Excerpt from “Captaincy” by Graham Gooch. I don’t know why this para resonated, I really don’t.


54 thoughts on “Sagacity

  1. Tom Apr 18, 2015 / 2:53 pm

    I was always a fan of Gooch. I was too young to see him bat when he first played for England but remember the terrible time he had in 1981, but there was something about him.

    However, when he became England’s captain I thought the team fell apart. There’s no doubt he was a great leader, one of the best we’ve ever had, but he was not a good captain.

    The problem I see now is that we don’t have a good leader or a good captain. At least Gooch led by example but now we have neither.


  2. BoerInAustria Apr 18, 2015 / 2:59 pm

    The Gospel truth. According to St Graham. He should coach some of this into his disciple…


  3. escort Apr 18, 2015 / 3:57 pm

    Gooch was a good player but a terrible man manager. His decision to drop Gower was a huge mistake and robbed the team of one of its best players when we were struggling. His fall out with Allan Lamb was also due to bad management.


    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Apr 18, 2015 / 5:43 pm

      Grumpy old git really upset a lot of players and a very poor man manager. His treatment of several players was not at all good. Certainly not at the top of Graem Hick’s Christmas card list. It was only last year that Gooch and Gower buried the hatchet!!! He was a terrible man manager although good cricketer. Interesting reading Hick’s assessment saying he got on well with Atherton – apart from the declaration idiocy – but didn’t like Gooch at all but thought best captain was Nasser Hussein.


  4. Mark Apr 18, 2015 / 4:05 pm

    Gooch certainly did lead from the front. I’m pretty sure from memory that his batting average went up when he became captain. (I wouldn’t swear on that and I can’t be bothered to look it up) but he did seem to score runs when leading his country. His famous 333 was as skipper and against India. A bit better than a scratchy 95.

    His problem as captain in my opinion was similar to Cooks. In that he didn’t deal well with people he did not see eye to eye with. There was his famous frustration with Gower, both on and off the field. Gower being a much more free spirit. Why is it that free spirits and England sporting managements don’t get along? Was it not Botham who said he had the “personality of a wet fish?”

    At the end of his career he became a bit of a fitness freak. Prefering to jog back to the hotel rather than take the bus/coach. I’m sure he did take the responsibility seriously and I don’t remember him blaming others or making excuses all the time. We didn’t get any of Cooks recent petulant outbursts.

    I find the stuff anout “a great honour” to lead your country a bit hard to square with pissing off to play in South Africa mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Apr 18, 2015 / 4:15 pm

      Gooch did indeed have a much better batting record as captain (58.7 to 35.9). Atherton has as well.

      No other captain since Gooch has (excluding captains who were there for a small number of games).


      • metatone Apr 18, 2015 / 9:29 pm

        That’s a good article.
        It’s odd to me how those inside cricket (from Downton at the top, to certain commenters from Warks BTL on the Guardian) can’t come to terms with the evidence – no matter how much they love Sky and the money it brings, it isn’t saving the grassroots… all the things people like me predicted when the Sky deal was signed are coming true…


      • Benny Apr 18, 2015 / 9:59 pm

        Superb and intelligent piece of writing


    • dvyk Apr 18, 2015 / 7:11 pm

      Tickner is wrong about one thing — Bowden made exactly the right decision on that dead ball/ 4 overthrows. As pointed out by the commentary team, the ball is dead if the batters have basically lost interest in it. Trott was clearly off in his own fantasy world doing that stupid thing he does with marking his guard over and over and over and over and over and over, and didn’t even register the fact that fielder had fanged 100 feet over the keeper’s head, so it cost Cook four runs. If he’d been paying attention it would have increased his & Cook’s collective contribution by more than 10%.

      Trott is obviously not in a good space mentally. His mind is not on the game. If they were going to gamble needlessly with rushing back a senior player with a proven record, they would have been much better off playing KP.

      And also, Cook should be dropped. The excuse about WI using cheap balls that swing for exactly 6 overs and only when WI are bowling is the worst in a long list of ridiculous excuses. I also noticed him at the presentation thanking the barmy army for their fantastic support… pause… silence…. So much for playing to the gallery.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark Apr 18, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    Thanks for confirming that Simon. WOW, over 20 runs difference in average. Remarkable!


  6. Benny Apr 18, 2015 / 10:06 pm

    I’m a simple soul. I believe that the biggest driver should be “we want to win”. Supporting an opener who doesn’t score runs and others, who did well in the past but aren’t doing it now, just seems idiotic to me


  7. Mark Apr 18, 2015 / 10:24 pm

    So good it had to be repeated………

    “Picking the teams during that period has been Uppingham-educated chocolate heir James Whitaker, who joined the panel after three years outside cricket running the family business. Before that, he’d been Director of Cricket at the county side where he’d spent his entire playing career, Leicestershire. There, he’d been fast-tracked through the ECB system, doing his Level 1 and 2 coaching badges in a single weekend. The same process takes Average Joes three or four years of experience-gathering.

    Maybe that’s why he needed colleagues to explain what a “mixed bowling action” was when he sat his Level 3 in 2003 – the minimum requirement for running a professional team – at which his group was set an overnight task of delivering a hypothetical teatime team-talk to a side on the ropes. Rather than consult the assortment of well-qualified no-name fellow coaches, he told them: “I’ve done this sort of thing thousands of times, chaps. You go and have a drink. I’ll take care of it”.

    By all accounts, his presentation was an embarrassing mélange of banal, pride-and-passion, up-and-at-em clichés. ”

    Jesus, we’ve got Willy Wonker as the national selector.


    • hatmallet Apr 18, 2015 / 10:34 pm

      I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt – just another person who had been promoted a level above their correct level. But having read that, if gives a really poor impression of him.


      • Mark Apr 18, 2015 / 11:02 pm

        I think it’s priceless! I am reminded of Mony Pythons upper class twit of the year contest…

        Scene: Sporting Field, in particular a running track. Five competitors run onto the pitch.

        “Good afternoon and welcome to Hurlingham Park. You join us just as the competitors are running out onto the field on this lovely winter’s afternoon here, with the going firm underfoot and very little sign of rain. Well it certainly looks as though we’re in for a splendid afternoon’s sport in this the 127th Upperclass Twit of the Year Show. Well the competitors will be off in a moment so let me just identify for you.”

        (close-up of the competitors)

        Vivian Smith-Smythe-Smith has an O-level in chemo-hygiene. Simon-Zinc-Trumpet-Harris, married to a very attractive table lamp. Nigel Incubator-Jones, his best friend is a tree, and in his spare time he’s a stockbroker. Gervaise Brook-Hampster is in the Guards, and his father uses him as a wastepaper basket. And finally Oliver St John-Mollusc, Harrow and the Guards, thought by many to be this year’s outstanding twit. Now they’re moving up to the starting line, there’s a jolly good crowd here today. Now they’re under starter’s orders … and they’re off!

        (the starter fires the gun; nobody moves)

        “Ah no, they’re not. No they didn’t realize they were supposed to start. Never mind, we’ll soon sort that out, the judge is explaining it to them now. I think Nigel and Gervaise have got the idea. All set to go.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Apr 19, 2015 / 11:56 am

      …and their openers/Glam bowlers are stalling the main event(s) Sanga/KP… I bet there has never been so many MSM press at a Div2 county season match, most just waiting to write some tripe


      • SimonH Apr 19, 2015 / 1:06 pm

        Both openers just dismissed in Cardiff so Sanga and KP in.

        Looks like Matt Machan is playing a heck of an innings at Hove. A century off just seventy balls so far. Thought he looked very good at the WC without ever making the big score his talent warranted.


      • SimonH Apr 19, 2015 / 1:11 pm


  8. Mark Apr 19, 2015 / 12:21 pm

    Brenkely in his usual attempts to prop up Cook does seem to be full of hypocrisy.

    “After the valiant rearguard action, led ultimately by Jason Holder, who scored a maiden hundred, several of the West Indies contingent said something along the lines of: “What’s Mr Graves got to say now?” Nothing, one hopes, for a while. He has already made less straightforward a task that was never as straightforward as everyone glibly assumed. England have won only one of their last eight series in the Caribbean.”

    So naughty Mr Graves is to blame for firing up the WI. Because he said they were mediocre. But hang on a moment, Brenkley then tells us this…..

    “England have 17 Test matches to play this year and if they cannot win here they cannot win anywhere.”

    Brenkley has just made the same arogant, patronising remark that he blames Graves for making.


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 19, 2015 / 12:29 pm

      But he’s not Mr Graves, Mark. He’s just a contender for the top five worst journos on this site.


    • hatmallet Apr 19, 2015 / 1:41 pm

      “By now, Cook has used up most of the credit he had in the bank. This, lest it be forgotten, was substantial: the 25 Test hundreds, the winning of the Ashes and the triumph in India as captain. But the last of the 25 was 33 innings ago, and the Ashes were rudely ripped away.”

      And since that victory in India, England haven’t won an overseas Test, let alone a series. 3 draws in New Zealand, the 5 in Australia and 1 here – when you include the drawn game that finished the India series, it’s 10 games without a win. Or 28 months, or 861 days.

      (In fairness, the last two winters have seen us play less Test cricket due to the World T20 and then World Cup)


  9. hatmallet Apr 19, 2015 / 1:46 pm

    Pietersen out for 19.

    How long we will need to wait for the sneery tweets?


  10. Arron Wright Apr 19, 2015 / 2:16 pm

    Not long…


    • Pontiac Apr 19, 2015 / 8:38 pm

      There aren’t too many valuable endeavors that have no risk of failure.


    • thebogfather Apr 19, 2015 / 2:44 pm

      2nd division, too old, doesn’t farm sheep or from right school – just ignore


  11. dvyk Apr 19, 2015 / 3:04 pm

    I guess everyone here knows that Hoggard is in fact the best English bowler ever, according to Marc Higginson of the BBC.


    • dvyk Apr 19, 2015 / 8:05 pm

      “What it is, actually, is unprofessional in the same way that a batsman running short might be.”

      Hahahahahaha — Selvey calling someone “unprofessional”! Apart from being hysterically stupid coming from someone who calls the next ECB chairman an idiot on a public forum, and then informs everyone that his posts on that particular public forum are not an invitation to respond to them, it’s just hilarious to call a bowler unprofessional for bowling a no ball.

      And running one short — is that really unprofessional? One might say that getting oneself Mankaded after several warnings is unprofessional… but what is clearly unprofessional is screaming abuse at the opposing captain while shaking his hand.

      ….What the fuck???? Then Selvey, after calling Stokes unprofessional, says it’s the umpire’s fault for not warning him earlier.

      So it’s Stokes whose been chosen to be the next scapegoat. Every deeply sick system needs a release valve for blame. Trott should probably watch his back too.

      Watch for Newman, Brenkley and Pringle singling Stokes out too.

      I noticed both B & N saying, effectively, that Cook is in danger from the mob if he continues to fail — not in danger from the selectors.


      • @pktroll Apr 20, 2015 / 12:40 pm

        With regard to your last sentence in particular, a real shame he refers to it as being in danger from the ‘mob’, surely just cricket fans noting that he hasn’t scored many runs for a great deal of time, nor exactly convinced (i.e. the opposite) with his captaincy.


    • SimonH Apr 20, 2015 / 8:28 am

      The Selvey article has been opened for comments.

      I’m trying not to comment on Selvey articles – but this one is so awful I couldn’t let it pass.


      • Arron Wright Apr 20, 2015 / 9:23 am

        I bust my boycott because Sedlescombe’s reply to you infuriated me, specifically his blissful unawareness that a win in India does not stop England’s away record since 2011 from being *shocking*.

        Meanwhile, isn’t it hilarious that Mike Selvey can call anyone else a “relentless churl”?


      • dvyk Apr 20, 2015 / 11:33 am

        Oh no, I have to go to work, but I’m tempted to go and check out your comments before they get modded.

        I’ve held to my boycott so far, though I’ve been tempted more than once.


    • SimonH Apr 20, 2015 / 7:46 am

      “He has to be one of the best six batsmen in the country, which he’s not”.

      Impressive that Waugh can tell that from one non-f/c innings (of 170) and one CC innings. In the comments that are quoted, he doesn’t explain or justify it. There is some good batting talent about in England – but six better batsmen? There aren’t six who average higher against Australia for starters. There isn’t one.

      Impressive – or cobblers. He was a great player but this feels sorely misjudged. Does anyone know what Waugh does these days?


      • Mark Apr 20, 2015 / 11:24 am

        I began to see Waugh in a different light when he started campaigning to get leg byes abolished.

        If bowlers are stupid enough to bowl down leg side they deserve all they get if the ball hits the pads and flys down to fine leg for 4. It’s part of the game.

        And Waugh wanted it removed because (I don’t really know why)he was on some purity gig or something.


      • @pktroll Apr 20, 2015 / 6:53 pm

        Funnily enough, the interview given on Sky seemed far less equivocal than that. He said that Pietersen should only come back if he was one of the six best batsman, rather than say that he wasn’t. He did question whether or not he was past his best but he did the whole thing about team environment which was a load of rubbish.

        He also rather seemed to defend Cook’s role as captain which seemed fairly laughable. He suggested that England should move on from Pietersen and that if he came back it would be a quick fix. He was also a little hyperbolic about the Aussie attack, saying it could be their best ever. I’m unsure for a number of reasons, not least the number of them who are on the treatment table, that Johnson isn’t as quick as he was nearly 18 months ago and that Starc isn’t as yet proven with the white ball. That said, I have far less confidence about England’s batting.


  12. SimonH Apr 20, 2015 / 12:27 pm

    An intriguing hint in George Dobell’s latest:

    ” While Vaughan – who has recently called for Moores to be “removed” as coach – has a decent relationship with some of the younger players, some of the older ones are far less keen. It is understood his attempt to have a clear the air chat with Alastair Cook did not go well and his presence was interpreted, by some, as a constant reminder that the axe is hovering”.


    • thebogfather Apr 20, 2015 / 1:58 pm

      Good on him (Vaughan) for intimating that the ‘in-crowd’ needs to sort it or be aborted


    • Zephirine Apr 20, 2015 / 2:32 pm

      “It is understood his attempt to have a clear the air chat with Alastair Cook did not go well”

      Oh, to have been a fly on that wall…..

      Mind you, the swirling egos in the room would probably have knocked me stunned from my perch.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 20, 2015 / 6:04 pm

      Ahh bless, the Cook groupies don’t like being held to account. The days of England being run as Cooks private club for his mates needs to come to an end. And if the so called senior players don’t like it, well too bad.


  13. SimonH Apr 20, 2015 / 12:40 pm

    This raised a smile:


    • SimonH Apr 20, 2015 / 12:42 pm

      Oops! Let’s try that again:


    • @pktroll Apr 21, 2015 / 7:30 am

      That actually nails the situation far more than anyone from the fourth estate has actually tried to do in the last 16 months.


  14. SimonH Apr 20, 2015 / 5:18 pm

    New Switch Hit posted.


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