England v New Zealand, 1st Test: Review

Rejoice!  All is well and those doubting over the last two years have been firmly put in their place.  You were told and you didn’t listen, so now you get roundly abused for your negative attitude, and deservedly so.  Right?

Make no mistake, this was a fine win, in a genuinely wonderful Test match.  England produced a wonderful display on the last two days in particular, so surely even the most critical England fan should be pleased with that?  Well yes, actually, they should.  There is a lot to like about the players coming through in this England side and if this is how England are going to play, then there may yet be a chance of recovering some of the ground that the ECB have so needlessly thrown away.  Suggesting that anyone being critical should shut up now misses the point of the issues raised, because many of them haven’t been so much as acknowledged, let alone addressed.  But if it is a first step, then that would be something for everyone to be pleased about.

The captain undoubtedly had a fine game here.  His second innings century was an excellent knock, not just in terms of scoring the runs he did, but in the manner he did so.  Somewhat belatedly, Sky decided to focus on his technique, rather curious in some ways to do so after he’s put it right having ignored it mostly when it was wrong.  He was indeed much more upright, with his head over the ball and aligned well with his front foot.  As a result both his judgement outside off stump was much improved, and he was playing much straighter to the ball aimed at the stumps – his punching of the ball through midwicket and mid on were evidence of that, where previously he had been across the ball due to his balance taking his weight outside off stump.  Cook is never going to be a pretty player, but that’s irrelevant, as others can do that job.  His concentration is indeed one of his prime assets, but in order to make the most of that, he has to stay in.  The point about bowlers having found him out by pitching the ball up at him was always overplayed, because no side can maintain that degree of discipline endlessly if a player gets in – if the game was that easy it would have been worked out a century ago.  Eventually they will bowl balls for him to cash in on.

A Cook in form does change the proposition as far as England are concerned.  Australia’s bowlers wouldn’t have been concerned watching his hundred in the West Indies.  They will be a little more concerned watching his hundred at Lords.

As captain Cook also did little wrong.  England being bowled out this morning was probably the best thing that could have happened, removing the possibility of batting on too long.  But Cook rotated his bowlers well, and tried different things.  He came in for a fair degree of stick in commentary for having a third man in place when New Zealand were 2-2, but Cook is always going to be somewhat stifled by his existing plans and reluctant to change.  He is never going to be a McCullum or Clarke, and given who he is, today he did well.

So no more criticism of him then surely?  Not quite.  That he did well today as captain doesn’t undo the last two years.  But equally there should be no refusal to offer up credit where it is due.   The likely appointment of Trevor Bayliss will place the onus on Cook to run the side on the field, as Bayliss has the reputation for wanting to operate behind the scenes rather than dictating tactics.  That is as it should be, and maybe Cook will flower late as captain.  Yet he should not be given a free pass on the basis of a single Test, and crowing because of it is unseemly.  Credit where it is due and criticism where that is due is entirely reasonable.  This time, it’s credit.

Ben Stokes will of course receive all the plaudits and rightly so.  His second innings century will live long in the memory.  His style is simple and uncomplicated, and although that is often damnation with faint praise, it really shouldn’t be.  He plays straight, has few quirks, and of course that wonderful power.  English cricket probably does need a hero; given the concerns about cricket becoming a niche sport, it’s essential someone grabs the attention of the public.  If only more had the chance to see him.

Despite his second innings heroics, it was his first innings 92 that was perhaps the more important.  Coming in at 30-4 the game was more or less over right there had he gone cheaply.  Although New Zealand surpassed England’s total comfortably, Stokes, Buttler and Ali ensured England were in the game.  From where they were, that was more than could have been expected.

In keeping with being the golden boy, he of course had a say with the ball.  There is something about these kinds of players that they do this sort of thing.  He has shown that he has talent, and in this match he was perhaps the difference.  A word of warning though, Stokes is combative, fiery and awkward.  Recent history suggests England struggle to manage such free spirits, while there is every chance he will be castigated for throwing his wicket away when it goes wrong in similar circumstances.  If we want the glory of it coming off, we have to accept that the price of that is that sometimes he will fail, and it won’t look pretty.  It’s probably too much to hope that he will be granted latitude over that – no one else ever has been.  And that’s frustrating, because just letting him go is probably how England will get the most out of him.  Some players need that freedom, something that so many forgot when slating He Who Must Not Be Mentioned.

Moeen Ali is another who will look back on the match with pleasure.  4-129 on a surface that was friendlier to seam and (especially) swing was a decent return, and when added to over a hundred runs from the bat from number eight, his has fulfilled two roles in the side.  He has done little wrong in his career thus far.

Broad too bowled well overall.  It shouldn’t be forgotten that not for the first time he and Anderson bowled too short in the first innings, though they did correct it.  It remains absolutely mystifying that this happens so often, when they are so much more successful when they pitch it up.  Anderson himself had a relatively quiet Test, but ironically this is no bad thing.  England were looking far too reliant on him for this summer.  For others to do the legwork for once was overdue.

Mark Wood had a wonderful debut.  He bowled with pace, skill, clearly thinks about his bowling judging by how willing he was to use the crease to vary his point of attack, and perhaps above all looked like he was having the time of his life.  When he scored his first Test run he broke into a beaming smile, and on several occasions in the field he betrayed a mischievous sense of humour.  England for the last few years have appeared the most joyless, miserable, bad tempered team in world cricket.  The simple matter of a player plainly having the time of his life was utterly wonderful to see.   Don’t change him.

From a cricketing point of view, a single Test is hardly a sufficient sample size to form a judgement on him, but his presence did make the England attack look properly balanced for the first time since the 2010/11 Ashes.  The additional pace he brought was slightly reminiscent of seeing Simon Jones a decade ago.  Again, there’s no need to pile the pressure on him, but there’s enough there to suggest he might do well in future.

The other debutant Adam Lyth did less well of course.  It really should be written off as irrelevant.  It’s a single game, and he has played little in the last month.  England set him back by not selecting him in the Caribbean.  There’s little more to be said about him except to wish him luck at Headingley.

Ian Bell had a poor game all round.  He could do with a few runs soon, because England can’t keep losing early wickets and expect to get out of the hole.  He did get a couple of very fine deliveries, so for this game it’s a matter of shrugging the shoulders and saying it happens.  He could still do with getting some before too long.

For New Zealand they will be scratching their heads and wondering quite how they lost the game.  They had easily the best of the first three days, and showed that they are an excellent side.  For England to beat them there had to be some quite exceptional performances – they will be thinking that lightning is unlikely to strike twice.

Boult took nine wickets in the match, Williamson scored a fine century, Matt Henry had an excellent debut, BJ Watling showed why even if some of the commentators hadn’t paid attention, that he is a player worthy of considerable respect.

The worst thing anyone could do after this game would be to loudly trumpet that everything is now fine and dandy.  There is some promise in the players coming through in the England side, but England went one up in the Caribbean too and drew the series.  New Zealand are more than capable of turning it around, and England are more than capable of having a stinker.  Indeed, that they won by playing out of their skin on the last two days doesn’t alter the truth that for the first three they were outbatted, outbowled and outfielded.

None of this is intended to be churlish.  It was a thrilling fightback, one that reminded all those who needed the reminder that Test cricket is the apogee of the game.  And that does mean enjoying it thoroughly, so to that extent the praise that will be coming England’s way is fine.  It remains one match.  If they do it repeatedly, that is entirely different, and maybe it could be an England side to become engaged with.  It’s just a question of perspective.

England did well.  That’s good.  A good start.  Pity about the board of course, but for the team, yes a good start.



94 thoughts on “England v New Zealand, 1st Test: Review

  1. Zephirine May 25, 2015 / 7:00 pm

    Well said. Pretty much sums it up, for me. Except to say again that I was pleased and fascinated by the way the younger players seized the moment in this game. I like the tone they set, the attitude, and it seemed to rub off on Broad in particular..


  2. Cricketjon May 25, 2015 / 7:04 pm

    Cook will Flower late as captain was not lost on me


  3. SimonH May 25, 2015 / 7:40 pm

    Looking at the broad scheme of things, England are in a pack of teams in the middle of the rankings with NZ, India, Pakistan and SL. These teams tend to beat each other at home but lose away. SA remain out in front as the one team that can win consistently home and away with Australia a little behind because they struggle on slow, low pitches abroad.

    This win confirms England and NZ stay in that pack. England aren’t going to fall out of the bottom of it and NZ aren’t pulling out of it to close the gap with Australia. Winning at home maintains the status quo. How England go away will be the real measure of progress.

    England’s performance isn’t that different to SL in the first test last year – then SL just held out, today NZ just didn’t. We know what happened next. The win in Grenada was also followed by defeat in three days in Bridgetown. The next step is to see if England can put together good back-to-back performances. This win may be built on more solid foundations – more players contributed this time. It may not – the top four remain a concern, so is the spin bowling and the balance of the team still looks slightly wrong to me.


  4. Pontiac May 25, 2015 / 7:41 pm

    I think the main difference in this match was the spinners. I suspect NZ are reluctant to use Williamson as a part-time spinner much particularly in England because of previous problems with his action. Craig has had a bad match and I hope to see Wagner in the next one.

    The other big difference is that England plain had more time to overcome their top order collapse.

    Concerning inside and outside cricket triumphalism – don’t get angry, instead just take credit for being listened to! It isn’t as thought the ECB are ever going to admit it, but if the effect is good cricket that is exciting and a pleasure to watch, wonderful.

    One thing I didn’ t pick up on and which I hope was an improvement on what went on in the Carribean is on field behavior. NZ don’t play that way and if it has rubbed off, great. Sendoffs are a sign of mental weakness.

    Also in my opinion again – there has been some squinting at the relative breakdown of umpires call on catches and lbw. I figure it is called that for a reason and goodness knows if there is a trend in that respect NZ gets as much of that kind of break when they play at home as does anyone.


    • jomesy May 25, 2015 / 7:45 pm

      Agree main difference was spinners….but I’ll also throw in “umpire’s call”. NZ had no luck, ENG had most of the luck.

      Cracking game though…an absolute Cracker Jack.


  5. LordCanisLupus May 25, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    Top class TLG. Said all I would have wanted to say. In truth we should not over-react to this win, as we sort of over-reacted to the Barbados loss. But enjoy it if you are a fully fledged England fan, and yes, I enjoyed the manner in which they played. It just seemed more aggressive. I wonder how much this is down to Farbrace?

    One quick point. Really pleased Trent Boult got his name on the Honours Board. He’s a fine bowler and it may be a long time before he gets to play here in a Test again, especially with injuries to bowlers these days. Don’t think he was quite at his best, but still good to see.

    Cricket was a winner, enjoyed the match and even one who still feels firmly outside cricket cannot deny this as a positive step.

    Thanks Vian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • emasl May 25, 2015 / 9:27 pm

      Stokes said that Farbrace had told him to just go out and playbthe way he always does and be himself. Credit to him for that. Perhaps the penny is beginning to drop now that if players are allowed to express the selves it can only be a good thing. And I really dislike disliking Cook and I know he batted well etc but he makes it very hard for me to get behind the team completely.

      Liked by 4 people

      • simplyshirah May 26, 2015 / 1:37 pm

        You are not alone there Elaine. When he came on at the end I went back to the kitchen to finish off dinner. Cannot stand the man and I find I cannot be joyful about him getting a lot of runs. His captaincy was rubbish – even had Blowers going. Of course his batting prowess will inevitably cover a multitude of sins.


    • pktroll (@pktroll) May 26, 2015 / 11:20 am

      I enjoyed it as a cricket fan more than anything. As I said in my post yesterday I was just pleased to see several England players erm “express themselves” if I can use a Mooresism! Uncluttered minds going and playing their game. I think it applied as much to the bowlers apart from the overly done period of short stuff from Moores to Watling and Anderson in the second innings. A note of caution should be held though as England did concede 520 odd 1st innings.

      My way of staying outside cricket was not buying any food or drink inside the ground. Just lunch being sandwiches, fruit and water being brought from a shop beforehand that wasn’t anything to do with the sponsors!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. metatone May 25, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    Lyth definitely deserves another chance.
    Bayliss deserves some time to show his abilities.

    For me, the crucial find has been Wood.
    Jordan had not had enough threat on the days when the front two needed support.

    Credit to all the England team on a good win and plenty of character in wresting the initiative back a number of times.

    I’m not getting carried away because:

    1) On paper, ahead of time, there was concern that rushing back from the IPL wouldn’t be the best prep for NZ. I think that turned out to be true, they looked tired on Day 4 and 5 in particular.

    2) Rather than looking at this as a 124 run win, it’s more instructive to think about it as a win with 10 overs left to play. This, when the conditions are as favourable as they get for our bowlers. Late May with swing. I’m having flashbacks to when S. Africa last came to England. We thought our bowling was a strength and then…


  7. escort May 25, 2015 / 8:42 pm

    “England for the last few years have appeared the most joyless, miserable, bad tempered team in world cricket”. With that comment you have summed up for me much of what has been wrong with the team. A good game and a good result for England and this is probably one of the better pieces about this game that iv’e read. Good effort all round.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. dvyk May 25, 2015 / 8:45 pm

    Thanks — excellent and (for me) palatable write up. Well, as palatable as it could be. Would have preferred an NZ win, but so be it. (Just for the record, I would also be happy enough to see NZ beat Australia, should they ever be granted another test series.)


  9. BoerInAustria May 25, 2015 / 8:55 pm

    Great comments from all. Thank you for your insights and great writing. And in the words of my immortal fellow Austrian Conchita: “We Are Unstoppable” ….


  10. pktroll (@pktroll) May 25, 2015 / 9:11 pm

    I decided to go and pay the £20 there at Lord’s today. I don’t know what exactly it was but I started to feel on Saturday evening that England had a chance of at least making the match very interesting for the 5th day. Then I felt that Cook looked far better balanced at the crease (I realise I’m not the only one) and that I felt a lot more confident about the batting order from the moment that Stokes was put at 6 in the first innings. I know that it was pre-empting things but I was happy to be proven partly right and that a wonderful day for England yesterday meant I was happy to cross town.

    Before today I was somewhat concerned that England would bat on too long, but I was happy that Mo showed some intent and decided to have a go while Cook decide to continue playing around him. Cook did get a deserved ovation when he got out to a pretty decent nut, but I’m also happy to report that Mo got a fair applause because of his intent and selflessness for the team by getting a reasonable number of runs quickly. The hoi polloi in the crowd weren’t too upset to see England bowled out when they were because that meant we had more overs to go at the Kiwis.

    At that point, the ground authorities decided to open the Edrich Lower which meant I could vacate my spot in the Mound stand, which was a little shame in the fact I was wedged between two knowledgeable folk who were a joy to talk to.

    Anyway I wanted to get a spot behind the bowlers arm so I did so. The atmosphere amongst us plebs who could afford £20 was great and Anderson and Broad responded with a wonderful opening spell. I went mad when Broad wrapped Latham on the pads but I was far from the only one and at 0-2 it was a really great feeling inside the ground. This continued with the removal of Taylor, though Williamson and Watling stabilised for a while. It was after lunch when Stokes finally took his cue and took some belated wickets. He had certainly threatened both in the first innings and indeed in the West Indies when he could have had a fair few more than he has actually got. Anyway the crowd were only too happy to get behind him because I really believe that the ordinary cricket fan, who loves the game and hates the politics that surrounds it in England, sees Stokes as a bit of a shining light. You know, a guy with his fair share of talent and expression. I think the same of the likes of Buttler, Mo and Wood. It is nice to see positivity and it would take a big curmudgeon not to have enjoyed today as a simple cricket fan, even if the events of the last 18 months have tried so many of us.

    I was concerned in the afternoon session and into the evening when both Anderson and Watling were looking a little too comfortable even if some wild hacks from the former and I felt that there was a fair amount of reactive changes. I thought it was a reasonable idea to have a go at Watling with the short ball but Broad’s spell overdid it and there was a time when there were only two slips and that meant there was too long a period of not actually aiming enough at the off stick or even the odd yorker, that had been a feature of his earlier spell.

    Anyway Root and Wood finally did get the vital wickets and after that it was all smooth going and a fine game of cricket came to a fitting end.

    One or two folk elsewhere were going on about Cook’s bowling changes but I hope one or two of you have seen the Review and Coney being far more circumspect about the manner he managed his bowlers. That said credit where credit is due and that we should enjoy the overall game.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. MM May 25, 2015 / 10:34 pm

    Moeen @ 8 will do for me and great catch, sir. Like Wood a lot, too. Bell is a worry. Hope Headingley will equal Lords.

    Never saw 1-0 up. I must be truly outside their cricket.


  12. Burly May 25, 2015 / 11:23 pm

    Several things that stood out for me in this match:

    1) Cook looked solid and uncluttered again. You’ve already explained the technical aspect, but the mental one shouldn’t be overlooked. He was a guy who knew he could impose himself and had the time to do so. Not seen that from him for ages.

    2) We had two bowlers with good pace – Wood and Stokes. It’s important that we don’t just rely on one guy, and they’re different enough to create separate problems for the Kiwi batsmen. Both up for the fight, too.

    3) For a decent portion of the match we bowled the right length, and also didn’t overplay it. That opening spell that ripped the guts out of the Kiwi top order was all about the length.

    4) Both sides fed off each other’s attitude towards the game. Aggression was met with aggression. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many counter-attacks.

    5) Ultimately this was a bizarre Test. It felt like the ball was always doing plenty, yet hatfuls of runs were scored and countless 50s… but it was also a result wicket. So odd.

    6) NZ suffered in the final couple of days of the Test. Their bowling speeds were down, and they were hamstrung by having the short ball be an 80mph fodder option instead of a 90mph snorter. The injury to Watling further hurt them by having Latham put in a mammoth session with the gloves then have to open. It’s a shame there’s such a short turnaround for the next match.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone May 26, 2015 / 7:49 am

      On (6) that is where coming straight from T20 hurts I suspect. There’s an aspect of physical slog to a Test and for all that the WI tour had issues, it was better prep. I think they also weren’t prepared for the radical changes in character of the pitch over the game. They needed a Plan B for England’s 2nd innings.

      I’ll note in passing that England actually didn’t have a Plan B either – that’s part of how we got such a high run-scoring game despite it feeling like good bowling conditions. Still, maybe Bayliss can fix that before the Ashes.

      NZ’s problem (as a smaller country) is a lack of depth to the squad. So it’s hard to see how they refresh physically in time to win the 2nd Test. So, I’d guess 2-0 to the ECB.


  13. paulewart May 26, 2015 / 8:09 am

    ‘New Zealand born England all rounder Ben Stokes’ had an impressive game. Do DDB and his ilk consider Stokes an Englishman? Strauss is, apparently.

    Liked by 1 person

      • paule May 26, 2015 / 12:51 pm

        Sigh, only in New Zealand…..I noticed Stokes incipient bald spot too. Poor bugger.


    • simplyshirah May 26, 2015 / 1:41 pm

      Those foreign chappies are only welcome if they are from the right sort of family with the right sort of background. Just cannot bear to watch Strauss droning on as tho he actually knows what he is doing – when I am personally convinced he does not know a damn thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sherwick May 26, 2015 / 8:33 am

    Is doesn’t get any better than a win like this, at Lords, (with multiple comebacks, fantastic counter-attacking by some youngsters and a top 100 for the captain) for England – a team that I passionately supported through thick and thin for 4 decades until a couple of years ago.
    And yet, after this win, I feel nothing.
    Not sure if that makes me a traitor, a fair-weather supporter, a KP-lover, a Cook/Strauss/Giles Clarke/Whitaker-hater or what, but until I get answers to a lot of questions, emotionally, I cannot ever support England again.
    Doesn’t matter a jot if they play like this from now for the *next* 4 decades.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. lionel joseph May 26, 2015 / 8:36 am

    Another cracking piece Vian.

    It’s a shame that the possibility of Stokes being poorly managed comes to mind so easily and immediately.

    George Dobell says exactly the same:

    English cricket has a gem in Stokes. It will have performed horrifically if it manages to ruin him.

    and Michael Vaughan was clear in his article in December about the best way to manage him


    which, as Emasl says above, is exactly how Farbrace is supposed to have handled him during this test.

    There’s also a very good chance that he could be extremely hot property come the auction for IPL #9, which overlaps with the Sri Lanka series at home. It’ll be interesting to see if Strauss encourages Stokes to allow himself time to play there in an extremely packed schedule.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MM May 26, 2015 / 9:45 am

      Haven’t the ECB forgotten what sort of harmony threat Stokes is to inanimate metal dressing room containers? What do the admin think?

      Liked by 3 people

      • simplyshirah May 27, 2015 / 8:37 pm

        I’ve just said that to Simon Hughes on Twitter. What happens when Stokes loses his rag and his anger on and off the field cannot be managed. Will they do the same to him as they did KP. SH He’s a team man… Never answers the question.


    • paule May 26, 2015 / 12:53 pm

      Vic Marks and Rob Smyth have both made a similar point. The Pietersen debacle haunts a lot of journalists though very few will come out and say it directly.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. lionel joseph May 26, 2015 / 8:38 am

    and did anyone else notice how Cook avoided the hypocorisms during his post match interview with Sky, calling everyone by their first names instead. (He did slip one Stokesy in at the end, i suspect, by mistake)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Arron Wright May 26, 2015 / 8:57 am

    What was it Lizzy Ammon said about objectivity?

    Liked by 1 person

    • MM May 26, 2015 / 9:41 am

      In response to Mr Selvey’s tweetage to Sakesy and Mrs Sakesy:

      (leans over bowl)… HUUUURGGEHH… oh god… oh no…. BLUUUURGGEHH… uh… uh….oh god…. (spit)… (cough)… (spit)… oh no, oh god…. BLUUUUUUUUUUUURGGEHH… (spit)… oh god, no more, please… (panting)… (spit)… (burp)…


      (Flushes head down toilet)

      Liked by 1 person

  18. MM May 26, 2015 / 9:50 am

    Uh-oh, ED SMITH’s getting all 50 shades of cooky on cricinfo…

    With his immaculate concentration at Lord’s on Sunday, England’s captain revealed his mental toughness. Whatever the sphere, the latter flows from the former… etc.

    Gonna need that toilet again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather May 26, 2015 / 11:20 am

      They really need to get a room… MisterED can copy and spread ‘his’ wisdom whilst Our Leader umms and ahhs within his sheep pen… I’m sure ficjam can mount and spout at the same time…


  19. PepperSydney May 26, 2015 / 10:56 am

    *heartbroken*… well.. I really thought NZ would clump it in, and England would be made to appear as rabble.. oh well. Well played, England, Bad luck NZ… I should have known.. I have been and still am travelling along the Murray River, where it is supposed to have sunshine 360 days a year, and its been 2 days of fog and grey…

    I still reckon NZ can defeat England so I am calling the next test Eng 0 NZ 1


    • Zephirine May 26, 2015 / 11:34 am

      It was hopeful, pepp, really hopeful. At 30 for 4, England could have gone the way of the last Ashes and resorted to standing about hating each other, but Root and Stokes weren’t having it, they just took hold of the game and shook it up. Terrific attitude, heartening to see.

      NZ are better-looking though.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. paule May 26, 2015 / 1:09 pm

    Andrew Strauss, ECB Director, Cricket.

    “His expertise in the shorter forms of the game will be vital as we build towards three major ICC events over the next four years; the ICC World T20 tournament in India in 2016 and the ICC Champions Trophy and ICC Cricket World Cup which will be staged in England and Wales in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

    Mike Selvey, ECB, Pet, Cricket.

    Trevor Bayliss expertise in white-ball cricket a fine fit for England

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Arron Wright May 26, 2015 / 2:55 pm

    I think it was Dave Tickner who described this sort of remark as “smug horseshit”:

    Liked by 1 person

    • MM May 26, 2015 / 4:08 pm

      Yeah MM eat humble pie nah. Yeah MM never underestimate Cooky nah.

      Oh god…oh god….. here it comes again…..

      (leans over bowl)… HUUUURGGEHH… oh god… oh no…. BLUUUURGGEHH… uh… uh….oh god…. (spit)… (cough)… (spit)… oh no, oh god…. BLUUUUUUUUUUUURGGEHH… (spit)… oh god, no more, please… (panting)… (spit)… (burp)…


      (turn myself inside out).

      Yeah MM puke nah. And get over yerself Stevey.


    • paule May 27, 2015 / 10:54 am

      Let’s see if he has anything to say following an Ashes drubbing. No? Oh….


  22. Rohan May 26, 2015 / 5:37 pm

    So it’s Bayliss, a bit conspiratorial, but is that because Gillespie wanted to be able to pick ANY player and so did not fit the ECB mould. Just seems quite a turnaround, or maybe the MSM just got it completely wrong.

    For what it’s worth, I thought Bayliss would have been a good appointment last time round, but that one was a fait accompli….

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Marge May 26, 2015 / 6:09 pm

    I think the MSM were just a bit lazy and didn’t bother to check out the alternatives to Gillespie. He seemed very likely so they just made wrong assumptions. I understand Hoult got the ‘exclusive’ from Australia so if anyone had bothered to check with contacts in Australia (assuming they have them), they might well have heard some rumours that Bayliss was very much in the frame.


    • thelegglance May 26, 2015 / 7:04 pm

      Always worth noting that the same journalists who now try to say “told you so” about Cook are very often the ones who said Gillespie would get the gig.


      • Rohan May 26, 2015 / 9:54 pm

        And also predicted a ridiculously high number of wins, out of the 17 tests we are on the middle of. Predicted that Downton would be a fantastic appointment (cough). Predicted that Cook’s best form was just around the corner, for the past year or so. Predicted that Moores would do a good job second time around, as he had learnt from his mistakes first time around. Predicted that……..well you could add any number of inaccuracies really.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. pktroll (@pktroll) May 26, 2015 / 8:17 pm

    I have also had a bit of a riposte to the Cooktard I know on another forum. This person will point out that England have won more tests with him at the helm than McCullum has with NZ. It should be pointed out that NZ play nothing like as many tests as England and in the last 18 months or so have beaten India at home (snap), Windies away (England couldn’t equal that), beaten Sri Lanka at home (Eng lost of course), and most impressively in my book, drawn in the UAE against Pakistan. Unless/until England start doing better against all and sundry I won’t be getting too excited, but I do like a number of our younger players and see potential for them if properly managed.

    Re Bayliss, I’m sure I read that he talked about his interview last year (when Moores got the job) and felt less convinced after being told that he couldn’t pick Pietersen and that he thought that the ECB were simply doing due diligence in holding interviews, when all along they wanted to appoint Moores

    Liked by 2 people

    • MM May 26, 2015 / 9:38 pm

      “Cooktard”: love that. I guess the ECB collectively are all cooktards.

      Fair play though – he did bat very, very well and even his captaincy couldn’t deny Team Waitrose the win. Looking forward to the NZ response at Headers.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan May 26, 2015 / 9:46 pm

      Yes I am sure I read something similar about Bayliss. I am sure there was something about him wanting to have control/a say in who was picked and not to be told some players/player was not up for selection. If this is correct, has Bayliss made concessions on his views this time around? Or have his views changed? Or was it just another inaccurate report from the MSM?

      Whatever it was, I sincerely hope he can bring on the young talent. I also think the ‘reign of Cook’ is coming to an end just as the ‘reign of men’ did in the Lord of the Rings. Let us hope that Bayliss oversees the transition successfully and without damaging/tarnishing Root, if he takes on the role.

      Lastly, I agree with quite a few posters above. Great to see the youngsters play well for England, and in such an exciting manner, but still struggling to support team Cook/ECB overall.


      • Zephirine May 26, 2015 / 10:47 pm

        ‘reign of Cook’ is coming to an end just as the ‘reign of men’ did in the Lord of the Rings. Might we see a team of hobbits taking over? There is something of Peregrin Took about Root.. Taller, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Topshelf May 26, 2015 / 11:29 pm

    I didn’t go to Lord’s on Monday, having decided I wouldn’t this summer. A small protest, and I don’t suppose the ECB will miss my £20.

    But the fact is I couldn’t have gone anyway, as I spent the whole day with my son and 80 other U9’s at a cricket tournament, having spent Saturday and Sunday at his/my matches as well. When I told him after his victory in a nail-biting final (after winning a bowl-off in the semi – who needs professional cricket for heart-stopping excitement?) that England had also won, he replied “Well then today’s the best day ever.”

    Which is how I should probably have felt too. But, despite still being able to admire Cook the batsman – I even have a real soft spot for his flat-footed cover drive, the anti-Gower, all substance over style – I just can’t feel it at the moment.

    I loved watching Stokes, it was great to see Mark Wood and Joe Root actually looking like England players having fun for once, and the whole match was the very best that proper cricket has to offer.

    But as someone who spends pretty much all his free time (and money) either schlepping around kids’ matches, or chasing past glories myself, or watching and reading about cricket, lovely cricket, I really resent the outside cricket stuff, I really do. I resent the Straussy and Cooky show, the leaks and the mouthpieces, and I resent the idea that my opinion, and that of thousands of others, doesn’t matter because it doesn’t chime with the “informed” views of a charmless corporate board and the self-interest of some less than independent journos. The fact I may very occasionally voice those opinions by shouting into the void of social media makes me even worse I suppose.

    I, and so many others like me, are the ones the ECB should be courting, not alienating. If I could love England in the 90’s, I should be able to love England now, especially after a win like that. I’m still pleased they won, I’ll still watch, I’m even excited about much of what I’ve seen, but it’s going to be a while before I can feel the love again.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Grenville May 27, 2015 / 10:30 am

      This made me very sad. Maybe Simon Hughes should read it.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Sherwick May 27, 2015 / 10:52 am

        Trust me. Simon Hughes couldn’t give a toss.

        Liked by 2 people

  26. Arron Wright May 27, 2015 / 7:01 am


    “Just get so pissed off with this continuous inference that ECB leaks stuff. It doesn’t. It is actually almost totally anal in that regard.”



    “The ECB does not leak information. It is notoriously anal in that regard. But like any organisation, sporting or otherwise, it will answer legitimate questions as best it can given the circumstance. That is how journalism works at all levels.”


    Few believed this line in 2012, but here he is still pushing it regardless. Three years later one might be forgiven for concluding that he believes a significant proportion of readers are just terminally naive or plain stupid.

    We need a transcript of David Hopps’s definition of ECB leaks, from the recent Switch Hit podcast, to juxtapose with Selvey’s clapped out speak your weight machine.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thelegglance May 27, 2015 / 10:57 am

      Has Selvey offered up even the slightest criticism of the ECB’s conduct over the last two years? Anything at all?


      • Arron Wright May 27, 2015 / 11:05 am

        When the ECB threatened to report his colleague Donald McRae to the PCC for his interview with Michael Carberry after the 2013/14 Ashes (the one in which Carberry complained about double standards with regard to family members). And that is – quite literally – it, to the best of my knowledge.

        Meanwhile, I see that LCL has been tweeting about a loss of perspective. Well then, this is gonna knock your socks off*:

        *weekly West Wing reference (Bartlet)


      • thelegglance May 27, 2015 / 11:11 am

        Ah yes, that was a good one. Trying to report a journalist to the PCC for ummm interviewing a player. Good work.

        I’m hardly a religious reader of Selvey and never was. But it did occur to me that I couldn’t remember him offering up any criticism at all. That is remarkable, and it’s not journalism. Can you imagine a journalist not offering up any criticism of the government? Even the Telegraph can be highly critical of the Tories, and even the Guardian can be highly critical of Labour (this is NOT a political point!) – it’s just entirely normal, even if you are a supporter of an organisation, to point out when they have it wrong.

        To have upheld all the ECB’s actions over the last two years without demur is nothing but cheerleading. You don’t have to be a “KP acolyte” to say that.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Arron Wright May 27, 2015 / 11:43 am

        You are of course preaching to the converted here – perhaps even the most zealous of the converted. I just find it utterly exasperating, because I had not the slightest quarrel until 2012, and I suspect most “refugees” could say the same. But now it’s pretty easy to build a case for the prosecution from articles, BTL interaction and (especially) tweets that completely nails his position and gives you very strong evidence as to the connections and loyalties that inform that position. Yet still some people, in 2012 and now, will mount a case for the defence based solely on his experience and knowing “a lot more about cricket than you’ll ever know”. What’s even more incredible is that someone who has been a journalist for 30-odd years justifies his own views in more or less exactly the same way, putting a premium on being “well-informed” (by one side) or “well connected” (to one side) per se, rather than weighing up evidence from those with other points of view (and other, equally valid, connections). I’ve honestly never seen anything so blatant and consistent in sports writing, and sometimes I think you’d get more balance and analytical clout from a local free sheet covering the publisher’s son’s under-11s.


      • thelegglance May 27, 2015 / 11:56 am

        Well put.

        I still find it a curiosity that some try and more generally defend the line about someone knowing more about cricket just on the basis of their playing careers. There are some remarkably stupid cricketers out there who wouldn’t know who Bradman was – being talented with bat or ball doesn’t in itself provide an insight. Besides which, trying that line simply means that on the same basis Herschelle Gibbs knows 30 times as much about cricket as Mike Selvey, which seems somewhat unlikely.

        I know for certain that there are some on here who have first hand knowledge of people involved over the last couple of years, but I’ve not seen anyone try the Selvey approach to justify it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine May 27, 2015 / 12:42 pm

        Somewhere along the line, reporting on the England team got mixed up with supporting the England team. And he’s not the only one, as we well know.

        It seems to be something the ECB has pushed since the Ashes – criticise us and you’re being disloyal, this kind of talk doesn’t help the lads in the team, you know. Look at Strauss pouncing on Agnew for being ‘negative’.

        Not to mention ‘something must be done’ and ‘don’t put unfair pressure on Alastair.’

        Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance May 27, 2015 / 12:45 pm

        As so often, the late great Terry Pratchett got it pithily right:

        ‘In return, however,’ said the Patrician, ‘I must ask you not to upset Commander Vimes.’ He gave a little cough. ‘More than necessary.’

        ‘I’m sure we can pull together, sir.’

        ‘Oh, I do hope not, I really do hope not. Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.’ He smiled. ‘It’s the only way to make progress.


      • paulewart May 27, 2015 / 7:56 pm

        Geoffrey was very clear about the ECB and journalists not so very long ago. Lack of credibility.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. thelegglance May 27, 2015 / 11:13 am

    As an aside, I’ve been in contact with the ECB about their grassroots funding and development. Might take a while to go through all the information they’re going to send me, but I’ll put up what will doubtless be an incredibly lengthy post at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. thelegglance May 27, 2015 / 12:05 pm

    According to Geoff Lawson, Bayliss initially said no to the job – both last year and again last week.


  29. Sherwick May 27, 2015 / 12:07 pm

    Bayliss dragged kicking and screaming into the ECB then?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance May 27, 2015 / 12:09 pm

      May have just been a negotiating tactic if true. If you’re happy where you are, you don’t accept the first offer.


      • metatone May 27, 2015 / 12:35 pm

        I think he definitely held out for enough money to make even a year worth the effort.
        And fair play to him on that in my mind. You cannot trust any ECB promises about how long you’ll be given to make things work.

        As for players – he definitely rebelled against not being able to pick KP the first time around.
        Maybe he settled for it this time because of the money, but I wonder if he extracted any promises about the issue in general – or are we going to see a bust up when Stokes gets tempted by a mega-IPL offer or something similar?


      • thelegglance May 27, 2015 / 12:40 pm

        He might think it’s time to move on, and not want him in the team. And of course that’s been the point for ages – if a coach thought that for cricketing reasons, no problem. Might disagree, but that doesn’t matter. Or he might be keeping his counsel and seeing how the summer unfolds. Or he might have accepted the restriction, who knows?


  30. SteveT May 27, 2015 / 2:55 pm

    Anyone noticed how several of the pundits are now saying Cook’s poor form of the last couple of years was due to involvement in ODI’s yet none has questioned the wisdom of him being in the team and the pig-headed insistence of him still captaining it when the game was passing England by. Only the ECB could screw up two forms of the game with one single act of idiocy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pontiac May 28, 2015 / 3:21 am

      This is where I figure the policy of /taking credit/ for the policy change or improvement in results is a good reply to those who show up hoping to count coup after England succeeds via good cricket. It brings the discussion more into an examination of the facts of the matter than ‘no true supporter’ and so on.

      What has distinguished this blog and TFT from media articles and so on is a sense of consistency and history and fact and evidence and a willingness to carefully acknowledge heartfelt and genuine emotional feelings as what they are and also to remain consistent to objective fact. I find that there are those who conflate their feelings with fact on both sides of the issue but I also believe that the published journalists and those that support the ECB’s decision in blog comments are more likely to do so.

      Careful analyses are always welcome. One’s agreement with Dobell may vary but he seems to be an honest man. KP’s apparently going to play another first class match soon, that’s another fact. And so it goes.

      [Cricket’s uniqueness is in being long term. Which of inside and outside’s arguments and justifications are considering longer term considerations?]

      It’s a matter of intellectual honesty; I would like to believe that this honesty is a discipline that holds up over the long term, and I think it has – falling into a trap where one lets one’s position be framed by one’s opponents, or more accurately by those opponents who are looking at the situation through a partisan pinhole, is tantamount to playing a short term game, which from my way-outside perspective, cricket isn’t. To comprehend this discussion properly I think involves a context spanning many years.

      Mine only really starts in 2010 or so, which I feel to be entirely inadequate. So it’s disconcerting to see folks commenting (more on TFT than here) from a perspective that seems to only involve the last week. [or, naughtily, perhaps only starting with the election results, but here I’m really asking for it…]

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine May 28, 2015 / 10:55 am

        Very good comment, Pontiac. Part of the annoyance with some of the journalists is that one does expect them to take the longer view, and yet they knee-jerk away like Irish dancers.


  31. thelegglance May 27, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    Can I just say that I am truly appalled that I am the only one left in the bar.

    Just saying.


  32. Boz May 28, 2015 / 4:08 am

    What chance the Americans having a look at the ECB, the BCCI, CA and the ICC then?


    • Pontiac May 28, 2015 / 4:20 am

      USians don’t understand cricket.

      Oh, corruption wise? Merely the name ‘Gladstone Dainty’ just by juxaposition of letters conveys the whole matter to ‘News of the Weird’ and of no interest to prosecutors looking to make a name for themselves. The whole soccer thing is because that one fellow, Mr. 10%, was in charge of NASL (US second league) and didn’t pay income taxes on that CONCAF 10% (he wasn’t an investment banker, see…). So they got to him and he rolled up those other guys.

      Thus: miniscule.


      • "IronBalls" McGinty May 28, 2015 / 10:12 am

        I heard John Wittingdale speaking in Parliament this morning on this FIFA thing. He stated that ALL sports governing bodies MUST have the highest standards of governance, honesty, and transparency.
        I latched onto this because this is what English cricket lovers have been calling for since the last Ashes and the shameful events following.
        Now, I’m not suggesting that the FBI will be dragging Giles Clarke out of his bed any day now (one can always dream!) but, in principle, the ECB runs along the same lines as FIFA, in that it will listen to nobody, and is only interested in the money, and I would bet my house that there’s been some “wheel greasing” along the way.
        The ECB made itself the laughing stock of World cricket with it’s machiavellan ineptitude, and eventually even saw itself as a “toxic” brand to the extent it was to change it’s name to EWC (whatever happened to that by the way?)
        My own, well founded, belief in life is that if you worship the MoneyGod he will exact a price for his benevolence, and thats what’s happening to FIFA. I hope there is some arse twitching at Lords as to how they carry on in future, because if they dont, some bugger will find them out! (I hope!)

        Liked by 1 person

  33. SimonH May 28, 2015 / 10:57 am

    Trivia question:

    Trent Boult took 9wm at Lord’s – who was the last England seamer to take 9wm (or better) in an away Test?

    Answer should be on here:


    Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan May 28, 2015 / 5:16 pm

      Great post. What amazes me about that list is how many times Swann is on it. I had not realised he took 7 or more wickets in a match so many times, it’s quite incredible. I, and many others, really did take it for granted how good he was and how important to the Flower and Strauss era and to England. He may be on of our least favourites on TMS, but what a cracking test bowler and career…..


      • Jamie May 28, 2015 / 5:52 pm

        And all in quite a relatively short time too.

        I think Swann’s brilliance is the reason Ali is (sometimes) judged more harshly than he should be.


    • man in a barrel May 28, 2015 / 8:29 pm

      It makes me wonder when RGDWillis calls Anderson a ” magician”. He played against Cartwright and Co. Snow took wickets in the West Indies and Australia when he was allowed : something that is beyond Anderson


  34. thebogfather May 28, 2015 / 11:25 am

    Dear All ‘Outside’ …it appears that both here (LCL and Leggy) and TFT x2 were out lagering it up last night… due to their lack of posts we must assume that a new inside of the outside cabal has been put in place.
    Thus I beg, all of us non-lager outsiders invite the FBI (or more appropriately CAMRA) to investigate and ‘out’ these lager louts as being ‘p!ss water poor’ representatives… All hail real Ales! 😉


    • Sherwick May 28, 2015 / 1:54 pm



      • thebogfather May 28, 2015 / 2:12 pm

        If only they knew, an ‘Old Thumper’ brew
        Or even a ‘Summer Lightning’ deliciously true
        Then a dark Porter would add malted exalted flavour
        Rather than lager ‘bubbles’ unsavoured
        Sometimes those in the know have ne’er a clue! 😉

        Mirth with thirst
        First seeing the dearth
        Of real taste, what a waste!
        Tis be Londinium ‘minions’
        Our Lord, his Leggy-less and TFT opinions
        Which were shared and discussed
        Over lager felt ‘trust’
        Yet we still wait to hear
        What went on, over some ‘beers’! 🙂


    • Zephirine May 28, 2015 / 2:01 pm

      I expect they’re all busy reading about Trevor Bayliss and thinking yet again that they can cope with the despair, it’s the hope….

      Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance May 28, 2015 / 2:33 pm

      Actually, one of our number (and it wasn’t me) started off on the stout, so you should apologise profusely to him.

      I go for lager because my body is a temple and bitter might affect the 0% body fat I currently enjoy.


      • thebogfather May 28, 2015 / 3:38 pm

        Stout of heart no apologies needed there
        Full of iron and environs to enliven health bare
        Liquid bubbles and chemical trouble should you be scared
        Your temple, eventual, will rot, body fat unaware…

        Ahh…nevermind there shall be
        A Test tomorrow at Headingley 🙂


      • thebogfather May 28, 2015 / 3:45 pm

        Ever at your wordy deliciousness, you inspire my furtive cheekiness, a bit to bite, ne’er illicit, just delights…


      • thebogfather May 29, 2015 / 6:40 am

        May I be
        further cheeky
        and just ask
        when we’ll see your task
        of the ‘top-ten’ MSM writes
        that you’ll have deliciously smite?


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