Dmitri’s Dirty Dozen

I listened. I read the rage. I felt your pain. I feel the anger stirring in my bones. Or somewhere else. Here we go. Reminder, this is for events in the last three months only. I intend repeating this at the end of June.

Before I start, these are not in a strict order, but the nearer the top, the more likely you are to have annoyed me.

The press people in here have annoyed me overly in the last three months. This is not a reflection of their overall perception when it comes to my always popular journalist list, which will appear soon.

Thinking also of doing one for the TV personalities too, just so Mark Nicholas can be the Paul Newman of that poll.

OK. Here we go.

1. Paul Downton. Absolutely no shock there. He had a shocker in 2014, and now 2015 has come up and bit him on the arse. The main problem I have is that if anyone in a high position in most all organisations in this country had been this bad, he’d be gone. The World Cup was his Christmas sales, and he’s the cricketing equivalent of shutting at weekends. He bigged us up as a team to be reckoned with, and when we weren’t, he hit the media cycle at full blast before the Bangladesh’s could exit the stadium! His message “not my fault”. Many claim him to be a nice man, a man who builds teams, a consensus builder. I suggest they look at the evidence so far. If he’s still around at the end of Quarter 2, Graves and Harrison are nothing but a false dawn.

2. Giles Clarke. We’ve heard barely a peep out of him. This is the one thing he has done right. If, as we suspect, he’s stopped the dismissals of Moores and Downton on his watch (this has been intimated – that the new duo didn’t even try because Clarke wouldn’t have it), he’s made his personal pride more important than the future of the game. He’s seen as the impediment. An unpopular leader over a revolting set of counties. Who were so pissed off they couldn’t even fire him, so shunted him to a sinecure in the ICC where he can rule world cricket with Srini’s hand up his [fill in the blank]. He won’t be gone in three months, he’ll be around for an age. His dead hand has still got control. We couldn’t finish him off. Because the establishment, of which Graves is a part, can’t do that. His first task was to rid us of this pariah, this embarrassment. Instead, we’ll have him lording over world cricket. God help us.

3. Peter Moores. The greatest coach of his generation put out that rubbish. Players play, we know that, but the whole set-up was wrong. We could all see it from a mile off. His nice man persona, his affability and cordial relations can’t disguise that this man looks fundamentally out of his depth. I don’t want to have a pop at him, he’s far too decent, but we are going backwards. The World Cup was a key objective and he blew it. He’s not getting the most out of his players in one of the fundamental formats of the game, whether we like it or not. Ignore that data stuff, it’s a smokescreen. You need a technician but you also need a motivator. Moores isn’t the latter. We can all see it. It’s painful. I’d gladly eat my words if we win the Ashes this year. Gladly. But I can’t let that campaign go.

4. Alastair Cook. I’m not quite as down on the comments he raised with the reporters in Abu Dhabi, but clearly he’s suffering from a real image problem right now. He’s associated with the dying embers of the Downton/Clarke axis of incompetence and it is too late to distance himself from it. So while many of you have interpreted his remarks with due rage, I want to temper that a little. He was treated badly by the powers that be last December, but it was their sheer incomptence in struggling to make the correct decision at almost the worst time possible that was bad. Bleating about it now, and then making the story about him not particularly wanting KP back (a number of sources quoted his rage at the prospect) has left a bad taste. It’s because if anyone in the England set up that needs to score runs in county cricket to have a place in that team it is “no test tons for nigh on two years” Cook.

5. John Etheridge. This one, I admit, is personal to me as none of you have mentioned him. However, he chose to pick a fight, albeit a little obliquely, with this blog and blogger, on the back of a harmless use of a picture in an old Wisden Cricket Monthly of Doug Ibbotson. Many of you may remember it as a storm in a teacup, and to a degree it was. But timing is everything. It was a combination of the message and the timing that was so bloody annoying, and the accusation of this blog being the product of guesswork (which I have never pretended it wasn’t – I have no access), when those being paid to write are not exactly covering themselves in glory in the post-Ashes era was the most galling thing. They backed the wrong horse, not us. We’ve seen little to prove us wrong. Our reading of some of the issues hasn’t been bad at all for guesswork. None of us said Downton showed aplomb and was impressive. None of us took copy from leaks from the ECB. After he had a pop, you did back.  Then to say some were perhaps OTT in responding was the cherry on the trifle. While this won’t be reflected in another piece I will do soon (the ever popular top 10 reporters piece), I was disappointed by his approach. As I say, a personal one. Because Etheridge is one I have hope for. I don’t know why…

6. Dave Richardson. The only thing that could complete this guy’s quarter of a year would be to be appointed as a new press officer for the ECB. Paul Downton has competition for the most out of their depth face of a board/commission in cricket, and this is a world Srini and Clarke occupy (at least these two have seemed to learn to limit public utterances). This was a World Cup with precious few competitive games between the test nations, and illuminated by the characters and performances of some of the “lesser nations” as the ICC clearly thinks thet are. Ireland should have shut him up, but still he has to bow to the TV tune and maintain a 10 team World Cup is better. It’s not a simplistic issue, no matter how some paint it to be, but surely we should err on the side of expansion of the game over limiting the scope? He’s been atrocious, come across as out of touch and arrogant, and been the target for lots of rage. Come join the ECB, Dave.

7. Simon Hughes. I’m worried. Still a few left and room for Newman is running out. Why Hughes? Well he’s the editor at large of The Cricketer and he’s using it to full effect. I blame editors for cartoons like the one disparaging Pietersen. I blame editors for letting pieces like Pringle’s through citing propaganda from KP’s side as if it was all one way. I blame editors for setting the tone. Then, on top of that, whether it be personal animosity towards Pietersen or loyalty to former team-mate Downton, or a mixture of both, he throws his “analyst” tag out of the window and abandons any pretence at logic. He endorsed that piece from Holden a few weeks ago and floundered when challenged. He’s made a strong play to get into the journos top 10 – he’s a dead cert, and may well get a very high new entry placing – because he combines his personal animosity with an implied “don’t you know who I am” persona. The very personification of what we know as the “Tyers Tweet Tendency”.

8. Mike Selvey. At the risk of alienating some of my readers, who I believe are developing what I would call “a bit of a thing” about Selvey, he’s not really incurred my wrath to your levels. As I said, I think some of that is due to people having a high opinion of him and feeling let down. I never started there. I know your writers are a matter of taste, but his really really awful stuff was last year. He is, though, protected like there is no tomorrow on The Guardian BTL, and treats critics with an aloofness and contempt that if he just TRIED to engage he’d find there’s a kinder, calmer voice out there. He seems unable to pick his spots, his words anger, his approach seemingly of a different age. But he’s not Simon Hughes this quarter, although, I’ll grant you, he’s worthy of a place here. Is Ali a threat – he’s started very well at the Guardian – because Selvey seems to annoy more than enjoy these days.

9. David Saker. His one and only appearance in a dirty dozen, we hope. All we can say is that if you are judged by current performance, the way the bowling fell off a cliff in the last couple of years, with our best prospect regressing alarmingly before our eyes, then Saker should have been booted out a while back. Instead it was the same old same old. Lightning rod for criticism, protected by number 8 in print, and then leaving with no regrets from many outside cricket. His stock, so high after 2010/11 has now become a laughing one. As we bowled bouncer after bouncer in a World Cup, getting carted about, the coach was not for turning. Both he and Moores went on and on about “plans” and when they failed they “weren’t executed properly”. No. He’s gone. Thankfully.

10. Jim Holden’s one article of note. You know when there’s an internet meme going about when an article on the Diana and the Weather rag, the UKIP love-in Express catches attention. Jim Holden was always someone I liked to read, and although I didn’t agree for a lot of the time, it was good stuff. The article in praise of Cook and slagging off Pietersen was just gobsmackingly rubbish. D’Arthez tore it apart. I tore my hair out, and there’s not a lot of that. It’s bad because it completely ignores Cook’s last two years in the job, with batting form going out the window, and then turning on Pietersen as if his points were new. When he brought Piers Morgan into it, then he’d lost the plot. When the people who backed your article were Hughes and Newman, and when the people who would approve of it were Downton, Whitaker and Clarke, you may be batting on the wrong team, Jim. Terrible stuff.

11. James Brayshaw. Man it was a toss-up between him and Dominic Cork. The latter is turning into the Robbie Savage of cricket, slagging KP off for many crimes that could have been levelled at him (“show pony”). But I’m always an avid viewer of Australian test and ODI cricket in the winter months, and Brayshaw is just off the charts atrocious. I mean so lost in the ether, they’d make seven series about him and tell us it’s all a dream. I expect a little bias to the home team, but this is partisan cheering. Geoff Lemon tore the Channel 9 team apart. In his piece he said “James Brayshaw has the emotional depth of a sock puppet during a button shortage.” I gave that a standing ovation. We were spared him during the World Cup, thank God, but his grating man-love, his fawning attitude scarred me. I know, it’s pointless hating him, but then I can mention Brad McNamara….

12. This is difficult. All of the following are going to be left out. Paul Newman. Derek Pringle. Andy Flower. Stephen Brenkley. Nick Knight. Mark Nicholas. Australia. Shane Watson in particular (gobbing off at a Scotland bowler – big man). Srini. Colin Graves. Tom Middleton or whatever his name is. Kevin Pietersen, Piers Morgan and those BTL stalwarts we all know and love. But number 12 has to be James Whitaker.  For that interview with Pat Murphy. Like any man completely out of his depth he keeps his public utterances to a minimum. His first as chairman was memorable for the phone going off and wilting under the pressure of Tim Abraham. His last was memorable for keep mentioning plans that someone wasn’t part of, and the justification more or less being Gary Ballance. I like Ballance a lot, but after you’ve parachuted him into the ODI team with no return whatsoever, I’d have kept that quiet. David Graveney had no caps and if I recall, was a leader behind an apartheid rebel tour. We didn’t feel the need to get angry at him for lack of experience. Whitaker has something else. That knowledge he isn’t good enough. That he cannot cut the mustard. That he cannot represent a policy so stupid, so immensely dense, so beyond understanding that any attempt comes off as imbecilic and easily picked apart. He’s my last in the dirty dozen.

Thanks for all the help in putting this together. Hope you enjoyed it, and although you won’t agree with my views, the prompting helped no end….


110 thoughts on “Dmitri’s Dirty Dozen

  1. paulewart Mar 31, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    Have to disagree with your analysis of no 4, Dmitri. He may have been hurt, but that’s no excuse for his abhorrent and entitled outburst. It wasn’t the KP reference that grated, we’ve come to expect that, but the sheer contempt his words revealed for his erstwhile vice captain and colleague Eoin Morgan. Ross Taylor had to put up with a far greater humiliation, the difference? He puts his country and his team first.


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 31, 2015 / 8:01 pm

      He’s at 4 for a reason. It’s his total lack of self awareness of his own fortune at being in the team with that lack of batting that gets me.

      I wouldn’t expect you all to agree, though.


      • paulewart Mar 31, 2015 / 8:19 pm

        Oh I’d second that, but entitlement follows coronations as night follows day. Can’t help feeling his betrayal of Morgan has been overlooked though.


    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Apr 1, 2015 / 7:50 pm

      I agree about Cook. Most important three things about him:

      1. Total lack of self-awareness
      2. Believing he has right of passage even when his form is bad.
      3. Poor form for two years!


  2. Tuffers86 Mar 31, 2015 / 7:59 pm

    Depressing stuff.

    Can we at least balance this piece, as grand and on the point as it is, with a Dmitri’s Diamond Dozen.

    Surely there are 12 people inside and outside cricket that deserve a hat tip?

    Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Mar 31, 2015 / 10:35 pm

        Ask Derek Pringle for pointers.


      • Tuffers86 Apr 1, 2015 / 8:16 am

        @Dmitri #takethepositives


  3. Rav Roberts Mar 31, 2015 / 8:00 pm

    It was never this bad in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s was it? Maybe if we had social media when Gower was dropped for good.. but other than that??

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Mar 31, 2015 / 8:02 pm

      A selection panel that picked Tufnell, Giddins and Mullally? 1999 World Cup and beyond. It was that bad…..


      • Tuffers86 Mar 31, 2015 / 8:06 pm

        I got into cricket in 1995, slap bang in the middle of the darkest days of England. It’s never, ever been this bad. And the administrators are solely to blame for this.


    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Apr 1, 2015 / 8:02 pm

      Gower’s spat with Gooch. Only sorted last year!!! Terrible stuff. Can’t imagine how Gooch would have coped with KP!!! LOL

      Tour of South Africa and all that stuff was terrible.

      Treatment of Basil D’Olivera utterly terrible.

      Last Two years has been like thirty years all rolled into one single period.

      It’s been appalling and unprecedented in my opinion. Of course current social media does help for information to get around the world let alone England.

      No excuses from the ECB will ever tolerated. Only wholesale sacking will do.


  4. SimonH Mar 31, 2015 / 8:11 pm

    I’d have found room for Brenkley because of his one man campaign to get the ECB to announce they aren’t picking Pietersen ever again in any circumstances.

    Not sure who I’d drop though to fit him in though!


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 31, 2015 / 8:12 pm

      Newman can’t get in….. I can’t say any more than that.


      • alan Apr 1, 2015 / 5:34 am

        Newman is so consistently awful that it would seem superfluous to include him. He’s already a qualified life member!


      • Annie Weatherly-Barton Apr 1, 2015 / 8:04 pm

        Just realised I put in Newman twice? I must have something about that man. In the real world though he is just completely mad and needs some medical assistance. He’s just bonkers and away with the Fairies.


  5. MM Mar 31, 2015 / 8:13 pm

    Would’ve appreciated Count Flower in there but you’ll do for me, LCL. That’s a proper list of barstewards.

    On a utterly different but positive note, Mrs MM has bought us tickets for Worc’s v Warks T20 at New Road. Hoping Brendon McCullum will be bringing the fun, and I’m a Worcestershire man! That man’s gonna put a lot of bums on seats this season.


    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Apr 1, 2015 / 8:06 pm

      Oooh. I forgot Flower! Probably because he is keeping his head down. He is probably just hoping he will be forgotten when the sword of Damocles falls.


  6. paulewart Mar 31, 2015 / 8:22 pm

    As for the 80s and 90s, well the rebel tours were an all time low, as was Gooch’s sacking of one of the few top England batsman to reject the rand.


    • Escort Mar 31, 2015 / 9:46 pm

      Your comment about Gooch finishing the career of Gower is spot on. Gooch took money over country when he was pretty much nailed on as a certainty to open the batting for England for the next decade.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annie Weatherly-Barton Apr 1, 2015 / 8:09 pm

        I really don’t like Gooch at all. I think he is very nasty! However I didn’t blame him for going off to SA after the way he was treated by England. Still one thing’s for sure, he was forgiven and brought back as England batting coach!!! There is hope for KP after all.


  7. Escort Mar 31, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    No mention for Stuart Broad after the #stay humble incident?


    • THA Apr 2, 2015 / 12:31 am

      All available evidence suggests that Stuart Broad is just thick, bordering on developmentally challenged. It raises the question of whether it’s legitimate to dislike someone for being stupid.


  8. Mark Mar 31, 2015 / 10:20 pm

    There is something interesting about Selvey and Agnew and Hughes relationship with Australia and Australians. Probably a few sessions with a psychologist could get to the bottom of it. It seems like a middle England, middle class superiority, but also hiding a deep fear. Aussies are to be admired and loathed in equal measure.

    It doesn’t help that they played their cricket on the fringes of Internationals. A Test match here, a couple there. They played most of their cricket in the county game. Cucumber sandwiches and chocolate cake cricket. English summers of maidens cycling to church and Pimms and Blazers. It must be remembered that they played their cricket in the late 70s and early 80s. The Vietnam war had just ended. Protest was in the air. The Aussie cricketers looked like Rock Gods. Long hair and big moustaches. You never knew if the Chapels and Rod Marsh were about to score a hundred or break into a rendition of “take it easy” by The Eagles. You could just here them singing

    “123 what are we fighting for,
    I don’t know, I don’t give a dam.
    Next stop is Vietnam.”

    Selvey tried to mirror the look . He still uses a picture from that era on his Twitter account. But you can’t help thinking it was more Cat Stevens than Black Sabbath. No surprise that the cricket rebellion of Packer came out of this period, and from those pesky Aussies too. England’s captain was another uppity South African and was right in the heart of it. How the English establishment hated it and him. Then we had Packer himself, another brash Aussie coming to England to win a court case against the clueless English elite. What was it Marx said about history repeating itself first as tragedy , and then as farce?

    We did have our own superheroes of the time. Botham and his care free bar room antics, and dear old Bob Willis with his Bob Dylan sound track playing in his ears. Hard to imagine when you watch Poe faced Bob on the verdict belting out ” Times are a changing. ” or ” A hard rains gona fall.” And of course the genius of Gower. With his golden curly hair and innocent face. He always reminded me of Harpo Marx. And when he buzzed the ground in a tiger moth you expected Groucho to come out with a cigar, and a wise crack. Gower got fined. Somethings never change with England.

    But Selvey and Agnew and Hughes were not in this top tear. They were the wannabes. They lived in the shadows of the Giants. They still do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boz Apr 1, 2015 / 6:46 am

      Excellent points, Harpo I agree with, great analogy, but the alarm bells would be ringing if I’d mentioned Karl!


    • dvyk Apr 1, 2015 / 10:44 am

      Very true and very funny! Nice to see good ol’ Charlie Marx get a mention too!

      Packer apparently warned the rugby chief (while negotiating the media rights), “For heaven’s sake don’t led the media tell you how to run your sport.”


    • waikatoguy Apr 11, 2015 / 5:20 am

      You forgot to mention Murdoch and his taking over the The Times.


  9. ZeroBullshit Mar 31, 2015 / 10:22 pm

    I don’t agree with everything you have said in this post Dmitri. Nor would you expect me to. But, all things considered, it is yet another excellent post. Well done!

    Perhaps, in future, you can do a Dmitri’s Top Twenty as certain candidates have escaped your wrath this time. 🙂


  10. Benny Mar 31, 2015 / 10:35 pm

    Blimey, there are almost as many candidates as the England background staff!

    What stands out is a blogger saying “you may not agree but that’s OK”. If only some journos were as balanced and as grown-up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Mar 31, 2015 / 11:02 pm

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

      No wonder the old boss got his golden parachute to the ICC.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Apr 1, 2015 / 7:18 am

        “There’s something not right about the language”.

        Exhibit A:
        “You have two days for corporates, and two days for families”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pontiac Apr 1, 2015 / 2:38 pm

        You get to a hundred million and you’re really on a completely different planet from the rest of everyone else.

        I was at a work dinner once and someone said ‘Well, adequately wealthy means never having to fly commercial.” I’m not sure if he was joking.


      • Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 2:43 pm

        Got into a furious row with my mother-in-law once for her claim to be working class based on her upbringing, which included only one holiday a year and private education. Now I’ve been very comfortable all my life because my parents worked their nuts off, but hearing her say that when I knew that my parents childhood consisted of not having enough to eat in inner city Manchester….


      • THA Apr 2, 2015 / 12:48 am

        “We were poor growing-up, really poor. Sometimes my mother didn’t know how she was going to pay our school fees.”

        – Lily Allen


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 1, 2015 / 1:09 am

      He nearly made this one. Something about his early work makes me feel like he’s not for real despite all this Yorkshire bullshit surrounding him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tuffers86 Apr 1, 2015 / 7:56 am

        @Dmitri It reminds me of a HMHB lyric about people who think speaking as they find is a good thing. Half the time it’s not.


        I’m going to paste the whole block of quotes as its only fair to keep the context:

        “I think we should look at four-day Test cricket and play 105 overs a day starting at 10.30am in the morning, with the ground drainage you’ve got now, and finish when you finish, as all the grounds now have lights.

        “Every Test match would start on a Thursday, so you have two days for corporates, and two days for families. From a cost point of view you’d save that fifth day, which would save a hell of a lot of money from the ground’s point of view and the broadcasters.

        “In reality, there’s not many people who turn up and watch it on the fifth day.”

        It’s not going to be black and white with Graves as much as he will claim it to be.

        Anyway, he has his Costcutters cap on rather than the ECB chairman’s.

        As much as the corporates v families is a bit insincere, its an English reality that will not go away. You can look at it another way and do guesswork (Sorry Etheridge may be you can ask him this for us) and he might be saying ticketing will be more expensive on Day 1 and 2 and cheaper on 3 and 4.

        The problem Graves can’t work out is that the fifth day is a reason why many tests can finish in four days, it adds another layer of psychology.

        I actually like the idea of 105 overs a day, 10.30am starts. I can’t fathom why they don’t try to cram in as many overs as possible. But I wouldn’t want it at the expense of lost fifth day. I’d love to see the figures on fifth day attendances / costs.

        I’m just hoping that this is bullshit proposal that gets laughed at while another one passes through (Franchises).

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Apr 1, 2015 / 8:02 am

          Any substantial rainfall on the first few days will be fatal to a game. First day washout would mean an inevitable draw.


        • LordCanisLupus Apr 1, 2015 / 8:06 am

          As for 105 overs. Hilarious. Has he watched any test cricket recently in this country? We struggle getting 90 overs in six and a half hours. Those overs are lost. Forever.


      • SimonH Apr 1, 2015 / 8:22 am

        Tuffers – I thought 4 day Tests was a proposal to be compromised away for the one he really wanted, franchises, but I’m not so sure now. I agree with LCL about over rates – punitive run penalties or bans for captains might make some difference but I’m not too confident.

        The danger of rain is a point often made. Is it a coincidence Headingley’s plans for a retractable roof have just been announced?


      • @pktroll Apr 1, 2015 / 8:56 am

        Re 105 overs in a day, yep an absolute flight of fancy. As for 2 days of corporates, it is bad enough that you can barely watch cricket on the box without forking out a fairly tidy sum to do so. Even worse will be the prospect of not being able to get tickets because some half-wits who will almost certainly be p*ssed up and have little interest in the game get a paid for trip by their company that will deprive the ordinary cricket fan the chance to watch the game.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Boz Apr 1, 2015 / 10:51 am

        corporates – those who work and make money for the country

        families – those that don’t!!

        discriminatory comment if ever there was one


      • Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 10:58 am

        I love the fact I’m apparently a corporate though.

        I shall parade my pin striped suit and sip a pink gin while snootily looking down on all you plebs.


      • Rav Roberts Apr 1, 2015 / 12:22 pm

        Buy luckily we don’t have much rain during the summer months in the UK. Like the Gobi desert it is.


      • SimonH Apr 1, 2015 / 2:09 pm

        Oh crap, was that roof story an April Fool?

        Living proof, as I’m sure many have suspected, that I don’t know what day of the week it is!


      • Annie Weatherly-Barton Apr 1, 2015 / 8:14 pm

        If he does nothing and just moves the chairs round again then he will be right at the top of my list.


      • THA Apr 2, 2015 / 12:52 am


        “I actually like the idea of 105 overs a day, 10.30am starts. I can’t fathom why they don’t try to cram in as many overs as possible.”

        Try bowling 35 overs at top pace two-days running and I think you’ll have your answer.


  11. ZeroBullshit Mar 31, 2015 / 11:08 pm

    I don’t like the idea of four day tests at all. It goes against the grain (my grain) and I cannot imagine many serious test match lovers supporting it.

    As for Colin Graves, I have expressed my doubts about him from the very beginning.


  12. SimonH Apr 1, 2015 / 7:39 am

    On the plus side for Graves, he’s got Newman rumbling……

    A full-scale erruption may not be far off.


    • Arron Wright Apr 1, 2015 / 8:02 am

      I am on Newman’s side. I might need treatment.


      • LordCanisLupus Apr 1, 2015 / 8:16 am

        Anyone know what Etheridge’s yougov thing was about? Couldn’t have been earth shattering.


    • Tuffers86 Apr 1, 2015 / 8:03 am

      You can tell the ones who’ve been marginalised,


    • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 8:21 am

      ECB Internal memo… (do not leak)

      Well, at least the 4 day test ‘debate’, with all its obvious faults will stop the ‘outsiders’ pummeling LightningRodders, Flowerpotman, DowntroddenShabby, MooresThePityful, Whitlessker, (oh how witty are these ‘outsiders?)’ – not to mention Broady, Jimmy, Belly…
      Now if we can just set up the Costcutter v Waitrose 4 day basket-case fund filler match at ‘Eadingley… (corporate flights available, free rugs (it’ll have to be played in April so as not to disrupt our ECBXI plans for UK domination)


      Sir Gravy train

      cc Selfie, Etheridge, newman, Hughsie, Aggers(waitrose only)

      bcc Sir Giles (somewhere in Paraguay)


      • Tuffers86 Apr 1, 2015 / 8:30 am

        All good, but shirely he is “Sir Gravesy Train”?


      • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 8:49 am

        Tuffers86 – They ‘ave gravy on’t chips oop nort’ in Gods own Yorkshire, and if it’s good enough for His mighty Sir Geoffrey, then e’s are dropped…


      • Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 2:49 pm

        They also put “bits” i.e. nuked pieces of batter on the chips too.

        A culinary idea so bad, the only surprise is that the Scots didn’t invent it.


    • Mark Apr 1, 2015 / 9:44 am

      Graves has pissed off the Village Elders like Newman and Etheridge because he won’t give them the one thing they demand above everything else.

      Namely a comprehensive guarantee that KP won’t ever, ever, ever play for England again. If he does that, they will forgive him, and he can put forward any nonsense then. He will soon learn that if he wants good press he must kneel in front of the Press Village Elders.

      As for 4 day test cricket, while it won’t be quite so bad if it’s 105 overs per day. So assuming a full 4 days you would get an extra 15 overs per day times by 4 = 60 extra overs against 90 overs lost on 5 th day. A net loss of 30 overs. Problem is, as others have said …….can you get 105 overs in a day? And an even bigger problem is loss of time to the weather. If you have 1 day washed out then kiss goodbye to any result. Sounds like draw after draw. And in other parts of the world where the sun falls like a stone, and there is near darkness by 6.30 good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annie Weatherly-Barton Apr 1, 2015 / 8:17 pm

        Graves has pissed off the Village Elders like Newman and Etheridge because he won’t give them the one thing they demand above everything else.

        Good innit!


      • THA Apr 2, 2015 / 12:58 am

        Well, his explanation was ‘Start at 10.30, finish whenever you finish – all the grounds have floodlights now’.

        So speaks a man who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of negotiating the TV rights coverage.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Tuffers86 Apr 1, 2015 / 8:14 am

    Re: Graves and WIndies comments. This has really pissed off some of the press corps because the cross hairs are out for some of their champions.

    I don’t think he is trying to be a dick and disingenuous to the opposition here and making a rod for his own back. He is making a rod for others who may fail though!

    I don’t know what to make Graves. I’m wary, but hopeful. The good thing is that he is not a silver-tongued snake like most, if he welches or is a liar, he will be easily tasked for it.


    • "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 1, 2015 / 9:16 am

      With you on this Tuffers. Graves is very astute and definitely not risk averse! Like any good exec he’s just spinning plates on a stick and see which ones get caught, and which get dropped. I’m surprised at the knee jerk reactions tbh, on these pages, and others. We’ve been banging on about “change” and “change” is what we’re gonna get with this guy, and, as we all know, change is difficult, and, in many cases, becomes “chaos management” The embbeded ones (for how much longer?) are already sniffing the wind of change, hence their attacks and criticisms on Graves, whilst studiously ignoring the hypocrisy of Downton’s actions!
      I have great hopes for Grave’s tenure, as it will be a rollercoaster ride, for sure. English Cricket, can no longer afford to bumble along with the Devil that we know, rather than one we don’t!
      Give the guy a chance to give it a go, see what it’s like 12 months down the line.
      It has to be better than the incompetent buffoonery we jhave now!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 9:06 am

    3 months…so much and so many to deride – impossible to include everyone who deserves a kicking , but well done LCL!

    (Perhaps Grav(es)y could help you by reducing this to every two months with more balls per day (floodlit if necessary)?

    Should we now predict our ‘Top-Ten’ for June (see how I reduced that as well?) – Let’s get our pink balls out and see what lights up our predictive (stuck-in-the-groove flashing bails) future…

    ‘NEWSFLASH’ …BBC to reclaim England Cricket by providing ECBXI+XX technical support with spare BBC B Computers to upgrade the ECB (sponsored) Sinclair ZX81 that is currently in use…


    • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 9:19 am

      Added upgrade (£29 per month, 5 year contract) see (almost) live cricket on terrestrial TV with BBCeeFax and the new stickcricketquick representation of what really is going on (or off) out there (free commentary by Aggers (Waitrose), swanny (costcutters) and the return of Selfie and Pringle to the verbal debate). Colour version available with Blowers and in grey with RGDW


    • northernlight71 Apr 1, 2015 / 12:51 pm

      Do not insult the great ZX81. There is no way that the fine example of miniature microcomputer engineering which was responsible for kickstarting a whole cottage industry of software and games development in the UK could in any way be associated with the debacle which is the England Cricket Team’s analysts.
      And what’s more, they were built in Dundee. A no nonsense, forward thinking city which I’m proud to live in right now.
      No, if Peter Moores is using a computer it’s probably an ORIC 1. Or a Dragon 32. Flashy colours with nothing underneath the keyboard.


      • Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 2:52 pm

        I remember my Dad coming home with a ZX81. It was so exciting. Loading up games that were 1k in size as that’s all the memory could take.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 3:48 pm

        Dear NL71 please accept my apologies for disparaging the ZX81 and giving it any connection to the ECB (Still MCC then?) I bought one 2nd hand from my local fishing tackle/sports shop (the mind boggles) (Oh how I miss Mr Bloxham, Highland Rd, Southsea for selling cheap tackle and 2nd hand gear).
        I think I managed to load the data (by hand) to make a working clock (could still be useful for over rates…) 😉


      • northernlight71 Apr 1, 2015 / 5:48 pm

        I’m not surprised you got a working clock out of your vintage hardware. They were built in the Timex factory here in the city of jute . . . probably made sure every one could double as a timepiece just in case 😉


  15. Grumpy Gaz Apr 1, 2015 / 9:41 am

    Only one actual cricketer on the list. Says an awful lot about the state of the game right now.

    England are in a woeful place. They may beat the Windies and convince themselves they are on the up but the Aussies have a good team and are full of confidence. What do we have? A captain who can’t either bat or actually captain, no second opener and a bowling attack that looks past its sell-by date without much in reserve. What happened to Tremlett, Onions, Finn, Bresnan?

    A few young guns in the batting lineup cannot counteract all that. It’s going to be a long, miserable summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 10:01 am

    Hmm. I’m not implacably opposed to the concept of a four day Test because Tests have never been absolutely fixed at five day length. Nor do I mind Graves raising the idea as something to think about. In itself thinking about how to make Tests more popular is something to be lauded.

    But I do agree that the practicality of it is questionable. That they don’t get 90 overs in now is disgraceful and entirely to do with the weak refereeing where they should be banning players automatically for not doing so. It’s robbing the stakeholders. Sorry, supporters.

    I doubt it will go anywhere in truth. And a big part of me thinks it’s all to do with being able to charge more for the four days because of that less busy fifth one and nothing else.


    • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 11:11 am

      Five day tests as standard are a relatively recent thing (40 years?) Then, initially, it was for 110 overs/fixed end time. However, being unable to get through 90 overs a day is a more (not so) recent failure, which ICC have failed to manage, off or on field.


      • Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 11:21 am

        Yes it’s very recent, because teams would carry on until the overs were completed if they were slow, so there was no incentive to be that slow. The great West Indies team were pretty shocking though, often just 11 overs an hour.

        Since they made the half hour extra the limit it’s got out of hand. That half hour is meant to be a catch up. There are no excuses AT ALL for not completing in that time.

        But the point is, they don’t care.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 11:28 am

        VIAN – without any fixed and enforced rules (you WILL bowl a minimum of 30 overs in a session or be fined in runs/wickets/captain bans( ooh, that worked well for Cookie in SL) /bowler bans (stop the strops Jimmy/Broady), or have no lunch/dinner/lame lappy planning session (actually not a bad idea)!


      • Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 11:30 am

        All of which (apart from the lunch bit) currently exists. They just don’t enforce it.

        I see no reason to believe they would enforce it in this scenario either.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Apr 1, 2015 / 11:29 am

      Yep agree with the above, we want and need change desperately to the staid stuffed shirts that adminster our game at the highest level. When they propose some changes that we don’t agree with we shouldn’t immediately dismiss out of hand.

      I’m far from convinced yet that 4 days test are the answer due to weather, hours of sunlight, over rates and the increased chances of draws and the overarching need to make the fan experience better right now, ticket pricing availability and prices in the ground etc being a more immediate priority. Describing seperate days by being suitable for “corporates” and “families/fans” probably doesn’t help…..

      …but, playing devils adovcate; they could help safe guard the format for bit longer, could encourage exiciting innovation that make the game even better to watch, for more people at more convenient times and encourage more positive play from the players, place less demand in terms of time on players to stop them getting jaded from each others tiresome company, encourage better pitches etc…

      Right now I don’t know enough to make an informed decision either way and I don’t agree with change for changes sake, but if we can find ways to keep test cricket a vital, vibrant and relevant part of international cricket for the foreseeable, then we should look at them.


      • Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 11:32 am

        Good post. I would have “liked” it but I’m not signed up to WordPress and have no intention of doing so.


      • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 11:38 am

        4 day tests – ignoring (and the proposer/poseur already has)… just leaves the way for 7 ODIous series and surely, (I’m surprised it’s not already in place) a T20 triangular over, ooh, let’s think 9 games and a 3 final finals day finally…


      • Benny Apr 1, 2015 / 12:26 pm

        Reminds me of the financial corporate where I used to work. New man at the top meant changes – primarily because, if he or she didn’t change things, the question was “why did we appoint you, when we could have kept the last one?”

        Many hated it but I grew to enjoy changes. It usually meant upheaval and that’s always fun, except for those in cosy, long established positions who suddenly found they weren’t cosy any more – which was also fun. The other amusing feature was that different bosses have different favourites. Watch out Flower.

        So I’m in the wait and see camp. Don’t believe 4 day tests will happen but not the end of the world if they do. Looking forward to seeing 20,000 chaps in pin stripe suits on the terraces at The Oval, sipping G&Ts


      • Mark Apr 1, 2015 / 12:53 pm

        Yes I agree Mike.

        I have always thought that producing better pitches is far more important than messing about with day/night cricket or red/pink/white balls or test championships.

        By good pitches I mean ones that that have pace and consistent bounce in them. Fast bowlers can thrive so too spinners. And good quality batsman will like the ball coming onto the bat, and be able to play confidently on length. It should illuminate the dibble doberly bowlers and the non spinning spinners who fire it it like darts on leg stump. The pitch should being to change about day 4.

        Second, speed up the game. If necessary reduce the lunch period and tea break,if they won’t bowl their overs on time. First day of a test match 1pm lunch time, but they have only bowled 26 overs. Well keep then out there until they have bowled the required 30 overs and deduct the 15 minutes for the lunch break. Same at tea. Yes they will whine about how it is unfair on the batsman because the fielding team was to blame. But the chances are the batsmans team will be just as guilty tomorrow when their team is in the field. I bet after a short time of adjustment they will get the overs in bang on 2 hours.

        Get rid of substitute fielders.,if you want to go off then your team is down to 10 men. Unless there is a serious injury. And by that I mean being off the field and needling treatment for over 30 overs.
        Stop allowing players to take drinks all through the day. There is an official drinks break. Which occurs after 1’hour. No other break should take place. As Michael Holding Said “if they want to go off let them go off. They can go to the movies for all I care, but no substitute.”

        If there is a rain delay abolish lunch breaks . I have been at matches where we sit there for an hour with the covers on and then play Is ready to start and then the players all go for lunch. If the corporate spectators prefer going for lunch instead of watching the play then so be it. Many of them don’t watch anyway. They have their backs to the play drinking the sponsors finest. This has improved a bit over the Yeats with umpires taking early lunches but not nearly enough for my liking.

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Apr 1, 2015 / 2:39 pm

        Subfielders should be allowed in case of serious injury. You don’t want a guy who has lost a few teeth (Keegan Meth) after a freak accident in the field, be forced to field. Those are really legitimate injuries.

        But if it is minor? Thirty minutes with a man down, before someone else may come in.


    • geoffboycottsgrandmother Apr 1, 2015 / 12:19 pm

      It’s not so much to do with charging more for the 4 days as being able to play more. It frees up time to schedule more T20.

      I’m actually not entirely opposed to considering the idea of 4 day tests. It’s the bit about 105 overs that concerns me. I want quality not quantity. What’s that going to do to fast bowlers’ capacity to bowl fast? What’s going to happen outside of England were cricket is played in heat? What happens when it rains and you no longer have that capacity to catch up time?


      • Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 12:24 pm

        I don’t see rain as an issue. If you worried about that you wouldn’t even play cricket in England.

        The bit about freeing up time for more T20 and so on is a valid criticism of it, if that’s what they do.

        I just think it should be considered on its merits and not dismissed out of hand. It doesn’t make me in favour of it, but there are some potential benefits too if done right.

        Peter Miller made the valid point that we can’t criticise the ECB top management for being hide bound and stuck in the past if we simply round on them every time they come up with a suggestion. Test cricket is struggling around the world. Thinking of ways to increase its popularity is a good thing, even if we don’t agree with the specific proposal.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. dvyk Apr 1, 2015 / 10:58 am

    Like many in the comments above, I share your doubts about Graves, only more so. Your whole system is so rotten that you’re reduced to hoping that the next dictator will be benevolent. I don’t think he gives a hoot about meritocratic selection or the favoritism & politics. He’s just playing one side off against the other and waiting to back the winner.

    And I don’t think it’s unfair to infer something about character from the fact that all the media pics of him show him grinning manically. That is not the face of an honest man with clear principles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 11:38 am

      I don’t think he gives a stuff about Pietersen playing, and nor should he, it’s not his job. But I do think he does care about meritocratic selection, because he didn’t just say it once, he said it over and over again.

      It was establishing a credo for selection, and the only thing about that that was ludicrous was the reaction to a statement of the obvious. The very fact Pietersen is signed up for county cricket having spoken to him suggests he really means that. Pietersen doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would fall for a wriggly answer.

      So that bit (not Pietersen himself, I’m reasonably indifferent) is inherently a good thing. I just find it truly astounding that it’s even an issue that has to be addressed by someone.

      Other countries plainly look on in amazement at this. The selection of Adam Voges in the Australia squad is a pointed observation on that.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 11:30 am

    Dear @Wordpress… it is now BST, sort your clock out or you’ll be fined for being behind the over rate, unless you can condense us ‘outside’ to a lost day….


  19. SimonH Apr 1, 2015 / 2:31 pm

    Some of the ideas for speeding up over rates – although well intentioned – seem to me to penalise the spectator as much as the players. Banning captains means one of the best players missing the game. Losing time from intervals is a pain when spectating. The length of day Graves is proposing will be pretty grueling for many spectators (good luck attracting families with children!) and I can’t see TV companies liking the idea of no fixed close of play. Penalty runs avoid these problems.

    I’m not against all change by the way. I’m in favour of franchises. I’m in favour of scrapping the May internationals. I’d like international divisions with proper promotion and relegation and no ‘Test’ status for teams. I’m very interested in using the women’s scoring system in the men’s game. I’m against 4-day Tests not because I’m against change but because I think it is a bad idea that won’t work.


    • d'Arthez Apr 1, 2015 / 3:40 pm

      As if it is easy to get children to come in for 7.5 hours. The extra hour won’t make that much of a difference. And with admission prices being obscene, how many families can even afford to go to a Test in England? That must set a family (mom, dad, 2 kids) back 300 pounds? Probably more.

      I have posted it before, but I’d go even further with the franchises, and base the County Championship on a limited number of “superfranchises”, which act as feeder teams to the franchises. The traditional counties to play a second tier FC competition. All counties seem to be bleeding money as if it has gone out of fashion in the First Class competition. In fact, counties are now getting more money from Sky than they are allowed to spend on players! That is not sustainable.

      A FC franchise system would free up approximately 20-24 days of cricket in the annual domestic calendar. Plenty of time to have your local Premier League, if you must. And it would do wonders for playing standards. There is a large step up from taking wickets in the second division to Test cricket. Or scoring runs. A franchise system would help to bridge the gap.

      I know it will never happen, since people are stubbornly hanging onto their counties. But it is a bit like being on social security and demanding golden toilets. Just because you can demand it should not mean that such a demand is sensible. And it seems the accountants for most part agree. How many counties are financially healthy? How many counties that are healthy do not depend on sugar daddies?

      I am not saying that cricket should be a for-profit sport, but the counties can’t live off the largesse of Sky and sugar daddies forever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vian Apr 1, 2015 / 3:50 pm

        The problem isn’t that people are hanging on to their counties – as if the ECB have ever listened to those people before?

        The problem is that the ECB is governed by the counties themselves, and turkeys do not vote for Christmas. That’s why the whole system is skewed towards the counties and nothing else.

        Club cricket (consider how huge that is) has one seat on an ECB sub-committee and that is it. That’s why the frankly pathetic funding for grassroots cricket from the ECB is routed through the counties rather than any other way. It’s for the counties to spend that money in their own interests. Some do it passably well, most do not. Clubs don’t get a penny from the ECB except a small amount of £200 a year if they are Premier League clubs – ones you would say are probably in least need.

        For the bulk of the recreational game (or “cricket” as I like to call it) the only ECB funding comes via an interest free loan for which you have to jump through hoops.

        My local club is a county league one and has had precisely zero from the county. And I mean zero. They’ve not even had the visits from the county coaches they are supposed to, and this is not a small club.

        Everything, but everything is done in the interest of the counties. Even the much maligned FA has a more inclusive policy for football than the ECB does cricket.

        It’s a joke.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 4:04 pm


        you are now appointed as the head of ECB (County self servers division (sorry division is not appropriate, perhaps Premiership 1 and 2) , well maybe just the Test grounds that bid a fortune for letting us give you International Cricket at a crippling cost)

        Here’s hoping that SKY don’t get too angry about the quality of our product

        Yours (until someone gets angry ‘outside’

        Sir Giles (silent, somewhere in Paraguay)


      • d'Arthez Apr 1, 2015 / 6:29 pm

        So sorry to hear that Vian. I expected (as a non-UK citizen) some venality from the counties, but what you are describing is much worse than that. It is institutionalised insularity, coupled with mistrust of anything that can be construed as “outside” of this network of self-sustaining patronage.

        As for interest free loans, how does that even work? Am I right in thinking that the only thing the ECB “pays” over that is the interest they won’t accrue over the sums involved? So for every million in loans they hand out, they lose what? 15k? That is real commitment …

        If such thinking predominates, it is impossible to broaden the support base for the game, let alone get more people involved. In fact, it is even hard to get people in positions of authority who are not hopelessly myopic and obsessed with money and power, and have developed a massive mistrust of people displaying any initiative whatsoever.


    • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 4:14 pm

      Dear Sir Giles/ Sir(impending) GravesyTrain

      Families! Children? What do they add to the ECB coffers (unless they buy at Waitrose (and don’t try to sneak in food or drink from Waitrose) to OUR presentations, (sorry – cricket matches).Perhaps if our wonderful sponsors could offer discounts to our teamECB customers, then we could consider reducing entry prices to the ‘outsiders’ by up to £5 per match (£4 for a 4 day game)

      The Sweaty Tie Collective


    • dvyk Apr 1, 2015 / 5:54 pm

      For me as a spectator the most irritating form of time wasting is batsmen who pull away at the last moment when the bowler is in his delivery stride, batters who fiddle about as the bowler turns to start his run up, so the bowler starts then has to stop and walk back and start again (it’s against the rules but hard to police), and batters fuss for ages about god knows what.


      • Benny Apr 1, 2015 / 7:55 pm

        I do agree. Having played cricket in a minor league in Brighton, when the bowler was running up, the only thing I ever saw was the bowler. The man walking his dog, the buses going by, the girlies sunbathing were all totally invisible to me at that crucial moment in time. I’m totally mystified how a pro batsman can spot a spectator scratching his nose 50 yards away. Recommend they learn to concentrate. Bloody prima donnas!


  20. paulewart Apr 1, 2015 / 7:30 pm

    Is Jason Gillespie outside cricket?


  21. thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 7:59 pm

    Interesting (and unexpected) convo ‘tween myself and MrHughes on twitter – I’ll see how this plays out!


    • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 8:16 pm

      TheBogfather retweeted
      simon hughes @theanalyst · 22m 22 minutes ago
      @mojonathan73 @ECB_cricket @selvecricket @JohnSunCricket @Paul_NewmanDM strange list. Some absolutely right. Others way off beam.
      View conversation 1 retweet 1 favorite
      Reply Retweeted1 Favorited1
      TheBogfather retweeted
      simon hughes @theanalyst · 22m 22 minutes ago
      @mojonathan73 @ECB_cricket @selvecricket @JohnSunCricket @Paul_NewmanDM the real culprits lie undetected by you….
      View conversation 1 retweet 1 favorite
      Reply Retweeted1 Favorited1


      • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 8:17 pm

        sorry – that must have been an ECB poorly linked post


  22. thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    That’s the sadness of the 4th, they live in their own unopposed little comfort press box zones. At least Hughes (and Pringle, who acknowledged I had a point about his ‘TheCricketer’ diatribe) bothered to reply politely (unlike selfie) – perhaps Hughes will expand on his comments?


      • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 9:35 pm

        My apologies, i just dig the holes for them to fall in – sorry


    • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 9:43 pm

      simon hughes ‏@theanalyst 2m2 minutes ago
      @mojonathan73 I am totally aware and I sympathise to an extent, but I cannot elaborate on this platform. Am working on changing from within


  23. Rohan Apr 1, 2015 / 9:00 pm

    Good stuff LCL. I agree with all points accept Those regarding Cook. I now believe he deserves everything he gets, or in the case of missing out on his world cup coronation/ long service award, does not get. You are right in that he should realise how lucky he is to be on the team sheet, but I think he is far worse than just that. Really great read though and I enjoyed a lot….

    This got me thinking though. We currently have a crop of ex pros who played a few tests, yet are in very important roles in the ECB and in the mainstream press. Selvey, Whitaker, Downton, Hughes etc. and they are all pretty rubbish and anger us in various ways. So who of the current crop of players, who perhaps have/will only play a few tests, will be in these positions in say 10 to 20 years time? I have no idea, but I guess there are some candidates out there!


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 1, 2015 / 9:08 pm

      The rush to do media work (on Sky mainly) is interesting. Who would have thought Ian Ward would be the one to take a lot of the plaudits? I thought about a media column for the TV lot, but do need to contain my blood pressure especially as regards Mark Nicholas and Dominic “Robbie Savage” Cork.

      I like Bob Willis, and think he’s a national treasure on The Verdict, but too many think they can be him without realising it is the laconic delivery that makes him work (and I realise I am not supported by all in this).

      One thing I do know, is that Chris Adams better stay off the air.


      • thebogfather Apr 1, 2015 / 9:31 pm

        As a not Sky person, may I do a TMS personnel review sometime soon?


      • hatmallet Apr 1, 2015 / 10:03 pm

        Ward can present, rather than just give opinions. Not everyone can, so that’s not a criticism of those who can’t. I remember one Sky pundit, possibly Bumble, saying he could never do what Gower does in terms of presenting and leading the show and the discussions.


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