As if we are surprised, the battle lines remain drawn. Those who think that the exclusion of Kevin Pietersen is the single most important thing in the game, and those that think that those who did it have been proven catastrophically wrong.

Jim Holden’s laughable piece, brilliantly picked apart by D’Arthez on here, has received backing from Simon Hughes and Paul Newman on Twitter. Both of these have been completely out of their prams whenever Pietersen’s name is mentioned. One is a massive supporter of Alastair Cook, another played a great deal of his county cricket alongside Paul Downton. Their support for the piece has been laughed at by many, with Tickers having a good old go on Twitter.

It seems as though little has changed in 12 or so months. However, there are journalists now prepared to countenance change – Nick Hoult may or may not have changed due to the paper hiring Pietersen, but the exit stage left of Pringle shows much of their editorial approach has changed. In addition Ali Martin is being far more even-handed than a Mike Selfey might have been. These are little acorns compared to the mighty ancient jokes in the media forest who put personal animosity over the real problem. That is an organisation that treats its real lifeblood with contempt. I’m not naming names, but you know who they are.

With Graves about to enact something or other, and former Derbyshire all-rounder Tom Harrison seemingly taking control of things, there is uncertainty. Ridiculous cat calls that Graves doesn’t start his role until May are especially hilarious given what Downton was up to before he took up his post last year and for which received no similar rebuke. Graves may be all things to all men at the moment, but what he is is a threat to the current flawed, and more importantly ridiculed hierarchy of Giles, Downton, Whitaker and Moores. Propping up Cook props up this lot, even with Cook’s mildest of hissy fits.

The same old battle lines, the same old nonsense, the same old resistance to admitting backing the wrong horse in a one horse race. Those not with the change programmes are being left behind. There’s a new chief coming along and he’s not listening to you, like Downton did when he asked you lot what you thought about Pietersen. Supporting those who prop this edifice up, the Cook captaincy, laughed at by most; the Downton follies; the Moores Matrices and the Whitaker Waffles all stupefying in their incompetence, all making us a laughing stock, is not taking us forward. It is holding us back.

Have a good week, folks.


84 thoughts on “Battle

  1. Vian Mar 22, 2015 / 9:40 pm

    I’m consistently reminded of Nick Hoult’s tweet that these people are not seeing which way the wind is blowing. From consistently holding the same line across the press, they now look shrill and entirely out of tune with the prevailing mood.

    They’ve burned their own credibility on this and they know it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart Mar 23, 2015 / 7:42 am

      Its all pretty clear isn’t it? And pretty smart, if a little Machiavellian. Graves and Harrison have cut all those journalists behind the Downton/Flowers/Moores coup out of the loop. Hoult, Collimose and Ali Martin are the new recipients of leaks; they are relatively untainted and non in hoc to the old regime. The old boys don’t like it one bit, hence the shrill comments and bitterness.


  2. Mark Mar 22, 2015 / 9:58 pm

    It’s all about Kevin. And for many of them it has always been all about Kevin.

    Problem is I can’t even listen to some of their legitimate arguments against KP now because of their fawning of Cook. All they had to do was keep an open mind about Cook. Accept he was not a great captain. Accept he has been in decline for over a year. And not to patronise us with the claptrap about how nice he supposedly is. (A giveaway of the bankruptcy of their position)

    When Selvey put Strauss’s C**T moment as a cricket highlight of the year you knew these people were completely insane. It’s an illness. Once upon a time The Guardian would have had more respect for their readers than to let a lunatic with with a Twitter account become their voice of cricket.

    When Charles 2nd became King they dug up the body of Oliver Cromwell and put it on trial. Having found it guilty they then ritualy executed the corpse. These people are cut from the same cloth. They will be putting KP on trial for the rest of their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 22, 2015 / 10:48 pm

    I see Simon Hughes is being pummelled on Twitter for his sycophantic support Jim Holden’s piece. Twould seem that people may bewaking up to this stuff. Makes one feel as tho one is going completely mad. Tis a mystery that these sycophants cannot see the writing on the wall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boz Mar 23, 2015 / 6:38 am

      Annie, they can’t see the wall
      It’s going to be a hard crash for them all …………….
      Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of ….


  4. Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 22, 2015 / 11:09 pm

    Oh and Simon Hughes defence of supporting Cook: He’s scored a lot of centuries!!! Couldn’t make it up could you? Mike Walters has given it a pummelling. Utterly appalling.


    • "IronBalls" McGinty Mar 23, 2015 / 8:58 am

      It’s like backing Red Rum to win the National again? I don’t suppose that Holden will eulogise him for his magnificent 3 against a 38 year old bowler? He did spend time in the field watching his prospective new opening stoo….partner making 70 odd! His apologists have come out with the usual “rusty”..”needs time in the field doncha know!” “not played in England and therefore doesn’t count!!!” I can see a car crash for him in the Windies, and his apologists to gag and splutter on their utterances!!


    • alan Mar 23, 2015 / 10:59 am

      How Hughes has the gall to call himself an analyst I don’t know. How much analysis has he applied to Cook’s performance over the last couple of years? If all that matters is how many centuries you’ve scored in the past we
      might as well get Gooch and Boycott back!

      Didn’t he also tweet his endorsement of the Strauss description of KP? He quite clearly has a personal agenda here which has nothing to do with analysis. I can’t listen to tms while he pollutes the airwaves


  5. Silk Mar 23, 2015 / 9:03 am

    I feel sorry for Cook. I honestly do.

    I’ll expand on this at some point in the future, but there’s something Shakesperian about the young hero, beloved of his people, then surrounded by sycopants and consumed by hubris.

    He’s being destroyed as a batsman, and it’s his “friends” who are doing it, not those “outside cricket”.


    • paulewart Mar 23, 2015 / 9:41 am

      More Prince Hal, surely?


      • northernlight71 Mar 23, 2015 / 9:50 am

        But Prince Hal grew up into Henry V . . . is Cook going to blossom again?
        He might, I suppose. But it looks less and less likely with every day that passes.


    • Mark Mar 23, 2015 / 9:46 am

      What ever tiny bit of sympathy I may of had for him dissolved when he came out with the rant about his sacking and how England needed a leader, and he was that man.

      I was always suspicious about the fact they kept saying what a nice man he was. Usually an indication they are telling the opposite of what is true. I have never heard a single interview where he came over as anything other than uppity, arrogant and petulant.

      “It’s a matter for Matty if he plays or not” ” he’s not ready for test match cricket” the same day Butler makes an ODI hundred at Lords.


      • Vian Mar 23, 2015 / 9:50 am

        It’s an interesting one that. Over the last year or so we’ve had the media talk about one of the interested parties being a top bloke, yet he’s actually known as being an utter Strauss in and around his county.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Grumpy Gaz Mar 23, 2015 / 12:31 pm

        Same here. I had started to feel some sympathy, imagining he was in a difficult place and refusing to quit because he didn’t want to let down his ECB supporters.

        However, after that load of tripe he came out with the other day, all sympathy has vanished.

        Even if he does rediscover his batting form this summer, of which I am doubtful, his placid captaincy still stinks and will cost England dear.


    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 23, 2015 / 1:58 pm

      Bit like Julius Caesar. His “friends” were so supportive and cheers his return to Rome and then poof: they all stabbed him for the good of the Empire. Problem for Cook is that he believes his own publicity machine. Very dangerous when he can’t buy any runs for himself. I note that even some former supporters are not so very supportive these days. The stalwarts will continue of course. Not PC really but I can see why one person has become so vindictive and had to swallow his mercilessness the other day, when one reads about his own personal “blindness”. What goes around does come around, sometimes.

      A damn big elephant in the way here and that is โ€” as folk have already said โ€” IMO, Flower. The Master Puppeteer pulling everyone’s strings.

      When one reads all this stuff one recognises the gamut of sheer hypocrisy dribbling from all these mouths. I do sincerely hope they all going flying into that wall they just can’t see. I note the Selvey has nothing much to say at present. In fact a very good piece full of the stuff he used to say when he was not half bad. Hmm.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Rooto Mar 23, 2015 / 9:17 am

    There are two questions I’d like answered:
    Who’s the keystone in the England edifice? Whose removal will bring it down? Sadly, I think the answer may be Andy Flower, who’s now well behind the front line.
    Secondly, who’s the keystone in the press support for ECB? Whose removal will cause the blind delusion to crumble? Could be Cook, could be Downton. Whoever it is needs to be first out of the door, to allow any wind of change to rustle the newspapers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Mar 23, 2015 / 9:37 am

      I agree with this. Flower is the Elephant in the room (the elephant in the ECB) but nobody mentions him. It’s all about Moores and Downton and Whitiker. I think because people don’t realise the role and power he has behind the scenes. I am convinced Moores got the job of coach because of him.

      Downton seems to listen to his advice and acts on it. The Sacking of KP……who was behind that? I think we all Know?


      • Zephirine Mar 23, 2015 / 10:20 am

        Yes. KP talked about Flower’s skill in managing upwards. George Dobell described him as still ‘enormously influential’.

        I agree with Silk that Cook’s story is tragic in its way, and I think Flower’s is too, because he’s been surrounded by people who aren’t a match for him. If he’d had some tough, challenging colleagues and bosses, the whole story might have been different. Or, of course, he might just have got them sacked.

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Mar 23, 2015 / 1:01 pm

        Sadly, that would apply to a fair number of despots and dictators as well.

        How often have men not ended up becoming what they despised the most?

        It is as if it is a play – everybody can see what is happening, but the unfolding of events is happening independent from the thoughts and desires of the audience. Those outside of the cast, can rant and rave, try their best to “warn” the actors but all to no avail. The tragedy must unfold.

        It will be interesting to see what Cook himself makes of everything after another 20 years.


  7. hatmallet Mar 23, 2015 / 10:40 am

    I’m not sure whether Cook’s outburst (as well as the Mankading and ‘so called friend’ incidents) show a man less lovely than the press like to say, or that he simply doesn’t do ‘angry’ well. I’m still leaning towards the latter.


    • Vian Mar 23, 2015 / 12:50 pm

      I’d forgotten about the so-called friend outburst. I’m quite prepared to accept that he’s feeling under pressure and even very unhappy. But it’s really not a good look for the captain to be so snide and bitter in public like this.


  8. Boz Mar 23, 2015 / 10:45 am

    DT this morning:

    “Alastair Cook made just three runs as the England Test captain opened the batting for MCC in their match against the County Championship winners Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi.
    Having top-scored in MCC’s Twenty20 defeat against Sussex on Friday, Cook could not replicate the feat and was lbw to Ryan Sidebottom as his side were bowled out for 221 in their first innings.”

    Top scored with 35 FFS


    • Rav Roberts Mar 23, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      Maybe Cookie’s ‘feat’ was to get to 35, which he hasn’t done for 7 innings before that?


      • Rav Roberts Mar 23, 2015 / 12:11 pm

        ‘hadn’t’ done.


  9. paulewart Mar 23, 2015 / 10:56 am

    ‘England captain Alastair Cook lets his wicket do the talking.’


  10. Grumpy Gaz Mar 23, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    Meh, let the lick-spittle press keep blindly supporting the ECB and Cook. We all know what’s going to happen:

    KP will score a ton of runs and get back into the test side just before the Ashes.

    We will promptly lose 5-0 again with Cook failing to score more than 30. KP will be the biggest scorer by a margin.

    Downton will be promoted to a newly created position of Chief Morale Officer, main duties are to monitor and enforce player interest levels. His replacement, Derek Pringle, will immediately sack KP for unspecified reasons but some outstanding journalism will reveal that KP looked at his watch at least once during the fitness session held ahead of the last test.

    Flower will be promoted to head the ECB, Moores will be promoted to Flower’s cushy job managing the Lions. In a shock announcement, David Moyes will be appointed as England’s head coach as he is the only applicant to meet the essential criteria of having fucked it up before.

    Cook will be given the full backing of the ECB management and be expected to remain as Captain for at least the next decade. Pringle publicly states that the ability to lead a side or score runs are massively overrated in the modern era and having a spine of solid titanium is exactly what England needs to restore harmony in the dressing room. Anyone who disagrees will be accused of failing to engage with the stakeholder matrix.

    Selvey will be given the head of PR job at the ECB after being described as ‘the outstanding journalist of his generation’ by Downton.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine Mar 23, 2015 / 2:43 pm

      That’s all horribly probable, Gaz.


  11. "IronBalls" McGinty Mar 23, 2015 / 1:57 pm

    Sadly this is just another stage in the wagon circling process. The ideology of building a team around a thoroughly decent man is as anachronistic as “Gentlemen, and players” I would ask any of these embedded journos what they have found “decent” about the ECB’s handling of affairs these past 14/15 months?
    How dare the incoming chair approach a player? After what Downton did, that’s hypocrisy beyond parody! He did it mate because he can!!
    They all think they know which side their bread’s buttered, but I think that bread is going to land in the shit butter side down before too long!!
    Why is the easy question so hard to ask for them? Paul, you sacked England’s top run scorer in the last Ashes, before you were officially appointed, for the good of English Cricket, going forward, and building a team around the Captain, Alistair Cook. How is that going Paul, exactly??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Silk Mar 23, 2015 / 3:45 pm

      In August we beat the greatest ever test team to tour these shores. Well, 2nd greatest after the Invincibles. But better than Lloyd’s and Richards’ sides, oh yes.

      Some other stuff happened, but I’d like you to focus on the 95 that Alastair made at Soton against the fearsome bowling attack he faced that day, totally repudiating his critics.

      One innings is irrelevant, unless it’s an innings that supports our argument. Like 95. Or 35 in a T20 game.


  12. Silk Mar 23, 2015 / 3:59 pm

    By the way, when do we think someone is going to break ranks with the cabal and suggest that Cook ‘needs a big score’? Because his cumulative international average is sub 30 over his last 40 matches (back to June 2013) and you have to go back to the start of India tour (after that first Test, in which he was excellent) for it to go above 35.

    After the India tour in which he scored 3 (!) tons (let’s not forget how utterly brilliant he was on that tour) he’s played 76 innings and averages 32.

    He got two tons for Essex last season, and his scores (if not his fluency) in the India test series were decent enough. So I suspect the pressure won’t be on him until the end of the Windies series (or the point at which we go a Test down, if that happens)

    But he needs a score.


    • Zephirine Mar 23, 2015 / 5:46 pm

      “But he needs a score.”
      I think they’ve gone past that stage. Somewhere along the line it became accepted that Cook’s job is not to make runs but to be wonderful. He is there to lead, in unspecified ways, but wonderfully. 3 runs is just fine, 35 even better, especially if they’re ‘fluent’, but really, it’s enough now for him just to be Cooky.
      [sound of selected journos fluttering eyelashes and sighing]

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annie Weatherly-Barton Mar 24, 2015 / 9:58 pm

        LOL! Do you think I might have a chance of playing this summer? I mean I was a demon batter with that very thin wooden rounders bat. When I connected bat with ball – which was a lot – it went over the boundary. The opposition was exceedingly fed up with having to run after it. Mind you, I suppose my prowess with the bat won’t help me none. See I do not come from the “right sort of family with the right sort of background!” Bloody hell we’re all doomed.


  13. Silk Mar 23, 2015 / 4:01 pm

    Lyth must surely start in the Windies… 113 against greats like Dunn, Rushworth and Ansari today.


    • d'Arthez Mar 23, 2015 / 4:27 pm

      You would think so, but I would not be surprised if Trott opens.


      • Zephirine Mar 23, 2015 / 5:37 pm

        According to Ali Martin, if Lyth opens with Cook he’ll be Cook’s ninth opening partner.
        Everybody’s out of step except our Alastair….

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Silk Mar 23, 2015 / 4:01 pm

    Oh, and Onions appears to be broken. Already.


    • Zephirine Mar 23, 2015 / 5:39 pm

      Sadness. I love Onions, a mysteriously attractive man and a fine bowler. But fragile.


      • Rooto Mar 23, 2015 / 7:44 pm

        Zeph, you’re a deep one! I just had him down as a lanky bloke with a poor hair cut… ๐Ÿ™‚


      • Zephirine Mar 23, 2015 / 9:31 pm

        Rooto, he has a certain something. He was very publicly admired by Lily Allen, if you remember.


      • SimonH Mar 24, 2015 / 2:04 pm

        The injury isn’t serious apparently and he sat out play more as a precaution.


  15. d'Arthez Mar 23, 2015 / 5:39 pm

    Yorkshire eventually bowled out for 372. Carberry taking the wicket of Rashid – another discarded opening partner of Cook.

    By my reckoning, there should be about 7 overs until close. Maybe Cook can win that battle to reach stumps with his wicket in tact.


    • d'Arthez Mar 24, 2015 / 11:10 am

      He won that battle, only to be dismissed by Brooks (caught Rashid) for 5. Which incidentally makes Cook the 5th best opener in that game.


      • thebogfather Mar 24, 2015 / 1:40 pm

        Remember, Cookie declined the MCC captaincy for this match to concentrate on his batting… guess he heard that KP has been released from the IPL (with a clause for recall if the team reach the knock-out stage), so perhaps he’s now going to concentrate on his lambing, sorry, leadership skills and take the WI by the scruff of the neck (isn’t that how you start shearing a sheep?)


  16. Rav Roberts Mar 23, 2015 / 5:49 pm

    It would have been fun to have KP in the MCC team for this match… ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Boz Mar 23, 2015 / 6:50 pm

      The MCC, who have a continual place at the top table for no apparent reason, may well be one of the backers of Cook – after all, the MCC invented cricket, own Lord’s, the home of cricket, apparently, and routinely get their own way, still, in 2015 – an anachronism if ever the was one. It very much seems to be their thing, the man of iron with square jaw – who is KP again???. This middle class/ elitist set up is a farce, is tiresome and is the main reason cricket in England is in the shit


      • Mark Mar 23, 2015 / 8:10 pm

        The MCC and Cook go back along way………….

        From Cooks Wikipedia page……

        “Cook’s musical flair led to him being granted a scholarship to Bedford School, an independent school for boys in the county town of Bedford, in Bedfordshire, when he was 13, also as a boarder. While being educated in Bedford, he also learned to play piano and saxophone. However, music was soon eclipsed when the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) came to play against the Bedford XI. The visiting side were a man short and drafted the 14-year-old new boy to play against his school; Cook scored a century.”


  17. Arron Wright Mar 23, 2015 / 8:08 pm

    I’m only four and a half minutes in, but that Sunday Express column has already been trailed….


      • Arron Wright Mar 23, 2015 / 8:47 pm

        In spite of an early reference, they didn’t get round to discussing Jim and his nonsense, I’m afraid.


        • LordCanisLupus Mar 23, 2015 / 8:51 pm

          They went soft on Cook. He’s a nice bloke. They make the decisions that they think is best. They aren’t bad men…



      • Boz Mar 23, 2015 / 9:32 pm

        the discussion here was rubbish – they sound like they are all for the ECB and Cook in principle but think they’re all going about things the wrong way – this is bollox – and being drunk is no excuse – miller and tickner fall in credibility in my estimation – this is boring


    • ZeroBullshit Mar 23, 2015 / 8:58 pm

      Somewhat disappointing. I expected tough talk. Sick of “so and so is nice” claptrap.


      • LordCanisLupus Mar 23, 2015 / 9:10 pm

        They’ve done far more great stuff than bits that don’t work, and that one didn’t. At all. Maybe I’m looking for confirmation bias, because it is always nice when someone agrees with you, but this was off the mark.

        I learned not to tweet drunk by doing this gig!


      • ZeroBullshit Mar 23, 2015 / 9:22 pm

        Oh yes LCL! I have heard good stuff from them, especially #79, the one with George Dobell.


  18. Arron Wright Mar 23, 2015 / 8:30 pm

    Click here, get the full conversation:

    Cook’s comments “in the national interest” apparently. “I had dinner with him in Sri Lanka”. “Decent, honest, will come good again”.


    • Mark Mar 23, 2015 / 8:49 pm

      Yea, and Cooky can pay the bill with his huge salary and sponsorship deals he gets from being England captain. Putting England first only seems to coexist when it also puts Cook first.


      • Boz Mar 23, 2015 / 9:33 pm

        Hughes is a Strauss. Full stop!


      • Arron Wright Mar 23, 2015 / 9:35 pm

        Wikipedia has this to say:

        “Special pleading is a form of fallacious argument that involves an attempt to cite something as an exception to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. without justifying the exception.

        The lack of criticism may be a simple oversight (e.g., a reference to common sense) or an application of a double standard.”

        Case rests.


    • dvyk Mar 24, 2015 / 12:34 am

      I can’t help but notice how quickly “England” or “Englishness” (as opposed to South Africanness, for eg), gets invoked when Cook is mentioned. I don’t know if Hughes knows he’s doing here — it’s probably an automatic response by now.

      I also notice how all these Cook apologists are outdoing each other for combining fawning, sycophancy, over-protectiveness, and unbelievable stupidity. What a stupid, stupid, stupid thing to say.

      I think the most infuriating/hilariously pathetic thing about it is Hughes’ belief that his imbecilic sycophancy will impress RichBT, and is socially acceptable.


    • paulewart Mar 24, 2015 / 9:59 am

      If Mike Selvey’s right, and he is made a scapegoat, then who is doing the scapegoating? His mate Paul Downton? Tricky.


    • SimonH Mar 24, 2015 / 5:33 am

      Good to hear Graves sounding strongly against a ten team WC in 2019 and supportive of the associates in general and Ireland in particular.

      His first instincts on issues like ECB transparency and England’s likability also seem encouraging. Although not directly asked about them, he doesn’t go out of his way to back Downton, Whitaker or Moores either. The “media mogul” reference sounded like a rap on the knuckles for Cook – not that any newspaper seems to be picking up on it.


      • ZeroBullshit Mar 24, 2015 / 5:43 am

        I don’t trust Graves but he certainly made some good noises and wisely passed on the Pietersen matter. Perhaps he will speak again after he and Pietersen have had their face to face talk.


      • SimonH Mar 24, 2015 / 12:27 pm

        ZB, I shared your doubts about Graves but he does seem to get how wide and deep the problems are. There’s no attempt to dismiss any issue as “all got up by the media” and there’s no “we can’t deal with this because we must deal with that”.

        The rebuke for Cook is just being ignored. Just how would it be reported if it had Pietersen on the receiving end? The Guardian would have two articles up by now comparing Pietersen to Rupert Murdoch. Or Robert Maxwell. Or William Randolph Hearst. All just good banter of course.

        What the Guardian does have instead is this from Adam Lyth:
        “I’ve chatted with Cookie over the past few days. He said: ‘Play how you do for Yorkshire and you’ll be fine. And if you need a chat you know where I am.’ He seems a really nice guy and very humble. His Test record is up there with the very best and hopefully I’ll be batting alongside him in the West Indies if I can impress him and the coaches.”
        Poor Lyth – the latest newbie to have to shore up the captain. Root and Ali certainly had to take their turns. I’m sure (cough) they are Lyth’s own words and not scripted for him. “Very humble” sounds exactly like how cricketers talk about each other. For some reason I started thinking of Marty DiBergi praising Spinal Tap for “their punctuality” when I heard that!


      • ZeroBullshit Mar 24, 2015 / 4:50 pm

        “…he does seem to get how wide and deep the problems are.”

        I agree with that Simon. Let us see how he acts when in power.


  19. @pktroll Mar 24, 2015 / 12:33 pm

    In response to SimonH on Lyth. In fairness he’s hardly going to try to rock the boat given that he’s only just been selected.


    • SimonH Mar 24, 2015 / 2:08 pm

      I wasn’t for a moment getting at Lyth but at the ECB press department who appear to be using new players in this way.


      • ZeroBullshit Mar 24, 2015 / 4:52 pm

        The way they got poor Moeen Ali to shore up the deluded skipper was absolutely disgusting.


  20. @pktroll Mar 24, 2015 / 12:34 pm

    Oh I forgot to say that if any of you didn’t already know, Cook has beaten his first innings score by making it to 5 this time around before departing.


  21. thebogfather Mar 24, 2015 / 1:59 pm

    Oh dear…


    • Silk Mar 24, 2015 / 2:09 pm

      I wasn’t aware that Cook was a selector, and I wasn’t aware that the selectors were meant to select on the basis of anything other than the liklihood that player X will score more runs than player Y (and isn’t a total liability in the field).

      Whitaker would have to go, of course, given how he’s staked himself so very publically to no KP. I’d expect that to happen sooner rather than later,

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Arron Wright Mar 24, 2015 / 9:54 pm

    Something morbidly funny about Ali Martin’s report on Yorkshire’s victory over MCC. A Test prospect scores a hundred, another takes four wickets, and yet everything is evaluated in terms of how much it impresses a man who scored 3 & 5, hasn’t made an international hundred in nearly two years and is not a selector. As with Hughes’s comments yesterday, and Selvey’s passim, English cricket is still being reported through the prism of Alastair Cook. His self-interest is automatically equated with the national interest, and no-one dares give voice to the idea that his place should by rights be in jeopardy. Sorry to say that even Graves was at it on the BBC. “We have to protect him”? Do me a bloody favour: this is the sort of toss they were all coming out with last April, when they were smugly expecting a bounty against “county” attacks.

    The disaster is set to continue, I’m afraid. Never seen anything like it.


    • hatmallet Mar 24, 2015 / 10:15 pm

      “We have to make sure we protect him, look after him properly and let him concentrate on playing cricket.”

      Does the last part hint at Cook maybe not being captain?

      Tbh, I agree with him, as the Cook off a couple of years ago is hugely valuable and I’d like him back, so long as it involves the possibility that in order to get him back to his best he may have to give up the captaincy (or even be dropped for a short while until he regains form for Essex).

      England have made Cook a lightning rod over the past year. That’s not to say Cook wasn’t compliant in the whole mess, but judging by his recent comments he may now be realising that the ECB weren’t acting in his best interests after all.

      But if protecting him means playing him regardless of form and refusing to make a better choice captain, then England will continue to stagnate. Cook can’t continue being the distraction that he is.


      • Arron Wright Mar 24, 2015 / 10:51 pm

        My point is that I have never heard an England cricket captain spoken of like this before. For example, where was “We need to protect him” when Vaughan came back after a long lay-off and saw his form go to pot after a brief flowering in 2007? I did not need Michael Vaughan to *tell* me he possessed inner steel on a cricket field, but in the end he resigned in tears.

        Nothing sits right about it at all. Blatant, embarrassing, childish petulance constantly overlooked in favour of telling us how nice he is. Appalling captaincy that basically cost us a match and series, followed the day after by “Alastair was wonderful in the dressing room”. Total unsuitability for modern ODI cricket ignored for months and months, and then when he complains about his treatment he’s *still* indulged. 95 is more than 156 and 167. Every new player in the side has to pay tribute to him in some way, yet he can say what he did about Prior and Buttler, or keep Bell out of the ODI side, or force Taylor to move down from three in Sri Lanka, or make Hales bat at three instead of opening. Today is just another little chapter in a really tedious, depressing farce.

        I’ll be brutally honest: I would much rather see what Lyth can do than watch Alastair Cook play Test cricket ever again. I wouldn’t miss him one bit. The player of two years and more ago may well be gone for good, but barely anyone appears willing to accept that. Everything he says and does makes him look a little worse. He could have resigned from ODIs for the good of the team at any time after February 2014, but didn’t. Now he may threaten to quit if Pietersen returns? And at the same time is on record saying that the selectors did him and the team wrong by getting rid? And this is supposed to be someone who puts the national team’s interest before his own ego?

        Cook is suffering from a remarkable case of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the likes of which I do not recall seeing in cricket to this extent before. Some of this will be down to his past achievements, but I firmly believe the way the ECB and press have lionised him since the 2013/14 Ashes is playing an even bigger part.

        (To be fair, when you read stuff like “England can win 11 out of 17 Tests”, and “we’d rather play India in our quarter-final”, you begin to wonder whether everyone “inside cricket” is suffering from a mass Dunning-Kruger effect)

        Liked by 2 people

        • ZeroBullshit Mar 25, 2015 / 4:37 am

          ‘…you begin to wonder whether everyone โ€œinside cricketโ€ is suffering from a mass Dunning-Kruger effect’

          I am past wondering Arron. I believe that they are all deluded.


  23. Silk Mar 25, 2015 / 8:48 am

    I don’t read Graves’ comments as particularly pro-Cook. In light of what Cook said recently, I think Graves is hinting Cook needs to be protected from the media. i.e. “Shut up and bat, Alastair”.

    Given that Graves has basically said that Moores will be sacked if we don’t win in the Windies, he’s lit a huge fire under Moores and Cook. Cook, in particular, is now under huge pressure to perform.


  24. dvyk Mar 25, 2015 / 10:55 am

    How ironic it is to read J Anderson denying that he’s part of any elitist clique that controlled the dressing room and has too much power, and then declaring that KP will never play again. Or did I miss the news where he was named on the selection panel?

    I just started reading KP’s book, and noticed how close to the start it was that he said that he might well be back soon, as political regimes do tend to change.


    • dvyk Mar 25, 2015 / 11:18 am

      Apologies — Andersen said that last year – I didn’t realize that was an old article I read.


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