From Vaughan to Cook – Compare and Contrast

Hoggy at Joburg – 2005

The series win was clinched yesterday and it’s one to savour. Since readmission we’ve won one series at home and two away against South Africa, and while we can get the feeling that we are beating a side on the way down, it’s also a salient point to remember that in 2005 we were thinking much the same thing. A number of us on this blog remember that 2004/5 series win as probably one of the greatest away wins England had, and we aren’t wrong. But there were also some similarities as well.

Any victory, in fact any tour result, has an obvious series to compare it to. 2005 Ashes had 1981, the whitewash of 2013-14 had the whitewash of 2006-7, every dominant Aussie side will be compared to the number 1 team of the late 90s, early 2000s. England’s series win here will be compared to 2004/5, so let’s do some of that now. I’m going purely on memory of 2004/5, so any errors, please let me know.

Going into that tour England had had an amazing 2004 – they’d won all but one test match they played, and that was due to playing against Brian Lara on the Antiguan equivalent of Heathrow Airport’s main runway. Some of these wins came from blowing the oppo away, but many came from gritty batting displays chasing down some very itchy totals – I’m thinking New Zealand at Lord’s (the Nasser farewell), New Zealand at Trent Bridge (all hail Thorpe) and West Indies at a very gloomy Old Trafford (a grossly unfairly forgotten knock by Rob Key). During that spell we’d drafted a new opener (Strauss) who had settled in well, and a new keeper (Jones) who made a ton in his third test. The bowling was gelling as a unit, without Simon Jones, but with Hoggard, Harmison, Flintoff and Giles. The batting was solid, Strauss, Tres, Butcher/Key, Vaughan, Thorpe, with Ian Bell waiting in the wings. The focus was on 2005, and the Ashes. This was our chance. But in the way, and as it turned out, how great it was that it was, was a tour to South Africa.

Readers will know that I went to the Cape Town test, and also two days of the Jo’burg match on that tour. You may also know that by pure chance we booked into the Guest House run by the former manager of the South African cricket team who had just recently been reassigned when the Board sacked coach Eric Symons and installed Ray Jennings. This was also the time when the South Africans had a right downer on Mark Boucher. On our first full day in the country the hosts arranged for a friend to take us round the Cape Coast, and it turned out he was a retired sports journalist. We’ll always remember (I went with Sir Peter) his rationale for the exclusion of Boucher (“the board hate him. I hate him. He suffers from “little man syndrome”).

At this stage the home side were 1-0 down and had just narrowly avoided it being 2-0. The first test at Port Elizabeth was a triumph for Andrew Strauss, who made a ton in the first innings and an unbeaten 90-odd to see us home in the second innings. It was a top test match, as the game ebbed and flowed, and it also saw two reasonably decent players make their debuts, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn. I think it fair to say we were far more impressed by the latter at the time. That team looked unbalanced, with Tsolokile keeping wicket, new players, and confused selection. The coach had come over as some sort of boot camp sergeant (infamously pinging a ball of Smith’s head in catching practice in Joburg) lacking any degree of sophistication.

The second test in Durban was one of those “stake in the ground” matches for England which made you utterly proud of them. The first two days could hardly have gone worse. Put in on a helpful wicket, England were skittled in the first innings for 139 and then felt the brilliance of Kallis who made a brilliant 162 and put the hosts nearly 200 in front. Three days left and the situation looked bleak. England did not wilt. They erased the deficit for no loss, piled on 570 for 7 declared and gave themselves time to bowl South Africa out. The hosts were clinging on (just as Sir Peter and I were venturing out for a beer in Cape Town – we were successful in our pursuit) and arguably were saved by the bad light.

The third test, in Cape Town, was a wake up call. England conceded 400+ in the first innings, fell foul of Charl Langeveldt on debut by collapsing in the reply, with the hosts putting on the required runs in enough time to give them to bowl us out for a second time. The game was sealed mid-way through Day 5, giving us enough time to belt up Table Mountain before our flight out the following day.

Herschelle Gibbs about to sweep and bring up his century – Joburg 2005   (c) DmitriPics

The Joburg test was one of those seminal moments for that team. A great first day (when we were driving down from Hluhluwe to catch our flight from Durban for Day 2) by England was eagerly taken in on the radio and the airport TV, but as we were in the air Strauss got out for his third hundred of the tour, Key was dismissed for 80 odd, and Thorpe a duck. It wasn’t so great. Nor was the weather in Joburg on Day 2, but there was enough play to see Vaughan regain some nick and he and Harmison put the hosts through the wringer before Bucknor took everyone off for bad light. England had over 400, declared overnight, and a lovely sunny Day 3, spent sitting next to Kevin Whateley while not uttering a word to him, saw Herschelle Gibbs make a century, and South Africa claw their way back into the game. We flew home that night. What followed was possibly Tres’s greatest knock for England, and then possibly Hoggy’s greatest spell of bowling. With time running out England knocked over the hosts and took a 2-1 lead.

Centurion was blighted by weather, saw AB make his first test hundred (having got out in the 90s in the first innings), Kallis make his third of the series in mystifyingly slow circumstances, and England wobbling in a nervy last session. There wasn’t really a doubt, but we’d suffered enough in the past to have it in our minds that it was. But even in that test there was confused thinking from the hosts. DeVilliers opened with Gibbs with Smith batting at 5! Seems odd to think that now, doesn’t it?

So, using this as a tenuous reference point, what are the similarities. Well, there was a feeling that England were on the up, with a team coming together. The batting had largely held up, but we knew Thorpe was nearing the end and the assumption was that Bell would come in. Butcher had played his last test, although we didn’t know that at the time, and I’m not sure Key ever played again, either. We know who came in for that slot, and we were a matter of days from hearing the name that partially dominated the newsline for the next decade. Our bowling was solid as a rock, even allowing for Jones not quite nailing it and Anderson having a bad time at Joburg.Harmison didn’t have a great tour, but then we won without our main bowler having an impact. Broad went into this series as Anderson’s oppo. Now he’s on top of the pile.

Jones was a concern at keeper as he had developed a habit of going for pretty much all that was heading for first slip and not nailing it. Bairstow finds himself a bit more advanced on the batting front but with still major keeping concerns.

We encountered a South Africa unsure of themselves and it permeated the team. Van Jaarsveld had a decent second test, playing a big role in saving the game, and was bunted out straight away and turned into the Surrey-killing Kolpak. Tsolokile was keeper for one test, then it was AB, then Boucher. Openers were changed. Pollock wasn’t long from the end of his career. South Africa had a Nathan Lyon complex over Nicky Boje. But they also had two gun young players in their midst – Steyn and AB and that meant hope sprung eternal. Also in that series we saw Amla. This Hashim Amla was a walking wicket, a man no-one feared. Stick with someone and you never know what you might have might be the mantra.

For AB and Steyn the hosts must be hoping Bavuma and Rabada are somewhere in the same zipcode. Can you rely on that and also, there are othere ageing players in that line-up too. But all the comments I’m seeing on the future for the South Africans are grim. When your not quite made it test players can go back to first class cricket and immediately dominate, it does not look great. A number subscribe to the “cyclical nature” of cricket but that’s not happened for the West Indies, is not looking likely for Sri Lanka, and who is to say Pakistan will continue to churn out talent? The noises around AB, that has inspired huge discomfort from the Saffers I come across on Twitter, have not eased anyone’s soul. There’s a lot of discontent that AB took his first captaincy press conference to pour cold water on the future spoke volumes. It may not be the cause, but the effect is that if you feel your leader’s heart isn’t 100% in it, then nor should your’s – even sub-consciously. South Africa have been under the leadership of two players who don’t really exude commitment to being the main man. The fish rots from the head.

Leaving The Wanderers – 2005

For England this is a great win. Let’s not get churlish about this from the team’s standpoint. Durban was won due to important batting contributions from Compton and Taylor, not our usual old faithfuls. It was won without Anderson. Then there was Stokes and Bairstow at CT, and then two of our old reliables, Broad and Root in Joburg. The batting isn’t world number 1 class, it just isn’t making the runs across the board, the opening slot is a mess, the number 3 in flux, Taylor hasn’t nailed down five (nor is he letting us down) and it’s because the batting has depth down, arguably, to nine, that this is not as crucial. While 2-0 in South Africa is a tremendous result, it doesn’t, for example mean 2-0 in UAE should be ignored, not with the challenges of India this winter on the horizon. This is the World #1 opposition in name only, and a #1 in flux and down in the mouth. We did what we should do. Beat a team in that shape, and make it worse.

Just for laughs, I thought I’d pick a composite team of the two from those winning squads. I bet this will go down well.

  1. Trescothick
  2. Strauss
  3. Vaughan (c)
  4. Root
  5. Thorpe
  6. Flintoff
  7. Stokes
  8. Bairstow (Wk)
  9. Ali
  10. Broad
  11. Hoggard

Five from this team, six from 2005.

Have a great rest of the day.





71 thoughts on “From Vaughan to Cook – Compare and Contrast

  1. sidesplittin Jan 17, 2016 / 2:47 pm

    Cheers LCL, enjoyable recap.

    Re the UAE, two things – i) Eng were a heck of a lot more competitive there than they were in 2012 and ii) whilst the records correctly note it was 2-0 to Pak, 1-1 wouldn’t have been unrepresentative of events. Perhaps three more overs would’ve seen Eng successfully chase down their target in the 1st Test and, likewise, half a dozen more overs of defiance from Rashid would’ve saved the 2nd Test.

    Re the “spat”, I confess I share the opinion previously expressed by others that the angst caused by being on Twitter outweighs the benefits. Being a partial Luddite gives me more scope to listen to my wife’s witterings. 🤔


  2. pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 17, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    The 2004/5 win was against a far more solid outfit than the one of this time, albeit there are probably at least 3 players in Root, Stokes and Finn who have every prospect of being around for a good few years at the top of the international game. This is in addition to the seasoned performers of Cook, Broad and Anderson though the latter may well be in his last couple of years.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2016 / 4:36 pm

      It was really interesting being in a guest house run by the former operations manager. At that stage there was huge division. Eric Symons had been fired, and Ray Jennings was a polarising force. They really hoped Tsolokile would nail down the keeper’s slot, but instead gave it one test. Gibbs was on the verge of being dropped after CT, but came back in Joburg. There were great concerns about the team, the board, and the organisation. They solved those issues reasonably quickly. You never felt, for instance, that Smith and Jennings got on. Saffers may have a better view of it than us. I don’t know if this is true but this seemed a CT v Joburg thing and you felt the uncertainty. That we got a win in the 1st test was vital. We’d been two evenly matched sides in the brilliant 2003 series (the Oval test that year was amazing).

      Also, Shaun Pollock’s reaction to being sung to about the World Cup by the Barmy Army was pretty memorable….

      It do rain rain, it do rain rain...


      • thelegglance Jan 17, 2016 / 5:02 pm

        Always thought that was the absolute best Barmy Army song they ever came up with. It was brilliant.


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2016 / 5:17 pm

          And I misremembered it!

          My name is Shaun Pollock and I cannot count
          One more run run, one more run
          I miscalculated and we got knocked out
          One more run run, one more run

          Oh I had a panic attack
          Oh and I got the sack
          Oh we needed one more run
          One more run run, one more run


  3. Sherwick Jan 17, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    Much as I loved Thorpe and was gutted when he was dropped (for Bell I think), KP should take his place in that lineup without a doubt.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2016 / 4:26 pm

      2004/5 was pre-KP (he just played the ODIs) and as he’s not in the squad for this series, then he’s not eligible for the combined team.

      Or am I misunderstanding you?

      Thorpe was dropped for KP, although I think you are right, the question should have been Thorpe or Bell. Hindsight is a great thing.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 17, 2016 / 4:34 pm

        The Poetseye and one or two similar Bell admirers get rather wound up at the suggestion that their man shouldn’t have played that series.


      • thelegglance Jan 17, 2016 / 5:04 pm

        You can make the argument that what Bell learned in that series benefitted him after, but it was very much a live debate at the time. I remember being terribly frustrated in the Bangladesh match that Thorpe was kicking his heels in the pavilion while Bell made easy runs.

        KP and Thorpe was what many supporters wanted, and there never was a plausible explanation why it had to be one or the other. Thorpe was still batting beautifully.


      • Tuffers86 Jan 17, 2016 / 5:22 pm

        I think Vaughan said in that Five Live special last year that he didn’t want players with ‘Ashes hang-ups’. That’s why Bell and Pietersen were selected over Thorpe / the vacant slot.

        In hindsight it was the wrong decision. It was a series too soon for Bell and it’s half the reason why he got so much bloody stick by the media and England fans over his career. He was the weakest link in a team of champions in the last FTA series.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 17, 2016 / 7:40 pm

        A Warwickshire fan I ‘knew’ through posting elsewhere always said that after his promising debut v West Indies at the Oval in 2004 that Bell should have been selected for that SA tour and that his development was hindered somewhat by not going to SA that winter (he didn’t say he should necessarily have been selected in the XI). I did have a bit of sympathy with that point of view. However it was always strange that much store was set out in Bell plundering loads of runs versus Bangladesh. I will confess that I first found HDWLIA a few years ago when searching for Bell + inflated test average because of runs versus Bangladesh or something similar! Thorpe was still a fine player at that time and he still had a very good record v the Aussies even if the sides he played for usually folded.


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2016 / 7:49 pm

          Remember the tag on HDWLIA – “Bell Must Go”. Second only to “Cymbals Prior”.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 19, 2016 / 2:17 pm

        I remember the “Bell must go” tag very well. I remember directing people too it. A few of them already knew about HDWLIA already!


  4. Sherwick Jan 17, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    Yes, sorry, you are correct!


  5. Ian Jan 17, 2016 / 7:12 pm

    Fond memories of this series, was in my first full time job and enjoying having some money after four years studying.

    The day’s play that I won’t forget nor will my friends was Day three in Durban. We were on the way to watch Aldershot play away at Carlisle that day and as we set off Trescothick and Strauss had just resumed again from the night before heavily in arrears. The partnership was still together when we reached Carlisle and only ended when we were walking to the Rugby club next to Brunton Park from the car.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2016 / 7:55 pm

      Same way as I recall listening to Freddie go nuts in Pakistan as we chased down 300…the denouement was when we were on the Magic Roundabout in Swindon.


  6. Escort Jan 17, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    Any particular reason why the previous post “Heads up to display ” has been taken down?


    • thelegglance Jan 17, 2016 / 8:40 pm

      Point has been made, it doesn’t need to be made repeatedly. We can move on, it’s a distraction.


      • Escort Jan 17, 2016 / 9:00 pm

        Fair enough


      • jomesy Jan 17, 2016 / 8:46 pm

        Fair do’s (not doos!). I’m not surprised but your attitude and, frankly, graciousness in removing but somehow I think it is (and will be seen to be) important in time and so I would not have. We’ll see.


      • thelegglance Jan 17, 2016 / 8:47 pm

        Indeed – but I am bitterly disappointed you didn’t take me to task for saying “move on”. I need to try harder. 😀


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2016 / 9:03 pm

          It’s been a difficult weekend. We put our hands up, executed our skills, hit our straps and we’ve learned lessons. Our steel core remains intact, and it’s all on to Centurion. Hoping for a new, fresh and exciting future.

          Did I pass the interview, Downton?


      • jomesy Jan 17, 2016 / 9:25 pm

        You were due!


      • RufusSG Jan 17, 2016 / 10:15 pm

        You might pass Downton but I suspect you won’t get past Whitaker with that, Dmitri, not nearly enough mention of Gary Ballance.


  7. jomesy Jan 17, 2016 / 8:47 pm

    *by not but


  8. LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    OK – thanks Phil…

    KEVIN PIETERSEN’S fame has spread far beyond cricket during a colourful career, including — and not many people know this — being immortalised in song by Whitney Houston.

    I ask you, who else could the late American diva possibly have been referring to when you hear her croon: “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”

    England have played 23 Tests since Andrew Strauss showed Pietersen the door (a more mischievous character would have done it by text message) but only now can you strike up a cricketing conversation in the pub and go more than half a pint without someone mentioning Pietersen — making plenty of runs, but precious few headlines, with Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash.

    The main reason for this is that everyone is talking about Ben Stokes, whose talent is so outrageous that even KP has kindly taken the trouble to advise him not to pay too much attention to comparisons with Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff, and to keep his feet on the ground.

    Not that Pietersen need fret too much on Stokes’ behalf. There’s a new non-ego culture in the England dressing room these days, besides which, nobody with a haircut like Stokes can possibly have a puffed-up sense of his own importance.

    [There then follows an article in praise of Ben Stokes, and no mention of KP. My humour comes from the line about the pub, but the need to mention his name to get people to read the article. It’s absolutely side-splittingly hilarious]


    • SimonH Jan 17, 2016 / 10:40 pm

      “England have played 23 Tests since Andrew Strauss showed Pietersen the door”.

      England have played 13 Tests since Strauss etc. They’ve played 23 since Downton showed Pietersen the door. If you’re going to be unpleasant, you might need to get your facts right. That’s unless you’re saying Downton was Strauss’s glove puppet which is possible I suppose.

      England’s record in those 23 Tests: W10 L8 D5. Holy cow, that justifies everything.

      “a more mischievous character would have done it by text message”.

      Yes, sacking him on the day he’d made the 6th highest CC score ever was all class as was being, at the very least, in the vicinity when an account of the meeting was leaked within 30 minutes.

      “making plenty of runs, but precious few headlines”.

      The 80000 crowd made a few headlines – and probably has more long term significance for the game than anything mentioned here.

      “The main reason for this is that everyone is talking about Ben Stokes”.

      Damn, if only that law that says only one of Stokes or Pietersen can play in the team at the same time could be scrapped. It isn’t as if we might have them both in the same team.

      “There’s a new non-ego culture in the England dressing room these days”.

      What was it Ponting said about Pietersen wasn’t in the “top four” egos in that dressing room? Still, what does he know?


    • Arron Wright Jan 17, 2016 / 10:46 pm

      I can’t tell you how depressing it is to see Martin Johnson writing stuff like this.

      Roughly equivalent, in my cultural landscape, to seeing Chris Morris as a guest-star in ‘Birds of a Feather’, or Jarvis Cocker narrating ‘Benefits Street’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Jan 17, 2016 / 11:22 pm

        One can cling to the hope that the first five paragraphs were added by a particularly obnoxious and ill-informed junior editor, some kind of Rebekah Brooks wannabe perhaps.


      • paulewart Jan 18, 2016 / 7:03 pm

        Don’t know why. He was king of the roundheads as both a player and a coach. Look at his treatment of Danny Cipriani.


      • Arron Wright Jan 18, 2016 / 7:19 pm


        It’s not that Martin Johnson.

        It’s the cricket writer who loved David Gower and savaged Dexter mercilessly and brilliantly throughout the early 90s.


    • Mark Jan 18, 2016 / 12:22 am

      So Martin Johnson sets out to write an article on Ben Stokes?

      Problem is, nobody is remotely interested in a an article by Martin Johnson on Ben Stokes. Johnsons Solution……..insert lots of references about a cricketer that last played for England over 2 years ago, and who the same media have tried to air brush out of history.

      It’s comedy gold watching these munchkins dance on the head of a pin pretending KP does not exist one day, and yet resurrecting him when they want more people to read their copy.

      They’re like crack cocaine users returning to their dealer. They don’t want to do it, but they need their hits.

      Liked by 2 people

    • thelegglance Jan 18, 2016 / 8:38 am

      He does do them on the basis of the value of a player, rather than a straight rating for the match.


      • SimonH Jan 18, 2016 / 11:13 am

        I appreciate it isn’t just a match rating – but if he’s taking their previous career into account how, for example, does Anderson get 6/10? I rather think he uses whatever measure suits how he feels about a particular player.

        If anyone’s looking for some cricket today – or to catch up on what they missed while the Test was on – there are the usual generous highlights from NZ of their T20 matches against Pakistan on Youtube. Is my memory playing trick or is Mohammad Amir’s delivery stride different? More unusually, there are some highlights of parts of the Australia-India ODIs.


      • RufusSG Jan 18, 2016 / 7:46 pm

        Those Australia/India highlights will almost certainly get taken down sooner rather than later, the BCCI are notorious when it comes to copyright violation of their footage (Robelinda has had clips from Indian games in 1990s flagged, for crying out loud). NZ home games are fine and almost never get taken down (hence why you can always find really good highlights on YouTube), it doesn’t look like Sky Sport NZ or NZC give a shit for some reason.


      • SimonH Jan 18, 2016 / 8:16 pm

        Rufus, I think maybe the BCCI are becoming more flexible here. There were, for example, wicket highlights from their SL series on cricinfo not long ago. I would also think that the ultimate decision lies with the host broadcaster (although as we’ve seen, if the BCCI feel strongly about something and make their feelings known, nobody much is going to say no).

        This might also explain why there are more highlights from the series in SA there than one has got used to seeing. I’d certainly agree that NZ (and SL) still lead the way in using YT though.


    • rpoultz Jan 18, 2016 / 12:24 pm

      Why can’t he do match ratings?? I have no real clue about how he is scoring these to be honest but then again I am not sure that he does


  9. SimonH Jan 18, 2016 / 7:44 am

    Most wins by England captains:

    Seven to overtake Vaughan. Given the ECB’s recent record of wanting to pulverise any dissent, I’d reckon there’s every intention of ensuring Cook does so. Short of a meltdown in India (or injury of course), the dream of a final curtain of Nasser shouting “redemption” over an away Ashes’ win might just be starting to take shape.

    It’s been argued Cook has done his job of seeing off KP and can safely returned to the ranks. I don’t see that happening. There could be a long way to go yet.


    • SimonH Jan 18, 2016 / 7:46 am

      Or, as someone who could add up might say, eight to overtake Vaughan….


      • Zephirine Jan 18, 2016 / 11:27 am

        He continues to do his other job of keeping all his earnings connected to the ECB and having nothing to do with any T20 leagues or conspicuous business activities. Cook is their exclusive product, available only through ECB outlets, and that’s what they want.

        So I reckon we’ve got another five years of him as captain, at least. I don’t think Root wants it, he doesn’t seem to be a corporate kind of person.

        It will be interesting to see if the management’s relationship with Root goes sour. With Stokes, it’s bound to sooner or later.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jan 18, 2016 / 12:14 pm

        Hasn’t Cook now signed up to play in the Pakistan 20/20 circus? I may be wrong.

        Still, I take your point. But being England captain is a very lucrative job, and allows you to turn your nose up at all the other income avenues. It’s why I never belived for a moment all those claims that he was going to resign.

        And yes we are probably stuck with him now for as long as he wants to do it. All the records in the book will be broken. Not that they will mean anything because there will have been so much manipulation.

        What a cushy job he has. You get all the credit when it goes well, and no consequences when you fail. And from now on there will be only 2 teams of any note to play. India and Australia. The others are dying on the vine.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Jan 18, 2016 / 12:30 pm

        He was reported to have applied for the PSL but doesn’t appear on any squad list:

        Presumably (like Bell and Anderson also) there were no takers? MSM reporters who couldn’t get enough of Pietersen’s last IPL price, and how disappointing it was, don’t seem to have had much to say about this. Anyone know whether Andy Flower got a coaching gig in the PSL?

        In other news, SA have finally called up Stephen Cook into their squad. Steyn is in the squad even though reports have said he’s ruled out of the Fourth Test which seems peculiar.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Jan 18, 2016 / 12:35 pm

          Plus Flower reported to be batting coach for Peshawar. Head Coach is Surrey legend Mohammad Akram.


    • SimonH Jan 18, 2016 / 2:15 pm

      The Mood Hoover coaching Boom Boom!


      • Zephirine Jan 18, 2016 / 2:57 pm

        That must be the definition of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.

        Liked by 2 people

    • paulewart Jan 18, 2016 / 7:08 pm

      There could, but there’s no case for dropping him now. I loathe the craven, pusillanimous deer worrier, he should have been fired after the Ashes calamity, but he’s doing a good job now (can one type through gritted teeth?).

      Liked by 1 person

  10. SteveT Jan 18, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    Finn out of final test, Plunkett called up (admission of error in the first place?). He’s also been playing for Lions and has at least had a few overs out in the middle.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 18, 2016 / 3:59 pm

      It’ll be Woakes for Finn wouldn’t it? Wonder if there’s any hint of giving Footit a look?


  11. SteveT Jan 18, 2016 / 4:36 pm

    He’ll be well undercooked. Depends if they consider it worth the risk for what is now a dead rubber. Woakes did bowl pretty without much reward on his last outing


  12. Arron Wright Jan 19, 2016 / 12:38 pm

    SimonH et al:

    I hope you are listening:

    ‘ It’s worth remembering, the next time you read, hear, or make a complaint about having to pay to watch the game on Sky, that this is where some of the money goes. “We’ve improved so much since the ECB have come in because we have had more coaches, more backroom staff, better venues to train in. I’m a big cricket fan and I would love to see more cricket on terrestrial TV but, actually, if this is what comes out of it, then I’d rather cricket remain on Sky.” ‘

    Oppose the Sky/ECB deal and you are depriving the blind. The blind, do you hear? You heartless bastards.

    Liked by 2 people

    • SimonH Jan 19, 2016 / 1:23 pm

      Wow. That’s like a declaration of war from Bull – and, as a casus belli goes, somewhere between the Gulf of Tonkin incident and sinking the Maine in its mendacity.

      To reply or not to reply, that is the question. Anyone know how much of the ECB budget goes on this? Is it part of “enthusing participation” which Maxie reckoned was 12% of their turnover 2013-14:

      Or does it come from a separate budget? Also, is the money actually the ECB’s or is it Sport England’s which was another point Maxie made?


      • Arron Wright Jan 19, 2016 / 1:29 pm

        I thought about it, then cancelled my comment.

        The things you raise are too complex for the Guardian these days; the things I would have said make it too easy to be painted as morally equivalent to Ernst Stavro Blofeld by the likes of palfreyman. You know, not your borderline trolls like wctt, but the ones who come across as so reasonable yet somehow manage to concur with ATL 99% of the time.


    • northernlight71 Jan 20, 2016 / 6:37 pm

      I almost replied to that one too, but stopped myself.
      I know it’s a “quote” and not necessarily the view of the journalist reporting it, but….but….but….
      Well, we all know the correct response. “That’s all very well Hassan, but when there’s no cricket at all in 20 years, others like you will have to find another way to enjoy their lives. But as long as you’re ok, I guess the future can take care of itself, eh?”
      And yes, I’d guess as a proportion of the money they’re coining in as part of the great ICC Carvery, it’s peanuts.


  13. Arron Wright Jan 19, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    As highlighted by our genial host on Twitter:

    In all honesty, Broad is one of the very few members of the 2011 side for whom I have retained absolute respect, and I would argue that he’s been excessively criticised in previous years, particularly in comparison with Saint Jimmy. (Still cannot abide his father, though)

    But this is what Sir Humphrey would call, with masterful understatement, a rather bold claim.


    • SimonH Jan 19, 2016 / 3:39 pm

      Most five-fors by England seamers in away Tests in the last half-century:

      Botham 10
      Caddick 7
      Fraser 6
      Willis 6
      Snow 5
      Anderson 4
      Broad 4
      Gough 4
      Hoggard 4


      • MM Jan 20, 2016 / 11:10 pm

        So… Broad’s good but no knighthood just yet.


      • SimonH Jan 21, 2016 / 9:49 am

        A couple more and he could be a) a selector or b) delivering ‘The Verdict’ in twenty years time.

        I’m not sure which thought I find more alarming!


  14. Benny Jan 20, 2016 / 3:16 pm

    Off topic – I see that a certain coach continues to rack up the number of injured bowlers under his stewardship. Now Plunkett and Overton. Should come with a health warning


    • BoredInAustria Jan 20, 2016 / 4:03 pm

      did they suffer injuries while boxing, doing obstacle chases or actually just…. eh bowling?

      Liked by 1 person

    • MM Jan 20, 2016 / 11:07 pm

      Is this A*** F****r’s influence again?

      How this whatever-he-is continues to draw a six-figure ECB salary surely has to be worth its very own blog, fake twitter account, and an investigation by Mulder and Scully. [They’re hip again, y’know!]


  15. SimonH Jan 21, 2016 / 12:43 pm

    A few bits of news from looking around:
    1) Ali Martin has first news I’ve seen on Mark Wood since his op – he’s resumed running and will join the performance squad in SA. The success of the op won’t be known until he starts bowling again.
    2) SA have released Van Zyl, Rossouw and Viljoen from their squad. QDK has passed a fitness test. It looks like two from Cook, QDK and Duminy and two from Abbott, Morris and Piedt in their team.
    3) The headline to GD’s latest makes it look like Footitt is likely to play but the content of the article is based on nothing more than “he looked good in the nets”.
    4) Ian Bell has been made captain of Warwickshire. He was rubbish on a leadership exercise though so they’ll probably be relegated.
    5) Some viewing figures from Oz that I’ve seen – the last two ODIs attracted about 1m viewers which was about the same as for the NZ Tests. BBL matches seem to be getting a steady 0.7-0.8m audience.


    • Zephirine Jan 21, 2016 / 1:15 pm

      Ian Bell has been made captain of Warwickshire.
      Excellent – the Collingwood approach.


  16. Arron Wright Jan 21, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    Guardian Comment of the Week (quoted rather than linked, because of moderation fears). Paceandbounce takes on, well, why spoil it…

    Paceandbounce aquitted 6h ago

    Nah I’m happy to take you on and continue to make you look like a fool you fucking bellend. To add to your list of faults along with being homophobic, it appears you are also sexist. I’m sure you’re well aware that I am not female and just using a particularly childish insult by terming someone weak by calling them a girl/lady/woman. I’d haul my 4 year old if he said something like that.

    So you don’t agree with Clive and his views on Cook, just argue that. Staffie doesn’t need to answer to you or explain his ancestry. If you knew mine you’d probably add racism to your foul temperament.

    Listen fuckwit below the line means commenting below an article – like this one. Fucking stupid aren’t you.

    The ensuing conversation is one for the ages.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 21, 2016 / 3:25 pm

      The guardian allowing blatant racism. One naughty mention of Selfey and the moderator is alive!


    • Zephirine Jan 22, 2016 / 12:20 am

      Blimey, that thread was Troll City,. And not a mod in sight, though p and b certainly didn’t need any help.

      The trolls do all go after clive, it’s amazing. Like moths to a flame….


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