Is It An Horrific Dream, Am I Sinking Fast – The 4th ODI

Another ODI, another piece masquerading as a preview. We’ll get to the 4th ODI later, to be played at the home of English international cricket (accept no substitutes, there can only be one first venue). We need to consider other matters before then. So first, a list.

Gary Ballance

Alastair Cook

Mark Stoneman

Rory Burns

Liam Livingstone

Ben Foakes

Ollie Pope

Tom Westley

Jason Roy

Dan Lawrence

Nick Browne

Sam Robson

Alex Davies

Jonathan Trott

Dawid Malan

Jimmy Adams

Steve Davies

Ian Westwood

Stevie Eskinazi

Ian Holland (An Australian born in America but with a British passport)


All of the above have, at the beginning of this set of fixtures have better averages than James Vince, who has suddenly become the consensus pick for the Ashes squad. Obviously some are already in the squad, while others are a bit on the young side, and not obviously overseas players. James Vince averages 34.82 in the CC Division 1. But there’s more. Good players play in Division 2. The standard is lower so….

Let’s give the cut-off point at least 5 runs per innings more in Division 2, so basically anyone over 39.9. Those in bold average 10 runs more than Vince.

Luke Wells

Samit Patel

Joe Denly

Sam Northeast

Daryl Mitchell

Riki Wessels

Paul Collingwood

Alex Hales

Chris Dent

Chris Cooke

Darren Stevens

Joe Clarke

Cameron Steel

Steven Mullaney

Ben Duckett

Andrew Salter

Jack Taylor

Jofra Archer

Matthew Critchley

David Payne

James Weighell

Billy Godleman


I might need to check a couple of those to check they are England qualified. It’s a long list, and with some test reclamation projects and multi-faceted cricketers in there.

According to Nick Hoult, James Vince has earned his place because “Trevor Bayliss likes him”. James Vince is our Marcus Trescothick. James Vince is our Michael Vaughan (and no, let’s not go there, although you sometimes wonder). Our punt in the dark. Which would be great, except we’ve seen him before and it wasn’t all that. A flashy little cameo and night night outside the off stump. Vaughan showed resilience in an iffy first series, Tres hit the ground running. Vince did neither.

Back again – but with four more test centuries and a CC1 batting average than James Vince

I’ve heard it said, by pundits and outside cricketers alike, that the Ashes is no place for rookies. Those wet behind the ears would be shark bait for the baying Aussies, the partisan crowds, the pressure that comes with it. Pity no-one told Ben Stokes that last time down under, eh? Sure, it would be lovely to have a settled team, and with pressure for places based on form and run accumulation. But we seem to be really keen on the magic beans approach to picking players. How Haseeb Hameed has been talked up when making just 513 runs at 28.50 this season, and that’s an improvement due to a couple of late season half centuries. But James Vince hasn’t even had the test career Hameed has had, where at least the young lad’s temperament and innings building had international quality. Hameed is a better punt than Vince, even if they play different roles. The selections, almost 20 years ago of Vaughan and Trescothick are always held up as examples of outside the box thinking. It’s like an inveterate gambler, always telling you about the big wins, and not the mass of losses he incurs day in, day out.

Better CC1 average than James Vince

By the time the 4th ODI starts at The Oval, the Ashes squad will have been announced. I’m actually quite excited for it, and want 23 November to come around pronto  (that is also Thanksgiving which means I get a day off! We might do an OBO that night, for at least the first session) as I still love test cricket and I think we’ve had a nice two years without an Ashes series. The teams are interestingly matched, both with flaws, but with home advantage it is going to be tough to beat Australia. I think, weather permitting, we’ll get five results. The selection will dominate talking points while the fag end of the English season plays out with two ODIs that I’m not even sure the players care too much about.

So what is there to say about this series that Sean hasn’t already said in his third ODI preview, or I have banged on about in the past few days? This is not cricket with context, it is cricket to fulfil a contractual obligation. It is cricket to give a channel something to show, that they have paid for. It is cricket to perhaps buffer your stats, and with little consequence in failure (although Eoin Morgan might not be a secure as he thinks – the ECB don’t forget Eoin). It is cricket for cricket’s sake, and there is no bad impacts on defeat for England. You’ll have to ask the West indies about their commitment to the cause.

You have to laugh at the double standards of many of those commenting in our media etc. If an English player treated fielding and running between the wickets like Chris Gayle we’d be seeing “good journalism” all over the place, “his cards being marked” and “disinterest” in abundance, and yet he’s treated like a deity and a clown by those interviewing him and commenting on his play. Jimmy Anderson, in his commentary stint, wasn’t standing for it, and for that he gets a plus mark from me.  Aren’t the West Indies supposed to have the same standards as England? Gayle is a brilliant batsman – two test triple hundreds, remember – and while at the crease a fearsome presence, an amazing talent. But off field behaviour is nothing now. On field lack of commitment is part of the circus. I’m not going any further. You know where I’m going and I can’t have those old timers rolling their eyes and saying “not him again”.

So enjoy the 4th ODI, if you like that sort of thing, We’ll be back to take you through the Ashes squad, with a couple of guest pieces, and all sorts of other things in the run-up to the end of November. Oh, I forgot, and something for the 5th game at Bransgrove Dome. On finishing 28 hours from October. It’s progress. It’ll be a four day test in October before you know it.

(Song lyric title – honestly, the next song on the Ipod Shuffle as I was writing this).

Better average than James Vince

And after I put this piece to bed, packed off, completed and scheduled for publication, the news broke about Ben Stokes. Instant reactions are not much of a help, but you do have to wonder what happened to the “no dickheads” rule, eh? I’ve just stuck Sky Sports News on and they’ve said he will be packed for the Ashes. Fine, and no problem with that, but I don’t want to hear any moral high ground stuff from the ECB or Team England in the future. They might do something meaningless but moral in stripping him of the vice captaincy, showing some “strength” but it’ll just be funny watching Comma squirm.

Oh – and it’s funny how that story never broke, eh?  Shows they don’t leak when they don’t want to.

Comments on the game below which gives Jason Roy a chance in place of Hales. Good luck Jason.


119 thoughts on “Is It An Horrific Dream, Am I Sinking Fast – The 4th ODI

  1. Rpoultz Sep 26, 2017 / 6:21 pm

    Strauss said the squad would be picked for cricketing reasons alone as they normally would do….hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha


    • jennyah46 Sep 26, 2017 / 8:07 pm

      Ok. I’ll give you that.


    • oreston Sep 26, 2017 / 10:45 pm

      “Form and fitness” was his phrase, in describing how the selectors are briefed to pick the squad. Not quite sure how the semi-fit bowlers, who’ve appeared for England with alarming regularity in recent times, satisfy those criteria. As for the batsmen, it’s interesting that a former test opener doesn’t consider “technique” to be equally important. On the basis of county form (independent of any other considerations) Gary Ballance would be on the plane in November and expecting to slot back in at no. 3 – but we all know it wouldn’t work out.


      • oreston Sep 27, 2017 / 1:08 pm

        …and of course he IS on the plane. You couldn’t, as they say, make it up! Maybe his third (fourth? fifth?) coming will be the one where he scores three big hundreds and almost single handedly secures the urn. What odds would I get on that?


  2. man in a barrel Sep 26, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    Oh yes, Australia is no place for rookies. Cowdrey in 1954 hadn’t made a Championship century. In his 5th test innings he scored 102 out of 191, on a pitch that was too tough for Hutton, Edrich, May and Compton – some serious batsmen there. He was 21 and hadn’t even played a full season for Kent. That is my benchmark for greatness.


    • Silk Sep 27, 2017 / 12:56 pm

      Sadly, I don’t think there is anyone out there with the greatness of Cowdrey.

      Then again, Dan Lawrence /might/ have. James Vince sure as hell isn’t.


  3. SimonH Sep 26, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    One other strange thing about Vince is that they’ve said they value players who make runs when their name’s in the frame as it supposedly shows they can cope with pressure. I seem to remember this was particularly used against Scott Borthwick when he had a slump last year after his name started cropping up in the press. Vince has made 10, 60, 8 and 4 in his last four f/c innings. It’s a run that may contribute to his team getting relegated.

    How can one make sense of it? My guess is that it’s a combination of him having some experience in Australia plus the backing of someone very influential in the England set-up. Giving him a second go makes more sense to some than admitting that that someone might sometimes be wrong. Curiously, that someone doesn’t seem to ‘own’ Vince’s failures in quite the same way as Joe Root has been given ownership of every innings Gary Ballance goes to the crease and doesn’t score a Test century. I wonder why that could be?


    • Silk Sep 27, 2017 / 12:57 pm

      Still, at least the logic for picking Mason Crane is sound…


  4. Mark Sep 26, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    To be honest for most of my cricketing life I couldn’t give a scoobie what Ben Stokes or any other cricketer did or didn’t do in a night club. We have all heard and read the stories of players of the past.

    However, with KP The ECB went all pious. They put on their Spanish inquisitor outfits with crosses and garlic and lashings of piety. Dossiers were created. Crimes were invented. Looking out of the window & whistling at the wrong time became capital offences. Comma talked endlessly about “trust, trust, and more trust.” The obedient media chopped down half the rain Forrest and lectured about ” no dick heads.” This was all bullshit as we saw when Strauss was elevated to God status for calling KP a c***. One clown even had it as his highlight of the year. Oh how funny and ironic that was.

    So we all know that players will be treated differently. There are no rules. It’s naked self interest. Bad luck if you paid for a ticket hoping to see him play. That’s the way it goes. Stokes face fits, so does Roots. So that’s ok then. Others will have ” their card marked.”

    Some get in like Vince based on nothing much. Others get booted out for no apparent reason. It’s a mystery!

    Bizarrely as I was writing this they showed the advert with Cook and Stokes and shiny toy all turning up to play village cricket, ( you now the one that looks like the video from Men without hats…….”You can dance if you want to……….” ) and then all ending up in the bar drinking away. It’s a funny old world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oreston Sep 26, 2017 / 10:55 pm

      I don’t particularly care what a player does in a nightclub in the wee small hours either, but if he were convicted and went to jail (yes, I know we’re getting ahead of ourselves here…) it would have a wider impact.
      I think we’ll all be watching to see how the ECB handles this one.


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Sep 27, 2017 / 8:11 am

      And drinking one of the most mediocre beers that there is, although that brewery happen to be ECB sponsors………..


    • AB Sep 27, 2017 / 9:26 am

      The one thing I notice from that advert is that Stokes and Cook seem to do all the batting and bowling and don’t let anyone else have a go.


    • Silk Sep 27, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      If he’s charged, I don’t see how he can possibly tour.


  5. dannycricket Sep 26, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    According to Etheridge’s “good journalism”, the Ashes squad has been prematurely released. They are: Cook, Stoneman, Vince, Root (capt), Malan, Ballance, Stokes, Bairstow (wkt), Foakes (wkt), Moeen, Crane, Woakes, Broad, Anderson, Ball, C.Overton.

    So… Vince and Crane, both with underwhelming county seasons. Also, coincidentally, both are represented by ISM. ISM are the sports management company which involves Michael Vaughan in some capacity, according to its website.

    Stoneman and Malan both appear to retain their positions, which seems like a stroke of luck for both of them. I don’t think either of them showed anything this summer which would inspire confidence.


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 26, 2017 / 9:02 pm

      Aggers confirms and comments….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Sep 26, 2017 / 9:13 pm

        Yes but leaked by who Aggers?


        • SimonH Sep 26, 2017 / 9:16 pm

          And why? Obviously it’s just a coincidence this has happened when there’s a bad news’ story just appeared….

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Mark Sep 26, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    I kid you not this is from Vince’s wikipedia page. Why would anyone include all this drivel? I can’t believe that the player wants it. Perhaps his agent and management company wrote it for him? It’s like a CV by someone who decided to write in everything they have done.

    “In May 2016 he was named in the Test squad for Sri Lanka’s tour of England,[6] and won his first Test cap in the first Test at Headingley.[7] However, in his first innings he only scored 9 runs. He fielded in the slips and took a good catch off the bowling of Ben Stokes, as England won by an innings and 88 runs. In the second Test Vince scored 35 in England’s first innings, and was not required to bat in the second as England won by nine wickets. Vince played in the third and final Test of the series, scoring ten in the first innings before being dismissed for a duck in the second innings, as the match ended in a draw. He played in the final ODI match of the series, replacing the injured Alex Hales, and scored 51, helping England to reach 324 and win the match by 122 runs. He scored 16 in the only T20 match between the sides, which England won by eight wickets.

    Vince kept his place for the Test series against Pakistan, and made 16 in the first innings of the first Test. He was dismissed for 42 in the second innings as England lost by 75 runs. In the second Test, he made 18 as England made 589/8 in their first innings and won the match by 330 runs. In the third Test, Vince made 39 in England’s first innings and followed this up with 42 in their second innings to help England reach 445/6 and secure victory by a margin of 141 runs. Vince struggled in the final Test, making one in the first innings and being dismissed for a duck in the second innings as England lost by 10 wickets.

    Vince scored 16 in the first ODI against Bangladesh, as England won by 21 runs. In the second match, he made 5 as England lost and Bangladesh levelled the series at 1-1. Vince made his highest score in the final match of the series, scoring 32 as England chased down Bangladesh’s target of 278 to win the series 2-1.”


    • Mark Sep 26, 2017 / 9:43 pm

      It’s an interesting read his page…….

      “According to Duncan Fletcher, who acted as a consult for Hampshire and was the former coach of the England team, Vince is reminiscent of former England batsman Michael Vaughan.”

      You could almost play ECB drinking game.


    • nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 6:36 am

      I’d genuinely love to know when England last recalled a batsman who had played as many as seven Tests without even a single half-century.


      • nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 6:39 am

        My guess would be Ramprakash in 1993.


        • nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 9:16 am

          The Mark Ramprakash who played eight of his first nine Tests against Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh, Patterson, Wasim, Waqar and Mushtaq.


        • oreston Sep 27, 2017 / 9:34 am

          And yet, from the perspective of 1993 at least, Ramprakash looked like he still had much more potential as a Test player than Vince does now. He had strong county form and had made his England debut in ’91 against a West Indies attack of Marshall, Walsh, Ambrose and Patterson – so at least his frailties had been exposed by all-time greats who at times made better test players than Ramps look ordinary. Vince would be a much more baffling selection than that.


          • nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 9:49 am

            Quite. And I can’t think of anything comparable since 1993, even amidst the dark days of the 90s (TM).


          • LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 11:04 am

            As i say about Ramps, if he was judged on his form against the all time great Aussies he’d be seen in a much different light.


    • quebecer Sep 27, 2017 / 1:41 pm

      The thing I don’t get about Vince (in terms of his selection for an Ashes downunder) is that out o fall the players who have been given their chance and failed, he was the one that stood out to me as looking mentally shot by the end. This doesn’t bode well to me at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 8:37 am

    Booth and Sale:

    This section is rather curious:
    “Sportsmail can also reveal that Stokes had already been involved in a late-night escapade during a Test match last month. The player had a night out in Manchester and only returned to the England team hotel at about 3am after the first day’s play in the Old Trafford Test against South Africa on August 4… England personnel were informed that it was around midnight when he went back to the Lowry Hotel. Stokes received a dressing-down from ISM, the company that manages his affairs”.

    So that didn’t leak out at the time – but it does now? “England personnel were informed” is an extremely carefully phrased section. Are they saying Stokes lied to Bayliss or Root? And are ISM now in charge of team discipline?

    Finally, and with the usual disclaimers of it not being totally clear yet what happened, it would be so very England if the one who ends up suffering the most from this is Hales.


    • Nicholas Sep 27, 2017 / 8:48 am

      Vaughan says in today’s Telegraph, “I was privy to private conversations earlier this summer” regarding Stokes’ lifestyle. So that’ll be the ISM meeting you’ve referred to.

      Also, Michael, it’s not a ‘private conversation’ now, is it, you eejit?!

      Liked by 2 people

      • nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 8:10 pm

        One month ago today, Chris Stocks tweeted the following:

        “Vaughan willing Tom Westley to fail on TMS.”

        Offered without further comment.


  8. nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 9:24 am

    Wherever Vaughan finished in the Power List, it clearly wasn’t high enough.



    • nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 9:31 am

      Apparently this is enough to satisfy some people:


  9. SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 9:31 am


  10. AB Sep 27, 2017 / 9:35 am

    Question: Is it a conflict of journalistic ethics for Vaughan to use his position as a writer and broadcaster to tout the attributes of the clients of the company he has a financial stake in?


    • nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 9:50 am

      Answer: No because Jos Buttler, apparently…

      Pipe down, as someone once said.


      • Nicholas Sep 27, 2017 / 10:16 am

        The sad thing about Vaughan is that he was a wonderful England captain and that 2004-5 were entertaining and likeable in a way that the Strauss/Flower team never quite were.

        But since retirement, he has proved himself to be immoral, opportunistic and, frankly, quite thick. It’s very sad, really.

        Liked by 3 people

        • dlpthomas Sep 27, 2017 / 12:04 pm

          After the second test in the 2013/14 Ashes, Vaughan was interviewed by the Channel 9 boys and asked what would he do if he were still the England captain. His answer was pick Tymal Mills and “fight fire with fire.” He is a consummate bulllshit artist.


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 12:02 pm

        Will make more money in the World League, or whatever the South African one is, and the Big Bash. If I were ISM I’d keep my gobs shut.


  11. SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 9:51 am

    So that’s just Nos. 3 and 5 in the batting order then? As for bowling TRJ and Wood into the treatment room…. or picking Crane because his face somehow fits whereas Leach or Rashid have more on-field achievements but their’s don’t somehow… or the undeclared conversion of Buttler and Plunkett into white-ball specialists…. these are fine with him.

    As for Vince, the amusing stats for these season keep piling up (Jeetan Patel has scored more runs, Paul Collingwood who’s going as a coach has a higher average etc).

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 12:00 pm

      Devastating insight from the man who knows best. Selfey is much missed.


  12. nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 10:01 am


    (well, unless the interviewer is former Leicestershire colleague and fellow fringe player JP Agnew, of course)


      • oreston Sep 27, 2017 / 11:16 am

        Translation: “We’ve provided Root & Bayliss with a squad addled by bizarre corporate groupthink and considerations of whose face does/doesn’t fit, that’s more full of holes than my mum’s colander and with as much chance of retaining the Ashes as a hippopotamus has of walking on the Moon.”


      • quebecer Sep 27, 2017 / 1:46 pm

        Yes, that struck me as a particularly stupid thing to say. They’ve taken no cover for openers and no #3, a 20 year old leggie on the fringes of his county side as the only spinner, and five right arm seamers who bowl between 83 and 86 mph.

        Liked by 1 person

        • oreston Sep 27, 2017 / 2:49 pm

          It’s an identikit quote from the ECB’s Random Corporate Bullshit Generator.
          Amidst it all I am actually quite pleased they’re taking Ben Foakes. They could of course include him in the eleven as wicket keeper and free-up YJB to play as a specialist batsman. That could resolve the no. 5 dilemma (which, compared to 2 and 3, is an artificial problem in my view). They won’t of course. Or at least not until we’re about 3-0 down in the series. Funny how the “reserve” keeper has a significantly better CC batting average than James Vince…


      • man in a barrel Sep 27, 2017 / 2:32 pm

        What areas do they think they have options for? Basically the team is Cook, Root, Bairstow, Stokes, Ali, Broad and Anderson. There is no cover for them. The 4


        • man in a barrel Sep 27, 2017 / 2:34 pm

          The 4 other places are covered by a bunch of guys who have failed in the past and have done nothing to deserve a recall plus a bunch of people who have never been near the Test team

          Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 5:29 pm

          No fear. Selvey is playing defence at the moment. We have nothing to fear .


    • oreston Sep 27, 2017 / 11:20 am

      Yep, that about sums it up…


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 11:59 am

      And they weren’t admonished by the select star chamber of county cricket moderation? They are untouchable.


    • quebecer Sep 27, 2017 / 1:50 pm

      When they do, I’m just going to post, “We are going to lose” and leave it at that.


  13. nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 11:22 am

    Private Eye sometimes runs pieces on advertisers’ lame attempts to capitalise on the news by shoe-horning it into a product promo:

    In that spirit, here comes #39:


  14. Mark Sep 27, 2017 / 11:50 am

    So Stokes is on the tour, and retains his vice captaincy role.

    Which means…….. contrary to much vaunted media opinion…….dickheads ARE welcomed with open arms. Let me be straight about this……. I have no desire to see Stokes dropped and banned for ever. He is a young lad who likes a night out, and plenty in the past have done so also.

    This is about the hypocritical ECB and Her majesty’s yellow media who informed us that minor transgressions needed lifetime bans. Turns out that not only can you be a dickhead in the modern team ethic and stay in the team……. you can also keep your position of authority in the squad. Providing the time is right.

    So Commas claim that trust was everything turns out to be bullshit. Trust for me, but not for thee is the official policy. In other words Comma just pulls it out of his arse as and when.

    But beware Mr Stokes, they will only play by these rules as long as your are seen as world class and useful. Once You age, and your form dips a bit they will throw you away like a piece of rubbish.


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 11:58 am

      I mean no-one could see that coming once Comma put trust into the equation. That one day that would come to bite him on the derriere. Except it won’t. No-one outside of this vocal community and a few other social media zealots is going to point out any inconsistency. Ed Overend said it best on Twitter. If they go too hard on him, he could just say stuff it, become a T20 gun for hire, make millions in the IPL. The ECB have no leverage,

      They say Stokes hasn’t been charged with a criminal offence. Nice one. We’re still waiting for formal charges of the non-criminal variety for the last high profile, high maintenance case. Didn’t effing bother them then.

      Liked by 2 people

    • dlpthomas Sep 27, 2017 / 12:13 pm

      If Australian rugby is any guide, you can hit your wife, hit your kids, hit random members of the public and even be accused of sexual assault and still not be considered a dickhead by your team-mates.


    • SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 1:33 pm

      “Stokes is on the tour, and retains his vice captaincy role”.

      The v/c is still under discussion as I understand it, with an announcement likely tomorrow. I’m not sure what it amounts to anyway as they’d made it clear Cook would take over on-field captaincy if Root was unavailable. By the way, Stokes broke the little finger on his right-hand in the incident if anyone hasn’t heard.

      On the subject of precedents, Flintoff was sacked for less.


        • SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 2:39 pm

          It doesn’t exactly sound like a defensive injury, does it?

          “I blocked his vicious assault with his head with my little finger, m’lud…..”.


          • SteveT Sep 27, 2017 / 3:07 pm

            I can already hear the sniggerring from Down Under (not to mention Marlon Samuels)


          • oreston Sep 27, 2017 / 6:08 pm

            Wasn’t the other bloke said to have been treated for a facial injury? Putting two and two together, it doesn’t sound good.


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 8:20 pm

        Simon Mann “Is Stokes the vice captain”

        James Whitaker ” That’s my understanding at the moment.”


  15. LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 11:50 am

    I want to weep.

    “The selectors are backing James to make an impact on his recall to the Test squad,” said national selector James Whitaker. “He is a quality strokeplayer and we believe his game will suit the Australian pitches.

    “His understanding of the England set-up will help him settle into the environment quickly and hit the ground running when we arrive in Perth next month.”

    This passes for analysis from our selectors. So, to become an England player you are at a distinct advantage if you’ve fitted in with the team beforehand, regardless of performance before or since.That legendary “good environment” with all welcome is now an environment you need to have been in to make the most of. What a load of pseudo-management hogwash.

    I’m sure the follow-ups were rigorous.

    Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 12:10 pm

      Pardon me, but Whitaker is fucking appalling and always has been, should never have come within a million miles of that job and for my money ranks as the most incompetent selector since 1999, if not since peak Illingworth. The team/squad is riding on seven players, only two of whom (Stokes – just – and Ali) made their debut after Whitaker took over, while three of the other five go back more than a *decade*. He fluked Gary Ballance in his first home summer and appears to have lived off it ever since. He’s crap with the media even though half of them played f/c cricket with him, for crying out loud. Absolutely stealing a living.

      Liked by 2 people

      • LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 8:41 pm

        Made sure he mentioned the 4 hundreds in his justification for selecting.


  16. Mark Sep 27, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    Notice he says “the selectors are backing James.” He doesn’t use the word “we” or “I”

    Is this an executive decision?

    No Hales or Rashid in Squad…….who also know the team set up, and in Hales case has been in devastating form with the bat.

    Does Crane know the set up? How will he cope without that magic knowledge of team set up? Will he sit in Cooks seat by mistake. Will he order the wrong breakfast for Root?


  17. Silk Sep 27, 2017 / 1:53 pm

    If I were Dan Lawrence … I’d be chuckling, assuming that my call up in the spring was pretty much guaranteed.

    That said, they’ll probably pick him for T20s.


  18. SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 2:51 pm

    Just before we go conceding the Ashes, I’d offer a reminder that Australia’s selectors are also highly capable of some extremely fuck-witted selections. Hazlewood is going to struggle to make the Gabba and they’ve got big question marks at Nos.3, 6 and 7.

    The Lions’ squad is going to be very interesting. I’d hazard a wager* that one of the spinners in that party plays ahead of Mason Crane in the Test series (if we have a repeat of 2002/03 and the first-choice spinner cops one in the nets or they decide to play two spinners at the SCG). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a batsman or a seamer from that party ends up playing in the Test series either.

    * Not really.


  19. SteveT Sep 27, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    Shiny Toy on TMS during interval ‘I’ve heard from lots of people outside and not involved in the game asking what’s the Vince selection all about? But those of us in the game can see…….’ This isn’t quite word for word. Might be worth playing back at some point.


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 5:28 pm

      Oooh. I hope it’s available and I hope he says precisely that. Inside Cricket.


    • SteveT Sep 28, 2017 / 10:21 am

      Don’t think he used the precise words but the message was loud and clear. Definite distinction between those inside and outside. Those on the inside know, those outside who merely judgie on a test average of 19 with no 50s know nothing


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 28, 2017 / 10:35 am

        listened to it last night. Inside comes up with analysis like “he bats like Michael Vaughan so his batting will be suited to Australia.” Which was pretty much what inside the game Lovejoy was saying.


  20. nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    Classic Guardian, make you wait all day to comment and then, after a mere 6…

    39m ago

    Comments were opened here in error and will now close.


  21. SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    The lack of quality in the batting has attracted most attention, but what about the lack of balance:

    Openers 2
    No.3s 0
    No.4 Root
    No.5 3 (Malan, Vince and Ballance would all prefer to bat there in Tests. None is a regular No.3 for their county. It’s probably YJB’s best position as well)

    The selectors couldn’t magic up more quality but they could select a better balanced set of options. Root’s going to end at No.3 and/or one of the openers from the Lions will end up playing.

    My best guess what happened is that it was a compromise – Root got Ballance and Trevor Sock-Puppet got Vince.


  22. SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 6:18 pm

    Agnew staying calm:

    “the weakest party I have seen sent down under from these shores”.

    Hang on a minute – the team still has a batsman averaging over 50, another averaging in the mid-40s, two opening bowlers with hundreds of caps and wickets betwen them and a strong set of all-rounders including a spinner with over 100 Test wickets. That’s a stronger hand than many England squads have had. I’d rate it stronger than the 86/87 squad that won the Ashes and probably the 82/83 squad as well (to pick just two examples).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Sep 27, 2017 / 6:26 pm

      Just as well then, as the Aussies aren’t that hot either.

      If they can’t get their pace bowlers onto the park I think England will win quite comfortably. If they do get their pace men fit, then it may be a very different story.


      • SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 6:54 pm

        Indeed – there are comments about Australians must be laughing but I doubt Steve Smith is laughing at the moment as he’s getting trounced in India.

        Behind Starc and Hazlewood, Australia have Cummins and Pattinson who’ve both shown sparks of brilliance but also have a history of breaking down. Cummins is a 24 year old who hasn’t taken 50 f/c wickets and he’s going to win the Ashes on his own (and yes I remember Thomo and Rodney Hogg)? Otherwise, they have Bird or Siddle who are honest toilers but shouldn’t be causing sleepless nights.

        Australia have beaten NZ and Pakistan at home in the last two years when England could only draw against those two teams. They also put up a better fight on their Test tour of India. However they lost badly at home to SA and were abject in SL.

        Australia’s lower middle order looks brittle. The top four need to score most of their runs. A lot of attention is going to focus on Warner and Smith but I think Khawaja is a massively important player for them and the series.


        • SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 7:12 pm

          Just to show why I’m saying point – Khawaja averages 78 in Australia’s last two home Test seasons which is when he became established in the side. He made those runs off NZ, WI, SA and Pakistan (and didn’t get to score loads of easy runs off WI because that series was badly hit by the weather). He allows Smith to bat at No.4 whereas I’m sure England would love Smith to have to bat at No.3 to get a crack at him with fresh bowlers and a new ball.


    • man in a barrel Sep 28, 2017 / 8:24 pm

      Stronger than 86/87, the team that couldn’t bat bowl or field? It’s close. No one expected such rich bursts of form from Botham and Gower. Broad was amazing. Even Athey played well… And Jack Richards. Will Broad and Anderson last the tour though?


  23. LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    Whitaker… is a joke. An utter joke.

    “We’ve been monitoring James Vince closely and he’s played some good innings in red and white ball cricket. More than one actually.”

    Listening to the mid-innings on TMS.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    Strauss falling over himself to protect Stokes. Oh the dashed irony.

    Hales is going to be subject to disciplinary, definite.


    • Mark Sep 27, 2017 / 9:23 pm

      English cricket specialise in Kangaroo courts, and double standards.

      Strauss showing why he should be in Westminster. He has the required skills. Namely to just plough on without regard for what you said a few years ago. Never admit wrong, and never apologise.


        • northernlight71 Sep 27, 2017 / 10:08 pm

          I think “thuggish” is the kindest way to describe it.
          The one in green won’t be playing in the Ashes this Winter, that much seems clear.


        • quebecer Sep 28, 2017 / 12:52 am

          So, the ECB has definitely seen it, they have said, yet have not immediately suspended Stokes from international cricket. Surely they must, regardless of any other legal processes? Just look at the fucking video, after all. Surely they must be unequivocal about this.

          OH and the fuckers at the guardian keep disappearing any attempt I make to post that there is a video of the incident online. On the fourth now. it says, “Hey Guardian. There is a video online of the Ben Stokes incident. This is true. Is that ok to say?” Let’s see if that survives.

          Ha! No! In the the it took to write that here. Wankers.

          Liked by 2 people

      • quebecer Sep 28, 2017 / 12:28 am

        Shit. Just watched it…. the clincher is the bloke clearly trying to clam things down (after Stokes had gone after a couple of others) with hands out in supplication and gets knocked out… Stokes will be lucky not to see jail time.

        Jesus. It’s really bad.


        • quebecer Sep 28, 2017 / 12:40 am

          Fuck. It’s really bad.

          I don’t know… if he somehow avoids jail – and it could be a stretch – how can it not be a very, very long time before he plays again?

          A lot going on in my head right now. Immediate reaction is I don’t want him playing for England.


          • Rooto Sep 28, 2017 / 6:07 am

            Yup. Just watched it. He was taking them all on. He’s fucked.
            Hales is 6’5″ and didn’t dare interfere.


          • man in a barrel Sep 28, 2017 / 1:04 pm

            Charlie Alliston got 18 months for killing a woman with his bicycle. Swinging a punch and knocking out a guy who seemed to be trying to calm things down probably deserves something similar. Mind you, the video is not great quality and much will depend on the witness statements but Stokes should be packing his prison kit


          • man in a barrel Sep 28, 2017 / 1:36 pm

            At one extreme, Aussie immigration might refuse to let him in


    • nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 10:25 pm

      Oh lord, some of the replies here…

      Someone could write a thesis on what this says about England and its sporting/social culture, the limits of its tolerance, how and where it derives its sense of national pride, the values we profess to hold dear versus those which actually win out, all sorts of things.

      Preferably not Ed Smith though, thanks.


      • Mark Sep 27, 2017 / 10:37 pm

        That’s way above Ed Smiths pay grade.


    • Mark Sep 27, 2017 / 9:19 pm

      But it’s your team bucko!


  25. LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    Oh well. Let the carnival begin.


  26. BoredInAustria Sep 27, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    I would give a penny for Cooke ‘s thoughts.


  27. LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    Aggers on TMS makes a huge play that we need to hit the ground running in the warm ups, play our best teams, not 15 a side mathces (last played in 2006, I believe).

    Last time out Lehmann and Australia kept anythinf resembling a seasoned bowler away from England in the warm-ups, by and large. He wasn’t about to give us meaningful sights of any decent bowler, if I recall correctly. So, JA, it ain’t that simple.


    • Mark Sep 27, 2017 / 9:29 pm

      You recall correctly Sir. England were scoring worthless runs against medium pacers in the warm ups. They turned up at Brisbane completely umprepared for what hit them.

      But on the bright side……. they were experts on 79 page diet sheets.

      It is without doubt one of English sports greates cock ups. And the coach walked away completely blameless and unscathed. So much so that a few months later he got a cushy job back with the ECB.


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 9:31 pm

        Yep. We made a huge thing about how we played well against strong-ish oppo in 2010 that Lehmann only allowed us to see 2nd XI bowlers.


        • SimonH Sep 27, 2017 / 10:04 pm

          On both of Australia’s last tours, they only had two warm games (unlike England’s three). In 2015, they faced one bowler with international experience – Jesse Ryder! (where is he now?). In 2013, they faced one who’d played international white-ball cricket in George Dockrell and one who would play internationals in Moeen Ali.

          With all due respect to Jesse, that’s nobody of international class above military medium before the First Test on the last two tours.


  28. LordCanisLupus Sep 27, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    And finally from TMS… The poor man’s Lovejoy calling James Vince the poor man’s Shiny Toy is one of the show’s crowning moments.


  29. Mark Sep 27, 2017 / 9:34 pm

    Has Shane Warne selected the Crane guy? Has any of the so called selectors seen him bowl? Does James Whitiker even know what he looks like?

    If this all goes tits up I will be interested to see who will take the blame for this. No KP this time.


      • nonoxcol Sep 27, 2017 / 11:11 pm

        I look forward to it.

        I’m still enjoying those people on Twitter saying things like “Stokes was provoked, let’s move on” or “KP was a dick to his team-mates so it’s different”.

        There was of course absolutely *no* provocation for Pietersen during the years 2009-12, and particularly none during the summer of 2012, and none of his team-mates or managers were ever dicks in any way whatsoever. He was just an evil mercenary disloyal Saffer bastard, it was in his very nature, and that’s the end of it.

        Also irrelevant: even people who hated him managed to praise his discipline, professionalism and work ethic.

        I’m torn between boiled piss at the stinking hypocrisy, memory holes and warped morality, and the base satisfaction of having been right about English cricket for five years.


        • Mark Sep 27, 2017 / 11:33 pm

          I’m reminded of all the people who came to Roonys defence when he was seen drinking at 5am in the morning at the England hotel when he was captain.

          ” he’s just having a few drinks, he’s not even playing. Leave him alone he’s not done anyone any harm.”

          No, and why was he not playing? Because he wasn’t fit, and he couldn’t even get in the Man U team at the time. Fast forward about a year and Roonys done for drink driving. Nothing to see here……

          Interesting to define what a “professional sportsman” means these days. Executive salaries, but a shop floor clocking in culture.

          Once upon a time someone looked out of the window the wrong way.

          Liked by 1 person

  30. nonoxcol Sep 28, 2017 / 7:07 am

    Just in case you thought that Selvey’s faith that the ECB have the solution to every conceivable issue might waver in the light of that video:


    • Mark Sep 28, 2017 / 8:56 am

      Anger management? WTF

      What a complete pillock. You Selvey have sneered, and talked about players having their cards marked for nothing, but now you seem to want to brush violence under the carpet.

      No wonder even the Guardian pushed you out. Nothing to contribute.


      • AB Sep 28, 2017 / 9:05 am

        Confused by Dobell. At first I thought he was being ironic, but he genuinely appears to be trying to defend Stokes as purely “protecting his mates”.

        Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Sep 28, 2017 / 10:47 am

          Just read that. Er…. Blimey.


          • dlpthomas Sep 29, 2017 / 12:21 am

            Do you have a link to the article?


  31. SimonH Sep 28, 2017 / 8:17 am

    Small beer this morning with everything else going on – but I see at the end of Ronay’s piece that the Lions are playing 5 T20s in Australia. WTF?

    On-line searching can find no more info about this. There’s probably more info available out there on some forthcoming SAS missions.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Sri.Grins Sep 28, 2017 / 9:03 am

    Re Stokes,

    It is clear that it is not easy for England to leave out Stokes from the Ashes squad. He is likely to be a genuine match winner.

    The trouble with that policy is that obviously it exposes them to all kinds of issues. They cannot in future question any other team following a similar policy of sweeping all issues under the carpet to ensure a win.

    The perfect solution would have been not to select Stokes and take a stand that players need to manage themselves properly in public.This may have skittled hope of a win and reduced the public interest because Stokes like Kohli is a delight for TV but would have been the more sensible course to adopt.


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