Four Hits to the Win

Spare a thought this evening for Ben Stokes, a player for whom most things have gone right the last 18 months or so.  With England needing to restrict the West Indies to fewer than 18 runs off the final over, and with Marlon Samuels marooned at the non-strikers end, confidence must have been high.  Four consecutive sixes to win the match with two balls to spare probably wasn’t figuring in many worst nightmares for the England team, and yet that’s exactly what happened.

And you’ve got to laugh.  Not because the England players remotely deserve the pain they are going through in any way whatsoever – but because sport can be magnificent sometimes, no matter how much administrators try to ruin it.  And make no mistake, that was magnificent.  West Indies were if not quite dead and buried then certainly on life support, England on the verge of victory.  And yet, there’s always the slight possibility in any sporting encounter for the extraordinary to happen.  It doesn’t very often, for if it did the exceptional would become the mundane, but when it does it is enough to make any viewer apart from the most partisan and one eyed stand and applaud.  The essence of joy in sport is to chuckle delightedly at special achievements.

The incredible finish doesn’t alter the truth that England could and should have posted a much better score than they did; some dismissals were unfortunate, some a little careless, albeit within the confines of a format where a high risk approach is a necessity and often highly rewarded.   It is difficult and unreasonable to criticise players for doing the same thing that gains them success when on occasion it leads to failure, unless that failure is evidence of failing to learn.  Equally, safety first is never a profitable means of playing 20 over cricket, but a fair few England players will look on their final with regret.  England’s disastrous start in reaching 23-3 was one they never entirely recovered from, although Joe Root once again did his best, and David Willey in the closing overs got England up to some kind of score.

One of the key arts of captaincy is for decisions and gambles to come off, and in attempting to defend a moderate total, opening the bowling from one end with Joe Root was definitely a gamble, but one that did indeed come off, removing both Gayle and Charles in his opening over. From there the West Indies were struggling to catch up, and the required rate began to rise.  Marlon Samuels received a life when initially given out caught behind only to be reprieved by the TV umpire.  This is as unsatisfactory as it always is.  It’s been demonstrated on so many occasions that foreshortening makes the ball look like it touched the ground when it didn’t, to the point where the late Tony Greig showed a ball several inches off the ground appearing to be grassed.  Did it carry?  Who knows.  Television is a poor means of examination precisely because it is fundamentally misleading.  Those saying it touched the ground are doing so on the same flawed evidence in the first place – it is simply impossible to know.  The umpires need to take control here and make decisions, and onlookers need to accept their judgement as being based on better evidence than the television can provide, that of seeing the action in three dimensions.

Willey was the pick of the bowlers, alongside Adil Rashid, as their ability to restrict the batsmen first tilted the game towards England, and then seemingly had it won.

The fall out from the tournament will undoubtedly continue over the next few days.  Darren Sammy had plenty to say at the presentation, not holding back in his criticism of the WICB and stating his uncertainty about whether the team would play together again. There’s no doubt at all that cricket in the Caribbean is in serious trouble; where the primary responsibility lies is open to debate, but if this victory concentrates minds in a region where cricket remains a passion, then perhaps it will be worthwhile.  The problem is that we’ve been here before, and it made little difference.  There are no signs it will this time either, for a disconnect between administrators and players and supporters are hardly the sole prerogative of the English.

If there’s one thing to act as a saving grace in England’s defeat, it’s that it has stopped some of the more predictable sources from gloating about how the ECB have handled things perfectly over the last couple of years and how a win would have justified it all.  It clearly doesn’t, in the same way that defeat doesn’t make those criticisms correct either.  But the desire from some to cheerlead the actions of a board that’s demonstrably untrustworthy remains as downright peculiar as it ever was.  With 19 required off the final over, the suspicion that “Who needs Kevin Pietersen?” tweets and articles were about to be sent out is a strong one.  And here’s the point, that argument is valid win or lose, it’s just that it tends not to appear when England lose.  For those it will not present a problem, for they will doubtless pop up again next time the players on the pitch perform well, the obsession is peculiar from those who profess not to care.

And the England team?  They’ve performed well in this tournament, probably significantly above expectations.  Eoin Morgan has not had the best time with the bat, but has led the team well.  The bowlers improved by the game, while the batsmen were explosive, and reasonably consistent, notably the outstanding Root.  Those players will be crushed by the loss, and particularly the way it happened, and exhortations to be proud of themselves will fall on deaf ears.  That’s the nature of elite sportsmen and women – second is nowhere.  But England do have a collection of highly talented cricketers, and despite the ructions above have been a credit to themselves and the shirt they wear.

The tournament itself is a testament to the belief that less is more, for by going straight to semi-finals rather than quarters, each group match became critical.  The main competition was short and sharp, entertaining and often nail biting.  The continuing disdain for the Associate nations and the way they were kept out of sight before the entry of the Test playing countries remains as contemptible as it appeared a month ago.  In 50 over cricket, the ICC have gone for the ultimate – making the tournament long and boring and excluding the outsiders to peering through the gates at the party within. There isn’t so much wrong with cricket that it couldn’t be improved by exiling the sport’s bureaucrats and power hungry businessmen to a remote island somewhere.

As for the media, there will doubtless be much wailing about the outcome here, but the reality of T20 is being wise after the event to explain wins or losses only makes sense where a team is clearly off the pace.  England could have won today, but didn’t.  It’s just sport – trying to find explanations in a very tight match is merely speculative.  There was a huge amount wrong with how England played the game for about a decade, the way they are playing it now is exactly how they should play, and the antithesis of how many in the ECB establishment allowed them to play for a long time.  And when that basic concept has been corrected, to the credit of players, captain and coach, it is a bit much for those who stood in the way all that time to try to claim the credit.  Some you win, some you lose – but play the right way and the opportunities to win are much greater.

Well done the West Indies, both men and women.  The party tonight will be good.



107 thoughts on “Four Hits to the Win

  1. Clivejw Apr 3, 2016 / 6:46 pm

    Good piece, Dmitri, I agree with every word.

    KP24 has only had one thing to say on this result on Twitter tonight — words of compassion for Ben Stokes. This seems to be more than many people at the Guardian can muster.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Clivejw Apr 4, 2016 / 3:45 am

        Sorry, Vian, I didn’t notice the byline.


    • jasspass Apr 3, 2016 / 6:50 pm

      This article is by your beloved Vian,the DT champion.


  2. jasspass Apr 3, 2016 / 6:46 pm

    I agree with all that you said,but those 4 deliveries were poor,no bouncers,nothing outside off,just 4 half volleys and Brathwait felt like having nets.England played well upto that stage but became short of brain if I borrow Mark Nicholas’s wise words😜😜😜.In the semis and final WI showed why no ground is big enough infront of their muscles,handpower and batspeed.Deserved champions WI!!!!


    • thelegglance Apr 3, 2016 / 6:49 pm

      They weren’t great, no. And then there’s the pressure after the first one has disappeared for six! I think the third one was a complete miscue to be fair.


      • jasspass Apr 3, 2016 / 7:00 pm

        Agree about the third one,but England should have delayed each ball just as Dhoni did against the Banglas,India completed that over in 18 mins,I Dont think it would have changed the result just coz of the immense muscle power these WI got,but Stokes and Morgan should have tried something different. England were great in this tournament but luck and muscles were with the WI just like in the semis.
        This tournament and England’s progress proved how bad the previous English coaches were.


      • d'Arthez Apr 3, 2016 / 7:19 pm

        I wondered about that India-Bangladesh game. How come Dhoni got away without a suspension for a dreadful overrate?


      • fred Apr 3, 2016 / 8:49 pm

        I thought that last over was particularly cynical and disrespectful, in the way Dhoni delayed it endlessly to rob the batsmen of any momentum. Dhoni doesn’t see it the same way, as he said afterwards that he knew umpires can’t penalise the last over, so he could take as long as he wanted. It’s within the rules, but that’s all you can say about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Elaine Simpson-Long Apr 3, 2016 / 7:11 pm

    I watched nearly every match of this tournament, only looking after grandchildren causing me to miss a couple, and I thought the entire thing was great. Pity the fun and enthusiasm and joy from the crowds could not be seen on terrestrial tv so that we could join in. the week prior to the main tournament I watched all the associate matches and they were competitive, fun and keenly contested. To shove them off in a corner with hardly anybody watching was an insult and time this was changed.

    The match this afternoon was fantastic and nail biting to the final over and what an over. I love it when sport behaves in this way, it lifts the spirit no matter who wins and I was on my feet cheering at those incredible sixes.

    And best of all, no Sir Ian in the commentary box boring us all with his tales of how many bottles of wine he drank last night and how many curries he has consumed and boring us all to death.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. SimonH Apr 3, 2016 / 7:13 pm

    The crowd was 49,800.


    • d'Arthez Apr 3, 2016 / 8:01 pm

      In the group stages, the same venue had an attendance of 61 080 for a single match. Clearly the locals don’t love cricket. Or alternatively, the English players don’t really sell. So, when will the ICC take remedial action, and ensure that either India never get to organize an ICC tournament again, or England will be banned from participating in them?

      After all these would be very meritocratic measures, according to a certain G. Clarke.


      • jasspass Apr 3, 2016 / 8:20 pm

        Really!!! 49k not enough!!?? India is not in the finals so some people might have decided to watch it in the comfort of their home rather than sweating out at 30 degrees.But 49k still attended the match mainly expecting a Gayle storm,I think 61k people attended the India vs Pakistan match and you cannot expect the same crowd for an Eng vs WI in India or anywhere on earth for that matter.So stop complaining and appreciate how good the tournament was,only pain is South Africa and their inablity to win anything in World cup.

        NB: Poor English and grammar is my birth right,so dont complain,just read as it is…😃😃😜😜


      • Zephirine Apr 3, 2016 / 9:31 pm

        D’Arthez was being sarcastic 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark Apr 3, 2016 / 7:40 pm

    Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous!

    The finish was what makes sport exceed written staged drama. As you say, it very rarely happens like that, but when it does sport is elevated to the gods. In addition this was a triumph of flair and unpredictability against boring notions of trust. The Mavericks against the rest. And a team governed by another idiotic board coming together with their natural talent, and winning.

    And for the cherry on the cake the charmless tweets of Paul Newman. Remember folks this is the man who likes to lecture about the “spirit of cricket.” He wouldn’t know what good spirit was if it punched him on the nose. I predicted an England win and with 19 overs gone it looked in the bag. But that is what flair and special talent can do. It’s why I put it above trust every time. It’s why I have resented one of our most natural talents thrown out of the team for no good reason. And then spat on and laughed at and ridiculed. Well that is what flair can do. Sometime it can bite you in the arse.

    The bitterness of some of the reactions must be because all the “Strauss is wonderful” articles will now have to be put on ice. Shame! Time perhaps to revisit Sleveys piece about how the WI were better off without all those players with big egos and flair. Remember that one?

    And then a marvelous speech by the WI captain dishing his moronic board, Warne, and Mark Nicholas. This will not be well received in the boardrooms of cricket central. Players are to be seen and not heard. Well stuff it. I would much rather hear the truth from the heart than the bland corporate bullshit that passes for honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • RufusSG Apr 3, 2016 / 8:55 pm

      Mark (if you don’t mind me saying, since I know how much of a fan you are of my work…;)), some (if by no means all) of this seems a bit unfair. I’d argue that this England team has a lot of individual flair, and have certainly shown an penchant for unpredictability in the last few months – it was just a separate piece of incredible flair from Carlos Brathwaite that lost England a game they’d looked likely to win due to their general excellence with the ball.

      I’m aware of your views on separating the ECB from the team itself, and whilst I completely understand and respect your position (although I personally disagree), neither “trust” nor Andrew Strauss lost England this game. Is utilising natural ability important? Absolutely. But I don’t think this is the best example you can use as a stick to beat Strauss with.

      I do completely agree with you on Sammy’s speech. Excellent to see him publicly attacking the WICB for the useless organisation that it is – I admire his integrity greatly.


    • Sherwick Apr 3, 2016 / 9:24 pm

      Agree with every single word, Mark.


      • Mark Apr 3, 2016 / 9:34 pm

        Cheers, Thanks a lot!


  6. oreston Apr 3, 2016 / 7:58 pm

    It was a hell of a good game of cricket by any standards and a great advertisement for the possibilities of the T20 format, to which I’ve come round somewhat during this tournament. Plenty of tactics on display – not just hit ‘n’ giggle. I got pretty tired of the Indian TV ads. every five minutes, but beggars can’t be choosers 😤 Would the result have been different if Morgan had tossed the ball to someone else for the final over? We’ll never know, but the bottom line is that England were probably 20-30 runs short against that Windies batting line-up and did bloody well to get as close to victory as they did.


  7. MM Apr 3, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    I would much rather hear the truth from the heart than the bland corporate bullshit that passes for honesty

    Amen, brother Mark.


  8. Mark Apr 3, 2016 / 8:17 pm

    The verdicts on now. This should be good for a laugh.


  9. SimonH Apr 3, 2016 / 8:27 pm

    Cheerful thought for the evening: West Indies haven’t qualified for the next ICC tournament (the 2017 CT in England).


  10. Mark Apr 3, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    Charles Colevile….” The Wi board will go ballistic….can you imagine if Alasdair Cook gave a speech like that? The ECB would God mad.”

    Dream on Charles………


    • escort Apr 3, 2016 / 8:45 pm

      errr umm errr ummm errrr……….


      • Sherwick Apr 3, 2016 / 9:22 pm

        Cookie, is that you?


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Apr 3, 2016 / 9:05 pm

      Well he did have a rather spiteful and petulant outburst a short while after the 50 overs world cup when his words seemed a rather unsubtle dig at Morgan. I don’t recall him receiving a public dressing down from the management then.


  11. Topshelf Apr 3, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    It was a great game of cricket, and I am sad we didn’t win it. Not as sad as my kids, or even my Sky-less neighbour who joined us to watch it – doing my bit to break the paywall. I feel for Stokes, much as it was a good lesson for my older boy who likes to bowl the death overs and so far has met with only success doing it. If you have the balls to take on the responsibility, you have to accept that sometimes you are going to be kicked in them. I’m sure Stokes will recover, but it was a grim way to lose it.

    But was it only me that thought Stokes was struggling from his first over? He looked like he was really feeling his back throughout. Would the gutsy captaincy call have been to throw the ball to Willey?

    And can anyone explain what Jordan was bowling at the death? Having no long-off just seemed weird to me after all his success previously bowling yorkers. There seemed to be a length plan to begin with, which made no sense. I know it didn’t cost us ultimately, but I spent the last 4 overs very puzzled by our bowling plans. Stokes will probably never miss 4 yorkers in a row again; whether full and straight to a massive straight hitter was the best plan is a question that will probably haunt him and Morgan for some time.


    • sidesplittin Apr 3, 2016 / 9:00 pm

      He couldn’t have thrown the ball to Willey – he’d already bowled his full complement of four.


      • hatmallet Apr 3, 2016 / 9:04 pm

        The default plan would have been for Stokes to bowl 18 and 20, Willey got 18 as he had bowled so well.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Apr 3, 2016 / 9:08 pm

        The management of the bowling overs was thrown out with Ali not having been called on to bowl. That in itself would have given more dealth bowling options, but then again England would have banked on Jordan and Stokes bowling the dealth overs after having done so in earlier games.


      • Topshelf Apr 3, 2016 / 9:14 pm

        Very fair point – not sure what I was thinking. Maybe Stokes-Willey-Jordan for the last 3 then. Just seemed to me that Stokes was a bit off. He would obviously never admit it (to himself or Morgan), so that’s where you need a strong captain.

        On the other hand, maybe Morgan did know, and the plan was to give a struggling Stokes as many runs as possible to play with in the last over.


  12. pktroll (@pktroll) Apr 3, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    I missed the fallout from the game as I was off out as soon as the game finished. Although I have a lot of respect for the likes of Sammy, I’m not sure about all of those participants, I feel that some of them have their crosses to bear in what has transpired between them and the WICB. That said WICB are hardly that upstanding an organisation to say the least.


  13. LordCanisLupus Apr 3, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    Lord knows I’ve had a go at the press for being soft soap on England, but this is out of line. Pure and simple.

    i might be accused of having my cake and eating it, but this isn’t something I’d say. The bloke relishes the challenge, held some clutch catches in the outfield, made a massive double at CT, played a large role in a win against NZ. The bloke doesn’t choke. He wants it.

    He’s not my favourite player, but no way, absolutely no way, does he deserve this.

    Chin up, Ben.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 3, 2016 / 10:00 pm

      Something for the players to remember when their governing body is telling them to go on jaunty golf trips with journalists. Ben Stokes does not deserve that.

      Then again, it’s the Express. Not exactly a bastion of cricket coverage. But is does again show its the players that get the blame, and the management that get the credit. No wonder the WI players are going freelance.


      • LordCanisLupus Apr 3, 2016 / 10:06 pm

        I doubt very much Gideon Brooks wrote that headline.

        I have an attachment to the Express. Not now, but in the past. The way it has gone makes me weep.


    • nonoxcol Apr 4, 2016 / 5:15 am

      As soon as I saw that exact line on Twitter I knew some rag would actually go with it.


  14. LordCanisLupus Apr 3, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    I’ll probably write some more on the Final in a day or so. I’m not gutted. Not even close. But you lot knew that. I can’t separate great lads from the organisation that runs the game in this country. But you knew that.

    Darren Sammy’s speech should speak to the heart of all sports fans. It’s not confined to the West Indies. The West Indies talent pool, as Blackwash tried to illustrate, was plentiful. It produced great players despite itself. Not just fast bowlers, but Viv, Gordon, Dessie, Jeffrey, Brian, Shiv et al. The sport has done all it can to make sure that never happens again.

    But today the format that allows their players to earn the sort of money that their counterparts in other countries can aspire to gave them another day in the sun. A finish for the ages. A miracle. The bloke who hit those four sixes has gone for around $620k in the IPL auction. It’s all well us longing for a return to test glory, when Carlos can make himself settled for life for a few seasons there.

    Sammy spoke out against the suits. It won’t end well for him. It rarely does when you do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Apr 3, 2016 / 10:12 pm

      Hear hear Dmitri.

      I agree with all of that. The WI have now won both the men’s and the woman’s 20/20 and the under 19. The idea that their governing body is so crap, and that world cricket would allow such mismanagement is shocking. Fred said below he doesn’t agree with the old notion that cricket needs a strong WI. I disagree. We don’t have that many teams. WI bring something different.

      Sammy will be air brushed out. But he spoke a truth today, Dave Cameron of then WI should resign tomorrow. But he won’t.


    • Burly Apr 3, 2016 / 10:54 pm

      Unfortunately, Marlon Samuels being a massive twat is going to overshadow anything Sammy says.

      Never thought we were likely to win this; our semi-miraculous monstering of NZ came courtesy of a lot of bad balls getting wickets, and for the second major limited overs tournament in a row Eoin Morgan has absolutely stunk the place out. Averaged 18 at the ODI WC, averaged 13 here. You just can’t carry someone like that in such an important role, and I hate the fact that Vince and Taylor have not been give a fair shake at it.

      England overperformed IMO, and that’s fine – rather that than underperforming. Let’s make sure it’s not a one-off please. And that means being willing to be critical even when you’ve done well.


      • Sherwick Apr 3, 2016 / 11:10 pm

        Simples. Drop Morgan for KP and make KP captain.
        That would be fun for all sorts of reasons…
        That’s from me! 🙂


    • nonoxcol Apr 4, 2016 / 6:36 am

      He should have a “kick me” sign on his back, a la George McFly. That “defence” of the four year gap between WT20s is pitiful. Still, a little bit of honesty seeped out with regard to Indian revenue. Love love love that bit about “entitlement” on the part of…. associates.

      I liked Jon Hottten’s “satire is dead” tweet in response.


    • nonoxcol Apr 4, 2016 / 6:41 am

      Also, wonderful to see the contrast between people like Jon Hotten, Peter Miller & Peter DellaPenna on one side and Newman, Etheridge and the BBC’s toe-curling Joe ‘Royal Correspondent’ Wilson on the other.


    • d'Arthez Apr 4, 2016 / 6:54 am

      Funny how Richardson never mentions that several Full Members also get heavy subsidies by the ICC, for non-performance (Zimbabwe springs to mind). Funny how Richardson never mentions that 7 out of 10 Full Members get subsidies to play Tests (even if the Big 3 cannot be bothered to stick to the original deal). Funny how Richardson never mentions that India and Pakistan got more money for their early knockout in 2007, than Ireland did for progressing further; in effect both BCCI and PCB got subsidised by the ICC to the detriment of Ireland.

      Funny how Richardson calls for “even contests”, despite the whole main tournament being nothing more but a glorified coin tossing competition. Toss won 16 games, and lost 3. With 90+% of the thumping wins coming from won tosses. And it is not like the standard of play from say Sri Lanka, South Africa or Pakistan was particularly high. Although at least the latter two teams can cite losing too many tosses as a contributing factor to their early exits.

      Funny how the diabolic scheduling does not get mentioned. That is why it was a shame that India were not eliminated on a N/R courtesy of a washout against Australia. The ICC would not have known how quickly to (re)introduce reserve days to avoid such fiascos. But the Associates simply have to suck it up. And wait for 4 years before they get another opportunity to be eliminated on rain. By the way, in both the WT20s in which Ireland got eliminated on rain (N/R against WI in 2012; now a N/R against BD in 2016), West Indies won.

      Funny how the dreadful organisation does not get mentioned. Ticketing fiasco, the whole Delhi saga, dreadful travel itineraries, the slow pace of the tournament (1.2 games / day on average, that is almost as slow as the ODI World Cup; the 2019 edition will have less than 1 game / day on average).

      Associates have a sense of entitlement? Funny, how ALL the Full Members feel entitled NOT having to play the likes of Ireland, Afghanistan, and a host of other upcoming Associates. Pakistan and Zimbabwe are the only notable exceptions to the rule. And well, given the fact that Zimbabwe has lost its last 4 series against Afghanistan (2 T20I and 2 ODI series), to keep on giving preferential treatment to Zimbabwe is not exactly meritocratic. But methinks G. Clarke persistently confuses meritocratic with aristocratic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Apr 4, 2016 / 8:25 am

        Ireland got the rain issue in 2010. We were very lucky to qualify through the first group then. We needed to defend 120 to get through. Rain came with Ireland 5 for 1.


      • d'Arthez Apr 4, 2016 / 3:35 pm

        I had forgotten about 2010. Thanks for the correction.


  15. SimonH Apr 3, 2016 / 10:44 pm


    • Topshelf Apr 3, 2016 / 11:01 pm

      Two “journalists” prefer shorter tournaments so they can be away from home for less time and write fewer words about players they already know. Shocker.

      Blinkered bullshit is what it is. I had the most enjoyable – and competitive – season of my playing life in an associate country. Their strategic statement now includes “Create an organisation that is less reliant on the ICC… Identify and attract 3rd party financial contributors.”

      The best parts of the tournament were the first round/pre-qualifying, NZ matches, and the final. Another couple of lesser teams will only improve the spectacle, and help grow the sport. If we only include countries where “cricket is big” at this rate it will end up being India v Pakistan forever. With India winning every match…


    • Sherwick Apr 3, 2016 / 11:05 pm

      Apparently, they don’t understand the word ‘world’.
      Are they *really* Oxbridge educated???


    • nonoxcol Apr 4, 2016 / 5:26 am

      I just can’t see how Giles Clarke gets away with minimal scrutiny. Anyone?

      Note also these two are on nearly every TMS lunchtime journo slot.


    • d'Arthez Apr 4, 2016 / 6:29 am

      Countries where cricket is big: Let’s put in a 5% cut off. If less than 5% of a country’s population watches a match, cricket is not big there.

      I wonder if the ECB is willing to take up this proposition.


      • SimonH Apr 4, 2016 / 8:14 am

        Countries where cricket is big? Let’s play a five Test series against Nepal where cricket is massive…..

        The only associate they give a stuff about is the USA. If the USA finally get over their wretched governance and string a few results together, watch them fall over themselves to get the USA into global tournaments. That’s one reason why they favour a Super 12, the other being that it gives India another guaranteed game.

        Newman’s continuing notion that the length of a tournament is linked to the number of teams taking part in it beggars belief.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Apr 4, 2016 / 8:36 am

        Reading Richardson again, a couple more points:

        1) “By adding one or two teams, or one team to each group in that first round, I think if we can do that number one we’ll provide more opportunities to other teams but number two, if you do lose two matches you’ve still got a chance in a group of five whereas in a group of four, you’re dead and buried”.

        Number two is what it’s all about. They looked down the barrel of India losing to Bangladesh and didn’t like what they saw. At least the media training is working in that he remembered to mention number one.

        2) “They had to compete to get into the tournament with other teams and it’s a bit like Wimbledon or any of these major tournaments where you go through pre-qualifying sometimes, you make the tournament itself and unfortunately you lose in the first round and you’re on your way”.

        Which ignores the pre-qualifying tournament the associates had already played to get into another pre-qualifying tournament. And even Wimdledon doesn’t try to pretend that Eastbourne is actually Wimbledon.

        By the way, I can’t find a single UK MSM source that is reporting any of what Richardson said.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Apr 4, 2016 / 8:41 am

        Given my lack of TV access, and the fact I haven’t yet read ‘Second XI’, I can’t even claim to be an associate “hipster” (itself a Vic Marksian term meant to subtly denigrate those with a concern beyond the end of their nose).

        But the generation gap between the permanently incurious, ignorant MSM and the online writers on this subject, and wider governance issues, is still astounding. I end up wondering if half of them even know the WT20 is now quadrennial rather than biennial, still less care about the obvious implication for those entitled upstart associates.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Apr 4, 2016 / 8:55 am

        Is this a re-definition of optimism, or….?


      • SimonH Apr 4, 2016 / 9:31 am

        Definitely “or…..”:

        The key phrase being “where the game will expand”. In other words, it ain’t expanding anywhere else. Forget Test status for Ireland or anyone else, forget cricket in the Olympics, wait for Selvey to start supporting the 10-team ODI WC…..


      • Benny Apr 4, 2016 / 9:42 am

        About the idea of USA becoming a major player – I suspect it would terrify the ICC. Can you see the USA being dominated by them? Wasn’t it the FBI who initiated the proceedings against FIFA corruption? Bring it on


      • SimonH Apr 4, 2016 / 10:13 am

        Benny, an excellent point (except it isn’t really “the ICC” of course).

        They are salivating at the prospect of a major US TV deal for cricket. If they could get that without a USA team participating they’d love it. In reality, they know that’s not going to happen.

        Greed versus fear? It’s as old as the hills….. but the recent track-record of those who govern cricket suggest who is going to win this latest round…..


  16. Sherwick Apr 3, 2016 / 11:19 pm

    Oh dear:
    ‘Well, he doesn’t learn,’ said Samuels at the post-match press conference. ‘I didn’t even face a ball and he had so much to say to me that I knew I had to be right there at the end … again. That’s what I thrive on.’
    ‘Stokes is a nervous laddie, so what I told Brathwaite was to just hold his pose and he’s going to bowl a couple of full tosses — as always — and it will work in our favour.’

    Why does Stokes do that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Apr 4, 2016 / 9:52 am

      Because it’s him. I don’t have the slightest problem with it – Samuels is hardly a shrinking violet, and if in the final over Stokes had yorked him and said in a press conference something similar, where’s the difference? Winners are grinners and can say what they want.


      • Alec Apr 4, 2016 / 12:39 pm

        I myself am generally unconcerned about what cricketers say, especially in the moment when feelings are running high. In Samuels’ case, he’s in so many respects what any sporting tournament needs- a villain (at least in the sporting rather than administrative sense).

        A ban for chucking. A ban for speaking to a bookie. A willingness to give constant verbal in spite of an inability to always back it up on the field of play. The rather paradoxical ability to also back up the verbal on the field of play in 2 tournament finals.

        Since the retirement of Ricky Ponting, there has been a dearth of the types that make you simultaneously swoon with admiration while you cringe with despair/anger/annoyance. Australia (once so reliable) gave us Michael Clarke who could never quite convince, Mitchell Johnson who was only ever patchy at his best, and Shane Watson who always appeared to be an undeserved punchline to an occasionally amusing joke.

        Maybe Samuels’ finest trait however is his open hatred of Shane Warne. Never in the history of human conflict has one player so perfectly summed up the antipathy of the viewing public towards a player-cum-broadcaster. Perhaps he should be brought on Cricket Writers on TV and Sky can charge pay-per-view to watch him go all out against Mike Selvey.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Pontiac Apr 4, 2016 / 7:26 pm

        Marlon Samuels is also /funny/. I have to admit, I thought he was Done and shouldn’t have been in the squad, but he had a great tournament.


    • Nicholas Apr 4, 2016 / 9:01 am

      Yes, fair play to Mark Nicholas, who I like a lot, although his writing style does grate somewhat, and I often feel it pompous and almost colonial. It’s not the first time he’s made a slip with an unfortunate turn-of-phrase and I don’t think his writing style necessarily helps his cause sometimes, but that was an excellent piece. I was amused that he played the “Malcolm Marshall was my mate” card, though, which is something he always does whenever the issue of race ever occurs.


      • Clivejw Apr 4, 2016 / 10:15 am

        I thought the attempt to attribute his remark to racism was pretty crass, actually. Yes, his writing style is often a tad pompous and he can be patronizing, but his heart is generally in the right place.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Apr 4, 2016 / 10:21 am

        It’s virtually impossible to answer that charge except to deny it. Which is why it’s so unfair to lob it in someone’s direction as an easy put down.


      • Nicholas Apr 4, 2016 / 4:00 pm

        I don’t disagree with you Clive, as I said above, I generally like Mark Nicholas a lot, I really like his commentary (which I know others can’t stand, but it goes the right way for me) and I think he’s peerless as a TV presenter. But I’ve always found his writing style a bit self-indulgent. I just couldn’t help raising a smile as Nicholas mentioned Malcolm Marshall in his article today as the first thing I thought last night when all this arose was that Nicholas would be playing that card in his defence.

        But I am in no way accusing his initial comment as being racist or Nicholas having any racist overtones in his writing.

        And I should reiterate – I like Mark Nicholas a lot, he’s just fun to have a little laugh at once in a while.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Grumpy Gaz Apr 4, 2016 / 6:32 am

    Well I’m going to dive in and say it; maybe, just maybe if England had actually picked their best team, like the Windies did, they would have had those few extra runs needed to win it. We will never know but they deliberately chose to field weaker a side than they could have done and then lost by tiny margin.

    And while I have a certain amount of sympathy for Ben Stokes I haven’t forgotten that he was the one who kicked it all off against Samuels in the first place. If some guy is an obnoxious sledging dick on a cricket pitch, it would be awfully hard not to rub his nose in it when you get the chance later.


    • MM Apr 4, 2016 / 11:24 am

      I agree GG. A Marlon salute was sadly missing yesterday, but that’s probably for the best.


  18. Sherwick Apr 4, 2016 / 8:06 am

    Just saw thst KP’s comment on Facebook (‘Just a hiccup Ben Stokes. Happens to all great players who put their hands up under pressure.’) has 54,000 likes and hundreds of mostly very positive comments.

    54,000!! Since yesterday!


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 4, 2016 / 8:11 am

      The beast. The horror. Revelling in a fellow pro’s misery for Facebook likes. Scum.

      Think his enemies.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 4, 2016 / 8:34 am


      I doubt a Peter Hayter column gets anything near that readership. No wonder he keeps slipping KP references into his work.


      • thelegglance Apr 4, 2016 / 9:54 am

        Cricket articles get pretty small numbers these days unfortunately.


    • Sherwick Apr 4, 2016 / 9:19 am

      Ah yes, quite, LCL.

      The scum! Vermin!


    • Zephirine Apr 4, 2016 / 10:00 am

      I wonder if KP can see what’s happening to Stokes, as some of us thought it would? He’s being ‘othered’, becoming the one it’s OK to write nasty headlines about. Cook has already signalled it in his responses to questions like ‘”How do you manage Ben Stokes?” – he’s different, not like the other lads…

      Liked by 2 people

      • thelegglance Apr 4, 2016 / 10:18 am

        Yep, been my fear since the KP episode that Stokes is the one next. You saw it in the locker punching episode – that was the daft reaction of someone who cared about things and actually quite amusing. In the months subsequently the tone of the coverage changed to become a problem, and an example of selfishness. It’s the point that those who loathe Pietersen never quite understand, that a precedent has been set.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather Apr 4, 2016 / 3:43 pm

        coming to you from a pompous ECB stenographer soon…’Ben Stokes…. the BlackCap born all rounder…..’


  19. SimonH Apr 4, 2016 / 8:41 am

    Agnew on the West Indies:

    “Not many of these players play Test cricket, which is a real shame, but there needs to be this life, fun and determination in the longer form of the game. It is down to their coach Phil Simmons to make sure this does carry over because there is nothing better than West Indies cricket when it is smiling – it is a wonderful and happy thing”.

    Does he get paid money for that sort of ‘analysis’?


    • Mark Apr 4, 2016 / 8:58 am

      From Sammys speech…….”Prime Minister [Keith] Mitchell [from Grenada]. He sent a very inspiring email for the team this morning … and I’m yet to hear from our own cricket board. That is very disappointing.”

      I would suggest Mr Agnew that it a problem that goes way above Phil Simmons.


      • SimonH Apr 4, 2016 / 9:46 am

        Sort this out, Phil Simmons:

        Or, if you fancy reading an interview that makes Newman interviewing Alastair Cook look like Frost/Nixon, try:

        “I’m happy to say that currently there is no trust deficit between the WIPA and WICB”.


      • d'Arthez Apr 4, 2016 / 11:04 am

        That is like a general saying there are no potential deserters, after all the soldiers had been shot ….


    • Pontiac Apr 4, 2016 / 7:29 pm

      Gosh, that’s just lazy, lazy, lazy writing. Just like all the articles calling the WI team ‘inexperienced’ as though they have not bothered to notice that this is a different squad entirely than the ODI and Test sides.


  20. Mark Apr 4, 2016 / 9:16 am

    Sections of the media seem to be slipping into the old “my enemies enemy is my friend ” mode regards Samuels attack on Warne. If he had attacked Giles Clarke or some other dignitry they would all be laying into him.

    However, Warne attacked their sacred cow. (Or rather their sacred sheep) Captain Cook. So therefore they are quite happy to let Samuels land a few blows on Warne. It’s a merry go round of insider character assassinations. Pass the popcorn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Apr 4, 2016 / 9:56 am

      That’s exactly how they operate. It’s never about what someone says, it’s who says it.


  21. SimonH Apr 4, 2016 / 9:49 am

    Taking disingenuous to a new level – or is he really that stupid?


    • nonoxcol Apr 4, 2016 / 9:53 am

      That whole section of his timeline is hideously smug.


    • thelegglance Apr 4, 2016 / 9:58 am

      Presumably that’s in the same way that Selvey only has to apply for his old job back on TMS…

      Liked by 3 people

  22. Clivejw Apr 4, 2016 / 11:03 am

    Simon Hughes on Twitter now denying that he said get Gayle out and the match is yours — that was not his headline.

    I pointed out that he had tweeted almost exactly the same words before the start of the West Indies innings, and he’s gone strangely quiet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherwick Apr 4, 2016 / 1:09 pm

      Wasn’t his pre-final tweet: getting Gayle out and get Samuels in?



      • Clivejw Apr 4, 2016 / 2:49 pm

        Exactly. Imagine being paid to write about cricket and not knowing Samuels’ history of putting one over England.


  23. SimonH Apr 4, 2016 / 1:44 pm

    Someone’s set up an amusing spoof-account of one of the BTL regulars on a certain national newspaper’s cricket threads…..

    Have a look on the latest Dan Lucas article if you haven’t spotted it yet and are interested.


    • Zephirine Apr 4, 2016 / 2:31 pm

      Their first ever comment got modded very fast, so not sure what’s going on there.


  24. SimonH Apr 4, 2016 / 3:29 pm

    ‘Operation Blame Rashid’ hasn’t been put into action for a while:

    Ah, hello my old friend.


    • Mark Apr 4, 2016 / 5:08 pm

      Unfortunately this is exactly as we predicted Simon.

      If England had won yesterday the media would be full of …..”Strauss is the greatest living Englishmen ” Columns and tweets. But as they lost, the media has reverted to the usual……blame the players routine. Its sick, but so, so predictable.

      It makes me laugh when the morons who follow these media people, and can’t wait to agree with everything they say……..”Yes Mr Selvey, 3 bags full mr Selvey. Oh You are so knowledgeable Mr Huges…..” Yet they demamd from us that we get behind the players. Perhaps they should point this out to their media heros first?

      I guess it is lost on some of these so called patriots who see us as nothing but a fith column. Oh the irony.

      Liked by 2 people

      • SimonH Apr 4, 2016 / 6:10 pm

        It’s the selective nature of it that’s so nauseating.

        Those defined as stout yeoman get puffed up and their failures excused by speial-pleading or ignored. Those designated flash, flaky, difficult, unEnglish or a ***t get pilloried.

        Rashid didn’t bowl many leg-spinners because the ball was sopping wet and difficult to grip. But for some it has to be some inner flaw that caused it.


    • fred Apr 4, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      Kimber sometimes seems like a juvenile, shallow Australian idiot, but then he comes out with brilliant stuff like this. Excellent article, great analysis of how the game is played, I can’t think of anyone else who would dissect T20 like that. Nobody. He does grate at times, but he’s starting to become a journalist you have to pay attention to.

      Unlike some people, my feeling for the West Indies is not coloured by their glorious past, nor post-colonial guilt, and I’m not overly impressed with them today. I’d be happier celebrating their T20 win if they were taking the broader game more seriously. That aside, Kimber has raised an interesting point; that they are taking the game forward through their hitting in a way no one else is, not even India nor Australia. Even if the messenger is not to my taste, I’m intrigued to see where they go with this.

      The concept that you can allow a few dot balls because you’ll hit the next one for 6 seems highly unlikely and reckless. But it has delivered them a world cup, so what do I know?

      I had a chuckle too about the comments on the muscular bowlers being the ones to smash sixes in the past. Always a point of fun to see, say Lillee or Pascoe or McDermott come in at the end and have a swing. Rod Marsh used to do it too, before it was decided keepers should be able to bat properly. I can still hear Tony Greig saying “Well Ritchie, this might not last long, but it’s going to be fun…” Now batsmen have decided they can do it too, in T20 at least.


  25. thebogfather Apr 4, 2016 / 5:36 pm

    Just posted this btl on Victor’s post…’hit’n’giggle’

    “The notion T20 is too short a format to encompass a bit of ebb and flow has been banished; so, too, has the old idea it is just “a bit of hit and giggle”

    As someone, whose financial (and moral) format, falls short of encompassing the ICC/ECBSky directive as to how much live cricket, if any, that a truly passionate cricket lover of over 40 years is allowed to enjoy at a realistic price, be it at the ground or on TV, I mainly now rely on, and it has to be said, the delights of radio commentary.
    Dur to my personal situation (ok, fucked over and made redundant a year ago…after 33 years full employment) I have listened to literally every ball of both England’s last summer and winter, and most all of this T20 tournament on the radio.
    Now, believe me, I have loved and adored BBC TMS commentary for all of the past 40 odd years – it would be my ‘Desert Island Disc’ pleasure… but…
    Recent years inclusion of ‘Lovejoy’, EdSMyth, and, for both the Women’s and Men’s WT20 of Ebony A Hurr, hurr, hurr, ECB speak Hurr hurr RB, has made me move to listen to CricketRadio, so much more about the game, with a lot insight sadly missing from TMS, even Aggers and to a lesser extent, Victor, remained in ‘hit and giggle’ mode, with no real insight. TalkSport2 covered EVERY match of the mens tourno, using the feed from Cricketradio, and provided extended pre and after match analysis….BBC couldn’t get off air soon enough…
    So, Victor…. I ask, (knowing that Aggers won’t respond) – WTF?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherwick Apr 4, 2016 / 6:01 pm

      After 40 plus years of devout TMS listening, I don’t bother with TMS anymore, primarily because of their recent commentators’ inherent ridiculous anti-KP and pro-ECB/Strauss/Cook bias.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. AB Apr 5, 2016 / 10:45 am

    I was always dubious about this idea that we had the best 2 death bowlers in the tournament.

    Four balls, four half-volleys. No variation in length, no real variation in line, no variation in speed. Nothing to make Brathwaite doubt even for a single second what was coming next.

    We almost won the game through a clever piece of tactical thinking – putting Root on who the West Indies would not have prepared against, and then lost it through a naive and predictable last over.

    Did anyone in the ground not know that Stokes would try to bowl 6 straight, full paced yorkers?


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