“This is not what you wanted, not what you had in mind.” – Moderat (Bad Kingdom)
The last 26 months have made a huge difference to me. I remember how angry I was when we coughed up the Champions Trophy on that dull Sunday June afternoon in 2013, as all our mental failings were laid bare in front of us. I cared, passionately, about how our team got on. I remember 2004, when Browne and Bradshaw won a low scoring encounter in the early Autumn gloom to win the Champions Trophy for the West Indies in 2004 at The Oval. I was gobsmacked. Unexpected, our team that had won all its tests looked nailed on once they’d taken care of the World Champions in the Semis.
We have a way of losing. We have a way about us when we lose. In football competitions there’s usually a hard luck story. Cricket – I still remember Adelaide, of course. But that might be the best/worst yet. A freak ending, and I should feel crushed. But the thing is, when you’ve been so angry at the people running the sport here and in the world game (especially the former), you’ve only so much to give. Despite the constant exhortations that these are a “great bunch of lads” and that people can’t understand why we can’t give this team our all, the sheer fact that newspaper columnists and the useful idiots were lining up to polish Andrew Strauss’s clock (that’s clock), shows what the real power wants. It’s all about the management baby. The palpable sense of articles being re-written and the eulogies put on hold was prevalent. Everyone with a vested interest in pumping up their tyres were ready to give it “all that”. And we know what would have been included in “all that”. We all know.
That management today nearly had it all. It nearly won a major ICC tournament overseas. It nearly had a trophy to ram down the KP fanboys’ throats. It nearly had a load of endorsement opportunities, a boost to their T20 Blast, a load of heroes to parade before an adoring public, and it nearly had their total justification after an Ashes win and a success in South Africa. A T20 win in India? Beyond comprehension. Think of the plaudits, think of the bragging. See you lot on BOC – what do you know?
Let’s be honest. Don’t buy the inexperienced team stuff. There’s a lot of experience in that team, but it is on the young side. It’s fit, it’s enthusiastic and it has room to improve. Saying we are inexperienced is getting your excuses in first.
This England T20 team showed signs of progress before Bayliss. Many of us do not forget the care-free, ambitious, gleeful win of Eoin Morgan’s England against India in the match at Edgbaston in 2014. This had come in stunning contrast to the often staid, dull approach of Alastair Cook’s 50 over side. It really didn’t take rocket scientist levels of deduction to draw the conclusion from a World Cup of nearly all out aggression, that sitting in and making nice handy totals wasn’t the way forward. We’re not exactly talking out of the box thinking. But there they were, giving it all up to Strauss. We are a funny nation.
A major England defeat in many major sports comes with some ready-made controversy or “bad thing” to hang our hats on. Last night it was the classless WIndies. But wait a minute. I know, for one, that I have a go at Australia a lot for their conduct on the field, but that’s what we do. We’re aggressive, and we’re not backward in letting people know we want to “mentally disintegrate” them. While England have, in some ways, “re-connected” with the public who wanted to “re-connect” by a more open approach to fans they previously treated with a little contempt, their conduct on the field hasn’t been without blemish. So let us stop pretending that it is. Ben Stokes, who, as I’ve said, isn’t my favourite player in the team, had been gobbing off to all and sundry this summer, including, it seems to his own coach (according to Cook, half-jokingly, he says Stokes and Bayliss communicate by swearing at each other). I don’t know about you, but if you dish it out, you should expect to take it when the you know what hits the fan. While I will defend Ben to the hilt over his bowling the last over – that Ben Chokes headline is an utter disgrace – he isn’t, outside these shores, a sympathetic character. But those berating him for his final over yesterday have quickly forgotten that Stokes’s final over against Sri Lanka, when defending less, was absolutely magnificent.
We cannot, simply cannot, have a go at the West Indies for their celebrations. My least favourite player in the England team, David Willey, is not someone who I’d employ in the diplomatic service. Stokes we know. Root’s a chippy little sod. There have been outlandish celebrations throughout, and no doubt we’ve been giving players little send-offs throughout. But for the likes of Newman to turn all maiden aunt on us about the West Indies’ celebrations, and therefore lack of class, as if that matters, is laughable. Watch when we clinch the match against Sri Lanka. The game was over before the last ball, yet when it was concluded, all but one player rushed to engulf Stokes in the huddle. Jos Buttler, to his great credit, went over and shook Angelo Mathews hand. I saw it. I doubt Newman did. It reflected well on Jos, and increased my affection for this terrific talent, and less so on his team-mates. West Indies, their players largely hated by their board, not, by any means, without fault or iffy personalities, had clinched a world title. You might not like their celebrations, but STFU about them when your team do pretty much the same.
Also, imagine an England player who would stand up to his board as Sammy did, deliver that speech, excoriating the suits surviving one minute as an international player in his future career. Imagine how the media in this country would react, the sides they’d take, the understanding they’d show. Yeah. Picture it.
I understand people having issues with Gayle, Bravo and Samuels. But don’t imagine our players are universally loved overseas.
Then there is the ICC. They got a tournament they did not deserve. I’m not having a pop at India’s cricket fans for anything. The ICC and the host board, increasingly, in financial terms, one and the same, treated all fans like crap. You have the new jewel in your crown, and you treated it like a pre-season tournament at times. Crap ticketing, arguments over hosting grounds, switching locations (remember India v England got switched in 2011), an awful format. Despite the ICC they got a Final they did not deserve. They got a semi-final in Mumbai they did not deserve. Those who split the cricket from the governing body, claiming that all sports are poorly run, are being wilfully negligent. FIFA may be inherently corrupt, but the World Cup is treated like the sporting treasure it is when it comes to earning revenue and growing the game (because growing the game earns more revenue). Host stadia are known ages in advance, the draw takes place six months before the event and you know where every game is being played. It draws massive audiences around the globe regardless who is playing. The ICC, as this blog, and the commenters point out constantly, treat the major events as if they are personal fiefdoms, treat fans with contempt, constrain the playing field, ensure major teams get at least four matches, and yet no-one outside of what is rapidly appearing to be labelled as an “evangelical sect” seems to care. Those England folk raging against the ICC don’t share the entire portion of the Venn Diagram with the “KP fanboys”, but there’s a decent correlation. Chris, in his piece later this week on the press and the WT20, may reflect further. Watch those “evangelicals” get marginalised further. As one journo once said, and as I was reminded today “I report on men in boots, not men in suits”. Or something like that.
England made remarkable progress, are clearly on the right lines, need a little think on their strategy perhaps (I’m still really keen to see Jos in at four, or three if the openers have lasted until the 6th or 7th over), but are a team on the rise if they don’t let this heartbreaking loss get to them. They can leave India with the knowledge that they’ve made our limited overs cricket respectable, they’ve developed a number of players in the white heat of international competition and that they have done a lot to rehabilitate “Team England” in some people’s eyes.
Have a great rest of the day.
The celebrations are a massive photo-op though, aren’t they, the players have to keep bouncing around until the photographers have got all their pics. It must actually be pretty odd, because the audience always disappears at lightning speed so they end up celebrating in an echoing empty stadium.
And those WI players need the coverage, they have to boost their brands because they need the gigs in T20 franchises. “Look at me! I’m a winner! I’m colourful! I have fun! You need me in your team! I’m a (wait for it) champion!”
I have this image imprinted on my mind and I can’t find a still photo of it. The WI players were on the boundary and then when Brathwaite hit the fourth one they just went, and there was an amazing shot of them all running close together, like a pack of great maroon wolves. That was when you could see what it meant to them. All the other stuff’s staged, but no harm in that.
Not enough has been said about the audiences. Indian crowds really know how to do T20. They come looking for excitement and they generate excitement.
They just did win the world cup. In the only format that most of them will represent their nation. Despite the odds and the constant criticism of their own cricket board.
This win was a massive middle finger to their critics and their celebrations, were completely worth it. If someone ever pointed out Samuels ripping his shirt to me, i would ask them to go back a decade and look at Flintoff in India or Ganguly at Lords. This has been done before (happens with every goal in football these days) and the emotional outbursts are totally in line with the passion I would expect from a top sportsman.
I don’t think it has anything to do with their T20 league contracts – the results will guarantee those anyways.
I’m going to say one thing here… it’s the game of cricket that I love, not the teams…yes, I’m a Test match person, but accept and do enjoy the other formats, It’s particular players, not countries or counties, it was from my first views, Barry Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Andy Roberts, Derek Randall, Trevor Jesty, Tom Mottram…through Graeme Fowler and Hick, Malcolm Marshall, Robin Smith, and yes, Botham, fuck yes, Botham, and Lillee, Hadlee, Miandad, Warne (I loved him, sadly a dick – how many greats of the game are voiceable dicks?) No, I don’t do Tendulkar, rather Steve Waugh or Lara…yes, I get Murali, and many SL players, but..what i can’t get is these T20 big bat flayers, and let’s be honest here, with short lived wide willow and shorter boundaries to hit without fear…. it’s just WWE debased ball…..
I think I started with another point in mind…. but hey, I’m outside, so love of the game is but blind…
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That was lovely if only for the conscious stream of someone who cares
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I think there’s a huge difference between deliberately needling and gloating in the face of the opposition after the match is over, using press conferences to settle personal scores, etc, and the sort of lousy on-field behaviour we see from Stokes et al. If Jimmy did that we’d rightly absolutely pillory him.
I also don’t believe Samuels’ retelling of Stokes’ behaviour is anything more than an unreliable narrative.
You can criticise some of the players for being a bit chippy – or a lot chippy, in Stokes’ case – but this goes way beyond that.
Sammy and Braithwaite both come out of it with a lot of credit, mind.
The lively Jamaican lady who runs the coffee bar where I work couldn’t help smile and comment how her ‘brainless’ boys did the business yesterday. I couldn’t help smile. To be honest I first got into cricket at a very young age due to a large part because of the West Indies quicks and the strokeplay of Viv et al so I will never get too upset at a Windies victory. It’s a shame though that I really can’t see test cricket ever making a real comeback there.
I like David Willey. There, I’m out of the closet.
As a cricketer, of course.
But I agree, we don’t need the gobsh!tery.
You definitely need to include his first name there, or that first sentence takes on a whole new meaning…
But yeah, his bowling impressed me in this tournament – he was one of the few bowlers from any team who managed to swing the ball consistently, so I really feel like there’s something to work with there for the future. Seems a rather chirpy-so-and-so, as has been discussed, but hey ho, hopefully he gets told to ease up on it a bit and that’ll be that.
Anonymous experienced T20 franchise coach quoted by Vic Marks:
“KP is an absolute pleasure and an absolute doddle to deal with in comparison to Samuels.”
Cheers Vic. FFS.
I’ve got it in my head that the counties would rather sign 35 year old Aussies or fringe Kiwis. If the WI players are at such odds with their board I can see a few of them offering themselves up for a full season in Blighty in the near future. And why not?
Some players wouldn’t have played enough international cricket to qualify for a work visa and virtually all of them would have the problem that the English season clashes with both the IPL and the CPL.
On an unrelated point, all the stuff about Samuels’ behaviour is giving the West Indies a free pass on the one thing they can be called up on – the issue of Andre Russell’s missed drugs’ tests.
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Your sentiments on the tournament as an overall entity are on – the fact that it got some absolutely outstanding games of Twenty20 cricket, including a final worthy of the occasion ten times over, hopefully won’t make people forget the incredibly poor organisation, nor the depressing inequality and unfairness of the routes to qualification. (For comparison, see the 2007 World Cup, which was by and large terrible on both levels and at least got enough deserved stick to shame the organisers into making the 2010 World Twenty20 a vastly better event.)
Does the eventual result make Afghanistan the de facto world champions?
*spot on, I meant to say in the first sentence.
Brilliant stuff LCL, you are absolutely right that England have behaved in the same way as West Indies did when they won yesterday, i think most teams are the same though.
Excellent piece Dmitri. I agree with pretty much all of it.
I wish Newman would stop talking about the spirit of cricket. He has no idea what he is talking about. It seems his definition of good spirit is……if England do it it’s ok. In some ways that’s a good summing up of the English cricket media.
I have mixed views about 20/20. I have always loved test match cricket, but it is dying. Against that 20/20 is a real force to challenge many of the corrupt boards around the world. The more popular and powerful 20/20 gets, the more financially independent they players can become. The boards are suspicious of this 20/20 monster that they created, but they have now lost control of it. It’s a bit of puzzle.
Good checklist of who’s available when for the start of the CC season from GD:
Stokes, for example, seems to be getting all of two weeks off after having been on the road almost continually for five months. Crazy.
I no longer read the G.’s cricket coverage (I miss what is was), so this could be utter baloney…
The consensus around here seems to be that had England won, there would have been much buffing up of Andrew Strauss’s blazer buttons, but, as it is the players take the blame. This is the traditional English way; Praise the management, criticise the performance. The usual suspects in the major dailies, or so the story goes, are upset that they did not get to write their director, cricket puff pieces. Now, I totally accept that the traditional English way is as given above. I do, however, think that the picture must be more complicated, and that we are being a little unfair on the gentlemen of the press. England reaching the final is an impressive achievement. Had the usual suspects wanted to burnish the South African born former England skipper skipper’s halo, they would have had more than enough reason. For example…
Andrew Strauss was tasked with dragging England kicking and screaming into the 21st century. He may have been pilloried as an out of touch vicar in some quarters, but he has proved his detractors wrong. Just as when he was captain, Strauss quickly identified what needed to be done and who was best placed to do it. [Insert usual guff about retaining Morgan, bringing in Trevor Bayliss, combining good solid cricketing virtues in Root with audacious modern batting in Butler]. That his team could not quite make it over the finish line should not detract from his magnificent achievement. 20 20 is a lottery. With a soaking ball, in a world final, against a preternaturally talented (of course it could not be hard work and intelligence) West Indian, even the best players have cracked. Whether Stokes will come back stronger to be numbered in their ranks or, like to many before him, have to shuffle off this immortal 22 yard strip remains to be seen. One thing is certain, under Andrew Strauss’s watchful eye, Ben Stokes will be given all the direction and support he needs, but if he proves unworthy of his talent or a detriment to his team, England will have no qualms in denying him the second chance he must so desperately crave.If only it were ever thus.
Something like that.
I had to read this three times…..!!!!
In truth, Strauss of course deserves credit, but not the share he seemed to be getting. Most of all, he deserves credit for seeing the bleedin’ obvious and getting Peter Moores back to where he works best, and securing the services of Trevor Bayliss. I think he has reservations over Joe Root as captain – no evidence for that, just a thought – and so Eoin Morgan staying on was pretty much a no-brainer. As for attitude change, well… I’m not as impressed. We all knew that needed changing. But that’s down to the coaches and the players.
Cheers, sir. Hope all is well!
I wasn’t going to bother responding to this but I might as well……
“we are being a little unfair on the gentlemen of the press. ”
Why? what have the media done in the last 3 years to warrant any sympathy?
“Andrew Strauss was tasked with dragging England kicking and screaming into the 21st century.”
Really? I seem to remember England doing pretty well in 2005. That was in the the 21 century. The20/20 team in 2014 had already changed. Strauss had nothing to do with it. Spare us the Strauss fan boy guff.
“One thing is certain, under Andrew Strauss’s watchful eye, Ben Stokes will be given all the direction and support he needs”
How do you know that is certain? Are you Andrew Strauss mate?
“but if he proves unworthy of his talent or a detriment to his team, England will have no qualms in denying him the second chance ”
Ahh, so Strauss may not give him the support he needs. It depends if Stokes is sufficiently respectful to his boss. You sound like the kind of person who should work at the ECB. They talk in those pompous terms as well.
I think the last para is an imaginary piece, Mark. Hence had to read it a few times.
Grenville is good.
Fair enough Dmitri. Like you I read it 3-4 times and still can’t quite work out what he is trying to say. Is is real or satire?
Sorry, I’m not being clear I was too amused by writing imaginary Andrew Strauss puff pieces.
My real aim was to suggest that perhaps we are being a little too quick to judge the coverage. The media, as far as I can tell from the reporting on it here, haven’t heaped praise on Strauss after the world cup. Had that been their overriding goal, they could have done. England performed vastly better than anyone expected. They have cottoned on to how short form cricket is played. Personally, I think Strauss has jack all to do with that. I think Dmitri’s analysis of his role is spot on, and had my poor attempt at satire been for real Mark’s fisking quite correct. It isn’t insane to see it differently or hard to spin in as the Director,’s triumph.(hence the parody). That’s my reason for disagreeing with D and others who think that the usual suspects were all geared up to praise His Holiness, A. Strauss. I await correction
I guess that I have a deeper worry, which is that things seem to be getting rather entrenched and nasty round here. The ‘agenda’ word gets thrown round a bit. Man in a Barrel was called a twat over at TFT. Disagreement is rapidly judged as trolling. I’d like that to change. Years ago there used to be an Aussie called Pepp on the G. She wound people up something rotten. She was, I think not entirely serious, but, what was so interesting was that she provided an alternative point of view and most of the other commentators engaged with the arguments she made. It helped me understand cricket better. That era remains my model for how to deal with disagreement on the net. (to be clear, I never commented, I just read). I think that the real, justifiable hurt and anger are hindering our abilities to deal with alternative points of view and to analysis things correctly.
I’m all for disagreement and debate. Try it too often and you’ll be banned though.
Of course you are for disagreement and debate. It is just that the longer arguments go on, the harder it is to see those who disagree as rational. The contours of the debate become more and more apparent, and suddenly everything is being pushed into the pre-existing mold. You lose site of the messiness of reality. Something like that…
Bloody love this site, btw.
That joke worked! !!!
We do welcome debate, and we also know feelings run high. The responses of the last few days have really encouraged me that (a) we are still alive and (b) that people care.
Might have some more comments tonight.
The word “agenda” is thrown at us far more often than we throw it at anyone else. This has been the case since at least February 2014. It’s partly where this site and its predecessor got their spirit from. It’s still in evidence from the sub-heading about bilious inadequates etc. The first time I suspected [name redacted] of huge partiality in his writing, I didn’t think it was an agenda at all. A few months down the line and I couldn’t read it as anything else.
As for the matter at hand, if you don’t read Guardian cricket any more (and who can blame you?), you may have missed this, which came even before the final:
Every success belongs to him, every failure to the players. This has been the case ever since he took over. The MSM response to the Ashes was so atavistic we even saw certain people praise *Downton* for doing what needed to be done the first time, as well as Strauss for doing it again. These people never saw the “Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc” episode of The West Wing. I have not the slightest doubt there would have been a torrent of articles about him already, had England won that match. If I had to bet on the subject of this week’s Spin column, I know where my money would be…
Greenville, I’m sorry I didn’t pick up on your satire. (My bad )
I understand what you mean by the debate getting nastier. But my problem is that our opponents seem to want an unconditional surrender. Until we bow our heads, and admit we were wrong. KP was wrong, and they were right on everything we will be attacked and patronized.
Never! I believe we had more right on our side. However time moves on and what is done is done. But their side have made it very clear that to support the England team you must support the ECB and their agenda. That makes it very hard for some of us to return to the fold. The team have become like children in a messy divorce. With each side claiming what is in their best interests. Sad, but we didn’t start it.
Unsurprisingly, I stand corrected about attitudes to Strauss.
As for Selvey, he’s Clarke’s man without a doubt and a nasty bully. The big GC is a threat to world cricket. I still think that it is possible to see him as rational, but wrong. It is not insane to think that the BCCI will go it alone. They don’t need international cricket. They have the IPL. US sport, for example, is extremely parochial. The bad suited one probably thinks something like that. Selvey agrees with him. There is no more or less of an agenda than Owen Jones and Jeremy Corbyn or some right wing commentator and David Cameron — no doubt of course there is a lot of tribalism.
Wrote a post a while back called “Schism”. If you missed it, G, have a read. Explains my thinking.
Grenville, good to hear some contrasting views that are genuinely meant (and not the ‘bombing’ that the site seemed to be getting for a couple of months).
I don’t agree with you that India’s threat to withdraw from international competition was ever serious. Virat Kohli, for example, wants to be compared to Gavaskar or Tendulkar. That isn’t going to happen through his IPL record. He wants and needs Test wins as captain, Test centuries, ICC trophies etc. Indian fans seem very fired up by international competition (some more than others, admittedly). I can’t see how any Indian cricket administrator is going to tell them all that’s been abolished. The parallel with the US doesn’t work because the US was never embedded in international sporting systems in the way India has been – plus the USA is more geographically isolated in a way India isn’t.
I’d be interested to hear what evidence and arguments you have to the contrary. I’m not claiming any great expertise on the internal workings of Indian cricket. It’s a crucial issue in world cricket and one that ought to be debated more.
Pepp was a relentless troll who turned tail and ran as soon as Australia started losing, so perhaps that’s not the best example.
1. Mark, sorry. I missed your comment yesterday. You have no need to apologise. You are right, of course, that there is a relentless attempt to drive the malcontents out of the game. That leaves us, the malcontented, with 3 options. Leave, set-up our own version of the game, and fight back. At the moment, those talking here are fighting back. I think that truth and reason have always been the oppressed best weapons against brute overwhelming force. They are pretty ineffective, of course, but so are rocks against guns. It’s an insight of Hannah Arendt’s. When Mao declares that all power comes from the barrel of a gun, he undermines himself by backing up the assertion with a Hobbesian view of human nature. If the claim were true, he wouldn’t need the justification. He does need the justification and so tacitly acknowledge truth’s power. That’s why I think the best response to relentless trolls, like Pepp, is to ask for their rational credentials. As a bonus, that the contributors did just that in those halcyon days of fabled memory, improved my understanding of cricket.
2. I’ve been thinking more about this agenda thing. One problem is that Clarke is quite clearly a champion of the Maoist view. The most telling moment in DOAG is when he pronounces ‘I have every right to put my boards interests first’. (I shouted at the screen when they don’t pick him up on that. I want to know how far he’ll go with ‘every’. Presumably he actually thinks he has the right to strong arm poorer boards, but that could never be a ‘right’). As such, to say that he, and by extension Selvey, have an agenda is quite right. They aren’t interested in reason. They want their way by any means necessary. I think that does go beyond having a view about how things should be an arguing for it. The now defunct Srinivassan (spelt correctly) was also, I think of the same mind, though, I think unlike Clarke, happy to live without justification. He really was a terrifying prospect. In short, I’ve changed my mind.
3. Were India happy to leave international cricket? I don’t think so. The reason I think that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think otherwise is this. Much of india is in the grip of Hindu nationalism. I think that this is the Indian manifestation of a global trend. Trump exemplifies it in America, Putin in Russia, Zuma in South Africa, Le Pen in Europe and Erdogan in the middle east. It is atavistic, isolationist and pro-greed. It basically says, the strong/rich look out for themselves. India is a massive market. Srinivassan (is that the right spelling?) and his cronies could make lots of money without the rest of the world. They could well have been serious in their demands, give us all of the moolah or we’ll make it ourselves. Whether the Indian fans would have let them get away with it, I don’t know. I doubt it. I also think that it was convenient for Clarke to believe them because it was in his interest. He got money and power for the ECB and prestige for himself. That’s not to say he didn’t believe them really. It’s just that we so often find ourselves believing what we would most like to be true. That’s why, in general, people’s politics reflect their own interests.
I’ll reread the schism piece. I remember liking it at the time.
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A word in defence of pepp, who can indeed be a relentless troll when in the mood, but is also a long-time follower of the game in Australia and actually very knowledgeable.
Just thought I’d add that I never had any issues with Pepper.
Surprise, surprise. Along with many other things, the WICB seem to lack any modicum of self-awareness (plus, like many official bodies I’m sure we could name, the ability to properly react to any criticism sent their way).
Alan Butcher on new Geek&Friend podcast discussing his time as Zimbabwe’s coach is a good listen.
A great deal of the problem in the West Indies is simply that of the folks driving the board actions deriving the whole of their income and personal prestige from their association with the WICB, and being very stupid and arrogant besides. At least with the ECB the top guys have their own cashola – David Cameron would be an deputy assistant something-or-other otherwise. WICB’s got some really stellar press releases after the victory, one apologizing to the world for Sammy’s remarks and promising to investigate.
What an ideal WICB would need to have done, basically a year and a half ago, is say ‘ok, look, guys, people who are coming up through the new system, PCL and all that, they are going to get one sort of deal, and we will negotiate separately with you the established players. There will be some sensible restrictions concerning eligibility for selection vs domestic participation, but also some level of realism about what a 34 year old with test centuries needs to demonstrate.’. The idea would be that perhaps the guaranteed money to internationals would be somewhat less, but it would be clear where it was going.
As it is, the senior players feel quite rightly that their performances in T20 particularly are what funds the board and all these development matters – and have in their public statements seemingly been quite willing to give up a portion of what they’d gotten in the past in light of the new dispensation.
But not giving up 80%, and not by fiat, and not being treated like children. Another major factor going against WICB is how little they seemingly provide for ongoing support to the core established internationals.
This is all about competence and respect, not necessarily money. Sammy himself pointed out that his last IPL contract (he didn’t get one this time) came on the heels of a very good ODI performance vs Australia. So it’s not like these guys are not completely cognizant of the indirect benefits they get from playing internationally, or are asking that they get paid to a degree out of step with reality. Or even that everything must be exactly as it was, payment wise. They’re mainly pissed at being asked to eat a shit sandwich. And having it assumed that suits who aren’t out there doing the work are actually more in touch with the fan base than they are.
It surprises me, in a way, that anyone is surprised at what Sammy had to say after winning. I was seriously depressed 10 overs into the chase because I knew what could be coming from him if they won and being unhappy that the big meta-gamble would likely not pay off. It seemed obvious. Sammy’d been leading up to it ever since the very beginning. He knows he’s never going to play international cricket again, and he also knows that probably he has 1 CPL season left, maybe another one in Hobart, another one in Dubai in PCL, and maybe some this-or-that in the English T20 season. He’s given interviews (and I can find them) saying as much – that he felt he only had a year or so left and did not expect to be involved in cricket afterward.
So to imagine that no WICB grandees were present for the final, or ready with a press release or whatever to contend with what they should have known was coming… it’s an example of that all-to-common situation showing up where cowardice and incompetence together extend to a magnitude where they merge into the same thing.
In terms of guaranteed payment WI squad was getting, apart from a portion of any prize money, only $6K/match/player. Nothing at all otherwise. For the previous World T20 the per player fee was closer to $100K. And this was presented to the squad in take it or leave it form 4 or 5 days before they were supposed to fly to Dubai.
(One advantage of this: Marlon only had to pay $2K for what he had to say to Ben Stokes and as an aficionado of Object Lessons, however imperfect the instructor may be, I find this most satisfying. Yes, Mr. Samuels has given us some assholery, but in my view this has been concentrated, well crafted, /artistic/ assholery and in no way is he punching down in terms of targets. “Maybe it is because my face is real and his is not.” was awesome, and will leave a mark.)
As to the prize money, I think winning the whole thing was worth about $3.5 million. Previously, this was all distributed to the squad. Under the new contracts, 80%, for reasons unexplained. And now WICB has released that $1.6 million will be distributed amongst the squad. So the nonsense from the board continues. Note that there’s another half-million or so for participation and winning matches before the semis that the board keeps, and likewise the normal revenue sharing. WICB’s budget will do quite well out of this and no thanks at all to upper management.
Hyenas gotta lot to say, I guess.
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I can only hope that the players will challenge no objection certificates in a court of law. It seems highly doubtful that such artificial barriers to practicing a trade will hold up long. That would destroy a substantial amount of income for the WICB, seeing that they make nearly $1 million / season of IPL for doing some paperwork.
The link between the WICB and the WIPA. (The players association) is also suspicious. Out of the winning squad of 15, only one player is a member of the WIPA. As far as the players are concerned they don’t represent them. And that begs another question…..
If the players are not members of the WIPA and are not paying their fees where are the WIPA getting there money from?
Cameron gives the impression of someone who is more interested in holding onto his job rather than improving WI cricket. Nobody seems to have the power to sack him and the board and start again. I guess because there are so many different islands and different Govts involved.
Under the old system the 15 players would have shared a % of the winnings that would have been worth about $133,000 each I believe. By all accounts they will get nothing like that this time. Partly down to the way the ICC now allocates money, but mainly down to the board. The team didn’t even have uniforms. Where is the the money going Mr Cameron?
With the WI winning both men’s and woman’s and under 19 there is plenty of talent. They are just being badly managed. With many of the players the wrong side of 30 and with little prospect of playing and earning any money for the WI is it any wonder they are speaking out?
For a slightly different perspective, this by David Oram is worth a read – http://www.firstpost.com/sports/world-t20-darren-sammy-is-entitled-to-his-views-but-not-everyone-in-west-indies-cricket-share-his-opinion-2711668.html …
Yes, I read that. David is an excellent writer and makes many good points. But that doesn’t change the fact that the WICB’s behaviour was exceedingly shabby — giving the players the contracts to sign four or five days before the start of the tournament on a take-it-or-leave-it basis and then hiding away like cowards even while their team was winning the event. If their decision is good for the development of West Indies cricket — and David argues cogently that it is –, they should be prepared to defend it publicly (and privately to the players). Their attitude seems to be to wait until this generation has retired — and it’s obvious that retirement is imminent with many of the Windies’ best players) and hope it will then be easier to impose their will on the next generation.
Interesting and thoughtful stuff. Two sides to every argument of course but we live in a world where many look after themselves before any duty to the game. On both sides.
This seems like Selvey-like stenography. I wonder if Oram has access to the actual books. My guess is the players know/have good reason to suspect that management is siphoning off money for “administration” that could support the grass roots development. The fact that they negotiated with a union that the players clearly didn’t accept as representing their interests certainly creates a presumption that the board is acting in bad faith.
He’s not given any names or quotes from anyone who disagrees with Sammy, however, other than himself.
I think there is general agreement that the new PCL is a good thing and that the financials need to be rearranged in such a manner to make this happen. However the way it is being done is completely unacceptable – WICB has consistently refused to operate in anything close to good faith or with basic administrative competence. They have power, but they have no authority.
Instead there’s this charade that WIPA represents the international players. In fact what has happened is that WIPA actually only represents the domestic players and has happily agreed to massive pay cuts that the internationals only find out about ex post facto – usually a few days before getting on the plane.
I take issue with the statement in the article where he says ‘the nature of the disrespect is that the Board has slashed the players’ earnings’ — there’s a whole lot more than that. WICB are acting like owners, not stewards.
There’s an extraordinary interview on Cricinfo where Cameron obfuscates the whole way through. I challenge anyone to justify why even while being present there in India he did not meet even once with the team. What on earth was he doing in India anyway?
It’s as though WICB have decided that they’ll just wait out the existing players until the natural course of events has filled the team with folks who have come up through the new system, assuming that they will be under control. I think this is dubious.
The team winning the World T20 is a massive inconvenience to them.
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England and this tournament and one-dayers generally? Here’s my two penneth worth – and, like hyenas, I might go on a bit.
There’s an official narrative that goes something like – England were always rubbish at one-day cricket because it was a low priority; this was turned around by a triumph of Andrew Strauss’s will; specifically, Strauss deserves credit for appointing Bayliss, retaining Morgan, prioritising one-dayers and changing attitudes to the IPL; England went into the T20I WC as plucky underdogs and performed massively above par; a foundation has been laid for success in future tournaments and this squad are going on to great things. Maybe I’m just a piss-antsy contrarian who can’t see an official narrative without wanting to kick it but there seems to me a low ratio of truth to self-serving and disingenuous b*ll*cks in that story.
So first up, Strauss and the supposed rebirth of England’s one day cricket. Appointing Bayliss as coach? The cupboard labelled ‘alternatives’ was utterly bare (strange how TINA – or TWNA – is forgotten when it suits!). Jason Gillespie was the only possible alternative and it was quickly clear, for a whole host of reasons (some KP related, most not), that Gillespie was never going to be appointed. There was nobody else. Retaining Morgan? Probably Strauss’s best decision – but what would be different if Root (or Buttler) was captain? Very, very little I’d suggest. England’s T20 plans are (as Kimber observed in his excellent article) almost totally pre-conceived by management and the on-field captain doesn’t really matter. Bayliss and Morgan are supposed to have removed fear – would, say, Gillespie and Root have piled fear on? As for Strauss’s other contributions, the IPL decision hasn’t kicked in yet and no Test player has been allowed to go anyway (Buttler wasn’t going to be selected for the SL Tests – although what if Bairstow breaks a finger in the April chill…..?). The new priority for one-dayers is a curious one. What does it actually mean? Strauss said players shouldn’t be afraid of being seen as one-day specialists. Since then, virtually every player who has come into the one-day side has said he wants a Test career as well and, if anything, the Test and ODI sides have become more closely aligned since Strauss took over. It’s just meaningless verbiage.
It may seem from this – and my other posts – that I have it in for Andrew Strauss. “You just don’t like Andrew Strauss who is a good man because you’re a KP-fanboy – or you’re a raving leftie who hates him because he’s a) management b) a Tory”. I’ve two points about this. Firstly, my sarcasm about Strauss is directed at the media-construction ‘Andrew Strauss’, the captain whose “team would run through a brick wall for him” and the administrator “who hasn’t put a single foot wrong”. Nobody could live up to such guff. I don’t know what the ‘real’ Andrew Strauss is like and don’t care. I’m judging him by his actions – some have been okay, some haven’t, on most the jury is still out. He achieves a certain baseline competency – unlike Downton – but competency should be expected on his salary grade, not raved about. My second point is, I don’t care about Strauss’s politics (I like my local Tory MP Andrew Tyrie although I don’t vote for him). What I do dislike is the post of Director, Cricket which seems to me utterly redundant. What exactly does Strauss do? It seems another example of the managerial class creating an unnecessary post for themselves – and then taking the credit when things go well and going AWOL the rest of the time. The responsibilities should be split between the chairman of selectors (Strauss is de facto chairman of selectors – does anyone doubt it? – and Whitaker just exists as a lightning rod for when things go wrong) and the chief executive and the post of Director, Cricket abolished.
And so on to England’s recent one-day performances. The team are playing 21st century cricket, hurrah! Yes – and so they bloody should be. Ditching ‘par scores’ and taking the attacking option when in doubt are good things – but should much credit be expected for doing the patently obvious years after everyone else? English cricket is like a man who has been hammering his thumb for two decades and has now decided to stop – do you praise him for stopping hammering his thumb or say “about bloody time – and the question is why were you ever doing it in the first place”? England’s one-day cricket was sacrificed on the altar of a run of officer class batsman-captains that runs Atherton-Stewart-Vaughan-Strauss-Cook. England abandoned that briefly when Hollioake or Collingwood were made captain and then the team suddenly started to win things. The lesson was there for decades – and it took decades and for faces to be rubbed in complete and utter humiliation for it to be learnt. Pardon me if I don’t find that anything in there deserving of much more than a shrug of the shoulders and an “about bloody time…..”.
The thing going on at the moment that irritates me more than anything else is the ‘plucky underdog’ tinge to some of the writing about England. “Little England performed so heroically when so little was expected” and all that. England are competing for honours among eight viable winners (and have played a very active role in keeping that pool so narrow). Three of that pool (WI, Pakistan and SL) are in profound crisis and have problems we can hardly imagine. Within that pool, England has one of the best combinations of wealth and size. The UK has the largest GDP of any FM (still 50& ahead of India) and gets the second most ICC money as shown here:
England has the fourth largest population. The population is 10m more than SA, nearly 3x Australia and over 12x NZ. Among other FMs, the other rich countries are much smaller, the larger countries are much poorer. England should expect to win at least one in three ICC tournaments and be seriously competitive in virtually all of them. That would be England punching its weight. I’ll reserve the plaudits and the knighthoods for management when England punch above their weight. I feel about as surprised and excited about the Big Three winning something as the news that Wal-Mart has made a profit. None of this is designed to get specifically at England by the way – I’d make the same point about the USA at the Olympics or Germany at football.
I was going to kick some other parts of the official narrative but that’ll do for now. Perhaps it’s a generational thing – I grew up watching England 1975-91 when England were for most of the time a good one-day team and seriously competitive at WCs (without of course ever quite winning it). Those who were formed by the long trauma of 1991-2005 (and longer in one-dayers) still seem to look at the cricketing world through that prism. The cricketing world has changed out of all recognition in the last ten years. How England performed at, say, the 2003 WC is about as relevant to today as Manchester City’s results before the Sheikh Mansour takeover. All I feel is a kind of dull anger that England were so shit at one-day cricket (and ICC tournaments specifically) for so long and that it shouldn’t have been so. There’s a new exciting generation of players we’re told and that part of the narrative has more truth than most of the rest of it – but they are also playing on the most un-level of playing fields and that sours the whole thing for me. The playing field always has been un-level, and probably always will be, but I could live with it more if the media pointed it out occasionally rather than acting as the PR department of the Big Three.
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[Stands up and applauds] [gets strange looks in the office]
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Return round of applause for wading through all that!
Can’t really argue with any of this. Sure, I’d have been delighted if England had won, but there’s absolutely no doubt that West Indian cricket needed the victory way more, no question at all. Will it make as little difference as the 2012 win did? Quite possibly. But, I agree, there’s always that nagging feeling that English cricket will get along fine no matter how badly it does, whereas many other nations, the West Indies being perhaps the most obvious example, are struggling to survive regardless of how much they win. It’s pretty telling for me that, as bad a state as West Indian cricket is in, compared to most of the Associate and Affiliate members of the ICC and the money and facilities they’re forced to work with they still have things reasonably good, which is quite frankly alarming.
Terrific post. Great contributions above re WI as well.
Didn’t you also point out a few weeks ago that England’s bilateral ODI results since March 2015 have actually been no better than their results after similarly humiliating World Cups?
I always thought the retention of Morgan was more about protection for Cook.
Root taking over and being vaguely successfull would go against the established TINA agenda.
” England’s one-day cricket was sacrificed on the altar of a run of officer class batsman-captains that runs Atherton-Stewart-Vaughan-Strauss-Cook. England abandoned that briefly when Hollioake or Collingwood were made captain and then the team suddenly started to win things. ”
Yes, an excellent point. And most of these former captains have been quite happy to point this out……….after their own careers had finished of course.
Magnificent piece Simon. Some of the Strsuss fan boys in the media seem to be genuinely confused at what jobs he Is doing. As you say, he is a de facto selector. If your face doesn’t fit he will block you. The levels of credit he is getting makes you wonder why we even need a coach. Because apparently he is picking the team, running the tactics, and will be responsible for helping players like Stokes after they have had a bad time. Why pay for a coach if Strauss does all this?
I never bought into the pre tournament guff about plucky underdogs. We were one of the favorites in my mind. ( providing the pitches weren’t low slow turners) Our 20/20 play has been improving since 2014. And when we chased down 229 against SA in the early stages we put a lot of fear into others about our bating unit. Anyway, we came up short in a way that was typically English. In other words …..something remarkable happened in the last over to deprive us. A bit like Gatting reverse sweep when we were cruising to victory in 1987. Or Wasims bowling spell against us in 1992? It seems to happen to England football teams over the years. A hand of God goal, or a dodgy penalty. This time it was 4 sixes in a row. Even Saint Strauss couldn’t stop that.
…Gating’s reverse sweep…
That, SimonH, rocked my afternoon. I’m gonna have a cuppa just to recover.
The reason the world T20 is relatively so exciting and competitive is that good players from each region can all circulate through various domestic leagues. I look forward to Afghan players turning up over the next few years for instance.
I suggest that the way really to improve cricket worldwide, especially the longer formats would be the following:
* A reduction in the international schedule – fewer pointless ODIs, Fewer tours but longer ones – more tour matches, which would lead to better Tests and help with revenue at the grounds that host them as well as letting fans turn up at lower ticket prices than at Tests. (This would mean boards committing to taking tour matches seriously in terms of opposition provided!)
* A worldwide commitment to better unify domestic systems. In particular, moves such as allowing more foreign players in county cricket would energize county cricket and pay off later in better Test cricket. Having a couple-three matches each year between teams in different domestic systems would also make a big difference.
The more the long forms close in on themselves, the more the big 3’s inherent advantage accumulates, and the more the long forms become irrelevant.
“good players from each region can all circulate through various domestic leagues. I look forward to Afghan players turning up over the next few years for instance”.
Not in England – ECB rules forbid overseas’ players from nations that are not ICC Full Members. EU countries are exempt from that ban under EU law (which will, of course, no longer be the case if the UK votes to leave the EU. Irish players could still play as Ireland has a separate agreement).
Indeed, a lot would have to change in the ECB and ICC generally for there to be any improvement. I guess my claim is that the more cricket closes its system the worse it will go, but at this stage it’s a sad truism, and self reinforcing besides.
Look at major league baseball, and consider where it would be without overseas players. There are lots of ways to manage it – for instance, a salary cap applying to overseas players would be a way of preventing an arms race in the counties.
I’d amend the rules so that people who do not represent a Full Member (like Afghans, Irish (excluding Morgan obviously), etc. do not count as foreigners for purposes of these leagues. Or alternatively, institute a special category of foreigner for Associate Players, but reduce the number of foreigners from Full Members.
Relax rules on foreign players in general. Sure, it is fun if you can knock over a batting lineup in April who had never seen a ball swing and seam, but I am sure it is slightly less fun, when you’re spun out for 80 on a bunsen in say Sri Lanka, if you have never seen a ball spin.
If players are familiar with the conditions, you get actual Tests. Rather than all the banter that whoever is the host is preparing proper pitches, and that no one abroad does. How often have we seen that in the past decade? By allowing England players to play for a bit in Sri Lanka, they’ll discover what is really needed to prepare in such conditions.
Now it is just a select few international players who can make the adjustments quickly enough to be (somewhat) competitive on the road. Hence the lopsided nature of Home/Away results.
People remember ODIs, provided they’re not meaningless. If I mentioned one of the 50 or so ODIs England and Australia have played in the last 10 years, who could tell me the result without checking, and what transpired in that game? Funnily enough if I do that with England – BD chances of recall are that much better, simply because there is not an insane number of games to pick from.
I’d go as far as potentially abolish bilateral ODIs and T20Is altogether between Full Members, with only World Cups remaining. That would make people less opposed to a lengthy World Cup too. How many international games do baseball players, ice hockey players, cycle riders and a host of others sports players play, outside of a World Cup and the Olympics?
If the money and people’s interest is in the leagues, why prop up a 19th century method of arranging fixtures that no one is really interested in? The only ones who benefit from such arrangements are the financially powerful – they can do as they please, without any adverse consequences.
Look into hosting games in potential new “markets”. What could say an Indian game do in Nepal? Same with West Indies and the USA (if there ever is a competent board in the USA). You don’t even have to do Tests (the format which seems to find it harder to attract people to the game, though I would not be surprised if the Nepalese would come in droves); it could well work with T20 games from domestic leagues.
Even if it does not help to grow the game domestically, the moneymen could well profit from the increased interest, and thus increase in value of the broadcasting rights, through such steps.
“The more the long forms close in on themselves, the more the big 3’s inherent advantage accumulates, and the more the long forms become irrelevant.”
Fully agreed there. We already see that in the fixture scheduling.
“What exactly does Strauss do?”
He is a non-selector who has the ultimate power of selection and doesn’t that sum up the ECB nicely?
Anyone else seeing parallels with the state of F1 and the ridiculous qualifying system at the moment? All the teams (counties/big three) know what they have to do but they play selfish power games that stop the reforms happening and improving the whole state of the sport.
I think it’s all about the strategic direction of the men’s cricket team. So he’s the line manager of Bayliss. I think the new role stripped out Downton’s responsibility for all formats of the game.
His main role appears to be being Andrew Strauss.
“His main role appears to be being Andrew Strauss.”
A role he was born to.
A quick poke at another official narrative: “Test cricket is dying because of India”.
India play 18 Tests in the next 12 months (including matches against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh which is more than can be said for certain other members of the Big Three).
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I am sure that the ECB is grateful for the sporting ban on Zimbabwe.
Spot on Simon, and I thank you for saving me writing something that isn’t as good as you’re comment piece.
In my eyes, Strauss has done an ok job, nothing more, nothing less, which is why i get so infuriated by the constant fawning in the media and those on the twittersphere that think the sun shines out of his backside.
The debacle that was Paul Downton meant that it was an open goal for anyone with a modicum of sense to be more successful as Director, England Cricket. Strauss is able to cleverly play the games which is the internal politics of the ECB (he is very much inside cricket) and has a media band who are more than happy to declare that he can turn water into wine.
As for the team, they did well to reach the final and there are, no doubts, some very good white ball players in the squad. Are they the bunch of lovable rogues that the media likes to portray them as, well no, you just follow any non-English twitter account to realise that Stokes, Root and many others are not particularly liked (though Root is universally respected for his ability).
Yes the West Indies celebrations weren’t in the best taste, but you reap what you sow in a way by playing the way England do. Oh and it annoyed Paul Newman no end, so that cheered me up massively.
Personally think England are seen as the playground bullies of world cricket.
Somebody, please, stop me going onto the Guardian cricket comments. Please.
Not had enough of the intelligent responses yet, celebrity sycophant?
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They’re all so insufferably smug. I feel duty bound to try and burst their bubbles every so often.
Ok, every day.
Ok, I do need help.
You have the power, dude. Just walk away.
You can’t stop yourself can you???
Your name is Northernlight71 and your a “G” oholic!!!!!
And so for this week’s ‘The Spin’ we needed a fourth article in as many days on why Ben Stokes shouldn’t be scapegoated more than some consideration of Dave Richardson’s words (still totally unreported in the UK MSM that I can see), or the drugs’ issue, or…. a hundred and one other things.
And, totally predictably, the thread becomes another spat on ‘spirit of cricket’ tedium…..
What was it Newton said? Something about standing on a beach and looking at a pebble and not seeing the whole ocean in front of him?
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Has anyone been following the Mark Bonar story?
All I’ve seen about cricket is mention of “an England international cricketer” – has there been anything else about cricket?
(I’m not getting at speculation about individual names – I’m more interested in a sense of how much cricket is involved).
The story seemed a bit thin to me. He’s got an interesting twitter byline. However, if people think drugs haven’t reached cricket or football then they are mad.
Football writers are clueless about the idea that drugs are in football. They always try to dismiss any allegation of drug use. In the same way they dismiss any allegation of match fixing.
…”oh you would have to get the whole team on board to fix a match, something would leak out.”
They have always assumed that performance enhancing drugs was about pumping up muscle like sprinters or weight lifters. They have turned a blind eye to the endurance drugs that would benefit box to box midfield players.
If you have an event or pastime that brings in big money, corruption and cheating will follow. I am always surprised how so many people in the sports media are equally surprised when something is revealed.
I was always suspicious of that case in Spain a few weeks ago where a judge threw out vital evidence that could have affected the outcome of a case. That was primarily concerned with cycling but if such things but the Doctor concerned in the case, Eufemiano Fuentes had previously worked at FC Barcelona. I was always suspicious about their level of pressing when they didn’t have the ball in the real tiki-takka era of a 5-6 years ago.
I do believe they destroyed all the samples after that. Memory might be playing tricks but lots of whispers that it protected a famous tennis player and a successful international team.
PS I meant 3 years ago, and was well aware of the implications. When I discussed this with someone who is in Sports medicine he thought immediately of Barca and a certain tennis player and international football team that you are probably implying LCL.
Oh and LCL you were right they did destroy the samples
Yea, stinks to high heaven……..
But nothing to see here, look over there………..Woy might pick Rooney. Bread and circuses.
Replying to Mark:
“They have always assumed that performance enhancing drugs was about pumping up muscle”.
I used to think cricket was largely protected by its nature (e.g. there’s no steroid that can help bowl a googly). That was always extremely naive. Now, with T20 and the importance of muscle, it’s palpably no longer the case.
“If you have an event or pastime that brings in big money, corruption and cheating will follow”.
Doubly so if detection procedures haven’t kept up to speed. Isn’t one of the big issues about cricket getting in the Olympics that the BCCI’s drug testing regime is not up to IOC standards? Not that I’m suggesting for a moment it’s only an issue in India by any means.
All sports are caught in the same Catch-22 – catch some drug cheats and get an image that you have a problem or ignore it and have a clean image now but store up a massive crisis for the future. Those sports (which obviously includes cricket) that aren’t detecting PEDs are the ones to worry about.
Selvey discovers a dysfunctional cricket governing body and calls for its senior figure to go!
Pity it’s not his own….
The Dwayne Bravo interview he refers to is here (WICB comments start about 5 mins in):
Your comment to that effect has (at time of writing) no recommends. The awful LastWarriorPoet’s typically snide, bullish reply has two. If that’s the way things are now, I think my time on there is done.
Selvey says “intrangisense is endemic in all parties”. Bet he wouldn’t be so even-handed if Whycliffe Cameron hosted the mother of all parties.
Intransigence, ffs. Sorry, been at a funeral and wake today.
This morning’s score on the Selvey thread:
LWP 8 HAHL 21.
Not bad as I’m playing away on his home pitch!
I’ve noticed that pro-Selvey comments often get an initial lead in recommends but that critical viewpoints usually catch up later. One could speculate why that might be…..
Many. many thanks to anyone who read about it here and popped over there to donate a recommend.
Anyone know what Bumboclart’s moderated reply to my post higher up the thread (the one about the members’ club model of governance) said?
I don’t believe s/he was getting at me – I’m just wondering what it might have been (especially if it was something about the ECB).