I picked up a copy of the Evening Standard on the train this evening. On the back there was the repeating of a claim I’d heard already today that this was, in the view of Trevor Bayliss, the most complete performance he had seen from England in his time as coach. But it was when I flicked inside that my heart sunk.
Now people can say this about me and they might have a point. “Dmitri, if this cheeses you off that much, why don’t you try a sport that doesn’t?” Or you could say “Lord Canis Lupus, if you can’t get excited about a great new talent, why do you watch?” Or you could say Mark “surely a coach pumping up the tyres of a young kid isn’t that surprising, is it?”
I’ve been around the block a bit, and try not to get above myself when it comes to hype. I’ve not anointed Virat Kohli the new Tendulkar, Steve Smith as the new Border or Quentin de Kock as the new Gilchrist. Yet they have a more firm body of evidence than Haseeb. Yes, you can say that Haseeb is a young kid and surely you have to get excited, and believe me, I am. He seems a great lad, a great attitude and approach to the game, a beautiful temperament and very importantly for the sport in this country, a British-Asian batsman with what we hope is true staying power. But it’s so early in his career to be giving us this nonsense.
Bayliss, in the article, say Haseeb reminds him of Sangakkara in his love of batting., wanting to practice all the time etc. etc. Great. That’s not what the headline screams, is it? And even the most naive of media trained coaches must have known how this would be presented. Is there a big deal? No, not really, but English sport is littered with young sports stars who flamed out. Four England players made hundreds in this test match and Haseeb wasn’t one of them, but because we’ve been so desperate for an opener this strikes me as a little bit of over excitement. But I’ll say this once, and then hope it sticks. Judge Haseeb after a year. Judge him after this series, on more difficult surfaces than this on. Judge him on a home series against South Africa. Judge him on how he tackles an overseas Ashes series. We have time to see if the kid is the real deal, or if he gets worked out. We know he has the temperament, we can see that. Now let’s see if he is the package. Pumping tyres is all well and good, but if Bayliss really thought that of him, he’d have had him in the team at Chittagong, not at Rajkot. It looks daft, the headline looks daft, and we invite ridicule with this stuff.
It’s not a lot, but if you can’t see why I’m worried, people, you haven’t been paying attention. This England team, this set-up, over the years has chewed up great talent and spat it out. Sure, get excited, but keep your heads. Say nice things, of course. The lad deserves them. But keep some proportion, for heaven’s sake. Our press have built up enough to knock them down. Good luck HH!
I see George was saying this was the most entertaining England team he’s ever seen. Interesting. I’ve been clearing out a lot of stuff and came across the DVDs of the highlights from Adelaide 2010. So I put them on. I watched us bowl out the Aussies for very little, I watched Cook and Trott make hay, and then KP applying the coup de grace. That team would have murdered this one. And with the bat, which I care about the most it has to be said, they were really, really good to watch. Cook’s knock was magnificent – on the back of 235 – and well, KP was KP. Prior’s demolition of the demoralised was fun. I sometimes wonder if George takes the bowling dry thing too much as lacking entertainment. The MCG morning was certainly entertaining!
OK. Hope that explained my thinking, if you care!
Just thought I’d say that I’m reading Ian Chappell’s book at the moment. It makes me sad. Really sad. Chappelli absolutely raves about Sir Garfield Sobers. I hate the fact I’m in my late 40s and only just missed him makes me really sad. I wish I’d got to see him play, even as a childhood memory. But I don’t. I also went on a holiday 11 years ago where the previous year the star guest for the evening I went to was Sobers. I felt a little cheated to get “only” Joel Garner! The Chappell book is a good read so far, and I might do a review when I finish.
OK. That little ramble over, have a good night, and I’ll speak soon…