Well, I’m over here, and most of you are over there, so let me just set down a quick message. In the next few days, please try to avoid political talk on here. We all have our own views, and once the votes are cast tomorrow, that’s that for us as the electorate. I like you all on here without us getting into tedious political debates that divide more than unite. Yes, it’s the “can’t we all get along” speech. I’m out for most of tomorrow, to visit the home of the Lakewood Blue Claws for their crunch Single A clash against the Augusta Greenjackets. Before that, I might be going to a location of an (in)famous TV show. So on your best behaviour and all that….

Right, with that over with, I’ve got some work to do. I’ve begun the (in)famous Journalist rankings piece, and thought I’d seek your input. You get to nominate one of the following for the top prize – Selfey, Newman, Pringle, Brenkley for the top prize – but also I’d like two or three others that you think merit consideration for the top 10. The focus should be on this calendar year, and on something or other that really got to you. We are talking quality over quantity. You can nominate anyone, as long as they write regularly and the main reason for putting them forward is their written work (spoken words can be taken into consideration). Less weight should be given for those employed as recently retired internationals.

At the end of the day I have my own views, but your’s will be taken into account, and the votes actually count when we repeat the exercise for the awards at the end of the season. Particular articles that really riled should be put forward. You also know that if last year is anything to go by, some of the nominees read the piece. I know, because Jarrod Kimber told me. So fill up those comments and help me write the piece.

70 thoughts on “Election

  1. volkerelle May 7, 2015 / 6:07 am

    Selvey for me. I guess the main reason is that he gives the Guardian a bad name and I expect more of that paper than I do of the so-called liberal rags and the gutter press. Yes, politics comes into it but I’ve read the Guardian for close to 30 years and it remains the first English site I visit. Their independent perspective has been compromised by his copy to such an extent now that I avoid their cricket section. The Guardian won’t live down the shame of supporting the invasion of Iraq in a hurry but Selvey’s fall from grace is another, infinitely smaller, nail in its coffin. You criticise a lot of the other so-called journalists as well but I would never trust them to report anything in the first place. This whole affair and its fall out is, to me, mainly about the betrayal of a trust that keeps whatever tenuous link between cricket followers and the England team afloat. The papers are a crucial medium in this regard and Selvey has done more than others to completely obliterate this trust (yes, mainly because the others never deserved trust in the first place). I know you claim you never liked his pieces in the first place (I did) but his total delusion and aggression mark him out as emblematic for this shambles. The fruit-fly that will not go away – if that is not the single worst comment in a national newspaper written in the context of this ongoing saga then I don’t know what is. Strauss made his comment when he deemed himself outside public scrutiny. The fruit-fly was fully intentional. How it made it past the editor’s desk I will never know.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Phil May 7, 2015 / 6:55 am

    Selvey, Selvey and Selvey. No one can match him right now, a disgrace to journalism. If I would have to pick two more, I think Simon Hughes seems to irritate every time he whites anything, and if we are including broadcasters, I have to nominate Jonathon Agnew, for his ‘but Colin Graves!’ whining. I expect better from him and the BBC.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Arron Wright May 7, 2015 / 6:56 am

    “I think my views on this matter are well known on here”, as someone once said. Supporting links to follow (where not duplicated by SimonH or someone else in the meantime). Suffice to say I was gobsmacked when LCL said recently that Selvey might not even make the list, as I think he’s had another exceptional year.

    My other two nominees, going outside the Big Four, are:

    – Simon Hughes. I avoid The Cricketer since his takeover, and I find everything I see and hear from him is totally and utterly devoted to the personality cult of Alastair Cook. His citation of Jim Holden’s maudlin hogwash as “common sense” was a particular lowlight.
    – Ed Smith – pretentious, patronising, de haut en bas claptrap. And teeth-grindingly awful on TMS, for good measure.

    Among those who don’t write regularly, Tim Lovejoy* remains outstanding in his smugness, arrogance, wagon-circling and total lack of empathy with/utter disregard for fans who don’t necessarily think the sun shines permanently out of the arse of everyone who played for England between 2009 and 2011.

    *that’s Graeme Swann, for relative newcomers to the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone May 7, 2015 / 7:07 am

      If Selvey has irritated me most in this sage, it’s because I expected more from him (and The Guardian). Most of the others write in publications that I don’t respect, so I’m not surprised when the quality is low. The arrival of Hughes at The Cricketer is another blow…

      One thing worth noting – that despite the awful results of the ECB PR offensives, tactically they were pretty talented. The essence of good PR is to get the journalists into the “Stockholm syndrome” where they identify more with the contacts/leakers/informants than with their responsibilities as a writer. The ECB PR office has managed that very well…

      Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart May 7, 2015 / 8:24 am

        Spot on, I’ve referred to Stockholm Syndrome on these pages in the past.


      • escort May 7, 2015 / 7:04 pm

        We pretty much agree on this. From stuff linked to this site from Selvey i can definitely see why he irritates. And as he writes for a publication i don’t respect i can also say im not surprised that the quality is low.


    • Arron Wright May 7, 2015 / 8:45 am

      Exhibit A (relax, I’m only going up to D and I’ll do them one at a time):

      While George Dobell (on Twitter) scorned the idea that Giles Clarke stepped down voluntarily in a pithy one-liner, guess who regurgitated the monstrous ego’s view of events:


      And three weeks later he had Clarke’s back again:

      “Clarke will continue to represent the ECB at ICC – in line with a number of other full-member countries whose chairman does not participate at ICC – while relinquishing his direct influence with the ECB.”

      Notably, there was nothing pejorative about Colin Graves at this stage. We had to wait for Exhibit B before seeing that, and the motive was depressingly predictable…


    • Arron Wright May 7, 2015 / 9:00 am

      And here is Exhibit B, because it just can’t wait. Apart from Jim Holden’s one-hit wonder, this is the worst article I’ve read all year by a mile:


      – The origin of his ‘YEH GRAVES TALK NAH’ tweet and the ludicrous attempt to pin blame on Graves for Barbados, and all because he dared to invoke the Anti-Christ.
      – A disgusting dismissal of a modern great English batsman with the words “fruitfly” and “pest that will not go away”.
      – A last-ditch attempt to defend a former Middlesex colleague without a shred of credibility and with only a small fraction of Pietersen’s England pedigree.
      – An article memorably summed up by one freelance as “KP bad, my mate Downton good”
      – Pure one-eyed propaganda that would raise eyebrows in a tabloid, let alone a reputable broadsheet.


      • Grumpy Gaz May 7, 2015 / 10:47 am

        Yep, for me Selvey takes over from Pringle as the biggest prick in print now.

        “Selvey, a successful journalist used to getting his own way, will likely be reflecting on how he might approach his disaffected readership in future.

        A good starting point might be a crash course in journalistic ethics”


    • Arron Wright May 7, 2015 / 9:27 am

      Exhibit C is perhaps the finest example thus far of his Pollyanna tendency, or as Simon put it: “Six inches of carry 2.0”.


      “Had England somehow managed to haul themselves over the line, it would have left them with a tricky final group game against Afghanistan in Sydney, a win in which would definitely have sent them to the quarter-final in Melbourne, when the real challenge would start.”

      “When the real challenge would start”, this after being slaughtered by Australia and New Zealand, well beaten by Sri Lanka, and going out of the World Cup to Bangladesh. Doesn’t that just convey so much about how unlikable England and its besotted loyalists are?

      The same tendency was in evidence only this week:



      • Rav Roberts May 7, 2015 / 10:11 am

        Well beaten by Sri Lanka?!? They reached their target of 312 for the loss of only one wicket at a canter, with a couple of overs to spare. That was a slaughtering too!


      • Arron Wright May 7, 2015 / 10:22 am

        Sorry Rav, I’d forgotten the score and didn’t want to spend time looking it up. I vaguely remember it being presented as “closer”. Presumably in the sense that Jupiter is closer to Earth than Alpha Centauri.


  4. Rav Roberts May 7, 2015 / 7:15 am

    Jesus, God, how long will this farce continue?


  5. ron May 7, 2015 / 7:29 am

    how can you write about journalists and the media without being political?


    • LordCanisLupus May 7, 2015 / 7:37 am

      When I’m writing about cricket journalists. Party political stuff should be avoided please.


  6. SimonH May 7, 2015 / 8:38 am

    Another vote for Selvey here. Newman’s attempt to award the Ashes to Moores as long-service award was a valiant late attempt to regain the crown but he’s left it too late I fear. Pringle is probably saved by virtue of the fact he is so bad nobody will currently employ him.

    Simon Hughes and Ed Smith must surely join the elite? Henderson can only be saved by how little he writes – but when he does he makes up for it by sheer pomposity and self-regard (like that piece on sledging).

    Two candidates who haven’t appeared before and many here would disagree but I’ve run out of patience with them. Andy Bull would be in my top ten – his failure to tackle the ECB’s most egregious sins head on irritates the hell out of me. Not a direct word of criticism for Giles Clarke or Andy Flower from him in the last eighteen months that I can recall. Vic Marks has also gone downhill fast in my estimation – a little faux whimsy isn’t enough in the face of sustained mendacity and his WC reporting (we all know who the QFs will be, why are these rubbish teams here wasting my time, England are my dark horses etc etc) was dire. John Ashdown might also be an outside bet as he is the main culprit in ruining the Guardian OBO with a barrage of Selvey Tweets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH May 7, 2015 / 9:33 am

      This is the Vic Marks’ piece that particularly riled me (although the Guardian’s WC predictions are also worth revisiting):


      “For seven weeks there will, in theory, be a cavalcade of cricket. Even so, the most discerning of pundits, with the freedom to decide when they are available to pontificate, may not turn up until the middle of March”.

      His discerning pundits would miss West Indies v. Ireland and Afghanistan v. Scotland for example. Yes, the format should be reformed – but not in the way Marks is getting at.

      “The modern establishment man Kevin Pietersen, who works for the Daily Telegraph and the BBC – as well as a few other outlets – and who can therefore be construed as following in the mighty footsteps of EW Swanton and Christopher Martin-Jenkins”.

      On its own a bit of puckish humour – but Guardian jibes at the DT, given the relative quality of the two papers’ cricket coverage of the last year, madden the hell out of me.

      “We can all predict with some certainty the identity of the eight quarter-finalists before a ball has been bowled”.

      Oh dear…..

      “It is possible for England, say, to play atrociously for a month, but if they can scrape victories against Scotland, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, that should be sufficient to see them into the Melbourne quarter-final”.

      Oh dear, part two…….

      “The most painfully obvious way to improve the format would have been to go straight to the semi-finals from the pool matches, at a stroke giving those fixtures among the “senior” sides far more relevance”.

      It isn’t obvious at all this would improve the format.

      “The situation with Clarke could become tricky. If Australia start strongly they may not wish to disturb the balance – and the leadership – of their team; if they start poorly the pressure will be on Clarke straightaway”.

      Anyone remember those ‘Australia in crisis’ stories before the WC?

      “Australia, trusting in muscular hitters rather than durable technicians with the bat”.

      Well, they got that one wrong. didn’t they? I like the English assumption that hitting and technique are separate here.

      ” “.

      What Marks has to say about Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. And the associates. Not a dicky bird.


      • SimonH May 7, 2015 / 9:45 am

        Just to clarify – I’m not saying Marks is a stooge nor that he should be high up the list. But sneaking in at the bottom for complacency, ignorance and being increasingly disappointing – yes.


  7. Mark May 7, 2015 / 8:45 am

    I think you concede far to much ground by calling them journalists. The major cricket correspondents are ECB stenographers. They know which way their bread is buttered, and that is to keep drinking the cool aide. Added to the mix most of them genuinely, genuinely hate KP, and some, in addition have a strange man crush on Cook. Mix it all together, and you have the perfect storm of deceit. Add in the fact the ECB is awash with money thanks to the Sky deal and you have lots of juicy sweeties to be dished out to the people who are obedient.

    It is a measure of their dishonesty that I don’t read any of them these day. I used to read Brenkley, but he has become almost manic in his defence of Cook. He was one of the first to keep reminding us what a nice chap Cook was. I only pick up what they are saying by reading comments on sites like this, and TFT. I am not on Twitter and only see the idiotic Selvey tweets because people like Simon print them.

    Cook is a lousy captain, anyone who follows cricket knows this. And in decades gone by he would have been strongly criticised for his team selections , his tactics and his field settings by the media. Boycotts critiscm of him this week is significant in it only goes to show how piss poor all the other journos are. Boycott is only doing what they should be doing. It’s a measure of how compelety bankrupt they are they can’t see this.

    After the last year of English failure and ECB incompetence the media should be all over them like a rash. The fact the media still support good old Cooky, and think bringing in Strauss a is great idea shows how hopeless it is. If the pantomime villain KP was to announce he had no interest in playing for England again it might make some of these clowns start taking a closer, forensic eye on the shambles, but I doubt it.

    Colin Graves has had his card marked by the media munchkins. (Re mediocre) They do not want change. They are part of a club, and they don’t want anybody who doesn’t fit in. England succeeding is secondary to keeping their little club an oasis of stupidity. You know what? They’re welcome to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. MM May 7, 2015 / 9:08 am

    Selvey, obvs, Ed Smith, and Agnew.

    Ed Smith is a dreadful addition to TMS. I’d rather have one of them 5Live sports clones that him. Agnew’s tailed off badly in the last 6 months. He’s certainly drinking from the Kool-Aid fountain now. I’d also, if allowed, throw in Swann.


  9. "IronBalls" McGinty May 7, 2015 / 9:15 am

    Andy Flowers mate, Selvey, by a country mile!


  10. d'Arthez May 7, 2015 / 9:29 am

    I don’t read the English press that often. But what I have seen from Selvey, would probably even stand out in some dictatorial country in which the leadership has to be praised, no matter what.

    His constant sneering at Adil Rashid is a disgrace. Add to that his unwillingness to criticize whoever was responsible for picking the man in the squad. Oh and let’s not forget his idiotic defence to keep Rashid in the Caribbean, even though his line is that Rashid absolutely should not play for England.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tom May 7, 2015 / 9:38 am

    OK, devil’s advocate here, but does Piers Morgan count as a journalist?


  12. dvyk May 7, 2015 / 9:57 am

    For me — if foreigners are allowed to vote! — it’s:

    1. Selvey — As far as I can see he’s got all bases of dreadful and corrupt journalism covered. From his statements you can read what the ECB line is on a situation, and by assuming that the opposite of his propaganda is in fact the truth, you can get a pointer for what’s really going on. (So, when he says, as he did during the last ashes, “Cook has long had the reputation of being a strong voice in the change room” you know that it’s not just your personal impression that Cook is weak.)
    He reveals the double standards by making hilariously idiotic statements. 6 inches of carry cost Eng that test against Sri Lanka. Or the recent one about it being such a fine line between success and failure for Moores. Yet each victory is hailed as if it’s Waterloo.
    And his smug “trust me, I know the inside story” and constant hints about his privileged connection with the ECB…. How sad to see the happy, hairy young man on his twitter photo, and then to see what he’s turned into. The very worst of the English class system — The working class can kiss my arse, I’ve got the foreman’s job at last”.
    And celebrating Strauss’s “c—” comment… Holy heck. What a disgusting old buzzard.

    2. Brenkley — I only ever read one article of his, and it will be the last too. It happened to be the one where he said that calling for Cook to be sacked as ODI captain is “mere windbaggery” — the day after Downton said he was nailed on as captain, and the day before Moores & Co sacked him. (Incidentally, for all that Cooky says he backs Moores, he sure as heck hasn’t forgotten that.)

    That was riotously funny — it effectively said that the selectors engaged in windbaggery when they discussed him in their meeting before they sacked him. It was so obvious that Cook shouldn’t have been captain that even the selectors noticed it. But Brenkley calls it windbaggery.

    3. Pringle — I’ve never read a single article from that old coot, because I’ve read a couple of his tweets and seen a picture of him. He is indeed, as the saying goes, as stupid as he looks. His constant baiting of KP and gloating over any set back demonstrates that the English gutter press is even worse than I’d been told. If you lose the services of your best player, you shouldn’t gloat about it. You’ve shot yourself in the foot and now you’re going to lose. You shouldn’t be gloating.

    4. Strauss — While the language he used to describe KP is, sadly, common enough in sport, having said it publicly he disqualified himself from any further comments about KP. He’s lucky not to have been hit with a defamation suit with massive claims for damages. But not only did he continue commenting on KP and expecting the public to trust his objectivity, he has also been given a position of power over someone he openly hates. His appointment perfectly sums up everything that’s wrong with the England & Wales Parasitic Political Gravy-train Board.

    Having observed all this, (and I’ve said this before here), I don’t want to see anyone in the ECB media criticising the Channel 9 commentators ever again as long as I live. Hearing Heals bellow “FOUR!!!” might get on people’s nerves when they didn’t want to see an Aussie batsman (like the little pocket rocket, the little pocket dynamo) hitting a four, but it’s nothing compared to the lack of objectivity and basic honesty in the English press.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Zephirine May 7, 2015 / 10:10 am

    I would have to add Jonathan Agnew, on the basis of extracts read here and elsewhere as I very seldom listen to TMS. I thought his remarks about the Australians’ response to Phil Hughes’s death and how he was going to get back at them if they didn’t cut the sledging down in future (not the exact words, I know) were crass and tasteless and should have been followed by an immediate apology. And more recently he’s joined enthusiastically in the playground ‘Colin Graves, you’re an idiot, na na na na’ stuff. There are more examples that I can’t remember, mostly to do with Cook.

    Bear in mind that Agnew, unlike the journalists or the Sky commentators, represents an organisation which is legally obliged to give a balanced view of events. He’s the anchor of TMS and the Cricket Correspondent, he’s not there to throw out opinions and stir up controversy, as Boycott is. He’s also a skilful and experienced broadcaster, not some guy who’s only been out of the team for six months. There’s no excuse.

    Following on from Mark’s comment above, it seems to me that in most cases the love for Cook comes first and the hate of KP follows from that. The campaign to establish that Cook is England, and if you don’t support him regardless of failure you’re undermining the team, has been very successful indeed, quite startlingly so. It remains a completely bizarre phenomenon. I don’t remember anything like that from journalists when Flintoff was captain, even though he was the nation’s darling at the time.


    • Arron Wright May 7, 2015 / 10:19 am

      “He’s the anchor of TMS and the Cricket Correspondent”

      But when bloggers zeroed in on the Waitrose links, he was conveniently a freelance, of course. My #3 in 2014, he doesn’t compare to Hughes or Smith this year for me. Perhaps crucially, the thoroughly reprehensible “I’ve got Michael Clarke’s speech ready to throw at the Australians” came in December.

      Completely agree about the Cook = England campaign, which is largely why the Radio 5 programme on Tuesday was so unremittingly terrible.


      • Zephirine May 7, 2015 / 10:28 am

        Ah, right, he misses the awards year with the Clarke/Hughes remark. I think there’s still enough to justify nomination….


      • SimonH May 7, 2015 / 12:03 pm

        There’s plenty on Agnew. He’s guilty of not one, not two, but three of the great crimes against the brain committed by the current media corps:
        1) We only care about the Ashes (as LCL brilliantly said, it’s like crashing out of the football and saying we don’t care because we beat Germany).
        2) We’re building for the future in 2019 (or whichever glorious future it is this time).
        3) Acceptance of mediocrity.

        It’s all in this, his review of England’s WC campaign;


        It contained the particularly memorable:
        “In terms of Test cricket, it was under Moores that England turned things around against India last summer. This World Cup has certainly weakened his position, but it is likely that he will be judged on the forthcoming Ashes series. There, England have to show that they have improved from the 5-0 hammering they took in Australia last year. They don’t necessarily have to win the Ashes, but they have to compete”.

        The assumption Moores will get the Ashes, judging people on the Ashes because hey it was only the WC, 4-0 would be an improvement, not getting thrashed as being good enough – it’s all here.

        Australians must piss themselves laughing when they read stuff like this.


    • dvyk May 7, 2015 / 11:27 am

      I’d forgotten about that. I heard plenty of unrepeatable sledging playing club cricket in Aust, but I never heard anyone say “You’ve dishonoured the memory your dead mate”.
      And still no apology.
      Like I say, complain about Heals and Slatts and Tubbs all you like, but….


  14. Mark May 7, 2015 / 10:55 am

    It’s an indictment of Cooks England and the media who cover them that for the first time in 40 years I am completely indifferent to the start of a test match summer. An Ashes one at that. The idea that I would have even thought this a few years ago is akin to me saying the earth was flat. But all enthusiasm has been drained away. Even during the dark days of the 1990s when England were being humiliated by Austrailia I didn’t feel like this. Then you knew deep down we were playing an all time great side. Our boys were doing their best, even if it wasn’t good enough. I would sit up and watch the coverage from Aus with hope, but not much expectation, but it was fun.

    I don’t dont want Australia to win, but I could not care a dam about Cooks England and everything it represents. You want to talk about mediocre, I will give you mediocre. Cooks captaincy is dripping with mediocre, and the way he his protected and propped up is systematic of the English establishment. They get chance after chance after chance. Failure is spun as success, and when that fails, we are told what wonderful people they are.

    You would think The Guardian of all papers would balk at this, but they employ a colonel Blimp like figure to prop up a Jeeves type captain. How the mighty Manchester Guardian has fallen. It says something that it’s the Telegraph, the establishment telegraph no less that employs Boycott, and Vaughn and even KP.

    Liked by 2 people

    • MM May 7, 2015 / 4:35 pm

      And I thumb yerself up. I too feel apathetic. Cannot wish an Aussie win on us coz [1] that’s just wrong, and [2] it’ll be spun as a learning curve, or KP/Graves/outside-cricket influenced. But, yep, I feel the apathy. The 80s pummelings from WI… the 90s crushings by Aussie… then the hope of the 2000s… just to get the puffed up mediocrity and downright lies now. No thanks ECB, no thanks journos.


  15. Mike May 7, 2015 / 11:11 am

    Mike Selvey, for pretty much everything. Like others, up until about 2012 I always thought the Guardian cricket coverage was beyond reporach. It didn’t rely on “superstar” columnists, it’s two ex-pros were solid un spectacular internationals with a handful of caps, who wrote excellent match reports and occasional technical pieces bolstered by a cottery of journalists like David Hopps, Rob Bagchi & Lawrence Booth plus others who contributed to the Spin and the OBOs who wrote lots of cricket specific content. It was genuinely a great place to read and occasionaly comment about cricket.

    It had been in gradual decline for a while as some of their better wiriters left (ali Martin’s been a decent addition) but Mike Selvey’s output in the last 6 months really has taken the cake…I genuinely find him painful to read now as he uses opne criteria to criticise underperformance (often with justification) then blatently fails to apply it to his favourites. He appears uable to be objective in anyway and is very sneering of those of us who actually pay to go to games.

    Number one with a bullet. Without any shadow of a doubt.

    Other than that Jonathan Agnew, Simon Hughes and Graham Swann for me…TMS is basically a no go zone for me these days. I’ve never really liked Agnews clubby pro establishment tone, its not really my taste, but he always came across as very professional and at worst could be described as a decent broadcaster. I don’t feel like that anymore, his spluttering disbelief and probably, unintentional haughtyness when someone questions Cook or mentions the Spawn of Satan, makes me want to smash whatever device I’m listening to.

    Simon Hughes…the analyst?! Please. Fuck of back to the tactics truck with Andy Townsend where you belong. Sorry about the language.

    Swann. Here’s why, on Tuesday evening I watched the re-run o fSky’s coverage of that days IPL game; they happened to have Mahela, KP, & Warne in the studio with Ian Ward and they did each did a mini masterclass on modern batting and bowling techniques and tactics, with each interjecting when they had something to say, without talking over each other.

    Credit to Ian Ward for drawing it all out (he really is brilliant in these segments) but it was absolutely brilliant TV for anyone who loves cricket and occasionally plays it very badly like me. Swann, could do that, he’s only just stopped playing, clearly had a very sharp mind on the pitch, is articulate and can be amusing in an annoying little brother way so could be very engaging whilst being insightful.

    But he doesn’t, he just bangs on about, Cooky & Jimmy and all his mates. For that all at TMS should hang their heads in shame at what Ian Ward and his producers get out of their in studio experts in comparison.


    • Mike May 7, 2015 / 11:18 am

      My apologies for the almost unreadable amount of typos and spelling errors in the above post. This writing mularky is harder than it first appears…


      • BoerInAustria May 7, 2015 / 1:50 pm

        …and also apologies from me for mine…


      • Arron Wright May 7, 2015 / 1:52 pm

        I thought you made some great points; didn’t spot the errors at all.


  16. BoerInAustria May 7, 2015 / 11:57 am


    I have posted a few times on the Guardian that Selvey is not a journalist. He writes opinion pieces strongly influenced by his friendship with a lot of the people that is currently at the heart of the debate, Which would be fine, if we can agree that, and then at times agree to disagree.

    But this very opinion was being moderated in the Guardian (probably by him) which shows this arrogance of seeing himself as journalism. I have quoted here and on the Guardian a definition of journalism by a German journalistic professor, that I do not care to repeat again.

    That the Guardian is tolerating Selveys opinions I can accept as part of freedom of speach. That the moderate the criticism of his views I find disappointing to say the least.

    The last 18 months have been a disaster for English cricket. The way a small group of “insiders”, with seemingly no accountabilty to anybody, is managing to mismanage the game was astounding. What was shocking, was how there was hardly any critical voices in the MSM questioning this.

    If Selvey (who needs to earn his keep) felt he was too close to the fold to be critical, he should have stuck to writing opinions about the art of bowling, the nostalgia of cricketers gone etc.. He though chose to become part of the news, making it (the Flower leaks for example).

    I have picked up his reference to the Sliding Door scenarios of parallel universes. It is clear Selvey is now gone forever. Bitter, full of spite. His vertures into Twitter seemed to have exposed a meanness in him. He is now so warped in his blinkered perceptions that his “opinion pieces” have decended into mere crude propoganda.

    Sadly Selvey became another victim of the last 18 months, and another loss for cricket. And it seems that end is not in sight…


    • dvyk May 7, 2015 / 5:35 pm

      Well said. I also suspected that it was Selvey who started moderating me. In no way did any of my comments go anywhere near violating their comment policy. The Guardian should wake up to what he is doing to their reputation and readership.


  17. SimonH May 7, 2015 / 12:44 pm

    Look’s like Eoin Morgan’s been away from England coaches long enough to regain some form. Newman’ll be delighted for him.

    Also, D’Arthez said recently that England see NZ as McCullum, Boult, Southee and some other blokes. Exhibit A:


    • d'Arthez May 7, 2015 / 1:36 pm

      That is classy stuff. There is so much more to New Zealand than those three players, just as there is more to Sri Lanka than Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, and some barely “county standard bowlers”, according to the Oracle. Hate to ask anyone what the standard of the England batsmen was in that series then. The ECB could not be bothered, and are left with six inches of carry revisionism for the foreseeable future..

      I really struggle to find may places for English players in this lineup other than Cook (because neither side has 2 established opening batsmen), Root, Ballance and Jimmy Anderson. Personally I can’t see any.


      • d'Arthez May 7, 2015 / 1:36 pm

        I meant a composite XI lineup.


      • Arron Wright May 7, 2015 / 1:46 pm

        You don’t like to think this might be connected in some way to the decision to grant New Zealand just four Tests in this country between 2008 and at least 2020, but what the hell, if the cap fits….

        …meanwhile Shane Watson will soon arrive for his *sixth* Test and/or ODI tour of England in a decade. Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting only made four tours in 12 years, FFS.

        It’s a proper scandal.


      • d'Arthez May 7, 2015 / 3:43 pm

        Yikes is it really just 4 Tests between 2008 and 2020? That is pathetic. We all know the reason for that. And it has nothing to do with sporting considerations.

        The fact that there appears to be a UK sporting boycott against Zimbabwe is mostly immaterial. The ECB would not have bothered, just as they can’t be bothered about Bangladesh – who would probably get some decent results against England if England were to tour there.

        South Africa hardly get better treatment, and it is not like South Africa struggles to be competitive against England. Meanwhile England have to celebrate the fact that for the first time in years, Australia did not come over for an Ashes, or yet another meaningless ODI series in 2014.

        The only teams the ECB wants to bother with are Australia and India. But that begs the question: if such sporting prostitution is necessary to keep the counties afloat, how can anyone even think such a model is sustainable? I am no accountant, and I don’t have a background in economics, but you’d think that there are some people in the ECB and the counties who are being paid to think of such issues.

        Or is there no money for that, since the new position of Director of Uttering Hogwash needs to be paid as well?


  18. James May 7, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    Selvey has become Lord Haw Haw to Flower’s bunkered down insane dictator.


    • dvyk May 7, 2015 / 5:41 pm

      Or Smithers to Flower’s Mr Burns.


  19. thebogfather May 7, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    It’s apparent – and true – that Selvey is our Bryan Adams (Everything I Do, I Do It For You… Cookie, Mooresy, Flowery, ECBsy)
    He will be number one forever…

    There are many individual scribes since the new year who deserve recognition, some of them already mentioned..

    Dmitri – how long is this ‘poll’ open? – I’d like to keep my views silent until the ECB crown their new king, and then see the MSM reaction…


    • LordCanisLupus May 7, 2015 / 2:14 pm

      It’s not a poll, but I’m using it for guidance. It probably won’t be out soon as I’ve written two profiles up and alrady gone over 1500 words!

      I’m stunned that our favourite Mail journalist isn’t even registering!


      • thebogfather May 7, 2015 / 2:19 pm

        there’s plenty of time yet for newman to reclaim a champions league place… as is there for others barely mentioned….


      • Clivejw May 7, 2015 / 2:40 pm

        I think most people see Mel Gibson as purely a figure of fun nowadays. I mean, a Mel article on Pietersen (and they all end up coming back to him) is like Vanessa Feltz appearing in print to make yet another hysterical attack on her ex-husband. Both long ago lost any sense of restraint or self-respect.


  20. Clivejw May 7, 2015 / 2:14 pm

    Selvey by a Labour 1946-type landslide, utterly burying all opposition.

    As well as the dreadful “fruit-fly” article, I would single out for special opprobrium Selvey’s first article after a holiday in which one might have hoped he ‘d taken the chance to reflect. You know the one, almost certainly the most moderated article ever to appear on the Guardian’s cricket pages. It was jaw-droppingly awesome in its sheer brazen chutzpah. If I had to single out one line it would be the claim that there had been an intent all along to pay tribute to Pietersen if he’d just kept his head down. Honestly, to have so little self-respect, quite apart from lack of respect for his readers, to regurgitate that line from his masters without question — even a Pravda journalist in the days of the Soviet Union would have dropped a little hint between the lines that he didn’t really believe this utter bullshit. Not Selvey. He has prostituted his considerable talents as a writer, and for what? His readership hold him in utter contempt.

    Even the non-English readership who are not particularly interested in ECB politics are wise to Selvey’s ways. Did you see this yesterday from a New Zealand commenter? Outlining one possible scenario of the first test next week, NatO wrote:

    New Zealand bowl first, and Boult and Southee, both in good form and hopefully fitness, get early wickets before England settle in for 350 all out early on day 2. At which point the pitch still has some life (although no doubt in Selvey’s report it will be the pitch that does it when NZ bowls, but Anderson’s genius when he gets wickets) and NZ gift them a 100 run lead; England struggle to victory.

    Everyone knows where Selvey is coming from now. Not surprisingly; during the three-match series in NZ two years ago, which was dominated by the New Zealanders almost throughout, some of us below the line were pleading with Selvey to mention the opposition instead of England, England, England all the time. That was the start of my disillusionment with Selvey, which was made final and irrevocable by the article previously referred to.


    • Arron Wright May 7, 2015 / 2:38 pm

      Indeed Clive, and the only reason I didn’t mention *that* article was because it’s from October 2014, i.e. about a week after The Book came out. But rest assured it occupies a very special, very subterranean place in my affections. Not least because it contains no phrase or sentence that convinces me he actually read the book.

      The post(s) on HDWLIA that followed it – becoming almost a live blog with moderation updates and Dmitri/Tregaskis etc copying and pasting entire posts before they were zapped – would be the first place I’d point people who ask why we mention his name so frequently. I still have great fondness for ArushaTZ’s “death of English cricket journalism” effort, and I miss Ivon Ivonovich.


      • Tregaskis May 7, 2015 / 4:41 pm

        I was very grateful to Dmitri for re-posting on HDWLIA my BTL comment that Arron refers to. The comments section on Selvey’s Guardian piece that day was decimated by over-zealous moderators acting according to a code that might have embarrassed Erdoğan.

        The irony will have escaped no one how the Guardian brands itself as a front-page champion of free speech with the caption “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize 2014” adding glister to its masthead, all the while employing censors to police its back pages with blue-pencilled alacrity and rid its discussion boards of any comment that leans in a direction different to the gospel of Mike Selvey.

        I have no idea whether Selvey is complicit in the absurd moderating of counter opinion, though his usual manner of engagement with micro-bloggers means it would come as no surprise. The particular sadness is how editors in this country’s finest progressive newspaper have been so heavy-handed and illiberal. Comment is Free starts to read like a Ministry of Truth meme.

        Selvey has driven a coach and four through the principles contained in CP Scott’s seminal 1921 essay on which the Guardian’s editorial code is built, and he treats with equal disdain the Guardian’s social-media code of conduct.

        I have not posted on the Guardian since, and while it may be a small gesture noticed by no one, I doubt I am the only refusenik.


      • BoerInAustria May 7, 2015 / 7:36 pm

        Indeed noticed, and missed Tregaskis. And the quality of comment is all the poorer for it.
        Part of the sad collateral damage of the last months…..


      • Zephirine May 7, 2015 / 8:40 pm

        One fatal flaw in the Guardian system is that you can report a post anonymously.

        Another flaw is that criticising Guardian journalists is automatically in breach of the community standards.

        So if an anonymous person reports a post for being critical of a Guardian writer, and it is critical, the mods are pretty much obliged to delete it.

        It does sometimes look as if somebody plays whack-a-mole with the comments under Mike Selvey’s articles.


  21. thebogfather May 7, 2015 / 3:30 pm

    every post here today is a depressing yet wonderful reminder of why we ‘outside’ are here – thank you all – a joy to read, and thank you Dmitri for encouraging us


  22. Mark May 7, 2015 / 3:51 pm

    I hope Dmitri doesn’t mimd me putting this here because it has nothing to do with cricket. But this is amazing colour footage of Berlin in July in 1945. For anyone interested it lasts 7 minutes and is fascinating as social history.



    • Mark May 7, 2015 / 4:05 pm

      This an even longer bit. Has some of the same footage but lasts 30 mins. Apologies if people don’t think it’s right on a cricket site, but it is very interesting.



  23. Tuffers86 May 7, 2015 / 5:18 pm

    1) Selvey for his brilliant propagandist agenda, backing his horses, and the complete disdane for his fucking readership!

    2) Angew for his crass Phil Hughes remarks and developing “Mediocre Tourettes”

    3) Pringle for being so bad, he is unemployable.

    4) Brenkley for his Cook sycophancy.

    5) Cardinal Newman for his devotion to KP-a-phobia and running with a Giles Clarke leak on IR Bell when Cook was at his weakest last summer.

    6) Jim Holden for his one-piece wonder.

    7) That arsehole who thought they’d be rioting on the village greens after Marlon’s salute.

    8) Rory Dollard. The Press Association man who is frankly very important as his guff gets read just as much as the dailies. He writes some pro-ECB pro-Cook anti-KP shite.

    9) Laughing Stocks for easing into transition of Selfie’s understudy after ghosting Cook.

    10) George Dobell because we need to keep him on his toes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH May 7, 2015 / 6:53 pm

      I’d forgotten Chris Stocks.

      That “defiant” 19 in 300 minutes against St Winifred’s School Choir XI was the most desperate piece of Cook puffery this year – and it isn’t exactly a deserted field.

      He has improved a bit since then to be fair.

      Good spot about Rory Dollard.


  24. Arron Wright May 7, 2015 / 5:49 pm

    “The worst I get is lickspittle bootlicker from some inadequate.”

    “Ed Smith has a good piece on social media in the New Statesman.”

    Guess who?


  25. Maggie May 7, 2015 / 7:42 pm

    I’ve been trying to work out why this election has seemed so dull, and I think it’s because ECB politics are funnier.

    Selvey, for his utter disregard of the maxim of CP Scott: “The voice of opponents no less than that of friends has a right to be heard. Comment also is justly subject to a self-imposed restraint. It is well to be frank; it is even better to be fair.”


  26. Rohan May 7, 2015 / 10:43 pm

    I have to add Selvey, like the many others who have nominated him. An irksome man who needs a good poke in the eye……

    I would also like to nominate Simon Hughes for his Utter uselessness as the self styled analyst. His Twitter jibes, his Yorkshire Mafia stuff on 5 live the other night and being a biased and vindictive editor of what used to be a good magazine……


  27. man in a barrel May 8, 2015 / 9:06 am

    I made the mistake of thumbing through a copy of The Cricketer at the airport. It contained a venomous and quite possibly libellous article on KP by Michael Henderson. It was shockingly bad. Both he and the fool who edits it must make the list.


  28. OscarDaBosca May 9, 2015 / 11:56 am

    Selvey for all the above and this

    I have just reported his comments on the Guardian and will no longer bother commenting as he clearly cannot deal with dissension.

    I would also pick Hughes. I used to love Wisden cricket monthly but since he has been editing it, it has become like a ‘Smash Hit’s’ for cricket (showing my age here). Lots of puff pieces about England team, England players, but I am still awaiting the analysis of what happened in Australia last year.

    When Fletcher’s team lost 5-0 the Wisden Cricketer actually looked at the reasons why it happened and provided valuable insight. The current incarnation just ignores bad results on concentrates on positives only.

    I am going to cancel my subscription when it comes up for renewal.


    • Arron Wright May 9, 2015 / 1:08 pm

      I stopped as soon as they gave Peter Moores an editorial. It was obvious which way things would go.


  29. SimonH May 9, 2015 / 3:30 pm

    Time for some Newman! The poor old boy is falling behind Selvey – can he do anything to pull up?


    “How very unfair that an enthusiastic, passionate coach and, more importantly, a thoroughly decent man should be treated as shabbily as this”.

    Nice start on the chronic lack of self-awareness front. Have you been implicated in any “unfair” and “shabby” sackings in the last year-and-a-bit of English cricket? But he wasn’t “a thoroughly decent man” supposedly so that’s okay……

    “Perhaps the ECB wanted to delay the announcement of Moores’s demise, as well as Strauss’s appointment, but did they think they could get through a one-day international in Ireland without anyone finding out? Do the new regime at the ECB think the media are stupid?”

    File that one in the ‘Questions better not asked’ file.

    “To watch England closely in the Caribbean was to see a highly promising young team responding to a coach they respected and developing into a tight unit who, crucially, all got on and all wanted to play for each other”.

    So England win again in the tightness as a unit stakes – just a pity they didn’t win on the actual pitch. Any day now this idea that being good chums will win cricket matches will be vindicated…….any day now……

    “Yes, the defeat in Barbados was horrible but there are going to be setbacks with young players and it just seemed that, after the sacking of Paul Downton, Harrison and Graves were waiting for any excuse to dump Moores”

    Setbacks? Like losing to the 8th ranked team in three days after winning a massively advantageous toss? Young players? The West Indies’ side that beat them was younger (27.4 average age to England’s 27.8) and had over a hundred fewer Test caps between them. Any excuse? Worst ever WC campaign on its own should have been enough.

    “Can… Moores really be blamed for the state of one-day cricket in England? It was the ECB who lumbered England with a crammed itinerary that has seen them having to rest their best players from 50-over cricket in the two years since they narrowly failed to win the Champions Trophy”.

    So Moores has to be to blame for all England’s ODI failings? He isn’t – but who selected Ballance at No.3, who kept ignoring Hales, who presided over the dire bowling strategy, who set the fields, who set the batsmen the misleading targets and who gave the foot-in-mouth press conferences?

    “Moores, remember, twice took over with England in turmoil after a 5-0 Ashes thrashing. Anyone who expected him to wave a magic wand and make England the best team in the world again overnight was in cloud-cuckoo land”.

    That thrashing happened under a coach using methods Moores approves and endorses – what would he have done differently? Moores isn’t being sacked because England are No.2 in the world – they lost to the No.6 side and drew with the No.8 side. It’s that acceptance of mediocrity again – a side with England’s wealth and player resources should be better than this.

    “I would have given Moores the summer so he could have that crack at the Ashes he was denied when he was sacked as coach the first time in 2009”.

    Long-service award klaxon.

    “Moores may have limitations but he can consider himself desperately unlucky that an impatient new regime seem to have made it their priority to get rid of anyone who was appointed by their predecessors”.

    Yes, Graves and Harrison are so dreadful…..

    “One thing the ECB have got right is making Strauss the director of cricket”.

    ….. except when they aren’t.

    “There is no question that [Strauss] is the right choice….. There have been few greater achievements in England’s history than their success in winning the Ashes in Australia in 2010-11 and it was very much Strauss, along with coach Andy Flower, who masterminded that”.

    Winning in Australia is never easy – but one of the greatest ever? Against a weak Australian side with Ben Hilfenhaus opening the bowling and selecting the likes of Xavier Doherty and Michael Beer? It was like 1986/87 when England took advantage of an Australian team in transition. The away wins between 2000-05 and some in the 1970s (like Greig winning 3-1 in India) were greater in my lifetime. Anyway what has Strauss’s role as captain got to do with how good he’ll be as a director of cricket? Bobby Moore wasn’t made England manager on the same logic.

    “It is nonsense to suggest that Strauss will somehow be an ‘ECB blazer’ or a yes man who is still close to some of the team, mainly captain Alastair Cook. If Strauss wants Cook out he will make the call”.

    We’ll see – but who was the only Sky pundit who thought Cook should lead England to the WC? Perhaps he’d taken his blazer off.

    “Questions have been asked about Cook’s captaincy but, rightly, it has been decided he should carry on at least until after this year’s Ashes.

    ‘It has been decided’ – interesting phrasing! And who doesn’t love that ‘rightly’……?

    “In the meantime, the succession process will begin with Joe Root becoming one-day captain in place of Eoin Morgan, who preferred to play in the Indian Premier League than lead out England in his native Ireland”.

    He never tires of that about Morgan. No mention of Morgan’s brilliant IPL innings of course – does Newman even know it happened?

    “While it goes against the grain to see an Australian coaching England, the best man could be Yorkshire’s Jason Gillespie, who hopefully then would make Paul Farbrace, who has made a good impression as Moores’s assistant, his strong right hand. It might just work”.

    And so a rousing hedging of bets to finish! Overall, the article is ever bit as dismal as Selvey’s but Selvey’s extra work BTL and on Twitter puts him out in front I’d say.


    • LordCanisLupus May 9, 2015 / 3:39 pm

      I thought about fisking that, but you’ve done a top job Simon. If possible, I’d like to stick that as a full post in the next few hours. Let me know if this is OK.


      • SimonH May 9, 2015 / 4:32 pm

        Okay – feel free to add, subtract or amend as you see fit.


  30. marees May 12, 2015 / 4:03 pm

    please dont elect Selvey to the top. One of the qualifications should be that you used to enjoy the journalist’s pieces earlier or his writing is quite perceptivie/good. Selvey is long past it. Give somebody else a chance.

    Ed Smith is trying hard, but he can never get poisonous enough to crack top-3 I think.

    I would recomment the entire staff of the Cricketer Magazine, not because those journos were good earlier, BUT, the magazine itself used to be of a great standard earlier helmed by Andrew Miler.

    But the one that takes the cake now should be Simon Barnes. To quote him from his latest blog post for ESPN UK

    “…now he(Strauss) must pray that England have a decent summer and that Pietersen eases up a little on the triple centuries. If those two things don’t happen, there’ll be more “ishoos” for us all to face in the autumn.”

    He is actually saying he doesnt want to see a Pietersen triple century. Why the heck does he follow cricket then, if he doesnt want to see a First Class triple century scored in a single day?

    Mind you, I have a lot of respect for his writing especially, his latest for TCM, comparing cricket & spring. Yet as a person, his views have been absolutely small minded on this. he would perfectly deserve to trump the “election” this year.


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