4th Test, The End…

The Oval Test – Another result

And there, ladies, gentleman and blog respondents is your test match summer done for another year. The wave of melancholy as the longest and best form of the game is put away for another summer in jolly old England. We can reflect on the whole summer later, and we will, but for now, let’s concentrate on what we’ve seen over the past four days and reflect on Pakistan’s excellent performance.

At this point I would like to wait for Ed Smith’s piece, so I could copy it and pass it off as my own work, but I fear TLG might suspend me, so that isn’t a great idea.

But after that somewhat snarky point, let’s talk about today’s play. England started the day at 88 for 4, and progressed quite serenly with Ballance and Bairstow ticking the score over and giving England some hope that they might post a lead. Wahab had received a second warning for running on the wicket, and was rendered less effective having to go wide of the crease or round the wicket. Then, from nowhere, Sohail Khan got one to bounce a little and Ballance nicked off to the keeper. This put more pressure on the Recovery Team, YJB and Moeen, but they seemed up to the task. Moeen looked in great nick, following on from the century and while a couple of YJB’s shots were a little uppish, he was past 50 and moving on. Just before Lunch, with a partnership of 65 in good time flowing, again, out of nowhere a Yasir Shah delivery caught the edge of Moeen’s bat, and Sarfraz held the chance at the second attempt. With Moeen, one sensed, went England’s hopes.

A two wicket in two ball calamity shortly after lunch saw Woakes run out attempting a single and getting turned back, with Jonny then hitting a cover drive that did not bounce, and was pouched by Azhar Ali. That was game over. England were still in arrears with 9, 10 and Jimmy to come. They rustled up 44 runs between them, but the damage had been done. As I write, Azhar has just plonked Moeen into the stands for a six to finish off the match. Series drawn/tied at 2-2. Let the spin begin.

I was struck by an interview with Andrew Strauss over the winter where he pretty much discounted the 2-0 defeat in the UAE last winter as being something totally unexpected because it was totally alien conditions. It’s a position that has been readily accepted by many of the cricketing firmament. Pakistan have come to very alien conditions here, and got a drawn series out of it. The main difference from 2010 was the batting. Pakistan were generally woeful with the bat in that series, and I don’t believe any player made a hundred. On this tour Misbah, Azhar, Shafiq and Younus all topped the hundred mark, and in topping 500 in the final test again showed England are a bit tepid when faced with big scores (Cook’s opus in the UAE notwithstanding). Pakistan drawing the series is a major achievement. Looking back  to Pakistan at the Oval, and ignoring the 2006 test when Pakistan were on top when the shenanigans went on, have done very well in South East London’s Field of Dreams. Maybe this isn’t a surprise.

Pakistan have been brilliant opposition, played enterprising and fun cricket (that Day 4 at Edgbaston aside, which still mystifies me) and rewarded all those who showed up to the venues and who watched on TV. Sadly, because we live in a world where money makes the world go round, the bottom line for this series is a reduction in revenue, possibly an ongoing loss, and plenty of financial reasons to delay the return. That would be immensely sad. People can make the very decent point that Pakistan haven’t got the memo that test cricket is dying, but this series is a sticking plaster on a serious wound. The underlying prognosis, no matter how optimistic you are, isn’t good. Tickets weren’t sold out in advance. Some days had some sparse crowds, probably down to scheduling. The series did not deserve it, being massively better than anything we’ve been served up in years. Two close tests, two hammerings. One of each for each team. My thanks to Pakistan for their contribution to the summer of cricket. India, take note.

We’ll do something on the aftermath of the series later, but for now, stick down your immediate thoughts. My first one? It’s August 14th, and the test season is over. It feels as winter gets nearer when the last test ends. Melancholy.

Ooooh. The presentation man has just said it’s 8-8 in the Super Series. We’d forgotten that. Or at least I had.

Talk away…


92 thoughts on “4th Test, The End…

  1. Escort Aug 14, 2016 / 3:47 pm

    Any reason why Broad and Anderson didn’t open the bowling this afternoon?😧😧😧


  2. Metatone Aug 14, 2016 / 4:00 pm

    Mark said it yesterday, but it bears repeating – the Pakistan performances are being talked about as “London” & “elsewhere” – but it is no credit to England that they couldn’t do it on those pitches. For me this has been the ongoing failure of the ECB setup since Tremlett & Swann got worn out and it (as much as all the usual stuff we all loathe the ECB for) is why I get rather grumpy when the boosterism of England comes out in the press.


    • RufusSG Aug 14, 2016 / 4:15 pm

      It cropped up a bit last year too, given that England’s two defeats in the Ashes last year were in both of the London tests (especially when discussing the performances of Steve Smith, for example). Tying into Dmitri’s point in the article about the defeat in the UAE, it’s dangerously easy to just write off a poor performance in conditions that don’t suit the strengths of your side, which is a problem that affects a lot of non-subcontinental sides but England and Australia especially (regardless of whether they’re playing in the subcontinent or not). In my opinion, it doesn’t suggest enough of a desire to improve and correct what you did wrong. It’s what the great players and teams do to make themselves great in a variety of circumstances and situations, after all – surely that’s the long-term goal?

      Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 14, 2016 / 4:46 pm

      Let’s see if Newman, in one of his round-ups of the series mentions the selectors not picking Stokes and Anderson at Lord’s.

      That would be quite wonderful.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 14, 2016 / 4:53 pm

        Oh my stars. Jason Roy as a test opener?

        How about this team for the first Test against India in Rajkot? Alastair Cook, Nick Browne (who scored his second double hundred of the season on Sunday),

        Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson.
        And if we are really feeling brave, throw in Jason Roy instead of Browne and tell him to smash as many as he can before the ball starts to turn square. Bairstow and Buttler could share the keeping depending on workloads to avoid burn-out to both.

        The Essex mafia picking one of their own. Second division runs, of course. We know that. Jos Buttler?

        But, look at this…

        Adil Rashid will come in for one of those middle order men in the sub-continent with Moeen Ali moving up the order but the jury is still out on his Test ability while below him the cupboard is almost bare. A sad indictment indeed on the ECB and all the television money they have to spend on English cricket.



      • SimonH Aug 14, 2016 / 5:07 pm

        Is Essex boy Peter Such still the spin-bowling coach at Loughborough?

        Liked by 2 people

  3. fred Aug 14, 2016 / 4:38 pm

    I had a discussion with Quebecer a few blogs back about Younus Khan’s mysterious problems on this tour, and he said this:

    “The solution? Being a great batsman probably helps. Having an excellent attitude, too. And who knows? Someone saying “For goodness sake, stand still, old thing.” The simplest of correction most probably being the most effective, I’d have thought.”

    Interviewed after the match, YK said “I got a call from Mohammad Azharuddin and he just said “stand in your crease”.

    Bloody hell, Quebecer’s going to be insufferable now.

    As an aside, wonderful to see some little network in operation there. I wonder how many phone calls like that get made?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. SimonH Aug 14, 2016 / 5:04 pm

    The poor press boys and all those “holding all the trophies” pieces they had written…..

    England are due to play Pakistan in the two early season Tests in 2018. There is a chance to win that trophy back sooner than one might have thought (if other trophies haven’t been lost in the meantime). The 2018 schedule is an abomination, incidentally. Pakistan get two Tests in May then there’s one of those wonderful stand-alone ODI series against Australia followed by five Tests against India. Given the contrast between the way India folded in the equivalent fixture in 2014 and what Pakistan did at the Oval in 2016, are they going to have the nerve to use the word “meritocracy” about who England play? Thank you Clarke and Collier, thank you so bloody much.

    Another thing I’ve just noticed is that England don’t play a Test between Dec 20th this year and June 2017. That’s because the decks are cleared for ODIs and the campaign to win the CT. It’s our new priority, dontcha know? Pity it coincides with the attempts at the ICC to abolish the CT and the plans to abolish the domestic 50-over competition – but, hey, it’s an imperfect world!

    Pakistan don’t seem to be playing again until NZ in November and then three Tests in Australia in Dec-Jan. (I’ve seen a FTP that had WI going to UAE but it seems to have disappeared from every other schedule – what happened to that?). If Pakistan can put in a good show there, they really are a very good side. Pakistan’s record in Australia is absolutely awful – but then so was SL’s home record against Australia. Misbah was non-committal in his post-match interview if he would be carrying on (although he said he had no physical problems which was encouraging).

    August 14th seems early for the Test season to be over. Anyone knows how it compares historically?

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Aug 14, 2016 / 5:20 pm

      Holding all the trophies? I suspect India will do the same to England as they did to South Africa. After all, what is a $15 000 fine, if the rewards are much more substantial for holding the mace on May 1st? Yes, the ICC actually rewards substandard pitches.

      Simon with regards to your query, you’d probably have to go back to 2007 for an equally early end to the domestic Test season (14th of August as well against India).

      But barring the occasional exception, most of the earlier occurences (from a cursory glance, so I could be wrong), were either pre-WW1, or because of ICC tournaments.


    • Mark Aug 14, 2016 / 5:31 pm

      Last year we had a 2 match series against NZ which ended unsatisfactory in a draw. Now we have had a 4 test series against Pakistan which has also ended in a draw. No decider in each case. Of course these things are arranged years ahead, but it is frustrating that the powers that be seem to have a genius for shooting themselves in the foot.

      Here we are on August 14, and that’s your lot of test cricket for the summer. Twice now we get a close series, and it ends in stale mate. Why hold even number of tests? I know 5 tests don’t always end in a result, but why have 4 tests or 2 tests series?


    • fred Aug 14, 2016 / 5:47 pm

      Holding all the trophys is an utterly meaningless measure. Being ranked No. 1 is a dubious honour these days, given the difficulty in comparing the various performances that have gone into delivering that result. But the fact of having beaten everyone since the last time you played them with whatever team you had them is just a statistical oddity. No one really believes England is the best team in the world today, and no one believes Australia is either, it’s just stats.

      I really enjoyed this series because there was alot of good cricket played, by both teams. I don’t give a ticker’s cuss how Eng or Pak are rated, that was a great test series, and it was great to see emerging talent on both sides.

      But the press seem to feel the need to have something to blather on about. Superlatives, rhetoric, historical comparisons, records etc. It’s bollocks.

      Liked by 3 people

      • jennyah46 Aug 15, 2016 / 1:21 pm

        Be fair now. They have deadlines to meet and column inches to fill.


  5. CRICKETJON Aug 14, 2016 / 5:18 pm

    Mr T thinks Ed Smith was plagerising his own work. Why does he think this please?


      • Mark Aug 14, 2016 / 5:34 pm

        I hope the fix is not in?

        This sounds weird. Why has it taken Smith or his fans so long to claim that he wrote the original piece, if indeed he did?

        He needs to clear this up. Did he or didn’t he write the original?


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 14, 2016 / 5:45 pm

          Honestly, does this sound like he wrote it. From Subramayan again…

          Since writing the first follow up on Saturday (July 30) to the initial blog post “Ed Smith pulls a Melania Trump“, I had been working various avenues and contacts to find the answer to the simple question: Did Ed Smith write the piece “Stress: What makes us stronger” that appeared in The Economist on July 23?

          Based on the details I have learned in the process, it can be confidently stated that Ed Smith did not write the original piece or have any hand in it, and in fact, the piece was written by one of The Economist’s staff journalists.

          I have also learned that The Economist is satisfied with the amended column at ESPNcricinfo “Why sportsmen need stress” with the (belated) attribution and the footnote acknowledging the same, and does not seem to have any issues or reasons to take any further action on this matter.

          It is possible that Mr. Smith was inspired to write his ESPNcricinfo column after he came across the piece in The Economist. But he doesn’t appear to have thought or found it fit to provide any proper citation or attribution to The Economist even as he seems to have taken the liberty to state the studies cited in it, and also a liberal use of the same verbiage in some of the passages as they appeared in the original piece. It was only after the “Ed Smith pulls a Melania Trump” appeared (on July 28) did his column at ESPNcricinfo was amended (on July 29) to include “As The Economist explored recently” with the footnote.

          Ah, the footnote! “The author, who has taken an interest in the study of stress and written on the subject for many years, wanted to acknowledge the Economist’s survey of the subject“. [Italics mine]

          Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Aug 14, 2016 / 6:06 pm

        I don’t think for one minute he wrote the original Dmitri. But it’s suspicious when people start to claim he did.

        Mr Smith, as a historian should remember Watergate …..it’s the cover up that always gets you. Time to come clean, and appologise. And perhaps a rethink about writing articles about how the little people need a bit more stick, and the poor downtrodden elites need more carrot.


      • nonoxcol Aug 14, 2016 / 7:13 pm

        Please, anyone who hasn’t already, read (closely) acricketingview’s blog which I linked on the previous thread. Smith changed the effing meaning of the original study through careless phrasing. The idea he wrote the Economist piece is contemptible.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Aug 14, 2016 / 7:30 pm

        Just to add: this person is a likely (some might say probable) successor to Agnew as BBC cricket correspondent.


      • nonoxcol Aug 14, 2016 / 7:53 pm

        The Smith piece is still up on ESPN’s own website. See cricketingview on Twitter for direct link.

        Whiff of rat: overpowering.


  6. Clivejw Aug 14, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    England need to invest in a large spade, whose sole purpose will be to whack James Anderson over the head any time he goes off about England being about to become number one, with a treble whacking should he start talking about leaving legacies and being one of the great sides. To be used on the media when they go on about making the clean sweep of bilateral trophies.

    As I said this morning, this series has been more entertaining than the last four Ashes put together. For the record, England and Pakistan have met just 26 times this century, compared to the 45 encounters between England and Australia and the 33 tests that England and India will have played this century by the end of this year.

    Though in an ideal world there would be a deciding fifth test, a 2-2 draw is a fair result (as Broad tweeted immediately after the match) between these two entertaining, talented, but flawed sides.

    As so often in the past 12 months, England were depending on Jonny Bairstow to pull their fat out of the fire — let me hear no more about their being reliant entirely on Cook and Root in the batting department. Azhar Ali’s stunning catch off the bowling of Wahab Riaz put paid to that, but Jonny has still scored 891 runs in the calendar year, the second highest by a wicket-keeper in tests (the highest remains Andy Flower’s 1045; previously, England best was Prior’s 777; Bairstow’s average is also the second highest, just three runs less than Flower’s). With three more tests to come this year, Bairstow is very likely to eclipse Flower’s 16-year-old record.

    The match probably marks for English spectators a fond farewell to those two very different but equally remarkable Pakistani cricketers, Younus Khan and Misbah-al-Haq. Even if they do not retire immediately, they will surely not both be around for the next tour of England, even if that comes earlier than I realized — in 2018. This is welcome, although it will be for a two-match “series” only. The opposition in the longer series that year will of course be (yawn) Australia again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clivejw Aug 14, 2016 / 5:33 pm

      There are of course five more scheduled test matches this year, not three, though the Bangladesh tour is in serious doubt.


    • quebecer Aug 15, 2016 / 4:20 am

      “As I said this morning, this series has been more entertaining than the last four Ashes put together.”

      Steady on there, clive! This was an excellent series, but more entertaining than the previous four Ashes put together??? I found last year’s very entertaining indeed, as weird as it was, and although the Aussies found the one before that exceptionally entertaining, you can’t fault it from our side for lack of drama. And the one before that? Er, yes, whatever it was, I thinks we won so that’s in the entertainment camp, and the one before that was definitely very entertaining indeed. Not that I watched ALL of our batting, I admit, but c’mon! Were you not entertained? Were you NOT entertained?

      I take your point, mind you.


  7. CRICKETJON Aug 14, 2016 / 5:34 pm

    The main oppo in 2018 will be India although OZ are here for some hit n giggle cricket.

    The Ashes is in 2019


  8. SimonH Aug 14, 2016 / 5:55 pm

    Pity Giles Clarke wasn’t around to present the trophy – I know it would have been difficult to shake the hand of the man who’s greed disgraced Lord’s but I’m sure Amir wouldn’t have minded.

    On the subject of Clarke, weren’t the Culture select committee in parliament going to question him about the issues raised by DOAG? What happened to that?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Tony Bennett Aug 14, 2016 / 6:17 pm

    I’m a fan of Jason Roy but I could never see him as a Test opener. Since we inevitably start playing selection games after the end of the summer series (so we’re doing it quite early this year!) I rather like the idea of Roy in the middle order. Temperament good, proven success at international level, surely it isn’t impossible to see him at number 5 or 6 in the Test team v India?

    Starting line-up for me is therefore Cook*, Hales, Root, Ali, Bairstow+, Roy, Stokes, Woakes, Rashid, Broad, Anderson.

    Liked by 1 person

    • RufusSG Aug 14, 2016 / 7:32 pm

      Roy absolutely has the potential to be a test match batsman, but I agree that it would have to be at either five or six, where he bats in first-class cricket for Surrey (where he’s done so to an excellent standard this season, and the likes of Kumar Sangakkara et al. rate him very highly). Given that a couple of middle-order slots may well be up for grabs in Asia, it wouldn’t surprise me if the selectors at least considered him.

      I’ll have to defer to Dmitri when it comes to discussing Roy’s red-ball technique, as he’ll clearly have watched more of it than I have, but as we’ve seen time and time again good ODI opener doesn’t automatically equal good test opener: very different skill sets are needed, and not everyone can be David Warner. There’s a reason that Aaron Finch doesn’t open in tests for Australia, for instance, even though his ODI record is pretty solid. Or look at Martin Guptill’s diverging fortunes in both formats.


    • SimonH Aug 14, 2016 / 7:42 pm

      Newman had an article a while back quoting one of the England coaching staff (I’d guess it was Farbrace) that they liked the idea of Roy at No.5. You may well get your wish in the not too distant future.

      The issue with doing it now is that Roy would have to come in and start against spin, on what most of us are expecting to be turning tracks. If Buttler has a decent ODI series, I suspect they’ll be more likely to play Bairstow as a specialist batsman and recall Buttler to the Test team.

      Also, Bayliss made quite a pointed remark about how Borthwick’s form dipped when he was being mentioned for England which didn’t suggest they were going to go in his direction.


      • Mark Aug 14, 2016 / 8:24 pm

        I think they will keep Hales. I suspect they quite like his “Attitude” issues, (they won’t say that publicly mind.) vince will will probably get the sack, and that allows Stokes to come back into the side. Balance might give way, so they get the second spinner in, and everyone moves up the batting line up. Ballance will probably go to India, but not play all the matches. You could bat Stokes above Bairstow if you think it’s too much for him to keep and bat at 5.

        Liked by 1 person

      • RufusSG Aug 14, 2016 / 8:49 pm

        For what it’s worth, I know a couple of people from my university’s cricket team who met Hales when he and Jake Ball came along to one of their net sessions before a varsity game at the end of last term. By all accounts, he was really friendly and helpful, so I was disappointed and surprised when I heard about his conduct in this match – I get the impression from some of the interviews he’s given that he really wants to be a successful test opener, so if he does have an attitude problem he’d better clean his act up sharpish. At any rate I’d hope that the England management would have had a word in his ear, throwing a strop on Twitter and at Azhar Ali helps no one (and Broad, I’m afraid, should really have known better – as a close off-field friend of Hales, the temptation to get involved was clearly too much to resist).

        Maybe I’m being too generous on him, I dunno. As has been mentioned in the past, the ECB’s attitude to such cases has been a touch hypocritical (heaven forbid if Hales had criticised Sky’s cameras for not giving a better angle on the catch), but I just hope they’ve learnt from their past mistakes and manage their players properly if they overstep the line.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Aug 14, 2016 / 10:09 pm

          Hales has that aura of being mightily driven. I think what he did with the third umpire was totally out of order, but he really didn’t do himself any credit by carrying on. Many a time you’ll get away with being caught in those circumstances. He must have a feeling the knives are out in terms of selection.

          He’ll need to think about his actions, come back in the ODI series and show us what he can do. To hear that we might go back to Lyth instead of Hales is mystifying to me. Has he been tearing up county cricket? If so, I’ve not noticed.


    • quebecer Aug 15, 2016 / 4:50 am

      Not that it’s an argument without merit at all, but I think Stokes, Ali, Bairstow kind of put the mockers on the idea of Roy at #5. I honestly think one of them will be there in India (but no higher), and it’s not an unreasonable move. And then the problem Roy has is that whoever it is is talented, and might do very well.


  10. Neil Aug 14, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    A few thoughts (if I may)
    I rather (arrogantly) thought this may be a one sided series. I knew that Pakistan had a very good attack but I couldn’t see how they would make runs.
    They found a way, and they fought. Its been a bloody good series, one that has made fans of test cricket rejoice. Our game is still alive.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. fred Aug 14, 2016 / 8:18 pm

    I gave up reading Selvey some time ago but looked at his match report today because, if I understand correctly, this will be his final piece. Pretty straightforward, but this puzzled me:

    “It took Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali just over 13 overs to knock off the runs without being parted, Azhar launching Moeen into the pavilion for one last six to seal things. It seems as if someone, somewhere has been doing that all summer: they used to say that about Vic Marks.”
    Um, I don’t gettit. An in joke? A poke at a colleague? Did Marks prove them wrong?

    In any event, time for a quiet little libation and contemplation about what might come next. There’s tons of cricket journalistic talent around, if you care to look for it.


    • Tony Bennett Aug 14, 2016 / 8:24 pm

      Just an old crony Guardian colleague joke I think. Vic Marks never proved them wrong either. His test career was more notable for rearguard batting exploits on Pakistani turning wickets than for his often-hit offspin.


    • RufusSG Aug 14, 2016 / 8:30 pm

      You’re lucky enough in Australia to have a lot of the best cricket writers going at the moment. Gideon Haigh obviously has been stupendous for years, Jarrod Kimber’s unique style is always highly enjoyable (although he does occasionally overdo it, I’ll forgive him that for his deep commitment and dedication towards the game’s wider issues) and Geoff Lemon is becoming more of a favourite of mine day by day.


      • SimonH Aug 14, 2016 / 8:39 pm

        It’s a reference to an old quote about Vic Marks (I think it may have been from Peter Roebuck) – “someone, somewhere in the world, is hitting Vic Marks for six”.

        Marks was one of those odd off-spinners (a bit like Peter Taylor) who batsmen seemed to find eminently hittable in f-c cricket but who used to tie them in knots in one-dayers.


    • nonoxcol Aug 14, 2016 / 8:46 pm

      Got to say, was surprised at the lack of BTL sobbing about his departure.

      Then three of them came along at once.

      A mis-spelt plaque and the intention of being feted after your sacking, for anyone who can guess all three without looking.


      • fred Aug 14, 2016 / 9:45 pm

        I’ll bite: Palfrey, westcork, um…too many to choose from.


      • nonoxcol Aug 14, 2016 / 10:47 pm

        westcork, obviously.

        The other two usernames both begin with the letter D.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 15, 2016 / 9:51 am

          Thought it was all rather understated. The sight of the journos falling over themselves to praise him was marvelous. Twitter was a sight indeed.


      • Mark Aug 15, 2016 / 10:00 am

        It all rather smelt of Royal correspondents fawning over some brief in counter with the Queen!

        “Ooh, she asked after me by name……she knows my name…….. isn’t she marvellous!!! ”

        Correspondents, perhaps? But jounalists they certainly ain’t.


      • nonoxcol Aug 15, 2016 / 10:13 am

        “Twitter was a sight indeed.”

        Blimey charlie, you’re not wrong.

        You could almost doubt yourself…. until you go back to the offending articles themselves.


  12. Northern Light Aug 14, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    I know this is cricket.
    I know they’re all a bit mad.
    I know the laws of the game are the laws of the game.

    But in the name of all that’s sensible, why on earth did they come off for a tea break after 7 overs of the Pakistan innings? They’d just had a 10 minute break and the whole thing was going to be over in about half an hour.

    File under “things we do to make sensible people lose interest in this crazy sport”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aug 14, 2016 / 9:00 pm

      Yes I laughed at that too. Cricket does have a fetish for breaks. I thought they might just take tea at the end of England’s innings. Just another 10 minutes extra between innings.

      But rules are rules I guess.


    • Tony Bennett Aug 14, 2016 / 9:35 pm

      It was ever thus. In this match here – http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63489.html – Tim Robinson blocked the last three balls before lunch, with one run needed for victory. Naturally they took the lunch break “when most people on the ground thought that the clock had not quite reached one o’clock” (Wisden).

      Liked by 1 person

      • CRICKETJON Aug 14, 2016 / 9:47 pm

        Gooch was furious because he wanted to get over to day 1 of an Essex game and take up his position. The unnecessary interval only added to his thinly veiled discontent.


      • Tony Bennett Aug 14, 2016 / 9:54 pm

        Of course Gooch had only himself to blame, having got out to the innocuous medium pace of Samarasekera, ushering in the loss of three wickets for nine runs. Interestingly Tim Robinson only played one further Test, and none at all after Gooch resumed the captaincy in 1990.

        Liked by 1 person

      • CRICKETJON Aug 14, 2016 / 10:10 pm

        This is true but Robinsons decision to go on the rebel tour to SAF (announced in August 1989 attracted a three year ban effectively ending his Test career.


    • jennyah46 Aug 15, 2016 / 1:36 pm

      Without these mad, inappropriate and unnecessary tea and lunch breaks it would not be the game I love so dearly.


  13. CRICKETJON Aug 14, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    It’s been quite a day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Aug 14, 2016 / 8:50 pm

      *cough* Bedford.

      *cough* every single article he wrote about that other guy between June 2012 and August 2015.

      Liked by 3 people

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 14, 2016 / 10:06 pm

        I’ll never forget Neil Walker of All Out Cricket’s tender pat of Don Selvione’s hand and wishing him well. A touching scene.

        The don is done.


  14. northernlight71 Aug 14, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    Anyone know how Jos Buttler got into the Olympic Men’s Cycling sprint final against Jason Kenny?


  15. quebecer Aug 15, 2016 / 12:37 am

    Obviously well said, SimonH, about the horrific and self defeating scheduling in the near future, and obviously this was a cracker of a series.

    To get to the nub of it for England, in amongst all the talk and bluster, the issue is clearly at #4. THAT’S the spot we need to solve. Rashid, Woakes, Bairstow, Ali and Stokes from 9-5 is fine (more than fine), and as good as we’ve got, so moving on. To keep Ballance means one of those listed being left out in India, and that’s just not a good move, as it’s not going to be Stokes, Bairstow, Woakes or Ali, and we need Rashid.

    So, the only question is do we move Ballance to #4? I think his best position is actually #5, and I’m not sure he gives what a #4 should. Then again, given what’s to come after him, there’s a case to be made for a grinder in that position.

    Yet that then leaves the question of Hales opening. I’ve held out as long as I could in his favour, but this series showed a few things. There’d still one or two too many dismissals tat are just his fault pure and simple,chasing after the wrong ball. He’s cut this down, but it is still too many. Then there are the good balls that get him out. He’s had a couple. However, the other few good balls he got out to he made look good. They weren’t great deliveries – they were the kind of deliveries you’er going to get as a test opener. You just can’t get out to ALL of them. I’ll also say that he didn’t have much luck either, and a player often needs a slice or two (see Ali), but then again, Gary Player always said the better he got, the luckier he got.

    But having said all that, even in this series he played some shots that just made me think, jesus, I don’t think we’ve got anyone else who can do that. So, the question is, do we move him to #4? I think there is a very strong case for this and if you line up all the candidates – Ali, Vince, Ballance, Bell, Pietersen (kidding) – is Hales not a fair shot there? The ceiling on that lad is just so high. Do we give up on that? Is Root not a good example of how it might work wonders? Also, the fact is we have better options for players coming in to open than we do at #4, with Robson seemingly the best fit (sorry, Rooto, but do we really want to throw Duckett in now?).

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Aug 15, 2016 / 7:57 am

      A few more thoughts on scheduling:

      1) The schedule up until 2019 was agreed by David Collier in one of his last actions before his unlamented departure. Collier didn’t tie his shoe-laces without Giles Clarke’s approval so it’s very much their handiwork. However Graves was deputy at the time and there’s no indication he was unhappy with what Clarke-Collier were doing.
      2) I’ve only just noticed that England’s next tour to NZ is not only a mere two Tests but it’s also a bolt-on after the next Ashes. It’s like going back to the pre-1980s when that’s how England treated touring NZ. Thanks Brendon, for that most significant series ever.
      3) The ECB attitude to what matters is a real mess. On the one hand, they really are fixated on winning either the 2017 CT or 2019 WC. On the other hand, they seem to want to consign 50-over cricket to the dustbin of history.
      How to explain it? I think part of it is that they’re haunted by a re-run of the 1999 WC. I also suspect that the fact that England haven’t won one of the ICC trophies really boils their piss. When they get together with their rugger chums, and the talk turns to “Remember Jonny and that drop-goal…. “, what do they have?
      Therefore, we’ve ended up with the bizarre situation that the schedule is bent out of shape to prioritise something they also think doesn’t matter anymore. It’s like putting everything into winning the last cavalry battle after the tank had been invented.


      • nonoxcol Aug 15, 2016 / 8:53 am

        “the fact that England haven’t won one of the ICC trophies really boils their piss.”

        Assume you mean 50-over, because they do have the WT20 from 2010.

        “When they get together with their rugger chums, and the talk turns to “Remember Jonny and that drop-goal…. “, what do they have?”

        They have Man of the Tournament Piet- ….


        Point taken.

        (anyway, according to “Lord Selvey” it was all down to Sidebottom and some wind rather than thingy, wasn’t it?)


      • Mark Aug 15, 2016 / 8:54 am

        Yes Simon, the fixture list was comprised at the height of arrogance of big 3 thinking. It has all the hallmarks of cricket superiority . When you look at the coming fixtures that were arranged under this thinking it looks like the ECBs cricket map of operation Barbarossa.


      • SimonH Aug 15, 2016 / 12:28 pm

        Ah yes, I’d forgotten the T20. A bit like winning the Rugby Sevens perhaps….

        Doesn’t Selvey usually put the T20 WC win down to the improvisatory genius of Andy Flower? Bringing in Lumb and Kieswetter to open and all that? Last time he wrote about it, he managed not to mention the No.3 Man of the Tournament at all.


    • fred Aug 15, 2016 / 9:50 am

      “Gary Player always said the better he got, the luckier he got.” Not quite.

      “I was practicing in a bunker down in Texas and this good old boy with a big hat stopped to watch. The first shot he saw me hit went in the hole. He said, “You got 50 bucks if you knock the next one in.” I holed the next one. Then he says, “You got $100 if you hole the next one.” In it went for three in a row. As he peeled off the bills he said, “Boy, I’ve never seen anyone so lucky in my life.” And I shot back, “Well, the harder I practice, the luckier I get.” That’s where the quote originated.”

      Although the quote has also been attributed to Ethel Merman, Lee Trevino and a Cuban revolutionary.


      • Quebecer Aug 15, 2016 / 2:46 pm

        You’re just annoyed I got the Younes thing right.


    • Rooto Aug 15, 2016 / 11:41 am

      No, we certainly don’t want to throw Duckett in now. He needs to play more and get more consistency (though he may be sold to a div 1 team in the winter, anyway). I’d take Robson and Hameed as reserve, so he gets a feel of tests before being thrown in. Your Hales idea is interesting and deserves thought, so will of course be dismissed out of hand.


    • jennyah46 Aug 15, 2016 / 1:46 pm

      Hales at 4 is not a bad idea at all. I’d like to see it tried. I’m still stuck for a opener to partner Cook.


  16. pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 15, 2016 / 7:57 am

    Not convinced that Ballance will do well versus spin in India. I really do think that Mo needs to bat up the order in Asia, either at 4 or 5 himself. He definitely looks as though he fancies playing spin. It may also take the pressure off his bowling. I thought the decision to play him at opener last winter in UAE was idiotic, but I think that he has a reasonable shout of doing a job in the middle order in Asia. He may actually come into it a little more as a bowler if he can be a bit tidier. India doesn’t play spin so well and they will prepare bunsens.


  17. Mark Aug 15, 2016 / 8:32 am

    They want to bring in 2 people. Stokes, if fit, and a second spinner, if they can find one! Woakes was in for Stokes, but are they seriously going to drop him now? His bowling has been essential for England in this series. They won’t drop Anderson or Broad. Or though they may have to consider it.

    The view from the box is Vince is talented, but just doesn’t seem to have either the fight, or the nouse. So back to county cricket for him. That leaves Balance in the firing line and everybody moves up the batting list. Hales will go to India, unless he has a terrible ODI series and they lose paitence with him. Don’t think his off field problems will be that problematic. What is worrying is he seems to have taken up with Broad. (The dressing room joker ) not a good influence. But the captain seems happy to allow the clique to continue.

    Anyway the sun is out, a mini heat wave is forecast this week, and there is no more test cricket this Sumer. We wasted the tests in the cold damp North against Sri Lanka. The 20/20 finals day is well into September. Serves them right if it pisses down with rain all day. Orgainising brewery, and piss up springs to mind.


    • oreston Aug 15, 2016 / 11:08 am

      Scheduling back-to-back tests also looks a bit daft if the series is going to end so early in the summer. I assume what’s driving this will be that, as things stand, England are due to arrive in Dhaka on 30th September – before which there is still an ODI series and a T20.

      I’ve just looked at the “Future England tours overseas and tourists to England” on the ECB site. Whoever’s responsible for this insanity needs to put down the crack pipe. Seriously, I have concerns for the long term well-being and durability of players like Root (whose back problems don’t seem to be getting any better) and Stokes who seem to expected to play every match in every form of the game and spend practically six months every year away on tour.


  18. Andy Aug 15, 2016 / 10:05 am

    Following on from my Overs article, I thought I would plug the numbers in for this match (given the abject 1st day and all)

    The match bowling rates were;
    Pakistan – 15.21 (surprising given the 1st day)
    England – 14.5 (needs about 22 mins of extra deductions to get to 15)

    (again – these are my guestimates – I assume the umpires have more allowances for England… Any suggestions anyone?) There was no rain that I saw and think I accounted for all reviews etc (and I’ve been generous and said 3 mins per review again).

    For interest – The innings rates were;
    1) 14.00
    2) 14.17
    3) 16.61
    4) 19.09

    I’d guess innings 3 – Pakistan smelt blood and pushed hard. Innings 4 – England were resigned to loosing?

    Last numbers, the first days over rate appears to have been 13.87 (which at 80 overs bowled is still 8 short of target – remember you loose 2 for change of innings). Predominantly this was Pakistan (obviously). They really pushed to catch up (luck or coincidence?) in the 3rd innings going at 16.61.


  19. SimonH Aug 15, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    The one-day squad is announced tomorrow but send for the plumbers again because someone’s been leaking to Nick Hoult (Vince dropped, no Duckett).

    The reaction in the press to yesterday’s loss isn’t quite as feverish as it sometimes is. Partly that’s no doubt some genuine good will to Pakistan, partly it may have something to do with the senior players all having decent stats so they’re bomb-proofed.

    There doesn’t appear to be any turning on Bayliss in the press. There’s enough in the bank to carry him through one drawn series. I wouldn’t think that’ll hold if India doesn’t go well though. Is there another coach in the wings with a proven Ashes winning record and an established good relationship with the senior players?

    Keep an eye on Newman…..


  20. SimonH Aug 15, 2016 / 3:42 pm

    Test results since the Pietersen sacking:


    For the second richest and fourth largest FM, it’s hardly a record that should silencing all criticism.


    • thebogfather Aug 15, 2016 / 3:59 pm

      … @thecricketcouch digs deeper still, Ed’s big ‘ead now in a defining vertigo labelled swirl…


      • Mark Aug 15, 2016 / 4:53 pm

        I can’t say Smiths reaction to all this has been very good. I don’t know why he didn’t just hold his hands up, admit error, and move on.

        For someone who promotes all kind of theories about various things, and improving your skills a simply apology sometimes works just as well.

        Now he looks like he is hiding something.


  21. SimonH Aug 15, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    Listened to my first Switch Hit in a long time:

    I’m still not sure I heard him right but did George Dobell say that winning in India this winter would be as great as winning in the West Indies in the 1980s?

    The blithe agreement that drawing this series was the greatest achievement of Misbah’s career was annoying. Nobody mentioned what Misbah has achieved not against England. Do they know? Better than the absolute drubbing they handed out to Australia when they’d lost Amir-Asif-Ajmal and found a whole new bowling attack? Better than their first series win in SL for donkeys’ years when they chased down one of the highest fourth innings’ totals ever to win the deciding Test?


    • d'Arthez Aug 16, 2016 / 6:44 am

      And what about defeating the World #1 ranked team back in 2012? It is not like England did not have spinners then … And if they’re going to argue that England did not have batsmen then, do they have batsmen now?

      I can understand that cricket journalists cannot watch all international cricket, but I am pretty sure that most of the people on Switch Hit would have seen that 2012 series.


      • d'Arthez Aug 16, 2016 / 7:19 am

        Accidentally hit the submit reply button.

        It is a constant theme in the media. There are actually people out there who really think this England side is better than the 2011 one, let alone the 2005 side. I suppose all the TV coverage and attendance makes it harder to get some perspective in. Also, most people won’t bother watching Tests if they don’t involve their team, so it is much harder to judge how good / bad results are of other sides. All kinds of biases creep in.

        It is easy to overplay the present, in favour of the past (part of the reason why no one bothers to compare Cook with some of his illustrious predecessors such as Hobbs). Misbah had some pretty good results in the UAE, and a good series win in Sri Lanka, but this is by far the best result he has had outside of Asia. But that comes with a caveat: scheduling

        Other than 2 tours of Zimbabwe (1-1 and 1-0, no draws in either series), he has had one tour of New Zealand (1-0 win, with 1 draw), a tour of West Indies (1-1) and 1 tour of South Africa (0-3 loss) before this assignment outside of Asia. With the previous tour outside of Asia coming in August / September 2013 against Zimbabwe (the drawn series).

        That is an average of 1 tour outside of Asia per year, and that is heavily propped up by Zimbabwe, and comfortably less than 2 Tests / year outside of Asia until England came calling.

        India have played as many Tests in England from the moment Misbah got appointed Test captain as a Misbah-captained-Pakistan had played overseas before the start of this England tour. Oh, and lest we think India is a better touring side: the only series outside of Asia they had won since Misbah became captain was the series against West Indies in 2011. They also shared a series in South Africa. All other series (in England (2011, 2014), in Australia, 2011/12, 2014/15, in New Zealand (2014), in South Africa (2013)) were lost, and all longer series were lost handsomely.

        So it is not like Misbah had a wealth of exposure to overseas conditions. He has not even had a tour to Australia as a captain, and this was his first tour to England, but let’s not implicate the ECB and CA in shoddy schedule generation, shall we? He has only been Pakistan’s captain for 70 months. That is enough to schedule 4 Ashes, but barely enough time to schedule two Paksistan – Australia Tests (in the UAE).

        So how do Pakistan get rewarded? They get to play 2 warmup Tests for yet another ritual disembowelment of India in England in 2018.


    • SimonH Aug 16, 2016 / 9:05 am

      D, not disagreeing with any of your points which are all well made, but some additional thoughts:

      I’d agree that no-one can watch every Test match that takes place. With schedule ‘blocking’, several Tests being on at the same time is going to be the norm. However there’s no excuse for paid journalists not to be aware of other teams’ major results. That’s sheer parochialism or laziness, or both.

      It would seem reasonable to assume that why they rated this achievement the highest is that it was abroad and ‘outside Asia’. They didn’t actually say that. The reason they gave was that they’d returned to the scene of the 2010 disgrace and wiped that clean. Pakistan have been clean since Misbah took over. What difference physically playing at Lord’s makes to that escapes me.

      As for this being an achievement abroad and outside Asia, there’s some truth in this of course. However there are some counter-points too. Pakistan are of course not ‘at home’ in the UAE. They don’t get the crowd support they used to get in Pakistan (watch the Youtube clip of Shoiab knocking over the Vaughan side to see what that used to be like). They don’t control pitch preparation like home teams do. I watch a lot of UAE Tests and those pitches are not Nagpur-Mohali style bunsens (look at the stats of visiting spinners!). Australia, for example, had a very good record in UAE until Misbah’s team thrashed them in 2014 (including tuk-tuk Misbah scoring that blitzkrieg century).

      The inside/outside Asia thing is one that irks me sometimes (although I will admit to using it occasionally). It lumps together teams and conditions that are still quite diverse. Pakistan and India hadn’t won in SL for over a decade until both won their last year which doesn’t suggest they find SL “just like home”. SL’s poor record in India is well-known. Australia were said to have a poor record “in Asia” (and they have now!) but they had had a poor record in India and good records in UAE and SL. The one thing Asian conditions have in common is that spinners generally do better. That is true, I check it not long ago (although spin is becoming more of a factor in WI and England than it used to be). However , of all the Asian teams, Pakistan usually have the best battery of seamers so it isn’t at all clear they gain as much benefit from that.

      I think I’d rate the defeat of Australia highest with the 3-0 of England second and this series third (just ahead of the win in SL because SL were a team in decline at the time – although they still had Sanga then).

      Liked by 1 person

      • pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 16, 2016 / 10:01 am

        Simon, I once had an argument with a very parochial person who reckoned that Asian seamers would do far better if they played all their tests in England. The old idea being that it is so much easier to bowl seam in England.

        I did a cross section of records of a number of Asian seamers, starting with the likes of Chaminda Vaas, a medium fast seamer who one would think might do well in England but didn’t and included the usual suspects such as Wasim Waqar Imran et al. Every single one of them did better at home than they did in England, in some cases substantially so. Therefore the natural conclusion was that cricketers were surprise, surprise a product of their environment largely.

        A similar facile argument was propagated by an Essex fan to say that Cook was as good as Gavaskar because he had to play so many games in England. it is an absurdness to suggest that every English pitch is much nastier to play on in this day and age let alone that Gavaskar scored an absolute mountain in the West Indies when they actually had a rather good pace attack.

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Aug 16, 2016 / 1:29 pm

        Of course conditions are not uniform in Asia. Just as they are not uniform outside of Asia. By no means I do wish to imply that any wicket in Sri Lanka is comparable to any wicket in say India or the UAE. There are substantial differences. You could have a real turner, or you could have a pretty “dead” wicket for the pacers. Just as wickets in South Africa tend to be pretty dead for the spinners, but quite good for pacers. Again there are exceptions.

        The point of the distinction was that in Asia spin is a more important weapon and outside of Asia pace is (again with exceptions: Pakistan in particular, but sadly we don’t get to have Test matches in Pakistan these days).

        Players tend to learn their craft at home, and thus one of the difficulties of touring is that wickets on offer are quite a bit different from what you’re used to. If you don’t get the opportunity to play on such wickets, or in such climatic conditions, then you’re starting with a big disadvantage – we all remember how engaged some of the touring sides in May looked when it was just a few degrees above zero. And with compressed tours these days, that is a big problem. By the time a touring side has adapted, the series is often gone. The ongoing Sri Lanka – Australia series may prove to be a case in point.

        Another point I want to highlight is that Australia last toured Pakistan in 1998/1999. The series after that was held in Sri Lanka / UAE, and that was back in 2002/2003 (which is their source of good record in the UAE – but that of course was based on the team they had at the time, which is fair to say, a bit better than a team anyone can muster nowadays). And then of course the 2010 series was held in England. In other words, by the time the last series in the UAE rolled by, Australia had not played Pakistan in Asia for more than a decade. Little wonder that “Asia” becomes then increasingly more synonymous with India and to a lesser extent Sri Lanka. It is not like Australia have been that eager to play Bangladesh (has been more than a decade since that happened as well).

        With regards to bowlers, Asian pacers tend to average slightly higher outside of Asia than in Asia. Again this comes with caveats with regards to pitches etc – and of course, the batsmen these bowlers face are much more familiar with pace. Below is a list of all the pace bowlers from Asia with more than 100 wickets outside of Asia.

        I’ll give the career averages at home, then outside of Asia and then the career averages.

        Wasim Akram 22.22 vs. 24.80 vs 23.62
        Waqar 20.29 vs. 27.53 vs. 23.56
        Imran Khan 19.20 vs. 26.11 vs. 22.81
        Kapil Dev 26.49 vs. 30.78 vs. 29.64
        Zaheer Khan 35.87 vs. 31.25 vs 32.94 (definitely the odd one out; and I suspect this was the bowler who PKTroll’s parochial person built his argument around – Zak averaged 27.96 in England for example)
        Vaas 26.32 vs. 32.94 vs. 29.58
        Srinath 26.61 vs 34.73 vs 30.49
        Ishant Sharma 34.76 vs 38.95 vs. 36.86

        Now it is too much of a hassle for me to check all the schedules and teams that were played home and away for each of these players – some of them might have filled their boots against weak touring sides, or alternatively played on corporate roads in England / South Africa / Australia, to deflate their averages. And it gets even more complicated, since you’d also have to account for how good batsmen are against pace vs. spin – Warne was an excellent bowler, but he had a dismal career average in India. But if you check who he bowled against, you’ll realize he bowled to some of the best players of spin the world has ever seen.

        There are non-Asian players who average less in Asia than their career averages as well. And they are a bit of motley crew: Courtney Walsh, Daniel Vettori, Dale Steyn, Jason Gillespie, Richard Hadlee (barely) Ashley Giles, Graeme Swann, Richie Benaud, Lance Gibbs – and these are just from the top visiting wicket takers with a minimum of 50 wickets taken in Asia (there are sixteen players from outside of Asia who have taken 50 or more wickets in Asia). Again that might have something to do with the pitches (the 2012 UAE series can’t have hurt Swann’s average for instance), batsmen etc..

        Sri Lanka had Sanga for just 2 Tests out of three in that series Simon (Sri Lanka lost the first, and won the second) – and the one he did not play in Sri Lanka duly lost in that massive chase.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 16, 2016 / 1:54 pm

        Fine work D’Arthez. I used nearly all the bowlers you mentioned after thinking about Vaas and his poor test returns in England and elsewhere overseas. I fully agree that ‘Asia’ isn’t and couldn’t possibly be an all encompassing standard set of pitches. I don’t think the person I argued with was particularly thinking about Zak, he just believed that England = worst place to face seam bowling when it isn’t always the case. I love the info for the non Asian seamers having a lower average in Asia than elsewhere. Of course there are exceptions to all these rules but when a basic perceived notion such as the above can easily be proved wrong it is great where you have some information such as that.


      • d'Arthez Aug 16, 2016 / 2:48 pm

        PKTroll, let me delve into the stats a bit:

        I hope I am doing this right, these should be the batting averages against pace from 01 Jan 2006 onwards.


        Pace has been more successful in South Africa and Zimbabwe than it has been in England. The kind of stats that the Cook fanboys don’t want to hear (because that puts Graeme Smith’s performances in a better light). India has been one of the worst places to be a pace bowler, but as highlighted above, that might be due to relatively poor quality home bowlers.

        If we only look at visiting bowlers, the picture changes quite dramatically:


        England is then one of the easiest places to bat against pace for the home side. Harder than India, but that is not saying that much (though the difference is quite substantial): the stats suggest that home batsmen can cash in in England, in Australia, and in India, and to a lesser extent in South Africa and New Zealand.


      • SimonH Aug 16, 2016 / 4:45 pm

        I think my original point has been slightly misinterpreted – I meant that Pakistan tend to be less disadvantaged outside Asia compared to India and SL. D’s figures have shown that, with for example Wasim taking his wickets at 24 outside Asia compared to Vaas’s 32. Never mind, it kicked off a lively debate.

        The thing that nobody seems to be picking up on is that Dobell thinks winning in India this winter would be as tough as winning in the West Indies in the 1980s (if I understood him correctly). He had a lot of good-will for standing up to Giles Clarke when others wouldn’t – but that’s jumped the shark into absurdity.

        Very few of them seem able to spend time in the press box and not succumb to group-think. Has anyone noticed how none of them have picked up on the Ed Smith story (including the ones who started off as “hip young gunslingers”)? Tregaskis has been doing sterling work on that story on Twitter – but the silence elsewhere is deafening.

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Aug 16, 2016 / 7:47 pm

        I knew you were not referring to that, but as PKTroll mentioned the stats of Asian quicks, I took the liberty to delve into the figures. And while it is definitely true that these quicks (with the exception of Zaheer Khan) did better at home than their career averages, the differences are not that big for most of them – and certainly not for the Pakistani trio, who have proven themselves a handful on numerous occasions, no matter the surface or venue.

        And as poor as say Ishant’s stats are at home (judged by the raw number), it is not like a lot of visiting pace bowlers have better records in India over the same period. In fact, of those who have played more than 3 Tests since Ishant’s debut and are not Indian (to exclude Yadav, Zaheer Khan, Shami and the perhaps surprising name of Ganguly), the names are Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Shane Watson, the latter two with averages above 30.

        If 3 Tests is enough, you can add Makhaya Ntini, James Pattinson, Tim Southee and Shoaib Akthar to the equation as having better averages in India than Ishant. As much as Ishant is often ridiculed, he is not as bad a bowler as he is often made out to be.

        With regards to Pakistan’s “lesser disadvantage”. Sure they seem to have the best pace bowling stocks out of any Asian side to play in England, South Africa or Australia. But you can also turn it around, and argue that their batsmen get the least exposure to these “foreign conditions”, and thus have a bigger disadvantage compared to those from Sri Lanka and India. Does it even out? Not sure.

        With regards to your original point, regarding Dobell:
        Sure it would be a fine achievement to defeat India again in India. Barring West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, every team is quite hard to beat at home (or their adopted home in case of Pakistan. The worst W/L ratio among major teams is Sri Lanka’s 1.44; the best is India’s 6.0, followed by Australia’s 4.4 since 2010.

        But certainly not as tough as it would have been to win in the West Indies in the 1980s. The West Indies lost all of 1 Test in the 1980s (and that was to an attack consisting of Imran, Wasim and Abdul Qadir). India have already lost 3 (one to South Africa, two to England) in this decade, never mind the series they lost to England (and they were quite close to losing the series to South Africa as well – they had 10 balls to spare when they drew that one).


    • d'Arthez Aug 16, 2016 / 1:31 pm

      If said reader would just lay the bare W/L/D stats to the decade that followed, and realized that roughly 4 out of 10 sides in the past decade have worse records than England in the 1990s ….


    • nonoxcol Aug 16, 2016 / 1:53 pm

      *sighs* this again…

      England were middling in the 1990s. They beat India in two series out of three, NZ in four series out of five, SL in one Test out of three and drew two matches against Zimbabwe. They were clearly inferior to outstanding sides from Australia, the West Indies (for half a decade at least), Pakistan and South Africa, though they competed strongly against the latter.

      I’ll stick my neck out and suggest that the current side would not do much better than that.

      The true horrors, which I think distort the overall picture of the decade, were (worst first) Gooch’s last year in charge, the Zimbabwe tour and the final series against New Zealand.

      In any case the circumstantial differences – most notably selection and structure – render any meaningful comparison almost pointless.

      I’ll say one thing – you can almost guarantee that anyone who regards the 90s as some kind of unparalleled nadir was not born early enough to experience 1986-89, or didn’t get into cricket before, say, the decline of Botham. Lo and behold, this guy was six in 1991. QED.


    • Northern Light Aug 16, 2016 / 8:37 pm

      Apparently, everybody started with a , then gained or lost points based on bits of good/bad play.. That, and a huge amount of selected blindness, can be the only reason for the the ridiculously high scores for…well….almost all of them!


  22. SimonH Aug 16, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    I see that what Hoult and Newman wrote about the ODI squad yesterday turns out to be 100% right.


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