Duplicity

I’ve followed the debate on here as best I can and once again the same points are being raised. I’m not moaning because they’ve never been answered, but Cook’s travails are always going to be an issue. To me it doesn’t matter if he scores buckets of runs, because it has not proved the selectors right to persist with him. He’s been given the luxury of time that has not been given to a Compton, Carberry or Robson. He’s been treated as the prodigal son, the one to be kept at all costs. Never forget what Downton said in his infamous interview with Aggers when asked about whether the genius MD had considered changing captains. “Not seriously, no” was the reply. I think it was then I lost it….

Cook has also had the front, it seems, to get arsey over his treatment in losing the ODI captaincy when we were losing and he was a liability at the top of the order. There were the interviews where despite his “nice” persona he made it clear what he thought of the decision and then there has been several bits of reporting indicating his thoughts on all matters including whether KP should come back.

I contrast this decision making, those actions and interpretation, not just with the treatment of KP, but with those of Compton and Robson in particular. Cook’s past, as he confesses in his latest interview, does not matter, because he needs to score runs. This is hilarious as it is this “past” that is keeping him in the team. The hope he recaptures that elusive form. The hope he makes regular hundreds at the top of the order. The hope his technical flaws are ameliorated. All these are in the past. But it gives him the rope while the other failures hang themselves. These technical flaws are not espoused in the print media the way Compton’s stodginess and intensity, and Robson’s feet movement and quietness in the field were.

I can go on, and probably will, but if the likes of Derek and Selfey think this is “wearisome” as they stick doggedly to Tyers Twitter Tendency, then I have news. I’m not weary of pointing this matter out. It’s your haughty arrogance combined with this lack of rigour that cheeses us off. I’m not here calling them dishonest, but good grief, they are hard to love, ain’t they?

Which brings me to the duplicity. This KP thing is a charade. A total charade. It doesn’t matter what runs he scores or how England do. They won’t pick him. No chance. The thing is, if the ECB (and Graves) thinks they are being clever by getting him to play, and close the door on him for reasons of revenge or whatever, then they are fools if they think the public will fall for it. They will only buy it if this team beats Australia, and all the batsmen fire. KP, on form and fit (a big if that last one), walks into THIS England team. The line this lot are taking is that if this were Lara or Tendulkar sitting on the outside now, they wouldn’t make the team because there is no vacancy. Hogwash. He’s not in the team because the establishment excluded him, and every day that lack of form canard is put forward, and every day I want to bash those proponents of it with a Punch and Judy stick.

The ECB are pulling our plonkers, and the picking of the team on merit that we all want to see is being made a joke of. It’s not being tackled at all. We keep being told “nothing has changed”, and that equates to “moving on from Kevin Pietersen, who we wish well for the future.” There was nothing about county form last year when he was sacked. In the aftermath of Sydney, when the ECB were leaking like the Titanic on a bad iceberg night, and Newman was receiving more gifts than a one-year old at an extended family christmas, it wasn’t about KP giving it loads to Glamorgan or Leicestershire. So stop bullshitting and let’s have a clear, unambiguous statement. KP is eligible for selection, and will be considered if he makes runs. Anything else is duplicity.

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112 thoughts on “Duplicity

  1. Vian Apr 7, 2015 / 12:37 pm

    I actually think that the line taken that Pietersen was never discussed was a truthful one, albeit using narrow parameters.

    The ECB had sacked him, he wasn’t playing, they wouldn’t have talked about him or considered him. The question is whether when he’s playing county cricket they will or not.

    I don’t believe Graves will have lied to him, they’ve plainly talked that much is clear. And I don’t believe that refusing to consider him IF he is scoring runs and England are losing is sustainable publicly.

    Interesting times ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rohan Apr 7, 2015 / 12:43 pm

    If the KP scenario is a charade by the ECB and I have to say I am now starting to think you are right about this Dmitri (I really wanted to believe it was not so and that Graves was a new broom to sweep all clean, but not so sure now). Then one would imagine that someone as sharp and bright as KP, or one of his team/advisors would have considered this option. Working on the premis that KP knows it’s a charade, then why has he ‘fallen’ for it. Again we have to assume he thinks England will perform badly and that he will perform well. Which, charade or not (it will become a moot point), will result in such clamour from the press and public that the ECB will have no choice but to recall him, this and I truly believe he is desperate to play for England again and will take a calculated risk to do this!

    On another note I agree wholeheartedly with your points about Robson and Cook, I actually think it is disgusting. I thought Robson should be dropped, but thinking about it, how shameful is it that he was and Cook, who performed much worse, was not! Cook should have gone, how could he sanction the dropping of Robson and then look the other players in the eye and tell them how England are going to bat…..in short how can he have the temerity to lead the team and do all that a cricket captain needs to go when he does not merit his place in the team.

    In this context, the dropping of any player over the past year, other than Cook, could be argued to be grossly unfair, so poor has his form been compared to the other players.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 7, 2015 / 12:45 pm

      Remember. Compton made back to back hundreds in New Zealand. Three poor games and he was ditched. Three. Three.

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    • Silk Apr 7, 2015 / 2:24 pm

      KP isn’t an idiot. He can see we are going to lose to NZ, and probably lose the Ashes within 3 Tests (weather permitting). He can also see that Cook (as captain, at least) is shot, and Downton is on the way out too.

      For him, I suspect it’s now more about pride than any love for the English cricket team. (I don’t doubt he loves playing for England, but he doesn’t need anything to cement his legacy. He’d be well within his rights to tell them all to go hang and go off to the IPL again). But Downton, publically, dissed him. I don’t think KP could take that. If I had his talent I wouldn’t have (I might have driven round to his house and punched him in the nose but that’s another story). Downton said. “You. Will. Never. Play. For. England. Again.”. That’s a very stupid thing to say to a maverick with nothing to lose. All KP needs is one Ashes Test, even at 4-0 down, to shove it right up Downton, and all the others.

      I reckon that’s what he wants. The chance to say FUCK YOU in letters a mile high.

      I hope he gets it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Apr 7, 2015 / 5:05 pm

        Exactly right, Silk. I hope he gets that chance too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark Apr 7, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    Cooks 2013 home Ashes batting average was 27.70

    This was bettered by almost all other batters.

    Bairstow 29
    Trott 29.30
    Root 37.66
    Pietersen 38.80
    Woakes 42.00 (only played 1 test)
    Bell 62.44

    Only the wicketkeeper Prior and the bowlers Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson , Finn, and Kerrigan averaged less.

    2013/14 Ashes in Australia Cook averaged 24.60

    This was bettered by

    Bell 26.11
    Root 27.42
    Carberry 28.10
    Pietersen 29.40
    Stokes 34.87

    Cook had a better average than the rest of the squad …….Broad, Prior, Ballance (only played 1 test) Bairstow (only played 2 tests) Trott (1 test) Bresnan (2 tests) Anderson, Tremlett (1 test) Swann (3 tests) Rankin(1test) Borthwick (1 test) and Panesar (2 tests)

    But no inquiry needed, and apparently he is still England’s greatest batsman ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. emasl Apr 7, 2015 / 1:00 pm

    Have just beenengaged in a rweet fest with Selvey and Pringle and the arrogance takes the breath away. My tweets have bbe favourited and retweeted to thousands and I now have a load of new supportes and followers. I am staggered at the strength of feeling about these two and they still continue to treat us as lower than the dust beneath their chariot wheels.

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    • OscarDaBosca Apr 7, 2015 / 1:21 pm

      I have just started following you on that basis 😉 Selvey has blocked me for asking him questions, so it was nice to see him replying to you.

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      • emasl Apr 8, 2015 / 9:42 pm

        Ta cor following me! Much appreciated

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    • Vian Apr 7, 2015 / 1:38 pm

      Giving them their own rope is always amusing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Apr 8, 2015 / 2:30 pm

      Emasl, have I seen that you’ve had a comment moderated on the Guardian thread about Wisden?

      What did you say if you don’t mind me asking?

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      • emasl Apr 8, 2015 / 9:44 pm

        Blimey have I? Cannot remember saying anything offensive or unpleasant. I am usually pretty careful in my wording. I might have asked ifMr Selvey had readit. That might explain the modding. Or perhaps Mr S reported it!!!

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      • emasl Apr 8, 2015 / 9:57 pm

        Have just nipped over and checked. If I remember rightly it might be because I was less than culsome in my opinion of……Mike Selvey!!!!

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  5. Pontiac Apr 7, 2015 / 1:03 pm

    KP might be somewhat more likely to be fit than folks think. Consider:

    * as one ages, one takes longer to recover from injury and wear and tear

    * England’s schedule has been ridiculous lately. It’s not just the playing time, it’s all the flying around, stress, ‘training’ and what-not.

    * England’s back room and coaching have been very poor at injury management.

    So he might be in better condition than one would expect – certainly in better condition, I think, than if he was kept in the team and playing all the games. This doesn’t relate to, say, hand-eye, but the knee’s got to be in better shape than it was.

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  6. @pktroll Apr 7, 2015 / 1:03 pm

    Surely one of the most relevant records re Cook is that since the start of the 2013 home Ashes, that he averages 29 in the 17 tests from that starting point onwards. It isn’t just a blip in form it is a continued spell of mediocrity.

    As the Lord says when the likes of Compton, Carberry and Robson got dropped for not doing as bad as that. there is something rather wrong, especially with the continued aggrandisement of Cook’s batting and just about even more ludicrously, his captaincy.

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    • Lord Clarke of Paraguay Apr 7, 2015 / 1:13 pm

      It’s about family idiots, told you that already, now pee orff

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    • SimonH Apr 7, 2015 / 1:18 pm

      “Just about even more ludicrously, his captaincy”.

      Nothing “just” about it PK! The thing that gets me about Cook’s captaincy is that they’ve lowered the bar to only leading by example (i.e. making some runs). All the other things captains are supposed to do (bowling changes, on-field strategies, team selection, man-management etc) are then not even expected of Cook. I accept that some of these elements are now performed by the coach in all teams but not to the extent seen with England.

      If Cook makes some runs, not only will we be told that he’s back as a batsman but the chorus will sing that the captaincy is resolved forever more. Cook scoring hundreds won’t alter the fact that he makes poor bowling changes, sets unimaginative fields, supports conservative team selections and is particularly wretched at handling spinners.

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      • OscarDaBosca Apr 7, 2015 / 1:23 pm

        His captaincy is ordinary for someone that has played as many international tests as he has. I thought he was vice-captain for the latter part of Strauss’s captaincy, he seems to have learned nothing. His form has suffered, but instead of doing the decent thing and resigning the captaincy he clings on (I assume because I am cynical about these things, that he doesn’t resign as he knows he would no longer be picked).

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      • @pktroll Apr 7, 2015 / 2:00 pm

        Believe me it was no compliment to his captaincy. He just doesn’t seem to have the personality or natural leadership to be able to take charge of the team in a manner that you think befitting someone bestowed the role. That’s what gets me with the ‘There is no alternative’ brigade. Is it really so bad that they don’t think anyone else could take on the role and at least have some cogent thoughts of their own?

        Liked by 1 person

      • hatmallet Apr 7, 2015 / 2:12 pm

        @Oscar – I believe he was the most experienced player to have been given the England captaincy – he had played about 80 Tests when he took over the captaincy.

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      • Silk Apr 7, 2015 / 2:29 pm

        His captaincy is over if we lose the Ashes, even if he scores 5 centuries in the series.

        For it to survive to the Ashes, he has to win this series. Let us say he makes a ton and a few 50s in this series, but it ends up 0-0, or 1-1, or worse we somehow lose. Graves isn’t going to take that. Downton is gone. Whittaker is gone. Moores is probably gone. Cook is gone.

        They probably won’t sack him if we win this and then lose to NZ (too close to the Ashes) but they might /drop/ him if he continues with his run of poor scores.

        Trott opening is something of a boon for Cook, IMHO, as I don’t expect it to be a success. If I’m wrong and Lyth continues to pile on the runs (or Compton) then the case for retaining Cook rests purely on his batting.

        He casn’t see us winning the Ashes, so I can’t see him being Captain for the UAE or SA tours. I doubt he’ll want toin any case.

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      • Vian Apr 7, 2015 / 2:34 pm

        Agree with Silk. He has to win this summer for him to survive. Perhaps it would have been different if last summer had gone swimmingly (despite the attempts to ignore the Sri Lanka series) and the World Cup gone passable well with him as skipper. But they’ve already fired him from that side (handled horrendously as per usual) so he’s now in the position of needing to win every series from now on this spring and summer to survive.

        The West Indies series is in itself critical. Lose that and heads will roll. But even a win there won’t count for anything if the Ashes are lost, especially if badly.

        And Downton and Whitaker have aligned themselves so strongly with Cook, that they require it too.

        The irony of this is that it’s not hard to survive a young side learning if you handle it the right way. They’ve got it so badly wrong the bitts have unwound all the rope.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Apr 7, 2015 / 5:08 pm

        Hatmallet: 80 tests before he was captain? Blimey, he really is a slow learner.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Rav Roberts Apr 7, 2015 / 1:58 pm

    Well, he keeps being told by everyone *inside* cricket that he is a great captain, with enormous inner steel and there is no alternative anyway. So why should he resign?!

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    • paulewart Apr 7, 2015 / 5:37 pm

      He is indeed a slow learner. That’s what’s so astonishing about Flower, Downton, Newman et al: he had played 80 tests yet had clearly learned nothing. The more serious commentators, Boycott et al, noticed immediately, everyone else fell over themselves to excuse his incompetence. If you haven’t learned anything having played 80 tests with a successful captain, there’s no hope. That should have been obvious to any serious analyst.

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  8. Mark Apr 7, 2015 / 2:37 pm

    The bit that still intrigues me is why the grovelling support from the media? The ECB will have their men they want to back. Their captain, their coach, whatever. But why has the media become so infatuated with Cook?

    Now some will genuinely support Cook as a batsman, and a captain. But all the media? Because that is what we had at the beginning. It has changed a little now, but the major newspapers cricket correspondents are lock stock and barrel for the ECB and Cook. We know they don’t rate Moores, but the only sustained attack on Moores was when he helped dump Cook. And the new man, Graves only has to hint at allowing KP back , and the media go into meltdown.

    We know Cook is the anti KP, but when KP was sacked for good why continue propping up Cook? Unless of course you are not so secure in your mans ability and genius. Everything is re written to suit Cook and demonise KP. Every barrier will be put up to stop him. If he scores bucket loads of runs we will be told they are only 2nd division runs, if he fails, runs will magically become very important.

    I have watched English cricket over 40 years. There has been debate and opinion about Tony Greig. The battles over Brearleys form vs his captaincy. The Gower/Gatting debate. The can’t bat, can’t bowl, can’t field debate. Gooch and his unshaven face. I kid you not when England lost in India Goochs refusal to shave caused some to say he should be stripped of the captaincy. The Atherton dirt in the pocket scandal (Agnew pretty much called for his resignation at the time) Nasser and his number 3 position in the order for ODI cricket. But Cook? Not a hint of debate. Just blind obedience. Very odd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Benny Apr 7, 2015 / 3:47 pm

      Spot on. I’d also include the great Brian Close, dropped by England for “delaying tactics in a county game” as cricinfo describes it.

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    • paulewart Apr 7, 2015 / 4:18 pm

      Your critique applies to more than cricket. Cronyism holds sway in the UK today.

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  9. Silk Apr 7, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    In other news (Sky), Monty wants his place back.

    What I want to know, as I said in another thread, is if there are ANY OTHER cricketers the selectors are not allowed to pick for non-cricket reasons. Mike Newell didn’t mention that.

    Has Selvey, or anyone else in the media, asked Whittaker or Downton if anyone else is in the black book? Selvey has said (to me, BTL) that Monty can’t be selected for non-cricketing reasons but it isn’t clear whether this is an ECB position or his own is unclear. Obviously he didn’t tell me /why/.

    Anyone else? Is Carberry persona non grata? Compton? Rankin?

    I assume Downton is pulling the strings. Has anyone come out and asked him “Paul. We know KP is unavailable for selection. Are there any other cricketers made unavailable for selection or, KP aside, is it entirely up to the selectors who they select?”

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    • Vian Apr 7, 2015 / 2:51 pm

      As I understand it, gleaned from a few different sources, the Panesar issue was about his personal welfare and nothing else. The ECB are in a bind over this one. It raises the kind of questions you’re asking, but the ECB would have been grossly irresponsible to have publicly announced the details of those personal issues.

      There’s not much I would give the ECB a free pass over, but that one I think I can. It doesn’t make his treatment in Australia beyond criticism for a single second, but the man has had some problems.

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    • Silk Apr 7, 2015 / 3:00 pm

      He had problems. Trott had problems. The treatment of the two seems very different to me.

      But what we don’t know is whether we ECB offered Monty the same support and he declined it. Or accepted it and wanted it kept private. Or what.

      But given that he’s now saying he’s ready to go, is he being not selected for other reasons? We don’t know.

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      • dvyk Apr 7, 2015 / 5:34 pm

        I saw the look on Monty’s face in the 4th test in Melbourne after Root was given a bowl before him. I’m not surprised he had problems. It is such a poisonous atmosphere in that team that even those who are favored by it get destroyed by it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Apr 7, 2015 / 9:42 pm

        It’s very difficult – to me this is the breakdown of trust.
        I can absolutely believe that a player gets into a bad place personally and the right thing to do is to help him without divulging things to the media.
        Yet the ECB have such a poor record in how they have treated players, it’s really hard to believe them when it’s said that this is such a situation…

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  10. "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 7, 2015 / 2:57 pm

    Cos they’re all in the ECB’s pocket, one way or another. I am under no illusion at all that their vehement, bordering on lunacy, anti Kp stance is because of the strong direction they’ll be getting from the ECB…or else!! Don’t forget, the ECB is one of the most petty and vindictive organisations in the history of sport, under the “tutelage” of the odious Clark!
    Meanwhile…BREAKING NIEWS…Cook scores a century!!………..wait for it!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Silk Apr 7, 2015 / 3:02 pm

      Well, he needed that. Not clear it’s going to help him against Roach, Taylor et al.

      I don’t know how good the Windies groundsmen are, but looking at England and looking at the Windies bowlers, I’d serve up something FAST against England. Pace and bounce.

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      • Pontiac Apr 7, 2015 / 5:40 pm

        Roach, not so much any more. But Taylor is back and Holder is also bowling well.

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  11. Benny Apr 7, 2015 / 3:55 pm

    I’m currently having a twitter disagreement with @ecbcricket “cook return to form?”

    I said even the locals are tweeting that St Kitts are weak

    Ecb – you’ve still got to score the runs against the team that’s in front of you right?

    Me – how weak do they have to be before that cliche doesn’t work? 10 year olds?

    I’ll spare you the rest but, for some reason, they’re now following me! Knock on the door in the middle of the night next?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. lionel joseph Apr 7, 2015 / 5:07 pm

    I don’t like the way Cook has behaved of late and I genuinely struggle to remember anyone in my lifetime who is such a poor captain and is clearly so poorly suited to the job. His miserable run of form obviously speaks for itself.

    The statistics will probably end up showing him as one of England’s greatest batsman, but I think we all know that that’s not true. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have been as successful as Atherton had they played in the same era.

    But it is possible to defend his continued selection at test level.

    Cook shares a trait with many very good players, and that is his proven ability to play around his weaknesses. For all the criticism of Selvey, and much is deserved, he made the very valid point that Cook was never suited to one day cricket and it is entirely possible that in trying to open up new scoring areas, he wrecked the judgement that made him successful as a test opener. In particular it’s all about him being extremely careful around his off stump and really not looking to score down the ground.

    I give you this:

    It’s his 176 in Ahmedabad. It’s pretty fucking amazing. It’s look like a butterfly, with its antennae chopped off.

    I think it was 3 runs in total played in the v between mid on and mid off.

    Out of 176.

    There is a discipline there that it proven and that alone allows for a degree of compensation for his present technical issues and lack of runs. And i think it does allow for special consideration when comparing him to other openers who’ve been dropped.

    Not for much longer mind you, but I don’t think it’s so obscenely unfair.

    Of course the KP issue is another matter entirely and as I’ve said before that’s about a boatload of cognitive dissonance after far too many were hoodwinked by Flower’s bitterness and flawed philosophy.

    I always used to think the BCCIs comically flawed stance on DRS was the pinnacle of dissonance amongst cricket administrators (particularly given that Srinivasan must understand hypothesis testing) , but I reckon the KP fiasco has put them firmly in second place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 7, 2015 / 8:08 pm

      Yes his wagon wheel is a thing of some beauty. As you say like a butterfly.

      It’s fascinating seeing so clearly in multi colours how Cook can’t drive the ball straight. The opposition have now noticed this and have decided that if they remove balls on the leg stump, and don’t bowl short (denying him his cut and pull shots) Cook is tremendously limited as to where he can score his runs.

      Of course it requires accurate bowling and discipline to keep this up for long periods. But if a bowling attack can do this, they can just wait for Cook to get him self out.

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      • metatone Apr 7, 2015 / 9:39 pm

        Fortunately for Cook, the WI attack doesn’t have that level of discipline.

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    • Silk Apr 7, 2015 / 9:21 pm

      Without knocking you, England is the only fucking country where it’s acceptable to be a Test specialist.

      Sure, there have been players like Langer who didn’t get to play ODIs, but Langer wanted ODIs, and only an all time great kept him away from them.

      Sangakarra is an absolute great of the game. If he were English we’d be saying “He isn’t suited for ODIs” because his early ODI form was poor.

      He worked at his game and became the complete batsman. Only in England is it acceptable to NOT work to develop your game.

      What other batsman with 20 Test centuries was written off as ‘not an ODI player’?

      It’s insane. We are so bloody insular.

      It’s a refusal to develop his strokeplay, rather than ODIs, that are holding Cook back from being a genuine great.

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      • Zephirine Apr 7, 2015 / 10:23 pm

        “Only in England is it acceptable to NOT work to develop your game.”

        This, a thousand times.

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  13. dvyk Apr 7, 2015 / 6:00 pm

    Congrats to Cooky on his ton. A strike rate of almost 50 too, I see. St. Kitts didn’t know what hit ’em. I hope it felt good to “raise that bat again.”

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    • Tuffers86 Apr 7, 2015 / 9:16 pm

      Whatever happens The Cricketer will use the photo for its next magazine rather than use the one the last time he hit a century.

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    • Boz Apr 8, 2015 / 6:37 am

      Nothing to celebrate Cook for – comes in on the second day to reach a totally meaningless pinnacle which speaks more of self interest than anything to do with ‘the team’ but of course, Cook is a world class player in the nets – which is no more than this ‘match’ purports to be, a glorified net!! Wait until the next one, where England bowl all day for the first day and then bat all day for the second against the same opposition – this IS NOT CRICKET – just who is responsible for this??? It appears that England continue to play in a world of their own ….. psychologists would have a field day, so to speak!

      Liked by 1 person

      • dvyk Apr 8, 2015 / 8:23 am

        Yep — I should have flagged my comment more clearly as sarcasm!

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  14. john owen Apr 7, 2015 / 11:30 pm

    I agree to a certain extent about the duplicity. I don’t think Graves really wants KP back. I think most of the stuff from Graves’ side is about the fact he realises that the ECB has, to say the least, got a bit of a credibility problem with a large section of England fans. Unlike Giles Clarke or Paul Downton, he seems to want to at least alter the perception if not the reality.

    By vaguely hinting at allowing Pietersen and to be selected and reaching out to him in person he was trying to come across as the face of a more transparent, more reasonable and less pompous ECB. He may well have thought that KP would decline to play county cricket (as he would have been entitled too). If that had happened Graves could have distanced himself from the decision to axe KP while retaining an excuse not to do anything about it.

    As it happened, KP has called his bluff. So we have an interesting situation:
    -If KP doesn’t do well for Surrey or if the current England XI defies expectations and has a successful summer then Graves wins. He can act as if the way Pietersen’s career ended was badly done but not his doing but not have to worry about KP actually coming back.
    -On the other hand, if England are getting repeatedly skittled by New Zealand and Australia while KP scores bucketloads in the championship then keeping him out of the team will be pretty much insupportable. I think Graves would support his return in this scenario, for the sake of keeping an image up. This is the main way in which I think he differs from Giles Clarke. Clarke is quite happy sticking up two fingers to the fans. It might be going too far to say Graves actually cares about the fans (although maybe he does), but at least he realises how ridiculous and unsustainable it is to completely alienate a large portion of them.

    I think this desire to win back some credibility for the ECB is also what lies behind his ”enquiries” comment. He’s pretty heavily implying that if we don’t beat the West Indies then Moores is going to be out and possibly Downton too. Which, even if his motives aren’t pure, is probably good.

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    • Silk Apr 8, 2015 / 6:01 am

      IMHO Graves is just saying everyone should be selected on merit. No more no less. The Graves/Downton/Flower should have ZERO role in selection, and shouldn’t be deciding who’s captain. I think that’s Graves’ position and it’s clearly the right one.

      On ‘mediocre’ he’s clearly playing politics and setting Downton and Moores up for the fall. Geoffrey wants rid. Graves wants rid. So he’s putting them in a position where he might be able to fire them. Even a close run victory might not be good enough. Which is right, though the way he has done it is a bit crass.

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      • "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 8, 2015 / 8:57 am

        I read somewhere that Graves has stated he wants more transparency and honesty in the way the organisation does it’s business (which, by implication means the previous regime was somewhat less than honest, and less that transparent?) That aside, I do believe that, like any good businessman, he wants to create the environment in which the best and most talented can flourish and succeed, and the less than talented know that failure will mean a “move on!”
        Along the way I don’t think it’ll be pretty at times, but hey, how can it possibly get any worse than the utter disillusionment, and disenfranchisement, of a huge swathe of fans…the “customers” upon which your business depends? As I’ve said before, lets see how things look 12 months down the line…he’s got to be given a chance. He knows who his enemies are, within the press, and within the organisation, and what’s more, they know, he knows!! I just hope the bloodletting comes sooner rather than later!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. paulewart Apr 8, 2015 / 4:52 am

    Whilst I’d agree with much of the above, particularly John Owen’s post, I think it’s only fair to wait until Graves is appointed before dismissing him.

    Like

  16. paule Apr 8, 2015 / 7:03 am

    The press is turning. Stocks and Berry’s reports are little short of scornful.

    Like

  17. thebogfather Apr 8, 2015 / 7:31 am

    Let’s not do stats
    More take the time and place
    Not erzatz figures tit for tat
    Prefer in game play, face to face…

    Opening the innings
    A fresh pitch, sweep/slog bitch
    Hoping the bowlers wont swing
    So my edge is clean, inside/ outside switch
    Feed the full face
    acknowledge the pace
    Yet…my feet barely move
    As the ball hits that outside deflected groove
    As I lean over, my offside head far away
    From my stroke, invoking, sentient play…

    My legs stiff, my head all awry
    How can I score runs and apply?
    This solid etude in past Test solitude
    When these teams show
    My deficiencies known
    Yet I am the Captain, with power to exude…

    Nicked one, dotted three
    Slick carve to short boundary
    Three an over, near express we be
    Against St Kitts etc, our supremacy
    Will show a class 95 with 6 more to add
    Slap those ‘outside’ so we ECB be glad
    That the past KP and Ashes (and SL, and CWC)
    Have nothing on the power of the Lightning Rod – ME

    Like

  18. Silk Apr 8, 2015 / 7:38 am

    Lawrence Booth has torn into the ECB in Wisden. I expect LCL is well aware.

    Like

    • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 7:51 am

      Would be a total dereliction of duty not to do so after that year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Apr 8, 2015 / 7:52 am

        I can wait until September when I can get the almanac for a tenner.

        Like

    • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 7:57 am

      No comments enabled on the Guardian article about Wisden opening fire on the ECB.

      Quelle f***ing surprise.

      Like

      • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 8:01 am

        However, should you fancy a nostalgic trip to Guardian Sport’s Moderation Theme Park, there is a link to Selvey’s infamous “way beyond the pathetic leaked charge sheet” and “the intention was to have feted him properly after the dust settled” blog piece….

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus Apr 8, 2015 / 8:05 am

          So Booth still sticks the boot in on Pietersen though. Maybe not with steel caps but maybe carpet slippers. I’ll see if I can sneak a read in Waterstones.

          Like

      • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 8:13 am

        Yes, it’s popcorn time now…

        Like

      • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 8:51 am

        I can’t wait that long to see which writers got the gig for:

        – the Southampton Test match report
        – the India Test series summary
        – the Headingley Test match report

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus Apr 8, 2015 / 9:02 am

          Patrick Collins has reviewed KP’S book. Wow. I wonder what he thought of it.

          Like

      • SimonH Apr 8, 2015 / 9:15 am

        Newman adds some probably unnecessary detail on the Collins’ review:

        “This year’s Wisden also includes both a withering review of Pietersen’s nasty book by the Mail on Sunday’s Patrick Collins”.

        What a surprise it is “withering”!

        This whole cult of Wisden is bollocks by the way. I stopped buying it a decade ago and don’t miss it for a second. They’re still the views of the hackocracy (with Sportsmail rather heavily represented) rather than becoming some holy oracle because it is “Wisden”.

        Like

      • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 9:33 am

        I only bought it for the first time in 2006 (guess why!) and have back issues as far as 2004. I was a voracious reader and lover of the book until about 2012, especially during my prolonged illness (2006-09). There were some stunning pieces I’ve never forgotten, especially in the Engel years.

        Something happened recently though, and I can’t quite put my finger on it: it isn’t just time-pressure and being back at work. I just began to feel like it was more of a chore, more obviously “establishment” than it was when I first discovered it (under Engel), and worst of all quite self-satisfied. 2014 is the first edition out of my eleven that I still haven’t got through by the following April. And, frankly, any editorial criticism of the ECB’s role in this farrago is a year late.

        Like

      • SimonH Apr 8, 2015 / 9:40 am

        The Guardian has now opened comments on the Wisden article.

        What’s Matthew Engel doing these days?

        Like

      • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 10:06 am

        Yes they are open…

        …Which means the DDB Autobot is fully charged and ready to defend the honour of his dear Alastair!

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus Apr 8, 2015 / 10:12 am

          And he’s off with “mad conspiracy theories “. Ah bless. Two years without an international hundred. Conspiracy.

          Like

      • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 10:33 am

        He’s had a pop at SimonH now:

        “Don’t you see how ridiculous you’re being”

        Yes, in DDBworld, hopelessly transparent attempts at media micro-management are a figment of the cynic’s imagination.

        Like

    • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 8:07 am

      Hardly reads like “tearing in to” the ECB, based on the Guardian article. Still dismisses the autobiography in one line as “full of rancour” and uses Graham Norton as evidence, rather than addressing some of KP’s points that extended beyond “bullying”, points which have been backed up by third parties/subsequent cricketing evidence.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus Apr 8, 2015 / 8:09 am

        Didn’t read from the extracts like he was tearing them a new one. But hey, we take what we can. Nexus of self preservation would be about as polite as I could put it.

        Like

      • Mark Apr 8, 2015 / 9:45 am

        “a withering review of Pietersen’s nasty book by the Mail on Sunday’s Patrick Collins”.

        Newman can’t let KP go can he? He is like a crack addict. He needs his next hit of KP mania.

        Interesting that someone who masquerades as a journalist does not like information in the public arena. (Unless it has been spoon fed to him by some flunky at the ECB)

        And fancy using the word “nasty.” Oh well at least it proves he is not independent in his so called trade. Whatever that may be. Journalism it certainly is not. How about ECB fluffer?

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Apr 8, 2015 / 9:47 am

          It was the snarky “where they had right on their side” that enraged me. Why? Going to tell us why they are “so right”?

          Like

      • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 10:50 am

        “those who follow the team round professionally” is another newman special from the same article, according to Twitter.

        Gosh, it’s really not difficult to spot how that nexus propagates itself, is it?

        FFS.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Apr 8, 2015 / 10:52 am

          What the he’ll did he do? Because that’s what we want to know.

          Bloody hell.

          Like

    • SimonH Apr 8, 2015 / 8:28 am

      Lawrence Booth gets some of it. He gets “outside cricket”. He gets that the ECB aren’t ‘good men’. He gets the ‘cult of Cook’:

      “Cook had become more than just a cricketer: cast by his employers in the role of latter-day saint to Pietersen’s fallen angel, he was now an article of faith”.

      His massive blind spot has been all along his loathing of Pietersen. Is he really challenging the ‘fallen angel’ narrative – or just accusing the ECB of not selling it better? And now appearing to allow the possibility of redemption? From the quotes in the Guardian he tears into Pietersen just as much (“full of rancour”, “lack of self-awareness”, “sad, if it hadn’t been so absurd.”). If his approach is, as the Guardian makes it seem, ‘both sides to blame, terribly sad, let’s move on, etc’ that just won’t do.

      Also, is there any re-evaluation of Flower? And the fourth estate? Ignore them and it’s like an appraisal of ‘Othello’ without the Moor and Iago.

      Like

  19. Marge Apr 8, 2015 / 8:18 am

    re St Kitts, in general the run rate was very poor, 202 in 71 overs against that level of opposition?? improved later but still only 3.28 per over I think

    Like

    • "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 8, 2015 / 9:04 am

      The game wasn’t about cricket Marge…it was all about Cook getting a ton…100 off 200 balls, roughly, against the Dog and Duck 2nd Xl. There must have been some classic and wonderful leaves?

      Like

    • Andy Apr 8, 2015 / 9:11 am

      But the laptop says they wouldn’t loose while going at such a slow rate (it was a 2 day game after all….wouldn’t do to take too many risks)

      Like

    • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 9:39 am

      The ECB have access to top medical experts. You are not a medical expert. Pipe down and stop being so impertinent.

      Said a journalist.

      Like

      • ZeroBullshit Apr 8, 2015 / 9:48 am

        For those who don’t remember, the said journalist has been enjoying a few pints with Derek Pringle recently. 🙂

        Like

    • Mark Apr 8, 2015 / 9:47 am

      They will only turn on the medical team if darling Cook gets a serious injury that does not heal well. Then they will be on the England medical team like flys on shit.

      Like

  20. SimonH Apr 8, 2015 / 9:35 am

    From Brenkley’s match review:

    “[Cook] spent most of last summer under the harshest scrutiny as England’s Test captain and calls for his dismissal or resignation were issued more regularly than General Election opinion polls. The selectors held their nerve and Cook rightly survived. Replacing him then with a successor appointed out of panic would have led to more chaos, as the recent World Cup demonstrated”.

    “The harshest scrutiny”? Does Atherton allow himself a slight smile when he reads stuff like this? “Calls for his dismissal”? Was there one from the MSM as Test captain? “Chaos”? What does this even mean? “World Cup demonstrated”? We’d have done better under Cook?

    Then Brenkley adds –

    “The credit in the bank that [past runs] give him cannot be extended for ever”.

    How long o Bunkers? Silence.

    Signs though that Brenkley feels the wind of change and that endless failure is not an option. A hint of a wind of change too here:

    “Cook clearly retains the respect of the dressing room but is said to be tiring of his press coverage”.

    What’s going on here, then?

    Like

    • paule Apr 8, 2015 / 9:45 am

      Let’s hope they’re preparing the ground for his resignation. It would be best for all concerned. He could then go back to what his does best: batting.

      Like

    • Zephirine Apr 8, 2015 / 9:47 am

      “tiring of his press coverage”. Not admiring enough, perhaps? Occasionally, politely pointing out technical difficulties? How tiresome.

      Like

    • Mark Apr 8, 2015 / 9:59 am

      “[Cook] spent most of last summer under the harshest scrutiny as England’s Test captain”

      Not by you Mr Brenkley, or virtually any other MSM cricket correspondent. You and your media chums spent all of last summer appearing on TMS round table acting as Cooks own Davey Crocket defending the ECB Alamo. Remember TINA?

      It’s remarkable how they scrutinise KPs book for errors when they themselves just pull stuff out of their backsides, and repeat falsehoods.

      There has never been a captain so protected and so swooned over by the official cricket media. To suggest otherwise is to hold yourself up to ridicule. I suggest Mr Brenkley you venture down to the vaults of the Independent and dig up the writings of Martin Johnson. Or the scrutiny Botham or Gower or Gatting or Gooch or Atherton received.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 8, 2015 / 10:09 am

      “Cook clearly retains the respect of the dressing room but is said to be tiring of his press coverage”.

      Dripping with entitlement as usual.

      Sounds like another case of “I’ll walk away, I will, just you see, and then you’ll be sorry.”

      Like

  21. thebogfather Apr 8, 2015 / 9:47 am

    So, LCL, his previous Dmitri incarnation in Wisden
    Tregaskis won and writes wonderfully too
    So, those ‘outside’ now reside, with wisdom
    Showing, glowingly, that there is still hope for us anew

    Well done Guys!

    Like

  22. hatmallet Apr 8, 2015 / 10:55 am

    Booth’s just finished a webinar.

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cricket/article4404128.ece

    He answered mine:

    Comment From Matt
    Sorry to keep going back to the ECB issue, but… do you think the press have done enough in the past 12 months to question what they are doing? Considering everything that has happened, my opinion is they’ve been too accepting of the status quo and therefore the ECB haven’t felt the pressure they should have done. Obviously not a black and white issue, but to what extent do you agree?

    Lawrence Booth:
    Hi Matt. It’s a theme that crops up a lot in blogs. We’re all aware of it. I think there is a tendency to blanket the press as ECB sympathisers, but I think it’s exaggerated. When we got the chance to interview Paul Downton in Sri Lanka in December, we tried pushing him on the KP issue, only to be met with a refusal to look back. That then gets depicted as us not asking the right questions. But we can only print the answers if they’re given to us. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I like to keep there are enough of us who keep the ECB on their toes.

    Like

    • Vian Apr 8, 2015 / 11:03 am

      As crap an answer as I’d expect from him. No one has said there aren’t some who criticise. And that example is particularly pathetic because what a proper journalist does in those circumstances is highlight in the article that Downton wouldn’t look at them and wouldn’t speak. That’s part of holding people to account too.

      Booth is as establishment as they come, that’s how he got the Wisden gig in the first place.

      I absolutely for the life of me cannot understand how the Guardian readers on here talk about their former cricket correspondents as having once being good. Hardly any of them have ever been, and almost all (Ali Martin thus far is the exception) been way too self-satisfied with their position as insiders.

      Like

      • hatmallet Apr 8, 2015 / 11:27 am

        Difficult to pose the question in the way I’d like, given I couldn’t follow-up and the lack of space. Obvious some journalists do try to keep the ECB on their toes (though would the establishment figures care about an online-only outfit like Cricinfo, or a red top like the Mirror?).

        It’s a bit of an evasive answer. Regarding Downton’s interview, if he’s not giving answers then call him out on it! None of this ridiculous “with aplomb” nonsense!

        Like

      • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 11:30 am

        I am one, and tbh I don’t get it either. Smyth (who left) and Bull are the only ones I would actively seek out. There are ex-pro writers out there way better than the Big Two at the Guardian/Observer.

        The only caveat is that one of the Big Two has become exponentially more insufferable since 2012, so perhaps some of us are nostalgic for a golden age that probably never existed?

        Like

      • Vian Apr 8, 2015 / 11:44 am

        Nothing wrong with the question Matt. Just the answer.

        Arron – yes perhaps. I would mostly comment on the Telegraph rather than the Guardian more because of time than anything else (I have no idea how some manage to post across several!) but I would read the Guardian and it always seemed horrendously clubby and cliquey – not the commenters, though there was an element of that, but the journalists too.

        Of course, at the time it still compared favourably to Derek Pringle, who even when not in the mode of stabbing a Pietersen voodoo doll was terrible.

        Like

      • hatmallet Apr 8, 2015 / 11:57 am

        @ Vian – wasn’t implying you were criticising! Though reading my reply I can see that…

        Anyway, I was just relaying a minor frustration, wasn’t targeted at anyone.

        Like

      • SimonH Apr 8, 2015 / 12:36 pm

        Arron, your (and many others) fondness for Andy Bull escapes me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 12:51 pm

        “I would read the Guardian and it always seemed horrendously clubby and cliquey”

        I think you have a point – some commenters stopped posting after the War of 2012, largely (it seems) because their cosy little club had been rudely invaded by people being beastly to Lord S. Some still have occasional outbursts about it now. It’s all very prelapsarian.

        But Vian, if you thought that about the international pages, don’t *ever* venture on to the Guardian county blogs….

        Like

      • Vian Apr 8, 2015 / 12:57 pm

        Oh I’ve seen it! They’d really hate me – my contempt for county cricket would go down rather badly!

        One thing I actually like about the Telegraph comments is the utter loathing and that they express it, some posters will express towards me. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing. It must never ever be a matter of regular posters being treated as nobility.

        Like

      • Vian Apr 8, 2015 / 1:03 pm

        Here is a self-selecting group by definition.

        Like

      • Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 1:33 pm

        @SimonH

        I think he writes better prose than anyone else on the entire Guardian sport section, for a start. I preferred Rob Smyth’s overall style (except when he relied too much on the same old cultural references, e.g. the Sopranos, Peep Show, you know the drill), and I’m not sure I’ve read anyone better at conveying why we love sport, and Test cricket especially. But Bull is more reflective, more capable of allusion and original insight, seems to have more of a hinterland I suppose.

        The problem for people like us is that, last year, he wrote two of his worst-ever pieces, and both would have been vastly improved by at least a week’s further reflection. You know which ones: the apologia for the Big Three that was already way out of date to anyone with an internet connection, and the extended howl at KP’s book that (I think) was driven purely by an emotional attachment to a team that had eaten itself. The former read like someone toeing a line because his paper had spurned the key document; the latter made no attempt at the sort of detachment necessary when evaluating primary source material.

        It would be very easy to allow my reaction to those two pieces to colour my overall view of his work. It’s such a shame he didn’t recognise his own strengths and play to them.

        Like

      • paulewart Apr 8, 2015 / 4:52 pm

        I’d like to distinguish between The Guardian’s correspondents and the OBOers. I have a residual fondness for the likes of Rob Smyth because the OBO was a fun little community for a while.

        Like

    • SimonH Apr 8, 2015 / 11:16 am

      Thanks for asking Matt and the response is predictably feeble. I’d agree with Vian but go further – part of the journalist’s art is to get people talking about things they don’t want to. The English cricket press can’t or won’t do this with Downton. They either lack the skill or the will – or both.

      Like

      • hatmallet Apr 8, 2015 / 11:42 am

        @Simon – and Selvey is completely correct when he says that good contacts is a must for journalists.

        Of course, it ignores what you say – a good contact still needs to have the answers coaxed out of them.

        Like

      • Vian Apr 8, 2015 / 11:53 am

        Of course they need contacts. But that answer was just as lofty and arrogant in its assumption that this was somehow a surprise to the plebs.

        It’s what you do with them.

        Like

      • Mark Apr 8, 2015 / 12:40 pm

        ” Selvey is completely correct when he says that good contacts is a must for journalists.”

        Funny thing is they had a good contact and pages and pages of excellent source material. It was called KPs book. But they chose to trash it in its entirety.

        They would not give it a fair hearing despite some of the facts being collaborated by other people.

        Even if they have a hatred for KP there are so many other issues they could be holding the ECB to account with. Ticket prices, Test match congestion, Test match allocation of grounds. Where have all the fast bowlers gone? IS the Sky money being spend wisely? No cricket on free to air TV? Falling participation of cricket.

        Instead all we get is “look over there, Cooks a farmer with an iron rod.”

        Like

      • SimonH Apr 8, 2015 / 12:55 pm

        Matt, my point isn’t really about contacts as such.

        I’m not a professional journalist but it seems to me they can get people talking about things they don’t want to in a number of ways. Coaxing and persuasion is one – and usually the first port of call I’d assume. However, if that doesn’t work, there is also shame, playing sources off against each other or getting someone angry.

        The problem with Booth’s response is that he seems to think his job is exhausted by “I asked nicely and he wouldn’t answer”. You don’t have to be Woodward and Bernstein to think maybe I should try something else? Try shaming Downton by printing his evasions as Vian suggested. Try telling Downton you’ll print the other side of the story so maybe Downton might want to get his side out. Try getting Downton angry. Some say they don’t do this because they are ’embedded’ – perhaps but I think it is as much down to a dismal clubbiness and cosyness.

        Journalists and their contacts need a certain amount of trust but beyond that they don’t need to be chummy. Mutual need is their glue.

        Like

      • hatmallet Apr 8, 2015 / 1:49 pm

        Yes you’re right – I was just adding to what you said. As you say, a good contact isn’t much use if you can’t (or don’t want to) coax out those answers. Selvey et al seem to have forgotten that.

        Like

  23. Arron Wright Apr 8, 2015 / 11:42 am

    Wisden Self-Awareness Award 2015:

    “those editor’s notes. These have often been caustic, often beautifully written, often under the notably wonky Matthew Engel an exercise in slightly frantic journalistic onanism.”

    Barney Ronay, ladies and gentlemen.

    (Engel’s 2006 Notes on the previous year’s Ashes series and sell-off to Sky, and his match report on Adelaide 06, are still the two best things in my eleven Wisdens)

    Like

    • dvyk Apr 8, 2015 / 4:36 pm

      And not far wrong about Cook’s reaction too, judging by the photo in the DM. H ereally did raise his bat and walk off triumphantly!

      Liked by 1 person

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