Good day to you all.
You don’t need to be as great an administrator as Paul Downton to note that output is down on here at the moment. That longer piece on Giles Clarke was written over a week ago, and I’ve not felt the urge, or had the time, to write anything else. TLG is also incredibly busy at this point. We’ll try to get some more stuff out, so keep checking in, but these are the dog-days of blogging and we don’t even have a tasty autobiography on the horizon to get enthused about!
Some points that aren’t worthy of an entire post, but caught my attention can be discussed here. What’s going on with Australia and Bangladesh? I have to say I am stunned that there are security issues that might prevent the matches going ahead. Clearly Pakistan is still a country too far for international teams, and I can’t see that really changing, but there’s never been a hint that Bangladesh shares the same problems, has there? I have a couple of benchmarks to go alongside here – India in 2008, when England returned after the Mumbai Hotel siege and played out two tests; and Sri Lanka in the 80s and 90s, when bombings were reasonably frequent, and yet teams toured (I seem to recall New Zealand coming home from one series). This may be due to lack of coverage in the UK, but you don’t get that impression of Bangladesh.
No-one can say that Australia are wrong to do what they are doing because we don’t know the full facts. But you are really left wondering if this is worse than being in England during the 2005 bombings, or if this were India they were talking about, then there’d be this impasse. As I say, you just wonder.
To return to KP, I saw a quote where he supposedly says Strauss was right to drop him. The quote in the article says
“[Strauss] made his decision and it’s turned out absolutely fine. Absolutely it seems to be the right decision at the moment.
Notice how those last three words are left out of the headlines?
Sad to see the death of Frank Tyson, an England legend of days gone by, well before I was on this good Earth. Legends of his pace, of his winning exploits in Australia are passed down by those who saw him in action, who can tell of the greatness. In many ways, in this age where everything is covered on TV, and you can access pretty much anything, this air of mystery to someone like me adds so much. In the absence of personal experience, read the many tributes on the dedicated pages.
The County season drew to an end, with not too much drama in the first class game except relegation battles in the first division. Sussex went through the trap door, and that’s sad for a county that seem to do the right thing most of the time. Somerset and Hampshire had rocky seasons but survived, with Somerset’s last day win pulling them well away from the zone they had begun to flirt with. Hampshire stayed up by the skin of their teeth (2 points). Surrey won the 2nd Division with their summer surge finally catching and then passing Lancashire (and definitely having the better of their September match-up), who took second and looked nailed on for promotion from the start.
There was, of course, the One Day Cup Final, which was a great match, won by the unfashionable county over the flash boys. I could not help but regret that something like that, which Sky doesn’t really care about, couldn’t be held at a better time, and with more access. It had to compete with a crowded sporting calendar, and especially the start of the tedious Rugby World Cup (sorry folks, not my bag). Imagine if a wider audience could have seen the performances of old man Geraint Jones and the young tyro Sam Curran? That’s the sort of thing that inspires. But no. A great game, with great stories, passed the world by. No-one cares any more because the networks don’t care about it, and to a certain degree, players and counties don’t. I really think it needs to go to knockout format now. The group stages can be tainted when two or three counties lose early games and think it isn’t worth it and chuck out lower strength, unmotivated teams, which defeats some of its purpose. The same happens, to a lesser degree, in T20 (Middlesex, I’m looking at you) but it’s not as important. The crowds will still go, in much the same way as crowds turn up to those Premier League Darts things because the results don’t really matter, it’s the “entertainment”.
What is noticeable is the line-up of next year’s County Championship Division One. Surrey, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire (the original Big 6 test venues), Durham and Hampshire (two new test venues) and Somerset (the odd one out). One would suggest that if Tom The Empty Suit, and Graves the Gutless, could pick a county championship line-up this would be it, right down to Giles Clarke’s county being the odd one out in the line-up of 9!
Please do fill out the survey. I haven’t had too many responses so I’ll push the deadline back a bit. I suppose if you don’t want to do it all, then just do the best and worst journalist part, and the same for TV. After all, that’s all anyone is really interested in, isn’t it?
I’d also point out that I took up my annual ritual and purchased the 2015 Wisden from the Book People. I’m not paid to advertise them, but it’s worth looking. That Dmitri fella somehow ended up in it. Funny and all that.
I’m sure things will pick up with more international cricket on the horizon, so keep the comments and stuff coming. I have a piece on DoaG and the international scene to write…..