The Post With No Game

Newman Markings
Newman – 12 May 2015

Well, it has been an interesting old week. Today is the 12th May and it marks the one year anniversary of the “Trust” press conference / media event which many now congratulate Strauss on for providing clarity and a clear message going forward.

Relive the joy through the threads on the day. Chris live blogged a press conference:

https://beingoutsidecricket.com/2015/05/12/strauss-press-conference-live-blog/

“Strauss has effectively acted as judge in his own divorce case, awarded himself the house, then asked his ex to advise on the redecorating.”

https://beingoutsidecricket.com/2015/05/12/trust-1/

Standing O for Andrew Miller….

But no matter how passionately they expressed their platitudes, or how multi-layered they made their appeals for a reassessment of the team’s priorities, the white noise of corporate bullshit was precisely the last thing that we, the working media, and by extension, them, the disenfranchised masses so odiously dismissed by the previous regime as being “outside cricket”, needed to hear.

There’s a lot of this sort of management mumbo jumbo coming out in the ending of the career of Charlotte Edwards, where it is clear the individual wanted to carry on, but also clear that the management did not. Now if this is down purely to playing matters – i.e. whether a player is the best taking into account all facets of the game – is less clear. Indeed, there is some indication that this might have been done with that hoary old chestnut of “developing for the future” coming to the fore. While media gurus sniped at women’s cricket lacking “athletes”, the drop off in performance of our world beating team of a few years ago is disappointing. Mark Robinson is out of the ECB School of Coaching, and this looked like a typical move. It seems a nice contrast to see Pakistan’s men team coming over with a 40+ captain this summer. Age is quite often used against players – see the drip drip drip about Ian Bell’s “eyes going”. I thought it was an interesting day watching the dancing around the issues. Robinson has made his bed and will now have to lay in it. Edwards has made it known that this wasn’t a decision of her choosing, but the inevitable decision she had to make once she saw the writing on the wall. All quintessentially English.

I’m not a keen follower of the female game as some on here – simply not enough time – but it has to be said I am judging this through the “ECB of the last couple of years” prism. I’m also more than wary of the men judging the women’s game through men’s standards – sub-consciously or not. I don’t often hear anyone on the T20 circuit, for instance, complain about Chris Gayle’s lack of athleticism. An extreme example (and when he’s not scoring runs in the IPL, like he is now, a cogent one) maybe, but Edwards is that taliswomanic (I love making words up) figure for the English team. Robinson may be trying to show he’s made of the stuff in making tough decisions. I hope the decision hasn’t been made to appear tough.

I can’t help but reflect on the death of Tony Cozier. For me he was the voice of West Indian cricket. I’ll never forget the first time I saw him on TV. It was on Newsnight, in 1984, with a dazzling white suit jacket on, explaining in the wake of the 340-odd run chase at Lord’s how the West Indies were so great. And of course, without knowing, the response was “he’s white?”. However, the main reasons we cared so much about his passing have been gone into in great detail on here in the comments, in articles, on Twitter etc. He was part of our cricket education. In an era when educative commentary is buried behind “well how many caps did you get” drivel, Cozier educated you on the rise, and fall, of West Indian cricket. He’s one part of the reason that the West Indies have a special place in my heart. His love of the game, and his determination to speak what he believed, shone through. I’m sure he had his faults, we all do, but to finish his life virtually ostracised by the WICB, casting aspersions on his fitness to commentate on the game when he’s surrounded often by braying morons, saddens me. I had the chance to pay a visit to The Wanderers Club in Barbados in October 2005. Before I went I did not know it was his club. Instead I went on a pilgrimage, at first, to Kensington (then being demolished) and then to Holders Hill. But when we visited Wanderers his presence as club behemoth lent it an aura I’ll never quite forget. RIP Tony. You gave much to me, and I know many others.

I won’t comment much on the England selection, which saw the outlandish predictions of a few weeks ago row back into yesterday’s limited changes. Congratulations to Jake Ball for his rapid rise, no doubt helped by being on TV a couple of weeks ago, and also to James Vince who will make his debut, I would imagine, as a straight replacement for the sadly retired James Taylor. Now Vince has undoubtedly benefited from being a client of a prominent management group and a vocal ex-England player, and his initial international performances can be filed under “encouraging” rather than “devastating”, so he has a lot to prove. I hope the hype is matched by performance. The selection of Compton also was interesting. I would have had no problem if he’d been dropped. Provided this dropping was based on his performance on the field and the notion that there is someone more suited for his number 3 slot. Instead what I’ve been reading and hearing is a whispering campaign about being “fidgety” “overwrought” “nervous” “too intense” “bad body language”. Barely a piece goes by that does not allude to Compton’s mental state. In one sense the media individuals spouting this amateur psycho-babble claptrap must be pleased he’s been picked because they can go on about it again. I’ve never seen a player briefed about in this way since, perhaps, Mark Ramprakash. Good luck Nick, I hope you prove the doubters wrong.

Some House News. Both TLG and myself will be off premises for a few weeks at end of May, beginning of June. For me that doesn’t mean I won’t be able to post, but it might not be that regular (depends on how the holiday is going). That said, I won’t be able to watch any of the second or third tests. I can set up posts, and perhaps read some from others, but commenting on the action will be difficult. We’d love one or two of you to write up reports on the day’s play if you have the time (I know you’ll do lots of it in the comments) and if you wish to volunteer, please let me or Chris know. Otherwise, I’ll make do and mend.

Finally, I was journeying home from another leaving do last night when I came across the frankly astounding interaction between Tregaskis and Paul Newman. I want, believe it or not, to be fair to the Mail journo, but good grief he makes it hard for you. There is no doubting that getting an interview with Andy Flower was a “scoop”. Well done. To then allow that interview to appear to be a job application form, and a puff piece with little delving into things he clearly doesn’t want to talk about (like the Difficult Winter), Newman, in my view, let us down again. There’s clearly a desire to hear Flower’s side of the story from the horse’s mouth (and not unattributable “Sportsmail understands” nonsense), but instead there’s a dance around it. The result was an interview so lacking in substance that it’s little surprise that there has not been a lot of re-reporting of it that I’ve seen. Then to get prissy with Tregaskis, who clearly has got under his skin before if that was anything to go by, and start doing that “let me explain journalism to you” claptrap that I have had in spades from others, seemed out of character. Newman blocked me 2 years ago. I can still read his stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever directly tweeted him so blocking me is absolutely spurious, but he blocked Tregaskis who is rather confused by it all.

A message to you good folk of the dead tree press. Speaking for myself. I don’t want to be a journalist. I have never wanted to be a journalist. I just like to write on things that I care about, and cricket is my niche at the moment. I don’t want to know the horrors of your job, or understand access and such like. I’m sure you work very hard doing something you love. But your responsibilities are now to hits and churn and not to getting to the bottom of the story. Flower may have said no questions on KP, but you then go out of your way to praise his dignity rather belies any sort of meaningful approach. We are now all aware that if we are ever going to get the definitive counter-view on that Difficult Winter, it’s going to be through Alastair Cook or Andy Flower’s autobiographies. We’ve long since given up on the dead tree press getting it. So while I received a comment last night, one of a few in the past year, to let these things lie because I can’t change them, it still means a lot to me that these issues, in their own way, aren’t out of the visibility. In our own small way, Flower’s reticence still resonates. Because we, and others, won’t let it go. That’s the issue, not a KP comeback.

That should get you through the next day or so. Chris has promised at least one piece, so we look forward to that.

And from this month’s Cricketer it is a battle of good versus evil!!!!

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61 thoughts on “The Post With No Game

    • Mark May 12, 2016 / 8:33 pm

      Investec Ambassadors? WTF does that even mean?

      I see Finny has been given Investec diplomatic immunity from putting on a suit. Faded jeans, and a pair of trainers. Is this the bankers new dress code? Or just for Investic Ambassadors only?

      Like

      • SimonH May 12, 2016 / 10:18 pm

        I kind of miss the inflatable zebra on the outfield.

        Those were the days.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus May 12, 2016 / 10:23 pm

          I’m having nothing said about Investec. That zebra is currently in their main office, by the way.

          Like

      • SimonH May 13, 2016 / 8:27 am

        It’s good to know that between them England’s attack have our financial and man stink needs covered.

        If Selvey is successful in his campaign to have the bowler with the lowest average and best Strike Rate dropped, what would Jake Ball bring to the table?

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus May 13, 2016 / 8:29 am

          Lizzie assures us that Jake Ball is international class. I’m sold.

          Like

      • Benny May 13, 2016 / 1:10 pm

        Can’t argue with Lizzie. I tried it once and didn’t get away with it

        Like

    • rpoultz May 13, 2016 / 4:31 am

      Good to see Nasser their too. Definite correlation between his severe drop off in quality of his commentary and the ashes fall out of 13/14

      Like

    • northernlight71 May 13, 2016 / 10:54 am

      That’s great to see.
      It’s really great.
      Isn’t it great?

      Great.

      Like

    • nonoxcol May 13, 2016 / 11:15 am

      While we’re referring to anniversaries, it’s a year ago tomorrow since Stuart Broad got too pissed to turn up to an Investec event, and myself and the rest of the audience were treated to the insight of his truly delightful father instead. This extended to the FORMER APARTHEID TOURIST who, along with several others, BETRAYED ENGLAND in the middle of a disastrous Ashes series, twice describing Pietersen as a “cancer” in the dressing room while addressing an event that was raising money for a children’s cancer charity…

      I don’t think he’s worth any more of anyone’s time, so I’ll shut up there.

      Like

      • Mark May 13, 2016 / 11:20 am

        Speechless!

        But not at all surprised.

        Like

  1. Mark May 12, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    Good stuff Dmitri.

    Here are the Whitiker quotes on the two new selections. Spot the numerous Lions mentions.

    “Both Jake Ball and James Vince thoroughly deserve their opportunity having performed well with the England Lions and starting the season in good form with their respective counties,” Whitaker said.

    Off to a good start there James. Got a Lions mention in on the first sentence.

    “Building on his success with the Lions in the winter, Jake has impressed with the ball and shown excellent control and skill in the opening matches of the County Championship. If selected, we are confident he will perform very well at international level.

    Jesus, lions was the 7th word into this paragraph. Also notice the resurrection of the Bob the builder reference. ” building on his success” Remember Strauss was constantly talking about building last year.

    “James has been a consistent performer for Hampshire and England Lions over the past few years. He is already well regarded by the England coaches in the short format and now has the opportunity to showcase his skills at Test level.”

    Bingo! Lions in the first sentence again.

    Finally, good to see The Cricketer magazine keeping in touch with the “outside cricket” issues

    Like

  2. Sean B May 12, 2016 / 9:01 pm

    I was pretty amazed and aghast to see Newman’s responses to Tregaskis yesterday (mostly deleted now). I mean who does he think he is, Mike Selvey??

    I’ve also managed to get blocked by FICJAM without ever communicating to him on Twitter. These MSM journalists are such a precious bunch. I guess the truth hurts their poor little egos…

    Like

    • Mark May 12, 2016 / 9:37 pm

      I find it funny the thought of him blocking people for no reason. I don’t have a Twitter account, so I don’t follow any of them. However, it’s easy to find everything they’ve said if you want to. Seems pointless blocking people. Especially ones who don’t even communicate with you.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus May 12, 2016 / 9:42 pm

        He does appear to have deleted the tweets last night (the majority of them). Remorse and regret?

        Like

      • Mark May 12, 2016 / 10:00 pm

        Interesting. Doubt it’s remorse.

        Actualy I was more thinking about FICJAM blocking Sean for not reason.

        Just saw the promotion on Sky for the test series. “Young team, no fear cricket.”

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  3. Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) May 13, 2016 / 7:11 am

    I have mixed feelings about the squad. I don’t think Vince has objectively done enough. He is effectively an electoral punt based on potential and whatever attributes of character and technique they observed when he was with the England set-up. He represents an attacking and exciting punt though and it might be fun. Jake Ball is a genuine talent in my view. While he won’t play I’m not unhappy he is netting ahead of Woakes or Plunkett.

    I genuinely like both Compton and Hales as cricketers while retaining obvious doubts about their capability at this level. Glad they’re getting another go, while the challenge for the likes of Lees, B-D, Robson et al is to turn a good few matches into a dominating season if one of these two fail. It all feels a bit in-between at the moment, which is strange for a team who have just won the Ashes and defeated SA on their own turf.

    Re Compton, I found it disappointing that the coaches clearly spoke to him about his scoring rate. It seems strange to pick Nick Compton and then be unhappy that he plays like Nick Compton, even after playing such a role in winning a vital game. I would tell him to be as cussed and Compton-like as he wants. It’s not as if there aren’t enough attacking batsmen in the line…

    A brave call would have been to blood a spinner this series. Tough on Ali but it’s a squad game now and we need to have a spinner of some experience in the team before this winter.

    Looking forward to Test cricket. I hope the Sri Lankans can continue to show the doggedness and sheer martial spirit of their skipper, even though they have obviously declined.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark May 13, 2016 / 9:06 am

      Yes, the moaning about Comptons scoring rate made no sense. He was surrounded by attacking players. He and Cooks opening partnerships, before he was dropped, were scoring decent averages. Surely in Test matches what you want is a good start? Knock 20 odd overs off the new ball, see off the opening bowlers, and protect the middle order.

      It will always be my belief that his face doesn’t fit for non cricket reasons. Makes it very difficult to stay in the team because you are judged by a different standard. Every time you fail, your place is under pressure.

      As for Ball and Vince I have no problem with younger players coming in if they are good enough. Botham and Gower were young men when they came into Test match cricket. What I am suspicious of is that young players now have to be given the rubber stamp of approval from the lions coach. And Ball isn’t that young anyway. He is approx 25. In years gone by he would have played more country cricket by now. Sign of the times?

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus May 13, 2016 / 9:11 am

        A certain persona non grata has been tweeting about Compton. Lovely drop in mention of “mood hoover and his mates”

        Like

      • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) May 13, 2016 / 10:21 am

        Indeed, the idea of ‘learning your trade’ over hundreds of overs per season seems to be a distant one. Maybe why our bowlers seem more comfortable bowling to plans rather than trying anything unexpected or unorthodox (although maybe Mark Wood is an exception). I’m not sure what the answer is but feel the current situation is most damaging for our young spinners than anything.

        One of the more bizarre claims in recent years was that Compton was told off for practising his off-drive while fielding, an action apparently disrespectful to the bowlers. A real insight that.

        I would love it if Compton won a Test this summer with a 300 ball ton. It’s part of Test cricket.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Clivejw May 13, 2016 / 11:49 am

        Interesting to hear KP stick up for (and clearly appreciate the value of) a batsman so unlike himself. Of course a no.4 batsman wants a good platform when he comes in.

        KP’s last intervention, calling on us to “back Zac,” wasn’t nearly so laudable.

        Like

    • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) May 13, 2016 / 11:10 am

      One other thought re spinners. I see Ansari is out of cricket for the ‘foreseeable’ future after another injury to the thumb he broke last year. Interestingly it is soft tissue damage and not related to bone or ligaments. Does anyone remember such sustained problems to a single digit? He must be feeling jinxed.

      Like

  4. Benny May 13, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    Just a thought – does that pic show Broad practising a new umpire-friendly lbw appeal?

    Like

  5. fred May 13, 2016 / 10:20 pm

    I guess those that are familiar with me will know I’m not much into flag waving, but I feel tempted just to pull on the baggy green for a moment.

    It’s been a little while since Australia has won a series in England. But they’ve done well on several occasions only to lose the key moments, and thus the series. (Embarrassingly, one of those key moments was the entire first session at Trent Bridge).

    However, a quick scan through this blog makes me wonder if some English ineptitude is on the horizon. Australia’s inability to play a swinging Duke may yet again be trumped by England just fucking up. Is Flower being rehabilitated? Will the glare of Cook’s 10k blind critical thinking around team structure, as it has done so often? Confusion around Compton. Confusion around Finn. Anderson being lionised even though he’s obviously on the downward slope.

    I hope that by the next time they arrive in England the Australians have worked out a game plan, but I’m starting to wonder if, even if they don’t, England may not be able to take advantage. It’s true England won their last series in SA, but it was against a greatly diminished team, and the matches were very mixed (a clear English win, a high scoring draw, an English win and a huge SA win). We have some series’ coming up with Aus vs SL and Eng vs Pak which will provide guidance, but when thinking about how the fortunes of the two teams will play out, I’m wondering if Australia might be aided not only by intelligent cricketers like Smith and Warner learning and growing, but also by England making the wrong choices. It’s looking a bit like that.

    If Bayliss is let go somewhere along the line, and Flower makes a return, the odds will swing squarely in Australia’s favour.

    Like

    • Escort May 13, 2016 / 10:45 pm

      Flower can’t return can he? He’s been on Sky lately during the IPL coverage which is I think the first time he has appeared since he resigned or was sacked. I would think he is perhaps looking for opportunities elsewhere, he coached recently in the Pakistan T20 league so hopefully he is looking to move in that direction.

      Like

      • SimonH May 14, 2016 / 8:02 am

        “Yes I’d like to have another crack at international level but that doesn’t suit my family situation right now”.

        Flower in the Newman puff-piece. By International he clearly meant a national side, not a franchise. Apart from India, I can’t think of any other international side that might want him and could afford him. Australia wouldn’t have him. SA, NZ, SL and Pakistan would involve a massive pay cut. WI and Bangladesh will be in the soon-to-be-created D2. There aren’t that many international options.

        By the way, looking up that Newman article again, I hadn’t noticed the graphic summing up Flower’s England career – ‘The Highs’ with 9 items listed and ‘The Low’ where the lack of an ‘s’ tells you all you need to know. No defeat in WI, no 2011 WC, no home defeat to SA, no thrashing in UAE. Still, they could only publish what Flower said, eh?

        Liked by 4 people

      • fred May 14, 2016 / 3:57 pm

        “Australia wouldn’t have him.”
        Flower coaching Australia? That’s something I’d pay to see. It would be hilarious. And would last about three months.

        But if I understand your comment correctly you are saying that England is his only real option, and that it’s just a question of timing due to his family commitments.
        You know it’s coming, don’t you. Watch Selvey, he’ll be the bellwether. The first Selvey article discussing Flower’s heritage will indicate that the deal has been done.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. SimonH May 14, 2016 / 1:01 pm

    Newman asks Root about the altercation on the last day of the 2014 Test series:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-3589832/Joe-Root-says-learned-lesson-stay-calm-future-fiery-finale-Sri-Lanka-s-visit-Headingley.html

    So some things have to be off-limits to get these interviews – or does it just depend on the interviewee?

    Looking forward to Newman asking Cook about the altercation at the end of the ODI series that year…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol May 14, 2016 / 7:58 pm

      “Radio Halfwit” just produced a two- hour programme on Hillsborough that was infinitely superior to anything that insufferable snob has ever given the world.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus May 14, 2016 / 8:17 pm

        Dear of dear oh dear.

        Citing schools and universities.

        Ranting at TV newscasters.

        I thought this was about Cozier.

        Having a go at Robbie Savage is the lowest of low hanging fruit.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mark May 14, 2016 / 8:47 pm

      I must be getting old because I agree with much of what he says. He is right about so called “personalities” taking over the airwaves. He is also right about the medias obsession with having ex players as pundits,and tv talking heads. You don’t have to have played at the highest level to understand the game. Too often the ex players are reluctant to criticise the current players.

      This is more so in football where the idea that footballers must never be criticised in public by the manager or the home fans has become a religion. Of course they should be criticised. They are happy to take executive salaries. They should grow a thicker skin, or go and work stacking shelves in Tesco.

      I don’t understand what scores he is settling for Selvey. The only thing I did not agree with him about his is attack on the speech made by the Wolf Hall guy. He was speaking quite intelligently. Just because Henderson doesn’t agree with the content is no reason for him to attack him. This was supposed to be a tribute to TonynCozier, so why he has to go meandering off into politics I don’t know.

      Any one who has had to endure TMS with G Swann (Crickets answer to R Savage) will know he has a point. In fact Swann is a good example of the ex player knowing Jack shit about the bigger issues in his sport. He didn’t even know what the price of a test match ticket was. Some F….. Expert he was.

      Like

      • Mark May 14, 2016 / 9:57 pm

        Simon thanks for that.

        I didn’t pick up on the Selvey being booted out of TMS thing.

        Although Henderson is on dodgy ground there because Selvey is an ex player. An ex test player even. (The mighty 3 test wonder) so he is an example of the very problem Henderson is claiming to be against.

        Like

    • fred May 14, 2016 / 9:05 pm

      There are many references in the article I don’t get as I’m not a local, but given that, I don’t know what your problem is with the “expert witness” comment. What he said was:
      “He met every deadline and never missed a beat. And at no time was the story ever about himself. An expert witness, then.”

      Seems to me he was emphasising the way the man was acting as a dispassionate witness, rather than making himself the story, as people like Warne and Selvey tend to do. Cozier was an expert witness because he was just witnessing, not trying to participate in the story.

      I agree that the currency of “expert” has become greatly devalued, and people like Selvey haven’t quite twigged to that yet, but I think the article used the term simply to say that Cozier was very good at being a witness.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus May 14, 2016 / 9:30 pm

        The dogwhistle “Etonian” and “Oxbridge University” references to determine what “expert witness” counts outside of John Arlott. The descent into axe grinding towards the end – I know no-one who likes Robbie Savage outside of his immediate family. It’s not this message per se, it’s that it is used in every single piece this pillock writes. It’s cast in class snobbery. It dismisses “populism” which he confuses with “noise” quite deliberately. All this in an article about Cozier. That he follows the Telegraph line on the Beeb is amusing as well.

        I don’t know. I just don’t like the bloke’s writing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol May 14, 2016 / 10:18 pm

        Give him credit, when Selvey writes about CMJ his genuine affection for the man is obvious. Henderson just shoves “Marlborough and Cambridge” in there straight away. He is just appalling. Anyone who doubts it needs to go back to his own appearance on “Radio Halfwit” back in August 2012, when he used you know who to rant about he and his ilk knowing better than the (quote unquote) “riff raff”.

        Like

      • fred May 14, 2016 / 10:22 pm

        LCL
        I guess its a matter of perspective. I expected nothing less than references to Eton etc as standard English discourse.
        “Brian Johnston, the Etonian jester, wasn’t all fun and games: he was awarded the Military Cross for his war service.” Typical English newspaper article.
        So, now I re-read this:
        “Brian Johnston, the Etonian jester, wasn’t all fun and games: he was awarded the Military Cross for his war service. Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Marlborough and Cambridge, brought rigour and verbal precision to Test Match Special. Jonathan Agnew, at times single-handedly, keeps the TMS colours flying today.”
        Discussing cricket commentators through the prism of schools and military language. Yes, I get your point. Thank goodness we have Agnew to keep the colours flying right? Otherwise we’d be overun by the savages.
        “Ian Chappel, the South Adelaide High School drop out, wasn’t all fun and games: he was awarded… no, it just doesn’t work.

        Like

      • fred May 14, 2016 / 10:39 pm

        “Richie Benaud, Parramatta High School, brought rigour and verbal precision to Test Match commentary. Ian Chappel, at times single-handedly, keeps it real today.”

        Like

    • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) May 15, 2016 / 7:50 am

      There is a lot going on in this article – as the debate here shows – but I think the confusion is caused by demands of intellectual rigour and quality of communication coming from someone who does not practice those things himself in this article. Being a professional journalist who is not an ex-player does not automatically make you a Cozier or an Arlott, irrespective of what school you went to.

      It’s a shame a few things are conflated in the article, because there is a real debate to be had about TMS and the overt branding of wackiness ahead of quality broadcasting.

      Fred, thank you for making me smile with the comments about Chappell etc…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. SimonH May 14, 2016 / 10:36 pm

    Hayter praises the officer class, Stocks has England on the way to “rule world” and more slagging off Compton:

    Think I’ll hang on to my £1.50.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus May 14, 2016 / 11:14 pm

      Jimmy Anderson talked openly about beating Sri Lanka 3-0.

      Colin Graves talking about an opposition being mediocre.

      Compare media reactions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark May 15, 2016 / 12:31 am

        Also it’s fascinating how we are now being told how much that defeat to Sri Lanka really, really hurt the team. Funny they didn’t say that at the time. It was all dismissed as an irrelevence because dear leader was on the ropes, and KP might come back.

        Now they feel it’s safe to come out and tell the truth. Just shows how much they lied at the time. They are pretty smug at the moment. What with the worlds greatest coach giving interviews. (Even if they are soft ball ones.)

        No wonder the Southampton test match against India later that summer was treated to the same propaganda as Wellingtons victory at Waterloo. They were heading up shit creek without a paddle.

        I wonder how Mr Flower feels about Anderson saying they won’t take their foot off the pedal if they get to number 1 this time. Is he implying that is what they did last time? Shame a certain journo didn’t ask him last week. I guess I don’t understand how the media works

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus May 14, 2016 / 11:09 pm

      Newman on Cook in the Mail.

      I’m not linking it. He’s trolling us.

      Like

      • nonoxcol May 15, 2016 / 6:25 am

        I counted 32 first person pronouns in Cook’s own words. Impressive numbers, even for this incredibly selfless individual.

        Like

      • SimonH May 15, 2016 / 9:33 am

        In the DM’s other main cricket story, Broady remembers to get in part of this summer’s agreed narrative:

        “we have a huge carrot in front of us to get nine Test trophies. If we beat Sri Lanka and Pakistan we will hold all the bilateral trophies against the other Test nations. Maybe Australia at their greatest did that but not many teams have”.

        Those fantastically meaningful bilateral trophies – how many cricket fans could name more than three of them? And, given that West Indies went unbeaten for 15 years, they must have been another team who managed it.

        To be fair to the DM, at least they have some cricket stories. As one Tweeter pointed out to Selvey yesterday, the print edition of the Guardian had no cricket story at all. Is Selvey’s reply obtuse and truculent? Are bears Catholic?

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez May 15, 2016 / 4:34 pm

        I suspect South Africa also did that before the Australians visited there 2 years ago – they won in Australia (Faf’s heroics in the series). They beat India in South Africa (Kallis’ farewell), Sri Lanka in South Africa, England in England.

        West Indies, New Zealand have not won a series against South Africa in ages, and have lost both home and away to South Africa. Pakistan where whitewashed in South Africa, and have never beaten SA in a series. Bangladesh have never won a Test against South Africa up to that point. Zimbabwe hardly counts.

        Oh, and when was the last time that England bothered to play Zimbabwe? If you don’t contest a trophy for 10+ years, it is hardly the stuff of “champions” (which is a criticism that gets directed to Lasker, 27-year world champion in chess. Admittedly, World War 1 made it slightly tricky to pretend that you could play sports as usual).

        So, it would not even be unique in the last ten years.

        Like

      • d'Arthez May 15, 2016 / 4:35 pm

        that never winning in a series by Pakistan refers to series held in the UAE. Those two series were drawn.

        Like

  8. Mark May 15, 2016 / 10:07 am

    Dmitri won’t link to the latest Newman nonsense, but here is the opening paragraph…..

    “The contrast in Alastair Cook this week to the last time he faced Sri Lanka at Headingley could not be greater as he approaches the most important milestone yet in what is becoming the most significant career of any England cricketer.”

    Eat your heart out WG Grace, Jack Hobbs, Harold Larwood, Peter May, Geoff Boycott, Ian Botham and many many others.

    Remember when 10,000 runs was a selfish, non team specific luxury? Not any more in the odd ball world of Mr Newman.

    There was a famous headline in the 1970s in the NME on top of a hilarious interview with Freddie Mercury who claimed he want to bring back ballet to the masses. The headline read….

    “IS THIS MAN A PRAT.”

    Is Newman a prat?

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus May 15, 2016 / 10:49 am

      He’ll be the first Englishman to 10000, at a worse average than anyone else to get there. The first trumps totally the second. The second won’t even be mentioned. There’s the “he reached it at a younger age than Sachin” remarks, of course.

      It’s what makes Cook a figure that is incapable of being rehabilitated in my eyes. There’s a piece in me on him, don’t you worry, and it’s such a shame that it has come to this.

      You can’t make me love him, Paul. No matter how hard you try.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Zephirine May 15, 2016 / 12:37 pm

        Simon Hattenstone’s interview with Stokes https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/may/14/ben-stokes-cricket-world-cup-test-series-simon-hattenstone tries to appeal both to followers of the sport and to people who know nothing about cricket (and, interestingly, explains terms that wouldn’t have needed explaining a few years ago). It presents Stokes as an exciting sportsman with flaws and great talent, who has a sense of humour and a dramatic personality. If you were a non-cricket person, you might even want to take a look to see what happens when he plays.

        In contrast, the Cook-worship by Newman and others just demonstrates why interest in the sport is dying in England:
        1. Cook may well be a more complicated and ruthless man than we’re allowed to know, but the way he presents in interviews is banal and somewhat egocentric. He doesn’t make for a good read. He’s quite nice-looking but oddly inexpressive, so the photos aren’t that great either.
        2. He’s praised for being normal and sensible, a conforming middle-class man. Like Strauss before him, he’s the one who doesn’t make the wrong kind of headlines. But the public want to be intrigued, entertained – perhaps even scandalised – this is sport, not a middle-management motivational video.
        3. The way he bats is boring and is admired for being so. Most of the wider public simply don’t get the appeal of attritional run-accumulation and at best would see it as a useful part of a team effort. They expect a star to do something else.
        4. 10,000 runs is a meaningless number to anyone who isn’t into cricket stats.
        5. Calling Cook ‘the greatest England batsman’ and making him the figurehead of the game simply reinforces the public perception of cricket as a old-fashioned public-school yawnfest where they play for five days and it can still end in a draw. Maybe that’s fine. Maybe that’s what they want.

        Liked by 2 people

      • fred May 15, 2016 / 10:43 pm

        Zephirine
        beautiful analysis. Dispassionate and accurate. He is truly a strange mix of very good and very bad qualities.
        Don’t worry, there’s probably only a couple of Cook years left, before he retires to the sheep farm.

        Like

  9. Mark May 15, 2016 / 10:32 am

    Just seen Skys latest trailer for a programme coming up on Tuesday. They even managed to enlist Stephen Fry , no doubt to give it some gravitas. Apparently it will be about the England team of the 1990s, and why everything was terrible. A behind the scenes look at all the backroom problems. Mark Butcher will be narrating the show so it will have some credibility. I wonder if it will touch on how good a lot of the opposition were then? Just look at the numerous opening bowling partnerships at that time. (Would Mr Cook make 10,000 runs in that era?) Certainly way above a lot of the teams today that England face.

    Now maybe it’s just cynical me , but the timing of this show is rather suspicious? The ECB work hand in glove with Sky. Right now the propaganda is all about how England are brilliant, and are heading back to being number 1. So a programme contrasting with the so called shambles of 20 years ago will bring into sharp focus how lucky we all are to have the greatest England team of all time right now, and the greatest player in English history.

    Pardon me if I go and throw up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus May 15, 2016 / 10:39 am

      And I’ve been working on a post this morning on this very theme…

      Like

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