27th December Cricket – Comments Thread

Australia – 345/3 (Khawaja 144, Burns 128) v West Indies

England – 179/4 (Taylor 70, Compton 63*) v South Africa

The two tests could hardly be a greater contrast. In Melbourne Australia are participating in what looks like another total mismatch, as Burns and Khawaja picked up centuries, and there’s probably at least another one in them hills for either Smith or Voges given their propensity these days in cashing in. The West Indies seem further and further away from competitiveness. I must confess that I was watching the Cavaliers v Warriors NBA game rather than this lack of a contest, but what I did notice was David Warner setting off like a train and getting out quite quickly. I saw one of my Aussie-based Twitter followers had something to say about that.

England find themselves in a much better position than 49 for 3 suggested, especially as the “two rocks” had both been dismissed. Nick Compton looked very solid, not offering much in the way of chances, and ground out 63 from 179 balls. It’s 300 ball hundred pace, which while is important in situations like this, it’s not match-winning stuff. That sounds harsh, I know, and he’s played the situation magnificently. But that question will remain until we see something slightly more multi-faceted.At this stage England need to take solidity and composure any which way they can. We’ve been spoiled on Tres, Vaughan and even Strauss who could keep the scoreboard ticking over. My fear is Compton is going to be too one paced. Today, that’s not a problem.

But look, this has been a top innings today and probably one in the eye for a few people (including me, who has never been convinced he’s the answer). I’m a bit different on Taylor who looks like the least worst option in that position, and again played well in a tight situation. He has that attitude of persistent motion, an energizer bunny, reining himself in before he fires off at all different angles. This is his second 70-ish score and yes, they’ve been accumulated in the right way and tight situations.¬† A shame he got out just before the close, but he has been a bright spark today.

It’s too soon to make a comment on Hales – of course it is. That’s a lot different to people “thinking” he’s not up to it as a test opener, because I know, like others, those that think that way want to be proved wrong. If you want to know the ultimate example, you should have seen the text messages between me and a Millwall mate after HIM was dismissed in the first innings at The Oval. I’d love Hales to do well, I really would, but already you can hear the jungle drums. “Compton open, Compton open, Compton open”.

A couple of other observations. I see it’s a mixed South African / English team under the SuperSport banner. I thought, for the larger series, and I thought this was one, that we had the full Sky treatment. What with the car park settings for the BBL, are there serious cost-cutting measures on board at the home of England Cricket?

Also, the game will be poorer when Dale Steyn isn’t playing it. What a champion. Also self-deprecating in his interview afterwards, saying he’s not as skilled as Jimmy Anderson. Hogwash. They are different types of bowlers, and Steyn has skill in abundance. A top player. It’s a disgrace he’s not been seen playing against England in his home country since 2010, and in this country since 2012.

Happy to have all your comments on the games today and those for the play tomorrow. The beloved is dragging me down to the Garden Centre in the morning – I’d rather have an hour of James Brayshaw if truth be told – so I won’t be around for all of it.

Comments below……

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37 thoughts on “27th December Cricket – Comments Thread

  1. Culex Dec 27, 2015 / 2:08 am

    Just a passing fact which warmed my anti-ECB feelings – Smith just overtook Cook as the leading run-scorer for 2015. I’m sure the sycophants at the ECB are preparing the spin piece already.

    Meanwhile, every cricket fan in Australia is mourning the demise of West Indies cricket. There was a round-table discussion of sports journalist on ABC Radio during the lunch break, and one observation was made that rang with an awful truth: this is the last time we will ever see the West Indies play a Boxing Day match in Australia. In the future they will be lucky to get pre-season matches in Darwin. As somebody who remembers Brian Lara at his peak, this is very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tuffers86 Dec 27, 2015 / 7:49 am

    I love world cricket. The only real time where I get partisan is when England play in tinderbox series such as the Ashes or when the suits think a series against South Africa is worth the hassle. I’ve reflected on this a bit, and I can only assume the media thinks this way too, which is why the hyperbole ramps up. Or may be I’m giving them too much credit. I love watching any cricket. I even have a list of my favourite teams.

    I am mourning the passing of the West Indies. I don’t think they are going to recover. As a 90s kid, the West Indies were a bit of an enigma to me, they didn’t have the 70s and 80s dream teams but had Lara, Curtly and Courtney. So there were flashes of absolute brilliance and ruthless, aggressive bowling along with the occasional bit of haplessness. It was thrilling.

    Their Test demise is a stain on the WICB and the ICC for not stepping in with an even hand. It’s a bloody disgrace. I am sad, but I am also very angry. Most pundits say the decline started in 1994, but this time the preverbial has well and truly hit the fan. We’re talking 20 years of warning signs to put this right then. Instead we have India and the two stooges running the shop. Sad, angry and sick of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pktroll (@pktroll) Dec 27, 2015 / 9:32 am

    I grew up idolising the Windies quicks in the 80s and I was a cricket fan from a very young age. It hurts big time. I used to wind up Ian Bell supporters by saying how I used to remove runs scored against Bangladesh from his record as they weren’t test runs. Well this Windies team seems to be even worse than that. Where’s their motivation, pride?

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 27, 2015 / 12:35 pm

      However, they are only mediocre when we aren’t playing them.

      Like

  4. Grenville Dec 27, 2015 / 9:42 am

    Why is lovejoy criticising Compton? He top scored. The problem is Cook, Hales, Ali, Stokes and Woakes all failing and Root not converting a start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Dec 27, 2015 / 9:49 am

      Because Lovejoy is a gigantic, awful prick.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Grenville Dec 27, 2015 / 10:00 am

        That would appear to be the right answer.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Escort Dec 27, 2015 / 10:00 am

      If this pitch was a feather bed he might have a point. His constant sniping is mainly down to ignorance. Geoff Boycott doesn’t seem unhappy with Comptons innings and I think he would have a better knowledge of batting than Swann

      Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Dec 27, 2015 / 10:22 am

      Session extended by half an hour, meaning that Lovejoy has now been on uninterrupted for nearly an hour (even though the commentator has changed twice).

      Cruel and unusual punishment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Dec 27, 2015 / 10:31 am

        Agnew even gave him free rein to do his Bavuma height bantz again, word for word.

        Unforgivable.

        Mind you, Twitter is somewhat reassuring if you put the right words in after his name.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Grenville Dec 27, 2015 / 11:47 am

        Mr Swann. I don’t get the reference, but that’s what they call him round ‘ere.

        Like

      • greyblazer Dec 27, 2015 / 11:58 am

        England’s former spinner? I don’t listen to radio. From his time as a player I’d of expected him to be a good judge.

        Like

      • Grenville Dec 27, 2015 / 12:04 pm

        my view is that he occasionally demonstrates the understanding of the game that contributed to his success as a cricketer, but he’s very lazy. He didn’t know who England’s number 11 was, for example. He’s also a cheer leader for his mates and a nasty little bully of his enemies.

        Liked by 1 person

      • greyblazer Dec 27, 2015 / 12:11 pm

        I’m surprised he’s allowed to get away with that on radio.

        Like

    • Tuffers86 Dec 27, 2015 / 10:19 am

      Perhaps this was Warne’s advice when he was having a legspin session with Shah and Rashid.

      This is bad news though. Shah is a talent and this not good for Pak’s image. This might also explain the ooh-ahh around that second ODI where there were claims of fixing going on, IIRC.

      Like

    • d'Arthez Dec 27, 2015 / 10:30 am

      We’ll see how that story develops. I would not be surprised that a Pakistani team official forgot to fill out the required form for some medication Shah had taken (remember, he was coming back from an injury not too long before).

      Is there actual evidence out there that this substance actually improves performance? I get the impression that the doping rules and regulations are increasingly divorced from reality.

      Was there not a massive nandrolon scandal a few years ago, because a few footballers ate pig meat imported from South America? And how many athletes have been suspended (temporarily) because they were given the wrong nose spray to combat a common cold?

      Weed is officially banned across all sports, but the few sportspeople who have tried it in chess (Timman for one), said it affected his play adversely. And it beats me how the likes of cocaine and such improve performance.

      Cortisone injections are legal. They obviously improve performance too.

      With all the artificial training regimens, and artificial food plans some of these regulations seem to be rather nonsensical. Most of these artificial regimens cost a lot of money, thus ensuring that the athletes from wealthier countries have a big advantage over their non-wealthy peers.

      Like

      • SimonH Dec 27, 2015 / 11:35 am

        So this is the second failed drug test in a matter of days having not had any in international cricket for years. I’ve numerous conspiracy theories ready but let’s see how this pans out.

        As I understand it, the substance involved is a diuretic. It could have a medicinal use (Pakistan need a Theraputic Use Exemption – I’ve read these can even be obtained retrospectively) but it can also be used as a masking agent as it flushes other substances out of the system.

        The last I heard about Perera his B sample had tested positively as well but there has been no announcement about what the substance is.

        Like

  5. Mark Dec 27, 2015 / 11:27 am

    It’s extraordinary and vile listing to the hate against Compton. Especially since the same people have spent nearly 2 years fawning over an out of form Cook. His every failure excused and his piss poor captaincy put down to almost every excuse under the sun.

    What it demonstrates is certain ex players and coaches and ECB media journalists seem to think that only a certain type of person should play for the ECB select 11. They obviously take great pride in the fact they kept KP out of the team over the last 2 years. We can now see why there was such panic in the ECB/Media complex to stuff any KP return. This little bit of power has gone to their heads and they’re angry they haven’t kept Compton out of the team as well. Obviously they hold a grudge for some reason.

    The ECB run the national team like a third rate private golf club. Full of sales reps and middle ranking accountants. Who get on the committee, and get to let out all their pent up inadequacies by keeping the people they don’t like out of the best car parking places, and the best tee off times reserved for the people’s who faces fit. Horrible people!

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Dec 27, 2015 / 11:37 am

      Let’s blame Compton. For top scoring in the innings. For holding the innings together. For not scoring more runs. For having this preposterous idea that you can score runs, if you avoid being dismissed.

      Of course by all metrics he performed worse than Cook and Root, right?

      Compton played the innings that was needed. That the more cavalier batsmen failed to score more runs (Hales, Root, Stokes, Bairstow, Ali) is not his fault.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 27, 2015 / 12:08 pm

        Exactly my point Simon. There is this cabal of arseholes, consisting of ex players, and media freeloaders who work together to make sure the team is full of people who are like them. Anyone who doesn’t fit in with their clubby bunch of chums and school boy humour is whispered and leaked against.

        It’s amazing anyone wants to even play for this nest of vipers. I’m sure Compton has a dossier on him being prepared as we speak. To be leaked at that right time to a tame, smug jounalist in exchange for 30pieces of silver. Don’t look out of the window or pick your nose at the wrong time, or you will find it being written down and used against you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Escort Dec 27, 2015 / 12:09 pm

        Nasser also said that being odd should not stop him being an international cricketer.

        Like

      • SimonH Dec 27, 2015 / 12:40 pm

        Escort, he could hardly say otherwise. He could however use a considerably less pejorative word than “odd”.

        What’s particularly disappointing about it (like Gower’s apparent lack of sympathy for Pietersen) is that he was on the receiving end of something similar when he was a player. It doesn’t seem to help him empathise with what it must be like for a player whispered against like this.

        England seem to decide some players are “mentally tough” (Hussain applies that to both Cook and Ballance) and some aren’t. Those who are know they’ll get many more chances and are under less pressure. With plenty of weak teams around at the moment chances are they’ll get an opportunity to score some easy runs. England take that as confirmation they are right in their judgments. To me, it looks more like they are creating self-fulfilling prophecies. It also creates a team culture that isn’t likely to be too questioning of those in authority.

        I’m not denying, by the way, that there are some players of limited talent but mental toughness – and there is a place for one or two of them in a team. My problem is that England seem to have the balance way too far in one direction.

        Liked by 1 person

      • RufusSG Dec 27, 2015 / 12:41 pm

        Yeah, in the paragraph where Nasser mentions Compton being “odd” I suspect it was to do with the concerns he appeared to have about his temperament – especially after the extremely limp end to his first stint in the team, as much as I’m glad he’s been picked again – and not that it meant that he shouldn’t be in the team or whatever: his doubts also seem to have been provoked by Compton’s relatively low county average of 38 this season, and whether that justified his selection or not for a particularly tough series. Although Compton’s innings has hopefully proved Nasser’s concerns wrong, I seriously doubt the comment was meant maliciously. I mean, if a comment intended as a criticism is followed by “that shouldn’t stop him being a very good international player”, it’s a pretty lousy criticism.

        Like

      • Mark Dec 27, 2015 / 1:01 pm

        I’d love them to define what odd means? Jimmy Saville was odd, but I guess they are not accusing him of that sort of odd. So what do they mean? Cricket dressing rooms have always been diverse. That’s what worries me about these so called team bonding trips to Spain that Strauss was given all the credit for. It encourages a kind of group think that does not encourage individualism.

        And is it a wee bit suspicious that this term is used by many so called “in the know” journalists and pundits? Almost as if this has been a talking point handed to them from above.

        As we speak 303 plays 55/2. Compton’s 86 looks quite important. Yet the media seem to think the last wicket partnership was more noteworthy. Compton won’t survive this environment. If he is going to get panned when he scores runs wait until he gets a duck.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Escort Dec 27, 2015 / 1:38 pm

        What constitutes being odd? I’ve no idea if that was the correct term for Nasser to use but what I can say is that from memory when he was captain players were picked on their ability only and the same can be said of Mike Atherton so I’m quite happy to take his comment about it not preventing Comton from playing International cricket as genuine.

        Like

  6. Sherwick Dec 27, 2015 / 11:58 am

    Let’s hope, for his own sake, that ‘Odd Compton’ doesn’t have the temerity to top score in the series..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Escort Dec 27, 2015 / 12:22 pm

    Gower (on Sky) is having to apologise every time a swear word is picked up on the stump Mike. He’s been a busy boy this morning

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 27, 2015 / 12:23 pm

      Heard Jonny B’s clear as crystal “oh shit”. I’m a child. ….

      Like

      • Mark Dec 27, 2015 / 12:51 pm

        I have always thought the stump mics are only for the commentators. A kind of in joke that only they know what is being said. If the broadcaster is worried about the bad language why bother having them?

        Like

  8. ArushaTZ Dec 27, 2015 / 12:33 pm

    For those of us watching on television, could somebody briefly summarise the nature of the criticism that Compton is getting on the radio?
    Thanks.

    Like

    • Tuffers86 Dec 27, 2015 / 12:47 pm

      Can paste a few “selected comments” from Lovejoy.

      Graeme Swann
      Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

      “If Compton is doing this job he has to do it all the way through. If he gets a beauty with the new ball, he’s batted his team into a bit of a hole.”

      Graeme Swann
      Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special
      “The job Compton is doing at the moment is brilliant, I’m not having a go at that. I just think there are small areas where he could develop his game.”

      Graeme Swann
      Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special
      “Where I think Compton limits himself is that he doesn’t score off his defensive strokes. Jonathan Trott was brilliant at picking up ones and twos. When you’re sitting in the dressing room, you want the score to move on every half an hour.”

      An old friend
      Posted at 07:15
      It’s been a long time since we’ve seen you, Mr Block… but welcome back!

      We’ve missed you.

      There was plenty more yesterday as well.

      Like

  9. Tuffers86 Dec 27, 2015 / 12:57 pm

    More from Swann yesterday (please note these are “selected comments” used by the live blog:

    Graeme Swann
    Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special
    “Nick Compton won’t have faced bowling like this in county cricket – the height, the pace, the angle, the field…”

    Graeme Swann
    Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special
    “Compton is not looking comfortable at all at the minute. He looks jittery and his timing has gone.”

    Graeme Swann
    Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special
    “England’s position is still precarious. After being put in it is the worst scenario you would accept. I don’t think Compton has quite got the balance yet of occupying the crease and also taking the game to the bowlers. When you have 20-odd off 80 balls it is when the pressure starts to build, as you feel you should be scoring more. South Africa will know the reason Compton got dropped and will want to keep the pressure up.”

    Are you seriously telling me this is impartial commentating???

    Here’s Swann on Hales (Notts connection)

    Graeme Swann
    Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special
    “Disappointing for Alex Hales. It was a leaden-footed drive. It is fuel for his detractors. I wouldn’t read too much into it, though. I’m sure he will have a good score this series.”

    And here’s Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Boycott
    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special
    “That is a poor shot at Test level. I’m sorry, but you will be lucky to have a Test career if you play shots like that. It is a teaser. You get balls like that 100 times, a 1000 times. It is a sucker ball. He is saying ‘come on, have a dart at that’. I’m not going to judge him on that one innings but that is why I don’t see Hales lasting long in Test cricket.”

    Like

  10. greyblazer Dec 27, 2015 / 5:06 pm

    Excellent days cricket in Durban, Was anyone watching on here?

    Like

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