- For me, it is impossible not to love Pakistan cricket even with the retirement of two of my favourite cricketers, Misbah and Younis. No one (including myself) gave Pakistan a hope in hell of winning the Champions Trophy 3 weeks ago and especially after their tonking by India in the first game, but then Pakistan did what they have done in the past and suddenly raised their game in a big tournament. They comfortably beat the 3 best teams in the tournament based around a strong and balanced bowling attack that was able to both squeeze the opposition and take wickets at regular intervals. Now I must admit that I was no great fan of Mohammad Amir being allowed to return to international cricket, but his opening spell against India in the final is one of the best bowling displays that I have seen in the last 20 years and one, which India never recovered from. They even managed to drop Kohli and take his wicket the next ball, which in my opinion is peak Pakistan and the reason why they are impossible not to cherish. My only slight disappointment was the lack of comedy run outs, though they again provided one in the final. Magnifique.
- It’s a bump in the road and as much as I would love to bury Director Comma, to compare where England are in ODI cricket now to where they were after the World Cup in 2015 is like trying to compare apples and oranges. That being said, I think it’s only right that we should be bitterly disappointed, as the trophy was there for the taking. My main issue with England now is that they only have a Plan A, which is to try and hit every ball out of the park. This is absolutely fine on flat pitches, but we all knew that the Cardiff pitch was a used pitch, so surely the brains trust should have been a bit more sensible about the way we approached the game. I’m not saying 270 would have been a winning score, but it would have been a lot closer. Whilst this is not a fatal blow for Director Comma, there certainly will be more attention on the upcoming Test series.
- The easy answer would be England’s failure in the semi final, but that’s not the one I’m going to plump for. For me, the most disappointing aspect was the performance of the South African batting line up. On paper they had the best batting line up in the tournament, yet Hashim Amla aside, they performed terribly once again on the big stage. De Kock looked in woeful touch, David Miller looked like he’d never seen a white ball before and ABDV must have been tired from all that cricket he hasn’t been playing, though to be fair to him, there wasn’t a £million pound reward for him, so it must have been hard to motivate himself to perform. South Africa have been known as chokers for many years, but in this tournament they weren’t even close to that, they were simply abject.
- I actually quite like the format of the Champions Trophy, it’s relatively quick and the condensed nature means there are few meaningless games. It is certainly something that the World Cup could learn from, as it always seems like it lasts for an eternity and for all I know, the 2015 World Cup could still be going. Am I a big fan of white ball cricket? Well no, but at least a tournament that only lasts a couple of weeks might just about keep me interested to the final.
- This is a difficult one. There were a few great moments of the Champions Trophy, like the rare times that Atherton and Ponting were on commentary together, which was a blessed relief from the nonsense that the other commentators were spouting (yes I’m especially looking at you Michael Slater). Then there was the comedy South African run out, which summed up their performance in the tournament; however I’ll probably have to go with the obvious one, which was Stokes’ century against the Aussies. For me, beating Australia in any format of cricket always brings more than a smile on my face, this coupled with the clean and brutal power that emanated from Stokes’ bat on that day was a pure joy to watch. We all know that Stokes is incredibly talented; however we all know that he is at best inconsistent, therefore to put on that display after we had lost 3 early wickets was just superb. The thing that grips me when an in form Stokes bats is the sheer brutality in which he hits the ball, he is not a classic elegant batsman like Ian Bell or Joe Root, but he makes up for that by regularly depositing the ball into the second tier. It was especially sweet for him to do it against Australia as a number of their supporters essentially think he is an average player (yes Dennis I’m talking about you), so for him to ram that down the throats of his Australian detractors was a special moment, hence why I’m listing this as my favourite memory of the tournament. Actually scrap that, I’ve just seen that South African run out again, which has to be the purest piece of comedy gold that I’ve seen on a cricket field for a very long time. Funny cricket >> Good cricket in my opinion.
Finally, Dmitri / LCL / Misery Guts
- Pakistan winning the competition. What’s not to love?
There is a lot of goodwill out there for Pakistan, but as is usual with the twitterati, it has to be a bit overboard. Pakistan can be a capricious beast when it comes to the game, but they have good players, and we’ve all known that pointed in the right direction, getting a bit of momentum going, and a couple of players surprising us all can work wonders. We saw it with Sri Lanka in the 1996 World Cup. We saw it with West Indies in the 2004 Champions Trophy and last year’s World T20. We saw it with Pakistan in 1992. The “love” for Pakistani cricket is probably reflective of the need for us all to have a top tier of the world game with more than the Big 3 and South Africa putting up top class performances. The fear is that this won’t do anything other than paper over the cracks, like the West Indies wins in 2004 and the T20 tournaments. Oh, and is Mohammad Amir now totally forgiven?
- Bump in the road or major setback?
A major setback. Absolutely and don’t pretend it is anything else. The aims of this administration, under Empty Suit, the new man in the cupboard and the Comma is to win a white ball world trophy and now two have slipped through their grasps. While the T20 was a total freak, this wasn’t. England had played well, but as the Lord’s game against South Africa showed, there’s a collapse in this team on a semi-regular basis. My hope was it would come in the Australia game, not the semi-final. Now we’ve got all sorts of confused messages / excuses about wickets, home advantage, changing teams and even knockout cricket. England have made considerable strides in the ODI format, becoming a thoroughly entertaining and refreshing team to watch. We are short of killer bowlers. We have a high risk strategy based on the law of averages that someone will come off. It’s a recipe for getting hot in a tournament and winning it, but I’m not sure it’s one for world domination.
It also kept a media, who want to anoint Comma as the saviour of English Cricket, in their boxes. Pakistan winning shows you don’t need a long-term strategy, mass adoption of rigidity, and clearing the decks for world tournaments. Pakistan aren’t quite as off the cuff as the image is put out, but they have shown what can be done without the Comma way. It will be interesting to see if the acerbic line from Vic Marks is adopted by some of the media men. And as for Bayliss and Farbrace? Were they invisible during the tournament?
- Biggest disappointment at the CT?
AB de Villiers. It is hard to go off a cricketer like AB, but I am. He played like a drain in the competition and after a few crap hit and giggle games, is going to sit out the test series. If you are going to absent yourself from that form of the game, you’d better be damn sure that you make runs. After a quiet IPL, and now a really poor CT, AB is going to put his feet up while his colleagues try to keep their excellent record in England intact.
I’d also say Jason Roy, but by England getting knocked out, he got to play in the semi for Surrey and made 92. So not that disappointed!
- What’s your view on the Champions Trophy? Great or grating?
The format is pretty good, but then I am not overly wowed about “group games”. In fact I’d love it to be 16 teams and a straight knockout with a random draw, but that is hopelessly naïve, doesn’t guarantee an India v Pakistan game, and might mean one of the “Big 3” gets knocked out which, as we all know “ruined” the 2007 World Cup. So we have to make do with this format which gets the gig over with in 17 days. I’m not going to moan about venues, or weather or so forth. Ticketing at major sporting events is, by and large, a fucking joke wherever you go. Now, because India have lost, no doubt, there’s talk of scrapping it. England 2013 is credited with saving the CT, and now it’s seen as its burial ground. What a metaphor for the past four years of world cricket administration.
- Your favourite memory of CT17?
A few. For the first time in ages I heard two people, who don’t generally talk about cricket, commenting on the progress of the semi-final between England and Pakistan. That’s something refreshing. The game needs exposure, and it needs people to respond. Something, however small, to cling on to.
I didn’t get to watch a lot of this competition, for reasons explained a little in Saturday’s piece. What I did see wasn’t particularly memorable, so I will pick out being at Guildford on the 9th of June and hearing the news that Bangladesh were on the way to the next round as Shakib and Mahmudullah making hundreds. A great day watching county cricket, a lovely stream of news as Bangladesh made another stride forward. As I said, we need more teams to be at the top table, not fewer.
It wouldn’t be me, though, without a couple of moans. ICC events means the moron quotient when it comes to commentary is accentuated. While Ponting, Athers, Sanga and Brendon McCullum are nearly always worth a listen, the Warne / Slater axis, and the old stagers who don’t seem to be able to get sacked like Ramiz Raja make it a depressing experience at times. However, for all that, there was no Nick Knight, and at least Sky had Ian Ward introducing the highlights. BBC, in their infinite wisdom chose Ed Smith. Good grief.
I also got really bored with Twitter. That’s fine. I’m becoming more of a curmudgeon. Yes, that’s possible. I could go into great detail, offend many, bore most, but the quality of discourse is going downhill. If it weren’t for Innocent Bystander, I could go mad. I’ve muted a few, got annoyed at others.
Finally, the CT will be forgotten very quickly. It’s almost the League Cup of cricket, and I’m not even sure it is on that level. Well done to Pakistan. You may well have killed the competition off. You gave it a fantastic burial. Zindabad, or whatever.
So, what do you think? Answer the five questions in the comments below if you feel like it. Have a go at our answers if you feel like it. I couldn’t deal with the formatting, so put the answers individually.
Meanwhile, Chris sent a cryptic message to the questions. As he travels his way around SE Asia, and taunting us in the process, his response “GFRLF” is one I can’t decipher.
Well done guys for putting this out when I know you are very busy with other issues including work commitments. Especially in this weather as most people just want to be outside in the sunshine!
“People who know more about Pakistan cricket than me say that it’s clean now”.
I’d like to think so, but Sharjeel, Irfan and Nawaz didn’t miss this tournament because they were on holiday! It’s difficult because there are so many things to love about Pakistan cricket – but reading everything I could find about Bob Woolmer’s death (especially his supposed last email) has left a very sour taste in the mouth. Misbah seemed genuine, but he was not the only force in play and of course he’s now gone.
I would add they are not the only international team I’d have some suspicions about.
1 Pakistan what’s not to love?
Well quite a lot actually. I’m sorry, and I apologise in advance as this won’t be popular with many on here. To be honest given the choice between them and India I would go for Pakistan. But only because by default of the increasing arrogance of the Indian board.
There is no cricket country on earth that can produce so much young talent from nowhere as Pakistan. That has to be something those of us suspicious of coaching manuals, and team bonding sessions, and army assault courses must enjoy seeing. And yet………..
And yet it just shows what a shambles the Pakistan management are that they let so much talent go so often to waste. They were number 8 in the world for a reason. The reason being they were completely crap coming in to this event. Maybe that is just the nature of the beast. A bit like the old French rugby team. Sometimes crap, and other times unplayable? The roller coaster of genius to useless is too extreme. No wonder people get suspicious with their record of dodgy dealing when they can play like this.
I also have to say, and I know this is sensitive, but I really don’t like sport and religion mixing. I don’t want to hear about God after they have played. I’m not religious, so I always find it odd that people really believe that their God intervenes on their side. If there is a God I would have thought he would have a lot better things to do right now. This is not a rant about Islam. I feel just as uneasy if it’s a white Christian, with golden hair and blue eyed quarter back going down on one knee to thank god for his win. I find it particularly uneasy when we remember why Pakistan haven’t been able to play at home for a decade. It’s not because of atheists.
2 England? It is what it is. Same old, same old. I never bought into the idea that this was Comma’s great day in the sun. Why? Because I don’t believe his endless Bob the builder routine amounts to a row of beans. Players play, and coaches coach, and England’s change in style came form the captain before comma was appointed. But this is England, and the elite ECB, where the toffs get all the credit when we win, and non of the blame when we don’t. If we had won the CT the orgy of over the top claptrap eulogising would have been vomit like. As we did lose, Comma has skulked away without any comment.
3 Ticketing, but as the boss says its a constant rip off for many events. Corporate Ticket agents have become legalised touts in my view. And the administrators seem happy to have half empty stadiums if it means off loading the tickets in advance to people who don’t show up. (Ie ticket agencies) As to the cricket, SA a huge disappointment. The weather wasn’t great at the start, and the constant whinging from down under about the rain made me proud to be British! But most of all, we got almost no close games. Nothing that went down to the last over, and certainly the last ball. If this is how the World Cup will play out it may become the longest boring sporting event in history
4 Amazed we had the event again as we only hosted in 2013. Not sure how that happened? But it seemed to piss some people off. I also don’t like group stages, but what else do you do? They will never have sudden death. India HAVE to be in with Pakistan, and England HAVE to be in with Australia who HAVE to be in with NZ. The World Cup is going to be unending . At least this is done and dusted in a few weeks.
5 Highlights? The drummer getting knocked over at Cardiff in the Eng Vs NZ game by an advertising board was quite funny. In fairness it could have been much more serious. But he seemed to recover ok. So no damage done. Some of the runs outs have been top draw Marx brothers. It’s always funny when two batsman are running to the same end, and then pointing bats at each other. And once again seeing the Indian team prove they are not quite as good as their board think they are. (Be interesting to see if there are consequences for the ICC after this result) When will India play Pakistan again?) Oh, and seeing muppets moaning about the weather and demanding to know why this irrelevant little Island in Northern Europe was even being allowed to hold the event. Such was the anger and disdain you just knew they were clueless that this little Isle not only invented cricket but also 20/20.
Again I apologise if people are offended by any of this, but it’s just how I feel. No offence!
I know it is a bit late, but England (yes England) were the #1 seed for the 2015 World Cup – so take the rankings with a bit of salt please. Also, it is based on who you play against (and some teams do poorly against certain opponents, especially given the home and away nature of fixtures).
#39’s post-tournament podcast:
1) England don’t need to do anything differently, it was just one match. Nobody in management got a mention.
2) It was a joy how Pakistan threw 18 year old Shadab in and England should do the same. Buy shares in Mason Crane! That Fakhar is 27 wasn’t worth mentioning (let alone veterans like Hafeez).
3) #39 isn’t saying that the reason Amir was so successful was because he gave him some technical advice, but…..
There’s an interesting little snippet that Jason Roy was promised that he would be in the team for the whole tournament.
Selvey has a Middlesex podcast imminent for extreme masochists!
Are bowlers told they will be in the team for the whole tournament?
They backed Roy, and gave him the the group stages, and he didn’t deliver. His referral against Aus showed a man who was at sixes and sevens. Suppose they had kept him in for the semi final and he had failed again, but England had won? Would you then bring in JB for just the final? Top line Sport is about making tough decisions sometimes. Players must understand they can’t just expect to be picked no matter what.
He will have another chance in the future, but what message does it send when a player who is in form can’t get in. I remember when 39 and his chums were so keen to have players removed from the test team because of form. They are very selective on their selection polices.
#39 and his merry band of cronies try to sell the concept of city based cricket with only a token warning from George Dobbell. Berry talks about research again, but fails to offer up any meaningful insight into what research was carried out and to who, Again…
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I see some of the IPL owners are now buying up some of the teams in the SA 20/20 franchise.
I wonder if these corporate billionaires will be buying up some of the new English 20/20 teams? And I wonder if some of those who are pushing this new gold standard have any connection to these people or have been promised jobs in the various franchises?
It’ll be a monumental fuck up…..in my opinion
I see the lovely Virat Kohli has got Kumble sacked as Indian coach, yet hardly a word had been spoken.
I wonder what would’ve hypothetically happened if an English player had done the sa…Oh
It’s not easy for a captain not to sound daft about a defeat.
“If we’d played really well and still lost, and there was a crunch moment when someone let us down, that would have been a bigger concern”.
Morgan didn’t come particularly close there.
Liew also reports:
“England are seeking to organise a 50-over tri-series next summer, potentially featuring India and Australia”.
By the way, there’s an ICC meeting this week that could revolutionise the structure of international cricket. Guess who’s the only UK cricket correspondent to notice:
The plan looks a complete bodge to me (and I’m generally in favour of the idea of a Test championship).
Danny wrote: If world cricket was a film, India would clearly be the villains. They have significantly more money than everyone else and they use that to get their own way and screw over other countries whenever they can, especially Pakistan. My only disappointment with the result is that India even made the final.
I am an India fan. The boycott of bilateral cricket is in response to Pakistan’s continual sponsorship of terrorism in India, an example of which was the terror team that attacked Bombay in 2008, and killed 164 people. Though you haven’t said it, people talk about not mixing politics and sport, which is bullshit, by that logic everyone would have been touring apartheid South Africa. People also talk about why India plays Pakistan in ICC events and not bilaterally – well, not playing Pakistan in ICC events only hurts India, and rewards Pakistan for their policy of sponsoring terror.
Finally, you talk about India having more money than everyone else. Well, per capita it isn’t a lot, and India also has 25 test centers.
Some expletives come to mind and I am leaving those out of this post.
I see another of the great over rated sporting brands (probably the biggest) has once again crashed and burned this morning. Namely The British and Irish Lions. The over hyped clap trap that has been on the media this week takes hyper ball to knew levels of absurdity.
Endless lectures about “the shirt”, and “the passion” and replaying the big speeches of the past all was undone by basic skills. Is the concept of merging 4 nations for a few weeks even relevent today against the best side in the Wolrd?
An over Hyped, Money extraction model just met cold hard reality. I actually used to quite like the Lions tours. But they have turned into an enormous blimp like corporate jolly of the worst kind. Still time to turn it round I suppose. But will the Lions win the next two test matches? If they do, then the hype will go inter Galactic!
Haven’t been here a lot recently since starting in a new job a month ago and been completely swamped. I do however enjoy the discussions whenever I can find time to read through. Well Done and keep it up.
Even as an Indian fan, I can rejoice in the success of Pakistan team in CT.
Sure, I didn’t like India losing the final, but it was a game where Indian team were thoroughly outplayed. Indians didn’t show up. Or weren’t allowed to. Either way, I might be disappointed by the result but it was a good show by the Pakistani team. Well Done Indeed.
There was a time when Pakistan was a better cricket team than India.
It had better bowlers, and for all surfaces and most conditions. They also had a bunch of talented batsmen including Inzi, a long list of decent multi skilled players like Afridi, Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood. They were good to watch and be emotionally invested in, even if they would let you down once in a while because they weren’t the most professional lot.
Oh, and they had a phenomenal supply of young talent.
That time however, is long gone. They are no longer the top team, hardly have good young batsmen coming through and the bowlers lack the class of old. They do however, seem to be more disciplined.
However, none of the above has anything to do with India or Indian cricket board.
Lest one forget, Pakistani players played in the opening season of IPL. If they haven’t played since, it isn’t exactly BCCI’s fault. The political relations between the 2 nations haven’t been great.
The terror attacks have not been forgotten.
The antipathy has continued to exist.
And, Pak cricketers haven’t done themselves any favors by spouting nonsensical, religious, anti India rhetoric.
One needs to look for an old video of Sohail Tanvir mouthing such stuff, who was part of the Rajasthan Royals to really understand why the IPL teams wouldn’t want a toxic environment by bringing in the Pakistani players. Comments of those nature, aren’t easily forgotten by people across the border and the players would be heckled mercilessly.
If BCCI can still be criticized for not picking Pakistani players in IPL, it hasn’t stopped them from being picked in other leagues, where they thrive. So what has BCCI done against them? Not much.
If there is no cricket in Pakistan, it is not because of BCCI.
Sri Lanka were always going to find it hard to go back after their bus was attacked and players shot at. But not even Bangladesh is prepared to visit for a full tour, let alone England or the Aussies.
No one is doing Pakistan cricket any favors. Not the Pakistani administration; not even the players some of who continue to get involved in the shady parts of the game.
Most Indians aren’t big fans of BCCI either but they can’t be faulted for working hard on their product – Indian Cricket. BCCI tries to drive a hard bargain – that’s their job. I can’t fault them for that, even if I don’t always agree with the rationale the provide or with their inability to see the bigger picture at times.
So Danny (as above), why pin your dislike for India or BCCI on what they (don’t) do to Pakistan?