Bringing Back The Panel

(Update at end)

I did mention, and was reminded of it by The Bogfather today, that I might replay the Ashes Panel that BOC ran last year. While I don’t envisage doing it for every test, I thought I might start with a pre-1st Test panel.

So, could I have some volunteers?

You will be asked five questions, and you can answer them in any way you want. Long or brief. They will be put on the blog and it starts the discussion.

E-mail me at or leave a message in the comments (leaving an e-mail address).



UPDATE : Panel questions sent out, so I have a quorum. Don’t hesitate to sign up if you wish to take part in the following panels.


88 thoughts on “Bringing Back The Panel

  1. thebogfather Nov 5, 2016 / 5:01 pm

    Having put this back into play
    How could I say nay?
    So sign me in to a winter of sin
    Where the Test series could preempt
    Captain Cook’s resignation, making his sacking exempt
    From ECB Discovery of Endeavours misspent
    Yet the MSM lauding of his Lordship will ne’er relent
    For as they’ll espout, ignoring any 5 to nowt
    It’s not a sacking
    It just ensures he’ll past Sachin
    In runs scored, passing 200 Tests or more…


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 6, 2016 / 12:42 am

      For giggles, here’s Chris Stocks with his marks out of 10 for England in the latest series…

      Hilarity Ensues....

      You know, I’m so glad we are the only ones with agendas. I’m sure we can rustle up enough people to get better comments than this guff.

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Nov 6, 2016 / 1:05 am

        Broad > Woakes = Ansari



        • LordCanisLupus Nov 6, 2016 / 1:14 am

          2 lower order second innings wickets > than 4 lower order second innings wickets.


      • Mark Nov 6, 2016 / 9:28 am

        Did he come up with those ratings all by himself or were they whispered in his ear at a candle lit dinner with an ECB insider?

        Cook gets a higher score than Rashid despite doing sweet fanny Adams. It’s pathetic. As you say absolutely no agenda there then!

        Liked by 1 person

      • whiterose76 Nov 6, 2016 / 10:08 am

        Those ratings are an embarrassment and anyone putting their name to them clearly does not have a clue or even care to have a clue.

        Liked by 1 person

      • whiterose76 Nov 6, 2016 / 10:10 am

        If I came up with analysis like that at work I’d be shown the door very smartly.


        • LordCanisLupus Nov 6, 2016 / 10:56 am

          I genuinely don’t know how you can give Cook a five, you scan an inch or so to the right, and there’s Rashid sitting above him in the batting averages table getting a three.

          But it’s the comparison of Rashid and Ansari that takes the bourbon, as far as I’m concerned.

          Liked by 2 people

      • SimonH Nov 6, 2016 / 10:49 am

        Mark, they’ve been swimming in this sea for nearly two years now and I don’t think they need any guidance now what’s expected. It’s second nature. It’s what they do.

        For some of them, Cook’s the embodiment of a certain set of values, a certain sort of Englishness, the anti-KP. For others, he’s the face of the brand (see that Sky promo video for the latest example). They’d no more blame him than Kleenex would say, “who shat on the carpet and chewed the curtains? It must have been that puppy”. Instead it’s “it must have been Rashid the cat”….

        Liked by 3 people

      • thebogfather Nov 6, 2016 / 11:46 am

        If ever there’s a need for ‘An Outside India Panel’, it’s ECB agenda guff like that…


      • SimonH Nov 6, 2016 / 11:59 am

        I meant Andrex of course.

        Liked by 1 person

      • jomesy Nov 6, 2016 / 12:20 pm

        Not just an embarrassment, seriously nasty too – imagine if it were your livelihood being commented on.


      • thebogfather Nov 6, 2016 / 12:33 pm

        SimonH…. I think Kleenex is more appropriate for these lonely ECB lickspittles… their hotel room mini bar is filled with ‘Cookies Hand Shandies’ to get drunk on…


      • thebogfather Nov 6, 2016 / 12:42 pm

        …and I’m sure the MSM will have paid for @TeamSkyEngland’s hotel bills with their use of the adult (a dolt?) channel charges for Sky series preview ad, and perennial favs like ‘Chef farms his animal instinct’, ‘Doe-eyed Doh!’, and ‘Giles, the whip hand’…. 😉


      • whiterose76 Nov 6, 2016 / 1:34 pm

        Rashid is now forever to be known as Andrex Cat to me. Either that or it’s my next band name…


    • thebogfather Nov 7, 2016 / 5:53 pm

      sent you my scribble, hope the non-Word isn’t a quibble…


  2. d'Arthez Nov 6, 2016 / 6:38 am

    Let me continue on the Australia – South Africa match here.

    Set a target of 539, Australia (Warner in particular) made a positive start. Bit lucky at times (as happens with his playing style), Warner takes a run a bit to lazily, and is run out by some spectacular fielding by Bavuma. Shaun Marsh edges one through to second slip in the same over.

    Next ball, Khawaja plays a dreadful shot first ball against Duminy, and is given by Llong – and rightfully overturned courtesy of DRS. Suddenly at 52/2 Australia seem close to collapsing …

    It will be interesting to see how Steyn’s overs are being filled by Duminy and Elgar in particular. We could even get a few overs from Bavuma in – the next Test starts relatively soon after this one, so Philander and Rabada need to be bowled sensibly here.

    Still 8 wickets to get, so if a couple of pairs dig in successfully it could be a long day in the field for South Africa.


    • BoredInAustria Nov 6, 2016 / 9:00 am

      Rabada! 146 / 4


    • d'Arthez Nov 7, 2016 / 8:02 am

      South Africa won by 177 runs. Khawaja (97, 182 balls) and Nevill (60*, 153 balls) stood up for the Australians, but it was not enough.

      That is also the third time out of 4 Tests that South Africa have won at the WACA – their first Test there, in 2005 was a draw. So it is becoming a bit of a bogey ground for the Australians, when playing South Africa. The only other side to win more than 1 Test at the WACA were the West Indies (1975, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1997).

      For the sake of the series, I do hope the Australians sort out their middle order issues, and that Rabada does not break down. He bowled 31 overs in the fourth innings.

      It will also be interesting to see if South Africa go with Morne Morkel or Abbott in the next Test.


      • SimonH Nov 7, 2016 / 10:25 am

        Haven’t seen the highlights yet – but yes, a fantastic achievement by SA. I wonder if they might go in with both Morkel and Abbott? With QDK, Maharaj and Philander making runs, they could afford to lengthen the tail perhaps? Cook would be the vulnerable batsman so they’d need someone else to open.

        When did Australia last lose five Tests in a row? Nice to see Khawaja get some runs – he is very easy on the eye. Even nicer to hear some whinging about the umpiring. “That could have been anything”? By the way, NZ’s poor performances against this Australian side last winter aren’t now looking any better.

        Australia suddenly look devoid of batsmen who can occupy the crease, their seamers are all either underdone, overcooked or injured and the spin options look threadbare. Sound familiar? Just a cycle – or the result of governing bodies that are prioritising domestic T20 tournaments?

        England’s home series against SA suddenly looks a tough proposition – but the Ashes a more inviting one. I expect that will be enlisted in any captaincy debate that might possibly ensue in the next few weeks…..


      • SimonH Nov 7, 2016 / 11:04 am

        Australia lost five consecutive Tests in 2013 (4-0 in India then TB in the Ashes) so it isn’t that long ago.


      • SimonH Nov 7, 2016 / 12:44 pm


      • RufusSG Nov 7, 2016 / 2:45 pm

        Probably the worst bit was when they started talking about Rabada’s “village”, when in fact he went to one of the most prestigious private sports schools in South Africa. So we can add casual racism to the ever increasing list of Channel 9’s gaffes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rooto Nov 7, 2016 / 2:54 pm

        To Rufus
        Rabada too? I remember reading that Bavuma did. Are SA really having to draw from such a small well? Makes the result seem even more impressive.


      • RufusSG Nov 7, 2016 / 3:06 pm

        Yup, Rabada went to St. Stithians, one of the most prestigious sports schools in South Africa, and his father is a doctor, so he had a pretty decent upbringing. Bavuma went to a prep school in Johannesburg but I know he came from a township near Cape Town before that.


      • SimonH Nov 7, 2016 / 3:07 pm

        Isn’t Rabada’s father a neuro-surgeon?


  3. hatmallet Nov 6, 2016 / 1:01 pm

    I don’t mind having a go if you’re short of people.


    • Keeper99 Nov 8, 2016 / 7:23 am

      Not sure if this is an offer to the blog or the selectors 🙂


  4. thebogfather Nov 6, 2016 / 1:02 pm

    Apropos of nothing, I thought I’d give you my all-time fav XI of players watched in the flesh…

    Barry Richards
    Gordon Greenidge
    Graeme Hick
    Robin Smith
    Derek Randall
    Ian Botham
    Mike Procter
    Jack Russell
    Malcolm Marshall
    Phil Edmonds
    Andy Roberts



    • thebogfather Nov 6, 2016 / 1:04 pm

      Shows how little live at the ground cricket I’ve seen in the past 20 years!


    • Quebecer Nov 8, 2016 / 12:44 am

      Ooooh, ok you need an oppo. Trouble is, I wanted Greenidge. Hmmmm. Right, mine to face yours then:

      Andy Flower
      Alastair Cook (captain)
      Vivian Richards
      Ricky Ponting
      Brian Lara
      Jeffrey Dujon
      Imran Khan
      Richard Hadlee
      Shane Warne
      Michael Holding
      Colin Dredge

      I’m mostly happy with that.


    • Quebecer Nov 8, 2016 / 12:57 am

      “Ladies and gentleman, there are some changes to your scorecard. For the Quebecer Quintessentials, for A. Flower, please read G.A. Gooch, and for A.N. Cook, please read D.L Haynes. Oh, and for C.H Dredge, please read C. E. L. Ambrose.”

      Interestingly, Colin Dredge’s middleinitial stands for Herbert, where as Curtley’s stand for Elconn Lymall.


      • man in a barrel Nov 8, 2016 / 12:18 pm

        I think I would prefer to see the great Colin again…. That thoroughly inelegant action, the grey socks, the ill – fitting trousers. It gets me dewy eyed.


  5. SimonH Nov 6, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    USA promoted from WCL D4 to D3:

    Countdown to ODI/Test status begins……

    The contrast between watching the rugby from Chicago yesterday and cricket’s efforts to expand into the US market was painful.


    • thebogfather Nov 6, 2016 / 1:37 pm

      I’m sure Sir Giles is ‘Twerking for the yankee dollar’ as we speak…


      • SimonH Nov 6, 2016 / 1:55 pm

        Best reference to The Skids on a cricket thread this year (or ever!).

        Finds himself humming “Yankee, head high….” for the rest of the afternoon.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. LordCanisLupus Nov 6, 2016 / 4:48 pm

    George Dobell looks on the brightside…

    Ah. George…

    Let us not dwell upon the non-selection of a senior player (35-year-old David Gower on that occasion) with a fine record in such conditions. Maybe no England batsman has played a better Test innings in India than Kevin Pietersen’s in Mumbai in 2012; whatever the rights and wrongs of the episode, it seems a shame such a talent (now aged 36) is no longer on the biggest stage. Equally, it is a shame that Monty Panesar is nowhere near selection these days. Aged 34, he should be at his peak.

    England are missing James Taylor, too. There is no-one to blame for his illness, of course, and it would be disingenuous to pretend that he had nailed his Test career at the time it was abruptly curtailed. But, with his ability to manoeuvre spin bowling, the suspicion remains he would have been a vital part of England’s middle-order on this tour.

    The Pietersen debacle is an example of how decisions made long ago can colour the present. So, just as the perfectly reasonable – admirable, even, in its consistency and patience – decision to persist with James Vince and Alex Hales throughout the English summer has left the team once again looking to fill holes in the batting line-up, so the decision to agree to this tour schedule has left England facing an imperfect cocktail of weariness and unpreparedness.

    That’s why you are you and Newman is Newman,

    Liked by 2 people

  7. SimonH Nov 6, 2016 / 11:40 pm

    BT Sport’s coverage has a fan:

    Tyers has a lot of good will in these parts for his Twitter tendency Tweet and his verdict on the show is fair enough. Ponting is outstanding not just in himself but how he brings the best out of others (especially Vaughan who sounds more like England’s best captain of the last three decades in Ponting’s company). Even Swann is bearable and Tyers’ description of “bantersaurus rex” made me smile.

    But…. but…. two of the three singled out (more in the headline than the article to be fair) are DT columnists. And presenter Greg James, it turns out, is James Anderson’s child’s godfather. The cricket media is really a small old world sometimes.

    Finally, it looks like the DT have changed their rules on accessing their articles again.


  8. Mark Nov 6, 2016 / 11:48 pm

    I have been trying to work out exactly what Rashid has done to warrant this universal critique of him by the media. There was no honeymoon period for him we he came into the side. The tut tutting columns appeared almost immediately. This was always a flashing alarm of an orchestrated campaign that came from inside the camp.

    Simon pointed out last week that if you are of a supposed fragile mind, leg spin bowling is not a very good profession. You have to keep throwing the ball up there and be prepared to watch it disappear over the fence. ( I would be quite amused if Rashid sued some of his accusers for libel on this point. I would look forward to seeing these media clowns have to prove that he was of fragile mind in a court of law.)

    I believe that at the end of the county season Rashid made himself unavailable for his county. I didn’t follow this story very closely, but I think it was a family matter. Some may know more about that. However, it does rather suggest that fragile of mind is not his problem. To stand firm and say I’m not available takes a bit of back bone, and a willingness to stand up to authority. These are traits that were not popular with a previous coach. I wonder what ever happened to him. (Cough cough)

    I put it to the cowardly, duplicitous media that his real problem is not that he has a fragile mind, but rather that he knows his own mind all too well. What is more he is prepared to say no to jumped up nobodies in suits. No surprise the negative story’s started to appear immediately. This is the way the dressing room, through the media, let the selectors know they are not happy with various selections. The media become nothing more than useful idiots for the dressing room clique. But hey…… trust is very important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine Nov 7, 2016 / 12:21 am

      That’s exactly my impression of Rashid, Mark. He’s a bit stroppy and he thinks for himself.

      Once upon a time that would have been fine, even expected, in an England player, but now they have to be like little reality-show contestants, all playing along to their scripted image and remembering to mention ‘following their dream of being just like Cooky one day’.


    • SimonH Nov 7, 2016 / 1:04 pm

      IDG’s website is a thing to behold:

      “We are a global leadership and management performance consultancy.
      Improving business performance through behavioural change”.

      Obviously Jack Leach couldn’t be allowed anywhere near an England squad until he’d gone through this.


      • Mark Nov 7, 2016 / 1:18 pm

        Those that can do, those that can’t teach. Or pretend to teach. And those that can’t do or teach become journalists.

        “We are a global leadership and management performance consultancy.
        Improving business performance through behavioural change”.

        Go and ask Alan Sugar what he thinks of management consultants. Most of them have never built anything.

        I have to say it all sounds very creepy to me. And when you pay your massive fees for test match tickets, and sky contracts it’s your money that is going into the pockets of organisations like these.. The ECB is very lavish with cricket fans cash. I would like to know more about this outfit. Who owns it, and what connections does it have to people at the ECB? And why are we paying Andy Flower to manage the Lions if he in turn has to hire an consultancy firm? If he can’t manage why is the ECB employing him?


      • Mark Nov 7, 2016 / 1:29 pm

        I take it if Sandhurst is involved there is tax payers money sloshing around somewhere. Corporate welfare.

        A brief look on google says it’s an American outfit whos owner died recently, and was up for sale in jan of this year.

        It smells of everything I am suspicious about in the modern corporate world. We are back to cricket by laptop.


      • AB Nov 7, 2016 / 3:52 pm

        To be fair, if that thick spiv Alan Sugar dislikes something, its probably great.


      • Mark Nov 7, 2016 / 5:38 pm

        Well, he built his fortune and business without needing consultants peddling bullshit platitudes. That is my point.


  9. Nicholas Nov 7, 2016 / 2:28 pm

    I was flicking through Mark Nicholas’ new book last night (I’m a sucker for any trivia relating to Channel 4’s coverage) and he tells of a staggering episode in the summer of 2004.

    Nicholas and David Brooke (the executive who inspired C4 to bid for the cricket and is widely acknowledged as the reason for the excellent commitment of the early years and why it dropped off a bit after 2002, as that’s when Brooke left the company) were at Lord’s for the Cowdrey lecture, sharing a greeting and a joke, when Giles Clarke (who, as we all know, was responsible for that TV deal that took cricket off FTA) came up to them and said aggressively, “I don’t know what you’re laughing about. You won’t be in the business of televising cricket for much longer.”

    Absolutely unbelievable – this was, incidentally, before the official tender process had begun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Nov 7, 2016 / 3:25 pm

      Doesn’t surprise me at all I am afraid.The people who administer sport seem to be genetical modified to be arseholes. Sporting bodies seem to attract them


    • "IronBalls" McGinty Nov 7, 2016 / 4:06 pm

      And they’ve put him in charge of Pakistan’s money!!


    • man in a barrel Nov 8, 2016 / 12:03 am

      Mark and AB, lift your blinders. Sugar took over Spurs at one of their low points and tried to run it as a business. He realised that was not possible and sold out. He might be thick (sensing Guardian reader distrust of normal people) but what are your credentials? How many clubs have you tried to save? Answers on the back of a piece of bog roll


      • Nicholas Nov 8, 2016 / 2:26 pm

        Sorry to come back late to this. I really shouldn’t be surprised by anything that Giles Clarke has done, by now. The man is absolutely loathsome. But what did surprise me is that he’s always pretended to be absolutely above board in his business dealings (“the BBC did not bid”, “27 different packages” and so on) that I’m surprised he’d effectively tell Channel 4 that they were out of the running before they had even had a chance to bid.

        But the man’s a monster. We all know that. I shouldn’t be surprised by anything coming from the ECB!


  10. SimonH Nov 7, 2016 / 4:41 pm

    Lawrence Booth:

    The greenhorns’ gambit gets an early run out:

    “Their 16-man squad for Wednesday’s first Test boasts a total of 14 caps in India, eight belonging to Alastair Cook, three to Stuart Broad, and none to any of their four spinners”

    India were inexperienced in English conditions when they toured in 2014 (by my reckoning they had 11 caps in England, 7 for Dhoni and 4 for Ishant Sharma). Did any of the English media point this out? Was victory in Southampton portrayed as a routine, expected win against inexperienced opponents – or it the greatest triumph over mind-boggling odds since Roarke’s Drift? Almost all of England’s expected team played in UAE where conditions are as similar to India as one is going to get.

    And then there’s the captain:

    ” For Cook, the outcome could have major ramifications. Win, and he can chalk it up as his greatest achievement as captain – ahead of England’s success here four years ago, the Ashes triumphs of 2013 and 2015, and last winter’s victory in South Africa. Lose, and it depends on the margin. A narrow defeat will be no disgrace against a side who have won 12 of their last 13 home Tests and were denied a full house only because rain saved South Africa in Bangalore a year ago. A whitewash, though, would surely test his resolve to carry on.”

    So, 4-1 doesn’t appear to be a problem again. And as a whitewash would “test his resolve” it’s all down to whether he wants to carry on – sacking him is unthinkable.

    Then there’s this, which has been noted here before:

    “Rajkot will be his 55th Test in charge, breaking Mike Atherton’s record. But the optimist in him will have his heart set on another landmark: Michael Vaughan’s 26 Test wins as captain. Cook, like Andrew Strauss before him, has 24”.

    Is it even worth mentioning anymore that someone was once sacked for having personal landmarks? And the other side of the ledger, the record number of defeats that Cook is also closing in on, just is never going to get mentioned.

    And then there’s the batting? Can the appropriate scapegoat be positioned in the gun-sights?

    “The likely inclusion as a specialist batsman of Jos Buttler is cause for both excitement and concern…. Had any of Nick Compton, James Vince, Alex Hales or Ballance himself been ditched one or two Tests earlier, then Buttler might now have more red-ball experience under his belt”.

    So Strauss’s decision to prioritise one-day cricket hasn’t had anything to do with Buttler’s lack of red ball cricket? It’s all down to Bayliss. Is that seat starting to feel a little warm, Trevor love?

    Finally, there’s always the weather:

    “the heat will be literal as well as figurative: the thermometer is expected to reach 35 degrees on Wednesday”.

    How dare foreigners have different climates!

    Liked by 2 people

    • d'Arthez Nov 7, 2016 / 6:18 pm

      Actually Simon, you forgot that Gambhir, who came in later in the series had played 3 Tests in 2011 as well. Not that they went well or anything (102 runs from 6 innings, with a high score of 38 in 2011).

      Selective stat mining at its best by Lawrence – but I suppose he needs to write for his audience.

      So, let me dig up some statistics that you won’t read in the English MSM

      Records not held by Cook:

      He has not won the most MOMs as captain for England which is currently held by Gooch (5 MOMs in 34 Tests) for England. Of all countries, Graeme Smith stands on 11, while Imran Khan stands on 10. Cook stands on a heroic 2 from 54 now. Not exactly leading from the front, compared to Imran and Graeme, is Cook …

      At the 54-Test mark, Atherton had lost only 3 more Tests than Cook. And well, bowling standards were a bit higher in that era. Never mind the fact that Atherton had far less competent batsmen to work with, relatively speaking.

      Thus far only Zimbabwe have not beaten England at least once in a Test under Cook. Probably has to do with the fact that England have not played Zimbabwe for a decade. No other captain is as close as having the complete set as Cook is (and that includes Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and yes, that includes long serving captains such as Imran Khan, Graeme Smith, and Ricky Ponting).

      He is also the third highest runscorer in lost Tests as a captain (behind Lara and Fleming, but already ahead of Graeme Smith, whose HS of 88 in lost causes is exactly half of Cook’s 176).

      If Cook wants to have most tons in losses, he needs to score 3 more to equal Lara, who has made 5 tons in losses.

      In happier news, Cook already has most scores of 50-99 as a captain in lost causes, though Lara has 2 more 50+ scores in lost causes (due to Lara having more centuries than Cook in such cases).


    • nonoxcol Nov 7, 2016 / 7:58 pm

      Simon, you’re proper weird.


  11. Mark Nov 7, 2016 / 6:36 pm

    Lawrence has just about run the table here.

    1 Cooks team are complete underdogs.
    2 If England win,it will be Cooks greatest achievement.The other ten players are of no importance.
    3 Any result other than 5-0 will be acceptable.
    4 If it is 5-0 we must sympathise with Cook because he may not have the steel back to continue.
    5 He will not be sacked no matter how crap he performs.
    6 It’s all about Cooks personal land marks.
    7 The selectors are to blame for picking the wrong people and not dumping others early.
    8 Butler gets a honeymoon period because he should have been picked before and bedded in
    9 It’s hot.
    10 England are playing in hostile conditions.


    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Nov 7, 2016 / 6:51 pm

      Oh Mark…you just put my Pataudi Panel replies to shame in 10 lines… it’s a good job I love you!


      • thebogfather Nov 7, 2016 / 6:55 pm

        Tho’ my opening scribble at the top of this page did rather conjoin with your rage! 🙂


      • Mark Nov 7, 2016 / 7:49 pm

        Yea, but your “scribble” was your own work Bogfather. I just summarised Lawrence’s article.

        Translated it into “outside cricket ” language if you like.


    • RufusSG Nov 7, 2016 / 8:20 pm

      1: Honestly, I haven’t met or spoken to a single person who realistically thinks England can win the series. I obviously hope I’m proven wrong, and I agree that India aren’t unbeatable by any means if we play our cards right and out of our skins, but I agree with him: can’t we at least be realistic?
      2: Doesn’t say the second bit. Plus surely it would be an impressive achievement, for both leader and team?
      3: 4-1 or 4-0, I would agree with you, that would heap the pressure on him to leave. But is that a “narrow defeat”? It’s not a result he mentions anywhere. What about 3-2? Would that really be any awful result against a side as dominant at home as India? Of course, context is relevant: if we fall off a cliff at the end like India did on their last tour, then sure, even if we win 3-2 for instance, I’d think he can’t take the side any further and should leave.
      4: Doesn’t say that we should have sympathy for him, just that he may agonise over leaving should the possibility arise.
      5: Doesn’t say that. If England lose 5-0 I think even this management would consider removing him.
      6: Doesn’t (openly) say that anywhere. I couldn’t care less, as I’m sure most here do, about if a player enjoys reaching personal landmarks, and since I see the comparison being made here, the only member of the England management who openly held it against Pietersen that he wanted to score 10,000 runs, as far as we know, was Paul Downton, who is long gone. Of course there were many wrong and stupid reasons why he was sacked that are still held by the England hierarchy that keep him out of the side, but I don’t think this one is relevant anymore. Feel free to challenge me on this, I accept it might be contentious.
      7: Fair enough, I’ll give you this one. Cook’s input in team selection decisions shouldn’t avoid scrutiny when it goes wrong.
      8: I’ll give you 60% (bit arbitrary, I know) of this point. Personally I would have played Buttler in Bangladesh ahead of Ballance, but as well as Strauss’ prioritisation of limited-overs cricket, Bayliss’ policy of keeping a player for too long, rather than for too few games, has an impact here. It’s actually a policy I admire and respect, but this is an inevitable consequence of it. Strauss is probably marginally more to blame here, sure.
      9: Does not even begin to suggest that the heat would be an excuse for them losing.
      10: Of course playing in India is hostile conditions! Just ask South Africa and New Zealand. Saying that it will be hard for England isn’t the same as saying it’s alright if they play badly.

      Just my two cents…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. thebogfather Nov 7, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    SimonH/D’Arthez… beautiful truth statting…. Lawrence, for your own peace of mind, if not your pocket, please leave the DMail, your scribeing there downs your Wisden elevence, respect and relevance


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 7, 2016 / 10:15 pm

      Ignore the blatant “greatest ever” clickbait? BBC Sport do this all the time.


      • SimonH Nov 7, 2016 / 10:41 pm

        Tony Greig who won 3-1 in India doesn’t even make the shortlist of 13…..


  13. SimonH Nov 7, 2016 / 11:45 pm

    Newman and Hussain have their series’ predictions up.

    Newman’s piece is so short I fear he may have had to have a lie-down after breaking the bad news.


      • Mark Nov 8, 2016 / 12:20 am

        Cook could resign after India……………….2020……2024….2028

        Fixed his typo.


      • nonoxcol Nov 8, 2016 / 6:12 am

        Can anyone explain how Cook is about to overtake Atherton as record holder for most Tests as England captain, yet somehow has as many victories as Strauss “in four fewer Tests”?



      • Mark Nov 8, 2016 / 11:31 am

        The same old movie ending!

        Cook loyalist journalists warn of possible Cook retirement if England get thumped. King Cook, enthused by the love of his people appears on the battlements to give reassuring speech that now he knows how much his people love him he will stay on, and not abdicate his throne. Celebrations, and street parties spontaneously break out across the land. Bonfires are lit and people talk abou rejoicing.

        Rinse and repeat…..

        Got to be a nailed on Cooky hundred now.


  14. SimonH Nov 8, 2016 / 9:18 am

    Hameed to open according to Dobell. This must be from looking at the pitch and deciding it looks quite good (which is what the reporters who’ve seen have been saying). All the vibes were they were going with Buttler if it was a bunsen. I think Buttler makes more sense on a good wicket (I can imagine him making a big score very quickly on a road more than thrashing a desperate fifty on a dustbowl) but I seem to be in a minority about that one.

    I’ve not seen Hameed so am looking forward to seeing him and good luck to him. That he’s being asked to debut here rather than having already played doesn’t seem a particularly clever strategy. There have been some successes as teenaged openers in Test history but not many –;ageval1=age;batting_positionmax1=2;batting_positionval1=batting_position;class=1;filter=advanced;orderby=batting_average;template=results;type=batting

    There are very few on that list who went on to long careers as Test openers. Even the likes of ABDV and Hanif scored most of their runs lower down the order.


    • Mark Nov 8, 2016 / 11:18 am

      It will be interesting to see how Butlers batting approach will be judged. Will he be expected to block, and scratch around or will he be allowed to play his “natural game?” And if he does play his natural game, and fails, how long will that be accepted by the media? Seeing as I remember………… ” it’s the way I play” ……….not being a an accepted excuse.

      I to wish Hameed well if he does open. Why on earth he wasn’t bedded in on the Bangladesh tour seems a mistake now.

      As for the claim that Cook might resign………(YAWN) We have heard it before. Notably on the eve of the Ashes……. “if England lose, Cook may not carry on, Blah blah” Then miraculously he suddenly finds he is enjoying it again. After the very same media have begged him to stay on. Maybe he will resign if it is a vey poor result.

      My hunch is he wants to take the team to Australia next winter for a redemption tour. And if Australia keep losing home test matches like they did yesterday the temptation to stay on for one more tour down under will be overwhelming. Shiny toy was on 5 live last night saying how great it would be to have Cook in the side as an elder statesman who could stand a slip and give advice to the new captain……..I AM SAYING NOTHING!


      • LordCanisLupus Nov 8, 2016 / 11:22 am

        Is the next England test captain represented by a certain management company?


      • Mark Nov 8, 2016 / 11:40 am

        Too funny Dmitri! …….Goes off to check which players under management are captain material..

        Whoever it is, will have to have been to Sandhurst to be put through some induction training by a public relations company. Here he will be taught to say things like….” Growing stronger together.” and other such guff.


  15. SimonH Nov 8, 2016 / 10:45 am

    Australian batting may be in the doghouse at the moment but their cricket writing is superb.

    This is excellent on the defeat (especially the bit ‘inspired’ by Ian Healy):–the-decline-of-steven-smiths-team-is-startling-20161107-gsk026.html

    This was written before the defeat and looks even better now:


  16. SimonH Nov 8, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    Newman has landed!

    Can Oliver Holt be far behind?


    • "IronBalls" McGinty Nov 8, 2016 / 3:04 pm

      The vultures are circling…wonder which rotting corpse will be picked to the bone this time if we suffer a heavy defeat?
      My money’s on Rashid!


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