Move along, nothing to see…

England announced their squad for March’s World T20, making a late bid to match their previous and astounding heights of omnishambles over the last few years.  The selection of Liam Dawson, apparently on the back of a good Lions tour, is certainly eyebrow raising.  Trevor Bayliss’ swiftly made it clear one way or the other than if it all goes horribly wrong it ain’t down to him guv, by openly stating he hadn’t seen him play and that he was trusting the selectors.  The tone is so often the giveaway, and saying he was a good fielder “apparently” spoke volumes.  Of course, it’s not remotely Dawson’s fault, and he will be rightly thrilled and excited at his call up.  That James Whitaker stated it was on the back of the Lions tour may have been because it’s rather hard to state it was due to last year’s T20 blast when he failed to take a wicket.  Stephen Parry can count himself unfortunate.

Dawson may well go on to be a success, and there is nothing at all wrong with selections based on a hunch that the player will go well, but there is the suspicion that he will be little more than drinks carrier on this trip.

Broad too has been omitted, which rather makes his call up to the ODI series in South Africa somewhat peculiar, as he could have been given the time off to recover if he wasn’t going to be in the squad.  As it stands, and given he isn’t playing in that series so far, it seems pointless to make England’s key Test bowler hang around.

The selectors have managed to thoroughly pretend the various T20 competitions going on around the world don’t exist by ignoring Luke Wright.  England play too few T20 matches for there to be a pattern of international success to draw upon, and Wright is unquestionably a specialist in this form of the game.

And then there’s Kevin Pietersen.  His non-selection is a surprise to no-one, but the idea that England have six better T20 batsmen to draw upon is laughable.  It is thus a team selection for reasons other than cricketing ones.  Some will approve of that, many will not.  No one will be shocked, but the ECB once again are making it clear that teams are not decided on what players can do on the field.  They could have made the argument that they felt others would be more effective, which would be open to question, but a cricketing decision.  Instead they said that he wasn’t even discussed, and thus confirming the point that cricketing matters were not the focus.  As ever, the point is not about one player’s presence or otherwise, but what that means for all others going forward – if they don’t like you, then no matter how many runs or wickets you might take, you will not get in the side.

Some have suggested that England are amongst the favourites for the tournament, but the bowling looks somewhat thin for India conditions.  Even so, in competition cricket, they may well find a way, for not too many would have pointed to Ryan Sidebottom being so outstanding in the one global tournament England have ever won.  Steven Finn is in the squad despite his injury, and he is the one member of that attack shorn of Stuart Broad who looks a wicket-taker, his fitness is critical to England’s chances.

The fundamental objection to the ECB remains that they would prefer not to give themselves the best chance of winning something, in favour of internal politics.

As a statement of policy, it takes some beating.

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87 thoughts on “Move along, nothing to see…

  1. Arron Wright Feb 10, 2016 / 11:22 am

    Remind me who’s in charge of the Lions again…

    Not meant as a conspiracy theory, merely a rebuke to those who somehow still think he was one of the victims of the “difficult winter”.

    Like

  2. pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 10, 2016 / 11:34 am

    I have always been of the theory that Flower and Strauss’s performances as both coach and captain have received a favourable airbrushing in terms of what happened in early 2012 with our performances in Asia. The UAE Pakistan series early that year has been totally forgotten, let alone another poor performance in Galle, where a lack of clear strategy in playing spin and the batsmen utterly petrified of playing shots took hold.

    Then there was the South Africa series later that year and everything that went on around it. The “bowling dry” strategy got what should have the killer blow administered to it at the Oval when there was such a lack of any real cut and thrust about the bowling, especially with the picking of a palpably inadequate Bresnan bowling a very military medium. But no, that essentially stayed in place until given it’s final commupence in Australia 18 months later. So they receive a free pass in terms of the lack of tactical vision that was on offer there, simply because they could cling on to a series victory in India that made everyting ok?

    Like

    • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 11:41 am

      There are no words that fully convey just how passionately I agree with this point.

      In fact, it’s probably the seed of my disillusionment with the Guardian, its cricket coverage and the standard of BTL debate. The origins of my wider disgruntlement with English cricket I detailed on ‘Outside Cricket Day’. But the G specifically – you nailed it there.

      Like

      • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 10, 2016 / 12:01 pm

        I don’t think I’m preaching to the unconverted when I’m mentioning this stuff here, it is what passes over so many peoples heads it is untrue. I still hear stuff elsewhere about how Strauss was one of England’s best ever captains, yet when I mention how he had a very poor 3 final years as a batsman and that his team fell apart quite badly even prior to ‘textgate’ there is a fair amount of special pleading. I admired Strauss the batsman up until late 2009 even including a fine performance in that year’s Ashes series. However even a little before then his technique had been picked apart by some of the best quick bowlers around, SA included in the year before.

        The latter Strauss was a bit of a drag on the England team, both as a player and a captain.

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      • thelegglance Feb 10, 2016 / 12:04 pm

        All captains (and players) have good points and bad points, a rational approach looks at the overall ledger. The issue with how the official ECB history works is that as you point out, all the bad points get ignored – a ridiculous and totally unnecessary series defeat in the West Indies for example, that arose entirely from over-defensiveness.

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      • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 12:09 pm

        Quite. The first time I tried to evaluate the difference between hagiography and fair and balanced history (Flower v Fletcher), I was accused of ignoring all the good stuff even though I patently didn’t.

        And the last time (Alastair Cook’s home Ashes record, and his overall Ashes record which now constitutes about 20-25% of his entire Test career), I was mocked by some bozo who thought I was bigging myself up for having a History degree.

        I haven’t bothered trying since. Not on there anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Feb 10, 2016 / 1:46 pm

        “a ridiculous and totally unnecessary series defeat in the West Indies for example, that arose entirely from over-defensiveness”.

        Alternatively, a statement of intent from Strauss that Test cricket was serious. That’s what Steve James reckoned in ‘The Plan’ anyway.

        Like

      • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 1:51 pm

        Good lord. So sending your nightwatchman out when you’re effectively 300-1 with two days left to force a result is a statement of intent? To think I never knew.

        Like

    • SimonH Feb 10, 2016 / 11:49 am

      A narrative had been constructed that this was the most successful team ever, with a captain they’d run through a brick wall for, under a godlike head coach, with his saintly under-coaches, thanks to the benevolence of the all-wise ECB.

      Everything had to be fitted into that narrative. Even the stuff that didn’t. Especially the stuff that didn’t.

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      • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 12:04 pm

        *splutter*
        that dashed weather at The Oval 2012.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. d'Arthez Feb 10, 2016 / 11:38 am

    Meanwhile, in the West Indies, they’re staggering to yet another crisis. But of course, no matter how inept the performance will be, they’ll be guaranteed more money for their efforts, and their qualification spot for the next edition. As long as such idiocy persists, I refuse to be actually optimistic about any of the noises about the ICC reforms.

    Like

    • thelegglance Feb 10, 2016 / 11:40 am

      Dammit, I meant to put something in about the West Indies, and then forgot and hit submit.

      Like

  4. SimonH Feb 10, 2016 / 11:54 am

    Just a point from a Hampshire fan about Liam Dawson’s fielding –

    Dawson has held 120+ catches in just over 100+ f/c matches. He’s a superb second slip. What he isn’t (unless it changed last season when I didn’t see much of Hampshire) is a ‘gun’ outfielder – who is for Hampshire , amusingly, Michael Carberry.

    Is there much need for a brilliant slip fielder in T20?

    Like

    • Ian Feb 10, 2016 / 12:27 pm

      Dawson last season was left out of Hampshire’s side in all forms as Hampshire struggled especially in the championship. He was unhappy at being scapegoated as he wasn’t the only player underperforming so he asked to go and play on loan in div 2 rather than play 2nd XI as this would give him a better chance of a recall.

      His form at Essex led to the recall and once he returned to Hampshire was also excellent the highlight being a brisk ton against Yorkshire.

      I agree he is fortunate to be picked but is said to have got the nod ahead of Woakes which given the conditions and Dawson’s form for the Lions does not seem so unreasonable to me.

      Like

      • Sherwick Feb 10, 2016 / 12:36 pm

        But Ian, we all know that Div 2 cricket doesn’t count.

        Like

      • Ian Feb 10, 2016 / 12:43 pm

        He only played two fc games with Essex before he was called back and played the last 6 FC games for Hants in Div 2

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      • Ian Feb 10, 2016 / 12:47 pm

        Last 6 in Div 1 I meant anyway any selection who keeps Woakes out is alright with me

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      • thelegglance Feb 10, 2016 / 12:49 pm

        County Championship cricket has about as much relevance to the T20 squad as performances for the Lions does. England never really learn.

        Like

      • Ian Feb 10, 2016 / 12:55 pm

        Very true. I just thought I would give a bit more background too him as I have watched him play regularly since the beginning of his career.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. SimonH Feb 10, 2016 / 11:59 am

    Unperson exhibit #38495:

    Like

    • Sherwick Feb 10, 2016 / 12:30 pm

      Like the comments under their tweet lol

      Like

    • OscarDaBosca Feb 10, 2016 / 12:44 pm

      That poll was enough, just got off the phone to the cricketer cancelling my subscription. Poor chap, he asked me why, so I explained, 18 minutes later he was slightly reeling but thanked me for my comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Feb 10, 2016 / 1:38 pm

        That’s hilarious! You should have reversed the charges. Did you ask him if the 4 choices offered and the obvious exclusion were hand picked by Simon Hughes and Swanns brother?

        They dare not put KPs name up. He might win. Can’t have that at the cricketer can we?

        Like

      • OscarDaBosca Feb 10, 2016 / 2:15 pm

        Worse, I think it was Alec Swann that I was talking to, and I told him that Alec Swann was one of the reasons I didn’t want to subscribe any longer because ‘he couldn’t write his way out of a paperbag’.

        Just got off the phone to the subscriptions team (I rang the editorial team originally) to be told that my subscription was cancelled, but since they changed the policy in October 2015 I wouldn’t be due a refund and I had effectively just renewed in January (slightly annoying but as my niece works in print media I do understand that they are currently suffering the slow death of a thousand cuts).

        Like

      • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 2:24 pm

        I’m writing as a former buyer, who never subscribed. And I don’t mean to imply any one-upmanship on the grounds of principle (I kept Sky for eight years purely for cricket, ffs, I live in a glass house). But the Peter Moores editorial was literally enough for me, and that was the very first issue after Andrew Miller’s departure. I understand the first issue I missed had the cover headline “Do We Really Need To Talk About Kevin?”

        Writing on the wall has seldom been much more obvious.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ian Feb 10, 2016 / 3:03 pm

        If we are doing one upmanship, I stopped getting the Cricketer in 1994 when I discovered Jonny Miller 96 not out. Anyone remember that mag? It was basically the cricketing equivalent of When Saturday Comes Magazine. Wish I’d kept my issues but it was the Being Outside Cricket of its day with loads of Gower/Gooch stuff

        Like

      • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 10, 2016 / 3:18 pm

        Ian, I remember buying Jonny Miller 96* back in the day. It was at the height of the fanzine era in football that I first came across. I will admit that I have long since lost those copies that I possessed.

        Like

      • Ian Feb 10, 2016 / 3:21 pm

        I think it started as a fanzine only available at county cricket, then it went “mainstream” in terms of being available in WH Smith but unfortunately died off maybe a year or two after.

        Like

      • thelegglance Feb 10, 2016 / 5:34 pm

        Which is the big change in the internet age, and why the established press (not the younger journos – they get it) loathe blogs in particular, as cricket papers like that one could be safely squashed because they’d always struggle to get the revenues required to keep it going – and of course producing a physical paper is bloody hard work.

        Whether it’s this one, the Full Toss – or Neil’s blog come to that, it doesn’t matter the content that much – people are doing it for free, whether above or below the line (and the papers have never quite grasped that those below are at least as important) and that is considered a threat.

        Hence the sneer that everyone is a frustrated journalist, they can’t imagine people doing it because they care.

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  6. sidesplittin Feb 10, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    Luke Wright, like many before him, is a good county pro.

    Leaving aside his insipid ODI record, his stellar season in the 2013/14 BBL led to his recall to the national colours for the three Intl T20’s against Australia and a further two in the Windies. He responded with scores of 9, 0, 8, 0 and 7*.

    The step up to international level has proved beyond him many times in the past, so it’s not unreasonable for the selectors to continue to pass him over.

    Like

  7. Ian Feb 10, 2016 / 12:54 pm

    Has Luke Wright ever opened for England in T20 though? When he did play for England was a few years ago and always seemed to be at 6 or 7 and not really bowling so didn’t see the best of him. Since then he has opened all around the world in T20 comps to reasonable success so I can understand the idea of a recall for him.

    Like

    • sidesplittin Feb 10, 2016 / 1:05 pm

      In those five innings I referred to he batted at 3, 3, 1, 3 & 7. All matches in early 2014.

      Like

      • thelegglance Feb 10, 2016 / 1:11 pm

        I rather doubt we saw the best of someone like Wright in that regime, not least because they were always so keen to dump him, move him around, bowl him, not bowl him.

        It’s a reasonable argument, but Big Bash attacks were rather better than just a “county pro” one, so he does have the ability, and writing someone off for how they were two years ago in a format they’ve since become a specialist in would seem premature.

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    • Benny Feb 10, 2016 / 2:14 pm

      I do wonder how valid it is to judge Wright and others on their record under previous England management.

      Like

    • sidesplittin Feb 10, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      Stats normally give a reasonable reflection of a players ability – in his case, he’s had multiple chances and been found wanting; move onto more likely candidates.

      Like

  8. Ian Feb 10, 2016 / 1:06 pm

    Hi. I went and looked it up and replied with a link which will come through later. After looking more closely at his innings I agree with you.

    Like

  9. Maxie Allen Feb 10, 2016 / 1:16 pm

    “The selectors have managed to thoroughly ignore the various T20 competitions going on around the world”.

    There you have it, in a nutshell. The ECB setup is so insular and self-satisfied that the selectors genuinely believes their internal structures are a better guide to WT20 potential than the hard facts of the IPL/BBL, etc. They take no notice of any of those leagues – and that ignorance will come at a price.

    The present bunch of selectors must be the least worldly, most homespun, and least internationally-experienced, in English history – which is saying something. Has James Whitaker ever even left Leicestershire?

    And are they genuinely trying to suggest that Pietersen, on current form, is not one of the six best T20 batsmen currently eligible for England?

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    • thelegglance Feb 10, 2016 / 1:20 pm

      Hello Maxie – welcome back to the fray!

      For the last line, no they aren’t, because they stated that Pietersen hadn’t been discussed at all in selection. So they haven’t analysed and decided to go with others who they believe better (and you can ALWAYS make a case for one player over another cricketing wise, e.g. “it’s a tight call between them, but we are worried about Kevin’s mobility around the field in this format”) they’ve refused to consider him. An important distinction.

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      • Maxie Allen Feb 10, 2016 / 2:01 pm

        Hello, TGL.

        As you suggest, they would rather fail in the tournament that admit that Pietersen is selectable – because if they do, he must logically then be selectable in all formats.

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    • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 1:21 pm

      Who?

      Next step, straight from the strategy manual that gave you “look what Mitchell Johnson’s doing to South Africa, England therefore weren’t that bad”, in 2014:

      Expect to read and hear a lot about the importance of Ryan Sidebottom in 2010.

      Like

      • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 1:27 pm

        Or, as Andrew Strauss might put it – Sidebottom more important than Frontbottom.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Benny Feb 10, 2016 / 6:06 pm

        Lol. That just leaves the backbottom pulling selection surprises out of his erm backbottom

        Like

  10. Mark Feb 10, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    “The selection of Liam Dawson, apparently on the back of a good Lions tour, is certainly eyebrow raising. ”

    As soon as I read that I laughed my head off. What came to mind was ….Andy (82 page diet sheet) Flower. As soon as he got the lions job I knew what was coming. Manufactured Flower clones instead of individual flair, and natural talent. Trevor Bayliss’s “nothing to do with me guv” line is priceless and sums up the whole farce. It would seem that if you go off to one these Global international 20/20 tournaments it will count against you. Good luck to those who go to the IPL!!

    The Strauss /Flower era was bailed out by KP. Their record depended on him. They have been living off his efforts ever since. No Mr Strauss, it wasn’t your captaincy or your coaches negative tactics that made England a force. It was natural talent. Something you don’t now trust.

    And who is really running English cricket? I say Strauss and Flower have worked their way back in charge in the same manner they manoeuvred themselves into Captain and coach? Flower paid no price for the Aussie tour from hell. His fake resignation was an illusion. He had already said he had a young family and didn’t want to tour. He got off Scott free and landed another cushy ‘jobs for the boys’ position at the ECB.

    And since when was Andy Flower made a selector of the first team? Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss back together. New England? my arse it is. It’s the same old faces. And the same prejudice and grudges.

    Liked by 1 person

    • RufusSG Feb 10, 2016 / 3:26 pm

      Whilst I broadly agree with your arguments about Flower’s cushy position, I have to disagree strongly with your third paragraph insofar that it wasn’t just Pietersen’s efforts, as important a cog in the wheel as they were, that helped to secure his and Strauss’ legacy. What about the batting of Cook in Australia and India (along with Pietersen’s, yes)? The bowling of Anderson, Broad and Swann? Jonathan Trott stabilising the top order? Ian Bell’s (arguably) most consistently successful period of his whole career? Of course Pietersen was a hugely important player is this time, I’m definitely not denying that, but to claim that Strauss and Flower’s legacy depended mostly on Pietersen, and that without him they would have got nowhere, is stretching the point somewhat and a bit unfair on everyone else. Everyone had a part to play.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Feb 10, 2016 / 4:06 pm

        Swann is the only one I would add to the list. His ability to bowl top orders out was I accept very important.

        KP was key as far as the batting was concerned . Not just because of the volume of runs but the speed in which he scored them. Strauss and Flower were very negative tacticians (just look at their declarations) and KP scored his runs fast enough to allow a result. Without his runs and the pace of them combined with an ultra conservative management I doubt Englad wold have won as many series.

        Flowers period of time as coach also has to be put in the context of opposition. It was after the end of the great Austrailan Warne and MCGrath team. Aus were in decline. Murali had come to the end of the road with Sri Lanka. So too the WI. SA were the up and coming team, and we hardly ever played them.

        After becoming the number 1 side it all fell apart very quickly.

        Like

  11. Escort Feb 10, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    On merit Pietersen has to play doesn’t he?
    If he were selected however it would kind of confirm the report (I think it was by the Mirror corespondent) that Cook threaten to quit if Pietersen continued to play for The Test team. From memory the report was denied but the reporter stood by the story.
    I no it sounds daft but I wouldn’t put this sort of thing beyond the ECB.

    Like

    • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 10, 2016 / 2:44 pm

      More than anything it is Nick Hoult who seems to have the cojones to actually go and investigate this story in terms of the mainstream English media.

      Like

      • thelegglance Feb 10, 2016 / 3:21 pm

        He’s head and shoulders above pretty much anyone else. One thing I will say in defence of certain people at other newspapers though: When Pringle was chief cricket hack at the Telegraph, Nick Hoult’s articles were not that much more than straight reporting and me too angles. It was driven by the narrative of the main man. So there are some good people at other papers who are currently going to be seen to be quiet about issues because of how that paper has approached it, and an inability to directly contradict the chief correspondent.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 3:31 pm

        I don’t know what on earth you could possibly mean, TLG.

        Liked by 2 people

      • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 10, 2016 / 3:41 pm

        I can think of one at another paper with a similarish albeit more tabloidish slant to the Telegraph who have a writer who can’t deviate too far from his toadish main correspondent.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Feb 10, 2016 / 4:08 pm

          Just to say Dmitri is currently at the Dorchester having a wizard time. Pip Pip

          Like

      • SimonH Feb 10, 2016 / 5:20 pm

        The Dorchester? It’s not Giles Clarke’s birthday again, is it? 🙂

        Like

      • Escort Feb 10, 2016 / 9:50 pm

        Is that Dorchester as in Dorset or The Dorchester as in hotel😉

        Like

    • SimonH Feb 10, 2016 / 2:54 pm

      I thought everything was “progressing smoothly”?

      It turns out one can’t necessarily believe everything written in ICC minutes….

      Like

    • Mark Feb 10, 2016 / 3:47 pm

      I guess we just have to hope it’s all typically Indian. In that it all seems total chaos now , and yet somehow comes good in the end.

      Not sure what they can do about the terrorism issue. Pakistan will have to decide on whatever their govt thinks is safe.

      As for WI, their board is even worse than ours. Can’t undertand why the people running their cricket have not been run out of town. They’re hopeless.

      Like

  12. Sherwick Feb 10, 2016 / 6:09 pm

    Can someone please explain to me how on God’s green earth James Whitaker is a selector for the T20 side???!?

    Liked by 1 person

    • "IronBalls" McGinty Feb 10, 2016 / 6:44 pm

      A good point, well made!

      Like

    • thelegglance Feb 10, 2016 / 7:00 pm

      Well if I were Andrew Strauss, and I wanted to have firm control over everything, then a Chairman of Selectors who has been roundly slated for almost everything he does, who even the media find it hard to believe is still in his job, would be absolutely ideal for all those occasions I want to have a quiet word about what he should be doing.

      I mean, the last thing I would want is a truly independent chairman of selectors – he might have his own ideas for God’s sake. No no, one who is thoroughly reliant on my patronage for his position will do rather nicely thank you.

      And the thing is, this isn’t some extreme conspiracy theory, it’s very good sense and exactly what an incoming boss should do. For when something goes wrong, there’s the ready made scapegoa….candidate for being chucked out of the airlock.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Feb 10, 2016 / 7:14 pm

        Angry, tired, had a little light refreshment. Probably should stay off here tonight.

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      • thebogfather Feb 10, 2016 / 7:20 pm

        So Giles did invite you to his ‘outside cricket’ party then LCL….. 🙂

        Like

      • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 7:54 pm

        LCL
        Article by Andrew Miller on Cricinfo you might like.
        Pointed opening line (well, I think so, anyway).

        Like

      • sidesplittin Feb 10, 2016 / 10:03 pm

        Just so long as BOC isn’t planning to debunk the moon landings too, please…….😉

        Like

  13. nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    In other news: Due to a paywall I have only seen a couple of paragraphs, and it is not directly about cricket. But it seems Matthew Syed has beaten FICJAM at his own game on the subject of football ticket prices.

    You could use his piece as the launch pad for a case study on how amazingly out of touch many sports journalists are with the people who actually stump up, and how readily some of them equate sport with pure Friedmanite economics.

    No bloody wonder TINA gets such traction, and no f***ing wonder barely anyone gives a toss about Giles Clarke.

    Like

    • Mark Feb 10, 2016 / 9:13 pm

      Don’t get me started on this…….I’m fuming at this clown.

      I have a deep loathing of Svengali fake intellectuals like Ed Smith who set themselves up in the media as sort of know alls, and alternative thinkers. Another of these ghastly examples is Mathew Syed. A former Ping Pong player who has been employed as a Murdoch apparatchik at The Times for over a decade. Another Oxbridge educated clever dick. He has written an idiot book called “Black box thinking” in which by all accounts he claims talent is not important. Published by another Murdoch in house company Harpers. Nice work if you can get it.

      Anyway, tonight he was on 5 live essentially arguing against the reduction of ticket prices for football teams Not surprising as he works for Murdoch to hear the usual free market forces argument. Of course, the irony is if this was applied to The Times, Syed would be out of a job as the Times relies on other Murdoch ventures to prop it up. Market forces for thee, but not for me. Funny how that is always the case with these people

      As usual it’s all done in the usual fake and patronising concern not for the paying fan, but those oh so poor fans who want to come, but are on a waiting list. If only they could get the chance. Poor souls. It was left to Henry Winter to point out the problems of higher ticket prices. And the changing nature of the typical football atmosphere as it is now dominated by middle class men over the age of 45. Syed works for Murdoch who likes the high fee exclusivity model. Syed would no doubt be delighted at how few people saw the Ashes last year. As long as Murdoch is making money that is all that counts. Screw the fan, and the screw the long term effects on sport of such a model

      Syed is a pain in the arse. An idiot turned into a so called genius. Or rather a crank who likes to say stupid shit and take the opposite side of every argument.

      Like

  14. SimonH Feb 10, 2016 / 8:50 pm

    Reading Vic Marks’ article on Liam Dawson (where he makes the good point that there feels like an element of trying to repeat what happened with Michael Yardy in 2010) I was pushed into looking up the Lions’ matches in UAE. Like a lot of people I suspect, I didn’t follow them that closely what with no TV coverage and the SA tour on.

    These are the ODI averages:

    http://goo.gl/qyBpwf

    These are the T20 averages:

    http://goo.gl/O8BX75

    Stephen Parry played two f***ing matches. Whatever he did that didn’t impress A. Flower must have been mostly not on the pitch. I’m a Hampshire fan and have no great favouritism towards Parry – but how was that a fair crack of the whip? How was that sensible preparation for a forthcoming senior tournament in Asia? It stinks – and Parry has every right to feel extremely aggrieved.

    Like

    • thelegglance Feb 10, 2016 / 8:57 pm

      Come now Simon – a Lions tour is first class cricket and therefore has no relevance to the World T20 and…..oh.

      Like

      • SimonH Feb 10, 2016 / 9:15 pm

        We’re back to “Andy doesn’t like the cut of your jib” as selection criterion. That’s if we ever left it….

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        • LordCanisLupus Feb 10, 2016 / 10:16 pm

          This amused. Not read the article.

          No, Al. You prefer permanent exlcusions. Company Man.

          Also, beware the “too pc” line. That’s not the sort of defence you should be putting up. Implies that mythical “line” is being crossed. Now read it – the “too pc” line seems to be something away from his main text. So I’ll give Company Man the benefit of the doubt. Like he would give a shit anyway.

          Like

      • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 10:40 pm

        He has nowt to do with ODIs or T20s, but somehow he’s got two Guardian headlines tonight:

        http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/feb/10/alastair-cook-england-protect-root-stokes-moeen

        “Those two, plus Moeen, are dead certs in all three squads. And there’s going to have to be times to take those guys out of international cricket. When it becomes a chore, you need to protect them.”

        Something familiar about this. Can’t quite put my finger on it…

        Like

      • nonoxcol Feb 10, 2016 / 10:43 pm

        It’s a beauty. It’s a 2014-level puff piece.

        ‘Cook, 31, is already England’s leading Test run-scorer and needs three dozen more to reach 10,000. “Another 36 runs would put it in a different league,” he says…

        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.”‘

        Something familiar about this. Can’t quite put my finger on it…

        Like

      • SimonH Feb 11, 2016 / 12:04 am

        There’s an ocean of Cook out there this evening. Lawrence Booth gets the gig in the DM -someone else can take that one if they have the stomach for it. Nothing yet in the DT….

        Here’s the BBC:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/35542996

        There’s another one of his masterly accidentally-undermining-achievements-he-wasnt-part-of statements in this one:

        “”In T20 there is always an element of luck. The best side wins it but, because it is such a short tournament and a short form of the game, it only takes a team to get on a roll, get a bit of confidence, and they’ll win it.”

        Has a form of the game been invented that doesn’t have an element of luck? Like one where the opposition’s best bowlers get injured and their selection committee operate by a process of pin the tail on the donkey? If T20 is more down to luck than any other form of the game, it’s odd how some teams keep getting lucky – and some don’t.

        “I’d love to play 200 Tests. Could I do it? I’d love to”.

        Could we bring back Downton just so he could say he only wants to hear about winning games for England and then sack him?

        “Someone told me if we our next two Test series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, we’d hold all the Test trophies available to us. That would be a great feat.”

        That’s this summer’s narrative in place. It certainly sounds better than 5th in the rankings.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus Feb 11, 2016 / 12:26 am

          Noone think to ask company man for his thoughts on an issue that had people talking?

          Like

      • nonoxcol Feb 11, 2016 / 6:09 am

        We’re still waiting for his side of things, which he was so desperate to tell everyone.

        Honestly, it must come down to personality. There seems to be a huge constituency who have no clue why others find Cook so deeply nauseating, while they happily treat someone else as if he has a permanent “kick me” sign pinned to his arse.

        I’ll just go and chuckle about how likely it is that any previous England batsman captain would produce his worst ever series average and then find his best one (from five years ago) quoted in his first interview thereafter.

        Like

  15. Topshelf Feb 10, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    On the basis of the Lions tour (and indeed career figures) we should be selecting Dawid Malan over Dawson. He’s even keeping his T20 hand in by playing in the PSL. Which means somebody over there thinks he’s in the same league as Vince and Billings (go on, guess who’s the Peshawar batting consultant…)

    I’m fine with the absence of Woakes, but can’t see how Jordan is any better, sadly. Can’t for the life of me understand why Broad is still in SA if he was never going to the T20 WC. It seems he is certain to play the 4th ODI. The selectors will look even stupider if he outbowls the rest again.

    Even with a fit Finn and Rashid on form, it looks to me like the England plan will be to score 200 runs every match and hope that’s enough. Not impossible, but unlikely ever to come off consistently enough to win a knockout tournament.

    Like

    • sidesplittin Feb 10, 2016 / 10:36 pm

      Is Jordan a latter day David Capel, albeit a 10 times better fieldsman ?

      Like

      • Topshelf Feb 10, 2016 / 10:49 pm

        The shame is that he really is a fabulous fielder. He could be the best catcher I’ve ever seen.

        Capel might be a touch harsh… DeFreitas maybe? One of my favourite players as a kid, awesome outfielder, but never did as well as I really wanted him to.

        Like

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