England vs. West Indies, 2nd Test Preview (and a bit of rant)

After Dmitri’s short but brutally accurate report of the last Test, I’m not too sure about what more can be said that hasn’t been already. Let’s make this clear, this is a colossal mismatch between one team who are the have’s and another team who are without doubt the have not’s. It’s like signing up to watch Anthony Joshua fight Big Mick from the local pub, people aren’t necessary going for the entertainment more for the morbid spectacle that they know that this will become. It is of course, very easy to blame the West Indies for the mess they are in. The WICB is so corrupt and incompetent it makes the ECB look like the model of sobriety, as not even the ECB has managed to alienate every single decent player in their domestic scene;  as we know the ECB just alienate those that whistle when they get out and aren’t from the right type of family. It is of course, easy to blame the WICB for the calamitous position that the West Indies finds itself in and of course a decent proportion of the blame must be attributed to them; however I think it would be fair to say that outside factors have also played a major part in the West Indie’s sad demise.

If you haven’t read Tim Wigmore’s excellent piece in the Independent then I would strongly suggest that you do – http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/england-cant-ignore-the-role-english-authorities-played-in-killing-test-crickets-competitiveness-a7905706.html. Now the West Indies might be a special case here; after all, they haven’t won a Test away in England since circa 2000 and have won precious few elsewhere away from home (the last major away game they won was against SA in 2007 – thanks D’arthez). However if we delve a little further into the poison pit that is International cricket, then it’s not just the West Indies who are desperately clinging to a sinking raft. If I were to ask you which team have either got better or stayed particularly competitive since 2014, what would your answer be? India, Australia, England – anyone else?? Oh and why do I ask this question, well as we know 2014 was the year that the Big 3 decided to carve up cricket’s finances between themselves to ensure their survival at the expense of every other cricket nation, so I think you might know where I’m going with this. If we place England, India & Australia in Tier 1 (as at least they haven’t got appreciatively worse, though it would be fair to argue that none of these three has made massive strides), then if we look at Tier 2 (those who aren’t yet in perpetual demise) and Tier 3 (those that have fallen off the lifeboat into the choppy ocean), then I think that this gives us a more rounded view of where International Cricket actually is:

Tier 2

  • South Africa – Still competitive, but under threat as their fast bowling unit is getting old and they have lost too many players to Bransgrove’s Kolpakshire amongst other predatory counties
  • New Zealand – Still punching above their weight, but losing McCullum as captain was a massive blow. Still able to surprise the big 3 from time to time, despite big quality gaps in their batting order.
  • Pakistan – Can still put together brilliant performances on their day, but I fear for their batting having lost Younus & Misbah.
  • Bangladesh – Best side they’ve had since they became full members, but no-one wants to play them, which is a real shame.

Tier 3

  • West Indies – See above. Their best batsman is 43 and playing for Lancashire. This team would struggle in Division 2 of the County Championship
  • Sri Lanka – Currently being smashed around by India, they also recently lost to Zimbabwe. The days of watching Sangakkara & Mahela bat as well as Murali bowl, must seem like a lifetime ago now.
  • Zimbabwe – Hardly ever play, still as corrupt as ever.

As you can see this is far from a pretty site, yet the ICC still continues to re-arrange the deckchairs whilst the Titanic is sinking. Who cares about 4 day Test matches or pink balls when in a few years time the only ones playing it will be England, Australia and India as Test Cricket will have died everywhere else. Apologies that this is a little gloomy, but this is the reality and it’s clear that the ICC can’t even manage this decline effectively! Still there’s always the 50 or so T20 leagues that you can watch if you really want to see the same hit and not too many giggles cricket.

Ok slight rant aside, as for the next Test itself, England will naturally go into this as massive favourites. In a slightly strange and I do feel a very harsh move, they have dropped TRJ for Chris Woakes. Now I’m absolutely not advocating that Woakes doesn’t deserve a spot in the line up as he has been extremely consistent over the past year and is highly talented with the bat and the ball; however with a packed winter ahead and facing a weak opposition, surely it would have made more sense to give one of Broad, Anderson or Stokes a blow. Now of course, these players might throw a little tantrum about being dropped when there are easy runs/wickets on offer, but surely we learn nothing by having these bowlers face a paper thin batting line up; however such is the England way, they let the fear of a backlash from certain untouchable individuals within the team cloud their judgement on what is the right decision with the squad for the Ashes in mind.As for the West Indies, they must surely hope that the Headingley pitch is some kind of minefield to bring the two teams closer together, because if it plays like it did at Edgbaston, then I can’t see anything other than another 3 day Test.

Oh and one last thing, as Colombo might say, I had an extremely interesting exchange with a certain individual who was clearly a fan of the ex-England captain, on Twitter last Thursday. Now I’m not going to give this individual any further publicity, as I’ve regularly seen some fairly sane individuals turn into rage’oholics who froth at the mouth the moment anything remotely critical of Cook is written by anyone. I’ll leave these here for your enjoyment:

‘I’m astonished that some whose blogging career is devoted to skewing Cook’s stats is calling a plain stat skewed’ (For the record, it was highly skewed stat based on a certain batsman over circa 10 games, 3 years ago)

‘Go back to trying to prove Alastair Cook’s useless whilst he sleeps on a big pile of runs’

    ‘Imaging devoting an entire blog to hating Alastair Cook.’

    ‘I’m planning a big BOC subtweet when Cook reaches his double ton’ (he didn’t, I guess he didn’t find any to back up his position)

      So now we’ve progressed from being a bunch of KP fanboys to being accused of spewing hateful bile about Alastair Cook, I wonder what will be thrown against us next. It’s BOC’s fault that Test Cricket is dying? It’s our fault that global warming is ruining our world? It’s our fault that Brexit happened? The possibilities are just endless. Perhaps if the media did their job and took an objective view of Cook i.e. putting his achievements into some sort of perspective and instead stopped writing meaningless hagiographies, then we wouldn’t have to be the lone voice of sanity in a world where this is rarely so.

      So as I read it, those of us that have the temerity to question Cook’s place amongst the International elite are now classed as Cook haters, with nothing else to do but spew angry bile about him! Does this also apply when I question or criticize other England cricketers? I have written critical stuff about Root, Moeen, Broad, Anderson & Woakes amongst others in the past, but I don’t generally get people screaming at me on Twitter when I do. Of course, there are those that point out that we write about Cook more than others and yes it’s true, because people are interested in reading about him (much like a certain individual a few years ago), after all if I spent most of my time writing about Chris Woakes, it’d be a pretty dull blog (I don’t care if I upset Chris Woakes as he has already blocked me on Twitter for some unknown reason). The sad thing is that the schism that Dmitri wrote about in early 2016 is still very much prevalent in 2017, but of course we are the ones with an ‘agenda’. For the record, I posted this on Alastair Cook a while back and nothing has happened to change my personal opinion since then – https://beingoutsidecricket.com/2016/01/29/guest-post-dont-blame-it-on-the-sunshine-blame-it-on-the-ecb/. I’m not sure it screams incandescent hatred, but I’ll leave you to decide on this….

      Anyway, I’m bored about writing and going over the same things about Alastair Cook, so I’m simply going to refer ‘people’ back to the above article when the next brain dead moron suggests that our whole editorial policy is based around our hatred of Cook.

      And with that nonsense out of the way, feel free to comment on the game below:

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      29 thoughts on “England vs. West Indies, 2nd Test Preview (and a bit of rant)

      1. d'Arthez August 24, 2017 / 5:51 pm

        The West Indies won a Test in the UAE last year. Admittedly, it was a dead rubber, but still.

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        • d'Arthez August 24, 2017 / 5:52 pm

          And that is of course excluding Bangladesh, whom they beat in 2012.

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          • Sean B August 24, 2017 / 5:59 pm

            Sorry meant in England. Will change…

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        • d'Arthez August 24, 2017 / 6:13 pm

          West Indies last won a Test in England in 2000. It was the first one of the series.

          The other away Test West Indies won against good opposition was in 2007, in South Africa.

          Sorry to be nitpicky …

          Like

          • Sean B August 24, 2017 / 6:17 pm

            Serves me right for not checking properly. I wrote the piece in my lunch hour whilst trying to do a proposal. It definitely shows I can’t multitask….

            Like

      2. Mark August 24, 2017 / 6:53 pm

        I think it’s really funny that your “stalker” is so bothered with what this site has to say. If we are all such idiots why does he read us? Probably because he knows deep down that however much he wants to belive in his man/God there is a cricket Darwin lurking in the bushes telling him that it is all fake.

        As to the WI second test match, and the state of cricket outside of the big 3 this is what the suits wanted. They wanted cricket to become a business. Problem is… what’s is great about top level sport is uncertainty. Business doesn’t like uncertainty. It likes certainty. And it is very good at rigging everything to ensure that it gets the certanty he wants. Oh and it likes muppets who can’t see the wood for the trees.

        To be honest I’m staggered people are prepared to pay good money to go and watch this shit show. Just goes to prove that you really can sell anything to anyone if you have the right strength of bullshit. (Sorry public relations) Maybe that’s why your stalker gets his knickers in a twist.

        If I was a cynical sod I might suggest that this is exactly what they want. Why have the WI back if this is the best they can do? The test competion is slowly being abolished. Soon there will only be a couple of competitors left. How very business like it all is.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sean B August 24, 2017 / 7:02 pm

          I invited the stalker onto the blog to state his case, although funnily enough he swerved the offer. Must have been skewed!

          Yep I’m in total agreement with you, I was offered a free ticket to the Saturday at Edgbaston but turned it down because I couldn’t be arsed to travel up and watch a one sided excuse for a Test.

          I’ll be interested to see the turn out at Headingley, put it that way…

          Like

      3. LordCanisLupus August 25, 2017 / 6:28 am

        Just thought I’d let people know that I’m taking a break for a while from the blog. Regulars know that this happens once or twice a year and it doesn’t generally last too long. Chris, Sean and Danny will look after you I’m sure.

        Like

        • Rooto August 25, 2017 / 7:15 am

          Man hugs and best wishes for a speedy return, LCL.

          Like

        • Mark August 25, 2017 / 8:53 am

          Hope all is well!

          You certainly won’t be missing any test cricket. There is none going on in England at the moment.

          Like

        • SteveT August 25, 2017 / 12:57 pm

          Get that long run marked out!

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      4. pktroll (@pktroll) August 25, 2017 / 7:52 am

        There’s a lot of work that can be done on ‘skewing’. I recall Dmitri’s fine work from a few years ago on Ian Bell and how his record looked far less stellar when you removed his runs v Bangladesh. I used to wind up a Kallis fan who lauded his man as the greatest all-rounder of all time when I pointed out that you only needed to remove his help yourself wicket v Banglas and Zim and his bowling record looked far less spectacular (raising it a few points well into the mid 30s). Of recent times Adam Voges of course stands out far more prominently when a few big unbeaten innings v Windies inflated his average way beyond where it truly belonged.

        Like

      5. Mark August 25, 2017 / 9:02 am

        How many of the Queens finest (Mickey Mouse) runs will Cook score in this dog and pony show? How many would Bradman score? According to the peanut gallery these men walk in the same Pantheon.

        300? And will the media inform us we are not worthy to be gazing upon such genius? Probably because hardly anyone will be watching.

        Like

      6. "IronBalls" McGinty August 25, 2017 / 11:00 am

        Oops…oops…26/2…. World order, is, at last, restored!

        Like

        • BoredInAustria August 25, 2017 / 11:18 am

          Sat down for a sandwich and opene up OBO … 37/3
          Though WI were batting…

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      7. Rooto August 25, 2017 / 11:19 am

        I’m enjoying listening to this bowling performance. Good decision to give Roach that 8th over – got Stoneman.

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      8. Miami Dad's Six August 25, 2017 / 11:48 am

        Name 1 good side with a shit slip cordon? It’d be one of the few things this bunch could work on and improve easily.

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      9. SteveT August 25, 2017 / 12:56 pm

        Malan gone. Over to you again lower middle order! Much better bowling from WI. But again diddly squat from 2 3 or 5.That top order is a major problem.

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      10. Grenville August 25, 2017 / 12:56 pm

        #NoVacancies

        Like

      11. thelegglance August 25, 2017 / 12:59 pm

        Got to love all the media panic about the top order for the Ashes. Of course, the way England toss players aside they never mention someone like Ian Bell. Oh but he’s not had a great summer of course, and someone with 5,000 runs at over 40 is never going to do as well as the New, Exciting England…

        Like

      12. SteveT August 25, 2017 / 2:09 pm

        Root gone for 59. Shall we have a sweep on who mentions the conversion rate first!

        Like

      13. Sean B August 25, 2017 / 2:57 pm

        Well this is going well. Still no vacancies in the middle order??

        Like

      14. d'Arthez August 25, 2017 / 3:24 pm

        I still maintain that it would be surprising if England won by less than 200 runs or an innings.

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        • d'Arthez August 25, 2017 / 4:46 pm

          Okay, the innings win looks like a bit of a long shot …

          Like

      15. man in a barrel August 25, 2017 / 4:28 pm

        Do there seem to be gremlins in the pitch? The forecast suggests it is warm and dry, which usually means a good batting surface at Headingley.

        Like

      16. oreston August 25, 2017 / 4:55 pm

        Not a great batting performance from the England top order (quel surpris!) but let’s see how Windies go with their chance. I think the eventual fate of this game will be all but decided by tea tomorrow and will probably involve England converting a first innings lead into a victory in under four days… again. Hope I’m wrong because these uncompetitive games where England win despite gaping holes in the batting unit are getting a little dull to say the least (but I can’t help feeling they’re going to get absolutely slaughtered when it comes to the Ashes…)

        Like

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