OK. I’ve been reflecting. Let’s see where this gets us.
Over at TFT, James has asked people for their views on the current state of the game in the country. I’m well aware that in the last few weeks I’ve been asking a lot about your views, and not been giving mine. I had a really long DM conversation on Twitter with James on Monday night, which at times became a bit melancholy on both our parts, but from my perspective there were a couple of things that I spoke out loud (so to speak) for the first time in ages. Namely, that I am not inclined to do much at this stage, and that what I am writing is decidedly pulling my punches. I’ve just not been in the mood to do much fighting in the past six months – well, certainly since the Ashes began.
It may be time to really decide what I want to do with my interactions with the blog – I’m well aware with the welcome presence of TLG that it’s not just for me any more. Do I want to play it safe, not upset people, try to be the real me and avoid conflict? Sure, even when I’ve been pulling punches, I still haven’t satisfied some people who are beyond accepting anything on here, but that’s not the gig I want to play. I’m a little bit annoyed with myself for being like this. There are too many things that, in my view, are wrong, that suppressing the manner in which this blog got to where it did, has resulted in a half-hearted, relatively tame last few weeks.
So what to do? Carry on as a half-hearted, pulling punches blogger, or give it a bit more? I’ve not been short of advice, and people commenting on what they’d like to see from the blog, and maybe I’ve listened too much to them. I actually think that this blog would benefit from me not being on Twitter, and it’s something I’m considering actively. I’m not pleased with people being pissed off with things I’ve written, and then those matters being discussed with some individuals on Direct Messages (DM) who just want to pick a fight, or try to do what it is they want to do, virtual person to virtual person. I told James that I am still not “over” if that’s the best phrase, the Etheridge nonsense a few weeks ago. I know I need to pack in Twitter after a night out, but I also need to be sensible when I am not. Look to see less of me on there. As if that’s a promise I can keep!
So, in a few posts in the next few days I’m going to give my views on the summer of blogging (from my perspective, not The Leg Glance’s) and the events on and off the field. I hope you enjoy them, I hope you comment on them, and one day, I hope to garner a much thicker skin to repel the haters.
So, in a peace offering to the haters, here’s the first instalment, and of course, it is on Kevin Pietersen. Good. Write what you are most comfortable with, I say. Lest we forget we entered the summer with Pietersen given a clear indication by the man who supposedly was/is in charge of the ECB, the successor to Giles Clarke (no-one doubted he was leader, did they), Colin Graves that he had a potential route back if he played county cricket. Of course, some of the press went into overdrive, and I have to say I was absolutely convinced that this was a nonsense. But KP came back, and after a laugh with his Uni hundred, he then went and made 355 not out. So having given up an IPL place (a number sneered that £200k, or whatever it was, didn’t rock KP’s world…) he learned his fate. Since the “encouragement” a new broom had come in…..
1. The Kevin Pietersen “Issue” – Trust The Boss, Trust The Press, Trust The TV
You know, stuff them who don’t like me talking about it. Sorry for the defensive posture, but that accusation thrown at me that I am just a stuck record and obsessed by KP is a joke. I have consistently said he should not be recalled now, or in the past year, not because he didn’t deserve a place on form and ability (he clearly still does, and if you deny that, well we’ll debate the pure cricket ability point all you like – he should be in the World T20 line-up but won’t be), but because it would be a total zoo. Worse than it has been without him in the team. That it would render some scribes into a catatonic state, others would spontaneously combust and some would probably see the funny side, a recall would have been too much. There is too much history, still. The ECB had used the press as their conduit since pre-sacking, and now a recall might be seen as a betrayal of the support they’d given. Who knows? Nothing is too ludicrous in this saga.
Kevin Pietersen’s treatment by England, and the ECB in particular, has been an unmitigated disaster. It has been the most disgraceful scapegoating one could ever see. If he deserved to be left out for behavioural issues, then let’s have them. It was sacking by innuendo, besmirching by press leak and vendetta, disparaging by those who had waited for the moment. Pietersen once said in an interview that he was like Marmite – you either loved him or hated him – and that he would spend his time on the former and ignore the latter. You don’t ignore your enemies, and Pietersen found that out. No matter how much he pretends that the T20 fills the hole in his career, by making enemies at home, he misses out on the pinnacle.
When KP made that 355 not out and was then sacked again – and no-one has denied KP’s side of that clusterf**k so let’s assume that was true – it wasn’t just an added insult to those who still respected what he’d done for England. The treatment was nasty. KP’s side of that evening has never been denied (I don’t want to go into that, as Strauss kept saying, is as clear an admission that it’s true) and that his sacking was leaked while he was in the meeting, a few days after the Moores disaster, just summed this disgraceful mob up. It re-confirmed that the ECB, in trying to bring clarity to the situation, were just being a nasty, spiteful, vindictive bunch.
The fun came in then watching some of those employed by ECB-TV saying that 355 against the worst team in the country wasn’t that impressive. This is an insult to those who watch the game. Dominic Cork should have been sacked on the spot for allowing personal malice to creep in. But he wasn’t alone. The issue wasn’t allowed a public airing. Subsequently we see every time Pietersen’s name is mentioned on Sky (ECB-TV), David Gower acts like the maid when she sees Jerry in the cartoons – the cricketing equivalent of screaming on a stool. It’s an insult to the viewers who think burying a player who, on the face of it, on public evidence presented by these buffoons, has done nothing wrong, is a grave dereliction of duty by a broadcaster. But more about that later..
But that sort of character thing, making it personal, as Dominic Cork clearly did is OK, because, let’s face it, the bloke making the decision (Strauss) couldn’t possibly have been accused of the same thing, could he? The total c**t, was it?
Instead of investigating whether personal hatred had over-ridden the need to put the best players out there, the press spent most of their time, as they did with Downton, buffing up the new man in the suit. It’s as if criticising an officer of the ECB is strictly verboten. Given how a number of sporting bodies treat proper journalism, it wouldn’t surprise me if the line to take from the ECB, readily snapped up by their chums in certain parts of the press corps, was reprinted verbatim. I was in the States at the time, and I didn’t get to see or hear it all. A few broke ranks, and a number said KP had been treated shabbily. Didn’t stop them, at the end of the summer, polishing Strauss’s ring, did it? You’d think they’d learn from last year and Downton, wouldn’t you?
I’m wandering off the KP bit, and don’t worry, I’ll get to the ECB in the next part, but it wasn’t just the phenomenal mis-treatment of him after that 355 that riled me. KP had clearly been told to play country cricket, and there might be a chance to play, but all the experts at the time snorted that even if he did come back, play well and score those massive scores, there was no vacancy in the middle order. Some of us thought it premature to be so cock sure of the England batting prowess, on the back of a couple of miserable displays in Barbados. So it proved as Ballance fell apart and was ditched hastily, no-one has the faintest clue still if Bairstow is a test batsman, Bell is in a funk that has people calling for him to be dropped, and others begging him to stay (because off the lack of replacements), and no-one should have been the slightest bit surprised. Not really. It means that Joe Root has to carry more passengers than Sheffield Buses, and also focuses the light on our openers to make good starts. If you had a top class, top banana middle order, you wouldn’t need Moeen Ali batting at 8, would you? But the media, who punted that line at the time, have never truly been held to that account. The fact the Aussies were substantially worse on some decent, lively wickets, covered up the cracks, allowed people to “look over there”. Yes, look, our middle order is in pieces, we’ve gone with a player some in the past clearly didn’t rate (Taylor – and please, spare me the KP stuff on him) and the rest is a wing and a prayer.
(I’ll take a brief break to bring this piece of “good journalism”.
Clearly John has done his work here, but who told him that, and is that how we want our teams run?)
Again, don’t confuse this with wanting KP back in the team. It’s just putting into context some of the fantasy that was used to cover Strauss’s arse. We’ll go more into this one later. Because in Strauss providing “clarity” and then waffling on about amorphous things like “trust” , there might have been a requirement for much more like hard work instead of relying on old platitudes about his captaincy. Instead, we had all these promising youngsters with burgeoning reputations in the middle order, and we needed to place great faith in them. We didn’t parody James Whitaker’s interview with Pat Murphy for nothing. Gary Ballance was the answer, now what was your question again?
You know, I’d barely mentioned Pietersen, or the issue at least, all Ashes. Then came along the end of the pier show that was Strauss at SoccerEx. Now the context may have been all, but the message seemed clear enough to me from initial readings. “Great we won the Ashes, great it was without KP or the issue festering all summer because I provided clarity”.
I’ve used the phrase often enough, but it does seem worth repeating. “Success has many parents, but failure is an orphan”. I was discussing sporting matters with someone recently, and if you believe Strauss doesn’t despise KP, he thought you might be in error. I think by Strauss’s actions he should be judged. Instead of questioning a man in love with management textbooks, army disciplines and so forth, the things I run a mile from in my life for fear of being indoctrinated by these cretins, we saw an almost universal acceptance of what a spiffing man he is, and how well he’s done all summer. A barrage of positive articles, ignoring the gaping hole that our middle order became, put Strauss on another pedestal. Honestly, I was gobsmacked he raised the KP issue at all.
Most of us had “moved on” and were on the point of letting it lie, but the desire to want to dredge this decision, based on personal animosity, up as some sort of example of management brilliance was amazing. In one fell swoop, he lost a ton of respect from me – I really didn’t care that much for his appointment, but as you will note, I was a big fan of his as a batsman, which is all that should matter. Not that he would give a shit. It doesn’t matter what any of the proles think. But just as we were constantly encouraged to let it lie, some appear just too grand, just too pleased with themselves, to avoid patting themselves on the back. Hell, Andrew, you have the same home win-loss margin as your predecessor in tests. (4-3 as against 3-2). Don’t be too pleased with yourself.
But again, we can get to the ECB later. But note. It’s nearly always the ECB when it comes to KP. Their behaviour, their attitudes, their implementation of policies. Which really means this isn’t a KP issue, it’s an ECB one, which leads me to………………………….
2. Giles Clarke and the Curious Case Of The Silenced Yorkshireman
That will be for next time.
You know me.I’m the KP follower who still hasn’t given up that one day he will stroll out to the middle in his”whites” In a Test Match for England.This is what he wants and unfortunately the ECB and Strauss know how much it means to him. Cannot understand how grown men in the positions they have within the ECB can act the way they have about KP.The vindictiveness and hatred they show, and don’t seem to care if people see just amazes me.Perhaps they have allowed their stupidity to go so far that they fear the reactions if he came back.Never any thought for England supporters who just might like to see him batting again or the”boys” who despite what is said respect and like him and would happily have him in their team again.Why ECB why??? And to cap it all off he received no invitation to play in Cricket for Heroes at the Oval.What a slap in the face that must be when you see all the players, friends and people he has played with most of his career invited..This to me is Andrew Strauss’s final humiliation for KP and I am totally disgusted with Strauss and wonder how he can live with his decision.A very nasty man.
love it 🙂
Dean Wilson’s article is worth revisiting:
Strauss’s non-denial denial at the time convinced me that this is essentially what happened.
I thought that nonsense was “put to bed “long ago.
The problem with Wilson’s account is that he didn’t see anything wrong with the way Cook and the ECB had behaved. Ignore his spin on it and it’s as good an explanation as any.
I’d like KP back it the team. So would Trevor Bayliss, so would the youngsters. Pick your best players and apologise to no-one. Giving Twitter a miss is a good idea.
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Etheridge, I see contradicting once again that the ECB does not leak, in contrast to what he claimed on here last year. I’m sure he can debate what constitutes an ECB leak. Is it an official leak if it comes from a coach or a fellow team mate? Or uncle Tom Coberly? We can debate for eternity how many non ECB personnel can sit on top of an ECB pin head leak.
As you point out is this the way to run a team where players are leaked against about their weakness’s or techniques?
Perhaps we should ask Mr Andrew Strauss, who tells us repeatedly that “TRUST” is the most important thing in a dressing room. Maybe he means the trust of ECB media to report what they are told.
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Or trust in the judgement of players when the sanctity of the dressing room is involved. Guess that means Anderson, Broad (textgate), Prior (running to the headmaster) are out already since the respective incidents surfaced. Oh wait …
That gentleman such as Cook (the words uttered to Mathews after Mankad-gate), Anderson (Jadejagate), Broad (breaking Haider’s hand-gate; and if we go by the mantra that a gentleman walks, then well, Broad has another case to answer for), have also been demoted for their ungentlemanly conduct. But in fairness, Anderson did cover his mouth when uttering expletives and other civilized words of encouragement on the rare occasion that he did get a batsman out, so I am sure that counts as a mitigating circumstance, with regards to his “dossier”. Ballance, on the evidence in a nightclub, must be on short notice too. Never mind the whole team who decided that it was a good idea to piss on the pitch in the aftermath of the 2013 Ashes.
I suppose that means Colin Graves has also been dismissed for his shoddy treatment of KP. Forfeiting a 200k contract on the basis of lies is not exactly engendering trust either. Or Giles Clarke and Collier, for the Stanford fiasco. Or the men who decided that they needed to rob the rest of the cricket world silly in the ICC fiasco.
Oh, and I suppose that the guy who said in the aftermath of textgate that he never had trouble with KP, was a liar right, Strauss? Pity that I am referring to comments Strauss made himself, so it is kind of hard to wiggle out of that one … I am sure we trust Strauss to have been truthful all the time, right? Or is it really that common to call people who have not caused trouble c**ts?
And that is not to say much about all the leaks against certain players (KP is certainly not the only one – Bell’s “leadership tribulations” spring to mind),
I am sure that John Etheridge’s accreditation has been revoked, after he produced a few stories that he still cannot substantiate, and refuses to even try to substantiate. Right? Not to mention dozens of others who have leaked stories that were not meant to be in the public domain.
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I love the way that Eth made such a fuss about his deliberate misinterpreation of a blog post. Let’s call him out as an idiot. He belongs with Pammy and Neil Harris. maybe they read his articles and think he knows anything.
I’m disappointed LCL hasn’t yet started referring to himself as ‘Being Outside Cricket’ in the way Selvey calls himself The Spin today.
I’m sure Bull, Ronay, Ashdown and other Spin contributors must be delighted by Selvey’s ‘Le Spin, c’est moi’ approach – and I thought he was against pseudonyms…..
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I thought about calling myself “the essayist” but someone got there first.
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To be fair, they all do it. It always seems so contrived, though.
Just walked past Andrew Strauss and Matthew Hayden in a rain storm. Such a perfect day.
Not sure I have ever counted that many references in one Spin though. Still, some found it all lovely and delightful, so who are we to argue?
I get the email, but I deliberately didn’t read the article on the site. I started at the Guardian for the articles, then stayed for the BTL. Now I find myself often avoiding one or the other.
“Which really means this isn’t a KP issue, it’s an ECB one,”
EXACTLY! And there lies the dilemma for you Dmitri, and your blog, and us as cicket fans. KP was not the issue , but the way he was dealt with, and the dishonest way he was treated Is. He is gone and will not be coming back. Time to let sleeping dogs lie? But the dishonest, duplicitous scum bags are still running the show. What’s more they don’t want anymore KPs ever again. It’s not just his image that has been air brushed out of ECB photos, it’s his whole way of playing that is to be destroyed. The flair, the attitude, and the greatness. All to be replaced with a tacky corporate image of dull, speak your weight obdience. Strauss is the perfect fit for this new era. Managememt self help books, and arm chair make believe generals.
When Oliver Cromwell died, Charles 2nd had his corpse dug up and tried for treason. Not surprisingly the rotting remains was found guilty and then they carried out a mock execution of a dead body. That sums up the the people who run English cricket. They hate KP with a deep bitterness. If they could try him and execute him every year they would. I still suspect certain people were quite happy to let him believe he could come back, just so he would give up his contract, and then they could fire him again. They would like to fire him every year, as a warning to anyone else who steps out of line.
This poses a huge problem for people who love cricket, but dislike the dull, boring, dishonest regime that runs it. There is a bumper sticker in the US that says ……” I love my country, but I hate my govt” ………that pretty much is where I am with English cricket. And they like to make it known, that if you want to support English cricket, you must buy the whole structure as well. Strauss, Cook and all the other non entities.
I’m thinking about giving up on English cricket because Strausss and Cook clones are the future. Cook will be replaced by who ever fits the corporate agenda of the ECB. The England captain will always now come from the “right sort of family.” A corporate team, devoid of flair for a corporate sponsor. Sport and cricket is a distraction from a world full of Strauss, and Cook like people. Now even this little light relief is polluted with corprate management speak. The Switch hit is to be replaced by corporate trust, and mission statements. The future is now endless big 3 rubbish, and moronic media telling us to clap louder. Who wants to stick around at a expensive crap party with horrible hosts who just boast about how great they are?
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We love our game.
We hate its administration.
The halo that Strauss seemed to keep in the last couple of years of his career astounded me up to a point. Sure when he did take over the England captaincy he was one who helped pull England around in the 2009 Ashes series when he led from the front with the bat. Yet after that point onward he really rather mediocre as a batsmen alone, accruing only 3 centuries inhis last 33 tests and at times an utter liability. Then I felt the effectiveness of his capataincy was somewhat overrated. He simply was the on field implementer of the regimented Flower game plan rather than much of a tactician. I never got the impression that he had a feel for field changes or bowling changes to say the least.
As many of you here say and I am one of the first to agree with, the way the whitewash in the UAE is airbrushed from history by his backers in the media is rather pathetic because it doesn’t paint is own legacy in such a good light, let alone England getting battered by South Africa later in that year, being the final straw for him. Of course some of the bootlickers try to claim that it was ‘textgate’ that meant a departure before his time, yet it utterly overlooked his own contributions. Like others I think that in some respects he never got some of the credit that he deserved earlier in his career, but overall in my opinion he was never quite the same player after getting undressed in the 2007/7 series.
Good point about the Strauss whitewash PKTROLL, I think you have highlighted an important trend. Strauss’s UAE captained whitewash has been airbrushed from history. Lo and behold the ECB and duplicitous MSM, are well on their way to airbrushing captain Cock’s ashes whitewash, sorry, ahem difficult winter, from history! Pietersen is/has been airbrushed from history, hell they even tried to gloss over 2005 and pretend this year was as good!
The ECB in conjunction with those in the MSM, who are in their pocket, are pure cretins. I fear for Root as FOC and what the ECB will do to him…….although Captain Cock is not completely blameless, the ECB have played a huge part in creating the decisive character we now see before us!
Great article Dmitri, get me fired up and wanting me, looking forward to the next instalment!😀
In terms of the abhorrance of the ECB, it’ll be interesting to see how they react to the mild slap in the face that the “no change to the County Championship for 2016” news represents. I’m happy about it anyway as it seemed half-arsed and ill-thought through. (That’s for another day).
Will Harrison and Strauss take it in good spirit, and recognise the flaws in their plans? Will they reconsider and take advice even from the most outlying stakeholders? Will they appreciate the wider truth that cricket in England (and Wales) is so much more than just England (and Wales) Cricket? Will those damn pigs stop nesting in my trees?…
KP’s got another book coming out soon, I believe. A technical one about batting.
So we can look forward to lots of articles about how he couldn’t really bat and all those great innings were just some sort of hallucination.
Interesting that in the tributes to Brian Close it was widely admitted that he was unfairly kept out of the England side because he was abrasive and the ‘right sort of person’ Colin Cowdrey was preferred…. plus ça change…
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Yes, I bet the book will be given a hostile reception, which will only demonstrate the bias of the media. When his last book came out the media said “why can’t he write more about cricket? ” It was bullshipt because when he does write a book about cricket they will find something else to pick away at.
Brian Close, Harold Larwood, how far back do you want to go? English cricket is one long story of history repeating itself regards someone getting the blame, and the blue eyed boy from the right school getting way with it.
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Not just English cricket, English history.Still there’s hope abroad for the first time in many years. The establishment will praise the book, it will be the beginning of his rehabilitation having been domesticated by age and absence If only he’d written this positive book instead of the other etc.That’s how they roll.
I was reading Stephen Chalke’s new book about the nhistory of the County Championship, and there was a bit about Bill Alley. he had 3 strokes – the dab thro9ugh gully, the hook and the hoik over mid-wicketand nyet he scored 3000 runs in 1963. This is Alastair Cook. Test teams can dry him up until he loses sufficient fluids to play a weak shot and get out.
mind you, Bill Alley was 32 years old at the time….Cook’s aptitude for personal development is not great. I hope the great HR Straussy is watching and evaluating.
sorry 42 years old
Please don’t play it safe LCL!
As a man of Hampshire, can I apologise to the entire world for inflicting this fool upon you:
Mark saw a footer contest on Sunday. TOP STUFF.
Is he for real ????😢😢😢😢😢😢😢
He “needs” to write something if he’s getting paid. And as articulate as he is, he is smart enough to know which side of his bread is buttered. QED.
“Alastair Cook gave a marvellous summary of it all. At the start of the series had he thought England would win? “Honestly, no!” Asked about the impressive impact of the new Australian coach of England, Trevor Bayliss, he replied: “Let’s not give him too much credit, he’s only been here for five minutes.” Cook was emotional too. We all melted. Heroes were everywhere.
Really? REALLY? We all melted did we Mark? I guess if you were an ice cream you might have melted. But normal human beings just shrugged at the absurdity of it all, and the Zooms who report on it.
Also, notice how Cook is loathed to let anyone else take even a smidgen of credit. He really is the most horrible man/child, Propped up by gushing morons like said writer. You can do better than this Mark. Much, much better. Channel 9 has turned you into a blithering idiot.
When he says ‘we all melted ‘, he obviously means only those INSIDE cricket.
Thankfully, that’s not me.
Cook on April 1st 2014:
“I understand the reasons why the ECB has decided to stay quiet but it’s frustrating,” added Cook. “Things will become clear in a little time now. People just have to be patient.”
“There will be a time in the not too distant future,” Cook said, “when I can give you the whole side of my story but I hope you can bear with that a little longer.”
“Of course you have to think back and ask if it was the right decision given all that was going on. But in my mind I know it is the right decision. It was a brave call and people have been talking as if it just happened overnight.
“The last thing we wanted to do was make Kevin a scapegoat for what happened in Australia.”
“Moving forward that will be the way. We all know how important team culture and unity are, said Cook. “We are in a results-driven business but sometimes you have to get the basics in place first. I know it is frustrating to people, and it is to me too, that we have not put our side of the story, but it will happen.”
In other words – Trust me, I know, but I cannot tell you.
It really is one huge April Fool Joke.
What are the odds of Cook becoming a Mike Sellfie in thirty-odd years?
The basis is to schedule 2 home seasons, and the easiest away tour in the decade since the “difficult winter”, and then boast you have won 2 Test series out of 5, and that England are already the best team in the world, albeit that it is somehow not reflected in the rankings.
But if only the English press did their jobs, they’d be warning us not to celebrate too soon.
“The last thing we wanted to do was make Kevin a scapegoat for what happened in Australia.”
I loved that quote, because it instantly reminded me of the punchline to this:
Might just give the ECB ideas here…. KP, blasted into outer space. The ultimate Outside of Cricket!
Blasting KP into outerspace is about the only way the ECB are going to get rid of him.He is just not going to go away
Unfancied Japan beat traditional powerhouse South Africa in the Rugby World Cup shown to millions on FTA TV.
Thank heavens we won’t be having any of that sort of nonsense in cricket.
Let them eat cake.
Excellent result for Japan. And the kind of result that will increase interest in the game, globally, and within Japan itself. I can imagine that Scotland won’t be too thrilled by the result though.
The format in the Rugby World Cup is such that South Africa still have plenty of games and opportunities left to ensure that they will qualify for the knockouts. And frankly, if they can’t be bothered to play well in the remaining games, and win the other three games in the group phase, they deserve to be knocked out.
I was joking with one of my Indian friends, that if the ICC was watching the proceedings, they would be spending some time finding ways to ban Bangladesh, Zimbabwe,West Indies and possibly Pakistan from future World Cups …
What preposterous nonsense. A thrilling match where a minnow courageously beats a Big Fish watched by millions of enthusiastic populi on FTA. Will never catch on.
PS- Well played Japan!
That sort of upset was what led to the cricket world cup going in the direction it has gone.
Henderson was in today’s Times. 90% fine, none of his normal spiteful drivel. The other 10% was a load of pointless references to locations I’ve never heard of, King Arthur and Excalibur, some music I’ve never heard of, and a proverb for good measure. Like with Ed Smith, all these references do is tell the reader how much more intelligent the writer is than them. But it comes at the expense of actual cricketing insight.