Closing Ranks

It’s been quite striking the last couple of days how those who adore the establishment that is the ECB have adopted a “move on, nothing to see here” approach.  As usual, they do not answer the questions or objections that have been levelled by the hoi polloi, but instead repeat the same old lines about it being about the future, and that for undisclosed reasons, this is the right decision, and indeed the only decision.

Strauss should be trusted to do the right thing, Colin Graves is an honourable man and certainly didn’t intend to mislead, and we all know what Kevin Pietersen was guilty of (I can’t tell you though) and therefore deserves everything he got.

It’s nonsense though.

Colin Graves’ self-serving statement did nothing but use the lawyer technique of picking something no-one had accused him of, and denying it strongly.  No one ever claimed Pietersen had been guaranteed a place.  No one.  Not Pietersen himself, nor anyone else.  Claiming that private conversations had been talked about in the press deliberately ignored his own public statements which no matter how the apologists try and squirm, were absolutely clear and repeated on more than one occasion.  It was in any case more than slightly hypocritical given the BBC announced the outcome of the Pietersen/Strauss/Harrison meeting within minutes of it being over.  Since then we’ve had reports that Pietersen went out “in a blaze of glory” shouting expletives at the other two.  Since there were only three of them present, that means that if true, the information has come from either Strauss or Harrison – probably via a third party who likes to pass this on.  It’s a matter of trust you see.

Ian Bell’s press conference statements appear to have been largely glossed over.  But they are important because of who it was saying it, and what he said.  One of the constant refrains in the whole affair has been about what the players think about it all.  But the players won’t think about it overly because they will be thinking about themselves.  For the batsmen, no Pietersen means that they are just a little bit more secure in their position.  All players will first and foremost be interested in themselves and their own careers.  Bell was telling the absolute truth when he said they didn’t think about it much when they were in the West Indies and nor should they either.  Very few people in any walk of life are prepared to put their heads above the parapet for another, they prefer to keep their heads down, focus on themselves and hope it doesn’t happen to them.  That’s why the ECB got away with it initially – not because of some overwhelming support in the dressing room, which seems to amount to two or three players, but because the others would not stand up and object when it risked their own position and own careers.  It’s not malicious, it’s simply human nature.

Yet what Bell said contradicted so much of the ECB line.  He didn’t come out firing, he quietly and firmly had his say and deserves credit for doing so.  Much was made of his backing for Strauss in his new role, but again this should come as a surprise to no-one.  Players will accept the hierarchy in which they work because they can’t individually change it, and the public comments will always be in favour, no matter what their private feelings.  Yet there’s no reason to doubt that Bell absolutely meant it, because the players – especially the senior ones – will want stability.  The problem is that the behaviour of the ECB does just the opposite, and that has been the criticism all along.  Ignoring the rest of what Bell said, which runs so counter to the official line, simply reinforces the dim view taken of the way the ECB conduct themselves.

As much as the press obsess over Pietersen, they continue to miss the point about the whole matter and simply store up the resentment and indeed the story for later.  The termination of Pietersen’s chances does not provide closure on the whole affair; it might do to an extent were England to carry all before them this summer, because as much as it might fester amongst the supporters, it gives the press something different to write about, and the lack of trust amongst the supporters that has been so vocally put forward would reduced to a rumble.  That’s still damaging, especially when they don’t buy tickets, but it wouldn’t be front and centre in the media.  That is unlikely and there is the distinct possibility the summer could be a complete cricketing calamity.  If that were to transpire, every single one of these issues is going to be highly visible once again.  The fundamental point the ECB cannot address, no matter how much they try and obfuscate, is that their new policy is not one of selecting the best players on cricketing merit.  And that means should England lose Tests, the same questions will be put to them, as to whether England would be a better team if Pietersen were in it.  They’ve managed to turn the whole issue of a single player into a fundamental question of how they operate, in which Pietersen is simply the catalyst for questioning that approach.  At some point a player will step out of line.  They don’t dare drop him without inviting the same opprobrium.

The same applies to the question of who they will appoint as coach.  There have been enough indications that at best Gillespie is uncertain whether he would want to take a role where the Director, Cricket (that writing that title is in itself an instance of sarcasm demonstrates their problem) has already decided who can’t be picked and who is captain with no input or apparent authority from that coach means that there is the distinct possibility that the most able candidates will rule themselves out.  And if that happens, and we are left with another Peter Moores – presumably whoever gets it is at most the second best coach of his generation – then they have indeed sacrificed the England cricket team’s ability to succeed on the altar of their dislike of Pietersen.  This is a critical point, which has not been directly addressed in the discussion around the whole debacle.  If the unqualified removal of Pietersen from consideration results directly in being unable to engage a coach of the highest quality, that is not acting in the interests of the England team, and undermines the repeated claims to be acting in the medium to long term.

With the gift for timing that we have come to expect from the ECB, Tom Harrison chose this week of all weeks to effectively kill off the prospects of cricket appearing on free to air television:

“Sky have been a great partner for English cricket, going forward, we need to be very careful about the way in which this argument is understood. Is there a role for terrestrial television post the current deal with Sky. Terrestrial is becoming, frankly, less relevant every single year in the context of how people consume media. I don’t think we solve all our participation concerns by terrestrial television.”

Again, it’s using an argument advanced by absolutely no-one to defend the actions of the ECB.  No one has ever claimed putting cricket on free to air solves all problems, but it doesn’t mean for a second that at least some on there wouldn’t help.  All comparable sports make the effort to put some of their output on terrestrial TV, even those who took the Sky shilling long ago like rugby league.  Most sports try to ensure there is a balance – the money from Sky is undoubtedly important, but so is exposure on as wide a platform as possible.

Everyone is aware that consumption of audio visual output has changed and will continue to change over the years ahead, but failing to take into account how people discover the game is potentially crippling.  Cricket tragics will tend to eventually pay up if they can so they can watch.  The casual viewer will not, unless they are already interested in other sports and the bundling of content gives them cricket they would not specifically pay for.  Yet the ECB consistently tries to ignore the wider issue in favour of re-writing history.  Colin Graves – a man of integrity so he claims vociferously said:

“It would be nice to have some cricket on terrestrial television but the problem we have got is terrestrial television does not want cricket.  It certainly does not want Test cricket. We have to get best of all worlds, but if terrestrial broadcasters don’t want cricket, then what can you do?”

This misses the point and is completely disingenous.  It is hardly surprising terrestrial broadcasters are uninterested when it is abundantly clear that they have no prospect whatever of winning a contract to show it.  Why should they invest time and effort in thinking about where they could fit it into their schedules when they know perfectly well they have no chance and that the ECB will go with the highest bidder – which will be Sky unless BT Sport decide to jump in.  If the ECB were to state that they wanted Test cricket on terrestrial television and then no broadcaster showed an interest, then they could claim that.  Unless that happens it’s simply more mendacity from an organisation that seems to find telling the truth challenging in all circumstances.

The argument has been made that young people consume their media in  other ways than television these days.  That is true, but whether via X-Box, Playstation, iPad (other tablets are available – they really are) or anything else comparable, you still need that Sky subscription to watch it.  Unless you access illegal streams.  One would presume the ECB are not advocating that approach.

In any case, it pre-supposes an existing interest.  This does not happen by default, in order to develop an interest in a sport initially there must be some kind of exposure to it.  That may be from a parent, in which case all is well because that parent may imbue the child with the enthusiasm for the sport, but what if the parent hasn’t the finance or the interest in cricket in the first place?  The child will never casually come across cricket if the household does not have Sky Sports, and the idea that media output from the ECB will compensate for that is nonsensical – only those with an established interest will seek it out.

Cricket has become a niche sport, and the focus of the ECB’s response to criticism has been in terms of the England team.  But that is not their whole role in cricket, they are responsible for it at all levels.  The loss of cricket in schools has to some extent been offset by the clubs who have made astonishing efforts to drive interest; indeed the clubs have been instrumental in taking cricket into schools themselves.  As much as the ECB like to congratulate themselves for that, much of the funding comes from Sport England, who have expressed serious concerns about the decline in participation and warned their funding cannot be taken for granted, and most of the effort comes from people down at club and village level, who despair of where the next generation of cricketers will come from unless they do it themselves.

Cricket Australia have taken a fundamentally different approach.  The media position there is not radically different to the UK – and the point about youth televisual consumption is identical to here.  CA insist on cricket being free to air, and even take out advertisments promoting the game on Australian television.  By the ECB insisting their approach is the only one for the UK, they are directly saying that the Australian one is not the way.  There might be differences in the structure of TV between the two countries, but they are not so vast a comparison cannot be made.

Whether it be on the continuing fall out from the Pietersen omnishambles, the question of the coach, the matter of Alastair Cook being affirmed as England captain, or the subject of cricket on television, it is possible the ECB are right, and others wrong.  And in the last case, I would dearly like to be wrong.

Trouble is, I fear I’m not wrong at all.

UPDATE: Since this post was originally put up, the press have released articles concerning what Stuart Broad said about Pietersen.  Essentially it amounts to saying he’d have no objection to Pietersen playing, that the differences between them have been exaggerated, and perhaps most tellingly that he’s not spoken to anyone above him in the ECB about it.  Can anyone find anyone else in the England team apart from Cook who has a problem with him?  Because it seems to be narrowing the field by the day.



123 thoughts on “Closing Ranks

    • SimonH May 17, 2015 / 9:53 pm

      Broad’s last quoted words – “I had no success on the field but behind the scenes I am really moving forward”.

      The motto of ‘New England’.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 17, 2015 / 9:46 pm

    As usual. Brilliant piece. Only one piece I can concentrate on because the rest makes me so very very angry, and that is dear Ian Bell. I think it was very brave of him to say what someone in that team needed to say. Good on him.

    FUTURE OF ENGLAND CRICKET – in no particular order

    1. Bell will probably now be booted out of the team for daring to speak from the wrong hymn sheet.

    2. Cook will not be captain if he loses the two tests.

    3. Root has been elevated in VC in readiness for Cook’s demise.

    4. Harrison & Strauss real power twins. Establishment speak twosome who cannot see how contradictory their statements happen to be. Still who cares Harrison safe for five years and Strauss doesn’t care if team lose both Tests because his job is safe ad finitum!

    5. Strauss will figure as the darling of England cricket getting rid of that terrible KP. But will fail as England Director because he hasn’t got a clue. Management books doesn’t do it Mr Strauss.

    6. Harrison will continue to be Mr Smooth and probably manager to escape redundancy by charming all the ECB cleaners.

    7. Graves will have to be locked up in a cupboard at ECB HQ just in case he makes more gaffs. And hardly ever seen again.

    8. Usual suspects in the press & media will continue to collect all the leaks from the ECB and be forgiven for telling Mr Graves he was a pillock.

    9. No one will watch England Cricket anymore: can’t afford to put bum on seat; can’t afford Sky; won’t go to county matches unless KP is playing.

    10. All Cricket Outsiders will emigrate to Australia and support the baggies because they, in the main, treat their sportsmen with more honour.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Silk May 18, 2015 / 6:04 am

      I don’t see Cook as being sacked if we lose to NZ, as then there will be no-one to sack when we lose the Ashes.

      There’s no one left. Flower (ish), Gooch, Saker, Downton, Moores all gone


      • Zephirine May 18, 2015 / 10:24 am

        I agree, I don’t see Cook going that easily. He is a human limpet.

        Bell and Broad are likely to be the next scapegoats…


  2. Pontiac May 17, 2015 / 10:24 pm

    Here in the US, I’m going to be able to stream the entirety of the NZ-England tests on ESPN3, live and on delay, for free. I only have subscribed to internet and phone service – I don’t have any paid-for TV service at all. There’s some kind of arrangement where this service gives most of the NZ, West Indies, and Bangladesh international matches.

    So, terrestrial tv, crap – why not just arrange for streaming of selected matches?

    Cricket Australia arrange for free streaming of their first class matches. It’s only two cameras and radio commentary, but it’s at least something.

    In fact, these days it’d be technically quite easy to arrange for /volunteer/ commentators and even volunteer scorers and camera operators.


    • thelegglance May 17, 2015 / 10:50 pm

      Because Sky would object to that and the ECB can’t make money from it. We have radio streaming of county matches but that’s all.

      But streaming of a four day county match has the same problem – you attract only those who already have an interest, and actually it’d have to be a serious interest in order to make the effort to watch that.


      • Pontiac May 17, 2015 / 11:22 pm

        It’s just to say that it’s disingenuous to claim that it’s all Sky or nothing, or that there can’t be any free access because no terrestrial broadcaster is willing to yield airtime.

        And agreed, any of these options would initially at best only pay for themselves; it’d serve if anything as a way to ensure that there’s an audience 10 years hence.

        So perhaps that’s the logic – as long as home Tests sell out at 100 a day, there’s no need from the ECB’s perspective to change a thing.


    • Benny May 18, 2015 / 4:22 pm

      Looking at my IPad, I have a BBC Iplayer app, an ITV app and a C4 app, which even has an “on now” feature. So it is technically possible, without Sky, to transmit cricket to non TV viewers.

      While enthusiastic fathers can indeed spark interest in kids, even more so do kids get influenced by other kids. What would most influence a kid to say to his mates “you’ve got to watch this on your IPad”? I suggest something exciting and/or fun. Kind of brings us back to – would you rather watch a team playing defensively or one playing adventurously? Rush to watch someone like Gale or someone like Cook?


  3. Mark May 17, 2015 / 10:44 pm

    Cecil B. DeMille. couldn’t have concocted a bigger pile of shite than what we have seen in the last 48 hours. A Hollywood production of spectacular falsehoods.

    All the players will now slip back to their comfortable position of “I have no problem with Kev,” because the duplicitous management have closed down any chance of him coming back. When there was a chance of him coming back the players, led by their needy captain were in revolt and threatening to resign. No more sugary claptrap about how important, and how honoured they are to play for Englamd from these same charlatans please.

    Don’t underestimate the role of the yellow press in all this. They were furious when Graves opened the door to KP, and they have attacked him non stop since. Personally I think Graves went for the easy option. A quiet life. By shutting the door, he will not get anymore stick front he KP haters. Graves capitulated to the media.

    As for Strauss, he will be judged by results. And those results will depend on the quality of players the English counties can create in the next 4 years. A warehouse full of Strauss/Flower self help books will not amount to a row of beans. If England don’t produce good players all Strauss’s claims in trust will ring hollow. Not that it will matter to Strauss. His type always fail upwards. He will have pocketed the cash and run off to his next venture. England have written off this summer. If they somehow manage to win all good, but if they lose the green light has already been given to the players. Stopping KP was and is their only objective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • amit May 18, 2015 / 12:07 pm

      First Bell and now Broad.
      So, if all players come out like Broad and say, “i don’t have problem with KP”, who exactly was Strauss referring to as having “trust” issues?
      Kinda makes him look dumber, doesn’t it? Or culpable in his own biases.
      Even if this is a bit of smokescreen with Broad, it sort of forces others to question, who exactly has trust issues with KP?


  4. Andy May 17, 2015 / 10:53 pm

    I’ve said it before (maybe here, perhaps elsewhere on these here interwebs).

    Ecb need to make at least some of the t20 blast games available free & with no added equipment (I. E don’t need a sky box). Maybe even the odd England game.

    I’d bet the beeb or itv4 would jump at the chance to show 5/6 games,or as mentioned – stream a few if you think ‘terrestrial is outdated’.

    I got into cricket watching it on bbc2 with Richie benau. We didn’t have sky growing up. I like football (less and less every day but that is a different topic) because of match of the day & FA Cup. Free…

    Test cricket is a difficult sell, it takes slot of time in the schedule but use t20 as a gateway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance May 17, 2015 / 10:55 pm

      Exactly. But they can’t/won’t because the value of the T20 contract with Sky would be lessened by such an approach. Which just goes to show they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.


    • lionel joseph May 18, 2015 / 1:53 pm

      There has to be pressure on Sky, from the sporting bodies, to make content available at a one off cost at a fair rate.

      DRM makes this a piece of piss over the internet, but they still cling to the subscription model, because it’s such a tidy earner.

      Sky will reply that they offer the £10 (or is it £5) daily sports pass. This equates to a 3.5k yearly subscription.

      It should be possible to access the all of the live Ashes coverage for a one off cost of say £20. Likewise, they could easily offer occasional free access to certain events to increase interest.

      The pressure to do this is not going to come from their customers, it can only come from the seller of the rights. It’s extremely complacent of the ECB just to sell it and leave it there.


  5. man in a barrel May 17, 2015 / 11:27 pm

    With respect, my daughter only watches Downton on free to air. Most of her time is on you tube and face book…. Not télévision. An ECB channel on you tube is what we need


    • thelegglance May 17, 2015 / 11:28 pm

      Yes I get that, but that’s attracting those who already have an interest. It’s not how you pique the interest in the first place from a five year old. You have to seek that out.

      Free to air can mean television or online – at present to watch ANY cricket you need a subscription.


    • paule May 18, 2015 / 4:58 am

      I know Paul Downton’s entertaining but…..


      • Sherwick May 18, 2015 / 7:42 am

        I could watch the ‘outstanding coach of his generation’ sketch again and again!
        Like Basil hitting his mini with the branch or Del falling through the bar trying to look cool, or the Ronnie’s fork handles, an absolute classic!!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Clivejw May 17, 2015 / 11:55 pm

    I’m sure you’ve all seen Broad’s latest remarks, claiming he’s never had any problems with KP and would have no qualms about sharing a dressing room again. The first thing to say is, if he’s not being disingenuous, that’s actually remarkably magnanimous of Broad, considering that Broad and the other bowlers are obviously criticized in KP’s book for alleged bullying.

    Of course, you could say that he’s saying that now when KP’s fate has been decided. Maybe if he’d have spoken up earlier, it would have made it harder to paint a picture of a dressing room that was united against Pietersen. Then again, he did long ago significantly fail to back up Downton’s portrait of KP in Sydney as “disinterested”, or as Clownton meant to say, uninterested.

    Stuart does seem a bit of a devious figure, but even so, he didn’t have to say anything or could have been much more diplomatic. In any case, Downton’s claim that the whole dressing room was united in not wanting KP back has long since been exploded as a lie. Still, it’s nice to get more confirmation of that.


    • Clivejw May 18, 2015 / 12:18 am

      Also, this isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of Andrew Strauss, is it?

      “Only time can tell if that was the right decision. If we lose the Ashes, there will be a lot of pressure. We can only wait and see.


      • Pontiac May 18, 2015 / 2:22 am

        Broad must be well aware that he’s under pressure, maybe even more than Cook.

        And he had the T20 captaincy taken away, which could involve a salary increment. Not as much as the Test captaincy but something.

        So he’s probably got plenty of reasons not to be too pleased with Strauss.


    • paule May 18, 2015 / 5:01 am

      I’m not sure he’s devious, he’s just a bit of a dick isn’t he? A lad, who is easily influenced but fundamentally wants to win games of cricket.


      • Benny May 18, 2015 / 3:33 pm

        Could be Broad thinks, shall we say, aggressive behaviour towards team mates is a good thing, in which case, KP’s bullying claims wouldn’t trouble him.


  7. Zephirine May 18, 2015 / 12:36 am

    Broad is no longer captain of the T20 side. Bell is no longer vice-captain. Their good friend Straussy demoted them. Not surprising they’re the two who’ve become more outspoken.


  8. Zephirine May 18, 2015 / 12:37 am

    *vice-captain of the Test side. But you knew that.


    • Clivejw May 18, 2015 / 12:47 am

      Because only these idiots would look at what went wrong in the Caribbean and think: “If only Bell had been vice-captaining a bit better, we would have won.” #StraussLogic

      Liked by 2 people

  9. davethevet May 18, 2015 / 3:46 am

    Quite ironic really, I just watched the highlights of 2005 on youtube.

    If they really think they can rekindle the spirit of 2005, then they are deluded, and I guess that means Strauss seeing as he is saying it.

    So many things came together to make that special, for me personally, maybe once in a lifetime event, like Lions South Africa 1997 and a few others that i can think of. But really a common denominator was access to tv. The whole country cant get behind a team hiding behind a Sky tv paywall and it really felt like the whole country was involved in 2005.

    When I first became a bit obsessed with cricket in the 70`s I watched it on tv. I ws inspired enough to want to play at an age where it might have made a difference and I was the perfect demograph for kids who need to develop into first class cricketers.

    The ECB really need to appeal to that demograph and I just don’t see how they can. They are not appealing to the broader population who became so excited about 2005 and hardcore fans are becoming disenfranchised.

    Its such a shame, this is the country`s summer sport and yet it now feels niche and commercial. Players treated as a commodity that no longer belong to us.

    Im angry too, if this was a film plot, this is the part where we have been taken as low as we can get so they can build us up in the last act with the bad guys dead and the heroes succeeding and getting laid etc.

    Its not going to happen though is it.


    • paule May 18, 2015 / 5:05 am

      If they really wanted to rekindle the spirt of 2005 they’d have appointed and selected those who forged and epitomised said spirit: Vaughan and Pietersen. They don’t. They want the spirit of 09/10: it’s all about ego – the current England setup have always resented the 2005 team’s claim on the nation’s hearts, hence the risible comments that emanated from Strauss’ players.


      • Clivejw May 18, 2015 / 7:04 am

        Even the spirit of the 2009 Ashes would be welcome. My fear is we will get a repeat of the spirit (or rather, lack of it) of the 2013 Ashes, or even worse, the utter despair of the 2013-14 Ashes.


      • PaulE May 18, 2015 / 7:18 am

        1. Then they should stop banging on about aspiring to the spirit of 2005.
        2. Isn’t the 2009 ‘brand of cricket’ past its sell by date? Didn’t it result directly in the car crash that was 2013/14?


  10. PepperSydney May 18, 2015 / 5:17 am

    ‘CA insist on cricket being free to air, and even take out advertisments promoting the game on Australian television.’

    forgive me if I set this record straight.. its easy to look at the situation and think that ‘s how it might have happened!…

    CA didn’t care who televised it, or what procedure it took.. the real game changer was the lucky coincidence of having a cricket tragic Prime Minister at the time. I loathed John Howard with every fibre of my being, but he came up trumps on this matter, He refused, in an act of Parliament , for cricket live streaming to be taken out of the public domain, in the grounds that it was in fact, THE public domain, the game itself, the grounds it’ is played on , the contribution of AU taxpayers re Sport Academy’s , etc..

    And yes, Cricket is advertised on commercial channels in AU. the current ad.. ( .. stands back and gets ready to zip away ) says… Lets do it again!!.. 0 England 5 Australia…

    Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas May 18, 2015 / 5:48 am

      He did OK with gun control, too. Other than that – a bit of an arsehole


    • thelegglance May 18, 2015 / 12:57 pm

      Accept the point that it happened that way, but CA do talk repeatedly about how important it is that it’s on FTA. Even if they were initially forced down that route.


      • Culex May 19, 2015 / 12:00 am

        In part that’s because they know that they don’t have a choice in the matter (there’s actual legislation that dictates how much sport broadcasting is free-to-air, changing it requires Parliament to act on it). But it is also their recognition that the Australian cricket-watching public would burn the MCG down if CA pulled cricket off free-to-air.

        So long as Channel 9 has the cricket on it, there’s a solid fanbase that will be happy and stay involved. Take away the free-to-air cricket and they will be pissed off, something that CA knows and wants to avoid. Plus it isn’t like the Channel 9 deal is a bad one – CA makes a pile of money out of it.


  11. amit May 18, 2015 / 6:50 am

    I guess Harrison is going to be what Venky was for BCCI.
    A commercial guy, and a pain in the arse for those with any inclination to leave money on the table.
    The idea, in it’s entirety, is going to be to maximize revenue from it’s assets. Period. Any attempt to compromise is going to be snuffed. Any FTA efforts are going to come to nought, I am afraid.
    Whether it means cricket turns into an elitist sport, i guess is moot. If Sky can come up with reduced commercials for the public, it can still reach the masses. But, how that affects the viability of the deal, is going to determine the course of action.
    This will justify by a lot of stats. After all, as we’ve seen, ECB are a data driven institution. So, numbers will be thrown around. money spent into development at grass root / club level, money given to counties etc. are going to assume more importance, than the drop in participation levels.
    For all the criticism directed at BCCI, they’ve indeed handled this part better. There is more money at first class level. IPL does pay and it does create opportunities for those willing to work harder to grab those. There’s even more money for ex-cricketers.
    If they can keep greed under control, they can generate some money. However, if it means that the next time one has to pay for England’s games or the T20 bash or whatever they will initiate in England, over say IPL, it had better be a good product. That’s the risk. With too many leagues mushrooming, talent will not be distributed properly. Where in the world will you be forced to follow cricket?


    • d'Arthez May 18, 2015 / 8:32 am

      BCCI does a lot of things wrong. But they also deserve credit for what they do right.

      Sure we can complain that the IPL is a long tournament (and takes longer than the World Cup!). But at least it is a well-structured competition. Just 8 teams, so roughly 90 Indian players, and about 48 international players feature. Some hardly get a game, and some live on past reputation (Yuvraj Singh being a sad example of that; Maxwell was atrocious too this year).

      Oh and lest we forget. India has 26 First Class Teams. So there is no guarantee that if you are an average performer for your state side, you’ll be picked in IPL. Far from it. In fact, the Syed Ali Mustaq trophy is the domestic T20 competition in India. It does not get that much attention, but that is where a lot of promising T20 players from India garner attention from the franchises

      But the players are real stars in IPL. They get the attention. Cricket through the IPL has increased its profile. All the games are televised. Quite a few feature at prime-time. And while we can debate the merits of wanting to be a T20-star compared to a Test star, it is still a career in cricket.

      Compare that to the NatWest Blast, which runs over 4 months or so, constantly being interrupted by List-A and FC cricket, constantly being interrupted by England schedules. And while attendances are reasonable by UK standards, they pale in comparison to what Chepauk or the Kotla offer. They feature about 300 England players, and the occasional foreigner. A fraction of the games are televised (I am guessing about 30%), and then they’re behind a massive paywall.

      Despite the suits’ contention that T20 does not require technique, and is just a slogfest, it is anything but. You need a lot of confidence, you need a lot of thinking on your feet, to assess quickly changing situations. It is not a game for the stupid.

      People of the ilk of Selvey and Simon Hughes will be quick to point out the low bowling standards of Indian bowlers in the IPL, they refuse to mention the same with regards to the more highly diluted NatWest Blast. Never mind the batsmen who don’t belong at the elite level in the NatWest Blast.

      If the IPL is a Ferrari, the NatWest Blast is a donkey cart, with the donkey refusing its services.

      But since it is all about the money to the ECB, rest assured cricket won’t be coming back on FTA, even if they somehow do manage to set up a franchise league instead of the current Blast. Considering the venality and miserliness of the counties and the executives involved, I cannot see that happening either.

      Strauss’s idea that the Test side and ODI side should be more clearly separated, misses the boat completely. Test batsmen and bowlers benefit from playing a fair share of T20. Quick runs are sometimes needed, whether that is with the aim of setting up a declaration, or batting with the tail. So instead of trying to make England catch up in limited overs cricket, Strauss is insisting that England should lag more behind in Test cricket as well.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 19, 2015 / 8:47 am

      That was a good read and comments are good too. He doesn’t mince his words does he:

      Certainly the fetid stink of corruption that currently emanates from the corridors of Lords must be a far cry from the wholesome, aspirational image with which Waitrose, and parent company John Lewis, wished to align when it got into bed with the ECB, signing a three-year deal in May, 2013.


  12. metatone May 18, 2015 / 8:35 am

    The choice of coach is going to be very interesting.

    In principle the ECB are offering enough money to get a good coach even though the job is a mess. A calculating individual could decide that a year’s ECB salary is worth it even if they are doomed to fail and get sacked after that year… (not to mention you could probably hold out for some kind of dismissal clause, because the ECB are not going to have that many alternatives.)

    However, you have to think that “you won’t be allowed to bring in players Andrew Strauss doesn’t trust” is a pretty big negative. This isn’t necessarily because of KP, so much as the principle – who else will Strauss (or Cook) take a disliking to? (I’ve mentioned in posts before – Compton, Carberry, Monty, Rashid as some names that spring to mind.) So an ambitious coach might well think twice.

    However, as I say, unfortunately it’s unwise to make too much of this ahead of the appointment, because if they do manage to get someone good in with a big money offer, they’ll claim this invalidates my concern.

    I’d note as well that the Strauss appointment looks almost exactly like the Moores appointment – claims of an extensive search, headhunters paid, but basically the job goes to “one of the boys”, who happens to not disagree with the existing ECB diktats. (KP out, Cook supported, etc.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez May 18, 2015 / 8:40 am

      Actually an ambitious coach will ask the captain beforehand if he is allowed to pick beyond:

      1. Cook, 2. Lyth (grudgingly has to be accepted by Cook), 3. Ballance, 4. Bell, 5. Root, 6. Moeen (see Lyth), 7. Stokes, 8. Buttler (not ready but Prior is not fit), 9. Broad, 10. Jordan, 11. Anderson, 12. Prior, 13. Plunkett, 14. Woakes, 15. Tredwell, 16. Bairstow, 17. KP voodoo doll (not to play, but to smash bats on)

      I am guessing the answer is no.


      • Sherwick May 18, 2015 / 9:59 am

        What a joke.


      • Roger May 18, 2015 / 11:33 am

        Good point about Prior, maybe they’re still consulting him on selection issues


  13. metatone May 18, 2015 / 8:45 am

    Thoughts on TV:

    In some ways, the fact that we’re moving beyond a TV world almost suggests that English cricket is already dead. That if it had been on Free TV for the last 10 years, then it would have a larger and more vibrant fan base – a good start to a digital era.

    Instead, it is locked in to the paywall, with a declining fan base, and no intention of trying to find new fans. One killer aspect of this is that the ECB is completely dependent on Sky. There is no negotiating leverage to get even a small piece of the offering out of the Sky lockbox.

    Still, I think it’s worth noting (since I have worked in the area and know some real experts) that even right now, if you want to build a brand with young people, you pretty much still have to get on Free TV. Digital has changed how people consume things they already desire – but if you want to get new people in, you have to get to the places where people still browse around – and Free TV is still one of those places.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Boz May 18, 2015 / 9:07 am

      It also helps not to belittle, patronise and lie to any future audience irrespective of medium. The ECB shows no sign of considering its current audience never mind anyone in the future – like all elites, they know best!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark May 18, 2015 / 9:19 am

      Yes, cricket is now completely dependent on Sky. In fact they are joined at the hip. It is not just that cricket is hidden behind a pay wall, even worse it is virtually hidden from state school pupils as well. If you are a young kid at primary school and your parents don’t have sky sports cricket might as well not exist. You won’t see it on TV, and you won’t get to play even a watered down version with a tennis ball. Cricket took for granted the exposure it got on free to air TV. They took the money and the hell to the future.

      Boxing did the same a few years ago. Both The BBC and ITV would help promote a young boxer and cover his fights as he built to a world title fight. Then, when the big day came the fighter would bugger off to Sky for the money. As a result both BBC and ITV said to hell with boxing. “Why should we help promote it only to get screwed at the end?” So they dumped the whole sport. Boxing has a bigger following than cricket and yet it struggles now to promote up and coming fighters because there is no free to air coverage.

      The more sport leaves terrestrial TV the worse they get at covering sport because they get little practice. This supposedly is the reason golf authorities have decided to move the British Open golf to Sky because they thought the quality of coverage had gone down hill. (Camera work etc) All sport will move behind a pay wall at this rate. But they are mostly living off football. Football generates the subscription rates and revenue and sky can then throw a bit of lose change to sports like cricket. They better hope football doesnt go it alone one day, and set up their own Channel.


    • Mike May 18, 2015 / 9:23 am

      Great post

      A sensible board, indeed any sporting administrative body, should be spending the majority of it’s time and money promoting the game, widening participation, strengthening links between professional amateur and schools. Rather than fucking around with selection of the national team.

      The Sky contract, the inability to see the woods for the trees when it comes to addressing your eminently sensible point about free to air platforms being the primary cause of initial curiosity amongst the uninitiated, strikes me as a gross dereliction of duty.

      When even the RFU, that most blazered and elitist of fusty sports administrative boards has had a much better way of splitting its broadcast rights, then you’ve a problem.

      There is some validity in the counter arguments from pay-tv apologists that media consumption is changing beyond recognition, it is, but a sensible organisation would make their content available in as many places as possible before charging a premium for what it views to be it’s prime product.

      Putting it all, every single bit of it baring 45mins a week in the summer, where many people can’t view it is beyond stupid. Understand the need to bring the money in to sustain our wonderful, but anachronistic first class structure, but actively shrinking your fan base is a bizarre way of going about that in the long term.

      I don’t have a problem with the majority of live coerage being behind a paywall, ultimately cricket is a difficult thiing to fit into traditional channels schedules, but weekly highlights programmes of the CC, T20 and Royal London alongside full international T20s and at least a slightly longer test highlights package makes sense as means to maintain a slice of the public’ consciousness.

      Also, I’ve wondered, given the distaste many have for coughing up money to Rupert Murdoch, why the ECB don’t take a leaf out of the NFL’s book and allow fans to stream matches off of their website for an annual subscription.

      As you say being tied so heavily in with just a single broadcast partner is very very dangerous.

      More proof that those aty the very top “running” the game in this country have forgotten their purpose. It’s not theirs, it’s all of ours, a fact they seem to have conveniently forgot

      Liked by 1 person

      • metatone May 18, 2015 / 3:15 pm

        It’s funny how the pattern of the “true believers” argument is the same in both cases:

        Accusation 1: You won’t be happy until KP is back in the England Test side.

        Accusation 2: You want all cricket on free-to-air and to hell with the finances.

        In both cases, it’s a straw man, we’re looking for sense – selection on merit, with no veto clause and – some cricket on free TV regularly, in the hope of developing the fan base.

        I’d note in passing that Sky have hoovered up IPL coverage (previously on ITV4) as well.
        It’s really hard to see how you get a child interested in the game if you don’t live near a county ground.


  14. Grenville May 18, 2015 / 10:51 am

    I was in absolute earnest about setting up an England renegade XI, raising the cash through crowdfunding. I have none of the relevant skills or contacts, but if your interested, I guess Dimitri has my email and I’m happy for him to share it.


    • metatone May 18, 2015 / 3:17 pm

      Alas, I think for myself – and probably others, it’s hard to find the time for such a big project.
      I’m really tempted, but I’d be lying if I said I can actually contribute much at the moment.


      • Grenville May 18, 2015 / 9:36 pm

        This is a big stumbling block to my grand plan…. can’t you all be at loose ends having just finished a big project? How about we organise a whip round to fund someone, (Dmitri, Vian, Tregakkis, Maxie?) to provide match reports from the £20 seats. That way we subvert the lickspittle media?


    • Roger May 18, 2015 / 3:19 pm

      “At least two more”. Anderson and Prior?


      • escort May 18, 2015 / 7:02 pm

        Anderson is a maybe i guess because he is best friends with Cook but Prior isn’t even playing at the moment, why would he be asked for his view?


      • Roger May 18, 2015 / 7:05 pm

        Prior only dropped out of the team through injury (eventually), so maybe they still consider him the first choice keeper? Otherwise I can’t think who it might be…


    • hatmallet May 18, 2015 / 7:34 pm

      Bit ranty given it’s from a proper newspaper, but repeats much of what fans here and on other sites and Twitter have been saying.

      Let’s take the England group:

      Cook – refuses to play with KP
      Lyth – has never played with KP
      Hales – has played 3 games with KP, has said he would like to play with him
      Ballance – has played 1 game with KP, not commented
      Bell – according to recent interview has no problem with him
      Root – I believe he has said KP was helpful during their time together
      Taylor – played just 1 game with KP though wasn’t rated by Pietersen. Has laughed it off.
      Morgan – seems to have a good relationship with KP
      Ali – has never played with KP
      Bopara – seems to have a good relationship with KP
      Stokes – has praised KP’s influence on his first Test tour
      Buttler – don’t think he’s commented but am sure KP has been an influence on him
      Woakes – has only played 8 games with KP
      Jordan – has played just 1 game with KP
      Plunkett – hasn’t played with KP for years
      Woods – has never played with KP
      Broad – his bowlers clique has clashed with KP, but went out drinking with KP in Australia (with one other, Root?) and his interview this week suggests he would be happy to play with him
      Anderson – apparently not on best terms with KP
      Finn – don’t think he’s commented
      Tredwell – can anyone imagine Tredders complaining?

      Apologies if any obvious players missed. Cook and maybe Anderson aside, who on earth could be refusing to play with KP?


  15. Belgianwaffle May 18, 2015 / 4:54 pm

    Just wanted to pipe up somewhere and say how much I have enjoyed reading this beautifully written and reasoned website. The name is a peach.


    • Zephirine May 18, 2015 / 11:26 pm

      Hi Belgian – pity we can’t bring our Guardian avatars over, yours has always been one of my favourites.


  16. paule May 18, 2015 / 5:17 pm

    Worth checking out the full toss. Breathtaking intervention by a mainstream journalist.


  17. pktroll (@pktroll) May 18, 2015 / 5:56 pm

    The chairman can't let anybody question his integrity!! Wonder who is leading the investigation into the Windies tour and will it be public— Matthew hoggard (@Hoggy602) May 18, 2015


    Matthew Hoggard and Simon Jones erm sort of questioning Mr Graves integrity.


    • Zephirine May 18, 2015 / 7:54 pm

      Independent-minded. questioning… spirit of 05?

      Liked by 1 person

      • pktroll (@pktroll) May 18, 2015 / 8:26 pm

        I’d call it the spirit of not accepting the bull**** coming out from those on high.


    • Mark May 18, 2015 / 9:25 pm

      The succession is assured. Cook is now on borrowed time. The media can for the first time in over 12 months do their dam jobs and run the critical eye over Cook. They know if he gets the push KP won’t come back, and another ECB right type of man will take over.

      Everything changes and nothing changes.


    • Benny May 18, 2015 / 11:06 pm

      And as reported, our new VC says he owes it to Moores – “brilliant coach and knew how to get the best out of me personally”


      Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine May 18, 2015 / 11:25 pm

      Alastair Cook will become the highest run scorer in England Test history this year,
      That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? I still think somebody at the ECB has got a massive bet on Cook taking the most-runs-in-all-forms record away from KP.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Arron Wright May 19, 2015 / 5:08 am

        Cannot think of a sporting milestone I have looked forward to less than Cook overtaking Gooch. It’s the MSM’s trump card for silencing and belittling dissent this summer.

        Liked by 2 people

      • PaulE May 19, 2015 / 9:29 am

        Or two less likeable batsmen than Gooch and Cook both of whom inherited the mantle by stiffing their rivals. Dishonorable doesn’t ever begin to cover it.


      • hatmallet May 19, 2015 / 10:58 am

        “Alastair Cook will become the highest run scorer in England Test history this year,”

        It is a big event to be fair, from an individual point of view of course, rather than a team point of view. It’s always nice to see players reach milestones.

        Though it is all rather conveniently ignored that the player with the most runs, and centuries, for England is Pietersen. Across formats, that is.

        I mentioned this BTL at the Telegraph recently and had a line of people telling me I was wrong. Surprisingly enough, they didn’t reply when I posted proof.


    • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 19, 2015 / 9:05 am

      I said that further up the thread that Root’s ascendency was the start of Cook’s descendency! Glad someone else sees that might happen. I can’t wait for that to happen.


  18. Amit Garg May 18, 2015 / 10:59 pm

    Its so damn predictable. Ultimatum to the ECB is likely to cause his downfall. I guess they know ashes is a lost cause and that they will need to rebuild under a younger captain. Hence Joe root, the only guy to nail a spot in all teams. just not calling the bluff soon enough to avoid a public showdown and loss of face prior to the ashes.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. PepperSydney May 19, 2015 / 5:12 am

    oh well. like I tried to make clear.. Gillespie wont be coaching England.. it would surprise me if England , in fact , approached him. Certainly, he wouldn’t be approaching England. If there is one thing that will get an Australian ‘s passport fiddled about with and difficulties made, its applying for and actually getting the job of England cricket coach. . Folks.. they are not called the Ashes for nothing. In those Ashes lie the final and terminal idea of friendly exchanges and what not, in regard to cricket. Sure, we’ll send parcels when you are hungry and all that.. we will play for counties and even coach counties…… .. but that’s about it, really .

    Ditto for Moody, Langer et al. An Au coach can coach India or Zim, or Kenya, or WI, or even Srilanka.. anyone , anywhere, except England. .its just not the done thing. It was never going to be the done thing. It never will be the done thing.

    Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez May 19, 2015 / 9:22 am

        Arthurs is a Saffer.

        Since it is about English cricket, we’ll reserve judgement until we know if his PR-speak qualify him as English or South-African.


      • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 19, 2015 / 9:25 am

        For D’Arthez. I didn’t know that. Well anyway he is keen on the England job. Well someone’s got a do it. Might as well be someone who failed with the Aussies as he is probably only one mad enough to get into bed with a nest of ECB vipers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • PepperSydney May 19, 2015 / 10:08 am

        Arfa was a big mistake, Ms A, we all knew it from the get go.. it may turn out to be the last time for a while Cricket Australia ignores its stakeholders in such matters ,… still… when it became obvious even to CA that Mickey was disposable, it was swift and final at the end. No questions, no excuses , no explanations were given and really, none were needed..

        The position taken was this, in it’s simplicity.. Cricket coaches are a dime a dozen, men who are prepared to walk out in front of 80,000 people and hit a ball thrown at them at 140kph, are rare and indeed, rarer than those who just want to do this kind of thing. Wanting to and being able to are two diff things.

        There was something off about having a non AU cricket coach, too. it just didn’t scan well.. It wasn’t right. it wasn’t even wrong.. it just wasn’t .. . oh.. acceptable.


  20. PepperSydney May 19, 2015 / 5:23 am

    For an AU cricket coach, coaching England is a dead end.. Jason Gillespie knows this.. I was really surprised that Strauss had approached Langer.. mainly because Strauss surely knows the drill.. he knows where AU cricket coaching is going, .. frankly, I think he , Strauss, had a bloody nerve approaching Langer for the 4th best job in Cricket coaching. .. sort of like asking Langer to settle for 4th forever.. but it strikes me that Strauss is oblivious to the effect and perception he exudes.. he really is the Boy in the Bubble, in so many contexts, along with Cook, who’s bubble is made of entirely different design yet similar impenetrable fabric.

    Liked by 3 people

    • amit May 19, 2015 / 8:22 am

      All ECB and Strauss need at the moment is someone to tow the Trust line and share philosophy with Strauss.
      Despite the public talks on Gillespie or Langer, there seems little inclination to bring in any dynamic guy who may have a few thoughts of his own. So, don’t hold your breath guys. Expect Farbrace to be in charge, while they try to scout someone. Don’t be surprised if you see Andy Flower make a return in the absence of anyone else. Unfinished business at the top level, is how it will be sold to the public.

      Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH May 19, 2015 / 8:31 am

      Wheels are turning with Gillespie:

      Langer is out of the running (not that he was ever really in it). Apart from being former teammates the tribute paid to Langer by WACA’s chief executive shows his attraction to Strauss as it it straight out of the Strauss/Flower handbook – “Justin came into his position at a time of great challenges for the WACA, but his mantra of ‘character over coverdrives’ and his devotion to producing great people, not just great cricketers, has turned our men’s programme into a model for Australian cricket.”

      Not that I’m running Langer down in the slighest – I had a lot of time for him as a cricketer and Perth Scorchers were a great watch in the BBL. However the notion that these ideas can be applied to all teams, at all times and in all circumstances would be my concern.

      Did Langer have any difficult ‘talent’ to deal with? What was his approach?


      • Mark May 19, 2015 / 9:31 am

        I’m reminded of the late, great football manager Bill Shankley, who said….. “great players are born, not made.”

        This is the antithesis of the Strauss/Flower philosophy. They think they can manufacture talent out of trust. It’s utter bullshit. Talent is volatile and non predictable. Everything Stauss’s and Flower stand against. They want control, and complete obedience. Sure you need some players like that, but you will win little without the extra ingredients of talent, and a spontaneous nature.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tom May 19, 2015 / 9:43 am

        I will be genuinely astonished if Gillespsie takes on the role of England coach. The only reason I think he might take it on is money, and I might understand that because I can’t think of any other reason. Let’s turn this around. Does anyone think the Aussies would hire an English coach for their national team? Right before an Ashes series?

        The Ashes series have already been diluted for me. A series every four years home and away made the Ashes even more special than just being England vs Australia. That’s been ruined. But having an Aussie coach England? Against Australia?

        I know times change, but one of sport’s greatest rivalries will be destroyed if this happens.


      • "IronBalls" McGinty May 19, 2015 / 11:41 am

        I think the Aussies have a vastly different perception of “great people” than the ECB do?


      • Mark May 19, 2015 / 11:52 am

        I will be surprised if Gillespie takes the job because he will be working for a nest of vipers. They have shown their word means nothing. Their integrity means nothing. And they will stab you in the back as soon as look at you.

        On the other hand, thanks to Sky they have more money than sense. So you could take the money, and do 2-3 years and then run.

        Liked by 2 people

    • PaulE May 19, 2015 / 9:31 am

      Strauss isn’t very bright, calculating yes, capable yes, bright, no.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. "IronBalls" McGinty May 19, 2015 / 11:56 am

    I’m not surprised that the odious one is crapping in his carpet slippers. His tenure has left England cricket in a hell of a state, with (I guess) 84% of England fans disenfranchised, disillusioned, disenchanted, and any other bloody dis you can chuck in there. I’m still rather surprised that Waitrose and Sky are sticking with them?
    However, a rebel takeover would be absolutely bloody wonderful, in my book. Anything that destroys that cabal of Weasels at Lords gets my vote…every day of the week!
    My only concern would be that he could see the trough he’s got his greedy snout in is shrinking, and may look for another trough…Consultancy to Essel mayhap???

    Liked by 1 person

  22. SimonH May 19, 2015 / 11:57 am

    Is Gillespie interested?

    Some indications lean one way…..

    ….. and some the other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • amit May 19, 2015 / 1:11 pm

      yeah, surprise us now. can ya?


    • dvyk May 19, 2015 / 2:54 pm

      I must have missed something — who is he referring to as the “Chuckle triplets”?


      • Arron Wright May 19, 2015 / 3:09 pm

        Director, Cricket
        Technical Director of Elite Coaching

        In descending order of how likely you are to get a chuckle out of them.

        Liked by 2 people

      • amit May 19, 2015 / 3:22 pm

        Wait till you hear this being an insult and pinned on KP as another one that hurt the captain’s family. It’s all KP’s fault!

        Liked by 1 person

    • volkerelle May 19, 2015 / 3:00 pm

      chuckle triplets? brilliant!


    • metatone May 19, 2015 / 1:10 pm

      And this is why I think Andy Bull is a force for good overall.
      He and I may not see eye to eye over various parts of the KP affair, but he asked many of the right questions about the appointment of Peter Moores and here about Loughborough.

      Liked by 1 person

      • metatone May 19, 2015 / 1:19 pm

        Of course, the bowling coaching is a really tough post.
        Because of all the things people outside cricket have been talking about for years, we’re short on talent.
        (Amongst the obvious: lack of interface with Asian communities, loss of FTA coverage, grassroots money unevenly distributed.)
        Despite the success of 2005, I’d say a Test team doesn’t need to be filled with out and out fast bowlers. Variety can work equally well. You could build a team out of 2 good swing bowlers, a fast bowler, a good spinner and a Stokes-like all rounder.
        What kills us is our talent pool has become so shallow and our youth coaching has issues.
        So while we naturally produce swing bowlers (English conditions) we’re finding it very hard to even make a pipeline that brings us 1 actually fast bowler. (Spinners are whole other discussion for another time.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • metatone May 19, 2015 / 1:22 pm

        And the key point is, lacking the naturally fast bowler, we’re forever trying to take a swing bowler and up his pace. And breaking him in the process.

        Although there is more wrong than this in fact. Shezhad had some natural pace and quite the scary inswinging yorker, but (shades of the Rashid situation) the England setup decided he needed more line and length… and it’s the same old story of tinkering not working out…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mike May 19, 2015 / 2:09 pm

        Talent is undoubtedly as massive issue…that why instead of being, seemingly their sole focus along with profiteering, the men’s cricket team should only really be a tiny part of the ECB’s focus, employ a couple of talented coaches and a skillful manager or comma to over see it and let them get on with it.

        A large part of their focus should be about widening participation so more potential athletes with physiological characteristics for fast bowling (strength, flexibilty, explosiveness, balance) get exposed to cricket.

        If only the same type of people, from the same types of background are playing cricket, you’re going to get the same type of bowler…

        Having said that, the growing list of stories concerning the unsuccessful meddling in bowling actions suggest we’re not really making the most of what we have.


      • Arron Wright May 19, 2015 / 2:10 pm

        I see the dog whistle has done part of its job, and after a long hiatus Mike Daniels has turned up to defend Loughborough and capitalise Common Nouns for all he’s worth.


      • Roger May 19, 2015 / 2:35 pm

        Harmison, Jones, Hoggard and Flintoff. None of them were the finished article when they first broke into the side, they all improved as they gained international experience (like most international bowlers). That doesn’t happen anymore with England.


    • Amit Garg May 19, 2015 / 2:20 pm

      Isn’t this the place where the products of English elite coaching program cut their teeth?


  23. thebogfather May 19, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    We had a fast bowler – Finn – then the coaches screwed him up…why? – one, because he occasionally knocked the bails off upon delivery and two, because he went for a few runs – now he’s a busted flush both with his action and mentally too.
    I dread to think what the few other promising options in CC have been subjected to under Flower at Laughborough


  24. thebogfather May 19, 2015 / 2:09 pm

    Anyhow – Dmitri/Leggy – we’ve brought you up another Ton – time for a new blogpost before the actual cricket begins? Where is that mythical MSM top ten? lol – or are we awaiting SulkySheeps press conference tomorrow?


      • thelegglance May 19, 2015 / 3:56 pm

        Well it can wait now! I shall see what joys transpire over the next 24 hours….now to read Boycott’s latest rant.


    • LordCanisLupus May 19, 2015 / 3:50 pm

      Wrote 1500 words on the top two, before all this stuff in the past three weeks, so sort of rendered out of date.

      Have to start again, probably.


    • Mark May 19, 2015 / 3:16 pm

      “The last time such a move was proposed – as part of David Morgan’s report in 2011-12 – a backlash from county members prompted a last-minute rethink. But this time there appears to be something close to a consensus within the counties and no intention of further consultation with county members or other spectators.”

      Probably because most of the members have died out. Although they are not bothering to consult with the ones that are still alive.

      “Key to the changes is an attempt to maximise revenues from T20 cricket.”

      So the making of money is everything now. I’m surprised the ECB doesn’t float itself on the stock market.


      • metatone May 19, 2015 / 4:51 pm

        Lots to say on that – maybe we can have a thread that concentrates on it?


  25. Mark May 19, 2015 / 3:04 pm

    If you want to see how crap the ECBs coaching system is you only have to look at how many England players of the last couple of decades have South African born or Zimbabwe born, or Caribbean born or Australian born or Irish born before their name.

    It’s like the LTA in Tennis. The 3 best British tennis players of the last 15 years were Greg Rudeski brought up in Canada. Tim Henman who had a tennis court in his back garden,and who’s grandmother played at Wimbledon, and Andy Murray whose mother is a tennis coach. Who else without any tennis connections have they produced?

    Lots of cushy jobs for Tim nice but dims, but little results. We put the resources in the wrong place.


    • metatone May 19, 2015 / 4:53 pm

      The grassroots mess also deserves a thread…


      • thelegglance May 19, 2015 / 4:54 pm

        I’ve been thinking of doing a grassroots post for a while now. It doesn’t help that the ECB accounts are so damned opaque.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Zephirine May 19, 2015 / 6:32 pm

        Two things I learned recently:
        1. Most of the grassroots funding comes from Sport England (i.e. our taxes and Lottery tickets) not the ECB/Sky.
        2. Participation of girls is on the up. It probably helps that some of the England women players until recently had coaching/outreach jobs to give them an income, and they also generally seem far more approachable (dare we say, normal?) than the men.


      • metatone May 19, 2015 / 6:33 pm

        Evidence is hard to come by.
        But I’d certainly be interested in whatever you have to say on it.
        (It’d also just be a pleasant novelty to have a discussion about the grassroots in a place that isn’t on MikeDaniels auto respond list.) 😉


      • thelegglance May 19, 2015 / 6:33 pm

        One element of the grassroots funding the ECB don’t like to mention is that the England age groups are included in it. Needs to be funded certainly, but grassroots it ain’t.


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