West Indies v England – 1st Test, 4th Day

Comments as per usual. Not going to be round much today. So I’ll leave you in Alastair Cook’s capable declaration hands if it comes to that.

100 thoughts on “West Indies v England – 1st Test, 4th Day

  1. Arron Wright Apr 16, 2015 / 11:37 am


    • Arron Wright Apr 16, 2015 / 11:38 am


      • dvyk Apr 16, 2015 / 11:51 am

        Right, like calling the incoming ECB chairman an idiot, or poor Stokes a “numpty”.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Grenville Apr 16, 2015 / 12:22 pm

        It is a bit like the liar paradox: ‘all analysts are wrong’.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 12:00 pm

      It’s extraordinary indeed that someone who calls himself the “analyst” can’t see the clear technical failings that are the reason why.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Apr 16, 2015 / 12:09 pm

        And yet he was so hard-headed and pragmatic when it came to the permanent dropping of another player.

        The longer this goes on, the clearer it becomes that support and mitigation for Cook has very little to do with cricket as most of us observe it. Hell, we knew as much nearly a year ago, but it genuinely has gone beyond even my expectations now.

        (I take it you’ve seen Berry’s balls as well…)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 12:23 pm

        Seen it, commented on the article and largely ignored the point about the balls as unworthy of comment. Others have made it clear.

        In Berry’s case, I rather doubt it’s much to do with trying to shore Cook up – he’s never been one of those. It’s more that his journalism is downright peculiar. It veers from the incisive and thoughtful to the preposterous, without much in between. This is the preposterous kind.

        I can’t make him out. He doesn’t think much of Bell for some reason, and wanted him dropped a year ago despite being our best batsman for a few years now – though we are coming to the point where we may need to consider Root as such – which was equally weird.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 12:38 pm

        I was amused to see our Jackie launch a furious defence of the Beloved over the run out though.


      • Arron Wright Apr 16, 2015 / 1:17 pm


        Having now read the comments, can I just say that “philspace” should stick to Private Eye!

        “Cook is a great captain in comparison to what went before with the exception of only Strauss, Brearley, and maybe Gatting..”

        Where the hell do you start with that one?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 1:20 pm

        He’s been insistent that England are going to demolish Australia this summer too.

        The other article on the Telegraph from Vaughan has caused an interesting chat on technique that you might find interesting.


      • OscarDaBosca Apr 16, 2015 / 3:27 pm

        @Vian Thanks for your technique insight on the Telegraph it was very interesting.


    • escort Apr 16, 2015 / 7:21 pm

      This sort of thing only happens briefly to high class players.


  2. metatone Apr 16, 2015 / 12:14 pm

    Free the Yorkshire 4!
    Held hostage and made to watch mind-numbing cricketing decisions, with no hope of playing!
    Bairstow, Plunkett, Lyth, Rashid.
    Sign the petition now to let them range free in county cricket, rather than living a life of indentured servitude carrying drinks for men who have “the right sort of family…”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grenville Apr 16, 2015 / 12:23 pm

      Love it.


  3. dvyk Apr 16, 2015 / 12:18 pm

    Does anyone know what made Moores use two openers both of whom have considerable mental and technical issues — well known to the opposition — to bat together?

    Also, I keep reading various accounts of what Cook’s problem is, but it seems to me that he has several issues. Bowlers like to get him fishing outside off, or they try to bowl him through the gate from either over or around the wicket, or they try to get him LBW. SL nearly had him LB three times in the one brief innings, before finally trapping him in front. This all looks really bad for Cook — that bowlers either say it explicitly beforehand what their plan is (and then joke about it afterwards) or signal it obviously (as with lbw in Sri Lanka) and simply keep on trying it until it works.

    Selvey claims it simply a lapse in concentration, but it looks to me more like there must be several flaws. And if it’s only about having the wrong mindset, as others have suggested, then I would humbly submit that this in a batsman of such experience and supposed “inner steel” should also be counted as a technical flaw in itself.

    There is every chance that the bowlers will become confused and get mixed up about which method to use to get him out and wind up too wide (and getting cut for 4) or too straight (and getting clipped of the pads for 4). I actually hope this happens in the next test, because I don’t want him to be dropped. As infuriating as all this is, no one does high farce like the ECB, and these last 18 months have been the funniest I’ve ever seen from them. (Really, the 2006 whitewash looked valiant and dignified compared to the this last one, and since then it’s just turned into pure vaudeville.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Apr 16, 2015 / 12:26 pm

      I want him dropped, because until he takes the time to fix his technique problems, things are not going to get better. And generally (even if you’re Sachin Tendulkar, going by his travails) the spotlight of Test cricket is a terrible place to fix your technique.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 12:28 pm

      I’ll copy and paste what I wrote about his technical stuff:

      He has a few, and they’re all related. His head is still way too far over to the offside. What that means is that he doesn’t line the ball up properly and plays around the front pad. He’s tried to cope with this by opening up his stance a bit so the front leg doesn’t go so far across the straight ball, but that’s the symptom, not the cause. The same problem is why he ends up reaching for the ball outside off stump.

      Fundamentally, he’s not balanced. His first innings dismissal demonstrated that by the way his feet moved AFTER the stumps had been hit, you do that when your body weight and your feet aren’t coordinated.

      His technical issues are quite major. Now, he’s never had the purest technique, but his head is so far over to off he doesn’t have a chance at the moment. If you watch Gary Ballance (I’m not holding him up as the purest example, just the easiest to compare) then for a straight ball his head is directly above the line of the ball. When the same ball is bowled to Cook, his head is outside the line of off stump. Everything else stems from that.

      Now I’m not blithely saying oh it’s easy, that’s all you have to do, because it’s a really hard thing to change and takes months to programme the muscle memory. But Cook has never had great foot movement, and that bit wouldn’t worry me. It’s that his weight is across not forward or back. Even when he plays forward you can see that unbalanced positioning. This second innings his front foot was still in the air when he edged it – again it’s a fundamental lack of balance.

      There are some pretty good international level batting coaches who are talking about this on things like Twitter. Not critically, but with concern. They can’t see any change from how he has been the last two years when he’s struggled and that’s not good at all. I really thought the three months off would have been spent correcting this stuff and I’m deeply disappointed he doesn’t seem to have done so.

      His driving never worries me. Even when all is well he’s not that good at it, but it doesn’t matter. You know he’s truly purring when he bends the front knee a bit into the drive, but even when he doesn’t his great strength is patience. It’s easy to say oh just pitch it up, but there’s no team in the world that can maintain that discipline endlessly if they can’t get him out. His trouble is that they are getting him out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Apr 16, 2015 / 1:28 pm

        One curious aspect of Cook’s Test decline is that when he has had a rare chance to bat outside the Test arena he has still made some big runs. At the start of 2014 he played 3 CC matches and made a stack of runs (average 77 with 2 centuries). He made 150 against Australia A.

        There has also been the fact that the England’s last three long-serving captains suffered significant dips in their batting returns. Hussain had a long drought in the middle of his tenure. Vaughan returns declined although this was usually blamed on injury. Strauss had a long decline that was rather glossed over because the team were winning.

        Put these two factors together and I’m inclined to think there is a hefty dose of the psychological in Cook’s troubles. If it is all technique, why is he scoring CC and warm-up match runs? Wouldn’t he fail in those too? When he has become the fourth captain running to experience a slump as captain doesn’t it start to look like a trend?

        It seems to me that there is something toxic in the England set-up that impacts on the captain. It has to be specific to England because other nations’ captains don’t seem to experience this (and nobody’s telling me that captaining Australia, Pakistan or South Africa isn’t massively pressurized). It isn’t the number of matches (Australia play as much), it isn’t the media (think ours are worse than Australia when they’re losing?) and it isn’t the politics (ECB politics are easy compared to Pakistan, SL or SA). I don’t know what it is (and it probably isn’t a single thing) but there is something there that goes beyond the technique of one batsman.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 1:33 pm

        Because technical faults only get exposed against a higher standard of bowling essentially. Cook is absolutely all over the shop at the moment, of course it’s going to be more obvious when he’s facing better standards than the St Kitts side.

        It doesn’t mean there aren’t psychological elements to it as well, the lack of runs becomes a self-perpetuating and circular problem in terms of the confidence. But the way you get out of that is with a solid technique that you can fall back on. Right now he just doesn’t have it.

        Compare how he is batting technically now with how he was four years ago. He was far more upright and would hit the straight ball more or less back where it came from. Now he doesn’t.


      • metatone Apr 16, 2015 / 1:46 pm

        To add to what Vian was saying, his 3 CC matches weren’t against the strongest bowling attacks (not his fault, just the way the scheduling panned out – plus Essex being in Div 2.) I seem to recall that Cutting put in a good spell in that Australia A game, but the rest were not on top form.


      • SimonH Apr 16, 2015 / 2:09 pm

        Cook’s technical problems seem so manifest I’d have thought decent f/c bowlers could exploit them.

        There seems to be a pattern with long-term England captains that they start off with a burst of run-scoring but then a decline sets in that they can’t find a way out of (except Nasser to some extent).

        A solid basic technique helps of course. Chanderpaul and Graeme Smith both went over two years without a test century (in Chanderpaul’s case twice). Collingwood also had that long fallow run before the 135 against SA at Edgbaston (25 innings I think that was). All had somewhat unorthodox techniques, especially a dominant bottom hand. Cook’s feet and head positioning have deservedly attracted most of the attention but I wonder too about his grip. His top hand position seems to me to make straight batted shots very difficult.

        However going back to England captains Vaughan had as pure a technique as one could find and he couldn’t get out of his captaincy batting slump.


      • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 2:22 pm

        Even a player struggling will get runs sometimes. It’s not like he’s had 33 ducks, he’s got 9 fifties in that time. So I’m not really sure why you would find it surprising he does better when faced with lesser bowling.

        As for the captaincy, I don’t think you can ignore the wider evidence that it’s by no means inevitable at all. I don’t really see it happening with other countries much when you look at their own captains.


      • SimonH Apr 16, 2015 / 3:10 pm

        It isn’t like Cook must a few runs in those game – he made three centuries and averaged nearly a hundred. I’m not “surprised” Cook made more runs against lesser attacks but that is some heavy run-scoring.

        In response to Metatone, the Australia A match was played on a road but then Cook has had a few roads in his long barren Test run and hasn’t capitalized. Cook’s 181 last summer was against Derbyshire including Footitt and the next highest score was 56.

        As for runs made by other team’s captains, given that my argument is specifically about the current and recent England set-up, what does that prove?


      • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 3:13 pm

        It proves that drawing firm conclusions from a small dataset is extremely risky.


  4. metatone Apr 16, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    Bob Willis on Sky – “England selectors, as they do, plumped for experience, they tend to be looking in the rear view mirror, rather than out of the windscreen at what’s coming ahead.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Silk Apr 16, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    Irani thinks Anderson is the greatest bowler England have ever had. And Vaughan thinks that Ballance should have been opening.


  6. Silk Apr 16, 2015 / 2:20 pm

    Anyone want to name an England team that have come and gone (retired) since Chanders made his debut?

    I’m going with


    12th man, Harmy

    I guess a ‘worst XI’ from the same period would be more challenging, with luminaries such as Ormond, Dawson, Mahmood, Amjad Khan, Ward, Adams and Habib.


  7. Mark Apr 16, 2015 / 2:27 pm

    In light of what Metatone said above about the Yorkshire 4 it made be think if cricket might ever get like football when players turn down the chance of playing the international version.

    It’s not going to happen at the moment because of the financial benefits playing for England vs playing county cricket. But with the IPL, and big bash players can now earn big money outside of playing for their countries. Although they probably need the shop window of international cricket to get a decent contract.

    It would be pretty funny if players started saying…………..” no thanks to England, because I don’t want my technique messed about with, and I don’t like the style of cricket you play.”


    • @pktroll Apr 16, 2015 / 2:35 pm

      Sadly there are more than a few West Indians over at the IPL who would have been in contention for a test spot though I doubt that they would have necessarily prospered in test matches. There was also the situation of a few years ago (2009) where a Sri Lankan tour to England was cancelled and a very reluctant West Indies team went through the motions for two tests. The Sri Lankan tour was abandoned because many of their players (who were and are very poorly paid in comparison to other countries) were off at the IPL that year too. England, India and Aus (yep those 3) pay their players a whole lot more given the wealth of their boards.


  8. Silk Apr 16, 2015 / 2:42 pm

    England on cruise control here. The only question, it seems, is how long the Windies will have to bat for the secure a draw. Last time they managed 128 overs.


    • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 3:19 pm

      And an associated question, how many ahead will England need to be to consider themselves safe and thus declare? I reckon 450.


      • keyserchris Apr 16, 2015 / 4:15 pm

        England will declare an hour before the close. Because they always do (lead will be 475 – 500 by then)


      • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 4:34 pm

        That is rather the fear yes. They’d be thinking “it’s only four an over to get those 500….”.


  9. SimonH Apr 16, 2015 / 2:55 pm

    Nasser on Cook:

    “His technique is all over the place at the moment. He can find a way, never write off Alastair Cook – in fact he’s at his most dangerous when you do”.

    This ‘Cook always triumphs over adversity’ narrative is an odd one. There’s the Oval hundred against Pakistan (where he was going to be selected for Australia anyway) and….err….. .


    • Mark Apr 16, 2015 / 3:07 pm

      I think it’s just a way of being able to criticise Cook and keep his media groupies off your back at the same time.

      If you say “Cook might fight back’ don’t write him off yet” you are covering yourself in case he ever does.


    • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 3:16 pm

      What troubles me is the apparent lack of technical work. He’s clearly exceptionally talented because you don’t score all those runs if you aren’t. So I see no reason why he couldn’t do that. But Nasser is right, he’s all over the place at the moment.


      • Mark Apr 16, 2015 / 3:44 pm

        The problem is he does not drive the ball very well. So if bowlers just keep pitching it up he is very limited as to where he can score his runs. He can wait for the short ball, but that may not come very often now. And the temptation is to tuck in when it does. Hence the chance of hooking one up in the air like he did in Australia last year.

        Yesterday’s dismisal was a carbon copy of so many. Shuffle, prod, edge, out caught.


      • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 4:38 pm

        I’m not so sure I’m worried about his driving. He scored plenty of runs without doing more than the occasional one through the covers, but when batting well he didn’t get out to that kind of ball. A push for a couple through the infield is fine. I wouldn’t say Strauss was that brilliant on the drive, though a bit better than Cook.

        He is extremely patient and has wonderful concentration. If there was evidence of him staying in but run scoring had slowed to a crawl, then it would be an issue. I’ve not seen that though – he just can’t stay in.


    • Silk Apr 16, 2015 / 3:10 pm

      His Test average as captain is a very health 43, just lower than Gatts,

      If they stick with him until the end of the Ashes, there’s an outside chance it would plummet to below Vaughan’s 36, OK, he’s have to endure a run over very low scores for that to happen, but then again…


    • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 3:45 pm

      Nicely pointed out by No.11 that Bob Willis will gutted at being on that list.


    • Jomesy Apr 16, 2015 / 7:39 pm

      That’s a disgraceful article…it’s littered with facts.


  10. Mark Apr 16, 2015 / 3:15 pm

    It would appear the ICC is becoming more like FIFA every day. They are threatening to withhold financial help to Sri Lanka over what they call political interference in the Sri Lankan cricket authorities.

    Its a dangerous road to go down. Surely a sovereign country has every right to intervene with its domestic sporting bodies?

    I wish some British govt of any political colour would disband the ECB and the FA, and start again.



    • metatone Apr 16, 2015 / 4:31 pm

      Root caught in two minds again between attack and defence, and the ball sneaks through to the stumps. Still England could come out after lunch and quickly get into a position to declare…


    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Apr 16, 2015 / 8:30 pm

      Got a reference for that Mark? Not surprised ICC would pull such tricks given how the big three coup d’état! Gee whizz where does this stuff end.


  11. MM Apr 16, 2015 / 4:45 pm


    I love Freddie but I think he’s joined the cook cult as well.

    Sure, KP can’t just walk back into the side… but it’s OK for Cook to continue job squatting in a batsman’s position.


    • Silk Apr 16, 2015 / 7:24 pm

      Nothing to do with cult of Cook. He also says this is as good a side as England have ever had,Anderson is our greatest ever bowler and Buttler can match de Villiers.


      • wrongunatlongon Apr 16, 2015 / 9:32 pm

        is he on the sauce again. Next he’ll be saying stuff like we’re something to be reckoned with, what with the most powerful batting line up in living memory…


    • Rohan Apr 16, 2015 / 10:09 pm

      Yes saw this earlier and I was gobsmacked. Flintoff has added more, saying that he was a rubbish captain, however, he got one thing right, selecting Cook! Really, so Flintoff is now taking the credit for the successful part of Cook’s career, as it was he who selected him…….would it have not been the selectors who made that decision Andrew?

      To add to the Cook support, just watched Gower on Sky discussing Cook. Gower stated that Cook’s form returned at the Ageas bowl in the summer just gone, against India, with that 95. Then Gower stated that Cook scored 2 more good half centuries. Gower then added that Cook turned England around against a good India side. I mean really ‘a good India side’ where was this good India side when their batting repeatedly collapsed in the last 3 tests. There was a ‘good India side’ but they were all recently retired and, therefore, not playing against England. They were all in the commentary box or at home.

      What I am struggling with is the number and diversity of pundits, press and people in general who blindly support Cook’s place in the team and, ergo, his captaincy. Those like Gooch, Downton etc. I can understand their support of Cook due to the ECB connections. Gower and Flintoff, however, do not have any ECB obligation, link or pressure. So why, when they have played at the highest level and both captained England, can they not see the truth that we can. Why can they not criticise Cook and explain to us why he should not be in the team in their opinion. Why do they support a lame horse……


    • Vian Apr 17, 2015 / 11:07 am

      Flintoff is supportive of England players. Just as he was with Pietersen, so he is with Cook. Good on him for that.


      • Rohan Apr 17, 2015 / 12:58 pm

        Sorry Vian, but I am not totally in agreement about that. I think it is all well and good to support the current team, as an ex-player. There must, however, be a realistic approach to events and Flintoff’s comments do not show this. They are the classic refrain we have heard from too many pundits during Cook’s poor run of form (permanent loss of form?) and reign as captain. Namely, ‘leave him alone, he will score runs eventually, anyway who else is there?’, for me Flintoff’s comments and those of many others are not good enough, they need to be more objective. Fair enough, tell us what he is good at, but also don’t be afraid to criticise when things are not going well, and with regards to Cook’s form and captaincy, they are clearly in a very bad way. So lets have some honest and open debate and discussion about this, from those who are closed minded/ECB mouthpieces and see what the way forward might be………….


      • Vian Apr 17, 2015 / 1:27 pm

        I didn’t say I agreed with him, I’m saying that Flintoff does this – he always backs a player, and says he’ll come good, or that he’s been great. It’s just what he does.


  12. @pktroll Apr 16, 2015 / 5:13 pm

    Buttler looks as though he’s started to have a bit of fun and Ballance has played superbly. I think he (Ballance) has got more range to his game than he’s been credited for, he’s played a lovely six off the spinner As I write Buttler appears to have cleaned him up with a straight drive. I hope they get to 450 lead as soon as possible and then stick them in.


    • paulewart Apr 16, 2015 / 9:16 pm

      What’s most impressive thus far in his test career is his ability to accelerate and play for the team.


  13. BoerInAustria Apr 16, 2015 / 5:43 pm

    Agnew: “There are some people who wouldn’t have had Ballance playing in this Test – he’s scored four hundreds in nine Tests, so let’s please stop all that nonsense. I think he’s even a contender for opening.”

    A wish for the NZ and the Ashes:

    Lyth (he must get some matches!!!)
    Root (c)
    Plunkett /Wood (Both must get some matches)

    No Broad/Cook/Trott

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Apr 16, 2015 / 7:06 pm

      As a Yorks fan, I have to say that Ballance may have just as many problems as Trott when it comes to opening. He’s a fine batsman, but not an opener. Root has more experience at opening…


    • Silk Apr 16, 2015 / 7:26 pm

      Why would we move a guy doing well elsewhere? Root could open because he’s an opener and I can think of at least 3 good candidates to bat at 5. And none who’d do as well as Ballance at 3


    • wrongunatlongon Apr 16, 2015 / 9:35 pm

      Ok, and this might be somewhat left-field, but Broad actually had a pretty good 2014 – averaged 26 with the ball. If we stop considering him anything but a number 11, he still gets in my XI comfortably. Plunkett!?


      • Vian Apr 17, 2015 / 11:08 am

        Yep. The Broad meme isn’t backed up by the facts. He was one of very very few to come out of the Australia debacle with credit.


  14. @pktroll Apr 16, 2015 / 6:08 pm

    Oh goodo, they’ve declared before tea and give them a few overs to survive until then. I thought they would go until 450 but hey they’ve been a bit more positive.


  15. SimonH Apr 16, 2015 / 6:13 pm

    Oh George…..


    • Arron Wright Apr 16, 2015 / 6:29 pm

      Was just going to post the same thing.


    • metatone Apr 16, 2015 / 7:27 pm

      No-one is immune to the sense of solidarity that comes from being part of the touring group in international sport.
      (Except maybe Boycott, a born outsider…)
      It’s always interesting to plot the “insider vs outsider” status of Dobell’s views vs whether he’s at home or on tour with the team…

      Liked by 1 person

      • @pktroll Apr 16, 2015 / 7:38 pm

        I think it is fair to say that George D is no stooge, he’s been way too vocal with his views on the ECB and as part of cricinfo he is not really part of the English media hack circus truly. He probably genuinely tries to take a step back from the Pro-Cook-Anti Cook, Pietersen ditto. I do think it fails to look at what is a serious long-term issue that too many have successfully avoided.

        Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Apr 16, 2015 / 8:06 pm

        I don’t think he’s a stooge at all, I think it’s a very human thing – you’re on tour with the team, you want them to do well – you look for signs of improvement, maybe even seeing them whether they are there or not. We’ve all done it as fans, esp. those of us that lived through the true dark times with England (like the 1990s)…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Silk Apr 16, 2015 / 8:34 pm

      He might be right. Quite a few people think Cook looks in better touch.

      Vian has made a compelling case for why they might be wrong. But they might be right.


      • Roger Apr 16, 2015 / 9:19 pm

        Everyone seems to be forgetting the impact of Cook’s continued presence on the careers of Lyth, Robson, Compton, Carberry etc. Cook is not the wounded party here!


      • Vian Apr 16, 2015 / 10:26 pm

        Trust me, I want to be wrong.


  16. escort Apr 16, 2015 / 6:48 pm

    Anderson spitting the dummy with Cook at the moment


    • lionel joseph Apr 16, 2015 / 9:11 pm

      which is a good thing. Cook telling him where he wants him to bowl and what his field will be is Cook’s prerogative as the captain, and neither the bowlers nor the bowling coach have a veto once they have taken the field.

      Something the bowlers, in particular both Broad and Anderson, would do well to remember.


  17. Silk Apr 16, 2015 / 8:33 pm

    Woefully out-of-form opener who probably shouldn’t have been selected and is not all that popular with fans closes in on gritty half-century.


  18. SimonH Apr 16, 2015 / 9:14 pm

    Third last over. Samuels on nought. Broad bowling. 340 still needed.

    Three close catchers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • BoerInAustria Apr 16, 2015 / 9:19 pm

      wicket comes in for the final ball !!!


    • BoerInAustria Apr 16, 2015 / 9:20 pm

      midwicket that is..


  19. SimonH Apr 16, 2015 / 9:43 pm

    Alex Hales:

    “[The World Cup] was an embarrassment – and that is probably being generous. We played with a fear of failure. Where that comes from is a tough question but I think if you look at the top teams, they do have a lot of people playing in tournaments like the Indian Premier League. They are used to big crowds and have no such fear.”

    Some pretty uncoded criticisms of Moores as well.



    • paulewart Apr 16, 2015 / 9:48 pm

      He does say ‘something must be done’ at one stage: the mantra of discarded England openers?
      Fear of failure is a big call, and one that needed making. Hope he isn’t outside cricket now. …..

      It looks like Colin Grave and Tom Harrison are acting as a breath of fresh air. People seem to feel freer, players, journalists, correspondents. It all suggests, rather as we suspected, that the ECB/media stitch up really was suffocating.


      • Andy Apr 17, 2015 / 9:37 am

        It seems harsh to call Hales a ‘discarded opener’ – he seems to have hardly even had chance to stake his claim!! Gets the odd game here, the od game there. no chance to build momentum.

        Didn’t know about Moores ‘spilling the beans’ over his percieved flaws either. That just seems like a stupid thing to say publically (almost as good as ‘Jos isn’t ready to play test cricket – A. Cook’.

        Fair enough, bag the guy behind closed door if you think something is serious, but don’t ‘out’ someone in public.


    • THA Apr 17, 2015 / 5:10 am

      He makes a good point about Moores discussing his weaknesses in public. Gets bowled by one good in-ducker and he’s been ‘found out’ by the ball that moves in. What’s left unsaid and hanging in the air is that another batsman can get out exactly the same way sixty times but is always about to come good.

      Not to be forgotten that when Moores made his comments about Hales, Hales was widely being touted to take Cook’s opening spot in the ODI team.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Arron Wright Apr 17, 2015 / 5:19 am

    Poetseye descends into excruciating self-parody BTL at the Guardian.

    “Never mind Chris Jordan, here’s a list of Bell’s greatest short-leg catches off spinners”.


    • THA Apr 17, 2015 / 6:09 am

      I was going to post that. Outstanding. Is there any praise a weiter can direct at a cricketer which isn’t somehow a slight against Bell? What will the response be if Viv Richards is named greatest West Indian?

      “Once again Bell is overlooked for …”


      • LordCanisLupus Apr 17, 2015 / 6:55 am

        I’m surprised Ballance is still alive. To not sacrifice your wicket for the living deity requires retribution. Don’t eat anything Gary.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Apr 17, 2015 / 7:20 am

        Some would argue that he’s been a self-parody ever since he defended Bell’s dismissal at Ahmedabad in 2012. (Yes, he really did give it a go)

        I’m sure he’s still poring over video of the Harris ball, concocting a theory that exonerates Bell and argues that the entire team benefited from his selflessness and subsequent renaissance.


      • @pktroll Apr 17, 2015 / 7:28 am

        Arron “He” is actually a “she”. Known as Jackiethepen/Jackie L/Battingforbell and ‘Alterego’ on a range of forums. I too remember the Ahmedabad dismissal and the hilarious comparisons with one day internationals that had nothing to do with the match situation described.


      • Phil Apr 17, 2015 / 10:30 am

        No player fustrates me more than Bell. He always looks great, but you can’t tell whether he is in form or not, playing his silky drives, having the commentaters swoon over his amazing ability, then he does something to make you slap your palm in your face. For years he gleamed his success of the back of great players (Tresco, Strauss, Cook, Vaughn, KP) and finally when we really needed him he turned up at the 2013 ashes and won it almost single handedly. I thought to myself is this the time when Bell is really going to hit his potential we can all see he has had for years? I was excited to have Bell in the team for the first time I could remember. Then he ruins it all with a barren run of 13 tests without a century, he didn’t turn up in Australia, or against Sri Lanka or India and averaged under thirty for that 18 months. No headlines for almost matching Cook for direness. Then he goes and gets a great ton against WI. All is forgiven, and another two years in the bank, normality resumed.


        • LordCanisLupus Apr 17, 2015 / 10:35 am

          Made a pretty nice ton at the Ageas Bowl but you could be forgiven for missing it. There were 95 reasons to do so.


      • Silk Apr 17, 2015 / 10:39 am

        Phil – I think that’s totally unfair on Bell, and there have been many times when he’s been our best batsman without gleaming off anyone. His first tour to Pakistan comes to mind.

        We’re all frustrated but that’s because he’s a batsman who should be averaging in the 50s, rather than the fact that he’s inferior to the other guys.

        He looks too good. If he was an ungainly as Colly he’d be lauded.


      • Clivejw Apr 17, 2015 / 12:59 pm

        didn’t turn up in Australia, or against Sri Lanka or India

        Yes, only the 167 runs in the first innings at the Rose Bowl and 58 in the following match. Might as well have stayed at home.


      • hatmallet Apr 17, 2015 / 2:51 pm

        Jackie is currently praising Bell’s efforts in the 2005 Ashes on the Telegraph BTL. 2 half-centuries (both less than 70) would be great for someone like Broad, not a #4, but nevermind…

        Also criticising Hales. 9 ODIs has proved he is not good enough so shouldn’t be given a good run. Funny that Hales is competing with Bell for the ODI openers slot.

        I’m a massive fan of Bell, but Jackie does wind me up!


    • Silk Apr 17, 2015 / 8:12 am

      James Whittaker has a lot to answer for here. He should be sacked.

      Under his watch we’ve tried Carberry (1 series), Robson (1 mini-series, and a full series) and now Trott. He was a selector when we ditched Compton after only a handful of Tests, and tried Root as an opener. So basically we’ve tried 5 different people with Cook, but given none of them long enough to establish themselves. It’s like the 1990s all over again.

      Nasser is right that if you back Trott to open, he shouldn’t get ditched after one Test. But it looks like, even if he is to score runs in this series, Boult and co. will have him on toast. So we go into the Ashes with …?

      Thankfully the guy at the other end is in form! Imgine how bad it would be if /both/ openers weren’t up to the job?


      • Mark Apr 17, 2015 / 8:29 am

        I always thought Whittaker was a bit of patsy selector. Only there to give the illusion of an outside the dressing room opinion.

        It seems Compton didn’t fit in with the clique. Those are the rumours. So who decided he should be dropped? Cook/Flower? Or Whittaker? Same may of been true of Carberry as well. Who dropped him? I think Whittaker was the rubber stamp.but I don’t think it was his decision.


  21. Rav Roberts Apr 17, 2015 / 10:09 am

    Has everyone forgotten about Whitaker’s Gary Ballance already?!?!


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