West Indies v England – 1st Test, Day 1 From Antigua

Sadly your happy host will be in an office building somewhere in London, but never mind. Here is the game thread for the 1st day of the test series between a host without some of its potential players off at the IPL, against a team looking to find an identity and get back to some winning ways.

Comments and observations on the comments below, as per the World Cup (I must do those scores) and I’ll see if I can chip in on here. Which reminds me, before I go to bed, I have to set up Sky Go on my tablet.



139 thoughts on “West Indies v England – 1st Test, Day 1 From Antigua

  1. MM Apr 12, 2015 / 11:23 pm

    In order to Go into the Sky I need to take my tablet? Crap, I think I’m going slightly mad.

    Prediction: England bat first and are 100-5 at stumps. Cook not out on 4, which came from a streaky drive just after tea. The other 96 runs came from Butler and wides.


  2. paulewart Apr 13, 2015 / 4:39 am

    Interesting. Especially the Gooch angle:

    For Cook there is a challenge too. He had made it clear he was affronted by the decision to drop him from the World Cup squad at the 11th hour, correct as that may have been. He has had three months to calm down, clear his mind and focus on his Test match batting. He has returned to Graham Gooch for help and as a result has opened up his stance a little in a move designed to stop him from playing round his front pad.


  3. BoerInAustria Apr 13, 2015 / 5:17 am

    Cook on Anderson – “He’s probably the most skilful bowler I’ve played against or with.”
    This is getting to be the new mantra.

    None the less – a milestone. Congratulation Jimmy.

    Cook on Cook: “I think my position should not really be a talking point as it has been over the last 15 months. I know it is, but I’m here for the most important thing – to help England win games of cricket. I feel I’ve still the energy to do that and the experience over the last three-and-a-half years to lead this young team forward.”


  4. @pktroll Apr 13, 2015 / 7:29 am

    For me, I see a laboured series victory with the Windies fragile batting order collapsing badly enough for England to take advantage. I wouldn’t be surprised though if an undercooked England, with many players not having played first class cricket for 8 months (i.e. since the last India test) put in a particularly putrid performance here.

    I therefore don’t think that there will be too many questions answered regarding the team’s quality and make up.


  5. thebogfather Apr 13, 2015 / 7:37 am

    Guess the ‘new cool’ dressing room XI for the test? (predictable edition)

    1. Cook – (C) and that’s a BIG C**T
    2. Trott – Best wishes, but the first session could be a bit attritional if ECBXI bat first
    3. Ballance – hope that GaryBallance being f’d about during GaryBallance winter hasn’t affected GaryBallance too much
    4. Root – please let him play without FEC pressure
    5. Bell – ‘sighs’ why? Move on – nothing new to see here
    6. Buttler – please move him up at least one place!
    7. Stokes – (appeases the btl rabble)
    8. Tredwell – best spinner in Kent 2nd XI, played so well carrying drinks at CWC
    9. whichever anonymous third seamer we don’t really want to use
    10. Anderson – need someone to bowl 25 overs per day and wear out before summer starts
    11. Broad – classy medium pacer, useful no.11 (to up Jimmy’s ‘not-out’ numbers)


  6. Mark Apr 13, 2015 / 9:02 am

    In the past a spring test series in the WI was something to look forward to. It’s a sad reflection on both nations that I anticiapte this years match up with nothing but a big yawn.

    My mood has not been improved by the growing rumours that Strauss is going to get the new job. Only rumours of course, and his chums in the establishment media are pushing hard for him. Even so it is very depressing.

    They seem to be trying to get the old band back together again. And in its original David Brent format. The full line up will be Stauss/Flower/Moores/Cook. A panacea of laptops, spread sheets, theodolites, and management think. And they will be wearing their original glam rock outfits of Blazers, Blazers and more bloody Blazers. Belting out their old hits like ‘ All you need is trust ‘ ‘Build, Build, Build ‘ and their number one smash hit. ‘Kevin doesn’t live here anymore.’ Celebrity fans were already buying tickets. The Mails glamour model Newman said “she’s delighted”. And the Independents fashion editor Brenkley said “he has been waiting 25 years for this moment” The Telegraphs former agony aunt, and now part time dustmen said ” nothing could have made me more happy.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 9:27 am

      Ha. That was funny, good work.


      • Mark Apr 13, 2015 / 9:44 am

        Thanks Vian,

        your point on the previous post about them not liking individuals is spot on. Blind obedience and square bashing is what they believe in.

        Even !ord Gower in a tiger moth gave them the vapours.


  7. Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 9:33 am

    England seem to have got themselves in a terrible muddle with the spinner position. They can’t talk about the importance of county runs and wickets and then choose Tredwell over Rashid, it’s a total nonsense. I am an admirer of Tredders, he’s been nothing but dependable for England and I will be pleased to see him get a cap (always nice to have someone I’ve hit for a few sixes get in the England side) but it would be absurd. It would also make the argument that Pietersen needs county runs redundant. Just confused thinking. Again.

    As for Anderson, he deserves his big day. He’s been a terrific bowler and too often (like always) there’s a focus on what he can’t do rather than what he can.


    • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 11:00 am

      To be fair, as a DPRY supporter, I’d candidly admit that Rashid has never reached his full potential as a bowler (although I blame England for a lot of that) and as such long term is more of an all rounder than a full time spinner.

      But, echoes of the disaster Down Under – if Rashid is a punt, why isn’t there a proper 4/5 day cricket spinner in the squad? Which brings us back to Monty, where again it’s hard not to feel that England are at least partly authors of their own problems.


      • Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 11:28 am

        It’s like anything, you can make arguments for and against any player you care to name. I’m not pro-Rashid as such, just making the point that he had a good year last year and Tredwell didn’t. So what’s the point of the county championship?


      • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 11:46 am

        To be clear, I’m not disagreeing with you.
        It’s been clear that since Duncan Fletcher, the England setup reflexively discounts the value of CC performance.
        I guess for me it also asks the question – how do you end up with a squad with Rashid who the coach/captain obviously don’t trust and Tredwell.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 12:40 pm

        Yes it’s weird. If they don’t rate Rashid then why select him? What’s the point? Compton was a classic case in point where they clearly didn’t want him, but felt they had to choose him reluctantly because of weight of runs. And then as soon as possible they dumped him.

        I don’t actually mind selectors taking a punt on a player, and thinking they might be perfect for Rest cricket even with a moderate record. That’s their job after all, to spot people who can do it even if the stats don’t back it up. What does annoy me is how they use county form as a crutch when it suits them. It’s self serving hypocrisy – which I’m sure doesn’t come as a shock to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 12:40 pm

        Test cricket. Obviously. Although it’s not a bad Freudian slip.


    • Mark Apr 13, 2015 / 12:07 pm

      George doesn’t see the point of the Downton job. What exactly will the role of the job be? He points out that Moores has said they don’t want another voice in the dressing room which is understandable.

      He also says who ever takes the job will have to believe in the coach otherwise it will be pointless. But is it really needed to pay someone £250 grand a year to do what exactly? As George says save the £250 thousand a year and play one less ODI.


  8. Grenville Apr 13, 2015 / 10:46 am

    I want to moan. The ECB are mistreating both their own players and the West Indians. The ECB’s viscious hatred of the IPL obviously does no favours for English players, both finacially and careerwise. Stokes, Hales, Butler, Ballance, Taylor, Broad, Anderson, Finn, Ali, Jordan, etc would all be better served playing in the IPL than in the CC or the Windies. Look what it has done for the Aussies. But the West Indies don’t need a conflicit between the board and the players. The ECB do it every year, strong arm some poor cricket board into providing opposition. It messes up that nations players’ IPL chances and creates bad blood with their board. How is that good for cricket?


  9. metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 11:22 am

    Thinking of the WI, maybe they are an answer to a conundrum I thought of:

    Are there any Test teams who were consistently poor despite having a truly talented bowling line up? (Obviously any team can lose when their batsmen have a bad day, but I’m curious about a genuine imbalance in talent.)


    • Grenville Apr 13, 2015 / 12:48 pm

      The current Pakistan team? At least on the rare occasions they get to play outside of the UAE. They have some bloody brilliant bowlers, but, away from home, they have not been very good. Maybe.


      • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 3:49 pm

        Interesting thought about Pakistan. Some WI teams of recent vintage may also qualify.
        What interests me is the proposal that actually the crucial part of team dev for Test cricket is developing and selecting a fearsome attack. Batting isn’t irrelevant, but is maybe easier to fix than the bowling… If you have good bowling you’ll be more competitive than if you good batting…


  10. Tom Apr 13, 2015 / 12:40 pm

    Hate to ask this here as it’s so off-topic, but whenever I try to go to the TFT site I keep getting pop-adverts. I’d ask about this there but the pop-ups are becoming a real pain. I’ve cleaned my system of cookies etc but it keeps happening but only started a few days ago.

    Once again, apologies for bringing this up here, this is my favourite cricket blog after all, but the TFT is not far behind.

    Thanks for indulging me, everyone.



    • Mark Apr 13, 2015 / 1:01 pm

      Just been on to their site and no problems. No pop up adds.

      Sorry can’t help.

      You could always try e mailing them, but the problem may be your end.


      • Tom Apr 13, 2015 / 1:10 pm

        Thank you, Mark. It’s reassuring you don’t see the same problem and agree the problem is most likely on my end. I spent ages yesterday trying to fix the problem, but since I’ve not seen anyone else complain I do think it’s something I need to fix.

        I’ll try a few other things first and if they aren’t successful will drop a line to TFT.

        Thank you again.


    • Zephirine Apr 13, 2015 / 2:14 pm

      Yes, me too, Tom – little ribbon ones along the bottom of the page, very annoying. But I got one on something else today so it may not be TFT’s fault.


      • Tom Apr 13, 2015 / 2:34 pm

        Thanks, Zeph, at least I know it’s not just me!

        Anyone surprised Trott is out early? It didn’t strike me as if was in the best of form in that last England vs. England & St Kitts match. I really thought Lyth would get a go, but what do I know about cricket?


      • Benny Apr 13, 2015 / 4:37 pm

        Try Malwarebytes.com Might fix it, it’s very good.


      • Benny Apr 13, 2015 / 4:39 pm

        Sorry that’s .org not .com


    • ZeroBullshit Apr 13, 2015 / 3:09 pm

      I haven’t noticed any pop-up ads either. Hope it is sorted for you soon.


    • escort Apr 13, 2015 / 4:10 pm

      i was getting the same problem Tom. Annoying!!


    • MM Apr 13, 2015 / 4:34 pm

      Yes, Tom I’ve tried four different computers and there are pop-ups each time. It started the end of last week, yes. I’ve changed four different browsers as well. Same each time.

      Thought maybe Pringley or Selvsey had done a malicious hack!


  11. Silk Apr 13, 2015 / 1:38 pm


    I’ve said it before and I’ll bore you with it again. I’ll say it before the series starts so I can’t be accused of hindsight.

    We have put a guy in to open who

    – Bats at 4 for his county (has he /ever/ opened in FC cricket?)
    – Recently returned from a breakdown of some sort
    – Is vulnerable to the short ball
    – Was in a poor extended run of form before he took a break from cricket.

    IMHO this is a very bad decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 1:47 pm

      You’re not boring me.

      Listening to Cook talk about a “young side” is boring me. Listening to people thinking it’s still 2011 when they mention Cook and Trott is boring me. Everyone saying they’re surprised about the West Indies choosing to bowl at a bloke who doesn’t like the short ball and a bloke who’s a candidate for lbw and/or nick off is boring me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      Oh look.



    • BoerInAustria Apr 13, 2015 / 2:33 pm

      See my conspiracy theory on this under “Upstairs” in response to Rohans first post


    • Zephirine Apr 13, 2015 / 2:49 pm

      Trott is reputed to be very well liked by all, and indeed he seems like a really nice guy. I do wonder, though, whether if people really liked him and cared about his welfare, they might have advised him to go down the Trescothick route and have a splendid and less stressful career with his county, who no doubt would love to have him with them all the time.

      But of course England have had a Trott-shaped hole in their batting since he left. And that is oh, so much more important.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Silk Apr 13, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    We are batting. This session is a big test for Cook and Trott. If they survive it I’m pretty sure we’ll win the series. If not, who knows.


    • BoerInAustria Apr 13, 2015 / 1:47 pm

      Ramdin obviously not worried to bat last against the mighty Monty…. oh….
      Seriously, good pressure on Cook and Trott


  13. Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    Smacks of the Windies not wanting to lose the Test in the first session to me.


  14. @pktroll Apr 13, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    Unless it’s going to rag square from the start it seems rather strange to me. I see a good opportunity to put a big score on the board.


    • Silk Apr 13, 2015 / 3:28 pm

      My question is more what it means to bowl poorly.

      I’m /sure/ that Tredwell was tigher. He’s bound to have gone for less runs.

      The question is did he bowl any deliveries that would have threatened a top class batsman? And did Rashid?

      With one spinner, surely he’s there to pick up wickets. Not ‘keep things tight’.


  15. Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 2:12 pm

    Six inches of carry….


  16. Grumpy Gaz Apr 13, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    I’m getting this really strange feeling of deja vu….


  17. Pontiac Apr 13, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    1/1 after 1.

    Then 22/2 after 8.

    Will it be 333/3 after 64? I doubt it.

    At least Cook did get one cover drive in.


    • Pontiac Apr 13, 2015 / 3:34 pm

      So close to 33/3 after 16, though…


  18. Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 2:42 pm

    “You can’t pick an England team based on past achievements”, they cry as one.

    Unless it’s Cook and Trott you’re picking, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. BoerInAustria Apr 13, 2015 / 2:43 pm

    So far a great call from Ramdin.


  20. SimonH Apr 13, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    According to the pitch map, 86% of West Indies’ deliveries to Cook were Full/Good Length. One that bowled him rated Full. They had a plan and stuck to it.

    Roach hasn’t been express pace (nothing I’ve seen over 86 kph) but excellent line and length.


    • SimonH Apr 13, 2015 / 3:03 pm

      D’oh! Meant mph of course.


      • Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 3:51 pm

        For a moment I thought I had a chance of a Test call up there…

        Liked by 1 person

  21. @pktroll Apr 13, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    So Mr ‘Not so nice but dim’ makes his merry way off. Roach has been rather good v left handers in the past, I particularly remember him making a fool of Warner a couple of years ago or so. However by all accounts he is short of his former pace at the moment. He didn’t look all that in the world cup and hobbled off injured when Windies were in SA.


  22. Pontiac Apr 13, 2015 / 2:49 pm

    Antigua. Curtly Ambrose has been working with the bowlers for a few months now, and he surely would understand what the surface is like in Antigua. There seems to be a plan with the bowling. Maybe a coincidence. Maybe not.


  23. "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 13, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    Geoffrey’s been a bit of a demon over on TMS…telling it like it is…Ed Smith couldn’t even offer a stuttering reply, tried to change the subject all the time…commentary gold!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart Apr 13, 2015 / 3:51 pm

      Ed Smith is an appalling sycophant. Has he been telling stories about his running into celebrities yet….which was nice….or discussing stats and approaches that have nothing to do with cricket?


      • MM Apr 13, 2015 / 4:43 pm

        Ed will use an entire library when a simple sentence would do.


      • Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 7:05 pm

        Whose bright idea was it to start two consecutive sessions with Ed Smith and Tim Lovejoy? I think I’d sooner listen to Henry Blofeld sing ‘Barbie Girl’ by Aqua.


  24. Boz Apr 13, 2015 / 3:29 pm

    Well, they’re mediocre aren’t they!!!


  25. Mark Apr 13, 2015 / 3:36 pm

    The usual suspects will be blaming Graves for his comments about the WI in 5 4 3 2 1……..

    “It was the modern version of making them grovel don’t you know”

    Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Apr 13, 2015 / 3:48 pm

        That’s hilarious. We all feared the world cup might mess up Ballance. We all know cook’s limitation. Dear god.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Apr 13, 2015 / 3:52 pm

        Yes, Mike, ‘cos it’s all Colin Graves fault that England haven’t been able to bat or bowl to a reasonable standard for the last two years. What happened to your ‘it’s the players who bat and bowl’ thesis? No, it’s all Colin’s fault ‘cos he sacked your mate innit…..


      • paulewart Apr 13, 2015 / 4:01 pm

        Mike really doesn’t get modern life, does he?


      • Mark Apr 13, 2015 / 4:02 pm

        How predictable, like night follows day, Selvey blames everyone but the golden boy.

        Never mind Selvey, 200 will probably be enough. So all is not lost.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 4:17 pm

        Absolutely beautiful.


      • hatmallet Apr 13, 2015 / 4:34 pm

        It was unnecessary from Graves. True, but unnecessary.

        Problem is – if the Windies are mediocre (and they are) and beat England…


      • Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 4:52 pm

        Absolutely. You can say it wasn’t a good thing for Graves to come out with, you can say it was a bit disrespectful. What you can’t do is associate England having a stinker of a morning with the Chairman-elect’s comments.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Silk Apr 13, 2015 / 5:50 pm

        Graves said it to set Moores up for the sack.

        Anyway Brenkley said something similar. So it must be right.


  26. Silk Apr 13, 2015 / 3:36 pm

    I suspected that Ballance wouldn not find batting at 3 in 2015 as easy as he found batting at 3 in 2014.

    We shall see.


  27. Zephirine Apr 13, 2015 / 3:40 pm

    Selvey’s tweets (as quoted in the G over-by-over) seem quite gloaty. Anybody else think Colin Graves is rapidly being assigned the place next to KP in the Hall of Hate?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 3:47 pm

      By what measure could the West Indies NOT be described as mediocre? It was impolitic, but correct. Just because England are playing shit against them doesn’t make it less true.


    • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 3:53 pm

      I think it’s part that and part trying to distract from the Brains Trust strategy of Cook & Trott looking less than amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 3:59 pm


      • Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 4:21 pm

        Open a book on how many words Selvey devotes to Graves in his report. I’m going full para, ton-plus.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 4:34 pm

        Well he’d have to talk about England looking terrified (as usual) and startled rabbits, plus focus on Cook failing if he didn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Tom Apr 13, 2015 / 3:48 pm

    No doubt there is some steely captaincy going on in the dressing room right now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lionel joseph Apr 13, 2015 / 4:12 pm

      There is little doubt in my mind that the tea alastair cook is making everyone right now will have added steel in it. And this is where he excels as a captain.

      Steely tea.

      Strong, steely tea from a man from the right family.


  29. Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 3:57 pm

    I see Benn is turning the ball significantly on the first morning of the match.

    So obviously another fine piece of selection to leave out a player who spins the ball then.


  30. Danno Apr 13, 2015 / 4:07 pm

    So, we are much better at Test cricket. England 49-3 at lunch on the first day.


  31. paulewart Apr 13, 2015 / 4:08 pm

    I may be in a minority but I think Colin Graves has got all the big calls right thus far. Turn the PR was around by insisting that all players should be available for selection, check. Give county cricket a boost by making all players available for selection, check. Keep everyone on their toes by making all players available for selection, check. Tell the underperforming captain to concentrate on his cricket, check. Make it clear that England are in the results business, check. He can’t lose: if England win he’s motivated them, if they lose he gets to start with a clean slate, the preferable option, one would imagine. Those correspondents blaming England’s poor performance on Graves really need to take a look at themselves. Did he call Australia mediocre in 2013 or Bangladesh this winter?


  32. What What Apr 13, 2015 / 4:09 pm

    Ballance is loving that number 10.


  33. paulewart Apr 13, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    Is Mike Selvey calling the Chairman Elect an idiot? Not very politic. He must be out of the loop. Either that or demob happy.


    • hatmallet Apr 13, 2015 / 4:39 pm

      Obviously feeling a bit disengaged as Graves is talking to the likes of Hoult and not him.

      Liked by 1 person

    • dvyk Apr 13, 2015 / 4:40 pm

      Demob happy… hahahaha


  34. "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 13, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    Whittaker will be overjoyed…Gary Ballance, Gary Ballance!


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 13, 2015 / 4:21 pm

      Whitaker is with Flower today at Taunton. What’s the first word that pops in your head?


      • Rav Roberts Apr 13, 2015 / 4:35 pm

        Cider. Lots of it.


      • hatmallet Apr 13, 2015 / 4:37 pm

        Some bloke there took a five-fer yesterday and followed it up with an unbeaten hundred today.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Apr 13, 2015 / 5:12 pm



  35. Rav Roberts Apr 13, 2015 / 4:43 pm

    Don’t tell me. We’re going to give this new, young fellow Collingwood a go this summer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine Apr 13, 2015 / 5:08 pm

      Hehe, if only…

      “I can remember you when you were a little mouse who never spoke except when you were playing darts with Steve Harmison, Cooky, so don’t give me all this stuff about you being Sir Lancelot and the Holy Grail combined. Just pop down and fetch me sandwiches, there’s a good lad. As for Peter Moores, I didn’t listen to him last time and I’m not listening to him now.”


  36. metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 4:57 pm

    I have a feeling Root and Bell are going to put down a solid platform.


  37. metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 5:14 pm

    Time for some analysis. Rubbish shot from G. Ballance – he got too impatient.
    Cook – well it appears top Test teams know how to get him out, some serious work needed in the nets I suspect.
    Trott – first game in a long while, but not a convincing advert for him to open. Better to have blooded Lyth and put Trott in for Ballance perhaps…


    • paulewart Apr 13, 2015 / 5:29 pm

      Now then….we’re frequenlty told there’s no space in the middle order as all our batsmen are playing so well. Imagine the furore if a 33 years old South African born batsman, recently returned from a year out of top flight international ciricket were to replace a young English buck in the middle oder. Absurd! Impossible! Implausible?


    • Grenville Apr 13, 2015 / 5:40 pm

      After his showing last summer, it would be bad policy to drop Ballance. Cook on the other hand…

      Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 5:42 pm

        Of course the logical person to drop is Cook.
        Or actually, I could even see the logic in just playing Lyth and not Trott.
        But neither of those seem to fit the England coaching plan.


      • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 5:45 pm

        For me, as a DPRY fan, Ballance looks out of sorts after being mismanaged at the WC.
        He’d do better for England for some time in the middle in CC.


      • Grenville Apr 13, 2015 / 5:53 pm

        The interesting thing, to me, is that you are probably right. But being the player in possession with a good track record must count for something. Maybe the fetish for consistent selection is just that. Ballance might well be disheartened if, after their handling of him in the winter, they dropped him.


      • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 5:59 pm

        @Grenville – I’m probably too keen to fiddle with the selection, but I do think England have sealed off the team from CC a bit too much – esp. young players. At the same time, it’s probably at least in part just a badly scheduled tour as much as anything.


      • Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 8:07 pm

        I would think Ballance would explode if he was dropped and Cook stayed in the team. And that’s the problem – how can Cook deliver the news, they’re just going to look at him and think how unreasonable it is.


  38. @pktroll Apr 13, 2015 / 6:07 pm

    For years on other forums I have been a big critic of IR Bell, because when it seemed that he could go on and do something special he found failure on the cusp of success. The first several years of scoring pretty little fifties, but generally falling flat on his face too often against the very big attacks, the two years of fine batting from the South Africa series onwards then followed by 18 months of real mediocrity. Then he had a wonderful home Ashes, that makes one think that he’s cracked it again, only to rather fall flat on his face again post that period. Although it is also good fun to wind up his more significant fans (well one in particular about how his record stacks up when you delete runs versus Bangladesh).

    However, at this moment in time, he is the best batsman in that side, with Ballance and Root unproven against top class pace attacks and Cook of course being so utterly out of sorts. He’s looked good so far today and has steadied the ship pretty well.

    I note what is being said above re Selvey and his comments on Graves. What a sad pillock. I cannot say anything more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 6:11 pm

      I don’t think anyone enjoys the fact of what Graves said, but watching Holder bowl, you have to say, the mighty WI have fallen a long way. If this England team aims to be competitive against South Africa later this year, well Graves is right, WI should be beaten.


      • @pktroll Apr 13, 2015 / 6:17 pm

        Perhaps as the cricket board Chairman he perhaps shouldn’t be saying what he did re Windies, but objectively he really isn’t wrong. As someone who grew up idolising Windies quicks it does hurt to hear it, but it is not wrong about this lot.


      • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 6:25 pm

        It wasn’t good PR, England’s history with the cricket playing nations (largely Empire and Commonwealth nations in the past) means we don’t need our admins to be looking arrogant.
        Still, it’s hardly like he breezed in and sacked the top scoring batsman from the last series…

        Liked by 1 person

  39. metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 6:28 pm

    Oh FFS, I can’t believe I’m seeing Root get physio for a bad back on the playing field.
    Sack the lot of them, starting with the medical staff.


  40. SimonH Apr 13, 2015 / 6:48 pm

    “It would be an irresponsible absurdity not to dedicate ourselves to Cook’s continuing Captaincy for the next 2-3 years”.

    Only 2-3 years?

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 6:52 pm

      Is that a quote from someone BTL at TFT?
      That was such a non-sequitur of a post…


      • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 7:09 pm

        (I mean that comment on TFT was such a non-sequitur, not your post, SimonH)


      • SimonH Apr 13, 2015 / 7:10 pm

        It is indeed.

        Perhaps it is mere trolling but it’s written with the kind of pained earnestness and tortured logic that reads to me like it’s actually meant seriously. And from the moniker I’m guessing the source.

        Somebody’s now going to say they know it’s a prank……


  41. Silk Apr 13, 2015 / 6:59 pm

    Sadly for KP this is panning out much as I suspected it will.

    The openers are not going to cut it.

    Ballance is a question mark at 3, but clearly has enough credit in the bank to score 30 runs total this series and still start against NZ.

    Root and Bell are, by a long way, our best batsmen.

    So unless

    – We go with six batsmen (unlikely with Ali and Stokes available)
    – Root’s back goes
    – Root goes back to opening (with Lyth, please!)

    KP is going to have to hope for an ODI or T20 recall, I think.


    • metatone Apr 13, 2015 / 7:10 pm

      That was smart of you, it only really occurred to me today, upthread when I was posting about Cook, Trott and Ballance. KP is extra screwed because if they are committed to rehabilitating Trott, he’s bound to be put in at 3 if Ballance is sent back to CC to improve.


  42. Boz Apr 13, 2015 / 7:14 pm

    I’ve had enough

    (Wisden) the governing body “repeatedly lost touch with the basic idea that the national team belongs to us all”

    This notion has stuck with me for several days. Gearing up to hear how England would play West Indies with all the recent history and pyschosis logged and understood – I could not bear to listen or watch what was happening. I could not bring myself to watch Cook bat. The ECB and that includes the players, have for some 18 months now, set out to challenge anyone to contradict their own world view. I have no respect for any of these people. I have no respect for the ECB as an organisation. I am not interested in their development. I don’t care if everybody else wants to follow them. I’ve had it.

    This England set up is not interested in what I think. Its acolytes don’t care. This England set up stands only for itself. It has robbed the country of a potential asset purely for its own benefit. It is no longer ‘our’ team it is their team. It troubles me that others can see this situation clearly and yet still support it. Yes, some will argue to support the team does not mean that ECB support follows. I don’t think that divide is helpful, they are one and the same. On the face of it nothing appears to have changed. The team are still dull and boring. The archane system is still in place although some ‘change’ may happen in time. The fundamentals remain. Cricket in the UK is a dwindling middle class sport played essentially by public schoolboys with a sense of entitlement at the top level, stolen from the public. They can have it and I am more than happy to be ‘outside’, the air is fresh and there’s much joy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine Apr 13, 2015 / 8:34 pm

      I don’t support ‘Alastair Cook’s England (TM)’. That’s not the national side, it’s not made up of the best players in the country and the captain is in his position for non-cricketing reasons. And given that they’re being paid a lot of money (which ultimately comes from sports fans) to represent the country and to be the best, the setup is either incompetent or corrupt, you decide.

      I do support some of the players and will, for instance, be sad if Trott suffers again. I want Buttler to do well. I like to see Bell silence his critics, if only temporarily.

      But I watch England now with a detached interest, like watching unfunny clowns at the circus. One knows the wheels will fall off the car – they do – there’s a lot of running around and then we’re supposed to applaud.

      None of it delights me like reading about Paul Collingwood starting the season in style. Now that’s cricket.

      Liked by 1 person

      • MM Apr 13, 2015 / 9:48 pm

        Zephirine, I was with you 100% every word until the last sentence. Nothing against Collie at all. I just prefer to hear about… oh, that don’t matter today. I was with you the rest of the way, though.

        Well batted to Rooty, Belly, and espeshly (and presumably) Stokesy.


  43. Maggie Apr 13, 2015 / 7:15 pm

    The usual suspects will be torturing themselves with the mental image of KP deep in his underground lair, stroking a white cat and laughing manically.

    And if Graves ill timed comment is responsible for the Windies playing better than expected could he not just say “That England, they’re a bit shit” and instantly turn them into world beaters?

    Liked by 1 person

  44. lionel joseph Apr 13, 2015 / 7:29 pm

    shush. don’t remind the windies about what Graves said. It was obviously at the front of their bowlers’ minds when they were bowling at Cook, Trott and Gary Ballance Gary Ballance Gary Ballance.

    Since then they have forgotten his words and reverted to mediocrity.


  45. Vian Apr 13, 2015 / 8:19 pm

    Bell has been superb today. He and Root absolutely rescued England. It does create a problem in that it’s rather hard to avoid the issue of Cook and his lack of runs. Ok, it’s the first innings of the first Test. But I couldn’t see much evidence of a technical improvement there today, he looked to have exactly the same issues. It’s not that he can’t score runs when it’s pitched up to him, it’s that he can’t even stay in.


    • MM Apr 13, 2015 / 9:54 pm

      “It’s not that he can’t score runs when it’s pitched up to him, it’s that he can’t even stay in”

      True, and he’s bulletproof. Useless and bulletproof.


    • Zephirine Apr 13, 2015 / 10:17 pm

      He doesn’t have to score runs, or stay in. He’s Alastair Cook. It’s enough – more than enough – that he’s there. It shouldn’t be a talking point.


      • MM Apr 13, 2015 / 10:32 pm

        Like an impotent omnipotent being, in fact!


  46. Jomesy Apr 13, 2015 / 8:47 pm

    Cook is chewing his t-shirt in the same way my 2yr old daughter does. This is the England captain, and on my screen he and Broad are having a great time. We were less than 50 for 3 at lunch and despite a good partership between bell/root and now bell/stokes…nobody should be chewing their shirt and laughing as though we’ve got 500 on them.


  47. paulewart Apr 13, 2015 / 9:16 pm

    Where’s Mike Selvey now?
    Yes, Colin, talk now.
    Ok Mike, I expect us to beat a mediocre West Indies side. Are you there Mike? Mike?
    Oh. and for the record I’m not an idiot and you’ll be getting no scraps from my table.


  48. What What Apr 13, 2015 / 9:44 pm

    Face palm at the night watchman for Buttler.


    • Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 9:48 pm

      The non-striking nightwatchman? Cook in a bloody nutshell. Learned nothing – nothing at all – from our last tour of the Caribbean, when Anderson went in at 304-1, took up 53 balls and 70 minutes, and West Indies drew the game with one wicket in hand:



      • dvyk Apr 14, 2015 / 6:19 am

        Yes, I remember that too. And I remember Anderson another time (in Aust last time I think) as nightwatchman taking a quick single off the first ball of an over and getting the recognised batsman on strike, who promptly got out.

        They probably need a few more coaches to explain this kind of highly technical stuff. Maybe a nightwatchman coach!


      • Arron Wright Apr 14, 2015 / 6:27 am

        Anderson did that three times: to Flintoff in India 08/09, Collingwood v Aus at Headingley in 09, and another occasion a couple of years later (possibly the one you recall).


      • @pktroll Apr 14, 2015 / 9:59 am

        I’m afraid it is rather an England team obsession that can’t be totally blamed on Cook. It has always been rather popular and even under Fletcher/Vaughan, poor old Hoggy was often sent in to do the work that some of the upper order players were reluctant to. I hate it as a rule and it seems especially unnecessary when the team is in a good position.


  49. thebogfather Apr 14, 2015 / 7:01 am

    Day One – quick review…

    Lose toss, get put in, Cookie says he’d have batted anyway

    Opening partnership…
    Captain without relevant ton in two years whose technique has been found out and has three months off to prepare to ‘farm’ the bowling, lacking in confidence but plenty of crease time v the mighty St Kitts/Nevis/ECB XIIIIIII

    New opening partner, an over 30 non-opener who has just returned to the international scene after a year or so, scoring 2 runs in 2 innings in the high quality warm-up, sadly lacking in confidence and crease time

    Number 3 – A batsman who, having had a great summer last year, was thrown as a lamb to slaughter at the CWC, sadly lacking in confidence and crease time

    Number 4 – Scratchy start until Number 5 came in and wrested the initiative, then both played very well and upped the rate from less than 2po towards 4po by tea, shame both got out when Daddy tons were there for the taking. Still quality batting.

    Number 6 – ignored for CWC as ECB still thought of him as bowling all-rounder, showed what having a middle order batsman who can take the game away from the opposition can do when allowed to ‘play his way’

    Night watching man from the other end – did his job as upgraded drinks carrier perfectly


  50. SimonH Apr 14, 2015 / 9:49 am

    Selvey’s first line:

    “Two teams, one of them, England, down on their uppers these past six months or so and under intense scrutiny and the other labelled mediocre by the ECB chairman-elect, Colin Graves, contrived to produce an enthralling opening day to their three-Test series”.

    Newman’s first line:

    “For two hours at the start of a Test match that England cannot afford to lose it was possible to believe that Colin Graves’ description of West Indies as ‘mediocre’ would have the same motivating effect as Tony Greig saying he would make them grovel”.

    Selvey does at least eschew further references (earlier drafts would make interesting reading though!) but not Newman – he manages two more and the last session becomes the time when “West Indies were looking much more like the side who Graves dismissed so disrespectfully”.

    Now just someone else Newman needs to shoehorn in –

    “a new era that has struggled to blossom under the giant shadow that continues to be cast over England by Kevin Pietersen”

    – and his work is done.

    I’ve had some pops at Brenkley so fair play to him that he doesn’t mention Graves (although he does spend six paragraphs on Trott’s dismissal compared to one on Cook’s). Dean Wilson mentions Graves once. And the Guardian thread is so awful I gave up before the 50th comment…..


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