The Blame Game


It’s been less than a week since what can only be described as a disastrous Test match for England. This coupled with the fact that England have now lost 6 of their last 8 Test Matches has seen the once compliant media turn into circling vultures around the team. Dmitri came in off his long run on Tuesday and covered many of these points with deadly precision, so naturally I don’t want to cover old ground; however once the dust has settled and people have regained their decorum, it does need to be examined why England are in a continuous cycle of mediocrity.

As we have covered in previous posts, the condemnation came quick and fast, after all this is no longer an Alastair Cook team so it’s game on for the hacks, but the two that particularly caught my eye were the reactions of Nasser Hussain and George Dobell, with 2 thoughts on completely different sides of the spectrum.

Hussain was quick to put the boot into county cricket, which is not too much of a surprise considering he probably rarely watches it, stating:

The lads that are coming in aren’t doing anything for them – they won at Lord’s because of Joe Root, not Jennings, Dawson or Ballance.

“You name some lads who have come in – [James] Vince, [Ben] Duckett, [Gareth] Batty, [Zafar] Ansari, [Alex] Hales, Ballance – there is no-one coming in and doing well. “It is a sad indictment in county cricket that they are getting runs there and not for England.” 

Dobell took another line and was keen to understand what Bayliss was actually doing to address these problems:

Bayliss has clearly pushed an ‘aggressive’ mindset (remember his comments about wanting two “attacking-style batters in the top three”?) but, without knowing the red-ball ability of his options – he admits he has never seen Mark Stoneman, outstanding candidate for top-order promotion, bat in the flesh – he has instead tried to turn limited-overs talents into Test players. Jos Buttler was recalled to the Test team despite having played one first-class game in a year and, as a result, being given no chance to correct the faults that led to him being dropped; Alex Hales was promoted to Test opener and Liam Dawson has been selected largely on the grounds of being a ‘good bloke’. By such criteria, Nelson Mandela would have opened the batting for South Africa for 50 years.

Bayliss isn’t much of a technical coach, either. The players refer to him as “a man of few words” who leaves the technical work to others and is more interested in creating a positive, settled environment in which the players are able to perform to their optimum.

That’s important, of course. But if he doesn’t have much say in selection and he doesn’t have much say in coaching, it does rather beg the question: what does he do? If he’s just creating a relaxed environment, he could be replaced by a couple of scented candles, a yucca plant and a CD of ambient whale noises.

 It’s not that I wholly disagree with either of these quotes, it’s just that I think they fail to see the long term issues that England have glaringly had and have been swept under the carpet for so long now. It is easy to have a knee jerk reaction after another England collapse, but it’s far more positive to take a step back at properly look at the underlying causes rather than throwing mud at anybody not named Alastair Cook.

If I look at Hussain’s comments around County Cricket, I feel that he has taken the easy route of assigning blame without doing much research. We all know that County Cricket isn’t perfect, but then show me any national set up that has the quality of domestic league to keep churning out Test quality players (the Australian Shield Cricket in the late 90’s and early 2000’s was the exception rather than the rule). We are also in an era where cricket has become a marginal sport, so to try and find circa 540 professional players across the counties who all play at a high level is mission impossible. Of course it could be argued that by merging counties or introducing 3 divisions (the latter of which I’m actually in favour of) to increase the quality on offer is a nice idea, but even the counties aren’t stupid enough to vote themselves out of existence. This is verging on Mission Impossible. Hussain also argues that players coming through the counties should have had their techniques honed by playing County Cricket, and whilst it is a lovely idea, it is not exactly practical. The County coaches are under as much pressure to win as with any other professional game, so they’re not exactly going to take Ballance or Vince aside when they are plundering county attacks to work on their technique on the off chance that they may get recalled. It would be lovely if they did, but that is purely a pipe dream. It is also worth remembering that the counties often work on a shoestring budget, so they’re not exactly in a place to be able to employ the best coaches in the system and if they did so, then they would probably have to sacrifice players, robbing Peter to pay Paul in other words. Whilst we can all agree that County Cricket isn’t without fault, to lay the full blame on it’s doorstep is lazy journalism in my opinion.

The same could be said about laying the blame fully at the door of England’s coaches; after all they can only work with those who have been selected to play for England. Whilst of course there can be a portion of blame assigned to Bayliss, who fully admits that he doesn’t have a working knowledge of County Cricket (though that doesn’t mean that he can’t watch videos of every English player) and appears to foster a culture whereby there is a lack of accountability amongst the players; it would be foolhardy to hump the blame completely onto his back. Could Bayliss be more forthright, yes certainly and could he stop using phrases such as ‘positive brand of cricket’ (up there with ‘difficult winter’) absolutely yes, but it does feel slightly that his Australian upbringing has upset one or two of the media corp. There are questions around his backroom staff, which Dmitri pointed out in his last post, such as what does Farbrace actually do and why would you employ a batting coach, who was known to freeze in the Test Cricket arena? These are valid questions, but my view is that the England coaches should only be there to tweak techniques and mindsets and not have to start from scratch with players who aren’t either ready or good enough for Test Cricket. My question would be why are we having to pick players with poor technique or subject temperament in the first place? Surely there is a failsafe within the system to guard against this? Yes is the answer; however it is failing in its very basic goal:

According to the Lords website:

Loughborough University has a long tradition and is world renowned for its role in the development of sporting excellence. It is a key site for the new English Institute of Sport – and the ECB’s National Academy. The MCCU allows additional support to be invested in a squad of elite young cricketers, who benefit from Loughborough’s expertise and provision for the development of sports performance.

The Cricket-specific facilities and services are reinforced by access to Loughborough’s wider provision of high-performance sport support services, including fitness testing and development, technical analysis of skill acquisition, physiological and biomechanical analysis, sports nutrition, sports psychology, and sports medicine services.

Loughborough has been a failure on an immense scale. It is the place where aspiring fast bowlers and batsmen go to have their technique ripped apart and changed to what the ECB coaching manual dictates and to be turned from exciting young cricketers into ECB corporate drones. After all, we know that as long as you say the right things and suck up to Mr. Flower, then a Test place is all but guaranteed (more on him a little later). The crux of the matter is that we are not producing enough players of a high enough quality to play Test Cricket; we’re not drilling into them the mindset of protecting your wicket, batting time or bowling line and length instead of promoting the so-called so-called ‘X Factor cricket’. The basics seemed to have been replaced with how fast can you bowl the ball and how far can you clear the boundary by, which is nice for hit and giggle cricket but leaves players totally ill-equipped for the longer form of the game; hence the phrase positive brand of cricket now being bandied about, which roughly translates as our batsman have no clue on how to defend against quality bowling.

So then we dig a little deeper and shine the light on the two individuals who have the keys to the England Development Programme, Andy Flower and David Parsons. There has been very little written about David Parsons, England’s National Spin Bowling Coach, and that’s just probably the way that he likes it. Parsons has been England’s spin coach since 2006 and how many international class spinners have we produced since that time, yes you guessed it, a big fat zero (Swann was playing County Cricket long before Parsons was appointed). This is a clear example about how the ECB rewards those that are ‘inside cricket’ irrespective of the aptitude of said individual. If I had been in a job where I had one task but failed to deliver on it, then I would have been out of a job an awfully long time ago, but there Parson’s is, clinging onto his position for 11 years whilst contributing virtually nothing during this time, no doubt he’ll be knighted soon. My thoughts on Andy Flower are well known, I wrote a piece last year about his tenure with the Lions – and very little has changed since then. Flower has never had a particular aptitude of bringing through young cricketers, with only Steven Finn bought into the England set up under the age of 27 (Trott and Bresnan were extremely experienced county operators by this time) and clearly values good personality rather than talent. England are still criminally under utilising the Lions in the red ball format, which is madness, considering this should be the very vehicle where England’s aspiring Test players iron out their techniques, test out their temperaments and play against high quality players. It would naturally be impossible to mimic the England set up, but surely it’s not past the administrators to organise 4/5 red ball games a year for those that have been identified as next off the cab rank?? Surely Director Comma understands that the very definition of madness is doing the same things again and expecting a different outcome? The fact that we have consistently seen white ball cricket favoured over red ball cricket constantly rankles with me but it appears that this decision has come from the top.

We could also easily blame the selectors, whom many of us believe should have been sacked straight after the India tour and some even before that. There have been too many selections where they have tried to put round objects into square holes or have completely misjudged an individual’s readiness for the Test arena. The balance of the side has looked completely wrong for a while now and they continue to jettison those who don’t fit their mould as personified by the media luvvies (see Rashid, Carberry, Compton etc). The fact that James Whitaker still has a job is like the ECB is playing one massive practical joke on the rest of England, hell I’d rather have John Whitaker making the selections.

It is clear that many elements could be blamed for England’s consistently poor decision making and massive inconsistency in the Test arena (though one could argue that losing 6 out of 8 Tests isn’t inconsistency and just the sign of a poor side); however there does seem to be one constant running through all of these gripes. Yes, our purported savior, the Director, England Cricket.

Now many might say that it is unfair to put the blame squarely at Strauss’ door and some will even go further and say that I am purporting an agenda against Strauss, and whilst it’s true that I have little time for Strauss, the one common element is that all roads lead to him. Graves is being kept in a cupboard under the stairs, only allowed out to wine and dine the County chairmen, Empty Suit is too concerned with the TV deals and the Cockroach is still trying to infiltrate the ICC, so that really only leaves us with Director Comma. When appointed, Strauss’ supposed remit was:

Strauss, will will be responsible for “the long-term strategy of the England men’s cricket team” and for developing “the right coaching and management structure to support it”.

Strauss knew that Bayliss was more of a white ball specialist when he appointed him and that he had very little knowledge of county cricket; however it still seems that the key to Strauss’ appointment was to push the white ball game and to ensure a certain South African born player wasn’t picked. If Strauss didn’t know that Bayliss was a hands-off coach, then that is a damning indictment of his research and judgment. Strauss is also in charge of the selectors, so why has there been no accountability with bust after bust coming from Whitaker and co? Any fool could see they’re not up to the job, hell I would make Peter Moores chief selector, he might not be able to coach at International level, but he was the most successful in bringing young cricketers through to the England set up. I would certainly remove Flower from any formal or informal position on the panel, a conflict of interest there most certainly is, but whether Director Comma actually has the cohones to do it, is another matter.

Another damning aspect of all this has been Strauss’ insistence that white ball cricket was more of a focus across all of the age groups, very much at the detriment to the red ball game. We can of course question the mindset and attitude of England’s Test batsmen, but when they and the next generation are not being given proper exposure to the red ball game early in their career against high quality players, then of course we leave ourselves open to being undercooked at this level. It is astoundingly incompetent to have the Lions playing 6 red ball games over a 3-year period, with an England Test line up crying out for new talent. Whilst it would be unfair to directly apportion blame to Strauss for Loughborough’s consistent failure, it doesn’t appear that he is too keen to do much about it, after all that’s Mr. Flowers remit and one doesn’t go about sticking his nose into Darth Mood Hoover’s ‘oeuvre d’art’.

So what have England actually achieved in Director Comma’s tenure, we have a white ball team that is better than it was but still hasn’t won anything, a Test team with the same glaring holes and lack of talent in the system as we had in 2014, which makes it impossible to make England a constantly competitive Test Team, oh and a new domestic T20 competition that nobody wants. It wouldn’t be unfair to surmise in my opinion, that in the three years since Strauss took over as Director, England Cricket, English cricket hasn’t moved forward an iota and that for me is the most damning statistic of them all.



73 thoughts on “The Blame Game

  1. d'Arthez Jul 20, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    Brennan should be Bresnan.


  2. Mark Jul 20, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    Never mind James or John Whitaker, we might as well have Roger Whittaker whistling Durham Town. (One for the teenagers) I have thought for some time now that Whitaker is nothing more than a human Shield. He is there to give the impression that we have a “independent” selectors panel. But time, and time again when a player gets picked it’s leaked out that Flower rates him. Or likes his attitude. WTF has it got to do with him?On the occasions when this doesn’t happen, strange stories start appearing in the media about how a player doesn’t fit in. He’s odd, or he’s too slow, or whatever. This is usually followed by an exit of said player. So the selectors seem to be over ruled by someone else. The Essex Mafia? Strauss stands by and does nothing. Useless.

    I wrote a line in a post below….about how the Lions play in front of 5 men and a giraffe. ( I quite liked that, but nobody else did.) anyway, the point is how does Lions cricket challenge a players big game temperament? Hardly anyone watches, so is this any more challenging than a packed crowd for a 20/20 match? (Apparently we have picked Malan on 20/20 and being box office) so perhaps we should give up on this notion of fast tracking players straight from the Lions into Test cricket. Surely the point of the Lions is to advance and help young up and coming players? Not be a filter to weed out those that the cabal don’t like the look off. In fact, I think the appointment of Flower as Lions coach is a national scandal. He has no record of finding young players, and I question what he is doing in this role? Youth development is a skilful job, and is not a job for mood hoovers.

    But there is a bigger problem in all this. Test match cricket is slowly ebbing away. And the powers that be can’t wait to replace it with 20/20 cash registers. You can’t set out to create a new breed of 20/20 players, and then complain when they can’t bat for a 100 overs. The 20/20 drunks (sorry punters) want non stop 4s and 6s. You can only do this on flat track belters. According to Nasser test cricket needs to be played on pitches that take spin from day 2 and have up and down bounce. 585 plays 550 is not what the young fans want. So pitches offering plenty to bowlers, and batsman who can only attack looks like creating lots of 3/4 day test matches. Perhaps there is method in their madness after all. Isn’t this what they really want?


    • Sean B Jul 20, 2017 / 7:59 pm

      All good points and difficult to disagree with any of these. The Lions should be the breeding ground for aspiring players, but it’s still being treated as an afterthought. A 3 day match here and there does no one any good. The Lions should play 2 four day matches against the touring teams each season and whilst crowds will continue to be on the low side, why not offer a free ticket for anyone with a Test ticket for that series on a first come, first served basis?

      Completely agree with comments about Flower, another job for the old boys!!


      • SimonH Jul 20, 2017 / 8:16 pm

        I wanted to go to the Lions’ matches in Worcester in 2015 and again this year – but ended up not going to either.

        The NZ game was turned into a XIV a side nonsense; this year’s match lost most of the first day to rain and the pitch was such a road it would have been like watching the nets.


    • hatmallet Jul 20, 2017 / 8:12 pm

      I went to see the Lions last year in Cheltenham, as part of the annual cricket festival, and it was well attended. Not sure if it’s the same when they play at Northampton or Worcester.

      From the team on that day, four players are in the Test. Malan got a low score. Dawson was poor. Wood excellent. TRJ decent but obviously slower than Wood (as was everyone!).

      I like the idea of it and it’s good that the pathway exists. But odd that they are struggling so much when stepping up to Tests.


    • Benny Jul 20, 2017 / 11:07 pm

      I liked the giraffe!


      • Mark Jul 21, 2017 / 8:54 am

        Cheers Benny!


  3. SimonH Jul 20, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    Anyone know what’s happened to Switch Hit?


  4. Milano Expat Jul 20, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    I do find it a bit sad that county cricket is always to blame when things go wrong. I was a Sussex member for 20 years and loved every moment of it. The fact that county cricket survives on a shoestring is testament to its longevity. I was lucky enough to catch a day at the Sussex v SA A game in Arundel whilst I was back in Sussex visiting my daughter and grandchildren, and whilst the standard wasn’t exactly Test level, it was still pretty good comparative to what I’ve seen many years ago.

    My question would be as to whether the growth of 20/20 now mortally hurt the player’s ability to play proper Test cricket?


    • Sean B Jul 20, 2017 / 9:02 pm

      Hi Milano,

      I thinks it’s a bit easy to place the blame at T20’s door much like I feel the same about County Cricket.

      T20 has without doubt had an effect on the type of players coming through the system, but every other cricketing nation faces the same challenge. It is still very possible to have a lucrative career as a Test specialist in England..


      • thelegglance Jul 21, 2017 / 9:59 am

        The one thing I was reminded of when you get the “It’s all T20’s fault” argument, was how the same thing happened back in the late 1980s. Then it was one day cricket to blame, and commentators would spend ages on analysing batsmen bringing their bat down from gully rather than straight while saying it was all the fault of the short format.


      • d'Arthez Jul 21, 2017 / 10:21 am

        England and Australia are the exception to the rule. Even Pujara, India’s only Test specialist makes decent money, but nothing in the league of say Alastair Cook (who won’t feature in other formats). Don’t think Australia have Test only specialists (Renshaw?). So it is difficult to compare.


        • Deep Purple Fred Jul 22, 2017 / 7:28 pm

          Technically, Australia doesn’t have any cricketers at all at the moment.


          • quebecer Jul 22, 2017 / 9:15 pm

            Like back in the mid/late 80s then.


  5. Mark Jul 20, 2017 / 9:34 pm

    I did find this amusing in the piece about Westley. He went to Worcester……

    “We were at the Graeme Hick Pavilion, and there’s an 18-foot great picture of Hick there, so I asked Dan Lawrence if he knew who it was. He just grinned and said, ‘I do not have a clue’.”

    An indication of how old I’m getting when the young don’t know who Hick is. Hick is to the modern generation what Tom Cartwright was to me.


  6. pktroll (@pktroll) Jul 20, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    I certainly started to feel that a few fingers deserved to be pointed at Strauss after the way that the Lions only had white ball games in the UAE while England were the other side of the Arabian sea last winter. That meant that there was precious little opportunity to have relatively match hardened reserves on hand. That jaunt made me think that little care and attention had been given for thinking about the test team’s development.Nothing has happened since then that could have changed my mind on that front.

    This has now been exacerbated with the clearing of the decks over the first couple of months of the summer for the national team to play white ball cricket, while domestic players then had a situation that they would be playing white ball stuff/hit and giggle as the test match summer came into gear. Strauss’s remit was apparently to look at Loughborough as well but it appears to be jobs still for the boys. By the time the counties emerge for the rest of the first class season, the Windies series will be upon us and that won’t really teach us too much at all. My one prediction is that Cook will fill his boots then, the media will fawn and then Cook will fail in Australia badly, as will England.


    • Sean B Jul 20, 2017 / 9:39 pm

      Agree with all of this. The Cook redemption tour could end badly indeed..


      • oreston Jul 21, 2017 / 11:00 am

        At the moment I can’t see it ending any other way than Difficult winter Redux. Probably the best chance of not meekly surrendering the Ashes is if the dispute between CA and their players results in the Aussies literally not having a first choice Test team (which is unlikely – there’ll be some brinkmanship and then a deal will no doubt be magically done). No, I think we’re well and truly stuffed. If I’m honest, it’s going to be difficult even to care very much – and responsibility for that that will be mostly on the administrators.


  7. quebecer Jul 20, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    Just wanted to say how happy I am for Malan. Coincidentally, Gary Naylor and I were both at a game ages ago when Malan burst on the the scene with an astonishing hundred, and Mouth and I later agreed that we’d never seen a young English batsman hit the ball so well before.

    I have friends in and around Middlesex and I was so struck by Malan when I saw him, I’d always ask about him. Apparently the terrible trough he got in to in after his initial success was almost fatal to his whole career, but by all accounts he worked incredibly hard to get through it, always somehow clinging to the belief he could succeed. It’s pretty much four seasons in a row now that he’s found consistency (I think that’s right?) and I just love seeing a player in any sport work through the hard times and come out the other side.

    Very much hope he plays (and that’s just as much to do with us finally moving on from the ridiculous 6 bowlers approach), and would just love him to succeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B Jul 20, 2017 / 10:43 pm

      That wouldn’t have been the Middx vs Lancs game at the Oval by chance? I was there too and thought we’d blown it at more than one point.

      Malan has shown great fortitude to fight back from a terrible couple of seasons after that feat. I really hope England treat him with the respect he deserves. Slotting him in at number 8 would the worst of all outcomes. The guy has terrific talent and needs to bat top 5…


      • quebecer Jul 21, 2017 / 2:15 am

        lol Certainly was. We were 4 down for not much, weren’t we? All the cool kids were there, it seems. Except for Naylor. He was never cool.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Deep Purple Fred Jul 22, 2017 / 7:27 pm

          Well I wasn’t there, so there goes that theory.


    • Sean B Jul 20, 2017 / 10:46 pm

      No way near ‘a doos’ according to those in the know supposedly…


  8. Julie Jul 21, 2017 / 1:45 am

    Strauss has always been under Flowers influence, from the days Strauss was captain and Flower was coach. I don’t think anything has changed. Flower says “jump” and Straussy says “how high”.Don’t know why Flower has so much control over ECB but he has and he has cost England cricket dearly over the years.Who will stand up to him????


    • oreston Jul 21, 2017 / 11:06 am

      He must have some very incriminating photos (or videos/phone messages/texts/emails etc.) stashed away somewhere. It’s the only explanation…


  9. quebecer Jul 21, 2017 / 2:32 am

    It’s possible that some might remember BTL back when it was what was, that I might have said one or two things about Moores as coach. But can I just say how wholeheartedly I agree with the idea of Peter Moores as a selector? Or even chairman of?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean B Jul 21, 2017 / 5:21 am

      Oh, well we all remember that 😉


    • thelegglance Jul 21, 2017 / 10:01 am

      Peter Moores may not have been a success as England coach, but he has more dignity and honour in his little finger than most of the ECB combined.

      Liked by 1 person

    • oreston Jul 21, 2017 / 11:13 am

      Agreed – I think he might make an ideal selector. He definitely has the knowledge, gravitas, experience of working with young players and a finger on the pulse of the county scene. Which of course means he’ll never be considered for such a role.


    • quebecer Jul 21, 2017 / 4:54 pm

      Actually, having said that, I think that Westley and Malan are tow of the least and least head-scratching selections for ages. They’re both experienced pros now, got themselves as sorted out as they can, have shown consistency over a good period of time, and have impressed at other levels in the England set up. It’s a good time to select them.

      Stoneman is unlucky and in my opinion a much better bat than Jennings, but you cant have it all.


  10. SimonH Jul 21, 2017 / 8:12 am

    Whatever else they disagree on, the Dobell and Hussain articles have one thing in common…. Flower is the invisible man. Successful new players are not coming through and the man whose very role that is (at a reputed 300k p.a.) isn’t even mentioned! There is room for someone to write a long analysis of the very, very strange grip Flower has over the English press corps. Unfortunately, it needs an insider who has seen what goes on to write it and they are all part of the problem. I can’t think of any UK national team sporting coach who has been so immune from critical analysis in my lifetime.

    I’d have to include Dobell in that. Dobell deservedly has considerable regard for criticising Giles Clarke when it was a risky thing to do. Even he has Tweeted his support for Flower returning as Test coach this week – and if that was Newman or #39 we’d be all over it. I don’t think Dobell has ever published an extended critique on Flower’s time as coach (not a hatchet job – just something that gives the case against a decent airing) and he certainly hasn’t done so about Flower as chef of the Lions. Dobell has been critical of Loughborough but even there Flower is something of the invisible man (whereas Dobell has mentioned Kevin Shine specifically and critically, for example).

    As for Strauss, the media utterly failed to put his “priority” for white-ball cricket under proper analysis. What does it mean? Is it a good idea? These were questions nobody was asking. We all know why that was. St. George had slain the dragon and could declare tiddlywinks was now the priority without anyone asking any awkward questions. Now it’s all going pear-shaped, the press box are casting around for scapegoats but aren’t getting further than the human firewalls set up for just this eventuality (i.e. the selectors). They could start by looking at themselves.

    Liked by 3 people

    • nonoxcol Jul 21, 2017 / 9:43 am

      I wish I could like this post 50 (5-0) times. Paragraph 1 is the primary reason I’m here, and paragraph 2 is the sin that dare not speak its name, common even to those press people we generally like.

      There’s more critical analysis of Shakespeare, Churchill and MLK than I have ever seen about Andy Flower. Ramsey, Woodward and Brailsford have all copped a lot more from the sports press than he ever did or seemingly ever will.

      It disgusts me still.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jul 21, 2017 / 9:43 am

      When KP was captain, and wanted Moores sacked the ECB had to decide which side to back. If KP was right then Moores had to go. If Moores was right, KP had to go. The ECB came up with a novel approach of backing neither. Instead they sacked both of them. Moores because KP was right, but KP had committed the cardinal sin of speaking truth to power. He didn’t know his place. So he went out the door as well.

      In came Flower (the batting coach) and Strauss was elevated to captain. Interestingly they had refused to give Strauss the captaincy in 2007 for the Ashes tour that also turned to shit. (The Warne, Ponting McGrath redemption tour.) Instead they gave it to Flintoff believing he could get the best out of his mate.

      We will never know how much “lobbying” was done behind the scenes to install the dream team of Flower and Strauss. Were they talking behind the captain and coaches back about a take over? We will never know. Flowers power increased from results. (as Selvey likes to point out) But was that because Flower was a great coach? Or was it because he lucked out and came in just as a number of good players emerged? It’s the old chicken and egg of sport….players vs coaches? Which comes first? And do good teams really need guru coaches. The 2007 ashes was won by the Aussie players. Warne certainly didn’t have any time for the team building treks out into the Austrailan bush.

      In England we are obssesed with leadership and the people at the top. We are a top down society. We still have a Royal family that we are told we must look up to. Bosses must get paid huge salaries because they are geniuses, yet when it goes wrong they are never held to account. Look at bankers. A manager who starts to win is treated like a god. So the media follow along like sheep. Did we win in India because of Flower or was it Cook and KPs batting combined with Swann and Montys ability to out bowl the Indian spinners? But who grabbed all the credit? Selvey was telling us again this week that it was Flower.

      In this culture a kind of God like guru status starts to take hold, (see BBC 5 live show on the eve of the 2013/14 ashes tour. A 2hour special with Flower where he waxed lyrical about all his planning.) funny they never had him back for debrief.

      Flower lucked into a position which just happened to coincide at the same time as an England team had a number of good or very good players come together. It also has to be said at the same time the major opposition went through lean times. An aging Indian team, and an Aussie team that was recovering after the greats all retired. His record of bringing youngsters through as coach of the lions has been diabolical. Nasser had a rant about all the new picks of the last few years that hadn’t made it. But he doesn’t join the dots. That would be to close to home.

      Finally, a what if conspiracy theory for you all…..If you wanted to keep Flower running English cricket…… without appearing to be running English cricket what would you do?…. Answer….You would create the very management structure, and then insert the very personal that currently officially runs English cricket. Mission accomplished!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jul 21, 2017 / 9:55 am

        The last paragraph should of course read personnel not personal. Bloody spell check!


        • Benny Jul 21, 2017 / 12:26 pm

          Exactly my thoughts on Flower. A man with no previous experience of coaching a side gets the top job! That was indeed the time when some of the finest opposition players retired or faded away. How lucky was that.

          Agree too that leaders in this country seem to receive unwarranted respect – and get away with it. Same cause and effect as with cricket. We’ve had to put up with a PM holding a snap election to reduce her majority, banks losing money for the first time ever, an airports authority whose main electric plug falls out, railway companies running a worse service than 60 years ago, a failing main Brighton hospital that goes through CEOs like England goes through opening batsmen.

          Back in the 70s/80s, there were fears this country would suffer a Brain Drain because the rewards and opportunities for talented professionals were better overseas. I reckon it happened.

          Apologies for being so negative but it’s clear that the big issues are down to lunatics taking over the asylum and excellent blogs like this naturally emerge to point out the emperor is wearing no clothes.

          Solution? Either a Revolution or the appearance of a Churchill, Alf Ramsay or the 2004 Duncan Fletcher to inspire and do things well.


  11. SimonH Jul 21, 2017 / 9:16 am


    “The only thing that has stopped Mark Stoneman from making his Test debut next week is probably the fact that he is left-handed”.

    Nothing to do with Flower not having run the rule over him, then?

    “[England] had to take into account how exceptional Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander are against lefthanders”.

    Guess what a quick check of Philander’s career record reveals? Virtually identical records against RHBs and LHBs!

    “England have been struggling to find the right opening partner for Alastair Cook and their best No 3 since Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott departed”.

    Strauss and Trott started to decline quite some time before they “departed”.

    “England are right to stick with Keaton Jennings because he is in his infancy as an international cricketer and the bad old days of chopping and changing after a couple of failures have gone”.

    Hussain himself was selected (in 1990), dropped, went away and got better, recalled (in 1993). So were a heck of a lot of players back in the day. So were a heck of a lot of players in other teams (every one of the great Australian batting line-up of the 1990s was dropped early in their career except Mark Waugh – who ended up with the worst record). Some players do benefit from this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Jul 21, 2017 / 10:27 am

      Some do indeed – but the irony is that chopping and changing is exactly what England have done over the last couple of years, which is precisely why we’ve gone through so many opening batsmen. Would any new player in the England line up feel they have time to bed in? I doubt it.


      • SimonH Jul 21, 2017 / 11:10 am

        I’m not at all convinced that being selected for 7 or 8 Tests and then being dropped forever is a better selection model than being picked for 3 or 4, taking time out to abosrb the lessons and improve, and then being recalled.

        But then perhaps I’m scarred by the formative experience of Bill Athey…..


        • thelegglance Jul 21, 2017 / 11:14 am

          It always depends on the individual. But as a general policy, selecting someone for a tour and then dumping them forever is the worst of all worlds.


        • Mark Jul 21, 2017 / 11:45 am

          I think what they wanted to avoid….. quite rightly was the one or two test wonder. There were too many players who suffered that fate. Sometimes it’s unavoidable if you have a number of injuries and the 4th choice has to step in. Then by the next test others ar fit again.

          Its that 4th-7th test match if you keep failing when the pressure comes on.


  12. BOZ Jul 21, 2017 / 9:19 am

    An epic insight
    here’s my contribution:-

    Some of you may remember ‘The Beiderbecke Affair’ – a funny tale of two teachers who become involved with local corruption, fraud and each other. Well, it seems I’m about to follow a similar path. My local cricket club have moved premises to about a mile from where I live. The club had to move from its town centre venue due to the purchase of their land by property developers. The plan was that 300 new houses would be built much to the delight of the local council. Two years on and there are no new houses.

    In the last year the cricket club has built its new ground with a couple of pitches, a changing room/ club building that is not exactly up to MCC requirements and parking for about 20 cars for players, umpires and personnel. The entrance is off a single track country lane routinely used by local farm vehicles, large transportation trucks from the local soft fruit farm and considerable through traffic for motorists. There appears to be no parking for fans other than on the single track lane with all the obvious problems that will incur. Still, nevermind because the chairman of the cricket club was also the deputy chairman of the local council and all will be well. There were no problems getting the necessary planning permission. Local objections about parking, for instance were not even considered. This was a ‘done deal’.

    Several restrictions were imposed as part of the operation of the club. One was that there could only be ‘licensing for ‘club’ events meetings, management meetings etc. Within days of opening the club is opening its doors to ‘public’ events that appear to be totally contrary to its licensing terms. The county council, unaware of this until recently, have now written to the club to explain themselves. I’m sure that the chairman with his two years experience of being on the council will be able to resolve matters because, after all , he sorted the sale of the original cricket ground and the development of the new cricket ground as well as built all the (none) houses for local people and he has contacts you know! This story isn’t finished ….

    There is no regard for local people here – their concerns were dismissed despite claims by the cricket club to want to talk to local people (they didn’t). There is not a lot of concern for the game of cricket here because individual legacies are far more important. What is mildly amusing is that the county council is as corrupt as the local council. It would be nice to walk along on a sunny afternoon and watch a local game, have a picnic maybe and chat to local people and even enjoy the cricket – bear in mind I was head-hunted, once, 40 years ago by a team who were desperate to make up 11 players just to play in a local league match. Under the current terms I do not want anything to do with it. Corruption is not just rife at the top it is rife at the bottom as well. That’s why I will not spend any time or any of my hard earned following cricket – I have been robbed of something important to me and nothing has been done to address the theft.

    As a footnote the latest public event, a quiz night, has been mysteriously postponed

    Liked by 1 person

    • oreston Jul 21, 2017 / 4:03 pm

      This story makes me think of a certain well known county ground which I live quite close too. It had a new pavilion built six years ago (under pressure from the ECB to upgrade facilities in order to retain its longstanding international status). Some of the finance for the project came from a £20 million loan from the local authority (which, it has to be said, could hardly afford it in view of the state if its services these days). As part of that deal, a row of 12 rather nice Edwardian detached houses running along one side of the ground were compulsorily purchased. This was in the face of organised local opposition and legal challenges from some of the homeowners. It took several years for the county cricket club to force the last of them out and cost the club bad publicity and large amounts of money as each of the families concerned of course had to be rehoused. The land wasn’t actually needed for the redevelopment of the cricket ground (it’s not even on the same side of the ground as the pavilion) but rather the plan was for a shiny new mixed use development – apartments, shops, leisure facilities – to be built to bring in revenue to help the club pay down its loan to the city council. A full six years on from all that blood and treasure being expended, that same supposedly prime development site is… an occasionally used car park.


          • Sean B Jul 22, 2017 / 9:16 pm

            Luckily for Warks they have an amenable County Council, unlike Durham…


          • oreston Jul 23, 2017 / 2:45 am

            I imagine Warks. Must be among the more indebted counties, albeit they do enjoy the involuntary largesse of the Council Tax payers of Birmingham. The compulsory purchases I mentioned above must have cost them several million £ at least – so far for little discernible benefit to anybody (unless you count the lawyers). It caused a lot if ill feeling and of course distress to those who lost their homes so that Warks. could end up with a ludicrously expensive-to-acquire car park, without which Edgbaston had coped (if admittedly not always well) for decades. Not that the temporary (?) car park has the capacity to make a decisive difference anyway, but it only gets any significant use at all on a handful of days each year if the international cricket circus comes to town.
            Will the site ever be developed as planned? Will the Council ever see its loan repaid? Answers on a post card please, but in the meantime it’s quite literally not cricket…


          • man in a barrel Jul 24, 2017 / 8:53 pm

            I wrote this back on Feb 17th

            Warks declare fixed assets of £36.8m, totally off the scale for this size of income statement. How on earth did they amass so much in the way of fixed assets – the major single element is given as Pavilion Development at £31.1m?

            A quick scan shows that they have taken on loans of £21.6m. Most of it is a loan from Birmingham City Council repayable starting from March 2017 at 5% interest. It is secured on the freehold land and buildings owned by the club. Just to cover the interest on this loan would require profits of £1.1m – which would come close to wiping out their EBITDA. As it was, they charged interest of £1.4m and depreciation of £1.4m, so there was no profit left over.


  13. AB Jul 21, 2017 / 9:38 am

    The much derided team of the late 90s that were ranked rock bottom won 47% of their series (1996 to 2000) against some of outstanding teams Australia, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa.

    The much acclaimed team of Andy Flower that were ranked 1st won 50% of their series (2011 to 2015), against much weaker opposition.

    Statistically our best period as an international team was actually in decade 2000 to 2010. After that it started going downhill rapidly.


  14. SDHoneymonster Jul 22, 2017 / 9:03 am

    ‘… with only Steven Finn bought into the England set up under the age of 27.’

    Have my doubts about Flower’s continued employment as Lions coach but this is just either lazy research or outright lying. Of players who’ve continued to feature under both subsequent coaches since Flower was sacked it was Flower who handed out first caps to Bairstow, Ballance, Finn, Root, Stokes, Taylor and Woakes, after all, all of whom were under 25 at the time of their Test debut, and there’s the spine of a decent team in there. My criticism of Flower was never that he lacked an eye for talent, he just didn’t seem to be able to create an environment in which it could flourish (fairly damning that it was only Root out of that lot who established themselves under him, for example, although Stokes and Ballance only debuted in his final series as coach). I think a lot of the reason the Lions are underused is that the counties hate them – they can accept losing players to the Test side when games clash but I remember a lot of people complaining that Lions games took players out of important Championship games and weakened the competition when they were more numerous, and nowadays they’re hardly a proper second string at all because as a compromise the selectors try not to pick too many players from one particular county even if they happen to be the strongest team in the land. The people to blame for a lack of red ball cricket for the Lions aren’t the ECB as much as the counties themselves.


    • d'Arthez Jul 22, 2017 / 10:25 am

      You could also have mentioned Borthwick. Okay, admittedly he did not get picked again after the difficult winter.

      The only one other than Finn, who has had more than 1 or 2 Tests to prove themselves, before the difficult winter was Bairstow, who got the gig as a replacement for the underwhelming Morgan. Taylor was an emergency call up in the South Africa series (first replacing Bairstow, and in the next Test replacing Pietersen, due to d**s-sage), and did not feature under Flower again. Woakes got all of 1 Test under Flower. Covering for an injured Anderson, I think.

      That is like crediting some of the selectors in the 1990s for having given a debut to players who went on to have decent international careers, and ignoring how little these debutants got to play, or how many discards there were among the debutants. Or that they were simply playing as cover for experienced players, who had sustained injuries, or were otherwise unavailable. (Woakes for Anderson in 2013, Ballance for Trott in 2014).

      Which also begs the question: were Ballance, Stokes, Woakes and Taylor (among others) not ready for international cricket? Were the incumbents better in their various roles than these players? Or was it that the coach simply was incapable of improving the team? And if the latter, then the question is: why?

      As for the counties and red ball Lions cricket, I think you have a fair point.

      But then again, the ECB does not give much about the integrity of the Championship (case in point: last year, deciding game between Middlesex and Yorkshire). And since the ECB basically gives subsidies (to the tune of 2 million a year / county; which is more than the wage budget), they can easily stipulate some conditions. If they had any interest in that.


    • Sean B Jul 22, 2017 / 4:37 pm

      Hello SDHoneymonster and welcome.

      You are right that certain individuals were given debuts under Flower. You are absolutely right about Root, for some reason I thought he was a Moores pick; however out of the others that were mentioned, none of them were regulars in the side, coming in for the odd Test or two before being dropped.

      Finn and Root were the only regulars under the age of 25, if you take away the players rushed in for the difficult winter. Apologies I wasn’t clear about this in my piece.


  15. d'Arthez Jul 22, 2017 / 10:02 am

    Meanwhile CA is trying its hardest to get itself in a position in which it is forced to cancel the upcoming tour of Bangladesh. Well done.


  16. Deep Purple Fred Jul 22, 2017 / 8:02 pm

    I think maybe you’re all overreacting a bit. This blog had lots of reason to be angry when Flower was rampaging, the big three heist was going on under the radar, the team culture was dubious, Giles was being Giles, Cook was being beatified, and KP was getting shafted. Since then, English cricket has improved alot, and although results are modest, they’re not that bad. Would you rather be WI, or SL? England should count themselves lucky, Australia can’t even get a team on the field at the moment.
    England sucked at ODI’s. So they put the focus on that, and now they’re pretty good, but inevitably Test cricket has suffered a little. And now you’re complaining about that? Make up your mind. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
    England’s doing fine. You’ve got some decent talent coming through from what I can see.

    But I did have one question, I thought England discovered a great opener in India called Habeeb, who got his hand broken on the tour, why wasn’t he selected for SA? And also, didn’t Rasheed the spinner do quite well in India, why wasn’t he selected against SA, and another spinner was?


    • quebecer Jul 22, 2017 / 9:23 pm

      Hey Fred. first question a lot easier to answer than the second. Haseeb Hameed (careful there) came home from the tour and post injury simply hasn’t been able to buy a run in domestic cricket. Given his age, it was reasonable not to throw him in in such circumstances. It won’t be long though.

      Second question is really the question, yes. The official line was that they liked how Dawson offered control (debatable whether this is in fact true) and in that way was a better partner for Ali who cold then have more freedom to attack. The combination of Ali and Rashid didn’t work in India, that’s for sure, although many would say that wasn’t really Rash’s fault.

      And there’s the idea that Rashid has a face that just doesn’t quite fit, too. I’m not the only one who thought that the fall out of the India tour would mean Rashid losing his place, and nor am I the only one who thinks he’s lucky to have done so. One of the problems now though is that there isn’t any four day cricket on for him to impress in. Tough to get back for Rashid amor no on, in my opinion.

      Hope you’re well, me old china.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Deep Purple Fred Jul 23, 2017 / 11:21 am

        Thanks for the response Quebecer. I though Rashid did OK in India, I musn’t have been playing close enough attention. It can be complicated with leg spinners.
        That’s odd regarding Hameed, but as always a good debut doesn’t predict what will happen next.
        Amor no on, that’s what I always say too.
        (Um, no one loves him?)


    • SimonH Jul 23, 2017 / 8:22 am

      Fred, I can understand that England’s woes seem fairly trivial compared to the CA dispute, but you’re not far off “not at a low ebb” there!

      “Flower was rampaging, the big three heist was going on under the radar, the team culture was dubious, Giles was being Giles, Cook was being beatified, and KP was getting shafted”.

      Flower is in large of the younger generation, still seems immune from proper scrutiny and a comeback is not beyond imagining; the international revenue and power distribution is stil grossly inequitable (the England players who put on that shit-show at TB were still paid 8x as much as the SA players; team culture is a little better but Compton and Rashid still happened under current management; Giles is our man at the ICC; Cook is being beatified!; KP remains a great open wound (they still need to produce a charge sheet of what he did – or sack those responsible and apologise).

      “Would you rather be WI, or SL? England should count themselves lucky”.

      England have resouces beyond those team’s wildest imagination. Should Man City consider themselves lucky if they are mid-table but doing better than Watford and Burnley?

      “England sucked at ODI’s. So they put the focus on that, and now they’re pretty good, but inevitably Test cricket has suffered a little”.

      Nobody asked England fans if they wanted this focus. What does it even mean? The teams have not really separated for example, because they keep picking white-ball specialists for Tests! They remain mid-rankings and have lost ODI series to all the teams above them except NZ. Really, they look mostly flat-track bullies of weaker teams.

      “England’s doing fine. You’ve got some decent talent coming through”.

      With England’s wealth and population, the teams should be camped in the top three of the rankings. The Test team should usually win at home and be competitive away; the white-ball team should win perhaps 1 in every 3 or 4 ICC tournaments. It’s still a significant under-performance. There is some talent out there but so there should be and there are still significant gaps (spin, No.3 batsmen, don’t forget the paucity of English coaches either).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Deep Purple Fred Jul 23, 2017 / 11:36 am

        OK, points taken. My take on it was probably because I don’t feel the fortunes of English cricklet as viscerally as others here, for obvious reasons. I just had a general impression that things were heading in the right direction, along with some inevitable hiccups.

        I’d only contest the point about KP, I don’t think it’s a gaping wound, except on here. I know you’re going to hate me saying this, but people have moved on. Of course, England could use him right now, he hasn’t been properly replaced, but there’s no discussion of that happening.

        I’d also add a further point which I forgot before, Selvey has left the Guardian, so a source of arrogant and poisonous commentary has gone, leaving the Guardian in a better state.

        England paid 8x the Saffers? Bloody hell I didn’t realise it was such a gap. It’s true, England should be getter more bang for its buck, it’s got everything in its favour: money, Loughborough, a county game that attracts overseas players, history, a dominant voice at the ICC, cricket grounds everywhere.


        • thelegglance Jul 23, 2017 / 11:43 am

          Most people have long moved on about Pietersen himself, but I suspect the point was more about the dislike and contempt for the ECB that remains, partly because of the clear contempt the ECB has for anyone else. I’m not sure that’s changed at all because the ECB haven’t. It’s not about Pietersen himself, that’s done.

          Selvey has reappeared on the Sky Sports website 😉


          • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2017 / 12:49 pm

            If you don’t think KP is still a gaping wound, check out Twitter on Friday night. It’s not about him playing for England any more – we all know that ship has sailed. It’s about something else. About if you don’t hate him, there’s something wrong with you / if you don’t respect him there’s something wrong with you. I’d love to see the correlation between those who said on Wednesday that he was faking injury to avoid fielding and on Friday saying he was being selfish by playing injured. ECB didn’t lance the boil, they put it in putrid water and now it’s poisonous.

            I hate the inference that it is just us. Look at the newspaper pages each time there is a KP story. Check out how many clicks/comments they get. Check out the hits on Twitter, the anger etc. Check out those who complain on here that I am obsessed, and did so on their Twitter feeds, and then look at their discussion with TalkSport about the same bloke. Check out the abuse he gets on Twitter. It’s anything other than just “on here”.


          • Deep Purple Fred Jul 23, 2017 / 4:06 pm

            With all respect Lupis, and that’s not a glib statement, I mean that, twitter is a very poor measure to use, and newspaper comments not much better. I don’t use twitter in a way that would expose me to KP sentiment, so I decided to go look at what you describe. I did indeed find people being rude to KP. So I looked at what else they tweeted. Here’s a few examples:

            “omg you are so ugly wayne. Wayne you need to retire you no good at football no more you ate to many pies. You r no Manchester United legend”
            “You taking the fucking piss shut up you tool”
            “Why aint pietersen in the side? Oh yeah hes just a monru grabber”
            “Fuck off you African prick, be gracious in victory and when defeated.”

            If you look into the sewer, you know what you’re going to find.

            It’s true though the ECB didn’t close that out, I was really looking forward to see the dossier of 50 things he did wrong, or was it 50 pages, I don’t remember. And Cook’s “all will be revealed in due course” statement. I’m surprised the ECB got away with that.


        • Mark Jul 23, 2017 / 2:30 pm

          KP was the final straw that broke the camels back of discontent many had with the ECB that had been bubbling up for years. He was the symptom not the cause.

          A whole range of issues, from test match pricing, tv rights, the bidding process for test cricket, growing the game, 20/20, captaincy, coaching, chief executive pitches that last the whole 5 days, and a dishonest media that does not cover cricket, but propagandises on behalf of the governing body.

          In their determination to remove one player they showed they were prepared to lie, smear, riddicule any one who didn’t argree with them. They even created a dodgy dossier to make their case. In addition they have covered up for 4 years the incompetence of an England captain rather that admit they may have got things wrong.

          KPs departure may have been nearly 4 years ago, but the same problems have been dished out to a whole bunch of players who have also been maligned, smeared, leaked against, and dropped for no apparent reason. People may have “moved on” from KP (although if you see the hatred his selection for Surrey, I doubt it) but what caused it has not changed.

          A new KP will not be selected in this current England set up. Individualism of thought is not welcome. That is the terrible real legacy of the whole shoddy affair.

          Liked by 1 person

  17. SimonH Jul 23, 2017 / 11:02 am

    “The selectors’ inclination is to follow the Trevor Bayliss mantra: “I’d rather give someone one Test too many than one too few.” In fact, this is not guaranteed to do the player concerned any favours, especially if he is out of form. The more chances given – as with James Vince last summer – the harder it is for that player to get a recall down the line. Moreover, being dropped then becomes a traumatic experience rather than an occupational hazard”.

    Vic Marks (in a generally splendidly acerbic article) putting the case against the continuity fetish rather better than I was able to on a recent thread.


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2017 / 1:16 pm

      The selectors’ task is far from easy. There is no red-ball cricket going on, a situation which will be exacerbated further in 2020 when two T20 competitions will squeeze championship cricket even more to the two ends of the season. Not to worry; the game will be much wealthier.

      Much more of this and I’ll offer Victor a gig on here.


  18. LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2017 / 1:11 pm

    There is an excellent article on the R&A attacking the BBC for their coverage of the Open, justifying sending it to SKy, while having the Beeb as a broadcasting partner (pointing out the highlights show is watched far more than the live coverage).

    The best bit is the finale.

    “There is plenty to admire about Sky’s output. Their use of technology, not just at majors, eclipses anything the BBC was doing. Multi-platform coverage is valuable in an era when it is seriously difficult to get youngsters to sit for five hours in front of a television watching golf.

    There is detailed insight from the series of former professional players they use as pundits and the on-screen tips offered by those participating in the Open are the kind of thing amateur golfers are fascinated by. At a base level, Sky’s commitment throughout any given season is worthy of credit.

    Nonetheless, the glaring lack of journalistic critique tends to exude the strange idea of a world where everything is perfect, where no player can do any wrong, where rule-breaches are always accidents and tournament officials are the salt of the earth.

    Everything is rather chummy and in-house. This isn’t the kind of approach, thankfully, taken towards other sports. In fairness to the BBC, their oft-criticised parachuting in of commentators and pundits from across the sporting spectrum loosens shackles in regard to honest comment.”

    I recommend reading the whole thing.


    • Mark Jul 23, 2017 / 2:48 pm

      I love the way the R&A come up with a whole range of excuses to avoid just admitting they got a shed load more money. It’s hardly surprising the highlights package will grow as its the only way many people can watch. Many sports now just want the dosh, and are relaxed about reduced audience figures.

      The Sky coverage is good, but very saccharine. Its better than than their Ryder cup coverage which can sometimes become deeply embarrassing.


      • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2017 / 3:06 pm

        The BBC’s highlights for the Open that Rory won at Royal Liverpool is among the worst sports effort I have ever seen. It was on the red button only. It was a mixture of Andrew Cotter flying over the course in a helicopter, or Ken Brown chucking balls onto the green, interspersed with a few shots from the day. The BBC got very lazy with their coverage. On quality, at times, they deserved it.

        There is something very off with Sky having the Ryder Cup in my view, but I know I’m in a minority. The BBC stuck with it, and then made it what it is in the Seve era, and Sky took it over. But they should never, ever, be forgiven for not staying with the coverage for Kaymer’s second shot to the 18th at Medinah and going to an advert break. The sort of thing terrestrial TV would be carpeted for, but not a peep from anyone.

        Going to be interesting what the BBC do with USPGA. It’s being played at a course that Rory McIlroy takes apart regularly. The inference is that BBC might get back the whole of the Masters….


        • Mark Jul 23, 2017 / 4:01 pm

          “The BBC got very lazy with their coverage. On quality, at times, they deserved it.”

          I am afraid so! The BBC lost the plot when they tried to push a social agenda into everything they do.,Leave sport alone. Just cover it with good people. Don’t try to be my mate or pretend that this is the greatest ever, ever ever. When they sent Garth Crooks to the Masters, and shinny toy doing Interviews. You knew they were near the end.

          Look at how they now just put celebrities on radio 2. Nobody is allowed to be individual. Everything has to scripted. It all seems so fake. Where the BBC used to feel more natural, now it seems forced. Remember when they created that trendy Wimbledon evening highlights show that bombed on its arse? People hated it. Change for change sake. Some clever dick producer making a dogs breakfast of it. the salaries for presenting are riddiculous. I don’t care if they can get more money elsewhere, you can’t tell me somebody else can’t present match of the day for half the wages Liniker gets. He brings no expertese to the job. He has pundits on to give an opinion.

          Their old presenters are now dying off, or retiring and being mostly replaced with ex sportsman and celebrities. Whoever thought Chris Evans could take over Top Gear was a moron. I bet they haven’t been fired for that decsion.


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