And now for something completely different

8:00 – The cricket has started.  It’s cold.  I don’t want to get up, but I need to.  I’ve got work to do most importantly.

8:15 – No really, I need to get up.

8:23 – Coffee is on, cricket is on, I’m up.  I seem to have missed Virat Kohli, it’s 21-3.  This is one of those situations where if it was England with that score you’d be absolutely certain it was game over, at least for England of most of the time I’ve been watching them.  But India?  There’s the nagging feeling that after 25 overs they’re going to be 150-3.  Basic rule of this one today is I’m not going to to go back and amend anything that makes me look stupid later on.  Some may say that’s a given anyway.

8:43 – Yep, it’s started.  Yuvraj Singh has spent his career making England miserable by pulling the fat out of the fire, and he’s just pinged Jake Ball for three fours in an over.  Thus it begins.  Watching England involves absolutely certainty that no matter how good the situation, they can find a way to make a mess of it.

8:44 – Djokovic out of the Australian Open.  The reminder that for all the corruption, cheating and theft of sport as a concept in favour of filthy lucre, there’s a reason people love it – the unexpected.

8:49 – Yuvraj and Dhoni, it’s so 2010.

8:50 – Woakes off.  Given he’s taken 3-14 off five it seems a trifle harsh not to have mentioned him.  But I didn’t actually see much.  But well bowled anyway.

8:55 – Yuvraj Singh is a lovely player to watch.

8:56 – Work.  We don’t get paid for cricket.  Although I was once.  I was a professional cricketer. It’s true, it really is.  I was a pro for one day, when my boss for my summer job was due to play for the our club, but had to work, so he got me to do it that day and paid me anyway.

9:02 – Is it just me who really hates the way every other advert on TV is for a betting company?  I don’t object to gambling, but the number of commercials for it pisses me off no end.

9:10 – Nasser Hussain mentions that the England players have black armbands on as a mark of respect for Rachael Heyhoe-Flint.  Quite right too, she put the women’s game on the map in a way that no-one had done before.  There are a lot of female cricketers up and down the country, and across the world, who owe her a nod of thanks for her refusal to accept being patronised.

9:28 – at 88-3 India have fought back well.  England are still on top but it’s a lot more even.  They don’t remotely look like taking a wicket, and it’s something that England have been guilty of for quite a number of years, failing to press home and early advantage and then reverting to run saving and hoping a wicket falls.  Perhaps it’s a mentality thing as much as anything else, but it’s extremely rare to see England determined to take wickets in the middle overs.

9:55 – 135-3 off 26.  It’s a decent recovery alright, you’d think all things being equal 300 was distinctly possible.  Part of the reason for doing today’s report this way was to see how wise after the event I tend to be.  The OBO boys tend to describe the action, and I don’t really blame them – it’s a hostage to fortune to talk about expectations.  So I’m going to do it anyway.  There’ll be acceleration and right now I’ll call India’s final total to be 340.  Which may not be enough.

9:58 – The problem with ODIs is that these overs are just pretty dull.  Yet when at the ground, at least in England, that’s part of it, it’s the time when you wander out to get the beers in or something to eat (after pleading with your bank manager for a loan, especially at Lords).  Yet it’s hard to maintain attention to the television, and perhaps that’s not a bad thing.  In my case, I’m working anyway, so I have plenty to do.  No I really am.  It’s true, I’ve done a fair bit so far.  You don’t believe me I know.

10:10 – Just a comment on England sitting in and not trying to take wickets, there have been three edges through where first slip would be.  The temptation to be Ian Botham and imagine there are 15 fielders on the ground is always there, but that’s how you take wickets, by giving the bowlers a chance.  It’s something England are always prone to do, and then wonder why they end up facing a big total after taking them early on.  It’s not especially a criticism of this one per se, more of an approach issue.

10:15 – The general rule is to double the score at 30 overs, though apparently it’s nearer 31 according to the stattos.  172-3 after 31, so my 340 is looking a decent shout at the moment.

10:25 – Hundred up for Yuvraj.  He seems to have been around forever.  And seems to save his best for England.  No matter, he’s a joy to watch, and given his health problems there’s always a strong sense of goodwill towards him.  Maybe his Test career didn’t fulfil him completely, but as an ODI performer, he’s quite something.  Maybe he’s not quite the player he was, but that’s true of most players as they get towards the end.

10:55 – This is getting messy.  Plenty of chat about what England need to be better, and while it’s true Mark Wood is a loss, the temptation to believe those not in the team would be better by virtue of them not being here is always strong.  Some are saying recall Stuart Broad, but he’s never been that great at ODIs, there’s no reason to assume he’ll suddenly become the best thing since sliced bread.

11:20 – One batsman not out 150, the other not out 100.  As Richie would have said “Problems there”

11:21 – Oh nice, I get an email from an aviation magazine asking if I’ll write them 1,500 words on cultural differences in Asia.  Wonder how I can get out of that.

11:26 – Er.  When did England get Yuvraj out?

11:54 – 340 has been and gone.  The problem when you don’t take wickets is that the slog can be completely unrestricted.  Much doom and gloom, but the boundaries are very small and England aren’t out of it by any means.  A big chase, yes, but not an impossible one.

On that point, some mishits are going for six, which always gets people talking about the bats.  But small boundaries are the bigger issue – and it’s a deliberate choice.  If it’s only said when England are on the receiving end (and it’s glorious batting when they do it) then that’s just lashing out and whining that it’s not fair.

11:57 – Dhoni was brilliant today.  He and Yuvraj, both over 35, both outstanding.  Let’s just remember that in England players get written off in their early thirties all too often purely on the grounds of age.

12:01 – 382 to win then.

12:44 – England under way.  Unless they lose wickets early, there’s never much to say at this stage.

13:08 – 51-1 off the first 8 overs.  Decent start and the complaints about England’s bowlers have quietened for a bit.

13:52 – Root goes, but it’s 127-2 off 19.5.  So England are handily placed.  Still not much to say though, and this is the trouble with the ODIs, they purr along in the background while you wait for the business end of the game.  Maybe it’s just me, as plenty seem to love them.  And I don’t dislike them at all, it’s just that there’s so much setting up time.  The irony is that this is the period that actually dictates the result to a fair extent – England have made a good start, and they bat deep.  The next 10 overs will give a strong idea which way this match is going.

1449 – work does get in the way. Now on my way to an event in London, so having to do the cricket following via Cricinfo. This could make detailed exposition on the good and bad a mite tricky. Oh Buttler is out. Oh dear. At this point India are obviously rather strong favourites, so let’s do the prediction thing again. I’m going for England to be all out for 320 or so. They do bat very deep of course. But 10 an over with half the side out is a big ask. Over to Captain Morgan to make the hacks spit their tea out. 

 1457 – Ashwin and Jadeja look like being the difference. Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth that India have better spinners than England. 

1512 -Biggest shock news of the day, Southern Rail are on time. I feel faint. 

1513 – I’m not the world’s biggest Eoin Morgan fan, but then neither do I dislike or have a problem with him. But I’d really love him to ram the words of those who slag him off back down their throats. 

1531 –  Morgan and Moeen have done extremely well, but this would be the highest number of runs off the last ten over by a side batting second ever. Well, records are there to be broken, and you can usually find one if you look hard enough. 

1538 – Just as I was thinking my 320 was looking pessimistic, bang go two wickets. Big ask now. 

1552 – a game of cricket just isn’t complete until you’ve had a third umpire shambles. 

1601 – Morgan appears to have gone into ‘batting like God’ mode. 

1604 – God’s had a word then

1606 – 22 off an over. Those of a certain age will be thinking about Allan Lamb right now. Younger ones, Carlos Brathwaite

1612 – all over, but close. Morgan almost got England there so it’ll be interesting to see how some manage to blame him for it. At best it’ll be ‘he owed them that’ or similar. 

Curious, I was hoping reading this back to have been miles out, but the format is sufficiently formulaic to follow a script.

I’ve made no changes except to grammar. An interesting experiment for me, and maybe we try it again as an over by over. If it interests anyone. 


84 thoughts on “And now for something completely different

  1. "IronBalls" McGinty Jan 19, 2017 / 4:30 pm

    Well played Morgsy lad…I’ll give you it, if no bugger else wil….form us temporary, class is permanent!! 🙂 :-)l


  2. Sri Grins Jan 19, 2017 / 4:40 pm

    Good knock from Morgan. The English odi batting lineup is good enough. You need to fix the bowling though. Of course in conditions at home, they would be far more effective but you need a genuine wicket taking threat. At this point, the English attack is like the Indian odi bowling on pitches in Oz.


    • Rooto Jan 19, 2017 / 6:21 pm

      On your point of needing a wicket-taking threat, I thought that leaving Rashid out today was an, admittedly small, step in the wrong direction.


      • Sri Grins Jan 20, 2017 / 1:45 am

        True. Somehow no English captain is willing to trust spinners. I am willing to bet that msd / kohli would have got a far better performance from Rashid / Ali


  3. "IronBalls" McGinty Jan 19, 2017 / 5:32 pm

    Well, someone’s telling absolute porkies :-
    Strauss : It will not be held against any player if they choose not to tour Bangladesh
    Newman : Morgan, his position under threat for refusing to tour Bangladesh etc

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Topshelf Jan 19, 2017 / 7:22 pm

    I also missed the good bit (after dropping kids off at school turned on at around 25-3), but saw almost all the rest.

    Once Yuvraj and Dhoni were properly in we looked very much pop-gun, and at least 350 looked depressingly inevitable. Stokes was pretty poor – on a pitch like that margins are incredibly fine, and he just didn’t hit his targets, and never looked like he would. Not sure why Willey and Moeen were bowled so little, when both did passable jobs in their first spells.

    Our batting was pretty much as we are coming to expect it to be – dangerous, with someone always likely to do something impressive. Roy was unusually sensible early, and will be disappointed to go when he did, while Morgan played an impeccable ODI innings, supported well by Moeen. But there was never a feeling we would get the total, and falling short by 15 seems about right for the gap between the sides – India are a fraction better, especially in these conditions, and the bowling is definitely the deciding factor.

    On that subject, anyone want to venture what our batting would score against our bowlers at Cuttack? I reckon 450 would be in danger…

    Finally, am I alone in finding this sort of match rather dull? There was much to admire in the hitting of Yuvraj, Dhoni and Morgan, especially in the shrewd pacing of their innings, but it rather leaves me cold when you feel that a bowling machine at both ends wouldn’t concede many more.

    How is it that such a high-scoring, close-ish match, which you would think could compare to something like 5-4 in football, ends up feeling more like a plucky but inevitable 1-3 defeat?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. BobW Jan 19, 2017 / 7:37 pm

    Excellent review of the game. I liked the format.
    Totally agree about the England psyche when bowling. But it is handicapped by a dearth of bowling talent who lack variety.


  6. Miami Dad's Six Jan 19, 2017 / 10:40 pm

    Is there a rule that an opening bowlers spell cannot be more than 5 overs? How well would one have to be bowling to get a 6th or even 7th over? At the moment overs 10-50 are invariably a brutal ritualistic massacre of English bowling. With no discernible plan for either the middle or death overs, why not elongate the comparably quieter start, especially when it goes well.


  7. man in a barrel Jan 20, 2017 / 12:37 am

    I do not understand why no team gets blokes to bowl at about 30mph so the ball just trickles along the pitch.


  8. metatone Jan 20, 2017 / 7:42 am

    It’s true that England’s attack lacks some threat, but I think there’s a real tactical point you make which isn’t given enough play.

    However, you didn’t mention the roots, which is that English bowlers seem much less flexible about the death overs. Dhoni won a WC bowling “the wrong man” at the death. It seems we’d never do that and so we’re never able to press home anything in the middle overs.


  9. Andy Jan 20, 2017 / 9:23 am

    A very interesting and entertaining way of doing the match write up – and the predictions you made were reasonably ball park.

    I didn’t watch but heard TMS on and off. England suffer from that wandering mentality for the middle overs. The format of Englands bowling seems to be;

    new ball – get some wickets while the ball is hard and shiny
    middle overs – containment while waiting for the ball to properly rough up
    later overs – hope to get some reverse from the older ball / get batsmen out as they are accelerating / slogging.

    it all falls back on that very English cricket mentality of containment and not attack. It’s why Rashid is disliked, its why he is hounded.

    England’s batsmen have almost gone too far the other way and maybe take too many risks – While I want to see aggression and boundarys, there is still a place for collecting the ones and twos. It seems we always want to get the ball over the ropes and end up missing it!


    • Sri Grins Jan 20, 2017 / 10:07 am

      I think you quickly need to find a guy who takes wickets (starc, ashwin like) or a guy who bowls consistently at an economy rate of < 6 (jadeja) and ideally both for being around 1/2 ranks in odis. The current bowling attack is too friendly away from home.


    • Sri Grins Jan 20, 2017 / 10:01 am

      The ECB looks even more clueless on good management principles than the BCCI and that takes some doing. 😊


      • "IronBalls" McGinty Jan 20, 2017 / 10:16 am

        My jaw dropped when I read it! Clownton..with aplomb..hiw we miss him? Not!!!


    • Mark Jan 20, 2017 / 10:21 am

      From that headline……”it was a huge blow, there was so much more I wanted to do.”

      Cough, cough, is this just a coincidence that this appears exactly at the time as another big fish in English cricket might be about to be pushed out of the door?

      How convienient. Why on earth would anyone want to read this article at this time? Is this Downtons last gasp from behond. A warning from history…….

      No surprise the Mail is on it.


    • thebogfather Jan 20, 2017 / 11:27 am

      No room in the cupboard under the stairs
      Now that Comma has joined Costcutter there
      So with aplomb, Downtown Shabby is set free
      To serve up this piffle we now read with glee!


    • Silk Jan 20, 2017 / 11:50 am

      Potted summary – “England are a better side without KP and would be an even better side with Peter Moores still at the helm.”

      It’s a real shame he was sacked. He’s a visionary leader.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jan 20, 2017 / 12:17 pm



        • LordCanisLupus Jan 20, 2017 / 12:23 pm

          Got the full article. Not read yet. But one line has already irked.

          Disagree with his modus operandi if you like, but at least acknowledge that it came from the right place.

          I could write an article on that sentence alone.


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 20, 2017 / 12:45 pm

        Oh. And it was the book. That told you why he had to go.

        And he’s let off with that explanation.


    • Benny Jan 20, 2017 / 2:52 pm

      Now he knows how KP felt!


      • Tom Jan 21, 2017 / 9:10 am

        “When you’ve invested so much time and emotion into something as big as English cricket it was a huge blow… particularly as it came as a shock to me and there was so much more I wanted to do.”

        If I saw that without knowing who wrote it, the first person I would have guessed as the author is Pietersen.


      • d'Arthez Jan 21, 2017 / 9:48 am

        So much time indeed. He had spent twenty odd years before being appointed in the City, doing all kinds of things related to cricket, presumably …

        The people who spend copious amount on cricket, are the players, groundsmen, and grassroot organisers, and maybe to a lesser extent the administrators. In short: lots of people who hardly get any acknowledgement at all from the ECB. At least Downton got paid nearly half a million for being utterly inept.


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 21, 2017 / 11:11 am

          You’ll never guess what Downton is doing now. Investing his time in grass roots cricket? Retirement at a nice little establishment in the country?

          “Downton, 60 this year, is involved now in executive coaching and mentoring.”

          You supply the jokes.


      • Tom Jan 21, 2017 / 11:25 am

        Not a joke, but the title of the post made me think of this: The first graduates of Downton’s coaching and mentoring school are released to make their way into the world.


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 21, 2017 / 11:34 am

          Maybe he can coach his executives how to effectively avoid tax by “investing” in empty data centres.

          He still remains a member of this according to Companies House.

          His Consultancy firm, Downton Consultancy, has been in operation since February 2016. All public information. Downton Consulting Limited, a different company, must be chuffed.


    • Sean B Jan 20, 2017 / 6:08 pm

      Wow, talk about complete self denial. But it’s the book remember, the book I tell you!


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 20, 2017 / 7:41 pm

        It is spectacular in its arrogance. He claims credit for the white ball transformation. He claims credit for turning the test team around. He claims credit for winning the Ashes in 2015. He points out, pointedly, that Andrew Strauss agreed with him over Pietersen. And he pointedly doesn’t have a go at the ECB, despite the fact they lied to him, because, as he says “never say never” about a job at the ECB.

        It’s a staggering attempt at rewriting a 15 months spell when a man was so bad, so damn bad, at his job that he became a laughing stock. Instead he’s a visionary, a man before his time, a key part of the transformation (in case you missed it) of English cricket. It’s about as ludicrous a piece of self-justification as you can see. Brass neck. Total brass neck.

        He refers to this Sky interview as a point where he identified that we needed to focus more on one day cricket. After the 2015 World Cup that was akin to saying I better not put my hand over the gas hob so I won’t burn myself any more.

        More fool anyone who falls for it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jan 20, 2017 / 8:22 pm

        The book that was written after he was sacked, that book?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 20, 2017 / 10:02 am

    Hi Simon, I was about to post the same article but note you have got there first. The bloke is more than a little delusional to say the least. The ECB’s failure to deal with Pietersen, well Downton was the one to break the confidentiality agreement so if he wasn’t part of the solution, what was he?

    Secondly, England’s test ‘revival’. I think we’ve done that enough times on here with regards to India giving up the ghost than England really showing any improvement. You can go through the XI that played there and probably only find that Cook, Root, Broad, Anderson and Woakes from the team that finished the series still likely to front up in July if fit. Hardly the sign of a real steady core from a mere two and a half years ago when you can argue that Anderson is now on the way out sooner rather than later and Cook hasn’t really done very much in that period. Some legacy eh.

    Then he says that England’s poor showing “had to happen”. Well who was responsible for that if a fair chunk of it wasn’t Moores? I don’t have Dmitri’s talent for fisking but that is an amusing take on things to say the least.

    Liked by 1 person

      • pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 20, 2017 / 11:47 am

        I respect that. I just couldn’t help imagining how visceral you might be in the right circumstances!


  11. Mark Jan 20, 2017 / 10:10 am

    9:02 – Is it just me who really hates the way every other advert on TV is for a betting company? I don’t object to gambling, but the number of commercials for it pisses me off no end.”

    When you add in the financial sponsorship of banks and investment companies (some might suggest they are no different to bookmakers) cricket seems heavly dependent on financial betting. It would appear Very few industries want to advertise with cricket in England.

    Can you blame them with the exposure they will get? Right now I see more American football on MSM than cricket.


    • Mark Jan 20, 2017 / 10:28 am

      By the way Chris, your observation about the 3 chances going through first slip was very interesting.

      I would love to see a team try and play a series of ODIs with much more attacking fields.,of course they might get hammered. We might see a team get 500, but what else is there?

      Surely the threat of taking a wicket is important. 2 of England’s first 3 wickets was caught by Stokes at slip I believe?

      I once saw Shane Warne captain Hampshire in an ODI game and he had 3 slips in place well into the innings. Obviously different conditions, but an approach we never see. If England had knocked over that partnership yesterday they have been chasing your predicted 340 instead?

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Jan 20, 2017 / 11:53 am

        McCullum kept slips in during the WC. He also didn’t take a bowler who had 3 wickets and had just bowled consecutive maidens off after five overs because that was the pre-conceived plan.

        Of course he probably had better bowlers and was playing at home. He also had other bowlers he trusted at the death whereas part of Morgan’s problem was that Woakes is his most trusted bowler at the end of the innings.

        Stokes should spend the rest of his career at second slip. Why it’s taken so long to get him there is another mystery. On the other hand, his white-ball bowling is becoming a bit of an issue – he averages nearly 40 and has the worst ER of any bowler in ODIs in history of a bowler who’s bowled as many deliveries he has.


      • Mark Jan 20, 2017 / 12:24 pm

        You do wonder where the so called analyst is on these issues? Where is the much vaunted back room staff?

        It does seem to be doing it by numbers to take off an opening bowler after 5 overs just because it’s the “thing to do.” Captains never take a chance, and bowl an openeing bowler for 7-8 overs or even bowl him out at the start. Who knows he might get more wickets if the batting side are getting bogged down.

        As you say Simon, Englands back up bowlers just aren’t up to the task. But it does seem as if it’s all done by numbers.


      • SimonH Jan 20, 2017 / 1:16 pm

        Morgan has done plenty of good things as ODI captain (genuinely removed fear of getting out attacking, annoyed Oliver Holt) – but there is a limit. He isn’t much of an on-field tactician and sticks very much to the plans drawn up by the coaches.

        It’s probably why they tolerate him.


      • Silk Jan 20, 2017 / 2:22 pm

        Re: Economy rates.

        It’s alarming.

        “[Stokes] has the worst ER of any bowler in ODIs in history of a bowler who’s bowled as many deliveries he has.” sez Simon.

        The same is true of Dernbach, I think (fewer deliveries, worse ER)

        There are only 10 worse (in terms of economy rate) bowlers than Woakes in ODI history with more than 50 innings bowled (though to be fair to Woakes, most of those are playing today where scoring rates are far higher). And Ishant, Sheesanth and Umesh are all in that list yet good enough to play for India.

        England seem to be churning out a lot of bowlers who go for a lot.

        Without Broad we have a poor Test attack and a poor ODI attack, it seems.


      • SimonH Jan 21, 2017 / 6:41 pm

        A bit more on bowlers’ ERs in ODIs:

        The best seamers currently playing have ERs of between 4.5 and 5.0. Hazlewood, Philander, Starc, Abbott, Boult, Steyn, Morkel and Hastings are all in that category. Two Pakistan bowlers (Irfan and Amir) are also below 5.0.

        Hazlewood’s 4.5 is the best ER of any seamer currently playing. It may not stay there of course – but it’s interesting that his method is exactly what English ODI gurus say bowlers should no longer do (i.e. traditional line-and-length bowling with few variations).

        The current ERs of English bowlers: Willey 5.63, Woakes 5.67, Wood 5.83, Plunkett 5.84, Jordan 5.95 and Stokes 6.14. The forgotten man Steve Finn is at 5.09. (I won’t quote Anderson and Broad as so much of their bowling was in a different era I don’t think the figures mean very much).

        Two conclusions seem obvious – England’s bowling is not very good and/or England have played a lot of matches in very batsman-friendly conditions recently.

        One other conclusion is that the game needs better metrics than blunt ER. Specialist death bowlers like Malinga, Faulkner and Bravo have quite high ERs – but this doesn’t reflect the stage of the game when they bowled most of their overs. It hasn’t got much attention in these two games but England’s death bowling conundrum remains as unsolved as ever.


    • hatmallet Jan 21, 2017 / 4:05 pm

      If there are so many adverts for betting companies, it stands to reason that they are swimming in money as TV ads and shirt sponsorship deals aren’t cheap.

      Whilst some people can bet profitably over the long run, for the most part that’s not the case. I’m not against the industry per se, but it’s not as glamourous as the ads make out and I don’t like the prominence they get in sport and on TV.

      The Waitrose deal really could have been good for England because they serve a much larger market than the likes of Investec (who to their credit have pumped a lot of money into English cricket). A shame that the ECB didn’t nurture that relationship sufficiently.


    • Mark Jan 20, 2017 / 4:50 pm

      So once again they are not telling their poor paying customers the truth. Why put that on the front page unless you know he is going. And seeing as many of the writers have regularly had lunches and dinners with Cook they must know the score.

      But won’t breathlessly reveal the leak to their readers as they have done in the past. Fake news, from a fake news organisation.


    • Silk Jan 20, 2017 / 8:24 pm

      Are we “moving on”? I thought we’d done that already.


  12. LordCanisLupus Jan 20, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    I thought I’d share #39’s editorial with you. If it isn’t him preening over his pre-tour interview, his ever so prescient view on Cook’s leadership (you know, the sort many of us were saying for ages), it’s the finale. The crescendo. The tour de force.



    At this rate he’ll be in his own top 20 next year.


    • Sri Grins Jan 21, 2017 / 3:40 am

      He sounds like a bidder for a soon to be written autobiography of Cook. :-). I wonder how some journos have the strength to churn out week after week of meaningless fluff.

      I prefer the BTL comments or blogs like these because I can improve my knowledge of cricket, the players, how fans living in other countries think & perceive and reading the humorous comments sharpen my sense of humor. You get to read a opinion that mostly genuinely reflects the poster’s thought processes rather than what the person thinks he/she should say.


    • d'Arthez Jan 21, 2017 / 7:09 am

      Young batting order? Uhmm, Zim has a young batting order. England has an average aged batting order. Only Stokes, Haseeb, and Jennings are young. Moeen, Root, and whoever gets the gig at #4, are not that young.

      And I fail to see how this is “engaging” with the future – which goes a bit beyond the eleven names on the team sheet.


    • BobW Jan 21, 2017 / 7:48 am

      So Mike Brearley was lucky eh? I’d like to see Cook try to handle a team full of characters like Botham, Willis, Boycott and so on. I’ve noticed its not the first time he’s put Mike Brearley down either.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jan 21, 2017 / 10:04 am

      Jeez, the man is completely shameless. No wonder he put himself in at 39 on his own list. We should have known when he pompously gave himself his own handle.

      This is the same ego who wrote a book about the technicalities of batting despite never being a batsman of any note whatsoever. I don’t mean he wasn’t Viv or Barry Richards, he wasn’t even Wendy Richards. You don’t need to have played the game to write about it in a journalistic sense, but to write a “how to book” you need to know what you are talking about.

      If Cook is a a goner we can look forward to a lot of revisionist history from these clowns. Also they haven’t learned their lesson, and the eulogising of Root has started before he has even become captain.


      • "IronBalls" McGinty Jan 21, 2017 / 11:25 am

        My favourite Boycott quote:- “What he ( Simon Hughes) knows about batting you could write on the back of a postage stamp!”


    • SimonH Jan 21, 2017 / 10:52 am

      I’m engaging with the BBL at the moment (well, it’s on in the background with the sound turned down). The reasons are:

      1) It’s on a Freeview channel.
      2) It was easy to find because it was on the same time last week
      3) Er. that’s it….

      Hughes is so up his own fundament with his own cleverness that he has never, and will never, acknowledge those simple facts.

      (By the way, a bespectacled wrist-spinner is doing well for the Stars which shows yet again T20 need not be just about gym-ripped power-hitters. The crucial factor is that the pitch has a bit of turn in it).

      Liked by 1 person

      • BobW Jan 21, 2017 / 11:05 am

        Free to Air cricket. It’ll never catch on I tell you….


  13. d'Arthez Jan 21, 2017 / 7:25 am

    Meanwhile, the BBC had to post another non-story with regards to Kevin Pietersen (snubbing someone for a selfie). Yeah, that is really hard hitting news from the world of sports.

    What is next? The hunting society using Mr. and Mrs. Cook to cook venison, while extolling all the virtues of hunting? Not only that, but then cover it in mainstream media?

    Can we get some proper journalism anywhere?


    • Sri Grins Jan 21, 2017 / 9:12 am

      The story is given wide coverage on cricinfo as well. :-). Soon, we can produce a movie (like with MSD) where the tennis player feels insulted & then wins the Wimbledon Final a few years later with KP cheering on the opponent (SA tennis player) and finally being forced to grudgingly applaud the English player who wins. :-). The movie would be a top grosser.


      • Zephirine Jan 21, 2017 / 6:46 pm

        I’m quite surprised the ECB hasn’t funded a rose-tinted biopic of Cook yet. Or at the very least, a gushing TV documentary. Perhaps after he resigns…

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Jan 22, 2017 / 4:59 am

        They tried Zeph. But when Giles Clarke had one of his lovely meetings through connections with Kim Jung-Un, and decided to try and sell this biopic, he discovered that the North Korean Leader was actually quite fond of cricket. A copy was shared (soft diplomacy), and Kim Jung-Un was so impressed by it, that he illegally copied it (thus earning the wrath of Giles). And it is rumoured to be King Jung-Un’s favorite non-invasive method of torture these days.

        It features:
        *the themes of obeying your superiors, as they always know best.
        *rewrites of history to make the great leader(s) seem to be always right
        *those awkward inspiring speeches by Cook, edited to remove the stutters, which might have hinted at doubts.
        *does not mention rumours of tours to Australia 2006/07, 2013/2014
        *features lots of character assassination of the bourgeois Kevin Pietersen, and all his evil tendencies to monetize his skills, with utter disregard of socialist ethics
        *Made up newspaper headlines, just to create the distinct impression that Cook was under severe pressure from all quarters.
        *Shooting of Bambi, just to stress how important it is to be self-sufficient
        *And that magnificent, chanceless 95 against India (footage will have been edited to make Cook’s dismissal be a case of an errant umpire). Drops not included.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Jan 22, 2017 / 9:43 am

        You’ve missed the scene where Cook makes that brilliant 158 to win the 2005 Ashes. Perhaps that’ll be in the Director Comma’s Cut?

        The film ‘Inchon’ (made by the director of ‘Dr. No’ and starring, among others, Laurence Olivier) was financed by Reverend Moon. Perhaps that would be even more appropriate!


    • hatmallet Jan 21, 2017 / 3:33 pm

      The Mail was claiming that Evans “can’t stand KP” which conveniently ignored him saying KP was his favourite player. Still, it was rather rude of KP even if he was smashed.


      • Zephirine Jan 21, 2017 / 6:53 pm

        “He was my favourite cricketer until that point, genuinely was, but there was some serious rage for about 20 minutes after that happened. It was a bad moment.”

        Sorry, I don’t get that. I really don’t. ‘Serious rage’?

        You go up to somebody in the street – who may not have the faintest idea at that moment who you are – and demand a photo with them. And they say no. And this causes ‘serious rage’? Did I miss the memo when the United Nations declared a selfie to be a universal human right?

        Which is not to say KP wasn’t rude, he was probably very rude, but how about his right to say no?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Benny Jan 21, 2017 / 9:40 pm

        OK how many here believe that their lives will be critically damaged if they don’t get a selfie with a celebrity?

        Liked by 1 person

  14. SimonH Jan 21, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    Good news (IMO) that tomorrow’s pitch might have something in it for the bowlers, but otherwise this isn’t particularly happy reading:

    “The Eoin Morgan/Trevor Bayliss project”? Apart from sounding like some turgid noughties band, look whose fingerprints aren’t all over this ODI approach! Like Macavity he’s never there! Sound like one or both of the architects of said project are being lined up for the chop? I rather think so.

    It also sounds like the usual doubts and confusion are starting in the run-up to a tournament.

    And they’re going to bring in…. Liam Dawson instead of Rashid! Okay, I can see some case from having a look at Dawson in a dead rubber – but how about instead of another seamer (unless the pitch is really ultra-green) or even ahead of Moeen Ali (England surely know what he can do by now?).


    • Benny Jan 21, 2017 / 9:44 pm

      Might be very naughty but how about saying OK the trophy has gone, let’s give the drinks waiters a go – and some match practice?


    • "IronBalls" McGinty Jan 22, 2017 / 9:12 am

      Good grief! We’re losing by fine margins to a truly outstanding India on their home turf. Cook’s ODI side woukd need nearly two innings to get the totals our lads are getting nowadays, especially since Moore’s laptop got chucked in the bin!


  15. Cricketjon Jan 21, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    People are very precious about their application of rights to access with famous people.


  16. BoredInAustria Jan 22, 2017 / 7:56 am

    I am getting some wise analysis over my coffee ahead of the game on cricinfo:

    simon hughes ‎@theanalyst
    Don’t think this is quite the 380 pitch of other games. More like 320. But with dew later England will need at least that

    Is that an admittion the bowling is shite?


  17. SimonH Jan 22, 2017 / 9:52 am

    So, no Dawson – but the same bowling attack? Really?

    What’s the story with Root not playing?


    • d'Arthez Jan 22, 2017 / 10:22 am

      Injury management. He had a niggle. Funny how that never works for bowlers (Wood), who are subsequently bowled into the ground, and subsequently have to miss a year of cricket.


      • BoredInAustria Jan 22, 2017 / 10:35 am

        Except when you are Jimmy


  18. SimonH Jan 22, 2017 / 10:48 am

    Morgs recites lines written by someone else that he doesn’t really believe with total conviction:

    Working for the ECB all these years has some advantages…..


    • Zephirine Jan 22, 2017 / 5:59 pm

      That’s a truly comically bad advert, one of the greats. Bless all their cotton socks.


    • quebecer Jan 23, 2017 / 12:28 am

      Williamson is particularly believable.


    • quebecer Jan 23, 2017 / 12:31 am

      Unless that was in fact Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing Williamson, in which case it was brilliantly method and a remarkable portrayal.


  19. SimonH Jan 22, 2017 / 11:36 am

    “I’m not sure about the short ball…. you can’t set a field for the short ball”.

    I must have dreamt that Nasser kept urging England to bowl more bouncers.


  20. "IronBalls" McGinty Jan 22, 2017 / 4:48 pm

    Well, that was knicker gripping, and hugely enjoyable…bloody well done England! Hard digging!


  21. SimonH Jan 22, 2017 / 5:54 pm

    There’s a lengthy exchange between Tregaskis and The Cricket Geek on Twitter about Strauss.

    You’ll probably be able to guess who takes the “I can’t see how anything that’s gone wrong on this tour is down to him” line.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 23, 2017 / 9:05 am

      I stopped following Miller quite a while ago as I increasingly found his stuff so inane and pitiful that it was no longer good for me. I’ve been even more critical of Strauss in the last few months than I have been of Cook, in fact I just feel a bit of pity for him when he tried to do the ‘leadership’ angle when I wouldn’t have blamed him for not returning for the Bangladesh test tour. Instead our players were put under the pump for nearly 3 months, not having their reserves (Lions) with anything like the preparation they required for potentially stepping in to the senior side with nigh on seven tests on the bounce and not having some clear demarcations for the squad between Bangladesh and India when the latter tour had several passengers.

      The bloke, Miller, is a muppet. End of.


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