Lost in Space

It’s been a fair while since I’ve  written a piece, and it’s been like an itch that needs scratching.  The last few months have been fairly manic with work, but after next week it should be a quieter period, just in time for Christmas and then January and February, which are my easy months of the year, comparatively.

I’ve also been doing some research on a bigger post to come, and have notes scribbled all over the place.  Picking the right time to do that is perhaps the biggest question.

The approaching series is the one in South Africa, historically always one of the marquee series, and thus one where excitement is building, right?

Hmm.  Over the last week we had the nominations for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and the observation that despite a truly fantastic year, Joe Root was missing from the list.  It was also pointed out that at the same time, a woman footballer was on there, and much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.

From a couple of cricket writers.

From the wider public there was the sound of complete indifference.

Now, the reason for me apparently picking on a female footballer there was deliberate.  You see, not only are those matches visible on terrestrial television, but it goes further than that.  Participation in female football has been growing rapidly in the last few years, and in the next 12 months or so, it will exceed the male participation in cricket in this country.  Add to that the higher viewing figures for the Women’s World Cup, and realistically, why should there be the slightest objection or even query?  By these measures, women’s football is simply more important to the English people than cricket is.

Is it really?  Probably not, yet one of the defences the ECB puts up to cricket not being on terrestrial television is that it is available on Test Match Special on the radio.  Yet here we have an Ashes winning year with one player across the calendar year proving genuinely exceptional and becoming the number one batsman in the world, and he wasn’t included.  But the fundamental point is that people do get missed off these things, that isn’t the story – the total indifference to it is.

Few would argue that the SPOTY award is more than a bit of fluff, yet it is symptomatic of the decline in interest in the sport generally that Root being left out didn’t cause a storm of outrage, instead it wasn’t even noticed.  Go to the pub, sit at the bar, raise the subject amongst those interested in sport and see what the reaction is.  There’s a slight raising of the eyebrows and a response of “oh yes.  That’s true”.  This is more dangerous to the game here than anything, when the sporting public don’t even realise until it’s pointed out.

When this debate occurs, the question of terrestrial television coverage is always rejected with the line that the drop in revenue from doing so would be a disaster for the game, and that terrestrial coverage wouldn’t suddenly change everything.  This is true, yet it is what it always has been – a complete straw man argument.  No one is arguing that it is a panacea for all ills, it’s a deep seated concern that there won’t be much of a game to support at this rate.

Ah yes, but crowds remain excellent and there is strong demand, so the story goes.  Yet this year there were day one tickets available for the Lords Ashes Test, on the day of the match.  Trying to find this kind of information out from the ECB is nigh on impossible, and so the supporting evidence for this assertion is a simple one – I looked at the Lords website and went through most of the process of buying one to see if I could.  It’s unlikely there were many, but the point is there actually were some.

Let’s just think about that; day one tickets, on the day, for the Lords Test, of an Ashes series.  And England had just gone 1-0 up.  Cost is a big part of this for certain, the exponential increase in ticket prices and the gouging of supporters by the ECB (funny how the huge rise in income for the ECB hasn’t held ticket prices down) has probably reached a point where a substantial number of those who would go simply don’t solely for this reason. Yet the alarm bells should be ringing loudly, and the biggest concern is they don’t seem to be.

It didn’t help of course that the Ashes series itself was such a dreadful one, five completely one sided matches with barely any drama or uncertainty beyond the first day and a bit.  But to counter that, the two Tests against New Zealand were truly magnificent, cricket as entertainment at its best.  It still didn’t make much difference.

With most specialist interests, there’s the matter that anyone writing or talking about it is doing so in an echo chamber, the only people who react or read it, or argue back are those who have the same interest, and thus it can be talked about at great length, entirely oblivious to the fact that no one outside of it cares.  This is where cricket now is.  The national press do cover the game, but if the Sun stopped writing about it (tucked away four pages in from the back) would anyone care?  Would anyone outside of the few even notice?  It seems unlikely.

Out of sight, out of mind is the most dangerous state for any sport to reach.  For decades the lamentation that football has taken over the national consciousness at the expense of cricket has gone up, but it’s gone way further than that now.  Rugby union is miles ahead, notwithstanding the England team gloriously completely the full set of the three “major” team sports all going out at the group stage of their respective World Cups (the football team’s failure is positively superb by comparison with the other two), in fact rugby league probably is.  Cycling, tennis, athletics – they all now have a much broader appeal than cricket does.  It’s nothing more than a minority interest, and the slump in people playing is as good an evidence of that as anything else.

If you were to visit some of the London parks, the removal of the cricket pitches by the councils is something that has been highlighted over the last few years.  Yet a question that is never asked about that is what if the councils are right?  What if they have removed them not just because of the expense, but because no one really cares if they do?  It’s not like it was met with strong protest, more like quiet grumbles at the way things are going.

The national team is the pinnacle of any sport, and also the showcase of it.  For all the talk about the dominance of the club game in football, nothing pulls in viewers or captures the imagination like the national team doing well – younger readers may need to ask a parent – yet despite the defeat in the UAE, the England cricket team had a reasonable enough year post World Cup, and for most of the wider public, it simply passed them by.

A South Africa tour should be highly anticipated, England don’t win there often, and despite the hosts comprehensive defeat in India, it will be a stiff challenge.  But will anyone notice?  Will anyone even realise it’s happening?

The wider ramifications of the ICC power grab are yet to unwind, the complicity of much of the media in allowing that to happen with no objections or investigation as shameful as it ever was.  But the bigger issue right now is the game itself, and where it is in this country.  And for the first time I am starting to truly fear for its future, not just at the top level but throughout.  The mendacity and self-serving nature of the avaricious ECB is a subject to which we will return time and again.  The danger is that it reaches a point where even when it’s put in front of the public, they still couldn’t care less.



63 thoughts on “Lost in Space

  1. MM December 10, 2015 / 8:59 pm

    I agree rather a lot with your text, LG.

    Y’know, I did a great big ( ( ( s h r u g ) ) ) when I realised there were no cricketers on that SPOTY list. I even did a great big ( ( ( s h r u g ) ) ) when it was pointed out to me Joe Root is the ultimate ICC battist with a book out. I think I’d rather follow Kemar Roach on Twitter.

    Can I have become so apathetic to the highest end of the sport I’ve loved for 37 years? Shame on me.


    • thelegglance December 11, 2015 / 10:40 am

      It troubles me. England play and sometimes I don’t even realise it’s on. England lose and I shrug my shoulders. England win and I don’t feel especially pleased. Like you I’ve spent my whole life adoring this game with every fibre in my being, and now I’m just not that fussed. Next summer I’ll likely go to one game, because a friend asked if I wanted to come. It hadn’t even occurred to me to try to get tickets and so the only reason I’m going is because he mentioned it.

      How widespread is this indifference from those who are core cricket supporters? I really don’t know, and I’m not so arrogant as to believe my own perspective is representative of anything but myself. But it worries me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • northernlight71 December 11, 2015 / 1:20 pm

        I think it is pretty representative, to be honest.*

        *What I mean is, it’s exactly how I feel about cricket right now.


      • Badger December 11, 2015 / 8:20 pm

        Represents me pretty well too, but I’d guess there’s many reading this blog who feel this way.


      • MM December 11, 2015 / 9:29 pm

        Me, too.


  2. SimonH December 10, 2015 / 9:31 pm

    Lawrence Booth rewrites history:

    “South Africa are not quite the side they were when these sides last met in England in 2012, when the tourists took advantage of the Kevin Pietersen text farrago to win 2-0 and hasten the retirement of Andrew Strauss”.

    There it is – it was that bastard closet-Saffer who lost the 2012 series and did for our splendid captain as well. England lost at the Oval because of texts not even sent? The power of the man who is so malign he can warp the space-time continuum! Strauss stressed in his book (knew reading it would come in useful one day) that there was no dressing room trouble at the Oval. Pietersen then saved a possible 3-0 drubbing by one of the most incredible assaults on a class bowling attack I’ve ever seen. Finally there was Lord’s – his erstwhile teammates were so liberated from his noxious presence that they lost that one as well.

    As for hastening the retirement of Strauss, he stressed in his book that ‘Textgate’ played no part in his going. Does Booth know better? Perhaps Strauss’s declining batting had more to do with it – like an average of 33 in his last 32 Tests (and that heavily reliant on big runs against a dreadful WI side). Ian Bell, by the way, averages 34.5 in his last 32 Tests….

    …. speaking of which, Booth doesn’t mention but Ali Martin does, this from Cook at the airport press conference:

    ““I spoke to him [Bell] and it was an interesting phone call. All I got from it was how desperate he wants to come back”.

    Oh to have been a fly-on-the-line for that exchange! Reading between the lines it sounds like it was in “a frank exchange of views” territory. I also hope someone senior (Strauss or Whitaker) had the decency to see Bell in person rather than a phone-call from Cook being all that transpired.

    Cook also said:

    ” “A year ago I was left out and I know how disappointing and gutting it was, But that couple of months away from the firing line, away from cricket at home, gave me a good understanding and a new lease of life. Hopefully that can be the same for Ian”.

    Cook was dropped from the ODI team (nice of him to remind us of his grief about that again). Bell has already been dropped from the ODI team and has now been dropped from the Test team. Does Cook not see the difference?


    • MM December 10, 2015 / 9:35 pm

      Cook is operating on a different level to us proles.


    • BoredInAustria December 10, 2015 / 10:04 pm

      “You’ll miss his experience but he’ll be the first to admit he’s not scored the runs he’d have liked to. But sometimes missing a tour, with time, might do Ian the world of good.”

      This said with a straight face …


      • Mark December 10, 2015 / 11:18 pm

        He doesn’t do irony does he?

        I think Ian Bell could write a very revealing autobiography if he wanted to. He was in the 2005 Ashes side and the 2015 one. He could have a lot of fun with the comparison. And the decline of honest selection and the national cricket team turning into a clique.

        I doubt he would want the hassle. The media would do their usual ” oh why, oh why doesn’t he write about the cricket.”


      • thelegglance December 11, 2015 / 10:41 am

        Yes, the Ian Bell story if he chooses to tell it will be extremely interesting. It seems very likely he’s been unhappy the last couple of years with everything that’s gone on.


    • Escort December 10, 2015 / 10:53 pm

      A senior player gets dropped and all he gets is a phone call from the captain?
      I think I know what I would have told Cook if I were Ian Bell


    • pktroll (@pktroll) December 11, 2015 / 8:20 am

      That’s a shame, I had him (Booth) down as a bit better than that. For instance on Cricket Writers on TV he took the edge off of Selvey and Newman when they were nigh on doing a jig of delight at the Ashes series victory and that this was almost because of the exclusion of Pietersen when he pointed out that England’s batting line-up overall had hardly been that brilliant overall.

      Unfortunately the folks in the press really rather overlook Strauss’s record in the last 3 years and also have criminally forgotten that Strauss was in charge of the UAE 2012 debacle, the poor performance in Sri Lanka, particularly at Galle and that things were going a bit pear-shaped in the South Africa series prior to “textgate”.


    • Arron Wright December 11, 2015 / 12:09 pm

      Good to hear that the Saffer was behind a defeat by an innings, 12 runs and 18 f**king wickets!


      • d'Arthez December 11, 2015 / 12:41 pm

        Disappointing that Lawrence posits such blatant nonsense. He is better than that, as demonstrated by his views on the ICC.

        Because obviously, KP was responsible for the “poor” umpiring (and if anything, England got the rub of the decisions in that series. The Kallis non-wicket, the leg before air in the second Test; the controversial out decision Smith had to cop, and a few stumpings that could easily have gone the other way (both when England batted and England bowled). Gould thought that hitting middle of middle warranted a not-out decision for Strauss. Because obviously it was KP’s fault that he did not rewrite the DRS software to give any decision in England’s favour.

        Because obviously, he batted for all 10 wickets. How he achieved to be at both ends simultaneously during both innings is a mystery that has not yet been solved. I am sure a few physicists are working on that. Let alone how quickly the necessary plastic surgeons must have worked to give him the features of Strauss, Cook, Trott, Bell, etc..

        Because obviously he was their lead bowler. He was certainly England’s most effective spin bowler.

        Because obviously, everyone in the England team was pre-emptively upset at events that no one else knew would happen. Why I have not yet read a single report that Andrew Strauss has cornered the stock market, I do not know.

        Maybe, just maybe these esteemed cricket writers should study the laws of causality.

        Liked by 2 people

      • d'Arthez December 12, 2015 / 3:12 am

        Addendum to my comment. Obviously, it was not Gould. It was umpire Steve Davis. Mea Culpa.


    • RufusSG December 11, 2015 / 1:15 pm

      I think you’re reading way too much into that Booth quote: it looks fairly innocuous to me. Booth isn’t apportioning blame to either side of the conflict, but there clearly was a controversy and I’m convinced it didn’t exactly help England’s on-field performance in the Lord’s test, regardless of whether you think it was KP’s fault or whether you think it was a case of England shooting themselves ignominiously and spectacularly in the foot, which seems the more reasonable conclusion. Perhaps I’m being naive, but I doubt Booth was intending to imply that textgate was literally the only reason we lost that series, simply that it was a factor that most people will remember that series by because of the controversy generated. By saying that they’re not the side they were in 2012, he’s basically admitting that he believes they were a high-class side who deserved to win on the basis of their performances.


    • Tregaskis December 11, 2015 / 3:02 pm

      I not sure there is anything untoward in Booth’s comments. The word “farrago” seems to have been carefully chosen. I don’t think he is blaming KP, but more pinpointing the event as one from which South Africa were able to take advantage. Which they clearly did. They did so first by leaking details of the texts to the press (though Graeme Smith denied this, but the leak must have come from someone in the Saffer camp). They were able to enjoy further advantage when, as a result, KP (on the back of his brilliant 149 in the Second Test) was dropped for the Third Test at Lord’s, which South Africa went on to win, clinching the series.


      • SimonH December 11, 2015 / 3:46 pm

        Hello Rufus and Tregaskis, we may need to have a civilised “agree to disagree” over this one but I think there were sound reasons to read the comment as I did.

        Lawrence Booth deserves much credit (and got it here from me recently) for his reporting on the ECB and Giles Clarke. He has been on of the very few to be publicly critical – and, by all accounts, received a full blast of Clarke’s unpleasantness as a result. This may make one inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. However I’ve noticed, over a long time with him, a distinct tendency for the red mist to descend when the issue is Pietersen. In the UAE when James Taylor made runs, he was the only reporter immediately to return to Pietersen’s comments in 2012 (while ignoring the issues that it was the selectors who didn’t pick Taylor for all that time). This was only the latest example of a long line of unnecessary snark. I’ve noticed it because he is a writer I expect better of. I’m no Pietersen fanboy by the way (he wouldn’t be in my top dozen of favourite England cricketers) and some measured criticism of him would be entirely justified (including over aspects of ‘Textgate’). Booth has gone beyond that, in my view.

        I also read his comment in the context of the press pack’s writing about that tour and the Flower era generally. SA never got the credit they deserved in my view. Their achievement was constantly belittled by claiming something other than the play was crucial (Textgate, Finn hitting the wicket, Selvey even hilariously blamed the Oval thrashing on the weather). England were simply outplayed by a better team – and there was a sour refusal to acknowledge that. In turn, I see that as part of the hubris of the Flower era and the special-pleading (or plain ignoring) of the team’s downturn in performance that started long before Day Two in Brisbane. Every reversal had to have some external cause because it couldn’t be that the team and the coach weren’t quite as good as we were being told they were.

        If Booth’s comment is to be read as you suggest (and perhaps you are just more generous souls than me), I’d ask: why pick on that aspect of England’s defeat in 2012 at the exclusion of all others? Why not, for example, say SA “took advantage” of the weakness of England’s top three in that series? It’s just as true – and just as pertinent to the forthcoming series. Why not say SA “took advantage” of Anderson and Broad’s inability to be as threatening as Steyn and Morkel on a flat pitch? Just as true – and just as pertinent.

        I accept that Booth isn’t saying it’s the only reason England lost. I also accept Tregaskis’s point that the use of “farrago” suggests Booth knows Pietersen was not solely to blame for ‘Textgate’. However it still reads – by emphasis, context and omission – like a classic example of blaming ‘the enemy within’ to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark December 11, 2015 / 8:05 pm

        Thank you Simon. Saves me from having to write a single word.


      • Arron Wright December 12, 2015 / 11:09 am

        Nails everywhere quiver in the presence of SimonH and his hammer.


      • Benny December 12, 2015 / 2:09 pm

        I still find it impossible to believe that if, that’s if, a member of the team was causing problems, the rest of them would take the field thinking “I’m not going to do my best today” – farrago or not.


  3. Mark December 10, 2015 / 10:59 pm

    Thoughtful post LG.

    I have felt for some time that the ECB is essentially “managing decline” of cricket in England. They don’t know how to stop or slow the decline ,and maybe there is nothing they can do. Cricket has never been as popular as football. Indeed many of the football loving friends I had as a kid did not all support or like cricket? It was too slow, and went on too long. We have become even more Americanised since then. But it is amazing to see how far down it has gone since Bothams Ashes of 1981. Botham was a huge star, and household name. I doubt most people would even recognise Joe Root if they met him walking down the street.

    That leads to the ECBs model of the last decade. I think they made a quite deliberate descion to cash in as quickly as they could before the game withered on the vine. “Let’s take the money now while we can.” Selling off the rights for the highest amount, and pushing through the big 3 which maximise profits for the 3 at the expense of expanding the game. I have always suspected the reason we have two home series a summer is so that the ECB can have 2 Lords Test matches. These are the important people, and they will cough up for the privilege. Test cricket will soon have the status and exposure of international Croquet matches.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance December 11, 2015 / 10:44 am

      Their role is to be custodian of the game. Not the professional game, not the England team, and not the counties. The game. Whether we agree or disagree with specific decisions doesn’t matter that much, they haven’t fulfilled that brief or shown any indication they even notice it. I’ve said before that the much maligned FA do that better than the ECB. Much better.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark December 11, 2015 / 1:41 pm

        I don’t think they give one thought to being custodians of the game. Apart from lipgloss.

        CASH is what they spend their time worrying about. Cold hard cash.


    • Zephirine December 12, 2015 / 3:27 pm

      “These are the important people, and they will cough up for the privilege.” Yes. But I think there is a long-term plan.

      Along with the drift of cricket training and youth participation into the public-school sector there has been a commercial movement of English cricket towards a target market of wealthy bourgeois supporters and corporate entertainment.

      The intention seems to be for cricket to end up like polo or yachting. Something that only an elite can participate in or even watch, but really good for expensive sponsorships.


      • Grenville December 12, 2015 / 10:52 pm

        I think that you are right there, Dr. Z. It has made me very sad. I thought that their (the ECB, CA and the BCCI) plan was to turn cricket into an Indian sport (big market that India), and hope for the best with the rest of the world. Your reading makes more sense, a cosy, elitist, lucrative sport here, a stuff the poms bit of fun down under and megalith in India. Swear word, swear word


    • pktroll (@pktroll) December 11, 2015 / 9:26 am

      The first half of the article is actually ok. The second half is just puffy buffoonery.


      • SimonH December 11, 2015 / 9:40 am

        From the first half –

        “Seasoned observers could not recall any player or captain being subjected to such relentless examination and advice”.

        “Seasoned observers”? The ECB shills in the press box and on ECB-TV. “Any player or captain”?
        In my lifetime, Greig (grovel and Packer), Brearley (people forget Oz 79/80), Botham (as captain – especially the last two Tests against Australia), Gower (“I’m in charge”), Gatting (barmaids and Ossie Wheatley), Atherton (called a cheat over the dirt-in-the pocket incident) and Hussain (the booing at the Oval) all had it tougher. “Such relentless examination”? Name English one journalist who called for Cook to be sacked as Test captain.


      • Mark December 11, 2015 / 10:19 am

        Brenkley just dusts off the same column for every tour now. It was the same before the WI tour, the Pakistan tour, and now he has dug it out again for The South African tour. It never changes,

        Create a mythical dragon that Cook has to slay. Namely the millions of critics in the media. Who are these critics? I’ve never read them or heard them. They only exist in Brenkleys mind. They certainly don’t appear on Sky or the BBC TMS. Instead it’s Cooky goodness and flowers all the way.

        Brenkleys piece is an insult to anyone with a brain. No England captain has ever been more lauded than this one.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) December 11, 2015 / 10:31 am

        Although I take your point that there wasn’t anything like the widespread criticism by an all too favourable newspaper corps, I do recall the likes of Simon Jones and Mike Atherton suggesting that Cook needed that tap on the shoulder to go on Sky around that time. I guess Brenkley also might well refer to a lot of us social media types as being incessant critics.

        I am more than aware of England’s record in 2015 to get too excited about the England team when our own media seem to overlook their weaknesses.


      • thelegglance December 11, 2015 / 10:58 am

        Whenever someone writes something like “seasoned observers” what they actually mean is “me”, but think that it will look self-absorbed to say so. The pretence that they aren’t saying “me” makes it worse.


    • Mark December 11, 2015 / 9:57 am

      Just from looking at the title of that piece Simon I know not to bother reading a single word of it.

      Cook has captained England in 4 test series this year, and he has won one series, the Ashes. And that was down to pitch instructions in an email from head office. The other 3 series have seen draws against WI and NZ, and defeat against Pakistan. Hardly much of an achievememt.

      Cook is still in the job for the same reason as two years ago, namely TINA. He is captain by default. And with Joe Root being seen as too juvinile (funny how anyone who might take over seems to disappear through media smear.) and Bell being dropped its TINA as far as the eye can see.

      It’s amazing that Cook is not up for BBC sports personality of the year award if you read the sacerine drivel that has been turned out by the likes of Brenkley, Selvey and co.

      England should win this series very easily if you listen to Selveys dismissive put downs of South Africa. So if they lose, I will look forward to his….. “Cook must go”….. piece at the end of the tour.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH December 11, 2015 / 11:35 am

        Mark, you’ll be pleased to hear that Brenkley already has Cook on the plane as captain for next winter’s tour to India. I had a vague hope that Cook was keeping the chair warm for Root to take over next summer – but that’s receding further into the distance.

        Of course Brenkley doesn’t make any distinction between Cook the batsman and Cook the captain. As usual, Cook scoring runs produces the assumption his captaincy is now magnificent. Cook himself mentioned “missed opportunities” in the UAE – but you just know he was thinking of Bell’s dropped catches or Bairstow’s missed stumping and not his own overly-defensive fields. Nobody is mentioning (except Lawrence Booth – to his credit, having had a pop at him earlier) that England under Cook have won 1 of the last 14 away Tests.

        You can write the narrative now, if England lose this series. Winning away from home is very difficult. SA’s thumping in India proves it. In fact, SA’s defeat will become the proof of why England couldn’t beat them! All conveniently forgotten when England win the next home series…..


      • thelegglance December 11, 2015 / 12:12 pm

        Cook’s captaincy has improved. I put that down to Bayliss insisting that his captain actually captain the team, as opposed to Flower and Moores regarding the skipper as their vicarious means of running the side on the field. He’s not brilliant and never will be, but at least he’s at last being the damn captain now and living or dying by his own decisions rather than following the coach’s orders. I’m hardly going to complain now he’s finally doing his job, whether I agree with specific decisions or not.


      • Mark December 11, 2015 / 1:50 pm

        “England under Cook have won 1 of the last 14 away Tests.”

        That stat alone would have seen off many a former England captain. We used to have cricket jounalists who would write things like that. Then they sold out and became ECB PR consultants.

        The media like to refer to the glory days of Cooks reign when KP and Swann were in the team. Of course they gloss over the KP/ Swann part. People might then start to question if Cook played any significant role as captain in any of those matches.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright December 11, 2015 / 12:14 pm

      That bloody ovation at Southampton is the most nauseating false meme I think I’ve ever come across.

      Liked by 1 person

    • MM December 11, 2015 / 9:23 pm

      I don’t dare.


    • Zephirine December 12, 2015 / 3:54 pm

      Nope. Ain’t gonna read it. Know what it’s going to say. Cook publicity is as predictable as beauty product adverts.

      <Voted best batsman of all time! Gives true definition to the team, lasts longer at the wicket, adds that fresh-from-the-country look! In a dazzling range of shades from Standing Ovation to Deserved a Century! 'Alastair' – because you're worth it…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Tuffers86 December 11, 2015 / 9:42 am

    “The danger is that it reaches a point where even when it’s put in front of the public, they still couldn’t care less.”

    I want to respond, I do, but really don’t want to make it a class war thing because it is looked down on in these parts.

    I need to bite my tongue and offer some Super Furry Animals. They don’t give a F***


  5. Tuffers86 December 11, 2015 / 9:55 am

    Anyway, bits and pieces:

    308 players in the Pakistan Super League pool


    Little confusing as they list the marquee England players as

    Anderson, Luke Fletcher, James Taylor, Ian Bell, Jade Dernbach, Chris Jordan, Monty Panesar, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Luke Wright, Michael Carberry, Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook, Steven Finn , Chris Woakes

    BUT If you scan through the full list in table format you see David Willey, Moeen and Vince in there along with a selection of your favourite county pros. So who knows what will happen. There’s an embed if someone can figure it out.


    Watched this last night as it is Mrs Tuffers86’s favourite. The chefs were at Lord’s cooking up a lunch for non other than Mike Gatting. A few points…

    I’m really sick that the captain of apartheid breaking rebel team is still around enjoying free lunches.

    I’m quite happy the stuff served up was a bit dross for Gatting.

    Andrew Strauss’s equivalent for the women’s team doesn’t use a COMMA in her title.


    • thelegglance December 11, 2015 / 11:49 am

      It’s an interesting read that, but there are worrying signs about the insularity of the ECB (not him) within it – the stuff like saying it’s ok to play T20, when clubs have been playing it for 50 years, long before the ECB dreamed up a marketing opportunity.

      You’ll note that actually giving the clubs a say in the game isn’t on the agenda.


      • SimonH December 11, 2015 / 12:32 pm

        One line that concerned me –

        “Dwyer is a cricket obsessive with a sales background, having worked for such brands as Mars and Diageo. He also comes with a proven track record at Cricket Australia”.

        1) Oh great, someone from marketing who’s going to ‘sell’ cricket like Mars bars. It’s progress of sorts to hire a professional (Mike Gatting held the job previously – who’d have guessed such an amateurish jobs-for-the-old-boys appointment like him wouldn;’t be a blazing success?) but it still reeks of solutions based on ‘branding’ and marketing’ rather than the quality of the product or reform of underlying structures.
        2) He’s Australian – what is it about England that is so unable to produce successful managers?


      • thelegglance December 11, 2015 / 12:39 pm

        I don’t think it’s a bad thing to actually market the game. It’s been awful for years. For example, in Australia CA advertise the game on national television, with a link to finding your local club. It’s something that the ECB would never dream of doing here. I can’t help but think their fixation with social media is mostly because it ticks a box and is essentially free.

        Now you’ve mentioned something that sent me into paroxysms of rage: Appointing Gatting, someone who didn’t play club cricket and knew fuck all about it, was symptomatic of their total contempt for club cricket. As if players were meant to be impressed by that? The first thing he did was to try to change all league cricket to limited overs, and was promptly told to go eat a KFC by every league in the land.


  6. SimonH December 11, 2015 / 11:46 am


    • SimonH December 11, 2015 / 12:41 pm

      India and Pakistan drawn in the same group at an ICC event for the 7th consecutive occasion. It would be great if some maths’ whizz could work out the statistical probability of that occurring by pure chance…..


      • d'Arthez December 11, 2015 / 3:26 pm

        Assuming two groups, the chance is about 6/13 (for a 14-team event) per event. Since seedings, and such come into force, this seems like a reasonable “average” chance / event. I can’t be bothered to look up each of the events, and formats.

        Now, for that to occur 7 times straight it is roughly 6^7 / 13^7. The chance of that is about 0.44%. Of course, with smaller events the chances become ever lower … So effectively the chance could well be as low as 0.1% for this to occur.

        Yeah, fixing is bad. Unless it is a fixed lottery, right?


      • SimonH December 11, 2015 / 3:53 pm

        D’Arthez, you knew I meant you by “some maths’ whizz”, didn’t you? 🙂


      • BoredInAustria December 12, 2015 / 10:28 am

        D’Artez, what is the mathematical probability for Flower to coach the T20 team in P with Cook as captian and KP as scapegoat?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark December 11, 2015 / 1:57 pm

    They don’t even try to hide it do they?

    What’s really funny, is they are inadvertently admitting that a so called big 3 team (India) up against a non big 3 team (Pakistan) is in fact one of the biggest games world cricket has to offer. But don’t tell Giles Clarke because that’s not part of the script.


    • SimonH December 11, 2015 / 2:30 pm

      “They don’t even try to hide it do they?”

      It’ll be interesting to see how many, if any, MSM outlets mention it. I got it from Peter Miller on Twitter.


  8. SimonH December 11, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    Three wickets for Finn in the Lions game.

    Meanwhile, from earlier in the week:


    • Mark December 11, 2015 / 8:11 pm

      Surely some mistake. Hasn’t he forgotten to put on the silly hat with Waitrose on it?


    • Escort December 12, 2015 / 6:26 am

      Is Stuart auditioning for a new series of Blackadder?


    • SimonH December 11, 2015 / 10:16 pm

      Is there a Pool for Directors in the PSL?

      Downton could apply.


  9. d'Arthez December 12, 2015 / 2:41 am

    Well, West Indies have just passed Voges 269*. They are currently 288/16. And only have to bat another 2.3 days or so to save a draw.


    • d'Arthez December 12, 2015 / 3:45 am

      Australia win by an innings and 212 runs. Kraigg Brathwaite last man out for the West Indies. Gabriel did not bat in either innings, but it is fair to say that it would not have made one iota of difference.

      WI 371 over two innings. The Marsh – Voges stand was worth 449.

      So, why is it that West Indies keep getting opportunities, and Bangladesh are basically getting none?


      • SimonH December 12, 2015 / 10:44 am

        Since averaging 77.75 in the series against England, Jermaine Blackwood is averaging 18 (in ten innings against Australia and SL).

        He could be up for the Looked-Good-Against-England Award (previous holders Hamish Rutherford, Peter Fulton and Alviro Petersen).

        (More seriously, he’s an attractive player and hopefully this is just a blip).


    • Arron Wright December 13, 2015 / 9:22 am

      Ah, the ECB. Turning reasonable people into Downfall parodies since 2005.


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