India v England – The 2nd T20 International

I hope Chris and Sean don’t mind but I thought I’d put down a few thoughts in advance of the match tomorrow. In fact, let me be honest. I’ve not checked if England are playing India tomorrow, but I’m assuming they are. It’s a weekend and we haven’t played yet. So assuming it’s on tomorrow. I think that’s some form of appointment to view, isn’t it?

It’s interesting how these fixtures are viewed. I saw many people say after a very routine England win on Wednesday – I think it was Wednesday, the days merge into an amorphous blob at the moment – that international cricket was no place for T20 cricket. I have to ask why? How is someone expected to be loyal to a club side where the only constant appears to be the shirts the team wears rather than the players that fill them. Of course the megastars are going to be tied to teams for a while because there’s brand identity and all that, but the so-called second tier players won’t be. Also, last week KP was playing for the Melbourne Stars, a couple of months ago for the Dolphins, next week for Quetta. Increasingly a T20 match is about being there at the time, because nothing really has context. Who, outside of a few loyal Western Australians, would care that Perth won the Big Bash. It’s a nice feeling now, but it isn’t something to sustain you in your dotage. Not really. It would be the equivalent of Premier League teams winning a cup competition in England, as today’s line-ups in the 4th round will show you;

The one place the sport has thrived in its own way is India. T20 has had a grip on the country, and yet I can’t tell you who won last year’s competition. As a Surrey fan it takes me 5 seconds to get over a T20 loss, 5 minutes to get over a ODI final loss, and yet I’ll be depressed if we lose a county championship game. I am reading Gideon Haigh’s set of essays on cricket from around of the turn of the decade – “Uncertain Corridors” it is called – and he’s dismissive of the launch of the Big Bash. He gets a fair bit wrong, of course he does because we aren’t seers, but his disdain for not letting the product speak for itself is one I shared. More of that in the future. Haigh is never short of brilliant, whether you agree with him or not, and I’d recommend any of his books that I’ve read so far.

The one place I think T20 can work is international cricket. The T20 World Cup is brilliant in part because it is, once the main teams are there, short. We can get into the rights and wrongs of the way the associate nations are treated, but as a competition of 10/12 teams, playing a set of group games, a semi-final and final, and having that done and dusted in 2-3 weeks is excellent. I don’t share the view over 50 over cricket either, and think there is a place for that as well. I’d like to see top players bat for more than an hour, thank you. I’d like to see top bowlers bowl more than 24 deliveries. T20 cricket if the same downsizing ratio is applied to football would mean a match lasting 9 minutes. You’d be pissed off if you had just that amount of time to appreciate a Messi or Ronaldo. I get no satisfaction in seeing a KP, a Kohli, a Root for short periods. But I know, I know.

But where international fixtures work is supposedly bringing a nation together. If you support a crap club team, you can still get behind your nation’s best players in an international environment. Why shouldn’t that work? One cack match in Kanpur and we’re saying it’s not worth it? I don’t care a jot about our Blast, our proposed T20 jamboree, the Ram Slam, the Big Bash, the PSL, the Caribbean thingamy, the Bangladeshi version… It gives me the only outlet to watch one of my favourite players, and that’s all I have to lean on. Haigh says that about watching Shane Warne play for the Stars back then – he’d watch him in a Christmas pantomime if he promised to bowl a flipper – and it’s true. It’s fluff unless there’s substance. International tournaments, proper ones, with history, are what it’s about. I remember Sandy Lyle, still the only Brit to win the Players Championship, being interviewed after he won it. The Players was the richest tournament. It had arguably the best field all year. It was the players own championship. It was the “5th Major”. When asked by the interviewer what the difference was between winning the Open and the Players, he remarked “about 100 years of history”.

The only way T20 can create that history is to build one based on something more than just transient, convenient cricket, where the result really doesn’t seem to matter. Franchise cricket where players come and go, and where there is no sense of kinship or importance other than your own performance to get hired elsewhere, isn’t a recipe for history or longevity. It’s performance art, not sport. International T20 has no chance when it is all about franchises, and instead there’s the collateral damage to international cricket. Watching the painful performances of Pakistan and Sri Lanka recently is a real warning sign. The problem isn’t the format. The problem is the level of cricket being played.

Oh well, here’s what is coming up. We have our anniversary week. I’ve written a lot on Downton’s article in The Cricketer, and hope to finish it off soon. I have to say I was really disappointed by the tone of the article. He was a disaster. Not even sure I like his modus operandi when you look in to some of his operations “outside cricket”. He was utterly awful. Here’s a little taster…

“At the end of the fifth test at The Oval I felt the side had made some real progress. Cook had come through a very difficult period as captain, when almost every commentator called for his resignation, to re-establish himself as the leader of an emerging England side.”

On the face of it, there’s not a lot to argue about here. Cook did indeed come through a very rough time, and England came back to win the series. Cook himself had not made a hundred. No-one really believed Cook’s captaincy was the determining factor in our come from behind win against India. Many believe his captaincy was the determining factor in our defeat to Sri Lanka. But Downton’s not going to mention that other than to say it was “painful to lose”. We all recognised Downton’s tactic. He nailed his colours to the Cook mast, and to quit on him after five minutes would have made him look even more stupid than he had already shown himself to be. He had no other tactic but to cross his fingers and pray the Indians packed it in. And they did. It may have turned on the early dropped chance at the Rose Bowl (or Ageas Bowl). It was no genius on his part, and he’s re-writing history.

Life is a little quieter. Mum in law is getting better, but not sure of the scale of the potential recovery. Wife still away and that’s really hard. Likely to be away for a while yet. Work hasn’t let up, and got a day out to Munich on Tuesday starting at 4am and likely to be finishing at 1 am the following day. Nice round trip. Aunt’s funeral is on Thursday. Loads to do and the blog does take a back seat. But I’ll try to do what I can.

Comments on the 2nd T20, whenever, wherever, it takes place (oh, it’s Nagpur) here. Sorry to say I won’t catch the first part because my football team is live on TV for the first time in a while, and Dmitri not as Old is coming round to watch with me. Have a good weekend, what remains of it, and see you soon!


69 thoughts on “India v England – The 2nd T20 International

    • LordCanisLupus Jan 28, 2017 / 10:40 pm

      Didn’t like this…

      If I got another chance to play for England, [I don’t think] I’d necessarily listen to as many people outside of cricket.

      Who are they, Ben?


      • Mark Jan 28, 2017 / 11:09 pm

        Who knows, but I don’t think he is using the term “Outside” to mean us. If he does mean us then he is an idiot.


      • quebecer Jan 30, 2017 / 1:03 am

        When I read it in that other paper, I thought he was referring to the press.


    • oreston Jan 29, 2017 / 7:02 am

      I don’t know, I can see what he’s saying about making people play defensively in a way that may not be natural to them, but then he acknowledges that he was out trying to “sweep one that wasn’t there” so I don’t fully understand his argument about his personal performance. Was there anything in India to particularly suggest that he is a good player of quality spin bowling? He implies that he started believing that he had a vulnerability in that department only after he’d read it online and it was that which planted a mental seed and undermined his technique. Hmmm… What is perhaps damning though is that (by Duckett’s account) Cook instructed everyone in the second innings at Vizag to block and play for a draw from the outset – rather than attempt to inspire the team with the thought that, although they were aiming for a distant peak, they had all the time in the World and if they played steadily, eschewed unnecessary risks and took it a session at a time, the runs were maybe gettable. Granted that outcome was extremely unlikely (as even the most cursory glance at the score card would suggest) but at least it wouldn’t have been so negative an approach as telling everyone to stonewall for 20 off 160. If true it kind of encapsulates all that’s wrong with the current craptaincy.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Mark Jan 28, 2017 / 11:06 pm

    “Cook had come through a very difficult period as captain, when almost every commentator called for his resignation”

    This is one of the greatest group lies of the Cook era. It has been repeated by a number of well known cricket reporters. But it is simply fake. Fake news. The media protected Cook, and did everything they could to excuse his uselessness.

    I have watched cricket for nearly 50 years and I have never seen such groveling by the establishment to protect an English captain. The chairman of the ECB even stormed the Sky box to issue a dressing down to one of the greatest players in history for daring to criticise Captain Cook. If they lie about this, then they will happily lie about everything.

    They have to re write Cooks captaincy history because it has been so bloody awful. You can’t debate liars and nutters. They wanted Cook for political reasons, and they protected him as if he was a Medieval King.

    Liked by 1 person

    • "IronBalls" McGinty Jan 28, 2017 / 11:21 pm

      You’re not wrong lad!


    • SimonH Jan 29, 2017 / 9:41 am

      Called for him to go: Boycott, Vaughan, Piers Morgan, possibly Warne*.

      * Warne was highly critical, calling Day Four at Headingley the worst day of Test captaincy he’d ever seen. Typical of Warne, he didn’t know when to give it a bit of a rest and his criticism undoubtedly had a personal tinge from his anger at how the English media portrayed Clarke the year before. I don’t recall him saying or writing directly that Cook should go.

      Not calling for him to go (by my recollection, I’ll happily stand correction): Selvey, Marks, Ronay, Andy Wilson, Dean Wilson, Etheridge, Brenkley, Pringle, Hoult, Liew, Berry, Newman, Hussain, Booth, Botham, Atherton, Bumble, Wilde, Gower, Colvile, Willis, Agnew, Nicholas, Bull, Tufnell, Hughes, Ed Smith, Stocks, Dollard.

      Swann made some criticisms that produced the “so-called friends” tantrum but I don’t think he went as far as saying Cook should go.

      So “almost every” consists of perhaps three out of about thirty of the regular English cricket writers/broadcasters.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Jan 29, 2017 / 10:50 am

        Wow, a real “rouges gallery” there Simon. And as you say none of them called for Cooks sacking in the period after the tour from hell. In fact most of them did everything they could to prop him up.

        Agnew had numerous test match lunch time “round tables” with so called big hitters of the cricket media at this time. Regular appearances by Etheridge, Newman, Selvey etc etc. I can’t remember any of them calling for his sacking. In fact the complete opposite.

        The lie that Cook battled away with a hostile media on his back is bullshit. He was given a golden chariot free ride.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Jan 29, 2017 / 11:29 am

        Warne did directly call for Cook to go in a DT column, so I’ll correct myself there.

        Swann’s ‘attack’ that produced the ‘so-called friends’ remark was:

        “”I love Cookie dearly but I don’t think he should be bothering playing one-day cricket anymore. He doesn’t need to. He’s proved a very good point in Test matches. He should just enjoy being England Test captain. Let in the young people who just want to smash it everywhere”.



      • man in a barrel Jan 29, 2017 / 11:50 am

        This makes me angry. Weren’t all the wonderful journos writing article after article declaring that there was no alternative to Cook? Am I imagining that? Wasn’t there a whispering campaign against the other senior members of the side? Sorry Downton but you are an idiot. I suppose in the rest of the piece he describes that dreary series of ODIs in Sri Lanka and as the pinnacle of Cook’s captaincy. Then goes on to complain that, if only he had not been outvoted, Cook would have won the world cup. And that Cook’s “redemption” in the 3-2 Ashes against a team deprived of its 2 key bowlers was a work of genius.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jan 29, 2017 / 11:53 am

        Downton claimed “almost every commentator called for his resignation” Your list proves otherwise.

        Truth is, almost every commentator did not call for his resignation. Piers Morgan was not a commentator. Swann was only critical of Cooks ODI role. Not the Test team. In fact Warne ( a non Englishman) was one of the few people to even criticise Cook.

        The re writing if history is shocking but not surprising. Of course many on this site called for his sacking, but as we all know, we are irrelevant and of no importance.


      • Tregaskis Jan 29, 2017 / 12:09 pm

        I recall that Selvey was quite vocal at the time wanting Cook to step down completely from ODI cricket, but not, heaven forfend, because Cook was rubbish at it; instead on the grounds that Selvey thought the technical requirements of the white-ball game was impacting negatively on Cook’s batting in Test cricket.

        A cynic might suggest that this “technical impact” narrative was a handy way of promoting his own acuity, while avoiding breaking ranks with the ECB or failing in his support for Cook.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jan 29, 2017 / 12:34 pm

        Yes, I remember Selvey calling for Cook to step down from ODI cricket, and as you rightly point out not for Englands benefit but for Cook himself. ( a feature of the coverage at the time was Cooks interest above the teams interest) It was self serving nonsense because, as you say, it looked as if he was being critical but wasn’t.

        Of course Cook shouldn’t have been anywhere near the ODI captaincy in the first place.But only Atherton questioned that appointment at the time.


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 29, 2017 / 3:31 pm

        Hussain did after Lord’s…

        “He needs to ask himself, ‘(am I) making a difference as a captain to this England side?’ The stats tell you that he’s not,” Hussain told Sky Sports.
        “Would we miss Alastair if he was not captain at the Ageas Bowl?,” added Hussain who spent his senior career with Essex, Cook’s county.
        “If Michael Clarke was suddenly not captain of Australia I think they would miss him.
        “If Alastair Cook was not captain of England at the Ageas Bowl would we look up and say ‘we’re missing the tactical genius of Alastair Cook?’ We wouldn’t.”


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 29, 2017 / 3:33 pm

        Botham hedged his bets…

        He needs to stop and have a break. I feel for him, because it’s a massive burden. My advice would be, have a break, clear your head, have a couple of weeks’ holiday.

        One-day cricket is a contributory factor. When he was doing well he wasn’t playing one-day cricket and he was leaving the ball well. Those are facts. I think he needs a break. The bowlers were bowling the wrong lengths and the wrong lines. The field didn’t change. It’s not looking good. There’s other players that need to have a look at themselves: Matt Prior, is he fit? Ben Stokes, he bowled well but he can’t buy a run at the moment. I think it all starts at the top.


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 29, 2017 / 3:35 pm

        Vic Marks, on the fence…

        It was not beautiful but it was compelling. Alastair Cook is not the first England captain to find himself needing runs to stay in the job. In fact it happens to most of them along the way. The inhabitants of the Sky commentary box – whether Ian Botham, Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussain or Andrew Strauss – could confirm that. It is an occupational hazard.

        But seldom, if ever, has there been a backdrop so polarised and so fuelled by vitriol to the fate of an England captain. Via that supposed wonder of the modern age, social media, seldom have we been so aware of the relentless yearning from some quarters for that captain to fail. By the same token in this febrile summer there has rarely been such a desperation among those on the other side of a toxic debate to see him prevail. This does not just apply to members of the England & Wales Cricket Board, who have put their faith in Cook. High-ranking visiting Australians (not necessarily old wrist-spinners) have acknowledged the fervent hope that Cook could bat himself out of this rut and continue as captain.

        If this was crying for his head, it’s done in the most deferential of terms. Of sympathy and regret.

        Aggers after Day 4, very similar… . Day 5… well make your mind up whether every commentator was calling for his head from this…


      • Tregaskis Jan 29, 2017 / 5:49 pm

        The thing is Dmitri, regarding your comment about VIc Marks, who I like a great deal, is that he is perpetually negative about social media and what it says or represents, yet is not on social media himself.

        What is going on? Where does Vic Marks get this information or point of view? Is VM being mislead by thin-skinned social media geeks in the media (on the record, I did not mention Mike Selvey), is he guessing? What?

        I love his mischievious, sub-textual challenges, when they happen, which they do from time to time, but sometimes feel that he is being mislead by bad people about how social media works, or about alternative views.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. "IronBalls" McGinty Jan 28, 2017 / 11:27 pm

    Says everything when “attack” is not in your vocabularly?


  3. SimonH Jan 29, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    Pitch expected to turn and bigger boundaries…..


  4. Silk Jan 29, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    I don’t think Cook is going to resign as captain, but I wonder, if he /is/ planning to resign, will he announce it to the media today (if we win) or after the 3rd T20 (if we win that)?


  5. d'Arthez Jan 29, 2017 / 3:32 pm

    India’s middle order continues to underwhelm. If India don’t have better batsmen than Yuvraj, they’re in real trouble.

    Good chance for England to win the series here.

    And now Nehra takes out both the openers of successive balls in the fourth over. 22/2, chasing 145.


    • SimonH Jan 29, 2017 / 5:12 pm

      Pleased to see Bumrah showing what he can do after a few poor matches recently. He and Nehra really won that for India while the spinners were not much more than okay on a pitch that didn’t turn as had been expected but was quite slow and kept a bit low. The boundaries seemed to be about 75m which still isn’t huge but it’s a lot better than the 60m jobs they had in the last game.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Jan 29, 2017 / 5:30 pm

        Sorry for believing it was the death bowling by Nehra and Bumrah who won that – now, having read the press corps on Twitter and the Guardian OBO, I’ve seen the error of my ways and realise that it was the outrageously biased umpiring that decided the game.

        Liked by 1 person

      • northernlight71 Jan 29, 2017 / 6:05 pm

        Those two LBWs were pretty shoddy decisions tbh. Not that I’m really that bothered!


      • SimonH Jan 29, 2017 / 7:03 pm

        The Kohli one was although he was out soon afterwards anyway. The Root one I can understand – none of the comms picked up the inside edge at the time. Again, the way Root was struggling it’s difficult to argue it changed the result (which is what some of them are implying).

        I’ve argued from the start of T20 that there should be one review per innings available. If only the poor old ECB had any power at the ICC to bring it about!


      • Sri Grins Jan 30, 2017 / 6:04 am

        :-). I guess for most of the match, England looked the deserving winners and the press & fans got upset by the loss. Indian batting as I expected looks mediocre. Interesting that beyond Rohit, Virat, the other four batsmen are tough choices to make because there is no real young known talent despite 9 seasons of IPL. We have a lot of decent bowlers/bowling all rounders discovered in the IPL (incl Jadeja & Ashwin) but no batting talent like Billings, Roy, Buttler have come through leaving us reliant on Raina, Yuvi & MSD whose best days are behind them. .


      • Rooto Jan 30, 2017 / 10:29 am

        @ Sri. Interesting comment, “despite 9 years of IPL”. Could it be”because of 9 years of IPL”? With the mega-bucks contracts allowing every team to bring in established international stars as batting cornerstones, has the young Indian talent been a bit pushed to the sidelines, away from getting the experience of the big moments, not needing to carry the team? Just a thought. What do you think?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sri Grins Jan 30, 2017 / 12:47 pm

        @rooto. Not really. India always had issues in finding power hitters. The T-20 & ODI require powerful hitters with T-20s requiring a lot more of it than ODIs. Indian sportsmen usually fall short when it comes to power. Also with IPL giving us both test bowlers & LOI bowlers, the issue is not about Indians not having T-20 chances. Many of the Indian batsmen also became popular through IPL. I would not have even known their names otherwise. The problem is with genetics & skill set.

        Virat compensates for his lack of power with skill. Rohit has power allied with timing. We do not seem to have any good young batsmen who are like these two.Either we have skilled batsmen like che & jinks who lack the power as well as Virat’s brain or sloggers who are neither as powerful as batsmen from other countries nor they have the timing of Rohit. So, selectors go back to Raina, Yuvi, MSD .

        Liked by 2 people

      • thebogfather Jan 30, 2017 / 1:11 pm

        Sri, a question…are your selectors picking on ability or are they under instruction from the local boards/TV monies?


      • Sri Grins Jan 31, 2017 / 4:06 am

        @bogfather, That is a Crore rupees question :-). Seriously, as a long time cricket fan, I hope that 100% is on ability. But, in reality, probably 80-90% of the selections are on ability. Internal power plays and comfort level between the captain & the players as well as zonal & state politics (our selectors represent North,West, South, East,Central with each zone having 5-6 states) probably influence the 10-20%. India is a fairly big country with lots of players & thus quite likely that such influences impact the players at some time or the other.

        Usually, such influences end up impacting the last 2/3 players selected in the 15/16/17 as the case maybe.Sometimes, in the eleven too. But usually these are marginal selections where it is difficult to identify bias,There can be enough logic quoted for the selection as well as against it. Obvious shockers are very rare. That is why the influence of the Board, Media is difficult to pinpoint. It is not like the KP/Cook Captaincy issue which is obvious. It is more like selection of Ansari over other spinners or Duckett over Billings for example,

        Liked by 1 person

    • amit garg Jan 30, 2017 / 5:03 am

      As good as Yuvraj amd Dhoni can be in the ODIs, they should not be in the T20 squad any more. Both need a few balls to get started and these days, that’s been the difference between a below par score and an above par score. India needs to get back some folks who can swing without having to get in first. In line with the true t20 tradition. 😉


      • man in a barrel Jan 30, 2017 / 2:33 pm

        The runs that Dhoni turned down, plus the run outs he caused, simply to remain on strike might have cost India 8 runs or so. In a match as close as this, they could have been vital. I have seen him lose a few T20s because of this arrogance.


      • man in a barrel Jan 30, 2017 / 3:31 pm

        I just watched the highlights again. So 8 runs is over the top…but they could have scored another 3 or 4 at least


      • Sri Grins Jan 31, 2017 / 4:09 am

        Yes. MSD is not good enough for T-20s in the last 15-18 months. He has to take the cal unfortunately as he is still a good keeper.


  6. AB Jan 30, 2017 / 7:36 am

    I only watched the last four overs, was the pitch that bad throughout? Back of a length balls bouncing to half stump height are basically unplayable if you’ve just come in. Honestly can’t remember seeing a professional pitch that poor quality before.


    • Mark Jan 30, 2017 / 9:58 am

      India produced a very poor pitch for this match. Can’t help thinking it was in response to what they saw in the first game.

      England can’t say anything mind, because they have been into pitch doctoring here in the UK. Producing green seamers and then celebrating the wins as if they were natural conditions. This is what happens if you believe the home nation should stack the deck in their favour.

      Be interesting to see what they produce for the final game


      • thebogfather Jan 30, 2017 / 11:08 am

        I read somewhere that this ground has the lowest av scores for T20 in India, also the longest (read as proper) boundaries…
        The ‘homer’ (not that BCCI/ECB/SKY needed to make sure the series had a decider) ump is also doing the last match…
        As the ‘thrilling’ decider is on Weds, then It may go unnoticed…
        I warned before, beware the Chef announcement on 9th…


      • amit garg Jan 31, 2017 / 2:34 pm

        I beg to differ. This ground naturally has lower, slower bounce and there was no need to “doctor” the pitch. India have tripped up here before. On the night, England just couldnt cope up with Bumrah and were unlucky with a wrong decision. Longer boundaries certainly evened up the game a bit.

        Bangalore should be a home game for Kohli after the IPL – he’s got that ground marked. I hope India drop Dhoni – (though unlikely) – and play Rishabh Pant.
        In any case, if India bat second (due some luck on the toss), I think they should win it. If memory serves me right, then the ground generally favours the team batting second.

        Looking forward to the game.


    • AB Jan 31, 2017 / 3:39 pm

      yeah, it was definitely Bumrah’s “skill” that made the ball repeatedly roll around the ground.

      Pitch was substandard for an amateur contest, let alone an international.


      • amit garg Jan 31, 2017 / 3:59 pm

        Heard of change in pace? Slower balls on a low bounce wicket, bowled short of good length, do keep low. This is normal behaviour for this wicket.


    • AB Jan 31, 2017 / 5:00 pm

      Complete drivel. Go and watch the highlights. Off-cutters bowled at 70mph back of a length should bounce more than 6 inches off the floor, even on the slowest lowest wicket in the world. This is not skill, its the effects of a sub-standard and deteriorating pitch that was completely unfit for cricket.

      Try and take your one-eyed-glasses off for 30 seconds.


  7. SimonH Jan 30, 2017 / 10:09 am

    The most expensive bowler on the day was the one hand-picked by Andy Flower from the Lions. Still, he’s low maintenance for coaches and has something about him in the nets – you know, the really important stuff.


    • thebogfather Jan 30, 2017 / 11:00 am

      I despair, but bet he’s also a master at repairing a mast…


    • Mark Jan 30, 2017 / 12:42 pm

      I ask the question again, who is really running The England cricket team? Strauss? Morgan? Cook? Coaches? Or someone else?


    • amit garg Jan 31, 2017 / 4:11 pm

      Tbh, i find moeen’s success in last 2 games surprising. Dawson was always likely to struggle in india- good attitude notwithstanding..


  8. man in a barrel Jan 30, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    Am I alone in getting a touch of the jitters at the news that Mark Wood is joining the Lions team after remedial work on his action?

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Jan 31, 2017 / 9:03 am

      “The deduction is to fund payments from the ECB to compensate the counties for the fact their player is unavailable at a time when he could be playing domestic cricket”.

      Except when they can’t play for their county because England want them rested. And the county in Stokes’ case being Durham who face massive ECB penalties…..

      I’m also struggling to understand why white-ball contracted players face heavier penalties than Test players when they are surely the ones the ECB want to be going to the IPL?


      • d'Arthez Jan 31, 2017 / 3:04 pm

        It is just a way of legally justifying theft of a player’s salary. I think the ECB get 10% of the contract fee to issue the NOC as well. So the ECB rob the England centrally players twice – once through the NOC, and once through the central contract. So imagine if Stokes fetches 1 million GNP; that will quickly amount to 200k to the ECB for 6 weeks of “work” on their part. Yes.

        And now imagine it is not Stokes, but someone like Jennings, or someone else who has discovered he has two nationalities, and was trained mostly outside of England (like Jennings; after all he represented SA – Under 19). The ECB would get 200k / year then, for what is effectively stealing talent from other countries. Umm, yeah … and I won’t focus on the repercussions on the quality of the international game.

        You know, the kind of money that would have been useful to countries like West Indies, Zimbabwe or South Africa, to avoid hemorrhaging their best talents. And that in turn might help to get some English talent on the field. This is nothing against Durham – they’re doing really well in terms of getting young English talent on the field.


    • Mark Jan 31, 2017 / 9:46 am

      They have learned nothing from the KP debacle. They would happly screw over another top England player to make themselves look important.

      I would love to see Stokes tell them to shove their ECB contract up their arse, and then say you will have to pay me much more for each England appearances to make up for the loss of a contract.


      • amit Jan 31, 2017 / 1:24 pm

        It was interesting ti hear Virat’s views on tbe participation of english cricketers in IPL. Unless there is committment to the cause, no team will pay top dollars for a foreign player. It becomes even more important when you have current international players with their respective boards all keen with their instructions on workload management, injuries etc.
        England dug themselves a hole a few years ago with KP on the IPL issue because even the franchises wouldn’t quite want to jeopardise an international career. Only if a regular intetnational player has balls to take on the board, can he expect to make this opportunity count. Don’t think Stokes is quite there yet.


  9. SimonH Jan 31, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    So the day after Bull gives rugby fans a consideration of where their game stands (which isn’t perfect – he ignored the issue of steroids, for example – but at least it’s an attempt to address some of the big questions in the game), what does he gave cricket fans? A thirty-year old scandal about which he nothing useful to say in addition to the article by David Hopps on Cricinfo. I wouldn’t mind so much if it wasn’t even money that one of the first dozen comments will declare it the greatest piece of cricket writing they’ve ever read and that Gideon Haigh isn’t fit to lick your boots, Andy….

    Oh well, there’s always some amusement to be had with FICJAM’s latest musings on football:

    “Our” players Tevez and Oscar prefer others’ funny money to “ours”…. The rotters!

    Liked by 2 people

    • amit garg Jan 31, 2017 / 2:17 pm

      Cricket’s brush with professional “mercenaries” 😉 such as those plying their trade in IPL, is not its first. Neither is Football in China such an aberration. I am fairly certain that history has plenty of examples of professional cricketers leaving their shores to join and play in the English counties. The standard was reasonably good and the home countries didn’t offer enough money to be a professional to sustain both the primary skill and their families. So what if the English weather was notoriously rotten for most of these players. They still came in droves. And still continue via the Kolpak route.

      Ditto for most footballers playing in any club – in England or elsewhere in Europe.
      USA has previously attracted these players past their prime.

      The only things that’s really changed is that China now has deeper pockets.

      Money talks and a professional player listens.

      That “Our” was funny indeed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jan 31, 2017 / 3:59 pm

      Of course it never even appears on Smiths Radar that what he is complaining about is exactly what the English Premiership did 25 years ago. Or does he think all the Germans and Italians and Dutch and Brazilian footballers came here for our weather? It amuses me that so many think these footballers came here because they love the country so much.

      He would no doubt claim that England has a history of football. Does he break into a chorus of “3 Lions on my shirt, footballs coming home.” A lot of people are looking down their noses at China, and who knows if football will take off? But 30 years ago many people laughed at the idea of China becoming the factory of the world.

      What should really worry Smith and other English establishmemt stooges, in their usual cheerleading of globalisation is not just players leaving England to go play in China, but what’s to stop whole clubs? Man Utd is American owned, registered in the Cayman Islands, and listed on Wall Street. It’s manger is foreign, most of its players are foreign. In fact the only thing English about it is its location. If the Chinese were to offer the Glazers the chance to up sticks from Manchester, and move into a brand new 150,000 seat stadium in China are people so sure they wouldn’t go? After all, many American francise owners move their teams out of their home states. If the Chinese league takes off we might see the biggest clubs in Europe Off shore their workforce. I would laugh my head off to see all the English football establishment throw their toys out of the prams.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather Jan 31, 2017 / 5:11 pm

        Just imagine the whole new realm of writings/borrowings that FICJAM could make use of from China…and we wouldn’t even know Mao/more that he’d plagiarised another Red book!


  10. SimonH Jan 31, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    Liked by 1 person

    • amit garg Jan 31, 2017 / 2:04 pm

      Can’t understand the outrage to be honest.
      It is not the first time an umpire has made a mistake. Nor will it be the last.
      Besides, Root’s wasn’t the most obvious of the calls to a naked eye – such under edges are usually hard to detect anyways. None of these takes away the fact that it was a wrong call, but still, these comparisons to Shakoor Rana are laughable.

      Though I suppose Morgan sees his captaincy slipping out of his hands after a poor set of results and the ghost of Bangladesh still haunting him via the usual conduits in MSM.

      Liked by 2 people

      • SimonH Jan 31, 2017 / 5:30 pm

        The comparison to Shakoor Rana isn’t serious. Heck, even Shakoor Rana wasn’t Shakoor Rana – the blow-up with Gatting was largely to do with resentment over decisions made in the previous game when Rana didn’t stand. Most of those decisions involved front-foot LBWs that we now know from DRS are decisions that umpires should have been giving all along.

        Anyway, with a controversy smouldering away, guess who can be relied on to reach for the jerry-can:

        “an umpire who gave three highly-contentious decisions”.

        Three? Only Newman seems to regard the Yuvraj LBW (umpire’s call on height was what ball-tracking showed on that one, if I remember rightly) as some sort of miscarriage of justice roughly equivalent to the Birmingham Six.

        “Sportsmail understands referee Andy Pycroft supported England’s wish to take the shambolic Shamshuddin out of the firing line”

        Ah, the traditional method of communication by match referees – leaks to the Daily Mail.

        “England were privately resigned to India’s stubbornness over Shamshuddin and publicly diplomatic”.

        As they can be when they know that Newman and his like can rant and rave for them.

        “Joe Root, the victim of the third and match-deciding error on Sunday”.

        Match-deciding!? Not even “possibly match-deciding”.

        “it would be nice to finish on what we feel would be a deserved win to finish this tour”.

        Root’s other comments are quite thoughtful – but how can anyone “deserve” a win in a match that hasn’t even started?

        Maybe it’s just me, but I feel there’s quite an unpleasant tone starting to creep into some of the pronouncements around the white-ball team (it’s probably a result of listening to too much Nasser Hussain commentary – he really has become unbearable). Partly it feels like it’s a result of the pressure on Morgan – but partly I feel it’s the result of a groups of players being told repeatedly they have “so much talent” that they start to believe their own publicity and think they deserve to win things by reason of… well, just being themselves. The earlier Jason Roy press conference was a prime example.

        A bilateral T20 series should just be a bit of ephemeral fun – but this is what happens when you make it your priority and stake so much on it.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mark Jan 31, 2017 / 10:29 pm

        I thought the umpiring was poor, but the ECB should not be leaking this stuff to the media. However, we all know this is how they operate.

        Paging Mr Etheridge, paging Mr Etheridge. “The ECB don’t leak.” The old jokes are always the best.

        There never was a big 3. It’s just the big 1 with a couple of low level bully’s hanging around the playground.


      • d'Arthez Feb 1, 2017 / 1:15 pm

        And yet, England had no problem repeatedly inviting a substandard S. Ravi to stand in England. I must have missed all those articles from Newman about the brilliant officiating from S. Ravi in 2015 and 2016.


  11. SimonH Feb 1, 2017 / 12:40 pm


    • Mark Feb 1, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      but did he jump or was he pushed?


  12. SimonH Feb 1, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    Manohar speaks!

    “it is no secret that in our recent past the ICC has taken decisions that were in retrospect not always in the best interests of the game as a whole”.

    Only “in retrospect” of course….

    “My vision is to ensure the sport has strong governance, finance, corporate and cricketing structures that support all of our members and decisions are taken for the long term benefit of the sport from the largest nation to the smallest”.

    Such “misty-eyed cobblers” would make a pleasant change.

    “The group will present their findings at the ICC Board meeting this week and I look forward to discussing them with my Board colleagues and considering the next steps”.

    Don’t expect to read anything about it in the UK MSM.

    “I have of course been following developments in regard to the BCCI and the decision of the Indian Supreme Court and pissed myself laughing at the downfall of that lying bastard Thakur”.

    I may have made part of that up.

    “Change is not always easy to champion nor is it easy to digest, but we must think of the global game when taking decisions and only then will history judge us kindly”.

    Alternatively, they could think of the short-term interests of England and then Mike Selvey and Andy Bull will judge us kindly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Feb 1, 2017 / 1:16 pm

      While I don’t doubt he has the best of interests, nothing will happen unless India agree. The reason non of this appears in the ECB press is they wait to be given their orders beofre saying anything on ICC matters.


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