Unconsciously Decoupling

Title inspired by Gwyneth and Chris…..

So that was the first leg of the “summer”. England pretty much wiped the floor with an over-matched Sri Lanka side, bereft of established star talent, incapable of mastering early “summer” English conditions. England did what they had to do. They took advantage of their home superiority in two comfortable wins in the Northern heartlands, while being on top in the London match-up only for the opportunity of a whitewash to be denied by rain. England won the ODI series 3-0 with one tie and one no result, and comfortably won last night’s T20 international. The Super Series, in its inaugural incarnation ended, let me work it out now, 10-2, plus 8-2, plus 2-0 – so 20-4 – and that was that.

And I’ve never been less interested.

Take last night. I went supermarket shopping after work, and forgot to take my phone with me. I completely forgot the game was on, so never kept up with what was happening. At 11pm I noticed the highlights were on Sky, so sat down to watch them, not knowing the score. When it became evident that Sri Lanka were not going to post 200, and the wicket was as flat as anything, I decided going to sleep was a better option and looked up the score. I’ll commit the highlights to disc, stick them on my laptop hard-drive and likely never watch it. Another T20 with context, another international fixture, eroding away the special nature of the international (i.e. top level) game in an orgy of money accumulation and TV schedule filling. Pile ‘em high.

There are many on these pages that decry the fact that we play Australia and India too much, and not enough attention is given to the so-called “smaller nations”. And you’d be right. But series like these arm the holsters of the powers that be and the TV masters, rather than us. Sri Lanka were, for vast swathes of this series, outclassed. England won the test series without major contributions from their three and their five, and with Joe Root, Alex Hales (although he had a good series) and the Captain failing to make a hundred. Jonny Bairstow had a terrific series with the bat, and so my commenters tell me, a less than terrific series with the gloves. Moeen Ali made a hundred, but will always be a source of contention as to his place in the team. The bowling was sound, brilliant at times, but we know that in home conditions. England don’t look, by any means, the complete article in the way their 2011 team, or even, Bell’s travails aside, the 2005 one. We still get to 50 for 3 too often. We still need the lower middle order to save our bacon too often.

With the problems with Compton, the stuttering starts, the bedding in of the unconvincing Vince, we still gave the Sri Lankans a hell of a beating. This points to a worrying lack of strength in the opposition and not necessarily our over-riding power. The gold standard for a world class, all-time great team in the modern era is Australia of the late 90s, early 2000s. It carried no passengers. It had people queuing up to replace them. It won with authority and power – huge batting totals, scored quickly, and aggressive bowling with brilliant spin. Go back to the 1980s and the West Indies. Their bowling had depth, with great fast bowlers playing very few tests. Depth in the batting was much more of an issue.

England 2016 has some really solid pieces, but it lacks key cornerstones of success which intimate that it isn’t up there yet. What may be more concerning is that in the 2005-2011 eras there were players constantly coming in to test cricket and being ready for it. Nick Compton is probably a really good indicator of where we are. He wouldn’t have sniffed test cricket in 2005. Nor, probably, in 2011. But in 2012 onwards, after the retirement of Strauss, he was the next opener on the rank. We’ve followed with a number of players that exuded promise, but weren’t consistent enough. Alex Hales has had seven tests and while he is promising a lot, he isn’t cemented in there. If the Pakistani opening bowlers are on the form they were in 2010 then he’s in for a really tough time. Remember how Strauss started his test career? KP? Ian Bell (a very good 70 on his debut)? Matt Prior? Alastair Cook? They came in as if they were ready. James Vince has come in, against gentle opposition, and not produced. Sure, we must give him a run, but those that start badly have a high correlation with those that finish like it.

From my own personal perspective, and by extension the blog, this has been a trying summer. Blogs run on enthusiasm and energy. Producing piece after piece takes effort, will and a desire to opine. I try to not repeat myself over and over again, but know that I fail! It is also true that the blog runs when there is an engine being driven, and to do that you need fuel. The ECB, England and the media have done much to deprive us of fuel. It’s true to say that I really don’t have the energy or will to write more at the moment. Non-competitive cricket, where it’s obvious that nations like Sri Lanka are in serious trouble, do that to me. This isn’t the Murali Sri Lanka we are beating. This isn’t the 2014 Sri Lanka we are beating (we couldn’t do that), it is a weak side, regularly turned over on the road. They may have some talent to build upon, but it is a way away. Coming to our shores next is Pakistan, another set of notoriously poor travellers (away from UAE), and we hope that there is more of a contest. Mohammed Amir on 2010 form, minus the obvious, will be a treat to watch. Lost in that spot-fixing horror was the fact he bowled an amazing spell at Lord’s, undressing fine players’ techniques, and it will be interesting to see if he still has it.

 

(Note here – I can’t stop you discussing the merits of whether he should be playing or not, but I find the debate tedious. He’s served the designated time, paid off his debt to cricket as opined at an international level, and the rest is conjecture. It won’t stop people, of course. It never does.)

The title of this piece is directed towards my feelings about cricket. I feel less engaged, less connected than ever before. A dull series, uncompetitive, unsurprisingly so, played out to a context of self-congratulation and wonderment by our media, while all around the distress signals are being let off has that effect. I’ve been the Jeremiah too long. I can’t care until the problems the international game has now are really, truly resolved. Top players are burned out in no time, and for that the test game is weaker. Lip service can be paid when only T20 can bring the massive bucks, and even that isn’t guaranteed. The issues surrounding my anger for the last two years have not gone away, and nor are they likely to. Potentially England will play 27 international matches next year. Potentially 55 days of international cricket. It’s madness. You don’t make top quality cricket better by playing more and more of it. But that’s what we are doing. Day night ODIs in late September, a test series starting in late August, giving players little rest but lots of match fees. It’s mad. They complain of lack of context, then pile on added games. The one thing this series proved is that dead rubbers remain dead rubbers despite the Super Series.

I used to go to every Millwall game. You could not have found many more diehard fans. I even went to dead Anglo-Italian matches (we never qualified for the Italy bit). Then I started missing the odd away game in midweek or a long distance away. Then it would be nearer and nearer.  Then I missed West Ham away because I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle. Then I stopped altogether. I then started missing the odd home game. Then more than the odd one. I finally decided to stop going altogether. Two years after that we got to the FA Cup Semi-Final. You couldn’t have paid me to be there. I still love the team. They’re still my club. I love what, ironically Neil Harris (our manager) has done this season, and yet I still feel no compulsion to return. I unconsciously decoupled from attending football matches. Maybe that’s what happening with cricket. Because if you don’t care, you stop having a reason to persevere. It means I don’t read FICJAM, don’t get irate with Newman, can’t be bothered with TCP and the Get Out A Compton band, and don’t feel the need to watch the games. Which isn’t a recipe for longevity.

Pakistan. We need you. Big time. Let’s show the world test cricket has a future. Be great opponents.

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45 thoughts on “Unconsciously Decoupling

  1. Sean B July 6, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    Great piece. Sums up my feelings perfectly.

    I used to consume every England game I could, on tv or live. Then I started to feel less inclined about the ODI’s, then started to attend less (ok I went to 10 days worth of Test cricket last year, 2 planned this year). Now I also forget games are even on – I stumbled upon yesterday’s game when I got home from work and have been more bothered about the Middx games vs. The Yorkies, which I’ve been checking from work.

    All in all, shows Andy Bull’s piece to be something created out of la-la land. We can all see it, but those in power and in the press would prefer to stick their heads in the ground. As you were 5 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus July 6, 2016 / 9:30 pm

      The worrying thing is that the authorities, who need to pay for the upkeep of the destitute counties and the wages of the international players will schedule less and less of these types of series and more of the India and Australia ones if they can make it stick. We aren’t bored or not committed to watching Sri Lanka, but we are if they are going to be lambs to the slaughter. We might as well play Ireland.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oscar Da Bosca July 6, 2016 / 9:21 pm

    Snap. I have had no interest in this series apart from the ODI I went to with some friends in Bristol. We struggled to be interested even whilst there (but that was partly due to the weather forecast which was always going to end the game without a result)

    Pakistan really need to turn up

    Like

  3. Mark July 6, 2016 / 10:26 pm

    I have been reading your output, but not commenting. I feel the same way. The enthusiasm has been drained out of me. We are almost one week into July, and have had no competitive international cricket., This is a feature not a bug.. This is the Giles Clarke model in all it’s hideous glory. His great plan was to use the financial strength of the big 3 to reduce the other nations to mediocrity. Competitive cricket was to be replaced with Guaranteed success of the big 3. Cricket would adopt the mentality of one eyed Premiership football fans. Home advantage would become even more one sided, but hey, you got to see winning cricket. In turn this will all make you yearn for more Ashes. Mission accomplished! “Please Mr Clarke, give us Ashes every year.”

    I am not putting much hope on the Pakistan series either. To start with I fear it is all going to kick off again. The media are already stoking the fires with a holier than thou attitude which team England are happy to play along with. See Broads interview in the mail. “”I’ll shake his hand, but I won’t forget.” What is more interesting in that interview is Broads claim that the England team wanted to pull out of the series after the revelations of spot fixing. However The ECB, worried about the TV contracts being broken, and the financial penalties that would incur wanted the test matches played. So much for principle. Giles Clarke did mange to refuse to shake his hand in public. But as always with governing bodies, it’s all for show, never risk the dough. So spare me the moral lectures. And anyway, we don’t have life bans, even if we wanted them, so we move on.

    The falling quality of the cricket has to be placed along side the revelations by Mark Nicholas that our genius captain really, really thinks the standard of test cricket has never been higher. Is it any wonder some of us can’t stand this man? I will never fall back in love with the test team so long as this prat is captain, And the heavy industry that props him up like a North Korea leader.

    I have watched little of the cricket this Summer. I have watched the Euro football, and enjoyed it. I even laughed out loud when ENGLAND got knocked out. Another English governing body not fit for purpose. Hasn’t been for 40 odd years. But don’t worry they are going to consult. They are going to consult British Cycling, British swimming, and English rugby. So ENGLAND football might as well appoint an Australian coach. It. reaches the point you just have to point and laugh at the morons in charge. Unfortuately Unlike cricket,football can’t rely on lots of poor opposition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol July 7, 2016 / 12:39 pm

      “What is more interesting in that interview is Broads claim that the England team wanted to pull out of the series after the revelations of spot fixing. However The ECB, worried about the TV contracts being broken, and the financial penalties that would incur wanted the test matches played.”

      Ahhaaahahahahaaha! Brilliant one that, Broady. The revelation of spot-fixing came on the evening of Saturday 28th August 2010, when Pakistan were 41-4 overnight, second innings, following on, 331 runs behind, in the final Test of the series! 21.2 overs of play later, the series was over anyway.

      http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-pakistan-2010/engine/match/426416.html

      God they really do think we’re morons.

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      • Mark July 7, 2016 / 4:05 pm

        I think he must mean the ODI series as that was the last test match of the series. The point I was really making was that the ECB were more worried about losing revenue, and cancelling tv contracts than any principle that is now being dragged up.

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      • BoredInAustria July 7, 2016 / 9:22 pm

        It is wonderful Mr Broad Jr, that benefitted from his fathers Rands commenting on morality.
        Will you shake Mr Broad Srs hand?

        Liked by 1 person

      • hatmallet July 8, 2016 / 1:32 pm

        The threat of cancelling the series was during the ODI series when the then-Pakistan chairman suggested England deliberately lost a game after a batting collapse.

        Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez July 9, 2016 / 8:54 am

      Ah yes, Stuart Broad. Who flung the ball at a batsman (Z. Haider) while he was in the crease, and the batsman only suffered a broken hand. That Stuart Broad. I can imagine that Haider has no interest in shaking the hands of the guy who basically ruined his Test career.

      Needless to say, Broad did not get much of a punishment for that sporting gesture. And I doubt he actually remembers having done that.

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      • BoredInAustria July 9, 2016 / 1:44 pm

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  4. Benny July 6, 2016 / 11:41 pm

    Sad to say, I’m feeling much the same this year, although I still put the cricket on the TV but more as background. Still more interesting than 95% of the rest of the programmes.

    I’ve been drained by the excessof international games. In the good old days, Tests were 5 per summer, very special and something to look forward to. In between, we could pop along to a county ground and watch the top players battling against each other. Now they’re either playing for England, carrying drinks or hidden away in a gym. The summer sport is now international cricket in different formats and county matches are closer to second XI stuff.

    I’m not optimistic.

    On a different note, watching highlights from Bristol today, I heard Nick Knight actually announce “all the nines, 99 for 9”. Think he’s missed his calling (apologies for the pun)

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    • sidesplittin July 7, 2016 / 5:33 am

      “In the good old days, Tests were 5 per summer”. Only, they weren’t were they……?

      In 1967, 1971 and 1974 India and Pakistan each played three test vs Eng, six tor each of those summers. 1978 had Pak and NZ play three each. 1980 had five tests vs WI + the Centenary Test. The Ashes of 1981, 1985, 1989, 1993 & 1997 were all six test series. Seven test summers have been around since 2000.

      Since the 1930’s Eng Ashes tours of five tests would tag on 2/3 tests vs NZ. Tours to Aus in the 70’s were six test series, often of eight ball overs too.

      Nick Knight should be reading bedtime stories in an old folks home as a cure for insomnia.

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      • Benny July 7, 2016 / 4:09 pm

        Thank you so much for correcting me. My main point was that a multitude of international matches becomes “oh here comes another one” while at the same time takes top players away from the local county stuff we can all pop along and watch – if it’s going to be interesting.

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  5. SimonH July 7, 2016 / 9:04 am

    I’m feeling thoroughly disconnected and uninterested as well. I watched one session of the SL series and, although I have some more recorded, I doubt very much it’ll ever get watched. It isn’t being anti-SL, it’s the lack of a contest and the lack of bowling quality that has turned me off. I was the same during the India series in 2014 after Southampton.

    Whether it’s a result of the massive injection of financial doping into the game in 2014 or a more cyclical thing, who knows? SLC don’t deserve a free pass for their responsibility in the mess their team is in. However if one team has ten time the resources of the other, then eventually that is going to bite.

    Can Pakistan show up? I hope so, but they’ve been starved of experience outside Asia and I fear they might start mastering the conditions when the series is already over. Their likely Test bowling attack (Riaz, Amir, Rahat/IK2, Shah) has only taken 74 Test wickets between them outside Asia (Amir 45, Riaz 15, Rahat 14). In all Tests, they’ve taken fewer wickets than Stuart Broad (a combined 230 against 345). I think Riaz is the only one to have f/c playing experience outside Asia. They’re being vaunted in some quarters as some sort of great attack but that’s more a statement of potential than actual achievement. Curiously, although they are inexperienced at this level, they aren’t particularly young with all the bowlers except Amir in the 28-31 age bracket.

    With the football nearly done, and not being a fan of the Olympics, there’s a chance coming up for me to reconnect with Test cricket with Australia also touring SL and India in the WI. However if these turn into more B3 massacres with mediocre pitches, poor umpiring, sluggish overrates and the best players missing, then I might conclude the game is broken beyond repair.

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    • pktroll (@pktroll) July 7, 2016 / 9:27 am

      For all the Pakistanis inexperience, a rather inexperienced and far less talented Sri Lankan bowling line-up still managed to cause plenty of problems for the England top order. That is why there is some potential for England to struggle somewhat. However the greater issue may well be how Pakistan’s batsmen fare against Broad and Anderson.

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      • SimonH July 7, 2016 / 9:47 am

        England made 300, 500 and 400 (near as dammit) in the first innings of the three SL Tests. It doesn’t matter if they’re 50/3 on the way. Getting through the lower middle order is as much part of the game as dismissing the openers.

        I didn’t watch it but was the ball swinging much when new, then not swinging? Perhaps they’ve switched to those cheaper Duke balls used in the West Indies! Scyld Berry investigates…..

        Like

      • pktroll (@pktroll) July 7, 2016 / 10:04 am

        Not really. There wasn’t really that much swing. There was definitely some seam movement about. I actually think that the influence of the Duke ball re swing is a little overrated in any case unless you have bowlers who are actually adept at making the ball swing, as in Anderson. I agree with you that of course the middle/lower middle order are as important, just that they usually had some rather ordinary bowling to come up against once the ball got older.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. pktroll (@pktroll) July 7, 2016 / 9:23 am

    I watched a big chunk of the first couple of tests and the most happy I felt was with SL making at least a decent fight in their follow on innings of the second test and a good-ish performance in the 3rd test.

    I was in between homes (no I wasn’t out on the street before you ask!) for the 3rd test and about the only cricket I saw live was on the Friday evening of that game and I was in a pub that was showing it, for the last hour or so of play. Some random guy comes up to me and starts chatting cricket and said he was pleased that Sri Lanka were showing some fight finally. That mirrored my own feeling. I said before that I was pleased with Jason Roy’s progress in the ODIs but even so, some of my excitement was tempered by the fact that the Sri Lankan ODI performances were probably even more insipid than their test showings given that they had been such a fine side up until even a couple of years ago.

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  7. SimonH July 7, 2016 / 11:53 am

    Oh joy, Test time is nearly upon us again so here we go:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-3678491/Alastair-Cook-admits-came-close-resigning-England-captain.html

    Apologies for a political parallel, but Cook’s “thinking about resignings” strike me as about as convincing as Tony Blair’s when he was PM. It was never going to happen – and if he raised it, it was in wanting to be talked out of it. And now he wants to go on to the 2017/18 Ashes? Who’s surprised?

    (The original interview is in The Sun and can accessed through John Etheridge on Twitter should anyone wish. Not only does Cook claim he lived “on the edge” but there’s an inlaid feature claiming Cook is the best driver of fast cars among England cricketers. FFS, they never give up, do they? He’s just not exciting, can’t they just accept it?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark July 7, 2016 / 12:42 pm

      As I Said above…..it’s like Noth Korea.

      Expect new articles claiming Cook is the greatest golfer, basketball player, motor racing champion, cake baker, guitar player, drummer, scientist, spaceman and he is also good at doing the ironing.

      As you say Simon, he was never going to resign. It’s a lie spread by a media who are bankrupt liars and charlatins. He was also never criticised by said media. Contray to the re writing of history he was backed to the hilt by a fawning, grovelling, duplicitous media who lie for a hobby. It’s why I have come to hate and despise the ECB test team. And the ECB and their media made me this way. England and Cook have become good at test match cricket, just as everyone else has given up. Fools gold!

      They would not stand a chance against the good sides of the 1990s and early 2000s. And nobody cared if Nasser, and Atherton or Vaughn were good drivers of fast cars. The cricket meant something then.

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    • thebogfather July 8, 2016 / 3:57 am

      expecting Cookie to be announced as the new frontman for erm Top erm Gear any erm day soon…. can’t wait fr this…’Some say ermm well Straussy says erm, ah, erm, he was born in a field of erm green and sil erm ver, we call him the errr, what was it erm Straussy? Oh, erm yes, the erm ah erm Stig’

      Like

  8. SimonH July 7, 2016 / 12:36 pm

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  9. Zephirine July 7, 2016 / 12:45 pm

    I’m afraid the nearest I got to the T20 was seeing a bit of Morgan being interviewed looking cheerful, and thinking “Oh, won then? That’s nice.”

    And I like T20.

    But to be fair, there has been Stuff Going On in the wider world.

    As an aside, Morgan is an excellent communicator and you feel that he’s saying what he really thinks (even if sometimes on reflection you realise some politics must have been involved). That, plus the rather charming dissonance of a man talking cricket in an accent forever associated with horse racing, makes me hope he will one day be a TV pundit.

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    • Mark July 7, 2016 / 4:08 pm

      The plan is working perfectly……..

      Here, have some more Ashes.

      Like

      • SimonH July 7, 2016 / 4:23 pm

        The useful idiots will be around blamed the transformation policy when, as the article says, 80% of the problem is lack of money.

        That’ll teach Lorgat for asking some questions about Srini.

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    • d'Arthez July 9, 2016 / 9:15 am

      Yes, so Lorgat asks some questions about Srini: SA get two Tests at home.

      West Indies pull out in the middle of a tour. They get 4 Tests at home.

      Needless to say, it is the SA politicians who have massively screwed up. Cricketers don’t run the economy. Politicians are much more influential in that. Jacob Zuma destroyed billions of pounds in December by firing his Finance Minister and then having to backtrack 3 days later, after the financial markets reacted, when it became obvious that Nene’s replacement (van Rooyen) was hopelessly unqualified for the task. Zuma was forced to recall Pravin Gordhan (Nene’s predecessor), in an attempt to limit the damage he willingly inflicted on the economy. Nene was, according to Zuma’s press statement, going to get a job at the BRICS bank. He is still waiting …

      The politicians focused on skin colour, without actually investing in the communities (even a supposedly communist party like the SACP, which is part of the tripartite alliance can’t even be bothered to talk about class). But investments in communities never materialised. Quality investments in education never happened. SA spends billions on education, but the results are dismal (SA usually ends up in the bottom 5 countries in international comparisons between 100+ countries for primary and secondary education). Successive governments have never thought it convenient to address quality issues. So, kids in schools are still plodding on.

      Even StatsSA (hardly biased), have been ringing the alarm bells about declining education standards since the end of apartheid (think about it, that is worrisome). If 90% of the population doesn’t have access to good quality sporting facilities, you know it is the ones with money who will have access.

      So in effect the politicians are forcing CSA to rely on about 3 or 4 per cent of the Black population (due to economic exclusion, which the ANC has done little to address in 20 years) to make up half the team. In effect, that is reducing the resources by a massive margin.

      That is like forcing the ECB to pick only one player who has come through the public school system. With complete disregard of the state of cricket in state schools.

      The problem is not transformation targets. The problem is that there has been no qualitative investment in the previously disadvantaged communities. That is not just on CSA, but mostly on the SA government. CSA could have done better, sure. But it is the local elites who have really screwed up.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. oreston July 8, 2016 / 1:19 am

    “Several younger franchise players are looking at the UK as a destination to further their careers… England’s first-class competition comprises 18 counties; South Africa’s has only six franchise teams.”

    Kind of ironic if they think the County Championship in 2016 is some sort of promised land. Still, I guess some of them would eventually qualify to play for England…

    Like

    • pktroll (@pktroll) July 8, 2016 / 7:56 am

      I wonder how the EU exit will affect many of those players statuses if Kolpak would become defunct on exit?

      Like

      • hatmallet July 8, 2016 / 2:26 pm

        Could the ECB opt for a tiered overseas limit?

        So each team can have one overseas player from a Test-playing nation, and one from an associate nation. And maybe another one from a Kolpak country?

        Like

  11. SimonH July 8, 2016 / 4:47 pm

    Also, wickets from the tour match are on Sussex’s Twitter page if anyone’s interested. Century by Azhar Ali today – he’s going to be a crucial figure if Pakistan are going to do well.

    Like

  12. quebecer July 9, 2016 / 12:53 am

    Does anyone know why the Lions don’t play the touring team? Would the touring team not benefit more from what would surely be a better standard and more competitive environment that that posed by the county seconds they now face? The Lions would be up for that game, with a great chance to prove their worth, and plenty to learn form the experience.

    Isn’t it a win win?

    Like

    • fred July 10, 2016 / 5:36 pm

      Quebecer,
      you are no where near cynical enough. Warm up games are not intended to benefit the touring team, they are intended to put them on the back foot as soon as possible.
      England’s last tour to Australia comprised a warm up game against a reserve team team that had people searching the local newspapers to see who was playing. It reminded me of my playing days, and when there was a bowling change, the cry came out from the scorers “Bowlers name…? Fred? Fred who? Oh, OK”. General merriment all round.
      Frankly, why would anyone provide real competition in a warm up game? I’m sorry to say this, but it seems to be the way it works now.
      England played a practice game half way through the last Ashes in Alice Springs, or somewhere around there, in the desert. The memory is a bit vague but I’m sure Monty Panasar and KP played in that game. And England got spanked. I’m not sure who gained anything from that game, except the local hotel and pub.
      Warm up games have become weaponised which is a shame. But such is the world these days.

      Since we’re chatting, there’s something else which is really bothering me, and it’s Joe Root. I was just reflecting yesterday if maybe the best batsman in the world is actually English. I know AB dV, Smith and Kholi routinely do the impossible, but in the end, Root is actually a good, old fashioned batsman who matches them all, but in style. He doesn’t have any fancy flourishes, he just bats, properly. Proper cricket. I’m very conflicted, but I’m starting to develop a soft spot for Mr Root.

      I hope Khawaja develops quickly, so there is someone to continue the Australian tradition of elegance and I can get back to saying things like “Root, yeah but…”. At the moment, there is no but.

      Anyway, I didn’t come here to discuss touring teams, I had something else to say. I’ll say that below.

      Like

      • Benny July 11, 2016 / 7:05 pm

        “Why would anyone provide real competition?” – most importantly because the counties are charging people to watch. Add to that, it’s great experience for our chaps.

        You’re right about cynicism but those who run our game have mastered it.

        Like

  13. fred July 10, 2016 / 5:54 pm

    I’m not into football and neither is this blog. But I was just reflecting this week on Brexit, and Antoine Griezmann. I didn’t know who Griezmann was before last week, but now he’s become a national hero in France. Ironically, a guy called Griezmann is famous now beating Germany in football. So I looked him up.
    Guess what? He’s from Alsace, a piece of ground that, despite the toos and froes, is shared between France and Germany. His grandfather was a Portuguese immigrant. His mother was a hospital cleaner. His parents had to make the heart-rending decision whether to let him go to live in Spain in a soccer camp when he was 14. They trusted, they said yes, and look what happened. Griezmann is a child of Europe.
    England, what the fuck have you just done?

    Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel July 11, 2016 / 11:12 am

      “England, what the fuck have you just done?”

      First, Alsace is currently French, having been German between 1870 and 1918, and from 1940-45.

      Second, why do you think that Brexit would change the situation you describe? Are you unaware that there have been Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese people emigrating to the UK for centuries and sometimes staying and having offspring here?

      Like

  14. Mark July 11, 2016 / 4:13 pm

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/1033599.html

    Ed Smith’s latest in which he ties to tell us what sport means to us.

    Apparently “Modern sport is really an extension of Renaissance humanism..”

    Mr Smith boasts about sitting on centre court last week watching Federer and attending Lords test matches and what it all means. I would venture to suggest that what it all means is that Mr Smith is a rather privileged tosser who can either afford or gets his tickets paid for him by his various employers. He then meanders into a travel bio of his trip to Italy before concluding by hectoring us about how we are all so lucky and we should appreciate how fortunate we all are.

    Perhaps he could square that with the governing bodies he never criticises determination to put more sport behind pay walls which makes sport invisible to millions. Not everybody can get a ticket for centre court and strawberries and cream. There is something nauseating about his man of the people routine while acting like a Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B July 11, 2016 / 6:43 pm

      It’s a belter, even by FICJAM’s lofty standards..

      Like

  15. SimonH July 11, 2016 / 4:22 pm

    I had a long drive yesterday and ended up listening to R5 for nearly four hours.

    Cricket got two sentences in those four hours. The once national summer game that is, on a Sunday in July.

    Like

  16. SimonH July 11, 2016 / 4:34 pm

    Comment I’ve had deleted on the Vic Marks’ thread:

    “I hope this series will pass without bitterness or rancour about past misdeeds.

    Although I could understand how Pakistan might find England’s connivance in the power-grabbing and financial-doping of 2014 difficult to forgive”.

    Can anyone suggest what ‘community standard’ that could have been considered to have broken?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark July 11, 2016 / 4:52 pm

      Because you have dared to poke fun at the ECB position on the big 3. No critiscim of the status quo will be tolerated by “community standard.” Just another example of what …. ” the Internet we want” really means.

      “Community standard” means standard opinion only. In other words …. Just another term for censorship

      Like

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