2nd Test, a few idle thoughts

As has become traditional for me, I return from a busy work trip of a fortnight to then spend the next week flat on my back ill. Great. The teasing about it being malaria or dengue fever has already begun.

You might think this perfectly allows
me to watch the cricket, but instead I fall asleep through most of it, which given the nature of play in the UAE might actually be the best way to experience it.

So England lost and have gone 1-0 down in the series. As most have pointed out, it stems entirely from the first innings collapse that saw a position of some strength turn into almost certain defeat in a couple of hours.   After two matches, the series has turned on a single session, for England could well be 2-0 up in this series had things gone slightly differently at key moments. Them’s the breaks, sport has always been about seizing the moment when it arrives, and England have shown themselves less than perfect at doing so for some time.

To some extent it could be said England haven’t learned from their last visit to the UAE, some of what happened then is happening now, yet a difference is that it is possible to see England winning in Sharjah and squaring the series – last time it just got worse by the match.

The batting is obviously a concern, as only Cook and Root are getting any runs, but this isn’t exactly new, and has been an issue for some time. Cook loves these slow pitches – he’s an extremely odd kind of opener, one who is vulnerable to pace and the moving ball (more so than many openers) but an outstanding player of spin. Equally, his levels of concentration are the stuff of legend, so his first Test mammoth effort don’t actually come as a surprise; it’s what he does, and does so well.

Root is now getting to the point where we have to start wondering if he’s not just going through a rich vein of form, that maybe he really is this good. Because if so, he’s going to shatter every England batting record there is.

Mark Wood is one who can hold his head up, and not just for his bowling. We know he can bat, but his innings yesterday showed a depth of character as much as anything. In his primary role, he’s been a revelation. The pitches offer him nothing, so he’s taken them out of the equation. It’s clever, thoughtful and effective. 

Adil Rashid too has shown why those who called for him a year ago and more had a point. He’s been inconsistent sure, but leg spinners are. The trouble is that they are all measured by Shane Warne, who is pretty much the only leg spinner ever who wasn’t inconsistent and wasn’t expensive.   Rashid is a Test novice and has done ok. His batting too has been good, all of which should mean he has a decent shot at the South Africa tour. Whether it will…

Ian Bell is once again under pressure. Given that he’s hardly alone in struggling, it seems a bit unfair to single him out, but that’s what the media do, usually having been given a nod that it’s a consideration by the Powers That Be.  If it is near the end, it’s a sad way for a player with his record and skill to fade away. But it’s hard to avoid the sense that this may well be it for him. 

Jos Buttler too has struggled, and for the first time it seems to be affecting his keeping as well. Players do go through poor form, and those that are backed tend to come through the other side. Some players are backed for a couple of years to allow them to do so. It’s more about what is best for him at the moment, but mid series always seems a peculiar time to change horses, especially if it’s just three matches as it implies the selection was wrong in the first place.
Likewise, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that Moeen isn’t an opening batsman.

For Pakistan, a quick word about Misbah ul Haq. He’s been captain for a few years now, a player less honoured in his own land than abroad. Pakistan cricket was in meltdown when he took over, the hangover from the spot fixing episode, the continuing inability to play matches at home. Misbah has given them back their self respect, and led from the front throughout, all while giving the firm impression that anyone wanting to suggest match fixing to him had better have their hospital arrangements in place beforehand. He’s been a terrific player, one who has performed far above expectations of someone in the autumn of his career, but more than that he’s been a leader. Whatever happens to England, it’s hard to experience anything but pleasure that one of the good guys has led Pakistan out of the darkness.

And with that, I’m going back under the blanket. Ugh.


63 thoughts on “2nd Test, a few idle thoughts

  1. thebogfather Oct 27, 2015 / 11:01 am

    When laid low with a lurgy so
    Then under the covers is the way to go
    But as our world-wide travelling guru
    I’m not sure how much solace we should give you…
    However, back to the cricket
    For those of us, home alone, feeling wicked
    Acknowledging the difficulties in the UAE, no surprise
    As we knew it would be new for some of the crew ability wise
    Yet we brought in Jayawardene to assist
    Despite his record there being somewhat amiss
    And thus our eleven made of two and the rest
    Have failed, to understand, the needs, opposition or conditions
    In too many sessions, both Tests.
    It seems Bell is in burnout, insecurities grow
    And as everyone bar those in the know
    Could tell that Mo opening was ever a no go
    What with Jos, scattered brain, now candy-floss
    And the MSM derision at whatever Adil does or doesn’t do
    makes us all puke, along with you
    Our captain, Cooking, runs do flow
    Yet, still wet, as a skipper, never to glow
    At least he has all his fawners to rub
    His strain, away, so sorely, forgiven, scrubbed
    And even the fact that we know Joe flows
    Too many fifties, not big tons to show
    And as for the bowling, perfect in patches
    Yet no real fast attack, variety it lacks
    Same and samey, rarely win matches.
    So, not chin down as yet, for winning away is hard
    But is the insular planning and picking?
    The main part of our flannelled fools getting a licking?
    Who knows….apart from Selfry….and the ICC idiots, so wealthy
    How much longer can Tests so interesting last
    Before the become, a thing from the past?

    (About to watch my DOAG dvd…)


    • thebogfather Oct 27, 2015 / 11:14 am

      p.s…. Leggy, do you know of any very cheap/free flights to Michigan? lol


      • thelegglance Oct 27, 2015 / 11:36 am

        Icelandair is usually the cheapest way to get across the Atlantic. Or Norwegian from LGW and get a connection. Free tends to require working for an airline or hijacking and is thus not advised unless a very long stay is required.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. dlpthomas Oct 27, 2015 / 11:19 am

    Don’t forget Chikungunya – if only because it is fun to say.


  3. Zephirine Oct 27, 2015 / 1:02 pm

    Vic Marks on The Spin:

    In Test cricket – as opposed to the white-ball formats – the match situation is often irrelevant to a worldly-wise batsman and it is therefore parked at the boundary edge. The best batsmen play more or less in the same way whatever the score, whether their team is trying to save or win the Test match. Occasionally – much less than 10% of the time, I would guess – this can be to the detriment of their own side. Usually it is to the team’s advantage to have a so-called “selfish” or “self-obsessed” player bedding down at the crease, unencumbered by the complexities of the state of the match.

    Self-obsessed is an advantage, eh? Who knew? This is why I like Marks. He’s as sly as a very sly thing.

    On the email there’s also a nice bit about Herath, one of my favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jamie Oct 27, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    I don’t think Ian Bell is being singled out and find your comments re “Powers That Be” quite confusing – anyone and everyone can see that he’s been in a poor patch of form for a very extended period of time, and as a specialist batsman that’s clearly a problem (the last top four specialist was Lyth and he was dropped).


    • Jamie Oct 27, 2015 / 1:26 pm

      Although to be fair I agree with the gist of the article though.

      I just feel it alluded to a conspiracy theory element when anyone could see his record of the last couple of years has been well below standard.


      • Mark Oct 27, 2015 / 1:58 pm

        A bit like Cook for the best part of 2 years, yet the media fawned all over him, and constantly told us of great his innings of 16 or magnificent 22s.

        Don’t have a problem with any player being dropped. I don’t like the double standards for certain players. Also , we are lead to believe Bell was keen to retire after the ashes, but was talked out of it.

        England are getting a reputation for a team that players are picked for non cricket issues. Not a good model.


    • greyblazer Oct 27, 2015 / 4:23 pm

      Bell’s decline started in the WIndies. I thought he looked in good form in the WC but was just a man out of time. He scored a century in the 1st test in April, so that’s 11 tests with only a handful of 50’s.
      The question is do you and more importantly Bell & the selectors feel this is terminal? If Bell does he may retire anyway.
      I thought he looked ok in the 2nd innings in Dubai, it may be a false dawn. It may be the start of a return to form.
      Maybe the selectors have to stick by Bell, because with the opening slot up for grabs, number 5 about to change, number 6 in peril, do you really want to be tinkering with number 3 as well?


  5. man in a barrel Oct 27, 2015 / 5:18 pm

    Sorry to hear of your illness but I must pick you up on this comment

    “The trouble is that they are all measured by Shane Warne, who is pretty much the only leg spinner ever who wasn’t inconsistent and wasn’t expensive”

    That is an assertion that is constantly trotted out but is it even true? O’Reilly, Warwick Armstrong, Clarrie Grimmett, Benaud etc were renowned for their economy. But then, on the other hand, there was Arthur Mailey who was supposed to bowl like a millionaire – I don’t know, never having had the joy of watching him in action. So I took a look at right arm spin bowlers in Test matches with more than 75 wickets and ranked them by economy rates. There were 44 contenders of whom 16 were leg breakers. The most expensive of the 44 turned out to be leggies – the aforementioned Mailey at 3.29 and MacGill at 3.22. BTW, I am not sure if they adjust for the 8 ball overs that Mailey and co would have bowled but let’s assume they do.

    O’Reilly went for 1.94, second only in economy to the stingy Yorky Ray Illingworth! At 9 and 10 we have Benaud and Grimmett at 2.1 and 2.16. Armstrong 2.18.

    The others on the list include Intikhab, Gupte, Mushtaq Mohammed and Mushtaq Ahmed. Warne was at 2.65, below Intikhab, Mushtaq Mohammed and Gupte. Kumble, Qadir, Kaneria (!) at 3.07, and Chandrasekhar are also on the list.

    If you extend the criteria to right arm spinners with more than 20 wickets, there are 153 candidates, so I might miss a few. Leggies such as Eric Hollies and Kerry o’Keefe come into the frame, with economy rates of 2.24. As a comparison, Murali’s rate was 2.47. Eddie Hemmings was 2.46. Graeme Swann was 2.98.

    JW Hearne, Hordern, Roly Jenkins, Walter Robins, Ian Peebles and Bob Barber range from 2.89 to 3.17. GTS Stevens comes in at 3.27…as well as others not named and shamed. Whoops, I missed Tich Freeman at 2.74

    So, looking at the list below Mailey, the most expensive bowler with more than 75 wickets, how many leggies can I spot out of the 21…

    Imran Tahir 3.56
    Ian Salisbury 3.7
    BJT Bosanquet 3.73
    (Moeen Ali 3.92)

    I think the problem is that there are a lot of occasional bowlers who bowl leggy filth, get hit around and then the Selveys (economy 4.18) and Tuffnells (economy 2.42, so more expensive than Grimmett…..) talk about inconsistency and inaccuracy. However, there are occasional leggies on this list such as Ian Chappell and Ken Barrington who are both less expensive than Mailey, but without his wicket-taking ability. They achieved economy rates of 2.74 and 2.87 – so were less expensive than Swann, for example. All in all, from this very cursory look at the data, it seems unfair that commenttors fixate on leggies being expensive and unreliable.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. man in a barrel Oct 27, 2015 / 5:28 pm

    Damn…it doesn’t help that cricinfo classify Warwick Armstrong as a fast medium bowler rather than a leggy. I wondered what had happened to his stats on that big query. The same happened to Bert Vogler – economy rate of 3.15.


  7. man in a barrel Oct 27, 2015 / 8:00 pm

    Is there a lengthy post from me about leggies being held up or did it just evaporate in the ether?


    • hatmallet Oct 27, 2015 / 9:00 pm

      You mentioned Cricinfo in that shorter post, it might be that if you linked to one of their pages that your post has gone into the pending comments list and DO/LGL need to approve it.


    • LordCanisLupus Oct 27, 2015 / 9:21 pm

      For some reason it went into Spam – as did Rohan’s two as well. Not sure why…..

      Anyway, up now!


  8. Rohan Oct 27, 2015 / 8:41 pm

    I can’t see a lengthy leg spin post Man in a Barrel, but I can see those which should be your 2 subsequent posts! 😮

    Anyway, shame we don’t have a world class number four with over 100 tests, then it might be easier to drop one of the other batsman and not be quite so worried about our batting being weakened/ even less experienced. Guess we just have to stick with what we have.

    Read the Selvey article and I disagree with him completely. I dont think Rashid should be dropped for Sharjah, it would be a travesty Mr Selfey……..


  9. Rohan Oct 27, 2015 / 8:43 pm

    Ps, welcome back TLG! Hope the travels were not just work and you got to enjoy the countries and sme of their cultures. I assume you were travelling?😳


  10. Grenville Oct 27, 2015 / 11:41 pm

    Just want to say, I love Misbah. What you say about him is spot on. I would like to know if he would let Amir back in the side. My guess is no, but I might just be projecting (Clive and Ramez Raja convinced me that they shouldn’t pick Amir come hell or high water).


  11. man in a barrel Oct 27, 2015 / 11:46 pm

    Amir has done his penance. He is better than any of the other seamers pakistan have played apart from the heroic Wahab. Either you believe in punishment and redemption or you just put Amir in the salt mines for ever. (Asif was another matter, even though he was one of the greatest bowlers in the last 10 years…Anderson can only dream of being as good as him)


    • Grenville Oct 28, 2015 / 10:42 am

      that’s what I used to think, but, now I think it is more complicated. I don’t want Amir further punished. In fact I think that prison was much too harsh. I’d have him for tea, give him a job, marry him, whatever. I think that is compatible with feeling that Amir should never play professional cricket again. The game can’t afford to be corrupted and, although trust is overrated, I think that it is reasonable to think that someone who’s aim is not obviously unequivocally to play as well as they can undermines the team. perhaps that is incoherent, but the hope is that you can separate punishing Amir from what has to happen to keep both cricket and Pakistan functioning.

      ps. It is particularly distressing because, as you say, he is brilliant and because he was set-up.


      • d'Arthez Oct 28, 2015 / 12:08 pm

        Others have spoken to bookies (Samuels, and he is not the only one, I could mention a few Australians for instance), bet against their own team (1981 Ashes for instance; it is funny how that never gets mentioned in the English press), taken drugs (Warne, Asif, Parnell; Gibbs had a few things to say about that as well), fixed matches (Cronje, Azharuddin, and a boatload of others. If accusations of biased umpiring are to be believed, Darrell Hair would be a good person to start with, but certainly not the only one.

        Then you have people who are accused of assault (Shahadat Hossain being the latest), rape accusations (Ntini – when he had just broken through; and I am sure he is not the only one). Thus far, none of the offenders have been banned for life, with the exception of Cronje and Azharuddin. None of the matches have been scrapped from the record books either.

        So, it is all nice to take the moral high ground, but administrators are desperately trying to plumb new depths. The game is already corrupted by the corrupt shenanigans of the ICC, and most if not all constituent boards of Full Members. Whether it is political interference, political appointments, dodgy dealings with Texas billionaires, rigging the rules in your favour, selectorial diktats by the powers that be, and I could go on.

        Remember Srini could not even spot the conflict of interest when he owned CSK, and was the chairman of the BCCI. Nor when he got a promotion in the ICC itself. Neither did any of his colleagues dare to point out the obvious.


      • Zephirine Oct 28, 2015 / 12:36 pm

        “someone who’s aim is not obviously unequivocally to play as well as they can undermines the team.”
        But what happens when they’re instructed by their team captain and a senior player to play less than equivocally as well as they can? Where does the team come in there exactly?

        I’ve been one of the many making excuses for Amir – I’ve always wanted to believe that the total obviousness of his overstepping showed some sort of wish to be found out and stopped. Equally, I’m quite prepared to discover that he’s actually a conniving slimeball. I think he should have the slate wiped clean though, simply because he was so young. Also, that whole thing was a messy charade that started from amoral journalistic practices and went on from there.

        But I find myself increasingly often fighting the suspicion that cricket is actually rotten from top to bottom.


      • d'Arthez Oct 28, 2015 / 1:46 pm

        I agree Zeph. That is why taking a hard stand against Amir would be utterly pathetic.

        Also note that the ACU has not done really that much with regards to corruption in the game. Is that a coincidence? I can’t give a clear answer to that question. That frightens me.


      • SteveT Oct 28, 2015 / 4:13 pm

        Yet staring out of the window, looking at your watch and comparing your captain to Ned Flanders gets you a lifetime international ban.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Grenville Oct 28, 2015 / 5:57 pm

        Look, I hope that my stance is not a moralising one. I have no desire to see Amir further punished (although, being prevented from playing more cricket will result in him suffering). Had he robbed a bank, assaulted a granny, etc, I would have no qualms about seeing him play cricket again. He took money to under perform. It is also true that corruption permeates the sport. I’m not advocating that Amir be made a scapegoat, merely that the PCB don’t pick him because, well, I think that doing so would undermine the game. I also think that we should sack the ICC, sort out the ACU, open an investigation into New Zealand cricket and the IPL. None of the above will happen, but that is what, I think, is right for the game.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. greyblazer Oct 28, 2015 / 8:03 am

    You wonder what makes every expert from England back Broad so much even in Asia? He hardly succeeds in Asia.


  13. SimonH Oct 28, 2015 / 11:20 am

    First three paragraphs from Lawrence Booth:

    “Jos Buttler is set to be dropped by England, paving the way for James Taylor to return to Test cricket after a three-year absence.
    Buttler, who made 0 and 7 during England’s second Test defeat by Pakistan in Dubai and is without a half-century in 12 innings, seems certain to be replaced behind the stumps by Jonny Bairstow.
    And that will free up a middle-order space – probably at No 5 – for Taylor, who last played a Test in August 2012, when his talents were summarily dismissed by Kevin Pietersen”.

    Jeez, even Selvey and Newman haven’t given that one an outing for a while. So it was Pietersen who didn’t select Taylor for three years? How did that story ever get into the public domain from the dressing room that never leaked? Have any other senior players expressed less than flattering views on other players? What have Cook and Anderson, for example, had to say about Compton, Carberry, Tremlett, Panesar or Finn? Nothing but praise?


    • Zephirine Oct 28, 2015 / 12:25 pm

      Also, as I recall, even the hearsay didn’t claim that Pietersen dismissed Taylor’s talents, merely that he didn’t think much of that particular innings. Taylor himself appears to have been un-bothered by the comment, if indeed it was ever made.

      Barrel, scrape.


    • Mark Oct 28, 2015 / 1:20 pm

      I find it slightly bizarre that they have to drop the wicketkeeper to “free up” a middle order batting space. I’m not against dropping Butler, his batting form is shot to pieces. But we only have 2 reliable batsman at the moment in Cook and Root.

      The much vaunted middle order ( where there are “no vacancies ” for uppity South Africans) seems harder to get dropped from than to get selected as some sort of utility player who bats and bowls. Having seen what has happened to the likes of Gary Balance and Adam Lythe maybe the selectors are wary of bringing in new players from county cricket.

      For me the first priority is to find Cook an opening partner that can deliver a decent start for England. I can’t see Ali doing the job in South Africa,and as Hales is the only other option we have out there at the moment I would bring him into the team with the idea of giving him the South African tour as well. We need to find out about him, so we might as well do so this winter. That would allow Ali to drop down the order and allow him to play with more freedom and less pressure. He did that in the Ashes. So who to drop? Well, if you going to bring in Taylor as a batsman then you have to think seriously about whether to drop Bell. It might be interesting to see how he reacts in this last test match of the series to being dropped. Does he really want to carry on? Does he really want to go to South Africa?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Escort Oct 28, 2015 / 1:22 pm

      Etheridge has said the same in today’s currant bun.


  14. greyblazer Oct 28, 2015 / 1:18 pm

    To be fair it may have just been an assumption not a leak. On that afternoon KP walked off to the dressing room at tea during his ton at Headlingley having a good laugh with the Saffers, whilst totally ignoring his batting partner on debut (little James Taylor, who had done well to survive a torrid start to his innings).

    And of course there was this from his book ““I said to Flower, for what was the second time, that I didn’t think James Taylor should be playing for England. That he was the wrong choice. I have nothing against James but at 5ft 6in he’s one of the shortest men currently playing county cricket. His dad was a jockey and James is built for the same gig. We were facing the fiercest bowling attack in world cricket; I didn’t think he was up to it.”

    2+2 =

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Oct 28, 2015 / 1:25 pm

      Yes, fascinating the England management kept asking KP for his opinion, and then leaked his responses to their tame jounalists chums a few days later. You could be forgiven for thinking they were deliberately setting him up.

      Next thing you will be telling me they created a dossier on him where his every action and saying was written down. I know what a ridiculous idea………oh wait!


      • greyblazer Oct 28, 2015 / 1:39 pm

        Well I don’t read the English papers so I wouldn’t know – you guys seem to make a lot of fun out of certain journalists, so I take it your not keen.


    • Zephirine Oct 28, 2015 / 1:35 pm

      I’d forgotten that from the book. It’s a dumb statement coming from a cricket obsessive who must be well aware of the fine short batsmen who have played and are still playing.


    • BoerInAustria Oct 29, 2015 / 5:50 am

      … and that he must be allowed to say the C word live on air…


  15. d'Arthez Oct 28, 2015 / 2:43 pm

    Afghanistan just won against against Zimbabwe. They have won the ODIs 3-2, and now the T20Is 2-0. A real success story, despite the ICC’s best efforts to the contrary.


    • SimonH Oct 28, 2015 / 3:20 pm

      And Giles Clarke wants him to have next to no chance ever to play in a World Cup….


    • d'Arthez Oct 28, 2015 / 3:50 pm

      “There is nothing wrong in the idea that Olympic representation of a sport regarded globally as fringe could lend it a profile in parts of the world where it has none and perhaps tap into money in new territories. ”

      Yet the ICC is happy to boast that it is the second most popular team game in the world, after football (it might be behind basketball). And what was all this talk about making the World Cup one of the biggest sporting events in terms of revenue generated? So either Mike Selvey does not know what he is talking about, or the ICC are proving to be utterly inept at their main task. Though I have my reservations about Mike Selvey as a cricket journalist, he is right here.

      The point about the tourney being too long is mistaken. The same problem applies to football. The football starts off before the actual official opening to work around that.

      The main benefit of getting cricket in the Olympics is that it would open up massive funding from the national Olympic committees. That would help to compensate most Associate and Affiliate nations for the thieving by the Big Three. Hence, it cannot happen, since a healthy game would be the biggest threat to the kleptocrats in the ICC.

      As for the losses to the Full Members, they are actually quite negligible. You can simply scrap the Lazarus Cup (also known as the Champions Trophy. The only tournament that has probably had more formats than editions).


  16. Fred Oct 28, 2015 / 3:56 pm

    He sounds like that bitter and twisted old guy who spends half his time in the kitchen at work, moaning about everythintg to anyone who’ll listen, who sees no positive aspect to anything, his company does, anywhere, anytime.
    Every obstacles is unsurmountable, nothing will change, we’re doomed to the status quo, forever.
    I’m not sure if Olympic cricket is a good idea, but pointing out the many ways in which cricket is not currently organised to participate doesn’t prove anything.
    I’d say the most interesting aspect to the discussion at this point is how participation would impact the BCCI, who may feel threatened by the IOC, but this was barely mentioned. I expect a proper cricket journalist will address this sooner or later.


    • Mark Oct 28, 2015 / 4:11 pm

      I agree Fred. Whether cricket is in the Olympics or not will be down to the elites who run the game as their own private fefdom. The decision will have bugger all to do with the concept “is is it good for cricket?”

      That’s of no concern to the people who think they own cricket.

      I heard a guy on 5 live yesterday who said that Rugby Union is now the fastest growing new sport in the USA at the moment. Can’t ever see cricket challenging baseball, but 20/20 might appeal to the growing ex pat and immigrant populations.

      I have such contempt for Selvey that I don’t believe anything he writes on this issue will not have been spoon fed to him by the powers that be. I would love to believe that he is still a cricket journalist, but the last few years have made me think he has become nothing more than a stenographer for cricket boards.


      • man in a barrel Oct 28, 2015 / 7:28 pm

        In Dallas 5 years ago, the motel I stayed in was staffed by Indian immigrants busily streaming a feed of the Ashes! I am sure there is a market for live cricket in the USA.


    • Arron Wright Oct 28, 2015 / 5:51 pm

      For all the insight he provides on governance and major global issues, he might as well be nothing more than Giles Clarke’s representative on Earth.


      • Tregaskis Oct 28, 2015 / 6:15 pm

        I agree. Had Giles Clarke been advised that he couldn’t dismiss cricket as an Olympic sport solely on grounds of his board’s self interest and told to come up with “reasons” to dismiss the idea, I doubt his apologia would have looked much different to Mike Selvey’s negative, anti-progressive polemic.


    • SimonH Oct 28, 2015 / 6:28 pm

      Fred, it’s very difficult to find out much about Cricket Australia through the UK media. What’s their position on cricket in the Olympics? Is there anything about CA that tends to shape their conduct and that you feel perhaps non-Australian cricket followers might not appreciate?


      • Fred Oct 28, 2015 / 9:00 pm

        Simon, not sure I follow your question but certainly alot of Australian press coverage is not much more than a statement of bare facts, with some nationalistic cheerleading thrown in.


      • THA Oct 29, 2015 / 2:18 am

        I haven’t seen it mentioned in the Australian media even once.


  17. Arron Wrighf Oct 29, 2015 / 7:39 am

    Guardian article describing Sharjah as a seam bowlers’ graveyard.

    The logic of playing five seamers is therefore impeccable, as some creep genuinely wrote about Selvey’s “retrofit a spurious argument to your tired, biased premise” piece recently.


  18. greyblazer Oct 29, 2015 / 1:19 pm

    2 test matches there last year; Seamers have 27 wickets, Spinners 37 have wickets. So not really a graveyard. unless you have top options, shouldn’t you play to your strengths?

    Although Broad is a worry – he now averages 44.84 for a mere 26 wickets in Asia. Asia is the continent, where Broad is at his worst.


    • Arron Wright Oct 29, 2015 / 1:58 pm

      I see absolutely no justification for picking *five* seamers, and relying on your *opening batsman*, and your best batsman, (who already suffers from a back complaint) for spin. That is what he was arguing for, based purely on averages from other matches, with absolutely no consideration for Moeen or Root at all. This is even without considering a bias against Rashid that has been obvious for several months, since at least the West Indies tour, when he was almost alone among observers in arguing against his inclusion even for the third Test.

      And “play to their strengths”, used by this writer, rings very loud alarm bells for those of us with memories dating back to Ahmedabad. Suffice to say he did not regard Monty Panesar as a top-class option before the India series began, but remains quite content to re-write that little piece of history now.


    • d'Arthez Oct 29, 2015 / 3:01 pm

      Southee, Boult and Corey Anderson picked all of 1 wicket here in the first innings. In the second innings, Rahat Ali picked all 4 wickets to fall to seamers (Junaid Khan was not playing). And in the third and last innings of that match, the New Zealand seamers picked 4 wickets as well. 9 in the match for seamers, 21 for spinners. Not exactly a successful template for picking 5 seamers and two parttimers. New Zealand played 2 seamers, and an allrounder (Anderson), and picked three spinners (Vettori, Craig, Sodhi). Pakistan played 2 seamers, 2 spinners an allrounder (Hafeez), and had some offerings from Azhar Ali. It should be noted that Azhar started his cricketing life as a spin bowler. That match was played in November

      Against Sri Lanka, the similar numbers were 6, 4, 3, and 5 for seamers. Note that Herath struggled to contain the batsmen, as Pakistan chased 302 from 59 overs with relative ease. It should be noted though that Sri Lanka hardly batted with intent (their match RR of 2.35; compared to Pakistan’s 3.86). Pakistan played 2 seamers and 2 spinners (and a bit of Azhar Ali), Sri Lanka played 2 seamers, and had Mathews as a seam bowling option on top of that. That match was played in January.

      I suspect that conditions tend to be more conducive to seam bowling in January than in November.

      The figures for seamers were against Sri Lanka were:

      64-8-180-6 (Sri Lanka batting slowly)
      54-12-136-4 (Pakistan batting at a decent pace)
      43-8-99-3 (Sri Lanka batting even more slowly)
      38.3-0-195-5 (Pakistan batting as if it was an ODI chase)


      and for spinners:
      19-0-100-0 (That is Herath)


      Since the required runrate in the chase was a touch over 5 runs an over, it seems a bit unfair to include the fourth innings in that, since the Pakistani batsmen had to go for their shots – the runrate did not allow for a defensive approach against anyone. If Pakistan are set a similar target, they won’t bother, since a draw would be enough to win the series. If England are set a similar target, they will go for it, but then, Pakistan won’t be playing 5 seamers.

      If you exclude the fourth innings, the numbers are:

      161-28-417-13 (economy 2.59)
      221.5-55-538-16 (economy 2,42).

      Not exactly the best case to pick 5 seamers.


  19. greyblazer Oct 29, 2015 / 3:37 pm

    I didn’t realise that someone was suggesting leaving Rashid out, I thought the decision was Patel or Stokes?


    • Zephirine Oct 30, 2015 / 12:19 am

      It’s a good interview, you feel you have a real sense of who Root is.

      Interesting, that thing about not sleeping during a Test, I’ve heard other players say the same thing. You’d think the physical tiredness would knock them out, but obviously not. Lack of sleep messes up your memory, so no wonder we complain about players getting out the same way twice in the same match – they probably can’t even remember doing it the first time.


    • BoerInAustria Oct 30, 2015 / 6:06 am

      Root: “Then in Melbourne I remember walking off after being run out and getting a spray off Flower. He said I ran to a left-handed fielder’s left hand and the ball was bobbling up so it was easy for him to throw and run me out. But I watched the replay. I smacked it along the floor, it hit a water hole and popped up. It was one of those series where everything went right for Mitchell Johnson and he threw the stumps down.
      “After that game I went to the coaching staff and said ‘I don’t feel my game is in the right place’ which as an inexperienced player is probably the worst thing to do when you are losing a series. You are basically taking your name off the team sheet for the next match. ”

      Very classy Mr Flower.


      • SimonH Oct 30, 2015 / 9:37 am

        Root’s record under Flower/Gooch:

        Average 36.7; SR 39.7

        Root’s record since:

        Average 76.1; SR 62.2

        Coincidence? Not for me, Clive….


      • Arron Wright Oct 30, 2015 / 10:48 am

        Even if some eventually admit he had a point, there’ll be one last man arguing that Flower was the great pragmatist who had “every right to expect better from that group of players” with their stress-related conditions, broken ribs, knee injuries, elbow injuries, untreated Achilles injuries, unnecessarily wounded pride after the series of their life, inexperience, ludicrously high expectations, recent personal issues in nightclubs and hopeless form.


      • Mark Oct 30, 2015 / 11:18 am

        So Root naively went to his coach with a problem……..

        Good to see the much vaunted “Trust” that Strauss is always banging on about was once again non existent for a player with a problem. Time to get out the 5 live interview with Flower on the eve of that tour where he banged on for about 2 hours about all the preparation he had done for that tour.

        But they did have 87 page diet sheets! Oh well that’s Roots chance of being captain gone up in smoke.


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