The Tenacity Of Hope

England's cricketer Adil Rashid tosses aI’m going to be brief. It is tough to comment on a day’s play when I have been pretty much out of the loop. I sneaked a look during my 11:30 meeting and saw that Wood and Rashid were putting up a hell of a fight….. then a few minutes later, the vibration from the phone signalled a wicket. Another duly followed a bit after. England had lost. They’d lasted almost to my lunch break. Adil Rashid had been the reason.

Rashid has had a whispering campaign against him, most notably by one particular member of the media entourage. He has shown some guts, first in the Abu Dhabi test by getting over a horror show in the first innings, by almost bowling us to victory in the second; and then here by playing a really poor shot in the first innings and making a rearguard half-century in the second. But because he played a loose shot in getting out (being caught at cover), one muppet even called him a “villain”. Oh Degsy, do we miss you?

Because Rashid tried to score runs and play his own way, something deemed crucial in any rearguard according to the “experts”, he has received some admonition for his error.

Look at the shot (and his reaction) that Prior took to get to his hundred in that clip (about 6 or so minutes in). Prior rode his luck, but also went down in our history as the man who saved a series. That wasn’t a truly defensive knock, but one where he balanced attack and defence.

Well played lads. I am saying that now. I was mightily disappointed that Rashid, Broad, Wood and Anderson didn’t save us. I don’t feel any shame or problem in saying that. They played their hearts out, and they did so on an alien surface against fascinating opposition. This is test cricket, and I’m loving this series more than the Ashes or any home series against India. It has been enthralling, and I include the Abu Dhabi match in that, which saw us respond to scoreboard pressure.

On to Sharjah. We’ll discuss who should, or shouldn’t play, in due course.


43 thoughts on “The Tenacity Of Hope

  1. metatone Oct 26, 2015 / 8:59 pm

    Usual points in this situation:

    – Absurd to blame tail for not holding out when specialist batsmen largely didn’t do their job in the match.

    – This is only Rashid’s 2nd Test (largely the fault of Selvey, Pringle and others) – no wonder he’s still developing the concentration.


    • d'Arthez Oct 27, 2015 / 10:06 am

      To add to that, this is comfortably the most balls faced by #8-#11, in an attempt to save the match in the fourth innings. Don’t blame the bowlers. Blame the batsmen.


  2. man in a barrel Oct 26, 2015 / 9:27 pm

    I don’t blame Rachid for his shot. He was clearly trying to get Anderson off strike for the next over. The divine Jimmy had surely used up his luck in terms of dropped catches, missed catches and lucky edges. Surprisingly, this was missed by the Sky pundits.


    • SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 9:50 pm

      Aamir Sohail made the good point on The Verdict that it was a slower, more flighted delivery from Yasir Shah that deceived Rashid into thinking it was going to be a full toss. So, some credit to the bowler.

      But then, we all know leg-spinners are only effective when they bowler faster….


      • Rooto Oct 27, 2015 / 4:59 am

        I was watching Ten Sports where Atherton quickly and repeatedly made the point that, it being Yasir’s first over after a break, the bowler was fresher and gave it more of a rip than he had been able to before.
        We’re seeing, again, how most of the British media seem unwilling or unable to credit the opposition – it always has to be our greatness (Ashes) or our fallibility (yesterday).


  3. hatmallet Oct 26, 2015 / 9:59 pm

    Cork thinks we should play Patel. If Pakistan find Moeen and Rashid easy, what will they think of Patel? I think he picked about 14 players in the end. Colville looked confused.


  4. Mark Oct 26, 2015 / 10:25 pm

    Very disappointing to get so close, and then lose. But to be honest I didn’t think they would make it to tea. This test match was lost on Saturday morning when we lost 7 wickets for not very many in about 15 minutes. If We bat for 2.5 sessions then, and score 200 odd runs, this match would have been a comfortable draw.

    England are in a mess in selection. I never understood Ali opening when they said he would be unlikely to open in South Africa. Surely a proper opener should have been given the 2 winter tours to establish himself. I m not convinced about Hales as that man, but he is the only option out there at this time. We have a wicketkeeper who can’t buy a run, and nobody seems to think our reserve keeper is good enough with the gloves. Somehow Taylor has to be given a go. Can’t see much point bringing in Patel when our other spinners have failed to be able to restrict Pakistans batsman.

    Sorry to hear there is a whispering campaign against Rashid. We have been here before and you just hope it is not being orchestrated from within the team. Again, we have had that before. I would have hoped for better seeing as our new cricketing supremo is a big one for dressing room “trust.” But that only seems to apply to one other person. Running fake Twitter accounts is not a trust issue, neither is leaking to a tame journo apparently.


  5. MM Oct 26, 2015 / 10:58 pm

    Damn near had to put my abdominal protector in the food processor with some chickpeas, garlic and peanut butter.

    Great effort Mr Rashid and t’other tail-enders. But I’m properly admiring that Pakistan team.


  6. Rohan Oct 26, 2015 / 11:03 pm

    Great call Dmitri, I agree wholeheartedly, a fantastic series so far and so much more interesting than that which we endured over the past 2 summers. Today was riveting and although I had the kids all day (wife at work and I am on half term), I managed to watch a fair chunk, or listen when out and about. Rashid and Wood were superb and in the face of some excellent and disciplined bowling.

    They deserve only praise and Rashid especially so. The way he played the spinners, until his dismissal, was a lesson in class batting. He was more adept, comfortable and sure against them, than any of the frontline batsman. I have to agree that it was a very good piece of bowling to get him out and not surprising that he went for it, after so long at the crease, he must have been drained!

    I think the way the Pakistan bowlers stuck to their task and did not resort to silly tactics (bang it in short etc.) was a lesson for our bowlers. They knew chances would come and as long as they stuck to their plans the chances would come. They did and they did. Very impressed all round by the discipline and application of both teams. They both played today real test cricket and today’s play had everything that was lacking in the ashes!

    Shame it’s not 5 tests……….


  7. man in a barrel Oct 26, 2015 / 11:44 pm

    echo…shame it’s not 5 tests. And Pakistan have Amir possibly coming back…all Cook’s nighhtmares night emerge again.


  8. Benny Oct 27, 2015 / 12:04 am

    Sometimes wonder if pundits know a damn thing. Here’s a big shock for pringle and the rest – batsmen sometimes make mistakes, bowlers sometimes bowl no balls and fielders sometimes drop catches. It’s always been thus and always will be.


  9. man in a barrel Oct 27, 2015 / 12:23 am

    still curious why no journo has questioned Cook’s decision to field and then bat with a groin strain. Even fielding in the slips….I can only think that he knew that nothing was likely to flash through that area, otherwise he would have looked a bit crustacean-like. Also. the interview with Farbrace suggested that then top team did not know that Cook was injured… Cook covered up his injury and played regardless…..or the medical staff are totally incompetent.

    Any other views?


    • Rooto Oct 27, 2015 / 5:09 am

      I would guess (in a spirit of generosity) that Cook didn’t know when the declaration would come, and felt it absolutely vital that he was able to open. If he’d been off the field for long he may have been blocked from opening.
      Another, more cynical, possibility is that he didn’t want Root to show up his captaincy.


    • BoerInAustria Oct 27, 2015 / 5:37 am

      Reminds me of Compton


    • d'Arthez Oct 27, 2015 / 10:18 am

      Those rankings are a bit of a joke.

      Amla has batted all of 3 innings in 2015. AB de Villiers has batted all of 1 innings this year.


      • SimonH Oct 27, 2015 / 10:38 am

        Agreed – although it is the fixture scheduling that is the joke more than the rankings themselves.

        Yasir Shah looks a fine bowler who should have an excellent career – but he hasn’t played a Test in Australia, NZ, SA or England yet. How can he be ranked second best bowler?


      • d'Arthez Oct 27, 2015 / 11:01 am

        Well, the penalties for short careers stop applying after all of 12 matches. That is ridiculous, but that is the way things are. Thus your ranking can be almost completely based on a good home season or two.

        In the past you can argue that Moeen and Ballance were also benefiting from the quirks of the ranking system. Moeen for instance has only played 5 Tests away from home, and 14 at home. You can’t blame the players for that. It is simply reflective of a scheduling farce.

        Also team results matter for the rankings. Which is basically penalising good batsmen from the weaker teams.

        Also, AB de Villiers lost ranking points for not playing in Bangladesh (fair enough), but Amla did not lose a ranking point for not being able to bat in the second Test (there was no South African innings, courtesy of the monsoon season). Sensible, right? Same with the Test team rankings. South Africa lost 5 points simply because of weather conditions, rather than play on the field.

        It would be better off to accept that individual rankings in a team sport are a farce, and be done with it. But the stories sell, so that is why there is more coverage of something as meaningless as that, than on say the successes of the Afghan cricket team in Zimbabwe.


    • Arron Wright Oct 27, 2015 / 9:53 am

      And he’s promising us a piece which seems to be based on that lunchtime interview you posted yesterday (5 seamers plus Moeen and Root).

      Shoaib Siddiqui

      It’s obvious that Pakistan’s strategy is to block out the seamers and come after the spinners. Therefore, the best way to win the next match (apart from bringing in Taylor to replace Buttler) is to try and get the seamers to bowl more, particularly when batsmen are set and use the spinners more when the new batsmen come in.

      MikeSelvey Shoaib Siddiqui 1h ago

      you are almost,but not quite, on the money. piece to follow today.

      Hope he gets buried under an avalanche of protest from the pro-Rashid mob.


    • hatmallet Oct 27, 2015 / 1:34 pm

      To be fair, the comment he was replying to was nonsense. There’s a reason it’s rare for teams to bat out 150 overs for a draw. Yes some poor shorts but “old tosh” and “gutless cowardly mindset” is unnecessary.


      • SimonH Oct 27, 2015 / 1:55 pm

        Hi Matt, yes agreed – I suppose that what the poster meant is that England tried only to bat time and not go for the runs. There have been occasions when that’s been a fair criticism of England but this wasn’t one of them – the size of the total and the RR required was clearly out of reach.

        One of the issues with Selvey BTL though is that these are the only sort of posts he tends to respond to. Make a well-reasoned and evidenced case against him and all you’ll get is silence.


  10. SimonH Oct 27, 2015 / 9:16 am

    Highlights of the SL v WI Tests are on YT. Here’s the final day:


    • d'Arthez Oct 27, 2015 / 10:19 am

      Thanks for that Simon. I missed that mostly due to overlapping with the England-Pakistan Test.


  11. SimonH Oct 27, 2015 / 10:24 am

    Bayliss clearly wants no change at opener:

    “As everyone’s aware, the opening batting position hasn’t been a success as yet,”

    Everyone? Not Selvey – see his BTL comment that it hasn’t been the failure everyone else thinks (one century stand, one sacrifice in a run chase, one unlucky dismissal).

    “Personally, I think I’d like to give Moeen another opportunity. He’s a quality player”.

    Current Test batting average of 28.

    “Yes, he’s in a position he’s a little unfamiliar with”.

    A little? As in he’s never done it before in f/c cricket…

    ” – but he’s a guy who wants to do it. To me, someone who wants to go out there and do it – that’s a guy you want in your team.”

    Character and temperament over quality and experience – it didn’t take Bayliss long to swallow that. (I thought Bob Willis hit the nail on the head about that on last night’s Verdict). And is there an implication here that Hales doesn’t want to do it? Has he failed some sort of ‘run through a brick wall for Chef’ test? In which case why was he selected on the tour in the first place?


    • Mark Oct 27, 2015 / 11:00 am

      Its an indictment of English cricket that we have only 1 decent opener. Mind you, the ECB only has its self to blame as they have been so careless about dumping previous openers. Carberry, Compton, who seem to have been got rid of for odd reasons that will always be linked to non cricket issues. Especially as ECBs finest stenographer Mr Ed Smith wrote a piece praising the logic of having 35/37 year old players like Rodgers in the Aus team.

      Another player (using the old chestnut) about being out of the side you become a better player is Garry Balance. I believe he now has the third best average of the last year or so of the current players.

      English cricket is heading to hell in a hand basket for most conditions outside England. We have only one opener. We have only two top order batsman who can be relied on to make runs. We have a wicketkeeper who can’t score any runs at test level, and we are increasingly relying on a couple of seam bowlers around the 30 year old mark to take most of our wickets. No wonder the ECB is putting everything into home test matches on green seamers. If we can’t find some new players of talent we are going to be in the mire in 2-3 years time.


    • LordCanisLupus Oct 27, 2015 / 1:03 pm

      It wasn’t Rashid’s fault but I’ll start off the piece by focusing on his failure rather than anyone else’s.

      The rest is the ego being the ego.

      No wonder he’s number one!


      • Arron Wright Oct 27, 2015 / 1:12 pm

        Last time he advocated England “playing to their strengths” in Asia, it was picking Bresnan (average 90 in his previous three Tests, in England) ahead of Panesar (25 wickets in his previous three, at under 25, all in Asia) at Ahmedabad. I hope someone points this out, because if I submit a comment on that rubbish I’ll be modded.

        Convenient link for you:


      • Arron Wright Oct 27, 2015 / 1:12 pm

        Sorry, 16 wickets at 25 that should have been.


      • Arron Wright Oct 27, 2015 / 3:10 pm

        Keep your eye on Twitter – Tickers has only just found out about Selvey’s article…


      • SimonH Oct 27, 2015 / 3:16 pm

        Very good response to Selvey by professorprofessor moderated in just over half an hour.

        Presumably his/her crime was to say what we can all see – that Selvey seems to have it in for Rashid.


      • SimonH Oct 27, 2015 / 3:25 pm

        Talking of Twitter, have a look at who TheAnalyst is re-Tweeting approvingly….


      • d'Arthez Oct 27, 2015 / 4:07 pm

        Did anyone copy that post that got axed?

        Presumably Bresnan or Monty got called worldclass. There is a first then for Bresnan, as otherwise it would make no sense to pick an average spinner like Monty to even tour Sri Lanka and India afterwards. Right? It would also explain why Monty did not feature in the second Test in Sri Lanka – being replaced by by Bresnan. Right?

        Never mind the fact that he brazenly states that Monty played in two Tests in the UAE. So, whose brilliant idea was it that he sat out in the first Test in 2012, for the world class bowler Tim Bresnan?

        Mike Selvey also can’t get his head around the fact that the England bowling averages for 2012 are quite useless as a guide to assess the potency of the current attack. The current series averages are far less flattering to Broad in particular. Only Wood and Anderson have done really well.

        It looks like Ravi won’t be there to help England this time around; though Reiffel can make bizarre decisions just as well.

        It is quite likely that Masood gets dropped. Azhar Ali should be batting at #3, and that means either Shezhad opens, or Malik gets a promotion to open. If that happens, Anderson’s bunny won’t be playing in Sjarjah. Anderson picks up Masood and one other wicket per innings (and even that required some assistance from Ravi – Misbah in the first innings of the first Test).

        Broad has picked up 1 wicket in each match, and it is not for lack of bowling opportunity; that much is suggested by a strike rate of 168. Wood has done well, and has been generally the most threatening. If his body can handle it, he has to play.

        Moeen has hardly done better than Rashid. Moeen hardly contributed with the bat (and the one time he passed 20, it was on the flattest of wickets), and with the ball there is really not much separating them. But he is a better player of spin than fast bowling, so it would make sense to pick him to bat down the order. You would think though that an offie would be struggling more against 11 rhb than a leggie. Lyon can attest to that, and he is certainly not the worst spinner going around at the moment, to say the least. Tahir has not been without success in the UAE. 8/130 from just one match are decent returns – especially since he picked 5 wickets on a Day 1 pitch, which was probably a lot harder to bat on (the South African reply had just one major partnership (338 by de Villiers – Smith; out of a team total of 517).

        Mind you, the idea to drop a spinner for a seamer has some merit – but the problem is then, that those seamers have to be economical, and striking at a decent rate. Plunkett is no Morne Morkel though. And I am not sure that Plunkett fits that bill. It would make some sense to find a way to include Samit Patel (sla – useful against a battalion of righthanders). Problem is of course, that you can pick 7 players who can bat at #7 or #8, but it is next to impossible to make a decent batting order out of that.

        So, if I had to pick a team with only the result in mind, I’d probably go:
        1. Cook 2. Hales (no one else is a specialist opener; great work Whitaker) 3. Taylor 4. Root 5. Patel 6. Bairstow (wk) 7. Moeen 8. Rashid 9. Wood 10. Anderson.

        That leaves one spot up for grabs. If you have doubts about the batting, pick Bell, and slot him in at #5. That is the position he seems to have best in. If you doubt that two seamers can do the job, and have reservations about the batting, pick Stokes at #6. Else, pick Jordan to bat at #9.


      • SimonH Oct 27, 2015 / 6:56 pm

        Professorprofessor has reposted his moderated comment but in case it disappears again:

        “You really do not like Rashid do you Mr Selvey? First you tell us for months that he bowls too slowly (although at a similar pace to other leggies), then you spend an entire paragraph berating him for one momentary loss of concentration, despite almost saving the match and being our second top scorer in the final innings; why not blame Cook or Bell or Buttler or Bairstow or Stokes? And now you call for him to be dropped to make room for another pace bowler.

        Your whole argument is a logical fallacy. The reasons that the seamers have had good strike rates and averages (not Broad incidentally this series, but you ignore that) is because they are bowled in short bursts and the majority of the bowling is by the spinners. Dropping Rashid, one of our better players of spin and who also bowled more overs than any other England bowler, for Plunkett makes no sense: the seamers would have to bowl a lot more, and would be less effective. And who would collect that Day five five-for that Rashid did in Abu Dhabi (met with the faint praise of “very much against the head” in this article and a plaintive “let’s not forget Cook’s hard work” in a previous article).

        I think a closer look at the middle order and Cook’s inability to captain (Rashid is not a containing bowler for the first innings) and set fields to leg spin bowlers (Graeme Swann’s comments not mine) should perhaps have more scrutiny. At the moment Rashid is worth his place as a batsman alone, and third/fourth innings bowling one of our more potent weapons”.

        Ali Martin’s latest briefing from Bayliss has Buttler being dropped for Taylor and, rather than going in with one spinner, reports that the original plan was to play three in Sharjah but they’re now reconsidering.


      • jomesy Oct 27, 2015 / 8:43 pm

        Why on earth was professorprofessor’s original comment removed?


      • Arron Wright Oct 27, 2015 / 9:02 pm

        He’s even pushed someone who’s “usually ok with” his articles “to the limit” now.

        Meanwhile wctt seems to be aiming for the BTL equivalent of Charles Bannerman’s record.


  12. man in a barrel Oct 27, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    Nick Hoult in the Bellylaugh is suggesting that Cook’s groin strain is fairly serious and, if he plays the next match, he might not be fully fit. That would put the cat amongst the MSM pigeons.


    • SimonH Oct 27, 2015 / 8:11 pm

      Two things that were quite concerning about it:

      1) He definitely couldn’t get properly forward to the spinners (although he seemed okay against the seamers).
      2) The injury seemed to get worse the longer he batted.


      • man in a barrel Oct 28, 2015 / 4:09 pm

        If you have a groin strain, the quick, repetitive stretching movements you make to get forward or play shots are not going to help the strain to improve, are they. Basically, you have to sit on the back foot, which is not Cook’s way against the spinners. As for fielding, it becomes almost impossible…unable to run or crouch without being in pain, you are just a passenger, standing like a lighthouse at mid on.


    • Ian Oct 28, 2015 / 1:40 pm

      If Cook misses the third test then I assume we will be playing that test without a captain. After all there is no alternative apparently


  13. man in a barrel Oct 28, 2015 / 12:09 am

    I have been impressed by the way, in this series, that Cook has tried to rotate the strike, pick up singles. This was in the past something that he only did on odd occasions but now he seems to have realised the value of it as a tactic. If he cannot run singles….the England medical team…what a bunch!


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