The City of Brotherly Love. A place where the name suggests accord and liberty, while 80 miles or so down the road in Baltimore, there’s a fire burning, and people are mad as hell.

But enough of that. I thought brotherly love might be an apt theme for my last post for a while from this side of the pond, as I’ll be heading over to Philly tomorrow, and straight out of it before the rush hour traffic hits. And in the spirit of brotherly love, I’d thought I’d look at what’s been happening the past few days and especially in relation to the man who seems to inspire it throughout the media and a large swathe of the English cricketing public. We are talking about our captain.

Or, is he as thick and creamy as the cheese spread that also takes the name? No comments on that from me….

The attitude that we’ve seen taken to Alastair Cook in the past year or so has been greeted here with a sense of wonder. There was the backing of him post-Ashes when there really wasn’t one of us who posts here who thought, in their heart of hearts, that he could carry on after that disaster. But in an amazing turn of events – and please, press, remember this when you keep harping on about KP’s press team – somehow, someway, he dodged all the bullets when it came to keeping his place. Flower was shunted upstairs, KP was shown the door, the hierarchy had either resigned, or were about to resign, the batting coach was invited to leave, and senior players went. Standing there, unabashed, backed to the hilt by the lost and departed Downton, was Alastair Cook, for whom blame was never attached by the fourth estate or the TV boys.

Now, we stand after a win against West Indies where we are being told by respected cricket writers like Simon Wilde (like Simon, so I wonder how recent, recent is meant to be), this…

and Cook is giving off all the impression that he’s the man with nothing to fear from anybody. He’s reportedly – and given it’s Sale saying it, I mean reportedly – been up to his old tricks of sorting out a journo or two who has done something he doesn’t like and had a pop. There’s a sort of swagger after this win, which came with him bringing us home with a half century after a decent hand in the first innings.

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been told, not directly but I know some of it is aimed our way, to stop moaning and enjoy the win. And they have a point. I contrast this tom my football team in 2004, who got to the FA Cup Final, only to be soundly beaten by Manchester United, as expected. As we came out of the ground, all the Man Utd fans looked miserable. “Cheer up”  I exhorted one of the “you’ve won th FA Cup. Come on, be happy.” It was the retort one of them gave me that I’ll remember “We were supposed to win this, we’re not getting excited. We were expected to beat you”. As a Millwall fan that day, that hurt quite a bit. It actually signalled the starting point of me moving away from football. But think what United fans said, and, sadly, it was true. They were expected to win, it was nice to win, but no biggie.

As expected we’ve seen a deluge of piffle. Now, in the manner only those well-meaning souls can do, I’m showing no brotherly love to people who say “what the hell are you moaning about?” I think you’ll find, I’ve not done a lot. What has cheesed me off is someone started up the hyperbole machine and has forgotten to switch it off. One who has had me scratching my head in disbelief is Nasser Hussain. Seriously Nas, what the hell has happened to you? How is this an acceptable line of praise for an England captain as we aspire to reach the highest peaks.

but for now his game looks in very good order again and he is making very good half-centuries.

I’ve seen that average statistic trotted out as well. You know, the one that cuts off the year preceding Southampton. “Very good half-centuries” Nasser. Against, lets be fair, not top quality attacks. While Ballance, Root and Bell have made centuries in the middle order. This takes us for fools. I’ve downloaded some cricket for my flight, where I have Alastair Cook’s two tons in India in the second and third tests to look forward to. That’s very good order, Nasser, not a gentle 70-odd in five hours against some disappointing bowling, or drop-ridden knocks at the fag end of last Summer. Where’s the analysis in this?

You can’t drop him now for his batting, because half-centuries are good enough for him it seems. That elusive hundred might be very near, but as I’ve said on numerous occasions, when it comes, it doesn’t prove the selectors right for waiting for it. The longer this wait goes on, the longer it becomes an issue. Sure, a century in amidst a load of single figure scores isn’t a cure-all either, but this holy grail of Cook looking better is just wishful thinking masquerading as an analysis. Seriously, I watched five minutes of him playing in Colombo in 2012 a day or so ago and the difference is stark. He was more fluid. At the moment he bats like a metal man who hasn’t seen a drop of oil for a while, all stiff movements… as if he’s been pre-programmed.

I’m not a fan – I’m genuinely not fans of people who are protected on high by establishment and don’t seem to realise how bloody lucky they are to have that backing. This isn’t hatred, which, of course, is levelled at me and my ilk. I would like to see him make a ton of runs at the top of the order, and will be content if they lead to England wins. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the Essex succession in the record breaker charts, or some of the more fanciful stuff, but there’s a prodigal son aspect here and it is worrying. Half centuries are enough now (they weren’t for Mark Ramprakash, for instance but then, blah blah, 25 centuries, blah blah) because he now looks like a leader on the field.


We won a test match against the 8th best team in the world. James Morgan on The Full Toss sums it up and also uses a football analogy. This win has been greeted by former players, Sky TV, some of the press, and the masses on Social Media like a massive win, a win for the ages. Even Botham is being invoked to reflect a wonderful spell by Anderson (want to watch him in his pomp – try Trent Bridge, 2013). This was a great win – no questions asked.

I love the West Indies, I want them to do so well, and we all know this is a really mediocre side we are playing. They could improve, but this isn’t top notch oppo. Sure, England did well to win, but you saw what I said on Sunday about inspired performances winning games – they aren’t reliable. A real curmudgeon, and I’m not entitled to be that in the glow of victory, would point out that the West Indies had got to 200 for 2 and it was a deck no team in the world could get a team out on if you listened to the media masses on Friday night. No, we bowled badly first time up, and also with the new ball first time round in the second innings. Against good teams, you don’t get second chances. Imagine that’s David Warner instead of Kraigg Brathwaite; AB deVilliers instead of Daren Bravo. Good luck with that.

But no. We must go mad for a win, and we must recognise Alastair’s “I’m In Charge” body language. It’s ludicrous. We’ve beaten a mediocre team. Graves is right.

Cook appears to have learnt from his mistakes. Last summer, for instance, his decision to spread the field when Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews was batting with the tail lost England the Headingley Test but here he kept the field up to Denesh Ramdin in a similar situation and kept the pressure on.

This is top drawer from Nasser. He has learned from being an absolute weapons grade disaster and instead didn’t cave in and make a hash of it. We are celebrating competence. I watched how an Australia team strangled England at Adelaide. They believed they could get us all out, and the one man we had to shepherd the tail wasn’t interested in scoring runs. Watch that. If someone blasts the life out of you, fair play. Here Hussain says Cook lost us a test match, something not often repeated (many criticised the bowlers and Moores for the tactics as well), and yet we can hope the next time he gets a good side in this position, he doesn’t capitulate. Oh, and Mathews was well on his way to a ton at the time, while Ramdin was just starting so let’s not compare apples and oranges.

This doesn’t rank in the top five, easily, of test wins this England team have had away from home in the last 10 years. Mumbai and Kolkata to win in India (under Cook, great stuff) are too fresh in my memory to be erased by a collapse in Grenada. I’d stick Colombo in 2012 to end a run of four straight defeats as well. The demolition in Melbourne would be there, because we’d just lost in Perth, in 2010/11. I’d add the grossly underrated win in Durban in 2009 to the mix, aided by a fantastic hundred by Cook, because it was so unexpected. Mumbai 2006 was also one for the ages, as we squared a series in India.

This win can only be significant because it bolsters a team that needs it. A team coming together but with the captain more important than anything else. Every interview is “I back Cooky” etc etc, and all this good environment and positive vibe bullshit. The last one who didn’t back him got the boot, the media are in the tank because they mostly appear to love him, I’m constantly told on twitter and on podcasts that he’s a lovely bloke, and that no-one wants to see him fail. Fine. But if, like me, you have tons and tons of games on your archives at home, or if you can get to see them elsewhere, you are being sold down the river. Cook’s not back to his best. He’s nowhere near it. And if you are being misled over that, what else are you being misled over? Oh, I’m a tin-hatted conspiracy theorist. No. I don’t like being told something when almost the opposite is staring me in the face.

If we win against New Zealand, fine. Win against Australia, brilliant. I’ll eat the humblest of humble pie. Until then, spare me the great wins claptrap, the reinforced leader of a loyal hardy bunch of men BS, and the back to his best cockwaffle. And I will be a bloody curmudgeon if I want to be. I am a real fan, and real fans don’t go mental over wins pulled out of their arse against a team that is prone to brainfarts. Or as Australia called them in 2006/7 and 13/14 “England”.

That’s my lot. A rant and a half, and still didn’t cover everything I wanted to.

I’m travelling tomorrow, so I’ll leave you in Vian’s capable hands, and see you on the other side of the Atlantic.

56 thoughts on “Philadelphia

  1. paulewart Apr 28, 2015 / 7:17 pm

    Quite right, the press coverage is both risible and nauseating. Enjoy your trip!


  2. Philip Chapman (@pgpchappers) Apr 28, 2015 / 7:32 pm

    As I posted the other day, Cook’s technique is still shot. Well done for getting runs, but the changes he has made still haven’t sorted his issues.

    Yes his captaincy will have been easier as he scored some runs, but as pointed out above, that still doesn’t answer the question.

    On his technique, the open stance and floating front foot is bonkers. I have no idea why someone hasn’t said to him, stand still, weight evenly balanced on either foot, nicely side on. Use your eyes/head to lean into the ball and guide your feet into position. This is known as the “topple” and isn’t new, it is Douglas Jardine’s book for example! Then work on being side on through the shot, especially with your hips and boom your problems are sorted.

    My fear is that cook going back to Goochie the whole time is straight from the school of “if you want the same thing to happen, do what you always do”.

    I remain convinced that if he listened any half decent coach could help him.

    But that doesn’t seem to be the case…

    Interestingly. Bresnan has tweaked his bowling action and has got more pace (see interview today) this is also due to better coaching, this time from Galespy (so sorry) . What he says is the same thing Ian Pont has said for years. And what broad did to get some extra pace over the weekend.

    2 questions for the Eng team. Do the players not listen to the coaches or are the coaches rubbish?

    Liked by 1 person

    • emasl Apr 29, 2015 / 7:44 am

      They dont listen and the coaches are rubbish. Cook will not listen to anybody it seems and appears to be getting more and more arrogant each day


  3. MM Apr 28, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    Summat’s going to happen. They are trying to build a wall around Cook[y] that’s made from BS. It’ll collapse.


    • Zephirine Apr 28, 2015 / 8:28 pm

      I have a feeling NZ will knock a few holes in that wall.


  4. Zephirine Apr 28, 2015 / 8:29 pm

    Have a good holiday, Dmitri!


  5. Arron Wright Apr 28, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    You know, when you read a tweet like Wilde’s, and then remember Stuart Broad saying last summer’s wins over the shambolic Indians were the best he’s been involved in, you know there’s something up.

    When an issue is made of Pietersen’s decline from a 50 average to a 44 average, yet Trott’s decline from 66 to 35 only appears BTL, you know there’s something up.

    When there’s an omerta on Cook’s 80% dreadful Ashes record, and someone like me can debunk the “vital to the Ashes” myth in five minutes, or two or three of us can prove his home Ashes record is historically awful, only to be met with total silence, you know there’s something up.

    When there is literally no critical analysis of his jarring, entitled public statements, or the impact he had on several ODI careers last year, yet sycophantic crap from the likes of Jim Holden is described as “common sense”, you know journalism has been replaced by puffery.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. dvyk Apr 28, 2015 / 9:05 pm

    I remember prior to the 2006/7 white wash, England was knocked out of the Champions Trophy at the earliest possible moment, after looking utterly disinterested and disengaged in the whole thing. When asked asked about it, they said they had really only seen it as practice for the Ashes.

    Australia won it (gratuitous detail, I guess) and when asked about it, Ponting said it was in some ways a valuable practice session. The interviewer spluttered a bit and something along the lines of “Practice? You guys slaughtered anyone who came near you! It didn’t look like a practice session. What the hell were you practicing?”

    Ponting said “We were practicing winning.”

    But yeh, credit where credit’s due. Congrats to Cookie and the crew on their surprise victory against an opponent at half strength and ranked 5 places below them. Don’t get complacent though, Cookie — let’s see a few more daddy fifties.


    • MM Apr 28, 2015 / 9:34 pm

      “daddy fifties”

      Nice one!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. man in a barrel Apr 28, 2015 / 9:42 pm

    I remember England in 1974, on top of the world after beating India and Pakistan. Then they went to Australia, expecting to encounter some fast medium bowlers. I have never recovered.


    • dvyk Apr 28, 2015 / 10:50 pm

      Eight years old at the time, I thought it was great, and have also never quite recovered. (Despite leaving Australia as an adult, and being glad to be rid of some aspects of the place, I still can’t quite shake the conviction that England must be beaten. It’s really quite an achievement by the ECB to convert me into a KP fan.)

      Having watched some of the 74/75 footage again, I can assure you that all my gloating is gone. Any batsman who faced Thommo deserves to have his name on an honours board. I’m not kidding. And the honours board should also be visible from behind the sofa.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. MM Apr 28, 2015 / 9:54 pm

    Apart from KP’s book and the very occasional utterance from a handful, I wonder why no other England-eligible players have come out and raged against the hierachy or press. As in, properly nailed them. Are they all slaves to their wage, or ARE WE WRONG? Have we got it all base over apex?

    Are the ECB fundamentally correct, just clumsy over the finer details? Are Cook[y] and Moores[y] and Jimmy-y the finest English cricket trio ever and we are simply blind to the fact? Can this many people be wrong about what’s going on?

    I’d love to hear from players who might’ve said “No thanks, Loughborough – I’m quite happy with my biomechanics, just as they are” or “sorry Mr Flower, but I can’t come to nets today coz you’ve properly messed with my brain”. Why hasn’t some creative IT bod hacked into that damned laptop yet?

    Jeebus, when does the next test start?


    • Grenville Apr 28, 2015 / 10:27 pm

      Carberry was pretty rude about the ECB post-ashes. Ajmal Shezad, if I recall, fumed that they wanted him as a line and length bowler when he’s a toe-crunching, reverse swing speed merchant. (nb. He’s doing alright with good ‘ol Sussex by th who are, in the brief bit I’ve seen, letting him do just that. Too early to tell). There are probably others that I can’t recall.


    • dvyk Apr 28, 2015 / 11:06 pm

      As you’ll notice from my comments all over this site, I’m an Australian who loves nothing more than watching England lose and lose ignominiously and hilariously. I hate to see England win. But I’m bloody furious at the ECB for what they are doing to your team and your youth and your best players. I love watching you guys fail, and I want you to name a weak team so I can get some cheap laughs. But holy heck, what’s been going on just too much.

      People like Selvey make me puke. Not because I fear they might win, but because they’re not even interested in winning. It’s favouritism and propaganda and smiling at the sponsors and jockeying for position within a sick and demented and corrupt system. Corruption starts where meritocracy ends. And yellow journalism starts in exactly the same place.

      I only started commenting here (and at the Guardian before Selvey had me banned) to reassure you guys that you’re not being unpatriotic. I want your team to lose, but the way the ECB has been behaving has been so bad that it even makes me puke.


      • emasl Apr 29, 2015 / 7:48 am

        I have been blocked by Selvey as well along with many others who have taken him to task. My daughter lives in Oz and I vist and love the country. Also lived there years ago and, sad to say, I now want you to win when you play us. That is what the ECB have reduced me to. And yes I want to puke as well


    • BoerInAustria Apr 29, 2015 / 4:49 am

      A lot of guys are still very England focussed on their earnings (Carberry and Hales starting to have earnings in the BB). Many are still young and have hopes on an England career (with a lot of financial advantages).That does make them very exposed regarding criticism of the ECB power lobby.

      Dobell at some stage indicated that he was talking to a player that was about to “spill the beans”…

      In my mind that should be a player that was at the centre of the Ashes, suffered from the cliques, bullying, and management regime. And is towards the end of hic career, with little chance to play for England again…

      Which brings me to my conspiracy theory on Trott.


      • Zephirine Apr 29, 2015 / 9:34 am

        Keeping him quiet? Mm, yes, convincing theory.

        Judging by that TV interview he did when he first mistakenly thought he was getting better, Trott is an honest and somewhat unguarded person who could damn the England setup without even realising he was doing it.

        In fact, his recovery once he was away from their medics pretty much damns them anyway.

        You’re also quite right about the money. And English/Welsh cricket is such a small world, who’s to say that if you played for England a few times and then criticise the England setup, somebody won’t have a word with the director of cricket in your county and mysteriously your services won’t be required even at county level any more?

        It needs someone who’s been on a central contract and made good money so is financially secure, but is definitely leaving cricket and so doesn’t care what he says. Not many of those around yet.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Benny Apr 29, 2015 / 10:57 am

        Very sure the suspicions are correct. When I worked for a major insurance company, we were forbidden to make any public statements. I was even instructed to say no to a supplier who wanted to include us in their published list of customers because our CEO refused to endorse anyone.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. dvyk Apr 28, 2015 / 10:05 pm

    “If we win against New Zealand, fine. Win against Australia, brilliant. I’ll eat the humblest of humble pie. Until then, spare me the great wins claptrap, the reinforced leader of a loyal hardy bunch of men BS, and the back to his best cockwaffle. And I will be a bloody curmudgeon if I want to be. I am a real fan, and real fans don’t go mental over wins pulled out of their arse against a team that is prone to brainfarts. Or as Australia called them in 2006/7 and 13/14 “England”.”

    As an Australian, I was much more impressed with the subsequent victory over SA than the Ashes white wash. (I won’t say which one induced the more guffaws.)

    I did note, however that after being defeated by Australia, South Africa did *not*, I repeat, *not* sack the best batsman. They didn’t do that. Maybe Selvey and co, when they finish their post-victory smug-fest, would like to write a long list of reasons why they didn’t do that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mark Apr 28, 2015 / 10:09 pm

    Excellent and well written piece. And like nothing you will find in tomorrow’s chip wrappers. Which is why I come on here.

    Is Cook in good form? No

    Is Cook a nice guy? I have no idea, but every now and again the phoney mask slips and he doesn’t seem that nice to me. (Not that being nice is a criteria for captain, but the media keep pushing the meme, so if it’s false you wonder what else are the lying about?)

    Is England a top team at the moment? No.

    So why all the bullshit and cringing, sycophantic boot licking?

    I suspect the reason is that Cook has to succeed or a lot of people with enormous egos are proved morons. That’s quite an incentive to lie, distort, and eulogise mindless mediocrity. I have never seen it before in English cricket. And the nearest I have seen in football was Alex Ferguson. (But he had over 20 years off success)

    The reaction to this test match was similar to Southampton. Because the stakes for Cook were getting big. Had England failed to win again here and with no hundred the pressure cranks up again. Not now, cook will get the Ashes, and the media can enjoy the summer, win lose or draw. Hallelujah!

    Of course Selvey could tell us the truth. He could stop the riddles and the innuendo, and get some courage and integrity and tell us what is this terrible secret that he claims to know about KP. If it’s that shocking, surely it will end all arguments? Has he got the guts to tell us?


    • MM Apr 28, 2015 / 11:05 pm

      If KP has a terrible secret, Selvey wouldn’t have been able to contain himself from spilling his bitter and twisted guts. Unless revealing it would set off a kind of Mutually Assured Destruction.

      But I don’t think Selvey has diddleysquat, beyond the desperation to keep his salary.


      • alan Apr 29, 2015 / 6:45 am

        Maybe he’s afraid he could be sued for libel. In which case he can’t be very confident that he could substantiate it. On the other hand it could be so mind numbingly trivial that it would just be an embarrassment to reveal it and make himself an even bigger laughing stock than he is now

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Arron Wright Apr 29, 2015 / 7:50 am

    I’m a bit late to this, but apparently it’s serious:

    The wonders of following England in the 2010s, eh?


  12. emasl Apr 29, 2015 / 7:51 am

    I am thinking of having a t shirt made emblazoned with I have been Blocked ny Mike Selvey printed on it. I am i am.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Zephirine Apr 29, 2015 / 9:42 am

      Badge of honour!


  13. SimonH Apr 29, 2015 / 9:41 am

    I’ve a lot of time for Simon Wilde and I think his Tweet was in response to this:

    Something that has only been achieved four times in Test history is pretty remarkable – even when one allows for the quality of the opposition, luck with the toss, some poor earlier play and the rest of it.

    The other times:
    1) 1968 – this was when Sobers declared so WI weren’t even bowled out.
    2) 1984 – India only led by about 10 runs going into the last day and were spun out by Edmonds and Pocock with Gower captain (I don’t remember anyone putting it down solely to Gower’s “iron will” though!).
    3) 2006 – I can’t remember this one but believe it might have given it’s name to a fine blog once……


      • SimonH Apr 29, 2015 / 10:33 am

        No, absolutely not – I wasn’t claiming so for a moment.

        That Tres innings was something special – I’d forgotten what a lone hand it was. He was also not in great knick coming into that innings I think?

        All achieved effectively a bowler down as well as Harmison was such a mess in that game.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Apr 29, 2015 / 10:45 am

        Rather depends on your definition 🙂

        He made a century just four innings earlier at Durban, though he’d scored only 28, 0 and 16 since.

        Also, he’d had three ducks in eleven innings after his two centuries at Edgbaston in 2004.

        Still had four centuries in his previous 33 innings though…


      • SimonH Apr 29, 2015 / 11:23 am

        Not as much as I thought then. Certainly don’t see him on this table!

        Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Apr 29, 2015 / 9:50 am

      Nick Hoult has Root as likely ODI captain for the summer I’ve just seen.

      Fair enough probably – but the decision not to make Root WC v/c then looks even odder than it did at the time. Just a warning shot across his bows perhaps?


    • Mark Apr 29, 2015 / 2:25 pm

      Newman is an idiot. How are England players going to improve at ODI cricket if they don’t play with the best players in the world?

      Newman hasn’t got the faintest idea. He just knows that because KP wanted to play IPL it must be wrong.

      “captain puts IPL ahead of International duty.” It always has to be written in quasi Victorian ‘know your place’ arrogance. They don’t like Mogan anyway. He took over from Cook. And he’s Irish. The Mail doesn’t like immigrants.


    • metatone Apr 29, 2015 / 3:06 pm

      I think it’s a fair question to ask – given their record – just how did the England coaches mess up Eoin Morgan?


      • "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 29, 2015 / 3:55 pm

        How indeed? He took the poisoned chalice at the last moment and did the best he could given the constraints of the laptop, Cook’s team, and the endemic conservatism of the set up. It wasn’t the best environment to get his form back, or Captain with his undoubted flair.
        They’re gonna shit on him from a great height….as predicted!!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Andy Apr 29, 2015 / 10:18 am

    I would dearly love to see the old fluent Cook return, but he seems to be still fudging around. I hate to want people to fail, but so much has been built on the sand foundations that it will topple at some point and I won’t be too sorry.

    As mentioned above, the mask does seem to occasionally slip and he appears to be a spoilt brat who expects things to go his way. The protection he has been given for the last 2 years (both press and ECB) has fed into that self aggrandisement leading to such Bollocks as suggesting Eng would have done better at the WC if he was still skipper.

    Part of me wonders if various members of the press & ECB upper echelons just want Cook to live long enough so that KP will be too old for a serious recall.

    The ECB are failing the fans (and ultimate stakeholders to steal their terms), England should be encouraged to develop and play exciting cricket, not just focus on grinding out results.


    • metatone Apr 29, 2015 / 3:08 pm

      Isn’t it just typical of our press all around since the Disaster Down Under – bigging up players using stats heavily tilted to recent series against weaker opposition?


    • Pontiac Apr 30, 2015 / 1:39 am

      I find it ludicrous when people suggest that Moeen Ali as equivalently proven a Test spinner as Nathan Lyon.


  15. SimonH Apr 29, 2015 / 4:50 pm

    I’m not non-English obviously but I just wanted to point out one issue with Ali (and others). He along with Root and Buttler look like fixtures in all three formats (along possibly with Stokes, Broad and I expect they’ll give Ballance another go in one-dayers before too long). Ali has not been used to bowling huge numbers of overs and he’s already just had one injury (which may just have been bad luck – who knows?).

    Given England’s congested schedule there is going to need to be some careful management of these players in particular. Not a problem for a set-up that has a good recent record of managing such things well. How does England’s record look? Oh……

    (There’s a new Switch Hit up on Cricinfo by the way if anyone’s interested and hadn’t noticed).


    • metatone Apr 29, 2015 / 5:29 pm

      It’s a great point. Part of how we wore out Swann was making him a fixture of T20, ODI and Test sides…


      • SimonH Apr 29, 2015 / 5:57 pm

        And of course England do have a very good one-day spinner as an alternative option!

        It looks like the Test and ODI are going to become quite different over the forthcoming year. I’m assuming Anderson and Bell won’t play ODIs and I suspect Jordan may end up mostly playing ODIs rather than Tests.

        They seem to have a lot of faith in Woakes and he could be another one they’ll look to play in all formats. (By the way, I don’t mean to be unkind but has anyone said or felt England are really missing Woakes?).

        Ali, Root and Buttler are the keys though. Buttler looked quite jaded at times in the winter I thought. Root’s back trouble is a concern – why on earth are they fielding him at short leg for starters? If he becomes ODI/T20 captain, as Nick Hoult suggests is going to happen, then he can’t be rested for any of those games it would seem. Ali has said the way he snaps through his action is the key to the dip that makes him effective but that must put strain on the intercostals which is just where he got injured.

        Still let’s tell them to get fitter if they want a rest (not that they’ll feel they can ask for one), put them on cortisone to mask minor injuries and, when minor injuries become major injuries, send them back to their counties in bits in a couple of years time. The same pattern is going to keep repeating itself…..

        Liked by 2 people

  16. David Mutton Apr 29, 2015 / 6:57 pm

    If you are going to be in Philly then try and take in the Philly Cricket Festival this weekend – the final is on Sunday. I was hoping to attend but various things got in the way. And if you have time try to arrange a trip to the CC Morris Cricket Museum at Haverford College – a few miles outside of the city. There’s a lot of cricketing history in the city of Brotherly Love!


  17. Mark Apr 29, 2015 / 7:32 pm

    Shit, I was just looking through the TV listings for tonight and at 11pm on BBC 4 there is is program called….Captain Cook-The Man Behind the legend.

    I thought the BBC have gone insane, but then I realised it was the famous Captain Cook the explorer, not Cook the sponsors favourite.


  18. Rooto Apr 29, 2015 / 7:36 pm

    Fantastic rant! Enjoy your trip.
    Will read comments in a mo, but following your – totally correct – outing of Nasser as a bed-wetting fanboy (a viewpoint I agree with, and referred to in passing in a comment on, I think, day 4 of Grenada), I can’t help wondering if Hussain’s denial of interest in the new DoC position was really genuine. He’s certainly been drinking the Kool-Aid since the job was announced.


  19. SimonH Apr 29, 2015 / 8:06 pm

    Brilliant news from Lawrence Booth that Australia and South Africa are against a 10-team WC in 2019 and are sympathetic to other changes to help associate nations:

    So, where’s the ECB on this? Last I heard Graves sounded sympathetic to the associate cause but a certain crumple-suited ECB representative at the ICC was reported to be “hell bent” on 10 teams in 2019…..


  20. Andy Apr 30, 2015 / 11:52 am

    as much as I hate to say it I think Aus could be the key here – as one of teh self anointed ‘Big Three’ they might just start to reverse the decision.

    The WC should be encouraging all Assoc nations that they can get there – not some token ‘top qualifier’.

    If they want to go down that route how about making the Champions trophy the test nations with 1 invite/qualified assoc.


  21. SimonH Apr 30, 2015 / 4:38 pm


  22. Rooto Apr 30, 2015 / 6:47 pm

    Late to this, but … Selvey:
    “During the second test, there appeared to be something of a clamour for England to include Adil Rashid’s leg-spin, although this in itself would cause disruption within the side.”
    How incredibly haughty! He can scarcely make out the proles’ protest from so far above us, and his main concern is disruption to the guys in (at the top of) the team! The guy has No Bloody Clue.


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 30, 2015 / 7:35 pm

      Disruption in the side.

      Look at this to become an even more common mantra as Cook senses this is the time to assert his mantra.

      I once went on one of those school outward bound courses and was due to be in a team of six mates (or so I thought) on a yachting mission or some sort of thing. Sadly came down with a horrendous bout of flu and when it came to the last day, my “team” said they’d worked so well without me, that I wasn’t welcome. Now I can tell you how demoralising that is when you knew you were better than two or three on that team, but some self-appointed leader wanted his own way (because, I assume, he felt comfortable not being confronted with someone who might be a threat, or a bit different).

      That’s not leadership. That’s a clique. Be very wary of th “disruption” dog whistle – it means out of Cook’s comfort zone. If you don’t share your name with a bird, he really doesn’t have the foggiest how to use you….. that’s disruption.


    • Arron Wright Apr 30, 2015 / 8:24 pm

      I’m buggered if I know why dropping either Stokes or Jordan causes such a massive rupture. 6 for 442 between them, someone said. So vital to the future development of the side that both have been doing the hokey-cokey for months.

      Selvey. Just. Does. Not. Like. Rashid.


      • Mark Apr 30, 2015 / 9:04 pm

        I sometimes seriously wonder why I even still bother supporting England anymore, and even bother with cricket in this country.

        “Disruption within the side”. WTF does that even mean? I know it’s a rather quaint idea, and one lost on Selvey and his chums, but how about picking on talent? The only reason anyone should play is because they are good enough. If England won’t pick Rashid it should be because they think he does not have the talent.

        Oh, and the Lord Haw Haws in the England set up who constantly leak to their scummy mates in the media about various players shortcomings should put a sock in it. What do they think it will do to Rashids confidence to have him read he will cause a disruption? (But hey Cook is a nice guy)

        Selvey and friends seem to have a very two tier system for judging players. Some are not able to get in the team because they don’t have the right type of tie. Others can keep failing over and over again, and Selvey will defend every one of those failures. But they went to the right school.


    • Benny Apr 30, 2015 / 10:49 pm

      I’d say it’s because Selvey knows absolutely nothing about management


  23. "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 30, 2015 / 10:08 pm

    Well chaps, and chapesses….the strategy is out! Windies will play with positivity and aggression, whilst our dear leader says we will go for stability??
    Lets see how the story unfolds tomorrow eh?


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