Dearth of Gentlemen

I love my Ipod. It’s one of them 160GB classic Ipods. I bought it just before Apple, in their infinite wisdom thought that they were obsolete and decided it was all about those silly “minis” or “Iphones” or whatever. But I love walking out of my house every day, on the way to work, having the shuffle on for the 23k tracks there are on there and wondering “what will today throw up”? I mean, it’s not all great. ITunes is the spawn of satan, but you can’t have everything.

Anyway, I was walking into work and the news had broken a little before of the team for the World T20. I was checking the phone when the Carly Simon song with that well known Nile Rodgers riff came on. It’s as if the Ipod had the same thoughts as me. Why?

As I said on Twitter this morning, I am not a three year old. I knew he wasn’t going to be picked. If the people out there are dense enough to think that then they aren’t worthy of reading a single piece on here. But I still thought. Why?

After a work function in Park Lane, I rambled down Oxford Street, passing Grosvenor Square, looking at the building, thinking about the future. I was there to purchase my wife’s Valentine’s present (hope she likes it) and then wend my way home. On the bus I caught up with some of the correspondence on line, read some of the tweets, and felt like shit, to be honest.

Got to the station, and boarded it. Still head full of “what should I write”. I Whatsapped Chris and told him I probably wouldn’t be on tonight, and I probably shouldn’t be. Then, near the end of my train journey came on one of my favourite pieces of music of recent times.

It’s “And I Will Kiss” by Underworld. Or as it is better known worldwide as that music from the Pandemonium portion of the Olympic Opening Ceremony. And it takes me back. I’m an emotional sort, and that piece of music still brings a little tear to my eye. It is immense. It has everything in it. It was played when our country was being portrayed to the world. And it made me immensely proud to be British. It filled my heart and soul with a joy I can’t express. I wished my mum and dad were here to see the ceremony and hear the music. My brother, no lover of that thing, texted me to say it was amazing. He doesn’t say things like that. No matter what anyone else out there thought, my family loved it.

It lasts 19 minutes, and I’m listening to this music and just getting overwhelmed by it as I always do. Yes, a little alcohol might have assisted, but it generally doesn’t matter. And I go back to when it was released. A week before textgate and all that nonsense. While we were getting humped by South Africa and the scapegoating was in full effect. I thought of Andrew Strauss getting upset that KP was fraternising with key South African players, and then thinking “what do you think Ian Botham would have said to Strauss if he moaned about him being too close to Viv and Joel?”. But that’s by the by. It’s all moot now.

And the thing is that the swelling of pride in my country, the love of the music, the joy of the sport, ended. Two weeks of Mo, Vicky, Chris, Greg, Jess, Brad, Laura et al, and watching, in person, the GB women’s basketball team run the eventual silver medallists, France, so damn close, and then it was gone. Sure, it’ll all be repeated in Rio later this year, but it won’t all be here again. While that was going on, England’s cricket team went off the effing rails. The contrast was stark.

And I Will Kiss will remind me, did remind me of that. How, on the one hand, the country rallied behind the participants, not knowing personalities, not showing suspicions, but enjoying sport, while our precious cricket lot got into a spat and started leaking like a sieve. Like it always did.

And that brings me to the present. I really don’t like the ECB. They run the game like a fucking old boys club. There’s snobbery. There’s cowardice. Overall, there’s arrogance. They know that out there there are many, many cricket fans who would love to see the dust settle between the ECB and KP. There are a lot that don’t, but their needs have been more than catered for in the last two or so years. The dust isn’t settled by saying “sorry old chap, sorry you’ve cancelled a £200k contract on a wild goose chase, and made us look like muppets, but hey, how about a little part time job as a matter of goodwill?” but by being honest. Telling us what the trust issues are, not “I don’t want to get into that” which has been far too easy on them. But again, that’s for another day.

They know there are many KP fans out there. Their attitude towards them this week has been downright insulting. Eoin Morgan’s “that’s from me” without so much as an explanation was bad enough. Anyone who thinks I overdid it on the Outside Cricket Day yesterday, that’s why. It’s contemptuous. Then for Bayliss to say “his name never even came up” put the tin hat on it. So that’s that then. And you want me to put money in your coffers to watch you lot? I doubt that this even entered their mind. I find people with these sort of attitudes just don’t think like that. What can I say….

I’m not asking for him to be selected. I’m asking for some bloody openness and transparency. I’m asking for a cricket reporter, if there are still any out there, to do their damn job and get answers to the questions. TLG earlier made the eloquent point that this is about not selecting on merit. We’ve done that to death. This is about owing something to the supporters who wanted him back. Who want selection on merit. Who want to know what it was he did that was so wrong that he’s been blackballed and airbrushed from history. And no, it is not the book. That was not what got him sacked.

And so, when And I Will Kiss ended, this Ipod read my mind. As I walked down the hill to my house, there came on this…

Such a shame to believe in escape
‘A life on every face’, but that’s a change
Until I’m finally left with an ‘8’
Tell me to relax, I just stare
Maybe I don’t know if I should change
A feeling that we share, it’s a shame

(Such a shame)
Number me with rage, it’s a shame
(Such a shame)
Number me in haste
(Such a shame)
This eagerness to change
It’s a shame

The dice decide my fate, that’s a shame
In these trembling hands my faith
Tells me to react, I don’t care
Maybe it’s unkind if I should change
A feeling that we share, it’s a shame

Read more: Talk Talk – Such A Shame Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Good night all.

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52 thoughts on “Dearth of Gentlemen

  1. Pontiac February 10, 2016 / 8:54 pm

    If it makes you feel any better, take a glance at what WICB are doing to destroy everything they have charge of – the ECB isn’t the worst international cricket board.

    Like

    • thelegglance February 10, 2016 / 9:09 pm

      Well….that depends. WICB are destroying themselves, the ECB are happy to destroy everyone else. Except India and Australia, obviously.

      Like

      • Pontiac February 10, 2016 / 9:29 pm

        True enough, but probably the same thing, really. If India, Australia, and England continue the way they’ve been doing, they’ll turn the whole sport into some sort of Harlem Globetrotters/Washington Generals farce.

        Like

  2. keyserchris February 10, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    Ah, that track is delightful. The best thing about the Olympic opening ceremony & the games afterwards was the sense of optimism and pride it engendered in the country. Right may the time the cricket was going badly wrong. The signs were there in the UAE with the team, and also the ECB in using the Olympics as an excuse to restrict the SA series to 3 Tests. Disgraceful. The ECB had a legacy from the wonderful 2011, and decided it mattered diddly squat. I hope Giles Clarke is suitably embarrassed publicly by the ICC. Can’t come a moment to soon for what they’ve done the last 4 years. Just look at 2016 ticket sales…

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus February 10, 2016 / 9:14 pm

      Hi Chris,

      We never did do that bit on Day 5 at Adelaide. I was actually going to include that on here, but thought “fuck it”. The half heads, probably laughing their arses off with all the class I’d expect, wouldn’t get the message.

      Clarke won’t be embarrassed. That sort never are.

      Like

      • keyserchris February 10, 2016 / 10:33 pm

        One day, one day…! That day will be documented, honest!

        Clarke may well get his ICC/ECB comeuppance. Might even get taken to task for Stanford*

        *I can dream…

        Like

  3. Neil February 10, 2016 / 9:15 pm

    Hello all.

    Dmitri and his iPod classic (I still use mine) take me back to 2012.
    And yes that Underworld track is sublime.

    I remember that innings at Headingley, at that moment I was in the middle of a love affair, those 2 weeks, those games, I’d taken 2 weeks off. I’d spent the first 4 days in and around London just soaking it all in, what a time to be alive.
    I returned, still on holiday with the sole intention of just watching archery, weightlifting and anything and everything, then came that Saturday, I flicked from BBC Olympics 21, to sky. KP was playing an epic, it was stunning.
    But because I was lost in the games I wasn’t up to speed.

    Then the evening in the stadium , Mo Farah going for history, I got an alert, can’t remember where from but it was KP, a video, its KP, I’ve got to watch. What’s this about then?

    KP lost me that night.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus February 10, 2016 / 11:05 pm

      After a lot of thought, I have decided to release this comment.

      Like

    • Mark February 10, 2016 / 11:53 pm

      Are you on recreational drugs?

      Like

    • keyserchris February 11, 2016 / 12:06 am

      That’s quite an achievement, considering the KP YouTube video was a good week later, post-Headingley Test.

      Never let the truth get in the way of your bias, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Neil February 11, 2016 / 8:13 am

      Thanks Dmitri

      I didn’t come here for a row – your blog struck a chord and reminded me of that day. So I wanted to share the alternate view , which I know you welcome.

      If I’m allowed 1 more. Can I just leave this link for KeyserChris, (Some initial reaction )

      http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/aug/11/kevin-pietersen-england-cricket

      The great innings was on Super Saturday, (Mo’s 10,000) The You tube video I mention was a week later (Mo’s 5,000)

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus February 11, 2016 / 9:05 am

        You are not banned. Don’t confuse this with being “welcome” from my perspective.

        Like

      • nonoxcol February 11, 2016 / 9:05 am

        If you want to see what *really* got people’s backs up, and what changed the tone of the comments on Selvey’s original pieces, you need this from later the same day:

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/13/in-praise-of-team-spirit

        The first moderated comment on page 1 was – honestly, truly – nearing 1000 recommends when they zapped it. It was, to say the least, not favourably disposed towards the editorial. It was also extremely articulate, better argued and not defamatory.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Neil February 11, 2016 / 9:32 am

        Arron. I linked to it to highlight the date (to prove to me that my memory wasn’t playing tricks)

        Like

      • keyserchris February 11, 2016 / 11:28 am

        Exactly my point, you were conflating two different Saturdays in your post, as you now admit. Presumably to “enhance” your reasoning for disliking Pietersen.

        Like

        • Neil February 11, 2016 / 1:00 pm

          Not at all Chris, the video was released on August the 11th, Mo Farah’s 500m final was also August the 11th.
          That is what I’m refrencing

          Like

      • keyserchris February 11, 2016 / 1:37 pm

        Neil, I know that’s what you’re referencing – after all, I pointed that out to you in my reply…

        Still, as ever, being Neil, I see.

        Like

      • Neil February 11, 2016 / 2:05 pm

        I see the confusion, having re-read it my bad English doesn’t distinguish the difference in time.
        The 1st race (10,000m) was in the middile of a test match on Super Saturday after the innings , the 2nd (5,000m) a week later on the last Saturday.

        I’m not trying to be anything, as I stated I didn’t come for a row.

        I shall toddle off again.

        Like

      • Mark February 11, 2016 / 3:10 pm

        Neil, why are you wasting your time and ours?

        We know what your position on KP is. Why bother trying to invent time lines, and Video clips. It doesn’t matter when you heard which video and when. It makes no difference? You would still hate KP.

        You are perfectly entitled to hate KP or anyone else for that matter, but why does it bother you so much that we don’t agree with you? You ain’t going to change our minds. I don’t agree with your opinions, but I also don’t bother going to your site.

        You have your own site, and followers, and your views dominate the airwaves and newspapers. Why does this group of people who don’t agree with you irritate you so much?

        Like

        • Neil February 11, 2016 / 4:38 pm

          I don’t hate KP (I don’t hate anyone)
          He would have been in my T20 squad, so I don’t think you do know my position.

          I commented on this particular entry because it took me back to a place and time (which I certainly haven’t invented)

          I like reading all opinions and good cricket writing, so that’s why I come back. There’s been some excellent pieces recently.
          I won’t comment though because as this test has shown I am not welcome.

          Like

  4. Sham February 10, 2016 / 9:16 pm

    In what I do there are often allegations of a “sham”. When there’s clearly a sham, you have to look to put in place what would have been the case, but for the sham.

    I’ll be careful in my wording. I think there’s a risk that there could be a sham here.

    Irrespective of whether there’s a sham or not, where there is prima facial evidence of a potential sham, then we tend to look at the people “in charge” to see if they are, or may be, creating the sham.

    You then have to look at who are the “controlling minds” of the sham.

    I’ll leave that for debate.

    Like

  5. Sean B February 10, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    Unfortunately we have a board that is so arrogant, so deluded and so disdainful of us ‘pitiful fans’, that they couldn’t give a monkeys what we think. They believe (wrongly) that it is our duty to get behind the team and pay the ever increasing amounts to watch them on TV or live. Don’t like our decisions – tough pay your money, don’t like us lying to you – we don’t care pay your money, you want our team to be selected on merit – tough, we own cricket whatever you think, so pay your money. We’ve got the media sorted, so if you don’t agree with us peasant, then you’re ‘outside cricket’, oh and pay your money. George Orwell’s 1984 doesn’t have a patch on this lot.

    And then to see the justifications flying around on Twitter from ‘the we know better better than you lot, you’re not even an England fan’ mob, just adds to the insult.

    I do at times wonder why I put myself through this, despite my love of the game. Today has been of those days

    Like

  6. Mark February 10, 2016 / 9:49 pm

    I have always been able to distinguish between the people who run English cricket, and the team that runs out onto the field. I have been able to keep them apart. But it’s very difficult now. Part of the reason is the middle man, the media, have now gone rogue. Some of the media is shameful, and even worse, creepy. Players are now being watched by the media to make sure they are saying the right things. If you go off message look out. The media all skipping and dancing into Giles Clarkes bithday do was vomit making.

    Then we come to Cook. I now realise why they were so desperate to keep him. He is the owners man. He repents them. He is their fuck you to anyone who does not obey. He’s there to lead the team out onto the field, and make sure there is no doubt who this team belongs to. Very difficult to keep the team and the owners apart when they employ as captain a company man from the top of head to the end of his toes.

    Like

  7. thebogfather February 11, 2016 / 12:13 am

    As someone who, in my own way, also went a little overboard on OutsideCricketDay, and also not being a three year old, I concur with everything you’ve said over the past few days, long may you reign Sir, and al here too…. as I said on twitter today.. Fuck Em All (sorry, not usually sweary)

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus February 11, 2016 / 12:25 am

      Can’t sleep. Achilles tendinitis bloody agony. In a rage. Not good.

      Then there is that.

      Like

  8. Sherwick February 11, 2016 / 8:52 am

    From the previous thread, it seems that the only qualification James Whitaker has for being a selector for the T20 England side is that he doesn’t like KP so won’t pick him.

    Like

    • man in a barrel February 11, 2016 / 7:07 pm

      To be fair, JW did play one Test on the Gatting tour of Australia, 1986-7. Which makes him a little like the great Joey Benjamin, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joey_Benjamin , who toured Australia in 1994-5 but couldn’t get a game even when Deveon Malcolm went down with shingles before the first Test.

      Like

  9. nonoxcol February 11, 2016 / 11:08 am

    I’ve been told that my K-Tel Alastair Cook Christmas Album (from HDWLIA days) is about as funny as a urinary tract infection.

    By aquitted.

    Golden days.

    The Bogfather and ZeroBullshit liked it at the time. Good enough for me.

    Like

    • SimonH February 11, 2016 / 11:43 am

      If I’m ever tempted to reply to wctt, I just remember that he thinks Pietersen should have been dropped in 2009. There’s no debating with someone like that.

      As for aquitted, I’m never tempted to reply.

      Being rude and hectoring, and then accusing people who respond of lacking a sense of humour, is straight out the handbook of people like that. (I was going to say ‘the bully’s handbook’ but I don’t like that term when physical action or its threat isn’t involved – there needs to be a new word invented for unpleasant, manipulative behaviour).

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol February 11, 2016 / 11:48 am

        I will ignore aqu completely. I replied to one post purely because it was a typically boorish interjection directly below a polite enquiry from a respected, long-standing, entirely genuine poster.

        (Evidently I hit reply on the wrong post, and this amused the humour expert so much he’s still prattling on about it…)

        Like

      • nonoxcol February 11, 2016 / 11:57 am

        The only funny thing about aquitted is that he really doesn’t know how out of his depth he is on the Guardian cricket blogs, turning up to mock people who have been posting for years and seen off plenty of boring one-note trolls already.

        Like

      • SimonH February 11, 2016 / 12:00 pm

        Quebecer’s reply to wctt (the five-letter word one) is another I think of if I’m ever tempted to reply to these types.

        He/she is another one who seems to be posting less and less there these days.

        “They make a wasteland and they call it peace”.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus February 11, 2016 / 12:32 pm

          Spell it out. I tried to read that thread and after ten seconds wanted to gouge my eyeballs out. Part of me wonders if he’s the ECB Press Officer.

          Like

      • nonoxcol February 11, 2016 / 12:05 pm

        He’s lucky really. Lucky you haven’t done a Venerable Selvey lately; lucky there’s no Ivon Ivonovich, Tregaskis and precious little from the weary veterans of 2012; lucky wctt is so prominent; lucky in terms of results.

        He wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in 2013/14.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus February 11, 2016 / 12:19 pm

          It’s a newspaper BTL. It’s all about the clicks and the cliques. They all go pear shaped eventually.

          Like

    • LordCanisLupus February 11, 2016 / 12:37 pm

      All those Cook interviews. Relaxed. Happy. Open. All looking and reading like fluffy bunny pieces. None thought to raise the name. Not a thought.

      Also put out a humility piece on this day (with a plug for his bat manufacturers, natch) and as far as I can tell Whitaker and Strauss remain in their Bunkers. Oops. Freudian slip there.

      But I’m wrong to be cynical this time. This time.

      Sigh.

      Like

      • pktroll (@pktroll) February 11, 2016 / 1:04 pm

        I’ve never thought that too many interviews have that much authenticity. Would I be wrong in thinking that the questions that an interviewer ask have to be cleared in advance? I know so little about the way the press works.

        Like

  10. SimonH February 11, 2016 / 1:39 pm

    Anyone looking forward to the NZ/Australia series? Good to see NZ have got most of their injury worries sorted out except Ross Taylor.

    Pitch in preparation looks quite green apparently (although it did for the last Test in NZ and there wasn’t much seam movement but there sure was some bounce). Going to be very interesting to see how Australia’s batting goes. Their bowling looks pretty samey without Starc as well.

    Like

    • keyserchris February 11, 2016 / 4:10 pm

      I am, shame Brandon McCullum isn’t around, but he’s earnt the right to go on his own terms. more annoyed I’m abroad this weekend so will miss most of the Test.

      NZ at home shouldn’t be comfortable for Australia at all. Warner on greentops is always fun and Kane is just delightful to watch. Suspect those two are the difference as the bowling attacks seem fairly similar.

      Like

  11. paulewart February 11, 2016 / 4:33 pm

    Asked if he ever thought about his place in the pantheon, he added: “I think you naturally do. I don’t think there’s anyone who isn’t worried about it. You want to score runs at the highest average you can.

    To which Paul Downton replied “I would have preferred you to have said, I would like to help England win matches.” Oh….

    As we suspected all along there’s one rule for one another for those ‘outside cricket’. It would be funny were the characters involved not so self-absorbed and lacking in self-awareness.

    Still, Cook’s right on both counts. Top order batsmen naturally think about their records and players do need protecting from burnout. It’s just a shame such arguments weren’t heeded when made around 5 years ago (clumsily, I’m sure). Let’s hope lessons have been learned from the ‘difficult winter’ of 2013 for all concerned, though I fear for Ben Stokes should Trevor Bayliss leave the fold at any stage.

    Like

    • man in a barrel February 11, 2016 / 7:21 pm

      Maybe one day, FICJAM will read John Kay’s book on “Obliquity”…how the best way to achieve results is not always the obvious straight line…how the Panama canal is North-South rather than East-West, how M&S originally grew to dominate the clothing trade by getting happy, satisfied staff rather than being cheap and cost-cutting….etc etc. The corollary is if you have a gret batsman, he wants to maximise his own contribution, which will, sometimes tend to maximise the team’s results. But not always. Periods when Boycott was successful for England tended to coincide with England being successful. Was he thinking about England or Boycott? To be fair to Chef, England have sometimes done well when he has done well but….the recent Pakistan and South African series? The highlight on his cv is of course the Ashes 2010-11. But then, what did he do during the Ashes 2009?

      Like

    • paulewart February 11, 2016 / 6:06 pm

      Unlikely Sean. The paper’s moving ever rightwards in an attempt to appeal to advertisers.

      Like

      • Sean B February 11, 2016 / 6:09 pm

        This is of course true sadly, still we can still dream….

        Like

    • Nicholas February 11, 2016 / 8:53 pm

      Hmm, and a look at their website seems to suggest that Andy Afford (previously Publishing Director) has also gone. The two departures might be linked as Afford is close to the Swanns (he plays in that bloody band that Graeme is always going on about) so presumably he was quite persuasive in bringing Alec Swann in back in 2014?

      It’s a joke how many staff they keep bringing in and then letting go of. I don’t know how Test Match Extra think they can run a successful publishing business like this – since they took over the magazine in December 2010 it’s gone through so many different editorial approaches to the game with no strategy. At times (the Miller years) it was an excellent magazine, but you almost feel that this was by accident rather than design (i.e. Andrew Miller is brilliant, so he produced a brilliant magazine, but the board themselves didn’t really know what they were doing in terms of strategy). In the last 18 months since Miller’s departure, we’ve seen them start with no full-time journalist on the staff and all the articles outsourced, to seeing Huw Turbevill being brought in as a staff writer (now Deputy Editor). Now Andy Afford, the managing director, has gone, and Alec Swann is going with him. And the previous marketing director (Jim Hindson) appears to have been shifted sideways to running Cricket Archive.

      It’s bollocks, it really is. And you wonder why the magazine is directionless at present. Hopeless.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus February 11, 2016 / 9:00 pm

        Nicholas,

        Thanks for the heads up. I love my old back issues of the cricket magazines, and I find the current iteration a joke.

        That is all.

        Like

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