The Illogical Consequence

The Leg Glance will do a more complete review of the Ashes tomorrow, but in advance of his more considered thoughts, I thought I might get the ball rolling. It’s going to be less about the cricket than TLG’s, and more an overall context piece.

I had a piece written on Friday night where I put down my thoughts on the events of Thursday. I think the arrow that pierced the most was about self-pitying. I can take nonsense of muppets, although it does annoy me, but I do look into myself when it comes to criticism of the blog and of me. I’ve never been impervious to criticism, and also, believe it or not, I hate confrontation. The big fear is that an England win, however it was achieved was going to bring out the worst in all of us. Those who have been pretty much down on the team, and more importantly the management and administration, have been hit hard by the “we showed you” merchants online, and it’s not been easy. Those who have defended the England team and some of its key personnel, have not wasted any time in sticking the knife in, just as we may well appear to do after every defeat.

It has not been a pleasant fortnight. I’ll say that. Even in the good times there’s not one time a week that I say to myself “why do I do this?” This isn’t self-pitying, it’s questioning my sanity! There’s no financial gain, I’m not into the attention-seeking lark (I’ve turned down enough requests for attention) despite what the amateur psychologists diagnose, and I get to see less and less of the cricket. I think it’s still down to loving the game, and the comments from the people who read our stuff nearly every day. It does keep you going.

The Ashes were always going to be fraught. This was the big one for the pro-England and the anti-ECB sides. In many ways both sides of the schism have come out with something. The pro-England side have a 3-2 win which very few saw coming. We didn’t take much account of how much conditions would neuter the supposed advantages the Australian bowling attack, in particular. There was also the key Australia first innings at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, which determined the winner of the series, and saw the always rickety looking Aussie batting line-up in dire straits. Importantly, when England had Australia down, they held them down. There were no real key lower innings batting recoveries by Australia, the key to 2013/4, and to that lots of credit has to go to the bowling line-up. Stuart Broad, who didn’t bat too badly either, must be wondering what he has to do to win Man of the Series.

But those anti-ECB, and not anti-England in most cases, just to clear that little piece up, will feel there’s a little bit of hollowness to this. We’re sort of getting into a nuclear arms race when it comes to wickets, and while this still remains an inexact science, there’s no doubt that conditions were massively in England’s favour. Now is this wrong? It has been debated here at length, and I’m torn. I still have a hard time getting over Sydney 1998/9, when Australia played three spinners on a shithouse of a wicket when the series was 2-1 (the Ashes had gone but that team fought back hard), so excuse me if I’m playing the world’s smallest violin, but while we are in this “we’ll do it because they do it” mentality, I’m not sure we’ll get anywhere. Given the quality of the cricket on show, there are alarm bells ringing for the test game, over and above those raised in Death of a Gentleman.

There’s no easy solution. Australia are going to do their damndest to unsettle England at every step out there in 2 and a half years time, and that’s what touring Australia is all about. If it’s like the last time, we won’t see anything above club bowler standard until we get to Brisbane. We’ll be put out in that furnace under-cooked. The importance is to make a 2010/11 stand, not a 2013/4 surrender. Pitches do vary in Oz, but we don’t get much opportunity to play on them. It’s always a little stacked the other way because a number of this Australia team have played county cricket before.

I’ll let TLG go through the winners and losers in terms of the players, but as an overall summary of the series, I would say it was desperately disappointing. Watch the Usain Bolt / Justin Gatlin 100m today. One was a star, struggling with his form and style, up against a man running the times of his life. It was pure sporting theatre. It was a gladatorial contest. It had meaning – these two guys rarely run against each other – and a sub-plot of good vs evil. It was also held in a top class Olympic venue, on a belting fast track, and for all the world to see. In a four year cycle there will be three races that matter – two World Championships, and an Olympic Final. Paucity is strength. Sometimes, to keep something special, you need to air it sparingly.

The saturation of the Ashes has diminished the quality. You can’t deny it. Whether this is cause and effect, or just the nature of the relative cycles of the two teams, who knows. In these days of result pitches, furious scoring paces, and effective drainage, there are many fewer draws. So the wheels can fall off the cart, and quality will diminish. So while the first two tests of this summer, on good wickets were absolutely fantastic, as soon as the stakes went up, and winning was all that mattered, the quality got shot to pieces. Four absolute routs, and one “sliding doors” test, where if Haddin had caught Root, then who knows. England did what aspiring good teams need to do, and what Australia did. Bloody hammer them when they cock up.

I said after Trent Bridge that my reaction was supreme indifference. I am not comforted by the performance in this test, because it indicates that we can’t have a bad day and still pull our arses out of the fire. I don’t buy the “we’ve won what we had to argument” because Australia, in the past ten years have not packed it in after the 3rd test, but nailed us. The great West Indies teams did the same. Our opponents in the next couple of series wouldn’t hesitate either. Aspiring great teams should not deal in excuses. This team tells us it wants to be great. It needs to get that attitude.

There is more optimism then there was prior to this season. I’m still annoyed at the deification of Cook. It’s cobblers. I do feel that if Root is the number 1 batsman in the world (and the same for Smith) then we live in troubled batting times – and again, this isn’t a pop at Joe. I’m concerned how Buttler really didn’t step up as I’d hoped. We have holes at opener, and I’ll bet all those at the start of the season said that “there were no vacancies in the middle order” wouldn’t mind having that nonsense back, as there were huge alarms over a couple of players. Where does Bell go from here after a difficult summer? But there’s been Root, there’s been Mark Wood, the reintegration of Finn, the form of Broad, the tantilising promise of Stokes and Moeen. It’s not a bad bunch.

It has been a difficult summer. Those who criticise us, who think we are nasty, vicious, purveyors of guesswork, snide and all the other words I’ve been called should really think. This takes a lot of putting together. We have a passion for the game, we care deeply, as we know you do too. Our anger may cross the line, but it is better to care than to walk away. On the day when a true master of the game, Kumar Sangakkara, left the field for the final time, we should remember that the game is in our hands. His innings, his performances and his legacy, like all others is to be handed down, told to those who want to know of our heroes.

When we do tell the youngsters who care about the sport, we’ll be recalling this series as a low-quality, tension-lacking affair, the third in two years, overkill diminishing the “brand” that is the watchword of our administrators, no memorable contests, games decided too quickly. Off the field it has seen fans at each others throats, again, and no sign of the end of the schism. It’s the way it is. People are people. In this modern communication world, we all have an outlet. The difference this year is that much more of the opprobrium is fan to fan. I aim my fire at the ECB, and fire only at those that misrepresent me. I aim my fire at the reporting, when I disagree, but which I’ve done a lot less of this summer. I am tempted to say if you don’t like what you read debate me, properly, or don’t read it at all. It’s your choice.

I’m not sad to see the Ashes packed away for 28 months. It’s time for some different challenges. I welcome the difference. This is a test upcoming. I’m looking forward to it. Because our greatest series has lost a ton of meaning to me. The totally logical consequence of money men over sporting men.

With that some house notes. The Ashes Panel will be up and running, and the first set have been asked their views. TLG will have a piece up early this week. We’ll be doing our usual for the ODI series, which is totally after the Lord Mayor’s Show (will they ever learn that lesson from 2005?), and when the international season is over, I’ll be doing the survey where we appoint the highly presitgious worst and best journalists of the last 12 months, as well as other matters.

Have a good evening.

Dmitri

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79 thoughts on “The Illogical Consequence

  1. Arron Wright Aug 23, 2015 / 7:32 pm

    Well, the two-year triple-header is finally over, and time for the moment of truth. Who’s your money on for top batting and bowling averages across all fifteen Tests, what will be their margin of victory and who will end up higher or lower than you expect?

    Minimum 5 out of the 15 matches played, by the way.

    BATTING

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;opposition=1;opposition=2;orderby=batting_average;qualmax1=15;qualmin1=5;qualval1=matches;spanmin1=1+Jul+2013;spanval1=span;team=1;team=2;template=results;type=batting

    Someone’s in the top ten. Someone else isn’t. Funny old world.

    (Bowling to follow in a separate post)

    Liked by 1 person

    • OscarDaBosca Aug 23, 2015 / 8:14 pm

      Guessed Rogers, Warner and Root, I wondered whether they dropped Watto too early I this series

      Like

    • Rohan Aug 23, 2015 / 8:42 pm

      He has not always been my favourite, but I cannot question his performance top wicket taker over the 3 series, awesome stuff from Stuart Broad.

      Although not my favourite, I have always admired his spirit and attitude/approach to the game. He is a winner and always believes, much like Shane Warne, that no matter how dire the match situation it can be turned around!

      Good average with those wickets as well. I would counter the MSM commonly held view that Anderson is the leader of the attack and say that over the past 2 years, performance shows it has actually been Broad!

      Like

      • d'Arthez Aug 23, 2015 / 8:50 pm

        Well, prepare to be stoned for that Rohan.

        Similar cases could have been made with regards to several England batsman other than Cook, being the leading batsman. We all know how that ended in the MSM; vomit inducing puff pieces with no end in sight. And a distinct lack of analysis. That still has not been even acknowledged, 18 months down the line.

        In 2013 it was Bell. In 2015 it was Root. And the 2013/14 Ashes were so dire, that anyone who thought they had done enough, should have been shot. Because it was a cr*pfest, and no one took responsibility in the ECB or team. Even Flower did not. He was looking for a promotion. And he duly got it, despite serving up the poorest ever performance by England in Australia.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rohan Aug 23, 2015 / 9:32 pm

        D’Arthez. Very good points regarding the batting. 2013 was definitely Bell’s ashes and yet Cook was the ‘leading batsman’.

        The thing that irks me most is, as you mentioned, the complete lack of analysis from so-called professionals in the MSM. They seem to be oblivious to statistics, particularly series averages etc. Swann’s player ratings clearly highlight this; he has not got a clue!

        Like

    • metatone Aug 24, 2015 / 8:48 am

      Random reaction:
      Nathan Lyon is clearly a better spinner than I’ve ever given him credit for – but I think you still have to look at those figures and ask if England are handling Moeen properly…

      Like

  2. Mark Aug 23, 2015 / 7:38 pm

    Good round up Dmitri and pretty much sums up my views. Arron warned before the start of this series that if England win, it will be used as a massive club to beat us with with. I knew he was right, but I hoped the media would show some professionalism and realise that all is not well with cricket.

    Some hope? The media behaved in the spiteful, vengeful, and idiotic manner of all bully’s. Any pretence that they are independent from the ECB has been pissed away for good. The media have become cheerleaders and fraudsters. They are like little Del Boy Trotters down the market trying to con you into thinking that a sparking gleaming necklace made of paste is intact full of real diamonds. They did it last year in the India series when they tried to sell India as akin to Clive Lloyds WI. It was pathetic to watch.

    Essentially the narrative they have created is if England win its all down to Cook and you outsiders must all now bow to Cook. If they lose its all down to the latest scape goat they can find. And this isn’t going to change. Essentially you either have to support dross and pretend it’s fantastic or bugger off. And I have thought about buggering off. When I listen to people like Harrison and I see where Cricket is going ….walking away is becoming even more attractive. I stay because I still love the game, and I sense they want us to go. As dear old Richie used to say ……”you do the thing you opponents least want you to do.”

    So I will probably stick around, and get my kicks laughing at the absurd Pinocchio media. Laughing at them is more entertaining than the cricket these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OscarDaBosca Aug 23, 2015 / 8:22 pm

      Special indeed, almost like he has created a narrative to justify his pre series nonsense. Great bowler, awful pundit, Anderson 8.5, Rogers 7???? Sometimes words just fail me…

      The empiricism of morphology is trivial in its smugness.

      Thank you so much Zeph

      Liked by 1 person

    • escort Aug 23, 2015 / 8:37 pm

      That’s number wang!!!

      Like

    • SimonH Aug 23, 2015 / 9:04 pm

      “The greatest Ashes spell in living memory”.

      Because everyone from 1981’s dead, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • MM Aug 23, 2015 / 10:51 pm

        Hopefully Willis and Botham will have a word in the car park with him about that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Aug 24, 2015 / 6:02 am

        And Freddie’s over didn’t happen…..

        Like

    • Narelle Aug 24, 2015 / 2:16 am

      Swann is displaying his intelligence in this article. What a d…
      I suppose a small tad of English bias is ok but add that to your SKY team…redemption for Cook…
      and your newspaper columnist, it becomes vomit material.

      Like

      • Arron Wright Aug 24, 2015 / 5:13 am

        He’s been defending the marks in typically smug fashion on Twitter.

        He doesn’t believe in stats apparently.

        Except for 29.96, presumably.

        Like

  3. thelegglance Aug 23, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    The Daily Mail are reporting that BT Sport have acquired all Australia’s home Test matches for the next five years. And that means including the next Ashes series.

    That’s set the cat amongst the pigeons.

    Like

    • Zephirine Aug 23, 2015 / 9:04 pm

      Ooh la la..

      But then I guess the (re)formation of post-capitalist hegemony opens a space for the legitimation of exchange value.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aug 23, 2015 / 9:04 pm

      I take it that is Australia crickets foreign TV rights?

      Channel 9 keeps the home rights?

      Like

      • Zephirine Aug 23, 2015 / 9:14 pm

        Their home Tests have to be on FTA by law, I think.

        Like

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 23, 2015 / 9:19 pm

        Before we get all excited about Sky losing a deal, let me tell you the name of BT’s Sport Ambassador for cricket.

        Lovejoy, Tim

        Like

      • Rohan Aug 23, 2015 / 9:38 pm

        Which is worse, the real Lovejoy, or the fake cricket Lovejoy? Tim Lovejoy doing cricket, oh dear, bet they get that useless Jake bloke involved as well…….

        The obfuscation of complexity is very nearly asinine in its objectivity

        Like

      • thelegglance Aug 23, 2015 / 9:42 pm

        Correct Mark. It’s for coverage of Australia’s home series in the UK

        Like

      • thelegglance Aug 23, 2015 / 9:44 pm

        I don’t think BT winning this is “good” news as such, more that it’s very bad news for Sky. The ECB will be thrilled, as competition will drive up the rights values.

        Like

    • Larry David Niven Aug 23, 2015 / 9:31 pm

      Hopefully Sky will view Gower and Botham as their Crown Jewels and refuse to let a competitor use them, leading to Boycott, Vaughan, Ponting and some actual journalists doing their coverage.
      But in the words of a fellow cricket tragic who I am currently discussing this with, “Swann will be a top target. Think Savage. A self styled controversial prick who people love or hate.” They’ll probably go for Flintoff too, just for the bantz.

      Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Aug 23, 2015 / 9:38 pm

        Yeah, and it will be so much fun for regular consumers. 60 quid / month for the home Tests, in addition to whatever BT Sport charge for their subscription(s) for away Test. Will be even more fun if someone else picks up the rights to Indian Tests. The only result will be that the consumers pay the bill. That is really engaging with the core audience: The non 65+-year olds with a six-figure pension. Only in ECB-land …

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Aug 23, 2015 / 9:49 pm

        I wonder if it really is a huge blow to Sky?

        How may people have been watching the Ashes this summer on Sky? And that is during the day. How many sit up at night and watch the Ashes at 3 in the morning? Sky were forced to blow BT out of the water with the premiership deal. That is the one that really mattered.

        Like

      • thelegglance Aug 23, 2015 / 9:58 pm

        Not looked at in isolation, no. But in the context of losing lots of rugby, Champions League football, tier one Premier League matches and so on, then yes it is, because BT might nab the whole lot when it comes for renewal.

        Eseentially, Sky tweaked the tiger’s tail when they decided to go after BT’s core market of broadband and telephony, and seemed somewhat surprised that BT – a much bigger and more profitable company after all – decided they weren’t going to take that lying down.

        Sky are in a fair bit of trouble over the long term. BT are the first competitor genuinely capable of squashing them. It’s also going to push up their costs dramatically to hold onto rights, and reduce profit margins.

        Like

      • Mark Aug 23, 2015 / 10:34 pm

        I agree with you about Sky’s attack on BTs core bread and butter telephone business.

        But they are not stupid at Sky. Football is the king, and if the choice is either losing the premiership or rugby and cricket I’m sure it’s not even a close call. Sky has major deals with all Hollywood film studios. They have lots of content. BT is the new kid on the block, they need content to sell subscriptions. They seem to be subsidising a lot of subscriptions with telephone and broadband deals.

        As D’ARTHEZ says when you are the paying customers and you have to pay Sky and BT and maybe someone else it gets too much. We may be getting to top of the tree for sports rights. Cricket needs to grow the game not rely on short term TV deals.

        Like

      • thelegglance Aug 23, 2015 / 11:25 pm

        Sure. The trouble is that they’ve lost a fair bit of football too. They absolutely had to retain the bulk of the Premier League rights, or that was pretty much the end for them. But BT knocked them into orbit over the Champions League, got the FA Cup, and importantly, although they got the smaller package for the PL, the ones they got included first picks, so not just the Bournemouth v Stoke matches.

        The other sports are obviously secondary, and cricket is absolutely one of those. But it’s important because there are a fair number of subscribers who pay purely for the cricket and resent the football anyway.

        I suspect BT want to reach a point where there’s parity between them rather than kicking them out of the market. Which isn’t especially good for us.

        Like

  4. d'Arthez Aug 23, 2015 / 8:29 pm

    An average of 60 is barely enough for a 7. An average of 25 is good enough for a six. Yeah. Sensible ratings Swanny.

    8 wickets at 18 is a 5 (Mitchell Marsh), while 10 wickets at 40 is a 8 (Wood).

    Nevill who averaged nearly double of what Buttler did gets a 5, while Buttler gets a six.

    Hazlewood gets a 3.5 for lacking control (16 wickets at 26 is decent enough though). How much control did Anderson (10 wickets at 28) have at Lord’s? Umm … That explains the FIVE point difference, does not it? To Anderson’s advantage.

    Geez, a random number generator would have come up with more sensible numbers than this expert.

    Like

    • Arron Wright Aug 23, 2015 / 8:32 pm

      Smith = Voges. Smith < Cook and yet Cook only made (considerably fewer) runs in the same matches Smith excelled in.

      He is absolutely stealing a living, and behaves like a man who knows it too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 24, 2015 / 12:31 pm

        My fave is the discrepancy between Wood and Hazlewood. It’s mind blowing.

        Like

      • Arron Wright Aug 24, 2015 / 12:47 pm

        Rogers getting less than any English player (with the exceptions of Root and Broad) should be a sacking offence for any pundit.

        But less than Anderson, Finn, Wood and Stokes, and the same as Cook and Ali? F*** off back to Sunday Brunch you muppet.

        Like

      • Arron Wright Aug 24, 2015 / 12:55 pm

        BBC have gone greatesteveritis crackers in the last 24 hours, judging from your Twitter feed!

        The answer to their first question was Tokyo 1991. EdShires put it perfectly.

        Like

    • Rooto Aug 23, 2015 / 9:59 pm

      The only feasible reason is that he must be genuinely innumerate. So shame on the BBC for putting him in that difficult position.

      Like

      • thelegglance Aug 23, 2015 / 11:27 pm

        Could be. He did think Test match tickets were only about £20 after all. That particular contempt for those who paid his frigging salary was unforgivable.

        Like

    • MM Aug 23, 2015 / 10:55 pm

      #swannymaths

      Like

  5. SimonH Aug 23, 2015 / 9:22 pm

    Newman:

    “His second Ashes success as England captain and the greatest achievement of his career”.

    I’d rate the 10/11 Ashes and the win in India higher and by some distance.

    “This is the ultimate redemption for an England captain in Cook who stood firm amid the poisonous recriminations that followed that humbling in Australia”.

    Oh please.

    “It is one that will surely mean more to Cook than his first as captain two years ago because this England team are very much on the up whereas the 2013 vintage were quickly found to have peaked and on a downward spiral”.

    Maybe, maybe not. Let’s see, huh?

    Like

    • d'Arthez Aug 23, 2015 / 9:34 pm

      Ultimate redemption, possibly in the same style as Cook’s rather unconvincing “I told you I should have played in the World Cup” tantrum he had after England had been knocked out because they played ODIs as if it was 1975.

      Like

  6. Rohan Aug 23, 2015 / 9:26 pm

    This from the end of Agnews latest piece ‘

    ‘Adam Lyth is unlikely to hold on to the opening spot and there is a question mark over Ian Bell’s future, which he told me he will resolve over the next couple of weeks.’

    Interesting end to the sentence regarding Bell!

    Like

    • thelegglance Aug 23, 2015 / 9:53 pm

      Very interesting if Bell did indeed say that. He hasn’t looked terribly happy recently, except at Edgbaston.

      Like

      • Mark Aug 23, 2015 / 10:06 pm

        His autobiography might be quite interesting. I would love to hear his take on the leaking and smearing against him to Newman at the Mail.

        Last,Summer after the Sri Lanka series when Cook was in deep shit the Mail ran a hatchet job on Bell. So much for Newmans bleating about people should back the team and players.

        Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Aug 23, 2015 / 11:32 pm

      So much of that could be said to apply to a fair old chunk of England’s batting order too.

      Like

    • Zephirine Aug 23, 2015 / 11:33 pm

      Like England in Australia 2013/4, they arrived over-confident, lost key players to injury and personal problems, and suffered from discontent in the ranks/with the management. The difference is, Australia managed to gain two thumping victories.

      Like

      • Gonthaar Aug 24, 2015 / 5:50 am

        They carried 3 people who were totally past expiry and not contributing, Watto, MC, haddin, for the first one, rhino last at the start, big blow, they practically had no middle order with MC playing in all tests. Like MC very much but he could have done without this series. Lot of bad selection like shaun marsh and haze ahead mitch marsh and siddle.

        though with some proper repairs they can be back on their feet quicker, The Top 3 is more settled than Eng, voghes does look good, but if they can blood in burn n khawaja should be good. WK Nevill is fixed.

        bowling staarc cummins haze pattinson with experience of siddle and MJ should do good. Lyon is ok good.Mitch marsh in allrounder slot.

        They just went through transition right in the ashes and lost it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Gonthaar Aug 24, 2015 / 5:52 am

    totally forgot bucky was retiring, so that spot may be up for grabs not really sure who will fill that part.

    Like

  8. paulewart Aug 24, 2015 / 6:12 am

    The Aussies got their selection all wrong. Easy to say with the benefit of hindsight, I know, but no less true. The Shaun Marsh/Mitchell Marsh farrago was particularly egregious, the kind of selection England have indulged in over the years to shore up out of form batsmen/captains: not what one expects from Aussies.

    Like

    • metatone Aug 24, 2015 / 8:46 am

      Not playing Siddle reminded me of the original failure to use Panesar in that India series.

      Like

      • Rooto Aug 24, 2015 / 9:30 am

        I suppose the Aussies thought they were “playing to their strengths”…

        Like

    • dlpthomas Aug 24, 2015 / 10:10 am

      Australia have made a few odd selections in recent times. During their last series against Pakistan in the UAE, Australia selected Maxwell to bat at 3 instead of Phil Hughes. It didn’t go we’ll.

      Like

  9. SimonH Aug 24, 2015 / 2:12 pm

    Updated player rankings:

    http://www.relianceiccrankings.com/

    Steve Smith is back at No.1 in the batting. Captain Fantastic is 15th – strange how his ranking is hardly ever mentioned in the MSM.

    And the problem with this summer’s cricket? The NZ part – according to one commenter on the Guardian’s Ashes 2015 Review. Read it and weep.

    Like

    • d'Arthez Aug 24, 2015 / 3:31 pm

      Also notice how there are more Bangladeshi batsmen (3)in the top 30 than England (2) batsmen. With the exception of the West Indies (2), and Zimbabwe, no other team has fewer batsmen in the top 30 of the rankings.

      We can cry that Bangladesh hardly play on the road, but England have basically had 2 home seasons in a row, with only a short foray in the West Indies (which, frankly, is not the toughest opposition out there). So, of the last 17 Tests, 14 have been at home, and three have been in the easiest away series England will play this decade (at least on paper).

      Pakistan have for instance Younus Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Misbah and Asad Shafiq in the top 30. Bowlingwise it is 4-4 (though it is doubtful that Ajmal and Rehman will play – then again an attack of Anderson, Broad, Finn, Moeen is going to ask for a lot of trouble in the UAE).

      Like

  10. Mike Aug 24, 2015 / 2:32 pm

    Been quiet for the last week or so from me, missed all the recent drama…

    Hmmm what to make of it all.

    England, you know if wasn’t for the stupidity of 2014, which is unforgivable given the appalling state of our batting line up, I’d actually really quite like this team. Echoing the sentiments of others they appear to try and play with a smile on their face most of the time, which is nice to see.

    The “positives” would be the return of Finn, looking about 80% the bowler we hoped he would be but still pretty decent nonetheless, Root, the improvement in Cook as captain although from such a low base….and Stuart Broad, with some continued positives signs from Stokes & Ali.

    From my point of view that does come with several enormous caveats concerning opener, Bell, Bairstow & Buttler (I’m a huge fan by the way), the management of Wood’s fitness, not giving Rashid a go.

    As for Australia, bowling still looks to be in decent hands going forwards with plenty of options young and old and in Nevill they seem to have found a decent replacement for Haddin and the 3rd Mitch looks like a more than adequate replacement for Watto, I’m sure he’ll be equally as frustrating. Smith, unorthodox he might be and unlike dominant batsman of previous days in terms of his technique, is a very good batsman.

    Overal, I’m pretty glad to be done with these for a while now, it’s been pretty waring.

    I’m going to have to declare an allegiance, I mentioned it on this site’s predecessor, but I actually work at the Guardian, not as a hack but in their commercial teams. For me their tone of coverage has really saddened me, for an editorial organisation that internally professes always to want to listen to a wide range of point of views, professes to be open, they’ve not really practiced what they preach.

    As for the rest, you tend to expect triumphalist crowing from the red tops and the host broadcaster but the hegemony of viewpoints can be disappointing. I suppose we come here as we all share a similar point of view an an element of confirmation bias, but for paid for scribes to show a general lack of curiosity and also, contempt for a section of the public is disappointing. I mean the manifold problems in the team, which have been evident for so long are once again being ignored. It’s just not doing your job. The ex-pros might not put much store in the numbers (and fair enough) but the hacks should bloody well have a look!

    There are of course some exceptions to this, it’s just the loudest voices, with the biggest slice of audience have tended to be one-eyed and mean in the extreme.

    Anyway, keep up the good fight everyone, there are much bigger issues at stake for the game of cricket that we can’t let fall off of the agenda.

    Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 24, 2015 / 3:28 pm

        I’ve seen that format somewhere. Suffice to say, my latest Ashes panel questions have a bit more depth.

        Like

      • Mike Aug 24, 2015 / 3:42 pm

        Unbelievable. I mean just genuinely baffling.

        Their both really good, it’s not a criticism is it to point out inaccuracies.

        Selvey showing his gratitude for his colleagues hard work in securing his ongoing employement. Nice.

        Like

      • Zephirine Aug 24, 2015 / 5:37 pm

        Off-topic Mike, but since you actually know – d’you think sponsored coverage like the Kia cricket is the future for newspapers? And doesn’t it have potential conflict of interest issues, e.g. Journo Z wants to write about how the XX cricket ground is hideously uncomfortable and overpriced but XX also sponsors the cricket column he’s writing so perhaps he shouldn’t?

        Like

      • Mike Aug 24, 2015 / 9:17 pm

        Zeph – without going into detail, sponsorship deals like this have zero impact on what is written. The “sponsored by” line means the sponsor has no input on content, it’s just badging. Believe me the Guardian editorial team are incredibly precious about this.

        If you’re a digital content provider, not behind a paywall, then you’re always going to be looking at getting big ticket items like the Ashes sponsored. As to future conflicts of interest, well the tension between fiscal and commercial necessity and editorial integrity have always been there, in a world where people increasingly use ad blocking software and print ad revenues are massively declining, that tension will be put under further strain as we look at new ways to generate money from the online audience, beyond traditional banner advertising

        At least we get paid by Kia, Hardy’s/Waitrose etc give us the square root of fuck all whenever we publish those terrible non-interviews with players and credit them at the end.

        Like

  11. SimonH Aug 24, 2015 / 2:42 pm

    Lawrence Booth having a moan about Australian revisionists in the Top Spin.

    Have any of the Australian press corps blamed six inches of carry or a third umpire’s decision against a No.9 yet?

    Like

  12. SimonH Aug 24, 2015 / 4:43 pm

    Looking at the weather, there might perhaps have been 45 mins of play late morning today but otherwise it would have been pretty much a washout.

    Like

    • Arron Wright Aug 24, 2015 / 6:17 pm

      And… a bit more goodwill is pissed away on another inexplicable selection decision.

      Liked by 1 person

    • hatmallet Aug 24, 2015 / 7:48 pm

      Harsh on Bairstow, but the logic is they see him as the replacement for Buttler and not a front line batsman. No need to have a backup keeper in the squad, if there is an injury to Buttler again then they can call him up like they did earlier in the summer.

      Buttler needs time in the middle. Hopefully the limited overs formats will help him regain confidence.

      And I hope they chose Taylor as the replacement for Root in the XI. Was unlucky to be dropped from the team in the first place.

      Like

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 24, 2015 / 6:52 pm

      Decent message, but got tired of the bus metaphor very quickly.

      Like

    • Boz Aug 24, 2015 / 7:00 pm

      this ECB Bus has an ‘out of service’ notice on the front and no passengers (paying public) are allowed on

      Like

  13. Arron Wright Aug 24, 2015 / 6:46 pm

    WTF is this BBC athletics highlights programme? Are they literally trying to lose all self-respect as a once great sports broadcaster?

    Like

  14. pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 24, 2015 / 7:34 pm

    I missed the opportunity to see DOAG tonight because the Picturehouse in Clapham was flooded due to inclement weather. Bit of a bummer that.

    Like

    • hatmallet Aug 24, 2015 / 8:05 pm

      Not showing in my town. But is where I used to live, some friends went to it tonight. Maybe it will become available online once the cinema tour has finished.

      Like

  15. man in a barrel Aug 24, 2015 / 11:34 pm

    Wood needs to decide if he is injured or not. If he gets it wrong, his career ends very quickly. I hope he takes advice.

    Like

  16. man in a barrel Aug 24, 2015 / 11:41 pm

    Both BT and Sky prefer to have subscribers. Wouldn’t it be good to have someone to offer, say, day 2 of a match, without the sky commentary team

    Like

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