Well, It’s Like This

As Christmas beckons, I have to say writing for the blog gets to be more of a labour of love as parties and what not get in the way. So in a normal year this would be an issue.

However, this isn’t a normal year, and having met up with TLG on Tuesday (and it got messy quickly), I know how busy he is, and I’m going to be out of commission for most of next week too due to work (I’m going a long way from here – Angus, if you’re still reading this blog, I’ll be quite close to you!). We ‘ve got some ideas for posts, including the Dmitris and the long-awaited TLG media post (and the journalist list), but it’s taking the time to do them.

In the meantime, any comments on cricket and such like should be posted here. I hope you are all well, enjoying the festivities if they apply to you (and even if they don’t) and I’ll be along soon enough.




74 thoughts on “Well, It’s Like This

  1. thebogfather Dec 5, 2015 / 6:36 am

    Morning All, as LCL and Leggy are busy having behind closed door obscure lager deliberations, I thought I’d post this scribble that I’d sent Dmitri a few weeks ago, and that he flagged up in another post earlier…

    Enjoy! (or not…)

    A Tribute to Sir Giles…Snark
    Greaseproof papering, over the cracks at the ICC
    President elect so slick and oiled palms greasy
    Monetary momentary oblivion into collusion
    Yet, old boys clubbing together in mutual illusion
    Cannot see the forest for the trees
    That continue to fall as they don’t hear our pleas…
    Rotten stumps, forgotten branches bare this
    Ignorance is bliss in a DOAG air-brushed kiss
    Unwatched except by the bilious unwashed
    The press mainly pass on cricket’s true cost
    Cosy, behind the pay-wall, no notion of our devotion
    Posing as finding the ‘no leaks’ before all a commotion…
    So, Srini has gone, replaced by a BCCI who?
    As has the CA exec, Wally, only his name had truth
    Which leaves us with the oil-man, our ECB filled shabby suit
    More scary than the empty current Tom-tit PR hirsute
    And as days pass with ne’er a media digging
    Apart from a few, who here have climbed the rigging…
    From Hong Kong to Dubai
    And Lording it all to Mumbai
    Cricket lives it’s own half-baked lies
    And too much reporting in just snorting the gravy-trained pies
    To snuffle the whole pig’s ear they swallow
    Leaving us, the fans, feeling ever more hollow…
    Yet, it’s not the press who should shoulder all the blame
    E’en when sycophantic myopia is presented, in the name
    Of reportage, and damage control for the trolls
    Selling papers for a pound of flesh, lost souls
    And wouldn’t we, as outsiders still
    Love to be part of the spoon-fed swill…?
    Sadly, solely, the cash-cows talk
    Sponsorship, not holy, is the ICC walk
    They say the devil has all the best tunes
    Cricket admin buries it’s head in the dunes
    Ignoring the future for short-term moneyed bliss
    Storing the dollars, self-interest, so fans…just pay up and ass-kiss…


      • thebogfather Dec 5, 2015 / 11:16 am

        Thank you kind Sir, but I must apologise and demur, to Dmitri, for posting this, in advance of his ‘Media’ death kiss!


  2. SimonH Dec 5, 2015 / 10:00 am

    Painful to say it but the Mail is the only cricket page worth reading this morning with two exclusives.

    Richard Gibson reports that Root, Buttler and Stokes won’t be entering any auctions in 2016:


    Lawrence Booth (and all credit to him) is the only one with the story of the ICC’s negotiations with the IOC:


    “Both sides emerged from the talks in Switzerland feeling positive about the possibility of cricket rejoining the Olympic family”.

    “Dave Richardson, who still harbours concerns about Olympic cricket cannibalising the World Twenty20, led a three-man delegation to Lausanne. It did not include ECB president Giles Clarke, who… was unable to attend the meeting”.

    One might almost think there is a connection! And what lies behind that “unable to attend”? Too busy asset-stripping? Skiing? Or has he finally been locked in the Downton cupboard? Tregaskis has asked on Twitter – no reply as of yet.

    The feelings of positivity don’t mean it’s a done deal though –


  3. dlpthomas Dec 5, 2015 / 10:04 am

    As an early Christmas present for all Australian Cricket fans, the first Australian screenings of DOAG have been announced.

    The Sydney showing is on the 21st Dec at the Chauvel Cinema Paddington with after film guests for the Q&A being Ed Cowan and Gideon Haigh.

    The Melbourne showing is on the 23rd Dec at the Lido Cinema in Hawthorne

    Sam and Jarrod will sadly not be present as they are too busy partying away the profits in the UK

    Jarrod’s latest book, “Test Cricket: The unauthorized Biography” has also just been released. It is, like his early books, a very good read.


  4. Mark Dec 5, 2015 / 11:41 am

    “Now to persuade India!”

    See this is why I’m so hostile to the big 3. It shouldn’t be up to India. If the cricket nations of the world want to go to the Olympics they should go. And India can lump it.

    The big 3 stitch up, or as I call it the total surrender of England and Australia to India for filthy money is a disgrace. Their boards are the Neville Chamberlins of sports administration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • amit Dec 6, 2015 / 2:50 am

      Has BCCI’s official position ever been “no”? I can recall enough instances of top cricketers being quite supportive, though of course their opinion doesn’t count as much as BCCI. Not sure if I have seen any comments from BCCI so please help point to it, if you know.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Dec 6, 2015 / 8:15 am

        I was under the impression that the current BCCI president Manohar didn’t seem so anti progress as Srini and certainly has said a lot of the right things. Yet I’m cautious that it will amount to. I thought Giles Clarke was far more anti cricket in the Olympics because he was trying to “protect” the English county season.


    • amit Dec 6, 2015 / 9:27 am

      Thanks for the link. I think, queries regarding commercial use of images, rights etc. are still a move in the right direction. In a country starved of success at the Olympics, Indians are almost always likely to fancy their chances with Cricket, so I would be genuinely surprised if we have opposed it on our own. From what I read here and have read before, ECB has been a more vocal critic. The reason offered has been nonsensical but with GC in the picture, was that ever in doubt?


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Dec 6, 2015 / 4:07 pm

        Amit, I have brought the Cricket Paper today and Tim Wigmore, (you may recall his contribution re the Hong Kong game!) has written about the ICC and the “Big 3” and Manohar’s conciliatory tones towards other cricketing nations in terms of redistributing funds more fairly. Although the article doesn’t quote Manohar or BCCI on any comments towards the Olympics it mentions the Clarke debacle about it having some affect on the English domestic season as every major decision made was about furthering the interest of the Big 3 rather than cricket as a whole.

        The tone of the article points out that Manohar has several months to make good his promise before Clarke takes over the role next summer. So he’s as cynical as what I am and he’s rather closer to the general story than any of us.


  5. SimonH Dec 6, 2015 / 11:07 am

    Good day for records of slow batting to be broken. For example, Amla currently has the lowest SR of any Test innings over 200 balls:


    Modern batsmen….. big bats…. lack of application…. blah blah…..

    Of course, now there’s plenty of moaning about how dull it’s been to watch.


    • Rooto Dec 6, 2015 / 12:38 pm

      That’s a fascinating list. A few comments:
      The first person to appear twice on it in ABdV, and that’s not even including today. What a guy.
      Most of the top innings are 4th innings, except Tavaré’s contribution.
      Bob Taylor is twice on the list in the top 30 or so. Both his knocks were in the first innings.
      I really hope that Jack Russell’s Jo’burg innings isn’t knocked off top spot. Or at least, if it is, that Amla sees it through to the end tomorrow with a suitably heroic effort.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BoredInAustria Dec 7, 2015 / 9:22 am

        Amla* – 25 244 3 0 10.24 – b Jadeja
        AB – 43 297 6 0 14.47 – c Jadeja b Ashwin

        SA now 141/8 (141.3 ov) with 20 overs left


      • BoredInAustria Dec 7, 2015 / 9:35 am

        All over then

        Andy Zaltzman: “de Villiers out after not so much shutting up shop as liquidating an entire shopping mall. 43 off 297”


    • Rohan Dec 6, 2015 / 6:25 pm

      Seasons greetings to all and LCL and TLG. looking forward to these upcoming articles, but take your time no rush, sure they will be great when they do arrive!

      Re the current SA v IND test, I couldn’t help but notice Ashwin’s bowling speed. Now I appreciate Ashwin is bowling on a very spin friendly pitch and he is an off spinner, however, he was regularly sending them down at 48mph.

      Now he has 169 test wickets at 25 or 26 and a strike rate of 52. I must be missing something here, because when Rashid bowled at 48mph it was too slow, but hang on it seems to work for Ashwin and his tests stats are good. Hmmmmm……..

      For me this proves what many here have long suspected. Namely, that many of the English MSM make up their minds about something based on a very narrow viewpoint and then will not change it. There must be a number of them who obviously do not watch test series between other teams. They can’t do, because if they did, their views would not be so insular and they would have more depth to their opinions. They might learn something new! 😮

      Liked by 2 people

    • d'Arthez Dec 7, 2015 / 9:24 am

      Looks like India are going to win on a proper pitch. Who could have guessed that cricket played on decent pitches might be entertaining, rather than an 18-hour lottery, that is basically decided by the toss of a coin before the game even starts? Pity of course, that it was only served up for a dead rubber.

      Well played India for the fourth Test. Well tossed India for the first and third Test.


  6. SimonH Dec 7, 2015 / 9:35 am

    India win – they go second in the rankings. SA lost three Tests in a series for first time since 2006.

    SA’s first five wickets held out for 746 deliveries. The last five went in 31.


    • d'Arthez Dec 7, 2015 / 10:00 am

      Also SA have achieved the worst high score in any series (more than 1 Test) in India with 214. Batting averages also don’t look pretty. Rahane became top scorer in the series, when he was finally given a decent pitch to bat on. He averaged less than 10 in the rest of the series.

      4 bowlers averaged less than 15. 2 bowlers averaged less than 20. Another 3 averaged less than 25.


  7. SimonH Dec 7, 2015 / 9:43 am


  8. SimonH Dec 7, 2015 / 9:58 am

    Jadeja’s 33 maidens in the innings the most since 1970 –


    Bobby Peel’s record is probably safe! Jadeja did go for 109 balls at one stage today without conceding a run which is the third most ever.


  9. greyblazer Dec 7, 2015 / 1:27 pm

    Is de Villiers the most versatile batsman of this decade?
    Fastest ODI 50, 100 and 150. If only de Villiers had scored the slowest Test fifty today.
    And today is the reason why I rate de Villiers as one of the greatest batsmen of all-time,

    In a spur of the moment I once claimed that I rate de Villiers slightly ahead of Viv.
    Hmm, is it still an outrageous comment, (I also called KP the white Viv)


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Dec 7, 2015 / 3:15 pm

      My favourite batsman in the time I remember is none other than Brian Charles Lara. Probably not capable of such outright defence as he would look to launch a counter attack. There would be a heck of a lot of flair in that counter-attack though.


    • Benny Dec 7, 2015 / 3:53 pm

      Interesting thoughts. Most versatile? Without a doubt.

      I always find comparing players impossible. Loved Lara. Can’t fault De Villiers. Viv was very special and batted without a helmet so there’s another factor.

      Viv always looked so composed, at ease, a huge presence, as if he was just having a net. There have been a few like that: Gooch at his best, KP at his best, Beefy sometimes. I guess one of the joys of cricket is that we are priviliged to see many players who are almost superhuman.


  10. d'Arthez Dec 7, 2015 / 2:23 pm

    Elsewhere, Kaushal Perera has tested positive for a banned substance.


    • d'Arthez Dec 7, 2015 / 2:24 pm

      Sorry, it is Kusal Perera. I always seem to mess the Kaushals and Kusals up. Apologies.

      He has been recalled from the New Zealand tour.


  11. man in a barrel Dec 7, 2015 / 5:06 pm

    you can’t help wondering whaqt might have happened if Amla and ABDV had batted at their normal tempo. As it was, Kohli, Ashwin, Jadeja and co were not under any pressure at all. If it had got to 350-3, say, I think there could have been some brown trousers out there.


  12. Rohan Dec 7, 2015 / 9:11 pm

    A real journalist, Andrew Jennings, on BBC right now. Do we have anyone comparable in Cricket, DOAG gents aside…….?

    Good game SA v IND, enjoyed it!


  13. man in a barrel Dec 8, 2015 / 12:10 am

    The Africa mind set evades my comprehension….surely Amla could have gained a few more singles, and disrupted Ashwin’s length


    • Mark Dec 8, 2015 / 11:20 am

      Yes, a good piece, and nice to see it in the Guardian. I wonder if Tim had to get the permission of the papers official cricket writer and full time moron Mike Selvey?

      Because much of what Tim writes about has been either denied or dismissed by the so called superstars of the English cricket media. In particular that the big 3 stitch up is killing non big 3 nations. WI of course have had problems with crap administrators for years. (Who hasn’t?) The big 3 greed and determination to just play endless matches against themselves is going to weaken non big 3 nations both financially and in terms of quality. If you are a top WI player you can earn more of a living by playing in 20/20 tournaments around the world rather than playing the odd 3 test match series once in a blue moon.

      Dare I say it but even the likes of South Africa and New Zealand are beginning to see, albeit slowly, the effects of the big 3 stitch up? They must all break away from the ICC, and leave the bloated, selfish, smug elites with only themselves to play against. In other words, tell the supporters of Giles Clarke to F… Off.


      • Arron Wright Dec 8, 2015 / 11:55 am

        Speaking of whom, Mark…


    • Arron Wright Dec 8, 2015 / 11:43 am

      Should make for an interesting juxtaposition with The Weekly Whimsy Column…


    • SimonH Dec 8, 2015 / 12:12 pm

      Pity Tim Wigmore’s writing hasn’t attracted the quantity or quality of comments it deserves.

      Still, if you wish to read a collection of musings by ICC useful idiots it’s the place to go. Mixed with pedantry, there are those who know the ‘real’ problem isn’t money but pitches, those who know the ‘real’ problem isn’t money but that WI lack “passion”, those who think WI in the 1980s were one-dimensional (and, hilariously, he also thinks their pace bowlers weren’t that quick anyway), those who think the international schedule is fine and dandy, etc etc.

      The last thread over there about the WI tour also had commenters claiming WI weren’t that bad and they were going to win a Test in Australia. The last away Test WI won against anyone not called Bangladesh was in 2007 (against SA – who thrashed them in the next two and won the series).

      Jeez, if these are the insights the Guardian and cricket provide, one or both is heading for the knacker’s yard – and deservedly so.


    • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2015 / 7:03 pm

      Long way off the mark from Mohammad Yousuf. Just 432 runs needed.

      I’d venture to say that Vaughan faced tougher opposition. Four Ashes Tests in Australia. 2002.

      Or, if you’re looking for a decent opening bat, Graeme Smith, who scored 1656 in 2008. Just 300 more needed for Cook to break the record for an opening batsman. That year for Smith included tours to India, England and Australia. Sure, he scored a few runs against BD (488 at 97.60), but as indicated, he did not otherwise have an easy schedule to contend with.


    • Mark Dec 8, 2015 / 10:16 pm

      Dear leader…… “From the moment he came on board – and this is not a slight dig at Paul Downton – he took a lot of off-field stuff off my shoulders,’…….

      ‘He came in and made decisions that he felt were right for the England cricket team and as soon as that was lifted and he backed me, it was a real release for me and I could get on with captaincy.’

      My, my I wonder what these mysterious decisions might have been? Oh well let’s see….

      “Early in his tenure Strauss put an end to speculation about whether or not the divisive Kevin Pietersen would return to the Test arena, a topic that had caused Cook great stress.”

      So Iron rod had a lot of stress, ahhh bless. What a complete fraud. I thought he was a man of iron that never blinked. I find it hilarious that Cook is being hailed as a great leader. He lead England this year to a draw against the mighty WI. He lead England to a draw against NZ, and he has just lost to Pakistan. His one success this year out of four test series is the Ashes. And that was based on 2 green pitches that required him to set 4 slips and a 2 gullys. Hardly needed to be Mike Brearley.

      “Ohhhhh I am, the great Pretender, pretending that I’m doing well………..”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan Dec 8, 2015 / 11:43 pm

      Where is any mention of Joe Root in the mirror article. Captain Cock needs 125 runs to be top scorer in a calendar year. Well according to the helpful list posted by Simon H, Root only needs 194, just saying, that’s all…..

      Oh, and Mohammad Yousuf, those runs, 9 centuries and in only 11 tests, incredible!


      • SimonH Dec 9, 2015 / 10:47 am

        I thought Yousuf must have got some cheap runs against Bangladesh that year, but no – he played against India (H), SL (A – just once), England (A) and WI (H). A wonderful player who never quite got his due somehow.

        Viv was of course incredible in 1976. He made his runs against Australia (A – at the end of a tour when they were hammered and he had to bat out of position), India (H) and England (A – the great 1976 tour. One could say England weren’t that good but the attack still featured Snow, Willis, Old, Hendrick, Underwood and Greig which is over a 1000 Test wickets combined. And Mike Selvey – he bowled Viv once, you know, although he doesn’t like to mention it…..).

        Cook will have played 14 matches in 2015 (assuming he plays in Durban). Pakistan, NZ and SL have never played that number of games in a year:


        England have played more Tests in a year four times (16 once and 15 three times). India managed to cram 18 in to 1983, didn’t win one and still found time to win the WC!


  14. ArushaTZ Dec 8, 2015 / 8:22 pm

    Hello all.

    I just wanted to say that I saw Gary Ballance in the barber’s today but didn’t get chance to talk to him as he was already in the chair.

    After that ridiculous India series, I hope South Africa can put out their first choice eleven against England in Durban. They’re still the best team in the world and I’d like to see them show it.


    • MM Dec 9, 2015 / 5:59 pm

      It’s GaryBallanceGaryBallanceGaryBallance, not Gary Ballance : )


  15. man in a barrel Dec 8, 2015 / 10:19 pm

    For Dennis Amiss, 1974 was a seriously good year. His average is pretty good! And remember, for the last 6 innings in that year, he was up against Lillee and an unknown bowler called Jeff Thomson – I’d love to watch Cooky handle them at the Gabba on that pitch prepared by the mayor. Big runs against West Indies in a very fractious series in the Caribbean; a very damp early Summer against India and a tough examination by Pakistan in the year when the covers at Lords didn’t work and they got bowled out by Underwood on a real old-fashioned sticky – Sarfraz Nawaz, Asif Masood etc. were no mugs as opening bowlers in English conditions.


    • SimonH Dec 8, 2015 / 10:45 pm

      I long for some film of that 73/74 tour to WI to emerge – Amiss’s 242* would be the best but even some Lawrence Rowe or Boycs/Greig in the last Test would be great.

      Weirdly, there does seem to be film of the 67/68 tour but I’ve never seen a ball from that later tour.

      Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel Dec 9, 2015 / 12:00 am

        It must have been some series…Rowe’s 302, the feats of Amiss and Boycott, Greig re-inventing himself as an off-spinner, and a whole heap of animosity, the last rites of Kanhai and Sobers. I prefer the Ashes 2015. (I don’t think so)


  16. SimonH Dec 8, 2015 / 10:52 pm

    Who’s Stephen Moss? Anyway, he has this (no comments) on Joe Root –


    There’s this –

    “Team spirit – playing with a kind of collective smile on the face – matters to Root, which explains why he thinks Kevin Pietersen had to be dropped when he wrote a book slagging off the England management and some of his team-mates. “He was very good for all the young lads coming into the side and it was enjoyable to work with him,” says Root, “but the content of his book and the way he handled it disappointed me.” He dug his own grave? “Essentially, yes,” says Root”.

    And this on ‘the difficult winter’ perhaps says more about Flower’s methods than he intended –

    “That’s where the ‘I don’t want to be a robot’ came from. I got so structured in everything I did, trying to do the same thing all the time. I was working on all the things I thought I needed to work on and neglecting all my strengths. It’s important to get a balance between the two and to keep your training fresh so that every time you rock up you’re looking forward to it.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan Dec 9, 2015 / 12:01 am

      There are some crackers in there. This – “but the content of his book and the way he handled it disappointed me.” He dug his own grave? “Essentially, yes,” says Root – So KP hadn’t already been sacked for no reason then? It was his fault for writing a book, hmmmm….

      This – he says he strives to avoid “playing like a robot” – like KP advocated, but Flower and ergo Cook increasingly stifled until it reached a head in the difficult winter……

      Then this – “If we knew it wasn’t going to be received well, then we wouldn’t do it,” says Root – like the fake KP Twitter account, that never happened did it. They knew it would not be well received so decided against it. Then again KP did text his mates in the SA team, so ‘tit for tat’ hey…..

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Dec 9, 2015 / 12:09 am

        Bob Willis’s “Brummie drone”? Born in Sunderland, raised in Surrey? Yes. Nice research mate.


    • Mark Dec 9, 2015 / 3:26 am

      “but the content of his book and the way he handled it disappointed me.” He dug his own grave? “Essentially, yes,” says Root”.”

      This really pisses me off, and shows how they always try to rewrite history. The book was a response to him being dumped for no reason. You notice how they all like to claim that the book changed everything. NO IT F…….. DIDNT. THEY HAD ALREADY SACKED HIM. What they wanted was for him to shut up and say nothing and go away. He didn’t because he had more fight in him than most of the spineless liars at the ECB.

      Perhaps Root thinks he needs to do a bit of brown nosing to the powers to be. There were leaks about him being juvenile. One good way to get back in the good books of the elites is piss on KPs grave. That always gets top marks from the fawning cowardly ECB media. I thought better of Root than that.. And why bring it all up again?

      Because the media just won’t let it go. They need their KP click bait. Because no one reads their shit otherwise. Dear Mr Root, the media would rather talk about KP than you. And he is not even in the team.

      Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Dec 9, 2015 / 5:36 am

        “but the content of his book and the way he handled it disappointed me.” He dug his own grave? “Essentially, yes,” says Root”.”

        So, I am waiting for Stokes to be pre-emptively sacked for his actions in the future …


      • RufusSG Dec 9, 2015 / 2:50 pm

        I agree that the book didn’t change everything – as you say, it’s not like he hadn’t already been sacked – but it undeniably made an unfortunate situation worse. Of course it was absolutely necessary to go public with his grievances once the confidentiality agreement expired, but – although I don’t expect you to agree with me here – I feel like if he had done so in a less emotionally charged and more restrained fashion, the people who matter may have had no choice but to take him more seriously instead of being able to deploy the excuse of painting him as a bitter, ranting old has-been, which was mostly how his claims were dismissed by his critics, however clearly wrong that depiction is. Hopefully I’m not moving the goalposts when I say he had to get the message out, but would have had more success if he’d delivered it differently.

        Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand how angry KP deservedly was at his treatment. I just honestly think he was playing into the hands of the same old tired criticisms he gets by writing a book that reflected this anger, and think Root has at least some grounding in implying it was misjudged if he wanted people to take his claims to play for England again more seriously. Besides, Root admitting that he was good to work with and that he helped younger players goes against the whole negative narrative about him in the first place.


      • MM Dec 9, 2015 / 6:04 pm

        Joe Root’s done a book? Oh wow. That’s going on my Xmas list, last minute style.

        (not really).


  17. man in a barrel Dec 9, 2015 / 12:03 am

    seriously, I fdon’t think the WI board were clued up enough to get bidders for TV rights. Why on Earth? Considering the team they had – Sobers, Kanhai, Lloyd, Kallicharran, Fredericks, Gibbs, Boyce. Most of those would walk into any international team now. Just imagine Gibbs versus Ashwin on that last pitch…with Sobers at short leg.


  18. thebogfather Dec 9, 2015 / 8:03 am

    For all non Sky bods here, Aus v WI commentary is on BBC5livesportsX from 10:55 tonight


  19. Stevet Dec 9, 2015 / 1:28 pm

    Philander out of first two tests. How good are the SA backup bowlers?


    • RufusSG Dec 9, 2015 / 1:53 pm

      Not too shabby – Kagiso Rabada is still very raw but a genuinely quick and exciting prospect, and Kyle Abbott, although he only ever gets games when others are injured, always seems to do well when he does play – took a seven-for on his debut against Pakistan in 2013, and just took a five-for against India in the Delhi test. Neither is in Philander’s class yet, but they’re both good enough to keep England firmly on their toes.


    • SimonH Dec 9, 2015 / 1:58 pm

      Kyle Abbott’s record is pretty decent:


      19 wickets at 19 in his five Tests including two five-fors. Rabada is the other main contender – he took a six-for in the U19 WC in the SF against Australia last year.

      SA could go in with four seamers as many are predicting – but they don’t do that as often as people assume (and when they do, they’re record isn’t good) and if there is one place in SA a spinner is needed it’s Durban.

      Philander is also SA’s one bowler who can bat to No.8 standard – so their tail is going to be a long one.


      • d'Arthez Dec 9, 2015 / 4:53 pm

        Well, it will be officially denied. Anyone who has listened to the South African sports minister knows that he loves having transformed teams more than having competitive teams. Though he did not mind calling the (untransformed, but almost all Black) football team a bunch of losers when they managed to lose against another unfancied side …

        If I am not mistaken the selectors will be trying to get 4 non-Whites to be included. Amla and Duminy will be in the starting XI. So it is two out of Rabada, Bavuma, Tahir, Piedt. No Ashwell Prince or Alviro Petersen (both retired) available. Or we could end up with Rory Kleinveldt or Robin Peterson …

        So, we have
        1. Elgar
        2. ??
        3. Amla
        4. Faf
        5. AB
        6. Duminy
        7. de Kock (doubt Vilas will get another gig)
        8. Morkel
        9. Steyn
        10. ??
        11. ??

        Fair to say, that Rabada is more or less a shoe-in. If the selectors give van Zyl another opportunity, that will mean that Tahir / Piedt / Peterson will play then. The alternative would be to pick Abbott, get Bavuma to open (doubt that will work), and pick one of Tahir / Piedt / Peterson.


    • Rohan Dec 9, 2015 / 7:21 pm

      Is Marchant De Lange still around. I know he plays T20 for SA. He is seriously fast, but is he a test prospect?


      • d'Arthez Dec 9, 2015 / 9:58 pm

        de Lange is still around. He has had some serious injury setbacks. Unlikely to feature.

        Chances are higher that Wayne Parnell gets another call up. And I honestly don’t rate Parnell.


  20. Gambrinus Dec 9, 2015 / 9:13 pm

    Kane Train XI v Sri Lanka on Sky tonight at 930. Although we did do all this last year …


  21. SimonH Dec 9, 2015 / 10:14 pm

    Ali Martin and Nick Hoult reporting that Steve Finn is going to play for England Lions in a T20 later this week and he thinks he can be fit by the second Test.

    The selectors are going to have to decide whether to call him into the Tour Squad.


    • Mark Dec 10, 2015 / 2:41 am

      Lost all trust in him and his organisation after the KP affair to be honest. He seems like a bit of a useful patsy to me.

      He says he and PCA agree with the ECB on 80% (how convienient) . Now I m sure some of the things they have done are very worthwhile. The education of young players about corruption, and match fixing is important, but the ECB would be supportive of that issue because it could effect their bottom line if people think the game is fixed.

      Preparing players for life after cricket, and helping widows of ex cricketers. All very good, I’m sure, but what players do when they leave cricket is not something the ECB will be too bothered about. He praises Strauss, and other ECB big wigs, and says he doesn’t recognise comemts made by Tim May. Seems all a bit too chummy and Looks like just another neutered body to me.

      He does admit there is too much cricket and players risk burn out. But he has no real solutions.

      Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Dec 10, 2015 / 2:02 pm

      “At present, England is just about the only country trying to fulfil its FTP obligations home and away. I am not sure that we can continue to afford to do that. We are playing more than is sensible.”

      Ah, yes. That is why they don’t bother with Bangladesh, and have not played Zimbabwe in a bilateral series in ages. Now, the latter is due to a sporting boycott (but still). The only countries that actually do bother with the FTP are Pakistan and South Africa, and West Indies have played everyone else as well. They have played everyone in the last 6 years.

      Australia last played against Bangladesh in 2006, but they did play in a Zim-SA-Australia tri-series in 2014), England (Zim is missing in action, and Bangladesh won’t get a chance to tour England for a measly 11 years, if the ECB sticks to the FTP). That is really trying – I mean who does not think that 52562 Ashes tours in a decade is too little?

      Notice that he is still defending the outside cricket jibe. If he was not, he could have, you know, actually pushed to at least rephrase it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Dec 10, 2015 / 2:39 pm

        Also, India do play everyone. In fact that is one of the big problems – everyone wants to play India, because it brings in the big bucks. The consequences to the Indian players be damned.

        Sure they may not always send full strength teams to Zimbabwe or Bangladesh, but they play. That is more than can be said of either England or Australia … Now, since their home season can’t go on for 12 months, that basically means that the only slots for the less lucrative teams are on the road (eg. Zimbabwe in August, Bangladesh after the IPL).

        Because cricket is set up as a series of bilateral agreements, that means it is vital to play India, and to a lesser extent Australia and England. Now, if you had a decent governing body structure, that problem could be reduced significantly. But chances of that happening are probably lower than Dave Cameron doing the decent thing in the WICB.


  22. d'Arthez Dec 10, 2015 / 6:34 am

    Now, I know it is only Day 1 in the Test in Australia, but honestly, it is hard to see beyond an Australia win from now (we’re in the 75th over as I write).

    Only bad weather can save the West Indies. Was the same story in South Africa (they got lucky the second Test), Sri Lanka as well. In fact, in the majority of draws the West Indies achieved on the road in the past 6 years, weather played a vital role in reducing the number of overs.

    Just two away wins against big opposition in the last 16 years. One at Edgbaston (2000), and one in Port Elizabeth in 2007. Even Shiv Chanderpaul has played in 5 won Tests on the road against big opposition. On the road, he played 71 Tests against the big teams, and a further 4 against Zimbabwe, and 6 against Bangladesh.

    Might as well give Bangladesh more invites instead of the West Indies. At least Bangladesh are improving. West Indies are meandering along, just inflating everyone’s averages as they go. But where was the “statistical integrity” brigade then? Where were those who examined Giles Clarke’s meritocracy? Happily taking the Sky money, or toeing the ECB line.

    Bangladesh have not been hosted by England since 2010, South Africa since 2008, Australia since 2003! Hard to improve or show of your improvements when you’re lucky to get 2 Tests in a decade. They have played 35 Tests against the Big 8 on the road, and a further 7 against Zimbabwe. Admittedly they only have 2 draws to show for their efforts, and 2 wins against a weakened West Indies.

    But West Indies on the road since 1 January 2000:
    P68: W2 L50 D16

    Not exactly a record that inspires confidence either, is it?


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