The Cricketer – November 2015

Thought I’d do a quick piece summarising what is in the Cricketer this month. A sort of “I read it so you don’t have to……”

There’s an additional insert on “The Playing Fields of England” recognising schools cricket across the country. I see my one isn’t in there….

Mark Wood is on the cover.

The Editor At Large’s article is entitled “Watching England and Pakistan grind out runs in front of Abu Dhabi’s deserted stands was intrinsically depressing”

The first paragraph lays on the depression “It was if we were witnessing the slow death of test cricket (is that why the umpires took the players off?)” Always leave em’ laughing “Analyst”.

We all know why Pakistan are playing test cricket in the Emirates, and thus the conclusion to an article about the revolution of day-night tests etc. is a bit daft. “Tests should be played where people can watch them, and on pitches that offer a proper balance between bat and ball.” If Abu Dhabi had had its full allotment of overs, we’d have had a result! What’s he on about!!!! Green tops rule!

20 questions are with Brian McMillan.

Selvey’s article is written after Day 3 of Abu Dhabi. Arron will not be disappointed….

“Once again, it is no reflection on the effort or skill. He bowls several miles an hour slower than ideal, which makes him easier to play off the back foot and to get down the pitch to, and, in trying to spin the ball hard, invariably bowls bad deliveries, for which the canny batsman can wait.”

Actually Fred will like the comma-fest too. To be fair, he’s actually a good deal nicer about Rashid than we’ve seen elsewhere. Otherwise, it seems to be an article about playing a round of golf with Peter Parfitt. As you do.

Michael Henderson writes a piece about Ian Botham’s 60th birthday calling him “the greatest English cricketer to have lived in the lives of most people who watch the game.” It’s positive. Someone mention Pietersen to him!

The Moment in Time didn’t exist in the world of Giles Clarke. It’s a picture of Allen Stanford and his Superstars!

Tim Wigmore has an article on the Big Three. Not read it yet, but sure it will be good. Tim’s a decent old writer.

There’s a piece on Oman cricket by Derek Pringle. I’ll read it. I really will.

Dileep Premachandran has a piece on the retiring Kumar Sangakkara and Geoff Lemon on Michael Clarke.

Sir Michael Parkinson writes an obituary for Brian Close. Huw Turbevill has a piece on Bob Willis. About his role on The Verdict he says “It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, to call it how it is. It alienates the dyed-in-the-wool, can-see-n0-wrong England fan. You hear the voice of the minority all the time.”

There’s a season review, a piece on the 1993 NatWest Final, an interview with Devon Malcolm and the regulars.

No Alec Swann. Lord have mercy.


26 thoughts on “The Cricketer – November 2015

  1. man in a barrel Oct 29, 2015 / 9:59 pm

    I think I might leave it on the shelf. I bet Parky’s obituary mentions Parky 30 times for every mention of Close. Dileep Premachandran, on the other hand, is always worth reading but not enough to buy this crapmag. I heard him at the getty festival last yeaqr, talking about the retirement of Tendulkar, and the personalities of Kohli and Dhoni and it was like listening to commentators such as John Arlott and Alan McGillvray instead of the dross they put up today.

    As for Big Bob…he wants to change the team at every opportunity. I think he is trying to get over then horror points of his career. his playing career. Someone here put up the scorecard of the Test in 1982 where Mohsin Khan got a double and England lost. Bob had been made captain by PBH May but was fortunate enough not to play that match, leaving the team in charge of Gower with a toothless attack (including Pringle and Ian Greig) on a featherbed and no opening batsmen. And then there is the trip to Australia where he was “forced” to send Australia in on a featherbed because the batters were not keen to bat. Of course he is scathing…look at the shit he was dealt by the selectors!

    And bugger me parsnips but Peter Parfitt must be close to 80 by now….I bet he still took Selvey to the cleaners. Good batsman. Great slip catcher. Good eye for the game. Maybe 90% of a real Test cricketer, like Mark Butcher. And that is 100% better than me.


  2. d'Arthez Oct 30, 2015 / 6:36 am

    They could not prepare a proper pitch, due to inability to grow grass? Seriously? The First Class season is already under way in Australia. So obviously it is impossible to make a pitch that can last three days, given the climatic conditions in Australia.

    Might as well do away with the warmups this way, since NO board seems to be willing to actually provide a decent warmup. Whether it is pitch issues, or being asked to played against a glorified Schools XI, or player selection (eg. when England toured India the warmups featured hardly any spinners from the Indian side).

    Why not turn the warmups into ping pong contests, or a pole-vaulting competition?


  3. Rooto Oct 30, 2015 / 8:15 am

    Wood rested for Sharjah. – Good news for him.
    Apparently it was decided a while ago as part of long-term planning. – I must be dreaming.


    • SimonH Oct 30, 2015 / 11:02 am

      Selvey article on why England must play Chris Jordan expected in 3,2,1…..


      • SimonH Oct 30, 2015 / 11:37 am

        Selvey has Tweeted that Bell has been “ditched from the grabbers”. Presumably that means he won’t be in the slips?


      • Mark Oct 30, 2015 / 12:31 pm

        So Team ECB is still leaking to their in house tame propaganda outlets then?

        ” The ECB does not leak.” Remember that priceless old vaudeville joke?


      • Sherwick Oct 30, 2015 / 12:43 pm

        The ECB doesn’t leak, it gushes.


      • SimonH Oct 30, 2015 / 2:00 pm

        To be fair (for once!), I suspect Selvey got this from observing fielding practice.

        Anyone know where James Taylor usually fields for Notts? (He only held six catches in 13 CC games last year so it doesn’t look like he’s a regular slip. As the newbie, he’ll probably be shoved in at boot hill anyway).


      • paulewart Oct 30, 2015 / 7:14 pm

        They’ll have given him the gossip on the golf course…….


  4. Mark Oct 30, 2015 / 11:32 am

    Simon put up a link to Gideon Haighs blog. I went and had a read. I don’t know much about Cricket Australia’s board, but it seems as if they are going down the same road as Giles Clark. They have a new guy taking over who was a former head of Rio Tinto, the global mining company. Apparently he has a great dislike of trade unions, and by the sounds of it wants to bypass the Australian players union. So he is doing what all elites do….divide and rule. He is setting up a conflict between the Australian men and woman’s cricketers. If the woman want more money it will have to come out of the men’s share. So that will insure conflict and division. He also loves the idea of the pink ball, and he is delighted with the big 3 stitch up at the ICC.

    So all 3 of the countries running world cricket are now run by greed, and border line megalomaniacs. If ever there was a sport that needs to fall flat on its face it is cricket.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Arron Wright Oct 30, 2015 / 11:43 am

      Hope New Zealand stuff them.


      • Mark Oct 30, 2015 / 12:39 pm

        Seeing as the warn up game has ended in complete farce, with New Zealand being given a pitch that is about a million miles from the one they will face at Brisbane it’s unlikely.

        The home nations blatant pitch doctoring, and selection meddling to insure the visiting team sees nothing resembling what they will face in the test match, is it any wonder we just get more one sided home series? Pretty soon sides might as well fly in a week before the first test, and just play in the nets.


  5. SimonH Oct 30, 2015 / 2:53 pm

    IK2 out of 3rd Test with hand injury. Rahat Ali will probably come in.


      • Mark Oct 30, 2015 / 8:55 pm

        HA HA HA Well said Maxie!

        What I find particularly hilarious is that despite all their so called “access” they still write pig ignorant clap trap.. As Danny Baker points out regards football………… never forget that the only people in a ground who paid to get in are the fans. Not the players or the managers or the officials or the journalists.

        Particulary funny seeing Etheridge getting his knickers in a twist by claiming Maxie doesn’t know what he is talking about. Pot and kettle me thinks.

        Access is the cancer of modern jounalism. It is given to tame journalists who can be relied upon to do the right thing. If Etheridge thinks he is going to find anything out by hitting a few sand wedges he is deluded. He will be given exactly what the ECB want him to be given. It is the same when Nick Robinson deludes himself that by having dinner with his chum David Cameron he will get anything that Cameron does not want him to have. Access encourages a lazy, matey type of relationship that turns the journalist into a cheerleader. Also it acts like a drug of entitlememt as the journo fears a loss of access. Staying in with their chummy mates over rides their integrity. English cricket journalism has had a few years in the gutter and they have obviously learned nothing.

        The ECB PR department have upped their game. Playing these jounalism fools is like taking candy from kids. Instead of circling the wagons give um a round of golf, and an autograph, and selfie with captain iron rod and watch the puff pieces roll in.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. SimonH Oct 30, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    How many rounds of golf does it take to get Newman to write lines like:

    “Cook remains integral to England’s chances of pulling off a victory that their contribution to this series deserves on what is expected to be the flattest of Sharjah pitches”.


    • greyblazer Oct 30, 2015 / 8:32 pm

      The golf is good in Dubai. There’s only golf and swimming to pass the time


  7. Rohan Oct 30, 2015 / 8:42 pm

    Genius! That article is spot on and you can tell from the reaction (Booth and Etheridge) that it has hit a nerve, which yo me infers there may be some truth to it. I am surprised that Lawrence Booth missed the point (I thought he was more balanced and open-minded in his approach), but not surprised by Etheridge, especially after seeing some of his other Twitter conversations with LCL and TLG.

    I wanted to add a thought to the whole pitches debate. Although I appreciate Hessin’s points in the article about NZ, I think there is a counter argument. Playing away is about testing yourself, accepting a challenge, playing in unfamiliar circumstances/environments and outside of your comfort zone. So you cannot blame home teams for not making it easy for the opposition, after all it is down to them to adapt, not the other way round.

    A few examples from other sports (these are not exactly the same, but I believe they bear some relevance). Under George Graham, Aresnal had particular strengths and during his time as manager they had a very narrow pitch, if not the narrowest. This suited their style, not their opponents and why should it? When they played at home they wanted to win.

    For the Barcelona olympics in 1992, Chris Boardman knew it would be hot and humid, conditions unfamiliar to him. He did not moan and whinge, he adapted and prepared. He set up his bathroom with heaters in and put his training bike in there on rollers. He would then run hot water into the bath/put the shower on, so the room steamed up and put the heaters on so the room became hot and humid. He would then get on the bike and train hard!

    South African club rugby/super 15 teams play quite a few of their matches at altitude (Joburg). When international teams visit they don’t agree to play all the matches at sea level in Durban or Cape Town. They play at least one at altitude. Do SA have an advantage, probably, but do the other teams moan and whinge, no they get on and play, and like the Lions in 2009, give them a great game……

    Basically as the away team I believe you have to front up and deal with the conditions you are faced with, whatever they may be. I would add a caveat, however, that you can go too far with home advantage. I think it could be argued that the pitches prepared for the ashes this summer are an example of that, or the pitch prepared for the current NZ warm up match in Aus.

    Even so it’s great to see an away team adapt and win in alien conditions. As a supporter those kind of successes give me more pleasure, especially where English cricket is concerned.


    • d'Arthez Oct 30, 2015 / 9:19 pm

      The problem with the Boardman example is that he had something special to work to. It is not every week you’re participating in the Olympics. You can’t really prepare for a year for any particular tour. You simply would not be picked. Another problem for cricketers is that you don’t play all your games in the same place.

      Climatic conditions are beyond the control of humans. Durban tends to be hot and humid, and it is not lke CSA can control the weather. Likewise with England. Sometimes the weather is beautiful in May, sometimes it is still practically freezing. in that respect, visiting players will simply have to adapt. The home players would normally have the advantage, since these are conditions they’re likely to be more familiar with. Not always: it might happen that a heatwave strikes England in August, and that it will be 30+ degrees, and extremely humid. Conditions players from say Chennai might be more or less familiar with. It is pointless to blame the groundsman for rain. That is something he cannot control.

      Where it gets dodgy though is that wickets may be prepared with the purpose of denying touring teams meaningful warm ups. That is something that cannot really be done in other sports. It is not like you can pour glue on the track, to somehow give a local athlete a better shot at defeating Usain Bolt. Or decide that you want to organize the World Championships swimming in a 10 metre pool, simply because the local favorite is better at turning points.

      For example, practice matches on pitches that would be decent national highways, and then having the actual Tests on dustbowls. Or simply resort to pitch doctoring (which the Chennai groundsman boasted of after the Test against Australia) for the Tests, with the sole aim of neutralising the opposition strengths, rather than prepare a sporting wicket there as it would normally be done for Tamil Nadu.

      Having warm ups against glorified Schools XIs do not really help either. Or coming to South Africa, and have the quickest bowler you’ll be facing in the warm ups be say Robin Peterson, on the wicket of P.E., which tends to be the slowest in South Africa.

      I’d rather see it that domestic teams get rewarded for their form in the previous season by getting a game against touring sides. Would it not be better to see Yorkshire (as champions, so they’ll get the big tour) vs. Australians, rather than a glorified ragtag-team of Derbyshire vs. Australia? Also give the domestic teams a few financial incentives to do well.


    • Mark Oct 30, 2015 / 9:25 pm

      I agree with you bang on about Maxies piece on the media.

      But while I agree that home advantage is something the away side has to deal with, however, part of a tour match is to become more used to the conditions. If the home nation is going to produce conditions completely at odds with what they will produce for the test match then there is little to no point playing these warm up matches. No point Chris Boardman preparing in conditions that are completely different to what he will face.

      The old days when touring sides were a draw, and a chance to see these great players has gone. So the only reason to play them is to get acclimatised to local conditions. If you remove that then what’s the poimt? Also,this has to be viewed in a world where away sides are increasingly not competitive. Home sides have never been more dominant.


  8. SimonH Oct 30, 2015 / 9:22 pm

    The material for a new tag-line (if that’s the right term) is starting to build up. Alternatively (and this may be the better idea), it’s an evening when Twitter is best avoided.

    Now to return to my copy of ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon’ which you’re making me read….


    • Mark Oct 30, 2015 / 9:40 pm

      That bad hey Simon?

      What’s casing all the anger tonight then?


    • Arron Wright Oct 30, 2015 / 11:19 pm


      For you, as a self-centred blogger consumed by hellish petty jealousies, it’s all about approbation from the editor of Wisden. Even though you asked him to leave you out of the latest edition. Get your head round that one.


      • LordCanisLupus Oct 30, 2015 / 11:46 pm


        I never made a comment on T’s or Maxie’s stuff other than a couple of “you still have it” and “munch munch popcorn”. If those so desperately obsessed with this site want to draw their own conclusions then there is naff all squared I can do about it.


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