 9 wickets.

    West Indies had to go hell for leather of course (win or lose, it is rather binary in knockouts), but on the evidence of the scorecard, they would not really have struggled to chase 310 against England here.

    Guptill has an odd record. Very high averages against England and Zimbabwe, and a substantial average against West Indies now. But poor to mediocre averages against other teams (11.5 against South Africa). Will be interesting to see how he goes in the semi.

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    • SimonH Mar 21, 2015 / 10:18 am

      Guptill is one of those strange players where the chasm between him in form and out of it is absolutely vast (possibly the one quality he shares with Cook!). I think his records against different countries coincide with when he happened to be in form or not – rather than any inherent weaknesses he has. I haven’t seen last night’s highlights yet but he looked unstoppable in his century against Bangladesh until he started getting cramp and it was that that slowed him up and got him out.

      A reminder that he could do something very similar against ‘quality’ bowling (ahem) and before the recent rule changes:

      http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/566924.html

      A strangely forgotten innings this…..

      On the balance between bat and ball, WI have been simply woeful in the field throughout the tournament when teams have got a charge on. Their bowling, fielding and tactics are right down there. I would allow another fielder outside the circle at the death and I don’t see why fielders aren’t allowed to throw the ball in on the bounce – but otherwise the answer to big scores is for bowlers to get better. Boult took 4-41 and is now the WC leading wicket-taker. He averages about 14.5 and his ER is 4.2. Starc in second place averages under 10 and currently has the best average and SR of any bowler who has taken 50+ wickets in ODIs ever. Spinners have struggled more than seamers but Vettori, Tahir and Ashwin have all been key players.

      Mediocre bowlers can’t escape with a few cheap overs in the middle when batsmen were just knocking endless singles. I don’t see this as any sad loss to the game!

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      • SimonH Mar 21, 2015 / 10:55 am

        Correction: Boult took 4-44.

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  7. thebogfather Mar 21, 2015 / 9:29 am

    There’s a very good post btl by Jagdeep Shokar on the G (WI v NZ) berating the currents slogfests and the belittlement of bowlers – worth a read

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  8. Tom Mar 21, 2015 / 10:34 am

    Guptill’s innings was pure class. I missed some of it due to internet problems, but he, McCullum and several other NZ batsmen can score at incredible rates as long as that top order fires, and they always seem to fire. The key seems to be score quickly at the start of the innings and we’ll be OK. Enough wickets left at 35 overs, then just go for it.

    I’m trying to imagine how England would do the same thing. Hales might do it but not tested enough. Butler, definitely, but always too far down the order. Morgan can do it but is out of form. Stokes? Not convinced.

    Bell is a test batsmen and a very good one, just not sure he’s what we need for ODI matches. Moeen is a gem, keep him in the ODI side. Not sure he should open though.

    But I keep looking at the NZ side and wondering who could produce an innings like Guptill’s or McCullum. Pietersen might do it. He certainly has the talent and ability.

    So, my England team would include all those players, because if I were the opposing team’s captain they would worry me.

    Not necessarily in batting order, but Hales, Butler, Pietersen, Stokes and Moeen.

    Don’t know about the bowling, but having Stokes and Moeen in the team surely makes the decision easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Mar 21, 2015 / 11:29 am

      Amla can’t take the game away in Warner, Gayle or Guptill style. He takes the game away by means of rapid accumulation. It is vital to build a platform, and Amla succeeds in that more often than not. If you see the amount of 50 plus scores he makes (48 in 111 innings), that is some serious solidity. Others in the team (AB, Rossouw and de Kock) can play a more aggressive role.

      That is the kind of player Bell can emulate. He does not have the power game of a Warner or Gayle. But he certainly does have the technique to do some serious accumulation. He needs a decent coach. Moores with his muddled thinking really does not help any England player to maximise on their potential, with all the idiotic targets set in stone.

      The trick is to find a balance that works. You can’t have 7 sloggers, and you can’t have 7 (slow) accumulators in the team. And find a batting order that works. This is another aspect that England get mostly wrong.

      The problem with all this conservatism and idiotic coaching is that England players will struggle to catch up. Hales might have the game to do it, and Buttler might be an excellent number 5, to make the most of the last 20-25 overs. Root seems to be a reasonable punt to play the role of the steady accumulator. Not convinced by Moeen at the top of the order. Might be better off in the lower middle order. His bowling seems certainly good enough to be picked, so a role as a #6 or #7 might work – and considering his batting style for Worcs, it is not like he’ll be wasting 20 balls before he starts to biff them. He might even find it easier against an older ball.

      Stokes, I am really not sure how to play him. He certainly has the potential, but I suspect the coach wants him to be everything, and he ends up doing nothing particularly well. His best performances were, after all, when he had least worked with the England coaches…

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      • Tom Mar 21, 2015 / 12:30 pm

        Thanks for the very considered reply, d’Arthez. It’s difficult for me to come up with an intelligent reply sometimes, I love cricket but am not in a place where I see much of it these days. But have managed to spend a few bucks to watch this competition.

        I think all I’m trying to say is that there are some players who will frighten other teams. Our bowling is crap right now, but we have some batsmen who could make England’s bowlers life easier.

        Hales, Butler, Pietersen. Insert Bell in there somewhere with Moeen. Then you have Stokes and Morgan to come. That’s the top 7 and you might hope at least one or two of them will fire with overs to come.

        The bowling is another issue. I don’t know how that might be fixed, but at least consider the batting order first and get England to score 300 runs+ each time.

        Tom

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      • Tuffers86 Mar 21, 2015 / 8:31 pm

        Perhaps if England were ahead of the curve, they would have identified Bell in the “Amla role” 5+ years ago. It’s far too late now.

        I think it’s the role for Root or Taylor.

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    • LordCanisLupus Mar 21, 2015 / 11:34 am

      In thr 2011 World Cup an England player was dismissed with 7 overs and 1 ball remaining and was on 158. He could, if he’d got another 25/30 balls made it to 200.

      Andrew Strauss.

      Just saying…

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      • Tom Mar 21, 2015 / 12:41 pm

        I was always a fan of Strauss.. I know many here won’t agree, but he was a good captain. Not a Vaughan though. It’s just unfortunate he was the skipper of England in the era of Flower. He did great stuff for a while before the plans went to pieces.

        Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Mar 21, 2015 / 11:40 am

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      • Tom Mar 22, 2015 / 12:35 pm

        What a small world. I live 8000 miles from the UK but actually know Dr Matt. Never knew he was a cricket fan though!

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  9. SimonH Mar 21, 2015 / 11:01 am

    Top two in each Pool into the SFs so an abolition of the QFs is going to have its backers. The problem is this could produce more meaningless games later in the later Pool stages for teams that start slowly.

    Although I’m disappointed in some of the games (especially SL) I’m glad the four best teams have got though and haven’t been kicked out because of one slice of misfortune (like a crucial toss or D/L). The chances are good that at least one of the SFs will be a classic.

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  10. SimonH Mar 21, 2015 / 11:27 am

    (One example of many replies to that graceless, grudging,fatuous comment).

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      • Arron Wright Mar 21, 2015 / 11:48 am

        No regrets about not touching the mag since the Peter Moores editorial (after 5 years without missing one).

        Especially after seeing “11 out of 17” the other day.

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      • SimonH Mar 21, 2015 / 12:55 pm

        More cluelessness from Simon Hughes here:

        He looks at Glenn Maxwell and thinks, “yes – the main lesson here is stability”? This is obsession with stability (meaning continuity of selection and ‘learning your role’) is doing my head in. Stability is not the same thing as fearlessness. England showed plenty of stability sticking with Cook and look where that got us. Hughes says England were wrong not to pick Hales earlier and stick with him – I agree with that but I don’t recall that was the line Hughes was taking when England were in SL. Repeatedly selecting the wrong players is no virtue.

        Hughes says lack of stability was why Bell didn’t accelerate between overs 10-20 against Bangladesh. How is there any causal connection between the two? He doesn’t try to explain it. He doesn’t consider the alternative explanation – that Bell was playing to team orders. Hughes doesn’t seem to have heard that England have regular set landmarks based on outdated data to achieve throughout their innings (“if we’re 90-1 after 20, teams win 83.2% of games from here” etc). Hughes hasn’t heard this? (He missed Carberry on the Verdict then). Or doesn’t think it matters? Or won’t consider it because it means criticising the coach and the management who picked him and that is a no-go area?

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      • Mark Mar 21, 2015 / 1:07 pm

        Hughes has gone from being the Analyst to a pod person in no time at all.

        He should rename the magazine “The narrow minded English Cricketer”

        He should change the logo to a giant nose rammed up the arse of the ECB.

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        • LordCanisLupus Mar 21, 2015 / 1:17 pm

          With Hughes, Henderson, Selvey and Pringle in this issue, there’s a ton of balance. Lizzy gets a bit on Bairstow, and Liew writes his usual sort of thing (I hate it more than I like it), but the editorial line, as evidenced by that tweet, isn’t hard to discern. That cartoon a couple of months ago did it for me.

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      • Arron Wright Mar 21, 2015 / 1:42 pm

        They set their stall out straight away for me:

        Moores editorial, in Will Jackson style
        Do we really need to talk about Kevin in Hughes’s first issue
        Swann’s brother in a senior role: a man who omits Pietersen from his list of England’s best batsmen of the last 20 years (frankly indefensible imo).

        It’s such a waste: I thought it was second only to cricinfo in terms of questioning the ECB properly. A distant second, but preferable to the dailies and the usual suspects on “Cricket Writers on TV”.

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      • d'Arthez Mar 21, 2015 / 5:28 pm

        @SimonH

        Stability is good. Make no mistakes about it. It can give a decent platform when players don’t have to feel that a single failure can lead to the chop. A bit of patience is warranted, but it is not an absolute. There is a fine balance that needs to be struck. At some point players are ripe for the chop. Some England players reached that point long before the World Cup. The ECB XI are a case of rigor mortis.

        Another key aspect is that people need to have reasonably defined roles. I think that is one of the major concerns around Stokes. He has to be too many things, and as a result, he does not do anything really well. He has had 6 different bowling positions (anywhere from first change to option #8. with only first change not applicable in 2014), and 5 different batting positions (#3, #5, #6, #7, #8. with only #6 not applicable in 2014). Stokes played 14 ODIs in 2014.

        We saw that with Woakes demotion, Taylor being shunted to #6. You can pick the same team over and over again, but if the roles are not really defined, you’re likely to end up with a lot of hit and miss performances. It even applies to Buttler, who as a finisher is stubbornly batting at #6 or #7, no matter what the game situation is.

        Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, Bopara and Stokes are the main “beneficiaries” (batting at 7) when Buttler bats at six. Muddled thinking galore.

        If the coach is not clear about the roles particular players are having, how can the players execute their roles?

        Hughes (probably deliberately) confuses stability with rigidity. England have stuck to their plans, in the face of overwhelming evidence (Cook, Morgan), in the face of massive injuries to key personnel (Prior, Broad, Anderson spring to mind).

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      • SimonH Mar 21, 2015 / 8:04 pm

        D’Arthez, on selection I guess if it works it’s stability and if it doesn’t it is inflexibility! I expect we’ll hear a lot about how NZ stuck by Guptill. Before the Bangladesh match he hadn’t scored an ODI century in 21 innings and had made just four fifties. However his record before that earnt him some patience and NZ aren’t blessed for alternatives for opening batsmen.

        On learning roles, perhaps I’m showing my age but a lot of this sounds like coach-speak to me as they complicate things to justify their positions that are really quite simple. A bowler’s role is to take wickets and a batsman’s is to score runs! Players need to be flexible how they achieve that. Against WI a batsman might look to go steady at the start and blitz it at the end – against SL with their death bowling you would need to attack more earlier. Pre-conceived ‘roles’ don’t take account of the opposition – or conditions or match circumstances. A No.5 in ODIs might have to rebuild an innings if early wickets have fallen or attack almost immediately if they haven’t, for example. With bowlers, England have pigeon-holed certain bowlers ‘death bowlers or ‘PowerPlay bowlers’ which means they’d never have kept Boult on today like McCullum did once he started getting wickets.

        On Stokes, I’m not fussed where he bats except that #8 is too low. Stokes at #5 and Buttler at #6 might be worth trying. It’ll be irrelevant if Nos.1-4 dawdle about and use up deliveries because some outdated stat says they are ahead of where they need to be.

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      • d'Arthez Mar 21, 2015 / 10:03 pm

        @SimonH

        The thing is, New Zealand tried many different openers, and many different combinations.

        New Zealand have had no fewer than 13 openers since January 2013 in 51 ODIs (including the games in the WC). So it is not like they haven’t tried their options.

        NZ figured out that they have too many middle order players, and that is one of the key reasons that McCullum is opening again. Only after the home ODI series against South Africa (October 2014), did he move up from the higher middle order to an opening slot.

        Guptill and McCullum are the only ones who make it in double digits, in terms of innings played (since January 2013). And even then, between January 2013 and August 2014, Guptill averaged 44 (19 innings; 3 tons 1 50), only marginally behind Latham (4 innings, 47). Averaging 44 as an opener IS a big deal for New Zealand.

        England by contrast have had 8 openers in the same period. In 57 ODIs, 8 openers were used. Only 3 of those got more than 6 innings, which is even worse than NZ (4 guys with more than 6 innings). And other than Bell, Lumb (3 innings, avg. 55), none of the England batsmen averaged 37 or more in either period (Jan 2013 – Aug 2014, and Jan 2013 – now).

        To some extent the roles bit is a bit overrated. We must not see roles as static. They’re dynamic. McCullum has license to go for his shots, but if he’d find his team 10/3 after 4 overs, and the bowlers getting copious movement he will reign it in somewhat, in an attempt to build a platform.

        Resources are constrained in ODIs. You only have 50 overs, so you need a bit of strategy to make the most of them. What you can do with them is also constrained, by who you get to play with. Hales biggest problem in most of the chances he got as an ODI opener, was that he had to bat with Cook.

        It makes a huge difference to a side if an AB is still coming, or has already been dismissed. Part of the reluctance of SA to bat AB up the order is just that: once he is gone, innings have often floundered.

        I remember all the horrible criticism Trott got for his ODI batting. He lacked a sixth gear, and it would have been great if he had it, to capitalise on his work himself, when he held the innings together for England. That shortcoming gave him a lot of bad press, even though the stats undoubtedly will suggest that those who batted with him, benefited greatly from having him at the other end. And it is obvious that England still have not replaced him properly in ODIs.

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    • escort Mar 21, 2015 / 3:10 pm

      Would Hughes have made such a graceless comment if the selfless Alaistaire Cook (no laughing please) had scored those runs?

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  11. Benny Mar 21, 2015 / 12:31 pm

    As an aside, I’m watching replay of Sky’s Verdict and enjoying VVS and the great Kallis describing and demonstrating how they bat. Brilliant.

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  12. MM Mar 21, 2015 / 12:42 pm

    How often does the entire England team collectively exceed 237 in ODIs? As each day goes by, we look more and more doomed. We’re gonna be on our arses before the Aussies get here, and then they’re gonna atomise us.

    Is it just me, or is Brad Haddin’s gum-chewing becoming more and more exagerated? He’s the Antipodean Sam Allardyce. I assume Sir Fergie doesn’t anymore.

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    • BoerInAustria Mar 21, 2015 / 2:01 pm

      Stay calm and let the bat of iron do the ta(l)king:

      You’ve got to be very careful saying we’re lagging totally behind considering we’ve had some amazing success over five or six years. The last 15 to 18 months has been tough, but before that we’ve had success.

      Let’s not totally say we need to strip everything down and change. I think we’d be very naive to think that our system on the domestic and international side is working to its full potential.

      I genuinely believe there has to be some changes, but I think those have to be very carefully thought about. We’ve got a chance now with a new chairman and CEO because they are going to come in with fresh ideas.

      But let’s not totally slag off English cricket because of a bad six weeks at the World Cup. We’ve produced some fantastic players. Jimmy Anderson is going to break the record of Beefy’s wickets very soon. We’ve produced cricketers of fantastic skill and performance for a number of years, so let’s notionally discredit the system”

      – Captain ” In terms of watching the World Cup I haven’t watched that much of it” Cook

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  13. SimonH Mar 21, 2015 / 5:49 pm

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  14. SimonH Mar 21, 2015 / 9:20 pm

    Has anyone heard or know if the tournament is broadcast FTA in NZ? I gather there is no FTA coverage in Australia and even highlights are 45 mins of Australia matches only.

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  15. Silk Mar 22, 2015 / 11:35 am

    Cook lets his bat do the talking. Lbw SiBo for 3.

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    • Silk Mar 22, 2015 / 11:36 am

      How has it come to this? That I greet this news with grim satisfaction?

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      • @pktroll Mar 22, 2015 / 1:05 pm

        Because of the angst it causes Cook apologists? If so it is understandable. The guy has increasingly come across as a jumped up little ****. What is worse is that his supporters have indulged him so much that you get schadenfreude for that reason.

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    • Tom Mar 22, 2015 / 12:31 pm

      Wow. From that link (all I could get before the paywall):

      “THE England Test captain Alastair Cook has been reassured that there is not a realistic chance of Kevin Pietersen playing for England again. Cook met Colin Graves, the incoming chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, last week in Abu Dhabi, where Cook is playing for MCC against Yorkshire in today’s season curtain-raiser, and was told that Graves had no plans to put Pietersen back into the side in any format.”

      Unbelievable. What the hell is going on?

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      • Zephirine Mar 22, 2015 / 12:52 pm

        The longer all this goes on, the more I’m convinced that somebody in the ECB media/PR department is quite, quite mad.

        Presumably this person is very well connected or a top Freemason or something, because nobody ever seems to get sacked while blunder follows half-truth follows blunder follows blatant lie….

        Either that, or somebody else, not in the media/PR department, is phoning journalists and telling them stuff. And whoever that is, isn’t entirely sane either.

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      • Tom Mar 22, 2015 / 1:03 pm

        Why is “The” capitalised as “The” in the article? Is this something the Times does or is Cook being treated as royalty or a god?

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      • Tom Mar 22, 2015 / 1:08 pm

        That didn’t make much sense, sorry about that. Seems wordpress has a clever all caps filter. The Times article has “The” as “THE” (all caps). Maybe quoting it with apostrophes will help.

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      • escort Mar 22, 2015 / 4:04 pm

        Perhaps Graves would like to give the impression that any player can be selected to anybody who wants to apply for the head coach role should it become available. The last time England wanted a head coach rumors circulated that selection restrictions stopped others who are far more experienced than Moores applying for the job hence England settled for what might be described as the “last coach in the garage” .

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    • MM Mar 22, 2015 / 12:34 pm

      Hmm… looks like the new upper echelon would rather fancy backing the three legged donkey AGAIN, then.

      When’s the third test against the Aussies? Instead of turning up in fancy dress on the Saturday perhaps we should turn up in our best funeral clobber. Yeah, how about that? Black suit and tie for the surrender of the Ashes.

      Get that trended, brothers, coz I ain’t on t’Twitter.

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  16. Arron Wright Mar 22, 2015 / 12:28 pm

    LCL

    You planning to fisk the garbage from Jim Holden in today’s Sunday Express? Can’t blame you if not. Sisyphus had an easier task than explaining to deluded Cook fanboys and incurious Pietersen haters what has actually happened since 2013.

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    • d'Arthez Mar 22, 2015 / 1:15 pm

      “THE most significant words of another week of trauma and torment for English cricket came not from the motor-mouth of Kevin Pietersen but the normally reserved tongue of Test captain Alastair Cook.”

      Funny, I don’t remember Kevin Pietersen calling anyone a C**t on live air. That is the kind of speech I associate with motormouths. As for “normally reserved”, he has taken that to new extremes. We have been waiting for his side of the story for nearly a year now. And the confidentiality agreement expired in October 2014.

      “They revealed the depth of his fury and discontent about being sacked as one-day skipper on the eve of the World Cup – and by association with the chaotic shenanigans that currently surround the England team.”

      So, is Jim Holden implying that all is not well within the ECB? Funny that, people like Dmitri, Aaron and many others have been saying that for years. Cook seems a bit slow to catch up – but presumably only because the shenanigans finally affect him. He is still quite happy to be mute about the sacking of Kevin Pietersen. And he has not had much to say about the half dozen batsmen who outperformed him, and were dropped for that heinous offence.

      ““I think you saw the dangers of making such a big decision so close to a tournament,” said Cook of his ruthless dismissal as ODI captain.

      Hindsight is a wonderful thing. However, if you had the testicles, and the best interest of England cricket at heart you would have walked away from the ODI side months before, probably after that “galvanising” interview you gave after the Aussies beat England yet again in an ODI.

      “It looked like the lads were shell-shocked from the first two games. That’s when you need real leadership to steer you through. I would have loved the opportunity that was taken from me.”

      Yeah, we saw that leadership in the Ashes. Were apparently you galvanised Pietersen in looking disinterested. And he was promptly sacked for not responding to your excellent leadership skills. The only one who did not act shellshocked on that tour was Stokes.

      ““The selectors thought it was best for English cricket, but hindsight has probably proved them wrong.”

      Hindsight has not proved them wrong. Who knows what depths England would have plumbed if you had been there. Bell certainly batted better than you would have done.

      ““The Test team was in a good place (before this). There was a feel-good factor last August. Now a hell of a lot of confidence has gone, and we have a repair job to do.”

      You mean, the players forcibly bought into the nonsense that you had defeated the greatest touring side since the West Indies of the 1980s? That is confidence inspiring.

      “Cook is a sportsman who always chooses his comments carefully. From him, this is pure dynamite.”

      Like when he said that Prior could play as long as he saw fit? Like when he said that Buttler was not ready for Test cricket? Like his glorious defence of Anderson in Jadejagate? Like when he hurled some expletives to Mathews after the Mankading incident? Like when he promised to give his side of the story on the sacking of Pietersen?

      This is not dynamite. This is simply a foot soldier, who angry, that he has been denied his request for foie gras, decides to pout a bit about his superiors.

      “They came in a week in which the chairman elect of the ECB, Colin Graves, was thoroughly undermining national selector James Whitaker and England managing director Paul Downton by having direct telephone talks with the outcast Pietersen.”

      Pray tell, how is it undermining Downton? After all, he is not the one who makes selection calls. Mission creep anyone? As for Whitaker, who presumably, between muttering Gary Ballance’s name every 4 seconds, professes that selection should be based on merit, I have not heard one meritocratic argument against considering Pietersen for selection, from Whitaker.

      “What does Graves think he is doing? He has not yet started his new role, and he has no business talking to any player right now, never mind one in the wilderness from the England team for more than a year and who has caused such discord with vicious attacks in autobiography.”

      And did not apply to Downton last year? Or is this simply a case of: “any decision I agree with must be taken, no matter how improper it is, but any decision I disagree with is improper per definition.”

      “Almost in tandem came credible reports that the outgoing current chairman Giles Clarke would refuse to sanction the dismissal of head coach Peter Moores, Whitaker or Downton.”

      He only gets to make those calls until May this year. Then Giles can charm the ICC in Dubai.

      “What an unholy mess.”

      Unholy mess? Who could have predicted that? Who? Why, people on places like TheFullToss, and the predecessor of this blog did. How? They actually looked at how (in)competently the ECB dealt with the fall-out of the Ashes, how the press was refusing to take the ECB to account on a plethora of issues. People like us practiced more journalism than you seem to be capable of Jim.

      It seems that a civil war is raging out of control in our national summer game – with an Ashes summer a few months away and the England side shortly to fly off for a Test series against the West Indies.

      “In nearly 30 years of reporting on the state of English cricket I cannot recall a more troubling time.”

      Probably because the troubled times in the past, led to action. As dismal as the 1990s were, the press was not supine, and the ECB at least gave the pretense of TRYING to fix what was wrong with English cricket. The ECB’s current stand is to blame those “outside of cricket”, to tell the “stakeholders” to pay up AND shut up.

      “Strategic decisions appear to be made on a whim. Nobody has the wit or the authority to take the tough action that is required.”

      And you were complaining that Graves was overstepping his mandate by merely hinting that all was not well. You were implying that Moores and Whitaker were doing splendidly well? You said Giles Clarke had the authority to sack Moores and Downton, the two biggest disasters off the playing field in 2014. Yet, you state he has no interest in doing so.

      “There can be no wonder that Cook felt he had to speak out forcibly. He is a sane voice amid the bedlam.”

      Sane voice? I have given a few examples above, why that is a questionable assessment at best.

      “It is obvious to me, and it should be obvious to anyone with the game’s best interests at heart, that this admirable cricketer must be at the centre of the renewal and regeneration that is now urgently required.”

      Admirable? How many players has he thrown under the bus to protect his 300k / year bonus for being the captain? How does it benefit English cricket to play a guy with a three-inch tear in his achilles? As a wicketkeeper to boot! How does it benefit English cricket when Matty Prior has to give the team talks, because “that admirable cricketer” can’t rally the troops? As for renewal and regeneration, how did that pan out in 2014? Embarrassing loss upon embarrassing loss.

      “Cook is 30. He has the robust support of all the players barring a couple of inevitable malcontents and the self-serving giant ego that is Pietersen.”

      The malcontents? Who would that be? The half-dozen players who were dropped for outbatting Cook? The players who could not get into the ODI side, because the square-jawed deer in the headlights had to waste a slot? The people who don’t dare to speak out, as they are aware of what happened when someone did. We’re still waiting for an explanation that sounds a bit more coherent than “He was like … uh … difficult”.

      “Throw him to the wolves and English cricket will plunge even further into crisis, as the pitiful World Cup display illustrated with crystal clarity.”

      Funny, the ECB just did that by keeping him on in the ODI side for far too long. Make up your mind Jim.

      “As for Pietersen, what are his motives in all the politicking and talking he does? His book painted a picture of a man deeply disenchanted with playing for England, a cricketer bereft of joy.”

      Pietersen does not suffer from Stockholm syndrome. What is next? Will you insist that victims of war crimes, or grave criminal offences, will be talking all lovey-dovey in their memoirs on the horrible events?

      “Now he seems to think he can return and all will be sweet and rosy and smiles and laughter in the dressing room.

      This is nonsense that belongs to Alice in Wonderland.”

      Just as Cook actually leading his side well. Pity that the people in la-la-la land dominate in the press and in the ECB.

      “The other day Pietersen said: “I’ll do anything to play for England.” Well, let’s take him at his word and cast a few suggestions his way.

      If he’ll do anything, will he apologise sincerely in public and private for the savage and unwarranted personal attacks he made on Matt Prior and former head coach Andy Flower in his book?'”

      Funny that NO such demands were made of in no particular order, Swann, Anderson, Broad, Strauss (on live television), by the press. In fact the press celebrated misogynistic abuse hurled by Strauss at him.

      Strauss said no less than: “”I’ve always got on very well with Kevin. I’ve tried to be honest with him, and he’s been honest with me.”
      Which suggests that everybody called each other c***s and c***s in the dressing room, or that gasp players other than Kevin Pietersen are lying about matters. Take your pick.

      “Will he eat humble pie and admit it was outrageous that he agitated to have team-mate James Taylor removed from the England side?”

      It has been denied by Taylor himself. Taylor had all of two Tests and two ODIs before Pietersen was sacked.

      “Will he denounce in the strongest possible terms the despicable comments made by his great friend Piers Morgan 12 months ago describing Cook as a “repulsive little weasel”?”

      Will you denounce Strauss? For offending merely 25 million people. Will you denounce Selvey, who called that utterance a highlight of the cricketing year? Or do you think it is splendid PR, if you promote the sport as a highly sexist, misogynistic and stone age affair?

      “Will he refuse the offer of special treatment and a personal meeting with Graves and just throw himself into the mix like any other player in county cricket?”

      That is the question. As for special treatment: is it that strange to want some reassurances that selection will be based on MERIT, rather than “face-fittingness”? That is not a strange question since a bowler with a FC average of close to 50 in the past 2 seasons has been picked to tour the West Indies.

      “Will he admit that his enthusiastic desire to play against England a couple of months ago for an Australian Prime Minister’s XI was nothing but a cheap publicity stunt deliberately aimed at embarrassing English cricket?”

      He was in Australia. He was in good form, and there were injuries for the PM’s XI to deal with, as well as ongoing series with India and the Big Bash league. I suppose they could have asked Cook, but then they might have been just as well batting with 10 men.

      “I can’t imagine Kevin Pietersen will want to do any of this.”

      I can’t either, as long as you’re happily celebrating double standards.

      “And it’s just as well, because a return for him could only prolong and intensify the current agony.”

      Yeah, losing by playing crap cricket is to be preferred to losing by playing exciting cricket.

      “History has proved beyond any doubt that Pietersen, for all his batting talent, is not a character that a suffering team can rally around. Alastair Cook is.”

      Remind me how successful 2014 was? How excellently he batted? Remind me who was the batsmen that offered to help (and did) help the bowlers with their batting techniques? Who was it who had the brilliant idea to work on fitness rather than batting practice after yet another humilating Ashes loss?

      Liked by 1 person

      • MM Mar 22, 2015 / 1:37 pm

        Awesome response D’Arthez.

        I do fear for these brainwashed press types. I mean, my default is to be utterly disgusted by their toadying. But I’m human and I do care. One day they will wake up and realise they’ve been suckered.

        Or they’re riding the gravy train like proper sell-outs. In which case, they’re damned.

        Like

      • Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 22, 2015 / 2:08 pm

        What an utterly brilliant post. This is a must-keep post. Just utterly fantastic. Thank you D’Arthez.

        Like

      • Zephirine Mar 22, 2015 / 3:39 pm

        Excellent stuff.

        You forgot referring to Graeme Swann as his ‘so-called friend’ and calling for ‘something to be done’ about Shane Warne, after both of them had offered criticisms that came from their expertise and lacked any personal malice.

        Admirable.

        Like

      • thebogfather Mar 22, 2015 / 5:36 pm

        D’Arthez, I bow down to your brilliance in digesting and ripping apart the continued BS – thank you

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus Mar 22, 2015 / 1:36 pm

      This isn’t exactly easy to find on their website. Still, D’Arthez has fisked it, so I don’t have to.

      Like

    • d'Arthez Mar 22, 2015 / 2:45 pm

      No, I don’t post elsewhere, Annie. I mainly stick to LCL, and the occasional odd post on TFT.

      Feel free to use parts of it as you see fit.

      Like

  17. d'Arthez Mar 22, 2015 / 1:50 pm

    Sorry for the few grammar issues. WordPress is not that friendly with regards to lengthy posts.

    Like

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