First of all, some house notices.

The Ashes Panel #006 is in the books, and I’ve just now sent the questions for the seventh panel to lucky recipients. You get a doozy of a Question 5. Do well with it.

On The Extra Bits, I concocted a little post on books. I’d be happy to hear what you think are good and bad ones, and perhaps make some recommendations for others. The Extra Bits is meant to be a bit gentler than here, so no wars, eh!

It’s been a great week on here, and I was pleased we got a decent response to the Ashes ODI thread yesterday. There will be one for tomorrow’s game as well.

Now, to the meat of this post, and it’s going to be a bit of a ramble, so do keep with me.

Item 1 – A Legendary Tweet.

Now my flabber was gasted. I mean, this is really just utterly superb. A puff piece? Selfey accuses someone of writing a puff piece?

This is like shooting fish in a barrel, even before we look at the hilarious mis-spelling of Paul Hayward’s name. I’m a bloke who often falls foul of the old auto-correct, so perhaps jumping on that was a tad harsh. Maybe I jumped on it because it included the words “puff piece” and “star” columnist.

I mean, puff piece..

In the process Cook, a genuinely good man and one of the greatest of all England Test batsmen, was subjected to a disproportionate amount of abuse, some of it carefully orchestrated and relentless, of a kind that, in my experience anyway, has never before been directed at any England cricketer.

Genuine puffery.

Against Sri Lanka the margin between winning and losing the series was as slender as could be: six inches more carry on the final delivery at Lord’s; and survival of two more deliveries at Headingley

A classic of its genre.

Without question, though, the other members have been sufficiently convinced that whatever else they may feel, the fact that India is “inside the tent pissing out”, as some like to term it, rather than the reverse, is actually something of a political coup.

Ah yes, the ICC stitch-up. Nothing to see here.

Then there was this non-puff piece….

And this one…

Not enough puff for your pastry….

As a collective, the team had forgotten how to forge partnerships. There was a complete systematic breakdown of the batting unit. It may say more about them than Gooch, but it is said that many of the players – and shame on them for it, if true – simply stopped listening to the record. Maybe it was a generational thing: Gooch is 60.

Augmented by this tremendous Tweet:

Maybe it’s a puff piece when others do it, eh?

Then there’s Moores…

Read the post this comes from again. God, I was a much better blogger then –

The fact is, that I’ve not even mentioned the Tweets about Saker, absolving him of all blame, and the countless times he’s backed Cook when he was under pressure for his place, no doubt believing he is vindicated. Calling for KP’s return, or considering it, is every bit as much puffery as the crap he wrote about Downton, or Flower, or Gooch. I laughed hugely at this nonsense.

BTW – want an old gold post, which I used in this research, then read this again.

Which leads me on to Part Two

kp FO

I’ve not spoken a lot about Pietersen recently, but the tide of fury is rising. In the past two or so months, since Strauss came out with that pile of drivel about trust and what-not, I’ve seen a decided change in approach. The mere mention of Pietersen’s name is to bring in some sort of collective shock, or even worse, collective contempt. Mention him to one of the media behemoths so staunchly stood behind the aristocracy of the game, and it’s no better than “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”. Muppet did it the other day, the contemptuous prick that he is, as if our wishes and concerns are of no relevance to him.

Remember the arguments made by media folk, and those anti-KP’ers at the time…. “There’s no vacancy….who would you drop……this team needs to grow and develop”. As with most of the pathetic arguments about KP, that one has been shot out of the water. By dropping Ballance after a rickety start to the summer, and promoting Bell up to three, they created a vacancy, as many thought might happen. Now, as much as Bairstow deserves a place in the team, should KP not be eligible for consideration? Note, those of you who think this is all black and white and are quick to throw their nonsensical bollocks at me, I’m not saying KP should be an automatic choice, but 8181 test runs seems rather persuasive when looking for evidence. But you can’t just shut down the debate because you don’t like to hear it. Strauss cut off one of our options on “trust”. This may be that Cook doesn’t want him back, but neither Strauss nor Cook have the guts to tell us that, instead we heard it via Dean Wilson in the Mirror.

Pietersen, in the eyes of his critics can do no right. He has finished his T20 spell in St Lucia and this coincided with a test loss. I suppose that is his fault. He has an ego – news to you, pretty much all top level sportsmen do – and probably thinks he should be playing. Many of us share that contention. This argument isn’t going to die with any zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz tweets, or people telling the likes of me and Maxie to stop it, we’ve got no chance of him coming back. It, as always, spectacularly misses the point. It’s personal politics, and it’s potentially harming England. I think it was, and probably still is, especially driven by Giles Clarke (and potentially Cook and Flower, although who knows how influential he is now). And yes, KP’s book is not irrelevant, but these are grown adults and they should sort it out. It’s not too late.

What I won’t let go is a tweet like this. I won’t give the name, but I’ll copy what he tweeted to me a couple of days ago.

it was only a matter of time before the worst thing for English cricket was heralded as a saviour again

The worst thing for English cricket. That’s just unutterable bollocks and despite frequent points that you may question many things, but you can’t question what he gave to England by way of entertainment and match-winning innings (hey, the worst thing for English cricket saved us an Ashes series. What did the second worst thing do?). I don’t get it. I call Graham Gooch “the devil” but christ on a bike, I don’t demean his batting, his great innings, his determination because I don’t like him. Bloody hell. This was a man WHO TURNED HIS BACK ON ENGLAND FOR MONEY and he gets revered above by Selfey, while KP TURNED HIS BACK ON MONEY FOR ENGLAND and gets slagged off! Hell.

I also know of no-one who thinks KP is a saviour, which also appeared in that tweet. Another sweeping generalisation of the position perpetrated by numpties. My line is this – is he in our Best XI? Simple as. I’m sure Bell’s sour demeanour at present and stupefying lack of form is absolutely intrinsically vital for this team’s performance while someone who might just go out and give it a whack would be a dressing room cancer the likes of which we’ll never recover from.

I said it almost a year ago when that post went viral….

But on Day 5, this looked in jeopardy. One man held the line. While all the other top batsmen got out, one man rode an early piece of luck to then just take Australia to the cleaners. Aided and abetted by a spin bowler people derided, that one man kept the dream alive and then made us believe it was all over. Without that one man, Australia would have been chasing 200 or less to win the Ashes in 50-60 overs. You want to know what would have happened without that one man’s innings, you saw exactly what in Adelaide 18 months later.

So, all you “haters” out there, remember that. Remember it when you boo him. Remember it when you spit out YOUR bile (for that’s something I’ve been accused of) on the various sites. Remember it when you demean a great career. Remember it when you slag him off relentlessly as some sort of traitor despite the fact he was sacked, has been abused by the cricket authorities more than any other player I can remember, treated with disdain and contempt by a media in their back-pockets because maybe, just maybe, he didn’t like them. He is a bit arrogant? So what? He scored masses or runs, loads of hundreds, played injured (and was then slagged off if he took time off to cure or rest them). never gave less than his all (remember Headingley 2012, before textgate, when he opened the batting for the team in the second innings?) and yet still there’s this hatred. For what?

I get it. People don’t like him. People despise him. I happen to enjoy his batting and to me that matters. Until someone comes up with more than a half-arsed dossier, leaked like so much to do with KP was, and tells me how it was, then I will believe there’s a stitch up and that the main sufferers are those that want the best players playing for England. I understand the other view – about building a new team, under new players with a solid figure as coach – but I disagree with it. The bile, if you want to call it that, comes from the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, and the demeaning of his record and his contribution. The almost Orwellian erasing of his history, the Lynton Crosby-eque “dead cat” mention of his name among media types. The sheer fact that a score of 355 is dismissed casually by many.

By the man in Mumbai, the conductor at Colombo, the harrier at Headingley and the bringer of brilliance in Bridgetown in the World T20. Yeah. He’s been the worst all right.

(Before people say the individual meant going forward, he had plenty of opportunities to clarify that, but he never did.)

The worst thing for English cricket? Really?

After all, you can only get better from a 400 run smashing, can’t you?

97 thoughts on “Paraxylene

  1. Tony Bennett Jul 22, 2015 / 9:14 pm

    “I’m sure Bell’s sour demeanour at present and stupefying lack of form is absolutely intrinsically vital for this team’s performance while someone who might just go out and give it a whack would be a dressing room cancer the likes of which we’ll never recover from.” This is blogging of the highest order, Dmitri. Please keep doing it.

    I see Shaun Udal, former county skipper of KP, says his exclusion is unfair and ridiculous. It is, and that is why we will not accept it.


  2. dvyk Jul 22, 2015 / 9:35 pm

    [From one of the linked blogposts from May 2014]
    “…his really churlish tweet after England won an ODI in the West Indies and inferred the anti-KP sacking brigade would keep quiet as a result…”

    My goodness, that kind of behaviour has been going on a long time, hasn’t it. They keep thinking it’s over now; and they keeping insisting each time that they’ve won the argument.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jul 22, 2015 / 9:44 pm

      My views evolved with a few of them – Hoult, Booth and Aggers – but hell, they stand the test of time don’t they?


      • dvyk Jul 22, 2015 / 10:43 pm

        As they say, form comes and goes but class is permanent!


  3. Nick Atkinson Jul 22, 2015 / 9:36 pm

    83 per cent of readers want kp considered again on telegraph website

    Liked by 1 person

  4. paulewart Jul 22, 2015 / 9:52 pm

    Quite. I had this exchange with someone btl at The Guardian a couple of days ago:

    Gower was fine no3 and would have played many more games there had it not been for the craven sanctions buster Gooch. Trott was the only player to have nailed down the position post-Gower, which only serves to highlight Gooch’s folly. Bell actively sought the no3 spot but was ignored/rejected by Flower. There’s a pattern here: craven, humourless individuals reject flamboyant,ambitious and successful players.

    Response: Gooch was in the first rank of players of fast bowling.Flower propped up a bad team and made some significant political gestures at the risk of his livelihood and, given what was happening in Zimbabwe at the time, potentially his life.

    To call either ‘craven’ says rather more about you than it does about them.

    My response; I think this post says rather more about you. Gooch deserted England in his prime and played for the rand. Gower, in the meantime, captained England through tough times as leading players felt that taking money from the government that enforced apartheid was a good thing. There’s the rub: scoring runs is good but lending credibility to an apartheid regime and abandoning your country? That’s far worse. If you think otherwise you should ask yourself some very serious questions.

    You’ll find no criticism of Flower’s role in Zimbabwe from me, you will find a criticism of his role in the Pietersen affair and his treatment of players generally post 2011.

    They just don’t get what Gooch et al did, do they? Gooch was in the prime of his career when he deserted England. He and the other tourists should have never played for England again. Nothing KP is even alleged to have done compares to the ‘rebel tourists’. That they and their supporters feel that they can criticise Pietersen is beyond belief. They are a contemptible bunch.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tony Bennett Jul 22, 2015 / 10:09 pm

    Well said. It’s difficult to express adequately the horror I felt at the time the “rebel” SA tour was announced, and the resentment I felt towards the participants – and then the later Gatting tourists. Players willing to to weaken the England side (though most of the latter group were unlikely to be picked) to grab their apartheid cash. I think I remember one, maybe Gatting, actually saying something along the lines of “I’m a cricketer. I don’t know anything about politics.” Then it’s about time you did, mate, would have been the response.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tony Bennett Jul 22, 2015 / 10:13 pm

      Gatting became President of the MCC, FFS.


  6. Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 10:16 pm

    Oh lord, “The Pragmatist Calls Time”. I don’t think my eyes or blood pressure could take that one again. Then shove it next to the “him or me… but not an ultimatum” articles from the previous month and watch my head blow off.


  7. SimonH Jul 22, 2015 / 10:18 pm

    “We had a couple of bad starts but every batter has got some sort of score whereas them guys have only Chris Rogers, Steve Smith and David Warner. Not all of them have got runs. I know he [Johnson] bowled really well in one innings out of four. But at Cardiff we took it to him and he went for a lot of runs and did not take many wickets. We are not worried at all.”

    Keep using Moeen Ali as a human shield and eventually he’s going to say something daft. “Every batter has got some sort of score” presumably includes Lyth’s 37 and Buttler’s 27 as some sorts of score but not the 30s made by Clarke and Voges. As for MJ’s “one innings out of four” of bowling “really well” the first innings at Lord’s must not qualify. Of course Moeen’s not going to say “we’re deeply scarred and I’m losing sleep over it” but is “we are not worried at all” the best formula the ECB press geniuses could come up with?

    Chris ‘Laughing’ Stocks strikes again.


    • Tony Bennett Jul 22, 2015 / 10:22 pm

      “Only” Chris Rogers, Steve Smith and David Warner. “Only” 618 runs between them at Lord’s. Total runs scored by England, er, 415.


      • SimonH Jul 22, 2015 / 10:27 pm

        Newman does the write up in the DM. You can guess if it’s any better.

        The Mail also has some quotes from Adam Lyth’s Facebook page. One is about the dropping of Ballance, “this shows nobody is safe in the team, Gary is averaging almost 50 and he now finds himself out of the side”.

        Errr, I wouldn’t quite say “nobody”…..

        Liked by 3 people

        • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2015 / 8:18 am

          On that piece I wonder if as a non-Muslim I went to a cricket match and constantly abused a Muslim cricketer whether I’d be labelled “misguided”? I still think moeen’s treatment there last year was shameful.


          • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2015 / 8:24 am

            It was an odd choice of word. In fact the piece didn’t need it.


      • Steve Jul 22, 2015 / 11:34 pm

        But seriously its not even remotely true.

        Ali has is the 4th highest runs scored for England, and is higher than Australia’s 4th but Australia’s 4th (Johnson) didn’t bat in one innings.

        England’s 5th Balance, slightly more than Clarke who also was not out at the 2nd declaration at Lords. Butler noses ahead of Voges, who again played one less innings.

        And no Australian batsman who’s played 2 tests has scored less than Lyth who’s only a nose ahead of the likes of Neville who scored his runs from a single innings and Watson who did it from 2.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Steve Jul 22, 2015 / 11:02 pm

      ” them guys have only Chris Rogers, Steve Smith and David Warner.”

      Ha. Lords must of been England’s new strategy. Let Australia get 400 runs for only two wickets down encouraging the middle order to hit to set up a big score so we can get them cheaply.


    • dvyk Jul 22, 2015 / 11:17 pm

      Oh for heavens sake. That’s taking the piss– I mean the positives… Yep, 360/1, well at least only no one past number 3 got any runs….

      I know, even I said Australia have serious problems with their batting, and they still kind of do, but… just…. no.


  8. Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 10:21 pm

    Interesting little (on topic) thread here.

    Try having some views of your own, Wisden writing award winner.


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 22, 2015 / 10:25 pm

      We could have some sort of KP bingo – hello. Here’s the “he slagged off James Taylor in front of all his team-mates” stuff.


      • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 10:39 pm

        “Traitor who should never have played again after the texts” is one of my favourites. I tend to think it should be the exclusive preserve of the young or historically ignorant, because of the whacking great pachyderm that is the apartheid South Africa precedent. But it clearly isn’t, and that makes me quite angry and deeply sad. Also, many of those espousing this view seem to think that, because Cook was the highest scorer and made three centuries in India, we’d (sorry, “he’d”) have won the series without Pietersen anyway. Which is so pitiful it’s almost funny.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. MM Jul 22, 2015 / 10:28 pm

    I’d like to think that Strauss[y] comma Cook[y] and whoever else at the ECB might be big enough to accept ANYONE back into the fold if it makes an Ashes challenge more viable. Would be nice to see Bell[y] score some runs but I fear he’s being thrown under the Aussie bus.

    If the ECB had any genuinely dirty stuff on KP he wouldn’t be angling for a return, would he? He’d be keeping very quiet. The book’s sooo outta here. Nothing more to disclose. What can they lose by bringing him back?

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jul 22, 2015 / 10:31 pm

      What can they lose?

      Pride, dignity, confidence, face, reputation, right to rule, not to think they are never wrong.

      The ECB have plenty to lose. The pro-KP side will never forgive them for him being ostracised when he could have come back all along, and the anti-Kp side will never forgive them for backing down to the rule of the mob.

      Their problem. No solution now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • MM Jul 22, 2015 / 10:49 pm

        I guess I was limiting my concept of loss to the Ashes, alone. Put like that, yeah, they lose loads. But don’t they look better for offering the olive branch?

        Y’know, tonight I went to Edgbaston with my son. Really wanted to see Brendon Mac play, and we had a great time, all things considered. We went into the shop afterwards to kill some time, waiting for the cars to clear the locale. Lots of funny t-shirts, lots of Warwickshire kit. But – and this is my point – my heart sank when I saw the England stuff, and the promotional stuff with Broad, Anderson and Cook plastered everywhere. I would’ve been more inclined to buy a Warwickshire top… and I’m from Worcestershire.

        If the ECB and Team Waitrose want to give us a chance again the Aussies they must pick the best XI. They just can’t blow this series off and build for another future that’ll never come.


      • Timmy Jul 22, 2015 / 10:49 pm

        The best thing that can happen to English Cricket is if England keep loosing.

        If England don’t win a test till next year that would be the perfect situation.

        It’s only through adversity can they learn some humility.


      • paulewart Jul 23, 2015 / 6:06 am

        In short, we find ourselves in an absurd position: winning games of cricket is not a priority for our national cricket board. Remember what the Aussies did in a similar situation?

        In England, sadly, the type of chap you is still more important than winning and losing. An honourable stance, in many ways, were it not tied up with class and the old boy network. It’s exactly this failure to embrace talent and egalitarianism that Orwell and Priestley were lamenting in the 1930s.


      • amit Jul 23, 2015 / 10:25 am

        I wouldn’t think ECB would lose dignity. They have none to begin with. Their reputation – well that might actually have been enhanced, as being considered magnanimous wouldn’t have hurt with PR. Acting like responsible custodians of the game might have enhanced their estranged relationship with the fans.
        But, then that would’ve meant that some little men would’ve had to swallow pride and we know, that it is never going to happen.


        • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2015 / 10:33 am

          Looking at the losses from their perspective, Amit. They have no dignity in my eyes.


      • amit Jul 23, 2015 / 1:51 pm

        I don’t wish to curse Bairstow, he’s done nothing to deserve it, nor James T either. These guys are the future of English cricket after all. But I wonder what if the next 3 games go the same way as Lords. Would it be sensible to expose a new generation to the same fear factor that the team in 90’s lived with? 16 years without the urn? A series loss as massive as that, and at home, ought to cause some mental scars. If Bell had been in form, i wouldn’t have worried as much but there’s no senior / experienced batsman in the middle. Cook, through his “blood and sweat” has turned into a support structure for the flaky middle order. We needed experience at one end, so the young ones can bat with freedom and make it count. Not sure what are the alternatives for that. I would’ve been happier if the ECB had kept their options open. This leaves with not enough room. what a pity!


  10. Sherwick Jul 22, 2015 / 10:50 pm

    “Udal was Pietersen’s captain during their time together at Hampshire.”

    But what does Udal know about KP? I’d rather trust that nonentity Sam Millat.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Boz Jul 23, 2015 / 6:43 am

    “but these are grown adults and they should sort it out. It’s not too late.”

    this clearly is a beneficial assumption based on the fact that Clarke, Flower, Cook and Strauss are ‘human’ and are ‘alive’ – although clearly their petty, personalised and abject crass arguments are of the nature of the public school play ground. The aforementioned have never really grown up and to all intents and purposes never will – this country breeds this type and has for centuries and it doesn’t take much to recognize the same traits in other inbred numpties with their ‘war’ agendas – maybe none of them had any toys to play with whilst in nappies.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Arron Wright Jul 23, 2015 / 8:30 am

    Genuine BTL comment at the Telegraph (‘sic’ applies):

    “Pieterson is like heroin. England have been addicted to Pieterson for years and each time they try him they feel good for a very short period of time and then the destructive behavior sets in and the nightmare happens all over again. They need to wean themselves of Pieterson which will be hard work and painful but worth it in the end. Stop grabbing the short term high and build for the future one day at a time.”

    I want to see this remake of Trainspotting:

    #1 Selvey (and his immortal line “You don’t need that shite”)
    #2 Alice
    #3 Doos Boy
    #4 Flower (shits the bed)
    #5 Cookie (gets away with everything)

    featuring Poor James Taylor as ‘Tommy’, whose life was ruined after trying it once; Piers Morgan as ‘Mother Superior’, the supplier; and Paul Downton as Keith Allen, who makes a killing out of a heroin deal and then gets killed himself in ‘Shallow Grave’.


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2015 / 8:31 am

      Very little cheeses me off more than these cretins trying to be clever yet failing to spell his name correctly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Jul 23, 2015 / 8:46 am

        Here’s another beauty:

        “Alastair Cook has scored over 1000 more test match runs than KP. Yes AC’s average is lower by 0.66 runs but that’s marginal. Mr Pietersen is not trustworthy. He is not a team player. He is reportedly disruptive in the dressing room. He is not a test match player anymore. He has no patience.
        I agree. Lets move on because i bope he will never be picked again. It’s like a man cheating on his wife. No trust no home”


      • Arron Wright Jul 23, 2015 / 8:56 am

        And finally this one:

        “The Aussies are not frightened of Pietersen. Twice he has been in teams that have suffered 5-0 Ashes defeats. And last time, despite his supporters repeatedly pointing out he got most runs, the difference between him and the rest was next to nothing. His average against Australia (45) is hardly terrifying.”

        I just can’t at these people.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2015 / 9:02 am

          They really should stay off the numbers. It doesn’t help their cause. Keep on the trust issues etc.


      • Mark Jul 23, 2015 / 9:37 am

        They hate him, they have always hated him!

        Before all the texgate thing even happened Nasser would say on Sky “no other player divides opinion like KP.” Every time he gets out, the e mails and texts would crank up. They hate him.

        I compare him to Tony Greig below. The English are always suspicious of foreigners who don’t tow the line. They will put up with it in the good times with begrudging respect,but they will dump on them eventually. It amuses me that Selvey repeats Englands 20/20 World Cup win and gives all the credit to Flower. He never tells you about KPs role. KPs role in the India tour is now airbrushed out of existence. They hate him!!!

        And they hate it when his name is mentioned because it reinforces their own inadequacy. They only got to enjoy a lot of success because of the many performances he turned in. It eats away at them that there would have not been the 2005 Ashes without his effort on the last day at the Oval. Selvey would not be able to trumpet Flower and Starauss achievements without the man who was “not a team player.” How much does it eat away at Strauss that when he mumbles on about trust he knows without KP his own record as captain would have been mediocre. He reminds them about how crap England’s system is that they have to recruit so many players from outside these shores.

        Pick an England team over the last 30 years with only white, English players who grew up in England, and learned their cricket in England. Whos parents and grandparents were all born in England, and lived their lives here. No South African connections or Aussie connections or WI connections. No Indian or Pakistan connections, no Welsh, no Scottish, no Irish….just English only. And no foreign coaches. Just the best England could produce. And then just laugh at the Little Englanders and the mythical world they live in, and the crap way the governing body runs their sport.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Jul 23, 2015 / 9:53 am

        “His average against Australia (45) is hardly terrifying.”

        The number (min. 20 matches) of England batsmen who can beat it in the last quarter century: none.

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Jul 23, 2015 / 10:21 am

        Since WW2 only 5 Englishmen have better batting averages against Australia than KP. Barrington, Hutton, Edrich, Boycott and May. The last of those (Boycott) played his last Test against Australia in 1981. Hutton would be a serious contender for an Al Time World XI, and the others would be serious contenders for an All Time England XI, to say the least..

        Was not Cook twice in the team when England got whitewashed too Arron (referring to that poster who had an issue with KP being in those teams)? So we should stick to Cook because he has experience being whitewashed? Surely, that must be a winning formula. Can these people not even bother to check either a scorecard, or recall something from 2006/07?

        Cricket is a wonderful game, but these “fans” are trying their best to ruin it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Jul 23, 2015 / 10:55 am

        D’Arthez: yes of course he was, and that’s what sticks in my craw more than anything. So was Bell of course. Cook, though, played those ten Tests with an average below 30 in both series. His overall average against Australia must now be below 40 I think; his average at home is famously (on here at least!) the second worst since WW1 of all English openers to play 5 or more matches. You get the same people citing Pietersen’s “decline” from 50 to 44 and overlooking Cook’s utter stinker of a home record. It’s very frustrating, as the dauphin himself would say.

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Jul 23, 2015 / 2:55 pm

        Actually, Arron, that average of Cook is just below 40 now against Australia (39.30). Slightly behind Strauss (39.47), and slightly ahead of Nasser Hussain (38.56). The latter of course tended to face better attacks than Cook and Strauss. Oh and presumably had the burden of captaincy as well on a few of those occasions. As captain against Australia, Hussain still averaged 37. That is respectable, certainly if we give consideration to his era.

        Oh, and in case if anyone is wondering: even Flintoff (28.22) averaged more as a captain against Australia than the beloved leader (27.58) …


    • Zephirine Jul 23, 2015 / 9:13 am

      “Commenting online is like heroin. I have been addicted to it for some years and each time I write a little rant I feel good for a very short period of time and then it becomes obvious that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I should be embarrassed about this but I’m in denial. I need to wean myself off commenting when I know nothing about the topic – which will be hard work and painful but worth it in the end. I must stop grabbing the short term high and build for the future one day at a time.”

      Fixed that one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mike Jul 23, 2015 / 10:04 am

        Very good


  13. Mark Jul 23, 2015 / 8:44 am

    The glossing over of Gooch and his other Rand lovers only confirms an inconvenient truth. English cricket at the top level and through much of the fan base was racist and institutionally racist.

    I lived through that period and there was an arrogant hypocrisy about racist South Africa. It started at the very top of English conservatism, namely Mrs Thatcher. She went out of her way to help South Africa. (This had absolutely nothing to do with her millionaire husbands business ventures in that very country of course, cough cough)

    There were so many debates at the time when well knows Tories and sport lovers would appear on panels to tell us that “sport and politics should not mix.” This was slightly baffling as the same people had called on the Olympic team in 1980 to boycott The Moscow Olympics. It seemed that only certain politics and sport shouldn’t mix. I often wonder how much outrage there would have been from these hypocrites if the England football team had arranged a match with an IRA team. As British soldiers were being blown up on the streets of London one can just imagine the justifiable outrage if people had used the “politics and sport should not mix” excuse.

    The problem was it only applied to “politics that effect me should not mix.” This is very much brought home by the fact the very same people who had absolutely no moral issue with tours to South Africa suddenly U turned 180 degrees to call for boycotts of Zimbabwe. I admire Flower for what he did, his bravery in standing up to a brutal regime, but I don’t admire many of the people who now deify him. Because I remember how they had no problem appeasing another brutal regime.

    There was a theme running through much of English cricket in the 1970s and 1980s about the apartheid boycott which can be summed up as “I wish this would all go a way and we could get back to playing cricket.” This view was expressed by much of the cricket commentary at the time. Brian Johnson on TMS was a good example of this. He never actually called for tours to go on, but there was a weary disdain that politics had intervened in a cricket match. There were of course commentators who took the other position, namely John Arlott. And his involvement in help bring Basil D’Olivera to England.

    There is a remarkable similarity between KP and Tony Grieg. Both were South African ( with British connections) both played for England, and both were involved with controversy. Yet Greig’s ” make them grovel” remark was only really attacked in England because there was a feeling it fired up the WI. The outspoken and in your face nature of Greig was repeated years later by KP. The English went along with it, but the bitterness was turned against both when they dared to better themselves. When Greig announced his involvement with Kerry Packer the English cricket writers of the day attacked him with vicious intent. At one point he couldn’t even take his kids to school such was the hostility of the little Englanders. I can just imagine the 1970s version of Pam n Ashes booing Greig as he brought his kids to school. Nice!

    Greig was proved right, and ODI cricket would never be the same. He left these shores to make a new home in Australia. (Just like Harold Larwood had done decades before when the English establishment blamed him for body line.) Now KP is the uppity South African who wanted to go and play, ironically, in another global ODI tournament. Just like with Grieg 35 years ago KP has been proved right as the English cricket authorities now concede it would benefit English players. The English cricket elite are reactionary bone heads who have been wrong and proved to be wrong over and over. You only have to see how many of the South African rebels have been placed in positions of power in English cricket to understand what they really believe. When Giles Clarke talks about the right type of family, and the right type off school, and a former Rebel tour player used the “outside cricket” term to attack anyone who does not tow the line you can see which way the wind is blowing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Jul 23, 2015 / 10:03 am

      I hate to bring class into it, but cricket is a microcsm of this country when it comes to class & mobility and responsibility & accountabilty in that seemingly it’s in weiredly inverse proportion for those at the base have no mobility, no responsibility but seemingly always accountable.

      Grieg & KP is an apt comaprison. The problem, is that that horrible Little England mentality is increasingly prevalent again. Which is a shame.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jul 23, 2015 / 12:11 pm


        Class is, as you say, a big factor in cricket. It always has been. It’s only 60 odd years ago that players had to come out onto the field through different gates. The amateur/professional split.

        The irony now is that hardly any working class kids are playing cricket anymore. The modern day professional equivalents have other things to do with their time. Good luck finding old Etonians willing to run up and bowl fast all day.

        The amusing thing is that the money that you might earn playing 20/20 cricket in the IPL might just attract some of these kids to become interested in cricket. Become a fast bowler and then just play IPL and big bash, and a bit of county cricket. Why bother with the idiocy of England, and it’s 18th century etiquette.

        Liked by 1 person

    • amit Jul 23, 2015 / 2:03 pm

      Wonderfully put.
      When you think of it, players like Gooch who went on the rebel tours, and yet had their careers resurrected, have their records wiped clean and no traces of these tours remain. The hypocrisy is mind numbing at times. They may claim the circumstances were different, money from the game then, was not the same as now, but in the end, it was about abandoning the team. For money. I wonder how much discord that caused in the dressing room before and after his return. Those guys make KP look like the saint he’s not.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Jul 23, 2015 / 2:40 pm

        The second time, many of the party just abandoned everyone in the middle of an Ashes series, on the day the Ashes were lost. 8 – half – of them played for England in that Ashes series of 1989. 7 of them were in the Ashes-winning squad of 1986/87. 4 were double Ashes winners. 3 had captained their country within the last 14 months.

        Yet four were later recalled, three of them immediately.

        Furthermore, one is a former MCC president, one a former chairman of selectors, one coached Matt Prior and one is an ICC referee who called Pietersen “cancerous” at a cancer charity fundraiser.

        By the way, Gatting’s Wikipedia page has more words on his bowling than on the 89/90 South Africa tour.


      • paulewart Jul 23, 2015 / 3:12 pm

        And Gooch was the worst of the lot. He was in his prime and Ali Bacher et al were rubbing their hands when he agreed to sign up. There was talk that the tour would like viability without someone of Gooch’s stature and, if memory serves, he captained the tour. The rest were either journeymen or close to retirement chasing one last pay day. Still unforgivable in my book but not quite as bad as abandoning your country in your prime.


  14. dvyk Jul 23, 2015 / 10:12 am

    I see the South African-born sports administrator has finally come out of hiding, to say what a great ODI team England have. The World Cup “was a turning point”. Ha ha hahahahahahahaha.

    At least he didn’t call anyone a **** this time.


  15. SHERWICK Jul 23, 2015 / 10:46 am

    Best ever reason (from above) for not picking KP: “He is not a test match player anymore.”

    So, they stopped him from playing Test cricket and the reason to not pick him is… because he doesn’t play Test cricket.

    The mind boggles.

    Liked by 2 people

    • paulewart Jul 23, 2015 / 11:25 am

      Its called Catch-22.


  16. Ian Jones Jul 23, 2015 / 12:00 pm

    Posted this a couple of days ago thought it was more appropriate here.

    Ah Selvey, what a fearlessly insipid and partisan cricket writer.

    Perhaps a ceremony could be organized where several of his articles could be burned and the Ashes placed in a small container, in memorium of the death of British cricket journalism.

    Each year it could be awarded to the best cricket blog or writer thereof.

    I feel this idea has real merit. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • SHERWICK Jul 23, 2015 / 12:35 pm

      Great idea! I will contribute. Needs a catchy name..


      • amit Jul 23, 2015 / 3:07 pm

        Asses may be? Pun intended. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • northernlight71 Jul 23, 2015 / 9:15 pm

        Surely Dmitri’s own “The Selfeys” would suffice?

        Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart Jul 23, 2015 / 3:12 pm

      Excellent idea, Ian.


      • Ian Jones Jul 23, 2015 / 5:01 pm

        Thanks Paul and I like Amit’s idea above although I’m leaning towards “The Arses” myself.


    • paulewart Jul 23, 2015 / 3:16 pm

      I fear they’d rather burn a guy mocked up as Kevin Pietersen. In years to come, small children will be asking for a pound for the Kev.


  17. SimonH Jul 23, 2015 / 2:23 pm

    Schedule for the UAE has finally been released (which presumably means it won’t be cancelled – damn, I was ready to get on my high horse about that one).

    Players who are selected in all formats (Root, Stokes, Buttler, Ali , Wood possibly) get all of two weeks off.

    Scyld Berry reckons this is a low pressure tour. It may be in terms of crowds and media attention – but in terms of on-field play I’d give England more chance of winning in SA or regaining the Ashes.


    • metatone Jul 23, 2015 / 7:43 pm

      I can imagine Wood will have been bowled into the ground by the end of the Ashes already.
      Likewise I think we’re left praying that Rashid’s finger improves in time to give Ali a break, otherwise he’ll probably break down too. As for Buttler, I suspect if they make him keep in all formats it’ll shorten his career by years – but we won’t see that until he’s older…


    • metatone Jul 23, 2015 / 7:47 pm

      To win in the UAE – Ali and Rashid have to be fit and in form (or 2 spinners, anyway) and we’d have to learn to play good spin bowling and see off Mohammed Irfan… which given their travails so far against left-arm pace, seems unlikely…


  18. SimonH Jul 23, 2015 / 3:21 pm

    On the pitch for next week:

    There’s been “no directive from the ECB”. Does there need to be when the media megaphone does the job?

    Meanwhile, Warner has made a century in the tour match and Shaun Marsh is closing in on one (he must be likely to play at Edgbaston). Expect much straw clutching at the low scores for Clarke and Voges.

    Good comment from volkerelle on the thread under Gary Naylor’s piece about cricket writing.


    • metatone Jul 23, 2015 / 7:49 pm

      I don’t know what the truth is, but certainly Cardiff didn’t look to me anywhere near unusual for Glamorgan in my days of watching – late rain plays havoc down there. And Lord’s has often been a Chief Exec’s nonsense of a pitch in my years of watching. So to some degree I still believe that groundsmen are much more influenced by the county chairman (looking for a guarantee of 5 days play) than by the media or the ECB. After all, who pays the wages?


    • dvyk Jul 23, 2015 / 9:30 pm

      “….guaranteeing India nine games, as Richardson now admits. “That’s one of the factors, yes. The increase in the revenue is significant and everyone gets the benefit of that.”

      Of course. Those who are excluded from the Invitation World Cup will benefit financially from their exclusion. Even if it were true, it would still be absurd and self-defeating.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Jul 23, 2015 / 9:53 pm

        Bangladesh beating India in the 2007 World Cup was the biggest Pyrrhic victory in the history of cricket, if not all team sport, as well as being arguably the single most significant cricket match of the last ten years.



      • amit Jul 24, 2015 / 5:54 am

        Arron, Bangladesh has caused a few upsets. I would argue beating Australia was a bigger shock than beating India. That was the moment they arrived (or so we thought). India has made a habit of losing to newbies.


      • Arron Wright Jul 24, 2015 / 7:26 am

        I was referring specifically to the enormous consequences of that one match (and to a lesser extent Ireland beating Pakistan in the same World Cup) for the wider international game.


    • d'Arthez Jul 24, 2015 / 4:22 am

      “The increase in the revenue is significant and everyone gets the benefit of that. ”

      Yeah, everyone. By slashing the funding for the Associates by 50%. Be honest, you tw*t, and just say that the ECB and BCCI, and to a lesser extent CA are going to benefit. Or is honesty in such short supply at the ICC, Mr. Richardson?

      Setting up a fund to pay for more ODI cricket for Ireland and Afghanistan is a decent move. But it is also idiotic: first you slash their funding, and then, when it is obvious that they LACK THE FUNDS to host actual ODIs, and then the magnificent ICC, does something so that the ranking tables does not look like:
      10.Zimbabwe P54, 50 points, 11, Afghanistan P11, Ireland P10. Both Afghanistan and Ireland are not ranked due to playing too few international matches. This, coupled with the abundantly clear avoidance of most teams, excepting Pakistan, to play Ireland and Afghanistan, is really helping Irish and Afghan cricket. Brilliant! The fund is effectively nothing more but a fig leaf to hide the embarrassment the ICC has caused itself.

      Never mind the blatant dishonesty of the ICC, and the willful stupidity to negotiate on the basis of India playing 9 games. Why not remove India from the group stages, and play 36 games between the other 9 members, and then play a Final over 9 games, with India, regardless of the results, declared as winner? There is NOTHING sporting about the whole charade. No even playing field, no integrity in the dealings of the board, no sporting merit (how come England gets rewarded with hosting rights for the next World Cup, when they have had the most dismal results of all Full Members, barring Zimbabwe? And please, it is not like England never hosted a World Cup before …)

      An Indian friend of mine, who used to love cricket, is now only going to watch when there is nothing else on. That means that games like tennis, football, rugby (yes, rugby!) get preference to cricket these days. If you know how non-existent rugby is in India, then you know something is amiss.

      The problem with this sheer idiocy, and we have seen it BTL at the Guardian as well, is that it drives out the decent supporters, and you’re left with the jingoistic, myopic idiots who can’t even bother to check a scorecard (Arron gave a few examples with regards to the KP-bashing in this thread). The supporter-community is effectively under attack, and that effectively means the playing community is under attack as well.

      Let’s be honest: who is going to sustain the interest in the game? The passionate fans, or the myopic fan who only gets “Rah rah rah”, when the national team plays?

      The future is looking bleak.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jul 24, 2015 / 7:28 am

        Under this logic they must find a way to guarantee India go all the way to the final. This will generate even more money (which will benefit everyone else, cough cough)

        Once sport starts rigging the format to maximise revenue, at the expense of all else, you know the sport is becoming pointless.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Fred Jul 23, 2015 / 9:27 pm

    I’m not an English cricket fan; I’m not English, and I’d hesitate to call myself a fan of Australia, but if I was and I read this from Ali in the guardian, I’d be deeply worried.

    “We had a couple of bad starts but every batter has got some sort of score whereas them guys have only Chris Rogers, Steve Smith and David Warner,” said Moeen. “Not all of them have got runs. I know he [Johnson] bowled really well in one innings out of four. But at Cardiff we took it to him and he went for a lot of runs and did not take many wickets. We are not worried at all.”

    At least when Cook goes on about character you can understand the straw he’s clutching at, but this, from Ali of all people, is just risible. Australia clearly has a batting weakness because their No. 2 scored a big ton and No. 3 scored a double? Because much of the batting order wan’t even needed to win the match? And because MJ bowled just Ok in the first test but much better in the second? I think Moeen Ali has caught the ECB disease. They should have let Stokes talk to the press instead.


    • Timmy Jul 23, 2015 / 9:56 pm

      No no, this is perfect. Whilst I like Ali and really want him to succeed, i hope in the first innings his done by a sharp MJ bouncer in the next test.

      Who does he think his talking too? Even speaking to a child you would give them more respect than to vomit out such nonsense.


      • amit Jul 24, 2015 / 6:05 am

        Ali was bounced out by India. That should settle the argument. End of.


      • SimonH Jul 24, 2015 / 8:13 am

        Timmy, Ali went on to say:

        ‘I’m still looking to take the short ball on. I’ve put some work into facing left-arm pace and feel like I’m in a better position against the short ball than I used to be. Last year I was just trying to fend them off but at least at Lord’s I was trying to play it and it just got up on me and did me for pace, so I’m not concerned. I was comfortable against the ball before that but the pitch was a little two-paced by the fourth day and we just went into our shell against all of them. It wasn’t just Mitchell Johnson.’

        I doubt that’s changed your mind for the first innings at Edgbaston! The first sentence announces his tactics – is that a particularly good idea? The second is in “I was magnificent in the nets” territory. The third’s claim that he was between for pace but isn’t concerned is laughable. The fourth blames a pitch where Australia scored 800 runs for the loss of ten wickets. The fifth makes even less sense.

        Eoin Morgan also spouted some right old nonsense about Johnson during the Tri-series (he wasn’t swinging it so wasn’t a problem etc). Morgan and Ali are generally sensible cricketers so it feels like a management decision to speak about Johnson like this. It feels like they’ve been persuaded that if they show Johnson any respect they’re weak.


      • Zephirine Jul 24, 2015 / 11:21 am

        “Morgan and Ali are generally sensible cricketers so it feels like a management decision to speak about Johnson like this. ”

        I think this is right – remember Morgan in the World Cup, he started talking like a completely different person. Sometimes these guys have obviously been rehearsed.

        I liked Ali’s comments that if it weren’t for cricket he’d be working in a chippy and he thought he might open one of his own when he leaves the game, which sounded definitely not from the ECB PR dept.


    • escort Jul 24, 2015 / 6:22 pm

      Don’t read the Guardian would be my only advice. Even people who love the “G” hate it.


  20. SimonH Jul 24, 2015 / 8:19 am

    Fourth day washed out in the B v. SA Test which is a pity with the match intriguingly poised and Dale Steyn on 399 Test wickets.

    In lieu of play today, or seeing him in England since 2012, here’s a highlights’ compilation:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Jul 24, 2015 / 8:27 am

      Not skilful enough for me, Clive.


    • Fred Jul 24, 2015 / 9:00 am

      Only 399 wickets? Obviously not the best bowler in the world then.


    • Arron Wright Jul 24, 2015 / 9:12 am

      Not as good as Josh Hazlewood either.

      (c) Gary Naylor

      English crowds want to see more bowlers like Shane Watson (four Test tours in seven years), not Dale Steyn (two in nine).

      (c) Giles Clarke


      • SimonH Jul 24, 2015 / 9:19 am

        The “most skillful bowler in the world” (TM David Saker, Alastair Cook, Mike Selvey, Uncle Tom Cobbley) has slid to 6th in the latest rankings:

        Boult, Shah, Johnson and Broad have now overtaken him while Steyn remains nearly 100 points ahead of anyone else.

        Meanwhile Steve Smith has moved further ahead in the batting rankings and has the 10th best ever:


      • Arron Wright Jul 24, 2015 / 9:33 am

        It was inevitably forgotten amidst the rapture of Grenada, but wasn’t there some special, cheap, Duke hybrid ball that the Windies managed to swing a lot better than “Most Skilful” did at the start of the innings?


      • Rohan Jul 24, 2015 / 8:54 pm

        Those batting rankings are mad. Basically, you have 3 all time greats in the top four and one in the making. What a time for great batsmen, shame we hardly ever see the 2 SA ones play over here. I fear SA will whip us even more than Aus have/might, when we visit them at the end of the year!

        Our boys v Steyn, Morkel, Philander, AB, Amla etc. we can’t match them on the pitches out there.


  21. SimonH Jul 24, 2015 / 2:16 pm

    What’s going on on Planet Pringle?

    Business as usual.

    Oh, and there’s new Selvey……


    • Mark Jul 24, 2015 / 3:01 pm

      It’s like I said before Simon, they hate him,they really, really hate him.

      It amuses me how much hate they have for one man, and the fact he was responsible for a lot of Englands success, that they enjoyed, must eat at them like a worm eating an apple.

      They can delude themselves it was all down to Strauss and Flower, but deep down they know it wasn’t. The next time TRUST scores a run or takes wicket I might bother to listen to them.


    • SimonH Jul 24, 2015 / 3:17 pm

      It’s not Selvey’s worst but there’s this nonsense again about “aging eyes” in a 33 year old and not picking the ball up like one used to. I looked up the runs scored in the last decade by batsmen aged 34 and over:;ageval1=age;class=1;filter=advanced;orderby=runs;spanmin1=24+jul+2005;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting

      Yet again I’m thinking this all comes back to ‘him’….


      • d'Arthez Jul 24, 2015 / 3:51 pm

        Yeah, what do Sangakkara, Younis Khan and Jacques Kallis know about batting? What do Chanderpaul and Misbah Ul-Haq know about batting? Barring Misbah (almost 50), all of those people who were clearly past it, averaged close to 60. Figures not seen or produced by an England batsman for close to 50 years now.

        Or is Selvey going by the record of Strauss beyond his 34th birthday? (18 matches, average barely above 30, at 30.74)? Or is it a treasonous offence to state that in the last two years of his career Strauss was a batting passenger?


      • SimonH Jul 24, 2015 / 5:34 pm

        D’Arthez, did you notice how Selvey includes Amla in his list of No.3s when Amla hasn’t been batting there for nearly a year?

        You obviously can’t expect a chief cricket correspondent to be aware of such things.


      • Arron Wright Jul 24, 2015 / 6:13 pm

        I think it’s time to call it:

        Cambridge graduate Mike Selvey does not have a clue what “ubiquitous” actually means. Today’s must be the fourth misuse in 2015.


      • d'Arthez Jul 24, 2015 / 6:20 pm

        I had not bothered to read the article, since Selvey and accurate reporting is as politicians to honesty. So unless I am feeling like doing a proper frisk, I tend to avoid his reporting.

        Amla has batted at #4 since being appointed captain. That was a good year ago now. I know, South Africa have not played England since then, and hence it is too much to ask of Selvey to even bother checking a single scorecard since Amla was appointed. But even if he had gone by the results against England, he should have remembered that Amla modestly stated, after that triple century, that he was not even the second best batsman in the team, let alone the world. And it would be rather presumptuous to dismiss the words of Amla himself.

        But at least Amla batted the vast majority of his innings at #3, and Ponting batted at #3 for most of his career too (certainly in his prime). Lara only batted in 45 matches at #3. Out of a career total of 131 Tests. Yeah, consistently batting at #3 too. Or is it again only matches against England that count (he did so in 19 out of 30 matches against England)?

        If the Guardian actually cared about truthful reporting, they would have employed a fact checker for Selvey by now.


      • BoerInAustria Jul 24, 2015 / 8:20 pm

        Maths also not Pringle’s strength:

        Derek Pringle ‏@derekpringle · 19. Juli
        Ouch – broken down into numbers, courtesy of Cricinfo, Australia been twice as good as England their 820/10 playing 415/20.

        Liked by 1 person

    • amit Jul 24, 2015 / 3:46 pm

      Poor Oman. Did no one tell them about DP?


  22. Rohan Jul 24, 2015 / 9:10 pm

    All this KP stuff is bittersweet. It leaves me feeling joyous and yet extremely sad and disillusioned at the same time.

    Joyous that the ECB have been wrong about KP in so many ways and that top pros keep coming out to support him (add Udal) to the list now. Joyous that most of the general public now know how rottenous the ECB are (at least I hope they do). Joyous at the way the ECB have tied themselves in knots and look like inadequates, ignoramuses and complete cretins!

    Yet sad that I have been denied watching a great batsman play for England for nigh on 2 years, for no good reason. Sad that the team is not selected on merit, for KP insert other names of faces who don’t fit, e.g Compton, Carberry, Rashid and more. Sad that although a majority of folk were disgusted by the ECB’s most recent treatment of KP, so few have questioned them and just accept the status quo. Sad that in the MSM even fewer question the ECB and the Cooky cheerleading and KP mistreatment etc.

    In the last test I was really happy to see Stokes bat well again, could not support Cook and then found myself on the edge of my seat with Johnson’s second innings bowling and willing him to turn us over, it was great stuff! Shame we don’t have a real speed merchant or maverick or someone a bit different to really excite us and get behind and take it to the opposition…..


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