Is Cook Still The Head Chef?

So we’re almost half way through January and the will he/won’t he speculation is continuing abound with no end in sight.

It seemed clear that at the end of the India Test series, that it was a no brainer. India had crushed England with ease and Cook looked like a beaten man, weighed down by the continued media intensity that always accompanies the English cricket captaincy and by his own mediocre form with the bat. Even a few of the “Alastair Cook saviour brigade” were starting to comment that it would be sensible perhaps for Cook to step down from the captaincy to allow him to focus on his primary role in the team, which is scoring runs. As you can imagine, it was hardly hard-hitting stuff, but it was still a turn in the tide somewhat from the standard media platitudes we have come accustomed to.

Over Christmas, we then had the narrative that Cook had indeed decided enough was enough and that he was going to resign when he met Director Comma in early January with Joe Root anointed to lead England this summer and into the Ashes series. You could (and still can) imagine the tears in Paul Newman’s eyes when he wrote about how Cook’s mind had been made up and there would be no going back (I imagine he has a framed picture of Cook on his desk at the Daily Mail and that he wells up whenever he takes a look into Cook’s eyes). Nick Hoult and Scyld Berry also wrote in the Telegraph that Cook’s tenure was likely at an end.

Yet here we are in the middle of January and we’re still none the wiser. Has Cook changed his mind about the captaincy after being reinvigorated by his Christmas break at the farm? Is Director Comma and the rest of his lackeys, so absolutely determined to keep Cook that they plan to spend the next 6 months doing everything they can to keep Cook at the helm? Are they merely delaying an announcement until after the India ODI series? Has Cook even met with Strauss, who had been holidaying in Australia until early January? We simply don’t know. It’s quite amazing how the ECB can keep quiet when it wants to, but miraculously leaks appear when they have a certain agenda against certain individuals or to take the heat off them when they need it (I still don’t believe that the Leach news coming out on the day of defeat in the final Test was just coincidence, even though Lawrence Booth is a very good journalist.)

So where does this leave us now? Well there are those who believe that Cook is actually being hounded out by the media and may well choose to pack it all in if he is stripped of the captaincy. I personally don’t believe either of these, the criticism towards Cook’s captaincy has been gentle in the extreme and has just confirmed what many of us thought of Cook’s captaincy in the past 4 years, nor do I believe that Cook would use the threat of quitting to keep the captaincy. Whatever I think of Cook the captain, I certainly believe that he wants to keep playing for England, as after all there is Sachin Tendulkar’s Test run record to go after and I think that he genuinely enjoys being part of the England Team, be it with the captaincy or not. There have been those that have said, that England are simply biding their time, with an emphasis on taking the pressure away from Joe Root, who has recently become a father for the first time as well as ensuring that England are able to fully concentrate on the One Day Series in India. Again, I am not sure that I fully believe this either, as although Strauss has put a large emphasis on being successful in the white ball format, I don’t see how various players being trotted out to the media to answer questions about Cook’s captaincy would actually be helping. I mean what they are meant to say?

“So Joe, would you like Cook to remain as England Captain?”

“Nah, not really. His captaincy is a bit of a joke and we’re going backwards in Test Cricket. I’ll tell you what, give me the captaincy, I can easily do a much better job than that chump.”

It would indeed be funny if someone would come out and said this, but the players are far too media savvy to come out with anything but boring platitudes. I mean who is going to come out and slag off their boss and media darling to the world? No one unfortunately. Now it may be that Root, Bairstow, Hameed etc really do want Cook to stay on, I mean I’m sure he is a nice guy, someone who doesn’t seek confrontation and the team looks like it has a good team spirit about it. However I’m sure that many of the team would trade this for winning the Ashes next year under the guise of a different England captain, but again they’re not going to come out in the media and say it. It’s just another example of powder puff guff from the ECB, which anyone with half a brain can see right through.

What I believe is that Strauss is stalling for is time to try and persuade Cook to stay, though I don’t really understand the reasons for it. Strauss has been England Captain, so no doubt, he should objectively be able to see the list of glaring faults that Cook has in the field. Then again, perhaps he isn’t objectively looking at this, as after all Strauss and Cook had a pretty close working relationship in the past and it’s clear that they get on well together (as Cook’s comments about meeting ‘Straussy’ showed in his final interview after the Indian Test series). Perhaps Strauss doesn’t rate Root as captaincy material or at least not yet, and thinks that Cook despite his faults, is still the best man for the job? It also may not be too far fetched to perhaps suggest that Strauss wants to keep Cook as captain for the Ashes in case they bomb and they need a new scapegoat? After all, if England loses 5-0 under Root’s tenure then where do they go next? Would Director Comma be the one to be thrown under the bus? Perhaps that could just be the cynic in me, but don’t underestimate Director Comma’s ruthlessness, there have been many tales when he has conveniently forgotten his ‘trust’ mantra if it allows him to progress with his career. Finally perhaps it’s not Strauss’ decision after all? Who knows what other agendas are lurking amongst the murky midst of the ECB’s leadership cohort?

What I do know is that the longer the speculation continues and the ECB decides to maintain a wall of silence about the captain’s future, the louder the calls will become to let ‘Cook choose to relinquish the captaincy on his own terms’. The Indian Test debacle will be consigned to history and a new narrative will appear in the MSM praising Cook for his tenacity and strength of will against those dastardly ‘outside cricket lot’. After all, Test Matches away in India don’t really count because everyone gets thrashed in India or so we are told.

Cook should resign because he has shown in the four years in charge of England that his captaincy isn’t good enough, that he lets games just drift, that he can’t manage spin bowlers, that he only has a ‘Plan A’ and more pertinently because England’s Test Team is going backwards at an alarming rate. However, don’t be surprised one bit if there is an announcement in the next month or so that Cook has decided to stay on as captain, as we all know that the ECB only does what is good for themselves and not what is good for the state of English cricket.

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63 thoughts on “Is Cook Still The Head Chef?

  1. Mark January 17, 2017 / 8:39 pm

    All the talk out of the ECB has been that if Cook wants to stay, then not only will he be allowed to stay, but the ECB would be delighted. If that is true, and its a big if……then if Cook does want to stay, why all the cloak and dagger stuff? It’s not as if his fan boy chums will mind. A 4-0 defeat was hailed as quite an acceptable result by the insiders. So why make such a fuss about it all?

    Well, maybe Cook does want to go, and Strauss does not want him gone. Cook does act as a human shield for Strauss. Once Cook has gone the media might find some integrity and start acting like real journalists again. As Sean says, if it all goes wrong in the next 12 months Strauss could fin himself right in the firing line.

    Or perhaps the Machiavelli Strauss secretly wants Cook gone, but doesn’t want to plunge the dagger into the back of Cook. The assassin quite often does not get the bennefit of his actions. I don’t really believe this narrative. If they were trying to push Cook out the door against his will Cook would have gone running to his chums in the media to whine. Perhaps this is where this “being forced out” line is coming from. But it’s pretty small beer. We would have had full blown Newman tantrums by now.

    Who the hell knows. I wouldn’t trust these clowns to organise a piss up in a brewery. Just look at the cock up over the IPL, and the Ireland game. Does the ECB support players going to the IPL or not?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean B January 17, 2017 / 8:45 pm

      I don’t think Strauss wants Cook gone. Say what you like about Director Comma, ruthlessness is not a trait that he is missing. If he really wanted him gone, then the ECB would’ve leaked to the press and Strauss would’ve plunged the dagger by now.

      I fear there are other agendas at work here…

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      • Mark January 17, 2017 / 10:32 pm

        I’m not sure what these agendas are though Sean? I agree that I don’t think Staruss wants Cook gone, so what is left? Cook wants to go, but they won’t let him?

        This could turn out be one of the funniest passages of ECB clown-ship ever. Having sacked one of England’s best batsman from a job he wanted to keep, they are now trying to keep one of the worst captains we have ever had in a job he doesn’t want.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. oreston January 17, 2017 / 11:24 pm

    We can (and doubtless have) all come with our pet theories as to what the hell is going on, but until there’s an announcement or somebody makes a tactical move we might as well be trying to pin the tail on the donkey. It really is remarkable how the ECB’s media operation can either be as tight as a duck’s arse or else leak like the Exxon Valdez just as their agenda of the day requires.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alecpaton January 18, 2017 / 7:55 am

      I think it may be quite the opposite. You look at how previous ECB leaks have only either confused the situation (KP) or turned a tricky moment into a total clusterfuffle (sacking Peter Moores), then the best conclusion is that they really don’t have a clue about how to go about it.

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      • oreston January 18, 2017 / 3:49 pm

        But surely the whole point of the KP leak was precisely to try to obfuscate the circumstances surrounding his dismissal? They needed to do that since there clearly weren’t actually substantive grounds for sacking him, so in that sense it kind of worked (the fact that those of us outside cricket weren’t convinced is if no account to the ECB). As for Peter Moores, you may have a point. His sacking by media was unpleasant and unprofessional but oddly I don’t suppose Strauss actually felt it was a particularly tricky moment. Sure, in the short term it garnered some sympathy for Moores – but at what cost to the ECB? Their reputation? That was hardly untarnished to begin with. I tend to regard the episode as being as much evidence of insensitivity and ruthlessness as of incompetence.

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      • alecpaton January 18, 2017 / 9:04 pm

        Oh, I don’t doubt that they’re insensitive and ruthless; it’s just that they’re really terrible at it. They’d be better off just bumbling blindly from foreign shores batting disaster to inadvertent PR cock-up; at least that way they would be endearingly terrible.

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  3. d'Arthez January 18, 2017 / 8:08 am

    What is clear, that the silence from the ECB is not a vote of confidence. If they had confidence in him, the ECB would have cleared the air, and told everyone how they’re going to plot the future.

    Likewise, if they do decide to relieve Cook of the captaincy, the lethargic way the ECB has gone about it, is hardly a ringing endorsement of whoever succeeds him.

    Despite the 4-0 drubbing in India, Cook is not as weak in his position as that result suggests. I certainly see the potential for power games being played from both sides.

    It is taking too long – and that probably means that Cook is being asked to stay on (either to protect Strauss or for some dubious commercial reasons), despite his heart not being in the job anymore. Alternatively (but extremely unlikely), the ECB want to relieve him of the job, and for Cook to return to the ranks – and Cook has threatened to make himself unavailable for selection if the job is taken from him.

    Either way, it is pointless to speculate. We’ll see what happens.

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    • LordCanisLupus January 18, 2017 / 9:08 am

      If we didn’t speculate it would be pretty dull around here!

      I think if a new captain is announced (a) they have to be in England at the time and (b) it will be tied into some commercial nonsense to get a new sponsor some airtime.

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      • "IronBalls" McGinty January 18, 2017 / 9:44 am

        Nail on head Dmitri! It’s got to be all about the money. They’re shedding sponsors as often as a snake sheds it’s skin (appropriate) A very low percentage of the general populace have no idea who Cook is…let alone Root. Maybe they’re organising some kind of grandstand abdication,, full of drama, tears, sad goodbyes, and reverent eulogies, followed by the coronation of the new king on FTA?

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      • Benny January 18, 2017 / 6:03 pm

        I wonder if it’s about the money. If Cook is to step down but continue to play, that means a new contract to be drawn and negotiation with his agent about what he’ll get paid – similar for the new captain. This requires Cook and his agent, Root and his agent, Director Comma, some lawyers, various ECB bods all to be available at the right time. At this time of the year. I suspect one or two are still relaxing in the Bahamas so co-ordination could be tricky, especially for an organisation so weak at organising.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Alec January 18, 2017 / 10:58 am

      I think the ECB has realised that it missed a massive trick with the tour to Bangladesh.

      They could have named Root caretaker captain in both formats for that tour. It would have allowed Cook some time with his newborn child and Morgan some breathing space over his decision not to tour (especially if Root was then made to go home after the tests to spend time with his new baby).

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  4. SimonH January 18, 2017 / 9:55 am

    I’ve written all along that they wanted Cook to overtake Vaughan’s record for most Test wins so they could proclaim Cook England’s greatest ever captain.

    I still think they’d like that – but the nightmare of a crisis in the captaincy of both formats is perhaps a stronger drive now. If England lost the First Test against SA, after not winning the CT, it would be a right mess.

    There is the fact that Cook has most wins in all formats as a fall-back. I’ve seen one journo mention it – and I expect to see a whole lot more if he goes. Cook has 60 Wins to Vaughan’s 59 – obviously the facts that Cook had more games (129 to 113) and more defeats (53 to 34) need never be mentioned. The record for any captain is Ponting’s 220 followed by Dhoni’s 178 and Graeme Smith’s 163.

    My most likely scenario is the unveiling of Root as Test captain when they get back from India followed by the unification of Test and ODI captaincies after the CT (unless England win it). I wonder if there might be a little left-field thinking and the T20I captaincy given to Buttler or Stokes? (I’m not saying they should get rid of Morgan – more that I think that’s what they will do).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark January 18, 2017 / 1:32 pm

      Nope, he never does. He never applies his theories to the real world if that means biting the hand that feeds him.

      He might as well be a bricklayer in a virtual reality world. He can build you a wall as high as you like…….just as long as he doesn’t actually have to build it in real life.

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      • SimonH January 18, 2017 / 4:28 pm

        I wouldn’t mind so much if Smith didn’t think he was some sort of fearless thinker, courageously speaking inconvenient truths to the high and mighty.

        He’s like the management consultant who comes into your workplace and rearranges the coffee-mugs to create “more dynamic synergies” – while ignoring that the bosses’ pet project that’s taking 110% of everyone’s time is a gigantic turd that’s going to sink the enterprise in six months.

        Liked by 2 people

    • hatmallet January 18, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      Tbh, I think this is one of his better pieces. Admittedly beating some of the previous articles wasn’t hard… and he still couldn’t resist the pretentious cultural reference (Dylan)… and the premise of the article is much simpler than he’d like to admit (don’t need an Oxbridge degree to know that controlling creative people will restrict creativity)… but much shorter than usual and he actually made some points (e.g. Vettori, and Giroud even if that dragged on a bit).

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      • hatmallet January 18, 2017 / 8:59 pm

        (Either that or I’m just in charitable mood this evening)

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    • d'Arthez January 18, 2017 / 1:25 pm

      Not surprising, but disappoint. Has Brangrove been tipped off yet?

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      • d'Arthez January 18, 2017 / 7:50 pm

        http://www.timeslive.co.za/sport/cricket/2017/01/18/De-Villiers-signs-three-year-bat-sponsorship-deal-with-India-tyre-manufactures-worth-around-R28-million

        De Villiers has just signed a deal of about £1.7 million for advertising a corporate logo for three years on his bat. Hence he cannot give up IPL, as that is has too many eyeballs watching. In other words, it is now sponsors who are determining where he has to play. And well, Tests in England apparently don’t rank that highly.

        Now, such deals of course bring into doubt the idea of sport as being wholly meritocratic – it is certainly possible for a savvy businessman to bet on say Team A winning well in advance (to get good odds), and then sign contracts with the key players of Team B, in an effort to get the right result. While technically it is illegal, with a bit of legal scheming, it ought to be possible to get away with it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • "IronBalls" McGinty January 18, 2017 / 8:23 pm

        Squillions watch in India…only a handful watch in England?

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      • SimonH January 18, 2017 / 11:10 pm

        Elgar’s gone to Somerset as an overseas’ player – so at least the rumours that he’d become another Kolpak have been proved unfounded.

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      • d'Arthez January 19, 2017 / 4:47 am

        Viewership figures in raw numbers are hard to come by from India (due to the size of the country, and the distribution of the broadcasts), but think on average 15 million per IPL game, with of course the more fancied / star studded teams registering higher numbers. And of course, the number of unique viewers over a season must be above the 200 million mark (and that was the figure for 2015, in urban centres only).

        Even Star (India)’s mobile app registered a viewership of 100 million for the entire tournament. This is based on the 2016 figures, which were probably slightly depressed due to World T20 being held just weeks before the IPL.

        We must not forget that India is still developing as a country, and that huge portions of the population don’t have access to the IPL, due to poverty, lack of electricity etc. So in terms of India’s economic development, the market is not yet saturated.

        It would be interesting to see if Sky has such an app for England, and if so, what the numbers are per game.

        Back to AB:
        I am not even sure this advertiser (of AB’s bat) sells its products in England. If that is the case, the question becomes: how many Indians do even tune in to watch England – South Africa? So even from the sponsor’s perspective it is ludicrous to pay good money for that, as just a few thousand Indians will watch the game. So he is simply told by his sponsor that he should not even bother with England.

        That sponsorship deal is more valuable than AB could even dream of making in international cricket – a clear case of financial doping destroying the integrity of the game. This is a problem that does not really exist in other sports, as cricket has three different formats that exist uneasily next to each other. But I am sure the ICC will happily ignore yet another existential threat (and in the case of bad governance, they willingly promoted it), probably to introduce a qualifier for the World Cup to be fought out between 16 teams, for the right to join India, England, and Australia in the semi-finals of a ODI World Cup. That would be a splendid meritocratic way of running things, no?

        England are simply protected because they can pay their centrally contracted players extremely well due to the value of the Sky deal. Perversely, they counties don’t even have to invest in their own youth as much as the poorer nations, as Sky money allows them to poach talented teenagers from the former colonies to make them play for England, so they can cut costs that way as well, while passing the bill for the training and such to the poorer nations. However, that will devalue international cricket in the long run, with the weaker teams falling off a cliff, so that only the financially muscular teams can put up good contests between themselves.
        And then of course, broadcasters will demand England – India – Australia series incessantly. I think 6 series of 5 Tests can be slotted in a single calendar year between those three, even allowing for IPL. But maybe then they’ll realize that an Ashes every six months is a bit of overkill.

        But congrats England, on winning against South Africa this summer.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mark January 18, 2017 / 1:40 pm

      Should SA, Pakistan, WI, Sri Lanka, NZ all refuse to play England now on the grounds that the money the ECB earn from those series subsidises the counties? Which then use that money to pay inflated wages to foreign players who then makes themselves un-available for their home nations?

      Waste of time buying tickets for the summer tests unless you are a one eyed England fan boy, who enjoys watching one sided meaningless contests.

      Liked by 1 person

    • BoredInAustria January 18, 2017 / 4:43 pm

      MY sick mind full of conspiracies:

      Andrew Comma S: “Please Al, we really want you to be captain in Australia…It will be our redemption”

      Chef: “But that means I must face those captain destroying Saffers in the summer. With AB… Something must be done….”

      Andrew Comma S: “Yes Al… we will see what we can arrange”

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      • oreston January 19, 2017 / 8:04 am

        Nah… That would make Director Comma some sort of Bond villain character – and let’s face it, that would be a pretty dull movie. (Giles Clarke on the other hand…)

        Liked by 1 person

      • oreston January 19, 2017 / 8:09 am

        Posting with fat fingers from my phone, I appear to have accidentally “liked” my own comment. How is that even possible???

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  5. thebogfather January 18, 2017 / 3:48 pm

    THE DIVINAL comma PROBLEM

    The lauded Lord Brockett, in his high tower
    Applauded the shock, upon high from the Flower
    Who from the vegetables under his command
    Slowly leeked via MSM, we, from ‘good journalism’,understand
    That for the good of Cricket, England, SkyECB
    There has to be a change in the Craptaincy…

    Yet, comma, as our Comma Chameleon decides
    Which switch would keep Sky and MSM onside
    Despite the threats from the true leader, Alice
    To proffer the pics of Sir Giles with Cookie’s pigs…no malice
    Showing more than ever greased palms
    Knowing he adores an animal farm…

    Yet, our still wet, behind the ears leader, full of Iron, he be
    Still learning, from petals set, unable to find any irony
    In the question, no confession of why it should be
    He’s evaded the sack, in Aus so easily
    Cos was the fault of a whistling KP
    And as for the collapse in India so recent
    Twas because…err, umm, it was result, we were meant expectant…
    And so, our leader will grow, runs will flow (from his bowlers to blame)
    Then in five years, his figures will almost lead the game
    Only then, as Chef is anointed, will a replacement be appointed
    As who can ever disregard the ‘Cult of Cook’
    Especially if newman, ghosts his next book…
    The game is afoot!

    (actually, the game is Commatose…)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Benny January 18, 2017 / 6:27 pm

    About the boring platitudes – I blame the Press. There was a time when people, not just sportsmen, would speak freely in an interview. As Press standards sunk into the gutter, reporters were often found to be misquoting/twisting what was said. Hence the training of cricketers, footballers, politicians etc to say what can’t be misconstrued e.g. “I’ll have to look at the data (before answering)” or “you can’t ask me that at this time”

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    • Sean B January 18, 2017 / 6:34 pm

      Yes the press are definitely part of the problem but equally so are the over zealous Comms people at the ECB. You get the feeling that every comment from a player has to be ‘on message’ these days.

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  7. Distinct January 18, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    I wonder if its commercial pressure from Sky thats driving the “Cook out” narrative. Sky want him gone. They provide the money and see him as providing the wrong brand of cricket. Thats why the pushing of root in the commercials, The narrative from the commentators gently pressing.

    Comma and the inside cricket people want their man to remain. Thats why the “driven out” narrative. Thats how they feel. They just dont mean the plebs outside cricket doing the driving

    Trying to tough it out

    Like

    • Mark January 18, 2017 / 9:12 pm

      My views on Cook are well known on here, but if the ECB let the major cricket broadcaster decide who the England captain is then they are even more bankrupt than I thought.

      I don’t buy it myself. Sky have bent over backwards to support Cook over the last 3 years.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B January 18, 2017 / 9:34 pm

      I’d be quite surprised if it was a narrative from Sky (and admittedly an angle I hadn’t thought of). Sky has generally been pretty subservient to the ECB in the past and I’m not sure what would change that now.

      The interview with #39 seemed to be the thing that got conversations going in the first place and then the piece by Liew emerged at roughly the same time, which was a marked departure from the Cook can stay until whenever he decides that enough is enough pieces that have dominated the MSM.

      Perhaps Dmitri is right and it’s a case of financial profitability and getting the new captain back on these shores with a new sponsor in tow that’s holding things up; however the fact that Director Comma has hardly been seen, let alone heard from, muddies the water somewhat.

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      • Distinct January 18, 2017 / 10:01 pm

        Just a Theory . I am sure there are many reasons.

        KP was one of the people phone hacked and was one of the first to press claims. Helping generate the hit Sky took over it. Whilst he was in the picture it probably suited them to support ECB in the their Anti KP stance. This meant heavy Cook support,
        With him gone….. maybe they feel its time to remind them who pays the piper

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        • Sean B January 18, 2017 / 10:08 pm

          Interesting. I’m purely speculating at this point. The fact that BT are starting to push hard into the space, would negate Sky’s influence some what, unfortunately it’s unlikely we’ll know what goes on behind closed doors…

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      • SimonH January 18, 2017 / 11:04 pm

        There could be something in what Distinct says.

        Sky were joined at the hip with the ECB in the KP assassination in 2014. Colvile’s “interview” with Downton was the lowlight with Gower’s horror at any mention of Pietersen’s name a close second. However with Pietersen safely disposed of and the media world having changed quite a bit since then it’s a possibility worth thinking about.

        In 2014 it felt like the cosy Sky coverage that had gone on for years embodied by Gower and Botham would carry on going on for ever. It doesn’t feel like that now. The coverage feels stale and the viewing figures are probably mediocre (cue one of my pet peeves that they don’t have to be routinely published). There’s the challenge from BT. I suspect Sky may have been shocked by some of that market-research for the new T20 tournament that showed how far cricket had fallen.

        I’ve felt for a while that Sky’s real enthusiasm is for the white-ball team. They’ve been selling the “exciting new era…. so much talent” line very hard. It feels like a desperate pitch for a new audience. I think they’d quite like a marketing drive built around a Root-Stokes-Buttler axis.

        Part of the trouble is that Hussain dominates their coverage and he has thrown everything behind Cook. Once Hussain whips himself up into a bout of Cooky-love, the others seem unwilling to raise more sceptical voices. I’m not sure Hussain’s line is quite the same as Sky’s as a business.

        It’s worth remembering that GD revealed that in 2014 the ECB asked the sponsors about who they wanted as captain (sadly, he never gave any more details). It would be entirely within character for them to be well-aware of what their broadcaster wants.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. man in a barrel January 18, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    The departure of the Investec zebra was quite abrupt. I sense a gap in the ECB finances.

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    • Sean B January 18, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Quite possibly, it was pretty idiotic to sell the shirt rights to NatWest, who Investec see as a competitor and then hope they wouldn’t be too hacked off. They were though.

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  9. man in a barrel January 18, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    I don’t suppose that many people here have visited the Investec web-sites but they are interesting. Investec Asset Management is vibrant and energetic and very committed to conservation, the Tusk Initiative and the success of future generations. Of course we have all seen that lovely photo of Lord Cook cuddling a young deer that he has just shot.

    However, there is also Investec Bank, whose sponsorship revolves around energy, stamina and outstanding talent. Is there a mis match with team Lord Cook?

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  10. man in a barrel January 18, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    Simon Hughes was involved in content for the Investec Bank sponsorship, but the latest stuff is about the Pakistan Tests last Summer. I guess Investec pulled out after the 4th Test

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B January 18, 2017 / 10:11 pm

      They might have got wind of the Natwest sponsorship or simply that Test cricket wasn’t giving them enough bang for their buck.

      Either way I’d have pulled out if it meant not dealing with #39 again!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. man in a barrel January 18, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    OK I am a finance nerd but Investec were not on my radar until the zebra started to come to the toss. I would still not think of investing or engaging with them. How effective has their sponsorship been to anyone else on this blog?

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  12. SimonH January 19, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Was anyone watching or listening when the teams were announced? What was said about why Rashid was left out?

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    • man in a barrel January 19, 2017 / 3:04 pm

      Morgan just said that they felt an extra seamer would be good on this pitch. Plunkett’s 2-91 off 10 overs might not have been what they had in mind

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  13. d'Arthez January 19, 2017 / 10:23 am

    I don’t know why Rashid as dropped.

    I also don’t know if England are trying to get some records for the 4th wicket partnership in a series set here. 200 in the first ODI, and currently 157 in the second ODI.

    Can’t see I am too impressed by this middle over bowling.

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    • d'Arthez January 19, 2017 / 10:36 am

      Sorry, mixed up a wicket from the previous ODI. It was 200 for the 5th wicket in the first ODI, and currently 178* for the fourth wicket in the second ODI.

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    • d'Arthez January 19, 2017 / 11:09 am

      So, highest 4th wicket stand for ANY team in bilateral ODI series.

      2nd highest stand for any wicket for India in a bilateral ODI series (behind Tendulkar and Dravid’s epic against New Zealand)

      Third time that India made 2 partnerships of 200+ in a bilateral ODI series. The other series were 5 matches though. Once against Australia (in Australia) and once at home to Sri Lanka. Intriguingly that also included a fixture in Cuttack which featured a 231-run stand for the first wicket). India won that game/

      Is it me, or is the English middle over bowling not that effective?

      Like

      • SimonH January 19, 2017 / 11:42 am

        Hussain said they were missing Rashid’s wicket-taking potential in the middle overs…. then he said a few minutes later that Rashid was becoming a better player because he wasn’t playing…. then he started saying that England were missing Mark Wood because of his pace, bouncers, yorkers, slower balls….

        Like

  14. SimonH January 19, 2017 / 10:25 am

    Turned on the commentary and within five minutes Nasser Husain:

    “I think England have sometimes been a little too quick to get rid of senior players. Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell….”.

    Like

    • rpoultz January 19, 2017 / 10:54 am

      Please, please….this is a joke???

      Like

    • Andy January 19, 2017 / 11:33 am

      That sounds a bit like revisionist history!

      Like

    • oreston January 19, 2017 / 2:42 pm

      I say old chap, it’s a bit early in the day to be smoking the crack pipe isn’t it? 🙂

      Like

  15. Andy January 19, 2017 / 11:35 am

    In this match India have demonstrated what England have done occasionally in the last few years.

    Top order fails so the middle have to step up.

    For Dohni / Yvradj whap in Bairstow and Stokes.

    The only problem is that with England you feel a collapse is jsut around the corner in every match where as India feels like they won’t just crumble (at home anyway)

    Like

    • Andy January 19, 2017 / 11:37 am

      think my fingers stopped working while typing Dhoni and Yuvraj!!

      Like

  16. oreston January 19, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    Stokes and Buttler have come and gone cheaply. Barring a miracle partnership from Morgan and Moeen, England are going to be bowled out at this rate – very probably quite a long way adrift.

    Like

  17. Andy January 19, 2017 / 2:56 pm

    Just a note on englands over rates for the first innings;

    You are supposed to have 3.5 hours scheduled for 50 overs. England took till just after 12 by my listening of TMS. Assuming they started at 8am again – this is over 4 hours. At least in ODI’s the fans get to see all the allocated overs – but it is still a bit insulting for England to be that slow.

    I’ve previously written about test over rates, but thought it would be interesting to quickly look at this ODIs rate.

    ODI’s are different to tests in that wickets and drinks breaks are not included in the official allowances, however referrals are still included. One small wrinkle – there are 2 designated drinks breaks per innings of a ODI, so I assume these are an allowance, the time taken would be noted rather than it being the 4 minutes allowed in a Test.

    by my quick calculation, including 2 drinks breaks and one referral (I think there was only one), but not including any time for wickets or anything else), England bowled at a rate of 12.99 overs per hour.

    Even assuming my timings are wrong, england have along way to go to claw back to the required rate.

    Speaking of which, any guesses what the supposed minimum rate should be….

    14.28 overs per hour.

    It will be interesting to see if England / Morgan gets sanctioned by the ICC for slow over rates. I don’t know if they have had any previous sanctions in the last 12 months (this effects the punishment they would get this time).

    Like

  18. Alec January 19, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    Century for Morgan.

    Now wondering arranging a kickstarter to build a statue of the man outside Paul Newman’s office at Daily Mail HQ. Only real quandary is how tall it should be before people start thinking I’m being sarcastic

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus January 19, 2017 / 4:07 pm

      As Oliver Holt hasn’t flown in to see it, it doesn’t count.

      Like

      • SimonH January 19, 2017 / 4:18 pm

        It’s going to be great hearing how Morgan should be dropped because of “lack of form” after this.

        India’s seam bowling has been shocking and much of the fielding distinctly ordinary which puts into perspective some of the claims about what an invincible team this is. Bumrah has been particularly disappointing (and I know he has a very good recent record and have seen him bowl well).

        However if some of the Indian seam bowling was shocking…..

        Like

      • Mark January 19, 2017 / 4:29 pm

        Yep, they can’t blame it on Rashid or Morgan this time.

        Newman will have to go back to writing about Cook, and dark forces pushing him out.

        Once again Englands bowlers just can’t contain sides to manageable scores. I know people say that modern ODI batsman can play all these new shots, and the bats are much better. I understand all that, but I think there is too much emphasis put on bowlers trying to bowl something different every ball. I would love to see how some one like Mcgrath would get on just trying to hit the top of off stump every ball. He may still go for plenty, but I bet he would get wickets.

        It’s no good bowling something different if it’s a long hop, followed by a leg stump half volley, followed by a waist high full toss.

        Like

      • Sri Grins January 19, 2017 / 4:50 pm

        India does not have a good seam bowling attack in odis / t-20s. Strange but true that the pace bowlers bowl better in tests. India is definitely not invincible and I would call it a weak bowling team requiring regular bailouts from the batsmen. One reason, we don’t beat sa / Oz in odis when playing there

        Like

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