Testing Our Selectors

So, the squad for Bangladesh has been announced, and for a sweet while there isn’t the mechanisms of an additional T20 competition to be debated over and over again, I give thanks for small mercies.

First thought is that it’s a bit of a strange squad, even with the India tour in mind, a team of 17 for 2 Tests seems a bit OTT to me, but probably reflects England’s uncertainty in conditions that aren’t conducive to the game plan of playing 4 seamers and hoping they’ll gel enough to take enough wickets to disguise the lack of a middle order that we have.

First things first, I massively think Hameed is a big talent, but we might have a Sheep replica in the fact he scores at quite a low rate (from memory that was the same criticism aimed at Compton and also at times with Trott). We might be 24-0 off 12 overs but is that pushing the match forward with the flimsy middle order that we have, well I’ll leave that for you to decide. 65-4 off 25 overs isn’t a brilliant position. I personally think Hameed will end up taking Cook’s position in the future, but both opening the batting together, that I’m not so sure about..

As for the spin options, despite being a Middlesex fan, I’m not desperately disappointed about Batty being picked. Liam Dawson was always the vanilla ‘let’s cover all bases’ pick that England made when picking Samit Patel for the UAE tests. Not bad at things, but hardly a master at either. Jack Leach would’ve been a far more progressive pick but we do have James Whittaker as Chief Selector, so progressive is unlikely to ever take priority. Batty will do a decent job, and despite being a bit of a dick (sorry Middx bias again) he’ll do a decent job if called upon. I can’t see Duckett or Ansari playing in the Tests, which is a shame as both are very talented.

Oh and just a small note around how the gutter press, yes Paul Newman, John Etheridge and the rest of the idiots, have treated Eoin Morgan in the last week. It’s been nothing more than jingoism gone mad, I’m not a massive fan of Morgan, but to call him out for not singing the national anthem (slight clue is that he’s Irish and if Ireland had been given a fair go at international cricket, then I doubt we’d been in this situation) and because he prefers the IPL to the county game. This is nothing more than blame storming, no-one really knows the background to Morgan’s decision, but to see the bile from so-called experts is more than disappointing. I guess Brexit means Brexit in some people’s eyes…

Be interested to hear what everyone else thinks…

As a side note TLG is away in Indonesia and Dmitri has been snowed at work and is away from Sunday this week, so apologies if posts are slightly sporadic over the next week, and we’re not even going to touch the FTA debate judging from comments from the last post!

Have a good weekend all….


63 thoughts on “Testing Our Selectors

  1. quebecer Sep 16, 2016 / 11:44 pm

    I think Ollie Raynor can count himself a little unfortunate to have Batty preferred over him, and Leach possibly even more so (with Asnari’s inclusion as well). Perhaps the idea is that with Ali and Rashid nailed on, Leach’s time is better spent with the Lions, but then why take two other spinners? Ansari is possibly the luckiest fellow on the list, and there is clearly someone around who likes him lots.

    Of course, the batting line up is the interesting thing. I have absolutely no idea what they’ll do – or what they should do. The bold move would be (and this is presuming Hameed opens) to play Duckett at 4, and then whatever order of Bairstow, Stokes, and Ali behind him with Woakes at 8 and Rashid at 9. And let’s not forget just how well Duckett has been doing, or the oodles of talent in the boy, or, for that matter, how well he plays spin.

    If not that, then what? #4 is the issue. Bairstow, with the gloves going to Buttler? That seems possible, meaning it’s Ali and Stokes (whatever order) at #5 and #6 and no Ballance. In fact, with the necessity to play Ali and Rashid and Woakes making himself undroppable (and Jimmy and Stu nailed on), it seems the only way Ballance plays is at #4.

    I’m not going down the promote Ali route deliberately, but are there any other permutations I’ve missed?

    It’s all very unclear, that’s for sure. And kind of exciting for it. ☺


  2. quebecer Sep 16, 2016 / 11:48 pm

    I’m still not keen on my new avatar. My lack of keenness is in no way correlational, nor implying casualty. It’s totally bloody causal because it’s bloody teal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto Sep 17, 2016 / 5:30 am

      I was reading the blog on my partner’s phone last night, as my daughters had nicked mine in order to debate the T20 competi… No, sorry, in order to watch the Next bloody Step on the iPlayer. Anyway, I wasn’t signed in, reading as a guest, and, lo and behold, we all had our old avatars back! They still exist in a parallel blog…
      How are the little Q’s forward defensives coming along?


      • quebecer Sep 18, 2016 / 12:02 am

        See, Dmitri said there was nothing sinister going on, but I think he’s covering up something pretty bloody big.

        Twin A and Twin B doing well, roo, thanks of asking. Twin B a left arm quick, and Twin B a purposeful opening bat (in my head). It’s mostly ice hockey and kickball for my boys, unfortunately, though occasional visitor BTL and pal of mine LeScotsman does cricket courses at his indoor facility up here on the tundra, and the lads will be attending soon.

        Two more England players not born in England, I fear.


    • Zephirine Sep 17, 2016 / 6:14 pm

      “it’s bloody teal”

      If ever you want to start an unending argument (even longer than that thing that just happened that we won’t talk about) – show people something coloured in the turquoise/aquamarine/eau de nil/teal rage and ask them what colour it is. Apparently people actually perceive these colours quite differently, so some will see blue and some green and even those who see an in-between colour will argue about what it’s called. Hours of harmless fun.

      Like arguing about whether or not England can afford to have a specialist wicketkeeper instead of continually diverting promising young batsmen from what they should be doing with their lives.


      • quebecer Sep 17, 2016 / 11:56 pm

        Huh. Should have flashed my avatar at them during the debate that we won’t talk about, perhaps.

        I did have another idea to stop that debate, inspired from this event I attended when doing Government and Politics at A level. Each year they’d have this thing in Westminster for anyone silly enough to do that subject, and usually have pretty renowned speakers. The time I went they had Dennis Healey. After some rather pretentious questions mostly around the economy from the open mike student audience (that he answered clearly and cleverly), one kid then got up to the mike and said, “This is all very well, Mr. Healey, but how big’s your plonker?”

        (In the interests of full disclosure, without missing a beat, Healey answered, “Big enough, sonny,” and sat down.)

        Anyway, thanks for taking the teal thing seriously, zeph, and an absolutely perfect choice of words in your last paragraph which made me giggle.


  3. quebecer Sep 17, 2016 / 12:48 am

    I was going to post this on the Duncan Spencer piece at the Guardian, but you know, fuck ’em.

    If you watch this, there are soooooo many things that jump out, including Michael Slater out of the way. Poor old Dev. Just a modicum of help would have been nice. Steve Rhodes occasionally saying, “Bowled, Dev” instead of kicking it around would have been good too. But really, is it any wonder ‘Malcolm Devon’ didn’t do as well as he might? This was the best spell sustained of fast bowling that we’d had since Willis at Headingley, and look at the reaction of the team.


    • thelegglance Sep 17, 2016 / 1:59 pm

      I faced Duncan Spencer once. He was a bit rapid, and he definitely wasn’t flat out.


      • quebecer Sep 18, 2016 / 12:28 am

        Eek, yes. Doesn’t look like he gave it much air. Played, sir.

        The slowest quick bowler I ever faced was Chris Lewis. This was in club cricket and he was about 18 or so, me a couple of years younger. I’d seen him around at Middlesex and we’d smiled hello before the game. He batted #3 (for Wembley, I think?) and before he’d scored he smacked one straight to me at square leg – and I shelled it. He then smashed it to all parts and got a big hundred. I don’t think a ball went near me for the next 3 hours.

        I was a bit nervous opening the batting against him, but the first ball was a gentle long hop which I pulled for 4. Still being nice to me, second ball was a gentle half volley that I drove back past him.

        It was at this point that he became the fastest quick bowler I ever faced. I executed the ‘posthumous duck’ at my third ball as it flew past my shoulder, and the fourth was full and had me trapped in front. Didn’t see it, I really didn’t. But it was September and the light was bad. Honest.

        Heckuva a day for me, that one.

        Liked by 1 person

    • fred Sep 17, 2016 / 2:45 pm

      Malcolm hits Slater on the hand and the ball pops up into a space as there were no fielders in close. Atherton crosses his arms and stares down at the pitch. I think I see now where Cook got his captaincy inspiration.
      Commentary after Thorpe drops a slip catch and then the keeper kicks one away: “There are lots of disappointing things about the way England play their cricket…” I can’t identify the voice.
      I know what Bill Lawry would have said if he’d been there.


      • quebecer Sep 18, 2016 / 12:03 am

        LOL I so totally thought of you when I heard that on the commentary!

        I just felt so sorry for Dev. Great spell (really) and my god how awful we were!!!


  4. SimonH Sep 17, 2016 / 9:57 am

    #47 thinks the t20 reforms are great (despite having previously been against them):


    You don’t get to be #47 by standing by your principles when they become awkward – or by asking difficult questions.

    The first two paragraphs are particularly nauseating and then he finishes up with:

    “The best overseas players will collectively return to our shores for the first time in many years: think Kohli, de Villiers, Warner, Dhoni, Steyn, and Starc”.

    He must mean playing in English domestic competition because it’s irrelevant otherwise (of course they’ll be in the UK for the CT for example) although he doesn’t exactly say so. Is this promise refundable?


    • nonoxcol Sep 17, 2016 / 10:40 am

      You’re confusing me now. I checked “the only power list” before clicking and assumed Shane Warne was getting behind the ECB!

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Sep 17, 2016 / 11:08 am

        He isn’t the only one who can change his mind when it’s convenient! (I’ll use OC# for in-house references in the future).


      • Sean B Sep 17, 2016 / 12:10 pm

        It’s part of the Sky contract isn’t it???


    • SimonH Sep 17, 2016 / 11:16 am

      Buried away in the #47 piece:

      “vastly increased income and public interest were the main reasons behind the pitch”.

      Awkward question no.1:
      Aren’t these potentially contradictory?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. hatmallet Sep 17, 2016 / 10:11 am

    I’m quite happy with the squad to be honest.

    For all their flaws and despite some conservative picks of late (in Tests), the selectors have made some brave calls.

    Delighted to see Duckett picked and Hameed is an intriguing option. And, thankfully, they’ve resisted picking Dawson in the Test squad.

    OK, so Buttler isn’t the next best option but I can understand why they’ve picked him as Bairstow’s understudy – he is massively talented and will be acclimatised following the ODIs. And yes Batty is old, a (very) short-term selection and not a vote of confidence to the county set-up, but he brings much needed experience.

    Leach and Rayner unfortunate, but both will go with the Lions and have plenty of years ahead of them.

    A combo of Cook and Hameed could be a bit slow. A comment in mitigation… Compton struggled to rotate the strike which isn’t necessarily the same thing as being slow. By the sounds of it, Hameed’s slowness is party down to strength rather than an inability to rotate the strike. He will get stronger, and I noticed he was scoring at a higher tempo later in the season.

    The warm-ups will be interesting. If both Hameed and Duckett do well, could the latter play at 4 instead of Ballance?

    With the ODI squad, I’m glad they’ve stuck to the plan in resting Root (rumours were they might have changed their minds due to Morgan/Hales). Disappointed that Vince has been picked – would have preferred to have seen Bell-Drummond chosen to partner Roy with Duckett at 3 where he plays for Northants and the Lions.


  6. thebogfather Sep 17, 2016 / 10:29 am

    Off topic…
    Apparently there’s the ECB cup final going on today… sponsored by RL (yup, me neither)., and
    Even BBC can’t be arsed to give us full commentary (unless you’ve still got a radio with LW.
    Oh, and TMS still use Lady Hurr-Hurgh….


    • SimonH Sep 17, 2016 / 11:12 am

      Is that 50 over cricket which is:

      a) Our top priority.
      b) So irrelevant it’ll be abolished shortly
      c) Whichever of the above is today’s narrative.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Nicholas Sep 17, 2016 / 11:53 am

      I would not have known that it was the RL Cup final today unless I had read your post. I don’t even know which two teams are competing. And I remember when (in my childhood), the NatWest Trophy final was a big deal. I still remember watching Essex v Lancashire and Derbyshire v Lancashire and then the Gloucester domination at the turn of the century. Hampshire’s victory in 2005.

      It used to be a proper event. Now it’s just tacked on at the end of a long season when, frankly, my thoughts aren’t really on cricket (beyond a glance at the squad for Bangladesh). The ECB really are a joke.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sean B Sep 17, 2016 / 12:09 pm

      And after preparing road after road in the County Championship, Mick Hunt has provided a dog of a pitch for the final….


      • SimonH Sep 17, 2016 / 2:29 pm

        Meanwhile, the delights of ‘The Home of Cricket’ off the pitch:

        Liked by 1 person

      • oreston Sep 17, 2016 / 3:10 pm

        The pitch can’t have been that terrible. An 8 wicket victory with nearly 20 overs to spare and all over by 4.00 pm suggests otherwise. Hardly a classic though…


  7. SimonH Sep 17, 2016 / 12:00 pm

    The sort of thing someone who hasn’t paid for a ticket for decades might say:

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean B Sep 17, 2016 / 12:15 pm

      Selvey doing a Lovejoy there….


    • Benny Sep 17, 2016 / 2:25 pm

      If he read the newspapers, he’d know that travelling by train, certainly in the South, is an Olympic event nowadays


    • nonoxcol Sep 17, 2016 / 3:17 pm

      Jeeez, Swann *and* Giles Coren in one place!!!!?????

      Anyway, as Graeme continues his transformation into Tim, it’s the ideal opportunity to post this:

      Liked by 1 person

    • Benny Sep 17, 2016 / 11:28 pm

      Scary. Judged by celebrity “chef” Ainsley Herriot! Were all the real ones too busy/expensive?


    • d'Arthez Sep 18, 2016 / 1:44 pm

      ““We were clear that the purpose of generating extra income was to put money back into the game at schools and club level and contribute to the growth of the game in Europe. It is our belief that our game will only be strong if the sport is strong in other countries; the more interest there is, the more rugby will be successful. And we can learn: some of the emerging countries have quicker decision-making processes with greater freedom and flexibility to act.”

      If this was from the ECB (with regards to cricket), the man spouting such treasonous statements would be lucky to be just tarred and feathered. More likely that Newman will be told to do a character assassination – after all he has had good practice with Pietersen and Morgan, than that anything will be rationally discussed.

      I have spent substantial amounts of time in three cricket playing nations (Netherlands, South Africa, and Kenya). Needless to say, that in two of those countries coverage for cricket is (nearly) nil, participation is nearly nil, public interest in it is nearly nil. Admittedly it is hard to generate interest when those teams are basically left to twiddle their thumbs 340 days a year.

      Hard to grow a game, when the governing body does not even pretend that it cares. A few more years with the game drifting along as it is, and it will be restyled as a show, just like WWE, fake narratives. But as a contest it is just as meaningful as the scripts that the “wrestlers” rehearse to pretend there is a bit of controversy.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. "IronBalls" McGinty Sep 18, 2016 / 3:45 pm

    There’s trouble at t’mill!!….Yorkshire feeling very aggrieved at the ECB stopping Bairstow playing in the County Championship!
    Methinks they need to adjust their radar, as they’ll get plenty of this treatment in the ECB owned city based T20 thingy…as will the rest of ’em…change your vote now chaps, before it’s too late!!


    • nonoxcol Sep 18, 2016 / 5:25 pm

      There’s a collector’s item on Twitter.

      A Selvey tweet that starts “Poor from ECB”.


      • SimonH Sep 18, 2016 / 5:42 pm

        Ten Tweets about Rashid (“absurd”, “ashamed”, “shocking”, “poor”) have got him back on track.


        • Sean B Sep 18, 2016 / 6:54 pm

          Wouldn’t exactly be the first time that Selvey has had a pop about Rashid….


      • nonoxcol Sep 18, 2016 / 7:18 pm

        I’m finding myself recommending wctt posts on the Guardian…


      • Rooto Sep 18, 2016 / 8:04 pm

        When they came for KP, I was silent, for I always thought he was a show pony.
        When they came for Morgan, I said nothing, as he’s Irish.
        Then they came for Yorkshire…


      • Quebecer Sep 18, 2016 / 8:24 pm

        Selvey really tweeted that? I don’t do the Twitter thing, but surely someone should tweet back telling him to pipe down there.


      • nonoxcol Sep 18, 2016 / 9:27 pm

        There’s also the usual dismissal of any suggestion that the unimpeachable integrity of His Holiness Director, Comma might have been compromised.


        • LordCanisLupus Sep 19, 2016 / 2:08 am


          Just touched down and reached hotel after being out of commission for 14 hours. What’s happened with Rashid?

          Rio, by the way.


      • Quebecer Sep 19, 2016 / 5:16 am

        Dmitri: Root not plying for Yorks v Middlesex – all parties seem ok. Bairstow, however, wants to play, ECB say no, Yorks ask again, ECB stand firm, Yorks ‘disappointed’, and publically so. Selvey tweets ECB bad, We all laugh. Rashid says he needs a rest so asks not to play. No one happy about that. Gale tweets thinly veiled hostility, Dizzy says he hopes Rash won’t regret it, Selvey goes bonkers on Rash. Middlesex select whoever they want, with the help of Ireland. Wctt posts (almost) against ECB again. I fear he might not last the week. I’m adamant all these new opponents to the ECB should pipe down. Welcome home!

        Liked by 2 people

      • d'Arthez Sep 19, 2016 / 5:34 am

        Can someone please explain to me how a non-centrally contracted player (Bairstow) can be told whether or not he is allowed to play, when they’re not paying his salary, but Yorkshire is?

        Yes, I know the ECB is supposed to compensate Yorkshire when players (such as Bairstow) miss county games due to international commitments, but there is obviously no international game going on to force Bairstow to miss said game.

        Can you imagine the FA telling say Man Utd that they’re not allowed to play Wayne Rooney in the all-deciding last game of the season with a win all but guaranteeing the title? Oh, and clearing all the international players from the opposing side to play?

        But congratulations to the ECB: Championship as good as fixed. But no problems institutionalized corruption in the game. Of course not.


      • nonoxcol Sep 19, 2016 / 9:21 am

        He’s on a roll, to the surprise of literally no-one on here:


      • nonoxcol Sep 19, 2016 / 12:51 pm

        “googly best ball. but test batsmen just pick him off. no imperative to get after him as in white ball.”

        followed by:

        He hasn’t tweeted about anything else all day, as far as I can see….


      • fred Sep 19, 2016 / 1:51 pm

        “…because those who matter have made informed judgement.”

        He does this every single time. Every. Single. Time. It’s the appeal to authority. Rather than debating on facts or observations he just pulls rank using authority, discounting anyone else being allowed to have a view. That example you gave doesn’t look like it was from a bilious inadequate either, just someone disagreeing respectfully with him.

        When he says “those who matter”, I assume he means the selectors, and that’s why they matter. He’s not referring to the ECB, who matter simply because they are the ECB (and by implication no one else matters, especially not some bloke on twitter. Who couldn’t possibly make an informed judgment.
        I don’t know why I assume that, the latter is just as likely.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. SimonH Sep 19, 2016 / 8:41 am

    Dave Tickner pointing out that what Oliver Holt writes this week –

    “The continuing furore over the refusal of the San Francisco 49ers’ second-string quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, to stand for the national anthem before games…. Three weeks have passed now since Kaepernick’s protest — it has its roots in support of the Black Lives Matter movement — began and it is still provoking fierce debate in the States.

    We try to tell them they are role models and then as soon as one of them has the courage to speak up for what he or she believes in, we tell them to shut up as if they were an impertinent kid. If they venture an opinion we disagree with, we go back to treating them like pieces of meat. Their teams don’t like players with opinions, either. They blanch at the thought a wrong word might cost them an endorsement.

    Their instinct is to try to shut them up. So we patronise players with opinions and we sneer as if they were second-class citizens. ‘We don’t pay you to think,’ people tell athletes like Kaepernick.
    I don’t get that. I mean, what would you rather have? A man like Kaepernick or someone who doesn’t have the wit or conviction to stand up for anything except his ability to add another nought to his salary? A man like Kaepernick or someone who does what he is told to do by an agent or a manager. A man like Kaepernick or someone who cannot think for himself?”

    – differs slightly from what he was writing last week about Eoin Morgan:

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Sep 19, 2016 / 11:04 am

      David Parsons, the ECB’s Performance Director who leads the men’s International Pathway, said: “Our relationships with the counties are stronger and more collaborative than ever, and it is in these winter months that we can really offer additional value to the players.”

      They really are a goldmine, aren’t they?


    • ArushaTZ Sep 19, 2016 / 5:52 pm

      I’ve been away for quite a while, but I came back to say that this is a load of total fucking bullshit and I suspect it’s exactly the type of thing that Pietersen was railing against at that meeting in Melbourne.
      A training camp at the Military Academy at Sandhurst?! What the fuck has that got to do with scoring runs or taking wickets? I so utterly despise this middle-class, ‘management development’, military invoking bilge water that I’m going to have to go for a lie down, lest my splenetic juices overflow.

      ECB- bunch of fucking cunts.

      Liked by 2 people

      • nonoxcol Sep 19, 2016 / 6:33 pm

        Good to see you. Congrats on what I am sure was a well-earned and swift modding on your return to the Guardian.



      • ArushaTZ Sep 20, 2016 / 12:50 am

        Ha! Yes it was well earned. Just straight out abuse to be honest. I was in a bit of a mood earlier.


        • LordCanisLupus Sep 20, 2016 / 12:53 am

          I’ve been out doing business things today and come back to this. I don’t blame you for the anger.

          I ask this again. What the hell has Rashid done for Selfey to be this vindictive? Because this is not the first time.


  10. Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Sep 19, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    I did wonder if there was more to the Rashid story than meets the eye and he has now tweeted to say there are family reasons as well for his desire not to play. He has also said he would have played if required…

    All very strange. With such personal reasons there is maybe no need to add the stuff about being drained and tired, but what with the inconsistency between his statement and Yorkshire’s (not to mentioned the subsequent outbursts from Gale). Don’t they talk to each other or is there still something we’re not seeing about this little affair?


    • @pktroll Sep 19, 2016 / 1:56 pm

      I suspect that there already wasn’t a great deal of love lost between some of the Yorkshire management and Rashid. The way his absence was leaked seemed to undermine him without the chance of any perspective. I must admit that it looked pretty rum when I first heard it but now it would take a very tough man not to have at least some sympathy for him.


  11. Rooto Sep 19, 2016 / 4:11 pm

    Selvey’s latest not to be read without blood pressure pills. Grr!


    • nonoxcol Sep 19, 2016 / 4:41 pm

      “there are sceptics about, some with a greater depth of knowledge than most, and his card has been marked.”

      He learned the square root of fuck all from 2012-15 then.

      Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Sep 19, 2016 / 4:43 pm

      “The idea, by the way, that Finn’s presence will be down to the influence of Strauss and Angus Fraser, the latter Middlesex’s director of cricket as well as an England selector, because of county affiliation, is just absurd.”

      But there are sceptics about. I wonder why.


      • Rooto Sep 19, 2016 / 6:28 pm

        There’s also this bit:
        “Rashid’s absence has made his county captain, Andrew Gale, who is not one to hide his light under a bushel and who would surely have been privy to all the circumstances, incandescent.”
        He just can’t get away from the idea that a) Rashid must be in the wrong, and b) Anyone who agrees with me is in possession of some greater knowledge than those who don’t.
        What an obnoxious man.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Mark Sep 19, 2016 / 6:21 pm

    Isn’t Selvey supposed to go in September? We are nearly at the end of this tyrants rule. He is just flinging his shit at the passers by. Nothing to see here.


  13. Rooto Sep 19, 2016 / 6:46 pm

    I much preferred reading this one about Trott, by Dobell. The fact that he has ghost-written Trott’s book (everyone knows Dobell is a Bear) reminds me how he played up and made fun of the hashtag Trott’s Fault, back when Trott was averaging 50 in the ODI team, but scoring too slowly.
    Warning: may lead to whimsical thoughts.


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