The curious incident of a Cook in the limelight

In the Spotlight....
In the Spotlight….

Something a little odd happened yesterday.  England announced their World T20 squad, and to the surprise of no-one Kevin Pietersen was left out.  One or two journalists outside of Fleet Street – Andrew Miller at Cricinfo – did point out that on merit he should have been picked but of course it was always known this wasn’t about cricketing merit.  We’ve been here for some time of course, and while the ECB could have been clever and used this one short tournament to largely defuse the ongoing disconnect between themselves and large numbers of Outside Cricket people (amateur players, supporters that kind of thing – the worthless types who merely pay all their wages) they chose not to, and pretended it wasn’t happening.  Now that in itself wasn’t the odd thing, unless talking about the oddness and duplicity of the ECB itself.  No, the odd thing was that on the very day of the announcement, Alastair Cook suddenly was made available for interview at a Chance to Shine launch event, to numerous media sources.

Now clearly this is a fortuitous coincidence, what else could it be?  Having been silent since returning from South Africa (perfectly reasonably so) and without any cricket until the start of the domestic season, his schedule and that of the ECB clearly would have been rather busy, but obviously this one day was the notable gap in his busy diary, not a day earlier and not a day later.  As Goldilocks would have said, yesterday was “just right”.

Some cynics, who may also be such things as bilious inadequates, and are quite probably also impertinent, have wondered about this timing. One or two may have idly wondered if it was even deliberate, perhaps a specific arrangement to provide the press with ample copy gifted by the chosen one, there to fill numerous column inches and ensure that no one went off message and asked difficult questions.  Such dreadful scepticism should never form the basis of dealings with the ECB, who have after all shown themselves to be honest, upright types, not given to deceit, deception or subterfuge in any way, and certainly not the kind of body to brief against players or grotesquely insult the entire non-professional playing and watching base of England and Wales and then refuse to even acknowledge they might have annoyed anyone.

On that basis, one could hardly expect the written press to then acknowledge the timing, or to ever openly state that they were being played and draw attention to that, for that would mean that said interview might not transpire.  Equally, given the announcement of the squad for the World T20, it would of course be rather unusual to ask the England Test captain for his view on the exclusion of players who the great unwashed might be talking about.  For since they are nothing other than resources to be exploited, anything they might want to know is of no relevance whatsoever.  Now, doubtless when granted an audience with our noble lord, there would have been restrictions on the questions, so to pick an entirely random example from the air, it’s distinctly possible that the various ECB media teams may have expressed a preference for the Great Satan Pietersen’s name not to be mentioned.  And of course when faced with such a plaintive request, our brave souls with their pens could have no recourse except to obey – for how else would they gain the insights into the Glorious Leader’s thoughts and musings?

Now the press of course would rarely ever debase themselves by abiding by restrictions imposed by a sporting body in order to gain access to anyone, for such behaviour would be contrary to fearless and free journalism, and prevent interviews actually shining a light on what people might like to know rather than what those in authority want the message to be, so perhaps it is merely that there is no interest in the matter instead.  Perhaps no one cares or wants to know, which is why there are never any articles about Kevin Pietersen published, and nor are there any hits, let alone hundred of comments made.

In a pig’s eye.

Let’s be clear here, either the press supinely obeyed restrictions which is pathetic, or those involved didn’t think it worth asking the question, which is unprofessional.  It isn’t entirely black and white, for some who have been openly critical of many of the ECB’s actions over time bought into this, and presumably considered it worth the price in this instance in order to get the story. There is a professional decision to be made, and in each individual case it could be justified.  But when it is both so blatant and when it applies across every single person carrying the story, it moves beyond that.  When it is so obviously the ECB’s intention to stage manage the agenda and avoid scrutiny, then there really isn’t an excuse for it.  In some instances it’s entirely to be expected, in others, it’s frankly disappointing.

Perhaps less surprising, given the context, is that little of what Cook did say was given close examination, being allowed to speak for itself.  For example, he highlighted the problem of burn out for those players who play multiple formats for England, and he is right to as well, given how the ECB milk their players for as much revenue cricket as possible.  2016 has a ludicrous schedule with 16 Tests, 18 ODIs and 4 T20s – plus the World T20 itself.  So when he says

“Those two [Root and Stokes], 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.”

he is quite right.  Yet those with longer memories may recall the occasional previous player bemoaning the workload of playing in all formats, particularly when playing through injury, only to be told to “man up” and stop complaining.  Indeed, when attempting to reduce that workload, the response was to deem it a retirement from two forms of the game.  So Cook is quite right, but all it does is highlight the hypocrisy of the ECB, not for the first time.

With England engaged in a one day series in South Africa, Cook had observations about how England had played the game:

“The game of one-day cricket has changed over the last two years. We were slow to catch on to that. We were one year behind the revolution. The guys who have gone in now and taken it forward are brilliant to watch and exciting to watch.”

This is also true, and he’s entirely correct that they are exciting to watch as well.  Given how England approached the World Cup last year, and Cook’s own part in that approach, it remains intriguing how this can have failed to merit a follow up question in some quarters.  For this is the “problem” with Cook all too often, what he says is very often entirely fair comment, but the lack of context and reminders about where it came from simply make those statements, left alone as they are, quite ludicrous.  Cook is no fool, he knows exactly that he was part of the problem, for when asked about the same thing in the Daily Mail he said

“As captain, I was fully responsible for that. It’s hard to take, but we were one year behind the revolution.”

Cook’s response to his sacking as ODI captain is well known, but the acute personal disappointment was always going to colour his response.  So that realisation does him credit, though with the proviso that not all player are afforded the privilege of being forgiven for speaking out of turn.   But certainly the Guardian was feeling especially warm and friendly for it went on

 Cook scored 766 runs in seven innings in Australia in 2010‑11 – “probably the best I’ll ever bat” – and is now targeting the next Ashes series there, in 2017-18, possibly as his swansong.

which is an example of telling the truth, but entirely avoiding the wider truth.  For Cook batted like God in that series, but has a dire record in the other Ashes series he has played – so why bring up that one that is five years ago now?  How does that have greater relevance than the South Africa series where he again struggled?  Articles that cosy up to him do him a huge disservice, for they merely give the impression of an adoring journalist sat at his feet listening to him tell sad stories of the death of friends instead of a player who might actually have something of value to say.  Readers can spot adoring flattery a mile off.  In the same article Cook talked about the change in approach from England

“We got to No1 in the world by being really methodical, very insular, and we ground [the] opposition down. We played to our strengths hugely. We became a very efficient side who didn’t have many bad days,”

which is as good a summary of that England side as I’ve seen.  It’s insightful, honest and accurate.

Likewise when talking to Lawrence Booth in the Mail, his observation that

“I thought I was going to step down as captain after the Ashes, whether we won or lost, but the way this side had gone, it didn’t feel like the right time. What’s motivating me at the moment is not just the runs, but pushing the side forward.”

has the ring of truth to it, and as far as the Test team goes, it’s probably what most others expected at the time too.  But Cook actually captained that side fairly well, having been utterly woeful as skipper up to that point.  Carrying on was probably as beneficial to the team as it is to a player who has finally grown into the role somewhat. Having done so, it reached the point that he had actually genuinely become the captain.  Cook was quick to praise Bayliss and Farbrace, and they do deserve credit for ensuring that Cook actually captains the side, rather than being a cipher for a coach itching to get into the action.  It is entirely possible that Cook could have flowered as captain far earlier than he did.

Cook does also suffer because of entrenched views about him, so even saying

“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.”

can receive criticism for being viewed as a slight on the 2010 winning side, yet in the shortest form of the game luck does play a part.  That side could have gone out in the group stages had the weather been only slightly more unkind.  Cook is quite right.

He also suffers from the hypocrisy of those within the ECB structure.  Paul Downton, who Cook would hardly consider to have been entirely straight with him either, identified Kevin Pietersen’s desire to reach 10,000 runs as being emblematic of selfishness, yet Cook can be asked about the possibility of playing 200 Tests and say

“I’d love to do it”

Of course he would.  So would anyone in his position, and it would be a fine achievement too.  It is grossly unfair to criticise Cook for this as personal ambitions are entirely part of the game and are not just acceptable, but crucial for self-motivation.  Those who bang on about it being a team sport always miss the point; a batsman does not raise his blade on reaching a hundred because he’s really, really pleased for the team, nor does a bowler celebrate a five for by thinking instantly about the match position.  Thus it was equally unfair to use it as a stick to beat Pietersen with.  It is the double standards of response to the words depending on who says it.

Cook himself may wonder why he gets such a derisive response from so many quarters, having spoken and said many perfectly reasonable things.  The problem is those behind him and above him, and their positioning of him as the standard bearer for all they believe.  He bears some responsibility for allowing himself to be part of that, but he is not the main problem, he is simply being used to advance a specific agenda and image.  He is a fine opening batsman, not as great as his cheerleaders would claim him to be (in the same way that Pietersen wasn’t as great as some of his main cheerleaders would claim him to be – not that it is relevant in itself to what happened), but a very fine batsman still.  He took his time about it, but he has developed into a perfectly competent Test captain too.  The problem for him is that he is also the visible face of a regime that regards all others with complete contempt.  And that the press have allowed this to unfold and continue to uphold it.

As long as this state of affairs continues, the response will be the same.  Not from all, but from enough to worsen the reputation of all involved.


53 thoughts on “The curious incident of a Cook in the limelight

  1. paulewart Feb 11, 2016 / 8:19 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 the ghost of 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, as you say, 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nonoxcol Feb 11, 2016 / 8:25 pm

    I commend your choice of verb after the words “It is entirely possible that Cook could have”. Reminiscent of Dileep Premachandran’s choice of “swan about” when attacking the lackadaisical nature and blatant bias of ex-pros in the modern commentary box.

    Terrific piece, thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sherwick Feb 11, 2016 / 8:40 pm

    Going off topic, I must say that I find it tremendously insulting to be called a bilious inadequate. I much prefer being an ‘oddball’.

    Moving on to Cook, my main gripe with him is that I believe that he was the one who ran and told Flower what KP said in the players-only no holds barred team meeting. Let’s face it, it was either him or Prior and I can’t see Prior doing that sort of thing. That behaviour is the height of cowardice in my opinion.


    • OscarDaBosca Feb 11, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      Given the vitriol against Prior I think it was him, to my (admittedly bilious inadequate) mind Prior looks like the sort to tell tales on others. I think Cook is to supine to risk it. This is purely on how he looks and when I have seen him interviewed (and the fact that he didn’t seem to mind his wife sitting on Alan Stanfords lap). This is purely an opinion based on nothing more than a visceral instinct, but hey if Selvey can get away with this sort of shit and call it learned opinion surely I can 😂😂


      • RufusSG Feb 11, 2016 / 9:51 pm

        Regarding the Allen Stanford incident, Prior was by all accounts furious and shocked when he realised what had happened, especially given how uncomfortable his wife was apparently made to feel and went along with it only with extreme awkwardness.


      • Mark Feb 11, 2016 / 10:09 pm

        No doubt sidesplittin will be along in a minute to give you a like. A tag team?

        Or are you the same person?

        Liked by 1 person

      • RufusSG Feb 11, 2016 / 10:34 pm

        Nope, I’ve got no idea who that person is. If anything I’m flattered that I appear to have a fan of my gibberish!


    • Vicky Feb 11, 2016 / 10:46 pm

      Having been in those situations I doubt Cook and Prior deliberately went to Flower to dob anyone in, but went to him to discuss the proposals which the team felt etc. Except Flower probably took umbrage with them & before they realised it he had started to eke out who said what. i’ll bet they’ve gone ‘Kevin thinks you’re too X etc…’ to push their argument and he’s jumped on it as the criticism of him. I’ve seen it happen many times with certain Flower-like characters at work.

      Re Cook’s interview, one of the many criticisms I have with what he said was that Cook said Eng were one year behind the revolution, and ODI cricket has changed in the last 2 years. That’s Bull. ODI cricket has been changing and moving in the faster T20 direction since T20s were created and Eng have been behind the curve for years, shown once again by Cook’s appointment as ODI captain. We’ve been saying this for ages. Even Athers called it when he was appointed but then had to be put back in line. He’s trying to imply there was a radical shift hence why he has to depart. Accept it mate, ODIs were always like that but you were just rubbish at playing them!


      • Zephirine Feb 11, 2016 / 11:01 pm

        Yes, I blinked at that ‘one year behind’ comment. Try ‘decades’, Alastair.

        Excellent piece, legglance.


      • Arron Wright Feb 12, 2016 / 8:26 am

        What was it that wound you up so much about that particular tweet? Doesn’t seem, at first glance, to be quite in the league of stuff like “bilious inadequates”, “pipe down” or “fringe idiots”.

        Is it the obstinate refusal to see that your point goes beyond personal like/dislike of Cook?


        • LordCanisLupus Feb 12, 2016 / 9:01 am

          Because my original tweet was about the cynicism in the timing of the interview and eff all to do with the disliking of Cook. Then the we asked the questions and he answered is great. Depending on the questions.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 12, 2016 / 9:32 am

        I have never been of the belief that many of these interviews allow a free range of questions. Nearly all of them are likely to have been cleared ahead of the interview. I thought there was a reasonable amount of candidness about some of this, but then he’s more than a year apart from his exclusion from ODI cricket and 2 years away from having been in charge of the somehow overlooked winter.

        Elsewhere I have had exchanges with people who appear to be strong Cook fans and they get rather upset when I point out that his record against good quality fast bowling is somewhat disappointing when it is properly analysed. They almost want to overlook his utter failure in the two back to back series v Australia in 2013-14, let alone his performances as captain. I brought the subject up off the back of his poor SA tour. It does get certain peoples noses if you dare to veer off the conventional wisdom perceived by the MSM.


      • Arron Wright Feb 12, 2016 / 9:43 am

        Quite right it gets up their nose, even when you state it as bald fact without a value judgement.

        And yet the same people are very happy to tell us how mediocre Pietersen was for the last two years of his career. A phase of collective batting decline in which, of England’s top seven, only Cook made more centuries (6 to 4; Bell also made 4) and only Cook made centuries in as many different series (4).

        It took these people until April 2015 to realise *Trott* had actually been in a steeper decline than Pietersen’s, and that started way back in June 2011.

        My all-time favourite stat-mine though, has to be the one where they get on Pietersen’s back for averaging 44 after January 2009, compared to 50 before. That’s 44 – still higher than any England batsman has finished with in the 32 years between Boycott and KP, with the sole exceptions of Gower and Thorpe (and likely Cook, eventually).

        Yeah, because that’s such dismal company to have emulated.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 12, 2016 / 10:05 am

        Arron, I’m afraid that I’ve very much come across a Cooktard whose made many of the points that you make regarding Pietersen yet it was clear that even his decline wasn’t as marked as the inability of others to simply hold their own in that last year.

        The Cooktard started coming up with how the New Zealand mini series was evidence of his ability to play ‘pace’. I pointed out that it was a fine show against good seam and swing bowling but it wasn’t against pace. He didn’t have a response to that and neither did he have a response to the SA/Aus response. Another Cookie fanboy started whining about how unfair it was given that he was an opener, yet I find that an obtuse accusation too. There are many pitches around the world where the new ball comes on nicely and it is possibly the easiest time to score runs. Sure there are friendly surfaces for pace bowling too but the analysis overlooks a simple bottom line that their ‘favourite’ isn’t quite the legend they wish to make him when it comes to playing the finest attacks.


      • SimonH Feb 12, 2016 / 10:47 am

        The argument that does my head in more than any other is the one that Cook has batted mostly in ‘bowler friendly conditions’ so he’s in the #deservesmore category.

        Have they seen the pitches England have playing on in recent years (except when Strauss starts sending his emails)? Selvey tried it once. I pointed out (more politely than I’m going to here) that if that was true would he also apply that England’s bowlers? How shit must they be if they bowl in such bowler friendly conditions and only have career averages of 29 (as compared to about 23 for Steyn, Philander and Harris and about 28 for Johnson and Boult)? Realising the implications for St Jimmy, Selvey hasn’t tried that one since.

        Here are the batting averages by continent since March 2006 when Cook started playing:

        About two runs higher in Asia and West Indies, virtually identical in Oceania and lower in SA. There might be an argument for allowing a slight ‘batting premium’ in Asia but what is most striking about those figures is how little they vary.


  4. SimonH Feb 11, 2016 / 9:33 pm

    Australia won toss and bowling in Wellington. Teams and pitch as expected.

    Looks a good crowd.


    • LordCanisLupus Feb 11, 2016 / 9:44 pm

      Another dismissal showing hot spot is an unreliable witness.


  5. Mark Feb 11, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo

    You just won’t get this quality of writing in the MSM anymore. Which at least should force these fraud journalists to ask the question….. Why am I being paid to write such shit?

    You have to give the ECB some credit. They do try to stage manage these idiotic events now. The fact the media go with it, shows how morally bankrupt they are. (How else do you get the England team to come to your birthday party?)

    You are right to expose the double standards of Cooks 10,000 runs, and how it is hailed as Jesus turning water into wine. Contrast the reaction by the same media midgets to KP setting that same agenda.

    Then we come to Cooks….”shall I stay or shall I go” routine. (You put the left leg in, the left leg out. In out, shake it all about.) So now he wants to play 200 tests? Slightly different from when dear old Alice was going to get him to resign. yea right? The media set up the last Ashes about how Cook might go if England lost badly last summer. They should be employed by the Denver Broncos to run constant defence. (As long as it’s Cook they are defending) so now we get this disingenuous pile of crap…..

    ““I thought I was going to step down as captain after the Ashes, whether we won or lost, but the way this side had gone, it didn’t feel like the right time. What’s motivating me at the moment is not just the runs, but pushing the side forward.”

    BULLSHIT! This guy will cling on like a limpet, and make it sound as if he is doing them a favour.
    How nice of him to stop his lambing work and come and tell us that 20/20 is all about luck. Thanks a million.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Escort Feb 11, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    It has to be more than coincidence that The Cook is plastered all over the media when the world T20 squad was announced. The pandering and lack of serious questioning gives the impression of media spin and if you wish to call it ” turd polishing”
    The type of media interview that the likes of Alistair Campbell would be proud of


  7. jomesy Feb 11, 2016 / 10:40 pm

    Lovely piece LGL – and lovely tempo. I can’t stand Cook for how he’s behaved and the first half of your article indulged me. The second half provided a counterbalance.

    Pretty sure I still can’t stand him but I’ll have to ponder…and that’s what reading others thoughts is all about. So my thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Grenville Feb 11, 2016 / 11:30 pm

    One thing that occurred to me in thinking about KP again is that the part played by injury in Flower’s sides. It isn’t discussed much, or, more likely, I’ve not been paying attention. However, KP’s book practically opens with him telling us how high a pain threshold he has. His constant complaint is that he is crock and then bullied and briefed against when he takes action to restore his body. When you think about that and the litany of known injuries that team played with, Swann’s elbow, Prior’s achilles, Anderson’s rib, and quite possibly Cook’s back, it makes you think that one of the southern african born coaches problems was driving his players too hard, indeed beyond breaking point. You also wonder how many players were carrying serious injuries in the ‘difficult winter’. Perhaps part of the split is simply that the clique bought into the macho cult. KP did not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherwick Feb 11, 2016 / 11:37 pm

      Yes, well, at least Flower’s gone now and is not in charge of anything important.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ArushaTZ Feb 12, 2016 / 9:53 am

      There was also Bresnan’s elbow, Broad’s knees, Compton’s rib and Rankin’s everything.


  9. sidesplittin Feb 12, 2016 / 7:18 am

    Mark – you appear to do incandescent outrage pretty well judging by your style here, but to suggest I’m someone else for having the temerity to agree with views other than yours is churlish.


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 12, 2016 / 10:41 am

      Darn you, I was about to post the same. Clearly the ECB management have made another supreme cock-up with regards to their public affairs.


      • SimonH Feb 12, 2016 / 10:53 am

        PK, anyone of a certain age reading your comment started thinking….


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 12, 2016 / 11:06 am

        Lol, Simon that sums that lot up. Also I liked Arron’s reply to me above about the pitch kerfuffles re the Aussies last year. Amazing St Andrew of St John’s Wood’s bumbling got overlooked there isn’t it?


    • Arron Wright Feb 12, 2016 / 11:06 am

      Chasing a 100% increase.

      Gotta love these guys.


      • LordCanisLupus Feb 12, 2016 / 11:17 am

        Amused that on my view of Sale’s post there’s a KP link written by Marton Samuel.

        From December 2014.


      • SimonH Feb 12, 2016 / 11:19 am

        The mention of a more lucrative deal for the CC collapsing because of a lack of TV coverage is just as interesting. The CC would be almost perfect for some niche Freeview channel with a small but dedicated following and a good demographic for certain sponsors. But the ECB would rather sell the right not to cover it.

        All issues Andy Bull will be considering in a future edition of The Spin, no doubt.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Feb 12, 2016 / 11:20 am

        Seems they treat the sponsors the same way they treat the supporters. Who’d a thunk?

        Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Feb 12, 2016 / 11:19 am

      So Tom Harrison and Colin Graves (owner of a rival) took them for granted. Gone to hell in a handcart since Giles took on the Henry Kissinger role.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Feb 12, 2016 / 12:27 pm

        Insert joke about who will replace Waitrose as an appropriate sponsor for the ECB.

        Billy Smarts circus?
        Any company who doesn’t not want much publicity or TV exposure. Arms dealers? Oil companies?
        The IPL? The Cricketer magazine? The Daily Mail? Any Australian wine maker? The makers of Big Brother?


      • nonoxcol Feb 12, 2016 / 12:44 pm

        A company that has a map in the office with “HERE BE DRAGONS” plastered from Nottingham to Newcastle?


      • SimonH Feb 12, 2016 / 1:09 pm

        “Less charm than Giles Clarke” is going to look good on Tom Harrison’s C.V.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. jennyah46 Feb 13, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    Arrow and PKTroll – I don’t mind at all if you point out how poor Cook is against fast bowling. You can criticise him all you like for whatever you like. I just take the positives. 🙂


    • thelegglance Feb 13, 2016 / 1:04 pm

      Well I would do that for you Jenny but unfortunately I’m off to see the Who this evening, and I can’t be arsed 😉


  11. jennyah46 Feb 13, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    Sorry ArroN!


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 14, 2016 / 9:09 am

      I don’t know if you will get to read this Jenny, but I said Cook’s record against high class pace was ‘somewhat disappointing’ rather than terrible. That was in the context of the continual puffery that we have had in the press about how wonderful he’s been, even when his form has been poor and the nigh on exorcism of his back to back Ashes contributions. That was of relevance to the distractory interview the other day that as Dmitri has pointed out was done at the oddest of odd times. I will give Cook credit for being candid enough to admit some of his mistakes from that time which is quite good as all the usual media suspects have never done so.

      Of course he has had his successes with 2010/11 and a decent series in South Africa the winter before then but overall I consider his performances against the better attacks as short of true world class. James over at the TFT took that apart brilliantly.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. THA Feb 13, 2016 / 11:33 pm

    It’s an interesting question thrown up regarding England’s main sponsor. I used to work in sports sponsorship for a bit – even had a stint at IMG years ago – and the ECB’s scheme of selling cricket to fewer and fewer people for more and more money per head presents some obvious problems for a sponsor – if only a handful of corporate types are (semi) watching, no one is seeing your branding, and you’re not making any money.

    If illustration is needed of the state of awareness of cricket in England outside the bubble of the lifelong fan, look at the recent BBC SPOTY. In 2015 England won the Ashes and had the world’s number 1 Test batsman. Ten years ago he would have been knighted after a parade through London. This year, one of the biggest stars in world cricket failed to even make the shortlist. Among the people to be nominated ahead of Joe Root or any of the England cricket team were:

    Greg Rutherford
    Andy Peaty
    Lucy Bronze
    Matt Whitlock

    No, me neither.

    In Australia every commercial break has at least one ad featuring a Test player. Sometimes several in a row. Sponsors climb all over each other to get a piece of the action because everyone watches, everyone knows who they are. During the Big Bash you sometimes have cricket live and free on two channels simultaneously during prime time (when it coincides with a Test or ODI). In England, none of the England team can make it in to a popularity contest ahead of obscure long jumpers. If I were spending my company’s marketing budget I’d have a tough job justifying spunking it away on a prospect like that

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Helen Grace Feb 16, 2016 / 5:58 pm

    I support chance to shine: it’s a great organisation and many England players including Butler, Bell etc do a lot of this stuff, it happens regularly. Cook’s done numerous stuff for chance to shine and other charities as have many international and county players. The fact it happened on the same day as the T20 squad was announced may or may not have been deliberate but personally I don’t care: if it raises the profile of the charity then fine. As for the media not asking about KP: maybe like the rest of us they are bored to death of hearing about him. It may come as a great shock to those who congregate on this blog but he really isn’t that big an issue for cricket supporters: most people are interested in the England team and have concerns about how the game is run: (big 3, county game, getting cricket back on free to air tv again etc), but find the insipid obsession of some over KP both irritating and irrelevant. I am genuinely beginning to think that KP supporters have no interest in cricket at all and only have interest in one man. Before anyone pipes up with the usual abuse about how I’m an ECB lacky etc don’t bother, instead try understanding that you don’t speak for cricket supporters inside or outside cricket.


    • thelegglance Feb 16, 2016 / 6:07 pm

      I only have one question: What makes you think you do?


    • BoredInAustria Feb 16, 2016 / 6:53 pm



    • nonoxcol Feb 16, 2016 / 9:47 pm

      Please come again. What I have found over the years on social media is that people who feel their views are mocked and marginalised, but are lucky enough to have found some like minds, respond really well to patronising insults from sneering, self-righteous strangers.

      Did you miss the Dale Carnegie module in school?


    • LordCanisLupus Feb 16, 2016 / 11:10 pm

      I know I don’t. Don’t know how many bloody times I have to say I don’t represent anyone but myself, but keep reading what you want to.
      Bloody hell.


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