A Serious Commentator of Restricted Ability Writes…

There now commences a ramble…..

It’s really quite difficult at the moment to think about what to write. Even the tedious Twitter bores, one of who called me “a KP groupie” yesterday are not exactly getting the fire in me going. In short, we are in calmer times, the world seems a much smoother place in terms of cricket, and thus blogging is a little bit sparser. I mean, what could I write that gets you to respond and energised when I don’t feel that way myself?

But let’s have a quick chat about the last week. I think the most important story is that of the ECB’s chosen man, El Presidente for Life, Giles Clarke having that charming effect on his international colleagues. They ran away from him faster than Usain in an Olympic 100 metres final when his patron, the love Srini, was booted out of his roles in the BCCI reshuffle. That the individual governing bodies saw what we’ve known for years is not surprising (that it took that long is probably testament to how the Indian authority pervades the sport like a genial mafia don) but for some reason I don’t feel like cheering.

Because one by one our source material is being eroded away. There’s no Paul Downton, who is the patron saint of BOC in my eyes. There’s no Peter Moores, a decent man but really not a shocker that he wouldn’t cut it again in the top job, yet those in the media who sang his praises still tell us we know nothing. But even they are disappearing one by one. There’s no Derek Pringle in the mainstream press, the Indy’s newspaper presence has gone and so has Bunkers, which leaves us just Newman and Selfey of the four horsemanures of the Cricket Pops. With Clarke going too, what are we to do, except to say, god, we were wrong about that lot weren’t we, us bilious inadequate, know-nothing KP groupies?

The question for the ECB now needs to be what we do with Giles now his one aim for remaining, to become ICC President (or whatever), has gone. His presence is an utter embarrassment to us all. The backer of the big three takeover, he now stands alone from that unholy trinity and yet the ECB would rather ignore this. They don’t have the balls to stand up to him, instead focusing more on making sure the right messages are coming out over social media, as County Championship Live on Twitter seems to be falling over itself to buff up our beloved skipper. But Clarke remains a polarising figure. Loathed by the majority in the cricket-loving fanbase, be it pro- or anti- the other focus of opinion,  Clarke seems to have the skin of a rhino.

I can get angry at him staying, but that’s almost like being angry at a pantomime villain now. We await what the ICC does in the near future, but everyone who speaks about it seems to say this is a bright new era of world governance. Only there’s not a lot coming out except Giles being rejected. In a world where England cricket needs to build bridges and maybe show a little humility, there is no place for Giles Clarke. Let’s see how our board cope with that.

I didn’t feel like commenting on the issue of Cook’s headgear. This seemed like a peculiar story, raised because our captain wasn’t playing with a helmet meeting our domestic standards, and then morphing into a story that showed Cook to be either a stubborn man or one who thought he could defy his own board and being bigger than their rules. I think it is the former rather than the latter, a man for who having the right things in the right place, and being used to certain set-ups is crucial, but there are good reasons to believe it COULD be the second one. This blogger is not about to set up the Alastair Cook Fan Club, that is for sure, but this story got right out of hand. It truly jumped the shark when Ian Botham, in a pathetic outburst, said it was “political correctness gone mad”. He’s entitled to his views, boring as I find them on cricket, but that’s just utter shite. If you are going to get your retired colonel schtick correct, it should be “health and safety gone mad”. Boycott saying the game has gone “cissy” is also just as stupid. Sometimes I weep. I really do.

The piece Chris put together on the IPL really did hit the spot. I’ve tried to be interested but it doesn’t work for me. In the whole scheme of things that doesn’t matter, because it is the Indian audience that needs to be excited, not me. They seem to still care about it, the players genuinely appear to like playing in it, and that’s probably going to trump everything. That most games seem to be won by the team chasing also appears to be a concern, because when sport becomes predictable it loses excitement. Then when excitement goes, people might be less inclined to watch. The odd Kohli hundred isn’t going to make up for that. We’ll probably be saying this about the IPL in 10 years  time, so to spend too much time on it is probably counter-productive.

Of course, I am, or was, following KP’s progress in the IPL. It’s one of the rare chances we get to see him in this country, and yet again he has had injury problems to curtail his participation. To those who think that this is obsession, if I am guilty of wanting to watch the finest player I have seen for England in the past ten or so years, then I’m guilty of obsession. But not as guilty as someone who goes out of their way to criticise anyone who dare praise him, and fill their timeline up with their obsession! I was pleasantly surprised we didn’t see too much gloating, but THEREALTRUTH on the Mail covers it nicely..

No problem for the “EGO” no doubt the DM will soon carry an article written for the “EGO” TO THE EFFECT THAT HE THINKS HE BATS BETTER ON ONE LEG than the whole of the current England top order put together. Delusion cannot be cured !

Delusion. There’s great mirrors in your house….look in one for evidence of delusion.

I am still waiting for the publication of the 2016 Accounts for the ECB. Last year the Company Secretary (Brian Havill, who left on 18 November 2015) and Auditor statements were signed on 9 April 2015. Last year they were formally filed on 24 April.  It’s now the 25th of the corresponding month and there is no sign on the ECB’s website and the other data repositories I can go to, but they must be imminent. Why am I interested? Because I’m a nerd, and I can’t wait to see how they compensate certain individuals for “loss of office” (£192k last year, and this appeared to be, though I can’t confirm it, David Collier). The interesting thing is that Havill doesn’t appear to have been replaced (there’s no formal notification on data sources) as Company Secretary. Does make you wonder what happened there! Once I get a copy, I’ll have a sweep through and see what I can see.

Lovely to see Kumar make a big one for Surrey yesterday. It’s a wonder he could communicate so well with his partners in major partnerships when he can “barely speak English” but do remember, the bile and vitriol is all our side. Interesting to see Daniel Bell-Drummond make a ton for Kent on what looks like a wicket doing something for the bowlers. I find those who make centuries when all about them are falling are a lot more valuable than the flat trackbullying. Bell-Drummond is local to me (indeed, I do believe I might have played against him when he was a kid) and been mentioned a few times as one for the future. I have a little local bias here, even though he plays for the wrong mob. Also going to be following Dan Lawrence, who looks to have a great future ahead of him, as he’s 44 not out overnight, and at 18 definitely one to watch.

I’d like to thank the commenter (Fred?) who linked the Geoff Knox piece on the Day Night test. There’s a whole epic post in me on sport and money but this seems like a good place to start. Players apparently bought off to say everything in the garden is rosy and do the board’s bidding? Poor sight for spectators? People drifting away early? We weren’t told this at the time. Infantilising your “customers” is so symptomatic of the world we live in. Media management is more important than letting opinions out. It’s because we are too soft to take the truth, and dish it out. The reason people question motives, and think we all have an agenda, is because of these insidious techniques.  You only have to look at how Maxie was questioned because he’d worked with Piers Morgan. I’ve been called a Piers Morgan front despite hating the man. We live in a world where managing the message is more important than the message itself. I’m just a blogger, writing what comes into his mind. I have no ulterior motive, I speak what I believe, open to hear counter-arguments (not abuse) and perfectly happy to admit I’m wrong when proven to be so. I’m not managing media or messages, other than moderating some small things. I’ve always felt my heart is in the right place.

Mark Wood’s career is on hold as what appears to be a farcical approach to his injury has meant that the poor bloke has been rehabbing for months to get over a temporary fix in his injury, only for the injury to get worse and another, more permanent fix put in place. That’s how I understand it. Sadly this has been the way with England for too long. While they sort of got away with it for Stuart Broad and James Anderson, they didn’t with others. I often recall Andy Flintoff’s injuries being prescribed “rest” as a cure, only for him to rest, rehab and then break down again, meaning operations. KP almost had his career ended by an Achilles injury. Matt Prior played on with one, and had his career ended. We play too much international cricket, and players will also chase the big pay cheques. There’s no end to this in sight, so protecting them is key. Best wishes to Wood in his recovery.

This should help move things on for a bit, and hopefully there will be some stuff up later in the week. Or earlier.

Let me leave you with some mirth. Someone actually wrote these two tweets to me:

“Apologies for challenging your restricted abilities. If you wish to limit yourself then I suggest you use your privacy settings”

But instead of heeding my request not to tweet me, I got this absolutely glorious addition:

“Read Wisden thought you were a serious commentator on cricket. Just read your blogg (sic), Didn’t realise you were just a KP groupie.”

This from the same person (not, I’ve been advised, a bloke – my bad for assuming that) who compared KP appearing as a pundit on England cricket to Jimmy Savile appearing at a kid’s party. I do get ‘em. Humility, intelligence, rationality and perspective. Fancy calling me a “serious commentator”? These people really must think I have the ego the size of an aircraft hangar.

Have a great week folks.