Let me kick this off with some blatant self-promotion:
The front of this bloke. Seriously. He’s wandering around giving unattributable interviews, carefully couched to convey that message he wants out there, but subtle enough to maintain his affable bloke persona. People buy it just as easily as they buy all the stuff about Pietersen. We all know it, the one about “every dressing room KP’s ever been in”. I love that one – I’ve worked for my organisation for a long time, and had ten or so roles there, and I’ll bet I moaned about every job I had at one time, every one of my colleagues at one time, and every one of my managers at one time. Even in all the jobs I loved! Christ, we had a night out last night doing it. KP’s not allowed to do it, but Cook is…. Cook can cast aspersions in his ever so polite way, and we’re supposed to forget he’s the most media-trained, reliable drone spokesman the ECB have ever put in front of a camera.
The bit that sticks in my craw is the supposed fury Alastair Cook would feel if Pietersen came back into the team. Really? As I put in the tweet above, he should thank his lucky stars he is still in the team, let alone be angry that someone else might be. You know that line that was spun a few years ago, during the series against Pakistan (the one where KP was dropped at the end of it for the ODI series) where Cook was supposedly fighting for his survival before he got his head down and made one of those gritty hundreds that you don’t really remember unless you were there (by far the most interesting thing about it was how he got past 100)? Cook’s scores in the 9 months up to that “career saving” innings were as follows:
v South Africa (you know, not bad)
15, 12, 118, 65, 55, 21, 1
v Bangladesh (take it or leave it)
173, 39, 21, 109* and then at home 7, 23, 29, 8
8, 12, 17, 4, 6 then 110
Notice there – 3 centuries up to the second innings at the Oval, including a hugely important one in a win in Durban. and two on his first tour as captain to Bangladesh. Yes, he had a ropey time of it in England, but hell, he’s been doing that for a couple of years now and no-one seems to give a flying one. Compared to his current trot, this is Bradman type batting. Yet he was under threat then, and no-one is calling him out for his “fury” in the press corp now. This bloke has no right to be in the team on form, and if it is his leadership keeping him there, well seriously, god help us.
There was a fair bit of tut tutting over the last podcast of Geek and Friends, where there seemed to be a distinct softening of tone over the ECB stuff, with all the protagonists being the sort of people with the best interests of England at heart, and just being misguided and useless. I am not as hard on them as some of you were, because I see a bit where they are coming from. What I abhor is their (the ECB) stubborness. In the face of masses of evidence, in the face of wonderful modern management and statistical analysis techniques, the best gurus, the best coaches, the most money, the best facilities, our strategy appears a simple, but rather fucking crap one. Wait long enough and Cook will score runs, Moores will be the coach we all think he can be, and you can forget your damn KP. This isn’t some nice guy scheme, it’s a self-preservation society. In the words of Madness, presumably titling their song for Graeme Swann, it’s pass the blame, and don’t blame me…..
Do not, I repeat, do not fall for this bollocks. It’s nothing more than a confession of their ineptitude and their unwillingness to change. Stick a daring move or two at the start, call everything transitional, back a teacher’s pet, and let’s see what happens. But whatever you do, don’t do anything drastic until they start aiming their arrows at us, and ridiculing us. Then we’ll think about it.
I’ve felt this for a while about Cook, and that is he plays the role of dutiful pupil really well. From the outside all the people look at the dutiful, teacher’s pet and say what a lovely boy, and I’d be so proud of him if he was my son. The other kids might not appreciate it, especially if teacher’s pet become head boy and gets a bit of power. You either stick with him, and yes, like him or you go against him and take risks. This seems the analogy to me. The thing with those sort of kids? The entitlement starts to set in. Their place is pre-ordained. Woe betide any challenger.
Yeah, I’m making this shit up. Of course I am. Sam Robson can score a test ton and have flaws in his game, but your captain can show the same flaws but because he got over them in the past he’ll do it again, so we’ll keep him. Nick Compton made two tons in successive tests, and hasn’t been seen since a couple of poor test matches got him the boot. Michael Carberry? Well he was never going to stick after a series where he took shot and shell and coped a little better than his skipper. Joe Root clearly was wasted there, what with scoring 180 once…. He got dropped three test matches after making an 80, which is the sort of score that would get our media in paroxysms of delight if their lovely little angel did it.
No. They are waiting for the next hundred, so muppets like Swann can shove it down our throats, and tell us to do one, or whatever charming turn of phrase he’ll pop up with next. If it comes in the West Indies, and it really, really should, we’ll get it full blast. As if we’ve been wrong for the last year and a half, as his form dived, his captaincy tanked and the ECB went into la-la mode.
Meanwhile, while the Cook bandwagon stalls, we have the sight of KP signing for Surrey. I’m sure I’ll wend my cheery little self down to Kennington’s Shangri-La, to watch Kumar and KP, but it’s a sideshow. Like it or not, Booth is probably not far off the mark when it comes to his comment that the aim is for KP to ply his trade with no real prospect of selection, as if by doing this these people have been so damn clever. Well, they haven’t been, because if they think this nonsense is pulling the wool over my eyes, and many on here, then their taking us for even bigger idiots than the “outside cricket” meme implied. If they are being deceitful, thinking this is ever so smart, then let them answer to those who pay the bills, who keep the game going.
I thought we might be coming to the end game, but we aren’t. Nowhere near it. Moores is allowed another tour, to no doubt create a good environment, while Cookie gets another stab at captaincy where you can bet your life that a victory in the series will be recorded as only the second series win in the Caribbean since 1967. Wait for it, you know it’s coming. I mean, this sorry outfit in the West Indies will be put on equal footing with those greats of 20 or so years. It’ll happen. The Cook Captaincy bandwagon will be off an running, and the KP sideshow will be relegated to….. well, given past form, the first cricket story in most papers.
OK. That’s my thousand or so tonight. Thanks for all the comments, hits, support etc. Life is so much more busy now that I can’t post as much, but hope that what I do put up here is doing the business.
There will be a thread on tonight’s semi-final coming up, and also a little bit of self-congratulatory news. So until then, wait for it…
I’ll leave you with this (as recommended in the comments)