Open Thread

I said on Twitter earlier that I was taking another night off, and at the moment, I’m not sure what to write even if I did. Real life is a bit of a grind, and I’m incredibly disheartened by the aftermath of the Ashes.

As you all know, I go through these little troughs, and I pop back up. So be patient, and I’m sure TLG might fill in some gaps when he has time.

So in the absence of something to hang your hats on, please comment away on all things cricket below.

See you shortly.

Dmitri / LCL

80 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. thebogfather Aug 14, 2015 / 8:24 pm

    Chin up, beers down, take a break until the coronation next week…

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  2. Tony Bennett Aug 14, 2015 / 8:39 pm

    How to fill a gap. Think about which spinners England will take to the UAE. Are there any Lancs supporters out there who can vouch for Simon Kerrigan? His figures in FC this year are 30 wickets at 29, at an economy rate of 2.77, and those aren’t at all bad.

    It seems that the chances of Monty Panesar making it are very slim, but he made a useful reappearance for Essex recently, and has four CC matches to stake a claim. How would he fit in the new vibrant young England? I would put the odds against his recall at 50 to one.

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    • Sean B Aug 14, 2015 / 8:59 pm

      I personally wouldn’t take either of them. Kerrigan has a dodgy action, which means that if he is put under pressure, then it falls apart and Monty just won’t be picked again, like it or not.

      It’s a big conundrum and it’s a shame that Adam Riley doesn’t seem to have fulfilled his promise (can’t get in a struggling Kent team at the moment) think they’ll pick Rashid and Tredwell, even if the latter shouldn’t be anywhere near test cricket. Would like to see a Mason Crane or a Ravi Patel given a chance, but both are young and not playing regularly either. We simply have no decent spinners in county cricket. IMO that’s a lot to do with the type of pitches our county pro’s play on but that’s a discussion for another time

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      • metatone Aug 15, 2015 / 6:30 am

        I think it’s a good discussion for any time.

        I keep hearing Ansari bandied about.

        It will be interesting if they try out Rashid at the Oval. If not, surely they will give him a game in the UAE. I think they love Moeen batting at 8 as well, really makes life harder for opposition bowlers, so even in the UAE, I doubt the 3rd spinner in the squad will get a game.

        Well, I say that, but of course in reality, if Rashid is the 2nd spinner and he doesn’t amaze in his first game, they may well drop him again, knowing England.

        It’s not just the pitches in CC, it’s also the attitude. We’ve wasted years of Asian cricketers coming through the grassroots because we didn’t know how to coach spin – invariably county coaches would prefer an obedient youngster with a textbook approach over some youngster with big ideas of being the next Qadir or Bedi.

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  3. SimonH Aug 15, 2015 / 5:43 am

    Three quick wickets down in Galle – the nightwatchman LBW, Rohit Sharma bowled by a pearler from Herath and Kohli brilliantly caught at short leg.

    130 wanted or six wickets. India becalmed, Lankans pumped. Great stuff.

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    • d'Arthez Aug 15, 2015 / 6:05 am

      Dhawan gone now as well. 60/5, with only Rahane of the specialist batsmen left. The target still 116 runs away.

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    • d'Arthez Aug 15, 2015 / 6:10 am

      Saha, the wicketkeeper goes now. 65/6, and India seem to have thrown away the game. Of course, mention needs to be made of the dreadful umpiring throughout the game.

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      • metatone Aug 15, 2015 / 6:21 am

        I haven’t been able to watch any of the game – just following the scorecard updates – what’s been going on with the umpiring?

        I think India are sunk, Kaushal has ably backed up Herath who is on another hot streak…

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      • SimonH Aug 15, 2015 / 6:21 am

        Like Harbhajan being given out caught when he missed it by six inches?

        67/7.

        Five-for for Herath who after a wicketless first innings and being dropped in the previous game was very much playing for his place here.

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      • metatone Aug 15, 2015 / 6:22 am

        7 down – Rahane and Ashwin are India’s last hope – get either one soon and SL will be confident of victory.

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    • d'Arthez Aug 15, 2015 / 6:25 am

      Harbhajan Singh goes to Herath as well. 5-fer for Herath.

      67/7, with Rahane and Ashwin at the crease. The last two remaining batsmen with a proven international record. Mishra has a domestic double ton though, but it is doubtful he and Aaron can last that long on this pitch against this spin attack.

      I am fairly certain that Rohit (aka Nohit) Sharma and Harbhajan Singh will be under a lot of selectorial pressure. The former for consistently batting poorly (he was outbatted by Steyn in South Africa too). The latter for simply not getting enough bowling results. It is not like his domestic bowling was all that great. He has simply been recalled for his experience, rather than anything else. Varun Aaron is just too expensive and wayward (18-0-107-2).

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      • metatone Aug 15, 2015 / 6:42 am

        India have to persist with Aaron and Yadav – they need some quick bowlers – and while Ranjit pitches have gotten more seamer friendly in general, I’m not confident of the coaching.

        Both would benefit from some time in another country – Aus, SA, even English CC you suspect (although stay away from Bluffborough) but between the IPL money and the pressure cooker around Indian selection, it’s hard to see either of them taking that season out to do it…

        As such, it’s an ugly situation but India will continue to have to develop a Test side on the hoof.

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      • metatone Aug 15, 2015 / 6:45 am

        As an aside, I thought Harbhajan was a nonsense pick – better to have gone with an up and comer like Gopal.

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      • SimonH Aug 15, 2015 / 7:14 am

        Hi Meta, my thoughts on the umpiring:

        I make that eight clear errors in the match so far by Umpires Llong and Oxenford. Llong was responsible for the two LBWs and both have made bat-pad mistakes. The most important (although probably the most difficult) was when Chandimal (on 5*) gloved a sweep into his grill and was ‘caught’ at backward short leg. The fielders all knew but it wasn’t given.

        It’s undoubtedly been the toughest type of match to umpire with plenty of turn and lots of bat-pad incidents. That said, there shouldn’t be so many errors at this level. There’s no DRS of course but replays only seem available for line decisions or if the ball carried which is crazy. With Harbhajan’s dismissal they were checking if it carried but not if he hit it which he clearly didn’t. You don’t need ball-tracking or hot spot for most of these – simple slow-mo from different angles would be enough.

        (Cricinfo gathered together six of the mistakes – I posted a link at the end of a previous thread or you can see it direct on their website. You can also see the Herath dismissal through the link on their scorecard which looked a definite error and I’m not sure whether Kaushal was out either – he might have hit the ground. Harbhajan’s dismissal will apppear there shorly).

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      • d'Arthez Aug 15, 2015 / 7:17 am

        Yadav, yes.

        But Aaron gets picked only because he has pace. He is way too erratic at the moment.

        Some of his stats in international Test cricket: 178.1 overs bowled, only 11 maidens. An average of nearly 55, an economy rate of nearly 5 (4.91), and a SR that is not too impressive (66.8). You’d be more forgiving if the SR was at least on the right side of 60, but he barely picks up 1.5 wicket / innings. You’d be more forgiving if his economy rate was on the right side of 4. This is simply not good enough.

        It is not like his star has brightly shone in any particular game he played. Best bowling figures of 3/97, and the only teams he has sub-50 averages against are Bangladesh (1/27), and WI (3/129). The only team he is bowling at less than 4 / over was Bangladesh (9 overs, 27 runs conceded).

        I know this is a small sample (he has bowled in 7 Tests now). But still, the naked stats are not promising. And those who have seen him play were not too impressed either.

        The figures for Yadav are: 375 overs bowled, 43 maidens (about 11%, double that of Aaron), an average of 38, an economy of 4.36, a SR of 52.3. Takes about 1.8 wickets / innings he bowls in.

        Do players really get better from playing poorly in Test after Test? It is not like it is a complete mystery why Aaron is so expensive.

        I’d stick with Yadav, and tell Aaron to play domestic cricket in England / Australia / South Africa as you suggested. Problem is that with the rules on foreigners, who would want to pick him? It is not like there are no Englishmen / Australians / South Africans who can bowl better than him.

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      • d'Arthez Aug 15, 2015 / 8:00 am

        Simon, with regards to the Harbhajan dismissal this innings, it seems to have been a pad-bat catch.

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      • SimonH Aug 17, 2015 / 2:32 pm

        Fair play D’Arthez, I’ve seen the Harbhajan dismissal from another angle at last and it was a bat-pad.

        When I saw it originally I didn’t see any deflection plus the batsman looked disgruntled at the decision – I should’ve known not to read much into the latter!

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  4. d'Arthez Aug 15, 2015 / 8:08 am

    Sri Lanka win the game, by 61 runs. Great effort from Herath. But MOM should be Chandimal (even if India had cantered home by 6 wickets Chandimal should have been MOM).

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    • d'Arthez Aug 15, 2015 / 8:09 am

      63 runs. My counting abilities are on the decline.

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      • SimonH Aug 15, 2015 / 8:38 am

        That was some Test match. The quality of cricket being played outside the Big Three at the moment is almost as if someone was trying to tell Giles Clarke something.

        An incredible turnaround by the Lankans who were -187 with 7 wickets left at one stage. They also couldn’t defend 377 in their last Test. Chandimal’s innings was an all-time great. Herath was getting a lot more body into his bowling than he had been (whether his body, especially his knees, can stand the strain remains to be seen). They fielded brilliantly and Mathews generated real intensity in the field.

        The lack of ticker in this Indian team should be a real concern for them. They missed Vijay and he’ll probably return for Rohit (who got the only unplayable ball in the innings today). They were incredibly passive and much of the blame for that must go on Dhawan who didn’t score for his first 35 balls this morning

        Srini’s revenge will no doubt be long and remorseless – just a question of who he decides to extract it on..

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      • Mark Aug 15, 2015 / 8:55 am

        The lack of ticker is becoming a feature of all the so called Big 3. Particularly away from home. However this does not matter to the governing elites because only home fans are important. They buy the merchandise. Everything else is subsidised by TV rights deals.

        But this is not surprising when the system has been gerrymanded to protect you. Making money rather than winning matches is now the prime adjective.

        It’s the modern falacy that the more you pay people at the top the better they become. This theory only works for certain people and at some point they have enough money not to be bothered.

        Bankers, Enron executives, AIG executives, premiership footballers, politicians. Increasingly the more you pay them the worse they get.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. SimonH Aug 15, 2015 / 11:30 am

    Anyone watch the T20 at New Road yesterday and have any thoughts about what went on? (A fielder was hit in the face on the boundary, indicated he hadn’t seen the ball and they went off because of ‘dangerous’ conditions)

    It seems incredible that a match in what the ECB want to be their flagship domestic competition can be scheduled to start at 17:30 at this time of year on a ground with no floodlights (anyone know why there weren’t any?). Did the crowd get any sort of a refund? Not that that makes it okay – they can’t refund people’s time or their traveling costs.

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    • LordCanisLupus Aug 15, 2015 / 11:35 am

      Some say the ECB ordered it to be started then for TV purposes. Some say Sky wanted it then for their own purposes. Some said Worcestershire wanted it then too.

      Bad weather, bad cloud cover happens anywhere, any time.

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      • MM Aug 16, 2015 / 8:31 am

        Ah, I’ve found this thread now. My computer’s got a bad bookmark or summat. Or I’m a bit dim.

        Agreed, bad weather and bad cloud can happen but if the start time is a Worcestershire choice it sucks long and hard. After 7pm it’s dark for amateur cricket in August, never mind for professionals. You’re crossing your fingers you win the toss and the oppo don’t have their D/L charts on the laptop.

        Whoever made the decision to start the match at 5-30pm, it was Worcestershire who assumed or risked that it would be light enough without temporary floodlights. Looking at the weather forecast, bad light – at the very least – was always going to be an issue. Perhaps they were banking on it being washed out.

        Basically, crap decisions.

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  6. LordCanisLupus Aug 15, 2015 / 1:38 pm

    Reviewing some of my old stuff today. Wrote this about this time last year:

    It has been a tough summer. At times I’ve not wanted this team to do well. In my lifetime I cannot remember feeling such antipathy towards a national team. I have not had such anger at the powers that be. I have not been so enraged by a supine media. Agnew acts as if this is a surprise, triggered by one decision. But it isn’t. It is Stanford, it is not a proper review of the Ashes. It is annointing Downton as impressive when he hid for two months, and then had a disastrous interview for which he had to apologise. It is Giles Clarke telling us, dismissively, to move on and generally acting like a deceitful arse. It is the ICC stitch up will mean more series like India and less series like Sri Lanka. It is the airbrushing of the Sri Lanka series as an unfortunate loss. It is the airbrushing of a whitewash deemed to be down to Johnson and Haddin. It is the continued presence of Andy Flower. It is forgetting the sabotage of the World T20 over one player. It is bowling Stuart Broad into an operation. It is playing Matt Prior when he clearly isn’t fit. It is the over-use of “stakeholders”. It is ticket prices. It is Sky’s exclusivity. It is the ominous silencing of certain TV pundits because “something must be done”. It is analysts twisting in the wind to suit the circumstances. It is John Etheridge’s story about KP handing back the gifts. It is Paul Newman’s story about Ian Bell on a bonding exercise. It is Selfey flouncing out from Twitter, only to return, having called us fringe idiots. It is Tim Lovejoy sticking two fingers up at us and thinking £20 was the going ticket price… and it is more, much more. Fear of talent (Hales, Buttler), leaking, cosy media relations, self-congratulatory clap trap like Sky’s 200 tests…. If it weren’t that I love the SPORT so much, I’d be done with it. A day at Guildford, or the Royal London game at Lord’s salves a lot of wounds. But I can’t see me returning to a test match any time soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BoerInAustria Aug 15, 2015 / 4:11 pm

      You have been calling it all along. As the great lady said – A luta continua:

      Ps. Look after yourself.

      Like

  7. Mark Aug 15, 2015 / 3:01 pm

    Wait till you have seen the Oval next week.

    It has the potential to be the most hideous sporting event in English history. There are no limits to how crass and pompous they can make it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan Aug 15, 2015 / 8:05 pm

      Pick from any of the following:

      Cooks redemption ends in victory

      Cooks historic ashes win ends in victory (no idea why they are calling this test series historic already, anyone else?)

      Cook wins back the ashes for England

      Cooks England end on a high

      Cook the master captain

      Cooks team can be world beaters

      Cook targets world number one test spot

      How captain Cook can test Pakistan and South Africa

      Cooks England can dominate future ashes

      How Cook turned around this young England team

      Cook is one of the greatest ashes captains!

      Cook shows Clarke how to do it

      Whatever they choose, and I am sure they will go with the Cook angle, it will be sickeningly sacharrin sweet on Cook, over the top and biased beyond belief.

      I try my best to take enjoyment from the young players and how they perform, but the Cook stuff makes it very hard. Especially when it is so prominent across all MSM and is repeated ad nauseum, so that it becomes a commonly held belief by the general public. That is the great sadness of it all and the majority just believe what they are told and don’t think to check the credibility or providence of the source.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 15, 2015 / 7:54 pm

    Been away for a couple of days so only just clocked this thread. I see comments about India’s collapse in Sri Lanka and the disparity in quality of recent “Big 3” performances so well done there.

    Dmitri/LCL, of course the other side of the debate just sees a home Ashes victory as a sign that all is well in the world completely ignoring several series of mediocrity in both test and ODI cricket. They also overlook the fact that bar Joe Root, the rest of the specialist England batting line-up has been poor. For me I have enjoyed the performances of the England quicks, but even as someone who has wanted to see Australia come unstuck, I was furious at the Aussie batting as I saw it as an affront to test cricket in the last 2 games.

    As a fan I felt short changed going to the Oval last year when I thought India’s bottle had gone and their effort was little short of pathetic in that game. However their efforts were not worse than Australia’s and in all truth not worse than England’s dreadful performance with the bat down under. I neglected to buy tickets for the Ashes this year not least because it was the 3rd Ashes series within two years. My live test cricket this year has been restricted to the 5th day of the Lord’s test v New Zealand. I should point out that through mates I would have ended up going to the 5th day of the Lord’s test but another batting collapse from England stopped that!

    I remember seeing an article by Michael Jeh going on about Australia’s capability of taking 20 wickets in all conditions after they had stuffed the Windies (unlike England of course) but failing to recall that despite possessing what is still a good bowling attack, their batting had come spectacularly unstuck only as recently as last October in the UAE. Of course too many English journalists seem rather forgetful of recent travails of the England team also. I have to admit that I worry about test cricket greatly if supposedly the biggest custodians continually serve up such dross.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Aug 15, 2015 / 8:14 pm

      20 wickets in all conditions? How did that go in India in 2013? The UAE in 2014? Granted they took 20 wickets in that latter series. Albeit in two Tests combined.

      England of course have now played 14 Tests at home, and only 3 away (in the West Indies, not exactly the sternest of opposition) since the “difficult winter”. Home advantage is massive. As many people will suddenly discover when England play in the UAE. Pakistan are the only team to be undefeated at “home” in the past 3 years. All other sides, Australia, India and South Africa included, have suffered home series losses. And we know how easy England found it to defeat Australia in 2013/2014, right? To expect Pakistan to roll over and just die a pitiful death, seems a bit on the optimistic side. But to the Pringles of the world, that is “business as usual”.

      All these journalists are increasingly stuck in the present, and hence they leave out the inconveniences of AWAY games (barring the odd occasion that the away team actually wins, like England in India in 2012). Undoubtedly it is partly due to recycling the same old tired and often mediocre sides, and billing them up as the best Test side ever, to visit the home shores (whether that is England, India or Australia).

      Liked by 1 person

      • pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 15, 2015 / 8:44 pm

        They haven’t even analysed that or even got close to analysing it, which is beyond pathetic. However our media is great at spin, unlike England’s present bowling resources or our batting’s likely ability to play it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Aug 15, 2015 / 11:52 pm

      “The Andrew Strauss side that dominated world cricket”? Oh please, he is even worse than Pringle.

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      • d'Arthez Aug 16, 2015 / 7:31 am

        Since Cook seems to be living in a different world than mine, I’d like him to remind him of the actual happenings in Strauss’ era.

        “Dominate world cricket.”

        Lose in the West Indies. The only major side other than New Zealand in 2012 which achieved that heroic feet of unbridled dominance in 2009.

        Sure England took “revenge” against West Indies at home, by whitewashing them in a two-Test series. Bear in mind that the only time that West Indies drew a Test series on the road against major opposition since drawing a 2-Test series in New Zealand in 2008/09, is when the luminaries in the WICB and SLC decided that Tests ought to be played in the monsoon season. The last time West Indies won a Test on the road against major opposition was 2007. Before then, we have to go back to 2000.

        Win the Ashes at home. Barely but still. Let’s bear in mind that since Warne and McGrath retired India for example have defeated Australia three times at home as well, and two of those victories were whitewashes too. But if we limit ourselves to the post-Warne era up to Strauss’ retirement, India’s record at home against Australia reads: P6 W4 D2. Clearly a poor record compared to England’s P5 W2 L1 D2.

        Draw in South Africa in 2009/2010. Yeah, and Australia went one better and win in 2009. Never mind the fact that the last time Strauss beat SA was in 2004/2005. Cook is so great that he has not even bothered to achieve it anywhere. But since then there was an Ashes whitewash (2006/07), so I presume that this is before the era of “England dominance of world cricket”. Or do away results not count? Since then it is P11, W2 L5 D4. With the sole dead rubber in those 3 series going England’s way, under captain Pietersen. Two of the draws were dominating draws by the last England pair … The record of a domineering team by Strauss. 2 of the 3 series were at home too.

        Beat Bangladesh at home. No one had ever done that before, against a team that approximately loses 65% of all its Tests. Beating Pakistan at home was a good effort, but it is not like Pakistan are that hard to beat away from the comforts of home. Australia and South Africa have whitewashed them too since then (Pakistan have won 2 series away since the Ashes of 2006/07. Against New Zealand in 2010/11, and against Sri Lanka just a few months ago). The attention obviously got deflected from the actual proceedings, due to the spot-fixing corruption.

        The Ashes in Australia. Good demolition job, but it is not like a) Australia were at their best b) no one had beaten Australia in Australia in the preceding years. Sri Lanka 1-0, in which Sri Lanka did not really embarrass themselves, even though they should have drawn the first Test.

        Then to highlight their dominance in the World Cup of 2011, Strauss all-conquering team ran into a minor glitch, and after displaying Robin Hood-esque charity to the Irish and Bangladesh, they somehow managed to lose a close game to Sri Lanka by 10 wickets, and 63 balls. It was so historic, that no one in the audience dared to leave early. But hey, minor accidents happen, and it did not stop England from lifting the trophy, did it?

        A dismal Indian side was whitewashed (they enjoyed it so much they were quite obliging to repeat that in Australia 5 months later). Shaun Marsh could average 2.75 in that latter series at #3 (worst ever performance by a #3 in a series), and Australia were still comfortable winners. And I don’t think ANYONE is going to argue that S. Marsh is an all-time great. Then again, the English cricketing press …

        To celebrate their dominance England gave away all their Tests against Pakistan like it was a charity sale. How generous. Then the traitor saved a Test series in Sri Lanka, but since he ought to be removed from history, I am really not sure what to make of the scorecard. N.N. scored 151. Some might think that was a useful knock, especially since the next highest score in the innings was 94.

        Then there was this heroic display of bowing dominance not seen before in the history of Test cricket, which culminated in the greatest bowling display ever: 637/2d. England were so dominant that they could afford to bowl like crap there, and still be the dominant side in world cricket. It has to be said, they batted even better than they bowled.

        Strauss’ England was so dominating, that it could not but fail in the minor inconsequential task of keeping the peace in the dressing room. Text-gate, @KPGenius, and a whole bunch of other stuff, which made it to the public domain – undoubtedly because the ECB are generous, fair and just, in everything they do. Just ask St. Alastair when he was reflecting on the highly successful World Cup campaign of 2015. Or you could ask the likes of Compton, Carberry, Pietersen, Panesar, … Bear in mind that they are habitual liars, because they have some not so nice things to say about the glorious ECB, and its practices.

        Oh, and for those who want to know: as a captain, Flintoff averages more with the bat against Australia than Cook. Only Atherton has gone more innings against Australia at home than Cook, without scoring a ton (Atherton has the better average too). Across all matches against Australia (min 5 matches), Cook has the 38th best average for England. Ranjitsinhji for instance is more than 6 runs / completed innings ahead of him, and let’s just say, that few among us will have had the fortune to see Ranji bat. Even the much derided Ramprakash is a full 4 runs / completed innings ahead of our Lord and Saviour.

        As for greatest opener ever in the game of cricket? I am sure that Hobbs and Sutcliffe should be in contention for that AHEAD of St. Alastair, Patron Saint of the Self-Absorbed and Acts of Backstabbery. And I am not even going to throw in the Gavaskars, Graeme Smiths, and a whole host of others who are more worthy of consideration that Alastair.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Aug 16, 2015 / 2:47 pm

        Much is made of Cook’s past as a choirboy, but he was a boarder at choir school from the age of eight. I’ve always thought he’s a typical ‘early boarder’, see psychotherapist Nick Duffell ‘s work on the subject: My studies show that children survive boarding by cutting off their feelings and constructing a defensively organised self that severely limits their later lives. … Prematurely separated from home and family, from love and touch, they must speedily reinvent themselves as self-reliant pseudo-adults.
        Paradoxically, they then struggle to properly mature, since the child who was not allowed to grow up organically gets stranded, as it were, inside them. In consequence, an abandoned child complex within such adults ends up running the show.

        http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jun/09/boarding-schools-bad-leaders-politicians-bullies-bumblers

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      • BoerInAustria Aug 16, 2015 / 3:06 pm

        Thank you Z. Fascinating reading.

        I also liked this:

        “Strategic survival has many styles: bullying is one; others include keeping your head down, becoming a charming bumbler, or keeping an incongruently unruffled smile in place..”
        ´
        Take your pick…

        Like

      • Arron Wright Aug 16, 2015 / 4:22 pm

        Pringle memorably described early boarding as “an experience that can break lesser men”, or something similar. Pretty sure the article – from summer 2014, of course – is on HDWLIA.

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    • Arron Wright Aug 16, 2015 / 7:51 am

      When was this “thrilling” series he keeps banging on about? I missed it.

      “This is not a poor me thing, but…” made me laugh. Has anyone counted the first person pronouns in this article?

      And there’s some revisionism squared in there too. I particularly liked the linking of Moores’s second sacking to his first and the “KP affair”. Never mind the results, never mind the World Cup.

      And this is not the first time Cook has credited the world and his wife, but failed to mention Eoin Morgan, is it? Also fascinating how little reference there has been to the bloke with a series batting average twice that of anyone else in the side.

      Like

    • thebogfather Aug 16, 2015 / 8:25 am

      Me,Me,Me,Me,Me,Me,Me,Me,Me,Alice,Me,Me,Me,Me,Me,Me,Moorsey,Me,Me,Me,Me,KP saga,Me,Me,Me,Me,Me…

      Me? I want to puke…

      Like

      • BoerInAustria Aug 16, 2015 / 9:30 am

        Here a summary of the interview:

        ‘I, I , we, me, me, I, my, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Strauss, I, me, me, Bayliss,I, KP affair, English cricket, I, me, my family “poor me,” I, I, we, I, my, I, I, I, my, I, I, England, I, Moores, me, me, he (Moores), my wife Alice, me, I, Peter, he ,English cricket, senior players, I , KP affair, Andrew, Moores, director of cricket, us, Peter, Peter Moores, Peter, I, I, me, my, I, me, I, I, me, I, my, the side, me,The Andrew Strauss team, I, Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Mo Ali ,Mark Wood, I, my, I, those players, those in charge, we, our bowlers, we, we, We. Farbrace, we, Farby, Trev, Farby, Trev, Trev, I, Bayliss.”

        PS – Downton, take note: “No smart man would come in and bulldoze his way through things and make too many changes straightaway because that would be foolish if you don’t know the players and the system.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Aug 16, 2015 / 1:13 pm

        And yet it’s someone else who’s always accused of being narcissistic.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Aug 16, 2015 / 1:27 pm

        If I live to be a 150 I will never understand what the munchkins in the media see in this man. Spoiled, indulged, arrogant, overrated, promoted above his level of competence, a narcissist with passive aggression issues. (Something should be done,…….thats up to Matt….I thought he was a friend.)

        Perhaps when they look at him, they are looking in the mirror.

        Liked by 1 person

      • BoerInAustria Aug 16, 2015 / 2:29 pm

        Hi Mark

        It is interesting how he COMPLETELY changed as a captain from playing under Flower to the current regime. Inner steel indeed….

        I am really trying to warm to the man.And this interview does nothing to dispel any views I currently hold of him.

        “The Andrew Strauss team ….. was a very methodical one and the side I inherited was too. Then we lost 5-0 in the Ashes and it all fell apart. Lots of players went and those who have come in are more free-spirited, like Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Mo Ali and Mark Wood. They are different kinds of players and having them there driving a different kind of environment meant I had to change as a leader.”

        This is as good an admission as we will get.that KP had a point.

        And then: “Now it feels like my side.”

        PS – you could to live until 326* and it will still not be enough to understand…

        Liked by 1 person

  9. SimonH Aug 16, 2015 / 8:21 am

    Curious how a press corps so innumerate not one of them can seem to work out Cook’s home Ashes’ batting average have all managed to find this stat that if England win at the Oval it’ll be the first ever home 4-1 in the Ashes. One might almost think someone was feeding this sort of thing to them.

    Australia were so poor in the tour match yesterday (plus some innings by Stephen Crook) that another steam-rollering looks on the cards. Mitch Marsh bowled well and Cummins did okay although hardly well enough to demand his inclusion in the Test team. Siddle and Ahmed have done nothing here or in the WI – if they took a stack of Shield wickets one’s got to wonder what the standards like.

    For the record, by my reckoning Australia have won the Ashes ten times 4-1 (H8, A2) and by better margins (5-0 or 4-0) four times. England have won 4-1 three times in Australia (1911/12, 1928/29 and 1932/33) with a combination of three day Tests and the English weather making 4-1 a difficult result to achieve in England in early Ashes’ history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Aug 17, 2015 / 2:36 pm

      Forgot to mention England have won by better than 4-1 once – by 5-1 in the 78-79 series when Australia were without their Packer players.

      Like

  10. pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 16, 2015 / 9:44 am

    You might choose to give cricket writers on tv a swerve with Selvey and Newman talking a load of tripe over the last 2 years. Like overlooking the poor cricket and tactics on show for a good time before this summer and that non of that was Cook’s fault and that now nearly all that has happened is because of Cook. Lawrence Booth has actually bought a bit of perspective by mentioning that the batting has been bailed out by Joe Root and that things could look a little different if the side has a poor tour to the UAE.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ian Aug 16, 2015 / 2:02 pm

    I was thinking earlier that you could argue the dropped Gary Ballance had a bigger impact on this series with the bat than some other England batsmen. It was him who dug it out with Joe Root that first morning back in Cardiff.

    Like

  12. SimonH Aug 16, 2015 / 2:26 pm

    Adam Milne just clocked at 153.8 kph in the T20 in SA. That’s 95.5 mph.

    And it looked that quick.

    Like

  13. Arron Wright Aug 17, 2015 / 7:02 am

    Monday morning blues anyone? Need a laugh?

    This is a *genuine* BTL comment from the Guardian. Perhaps we need to invent a sort of BTL ‘Call My Bluff’ game…

    “I’m now going to mention something that seems to have become unmentionable – what are England going to do about the ODIs? Morgan should not continue as captain; he can’t bat, has no apparent captaincy skills, and was overtly critical of Cook given the opportunity – just not done! I see no reason why England should not field the Test team for the ODIs – including Cook as skipper and opener. They have just won the Ashes playing ODI cricket! And, since the management has changed beyond all recognition, they won’t look silly for doing so.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/aug/15/england-cricket-ashes-oval-final-fifth-test-australia#comment-57626727

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 17, 2015 / 7:07 am

      I actually think that’s sarcasm. Only plausible explanation.

      Like

      • Arron Wright Aug 17, 2015 / 7:08 am

        It’s not. softlysoftly has considerable form in this area.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus Aug 17, 2015 / 7:09 am

          I refuse to believe there is someone that dense out there. It cannot be possible.

          Like

      • Arron Wright Aug 17, 2015 / 7:11 am

        I think holdingahighline, zephirine, simonk and other veterans will back me up…. 🙂

        Like

      • Arron Wright Aug 17, 2015 / 7:18 am

        For instance…

        …he’s the one who said Cook was worth half a dozen Pietersens when facing 566-8 dec at Lord’s…

        … followed by yours truly proving that Cook had never top-scored in the first innings when the opponents had already made 400…

        … while Pietersen (and Bell) had done so four times each during Cook’s career.

        Like

    • Zephirine Aug 17, 2015 / 9:38 am

      Indeed, I was going to respond to the accusation that Morgan had been critical of Cook (treason) but never, of course, the other way round (fair comment from royalty) – but then I saw who it was from and didn’t bother.

      Like

  14. Arron Wright Aug 17, 2015 / 7:48 am

    Pringleberry juice is very dangerous. Don’t drink it kids:

    “What is more, when England arrive there in December for a four-Test series, South Africa will be returning home after a major assignment, a four-Test series in India…. Taking over as number one, by the end of January, is within reach of Cook’s rapidly evolving team.”

    Quite literally no mention of England’s own assignment in the UAE.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/international/theashes/11805120/The-Ashes-2015-England-would-rid-themselves-of-their-inconsistent-tag-with-a-fourth-series-victory-at-the-Oval.html#disqus_thread

    Like

    • Mark Aug 17, 2015 / 8:37 am

      And again note the “Cooks rapidly evolving team.”

      Not England, but Cooks England. What an insult to all the players in this England team. All those who average more than Cook in the three winning Ashes tests this summer. (Which is most of them)

      Never has an England team been stolen from the public, and handed to just one person before. Cook is like a boy King who instead of getting a train set or Xbox for Christmas was given the people’s cricket team as a play thing.

      And Pringle and Selvey are like Royal correspondents. Groveling, snivelling sycophants.

      As long as it is “Cooks England,” and not just England, I will find it very hard to support or love. Which is why the ECB will probably keep him on for another 5 years.

      Like

      • SimonH Aug 17, 2015 / 9:39 am

        “Although they are number one in the world Test rankings, South Africa have yet to re-define themselves after the golden era of Jacques Kallis and their former captain Graeme Smith”.

        Well, they beat SL in SL (England haven’t had an away series win against a non-Big Three top eight team since 2007/08) and they got to the SF of the WC (something England haven’t managed since 1992). They also head the rankings by a mere 14 points.

        The ‘lack of redefinition’ might have something to do with a lack of fixtures plus not having a cricket narrative written in bullshit PR-speak by ‘wallowing’ (Berry’s own word) sycophants. England’s ‘re-definition’ is this supposed “new era” yet within that time Robson, Ballance, Plunkett, Jordan, Woakes and Moores have aleady fallen by the wayside and attempted relaunches of Prior and Trott were abysmal mis-judgments.

        (And, oh yes, softlysoftly is serious about an ODI recall for Cook).

        Like

      • Zephirine Aug 17, 2015 / 9:50 am

        Couldn’t agree more, Mark.

        I sometimes wonder if Cook has got away with all this because the other players simply don’t want all the sponsors’ appearances, hobnobbing with execs and media attention, while he (shy, diffident soul that he is) absolutely loves it.

        Broad and Anderson seem to have been quite happy for him to take the flak as well as the advertorials while they basically ran the show on the field. Looks like Root and Stokes are similar. You can see the advantages for them – they could actually go months without having to speak to Giles Clarke.

        Like

    • SimonH Aug 17, 2015 / 10:11 am

      Probably the most significant remark in Berry’s report is the one about Root soon having to give up bowling because of his back trouble.

      Apart from losing a useful partnership breaker in Tests and a sixth bowler in ODIs (which has knock-on implications for the balance of the team), it raises issues about Root’s long term management. Clarke and Atherton both played over 100 Tests with back conditions so they can be managed – but I can’t remember either needing as much on-field manipulation as Root’s been having this early in their careers. Of course, there hasn’t been any frank discussion about what Root’s trouble actually is.

      One small measure that should help would be for Root to no longer field in the slips. He’s held a couple of blinders recently but he’s also dropped a few and there are good alternatives in Lyth and Stokes to field there. He could enjoy greater mobility in the outer – plus there’s a school of thought it’s a better place to captain from anyway (assuming he will soon be captain). I’m not too hopeful as they’ve only just stopped the nonsense of making Root field at short-leg.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Aug 17, 2015 / 11:05 am

        Roots back is a rather convienint reason for keeping Cook in situ. As Root is the only captain in waiting who ticks the ECBs ludicrous criteria, his bad back can be used to trot out our old favourite …..TINA.

        Cook must stay because ……………..Blah blah blah

        Like

    • d'Arthez Aug 17, 2015 / 12:39 pm

      If Scyld Berry can call Rashid an allrounder, surely Philander qualifies. And Ashwin too. Both have higher batting averages than bowling averages. Ashwin has scored a ton or two in Test cricket as well. So the “enormous batting depth” in comparison to other sides would immediately evaporate if Berry bothered to check non-England players’ records, domestically, and internationally. But that is asking a lot of a journalist: namely to do his job.

      Since the start of 2010:
      Hafeez, Williamson, Craig, Hazelwood (!), Mathews (high bowling average, but his batting average is 50+), Steven Smith (same caveat as with Mathews), also qualify. Not exactly people who’d anyone call allrounders, with the exception of Hafeez.

      So New Zealand have a #3 who is an allrounder and a #8 who is an allrounder on that metric. We still have not seen a thing from Rashid, so it seems a bit premature to say that England will have the longest batting lineup, when evidently other sides in the world have had allrounders for years.

      Oh, fun stats: the differential between Moeen Ali (-5.09) and Dale Steyn (-5.35) is negligible, and Steyn usually bats at #10 (depends on the spinner they pick, but Harmer will bat ahead of him); Broad is slightly worse (-6.19). Oh, and the figure for Stokes is now -6.82. So technically he is a batting allrounder just like say Duminy’s (-2.48).

      This England team has now played 17 Tests, 14 of them at home, in conditions that they are more familiar with. 9 of those Tests were against “high profile but low quality performance” teams since the Ashes in Australia. 5 of those Tests were lost (1 against Sri Lanka, 1 against India, 1 against West Indies, 1 against New Zealand, and 1 against Australia).

      Pray tell me Mr. Berry, did you know that Cook can become the losing-est ever captain in the UAE if England lose the series 2-0 or worse? Yes, that includes all Pakistan captains. That he can become the losing-est player ever in the UAE if England lose by the same margin? Yes, that includes all Pakistan players. So, maybe, a bit of caution is warranted, especially since the bowler that is supposed to win the series for England according to you, is as of yet UNTESTED on this level. And rumour has it that this Yasir Shah might be a somewhat decent bowler. Not that you could possibly know, since that would mean PAYING attention to non-England series, but you could try. After all, you’re being PAID to do this.

      England thought they had oodles of depth when they dismantled India 4-0. Then came the UAE blip, which has been airbrushed out of history. And it seems that South Africa, were possibly the better team in England in 2012 as well. A rare victory in India followed, a tense drawn series in New Zealand, some more home dominance (geez, as if other teams are not capable of that), before England heroically let themselves be slaughtered.

      I don’t think there was much evidence of bowling depth or batting depth in some of the tougher series. Swann and Monty pulled England through bowling wise in India, but one is retired and the other is a long shot removed from ever playing for England again – and it is not like they did a terrible job in the UAE either. The one batsman who stood up the most in 2012 has been dumped for political reasons. Swann took 13/326 from 3 matches, while Monty took 14/302 in just two matches.

      Oh, and it is not like Cook and Bell had much success in the UAE either. Cook 159 runs from 6 innings, with one score of 94. Bell got to his 50, with 51 runs. Only minor concern is that he needed 6 innings to get there. Prior (37.50), Trott (26.83) and Strauss (25.00) have all retired, leaving Cook (26.50) and Broad (21.00) as the leading batsmen from that particular tour still in the England ranks. Yeah, and he is saying that South Africa are lacking in experience.

      Sure, South Africa have lost a lot of experience. But to argue that they have just 3 batsmen with 1500+ Test runs misses the point that England have just three (Cook, Bell and Root), while Faf is on 1495 – and Duminy has missed a lot of Tests with injuries, like the freak injury he sustained in Australia in 2012).

      Unlike England, Amla, AB and Faf all managed to make triple figures the last time they toured Australia. Conditions in South Africa will probably be more similar to Australia than they will be to England.

      Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Aug 17, 2015 / 1:33 pm

        Sorry, Cook cannot become the losingest-captain in the UAE, if only because he never captained there before. That will remain Misbah (currently on 5 Tests). Strauss leads the pack of visiting captains though with 3 losses out of 3 games.

        Like

      • SimonH Aug 17, 2015 / 2:39 pm

        He could if England lose enough games and he’s still captain in 2020 which is probably when the next UAE tour would be.

        Not that I want to give Strauss ideas!

        Like

  15. Mike Aug 17, 2015 / 11:01 am

    For the sake of my own sanity, I’ve tried to embrace an attitude of (**beware bullshit management wank approaching**) positive scepticism this summer to all things, including the cricket.

    It’s largely worked, I’ve enjoyed with surprise England winning, to a degree, but remain concerned about many facets of the team.

    But when I read the pieces I link to above, it makes it hard to remain positive about life in general, Jesus!.

    How is it so hard, as a paid for correspondent, to be both pleased that England are winning yet at hte same time cognisant of the many challenges facing English and world cricket? These are bright people, I mean they must be a least a little bit, but the weird orthodoxy in the writing is utterly is bizarre.

    I’ve never met Cook, so I have no idea what he is like, but the way the inky press and Sky have made everything about him is weird. I suppose it’s in keeping with wider media coverage of all stories which are seemingly boiled down into simple personality based narratives. Even, the excellent DOAG, whilst acknowledging HUGE structural issues, still hones its narrative arc on Clarke & Srinivasan…

    I’ve lot my train of thought now…bang goes the positive scepticism today

    Liked by 1 person

  16. SimonH Aug 17, 2015 / 12:09 pm

    A trip down memory lane to when the Ashes used to be a contest:

    Like

    • d'Arthez Aug 17, 2015 / 12:46 pm

      Meanwhile Gatting claimed in an interview he did not agree with apartheid. But he took the money nonetheless. What integrity! The right sort of principles as Giles Clarke would quip …

      Like

  17. Sir Peter Aug 17, 2015 / 4:05 pm

    Tremendous 1972 viewing! My first visit to a test was at the Oval that year – a very young nipper I might add. Have only watched the first test so far. Watching Snowy and Arnold demolish Australia in the first innings reminds me of Trent Bridge – Aussie batters pushing to hard against the swing etc. Also, David Coley’s action reminds me a lot of Terry Alderman. Great to see the artistry of APE Knott and Rod Marsh tonk it about. We all know about Lillee’s greatness, but how good was Tony Grieg? Other questions – why didn’t Doug Walters travel? Did Massie use sharp practise at Lords? Also my first recollection of an Aussie commentator saying “one of the best catches in test cricket” a young Benaud getting carried away? Thanks SimonH – great stuff. Up there with the Reindeer’s Ears at Perth : ))

    Liked by 2 people

    • SimonH Aug 17, 2015 / 4:36 pm

      Hi Sir Peter – glad you enjoyed! I’m just too young to have watched 1972 in person – but most of the players were still playing in 1975 when I started and I reread the 1973 John Player Cricket Yearbook so many times I felt I’d experienced the series first hand.

      The Lord’s and Headingley Tests have been quite easy to see in highlight form but this was the first I’ve seen from the other three games. Mostly it’s well put together – except poor Ross Edwards not having a shot from his 170* included. A fine player he was, unfortunate to be remembered mostly for dropping Clive Lloyd in the first WC Final.

      Like

  18. Arron Wright Aug 17, 2015 / 6:57 pm

    Selvey just *begging* for someone to link Mr Cholmondley Warner’s “Women: Know Your Limits” sketch BTL this evening.

    Like

  19. Sir Peter Aug 18, 2015 / 9:17 am

    Roebuck indeed. Earlier the better. Hi SimonH – yes didn’t realise Edwards hadn’t started the series. Stackpole and Edwards were shoe-in openers for subbuteo cricket that summer!

    Like

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