I didn’t watch a ball.
That’s a really poor confession by a cricket blogger who has been going on about how important ODI cricket is to this country and how we can’t take it seriously is holding us back. But I didn’t watch a lot of the 2011 Final (shopping), 2007 (at football) and 1999 (playing cricket). I woke up several times to see this was a pretty one sided final, so I stayed in bed. Well done Australia, but it was a bit like Germany winning the football world cup. You recognise their brilliance, their technical and mental superiority, their will to win and their drive, but you can’t help but hate that it’s your most accursed rivals doing it. It’s a bit like cheering on the dealer at the blackjack table.
What is clear, from the re-run, is that once again Australia were the best at taking wickets. For all the talk about the batting, the sixes, the big bats, small boundaries et al, it was Australia who didn’t look like conceding 300 and facing difficult chases, or taking on water in major chases of their own. Their only loss was the only one away from home, when they walked into a maelstrom in Auckland, and were beaten by New Zealand. I don’t think many seriously believed that result would be repeated last night. We hoped, but at the end, we never got the performance we wanted to see. But they were the stars of the tournament for me – their no fear attitude, their resilience in many games, and their sheer joie de vivre is an example to many nations.
Australia have much of that energy and passion too, and they have the better players (for now) in the crunch. This has been a sobering tournament for many outside the ANZAC region. These two teams had the best bowling line-ups. India took a lot of wickets, and won a particularly impressive victory over South Africa, but once up to one the top two, they were easily beaten. It may be an interesting debate to see if India would have beaten New Zealand in a game of importance, but that’s by the by. This format only really gets interesting when it comes to the knockouts.
Which goes against the grain, I know. While watching Ireland play really, really well, ultimately this competion is about who wins, not who does well early. Colombia and Costa Rica and Chile all played some superb football in the World Cup last year, but they never made the semis. Ireland, sadly, have to face the commercial realities. India, and therefore the ICC, don’t give a shit. We can moan and complain all we want, and I really want to moan and complain, but there’s little point. Sport has been stolen from us by TV companies, sponsors and big businesses. By businessmen who care about the bottom line. It’s of no interest to them that the associates had certainly moved a step forward, even if the results of all but Ireland didn’t reflect that. As a supporter of a lower league football team, I’m still livid about the Premier League. There’s only so much resentment I can have in my heart. Of course it’s wrong what they are doing to the World Cup. I would be stunned if anyone gave a crap about the views of any fans outside of India. If they kicked up, then maybe, just maybe, there might be a change.
I see there is a debate about this being an outstanding tournament. It was pretty good, but not outstanding in my eyes. I’m with those who say there weren’t enough iconic matches, close fought contests to live in the memory. Too many hammerings. So the Irish wins over West Indies, UAE and Zimbabwe are only really joined by the New Zealand v Australia game and the iconic match, and shot, of the tournament – New Zealand v South Africa and Grant Elliott’s six. That was a MOMENT. I have nearly all that game recorded, and I’ll be keeping that, I can tell you.
We’ve got this far without mentioning England. We were a monumental embarrassment. The passage of time has not eased my anger. Not in the slightest. I see invocations that we should “build for 2019” and that this means a certain player should not be picked. Stuff that. I couldn’t trust this lot to build a six inch wall with lego bricks. They were meant to be building towards this, but some rocket scientists couldn’t tell our decent team was getting old, and that of all of that team to back in an ODI format, a beautiful batsman with 3 ODI hundreds up until end 2014, and a captain with all the invention and flexibility of a steel cage, rather than a bloke who may not have smashed it out of the park but seemed to make scores and a maverick with a penchant for being a bit out of line. In my opinion Root, Buttler and possibly Ali are the only three who are certain to be in our 2019 team, injury permitting. The rest requires inventive thinking, patience, skill and a bit of luck. It will need the second of those in abundance. The mob in charge only have patience when they might be proved embarrasingly wrong. That’s the management skill of a dinosaur.
Many times last year we were angry at the way the Ashes had been thrown to the wind, how there was no proper review of the failures, and that history should never forgive those people for this if they didn’t do well in the World Cup. For this was what we had cleared the decks for. To have a proper go at the World Cup. Oh yes, I know the Aussies wanted it moved too, but we were the only country not to play tests in the run up to the World Cup. We had the plans, the opportunity and the schedule that the ECB wanted in the run-up to the most important international tournament. The rest is history. We made it about a captain’s retirement gift, which we decided not to give him anyway. We made it about undermining players like Woakes and Taylor by changing their roles on the first day of the competition. We made it about data. We made ourselves a laughing stock. My Aussie mates are laughing at me for giving a stuff about this lot. They see our lot as a class-ridden, public schoolboy, pampered secluded bunch of people you’d take home to your mum. They see us as an establishment team. A team for the toffs. Good grief. Up until that last Ashes tour, they were beginning to get a bit cheesed off of us beating them. We’ve fallen miles.
So that’s the World Cup in the books. I had a good time, the blog was well populated with excellent comments, and great insight on many occasions. We now move forward to England’s tour of the West Indies, county cricket and more KP. I’m sure there’s still a lot of fuel in the tanks.
As for the competition, I’ll try to do the calculations this week. I know I got the highest team score of the tournament spot on (417) so maybe I should just declare myself winner!
UPDATE – Lead picture and story on the Mail’s cricket page…. dog whistle anyone?
I no longer even believe that we cleared the decks specifically for this World Cup. Instead I think it was a key part of normalizing the elevation of Australia and India over all other opponents. There are too many coincidences in the knock- on effects, and too many examples of rank idiocy in the final year of prep, for me to draw any other conclusion. And that normalization process has been very successful. Job done.
And so ends the worst three years I have experienced as an England fan (second) and lover of the world game (first). Unspeakable self-interest, naked commercial greed and appalling mismanagement of players, yet the real villain was the man who played the best three innings of those three years. The worst of times by an absolute mile. The legacy of all this meddling: a spoilt brat captain, a mediocre coach, a rotting flower, a new ECB president, a shockingly lopsided future calendar, and Paul sodding Downton.
But hey, “11 out of 17”, “due” and all that. For the powerful, the illusion will endure, while we continue to suck it up.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Arron, I think you are right about about the so called preparation. Not that it made any difference because our coaches and tactics are shit. We could have prepared for a hundred years. It would have made absolutely no difference. Our players,are well paid thanks to the Sky money, but they are technically unable to deliver. Execution of skills is something we are no good at. We don’t bowl Yorkers because our players can’t be trusted to bowl them.
Never mind, look over there, WI Ahoy. The money circus just keeps on coming.
Guess who’s being extra-cynical about Clarke’s retirement announcement? Not a peep about the preview in which he told us all that no-one liked Clarke in the dressing room and Australia might not play for him, of course….
LikeLiked by 1 person
Just remember, Clarke is the self-indulgent one, while Cook is the one who’s had a really tough year and displayed immense mental strength and a winning mentality for his country. Hope you’ve all got that.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Australia proved the captain didn’t matter much. They were winning with Smith or with Clarke. Its about good players.
England are obssesed with leadership. Coach or captain. The cricket establishment don’t think anything can happen without some leader to call the shots. How about producing better players? That takes real leadership. Not the sort you will get from this bunch of clowns.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Finally, I just want to tell you all that this, as a contrast, is just too perfect.
Bookmark it. Remember it.
What is the matter with Selvey, is he backward or something?
Why the attitude to Clarke? What has he done to Selvey? Snubbed him at a drinks party? Laughed at Cook?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Slaughtered Cook and Flower 5-0, I think.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Utterly appalling. Has Selvey swallowed a load of wasps? Blige me. Still wonderful retort from Sangakkara. Lovely to see a cricketer of his standing cutting Selvey down to size.
Holy heck, getting yourself slapped down by Kumar Sangakkara. I can’t imagine there being a clearer sign in cricket that you’re a completely loathsome weasel. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Selvey.
Ironically, the last 3 years have also been a complete test of Mike Selvey as a man, leader and cricketer. He has shown himself to be an utter and abysmal failure as all three.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’ll defend Selvey on one thing and that is that he has been a supporter of the associate cause. He strongly backs their continued presence in 2019 in today’s review of the tournament.
Of course there is no depth of analysis why they are being excluded and no criticism of the ECB’s role in it all but you can’t have everything……
Yes, I noticed Mike Selvey’s graceless remarks. Such a shame that pup had to go and spoil it all by proving both popular and graceful on the day. The former could learn a thing or two from the latter: he won’t though.
I didn’t watch a ball either. That’s because I cancelled my Sky Sports subscription some months ago so I wouldn’t be tempted to watch a team led by Cook, and it meant a few less quid (quite a few less, actually!) heading for the pockets of the shower that runs the ECB.
I’m considering the same Tony.
Sky are putting up their prices to pay for these huge increases they have paid for new premiership football contract. Interestingly they are raising the Sports package by only £1 per month. But they are putting up the price much earlier in the year than the usual date.
What I really find interesting is they are putting the non sport family package up by £3 per month. It seems the people who don’t watch sport are getting to pay more. Almost as if they are subsidising the sport watchers. The money keeps going up, and it seems to me the quality of performances goes down.
I know that stopping my subscription is a pointless and futile gesture, but I really am starting to resent my money going to the ECB.
Not strictly on-topic for this thread, sorry, but I know followers of this blog with appreciate the summing-up by Quebecer for the benefit of a Kiwi poster who wondered what was wrong with England:
Apologies if you’ve all already read.
A fine summary indeed. Well worth a read…
Given how amusing you were about Fred – and just how polite at the same time – even though he’s given a perfectly acceptable summary, I’ll add some detail for you if you wish.
Was our World Cup performance a surprise? No, unfortunately not. If one followed our preparation since last September against India, it’s blindingly clear we’d made so many mistakes even in that series in terms of selection, captaincy, and approach. I think the phrase I used on these pages at the time was that we were in for a “world of hurt” over the next 6 months. It wasn’t hard to see coming. We had selected Cook, we hadn’t selected Ali or Ballance (our two best new additions over the summer), were confused in every other position, and clearly had either no plan or a very poor one about how to proceed. In no way did we prepare a team with a clear idea of how we wanted to play, we had jettisoned some players too early, had not identified and stuck with the younger players we knew we wanted, and had little idea past Anderson and Broad for our bowlers. We didn’t have any of the right players bedding in to any of the right positions. We then messed about with Hales, Bopara, dropped Bell without explanation, looked on the Sri Lanka tour as a team bonding exercise (according to Selvey), THEN sacked the captain and replaced him with a player so desperately out of form he didn’t justify a place either. We dicked around without a plan in the tri series, flattered by a disinterested India, still had the wrong team out, all lacking confidence or the understanding of how to play their game, and all we had in terms of an approach was strategy based around a misunderstanding of what statistics are or how they should be used. And all the time, those of us with no agenda knew we had the wrong man as coach, a man who was making things worse at every step.
And that’s just the World Cup campaign.
Of course, as you point out, the current situation is a direct consequence of how we dealt with he Ashes humiliation, but yes, there were very worrying signs before that. We’d lost Bresnan, Swann was already feeling the effects of the elbow that eventually made him retire, we’d never replaced Strauss as an opener nor found a #6 after Collingwood. Broad and Anderson sometimes looked utterly toothless (see the South Africa series), our best back ups (Tremlett, Onions) were hurt, Finn had already started to fall apart, and suddenly there didn’t seem to be any younger alternatives. We had a catastrophe in the UAE, but we hadn’t had much cricket before then so I, like others, excused it. An important point to note here is that because Flower had had genuine success, he had bought himself a lot of leeway (at least with me) when things weren’t going so well. However, he failed to select Panesar on a couple of occasions which worried me, and our overall downward trend was masked by a win in India – after he finally DID select Panesar. But that was a very poor Indian team, Panesar was perfect for the conditions, and although Cook scored runs, we still had KP scoring the runs that no one else could possibly score. It was the Ashes victory in England that really should have raised the red flags – but how can one properly see the issues when you’ve just beaten the Aussies seemingly so handily? But the Aussies were in turmoil, the scoreline flattering for us, Bell was fantastic, Pietersen and Root also scoring centuries, but we one the series because we got the best of a couple of crucial sessions with the ball. But it really was only a couple of sessions.
The worries though should have been the decline in our bowling, no runs from Cook, Root being found out on the front foot, still no #6, Prior a spent force, Swann heading that way, the disappearance of our lower order batting, no Finn, and most worryingly of all, Trott. The way he lost his wicket in that series was… hindsight tells us what was happening, but quite why it wasn’t seen properly from inside our camp was/is of great concern. And all this on top of what had become a clearly dysfunctional dressing room in many respects, clearly split between an unpleasant Swann/Braod/Prior clique, an isolated and arsey Pietersen, and everyone else acting like young kids when Mum and Dad are arguing.
But again, we’d won the Ashes, and Flower had earned the trust that was placed in him.
And that good will was needed when the squad to tour Aus was announced. Cutting to the point, we got it all wrong, and we all kind fo knew it at the time. By the second test we had 11 selectable players – and it wasn’t because of injuries that had occurred on the tour. Very soon it was clear we couldn’t select Finn, Rankin, Ballance, or Bairstow, and playing Tremlett and been a mistake. We were so far off the pace in Brisbane, and by the second day in Adelaide, if one laid aside all subjectivity, 5-0 was a done deal. I thought it, posted it, and I wasn’t alone. And then came Perth, and a total breakdown of our team, a breakdown so humiliating and so public, one suddenly realized the extent of the problem.
We were all wrong. Our selection, our approach, our team ethic, our coaching, our leadership, everything. You simply don’t have that complete breakdown without everything being wrong. We reacted to that with more mistakes, most clearly demonstrated by the idea we should be doing fitness over technical training in the final leg of the tour. And then it all happened again in Sydney, with our captain standing silent, hands on hips.
The utter fiasco allowed every real issue and point that had led to the Ashes humiliation be ignored, and once that had started, those making the decision had no choice but to keep digging rather than admit to the initial mistake: Flower should have been sacked, removed from the program, Cook relieved of the captaincy, and a full investigation in to what was now required put in place. Instead, they chose the route of politics and self protection. It has led directly to where we are now, and the edge of the summer abyss that we are staring unsteadily in to.
A very possible scenario is that Moores position will be untenable by the third Ashes test (the World Cup, then an insipid display in the West Indies, losing to rampant Kiwis in early summer conditions, and getting stuffed the first two tests against Aus). This will obviously also endanger Whittaker and Downton. It’s also not going to help if Pietersen is smacking the cover off the ball in the CC, which by then, he may well be.
The point is, those that held to the position that the sacking of Pietersen (and the way it was done), the lack of analysis over the Ashes loss, the retention of Cook, promotion of Flower, and the reappointment of Moores were all the right moves will be shown to have been utterly and undeniably wrong at some point this summer. What will happen then? I think that’s the question.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Brilliant posts. And didn’t he do well. Quite something that his remarks are still there. Who’d have thunk it. I expect if those posts had gone on Selvey article then they’d be lost. Such is the Guardian rubbish at the moment.
Not sure if you have picked up the remarks on the Guardian’s FB page. Keep saying how wonderful they all are in bringing around good and brave articles and listening to folk. Join our club they tell us. Well the Guardian big wigs have really got a good kick up the rear end.
Cheers for the links Zephirine.
That’s not you is it Zephirine?
Cheers Annie, how d’you mean not me?
I haven’t seen the FB stuff, I don’t do FB or Twitter, but the G is always sending me emails asking me to do some survey that’ll tell them they’re great…. I just wish they’d get their bloody website to work again, it crashes more often than England wickets.
Well the links. Did you write those posts?
No, no, I didn’t write them, it was Quebecer. He’s a bloke in Quebec and I’m a female in England 🙂 He’s an old hand on the Guardian BTL, very knowledgeable, works in sports psychology/sports science of some kind and has played cricket to quite a good level I think.
I didn’t watch any of the final, by the time I woke up, it was over as a contest.
(You can see when I posted on that thread… before the Kiwi innings was over…)
As for England.
quebecer put a lot of detail around it, but the rise and fall of our bowling is really the story of the Fletcher – Flower – Moores era. All the more so as bowling made the difference in this tournament.
There’s a lengthy debate on Twitter between various of the press gang about the merits of the different formats of the game.
Newman contributes a gem:
93,013 I believe they said. None of them that bothered, obviously.
According to the ECB, the key questions here are probably:
1) were they in executive boxes, or otherwise associated with Hardys, Investec, Waitrose or other beloved sponsors and stakeholders? If not, what the bleep were they doing there?
2) How much turnover did they make? This is good to know, so we can fleece the counties more for hosting rights.
3) We hope they all blamed Kevin Pietersen, for reasons we yet still have to determine. Any suggestions?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Suspect Newman was referring to English cricket fans rather than Australian, to be fair. And I think he’s got a point.
I paid $350 for a ticket. I went because it’s the only World Cup Final I’m ever likely to see and I thought it would be a fantastic spectacle. And it was. But as a traditionalist, I honestly wouldn’t miss 50 over ODI’s much if they were abolished tomorrow. Fun way to spend a day, but not a patch on the game that I love – Test cricket.
If that makes me a dinosaur who is part of the problem – so be it.
Newman is undoubtedly referring to England fans which is part of the problem – he can’t look at the global game through anything other than an English prism. I agree with the implication in the Tweet by Daniel Brigham that English lack of interest in ODIs is more a result of being crap at them for two decades rather than any loftier motive.
I’m not for a moment suggesting ODIs are better than Tests. I like all formats and think they should and will have a future in the game. Newman’s remark probably comes from an insecurity about the future of Tests but it does annoy me how that is so often accompanied by bad-mouthing of one-day cricket by English writers. Michael Clarke called Tests the “pinnacle” of the game when discussing his retirement. Having won the WC he can say that without it appearing churlish or sour grapes!
Well who’d have thunk it aye? Newman saying more people interested in Test Cricket? Is that until England get marmalised by NZ & Aussies? It’s a veiled excuse from Newman that 50 cricket doesn’t matter because England are crap at it!
I suppose one should be really pleased with this retort from Newman because it shows he has no more excuses to parade before the world and his wife. Wonder what he will come up with when England gets bashed to bits? Test Cricket doesn’t really matter? LOL
We’re doomed. We’re all doomed!!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Seen this onehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/cricket-world-cup/11503423/Cricket-World-Cup-awards-best-batsman-best-bowler-best-team-…-and-worst-mistakes.html
‘Three lessons, of many, for England:
– Fifty-over cricket is a wonderful format of the game – if you attack.
– Strip everything back, said Brendon McCullum, after New Zealand had been dismissed for 45 in his first Test as captain. Change begins at the top, and there is no point in having a wide-ranging review of English cricket – it will lead to nothing more than tinkering – if it does not start with the administration. New Zealand went through a financial and moral crisis in the mid-1990s. They reacted by scrapping their old board that consisted of members with their own local interests, and replaced it with seven independent directors who are “great and good”. Since then New Zealand have been fighting above their weight. The ECB have to do exactly the same. But it will never happen because county chairmen have the ultimate say – which is fine, provided we are content with England going nowhere.’
Scyld is definitely not pulling his punches! Good on him.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Nice spot Annie, even if Scyld’s article is a bit simplistic, it does show up our lack of dynamism and forethought
(The squad is expected to cover both their two Test tour of West Indies and the Ashes)
I’m not usually that bothered by a bit of sledging but I agree with most of this (especially about Vettori if that is true – I didn’t notice anything at the time):
The problem with sledging is that everyones line is a little bit different. What grates with me might be ‘banter’ with you, or visa versa. Where do the ICC draw the line (and will they ever enforce it – there must be enough mic’s around to hear the sendoff etc). Where are the umpires in all this – surely they should be more empowered to step in and stop this going on rather than turning a blind eye.
I fully accept that pro sportsmen/women are pushing harder than most but personally there are things that should never come into it out in the middle.
When I play I do it for laughs and to have a good time, not to be abused and mocked. When you get a wicket, celebrate etc but you don’t need to mouth off.
I’d much rather be part of “Mind the windows Tino” type fun than what appears to be typical Aussie abuse.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Well at least Hoult agreed. Scyld seems to be saying the same thing. Perhaps we will get some more making demands.
Meanwhile, Selvey, Newman, Pringle and other ex writers will still be saying same old, same old. I don’t think any of them will believe their empire is going to collapse, not even if they have to drag them out of Lords!
Thing is, I dont think they will realise if their empire does collapse. They lack any awareness of anything other than those ‘inside cricket’, the ashes, the big 3 etc etc. that when it all comes crashing down, they will carry on as before. They will find a new target or new Clarke/Downton/Cook type to latch onto. LCL pointed out that the press criticise upcoming players for what they can’t do, they build them up then knock them down instantly. This is probably what Selfey etc will resort to. They are deluded!
I sincerely hope they do realise Annie, but I would not be at all surprised if they do not……..it is a sad state of affairs. I wish we could all come on here to discuss England performances which are good and positive, in the mould of the Kiwis would be great. Alas we cannot, but let’s hope we soon can.
Interesting analysis of stat trends in ODIs:
Also, Narine has passed Loughborough tests on his action although the BCCI may require another for him to play in the IPL.
For me the key lesson is largely “England aren’t good enough or aggressive enough” at any point in the match. You see people calling for the return of the grinders on the back of stats like this about the 1st 10 overs and “preserving wickets” – but we’re stuck in the loser rows of 4 RPO as a default mindset.
England: 8th in T20 Ranks, 6th in ODI & on cusp of being down to 6th in tests.
As long as KP is not in the team and everything is fluffy duffy in the dressing room, then no change needed and trebles all round?
@Aggerscricket: Should not be beyond mature individuals to forgive & move on to a common goal. Life too short. Interesting times ahead @KP24 @ECB_cricket
Given how much of an establishment man he has been, that’s a most interesting tweet.
Blimey! Stone the crows!! Me gob is well and truly smacked!!! Well who would have thought Aggers would have said this? Only a couple of days before he had to share his reporting enclave with KP he was saying no one should trust KP in the team ever again? Oh well, being up close and personal must have given him a different perspective. Flipping heck. What will Simon Hughes say? he won’t be happy.
Maybe changes are afoot after all. Well if the Aussies and the New Zealanders can get over themselves and sort out their differences behind closed doors then surely we can? What am I saying? If KP gets a place in the team Cook will be throwing even more toys out of his pram – that’s if, of course, if there are any toys left in his pram!!! Of course Cook might resign his captaincy and Moores may resign? Well there’s a thing.
Wow, cogs are moving, changes to come.
Yes, and interesting that the tweet came after Aggers spent some time with KP on TMS…
LikeLiked by 1 person
Also interesting that, since KP is willing to forgive & move on, Aggers is effectively calling Downton, Cook & Whitaker immature individuals! 🙂
LikeLiked by 2 people
I very much doubt he meant it in quite those terms!
But good spot 😉
Yay! Aggers seeing the light at last. I expect they will all follow on eventually.
Wow, it’s almost like Agnew spends some time with the real Pietersen and discovers he isn’t this ogre dreamt up by Flower. Downton, Clarke, Newman, Selvey and Uncle Tom Cobley.
No doubt Pietersen was on something of a charm offensive but at least he has some charm to be offensive with!
LikeLiked by 2 people
Oh very good Simon H
Take a look at Aggers tweets today re. KP!
And? Could be read a number of ways.
Covering all the bases without losing too many faces…
I see Old Father Time took a hit from the wind at Lords….might be an omen??