So it’s Strauss.

There seems little doubt that the man who appeared nailed on to be a blazer at the ECB post retirement is indeed going to be a blazer at the ECB.  That people are sceptical about this is hardly a surprise, if you were to pick an Inside Cricket candidate, it could only be Strauss whose name would come up.  The line from the media is that he should be given a chance to address the doubts, and that’s a fair line as far as it goes, but it doesn’t acknowledge a fundamental point – that the ECB have broken any level of trust with the supporters that they once had, and don’t deserve it either.   It is possible Strauss will surprise us, and to that extent a degree of patience is warranted but only a degree.

The ECB have never addressed the relationship with those who provide the money for them.  The “Outside Cricket” jibe festers for good reason.  It’s never been apologised for and fundamentally there are only two options – that the ECB don’t realise the damage it caused, or that they don’t care.  Neither is exactly to their credit.

It’s always a matter of conjecture how representative those who Tweet or comment in the newspapers or on blogs are of cricket supporters, but Ed Smith’s preposterous argument that because those who do are only a small minority, that is evidence that it’s an unrepresentative minority is nothing but an example of confirmation bias at its worst.  For a man who basks in a reputation of high intelligence, it’s a remarkably stupid argument to attempt to make.  The truth is that all the indications are the dissatisfaction and indeed contempt for the ECB is widespread.  Proof is impossible to come by, but evidence is still evidence.  If Smith wants to try and reject that, he needs to demonstrate that there is support for how the ECB conduct themselves.  Claiming the support of the silent majority on the grounds that they are silent is desperate.

Of course, what the usual line of dismissal focuses on is Kevin Pietersen.  It is a classic example of a straw man argument, as I’ve said on so many occasions, Pietersen is a symptom not a cause.  And this is where the question of how Strauss will handle the matter becomes critical.  It will without doubt be the first or second question that is put to him, meaning that within seconds of his getting the job, the disaster of the ECB’s own making will once again be front and centre.  Strauss is hardly in a good position already, having notoriously been abusive on air about him.  His response to that question is going to be what creates the headlines, however he addresses it, that much is in no doubt.  Some of the press reports are suggesting that the line will be that a return will cause too much disruption, and this remains ludicrous.  Of course it would cause disruption to the cosy little world the ECB live in – whose fault is that?  It is because of the incompetent, ham-fisted, unprecedented decision to sack a player that it is still an open sore.  The continuing refusal to acknowledge that it is the bed they made for themselves is precisely the problem – and precisely the reason for the scepticism about Strauss himself.

Should England have a bad summer, as seems distinctly possible, this will become even more acute an issue, so long as Pietersen scores runs.  The only way of responding that will give Strauss credibility is a simple statement that all players who merit a place will be considered for selection.  Stick to that line, and don’t move off it, for that is the only one that won’t involve the potential for having to make a U turn.  And here’s the rub, how on earth can it be controversial to consider selecting your best players?  If he’s not one of them it doesn’t matter – the only reason they tangle themselves is knots about it is because of a fear deep down that he might be.

Let us cast this forward – if indeed England play badly, and Pietersen scores runs, then a failure to state all players are available for selection is simply going to be unsustainable.  Players who aren’t in the team always improve in status anyway, for such a famous one to be ignored is going to be constantly questioned.  Do they really believe that will be less disruptive than the alternative?

Yet again it ends up coming back to Pietersen.  The irony is that this is frustrating whatever side of the debate one is on.  The previous regime are actually correct in that it shouldn’t be.  Everyone would like to move on.  Including those awful people who buy tickets.  Strauss’s hardest problem is finding a means to do it, and for his own benefit that means being open to his selection, should it be merited.  Any other decision will quite simply undermine his credibility from the outset.

And what of captain and coach?  It’s been noted that Straussy and Cooky are close, and that’s another problem.  Not in itself, there’s clearly nothing wrong at all with people being friends, but the captain is himself in considerable trouble.  Will Strauss be clear sighted enough to see that and take action when needed?  There have to be doubts.  It is not the job of a Director of Cricket to prop up his mate, nor to refuse to see reality.  Strauss’s commentary has hardly been overcritical of his captaincy to date.  Does he really believe Cook is the best captain England could have?  For it really is as simple as that.

For all the debate about Peter Moores as coach, there is doubt he would go as far as to sack him.  Moores may well be out of his depth, but Strauss’s own likely appointment is because of the conservative nature of the ECB, that conservatism is no different when it comes to the choice of coach.  Whatever Moores’ failings, he’s exactly the kind of man the ECB will want to see at the helm.  That limits things to Peter Moores type coaches in the first place, and Moores is probably a good example of that kind of coach.

Fifteen years ago England chose Nasser Hussain as their captain.  Hussain was abrasive, incredibly unpopular on the county circuit, difficult, opinionated and hard to handle.  It is impossible to imagine the current ECB ever appointing such a person.  It is equally impossible to imagine the ECB appointing someone like Darren Lehmann.  That doesn’t mean that Lehmann would be the correct choice, it means that the ECB limit their choices from the outset.  Which is why we end up with an Andrew Strauss.  Safe, comfortable and quite probably the right kind of chap with the right kind of family.  So much of the dismay about his likely engagement is less about Strauss himself and more about what it represents.  A refusal to admit that they might have got things wrong before, and a refusal to admit that they might need to change.  It is unsurprising in any way.


110 thoughts on “Coronation

  1. marees May 6, 2015 / 12:14 pm

    Is it confirmed that it is Strauss?

    What I understood is that Vaughn pulled out so Strauss is next in line by default, but we havent heard yet about the head-hunting and international candidates

    Looks like ECB need some-one with strong international captaincy experience to cover-up for Whitaker/Moores/Cook. Maybe they could go for someone like Gatting? He seems to be free of media commitments. or somebody like Stephen Fleming?

    Apparently Ed Smith assumes that the Journalists have higher standard than the commenters. He should read the Tabloid sites like Daily mail. The commenters BTL manage to restore my faith in humanity after reading the articles ATL which are generally total shit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance May 6, 2015 / 12:15 pm

      Given the amount of coverage saying so, it would now be astonishing if it wasn’t.


    • Arron Wright May 6, 2015 / 12:36 pm

      “we havent heard yet about the head-hunting and international candidates”

      I admire your optimism. The likelihood is either that they spunked some more Sky money on an utterly pointless headhunting exercise, or they used it as a smokescreen, in order to convince the credulous that they might be willing to consider someone other than the depressingly obvious. Or possibly even both.


      • thelegglance May 6, 2015 / 12:39 pm

        The headhunting thing amuses me intensely. “Chaps they’ve come back with a list of names – anyone ever heard of these fellows?”

        Liked by 1 person

      • MM May 6, 2015 / 12:46 pm

        Thumbs up from me.


      • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 6, 2015 / 8:32 pm

        If they had spent the money on employing a really extraordinary person to take over instead of a head hunter who seemed to need an ECB Sat Nav to find Strauss, we might have got somewhere. Establishment rules.


    • Arron Wright May 6, 2015 / 1:00 pm

      What I mean is this:

      – We heard about headhunting for the new coach. We got the man who had the job before, and was well known to his predecessor/successor.
      – We heard about it when they sought a new MD in 2013. We got a former international cricketer with a Lord’s background.
      – And now they’ve allegedly paid a headhunting firm to discover the last captain but one, with a Lord’s background, a close relationship with the former coach, a previous working relationship with the current one, and a recent history working for the board’s paymasters.

      They really must think we’re all COMPLETELY stupid. I think they tell us these things about headhunting firms in case anyone accuses them of not doing due diligence. Probably because unfair people with functioning memories tend to remember what happened when they apparently failed to do that a few years ago.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Benny May 6, 2015 / 7:06 pm

        Tbh I think it is they who are stupid. Suspect they haven’t for a moment considered what anyone “outside cricket” thinks. Different world


  2. MM May 6, 2015 / 12:16 pm

    I agree with all of the above 100%. Now, what do we do about it?


    • thebogfather May 6, 2015 / 12:25 pm

      Keep powder dry until something factual appears – then we can rip!


      • ron May 6, 2015 / 2:28 pm

        the only news I’ve heard is of MCC members complaining, again, about seat sizes – they’ve got their priorities right, as usual …………


      • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 6, 2015 / 10:56 pm

        You are probably right dad. Thing is Selvey has spoken and has said that Strauss’ appointment is already signed and sealed?

        To Ron: Better put the MCC members on a diet I reckon. Make ’em tighten their belts and stick ’em in the gym!!! LOL


  3. Simon K May 6, 2015 / 12:40 pm

    I wouldn’t get too upset about this role, to be honest. It sounds like it’s going to be a fairly bland, lightweight “face of England cricket” job where the most important qualification is being a competent media performer. The creation of the role is a tacit acknowledgement that the ECB’s PR has been shit for the last 18 months (at least) and they need a safe pair of hands to face up in public.

    This is why Strauss will be suited to the job, and Vaughan won’t be.


    • d'Arthez May 6, 2015 / 2:54 pm

      Not sure if I share such optimism about job descriptions. Mission creep happens. Case in point, Downton. And given that Strauss is not even three years out of the game as a player, and still is all matey with several key players (just listen to his commentary, and the way he refers to players), is a real danger. DoC does not exist to prop up failings and failures. But that is what it will probably end up being.

      And then picking a guy whose misogynistic views were widely celebrated in huge parts of the media for a PR-role? Really?

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus May 6, 2015 / 3:28 pm

        Put money on this happening.

        We lose to New Zealand, possibly after another monumental brain fart. The Sky team are looking for answers, and as is their wont, Nasser will come up with something. He’ll say how Andrew Strauss might need to get more closely involved in team matters, and maybe more hands-on with the head coach. Botham will stew for an hour or two, and then snort something like “don’t know why they are paying a man like Strauss all that money to sit behind a desk and prepare for 2019. We have an Ashes test series coming up, and he’s wasted there. Get him in the dressing room.”

        Think Kevin Keegan when he became England manager and split it with his Fulham duties. We were pretty rubbish when he job-shared, so it was all down to the job share that we were rubbish. So he quit as Fulham manager, and we remained rubbish, and he walked out. He was rubbish for that job ab initio. But the mission creep took hold, received wisdom became a fact you could not contest, and lo and behold, when the obvious smacked us in the eyes, Keegan was out of two jobs (I know, he got the City job soon after).

        I say, this Tom Harrison isn’t off to an auspicious start. Replacing Downton with someone due to do less than his incumbent, but not telling anyone what? I thought the fun might be over. It actually might be starting a new chapter.

        Liked by 3 people

      • waikatoguy May 7, 2015 / 12:17 am

        Its bound to happen. The media will keep asking the DoC (ie head of PR) what “are you personally going to do about this latest debacle”. Invariably they will want to get involved just so they can respond in some way.


  4. Silk May 6, 2015 / 12:41 pm

    As has been said, KP is a diversion, so let’s go back to all the disasterous decisions that have been made since the end of The Ashes and see which of these we’ve managed to address/are likely to address.

    Please bear with me. I’m likely to have forgotten some of the decisions that were made for the worst. How can I possibly keep track of /all/ of them?

    – Saker still in place. Well, this is partially fixed now. But is Strauss capable of finding a bowling coach who can get the best out of Broad, Jordan, Stokes and whoever else?

    – Moores. This is a big problem for me. As highlighted above, I don’t see a decent coach wanting to work under Strauss. So we have Strauss, who’s coached nothing, and Moores, who we know isn’t up to the job. The best that can come of this is that we get a different ODI coach (surely Colly must be the only candidate for the job?) and Moores as Test coach. But Moores Test record is awful. It’s only being talked up now because of how UTTERLY AWFUL his ODI record is. I’ve seen nothing that suggests Moores and Cook can get Cook and Bell batting again, find an opener, find a 3rd seamer, or work with England’s spinners to actually take wickets, rather than contain. Where in Monty?

    – Selection. Def. a plus in that I can’t see how Strauss could be worse than Whittaker. But also can’t see Compton, Carberry or Monty coming back, irrespective of form. They have been blackballed, for reasons no one is clear on. Or Rashid ever getting a Test. Hope I am wrong.

    – KP. Irrelevant until KP scores runs, but becomes v. relevant if Bell continues to fail. Personally I want to see James Taylor in the side, somehow. Because he can replace Steely as Captain. (The wildcard is recognising that Root is the best English opener and should open. But I can’t see Strauss changing a not-losing formula)

    – ODIs and T20. As above, a new coach will help.

    – Overwork. Can’t see it. Strauss isn’t ‘building for the future’, he’s trying to shore up the ECB. So expect Anderson to play in every Test and Root to feature in, well, everything

    – Culture. Probably the most depressing area. England are a bubble of numpties, and it’s clear that if you speak out or try to break the mold you get scape-goated. Given Strauss’ failures in managing culture in 2012 there’s nothing to suggest he can get on top of this

    – Player development. Another depressing area, since Flower seems to be in charge and Loughborough is as bad at developing players as it is at providing an entertaining nightlife.

    Overall – My guess is 3/10. Hope I’m wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Benny May 6, 2015 / 7:50 pm

      Silk, have to say there is so much sense in what you posted. Very much those responsible for England are bereft of anyintelligent or imaginative ideas of how to move forward into the world as it is today. I’ve just enjoyed the IPL match today with superstar Chris Gayle, impressive Mitchel Starc but most of all thousands of spectators (presumably outside cricket) having a wonderful time. I’m still in the ranks of those who believe that Test cricket is the ultimate sport but, if it can’t lose the politics, the favouritism, the bureacracy, the nepotism, the incompetence that we currently endure, I shall change my mind.


      • emasl May 7, 2015 / 1:26 pm

        I have been watching too and love the atmosphere. Would do a lot of our young players good to play here but doubt that will ever happen


  5. jennyah46 May 6, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    I have never been aware of Strauss as being one who is not prepared to make difficult decisions. I can’t see him being easy on Alistair Cook if his position warrants change. He knew when his own day was done and didn’t shrink from that. You are making assumptions that are without good foundation. Throughout your article you are showing the same inner prejudices of which you are accusing Strauss. I’m not saying any us are entirely free from that affliction but do be fair.


    • thelegglance May 6, 2015 / 12:47 pm

      I’ve not made assumptions, I have asked questions and posed difficulties. There is a difference.

      Saying he won’t be easy on Cook is simply….your assumption.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 6, 2015 / 8:38 pm

        In the words of Victor Meldrew: “I just don’t believe it.” Strauss sacking Cook. Yay right. If Strauss’ hand is forced on this part then of course he will get the new coach to do it. He certainly won’t get involved in it.

        I despair all over again.


      • jennyah46 May 6, 2015 / 1:42 pm

        Hi MM,


    • Arron Wright May 6, 2015 / 1:30 pm

      Jenny, what did Strauss do about KPGenius? Or the bowlers’ clique?

      How easy has he been on Alastair Cook in the commentary box? I cancelled Sky a year ago, but other bloggers reliably informed me that he was the only Sky pundit who, after the summer of 2014, still wanted Cook to captain at the World Cup.

      Perhaps more to the point, is Strauss aware of how Cook reacted when Graeme Swann criticised him last summer? Does he want to be referred to as a “so-called friend”?

      How did Strauss feel when this happened, on his own media patch?

      Would he let it happen again now he’s on the other side of the fence? Would he agree that “something should be done”? Or would he exert a quiet influence over the message in the way ex-media people tend to do when they work in other fields (political spin doctors, for example)?

      I can pretty much guarantee, especially after Boycott stirred the pot, that this will be greeted by some of the press corps as “great news for Cook”, as it will help the captain feel more secure at a difficult time. Something along those lines. Once again, what’s good for Cook is assumed to be indivisible from what’s good for England.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jennyah46 May 6, 2015 / 1:51 pm

        Genius and the bowlers clique seems so long ago that I can’t remember what else was going on at the time. I’m sure Struse had plenty else of importance on his plate.. Saffers. KP laughed along with Genius when it first came out. Not sure when or why he changed his mind.


    • MM May 6, 2015 / 12:51 pm

      Uh-oh. They weren’t the headhunting company also, were they?


      • PaulE May 6, 2015 / 1:14 pm

        Doesn’t make it better.


    • LordCanisLupus May 6, 2015 / 1:09 pm

      Couldn’t see Moores there. I’d heard his agent was Luke Sutton but Moores doesn’t appear on his website.


  6. PaulE May 6, 2015 / 12:49 pm

    I could be waking up to a double whammy this weekend: a Conservative government and a Conservative Director of Cricket. I despair, really I do.


  7. Mark May 6, 2015 / 1:01 pm

    Today, I will be mostly calling Strauss Thomas Telford……

    Because we will be building bridges for a f******ing eternity.


  8. SimonH May 6, 2015 / 1:20 pm

    I think Moores is in more trouble than you’ve said. Dobell said an ECB person had been asking the press if Moores should go and wanted to hear ‘yes’. Etheridge thinks Gillespie will be coach by the start of the Ashes.

    Both have been in the West Indies so perhaps those at home have been hearing differently? Lawrence Booth:

    “Sportsmail understands that Moores’s chances of holding on to a post he has filled for barely a year are no better than 50-50 – with defeat by the resurgent New Zealanders likely to rule him out of having a crack at the Ashes later this summer. One source said his fate was ‘in the balance’ and claimed there would be ‘lots of debate’ about the head coach’s role”.

    Booth then adds a point that is being overlooked – even if Strauss wanted to keep Moores it may not be his decision anyway:

    “Assuming Strauss has no appetite to sack Moores so soon after taking on the directorship, there remains the question of the ECB’s top brass, who will be meeting twice this month. The AGM takes place on May 15, with a board meeting scheduled for later in May. The future of Moores will be high on the agenda. As one source put it: ‘I would say Moores has a lot of convincing to do.’”

    We don’t know yet what the powers of the DoC will be nor when they formally start. Where final power resides over the appointment of coach (and captain) is going to be key. Maybe the power isn’t going to be with the DoC which is what Vaughan meant by the ‘limitations’ of the role? Alternatively, if Strauss does have the power to sack Moores, there are good reasons to think he might do just that – the two haven’t always got on easily in the past and it would be the most resounding way for Strauss to show that he isn’t what his critics say, an Establishment stooge. Frankly, it looks like only TINA – essentially Gillespie not wanting the job – can save Moores.


    • thelegglance May 6, 2015 / 1:33 pm

      It’s the lack of time between now and the New Zealand series that makes me doubt it. You could be correct, I’m merely sceptical they’d be that ruthless.


        • LordCanisLupus May 6, 2015 / 2:21 pm

          If these two paragraphs don’t scream “cosy clique” at whoever reads them, then I have some swampland to sell you…

          The squad are thought to believe that performances are more likely to improve if key men such as Moores and captain Alastair Cook are secure in their positions, rather than wondering whether defeat will bring the axe.

          At the moment, the feeling is that every loss — such as the one in Barbados this week that denied England a series win — might cause severe consequences. The mood in the squad is that if there is greater clarity and calmness about the future, they will be able to focus better on the tasks ahead — beating New Zealand and trying to regain the Ashes.


      • SimonH May 6, 2015 / 7:12 pm

        This line from Andrew Hughes nails it:
        “The pathological continuity of selection that defined the Flower era has subsided into a cosy narcissism, as a seemingly immovable captain surrounds himself with players he feels comfortable around”


    • Silk May 6, 2015 / 1:34 pm

      What is the point of the DoC if the ‘ECB Top Brass’ are interfering in team affairs?

      This is a big part of the problem, of course, typified by Downton. Downton didn’t want to be a Manager. He wanted to be the manager, head honcho, coach and media spokesman. He sacked players, sat on selection meetings and decided who was captain.

      The ECB ‘top brass’ (or ‘bunch of wankers’) seem to think the England cricket team is something they all have a hand in running. What;s worse, when they don’t get their way the go running to the Press and do their best to undermine, well, anyone who gets in their way.

      KP was sacked at Captain because someone at the ECB leaked to undermine him. Rashid is being briefed against. Moores is being briefed for /and/ against. Graves is being briefed against. Strauss is being briefed /for/.

      They all have an agenda. Sack the lot of them and select a head coach with the powers he needs to run a cricket team without being stabbed in the back.


      • SimonH May 6, 2015 / 2:07 pm

        “What is the point of the DoC if the ‘ECB Top Brass’ are interfering in team affairs?”

        To sell what they’re doing better than they can do themselves? To be able to get through a press conference without causing another crisis? To get through a 10-minute Pat Murphy interview without repeatedly croaking “he’s not in our plans” like some malfunctioning dalek?

        That’s the concern about the DoC job – it’s a figurehead and that’s all. It would then make sense to appoint someone who’s been working in the media for the last two years rather than appointing a director of cricket who’s been a, you know, director of cricket.

        The job description, if they ever get around to releasing it, is going to be more interesting than the individual appointed.


      • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 6, 2015 / 9:07 pm

        I wish! Not likely though is it. We are talking about establishment here. Wagon Train has been circled and same old, same old is name of the game.


    • LordCanisLupus May 6, 2015 / 1:46 pm

      Did you read the Q&A in the Mail, in which Lawrence Booth seems to be putting the counter case to pretty much everything in the “received wisdom” press. Thought it interesting!

      Nothing makes my blood boil more than comments like “He deserves a go at the Ashes because he was denied it last time.” There have to be positive reasons to keep someone in situ, and still it remains, despite the world class f*** up the World Cup and its preparations were (lest we forget, we cleared the decks for THAT, and no-one other than Stooge Downton paid the price in the ECB hierarchy), that we mutter that Moores deserves a chance to cock up another massive element of his job, and Cook deserves to stay on as there is no alternative, and anyway, he’s scoring runs now.

      Liked by 1 person

    • MM May 6, 2015 / 5:19 pm

      Imagine Moores having to convince the ECB about his continuing suitability. Lots of tongue-tied managementspeak bollux and a malfunctioning powerpoint presentation from off his old Toshiba Satellite Pro. I would be quite proud of the man if he stood up, dropped his kecks, mooned the suits, and was never seen again in public until his [ahem] blockbusting biog lifted the lid on that wonderful dressing room environment.


  9. SimonH May 6, 2015 / 1:35 pm

    More eye-rollers from Planet Swann:

    “[Moores] and Cook are good men who are doing a good job. There is a danger of a familiar over-reaction, calling for a mass cull. That shouldn’t happen.”

    “[West Indies] was a series that people think England should have won, but they weren’t able to get over the line. Their Test form of the past seven or eight matches is pretty good, so I’m not panicking.”


    • LordCanisLupus May 6, 2015 / 1:38 pm

      At one point in that podcast Swann told us that our test form had been exceptional over the past year. Yes, he used the word exceptional. Presumably his qualifying period was from Test 3 against India until Test 3 against West Indies. ODIs, of course, didn’t matter at all and were hardly raised.

      I then started listening to Simon Hughes and I switched off. Smith and Swann had all the insight of the Chuckle Brothers, while Agnew kept rambling on about mediocrity. I’m beginning to doubt my sanity doing this.


      • Arron Wright May 6, 2015 / 1:57 pm

        It was dreadful, that whole programme. If I’d been alert enough I would have told you not to bother with the podcast. Even the moderator couldn’t articulate an alternative view.

        There has to be a *reason* why a cricketer with 108 Tests and 8,114 runs feels that strongly, and why it chimes to a greater or lesser extent with the views of many dissidents. There has to be a *reason* that goes beyond “he’s from Yorkshire, innit” and which can’t be addressed in full by trotting out “everyone loves Cooky, it’s a disgrace”.

        Seriously, it was abysmal.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus May 6, 2015 / 2:19 pm

          No. It’s my job to listen to extraordinary nonsense like this. You’d all be disappointed if I didn’t.


      • Mark May 6, 2015 / 2:36 pm

        What was shocking about the BBC thing last night was the lack of any balance. There was no one to put the counter position. Agnew just kept repeating “Colin Graves said mediocre.” Nobody pointed out it had no effect on the first 2 test matches.

        The anti Boycott thing was comedy gold. Hughes even tried to claim it was the Yorkshire Mafia and dragged Vaughn into it. Then they started on the pro Strauss stuff which was mostly whaffle.

        If Simon is right and Moores job is on the line I can only presume it will be done to protect Cook. How many more people have to be discarded to prop up this one man? It’s exdtainary. First KP, then a whole bunch of players, then Downton, now maybe Moores. All so one man can survive.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus May 6, 2015 / 3:16 pm

          One of the key points levelled at us is “if you don’t like what the print media / TV and radio say, then don’t listen to it.” But this misses a fundamental point and something we try to do, in our own small way, to counter-balance. When something is put out in the press / TV it becomes received wisdom. So, for example, received wisdom at the moment is that Alastair Cook is firmly in place as England captain and he is nearly back to his best with the bat. That line isn’t out there by accident. It isn’t just some happenstance that alighted upon the eyes and ears of everyone in the press corps. It’s a bloody line to take. Surely no-one is saying Cook is developing as a tactically astute captain now – what little evidence of the positive in the first two tests was blown out of the water in the 3rd match, surely? Not one of the press corps or TV lot thought Cook let it drift, let the home side off the hook? Not one person drew that conclusion, while many watching did? And as for the second part, they have to be talking twaddle, as they constantly refer to Cook’s form in Australia in 2010/11 and India 2012, when he was in amazing form. He’s not in the same postcode as that, and even he’d admit it if pushed (or should).

          No, it’s received wisdom and it’s disseminated to all of us out there, so if you go up against it, you are being a trouble maker, or you don’t know because you aren’t there. So for all the exceptional form shite that is put out there about our test performances, we get to ignore the monumental disgrace that was Day 4 at Headingley, the craven stupidity of Lord’s v India, with both bat and ball, and now we are told to take the positives from drawing with a team that started the series in disarray?

          There’s no pretence to balance any more. Not in cricket. I will listen to Dobell defend Cook and Moores because he’s shown an acknowledgement of our views, without talking down to us, without ignoring us, and without taking our support for granted. What little I’ve heard from the latest Switch Hit is disappointing, but you have to listen to him, because he has that credibility. Sadly, when anything said about Cook and Moores starts saying they are “good men” as Vian says in his comments here, I’m about to lose the plot. It needs more evidence than that, and it needs better than received wisdom.

          Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus May 6, 2015 / 3:31 pm

          HUghes was beautiful. Built up the Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire angle, and then closed off by saying “but I don’t think it’s a Yorkshire mafia”.

          Oh, and let’s face it, if you’ve read Michael Vaughan in the Telegraph, he doesn’t have forceful views. He’s the human windsock. As soon as the wind changes direction, so does he. That’s at least something you could not accuse Boycott of. He’d fight into the teeth of a gale, the madman!

          Liked by 2 people

      • MM May 6, 2015 / 5:21 pm

        As soon as you mentioned the Chuckle Brothers I just knew you were sane. Please don’t doubt yerself.


      • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 6, 2015 / 9:13 pm

        I think we are in parallel universes most of the time now. I read all this guff from the usual suspects and then listen to the usual suspects and it is always same old guff. It’s the King’s New Clothes again and again. What is it these people are seeing that I can’t? I often think I’ve gone completely and utterly mad.


    • thelegglance May 6, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      When did it become so important that someone was a “good man”, a “nice bloke” or a “top lad”? It’s remarkable how this is now paraded as a justification for things. The same defence was used for Downton. And of course the contrast with “nasty man” Pietersen is evident.

      It’s simply used as a means to avoid discussing the issues.


      • Mark May 6, 2015 / 3:06 pm

        The good bloke, right type of school stuff only started when he stopped scoring runs.

        Before that you never heard how nice he was.


    • Arron Wright May 6, 2015 / 2:19 pm

      I liked t’other* Simon’s responses to Swann on Twitter.

      * Yorkshire reference. I am a member of the mafia. I am a disgrace.


      • metatone May 6, 2015 / 3:00 pm

        Declaration – I’m part of t’Mafia too.


    • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 6, 2015 / 9:10 pm

      What’s he after then? A painting of himself at Lords. Heaven save us from such pathetic sycophancy. I wish TMS would get rid of him as he is utterly appalling. Me and old man were listening to him the other night and he said same thing 5 times! We both said: “Needle’s got stuck!”


  10. sebsmar May 6, 2015 / 2:13 pm

    I found this blog fairly recently (about a month or so ago). It made me feel so much better to finally find some like-minded individuals after the debacle of 2014. I was living in Argentina during the last 2 ashes series and watched, pretty much, all of it via streaming. There are far better things to be doing on a Saturday night in Buenos Aires, at the best of times, but during the whitewash. It was a little disheartening. Of course, my Argentine friends thought me pretty odd for watching this peculiar game rather than ‘having fun’. I have to agree with them. Long-story-short, I was exacerbated by the fallout, and quite disconnected from what was actually going on back here in England. All I could find was the mainstream media, and so I was little disheartened to read about all the support for the 2 idiots Downton and Cook. I felt I had no choice but to take extreme measures and so I dropped out, as it were, of English cricket, which was sad – after first following England in the early 90s when England were basically travelling circus, and going through THOSE bad times, in no way could I be described as a fair-weather supporter.

    Anyway, that’s the background bit over. I’m absolutely delighted to find this blog. You’re doing a fantastic job here.

    On subject. Andrew Strauss is such a hypocrite. He presided over, and allowed the Parody KP twitter account. In my eyes far more divisive and derogatory than the textgate nonsense. He certainly did milk it. He should have been reprimanded over his offensive comments live on air. But nobody in the ECB, establishment or MSM seems to care nor see the parallels with textgate.

    Andrew Strauss is the real ‘king cnut’


    • Benny May 6, 2015 / 8:09 pm

      I envy you being in Buenos Aires during the last two Ashes series.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sebsmar May 6, 2015 / 9:44 pm

        Lordcanislupus (are you AKA Dmitri?) – Yes, Thank you!! 🙂 Like I said, I was a bit disconnected out there in South America. All I had was the MSM, ie, depressing stuff. I voted with my feet.

        Benny – Yes, I’m glad I was there. I remember my considering to fly back to catch a bit of the Ashes. Thank god I didn’t. We won, but by god, it was awful cricket. I gave some Aussie friends a bit of stick, but after that unconvincing performance, I was openly fearful of the return series. For the home series we were 4 hours behind, so I was getting up pretty early and usually missing the first hour or so.

        For the return series, we were 3 hours behind….so around 9pm to 4am – give or take….Luckily you can still go out and party at 4am in Buenos Aires, so, as opposed to you lot waking (or staying) up to hear about the disaster, for me, doom and gloom was followed by booze and dances. Invariably there was a pre-party at my house anyway. My flatmate and her girl-friends liked to pre-drink at mine. So imagine a house full of latin girls, drinking and dancing….and me in a corner watching the disastrous Ashes. That’s how devoted to England I used to be…..Of course, it was so dire, quite often I would say ‘screw this shit’, and partied instead.

        I wish I found this blog last year while I was still there. When I first found it (when Downton got fired – praise the lord) I stayed up all night reading a lot of the articles and practically ALL of the comments. There are some wonderful contributors. Some excellent comments and points of view. Once again Dmitri (??), You’ve done an excellent job at creating this community. And now that I’ve introduced myself, I’ll chip into the debates, here and there, perhaps.



          • sebsmar May 6, 2015 / 11:03 pm

            Are you talking about 2006? That statement seems it must have been made for the debacle of 2006. If it’s not about 2006, then my mind is blank and needs refreshing.


          • sebsmar May 6, 2015 / 11:12 pm

            No. I had no idea. I have just found it now…I’ll have a look at that. With regards the Dmitri thing, I thought I had seen others referring to you as Dmitri. And, as LordCanisLupus is a bit of the typing equivalent of a mouthful, I was looking for a short cut. I can do ‘Lord’. I have no qualms about that. Please don’t make me write LordCanisLupus (I’m not a touch typist, and it takes me about half an hour to write it). – Sebs


          • LordCanisLupus May 6, 2015 / 11:13 pm

            Dmitri or LCL is fine. Had to stop the original blog but it is free to read now.


          • sebsmar May 6, 2015 / 11:27 pm

            LCL – perfect. I’m just having a scan through now. I see that you were writing in Feb 2014. I was looking for blogs without knowing what to look for. I was doing google searches of “downton idiot”, “cook hopeless”, “ECB fools”, etc, looking for something. I gave up. But anyway, it looks like a good read, I’m going to have a look through tomorrow.


  11. Mark May 6, 2015 / 2:43 pm

    Thelegglance. “The headhunting thing amuses me intensely. “they’ve come back with a list of names – anyone ever heard of these fellows?””

    It’s priceless if it’s true. There seem to be so many people at the ECB on huge salaries. The rumour I heard for what Flower is being paid is eye watering for someone who is only supposed to be running the B team.

    But when a decsiom has to be made they hire some outside firm to do it, and they come up with Strauss. Gosh, he must have been hard to track down. The ECB is a giant grift. There’s money to be made in them there hills.. If you are one of us, that is.


    • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 6, 2015 / 9:26 pm

      The Head Hunters found Strauss hiding in a wardrobe and spent mega bucks to get him out!!!

      You could not make up this rubbish could you. It reminds me of a Brian Rix Farce! Only thing is this just isn’t funny.


  12. SimonH May 6, 2015 / 3:00 pm

    Niall O’Brien on Friday’s game: “‘if you line us up against them, I’d say we are favourites. I’m not discounting England’s quality. But we’re quietly confident”.

    The disrespect! Writing Mooresy’s team talk for him! Reminds me of how Charles Stewart Parnell said he was going to make the English “grovel” in 1876……

    It’ll probably rain. Some around the England set-up may not be too disappointed if it does (“we’ve gone 58 days without an ODI – we’re in exceptional form”, said Mr. G. Swann).

    Liked by 2 people

    • d'Arthez May 6, 2015 / 3:06 pm

      And even better, England won their last ODI, while Ireland lost theirs. On current form, necessarily England have to be favorites.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Rav Roberts May 6, 2015 / 3:11 pm

    Is Cooksie back ad Captain of the ODI side yet?


  14. NEMike May 6, 2015 / 5:01 pm

    As per the Pringle Prediction we should all stop worrying. 10 out of 14 should mean a cracking summer and autumn/winter of test cricket to come….I think 3 out of 14 is probably wishful thinking at this point…


      • "IronBalls" McGinty May 6, 2015 / 9:47 pm

        Don’t sit on the fence Annie…just come out with it love! 😉


  15. hatmallet May 6, 2015 / 5:26 pm

    My views differ to some here regarding Strauss.

    For a few years, both him and Flower did an excellent job leading England. I don’t like downgrading their achievements. From mid 2009 to late 2011 we were a very good team, won the Ashes home and away and gave me a lot of enjoyment as a fan.

    Of course there were some big problems post-India 2011. Strauss and Flower took their eye off the ball. KPGenius is a symptom of that, though I do think it has been overplayed (KP was fine with the account for most of the summer, even interacting with it), and owing to KP’s battles with the ECB that summer, I think he was looking for fights. It’s not a black or white situation, I don’t think it was as rosy as some would say, nor as bad as KP would say. That cliques developed within the team is a failing of Strauss’, but I’m not going to ignore the good years because of it. Neither will I say he has no man-management skills because of it. I want to have a balanced opinion of it all.

    To clarify, Strauss wouldn’t have been my preferred choice for this role (that would be Nasser Hussain, but he was never interested). Like many, I have doubts – specifically he is only a few years out the team, is too close to Cook, is very conservative and is unlikely to be the visionary many want, especially with regard to our limited overs teams.

    But despite doubts I’m willing to give him a go and want him to succeed. I’m not going to brand him a failure before he’s started. Ultimately we don’t know if he’ll bottle the big decisions. If England lose to NZ then we’ll find out soon enough. If he does bottle it, then I’ll be raging here with the rest of you 🙂


    • LordCanisLupus May 6, 2015 / 5:41 pm

      If you’d taken this poll a year or so ago, I reckon there would not have been much problem with Strauss. He’s a prisoner of the environment he has been place in and is trying to be diplomatic. But, and there’s a sizeable but, here, it is the prism of KP that he is viewed with grave suspicion. First there was the off the cuff remark, and perhaps, in my view, his somewhat nonsensical contention that we needed to move on, couldn’t build bridges in the short term, and then look to build for the future. For some, this is the sort of drivel they encounter in their daily lives when management are caught making a mess (we must always draw a line under it), but woe betide if you are the one to point it out (difficult individual) and they get to build for the future (by which time, most of them have left).

      The best description I can come up with is “uninspired”. That fellow players and many of the current hierarchy see him as the safe choice is what concerns me. In a world where we are told to constantly evolve and change, adapt or die, be risk aware, not risk averse, an organisation in dire need of a boot up the arse plays it safe. The cosiness of his peers indicates they see it as good ole Straussy, Mr Nice Guy, and perhaps quite unthreatening. That’s why I worry. And it has nothing to do with his playing career, because to me, he played the greatest unheralded innings of my generation (his century on the first day of the 5th Tes in 2005).


      • metatone May 6, 2015 / 7:41 pm

        This is what I posted on TFT and I think it cuts to the heart of the situation:

        For me the idiocy of this is that the choices for the job presented have been Strauss, Vaughan and Stewart. Of the 3, only Stewart has a track record in a management role, and he’s been a rank outside all along.

        If we’d held a genuine search and compared Strauss to some strong candidates, I could take the idea that he was the best for the job (and that he has good qualities that I don’t see) – but this coronation sticks in the craw. It also looks far too much like the selection of Moores for comfort.


      • metatone May 6, 2015 / 7:41 pm

        Oops, that was meant to be a reply to Hatmallet.


      • Mark May 6, 2015 / 8:06 pm

        I agree Lord, if this had been 18 months ago the polls would be more positive. The trouble is it has all got very bitter since then. And I blame the ECB, and particularly the ECB in house media for the poison. Getting rid of KP wasn’t enough, They wanted to dance on his grave. And they did. It’s now clear to me that Flower went to ridiculous methods to get rid of him. When you start creating dossiers on people things have gone very badly wrong. No,,Strauss wasn’t involved at the end, but as captain and working with Flower you wonder what he was involved with.

        One of KPs complaints was that he would be asked for his opinion by the management and then find it in the back pages the next day. That had been going on for a while, add in KP genius and it all seems rather deliberate. Everything he requested was denied by coach Flower, and captain Strauss. IPL, time off for rest, missing the odd match.

        At the end of the last Ashes it appeared briefly that Flower had taken some responsibility for the defeat, yet within 3 months he was back at the ECB in a job that provided little travel. Just what he wanted. It’s clear now that KP was the scape goat. And they just loved kicking lumps off him. Strauss had his moment on Sky when he was picked up saying the c word. The way that was defended by the ECB media, and the relish in which Selvey made it his highlight of the year was deliberately provocative. Then followed the booing of KP at the finals day, and the great amusement the media had at KPs expense. It was all jolly good sport, the upity African getting kicked when he was down.

        That pissed a lot of people off, and when England did not make any progress it was time for the boot on the other foot. Now it’s their boy Cook who is getting kicked and surprise surprise the ECB media don’t like it. The calls for the fainting couch after Boycotts outburst is priceless to watch. I’m waiting for the medias Rodmey King moment when Agnew begs “why can’t we all get along?”

        In a bizarre twist of fate, or conspiracy theory we now have all the figures involved with the KP captaincy sacking back at the ECB. Moores back as coach, Flower back as B team manager and general guru, and now Strauss, KPs replacement as captain. How convienint. How cosy?

        And they all see the game the same. Face fitting, and culling of all individualism. Dry up the runs tactics. Sorry but it doesn’t inspire me. But then I am not the target audience. The lords members are and the MCC are the people who matter. People in Blazers.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Silk May 6, 2015 / 7:14 pm

      As LCL says, it’s an uninspiring choice given the problems England have. I’ve listed a load above. I don’t think Strauss is the man to address them. Stewie, Moxon or Kirsten would have. (Though to be honest I think the DoC post is bollocks and we should just have a powerful coach, like we did when Fletcher, and indeed Flower, ran the show)

      But I’d also question his value as Captain. A lot of the time when he was Captain people complained he was pretty dull on the field. He had a /very/ good England side, and as I’ve said elsewhere, if Cook had Strauss, Swann, KP, a firing Bell, Prior and Tremlett/Bresnan (2010 versions), his results would look a hell of a lot better. Would Strauss have won the 2009 Ashes without Swann and Trott? I doubt it.

      What I’m not factoring in, of course, because I don’t know, is the degree to which the excellent performances of Cook, Trott, KP, Bell and Prior (plus Tremlett and Broad) were down to Strauss. And that if Cook had captained the exact same team against the exact same oppo. we’d have done worse.

      I have no idea what influence Strauss had off the pitch compared to, say, a traffic cone.

      If people are right and his influence was a big one, this may go wrong. If people are wrong (remember, in 2013 Cook was being lauded as a great captain off the field and Clarke was a numpty) then the DoC position is a waste of time.

      (Of course, others might be right and it could be that the DoC exists purely a media front-man and will have no role in the team. In which case we’re still going to be shit because Moores will be running the side and Flower ‘developing’ the youth.)


      • Benny May 6, 2015 / 8:20 pm

        Not just that England had a good team (sorry if I’ve done this before) but it was a time when the brilliant Aussies retired, Sachin, Dravid, Harbajan were fading, Murali at the end, Malinga giving up test cricket, pretty much an easy time to play tests


      • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 6, 2015 / 9:34 pm

        Well if the leaked part of the job description is to be believed, then it is a non-job. Desk bound, no touring with the team, strategy for the future. Could be just a clipped Downton job. Bit unnecessary I should say.


      • dvyk May 6, 2015 / 9:36 pm


        Yep. And had they left Moores in the job the first time, (along with, maybe, not naming KP captain to set him up for a kneecapping) it would have been Moores’ “golden era”, and probably would have been better for English cricket in the long run. There still would have been an Ashes whitewash last year no doubt, but I can’t imagine Moores being such a twit as to have his best batsman sacked.


    • "IronBalls" McGinty May 6, 2015 / 9:49 pm

      If God had meant us to look backwards he’d have put our bloody heads on back to front!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 6, 2015 / 11:06 pm

        ha ha ha! I laughed out loud. First laugh I’ve had all day. It’s been a crap day. Thanks IB. Perhaps we should have all been barn owls as they can certainly turn their heads round!!! Ha ha ha. I’m still giggling.


  16. Rav Roberts May 6, 2015 / 5:42 pm

    Is there any way we can bring Paul Downton back to fill the DoC role?
    2nd time lucky, familiar face and all that.
    Just asking..

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Rav Roberts May 6, 2015 / 5:44 pm

    Or maybe promote Whitaker into the role?


  18. jomesy May 6, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    Where is Flower in all this? The answer is both everywhere and nowhere. Tells me all I need to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. SimonH May 6, 2015 / 9:16 pm

    Looks like Agnew’s claim on R5 last night that Strauss would be announced today was as accurate as the rest of his reporting (unless they’re going to announce the brave new dawn at one minute to midnight – unlikely even for this lot).

    Nick Hoult’s latest suggests the timing of what happens next:
    “Strauss is poised for talks with Colin Graves, the new ECB chairman, and Tom Harrison, the board’s chief executive, over the coming days before he is expected to hold his first press conference as managing director early next week. A formal confirmation of his appointment is likely before he speaks publicly for the first time in his new job”.


  20. SimonH May 6, 2015 / 9:19 pm


    • Mark May 6, 2015 / 10:17 pm

      Yea , and then someone from the team told you, hey Selvey?

      That’s where he gets all his information from. No wonder he thinks they are doing well. They tell him they are doing well ,and he repeats it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance May 6, 2015 / 10:26 pm

      That was two days ago. It doesn’t matter if he gets it wrong, he’ll pronounce with equal certainty on a regular basis until one of them turns out to be right.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. Rav Roberts May 6, 2015 / 11:31 pm

    The whole thing is disgusting. England cricket and the ECB disgusts me. And this is the end of a love affair that started witn Randall, Hendrick, Old, Knott. What a disgrace and an utter farce we’ve become with the MSM in full tow. A shambles ending with Flower, Whitaker, Strauss and Cook.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 7, 2015 / 12:00 am

      Yay Rav. It really is a bummer and no mistake. i am sure there were a lot of shenanigans in the past but you could enjoy the cricket without all this awful stuff. There is no going back to where one believed that all was well. It isn’t well is it? England Cricket is very, very, very sick indeed. Even when life got bad – and it has been very bad sometimes – I could watch cricket and enjoy the games no matter who won, and now I can’t anymore. A load of establishment wallahs’ who couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss for the game, let alone the punters. It’s all about who has been to the right school and comes from the right background dar de dar de dah! A shambles is just about right. Trouble is, I think it is going to get a lot worse in the days to come, unless someone is very very brave and does a wholesale clean up. I won’t hold my breath though.


    • alan May 7, 2015 / 12:35 am

      My position exactly Rav except that I started with May, Trueman, Laker, Evans etc. My backwards looking head sees that far I’m afraid!


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