It took as little time as anticipated for England to wrap up the fourth Test, and with it the series and the Ashes.  It has been an extraordinary win, all the more so for being so unexpected.  Yet in that sense it isn’t quite so different to last time, when Australia won 5-0, a result no one (apart from Glenn McGrath, who always forecasts that) expected either.

England are rightly celebrating, they thoroughly deserve to as well.  With the exception of Lords, which looks ever more peculiar in retrospect, they have battered Australia.  England did something in response to that defeat that much of the media failed to, which was to accept the pinch and move on.  England’s resilience following that hammering is something that they can rightly take pride in, and is the sign of a good team, or at least one that might become a good team.

Yet the danger in responding to this victory is in being wise after the event.  It isn’t vindication of the last two years because England didn’t play how they’d played over the last two years.  Cook is to be thoroughly praised for his captaincy because he didn’t captain the side how he’d done so up to this point.  That isn’t proof that those backing him as captain previously were right in any way, but it is a recognition that for whatever reason, he seems to have dramatically improved – something those supporting him didn’t demand he do.   And that is a fascinating development.  Cook was dreadful in Australia, he was worse against Sri Lanka, desperate against India, and a disaster as one day captain before his more than slightly hamfisted sacking.  In his interview after the game’s conclusion, he acknowledged that, admitting to being stubborn (not necessarily a bad thing), and to having made an effort to be more proactive and positive in this series.

Trevor Bayliss too chose his words carefully, saying that Cook had been excellent in this series, with a fairly clear implication when talking about how this had been done that he didn’t think he had been previously.  And that is about right – the only rational way to to respond to any situation is to adapt a view as the facts change.  Cook has been really good as skipper this series, and it is immensely to his credit that he has been prepared to take input from outside and learn.  After having been captain in the same rather plodding and defensive manner for quite a long time, that is perhaps the most welcome and unexpected development.  Being wise after the event means refusing to admit that no one saw this coming – and no one did.

Bayliss himself had come into the England set up at the start of this series, but he wasn’t present for the New Zealand one, which gave the first hint at Cook’s England adopting a different approach.  It was such a sudden switch after the West Indies series and the miserable World Cup that the removal of Peter Moores would seem to point to that being the major change.   Yet it is probably a little more than that – Moores’ style of coaching was similar to Andy Flower’s in one area, that it was prescriptive, with the coach directing the team rather than the captain.  That was seen time and again where England would come in after a session, and resume with entirely different tactics – the captain was the cipher for a coach telling them what to do.

The appointment of Bayliss, and the retention of Farbrace, indicated that this type of coach was not how Strauss saw the best interests of England – and that decision was a wise one.  Whatever anyone thought of Cook’s captaincy, it was frustrating to see him not actually captain the side himself.   It is therefore a possibility that the change in coaching set up allowed Cook for the first time to captain the side how he wanted to.  England have been the only side where the coach has been given such power, and Bayliss and Farbrace are more in the Fletcher model, where the coach stands in the background to support the players and the captain runs the team.

It’s no coincidence that England players have quickly felt the freedom to back their own ability under this kind of structure, nor that the previously rigid set up limited that freedom.  Playing without fear is an easy thing to say, but it requires a system where players aren’t berated for their failures.  England under Moores and Flower certainly had success, but the team became ever more hidebound, negative and restricted, terrified of making a mistake – and it was that attitude that Australia pounced on in 2013/14.

Equally, the early season series against New Zealand may have acted as the dropping of the scales in front of English eyes; if that is the case, then England may well owe a debt of gratitude to Brendon McCullum, though perhaps Australia would have been equally well advised to have had a chat to Kane Williamson about how to play the moving ball.  The one day series too, with England playing scintillating cricket, showed a break with the shambles of the past, in intent if nothing else – which is why no one greatly cared if England lost that final match, they were far too wowed by the style of play.  The point is that it is easy to blame Moores, but he was simply continuing an approach that he himself started and Andy Flower continued.  It worked for a while too, but signs of problems were there long before the implosion in Australia if only some had paid attention to those pointing them out.

The hardest part of coaching is being able to keep out of the way.  Bayliss, when responding to questions about Cook’s captaincy, demurred at the idea he’d given instructions, saying all he had done was to offer options, and it was up to Cook to then choose – and that he chose wisely.

What happens next is the key, because harder challenges lie ahead, in the UAE and South Africa.  At the start of this series the feeling was that this would be Cook’s last as captain – the appointment of Root as his deputy and the end of cycle feel about Ashes series indicated that win or lose, it might be time to move on.  The nature of England’s win has changed that somewhat, though Cook may still feel that he could go out on a high by doing so. Yet the change is that he now can choose himself, rather than circumstances dictating.  It isn’t the win that has done that, it’s the way England won, and the way he himself led the side.  Let’s make no bones about it – it was quite impressive, and all the more so for being so unexpected.

There has been a clear shift in so many other ways too.  The England players made a point of going around the ground after each win and meeting the supporters, posing for selfies, signing autographs.  The interviews have been much more open and honest – all things that have been areas of deep criticism for the England of the last 18 months and beyond.  There is not a chance of the ECB ever apologising for anything that they’ve done, but this at least is a start and a move in the right direction.  Whether it is mere lip service or something more, is down to the ECB.

One of the most striking things about this England side is the clear joie de vivre that the young players have brought to the team.  There has been a changing of the guard in many ways beyond the obvious, a recognition that in order to get the best out of them, letting them free to do their thing is the way to do it.  Stokes, Root, Moeen and Wood have been the most evident examples, and even the grumpy old curmudgeons like Broad (OK, that’s a touch unfair on him) and Anderson have bought into it.  The England dressing room appears a much better place to be than it has been for quite a long time.  The idea that this win is a put down of all those who have been calling for exactly this is somewhat bizarre.  This is not the England team approach that received so much criticism.  It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that one particular player would have thrived in such an environment, given it is exactly what he wanted to see in the first place.

Certainly Joe Root has benefitted, and has gone to number one in the Test player rankings as a result.  It may be that it is a purple patch of form and nothing more, but there are signs that he may be becoming a genuinely fantastic batsman.  He scores so quickly, without apparent effort.  Technically, he is getting out to the ball much better than he did when he was dropped in Australia, where he hung back in the crease.  His weight distribution now comes forward into the ball, hence the glorious drives – but more than anything, his approach is one where he is first and foremost looking to score runs.  This too is an expression of a change of mentality in the side, and one in which he’s thriving.  That England now have a set up that is seeking to get the best from their players rather than berate them and keep them in line, amazingly enough seems to work.

The bowlers too have performed admirably.  Broad has been underrated for quite a while; yet his record in recent years has been very good, even in the Ashes meltdown of 2013/14 where he along with Stokes was pretty much the only player who could hold his head up high; the biggest issue with him is when England insisted on playing him through injury.  He is now number two in the bowling rankings, with Anderson just behind him.  Yet those two are a known quantity, what is welcome is seeing how the support bowlers have performed.  They’ve not always got the results that might mark them out as being special, but they have shown immense promise.  Stokes blows hot and cold, as young players tend to do, Wood looks like he has pace and the ability to move the ball.  They have potential, if correctly managed.  As for Finn, one fine match and one quiet one is fine as long as he continues the upward trajectory.  He too is indicative of a different approach from the England side, allowing him to bowl rather than micro-managing him.  Again, it is to be greatly welcomed, and with a degree of luck, the results should follow, and the pace return.

All of the others contributed.  Lyth may not have had a great series to date, but the way he set about the small target at Edgbaston extinguished Australian hopes early, while his catching was very good.  He won’t be content with his series, and nor should he be, the Oval may signal a last chance for him, but he has had an effect on the outcome.  Bell batted superbly at Edgbaston but has had a quiet series outside of that.  The jury remains out for Bairstow, but he did bat well at Trent Bridge, while Buttler has had a poor series with the bat, but kept extremely well.

And Moeen, well Moeen has bowled just about adequately, but batted very well indeed.  Which probably shouldn’t come as a surprise given he’s a batsman first and foremost.  Two spinners will be needed in the UAE, and while Moeen might well be the best off spinner England have (depending on whether Panesar can continue his rehabilitation), the Oval could well be the opportunity to introduce Adil Rashid.

For Australia, the big news was the announcement of Michael Clarke’s retirement.  At many times he has been a prophet not honoured in his own land, but the warmth of the reception he got from the Nottingham crowd showed the esteem in which he is held.  He has had a year of unimagined highs and tragic lows, and perhaps that finally proved too much for him, in which case that would be completely understandable.  He has been a fantastic player and an often inspirational captain.  But over the last year, what he proved more than anything else was that he was a leader with whom few could compare.  When Phillip Hughes was tragically killed, Clarke managed to speak not just for a nation in shock, but the whole cricketing world.  He became everyone’s captain, one who all who have picked up a bat would have followed to the ends of the earth.  In terrible circumstances, he stood tall.

Sport is cruel, and doesn’t often allow fairytale endings.  But Clarke will undoubtedly receive a standing ovation on both his last visits to the crease in international cricket, and few England supporters would begrudge him a century if the cricketing gods were to smile just once more on this supremely talented player.  There is so much more that can be said about him, but one must defer to Jarrod Kimber, whose article captured it perfectly.  It is outstanding:

In this series, Clarke himself was a paradigm for the batting woes of his team.  Apart from Chris Rogers, and to some extent David Warner, they all struggled.  Steve Smith had one fabulous Test, but apart from that looked horrifically out of form, demonstrating how quickly confidence can turn to despair in a batsman.  The middle order has had a calamitous series, with only Adam Voges’ unbeaten half century in heavy defeat offering up any kind of contribution.  He did enough to save his career for a further Test, but beyond that, given his age, he may not have much further to go.

Rogers will finish at the Oval, and with Clarke going too, plus Haddin’s and Watson’s careers being likely over, there will be major changes to the Australian team after this series.  Shaun Marsh has yet to look a Test cricketer, and is 32, while Mitchell Johnson absolutely is a Test cricketer but is nearly 34.   And perhaps that was always likely to be the case even if they had won.  Right at the start of this series, this blog made the argument that you never know if it is one tour too many until it actually happens.  This has indeed turned out to be one tour too many, yet although that possibility was acknowledged pre-series, there wasn’t much in the way of evidence that it would happen, more a feeling that there was the potential for it, and nothing stronger than that.

With so many players likely to move on, the management of that shift is going to be critical.  The reason for including Johnson in the above list is that it would be criminal to lose him at the same time as all that experience elsewhere.  He is bowling quickly and well, and has shown little sign of age catching up with him.

The home summer coming up for them comprises New Zealand and the West Indies.  It’s going to be a tough first half for a new team.  The blow of losing Ryan Harris on the eve of the series perhaps did more than anything to wreck the plans for a last hurrah for the older generation.

For England, it has the potential to be a firm base from which to build.  The talent has always been there, it’s how it was harnessed, and the reality is that it was harnessed extremely badly for much of the preceding 18 months.  That they have managed to get a basic grip on it now is to the credit of all those behind it.  But it doesn’t excuse those 18 months, and it certainly doesn’t excuse the ECB for their wider failings.  If used properly from here, they could genuinely reclaim their position in the hearts of all England fans, but it would be a mistake to think this Ashes win will do it and make everything in the garden rosy.  Cricket in this country is in trouble.  Cricket in the world is in trouble.  The alignment of England’s undoubtedly rousing victory with the release of Death of a Gentleman makes it foolish to believe that this solves everything, because it doesn’t.  But it could be a first step used wisely.  The doubt is whether that wisdom exists, that it will be used as a smokescreen to cover all the other issues that exist.  England have won, but those Outside Cricket have been merely waved at from the ivory towers.

For now, let us appreciate the return of the urn, and the efforts of an England team who have surpassed expectations.  For a Sunday, that is more than enough.  But the wider issues will not go away.


137 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. Mark Aug 9, 2015 / 4:38 pm

    Yup, excellent summing up. Any newspaper in England would have been better off printing your output than the garbage that has been churned out in the last 24 hours. And you didn’t get paid for writing something with more gravitas!

    My view on Cook is his fans were not proved right. Cook had to change. Something his fans denied. It is to his credit that he has admitted that he did change. Pity his craven supporters can’t aknolwledge that fact. I also belive that he was given a giant kick up the backside by dropping him as ODI captain, and at the start of this series he was drinking in the last chance saloon. When you have nothing left to lose it can free you up. Even his biggest fans at the Mail were saying he would go at the end of this series. As you say, he has won the right of his choosing when to go now. It’s a possibility he might still,resign the captaincy after the Oval and bow out on a high. Unlikely, but it might happen.

    I don’t begrudge the team or the younger players particularly celebrating this win. They deserve it. But this is the worst Australian touring team I have ever seen. Who ever thought that hit and giggle cricket would rip the heart out of the Aussie Test batting line up? The two upcoming winter tours will say a lot about where we really are. Unfortunately if they go horribly wrong the ECB media will just ignore the results. Only the big 3 count these days. Revenue trumps quality.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebogfather Aug 9, 2015 / 6:10 pm


      “excellent summing up. Any newspaper in England would have been better off printing your output than the garbage that has been churned out in the last 24 hours. And you didn’t get paid for writing something with more gravitas!”

      Hear hear from here!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OscarDaBosca Aug 9, 2015 / 4:49 pm

    Excellent post, I heartily agree with all of that

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2015 / 4:58 pm

      Am I correct that FICJAM is responsible for this nonsense?

      Tickers has it bang on….


      • Arron Wright Aug 9, 2015 / 6:08 pm

        Yes. I believe this tweet relates to the article I linked to earlier today.


  3. BoerInAustria Aug 9, 2015 / 4:58 pm

    Thank you. TLG, LCL and other posters make this site visit always a pleasure.


  4. escort Aug 9, 2015 / 5:10 pm

    As good a reflection on this yet to be finished series that i’ve read. Bayliss i think nailed it when he said that Cook was given options and he chose correctly. Cooks admission that he has been too stubborn in the past is at least some kind of recognition that before he has deserved most of what has come his way as regards criticism. Lets just hope that this can continue in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. customcopywriting Aug 9, 2015 / 5:23 pm

    Superb article mate. Well said. A couple of things I hadn’t thought of in there too. Keep up the good work.


  6. customcopywriting Aug 9, 2015 / 5:26 pm

    That was me, James Morgan from TFT by the way. For some reason it published my business name.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2015 / 5:29 pm

      Was checking the IP address for SPAM!

      You came that close, James.


    • BoerInAustria Aug 9, 2015 / 5:55 pm

      Is a CustomCopyWriter like an Essayist?

      Liked by 2 people

      • thebogfather Aug 9, 2015 / 6:14 pm

        Only if he’s stuck in the library inside Boycs corridor of uncertainty, although FICJAM may quote from his own biblical sans Proust epics if asked…don’t!


      • thebogfather Aug 9, 2015 / 6:16 pm

        So precious are FICJAM’s words, you’ll be blocked before you attempt to understand him. I do love Boycs (and even Tuffers) not so gentle Wordsmith taunts on TMS…

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather Aug 9, 2015 / 6:23 pm

        Now that the Aussies have been thrashed out of sight (copyright any MSM) can we cancel the 5th Test and get NZ back for a series decider?


    • escort Aug 9, 2015 / 6:11 pm

      Your prediction went the same way as mine.


  7. LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2015 / 5:55 pm

    A message to someone who has just tweeted me (among others) asking me to write a blog on how I want the cricket world to look.

    Several points.

    #1 – Big clue. I ignore (the substance of) your tweets. You burned bridges with me when you said a post of mine was drivel, called a post I wrote “pathetic” and called the people on here a sad bunch. You burned bridges with me with that row a few weeks ago. There’s a hint, sir. I don’t follow you. I’m not about to listen to you.(Note – I only block people who threaten me, physically, or troll relentlessly, or are obvious bots).

    #2 – If I were to do requests, I wouldn’t do it just to satisfy your requirements, and to give fodder to your little echo chamber. Run along.

    #3 – If you feel so passionately about the issue, write a blog post yourself. If it’s good, then people will find it and read it. That’s how this works. I get hits because people want to read what I write. No apologies.

    #4 – If this was done in the spirit of being constructive, then maybe assess how you’ve approached me in the past.

    That’s me being polite. Shouldn’t you be busy celebrating?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Aug 9, 2015 / 6:04 pm

      Oh that pitiful thing
      Whoever they may be
      You’ve just destroyed with such zing
      I bow down and applaud our Dmitri


    • Sean B Aug 9, 2015 / 6:06 pm

      Haha, you could do an ironic one that glosses over all of the crap that’s gone on over the past 18 months, just because we won a series and paints the picture of English cricket that the ECB wants us to have. Actually, hang on, that’s what the National press does.

      Probably best pointing our learned friend towards Selvey, Newman and Pringle instead, then he can get as much pro ECB glorification as he wishes…


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2015 / 6:08 pm

        I gave that tweet two minutes more time than it deserved.

        He knows what he’s doing.


    • Mark Aug 9, 2015 / 6:35 pm

      This is priceless. If our troll stalker bothered to read your back issues for the last 2 years he would get an idea of where you stand on almost all cricket topics of the day.

      This sounds like another of those ” why can’t we all get along” speeches that we were subjected to after the India series last summer. Of course what they mean, and demand is abject surrender.

      In the words of The Rev Paisley……NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 9, 2015 / 6:43 pm

        Hoping my work colleague doesn’t see that last bit. I’d have preferred Churchill! Careful now.

        As for the meat of the comment. He’s read the blog and knows full well what is in it. He knew the old one, he knows this one. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, and debate is what makes the world go round, but this isn’t debate.

        There’s some implication, I feel, from people outside this community that I want something more than just a blog. I don’t. I really don’t. This is hard enough work, and the quantum leap to make a living out of it isn’t something I can do at middle age.

        Always said, if people want to listen and read, great. If you want to debate, fine. If you want to tell me what to write….. er. Hello.

        Tregaskis dealt with it in a much finer way than me.


      • thelegglance Aug 9, 2015 / 6:47 pm

        If he wants to comment on a post, he’s quite welcome to.

        I’m not interested in a 2,000 word post being reduced to a single open ended word on Twitter.

        However, nor am I in any way bothered by it.


      • Arron Wright Aug 9, 2015 / 6:48 pm

        The last guy to try and address that question was Lord Woolf, wasn’t it?

        Fat lot of good it did him or cricket.


      • Mark Aug 9, 2015 / 7:11 pm

        To balance up The Rev Paisley here is Dana from 1970. A bit more of the kind of world Mr Harris wants………

        Snowdrops and daffodils
        Butterflies and bees
        Sailboats and fishermen
        Things of the sea
        Wedding bells
        Early morning dew
        All kinds of everything remind me of you

        Seagulls and aeroplanes
        Things of the sky
        Winds that go howlin’
        Breezes that sigh
        City sights
        Neon lights
        Grey skies or blue
        All kinds of everything remind me of you.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. thebogfather Aug 9, 2015 / 5:56 pm

    A superb summing up from Leggy…
    However, despite having to agree that ‘our leader’ has shown some positivity at last (well, he did have about 30 tests practice…), it is still a worry when you consider the 400 run defeat at Lords…
    When we go to UAE and SA, we will not have conditions to suit us.
    This combined with tours planned for dollars not practice -( lack of warm-up games, back2back tests, multi discipline formats all crushed into one…) will devalue any advancement reached this summer.
    There still seems to be the need to bowl Jimmy into the ground (and will he even prosper in UAE?) and the squad for the Oval dead rubber match shows no invention in selection (a la WIndies ‘series’.
    But hey, KP is no longer the option (apparently) so break out the OBE’s and open top bus ride (hidden behind a paywall of course)
    As for the MSM… let them keep us smiling with their myopic hand shandy sharing…

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Aug 9, 2015 / 6:00 pm

      One thing missing still – I want Tests that are close, with both sides fighting into day 5, whoever wins, I want a contest

      Liked by 1 person

      • escort Aug 9, 2015 / 6:09 pm

        We all wish for that but the reality is very different.


      • d'Arthez Aug 9, 2015 / 6:25 pm

        Like the three Tests SA got in 2012? Oh no, we can’t have that!


      • d'Arthez Aug 9, 2015 / 6:33 pm

        Or the three Tests Sri Lanka got in 2011? They got rewarded for their efforts by getting all of two Tests in 2014, for their decent performance in 2011? While India got a fifth Test for the greatest ever performance by a visting team in 2011? Yeah, dream on TBF.

        Oh, and it may have escaped you, but there were only 3 years between those respective visits. Meanwhile South Africa, who had arguably the slightly superior performance to India, will have to wait another 4 or 5 years to visit England again. After all, that is what meritocracy is all about.


      • Mark Aug 9, 2015 / 6:48 pm

        It’s a cunning plan by the big 3 to enrich themselves and freeze out any talented team that has the temerity to become number 1 in the world, like South Africa did. Good luck, but we won’t be playing you, so your number one status will become irrelevent.

        I am going to very interested to see how our batting does in the winter. We know our bowlers will struggle without seam movement. Stokes might get some reverse swing going, and we might blast out a couple with the new ball. But I want to see how our batting does on pitches that are flatter. We didn’t bat very well at Lords on a flat pitch.


      • escort Aug 9, 2015 / 7:15 pm

        If you think meritocracy is the way forward then perhaps England should ask Australia to go home now. You cannot complain about the fixture list just because a team suddenly implodes and the cricket is one sided. It would be nice to think every series that is played will include a tied test or a 2 run victory or even a backs to the wall draw.


      • d'Arthez Aug 9, 2015 / 7:41 pm

        We have been getting dross from India, so let’s REWARD them.

        We have been getting good performances from Sri Lanka, so let’s PUNISH them.
        We have been getting excellent cricket from South Africa, so let’s IGNORE them.

        That is the meritocracy you are in favour of Escort. Fine with me, but then don’t complain that whatever dross is served up is not the stuff for the ages.

        The meritocracy comments hailed from the English Overlord Giles Clarke, who said that the Big three carve up was all about merit. Don’t complain about the crappy cricket, if you’re in favour of such sentiments.

        Liked by 1 person

      • escort Aug 9, 2015 / 7:56 pm

        All teams (except India) have signed up to the future tours program haven’t they? Your argument seems to be based on the better the performance of the visiting team the more games they get next time around.


      • d'Arthez Aug 9, 2015 / 8:21 pm

        In case you have not followed the ICC reforms: there is no FTP anymore. Just bilateral agreements; that they still call it FTP is more to fool the fans, than any actual commitment to a balanced schedule. If there was such a commitment, there probably should have been a visit from Bangladesh this decade.

        That is also why the Bangladesh Cricket Board was surprised that Pakistan and West Indies might get away with scheduling a tri-series to fight for the last Champions Trophy spot. It was all perfectly permissible under the new “scheduling regime” of the ICC.

        This basically means that those who do not have the financial muscle, will have to accept whatever the big boys throw at them (like asking South Africa to be four months straight in England in 2017). That is meritocracy ICC-style, fully endorsed by Giles Clarke.

        So for the period 2014 – 2019, the home seasons for England look like:

        May-June – Sri Lanka in England (2 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)
        June-September – India in England (5 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)

        May-June – New Zealand in England (2 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)
        June-September – Australia in England (5 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)

        May-June – Sri Lanka in England (3 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)
        July-September – Pakistan in England (4 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)

        May – West Indies in England (5 ODIs, 1 T20)
        May – South Africa in England (3 ODIs)
        June 1-19 – ICC Champions Trophy
        June-August – South Africa in England (4 Tests, 3 T20s)
        August-September – West Indies in England (3 Tests)

        May-June – Pakistan in England (2 Tests)
        June – Australia in England (5 ODIs, 1 T20)
        June-September – India in England (5 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)

        May – Pakistan in England (3 ODIs)
        May 30-July 15 – ICC Cricket World Cup in England (see also: Lord’s set to stage 2019 Cricket World Cup final)
        Another Ashes to conclude.

        Notice that Sri Lanka, get 5 Tests in total, both as warmups to the “big series” of the year. This despite a rather decent performance in 2011. New Zealand get 2 Tests. West Indies get 3 Tests in late 2017, Pakistan get 6 Tests, once as a warmup to an India series, and once as the main billing in 2016. 2019 is an odd year, due to the eternal 10-team World Cup.

        It looks like the ECB is slowly easing itself into hosting India every 3 years (2017 is not happening, because it would be quite hard to sell making South Africa wait for 6 years to have the honour of touring again. At least with Pakistan, there is the match-fixing “justification” to make them wait for 6 years.

        Also note, that the only year in which England do not have bilateral arrangements with Australia is 2016. The rest of the years either have yet another Ashes series, or yet another meaningless ODI series.


      • escort Aug 9, 2015 / 8:56 pm

        And what are the reciprocal fixtures?


      • d'Arthez Aug 9, 2015 / 9:26 pm

        November-January 2014 – England in Australia (5 Tests, 5 ODIs, 3 T20s)
        March – England in West Indies (3 ODIs, 3 T20s)
        March/April – ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh
        November-December – England in Sri Lanka (7 ODIs)

        January-February – England in Australia (Triangular Series)
        February-March – ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand
        April – England in West Indies (3 Tests)
        October-November – England in Pakistan (3 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)
        December-February 2016 – England in South Africa (4 Tests, 5 ODIs, 2 T20s)

        March 11-April 3 – ICC World Twenty20 in India
        October-November – England in Bangladesh (2 Tests, 3 ODIs)
        November-December – England in India (5 Tests)

        January-February – England in India (5 ODIs, 1 T20)
        February-March – England in West Indies (3 ODIs)
        November-January 2018 – England in Australia (5 Tests, 5 ODIs, 3 T20s)

        February-April – England in New Zealand (2 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)
        October-November – England in Sri Lanka (3 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)

        February-March – England in West Indies (3 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20)

        So England tour South Africa, after 5 years for 4 Tests. New Zealand after 5 years for the grand total of 2 Tests. Bangladesh has had to wait for 6 years, but probably have to wait for 12 years to tour England again (in 2022 possibly).

        Sri Lanka after 6 years, but at least for 3 Tests in 2018, though if my memory has not deserted me, that is in the rainy season, so could end up being quite similar to the BD-SA series of last month (or to the SL – WI series of a few years ago, held in the same months). West Indies after only 4 years. Pakistan after almost 4 years. Australia, India, after 4 years (not counting the rescheduled Ashes of 2013/2014, which of course meant a year less between the Australian Ashes.

        Another bit of history with regards to South Africa that needs to be remembered: both boards agreed that the series should be given “epic” status, and comprise of 5 Tests, after the 2008 series. We see plenty of evidence of that in this programme, namely none.

        Part of the scheduling issues are due to some teams having more or less the same cricket season (that is one of the reasons why Australia – New Zealand series are so scarce). But that is only a minor explanation. The length of tours is increasingly determined by the financial muscle of the other board, and thus the value of the broadcasting rights, rather than sporting merit.

        That is why there have been quite a few Pakistan – Sri Lanka series in the past few years. Those boards are locked out of the more lucrative tours, and thus more or less condemned to play each other more often.

        The ECB are not the only board engaging in this sort of scheduling behaviour. The BCCI and CA are just as guilty of this (eg. Sri Lanka only touring Australia in 2019 again, slightly more than 6 years after their last visit – but admittedly Sri Lanka were rather poor in the Tests when they visited in 2012).


    • escort Aug 9, 2015 / 9:55 pm

      but admittedly Sri Lanka were rather poor in the Tests when they visited in 2012). So you still think form should have a say as regards scheduling?


  9. thebogfather Aug 9, 2015 / 6:37 pm

    Dearly beloved…
    rest your heads and wait
    For surely tonight will flow Selfry
    On the G, to mass debate…
    Don’t worry or be scared
    Nor fret for he’ll surely delight
    With ambidextrous skills
    Hand in hand with Pring all night
    It may not be a moneymaker
    Nor a pure Sheep love shank
    But he’ll prove his worth as a faker
    As he shows the glow of a true ECB …plank


  10. man in a barrel Aug 9, 2015 / 6:40 pm

    I like this analysis because it is…analytical, something that is alien to the MSM and even such lofty intellects as Ed Smith. This team is very similar to the team of lasd year and yet it is obviously playing in a completely different style to the Downton-Flowers-Moores team – I refuse to call it a brand. The MSM and pundits have either not noticed it or refuse to say it, because that might mean their backing for Downton and co was ill-conceived.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Arron Wright Aug 9, 2015 / 6:43 pm

    By the way everyone. Major announcement. Adil Rashid bowls too slowly to succeed in Test cricket. In case you hadn’t picked up on this at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebogfather Aug 9, 2015 / 6:56 pm

      They’ll let him on the Oval field
      As a drinks carrier, his tray to yield
      But if he dare gets our leader’s drink wrong
      Then he’ll be returned to the county throng
      To join Footitt, Hales and Overtons times two
      (and those are only the recently abandoned crew)
      Not to mention Comps, Robson and Carberry
      All cast adrift on the DeerHunter ferry
      A twelve-bore thrust to their heads
      For not being sheep in a follow, with trust issue dreads…


    • BoerInAustria Aug 10, 2015 / 7:24 am

      Bowling too slowly:

      Wigmore in Cricinfo on Monty: “Panesar’s progress was not all smooth. He bowled too flat on occasions, especially early on, and his length became erratic later in the day. “At times when he gave it a little bit more air it did a bit more for him, but he’s obviously trying to make things happen quickly out of the surface so that’s probably why he was bowling as quickly as he did,” was the assessment of Surrey’s centurion Rory Burns.

      PS – Proud of Monty!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. SimonH Aug 9, 2015 / 7:41 pm

    I remember about fifteen years ago one of the political commentators (either Andrew Marr or Andrew Rawnsley I think) writing that what had happened to the Conservatives was ‘Portillo-ism without Portillo’.

    Portillo wanted the Conservatives to come to terms with the modern world. Most sensible Conservatives knew he was right – but they couldn’t accept the message because of the messenger. Somewhere, somehow they’d decided that he wasn’t “sound”. They struggled to itemize why. He was too flash, too in love with himself, too much part of celebrity culture, for some perhaps too foreign. It seemed all a little petty when it was set out like that – but, boy did they enjoy it when they got together and took him down a peg or two. Then they chose Iain Duncan Smith who was the soundest of fellows – and it was a disaster. All it took was some more needless misery and they were soon following Portillo-ism, sold this time by a different and more acceptable messenger.

    What we have now is starting to look like ‘Pietersen-ism without Pietersen’ with Downton as IDS…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Simon K Aug 9, 2015 / 8:12 pm

      I like this analogy a lot…


    • Mark Aug 9, 2015 / 8:20 pm

      I have just been reading Selveys column after the 3 rd test in December 2013 when England lost the Ashes. I know, I have a sad life. What’s interesting is how reasonable he sounds. What went wrong?

      “Flower will need to make a rapid assessment of which players he believes will be around and in a position to form the nucleus of the squad in 2015.

      These might include, from the Perth XI Cook, Joe Root, Ian Bell, Stokes, and Stuart Broad, perhaps with the addition of Anderson still, and Bresnan. Michael Carberry probably not. How Kevin Pietersen fits into this is hard to gauge but if his ambition is still there then so should he be.”

      So after Perth KP was still in..

      “Against that it is unlikely that Graeme Swann will play for much longer, if at all after this series (the inclusion of Stokes in the squad here was early acknowledgement of succession planning). From the remainder of the squad can be added Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Steve Finn, and Rankin.

      Beyond that, in the medium term, they will be looking at the likes of Sam Robson as a possible alternative to Carberry, Moeen Ali, Ben Foakes, Jos Buttler, James Taylor and young pacemen such as Essex’s Tymal Mills The only credible spinner is Monty Panesar, but Stokes’ presence does make that balancing act easier.”

      Selvey thought Flower would stay in situ, but then that was before it became 5-0. It all turned to shot after that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Aug 10, 2015 / 6:18 am

        He got too close, he got too comfortable. It affected his judgement. He listened to his friends exclusively and let critical judgement fall by the wayside.

        (This could be start of a contemporary novel)…He ventured below the line to take a peek at what his readers thought about him. Not that he cared, or so the thought. He liked it at first, it was like a glorious self-esteem generator, an echo chamber for his finer flourishes. Then something happened. He gulped, blinked twice. Surely not. No. Someone disagreed with his analysis…….


    • volkerelle Aug 10, 2015 / 3:09 pm

      Missed this before posting later. Never liked Portillo but the point is well made.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Zephirine Aug 9, 2015 / 7:54 pm

    “What we have now is starting to look like ‘Pietersen-ism without Pietersen’” Yes, I think that’s exactly what we’ve got, and a good thing too, though it would be nice if the originator was able to enjoy this progress personally in some way, shape or form.

    Great analysis, legglance, really excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Zephirine Aug 9, 2015 / 7:56 pm

    This is particularly good and needs saying whenever possible:

    “It isn’t vindication of the last two years because England didn’t play how they’d played over the last two years. Cook is to be thoroughly praised for his captaincy because he didn’t captain the side how he’d done so up to this point. That isn’t proof that those backing him as captain previously were right in any way, but it is a recognition that for whatever reason, he seems to have dramatically improved – something those supporting him didn’t demand he do.”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Northern Light Aug 9, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    Yeah, Cook was a much better captain this time. Big wow. He couldn’t get any worse, and he still smells peculiar as a human being, in my eyes.
    In other news, we won the Ashes and I don’t….actually….care. My first Ashes memory is sitting at home watching miracles happen in 1981 and assuming cricket was always like that. I’ve been waiting 34 years to be proved right. Still waiting. But not really caring anymore.
    That’s quite sad, if you think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SHERWICK Aug 10, 2015 / 7:57 am

      Miracles did happen again after 1981, in 2005.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. SimonH Aug 9, 2015 / 7:58 pm

    Maxie’s latest at TFT is a must-read.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. hatmallet Aug 9, 2015 / 8:36 pm

    Brilliant stuff as always, TLG. I’ve been in a field in Somerset since Sunday so am only just starting to watch the highlights. Though i did have enough internet access to follow what was going on.

    I was supposed to be at Trent Bridge today. Obviously didn’t happen! An unbelievable few days for English cricket.

    And as this article says so well is that the critics were right! England had to change. Personnel. Coaching. Captaincy. Tactics. Mindset. Media relations. New ball bowling. Fielding. Batting intent. So much has changed for the better – guess what, it worked! Pity it took so long for England to grasp it. Though many will deny it and just say they were right all along. Of course, much remains to be done, but it is nice to look forward to the winter series rather than dread them.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Mark Aug 9, 2015 / 9:01 pm

    On another topic, and I know this a cricket blog, but I look at football as where cricket is heading.

    Has there ever been a more hyped up start to a Premiership season where the performances have been so average? There is a fine line between promotion and desperation. Some of the Sky promotion has bordered on desperation. I keep thinking the public is going to pull the curtain away and see the Wizzard is just a man frantically pulling leavers and pushing switches. But back they come for more. All in their club shirts obediently bought from the club shop. Sky have paid a small fortune for the rights, and the public seems to just want to keep handing over their hard earned. There is apparamtly no limit on what people will pay.

    They lost me a long time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. metatone Aug 9, 2015 / 9:02 pm

    My prediction was way off – I had 3-1 to the Aussies.

    However, I fear the Lord’s result.
    It looks a lot like the lost series to SA at home, or the weird days when the pitches dried up in the last home Ashes series and we came close to losing.

    It says to me that we still have lessons to learn.
    I can hope that Bayliss will learn them – indeed, he’s the brightest spot in the whole story at the moment for me.

    Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Aug 10, 2015 / 9:04 am

        ****Scraps plan to start next post with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”…..****

        Liked by 2 people

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 10, 2015 / 9:09 am

        Most people know the story of the hare and the tortoise. But FICJAM has to embellish his piece with his 600 BC slave Aesop. He’s an essayist after all.

        We’re not worthy of such intellect.


      • thelegglance Aug 10, 2015 / 9:27 am

        Undoubtedly – but what I mean is that he’s padding out the article to get the number of words up by including irrelevance to try and look clever.

        We can all do that. I could write a fabulous piece about Jutland and use the Gefechtskehrtwendung of the High Seas fleet as a delightful analogy for claiming victory when you’ve been hammered, but I have a suspicion one or two might point out that I would be a pompous twat with nothing of value to say.

        Funny that.

        Liked by 2 people

      • hatmallet Aug 10, 2015 / 9:34 am

        As well as be pretentious, the fable analogy is just plain wrong. Cook, to his credit, changed. The tortoise realised he had to start running.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 9:43 am

        “THE MOB” again.

        He and MS really do compel me to restrain my language. I have utter contempt for him. He’d be straight in at no.2 in another poll.


      • SimonH Aug 10, 2015 / 9:52 am

        A reminder of how his own attempt at captaincy went:

        Of course it isn’t necessary to be personally good at something to have valid insights into it – but he does ask for this sort of thing with all his blazing pomposity.

        Then again I’m probably just “a pathetic populist trying to whip up support for a cod-Marxist student rally” (wow, that mask of moderation and reason really slips there……).


      • Mark Aug 10, 2015 / 9:58 am

        Where does one start with such a crock?

        “How sluggish and stubborn Cook appeared in contrast. According to the seasoned pundits,”

        Which seasoned pundits Mr Smith? Name them. Certainly none of your mates in the MSM

        “Couldn’t Cook see it was time to change the bowling, change the team, change direction?”

        But Mr Smith that’s exactly what England have done. Have you not listened to a word they say? Are you so dim you don’t understand what the word “new” means? A NEW brand of cricket? Did you not hear him praise the NEW players? Did you not notice the NEW chief executive? The NEW Head coach? The NEW bowling coach?

        “As Cook’s captaincy was ridiculed, not far beneath the surface lurked an old English conspiracy theory, always ready to rear up into familiar cliché. It was all an establishment stitch-up – so bayed the mob – the latest chapter in a game riven by class imbalances. Because Cook was polite and well-mannered, the product of a certain kind of education, he was obviously being propped up by a prejudiced hierarchy.”

        You obviously missed Giles Clark saying he was from the right type of family. But then you miss a lot don’t you Mr Smith?

        “The qualities that were once held against Cook now appear to sustain his moment of triumph. Stubbornness now emerges as resilience, steadiness is revealed as equanimity. Cook’s inability (or reluctance) to wrong-foot the media with clever diversion tactics now seems part of his strength.”

        Er, Ed you do know he admitted he had changed? He also admitted he was too stubborn? Sorry, are you even reporting from planet earth?

        “Cook has plodded along, sometimes feeling very alone but always under his own steam.”

        Yes of course he is alone because you, Selvey, Hughes, Pringle, Agnew, Newman, Brenkley, Gower, and every establishment toady have completely deserted him at his time of need.

        Mr Smith you are an idiot with a degree. You can write a million words littered with clever references, but you miss the point. You always miss the point. Your writing is like a chocolate teapot. Beautifully crafted with amazing detail, and finesse, but completely useless as a practical product.

        Liked by 2 people

      • thelegglance Aug 10, 2015 / 10:04 am

        Got to love the bit about it being an old conspiracy theory at the same time as Death of a Gentleman comes out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 10:05 am

        “polite and well-mannered, the product of a certain kind of education”

        It’s one of my favourite things about English society, the way these things are linked.


      • thebogfather Aug 10, 2015 / 10:41 am

        @HatMallet… and tortoises hibernate and hide when things get a bit cold…


      • paulewart Aug 11, 2015 / 8:00 am

        It was the best of times it was…….oh. Scrap that…..


    • lionel joseph Aug 10, 2015 / 10:20 am

      He’s gone mad.

      Fooled by randomness is a good book, despite being a synthesis of other peoples works, and Taleb’s occasional need to remind us how clever he is, but Ed Smith must be able to see that Cook’s method has changed, and to somehow incorporate some utterly abject instances of captaincy and write them off as noise, so as to construct some greater narrative with ends that ultimately justify the means is just plain retarded.

      It was obvious in that Kimber interview that he is losing all sense of what is ultimately right and wrong, instead preferring to over indulge himself in examining an argument for its cognitive biases and fallacies.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 11:11 am

      That Brearley/Grace comparison has already been trotted out a lot more often than the JWHT Douglas/Andrew Flintoff one…

      Cards on the table: I deeply resent him benefiting from having just a two-year gap between home series, so this particular record can be hammered down our throats without any reference to special circumstances.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. SimonH Aug 10, 2015 / 10:23 am

    “As players alone, there is little to choose between Clarke and Cook – after 100 Tests there was a spooky similarity between their two careers”.

    Except –
    Three more runs in career batting average.
    Three more runs in Ashes’ batting average.
    Four more centuries in home Ashes’ series.
    Twenty-seven (!) more in career batting average against the outstanding attack of their era.
    Six more runs in career batting average as captain.
    Two more innings in ‘Masterly Batting’s’ greatest 100 ever innings.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 10:30 am

      Sleight of hand: I think what he actually means is the spooky similarity between their careers, *aggregated*, and Tendulkar’s overall Test career. Wasn’t there a graphic showing how their Tests and runs at the time added up to Tendulkar’s total?

      Of course, he’s relying on no-one being as clever as he is and thus likely to spot that.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. metatone Aug 10, 2015 / 10:41 am

    A thoughtful BTL Aussie (bemusedfella) has pondered if Australia should be using the Duke ball.
    I’m not sure where I stand on that, but it reminded me that “home advantage” isn’t just about pitches and travel…

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Aug 10, 2015 / 11:09 am

      It’s actually a good point. With standardisation of DRS (except BCCI), pitches (generally, though overhead conditions and inherent weather provide challenges), TV companies deciding schedules, no real tour pre-match fine tuning games against counties/state sides etc, and T20’s overriding overseas experience… why is there a standardised ball ?
      (preferably a Dukes or similar)


    • Zephirine Aug 10, 2015 / 12:09 pm

      Ponting is also in favour of the Duke, or at least of Aus trying it out.

      In stark contrast to the faux-academic Smith, Ponting has turned out to be an excellent pundit, using unpretentious language precisely to convey his considerable knowledge and always scrupulously fair.

      Liked by 2 people

      • metatone Aug 10, 2015 / 12:38 pm

        Yes, I’ve really warmed to him as an ex-player.
        (And as an England fan, I loathed him as a player.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Aug 10, 2015 / 1:07 pm

        Me too! I hated him as Aus captain, though he was always impressively stoical in defeat.

        Liked by 1 person

    • BoerInAustria Aug 10, 2015 / 1:31 pm

      Will they be using the polite, well mannereed English Duke from a certain education, or that dasterdly cheap Duke ?

      Remember Scyld: “Almost two years have passed since Alastair Cook scored his last Test century. Another pair of failures here – 11 and 13 – has made it look as though his dire run is interminable.

      Cook, drawn half-forward to cover-drive, stabbed a low catch when England began their second innings 104 runs ahead. Opponents know exactly where and how to bowl at him, unlike in his golden youth when he reeled off Test centuries, 25 in all, the most for England.

      In this Test, however, there has been a very extenuating circumstance. The balls are of a peculiar manufacture at Test level, and the new ones in West Indian hands have boomeranged round corners. The finest Dukes ball has a recommended retail price of £85. On the verge of bankruptcy, the West Indies board opted for a cheaper version that swings wildly for 15 to 20 overs and then expires.”

      PS – Very interesting (serious) article on this topic:

      Liked by 2 people

      • metatone Aug 10, 2015 / 2:27 pm

        That stuff about cheap Duke balls was yet another low point of English Cricket Journalism in the Cook Era.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Mark Aug 10, 2015 / 10:46 am


    Your idea to start a piece with ……..”It Was the best of times, it was the worst of times” would be very appropriate for Ed Smith. He does seem to be projecting Marie Antoinette characteristics. His reference to the “Mob.” A certain disdain for the paying public was evident in his haughty outburst against DOAG. “let them eat cake” is not long from being dished out to the dissenters.

    One can only hope that the literal guillotine awaits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Aug 10, 2015 / 11:12 am

      Mark, while cake is what keeps TMS going, let the MSM succumb to choking on the crumbs

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Mark Aug 10, 2015 / 10:53 am

    By the way today should have been the start of day 5 of the 4 th Test match. It seems an age since Saturday morning, which gives a clue into how much cricket was lost. The Aussie coach was at the Stoke Vs Liverpool match yesterday. And that was only the 4 th day wiped out.

    I can sense an incoming Ed Smith essay on the Time Space continuum.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. thelegglance Aug 10, 2015 / 10:54 am

    Sorry all, you’ll have had notification about a new post which I accidentally put up rather than save to drafts. I’ve quickly deleted it, as it’s nowhere near finished.


    • thebogfather Aug 10, 2015 / 11:16 am

      so the literary intro for your sins has been binned? TheEssayist would never accede to such EDitorial whims


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 10, 2015 / 11:23 am

        I’ve seen it done many times by Cricket writers in the past few weeks. They seem to be trying to be Gideon Haigh. It’s indicative of a writer who is telling you “look hoi polloi, I read”. It’s being pretentious. It’s not big and it’s not clever.

        Nurse. My meds, please.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. volkerelle Aug 10, 2015 / 11:14 am

    Thank you, the best article, most thorough analysis and highest number of pertinent points I have seen so far. I have searched the MSM in vain for anything of the sort. Vic Marks comes a distant second to this one.
    Vic credits Cooks epiphany as seeing Root and Stokes counterattack successfully at Lord’s. But your more differentiating approach makes so much more sense.
    On Bayliss I reserve judgement until I see evidence of what he actually does. Extra slip catching practice was evidently needed but that does not earn him anything from me just yet. The UAE and SA tours will be much better markers. For the moment it is sweet to enjoy this result.
    It would ludicrous to expect this result after the recent past and even after the most recent turn about during the NZ series. That is the thing about Glen McGrath: he is no fool. What says time and again is “I expect Australian teams to go into each single match with the attitude to win it, so I am going to say 5-0.” Say, not predict, that is how I read it. He is not a broken watch that got the time right twice in the last few Ashes, nor is he into betting or astrology, but someone with a good attitude towards sports at the highest level. The Smith and Butcher comments were reflecting the state of English cricket post world cup and pre NZ series.
    One interesting historical essay following on from your piece would actually be this: I remember when Pietersen was made captain and Boycott said great, he’ll think outside the box, he’ll make the necessary adaption to the new style ODI and t20 world because he has seen it and embraced it. Obviously it was a short-lived experiment and England reverted to the schematic “bowl dots, bat time, wait for the bad ball, let scoreboard pressure do the rest” tactic. That mindset served Cook well because he bats like that, it’s what he is good at. But he recognised early in the piece that his batting makes sure England don’t lose. You need KP style batting to actually set up wins, hence “reintegration”. Now the young guys do it – and they certainly did not look to Cook and Trott as their role models. I think Hales made the point. Pietersen was the role model for that generation. Hence the offer of an advisory role, ridiculous as it was in the circumstances. He would have so much to offer to the younger batters – those denied a meaningful IPL education, at least.
    As far as I can see – and that is, admittedly, not very far – I don’t think Cook has worked out “his way” of captaining. He won the right tosses, lost the right tosses, his bowlers and his catchers came up trumps for him, his middle order and Moeen have bailed him out sufficiently often. And the Aussies helped him out big time, too. So a thoroughly splendid win. Simples, the rest is just propaganda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • volkerelle Aug 10, 2015 / 11:18 am

      sorry, shoddy typing, my bad.


    • thebogfather Aug 10, 2015 / 11:28 am

      Volkerelle – a pleasure to read your extended synopsis above – enjoyed it and some true home truths


      • volkerelle Aug 10, 2015 / 11:58 am

        Thank you, always enjoy your poetry!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine Aug 10, 2015 / 12:26 pm

      “Vic credits Cook’s epiphany as seeing Root and Stokes counterattack successfully at Lord’s.”

      That counterattack was one of those tectonic shift moments.
      And KP also makes a good point in his Telegraph piece, that Cook was at home watching the World Cup and therefore able to take in the other kind of cricket that was going on and what that ought to mean for his team.

      Combination of factors.

      Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 10, 2015 / 11:29 am

      Giles Clarke has never, ever been a “faceless bureaucrat”. If you don’t know who he is or what he does, you really haven’t been paying attention.

      Are you commenters deliberately poking me with these literary sticks?

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather Aug 10, 2015 / 11:48 am

        A pig in a poke?
        More Sheep’s pig in wolf’s clothing
        Dressed in Waitrose fat rashers, so loathing
        Grease dripping over all that he savours
        Oiled palms and brown browed flavours
        Of fat-filled back bacon from abroad
        Every word, we outside abhore
        Corrupt and un-tailored, unbespoke
        Thus over this prig, we continue to choke


      • Zephirine Aug 10, 2015 / 12:31 pm

        Clarke gets proper treatment later in the article though.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 10, 2015 / 12:33 pm

          Of course he does. But the contention is that people weren’t aware of who he was a few years ago.


    • metatone Aug 10, 2015 / 12:37 pm

      I have to say – and I may be being oversensitive due to being half-Indian – that I think all this “it’s India’s fault” really lets the ECB and CA off the hook. BCCI rich and alone would still need careful handling to prevent it distorting the game – but by joining up to this Big 3, the ECB and CA have enabled the insanity…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 12:50 pm

        Totally agree with this. Incenses me every time I see it. I used to like raje’s posts at the Guardian for precisely that reason. As I said on TFT earlier, the ECB has completely enraged me since 2012, not just because of DOAG, not just because of Pietersen and not just because of the carve-up.

        I linked the article before reading it, on the basis of Twitter positivity. I acknowledge it could be a lot better.

        Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Aug 10, 2015 / 12:40 pm

      Ian Herbert wrote some excellent pieces last year on Pietersen and of course the BCCI aren’t blameless – but he’s missed the point there. It’s odd how he realises what Giles Clarke is like but doesn’t link that into the wider role the ECB have been playing.

      Still a better piece on DOAG than anything that’s appeared in the Guardian (which isn’t saying much I know).


  26. Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 1:23 pm

    Tickers is having fun with the Ed Smith “vindication” meme:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 1:25 pm

      In the words of Jimmy Cricket, there’s more:

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 10, 2015 / 3:33 pm

        A person who will figure in a post I have drafted tweeted that he is “sick of 2005”. This same pillock is berating anyone not cheering hard enough. Oh and is egg on your face if you were pro-Kp. Obsessive.

        P.s. He said 10/11 was better than 2005. Just let that stand for one second.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SHERWICK Aug 10, 2015 / 3:39 pm

        To invoke Godwin: Hitler invading Poland doesn’t look so silly now England have won the Ashes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 5:09 pm

        I reckon loads of Floristas have decided 10/11 was better than 05. Or, at the very least, that the former team would beat the latter.

        I am at Broadway cinema in Nottm for DOAG tonight by the way. Will be in black work suit and light blue shirt if anyone’s there. I am much more polite and diffident in person than I come across on here!

        Liked by 1 person

  27. lionel joseph Aug 10, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    Am i right in thinking that Ed Smith has just suggested that Cook has only said he’s changed his captaincy style because of pressure from other people.

    If we’re going to have a look at sociology from the 1950s, perhaps Ed would be better off starting with Leon Festinger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lionel joseph Aug 10, 2015 / 1:52 pm

      Pressure on successful people to say they've "changed" – gives people they've proved wrong elegant escape narrative— Ed Smith (@edsmithwriter) August 10, 2015


    • thebogfather Aug 10, 2015 / 2:31 pm

      Ed will have to catch up on his reading and pilfering, he’s only on A for Aesop…


  28. metatone Aug 10, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    Terrible really, but just seen a post-match press conference with Lehmann and he was looking a lot like the Churchill Insurance mascot with his head movements… couldn’t help but find it amusing…


  29. SimonH Aug 10, 2015 / 3:20 pm

    Just dipped my toes into some Newman having avoided most of the press recently.

    I’ve been a Stokes’ fan from the off but “comparisons with Andrew Flintoff almost do him an injustice. He can be much better than Freddie” is possibly getting just a little carried away (and he was writing strictly about their bowling).

    But it is of course when he turns to those running the game that Newman comes into his own. Here’s his conclusion in all its unfiltered glory:

    “For now England, with their two young jewels in the crown, can be very pleased with where they are at as they contemplate what will be a celebration at the Oval ahead of two huge series against Pakistan and South Africa.
    That should also include figures like Paul Downton, who made mostly correct decisions in his time as managing director but ended up being hounded out of office, and former coach Peter Moores, who did a lot of good work with the younger players before missing out on coaching in the Ashes for a second time.
    Bayliss and Farbrace may have taken England to a new level and Andrew Strauss has proved more suited to the top job than Downton but that does not mean Downton and Moores were the failures some would have you believe.
    Alastair Cook stayed while all around him fell in those troubled 18 months and how lucky England are that the likes of Downton and Moores believed in him so much. This Ashes victory is redemption for all of them”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Aug 10, 2015 / 3:56 pm

      excuse me Simon, I need both a bath and a barf after reading that newman twaddle


    • Mark Aug 10, 2015 / 4:13 pm

      Talk about trying to fit the facts into his already decided narrative.

      If England win, its all down to Cook, if England lose its nothing to do with Cook. That, in a nutshell has been the vomit that has been served up by Newman and his charlatan mates for 2 years.

      I have never seen a captain so protected when he loses, and so eulogised when he wins. It’s not normal, and frankly it’s rather creepy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine Aug 10, 2015 / 4:29 pm

      hounded out of office Who did that then? Where was all this hounding? The man couldn’t get the job right, hounds were not required.

      Alastair Cook stayed while all around him fell in those troubled 18 months and how lucky England are that the likes of Downton and Moores believed in him so much. And how very, very lucky Alastair Cook was that he wasn’t required to take responsibility for his failures and resign as most captains would have been. And how mysterious it was that so many around him ‘fell’, often when they got in his way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 5:23 pm

      Oh you all knew it was coming. I certainly did, though even I am gobsmacked by the brazen attempt to rehabilitate Downton rather than admit even a tiny tiny blot on the ECB copybook. Why do you think some of us were so desperate for England not to win?


    • paulewart Aug 11, 2015 / 8:07 am

      You wonder how he can keep a straight face when he reads this back.
      18 wasted months.


  30. Mike Aug 10, 2015 / 3:56 pm

    Is that a parody, from Newman? Is he just deliberately trolling people now for a laugh?

    Jesus wept, what is it with these people? Why does everything have to be so triumphalist, so crowing in tone?

    It’s not bloody vindication for anything. They had to change, quite a lot, to get where they are, surely therefore by definition it can’t be vindication for the names listed?

    Satisfaction maybe? I mean genuinely I can’t actually make head nor tale of that piece of writing. It doesn’t make sense on any level.

    Why not instead write about the performance of the players that helped win, rather than the authority figures that run the game? Surely, individual performances by Root at Cardiff, Finn & Anderson at Edgbaston and Broad & Root at Trent Bridge were the big factor. Not Paul fucking Downton, I mean come on?!


    Liked by 1 person

  31. thebogfather Aug 10, 2015 / 4:01 pm

    Finn is on BBC5sportsX this afternoon, and is talking so eloquently about England and county cricket whilst summarising the Msex#Ssex match for the past hour- quite refreshing and impressive


  32. SimonH Aug 10, 2015 / 4:38 pm

    With thoughts turning to the winter tours, here’s an interesting table of England cricketers who appeared in most away wins:

    An always welcome reminder why many of us have so much affection for Nasser and Thorpe.


    • SimonH Aug 10, 2015 / 4:58 pm

      Here’s the table for players from all countries with most away wins:

      Over fifty players have won more away Tests than the highest Englishman. Seventeen are Australians including the top three. Clarke has played in 23 away Test wins as opposed to Cook’s 12 (didn’t hear any of the press boys mention that).

      It’s all grist to the mill that some of the claims about best in the world, best since Hutton, world’s biggest box-office attraction (that’s Newman on Stokes) etc are referring to players who have won one Test abroad. Can’t they just wait until that improves a little before jumping in the deep end?


      • SimonH Aug 10, 2015 / 6:18 pm

        Another way of looking at it – best away records in W/L ratio terms:

        The stalwarts of the 1980s West Indies, 1950s Australians, 1995-2005 Australians and current Saffers make up most of the leading figures.

        John Edrich had an incredible record – he only played in 3 overseas’ defeats (Ian Bell, for example has played in 25).


      • SHERWICK Aug 10, 2015 / 7:00 pm

        Poor Belly 😦


      • Zephirine Aug 10, 2015 / 8:54 pm

        “Ian Bell, for example, has played in 25.”

        And it feels like after every one of them he’s been wheeled out in front of the cameras to say it was a bad day at the office but England had to take the positives.


  33. pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 10, 2015 / 6:18 pm

    Surely the fact that England have been noticeably different as an outfit since the start of the New Zealand series and have started to play a far more positive style of cricket is vindiction for those who wanted to see real change? Have we truly got what we wanted? No, one comfortable victory against an Aussie side who hit the reverse button after a comprehensive Lord’s victory has considerable echoes of India’s meek surrender from the 3rd test onwards. Of course in this country so many folk live and die for English cricket solely on how we do against the Aussies, conveniently forgetting the standard of cricket provided by this outfit. If the Aussie side up until the mid noughties wasn’t unlike the Barcelona football team of the last 10 years, the mob that came across this year were more like my 5 a side team that has got relegated two seasons in a row. I’m even more blameless than Cook because I have been crocked the last 10 months!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Mark Aug 10, 2015 / 6:40 pm

    I would expect better from Angus Fraser

    ” Criticism of Cook, Strauss and Whitaker has been harsh and personal,” said Fraser.
    Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, former England pace bowler Fraser added:

    “There’s a bit of anger. But there is also huge satisfaction. I’m delighted for Cook and Strauss, who took a lot of stick for the decisions he made.”

    It’s lile America in Vietnam , declare victory and leave. Angus you just beat the worst Australian team to ever come to these shores. you have proved nothing, and justified nothing.


    • SHERWICK Aug 10, 2015 / 7:30 pm

      Don’t expect better from anyone and you’ll live a happy life! 🙂


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 10, 2015 / 8:19 pm

        It’s a bloody script. They are all in on it. Notice how these berks weren’t so fucking quick coming forward after the World Cup. Shoved Idiot Downton and Peter Moores out to face the bloody music.

        Success has many parents, but failure is an orphan.

        Liked by 1 person

    • pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 10, 2015 / 7:31 pm

      Seriously what the ****? A director of whatever the blazes he is manages to takes
      the credit for saying that someone who hadn’t played for 18 months would continue to not be considered for selection was part of a successful masterplan, lol! Of course it was only a couple of weeks ago that said director’s role in asking for all the grass to be taken off the Lord’s pitch to negate any pace,bounce or sideways movement seems to have been swept under the carpet. In any case Fraser is hardly going to have a go at another Middlesex man who is in effect his overseer.

      As it goes it seems to ignore that apart from one man the specialist England batsmen have hardly been brilliant for England in this series, in fact mediocre would be the most apt description. Not that I’m suggesting that if Pietersen had played he would have necessarily done a great deal better, of course you will never know. But it seems to ignore the factual reality of England’s overall record this series.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 10, 2015 / 8:13 pm

        This is beyond hilarious. There wasn’t a journalist who watched Downton “seize the message” after the World Cup exit (remember that) who didn’t think he was absolutely out of his depth and had to go. Now he’s being praised for carrying out Giles Clarke’s hit? Lord almighty. This is hilarious. Actually, no it isn’t!

        I’ve not brought up you-know-who as much as I could do because England fans can celebrate this win without referring back to 18 months ago. This is partially a new team. The key performers pre-date that sesimic shift – Broad, Anderson, Finn, Root and if you want a laugh Cook – and yet you sense, still, there’s a gaping hole in the middle order that could be filled. Bairstow has earned his chance, but are we confident. No. That name must never be mentioned again, despite his career, and instead we try to big up an incompetent establishment stooge because he was Giles Clarke’s sockpuppet and did what he was told.

        Turn it in, Newman.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Aug 10, 2015 / 10:14 pm

      Fraser, Strauss, Downton, Ed Smith, Selvey.

      Why, if it isn’t the easiest round of ‘Only Connect’ ever.

      Liked by 2 people

      • paulewart Aug 11, 2015 / 8:16 am

        If Pringle attended the same Cambridge college as Selvey then we’re in 6 degrees of separation territory: Gooch, Flower, Cook.


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