Customer Experience – try telling that to the ECB

So, the recent travails of trying to sell out the early Tests in the North of the country have been there for all to see. Yorkshire did a fairly decent job of getting punters through the gate, but the struggles that Durham had in attracting fans to the Test have been well documented. In my mind, it was either simply staggering arrogance from the ECB that they believed that they could sell out 2 Test matches in such a close proximity so close together or more likely, it was because they didn’t really give a monkeys, after all they had banked their £950k from each venue, so let the counties take the hit. If this was to be Durham’s last Test match, which I sincerely hope it isn’t, then I suppose they can console themselves that they were there when the ‘chosen one’ got to his 10,000 run mark.

As I mentioned in the preview of the 2nd Test, I simply find it incredible that the ECB are able to still persevere with the ballot systems, which not only hoses the counties (unless you can get an Australia or India to sell) and that in turn ensures us fans get hosed too – a double bubble for the ECB (actually come to think about it the fans tend to get hosed whatever the situation). Why not do as they do in Australia and agree a profit (or loss) sharing scheme and then allocate Tests fairly on a four-year basis? Oh yes, we come to the money question again and as we know the ECB doesn’t like to get involved with anything that might dent the rather tasty nest egg that they’ve managed to accumulate over the past few years, after all Giles Clarke’s lunches don’t come cheap.

This all got me thinking about how other industries and businesses would deal with a customer base that had been going south for quite a while. The term that is now fashionable in the business world is ‘customer experience’, what can we as a business do to convert interested individuals into buying customers and how can we ensure that we get them to keep coming back to us in the future? Now I generally think most business talk/marketing is a mixture of bullshit combined with some of the dark arts, but in this case, I think there is a strong lesson to England’s cricket administrators. After all, if we take the emotional tie of being an England cricket fan away from the mix, then what is there to attract people? I’m pretty sure it’s not the £75 tickets or the ruinously expensive crap they class as a food and drink, nor is it the genuine mismatches that many of the Test Series have thrown up over the past years. I think you get my point as to where I’m going with this! Why would the inhabitants of Durham, Yorkshire, Hampshire or Glamorgan part with their hard earned cash to watch a sport that they know little about? After all it’s not as if you can easily switch on the TV as a casual onlooker to see if cricket is something that floats your boat, you need to pay Sky at least £70 a month for the privilege of doing that.

So what about those fans who do actually go and spend their hard earned cash watching the game, what is their experience of the whole day? Is it something that gets them yearning for more? Well not really in my book and I quantify this by stating that I went to 5 Tests last year (3 against the Australians, 1 against New Zealand and I also flew out to Dubai to watch the 2nd Pakistan test), this year I plan on heading to a maximum of 2. If we look at the fan or customer experience, as this is basically what we’re classed as by the ECB, someone to fill their pockets and keep noise to a minimum unless we’re wholesome in our praise for Alastair Cook, is this really acceptable? Firstly there is the ticket prices, I’m based in London so generally I can’t go and watch a game in London for less than £65 a day, which is a whole lot of money to spend watching part of a game in a 5 day format. Then add in the cost of drinking their god-awful piss beer for £6 a pint and then eating something that might or might not be classed as fit for human consumption at the bargain cost of around £10 (the burger I had at the Oval last year was still wriggling as a vivid example of the dreadful food). So in essence my day out at the cricket with crap beer and something inedible to eat is well over £100 for the day, fancy coming back again? Nah I might give that one a miss! This is the easiest thing in the world to sort out from a customer experience point of view, firstly make sure the tickets are no more than £40 per ticket and if you want to charge top dollar for the food and drink, then please come up with something that isn’t undercooked burgers or Fosters lager! Not exactly rocket science, but as we well know fan enjoyment of our sport is at the very bottom of the ECB’s wish list, it’s all about profit for them.

Ah, they may say, but we have the Lords Test match coming up and that always sells out, so we must be doing something right. Well, Lords is a law onto itself, and I don’t mean that in a good way. I went to the Saturday of the Ashes Test last year and as a Middlesex fan, this really pains me, but I had a really crap time (and not just because Australia were hoofing us round the park). You see my name isn’t Tarquin or Barnaby, I didn’t go to private school, I didn’t go to ‘be seen’ and no I can’t afford the £86 lunchtime hamper and therefore I am not the type of fan that the ECB wants to see in the crowd. Lords has always been about the pomp and circumstance and the thing is that the could put the Sri Lankan under 13’s girls team out against England and Lords would still sell out. It’s never been about the cricket for the average Lord’s punter, it’s about showing the world that you have the connections to be an MCC member or can afford to drinks at the Veuve Clicquot champagne tent or have the money to host a corporate box, these are the real fans that the ECB wants, not you or I, who are passionate about the game. We’re all from the wrong sort of family after all! Needless to say I won’t be watching any Test Matches there again in the foreseeable future…

On a slightly different note, I see Dave Richardson’s been tweaking his rule book again and coming up with some encouraging sound bites about the future of Test cricket – http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci-icc/content/story/1022445.html. Now don’t get me wrong, I think we should be doing all we can to preserve the status of Test cricket and the division idea is a positive one, it’s just that we seem to have the same rhetoric around change every year, but nothing ever seems to happen. I think the first time 2 Test divisions were mentioned was back in the day when the Beatles were still together and precisely what’s changed since then? Well bugger all seems to be the closest guess anyone can fathom. Personally, I’d be surprised if anything does change in the short term, despite the fact that Shashank Manohar seems genuinely committed to growing cricket as a global game, rather than pandering to the favoured few. However, what happens when one of the big three is threatened by relegation? I’m not sure that they are going to shrug their shoulders and declared that we should have played a bit better then (despite Colin Graves’ assertions). It would not surprise me one bit if we ended up with the farcical situation where we have 2 divisions but one in which neither India, Australia or England could get relegated. I’m sure that would be an extremely positive signal about growing the game to the masses. As for the other things being proposed by Manohar, such as the reduction in revenue going to the big 3 and a more even spread of cash amongst the full members and the associates, I am awaiting the news on this with bated breath. Manohar no doubt has the best interests of the sport at heart, but the BCCI looks like it’s circling for a fight with Anurag Thakur, the newly elected president, no doubt bought into power with a mandate of safeguarding their cash and the ever so lovely Giles Clarke still wandering around the halls of power. It could be a very interesting few months for the future of our game. I would suggest to watch this space.

Have a good evening and rest of the week…..

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57 thoughts on “Customer Experience – try telling that to the ECB

  1. thebogfather June 2, 2016 / 7:13 pm

    Cracking piece Sean! I’ve so much I could add regarding the pricing and experience of both International and County cricket over the years ( from the mid 70’s onwards…alas, never a Test)…. but I will save these for something I may put together for a ‘guest post’.
    As to the Test ‘leagues’….well, Mr Richardson has ‘previous’ in the b/s but better be seen to be thinking realms of his self-importance within ICC. I shan’t be holding my breath, tho’ even more worrying is the ‘Silence of the Clarke’…

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  2. Sean B June 2, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    Thanks Boggy, would love to see a guest post from you about your own experiences..

    Like

    • Sherwick June 3, 2016 / 8:54 pm

      Yes, would love to hear ’em TheBogFather!

      Like

  3. Mark June 2, 2016 / 8:44 pm

    I remember Peter Kay on Parkinson a few years ago lamenting the closure of Northern working men’s clubs. He said he was driving past one the other day, and there was a sign outside saying….”New Bogs!” ……..As if that’s going to get people in…” They’re getting desparate now” he said.

    Don’t get me started on corporate hospitality…..( I know, I know it’s a necessary evil.) what gets me though is how few of the people in the boxes have paid to get in. They are mostly guests to the corporation that has paid out. I wonder if their share holders really think it attracts more business or is in fact a wasteful piece of expense? It’s probably the share holders in the boxes!

    A friend of mine went to Germany a few years ago for the World Cup, and was pissed off to discover that FIFA had set a zone around each venue where only Friends of FIFA products could be sold. And the official beer was I think Budwieser. All these wonderful German beers, and
    the poor punter had to drink overpriced American shite.

    I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that almost all governing bodies are pure evil. They all seem to have decided that the customer experience model must be delivered in the style of Dick Turpin. Overpriced and at the end of a pistol.

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    • Sean B June 3, 2016 / 6:48 am

      Customer experience seems to be ‘buy our overpriced product and don’t dare grumble about it’, we’ve got shareholders to please! And the ECB wonders why they struggle to sell the Test model to the masses…

      Like

  4. SimonH June 2, 2016 / 10:16 pm

    On the two divisions:

    If you want to read what Mike Atherton has to say about it, there’s a link through Andrew Nixon’s Twitter page. He also points out that Canada were offered FL status in the 1950s (which is a new one on me!) and that a D2 of seven teams (which on current ranking would be the Netherlands and Afghanistan) makes rather more sense.

    If you want to read what Mike Selvey (or anyone at the Guardian) thinks about it, you can’t because they don’t think it’s significant enough to cover – or perhaps Giles Clarke couldn’t be contacted to tell them what to think.

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    • SimonH June 2, 2016 / 10:17 pm

      Oops, should be FM status of course.

      Like

    • nonoxcol June 2, 2016 / 10:25 pm

      Exactly how many degrees of separation are there between the Guardian and Giles Clarke, anyway? Fewer than 10, I would imagine.

      🙂

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      • SimonH June 3, 2016 / 6:46 am

        Rather than lamenting their feeble non-coverage, the Guardian cricket team have been crowing that they broke the story first (in February, by Tim Wigmore – which confirms, incidentally, that his ICC source[s] are genuine, if anyone doubted it).

        One story three months ago covered it? Thank heavens the Guardian would never publish more than one article on the same event – I can’t think of any examples recently where they’ve broken that….

        #bootsnotsuits

        Liked by 1 person

  5. man in a barrel June 2, 2016 / 11:29 pm

    The corporate box model can work. But how many customers can a big company entice to Durham in May? The Lord’s model can work as long as you can get ex public school teachers to pitch up and have a picnic. For everyone else, the customer experience is not so good. However, is there so much difference between what Chelsea fans pay for 90 minutes and what England fans pay for 7 hours?

    Like

  6. man in a barrel June 2, 2016 / 11:32 pm

    I would pay for excitement. So I would pay for a 2020 or a baseball match. I would not pay that much for a Test. The admins need to build a model. Gridiron matches last as long as a day at the Test.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B June 3, 2016 / 6:50 am

      Not that different TBF; however football is global in its appeal, cricket is sadly not. Put a different way, would you pay £70 to watch part of a play? That is essentially what cricket is asking of us…

      Like

      • Mark June 3, 2016 / 11:10 am

        The problem with the corporate model is they make assumptions based on other sectors of the entertainment industry. So for example they will compare a mid range footabll match or cricket match with going to the Royal Opera House or the 02 to see one of the biggest bands in the world. It’s a completely different model.

        How may times do you go to the 02? Also they would rather get 3000 people paying £80 rather than 6000 people paying £40. Why not get more people who will buy more merchandise? (if they price it right and provide good quality product.)

        Good product on the field, and good product off the field. And people will come back again. Instead, they would rather scam their customers, or fans. Shit product at maximum price. No thanks.

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    • Sean B June 3, 2016 / 6:53 am

      I’m afraid the 2019 WC was never going to change. That was Giles Clarke’s coup de grace in terms of telling the associates how little he cared about growing the game. It’s always about the money don’t forget..

      Like

  7. SimonH June 3, 2016 / 7:14 am

    The ICC press release is here:

    http://www.icc-cricket.com/news/2016/media-releases/94993/outcomes-from-icc-cricket-committee-meeting

    This caught my eye:
    “The committee also discussed a number of other issues relating to Test cricket, believing a coordinated approach to the marketing of Test cricket was needed, and also expressing concern about the quality of Test pitches, and in particular the common practice of home countries overtly preparing surfaces to suit their own teams”.

    At least they’re discussing pitches and see it as a “concern”. A possible hint that something like ICC-contracted groundsmen is on the table?

    I see also that Manohar (and Ravi Shastri) weren’t present!

    I’ve also seen on Twitter that Graves welcomes the idea. If England are relegated, it’ll be our own fault, he’s quoted as saying. Not that disconnected b*stard staring out of the window then?

    Finally, I’m outraged that the admission the CT draw is rigged isn’t producing any outrage. Yes, we all knew it was going on – but that doesn’t make it right. Accepting breeches in the principles of sporting competition to make money (sorry, “stimulate interest”) is not where the game should be going.

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    • nonoxcol June 3, 2016 / 9:12 am

      Someone we know and love is also patting himself on the back because the ICC have finally hinted they might agree with him about the unparalleled evil of BIG BATS.

      Like

    • fred June 3, 2016 / 9:40 pm

      I’m reserving judgment on this because a few soundbites don’t really tell you what’s going on. The removal of Srini and that odious walrus, and their replacement by people who are making the right noises, gives me hope we might be moving in the right direction, but it’s too early to tell. We need more concrete evidence. But it’s much better than it looked 18 months ago, and good to at least have this reporting from cricinfo.
      And of course, the guardian ignores even these first stirrings, and publishes trivia instead. Pathetic. It’s rapidly carving out a market niche as the place to go for country cricket, nostalgia, and nationalistic cheerleading. Next step the hospice.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ian June 3, 2016 / 7:50 am

    Sadly a test v India is no guarantee of a good earner. In the case of the Ageas Bowl test in 2014 that the ECB started on a Sunday so any chance of a decent crowd was ruined.

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    • d'Arthez June 3, 2016 / 8:11 am

      The earnings would be through television deals. Who really cares if the plebs show up? The only reason they care is that it makes “bad television” …

      Like

      • Mark June 3, 2016 / 11:21 am

        Which is why in my opinion the ticket prices should be much lower to encourage full grounds. That way you get great atmosphere both at the ground, and on TV. I’m surprised Sky doesn’t insist on ticket prices that insure full houses. The money the TV companies pay for the rights mean the governing bodies could reduce prices. They won’t do it because they are too greedy.

        The problem for cricket is confounded by there being no other cricket on fta TV. So the game is dying. Elitist, expensive, and invisible. That was Clarks model.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. pktroll (@pktroll) June 3, 2016 / 8:29 am

    The issue of the two northern test grounds wasn’t necessarily their proximity but the fact that they were chosen at all for May is what got me. For instance if the tests had been played at Trent Bridge/Edgaston and charged silly money for this Sri Lanka team, I’m not sure we’d have seen dramatically bigger crowds either.

    Both venues hardly (CLS and Headingley) were hardly likely to ramp up the ‘sold out’ signs and this has been a burden on Durham in particular. Set together with micky taking admission prices the ECB nigh on seems to want to ensure that northern venues crash and burn. Would it have been so wrong as similar to two years ago where the limited overs games would have been played first and the tests after, meaning Mid-May to early June would have been ODI centric and the tests would have been played in possibly warmer temperatures?

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    • Mark June 3, 2016 / 11:28 am

      I agree, a few years ago Warwickshire played a semi final, I think of The London cup at home. (50 over ODI) It was very poorly attended. Years ago a big semi final at Edgebaston would have been full. I think it was held on a Thursday, I’m not sure what the pricing was. But it seems quite worrying.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus June 3, 2016 / 2:29 pm

        I’ve been on a short “road trip” in which our plan was to take in three minor league games. They are Single-A level fixtures in two separate leagues.

        The first game (which was going to be double-header) was rained out in a bloody unlucky (for us) torrential downpour that was very localised. Couldn’t tell you what the attendance was going to be. I think I’m not going to see the Delmarva Shorebirds at their home again!

        The second game was between the Wilmington Blue Rocks and Lynchburg Hill Cats. The ballpark is nestled right next to the main Freeway that goes all down the East Coast (I-95). Parking was free. Yes. Free. We got a 3rd base side seat, about 8 rows back for $12. That got you a magnificent view of proceedings. A match magazine (generic for the month) was free as well. The attendance for this fixture was just over 4000. To put this into context, it would be the equivalent in football of going to watch a Premier League team’s Under 16s, or a non-league football match. Yet this is supposed to be a sport in decline in the US, the amount of kids there was very noticeable (because the ones behind us were bloody noisy).

        The third game, last night, was the Lakewood BlueClaws against the Hickory Crawdads. It was a pretty miserable night, with a mist going across the ballpark, which is based around 50 miles south of New York. The attendance yesterday was 5,400. Again, this is single-A. To put this into context, Lakewood is Philadelphia’s farm team. In order of seniority this is how they rank:

        Major League – Philadelphia Phillies
        AAA – LeHigh Valley Iron Pigs
        AA – Reading Phillies
        High-A – Clearwater Threshers
        Low-A – Lakewood BlueClaws
        Short-Season A – Williamsport Crosscutters
        (plus rookie league teams as well)

        Last night at Lakewood was a special one – it was their garden gnome giveaway – but also they have drinks promotions on (sponsored by a local radio station) and the place is a hive of activity. Been there three times now, and there’s always something going on. There are tons of kids, families etc. You can buy craft beers from the area, or $1 Coors Light (massively overpriced for that concoction), but it’s a lesson to a lot of us on how to promote and make what is, in effect, a practice match (of which there are about 60 or so home games to sell a season). You might get the odd star rehabbing an injury, or get to see a potential new sensation (we narrowly missed Bryce Harper, who got promoted the week before one fixture), or even someone the blog is named after.

        I’ll be writing more on this in due course, but thought I’d give you a flavour of the things that go on, and the attendances you get.

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      • Mark June 3, 2016 / 4:40 pm

        Fascinating stuff Dmitri.

        It’s difficult to compare though insn’t it? America is such a huge country and so much open space out side of the major cities. Plenty of room for cheap car parking. They also have such a history of lower league or college or local town sport. People really turn out for this stuff, and are proud to do so. Maybe there aren’t many other attractions in small town US?

        The pricing is interesting, and I really do believe that things are just way too expensive in the UK. £6 for a pint, £10 for a shit sandwich. No thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AB June 6, 2016 / 1:15 pm

        Can you imagine the moral outrage if a sports venue in the UK sold beer for 70p? They’d be accused of promoting public drunkenness and causing every alcoholic within 10 miles to relapse.

        The prohibitionists would burn down Lords if such a thing ever came to pass.

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      • AB June 6, 2016 / 1:19 pm

        The other thing about baseball of course is that there must be 200 players at least in the MLB who are considered “greats”, “stars” or “hot prospects”.

        In this country we think of only international cricketers as star players and everyone else, no matter how talented, is derided as a hapless also-ran. Its like we’re actively trying to put people off watching the sport.

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  10. Sir Peter June 3, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    Fight the power

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    • Mark June 3, 2016 / 4:56 pm

      A lot of similarly between cricket and banking. Too big to fail, to big to jail.

      Like

    • Escort June 3, 2016 / 9:13 pm

      Akram is difficult to like, in fact the Pakistan team are very often difficult to like.

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  11. fred June 3, 2016 / 9:51 pm

    I know most people have gotten bored with ODI’s but I haven’t. I still think it’s a great format, and provides a good abbreviated version of the longer form. I was never bothered by the “boring middle overs”, I thought it was just part of the strategic positioning which added an extra dimension to an otherwise short game, and so quite interesting.
    I know there’s congestion now with three forms, and T20 has it’s place, but I’m not prepared to let go of ODI’s. Especially if we can broaden the pool and bring more countries into the mix, ODI’s can be a good intermediate step to tests.
    It may be that because the flowering of ODI’s and also World Series Cricket happened during my formative cricket years, I now lack objectivity. But in a contect between ODI’s and objectivity, I’ll chose ODI’s every time.

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    • fred June 3, 2016 / 9:53 pm

      I should have prefaced that by saying I’m looking forward to the Aus/WI/SAF tri-series. People will call it meaningless, yet another series etc., I just call it cricket, and a chance to see Aus play WI.

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    • Mark June 4, 2016 / 9:40 am

      Dmitri has been writing a lot about baseball and the lessons cricket could learn from their customer expeirence. Frankly I think 20/20 is the only form of cricket that can replicate a similar expeirence. The reason many county members liked 40 over Sunday league instead of 50 over was that it didn’t go on all day. A match could be started at 1pm and finish about 6.30-7pm. But I agree with you Fred I never minded the so called middle overs. It was all part of the game of cricket as the fielding side ground there way back into a match.

      I think test cricket is doomed long term. Increasingly players are going to learn their trade playing much more of the shorter game. The days of some kid like Boycott batting in the nets for hours and hours are gone. The modern players route to wealth will come from 20/20. This will change the way test cricket is played. We are already seeing that with more and more matches finishing in 3-4 days. The England team with its big central contracts is increasingly an anomaly. Players from other parts of the world without the security of juicy contracts from their home boards will seek out the shorter form of the game for a living.

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      • Benny June 4, 2016 / 1:07 pm

        Can’t help feeling you are right Mark. Dwayne Bravo said as much the other day. I’d like to see all formats prosper but those running the game don’t have the nous to make it happen. I believe the only way forward for Test cricket is to expand the game. If Afghanistan, Ireland and a hostile Auld Enemy and others became a force, it would give new interest. If we had, say, 20 or 30 test playing nations, we could even have one-off tests, rather like football has single internationals.

        On customer experience, it was something of a specialist subject for me 10 years ago before I retired. It’s not marketing and it’s not particularly about price (if you had comfy seats, shelter from the elements, waiter service, quality food and drink, you’d probably pay a chunk of money). Ironically, the big screens now installed at grounds is actually an example of helping the customers – not much else is. To make it happen requires finding out what the customer wants – by asking.

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      • fred June 4, 2016 / 2:35 pm

        Maybe I”m naieve but I think Test cricket will prevail. It will change, but continue, because it still has value. People still listen to Mozart even though he’s old fashioned and takes a bit of concentration to appreciate.
        Matches are finishing in 3 days because of pitches and some weak teams. Even Australia couldn’t last three days in England recently. It’s not the death of test cricket. There have been some great series recently.
        The only thing that will kill it is poor administration. That threat seem to be receding, but we’re not out of the woods yet.

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      • AB June 6, 2016 / 1:27 pm

        Kids have always grown up playing 20 over cricket and then graduating to the 40 over game in their teens. The skills they learn are the skills they are coached, so its entirely up to the coach whether to produce a team of Boycotts or a team of Brathwaites.

        A par score in an U12 T20 game is about 100 and is quite often won by the team that a) takes their catches, b) doesn’t play across the line, and c) doesn’t give away too many extras. It has more in common with a test match than the IPL.

        Like

  12. fred June 4, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    McGrath on Anderson:
    “McGrath became famous for his regular Ashes whitewash predictions in favour of Australia but, in this case, he has backed the Englishman to ultimately surpass him, as he told cricket.com.au: “That’s entirely up to him [Anderson]; if he stays on the park, then he can do that quite easily – and knock me off. And good luck to him. He’s a quality bowler, there’s no doubt about that. When he’s firing and the ball’s swinging, he’s as tough [to face] as any bowler going around.”

    Putting aside for the moment the extraordinary prospect of McGrath giving credit to an English guy, I thought his compliment was decidedly backhanded. The “When he’s firing and the ball’s swinging..” bit. That’s what everyone else says too.

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    • Zephirine June 4, 2016 / 8:59 pm

      For a long time we used to talk about Good Jimmy and Bad Jimmy. Has he become more consistent or has England learned not to use him in Bad Jimmy situations?

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      • fred June 4, 2016 / 9:38 pm

        I’m sure he has become more consistent, and I expect someone able to drive the stats query engine will be able to prove it. But even so, the question is still asked about Anderson in England vs Anderson Outside England. I think he’s done well in Asia, much less well in SA and Aus.
        I’m really hoping Starc will fulfill his promise very quickly because otherwise with Steyn starting to decline (I think) I may have the acknowledge Anderson as the the best.

        For the moment, all I can cling to is that ICC rates Anderson #1 because of a score of points which in fact a large number of other bowlers have previously reached. In other words, his position is due to the paucity of competition. I read that somewhere, I will have to go back and check that to ensure my statement is supported by facts, because I know this blog is underpinned by facts, not attitude.

        I ask for forebearance, this is essentially an English blog, and not being English, some things come hard for me.

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      • d'Arthez June 5, 2016 / 7:58 am

        Jimmy averages about 21 in May and June in England, 31 otherwise. Since the easy opposition is always scheduled in May and June, and weather is not THAT consistent in England, it might simply be a case of lack of quality from the opposition.

        All those cheap wickets against opposition who have limited / no experiences in cold circumstances / rather want to be in the IPL are bringing his average down. Remember Chris Gayle’s statements a few years ago?

        Has he become a better bowler, or, are batsmen less interested to play Tests in conditions they’re not too familiar with, as they miss out on the riches of the IPL? (someone like Watson gets more for playing one IPL game, than Mathews gets through his SLC-contract in a year – how is that not lopsided?).

        I am not sure what is the answer is to the question to be honest. Because the reality is that this unbalanced idiocy has been approved and pushed for by the ECB.

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      • SimonH June 5, 2016 / 8:59 am

        Fred’s point piqued my interest so I had a look at bowler rankings in the 1980s and 1990s. There doesn’t seem to be any quick way of finding top ranking scores over an extended period of time – so I looked at the scores on May 31st of each year which was when Anderson went top.

        884 would have been top of the rankings in 8 of the 20 years (1981, 82, 88, 91, 92, 95, 96, 97). There was also one year when it would have been a tie (98). 884 would have been never less than third. The bowlers who had higher rankings: Botham, Imran, Hadlee, Marshall, Waqar, Ambrose, Donald.

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      • fred June 5, 2016 / 11:53 am

        Why am I not surprised someone fact checked that statement? And why am I not surprised it was Simon?
        So what you’ve identified is that Anderson ranks about mid-field in terms of being the top dog. Seems about right.
        If you were fanatical you could start to conjecture about the value of a ranking point now vs historically. Was it easier or harder to get 800 points in Hadlee’s day, for example? Possibly you could say it’s harder because batting has improved. But you would descend into a debate even more convoluted than the one around Cook’s 10k.

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    • nonoxcol June 5, 2016 / 12:15 pm

      “Having failed to score more tons at any other English Test ground”. Amusing how they are prepared to torture the English language just to cram the word “failed” in there.

      Think the stat might be something to do with him playing there twice nearly every summer, as well….
      Without looking it up, I would guess every home Test summer bar his first (not picked until Ashes) and last (injured for NZ series)?

      Like

      • fred June 5, 2016 / 2:51 pm

        “Having failed to score more tons at any other English Test ground” is just superb. Simply brilliant upside-down manipulation of the language. Bloody KP, he’s failed yet again. Orwell’s 1984 is alive and well. Surely is wasn’t Booth who wrote that?

        Regarding the WACA, “Mitchell Johnson, having failed to take as many wickets at any other Australian Test ground…”. Except that the Australian media, for all it’s sins, wouldn’t go on such a witch hunt, even when MJ was a little unstable and vulnerable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • fred June 5, 2016 / 3:01 pm

        Virender Sehwag, having failed to master the defensive approach of an opening batsman…

        Dale Steyn, having failed to learn the “dry bowling” technique…

        Mitchell Starc, having failed to learn the discipline of line and length, is prone to bowl inswinging
        yorkers…

        Joe Root, having failed to learn about playing yourself in, often hits a boundary in the first few balls of his innings…

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH June 5, 2016 / 3:07 pm

        FTR, Pietersen played 15 Tests at Lord’s and didn’t play more than 8 (Oval and TB) at any other ground. He played just four Tests at Headingley.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Adrian S June 6, 2016 / 6:15 am

      It was written by Piers Morgan’s son his name’s at the top, you can’t say the Morgans don’t do their best to keep everyone thinking KP is a victim. I don’t think the word failed will have been used accidentally and if his aim was to provoke its worked looking at Fred and Nontoxcol comments. I can’t even guess how Morgan junior got a job at the same paper as his father.

      Like

  13. Zephirine June 5, 2016 / 10:56 pm

    Incidentally, does anyone else find this a bit icky?

    “The easy thing would have been to do nothing as I knew it would be a decision where I got a lot of flak. But I wouldn’t have been true to myself, I would have been hiding. That’s not what leaders do” Mark Robinson, England women’s coach.

    When did the coach become a ‘leader’?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark June 5, 2016 / 11:46 pm

      It’s all me, me, me with this guy isn’t it? He’s already told us about all the hate he has had on social media.

      Now , in case we didn’t know, he needs to tell us he is a leader. How about just getting on with the job and Stfu?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Zephirine June 6, 2016 / 12:42 am

        Edwards gone, Greenway gone, Taylor ‘taking a break’ of unspecified duration. Perhaps someone who wasn’t so keen on ‘leading’ might have found a better way to transition, keeping the input from the experienced players while trying out the new talent.

        Liked by 2 people

    • quebecer June 6, 2016 / 2:54 am

      “Perhaps someone who wasn’t so keen on ‘leading’ might have found a better way to transition..”

      While as always you hit keenly on the point, zeph, I might also add that those who are actually leaders never ever claim to be, as they don’t need to. And those that are would naturally do exactly as you are suggesting, as they would in no way feel ‘their way’ threatened by anyone. Those natural tendencies would avoid circumstances such as the one Robinson has now created.

      But what really bugs me is that he won’t be in that job in three years. Stepping stone for Robinson, nothing more, and he’s in danger of doing more damage in the mean time than good. If you want to rebuild as says he wants to, you’d better be in it for the long haul. Dedicating yourself to women’s cricket from here on are you Mark? I doubt it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus June 6, 2016 / 7:26 am

        Bang on about those who speak about being leaders. If you have to tell me you are, you probably aren’t very good at it.

        Like

      • Mark June 6, 2016 / 8:04 am

        Exactly Dimitri. He sounds like a typical speak your wait modern coach. He’s probably read all the right self help books, and has a suitcase of props, reader cards, and buzz words.

        The ECB seem to hate the model of any player thinking for themselves. Instead they want the all powerful leader/captain. You wonder if that was the brief to drive out some of the more powerful players.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus June 6, 2016 / 2:24 pm

          How odd that in my first piece for a week I get both Adrian AND Zod picking at the carcass. It’s kind of touching.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Mark June 6, 2016 / 8:06 am

        That should have been weight not wait of course.

        Like

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