Bilious Inadequates

Which one makes more sense to you?

The last year has been a period of transition and rebuilding in which Peter has nurtured new talent, developed new players and laid the foundations for the new coaching structure to build on.
“This decision has been made as we focus on the future and our need to build the right approach and deliver success over the next five years within a new performance structure.”

or this…

La lasta jaro estis periodo de transiro kaj rekonstruo en kiu Peter nutriĝas nova talento , evoluigis novajn ludantojn kaj fondis por la nova trejnisto strukturo por konstrui sur .
‘ Tiu decido estis farita kiel ni enfokusigi sur la estonteco kaj nia bezono por konstrui la dekstra alproksimiĝo kaj savos sukceson dum la venontaj kvin jaroj ene de nova agado strukturo .

Because it doesn’t make any sense to me. I weep when I see this sort of thing. The implication is that Moores has done a good job developing talent that they needed after the loss of the Ashes and the key players who walked, were injured/ill or just chucked out for reasons not explained, but now it needs to be left to the big boys, like Andrew, who knows best. The only way this could get better is if they re-appoint Andy Flower as coach.

More on all this later. It’s a lovely sunny day by the Shore and we have visitors coming so probably won’t be around much more today.

UPDATE – Vaughan’s piece in the Telegraph, if true, is astonishing –

I had talks with the ECB about the director of cricket job the day after the Grenada Test when the team had won and there was a vibe about England’s Test cricket. It was clear to me that they would not be removing Peter from his job and I felt I could not be the boss of someone I did not rate.

It would have created too much pressure around the team and too much focus would have been on that relationship leading into a huge Ashes series.

There was also the Kevin Pietersen situation. That was always going to be hard to manage. I personally wouldn’t want to rule him out of playing for England again if he scores runs for Surrey and a vacancy opens up in the middle order. If his game is good enough why would you not want to take someone like that to a World Twenty20 next March? But the ECB still seem to be a little bit reluctant to bring him back and I feel that the Pietersen issue is still going to be a talking point through the summer. So it was not the right time for me and I was never offered it anyway.

But then the situation changed. England lost in Barbados and Peter’s job was on the line again. It is a warning of how quickly things can move on in sport.

Where do you start with that? I have not mentioned KP that much recently but this indicates there is still no desire AT ALL for KP, meaning he has been led up the garden path as I thought.  How one match (Barbados) changed everything with a body that talks about “long-term” strategy and building structures. How Moores was staying, then going. In a blink of an eye.

I mean, it’s enough to inspire zealotry in anyone, isn’t it?



Strauss Motivator

So it has been confirmed by the usual type of press release where those doing the appointing try to persuade us that this has been an exhuastive and thorough process, where after enormous efforts, they’ve got the right man.

Like this one:

“Paul’s experience of a World Cup final, Ashes success, six County Championship wins and 58 international appearances for England provides a wealth of cricket experience.

“His background in law when coupled with his experience in the City provides the unique set of skills which is required to lead and manage the England Cricket Department’s £100m budget over the next four years.”

Still make me chuckle. The “outstanding candidate indeed”.

Today it has been announced, not with the hoopla of a press conference that you’d associate a major announcement like this to have given the high profile nature of the job (Downton’s post wasn’t making news like this one is), but via a press release, that Andrew Strauss is now the Director of Cricket. Let’s take the release in full first.

“Andrew Strauss has been appointed Director, England Cricket. In this new high-performance role for the England & WalesCricket Board [ECB] he will be responsible for the long-term strategy of the England men’s cricket team and for developing the right coaching and management structure to support it.

“The appointment follows a month-long formal recruitment process led by ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. Strauss, who led England to two Ashes wins and took his team to the top of the ICC world Test rankings, reports to the chief executive.

“Commenting on the appointment, Harrison said: ‘Andrew’s breadth of ideas, his passion for England cricket and his proven leadership skills shone out. He was an exceptional England captain, is an authoritative voice on the modern game and has a wealth of experience building successful teams.

“‘Andrew’s also widely respected across the sporting landscape. We’re delighted he’s joining us at the ECB as we set out to create a new strategy for the game.’

“In this new role Strauss will oversee the England’s senior men’s team including their performance and development programmes and the selection process and player pathway. The England Head Coach will report directly to him.”

There’s more wooliness than a sheep farm, more platitudes than a showbiz awards show, and more guff than listening to the reporters on the TMS slot (sorry chaps! needed something). First up we have “long-term strategy”.

This is the refuge of people who have no idea how to make a success. Long-term strategy and development of the right structures of management etc. A little bit of me died. What does this mean? What is long-term, and what structures are we on about when for the England cricket team, it seems to be in place now (or are we talking about Andrew cutting down/increasing support staff). How is Strauss going to get star players out of the ether if none exist?

The second paragraph mentions a month long formal process to reach the decision. The job plan wasn’t made public, the interviews seem to consist of Michael Vaughan having a chat and saying that the job wasn’t for him, and Andrew Strauss saying it was. Perhaps the ECB might enlighten us poor plebs as to what this process was, who else might have been approached, and what they might think of the role? Did they speak to Alec Stewart for instance, or did they approach Martyn Moxon? Instead, it seems to this bilious inadequate that we’ve designed a job in the England team called “Being Andrew Strauss”.

Now, I’m not impressed at all by Tom Harrison so far. I’m sure he doesn’t even have the likes of us on his radar. The next few comments he makes are straight out of the management appointment bullshit lexicon that drives me up the wall. The “he’s really great and we’re so lucky to have him” bollocks that sets my antennae off, and makes me immediately suspicious.

Andrew’s breadth of ideas, his passion for England cricket and his proven leadership skills shone out. He was an exceptional England captain, is an authoritative voice on the modern game and has a wealth of experience building successful teams.

Seriously, what are these ideas? He reads management and armed forces guides and implements some of their ideas. This worked well because one of his best batsmen wandered a mile off the reservation under him, and while it’s too easy to say it was all that man’s fault, you had to be blind not to see the cliques emerging, especially the Swann Anderson nexus which got to include Broad. So count me sceptical about his record on that. He captained England very well when we got on top and scored big runs.

As for the last bit, please spare me. An authoritative voice? Really. What’s the most memorable thing he has said since he left the England set-up? If that’s authoritative, we’re in for a fun time. I’m also not sure that the last bit was bang-on, but the players mostly seemed to like him. But once the team came off the rails, it did so with a bang, so he had experience of seeing one fall apart too.

“‘Andrew’s also widely respected across the sporting landscape. We’re delighted he’s joining us at the ECB as we set out to create a new strategy for the game.’

Pure management-speak bollocks. Set out to create a new strategy for the game. Seriously, what does that mean? When I have a work objective set it has to be SMART. My eyes roll at that. Time specific? Measurable? Specific? No, woolly management guff you can kick down the road because extraneous factors will always get in the way. Oh yes, and the first bit. I’m sure he’s widely respected across the sporting landscape, but funny how the bilious inadequates think he’s the “safe” choice, the “company” man, the assured diplomat and just the sort of family they’d like to see a DOC come from.

“In this new role Strauss will oversee the England’s senior men’s team including their performance and development programmes and the selection process and player pathway. The England Head Coach will report directly to him.”

Does this mean he becomes a selector, or replaces Whitaker? This is the interesting part because it was this role that Downton seemed to take that alarmed us all. Also, how do you oversee the performance if you’re not the coach, and how is he supposed to influence it?

I genuinely don’t think they know what they want Andrew Strauss to do except be Andrew Strauss. We all have our views on him, and mine are on the slightly unfavourable but not downright hostile. I see him as a reasonably set in his ways, typical establishment manager, with adherence to major principles and too keen a take on text book management tomes. If he’s allowed to kick the can down the road, he is going to, because he’s already known as “bob the Builder” on here for his insistence on taking long-term approaches and building for the future, when the team he led was as conservative and for the time as you could get. It wasn’t exactly known for developing talent. It also was a team that had its way of winning. The infamous “bowling dry” which worked if you made masses of runs, which we did.

Of course, there are major elephants in the room. KP will always loom. Calling him a you know what will always be remembered, and the biggest of them all, his attitude to Cook and probably more importantly Flower loom. I think he sees kindred spirits in those two, and if that’s the case, I can’t be positive. We need to be released from the shackles of the past, not be beholden to it.

These will be outstanding times indeed.


I wrote this last night. I didn’t enjoy writing it and have had thoughts about whether to publish it. Quite a lot of the time I try to be humorous when having a pop at a journalist, but in this case, I couldn’t find the humour. Is it our fault?

So read on…..bilious inadequates.

There are advantages and disadvantages of being 3500 miles away when stories break. I’m a bit more removed from the sources of the stories than if in the UK, but also I’m not at work and I do find this sort of thing quite relaxing, believe it or not. But this Moores story is one of the oddest in an odd 16 months or so. Once again a major story is put out in advance of the agreements being signed or deeds being worked upon, and the ECB’s media strategy, whatever it is, has gone up in smoke. The new man in the role, name not known at present, hasn’t had a much better time than his predecessor.

This is not an ECB leak. We’ve been assured this by all and sundry, except, interestingly, Jonathan Agnew who appears to be jumping to the conclusion that we have. BOC has been informed that this was not an ECB leak, but will not be told who has spoken. Fair enough. But you could be forgiven for thinking “so what” if they did tell us. What difference would it make? Luke Sutton had been tweeting away yesterday about how bloody unfair it all was, and I’m wondering out loud about who might be the source, but I am only guessing. This isn’t right. It can’t be right. The ECB may be anal about leaks, but they seem pretty hopeless in stopping them.

Which brings me to dear old Mike. He’s been on form today. Let’s go through a couple of his golden greats. I like this one:

Too many people here do not understand how journalism works. And too many look for conspiracy where there is none. And do you seriously think we would give up the sources of our stories? Get real, as Farage once said.

This is getting out of hand. You ain’t the victim here, Michael, the paying cricketing public are. You get to sit around, write and watch games as a job. Many of us would love that role. You seem to think it better to sit behind your keyboard admonishing the great unwashed for being reasonably on form when it comes to the way the governing body has acted for the last 18 months. To say “too many people here do not understand how journalism works” is hilarious. You don’t have the faintest idea how social media and blogs work, as judged by your dismissive attitude to anyone disagreeing with you. I fundamentally disagree with a number of journalists, but have a decent online relationship with a few, because, to a degree, I get how journalism works. What I don’t get is how what you does works? When we see Moores shabbily treated like this, what are we supposed to do? Say “oh, well done ECB. Another bang up job done.” Even if the ECB did not leak, THEY ARE SACKING HIM AND THEREFORE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT INFORMATION. You made a decision and decided to tell certain people of that decision and no doubt stressed its confidential nature. If that person then went on to leak it, you’d have to question your judgement. Or am I being too harsh here?

Which brings me on to part two of Selvey’s beauty. “Too many look for conspiracy when there is none.” Nothing drives me, and I suspect those who comment on here in record numbers each month, more mad than this “I know what is going on but I’m not tellling you.” Then, to compound it, they make less than subtle digs at your sanity for thinking there might be more to things than meet the eye.

The ECB are firing a Head Coach, which while I’m not completely against the decision, is a shocking development and the way it has been “released” to the public, by what appears on the face of it to be a synchronised piece in three newspapers at 12 noon, screams out for someone to try to connect the dots! “Too many see a conspiracy” when clearly someone has coordinated this piece of information’s release (that’s how it looks). So we’ll question the timing, the synchronisation and the content. This isn’t the 19th century where we just take the view of our Lords and Masters. We try to investigate, try to get to the bottom of this and theorise. Because, at heart, we are inquisitive and want to know what is going on. To dismiss this as the work of “conspiracy theorists”, which is a dog whistle for “nutters” – a charge thrown at us regularly, and dismissed just as easily as the accusations of the morons throwing it – is insulting your readership. I’m so sorry about that Mr Selvey Sir (I tug my forelock).

In the third part, I don’t expect you to give up your sources, because I understand to a degree how journalism works. I’ve learned a lot talking to some journalists about it, funnily enough. I share as much as I can with my readership, because I don’t want to betray trusts. I’ve never been asked not to say something (I don’t think so) but recognise that balance needs to be struck. However, once my information is confirmed I let people know what I know. Don’t tell me to get real (because I believe this stuff is aimed at the likes of me and my readership). You get real. Work out why the people BTL have turned against you in large numbers in a way not seen anywhere else. Work out why Ali Martin, Nick Hoult, Lawrence Booth, Scyld Berry, Dean Wilson and even John Etheridge get better social media reactions than you. Because they don’t treat their readership like the shit on their shoes. Don’t go hiding behing a ridiculous article by Ed Smith (he’s so clever, just ask him) to prove that those who disagree with you are just a voluble minority (who can be ignored), when that minority are pretty adept at reading between the lines, and don’t like this secret squirrel bs. The secret, silent majority may pay their ticket prices and pipe down, but then who is to say that they aren’t thinking “this is a bit of a shambles, isn’t it?” You can’t keep assuming their silence means consent.

Peter Moores, although he’s not a favourite on here, has never ever had his commitment questioned. He’s tried his hardest, and although I think he should have gone after the World Cup, has tried to keep this team on the road. The “antis” should not ever question that. It was the ECB who gave him the hospital pass, it was the ECB who “bigged him up”, it was the ECB trumpeting every success, backed up by a largely compliant press who were always primed to provide six inches of mitigation if we just held on for a couple of balls more. Lots of us had doubts, ongoing doubts, but we were told to pipe down about them because we beat India in a test series. We may have had those doubts, but I’m not here to bury Moores. I’m here because I get angry when I see someone treated very, very badly by authority or whoever it was who leaked this. Moores is another one spat out by this machine. Excuse me if I theorise over what happened. You get real.

I see journalism. I see a victim. I’ll theorise.

Contrast this with Ali Martin’s reponse to wctt:

And you’d been complimentary about my work early on too. Ok, I have seen both your comments today and while they stung a wee bit, no one is more aware that my writing style is not a patch on some of my illustrious colleagues than myself. What I would say is that while they turn out the beautiful flowing prose, I work very hard to source cricket news stories and share it with the readership as soon as I can turn it around. Not every piece can be Cardus – it’s news, ultimately, and that is my brief. When it comes to great writers, the Guardian had an abundance.

I respect Ali’s work a lot. He gets “us” to a degree and if I’m not putting words into his mouth, doesn’t think a great way to carry on is to piss off his customer base. Which includes those who disagree and those who agree.

Unlike this.

Good night all. Bilious inadequates. Remember, those silent and who don’t comment on blogs or the newspapers think that too.

2015 Test Century Watch #22 – Asad Shafiq


Asad Shafiq – 107 v Bangladesh at Mirpur

The third century of the innings was made by Asad Shafiq, which was his 6th in tests in 35 matches, his second in Bangladesh (the other was made in Chittagong in 2011) and his 4th highest in tests (his career best is 137 v New Zealand in Sharjah last year). He has two tons against South Africa as well, and one other against Sri Lanka.

We’ve done Mirpur now in the Younis Khan hundred yesterday, so sort of running out of things to say at the stadium or Pakistani level now! So was thinking, had we had a 107 this year, so far? The answer is no, so we can go to town on that then!

Have you seen a test 107, Dmitri? The answer is “not really”. I was there on Day 2 of the England v Sri Lanka test in 1998, when Graeme Hick was dismissed on 107 early on that day, but he’d scored all the runs the day before. So it doesn’t really count.

Asad’s 107 was the 68th score of 107 in test cricket. The last one before him was by Jimmy Neesham against the West Indies last year at Sabina Park, Kingston. The last by a Pakistani was by Younis Khan (not out) against India at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in November 2007. David Boon, Allan Lamb, Denesh Ramdin, Alec Stewart, Doug Walters and Younis Khan have all made two scores of 107 in test matches.

The first 107 was made back in July 1893 at Lord’s. Arthur Shrewsbury, who we featured in an earlier piece, had made 106 in the first innings of the game, and when Harry Graham came in for the Australians at 75/5 on the dismissal of Trott(y) things looked bleak. But Graham kept the visitors honest with his 107 which he made on his test debut. I love the old Almanack entries on Cricinfo…. here cometh a mention of a “5”:

Half the wickets were down for 75, but then came the partnership between Gregory and Graham, which completely altered the aspect of the match. These two young cricketers began by making a series of short runs, and obviously upset the fieldsmen by the fearless and rapid manner in which they travelled between the wickets. Very soon, too, the bowlers became anxious, and almost before the spectators could realise it runs were coming at a great pace. So admirably did the two Australians bat that at lunch time 120 runs had been added without further loss, and in all the total had reached 217, or 142 for the wicket, before Gregory was dismissed. With Bruce in, Graham completed his hundred, and soon afterwards the follow-on was saved with four wickets in hand, but at 264 Graham’s splendid, though by no means faultless innings, was closed by a catch at the wicket. Out of 189 added during his stay, the young Victorian had made 107, batting for two hours and twenty minutes, and hitting a 5, twelve 4’s, two 3’s, and nine 2’s.

The obituary makes you want to find out more:

Harry Graham did many brilliant things as a batsman but scarcely gave himself a fair chance. Had he ordered his life more carefully he might have had a much longer and more successful career in first-class cricket. His natural powers were great. He did not play with quite a straight bat but he was a splendid hitter with any amount of dash and vigour. When he came to England for the first time in 1893 he was at his best, playing the innings of his life against England at Lord’s. No one who saw the match will forget the way in which he and Gregory knocked off the England bowling after Australia had lost five wickets for 75.

Count me in as intrigued. On a bit of subsequent research I found this –

Other 107s to note, maybe, even if it isn’t a wonderful big ton, are Alec Stewart’s only hundred against the old enemy, made in Melbourne in 1998, when he gave up the gloves to Warren Hegg, in a game England won. In 2004, Marcus Trescothick completed two centuries in a match when he made 107 in the 2nd innings against the West Indies at Edgbaston. But all in all, 107 isn’t earth shattering, is it?

Especially when you have a 226 and a 148 coming in before you.

Asad Shafiq’s 100 came up in 149 balls and contained 9×4 and 1×6.