Thanks for the great response to the first part of the review. On looking back at what has happened this year, the relative peace and quiet of the last couple of months could give the impression it hasn’t been an eventful year. On closer inspection, it’s been a ride all right. On to the next few months and we’ll see where we get….
Uh Oh. Bad news. For some. March had a lot going on. This is going to be in more parts than first feared. Oh well. I’m game if you are….
MARCH – The World Cup was fully in swing and sadly England weren’t. But it was a statement made public on 1 March that set the stall out for the next two months:
“The first thing he has to do if he wants to get back is start playing county cricket. The selectors and the coaches are not going to pick him if he’s not playing, it’s as simple as that. At the end of the day it’s down to the selectors and coaches and what they feel is best for English cricket. They will make the decisions and I will support their decisions.”
Yep, as Alec Swann said, a throwaway line (the useful idiot is possibly even more annoying than his brother – oh well, probably not). Looking back at it through the prism of history, one could say KP jumped at a lifeline that was never there. As we said at the time, if it was still a “hard no”, then KP wouldn’t have sacrificed a smaller IPL contract. But there was something for everyone in that, and the sheer maiden aunt horror of KP’s critics was quite fun to see. But not as fun as it would be two months later.
Downton was still being, well, Paul Downton:
Downton has been pottering around in New Zealand scolding accomplished ex-England captains with “agendas” to lay off Moores and get behind the boys, which only goes to prove he hasn’t got a clue.
It doesn’t count, though, because Mike Walters is “our favourite journalist” (hint, never appears in out top three, which is routinely Dobell, Kimber, Haigh).
Still on 1 March – this could be long – and the ECB sought to clarify.
But an ECB spokesman later sought to clarify the comment, adding: “Colin Graves is correct. Nothing has changed – only players who are playing consistent high-quality county cricket and who are seen as a positive influence will be selected for England.”
“Positive influence” – We let that one fly a bit, didn’t we? I tried…
“Positive Influence.” How about Downton and Clarke for two abide by that? The ECB brand is seen as toxic. Toxicity is not positive influence. These two have presided over a disastrous year where they have been dismissive of the public, ignorant of the facts, and contemptuous of feedback. They exude the arrogance of the infallible, when they have feet made of clay. Their appointment of Moores and backing of Cook was evidence of their brilliance in their own minds. Cook was sacrificed as ODI captain a few days after his MD backed him. Moores is living on borrowed time, with Cook probably really cheesed off over the ODI nonsense.
This was followed by an all-time classic article by Mike Selvey. We all know the gist:
That theme of course was Kevin Pietersen, the fruit fly, the pest that will not go away.
Read it…then stick some more stuff in the comments.
He could, though, ditch that deal, get out of his franchise commitments, join a county in April on an affordable contract and take it from there. It is a gauntlet thrown down: let’s see how serious you are then, Kev.
Called your effing bluff, didn’t he?
With all that schmozzle going on, the World Cup seemed an afterthought. Especially with this, all-time, blogging classic tweet:
From the bastion of etiquette, pinpoint accuracy and manners that is The Sun. Dear John, never change. And the answer is still no. But compare this, an insult to the cadre of cricket journalists, to what a real journo was writing the same day, burying the ECB and Downton. There were more comments on the above tweet and a response on this post.
A few days later there was Bangladesh. I wrote a quick post in the immediate aftermath and it seems apposite to stick it in the review:
Of course Moores has to go, but then he should never have been appointed. A new ODI team needs to be formed now and the growing pains allowed to happen without panic, and that needs to be under someone who will let them be free, rather than tie them to data. Formulate plans, but be able to adapt. And most of all, the men who appointed him should be drummed out of English cricket forthwith for the abject failures thet are. Mr Downton, Mr Clarke, and probably Mr Flower. A new dawn needs a new house, and one clean of past practices and flawed idiocy. Go. I beg you.
Seems as though Harrison reads me! No, haters, I don’t actually think that, but you carry on. Even Selvey was saying his proposed selection, the one he wanted, was untenable. I went one level up in my rant of all rants.
But let’s face it, it was all worth it for George’s “sad face”
While Bunkers showed he was a man of the people:
England refused yesterday to buckle to the demands of the mob. In many ways, it was an admirable stance, which did not exactly ignore the evidence but tried to lend it balance and perspective.
I still have that “Verdict” with Paul Downton on it. It’s amazing.
I think this summed up my view of the World Cup exit;
It seems, from the tone of some (not all) of the articles that I have read, and I have most certainly not read them all, is that although this is a calamitous World Cup, and another opportunity gone begging, (a) it doesn’t matter; and (b) if we win the Ashes, who gives a stuff. This sort of attitude drives me round the bend. It is not, and it has never been a quid pro quo.
As our exit opened wounds so the morons came out to play. Captured in this post. These people moved more goalposts than Hackney Marshes in the good old days. I mean, vocally backing yourself when the evidence is to the contrary…
“I can’t speak about what’s gone on there in depth, but you always back yourself, and I would have loved to have had the opportunity that was taken away from me. The selectors made that decision because they thought it was the best for English cricket. Hindsight has probably proved them wrong, but now it’s very easy to say that.”
After the coach had rsigned, the ODI coach was seen as favourite to get the job.
However, mutterings early in the piece suggested a former coach, who had been the former coach’s coach, should become coach again, because the preceding coach had fallen out with the ODI coach, and the preceding coach had an important role in deciding the next coach. Got that?
We had new selectors. One was a coach who did not get on with Kevin Pietersen.
The new coach was appointed, The ODI coach, not allowed to pick his primary T20 player, did not succeed, and lost to the Netherlands. This provided enough justification to deny the ODI coach the full coaching position, and employ the former coach, the preceding coach’s coach, as new head coach.
That the new coach, like the preceding coach, but unlike the ODI coach, had disagrements with Pietersen in the past, he was appointed coach.
The new MD, now not on official gardening leave, called the former coach, who had been sacked before the preceding coach took over, was the best coach of his generation. Or was it finest. Who cares?
There was aplomb all round.
Then there was the quote of the year:
“If that happens, and the recent additions stand up to Australian scrutiny, England can win 11 of those 17 tests”
March was bloody busy, wasn’t it? There then followed Jim Holden’s article in the Express that we still talk about in grave tones here. D’Arthez was given the fisking duties and did them admirably. I was Furious. Newman was dimissive:
Australia won the World Cup. The Mail had this on the front of their cricket sports pages.
The Dirty Dozen rounded up the first quarter. I’ll call it quits here for March. The next part to follow shortly.