India vs. England, 4th Test, Preview

So England go into this Test 2-0 down and in desperate need of a victory to keep the series alive against a buoyant Indian team; however it hasn’t been this game that has lit up the back pages over the past week rather the constant murmurings about Cook’s position as captain in this team from the majority of the MSM that has been of most interest in the days preceding this Test.

I don’t want to go into too much detail as this was covered in depth in by Dmitri’s ‘What’s Cooking” post but with Newman, Pringle and a few others daring to question Cook’s position as Captain within this team, then it certainly feels like something has happened behind the scenes and that change may be afoot in the not too distant future. As has been mentioned before on the blog, why it has taken our beloved hacks nearly 4 years to work out that Cook is a limited Captain, one who has always been too cautious, one who has never really known what to do with our spinners and one who the word ‘drift’ seems to have been invented for is quite beyond me. We’ve all known this for years, except one can guess that now the ‘KP Brigade’ has all but been silenced, the Director Comma has now realised that he might actually win some games to deflect any criticism coming his way. He may well have privately decided that Captain courageous may not be the best personal to help achieve this moving forward and a change is needed, although it would have been nice if this message had reached Andy Bull, whose nauseous piece yesterday would have had Selvey no doubt purring in approval (For the record, no he shouldn’t bloody relinquish the captaincy on his own terms, he’s actually not part of the monarchy and should be judged on the team’s results, whether you would like him to be or not).

Whether or not Cook does retire as England captain at the end of the series and I think the recent negative chirpings from the Media have been designed by the powers that be to suggest to him that he does, I have no doubt the selectors will be the ones in the firing line for picking such a strange and unbalanced squad. I still can’t get my head around the fact that we picked an out of touch batsman with a dodgy technique, a wicket keeper who hadn’t played a red ball cricket game for over a year and also included 6 fast bowlers in the party, where did they think we were touring? Australia? Oh and don’t even get me started on Liam Dawson! There were rumours last summer that Messer’s Whittaker, Fraser and Newell were likely on the way out as Director Comma looked to reshape the selection process and my guess is that they were kept on with the whole purpose of taking the heat off him when we likely bombed in India. So I wouldn’t suggest that Whittaker, Newell or Fraser pay too much attention to the county fixture list (obviously apart from Fraser, who needs to look at Middlesex’s fixtures) as we all know now that Andy Flower picks the team on character anyway. I’m personally looking forward to the LOL’s when James Vince is picked for the First Test against South Africa next summer.

As to the game itself, it’s good to see Keaton Jennings get an opportunity at the top of the order, and whilst it’s certainly not ideal to have another left hander in the squad, the sheer weight of runs that Jennings scored in county cricket last year meant that the opportunity is very much merited. I haven’t seen too much of Jennings myself (without wanting to sound like Nick Knight) as obviously there is minimal coverage of county cricket on TV; however I’ve heard that he has a decent technique, solid defense and the ability to make ‘Daddy Hundreds’. It is perhaps not ideal that he makes his Test debut in India as I’m unsure about his pedigree against spin (you don’t get too much of that at the Riverside); however it will be interesting to see how he goes on debut. As for the make up of the England side, I still think that they will try and shoehorn 4 quick’s into the bowling line up after misreading the pitch in Mohali, even if Broad is injured. The curator of the pitch reckons it will be the same sort of surface as Mohali meaning that the pitch will play well for the first couple of days and then start to break up on Day 3. Whether or not that is the case, I hope England actually take a proper look at the surface before making the decision on their bowling attack, as if the pitch is a complete Bunsen, then having 4 fast bowlers virtually hands the victory to India.

As ever, England will need to bat well in the first innings to set a competitive total whether they win or lose the toss, although this is something that they’ve spectacularly failed to do in the last couple of games. There has been much talk and some criticism of Bayliss’ request for England to become more aggressive with their batting, but in my opinion that simply means that the team needs to bat with a bit more intent, take the ones and twos on offer and punish the bad ball when it comes along. In a sense I agree, after all if you let Ashwin just bowl to you in the second innings of a game then he is going to get you out sooner rather than later; however that also doesn’t mean that our batsmen should be trying to plonk India’s bowlers into the stand every other ball as that has got batting collapse written all over it. It certainly will be interesting to see how the England batting unit responds to Bayliss’ request.

As for India, they rightly remain the favourites to win the game. Kohli and Pujara are in a rich vein of form and are quality batsmen, they have a lower order that can add valuable runs and take the game away from you (I would certainly class Ashwin as a true all rounder these days) and a potent seam and spin attack that knows how to utilise these conditions well. They will have some concerns about Rahane’s form as he has looked out of touch all series, but with this batting and bowling attack aided by some clever and combative captaincy from Kohli, I doubt they will have too many concerns over whether they win or lose the toss tomorrow.

So will we have a competitive game or simply more of the same? As ever Day 1 thoughts and comments below:


77 thoughts on “India vs. England, 4th Test, Preview

  1. Rooto Dec 7, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    Bad news (for England): Rahane is out. Broken finger. Manish Pandey is in.
    So, what are we looking at? Cook, Jennings, Root, Ali, Bairstow, Stokes, Buttler, Woakes, Rashid, Ball, Anderson? Despite everything, I’d almost rather Dawson played than Ball. I just can’t see many seam wickets coming our way, and the pitch will be getting an extra-thorough scrubbing if Shami fails his fitness test.
    A quick Stokes burst in mid-afternoon perhaps, but it’s just too samey-seamy. Dawson may score a few runs more and hold an end for half an hour, at least.


    • Sean B Dec 7, 2016 / 8:45 pm

      I think they’ll probably pick Finn ahead of Ball despite his travails in 2nd Test in Bangladesh but other than that I think they’ll pick your XI


  2. Deep Purple Fred Dec 7, 2016 / 10:29 pm

    From Cricinfo articles.
    “I sat down with my Dad and I felt it would be my best opportunity to live my dream in the UK,” he explains. “And I’m very glad as I sit here now to have made that hard decision. The opportunity, the professionalism – I can’t put my exact finger on it – but there was a welcome feeling, and feeling loved, and being pushed as well.”

    “In December 2011, Hameed was introduced to Vidyadhar Paradkar, a coach in Mumbai, by a local police officer whom Hameed’s father, Ismail, knew. The sole purpose of Hameed’s trip to India was to learn the basics of the game. Who knew he would make his Test debut in the same country, less than five years later?”
    (Enough commas in that first sentence to make Selvey envious).

    Is anyone doing anything illegal? No, of course not (except Faf, but that’s another story).
    Do I wish either of them ill? No, I hope they play great cricket.
    Do I contest anyone’s right to migrate and change allegiances? Absolutely not, in fact there should be more of it, but national represenatative sport is a special case.
    When England win a test match with Jennings and Hameed opening, will I feel like England won? Not sure.
    (But I’ll probably be thrilled because it will mean that I haven’t had to endure another interminable Cook innings of pushes and glances).

    Everyone has one or two of them, they’re inevitable and incidental, even WI had that red head Australian from Queensland move across to play for them, although he didn’t seem to last long. (Although SL, PAK and IND don’t).

    If they’re legally allowed to play, and their selection is justified, then I guess all you can do is ask why are the best English cricketers increasing trained overseas?

    Maybe Test cricket should just become professional like the English Premier League Football, or a T20 franchise, and let each country bid for the best talent they can attract.


    • quebecer Dec 7, 2016 / 11:54 pm

      Fred, Hameed was born and bred in England. He learned the vast majority of his cricket there, coming through the Lancashire colts and England representative teams. The fact that he had the odd trip to India to get coaching doesn’t make him any less English. Heck, I went to Aus and played grade cricket for longer. Alright, not that high a level of grade cricket, but still. The point is, as you know, I’m not Australian, and the other point is that Hameed is really not a good example for your argument.

      However, there are issues here, and once certainly is the coaching in England. I am interested in Jennings case, though and I do wonder why he made the decision. Captain of South Africa U19s, and a Dad who played for his South Africa during the rebel tours… I know the Pietersen back story, for example, but I wonder more about Jennings, and what it is he says he can’t quite put his finger on.

      But to the nitty gritty: who decides who should play and who shouldn’t then? And who gets the nod? With your samples, clearly Hameed yes, but not Jennings. Strauss? Yes. He was 10. Stokes? He was 12, and came with his Dad, never left and learned all his game in England. Owais Shah? Well, he was 12 too, but was already known as a batting protege when he first arrived from Pakistan. Shah walked in to 1st XI League cricket and was immediately picked up by Middlesex, and while he’d spent time in England before, he was pretty much the done deal by the time he left Pakistan for good having become a phenom there. Chris Jordan, however, was 16 when coming for good, learned his senior cricket in England but played many years still being available for both the West Indies and England. Of course, Gordon Greenidge was 16 when he arrived in England too.

      The point is, Fred, I DON’T KNOW where the line should be drawn if not drawn by the law, and I have to say, much as I kind of almost like you despite your own unfortunate nationality, I don’t think you know either.


      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 8, 2016 / 3:11 am

        I’ve got a few things to say to you but I’ll have to say them tomorrow.


      • BoredInAustria Dec 8, 2016 / 8:13 am

        As a born Saffer that has lived most of his life abroad and therby adopting a number of identities I have very personal views on this matter.

        I feel that the concept of national identity has become a very complex one – what is Englishness, what does an Austrian look like (Mr Alaba was famously addresses in English by a local politician despite being born and bred in Vienna), which team does a Saffer follow….

        At the same time sport, and that includes cricket, has become a highly paid proffesion that is competing strongly for talent, and on a wide international stage, 12 months a year. The increasing disparity in the distribution of funds will force more young people needing to make decisions where they will live and work using all oppertunities available to them.

        There are clear legal frameworks regulating nationality/citizenship and that should be the only criteria to qualify for representing an international team. Your skill levels the only measure. Your accent certainly not.

        I wish Jennings and others like him all the best in the England shirt. England cricket, and cricket in general, is all the richer because of them.

        Ps – Ray Jennings was one of my chilhood heroes playing with the likes of Clive Rice, Alan Kourie, Jimmy Cook, Sylvester Clarke, Graeme Pollock and Alvin Kallicharran …

        Serious question – what are your views of the South Africans that played in the Rebel Tours?


      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 8, 2016 / 12:55 pm

        In fact I don’t have to add much more, others have rehearsed the arguments below now.

        Drawing the line is a challenge, but I think officially representing a country including age group categories would be a pretty reasonable place to start.

        It’s good for world cricket to have a bit of circulation, I think the Indian T20 comp broke down some barriers, and learning that you played grade cricket in Australia, well, now I understand your depth of knowledge. But national representative sport is a bit different. he didn’t come over to get a job as a plumber.


    • quebecer Dec 8, 2016 / 4:25 am

      All good Fred. You make me THINK about things, and I’m always grateful for that.


    • Rooto Dec 8, 2016 / 4:45 am

      Well Keaton Jennings got two balls into his England career before Agnew on comms questioned whether he should be there. I’m happy that the law allows for kids like him to return to their parent’s country. Of course I am – my kids were born in France! If the residency requirements were lengthened a bit, I wouldn’t mind either.

      Good news this morning – India’s catching still not up to scratch.
      Bad news – Ed Smith followed by Bloody Blofeld on TMS.


      • Ian Dec 8, 2016 / 9:10 am

        Why are Australians always the most uppity about this? Do they not realise they are in a country where the vast majority of people have come from somewhere else at some point. Shows a shocking lack of awareness imo.


      • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 11:37 am

        Don’t mention to Australians that Grimmett was a Kiwi …


      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 8, 2016 / 12:56 pm

        This sort of peurile comment from Ian is why I stopped following the Guardian blog. I hope it doesn’t become common here.


      • SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 12:59 pm

        A recent BTL Guardian Australian thread had someone asking when’s the last time Australia fielded two players not born in Australia?

        The answer was all the way back to the series in SL when they played Khawaja and O’Keefe. By most accounts, they’d have played O’Keefe in Adelaide if he had been fit.


        • Sean B Dec 8, 2016 / 1:02 pm

          Renshaw, who played the last game for the Aussies was born in the North East of England…


      • Ian Dec 8, 2016 / 1:13 pm

        How is that a puerile question? Every cricket blog or forum I have ever frequented always seems to have an Australian pop up on this issue but none including you can answer my reasonable question?

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 1:16 pm

        Sean, yes, I’d forgotten about Renshaw. The particular thread was just after Hobart when there was of course much discussion about who would be playing for Australia.

        Liked by 1 person

    • northernlight71 Dec 8, 2016 / 11:03 am

      I don’t get particularly wound up about this kind of thing, but there is a part of me that thinks that if you have already represented a country at a sport, you kind of have already made a choice. Picking another one when you’re a bit older for (let’s be honest we all know the) unknown reasons seems a bit off.
      What I mean is, I don’t really care that much but I can understand very much why people might be given pause for thought.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 8, 2016 / 11:38 am

        I think the danger is you just turn International sport in to a glorified club competition. What is interesting about International sport for me is that it is a good test of what your nation is producing. Otherwise you might as well just have Man united playing Real Madrid all the time.

        English cricket over the last 30-40 years has brought in a lot of African batsman, and bowlers from different parts of the world. You can look at in in two ways. First, that English cricket authorities have been useless had nurturing young home grown talent, particularly outside the private school system.

        Or second. That this is just the hangover of Empire. Many of these people have mothers, fathers, grandfathers or grannies who originate from The UK. When Tony Greig had his patriotism questioned by the then weasels of the media, he pointed out his Scottish father had flown aeroplanes for the Alies in world war 2.

        Like others have said above…… if you have played for a country at youth level, I’m not sure you should be switching. When Hick was trying to qualify to be an English cricketer it was something like 6-7 year period. So by the time he was ready to play, he was 27.


  3. man in a barrel Dec 7, 2016 / 11:51 pm

    Cook will be relieved if Shami is unfit. He had him on toast in the first 3 Tests, but was let down by some awful slip catching.


    • quebecer Dec 7, 2016 / 11:57 pm

      Shami’s tactics to Cook have bordered on genius. Bowl on a length a bit outside off and let Cooky nick one.

      Is it my imagination, or did Cook not used to leave more of those types of deliveries?


      • man in a barrel Dec 8, 2016 / 12:18 am

        He did but started to get undone by sneaky inswingers from the Kiwis, so he developed that ungainly extra trigger movement where he strides over to the off stump while twisting his torso so his shoulder is towards mid-on. So the right arm bowler going around the wicket and bowling an outie is in with a real chance. It was strange that Amir was unable to do it right last summer but I guess he was short of cricket. Shami has been working Cook by numbers. When Anderson does it to someone such as Dhawan he is routinely described as a genius by all the commentators, even those who should know better such as Willis and Botham . Funny how that works.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 8, 2016 / 2:16 am

        Well my reply is not as sophisticated as MIAB, I can’t remember where Woakes’s shoulder was pointing, but I just enjoyed seeing him getting his helmut busted by a Shami bouncer, and then Shami just doing it again, and getting his wicket with a catch off a glove. Yes it’s dangerous, but no more than some other sports, (skiing for example, is lethal), and short balls are an essential part of the game.
        And then the bugger did it again to Rashid. And he’s an Indian bowler too. Wonderful.


      • quebecer Dec 8, 2016 / 2:22 am

        @ Fred. No it wasn’t, but it was heartfelt, and that counts for a lot.

        I’m a bit worried about Woakes – and Rashid, for that matter. See, England has a long and proud history of turning bowling all rounders who could bat in to bowlers who can’t bat for toffee. Broad is just one in a long line stretching back to DeFreitas and beyond.Yet always noticeable is how Australia manage to turn bowlers who can’t bat in to decent #8s and #9. What’s that about?


    • quebecer Dec 8, 2016 / 1:55 am

      Excellent reply, MiaB. Thank you. Chapeau.


  4. Rooto Dec 8, 2016 / 5:36 am

    TMS update: Boycott says if England don’t get 550 on this pitch, there’s summat oop wi’yer.
    India sitting back, a long way back, since those early chances with the new ball.


  5. Tom Dec 8, 2016 / 5:40 am

    50 for Jennings on debut. A nervy start but after he scored a couple of boundaries he settled down and has looked very good.


    • Tom Dec 8, 2016 / 8:31 am

      And now a century on debut brought on by a violent reverse sweep. Superb knock.


      • SteveT Dec 8, 2016 / 10:17 am

        South African born batsman gets to century with irresponsible ego-shot.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Rooto Dec 8, 2016 / 5:46 am

    Cook seems to have had his brain scrambled by coaching advice. Shades of Compo. 😉


    • SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 1:01 pm

      Is anyone going to point out that the most successful batsman has not been around the set-up long enough to have his brains scrambled?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 7:33 am

    One from Jadeja has just disturbed the surface so much Botham compared it to looking like a sand iron on the golf course.

    The ball seems to need to be driven into the pitch to get it to turn.


    • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Dec 8, 2016 / 9:24 am

      Possibly very little about the pitch but more about which sport Botham is thinking about most in the commentary box…


    • man in a barrel Dec 8, 2016 / 5:30 pm

      It’s the ones that Ashwin and Giant (sic) Yadav have thrown up more slowly that seem to have bitten for them. Perhaps it is only for his quicker deliveries that Jadeja really gives it a rip.


  8. d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 8:13 am

    At least England won the coin tossing competition. Last touring side to draw this competition was the West Indies in 2013. Before that Australia whitewashed the Indians 4-0 in 2013. Oh …

    And to be fair, I don’t think the wickets delivered in this series are that treacherous either. Certainly not compared to the forest roads the South Africans got to play on.

    Really not sure about Ball playing here, but given that Cook does not trust Batty, probably the most reasonable pick. Of course, there are no selection issues…

    Jennings doing well on debut. Nothing against the lad, but, you have to wonder what nationality means these days, if one day you can captain SA Under 19, and a few years later you can represent England. FIFA don’t get many things right, but at least they get the switching allegiance thing a bit better than the ICC.

    So, who is up for the idea of Cook batting at three, Root at 4, with Hameed and Jennings opening?


    • BoredInAustria Dec 8, 2016 / 8:39 am

      So what is the difference to Eion Morgan captaining Ireland U19s in 2006? And many people have multiple nationalities.


      • SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 9:04 am

        One difference is that Ireland don’t have Test status. Any Ireland player who wanted to play Tests had to change nationality.

        Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 8:58 am

      At least with Morgan the argument was that representing England was the only way for him to get to play Test cricket. That was the argument at the time. And he did play Test cricket (he made his Test debut after playing 18 ODIs for England, mind you).

      With Strauss / Stokes, the argument is that they were just 6 / 12 and learned (most of) their cricket in England. Fair enough.

      But with Trott / Robson / Jennings, now it is suddenly to learn your cricket in South Africa / Australia (they all represented their countries in the U-19s), and then decide for whatever reason to switch allegiance to another Full Member nation; they represented countries that also would have given them (if they were deemed good enough) opportunities to play Test cricket.
      So the arguments that were made in Morgan’s case do not apply. The arguments that were given in the Stauss / Stokes case do not apply.

      Mind you, I find Pietersen / Tahir / Ronchi questionable on similar grounds as well.

      Provocatively put, what is the difference in the last few cases with say Bahrein or Qatar buying weight lifters and athletes to improve their medal tallies at global events? It is not like England or New Zealand or South Africa are that destitute, that they don’t even have the money to develop cricketers.

      Of course they are valuable additions to the international scene, but is it really an international competition?


      • SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 9:06 am

        Also worth adding that in the last couple of months, three SA Test players have signed up for Kolpak status in the CC (Harmer, Van Zyl and Viljoen).

        Liked by 1 person

      • BoredInAustria Dec 8, 2016 / 9:25 am

        The comparisson with Qatar does not completely stand for Jennings and Pietersen as they have a parent from the UK / Trott grandparents. This gives them natural access to citizenship.

        The romantic notion that international competition is between 2 “peoples” is in my opinion a red herring.

        Interestingly: Basil D’Olveira left SA at the age of 31, Pringle’s father represented East Africa at the 1975 WC against England.


      • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 9:34 am

        The weight lifters / athletes themselves consider it a business deal. They get what they want (more money, mostly) and the country gets what they want. Of course, all these athletes do follow the required laws with regards to representing the country in international competition, so I don’t really see the difference to be honest.

        Both the athletes and the cricketers follow certain laws to qualify for residency (Hendre Fourie ring a bell?), and thus represent the country after the qualifying period. In some cases, you don’t even have to have the nationality of the team you’re representing. How they get residency (whether that is through a business deal, a government decree, or having a parent of the host nation’s nationality), does not change the fact that these athletes / cricketers learned their trade elsewhere.


      • BoredInAustria Dec 8, 2016 / 10:52 am


        It is OK to play for England if your parents are Kiwis, as long as you learn your cricket in England after the age of 12 (Stokes)

        It is OK to play for England if you are born in PNG, learn your cricket in AUS until the age of 22 because you are English (Geraint Jones)

        It is OK to play for England if you are half English, move to England at 15 and eligable to play for the England U18s as you learnt your cricket in England (Compton) or 11 (Prior)

        It is OK to change nationality if that enables you to play test cricket regardless that you are not English and did not learn your cricket in England (Morgan),

        But it is not OK if you are half English, move to England at 19 (Jennings, Pietersen) because you must learn “most” of your cricket in England … (Pietersen was already a star batsman at 19 when he came over….!)

        This is the mercenary argument in disguise (and no these are not the same as weight lifters or Hendre Fourie – Rugby has a whole different approach).


      • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 11:31 am

        As you love to obfuscate, I’ll provide a neat little breakdown of the players you mentioned.

        Has Stokes ever represented New Zealand? No.

        Has Geraint Jones ever represented Australia? No. Did at any point in time PNG have Test Status? No, so he could not have represented PNG in Tests.

        Has Matt Prior ever represented South Africa? No.

        Has Nick Compton ever represented South Africa? No.

        All of these above mentioned players made their First Class debuts in England. Hell, none of them even played domestic First Class cricket in their countries of birth.

        Morgan did not even have to change nationality to be eligible to represent England. It is in the constitution of the ECB, that the Welsh and Irish are eligible to represent England. He was required however, to give up playing for Ireland, as no player is allowed to represent two different national teams at the same time.

        Has Jennings represented South Africa? Yes.
        Has Trott represented South Africa? Yes.
        Has Sam Robson represented Australia? Yes.
        Has Imran Tahir represented Pakistan? Yes.

        All of the above four players, with the exception of Sam Robson, have made their first class debut in their country of birth (and Robson played age-group cricket in Australia before making the move to England).

        Has Pietersen played domestic first class cricket in South Africa? Yes. Has he represented South Africa? No.

        Under FIFA rules, Jones, Prior, Compton, Stokes, Pietersen and Robson would have been allowed to represent England. Jennings, Trott, Tahir would not have been able to represent their adoptive country.

        And to go with Basil d’Olivera: Has he represented South Africa? No. Did South Africa have Test Status? Yes. Was he allowed to represent South Africa? No, courtesy of Verwoerd.

        Has Donald Pringle ever played domestic First class cricket in England? Not that I can find – maybe someone with old Wisdens can shed light on this one. Has he represented England? No.

        So now you’re arguing that I am discussing “mercenaries”, when you give yourself two examples of two people who are anything but mercenaries. Try harder.

        Liked by 2 people

      • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 11:36 am

        Under FIFA rules, Jones, Prior, Compton, Stokes, Pietersen and Robson would have been allowed to represent England. Jennings, Trott, Tahir would not have been able to represent their adoptive country.

        Should read:
        Under FIFA rules, Jones, Prior, Compton, Stokes, and Pietersen would have been allowed to represent England. Jennings, Trott, Tahir and Robson, would not have been able to represent their adoptive country.


      • BoredInAustria Dec 8, 2016 / 12:05 pm

        Happy with that. Now there is a clear argument – only permitted to represent one country.

        If ICC adopt, then it will be fine. Just no “learnt his cricket in “/ “born in ” arguments. And for consistency that also should then mean: has Morgan represented Ireland – Yes.

        And that a “brain /skill drain” has an effect on the weaker countries is clear, and I would therefore also be supporting the adoption of such a “FIFA ruling”. But you can not deny individuals the right to choose where to practice their skill if they comply to these rules.

        And for clarity, I just mentioned D’Oliveira as an interesting fact, in no way questioning his right to play for England – which makes me very proud (or of course leaving Verwoerd’s SA!).

        Thank you for a good discussion. 🙂


      • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 1:52 pm

        FIFA has very strict rules with regards to representing multiple countries. Dispensation is virtually impossible to obtain, unless countries have fallen apart (like former Yugoslavia), or have (re)united (like the Germanies). Consequently, players have to consider very carefully what country they represent in case of dual citizenship. It is a decision with far-reaching consequences, and cannot be easily undone.

        Puskas (Hungary and Spain; mind you, he served a 2-year ban for refusing to return to Hungary after the events of 1956), Platini (1 cap for Kuwait), Jermaine Jones (Germany (2008) and the USA (2010-onwards), Nacer Chadli (Morocco and Belgium, most recent player to have represented 2 countries) Yuri Nikifirov (CIS, Ukraine and Russia; one of 6 few players to have played for 3 national teams), di Stefano (Argentina and Spain) are by far the most prominent examples. Thiago Motta also deserves a mention (Brazil, 2003, Italy from 2011 onwards).

        All in all, I have found about 20 or 30 people who have represented 2 different countries after 1960, who played for countries that did not go through splitting or reunification (and in case of some of those players, their national team might not even have been a member of FIFA at that time). The vast majority of players who have represented 2 or more nations, have done so as a result of splitting and reunification (Germany, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia), or as a consequence of WW2.

        So it is a very uncommon practice, as there are thousands of players representing their country in FIFA sanctioned matches each year.

        In football of course, the money is in club football, and especially after the Bosman ruling, having a “wrong” nationality is not much of a handicap in terms of making a living as a professional player. Gareth Bale might have a “bad” nationality in terms of chances to shine on the global stage, but that does not stop him from making a good living from his endeavours in club football.

        Not so in cricket. If you’re a national of say the DRC, good luck even finding a way to make a living out of playing cricket, even if you’re good enough.

        The problem is that the ICC (and NOT the ECB, they are not solely responsible for how the game is run in the world) hardly create fixtures. You can only make a living out of cricket if you’re able to play domestic cricket in a Full Member nation, or can represent one of 9 Full Member nations (Zimbabwe excluded). And even then, there are massive differences, between say Pakistan and England.


      • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 2:14 pm

        And likewise BoredInAustria, thank you for a good discussion.


      • SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 3:35 pm

        However the ECB are to blame for the rule that makes it next to impossible for players from non-FMs outside the EU to play in the CC which pushes such players into changing their nationality.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. Mark Dec 8, 2016 / 8:56 am

    Jennings may just have saved the Cook captaincy here. With two new talented openers, if Cook gives up the captaincy he might not get back in the team.

    Nasser and Newman can Rejoice. Their hero can’t take the risk now. Shit, we are stuck with him for another 5 years.


    • oreston Dec 8, 2016 / 10:36 am

      You wait for ages and then two come together…


  10. SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 9:08 am

    Here’s a fun stat – when was the last time England won a Test in a lost series?

    You’ve got to go back a bit – suggests either this match won’t be won or it’ll be 2-2 and knighthoods all round!


    • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 9:15 am

      Against South Africa 2008? England won the dead rubber.


    • Ian Dec 8, 2016 / 9:15 am

      SA at home in 2008


      • SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 9:40 am

        Correct and correct sirs!

        Two wickets in three balls for Ashwin. Jennings caught in a very unusual position – a kind of deep, wide gully (probably there for the reverse sweep but the catch was off a regulation defensive push).


    • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 11:41 am

      And is it really New Zealand 1999, for an England win in a live rubber, in a lost Test series?


  11. SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 10:03 am

    Centuries on debut in Tests:;batting_positionval1=batting_position;class=1;debut_or_last=1;filter=advanced;orderby=batted_score;qualmin1=100;qualval1=batted_score;template=results;type=batting;view=innings

    England’s highest? (He’s quite famous!) And the others for England higher than today? (Not so much – although [hint] it does appear to be a path into a career in administration).

    The only double century for any country on debut as opener?

    No peeking!


  12. "IronBalls" McGinty Dec 8, 2016 / 10:03 am

    Personally speaking, I find the debate about a player’s birthplace a complete waste of good oxygen, and smacks of some unwritten code of Aryan Purity to be applied to English cricket? If they’re qualified, and good enough, that’ll do for me!!
    However, I digress, what worries me more, is that this excellent innings by the England batsman, Jennings, will be manipulated in the MSM to laud the wisdom and acuity of the Zimbabwean great Satan in his selectorial choice, and his further “rehabilitation” into the England set up! Now that’s a real worry!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Dec 8, 2016 / 10:30 am

      Yup, Jennings has really f****** it up.

      It’s Flower, Strauss, and Cook for infinity and beyond!!

      Happy days are here again, the’re here again………….


    • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 11:01 am

      You can argue that that is fine for English cricket, as they are a net beneficiary at present.

      The problem is that it might not be sustainable for cricket elsewhere to keep losing some of their best talent (would Ireland have done better in the World Cups of 2011 and 2015 with Morgan? Quite likely, and that would also have helped Cricket Ireland to get more games / be in a better position to make the ICC come up with some meaningful reforms, with regards to fixtures for promising Associates).

      As it is, because teams lose their most promising players, they’re struggling to remain competitive, which is then used by the same Full Members as an excuse to not reform the fixture allocation. And even then, the ideas the ICC come up with are only meant to exclude them from global events.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. SteveT Dec 8, 2016 / 10:25 am

    Looks like they might actually get the 80 overs in before the scheduled COP. Buttler all over the place at the moment.


  14. Mark Dec 8, 2016 / 11:20 am

    94 overs in the day. See they can do it when they want to. Slow over rates are a tactic not a natural occurrence. I propose that any captain who does not get his overs in on time, (give him say a 10 minute ley way) should be taken ouside and shot.


  15. Rooto Dec 8, 2016 / 11:51 am

    As long as the CC has 18 teams and a professional level, people will come from abroad to make a living in it. As long as places for foreigners are limited, then some will try to get around those rules to open up more places. If that closes the door on their original country, then they’ll shift focus to England. Essentially, trying to unpick eligibility rules also pulls a lot of other threads, not least the law of the land, and (for the time being) European laws. It would get very complicated.
    I say it ain’t really broke, certainly not enough to merit a lot of hassle.

    Liked by 2 people

    • d'Arthez Dec 8, 2016 / 12:33 pm

      Yeah, just wait until you have to play Zimbabwe in the near future in England. And you wonder why Alastair Cook declares on Day 1 in the second innings of the match. I wonder what you’d make of it when someone points out that the best Zimbabweans are playing domestic cricket in England as the series is going on. But of course, lack of competitiveness of minor nations does the sport a lot of good.

      I can also see that happening to South Africa.


      • SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 1:13 pm

        Graeme Smith and current SA batting coach also went there (King Edward VII school).

        Also not too widely noticed, he only had to serve a four-year qualification (unlike the seven years for, say, Hick and Pietersen). As Nick Hoult explains,

        “The ECB changed its policy on qualification from four years to seven on April 25, 2012. Jennings was not registered by Durham until August that summer. But Durham have evidence he entered the country on April 2 2012, and the determining factor in the ECB’s rules is not when a player is registered, but when they arrived in the UK or played their last game for another country, which in Jennings’s case is March 2012”.


      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 8, 2016 / 1:51 pm

        Oh! Regardless of what you think of him representing England, that’s quite a statement Simon!

        You’re saying (or Hoult is saying) that using either last game played criteria or the date of entry to England criteria, Jennings should still be subject to the seven year period, and therefore not eligble to represent England until 2019? Is that the correct interpretation?

        I’d bet good money this little factoid will be quietly forgotten.

        Liked by 2 people

      • SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 3:29 pm

        Make of it what you will!

        I’m rather hoping someone can tell us more….


  16. @pktroll Dec 8, 2016 / 1:44 pm

    A quick hello from Mumbai. Only arrived here in the small hours. Pretty knackered to be honest and am only able to give a short comment. Good to see Jennings do so well and disappointed with Mo’s shot. I heard that Bairstow was poor too in the way that he got out. I was too tired to stay to the end

    England are 7 out of 10 to where they want to be at an estimate. Will try and write more fully tomorrow.


    • Mark Dec 8, 2016 / 2:41 pm

      Enjoy yourself!

      See, this is an option for Selvey. He could fly out and buy a ticket with his own money. Like everyone else has to do.


    • Sean B Dec 8, 2016 / 5:13 pm

      Hope you have a great time mate. If you fancy writing a fuller piece on the experience and the game at some point, then I’m sure it would be much appreciated on here.


  17. SimonH Dec 8, 2016 / 4:05 pm

    Hurrah, another Chef batting record to celebrate:

    No mention of number of matches played as usual. Ten England batsman have scored a thousand runs against India – Cook now has the third lowest average of any of them (only Gower and Bell are lower). Barrington, Botham and Vaughan all averaged over 70 against them but had less than half of Cook’s number of innings because they were silly enough to play in eras when there weren’t regular, long series against India.

    Yes, that’s very churlish. He still averages over 50 and it’s an excellent record. Why does it have to be massaged?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean B Dec 8, 2016 / 6:24 pm

      Oh gawd, I’m going to have to read it now…


  18. man in a barrel Dec 8, 2016 / 9:54 pm

    Just reflect that Jennings showed a classical technique. No movement before the ball was bowled. It worked for Sobers and both Richards, and Greg Chappell, even Botham, but not for the finest batsman of all time, Alastair Cook. /SARC

    Liked by 1 person

  19. man in a barrel Dec 8, 2016 / 10:03 pm

    Hameed did well with a classical technique. OK I posted on this before. How much time did Duckett, Vince, Robson, Lyth etc spend with ECB coaches compared with Hameed and Jennings?


    • "IronBalls" McGinty Dec 8, 2016 / 11:16 pm

      I would posit…nil????


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