Pressure

Thank you for all the nice comments on the Infamy post. I actually wanted to start a discussion on some of the points raised in the piece in Wisden rather than go for all that praise stuff. I don’t do this for praise.

Since I wrote it I’ve had a piece in my mind about the press and blogs. I am under no illusions. The vast majority of journos who read this blog, and I know a few do, probably think I am what Andrew Strauss called Kevin Pietersen. I get that. I’m not exactly coming to them in an attitude of peace and tranquility. I want to try to hold them to account. Believe me, I know many of the issues that confronts them, I’m not daft. The modern press is also, in many ways, a completely different animal to even 10 years ago. Everyone is a critic, everyone has a voice, and the digital age means clicks and hits drive a lot of the reporting, and time pressures mean deadlines and holding stories back is much more difficult. It’s a modern world, and even I can’t keep up.

The modern media includes podcasts, discussions and analysis of output. To that end, let’s take a look at the podcast on the Lord’s site that some of you pointed me to. I want to refer to it to set up some of the issues for later in the piece.

I’ve listened to a good deal of the Lord’s podcast where Strauss, in my mind, proves his complete unsuitability for the new role in the England line-up. No, it’s not about KP, but it’s about the line about “building towards the 2019 Ashes”. There’s a bloody World Cup in the intervening period, at home. There’s a World T20 in India (?) and a Champions Trophy in England. There’s also other exciting test series against the likes of mercurial Pakistan, difficult South Africa and other such match-ups. We concentrate on the Ashes?

A tweeter on my LCL feed pointed out in response to my “how did building go this winter” pointing out that we did not play test cricket. Of course, I meant how did building to this World Cup, by agreeing to mess the Ashes series about, clearing the decks of test cricket and playing ODIs almost exclusively since the end of August go in building to that aim? I couldn’t get that in 140 characters, so did it here. And that’s the point, just because you have some nebulous concept of “building” towards something, doesn’t mean we will do it. I recall a podcast on 5 Live before we went to Australia in 2013 and Flower was most assuredly building towards that. This is a vacuuous concept, one I want no part of. There are far too many good teams, far too much cricket to be played, rightly or wrongly, to try to get away with saying its OK to lose, and OK to exclude KP, as long as it is in the greater good to winning the Ashes in 2019. What a load of old baloney.

I’ve gone off on a little bit of a tangent, but stick with me. Strauss said that building line, ostensibly to justify not recalling KP post this summer. He earlier said the way to end the KP business was “winning games”. With all due respect Andrew, I’m calling baloney on that too. First of all, building towards something indicates winning in the present is not as high a priority as winning in the future, yet there’s a need to win matches now. I have no idea how those two aims aren’t opposed. And you see, Andrew, we’ve been there. The press told us this after we won against India, with a great comeback, runs for Cook, the bowling looking good, and the new players looking the part. But it hasn’t stuck. Because while you and your ilk are concentrating on this being all about KP, you miss the point. You always miss the point.

Outside cricket? No apology. Full explanation for not picking a team on merit and excluding a talented player? Not forthcoming. Communication with supporters who might be disgruntled at this lack of decency towards them? Pipe down, move on, not at a low ebb. Giles Clarke showed this week how he approaches those who dared criticise and that attitude permeated down the ECB and whether the press cared, had the appetite, or the need to fight on our behalf while also putting the case for termination of KP is for them to tell us. We did not see it.

Here comes that line in Brian’s piece about not being as understanding of the press position:

But the press coverage reflected, in part, the vulnerabilities of cricket journalists, who have a symbiotic relationship with administrators and players: the administrators grant access to the players, who provide interviews and quotes. Most bloggers have no such privileges, yet this very freedom from professional dependence means they can shoot from the hip.

Brian makes our point. The journalists may not have agreed with what was going on, but they didn’t want to risk not getting access (Mark makes this point in the comments too). I’m well aware of this. I know journalists are sick to death of the sponsored interview, and I know the player/press relationship is always a fraught one. So when we take the next logical step that some of them were showing rather too much glee at the dismissal of KP and by extension adopting a selection policy on something other than form or ability, that they had become extensions of the organisation we were so angry at, were we really out of line? Perception is important. The big beast appearances on the Agnew press round up, or on Cricket Writers, became an exercise on putting out the ECB line more often than not. The rush out of press conference to proclaim the KP matter closed, the ability of the empty suit in front of them, or the inevitability of Cook’s return to form was peeled back in an instant. They now sit there thinking KP’s PR team has won the battle, and in the same breath say his book was a disaster. They miss the point totally.

What has, I think, made them really uncomfortable isn’t the lack of access should they side with the great unwashed, but that the great unwashed simply aren’t listening and WILL NOT BE TOLD. I’ve said many times that KP isn’t the issue now, it really isn’t. It’s the ECB and pretty much always has been. It’s the way the press have leaned their way, by and large, and certainly in the immediate aftermath, that’s the issue too. Sure, I would like to see KP play for England again. What I want to see most is a team picked on merit and form. That would mean that England’s openers on Monday should probably be Lyth and Trott out of that squad, and not Cook. This makes me anti-Cook because I’m pro-KP. I’m anti a test opening bat who hasn’t made a test hundred in nearly two years, and has looked all at sea. A century or two in the West Indies does not prove the opposite. It merely proves that some people are picked for memories, not on evidence. Some people are picked because they are from the right kind of family. We did not see that challenged enough. As I said, in some cases, there was a little too much glee.

To me the acid test has been the attitude towards Andy Flower. I see very few pieces bemoaning his overwhelming presence still. I see little questioning his role in the collapse of 2013/14. I see very few pieces questioning if this is of great benefit. Instead it is the greatest coach stuff, world number 1, world T20 winners. Dobell gets it, and his back-seat driver quote last Spring was quite good in capturing the fear. But the press just said it was a good thing, we couldn’t lose his massive skills, and even called impertinent when questioning why he was talking to the Chairman of Selectors. This doesn’t require an understanding of the role of the journalist. It is asking questions that might need to be asked. Flower’s choice to remain silent has never been portrayed as anything other than “dignified”. I feel a little short changed. He played a massive role in what went wrong, it appears he sealed Pietersen’s fate, and then got a job he lobbied for. I think he needed to speak, don’t you?

I’ve done my usual old long-winded piece, and I’m not sure it went anywhere. That’s my prerogative, of course. A journalist has to tighten up, show skills in brevity, be able to convey things in a rapid way. He also has access, he has contacts (and she, of course, because there are very good female journalists out there) and he has a job many of us would love. I think they take this too personally at times. Yes, I’m pretty scathing, but I am because I am angry, and so are you. A faint heart never won a fair maiden and all that.

So while Strauss can babble on about winning shutting us up, he is wrong. The rate of anger went up when we beat India, not down. It seemed to be a reason to brush Sri Lanka under the carpet, and dispose of Pietersen, and it wasn’t fooling me. If Strauss can’t figure out why that win didn’t have us piping down, then he’s not worthy to be Director of Cricket. You aren’t dealing with stupid people here, and we have a voice. A small one, but one that seems to get noticed.

Have a great evening.

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100 thoughts on “Pressure

  1. Escort Apr 11, 2015 / 11:21 pm

    Why are we falling over ourselves to appoint an ex England captain to this position?

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    • Boz Apr 12, 2015 / 7:05 am

      ‘we’ are not it’s the ex England captains and the self same media who are making the running – as if they have a chance!

      Like

    • waikatoguy Apr 12, 2015 / 7:28 am

      why an Englishman at all….shouldn’t they be talking to people like Gary Kirsten and Tom Moody

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      • Escort Apr 12, 2015 / 8:58 am

        Exactly. Stephen Fleming has to be considered surely?

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      • thebogfather Apr 12, 2015 / 11:51 am

        I think the likes of Moody/Fleming/Kirsten should be the replacement for the Flowerpotless/MooresThePity duo, with Vaughan or Stewart in the new post as Director (please, not Strarse)

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  2. MM Apr 11, 2015 / 11:34 pm

    “If Strauss can’t figure out why that win didn’t have us piping down, then he’s not worthy to be Director of Cricket.”

    Strauss isn’t worthy full stop, not for me.

    Mark said it wonderfully in the …For Simon post:

    “Who does he think he is Alec Guinness in Bridge over the river Kwai? Where the officer went mad, and built a lovely pristine bridge only to realise he had build it for the enemy. Just about sums up English cricket. It’s all process rather than outcome. In fact Bridge over the river Kwai is a metaphor for English cricket. We are always building the wrong thing at the wrong time”

    I want summat to happen now – in the West Indies, against NZ, and then against the Aussies. Building for the future is nothing more than waving a white flag at the remainder of 2015. Un-funking-acceptable.

    Too right I want summat to happen, and not in 2019. So… no thanks Strauss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 12, 2015 / 11:59 am

      Thanks MM

      Maybe my Bridge over the river Kwai comparison was a little over the top, but just hearing Srauss droning on and on about process, and building, and trust gets me down.

      It’s about players and talent. We seem as a nation to not understand this. Whenever we win its the leader who gets the credit, and it is just assumed he turned average players into geniuses.

      When England won the World Cup in rugby Clive Woodward got all the credit. I’m sure he played a big roll. But the real reason we won was we had some tremendous players in key positions.

      Management is important, and bad management can do a lot of damage. But I believe good management can only do so much. In the end you need good/great players. In both cricket and football we just don’t produce enough of them. And we don’t seem to know how to.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Clivejw Apr 12, 2015 / 12:07 am

    Strauss is much too close to the current set-up. He is likely to throw Sheep and Moores-the-Pity a lifeline when they should be handed their marching orders. Then there is his two-and-a-half year sulk over a set of Blackberry messages that he has never seen, which has long since become unseemly. But perhaps most of all, his big drawback is his innate conservatism — we need someone to bring some colour and joy back to English cricket, and it’s not Lord Brockett.

    I’ve always had a great deal of respect for Alec Stewart, and in fact he was our one dynamic batsmen in a decade of mediocrity. But of the limited number of names so far in the ring, it’s Michael Vaughan who really excites me. A lot of people seem to object to him mainly because he is a bit of a tit in the TMS box, but he was our most successful captain and encouraged his players to be positive, in contrast to the Strauss-Cook safety-first approach. Ever since I can remember, England have always looked a different side when they are positive, and they are certainly much more fun to watch. Vaughan is the only person I can think of who can give us a bit of what Lehmann and Clarke have given Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart Apr 12, 2015 / 5:22 pm

      Thing is Clive, he’s not a tit when he talks about cricket. I’m tired of posting this. He’s as shrewd and bold as you’d expect from the captain of that Ashes winning side. He’s bumptious, so what? He’s the only one likely to shake up the current shower. It’s a personal view, but I think he’s just that bit too Joe Lampton for the blue blazer/red trouser brigade.

      Like

  4. SimonH Apr 12, 2015 / 12:49 am

    Strauss has one new supporter in the media:

    “Andrew Strauss, captain until three years ago, has quietly announced his interest, and his closeness to the modern game, excelling in both main forms, may make him the ideal man”.

    Who could it be?

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    • ZeroBullshit Apr 12, 2015 / 5:04 am

      I had to work a bit for this one.

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    • Boz Apr 12, 2015 / 7:11 am

      David Cameron?

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      • ZeroBullshit Apr 12, 2015 / 7:13 am

        It is a journalist.

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    • Nicholas Apr 12, 2015 / 7:48 am

      Simon Hughes? He’s normally a big Strauss supporter…

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    • Andy Apr 12, 2015 / 8:47 am

      “excelling in both main forms”

      Er… So t20 & odi are lumped together now I guess? Or does that pesky entertaining stuff not count?

      If hales is suitable to top the t20 world rankings, why did we persist with cook?

      Like

    • Simon K Apr 12, 2015 / 1:31 pm

      Ugly an convoluted run-on sentences are a trademark of Selvey, but a quick google reveals not…

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  5. hatmallet Apr 12, 2015 / 1:15 am

    “They now sit there thinking KP’s PR team has won the battle, and in the same breath say his book was a disaster. They miss the point totally.”

    I wouldn’t say they missed the point, they are just wrong with respect to the first point.

    Between his sacking and the book launch, we heard very little from Pietersen. There were some tweets and of course Piers Morgan never shut up, but he was quiet. And he didn’t play county cricket other than T20 – big runs for Surrey would have put the ECB under huge pressure, especially given that England lost to Sri Lanka.

    So KP didn’t win the PR war, the ECB lost it. We all know what happened, I don’t need to repeat the smears, the pettiness and the false stories. I’d say by releasing his book, KP did a better of damaging his reputation than the ECB did! The book didn’t portray him in a great light, no-one came out of it well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvyk Apr 12, 2015 / 6:52 am

      Yes. Excellent point!

      All this talk of “KP’s PR machine” is damage control by the ECB fed to and repeated by journalists. As if the only reason the ECB look like malicious fools is because of KP’s slick PR machine. There are other reasons for that, like the fact that they are indeed malicious fools who are so caught up in their internal political manipulations that they have entirely lost control of the cricketing aspects of team selection. This is reflected in the national team’s results, and in the antics of the press. Every time people like Newman or Selvey (or Hughes or Agnew etc) open their mouths they effectively confirm the accusations and descriptions of politics and favoritism in KP’s book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Grenville Apr 12, 2015 / 2:13 pm

        I think this is absolutely spot on. The problem for the ECB is that they treated Pietersen very badly, the England team went off the rails because it was badly managed by Flower, and the ECB set-up has been ruining players and careers. KP spoke the truth or, at any rate, articulated his understanding of the situation. The ECB covered up, denied and outright lied. Surprisingly they looked awful. It is because they were.

        PS. I don’t buy the ‘noone came out of it looking good’ line. It is, I think, lazy journalism. It is writing about the story, not writing the story. This is a much easier thing to do because you can create the reality through your actions. If enough people write ‘KP’s actions made him seem like a whiny brat’, KP starts to be read as a whiny brat. However, as I read the book, Pietersen looks like he was pushed and pushed and bullyied by a vicious, spiteful narrow minded system. He appears a bit paranoid and I suspect he is wrong about some things (my guess is that the ‘rebuilding exercise’ was not meant to be Maoist self crictism designed to make Pietersen quit, but in fact a ham fisted attempt to clear the air. I suspect Flower was cross after the event because KP hadn’t coorperated. He didn’t air his grievences). Anyway, that paranoia, if it is what it is, simply demonstrates how nasty the set-up is/was. It doesn’t make KP ‘look bad’. Why? Because it isn’t evidence of wrong doing or of a bad character.

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      • chateleine Apr 12, 2015 / 3:38 pm

        ‘malicious fools who are so caught up in their internal political manipulations that they have entirely lost control of the cricketing aspects of team selection’

        Perfectly put.

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      • paulewart Apr 12, 2015 / 5:24 pm

        I’ve said it before but Mike Selvey and Derek Pringle are the best PR men in town. KP must be paying them a princely sum!

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  6. SimonH Apr 12, 2015 / 1:20 am

    That last one is probably a little harder to guess than this one:

    “When David Saker, England’s erstwhile bowling coach, referred to Anderson as the most skilful pace bowler in the world, it bought some derision, particularly from those who did not quite understand the nuance”.

    Of course it has to be that there was a lack of understanding of the nuances of David Saker! It couldn’t be that the derision was because the claim was risible….

    Liked by 1 person

    • ZeroBullshit Apr 12, 2015 / 4:59 am

      This is too easy.

      “It couldn’t be that the derision was because the claim was risible….”

      Don’t be impertinent!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. hatmallet Apr 12, 2015 / 1:22 am

    My main concern with Strauss is that he has only been retired 2.5 years and he played with most of our team at some point. We’ve seen him hesitant to criticise whilst with the Sky commentary team and that doesn’t involve making decisions. It’s understandable that he’s hesitant, it’s not a criticism per se, and it’s reduced over time, but it’s still too soon for him.

    Plus I think Hussain is more insightful and Vaughan more free-thinking, making them better suited to the role.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grenville Apr 12, 2015 / 2:22 pm

      My main problem with Strauss is that he is a thick as two short planks. A good player, a decent captain in a kind of ‘follow me boys’ kind of why, but thick. Stewart might be an interesting choice. He has real integrity, which suggests that he can think for himself. I find him dull, but I’m not sure that says much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Apr 12, 2015 / 5:42 pm

        The players have a lot to learn about sash windows…..

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      • Zephirine Apr 12, 2015 / 8:50 pm

        Strauss has a degree in Economics from Durham, so perhaps he’s not completely thick – I guess it depends what you think of economists. He seems to have a limited view of the world, though – oddly so, for someone who travelled about quite a lot while growing up.

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      • Grenville Apr 13, 2015 / 10:33 am

        @Zephrine, I might be a snob, but it seems to me that getting a degree isn’t all that impressive for a privately educated person. You need to be able to absorb and re-present a largeish volume of infomation. That’s what a private school teaches you to do. I think of intelligence as a skill. It is the ability to make sense of what is happening around you. I have never heard Strauss demonstrate that ability. Almost everything he says is anodyne. He found a method that worked and refined it. That is impressive, but it isn’t being bright.

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  8. BoerInAustria Apr 12, 2015 / 6:44 am

    Great post

    I am really angered by the culture of “mediation” of opinions that do not follow the party line. Whether this be Clarke at the Wisden dinner, Flower with KP/Compton/Carberry, Cook with Warne or Selvey with me.

    This is where Dobell and some other journalist, but mainly the likes of you TFT (and all great posters here) are vital BECAUSE they are outside of this influence circle.

    Freedom of speech/expression/opinion, the culture of open discussion and debate etc. are all vital components of our modern society, and essential in modern business cultures for success.
    The lack of this culture in the ECB is manifested in so many ways (fear, lack of responsibility, lack of accountability etc.)

    And I will say it – I find it sad that Flower seems imbedded in this autocratic culture of fear. Is this not what Mugabe is all about?

    PS – Having read the debates raging in SA about the legacies of colonialism and the tearing down of the Rhodes statue at my alma mater, I found Strauss’s comment about the lovely “colonial” cricket ground in India particularly antiquated.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. @pktroll Apr 12, 2015 / 7:34 am

    I think a not inconsiderable problem that we may have is one of perception, the notion that nearly all of our complaints centre on the sacking of Pietersen when that is clearly rubbish as you have explained above. It is all about the overall decision making and that accompanied the fall of the England team from the start of 2012 and the lack of responsibility that went into making those changes. What we had was an out of touch coaching staff and leadership and that on the back of the Ashes whitewash this only got worse and the worse thing being is that those in place as our supposed leaders got decision after decision wrong, with the likes of Downton, Whittaker, Moores and Cook absolutely undeserving to be in the roles that they were appointed to and still are.

    If any thing the MSM are the ones who have caused this perception by lionising any of those just mentioned and demonising of Pietersen. It is as though we are not allowed to question their judgement despite some appalling results and the lack of entertaining cricket played as well as some highly questionable selections. If they can’t ‘get’ why we feel like this then I can see no improvement in the overall relationship that many of us have with them. The worst thing is that I can see more than a few bad results between now and the end of this summer only finally bringing the true overhaul that is needed both in the coaching and team management leadership and that of the playing staff. That is a truly shocking situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boz Apr 12, 2015 / 9:04 am

      Cricket is merely the arena in which the power games are being played currently. Look what happened to football, to the music industry and everywhere else – the answers to you very pertinent questions lie elsewhere …. follow the money

      Like

    • paulewart Apr 12, 2015 / 5:44 pm

      Boycott’s made it abundantly clear this is so. Those inside cricket aren’t allowed to question, as for those outside….pffffft

      Like

  10. "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 12, 2015 / 9:40 am

    For me, England Cricket, and the way it is governed is very much the embodiment of the English Establishment. Lords, Henley, Ascot,the boat race (wtf?) gives them an excuse to dress up in silly blazers, caps with tassles on, and all the trappings of wealth, power and influence. What they embody is “tradition”…the arch enemy of “change” and supports those who think it is their birthright to rule and lord it over the rest of us!
    Typically, the first day of a Test at Lords is painted as a picture of a perfect English Summer. The members in their bacon and egg blazers and ties, champagne and smoked salmon picnics on the nursery ground, while the rest of the plebs have tiny seats, overpriced and shitty beer and even worse pies?
    Strauss is part of this, many of the Establishment, and therefore the MSM will see him as their man..the right sort of chap don’t you know…and the whole bloody thing will just carry on!!
    Vaughan for me…I’ve already heard the criticisms of him. The excuses to “black ball” him are coming thick and fast, and his character assassinations are about anything but his leadership skills…the very thing we need. Someone posted that he is a free thinker, indeed he is, and certainly not resistant to change. He can manage men, he knows what makes people tick, he knows how to bring the best out of them, and if they can’t hack it he knows how to get rid of them!
    Finally, my immediate assessment of how to improve the teams performance is :-
    Get rid of the bloody dirge at the start…Jerusalem…ffs!! Replace it with the Archers theme!
    How could they not go about their work with a smile on their faces after coming out to that?
    Rum ti tum ti tum ti tum…rum ti tum ti tuuuum tum? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Apr 12, 2015 / 10:27 am

      As you said in one of the first posts I saw you write Dave….

      “England invented many of these sports, and then in walked a bloke in a blazer”

      As you rightly point out the Englamd cricket team is the establishment at play. Unfortunately this class based claptrap pollutes most other governing bodies as well. Brian Clough never got the England job because the blokes in Blazers were terrified he might not do what they wanted. The current England manager wears his blazer very proudly. The 57 old farts at the RFU have mainly be culled, but their sort remain in the shadows.

      “The right sort of family” is exactly how these people think. Every now and again some good players from many backgrounds come through, but it’s always the management who get the credit. It’s all very English.

      Meanwhile the Aussies just try and find talent.

      Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart Apr 12, 2015 / 5:46 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. As I’ve posted elsewhere, Vaughan’s just a bit too Joe Lampton for the Regatta crew.

      Like

  11. Tuffers86 Apr 12, 2015 / 9:43 am

    Dmitri/LCL, great stuff on the Wisden hat tip. And if this post demonstrates, it’s given you an extra bit of gusto.

    OK rant time from me that might be a bit long winded, but hopefully I can hit the points I want to say.

    This build for XXXX date that Strauss is proposing pisses me off more than anything. How many times do we hear this bollocks? How often is it successful in the three terms – short, medium and long term? It can never be a full house, but most of the time the long term gain doesn’t materialise.

    Its just wriggle-room maneuvering on Strauss’ part that say 18months into his prospective tenure, he can call back on it and say we are not there yet. It buys time. Time English Cricket and sport in general doesn’t allow. Performance in the present is still crucial. You certainly wouldn’t be dismissive of the current crop.

    If Strauss would say something that he needs time to get new systems in place to win something in 2019 and beyond, I wouldn’t argue with it, but you can do that without interferring with the current team.

    Another notch against the Strauss 2019 plan is that you can’t build on the current shit tip. You tend to do these long term plans with a clear deck not with the current regime stinking the place up still.

    I call it bollocks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • paulewart Apr 12, 2015 / 5:47 pm

      Can’t imagine Darren Lehman getting away with ‘planning’ for 2019. And that’s all you need to know, really, isn’t it?

      Like

  12. Mark Apr 12, 2015 / 9:52 am

    Yes, this really gets into the nitty gritty of the major issues.

    I don’t believe that KP will ever play for England again. I thought from the moment he was sacked it was a fate accomplie. So why then my anger at what has happened? To be honest, for me it is the injustice, and more importantly the notion that we pick our best players on merit. If anything good has come out of this, it is I hope that the people in charge will think twice before doing this again. ( not sure they have learned their lesson mind) Also, it goes to the heart of picking odd balls who don’t fit in, but are great players. Cricket is the most individual of team games. It mustn’t become a sporting version of square bashing by Sergeant Major types.

    And talking about Sergeant Major types this leads to Flower and Strauss. Dmitri is right, this latest interview by Strauss is exactly why he should not get the job. One of the reasons for the anger at KPs book is he takes aim and scores some direct hits at the carefully constructed meme of the Flower/Strauss period of success. According to this narrative all the success is down to management and process. Selvey more than most buys this fairytale. England became world number 1, Flower was the coach, therefore it was all down to him. Strauss was his right man carrying out the plan on the field. Brothers in arms. Trouble is this misses a major point. Namely the players.

    England became world number 1 because they had very good players. Strauss and a young Cook were a good opening pair. Trott at 3, KP at 4. A counter attacking wicket keeper in Prior. A really good spin bowler Swann, who gave control, as well as a wicket taker. And in Anderson a great swing bowler. Strauss is held up as a great captain. I thought he was rather one dimensional. England played to a set formula. Pile up the runs and then dry up the opposition. It was very successful, but not very inventive. And as the players aged, the gloss began to fade. The results were still good but the cracks were appearing. Like many aging successful sides they retain the knowledge of how to win even when playing poorly. Look at the 2013 Ashes test series. 3-0 looks very straight forward, but anyone who saw it knows it was very unconvincing. And Australia left these shores knowing England could be beaten.

    Dmitri mentions the Flower interview on radio 5 live on the ever of the 2014 ashes. If you ever get the chance to hear it do so. I heard it live when it went out and cringed. It was about planning and process. Diet sheets, and systems and Flower came off as a sort of Svengali type. I thought at the time if England lose this going to all sound ridiculous.

    Sorry I seemed to have droned on and on. Time to go.

    Liked by 2 people

    • BoerInAustria Apr 12, 2015 / 11:49 am

      Thanks – I missed the Flower interview: “Project Ashes”

      A great listen in retrospect:
      06.00: Broad’s comment on his reaction when Flower phones
      07.00: Harmison describes Flower as having “steely determination”
      19.00: Harmison talks about Flower’s reaction when one stares out the window
      21.40: Flower on “preparation camp” starting with a medical screening / fitness test
      23.00: Flower on “lessons on briefing and debriefing” and “the habits of elite groups”
      25.30: Flower with continues reference to “the wives”
      33.00: Saker talks about “game scenarios” in practice
      41.30: Flower: “We do not have a curfew”
      43.00: Tufnell amazed at the repeated references to “fear / be scared”
      45.00: Great story of Harmison breaking Giles wrist in the nets
      49.30: Flower – I do not want them constrained by curfews
      59.00: Saker: no reason why Anderson cannot play for 5 – 6 more years
      67.00: Discussion on Flower retirement “next summer” (logical before WC)
      69.00: If he does retire it will be part of a bigger plan.
      69.30: Harmison discusses Flower succession plans: Giles / Collingwood

      Overall impression on Flower: All management speak, a micro manager per excellence and a total control freak. Like chalk and chees to Pietersen.

      http://www.podcastchart.com/podcasts/5-live-sport-specials/episodes/5lspecials-project-ashes/pop
      Also a report on http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/cricket/24795002

      Liked by 1 person

  13. dvyk Apr 12, 2015 / 9:58 am

    I think journalists take criticism personally because they feel threatened by this whole blogging and social media business. And they are right to feel threatened by it. It shows up their mediocrity and corruption.

    And how lame of them to get offended too. They can dish it out, (and get paid to do so) but can’t take it back.

    Like

      • Annie weatherly-barton Apr 12, 2015 / 5:38 pm

        Bloody awful! Strauss moronic! He’s so far out of date he doesn’t know we’ve been to moon & back!!! If not foreign then Vaughan – even if gorgeous George Dobell doesn’t agree! Wot about nasty piece in Indy? Still KP let bat do talking!!! Oh yes I hear usual suspects saying not proper game unlike cooks game against St Kitts!
        One things for sure we need Strauss like a hole in the head!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Arron Wright Apr 12, 2015 / 1:27 pm

      I presume the ICC were also watching when he conceded a record score off a Test match over and averaged 43 in the 2013/14 Ashes?

      Liked by 1 person

      • escort Apr 12, 2015 / 3:44 pm

        To borrow a phrase from the “Not so angry Anderson”. “It puts you off” How is it that we have our premier bowler saying he was not performing because of a fear of authority and perhaps a fine as punishment. He was playing in the “World cup” FFS.

        Like

    • Pontiac Apr 13, 2015 / 1:32 am

      I was deeply unimpressed by those comments. “That I might get in trouble for acting like a dick to put others off their game has put me off my game!” Complaints about reverse-victimization coming from a position of privilege are always generically suspect.

      Like

  14. hatmallet Apr 12, 2015 / 11:25 am

    Pietersen at the crease for Surrey. Though he’s just faced an over from a friend of mine, so not sure what I want to happen!

    Like

  15. Annie weatherly-barton Apr 12, 2015 / 12:05 pm

    Brilliant me Lord! Absolutely right! I was seething at Brenkley piece! Wot an utter moron! Snide comments! Strauss made me Seeth! Kirsten would be great but Ecb say got no money!

    Like

  16. Clivejw Apr 12, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    47 no off 58 balls for Kevin Pietersen at lunch. I don’t care how modest the opposition are, the ball can really nip around this time of the season and five Surrey players are back in the hutch already with 21 so far the second highest score.

    He’s back.

    Like

    • lionel joseph Apr 12, 2015 / 12:42 pm

      Of course what we wait to see is whether certain members of the press are more scathing of Oxford MCCU’s attack than they were of St Kitts…..

      Like

      • SimonH Apr 12, 2015 / 1:08 pm

        Like

      • hatmallet Apr 12, 2015 / 1:08 pm

        No need to wait.

        Pringle:

        (it is true of course, but you can tell they are itching to point it out)

        Like

  17. lionel joseph Apr 12, 2015 / 12:36 pm

    Strauss is not the right choice. He has yet to understand so much about why the doctrine he built with Flower had flaws and how it depended on factors outside of a captain and coach’s control. That much is clear from his commentary. I would prefer Captain Beaky, but given that he’s ruled himself out, I’ll settle for Vaughan, who i feel is flexible in his ideas and I think he could teach a new and young captain plenty

    As for planning for a series in 4 years time, it took Boof about 6 months to turn his side around. We don’t have the same raw bowling talent that Australia do, but there is a step change that could be made with bringing in the right players, the right management and the right philosophy.

    In suggesting that a target date for consistent improvement in the side is four years away highlights Strauss’ inability to recognise the problems in the side which could be immediately addressed, and this alone should rule him out.

    Incidentally, I continue to enjoy the way Newman uses the epithet “Former England Captain” for Strauss and “South African born batsman” for Pietersen, whilst somehow failing to realise that they are, of course, appropriate for both players.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Benny Apr 12, 2015 / 1:26 pm

      Spot on about the epithets. Anyway, why should a journo presume anyone is unaware that Strauss is a former captain

      Like

  18. hatmallet Apr 12, 2015 / 1:15 pm

    50 for Moeen in his first game back.

    And as a random aside, Essex are currently 128-0 against a Cardiff MCCU side that features Bermudan Kamau Leverock, nephew of Dwayne.

    Like

    • thebogfather Apr 12, 2015 / 4:17 pm

      Well done Moeen, is Kamau a ‘big boy’ like Dwayne? 😉

      Like

  19. Mark Apr 12, 2015 / 1:19 pm

    It would seem the English cricket establishment is doing what the English establishment always does when major change is needed. Namely, give the impression that change is coming/taking place, while behind the scenes making sure no real change occurs.

    Strauss is the ideal establishment candidate. He ticks all the right boxes. Or to put it another way. “he’s one of us.” He’s inside cricket not outside. Most important of all he is on board with the inside view on KP. If he gets the job KP can score a million runs for Surrey it won’t make any difference.

    With Strauss, Flower, and Cook running English cricket a giant smorgasbord of tedium and conservatism will reign supreme. Forget KP, you can also forget anyone else who’s face doesn’t fit. No wonder the English Establishment media are salivating at the prospect. If Graves really does want change I would be astonished if he appoints Strauss.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Simon K Apr 12, 2015 / 1:42 pm

    I’m pretty confident Strauss won’t get it unless there is no better candidate.

    On the point about access, this is an issue in all journalism. The better journalists know how to utilise their contacts effectively so as they maintain good relationships and professional distance, remembering at all times that their first duty is to their readership.

    Can we honestly say that most of the embedded press take this approach? I doubt it. Certainly not Selvey. The view of his writing often expressed here is one that exists in the cricket media too.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. hatmallet Apr 12, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    Pietersen has scored a century.

    Like

    • hatmallet Apr 12, 2015 / 2:14 pm

      Not a first class game though, not sure why.

      Like

  22. Mark Apr 12, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    I would call Selvey the Judith Miller of cricket jounalism. Most people probably won’t know who I mean. She was an American journalist who during the build up to the Iraq war was claiming to be running stories that she got from so called insiders in the Bush administration.

    She tried to pass this off as scoops that the govt didn’t want you to know. However, it was exactly what the govt wanted you to know. It was pure propaganda, dressed up as jounalsim. She in effect was nothing more than a stenographer for the regime

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Boz Apr 12, 2015 / 2:12 pm
    • SimonH Apr 12, 2015 / 2:51 pm

      First quoted line on leadership in the Oxford Times article:

      “Personally, throughout my career, I’ve been motivated by the fear of failure”.

      Like

  24. Rav Roberts Apr 12, 2015 / 2:15 pm

    100 up for KP.

    Like

  25. Arron Wright Apr 12, 2015 / 2:16 pm

    My God, the fucking double standards here:

    This guy celebrated Cook’s hundred against bloody St. Kitts, and then called his 23 off 90 balls “defiant”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Arron Wright Apr 12, 2015 / 2:32 pm

      Anyone reminded Stocks where Cook’s only first-class hundreds since May 2013 were made….?

      (Pietersen has one in an Ashes Test match since then, of course)

      Like

      • thebogfather Apr 12, 2015 / 2:36 pm

        let’s just wait for tomorrow morning for the complete double standard, myopic nonsense in full from certain MSM members

        Like

      • LordCanisLupus Apr 12, 2015 / 2:45 pm

        Of course, you’ve seen him tell me, Bogfather and Innocent Bystander to tell us to get over ourselves. Hilarious.

        Genuinely laughing out loud. This is just brilliant fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      • BoerInAustria Apr 12, 2015 / 3:15 pm

        … but Stock will be the first to give KP credit if he scores 1000 fc runs before end of May!
        how gracious, and how the goal posts are moving….

        Like

      • hatmallet Apr 12, 2015 / 4:14 pm

        Pietersen could be a contender for 1000 FC runs by the end of May. Though the MCCUs only get 2 FC games a season* so his runs today don’t count towards that.

        *Though Oxford and Cambridge get a third when they play each other.

        Like

    • ZeroBullshit Apr 12, 2015 / 2:47 pm

      Stocks used to be Alastair Cook’s ghost writer. Now he is Cook’s cheerleader. So don’t expect him to speak positively of Kevin Pietersen.

      Like

  26. Rav Roberts Apr 12, 2015 / 2:43 pm

    150 up for KP

    Like

    • SimonH Apr 12, 2015 / 3:38 pm

      The Mail are now sadly distracted as well.

      Their report quotes a spectator as saying, “Do it for England, Oxford. Get him out first ball.”

      Perhaps it was an attempt at puckish humour but I’m doubting it somehow.

      Like

      • Mark Apr 12, 2015 / 6:04 pm

        Oh no,this is not humour, it’s how they really feel. Unbridled hatred. Remember the 20/20 finals day?

        It’s been like this for years even before the shitstorm all kicked off. I remember Nasser on Sky saying no other player divides opinion like KP. When he was out to a flamboyant shot playing for England the texts and e-mails they got were divided between those that hated him, and those who defended him.

        The haters begrudge every run he scored. Some of them wish that he had not scored a hundred at the OVal in 2005, and England had lost the match and not won the ashes. That’s how deep the hatred goes.

        I don’t think they need worry, I still don’t think he will play for England again. But if he keeps scoring runs it will piss them off no end. Marvellous!

        Anybody had a peak at the creature that is Ham N eggs (Pam n Ashes)

        Like

  27. thebogfather Apr 12, 2015 / 3:13 pm

    You can just imagine LaughingStocks/Selfie/Pringle/newman tomorrow – it will be fun! Then when at around 4 pm BST, Cookie snicks to slip for 6 off 30 balls… oh joy!

    Like

    • hatmallet Apr 12, 2015 / 4:36 pm

      As expected, Pringle is delighted for him…

      Like

      • escort Apr 12, 2015 / 4:57 pm

        Priceless and vindictive. I completely understand why Pringle was dropped by the Telegraph for Scyld Berry.

        Liked by 2 people

      • alan Apr 12, 2015 / 5:00 pm

        You guys are right to laugh at these hypocritical idiots masquerading as journalists but I find it hard. To me they are just complete and utter arseholes. Their agendas are so transparent. Whatever happened to those writers of my younger days that you could respect even when you didn’t agree with them?

        Liked by 1 person

      • dvyk Apr 12, 2015 / 5:02 pm

        I won’t look, but I’d bet Pringle was one who was complaining about what the Aust papers were doing to Broad last year. Idiot. At least Broad was on the opposing team.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Apr 12, 2015 / 5:50 pm

        I agree with Alan. I’ll have a laugh because I appreciate black humour, but in general find it more sickening and enraging than funny. Have done since 2012. The amount this person did for English cricket…

        Like

      • paulewart Apr 12, 2015 / 6:34 pm

        Bitter, Derek?

        Like

      • Arron Wright Apr 12, 2015 / 8:53 pm

        Well, thankfully that load of bollocks has been eviscerated by various people on Twitter.

        It was always personal for some of these people. Nothing whatsoever to do with cricket, and so deeply personal that it blinds them to the most absurd double standards and logical fallacies. LCL would be perfectly justified in titling his next post “Vindication”.

        Like

      • hatmallet Apr 12, 2015 / 9:11 pm

        Easy enough to retire when you’re 200-0. Surrey were 200 and something for 5 when KP reached 100.

        Guptil and Westwood also retired today but they waited until passing 150. You could easily say why didn’t they retire at 100. Not that anyone will.

        The trees/forest/selectors analogy is, of course, complete bollocks. 3 selectors, 12 games. Not every game can be watched live by them. Fraser and Newell were both at the same game watching their teams play each other, Whittaker was at Somerset vs Durham (apparently looking at Gregory and Overton).

        Though I hope Whittaker goes to see some of the Sussex vs Hampshire game – tomorrow will see Mills and Shahzad bowl to Carberry and Vince.

        Like

    • Maggie Apr 12, 2015 / 5:46 pm

      Oh dear. There will be a few people looking like they’ve swallowed a lemon this evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. dvyk Apr 12, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    England will probably thrash WI, but if they don’t it will be because KP was distracting them.

    I can see the headlines tomorrow — Broad backs Cook to not get distracted by KP // Anderson backs Broad to bounce back after KP distraction // Whitaker backs Moores to not get distracted by divisive former test batsman…..

    Liked by 2 people

  29. paulewart Apr 12, 2015 / 5:40 pm

    Dmitri raises some interesting points.

    The media has changed dramatically over the last 10 years or so; consider how we consume and respond to stories today, wouldn’t we have been content with one or two match reports a day in times gone by? Of more interest, however, is the content of said reports. Now I can’t speak for anyone else, but that last thing I want to hear/read is the opinions of current players and coaches trained in media speech(embarrassingly our current captain can’t even manage that). I usually turn off the TMS podcast before the player interviews because, as we all know, there remarkably dull. Which raises a further point: do correspondents sacrifice their integrity too lightly and for little return?

    The answer is surely, yes. Because unless there’s a KP type news story (and I think most of us would rather there hadn’t been), no-one’s really interested in what players and coaches have to say, access is overrated and overstated. We’d all rather just read about the cricket wouldn’t we? Ideally written by critical writers, able to explain a thing or two about swing bowling or batting technique neutrally.

    In conclusion, journalists have allowed themselves to be co-opted by the ECB for very little reward, and a few of them have shown signs of Stockholm Syndrome. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the cricket writers union (humour me) were to reject the ECB’s silver and go back to writing about cricket. They don’t need access to players, current players have little of interest to report. Surely that’s the lesson of the last couple of years.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rohan Apr 12, 2015 / 6:56 pm

      Paul you are spot on, what a great insight and very perceptive comment! Indeed the interviews with modern players are often bland and mundane. I would, however, add a caveat, that certain individuals, such as McCullum and Sangakarra are great to hear interviewed. The first because of the way he talks about the game and the second because he is such a gentlemen and true cricketer! Perhaps it is just England players who are not worth listening to?

      Dmitri I really enjoyed reading your latest missive and found myself agreeing with it all, especially in respect to the comments from Strauss about building for 2019. Complete tosh and100% the wrong way to approach the task. This is unfortunately the view Stuart Lancaster took, when he took over control of the England Rugby Union team. He stated he wanted to build an experienced team for the World Cup in 2015. This has not been wholly successful and England will enter the tournament with a relatively inexperienced team (compared to other major nations) and questions about key positions that still need to be resolved. So I agree building for the future is not what we need……….

      Like

      • paulewart Apr 12, 2015 / 7:27 pm

        Thanks. To be clear, my point related to England players and journalists following the English game. I don’t believe the NZCB/ACA et al have drained the life out of their players to the same degree. Aggers et al were complaining about the players attitude even when they were winning. They were ‘hard to like.’

        Like

    • Pontiac Apr 13, 2015 / 1:44 am

      What really strikes me about English newspaper cricket journalists is how little they know about what’s going on in cricket outside the ECB and its XI. (At least, in how it’s represented in their writing.)

      And this kind of thing leads to the most astonishing pratfalls of analysis when put in contrast with events, with the World Cup being only the latest example.

      Do you think any of them even know what Jarrod Kimber is even talking about in his articles?

      Like

  30. SimonH Apr 12, 2015 / 6:38 pm

    Cook quoted in the Mail:

    ‘Every time you put on the England shirt you are expected to win. That is the English nature, but the West Indies are going to make it very hard for us. We had a do with the governor general, Sir Rodney Williams, and they were saying they wanted to beat us 3-0. They’re here to fight and we’ve got to expect, as I kept calling it, a war. We know we’re in for a hell of a battle.’

    “Put on the England shirt”? Cook loves that phrase.

    “Expected to win”? Against the 8th ranked nation with players at the IPL – yes. Is it that unreasonable?

    “That is the English nature”? FFS.

    “West Indies are going to make it very hard for us”? The cads!

    “They wanted to beat us 3-0”? The rotters!

    “Fight”? “War”? “Battle”? What must Gooch or Atherton think when then hear Cook talking of the current West Indies like that compared to what they faced?

    Am I being unfair or does that whole quotation feel like a not-so-coded whinge at Graves’ “mediocre” remark?

    Like

    • Mark Apr 12, 2015 / 7:04 pm

      “‘Every time you put on the England shirt you are expected to win. That is the English nature”

      Unlike Australia, or South Africa, or India who when they put their shirts go out for a laugh.

      “They’re here to fight and we’ve got to expect, as I kept calling it, a war. We know we’re in for a hell of a battle.’”

      I don’t know where to even begin with this crap. What was it Richie said? “The sinking of the Titanic was a tragedy , not a dropped catch”

      This is what a private education buy you these day? TINA, TINA, TINA!!!!

      Like

  31. Vinniemac Apr 12, 2015 / 6:42 pm

    Just read the BBC website’s report, which mentioned a 20-strong press pack having to sit on rickety benches? Is this what’s meant by “moving on”?

    Like

    • Mark Apr 12, 2015 / 8:19 pm

      “Andrew Strauss, captain until three years ago, has quietly announced his interest, and his closeness to the modern game, excelling in both main forms, may make him the ideal man.”

      Brenkley of course doesn’t point out the REAL reason he thinks Strauss is the ideal man. Namely, Strauss has said publicly that KP should not play again for England. That is the standard they all have to adhere to if they want to get the Brenkley vote. Nothing else matters!

      Like

      • Simon K Apr 12, 2015 / 11:02 pm

        Another guy who, as Nick Hoult put it, hasn’t spotted how the wind is blowing.

        Harrison/Graves won’t be appointing Strauss. It just isn’t happening. The whole point of the quiet revolution Harrison has started is to remove company men from responsible positions.

        Like

  32. thebogfather Apr 13, 2015 / 11:14 am

    Can’t leave you on 99*
    Less you carry on, another morn
    Taking 11 balls more to adorn
    Your score, so sublime
    With one…

    For the team, for us, for this Captain’s own need
    Just the one, not four, not for all, he bleeds

    Like

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