Soap Redux


I thought I’d update the first part. So, here goes…..

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. This isn’t the greatest humiliation an England team faced. It was, in fact, a difficult winter.

As a result, the coach of the test team resigned. He was not the coach of the ODI or T20 team. We have separate coaches.

As a result the coach of the test team took on a supremo role with purpose not clear, at the behest of the new MD, who had not taken over, but was about to.

This 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. Sorry, a difficult winter.

As a result of these observations, and in concert with an outgoing coach, Kevin Pietersen was identified as a problem to deal with. Kevin Pietersen had scored the most runs by an England player in that series.

As a result of this observation of disengagement, Pietersen was told that England were moving on without him. This was despite him having a contract until the end of September.

As a result, Pietersen sought freedom from his contract to earn money in the IPL and CPL, rather than be tied to a contract with no prospect of playing.

As a result, England excluded their top runscorer on the previous tour. This should not be confused with being a scapegoat.

The captain remained unchallenged despite 10 tests passing since his last century and, of course, a 5-0 loss.

After the sacking, there was much comment. Much commotion. Then a statement was issued. We should desist. We were outside cricket. The sanctity of the dressing room had been broken. We were told that the ECB were anal about leaks. We believed anal referred to the orifice from which this piece of excrement was emitted.

And the press did ignore the outside cricket comment and did not comment on the sanctity of the dressing room, except to tell us to pipe down, and claim good journalism.

Meanwhile Downton spoke. About a supermarket. And stakeholders. And fresh and exciting. Then he disappeared.

The Chairman of the ECB declared that Cook came from the right kind of family, to much amusesment. He also advised people to “move on”, which is not to be confused with “shoo, shoo, peasant”.

Given the Chairman of Selectors had resigned, a new Chairman was in place. His name is James Whitaker. His qualification to select and not select? One test cap. Hurrah. When put in front of the camera to discuss his first squad, his phone rang. And there was much merriment.

Now, after the test coach had resigned, the ODI coach was seen as favourite to get the job as test coach, ODI coach and T20 coach. However, mutterings early in the piece suggested a former coach, who had been the former test coach’s coach, should become coach again,  because the preceding test coach had fallen out with the existing ODI coach, and the preceding test coach had an important role in deciding the next test, ODI and T20 coach. Got that?

We had new selectors. One was a coach who did not get on with Kevin Pietersen. He was also a county coach so invested in development that a potential international player, the player of a remarkable innings, had to be farmed out on loan. Thereupon he played an ancient Aussie instead. The world looked on, and barely cared.

The new test, ODI and T20 coach was appointed. The preceding ODI coach, not allowed to pick his primary T20 player, did not succeed, and in a final humiliation lost to the Netherlands and proved his ECB credentials by apologising to stakeholders. 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, provied crucial when he was appointed coach. Mention of Kevin Pietersen was not allowed.

The new MD, now not on official gardening leave, called the former coach, who had been sacked before the preceding coach took over, “the best coach of his generation”. Or was it finest. Who cares? There was aplomb all round. There was much merriment in the press at the conference.

Then we lost an ODI series to Sri Lanka, where we played dull cricket and Alastair Cook scored few runs. There was a Mankad, and Alastair was not pleased. There was much amusement.

Then we drew the first test, which we would have won but for “six inches of carry”, and Alastair Cook scored few runs. Do not mention anything about conservative declarations.

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. However he was superb on Day 5, when he did not take the field.

Then we backed our captain, and also backed a former captain who uttered a naughty word on TV about Kevin Pietersen. Can’t be happy about that.

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? He had a core of iron and steel. He wanted it bad.

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. Whole religions have been founded on less. Forever 95. No-one shall make that score and be worthy of it. He was “back in prime form”.

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. The KP crowd could shut up. They had had their words shoved down their throats. They were muppets. In this world, calling people paying to watch the game this, is called sound business logic.

Meanwhile, KP was not scoring runs in T20 cricket and was booed on Finals Day. And there was much merriment.

On the back of the amazing turnaround, facilitated by a good environment, we went on to be humped in an ODI series against 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…..


26 thoughts on “Soap Redux

  1. SimonH Mar 20, 2015 / 7:18 pm

    Great stuff again LCL. Having done one redux I doubt you fancy another but a few items maybe missing:

    – Selvey calling poets ‘impertinent’ and the reason (Flower seen with Whitaker)
    – Gooch sacked to prove Cooky doesn’t crumble
    – Broad’s various tweets (Ajmal and pre-WC)
    – “something must be done”
    – Strauss’s ‘inadvertent comment’ (with obligatory ‘what did he mean to say?’ add on)
    – three inch tear
    – Buttler not ready for tests

    Probably others there’s been so much – but I’ve been awake since 3am and may be hallucinating!


    • thebogfather Mar 20, 2015 / 7:24 pm

      @SimonH… me too, however many weeks it’s been of TMS thru the night, now hoping for a decent QF NZ v WI, but now just want NZ to take trophy


    • d'Arthez Mar 20, 2015 / 7:49 pm

      Root’s remarks suggesting that Sri Lanka can be taken for granted. I am pretty sure he believed that as well. Broad at least had the “good graces” to do it AFTER a humiliating defeat against the Netherlands. It certainly does not say much about the coaches. Might not be relevant for this piece.

      The pirates of the Caribbean. You know, you had an opener that averaged 50+ in the year 2014. Not to be spoken about in the press of course.

      “My side of the story is something I can’t tell you yet”, referring to a confidentiality agreement. It expired nearly six months ago, and we’re still waiting for your side of the story Alastair.
      Prior can play as long as he likes.

      “I won in India” laments of Cook.

      Jadejagate, and the toe-curling defences the ECB and Cook offered.

      Slightly unrelated, but the chairman of the ECB also called the ICC stitch up meritocratic. I suppose Srinivasan is from the right sort of family as well.


  2. d'Arthez Mar 20, 2015 / 7:22 pm

    Just a minor correction: “On the back of the amazing turnaround, facilitated by a good environment, we went on to be humped in an ODI series in India.”

    The series was in England, against india.


  3. thebogfather Mar 20, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    may I recommend a new book that I didn’t know existed until five minutes ago when Amazon recommended it to me…

    Sundial In The Shade: The story of Barry Richards:The Genius Lost to Test Cricket…

    written by Andy Murtagh (the ‘Paddy Fields’… of my ‘’ title page) – part of an Arlott magical quip from, I think, a JPL Sunday league match.

    I’ve just ordered it, so can’t comment on it as a book, but Barry was, and still is, my all-time cricketing hero from the many I’ve seen in real life as opposed to on TV


    • Benny Mar 20, 2015 / 9:29 pm

      I always thought Barry Richards was extraordinary. In the good old days, when we had top overseas stars in the CC, I found it hard to choose between him and Viv. We can only wonder what heights Barry might have reached.


      • SimonH Mar 20, 2015 / 10:12 pm

        One of my biggest regrets in cricket is that I only saw Barry Richards in the flesh once. It was a Sunday League match against Kent in the late 70s (1978?) – he made a bored 1 and was bowled. If you knew Greenidge cared because he started limping you knew Barry Richards wasn’t bothered when he wasn’t shaving – and he had a full beard that day.

        His 356 against Western Australia in Perth including 325* in a day off an attack including Lillee, MacKenzie and Jenner (about 600 Test wickets there) must have been amazing. He also made a double century off Warwickshire with Bob Willis when nobody else made over sixty.

        A little more footage of that era is emerging on Youtube. There is an ESPN documentary that has a tiny bit of his only test series. Here’s a shorter piece as he tucked into Lancashire (at Dean Park?):


  4. Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 20, 2015 / 9:10 pm

    A cracking piece me Lord. The sections about the coaches was hysterical. Sadly, the absurdity of all that totally lost on Downton et al. Brought a smile to my face. My husband enjoyed reading it as well.

    Well all the umm umm umm sewage — howzat? — being churned up now by incoming and (hopefully) outgoing members of ECB:

    E is for Educational sandwiches short of picnics;

    C is for — no, no, not the Strauss word, quiet there on the back row! — Competent-less;

    B is for Blazer suited Boneheads!

    I enjoyed doing that. Thanks me Lord

    There is a new Book by Peter Miller: ‘Second XI — Cricket in its Outposts’

    Looks interesting.


    • BoerInAustria Mar 20, 2015 / 9:33 pm

      time for Perestroika?


      • Arron Wright Mar 20, 2015 / 10:19 pm

        This morning, James Morgan used the Cook = Pitt the Younger comparison I came up with last summer, one which Mark used several times in various posts on TFT and elsewhere…

        …he got the wrong Blackadder series as well 🙂


      • BoerInAustria Mar 20, 2015 / 10:43 pm

        LCL respect!
        But 2005? Those were the days 🙂


        • LordCanisLupus Mar 20, 2015 / 10:44 pm

          The joy of editing this is I can change my typos and you can’t 🙂


  5. Rav Roberts Mar 20, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    So Annie, the only hope for Downton is that KP *doesn’t* score bags loads of runs for a county.
    We have the CEO of the ECB hoping and praying that an England qualified cricketer doesn’t score runs to get in the England team.
    No wonder cricket is losing its appeal.
    How sad and pathetic.


    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 20, 2015 / 11:25 pm

      Innit just? Really sad and pathetic indeed. Hopefully Downtown, Whitaker & Flower will be shown the door in May! I can dream.

      What happens if KP does get a shedload of runs and Cook doesn’t? What pray will the ECB do then? Maybe what goes around eventually comes around.


  6. Mark Mar 20, 2015 / 11:16 pm

    Slightly off topic but worth mentioning. Sky have announced they are puting up the price of their sports package by £1 per month. Interestingly they are doing this in June. Earlier in the year than than the usual rise. This is being attributed to the new football deal with the premiership. Of course it doesn’t come in for a few years but Sky needs to start getting back some of the money that it has bid for the tv rights. What I find interesting is the non sport family package is going up by £3 per month.

    One anyalsis is they are passing on the cost of sports rights to non sports watchers. I wonder how viable this model is? Will the non sport people just pay up? TV costs are going up, and the ECB have sold the exclusive cricket rights to Sky. It will be interesting if this reduces the amount of people watching the sport. The ECB won’t care as long as the money rolls in but who knows how many people will even be watching cricket?


    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 20, 2015 / 11:27 pm

      I saw that and they did say that the Sports package will really be hiked up. Not good for the punters but I suppose someone has to pay for Clarke’s deal. lol


    • d'Arthez Mar 20, 2015 / 11:37 pm

      Come to the internet. We have streams. Streams I have to rely on, since there is no way I can otherwise get access to cricket. Short of moving countries that is.


  7. thebogfather Mar 21, 2015 / 12:17 pm

    I await the ‘Shower Gel’ with Lux from his Imperial Leather the LCL… 😉


    • Mark Mar 21, 2015 / 12:32 pm

      I would give you a like, if I knew how to do one.

      It just sends me to some sign in site which wants a password. I have no password, and have no intention of getting one.

      However I will click an imaginary like button.


      • ZeroBullshit Mar 21, 2015 / 2:18 pm


        Only WordPress users can give a Like.


    • Boz Mar 21, 2015 / 12:44 pm

      surely, the title here should be Soap Radox – or are they not stakeholders???


  8. Zephirine Mar 21, 2015 / 8:58 pm

    Booed on finals day… that still makes me so angry. And ashamed really, that an English crowd should behave like that.

    It’s a fine soapy summary, my Lord, well done.
    Confused? We still are.


  9. @pktroll Mar 22, 2015 / 10:55 am

    The redoubtable alpha male of an England captain has started his first class year out in Dubai. He has departed for the princely sum of three runs, off the bowling of that fine young Yorkshire tearaway quick, Ryan Sidebottom.


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