As Chris is off around the other side of the world, and my job has gone absolutely hyper, the time to consider and even react to games, news, events is so totally limited. Coming home has been like wandering into a gently soothing cool shower, draining away the aches and pains, but leaving you still tired and needing rest. Such feelings don’t correlate with writing passionate blog materials. Twitter is easier, but also lazier.
Carrying out the duties of a blog like this means a lot of spare time is taken in reading and listening to what is going on. Today is a good example. I bought the Cricket Paper this morning. The only time I’ve even thought about reading it was when Tregaskis asked me if he could see a copy of the front page. I get home and the first time I actually catch up with the Surrey and Middlesex scores is on the bus to my house. I’ve listened to George’s podcast while having one eye on the unbelievable opportunity I have in 9 days time to fulfill one of my dreams.
I sit and read the stuff on Eoin Morgan. My job entails me going around the world, infrequently, and seeing some extraordinary places – I’ve been to Almaty in Kazakhstan, a brilliant experience, and down a coal mine in Illinois. I’ve been to Istanbul a number of times, and even the amazing city of Moscow. I’ve been nervous about many of them. But I went, because I believe I can look after myself, have a huge sense of danger, and feel as though my wits are about me. I don’t guarantee safety, but then again life is too short to worry about everything. I’m sure something will happen some day, but it is as likely to be in Paris as it is in Istanbul, for example.
But I have turned down visits that don’t suit my personal circumstances, or where being a chunky could get me into trouble (i.e. being able to run decent distances). Or, importantly, where they make me nervous. You see, I may have to make the choice of going to Bangladesh soon, and I’m not that keen, but would probably, on balance go. But I am not a high profile international cricket team. I have every sympathy for Eoin Morgan, who has damn good reasons for not going. His own. You don’t walk a mile in his shoes, so don’t you dare judge him for making that decision. It is all perfectly well people saying “he’s the leader, he should show some courage”. Bollocks. There’s too much of this judgmental crap these days, and I’ve had enough of it. I’m sure many of you have too.
Those who like that sort of thing are pointing out Eoin Morgan’s “lack of form”. The irony of that smacks me in the face. Two years ago lack of form was nothing when the other England captain was playing test cricket, and his lack of form at ODI level took more than a few months bad trot to get him out of the team. Morgan will know how much he lost if he is not selected for India. If he isn’t selected in the squad, then I know that this is personal. Morgan is a very good white ball captain. Jos Buttler will not surprise us that much in three games to persuade us that Morgan still isn’t the best white ball captain.
Then there is the T20 stuff. Look, sorry people, but I really haven’t been following it as much as I know you might like me to. Part of me is past caring. The ECB know what they want. They want an 8 team tournament, in prime summer, with international superstars, and it live and exclusive on Sky TV. Yes, you read the last bit. If it ain’t them, it will be BT Sport. That the counties want little to do with it, is not a surprise, but they’ll be told “no nice payouts to keep you going if there isn’t what we want” and we’ll melt down into civil war over cucumber sandwiches. Unlike Australia, on which we are basing our T20 envy, the game has lost its grip on the social fabric of the country because it banned itself from free TV. Australia still reveres it cricket and there is still an audience for it. It also, as I read from someone today, the perfect set up with large urban centres limited in number. What would we do? Graves seems to have all the negotiating skills of a Sandstone cliff, and Tom Harrison couldn’t persuade me to put the heat on in winter, so what chance do we have? I don’t think the other side of the debate has been all that crash hot either. Why do we need to save the counties? If they didn’t “need” saving we wouldn’t have to help them out. The game is not viable even in the current “massively successful” T20 Blast era. You know my view – players are getting paid above their market value, and unless there’s some damn realism in this sphere, we are going to be in real trouble ad infinitum. There is not a single current non-international cricketer who should be on more than £2k a week in county cricket. There used to be a few at Surrey. I’ll bet they weren’t the only ones.
And as for the ICC. May god have mercy on the souls of the cricket boards of this world. We truly are in the hands of men with little imagination, other than how to try to make money. I’m done with it. What is there left for us to say? What more could Death of a Gentleman do to say, sort this mess out? I’m not sure two divisions would have saved test cricket, nor do I believe it is in as dire a state as some say it is. It most certainly is in certain countries, but that isn’t new. We have the wonderful success story of Pakistan, the world #1 that never plays at home. England are up and down. Australia too. India look to be getting some consistency. Sri Lanka can pull magic out of a hat. South Africa may still have it. The ICC don’t give a shit. Not really. The BCCI run the game and we all know it. It may have sounded like they were moving towards consensus, but that was always transient in my eyes.
So tiredness and weariness, despair and demoralised, we move on to the end of a season where the premier long-form competition is coming down to a thrilling conclusion with the top two meeting in the last fixture and our host broadcaster, with five or six sports channels to fill in midweek, cannot be arsed to cover it. And that’s the broadcaster who #39 put their head chap at #6 in his power list. He should be #1 because if the exclusive broadcaster can’t be bothered to do this and that company is very likely to keep all cricket in the future, then this sport has the wrong priorities. But we knew that.
UPDATE – Paul Newman has written a truly appalling piece on Morgan’s decision. I’m not linking it. If you want to read it, then go ahead. But there is no room in his ivory tower for a shade of grey. The sort of article that plays the man, and not the issue. An issue so serious that the ECB Head of Security went out there for a week and still the ECB said there would be nothing held against anyone who did not travel. I ribbed an Aussie about their non-tour last year, I know. But there’s been some naughtiness since (I’ve learned a hell of a lot about Bangladesh since then) and it’s a judgment call. No more no less. But there isn’t empathy in Newman. Certainly not in his writing. I don’t know if I could be more angry with him.
As suspected, the character assassination has started…
“He is the most detached and unemotional of characters, an Irish captain of England who refuses to sing the national anthem… Not even his Middlesex team-mates claim to be close to Morgan, who was not afraid to turn his back on his native Ireland…putting the Indian Premier League before his Test ambitions…once relatively close to in Kevin Pietersen…”
I am simply too tired to fisk it. I am constantly told what a “nice bloke” he is. Really? There’s not a lot of human kindness or understanding in that article.
To think, we’re called “bilious inadequates”.
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I respect Morgan’s decision.
He has been there and close to some of the incidents in the past. (I have for example been in Burkina Faso a year ago, but will probably not want to go again .)
I assume Mr Newman will be going. And Mr Strauss?
What a horrible article. Forgetting Morgan sacrificed a lot of money from the IPL one season to concentrate on his test career.
I hope Strauss will be on the coach with the England team on their travels as well rather than sat at home in relative safety.
If refusing to sing the national anthem is a crime, I am more guilty than most. I can’t sing about an entity I don’t believe in saving an extremely priveleged being, but hey that’s me. What a load of absolute rubbish, but we knew he’d come out with that. The cricket paper was bad enough last week, but I knew that Newman would plumb the depths.
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It’s an indication of how moronic the media is that a lot of them really do believe the passion which professional sportsman sing the national anthem is important to how they will peform in the match. It’s pusedotheory bullshit. And preached by people who are clueless. Some how they make a living writing this clap trap.
Good!…….. Newman has pulled the mask away and revealed the scumbag he always was. We all knew it during the KP days, but now he has revealed himself in all his nastiness. A sewer who pumps out ECB leaks, and attacks anyone who doesn’t sign on to the agenda of the machine.
I wonder what Newman says to his kids when they ask him “what did you do today daddy?” Perhaps the following …..”Oh I shat all over someone again just for the fun of it.” Horrible man. No Surprise he works for Darce’s weirdo newspaper. The one that claims to be the moral guardian of the nation, while running endless photos of 14 year old girls in swim suits with suggestive captions. You have to be a moral bankrupt to work there.
We all know what Morgan’s real crime is. Newman wanted him sacked after the World Cup. I pose a couple of questions.
1 what role has Andy Flower played in this? because this is right out of the same playbook used against KP.
2 I wonder if Morgan now regrets his little interview with Nasser in which he took the company line and shat all over KP? I’m afraid it didn’t do you any favours with the peanut Galley Mr Morgan. Nothing would.
My only hope now is that Newman will take his family with him to Bangladesh seeing as he thinks it’s no big deal.
Oh and one final point we can all guess how the media would have reacted if Cook had taken the same line. * Crickets * Crickets* Crickets*
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I can only hope that the message will get through to all England internationals: don’t believe what the ECB tells you, wait until you hear the message they deliver through their sewer — Paul Newman [known to me as Mel Gibson, as I hate to allow him to usurp the name of a great actor].
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Mel Gibson…that is genius Clive! Another bad actor and arsehole. I will call Newman ” Mel Gibson” from now on. He’s a crap actor, who is pretending to be a journalist. And failing.
And to think the England players went to this c*** birthday party. How creepy is that? Unless of course you find him useful for leaking shit out. Oh, I wonder which England players like to do that?
Notice how the Irish issue is brought out just like The South African issue was brought out with KP. (When they wanted them saxked that is) There is a heavy does of racism here. Large sections of the English cricket media are ludicrous Blimp like figures.
Newman is scum plain and simple. Morgan’s personal emotive experiences have led him to make this decision which has proved that above anything else he is human, like the rest of us. So I don’t really care who in the MSM or Twitter journos say oh but he is a nice guy on tour. Doesn’t wash. He clearly isn’t. Anyone who defends him over this or tells us what a guy he can be is up there with him for me. Pure horseshit of an article written about an England captain.
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The lowlight (apart from the anthem bollocks, which is a bete-noire I will shamelessly use as a litmus test for anyone’s brain power or capacity to understand others) is surely:
“just as culpable as coach Moores for England’s World Cup failure”.
As someone said last week, omission of pertinent facts is also screamingly obvious bias.
With the culpability issue I’m having a hard time remembering the same standards being applied to Cook and Flower post 2013/14 Ashes. I must have forgotten those pieces written blaming them.
QED, I think.
How you can write that shit without even a token acknowledgment of the various farces leading up to the World Cup, and still get arsey when people call you out for sucking up to the ECB, is beyond me.
The other thing that rattled my cage was the “already past his best” comment as Morgan approaches 30. Someone else was having a bad trot coming up to 30 and all we were being beseeched to do was whenever that man made a scratchy 95 we were to recognise he was “almost back to his best. ”
He’s overstepped the mark on this one.
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It wasn’t just “scratchy 95s.” It was “glorious 22s” and “sublime 14s”
I honestly have never seen anything like it in English cricket in my lifetime.
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Though it came a year later, after his century drought was over, the most laughable example was Selvey at Trent Bridge in the Ashes.
After Aus were bowled out for 60, Cook made 43 “that was surely worth a hundred on most other pitches”. The implication was that 60 all out had more to do with the demonic pitch than hopeless Aussie batsmen or Stuart Broad. And, er, Joe Root made 130 in the same bloody innings!
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This is exactly the sort of reason, in terms of the bigger picture, that many still can’t bring themselves to like or enjoy this England team. There is still media favourites fawned over and then hatchet jobs such as this one. While the existing set of certain players, media and ECB power holders are in place many will continue not to support the side, which is ultimately sad.
Would actually love a journalist to come out and write a piece supporting Morgan’s decision. I am not sure Morgan gives a shit about a scum bag like Newman but something to redress the balance would be nice.
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He’s the ECB’s attack dog, a brainless automoton, beneath contempt. I look forward to his reports from Dhaka??
Would love to see the list of journalists not covering this series and whether director comma will be attending the full series.
This was a series I’d had lined up to go to from several years back but I decided against it on security grounds several months ago as I didn’t like the way things were going. Shame, as cricket wise it’s a fascinating series.
Hmm…let me see…”but of course the team had full security guaranteed by the ECB, which obviously couldn’t cover the media. Our employers will follow the Foreign Office advice and prevent us from going as a duty of care, and insurance issues”
I am given to believe that the normal press lot will be going.
We’ll see milord!
Official Australian Government advice:”Due to an increase in terrorist attacks, including against Westerners, we have increased the overall level of advice for Bangladesh to ‘reconsider your need to travel’. Australian officials continue to adopt heightened security precautions in Dhaka, and are limiting their movements in public places”
Same for Germany and Austria – “Avoid places frequented by western foreigners”…
Even the Barmy Army is “reconsidering”.
Some very good reading on Cricinfo – Dobell is excellent on the NDAs (although not as coruscating as his One Stump Fewer podcast) and Sharda Urga has some good insights into the TV rights’ issue.
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When I called Newman out on his writing on Compton earlier in the summer, he told me that he was, ‘just doing his job’. Well done, Paul, keep on doing it, I hope you’re proud of yourself.
Horrible man. The only reason I didn’t keep going with the Twitter conversation was that it was the day of the EU referendum result and suddenly this all seemed to matter that little bit less at that time.
“Only doing my job” seems to have similarities to ” only following orders.”
That was no defence either.
Depends what Mel Gibson thinks his job is. Pushing ECB agenda doesn’t seem to be doing his job to me. Unless Mr Darce is happy to pay Mel Gibson to carry out the wishes of a non Mail organisation. Would have thought that was a waste of Mail resources.
A couple are sort of defending him on Twitter – one blames his sports’ editor and another says that it would not have had anything to do with the ECB.
Both confirming that their places on the Outside Cricket(er) list were richly deserved.
Here’s your Head of Sport at the Daily Mail.
Used to like Lee on Hold The Back Page as he always had a sense of perspective. I’d imagine he lets Newman et al get on with it when it comes to cricket. He’s a football man.
I bet he’s an Essex fan, though….
Anyone who thinks this is fair should considerr how Mel Gibson would have written if Cook had made the same choice. If you think it would be the same, I have a bridge I want to sell you.
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Also, to be fair, we don’t know what Strauss is going to do. What concerns me is that the media, well some of them, are telling him what plays and what should get the punters’ backs up.
The very least Strauss and the ECB could do is stop giving Newman exclusives. He’s had lengthy exclusive interviews with Farbrace, Flower and Cook in the not-too-distant past and that tap could and should have been turned off. Their acquiescence in what Newman does shows, at least, that they aren’t too unhappy with it.
Hoult has Tweeted that Morgan will be back for the India ODIs. There’s also over three months between the end of the Bangladesh ODIs and the start of the India ones so plenty could happen in that time. Even KP didn’t say this week that Morgan would necessarily be sacked immediately for this – but that it would be held against him further down the line.
Passing over Root for the captaincy again is interesting. It’s not the first time. Maybe they’ve already decided Root will be rested for the Bangladesh ODIs – but maybe there’s a bit more to it (the feeling that they don’t quite trust him – or, worse, that nagging suspicion that it would open questions about the Test captaincy).
Simon – re Root and the captaincy, could it just be that the selectors are showing sense for once and realising that we have a world-leading batsman across three formats and there’s no point messing with that by piling more responsibility on Root’s shoulders? Especially as there are viable alternatives as captain. We saw it with Vaughan – an excellent batsman became an excellent batsman but the consistency in his batting fell away. Why take that risk with Root yet? I’m totally with the selectors on this one.
That should say ‘an excellent batsman became an excellent captain’, of course!
Nicholas – I’m mostly not too bothered really. I doubt there would be much difference between Root and Buttler as captains – both seem to have quite similar approaches to the game. My only real concern is that whoever’s chosen, it’s for cricketing reasons – and not because they’d be more pliable, go down better with the sponsors or any other reason that might be dragged in.
I’d disagree with what you’ve said for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t think it’s a choice of “the selectors”. I can’t remember who it was, but i read someone recently say that they’d never known the selectors to be so irrelevant in English cricket. I suspect the choice of captain resides almost entirely with Strauss with a little input from the coaches.
Secondly, there might be good reasons not to appoint Root but I don’t hold with this argument about “extra responsibility” and risking his form. It seems a particularly English, negative argument. Root is often compared to Smith, Kohli and Williamson – they are all now captains, and has their form collapsed? Maybe Root will thrive on the extra responsibility and do even better? Maybe it won’t make any difference? Also, isn’t Buttler under pressure? He’ll be captaining while keeping wicket (over rate!) and he’ll be trying to win his Test place back.
Don’t know if Newman reads this blog, after all there’s a fair bit of polysyllabic stuff here (big words Mr Newman) but I don’t know him from Adam, don’t know what qualifies him to put out his opinions on cricket and I have no intention of ever reading him. My opinion is more valid to me than that of a newspaper hack.
I fully sympathise with Morgan’s point of view. How does a batsman concentrate 100% on the next ball, when in the back of his mind is the thought that a bomber may be nearby? Imagine if someone lets off a firecracker. How high would you jump?
For me, cricket is a sport. All the issues surrounding this tour are unrelated to sport.
Finally, if, heaven forbid, a terrorist attack occurs, how stupid will the decision to tour and the personal criticisms look then?
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Guess who can be relied on to blow that dog-whistle?
The delightful thread that follows shows that plenty know exactly what he’s implying.
Eoin Morgan is an asset to England’s cricket – intelligent, articulate, independent-minded, a good captain and an excellent leader.
I don’t believe he is unemotional at all, but he clearly places value on being detached and thinking about decisions carefully. He’s got personal experience of playing in Bangladesh. His decision won’t have been taken lightly and it should be respected and supported by all sensible cricket supporters.
I’m not going to read the Daily Mail piece, but I assume it’s the same kind of racist crap that certain trolls post regularly on the Guardian.
PS How could he sing the national anthem? It’s not his national anthem to sing. And anyone who pretends they don’t understand what it would mean for an Irishman to sing about Our Gracious Queen is just lying.
PPS Didn’t Andrew Strauss sit out an overseas tour or two when he was in the England side?
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Our last tour to Bangladesh for one, Zeph!
Ha! “Don’t do what I did comma do what I say.”
I have an incurable virus, it’s in my blood and I’ve come to accept I will never get rid of it. It’s called cricket. Even as my interest in hockey, tennis and other things has faded, cricket is always there, just like it was when I was a kid. So I have some perspective.
Although things have changed alot (like India!) there are some constants. The long line of hard Australian cricketers is one: Allan Border wasn’t a hard man, he was just a simple bloke who had hardness thrust upon him, and became great. Rod Marsh, Lenny Pasco, McDermott, David Hookes, Dean Jones…all the way through to Ponting. (Post Ponting it starts to get a bit complicated but I suppose Warner could be considered in the tradition, even if a bit less cerebral than his predecessors).
The other constant is English ineptitude. As I Chappel said, “If you want to know how to run cricket, have a look at what England do, do the opposite and you’ll be fairly close to the mark.”
England has shown disturbing signs of competence lately, showing some stability in test performance, snagging a few Ashes wins (albeit at home), and starting to get the gist of ODIs. But could it be it’s falling back into bad habits? Morgan being ostracised for not wanting to tour Bangladesh, character assasination already underway? Pick one of your key players, and captain to boot, and make life hard for him. Cast doubts on his commitment, or right to belong?
Bring it on, it’s about time England started shooting itself in the foot again. It’s been a few years since England fired it’s best batsman, another act of self-righteous nose-cutting is well overdue.
Sadly Giles Clarke is no longer around to act as the villain that the James Bond producers could only dream of inventing, but perhaps Strauss has more deviousness in him than his straightforward cricket suggested.
‘What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed’, Fred.
Though I don’t think G Clarke has really gone, nor has he necessarily abandoned his plans for world domination.
If you can hear me over the sound of your chuckling and callused hands rubbing together in glee, that wasn’t your worst ever post, Fred.
Hi praise indeed, from you.
Unfortunately my high ground has subsided a bit, what with homework, spinner selection etc, so I’ll just keep it to quiet amusement at this point.