The Tangled Web

Guess what everyone?  Today is the fifth and final ODI, and the last international cricket of the summer.  Yes, it’s still summer – did you not get the memo?  You may think it’s nearly October, but there’s still money to be made, and if that means January is henceforth to be considered balmy high summer, then you’ll just have to lump it.

Of course, the usual lack of interest in a non-descript dead rubber of an ODI (apart from those with tickets, obviously – but they don’t count for anything these days) is compounded by (note capitalisation now required) The Ben Stokes Affair.  As Sean wrote so eloquently yesterday  the ECB’s track record when players go rogue is anything but a consistent one, and the importance of Stokes to the team (but not Hales remember) means they are now in a tricky spot with regards to the upcoming Ashes.  Doubtless, they’d rather like the whole thing to go away, but it has to be said that this is rather more serious than the usual transgressions and the suspension of both Stokes and Hales was probably the minimum they could get away with doing.

There’s been a whole heap of discussion around the rights and wrongs of those events, but there are a couple of considerations for a blog like this:  first of all, none of us are lawyers and the term “sub judice” tends to strike a degree of fear into the team.  Worth noting that for the comments too by the way, so please be circumspect. Reporting what has been said is fair game, but there are plenty of places that’s discussed and rote repetition of what’s elsewhere seems a bit pointless.  We do from time to time get information about various subjects and have refused to post them (you might say we skip them) because there’s no evidence and none of us want to land in court.   We’re not so obscure we can say what we like.

The cricketing fall out is a bit different, which is why so many of the comment pieces in the press have focused on that.  Stokes’ status as the talismanic all rounder makes this something of a nightmare for the ECB to negotiate, as they balance the needs of the team with their public role as the face of cricket (stop sniggering at the back).  Were Stokes not so integral, it seems hard to believe that they would do anything but drop him from the Ashes squad, highlighting both the double/triple standards involved, and the line of least resistance so often taken.  What that means is that they are now in a real bind – they can weaken the side substantially by not taking him, or if they do then they will be accused of placing results above all other considerations – something of an irony given their predilection for placing revenue above cricket most of the time.

That the two of them were out so late has been a topic of some debate, but sportsmen have often partied as hard as they play, and often go out late and yes, spend that time drinking.  As much as some would like them to be monastic in their behaviour, it’s simply not going to happen with everyone – or more specifically, it’s not going to happen all the time.  How often they do that is a slightly different question, but it’s certainly true that players in the youth England sides are kept on an extremely tight leash, possibly excessively so.  It’s also true that many of the very best in all sports do look after themselves to an extent that the average person would find very hard to live with.  What that ultimately means is that going out to clubs is not in itself evidence of too much, it is a matter of degree, and on that subject we do not know how prevalent that is with him, or with anyone else in the squad.  And actually, nor should we – it’s a matter for management to, well, manage.  Some nasty minds have asked the question as to whether if Stokes is convicted he would then be eligible for Australia or not.

Since the Pietersen fall out, there has been the question about how they would manage Stokes.  In reality, something as serious as this wasn’t part of the discussion, since it’s actually possible to feel a degree of sympathy with the ECB’s dilemma here.  But it’s likely to be the case that Stokes is most of all reliant on being an essential player, because the moment he isn’t, or suffers a drop in form, he is vulnerable to being properly briefed against as disruptive.  This stuff almost writes itself these days, given the duplicitousness that is commonplace at the highest echelons of the English administration.  Whatever the outcome of the current difficulty, the likelihood of a drip feed of negative stories about him in the future is one to watch out for in future – which is a separate question to how currently the media are posting stories that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day to cast him in a negative light.  Already examples of poor taste comments on social media are being used against him – though when it comes to matters of conscience, the morality of someone who screenshots a private conversation with the intent of selling it to the tabloid press rarely gets mentioned.

Of one thing there’s no doubt at all – England without Stokes are a much weaker side than they are with him.  The truly Machiavellian approach would be to consider this the perfect excuse for defeat, and the entire responsibility should it transpire can then be safely loaded onto one person with no awkward questions being asked about anything else.  An “escape goat”, as it were.  But of course, that degree of Humphrey Appleby scheming is well beyond any of those who like to sit comfortably in their jobs at Lords…

Oh yeah, fifth ODI.  Will Billings play? Will it be Jake Ball or David Willey?  If a cricket ball falls and no one sees it, did it really happen?  Comments on the game below if you really want to – on anything else because you do really want to.


172 thoughts on “The Tangled Web

  1. Silk Sep 29, 2017 / 9:19 am

    I guess Comma knows that Stokes can’t tour. Otherwise how can he /ever/ discipline an England player ever again?

    It’s extremely unlikely that we’ll ever be in a position that an England cricket does something worse than what the video appears to show this England player doing.

    So every single disciplinary breach is going to be suffixed with “but at least he didn’t punch someone repeatedly in the head”.

    Given that, if you ever feel you might be in a position where you need to fine or suspend anyone, Stokes has to be disciplined pretty severely.


    • jennyah46 Sep 29, 2017 / 10:27 am

      You make good points. It’s a nightmare situation for the ECB, not forgetting Stokes. He obviously has a serious anger management problem coupled with his penchant for alcohol fuelled late night clubbing. I’m not knocking it, people are entitled to party but it’s a lethal combination. Primarily Stokes needs help and support but there is also the matter of discipline which cannot be avoided.

      As for the vice captaincy I cannot see how he can remain in the role. If Joe Root had to leave the team for any reason Stokes is not the best placed person to take over the off field captain’s duties. Subject to the ongoing enquiries by the police, maybe a heavy fine, a short suspension and the forfeit of the vice captaincy would suffice. I do hope that Stokes will get his life together and come back from this. All in all it’s not far off a Greek tragedy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel Sep 29, 2017 / 4:21 pm

        I think when you earn more than £1.7m per annum, you have to accept that you are no longer just one of the lads. You have to conduct yourself differently. You cannot hang around in places described as student night-clubs. It is bad enough that Stokes doesn’t seem to realise it but somone in the corridors of power ought to have. You just have to compare with the way that Tendulkar conducted his life under significantly greater media scrutiny. Like it or not, he is like a film star and he has to manage his lifestyle accordingly


        • Mark Sep 29, 2017 / 4:55 pm

          The English sports hero is now paid like an executive in a boardroom , but the culture is often one of shop floor clocking in and clocking off. They talk endlessly of professionalism, but in reality that seems to only be about the size of the pay packet they recieve.

          Acting like a professional outside of the sport does not warrant any sacrifices. Drinking has been prevalent in English culture for centuries. See The numerous 18 and 19 th century movements against the demon drink.

          The very few English football players who have ventured abroad have discovered a much more disciplined life style. Some like it, others don’t. The problem for the authorities is there have been a number of high achieving sports stars who have liked, and lived the high life. Some seem to be able to get away with it, and still perform.

          I do wonder how much better some of them would have been with a more restrained diet….Freddie Flintoff for example. But I also get the impression that many of these players would not have stuck with the sport if they had to live like monks.

          The good news is Stokes has said he won’t be going on Josh Butlers stag do to next week. The nation breathes out.


  2. metatone Sep 29, 2017 / 10:09 am

    I think, given various memoirs, and then what happened to Monty and a pattern we’re seeing with Stokes it’s time to ask more questions about England “team culture” and alcohol. Not to make anyone into monks, but because the reality is alcohol abuse is a thing and it can wreck lives and careers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Sep 29, 2017 / 10:20 am

      I think there are big question marks over Stokes future whatever the result of this case. He has a long charge sheet both off and on the field already. Remember he is only one more point away from being banned from playing cricket as it is. And that has nothing to do with off field bar room fights, but on the field discipline issues.

      The Aussies were going to target him anyway at Brisbane because if he screws up once more time he is going to be banned. He needs to sort himslef out, and maybe if any good can come out of this it might make him get his act together.

      If he comes back, and then repeats something like this again…. even the one eyed ECB will throw the book at him.

      Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Sep 29, 2017 / 12:20 pm

      The same team culture that celebrated a bloke like “pat him on the head” Swanny. The same Swanny, incidentally, who (on the record) “wanted to kill” a Sri Lankan batsman guilty of nothing more than what Broad did in a Test at Trent Bridge a year or so later.

      (one of my favourite pieces of relentless proleptic irony ever, that article: hilarious references to precious little Integrity-bollocks in there as well)

      The team culture that, by contrast, helped frazzle a more intense character like Trott, or which quickly isolated other similarly introverted fringe players? (and let’s not even mention the oft-trivialised KP Genius business, by the way)

      Wonder when one of the cricket writers will compare and contrast the “needs help and support” response to Stokes and his “anger management issues” with the response to Trott’s “mental health issues” from people like Vaughan, Hughes, Pringle etc. The inverted commas don’t reflect my opinion: they’re to make you think about how often they were used, either literally or implied by tone, in pieces by columnists and reporters responding to the two situations. I know something of which I speak when it comes to scepticism about mental health issues. Certain people’s use of “Ben” not “Stokes” is interesting as well. (I certainly don’t remember any “Jonathan”s.)

      Toxicity level: critical.

      Liked by 2 people

      • man in a barrel Sep 29, 2017 / 1:49 pm

        I seem to recall that after the final test of the 2010-11 series, Trott went out and re-marked his guard. Swann saw it, giggled and called him “mental”. I was taken aback at the time because I had bought into the myth of Swann the comedian. It still took a while before I realised what a weapons grade tosser he is. In retrospect, the intensity level at which Trott was living needed some kind of help even back then, but no, he was just being his usual bonkers self, ha ha

        Liked by 2 people

        • Mark Sep 29, 2017 / 2:34 pm

          Swann reminds me of that character from the Fast Show. The simple, happy go lucky Manchurian with the bobble hat who is always walking and talking to the camera at the same time.

          “Ain’t cricket Brilliant?….. Thing is right, one bloke throws the ball, and the other hits it with a bat. BRILLIANT!! And get this right, you can whack it as far as you like. No restrictions!!!……….Isn’t that BRILLIANT!!!!!……….And get this right, you can have red balls, white balls or even pink balls. Isn’t that brilliant? …………and you can wear white clothes or sometimes you can wear coloured clothing to look fantastic. How Frigging Brilliant is that? ………….And if you aren’t batting or throwing you can try and catch it. BRILLIANT!!……..I wonder who invented it! ……….Cricket is friging brilliant!!

          Liked by 3 people

  3. Mark Sep 29, 2017 / 10:13 am

    I like the way you got “obscure” into your piece! I’m not going to live that down. Thing is, this site has been called a lot worse by our opponents in recent years.


  4. quebecer Sep 29, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    Jenny has described the situation very well above. It really is a nightmare from the ECB perspective. Leaving aside the wider questions about team culture (worthy as they are), how the ECB should proceed right now is interesting. I would suggest that having observed lessons learned (or in the process of being learned) by the NFL, immediate transparency, calm authority, fully accept wrong doing, do the right thing outside of self-interest, send the correct message, insure genuine help for the offender, but have a clear line in the sand communicated at least in part by appropriate sanction.

    So no worries on the ECB front.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. SimonH Sep 29, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    Anyone for a fun conspiracy theory?….

    England get thrashed in an extremely dull and one-sided Ashes without England’s most exciting player. Well, that will be good for sustaining BT’s interest in cricket! It costs the ECB nothing and moves Test cricket one step nearer the exit door which is just where some want it to be.

    Meanwhile, Stokes plays in the BBL and the IPL. Who has the rights to those? (Not sure in the case of the former but we know who it is in the latter). And more cricket fans drift over T20….

    The house always wins.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Sep 29, 2017 / 3:39 pm

      In a metaphor for English cricket I fell on my arse this lunchtime.


    • Mark Sep 29, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      I like a good conspiracy theory Simon, but as far as the cricket section of the ECB is concerned (which is mainly Strauss) I think they really, really want Stokes to go to Aus. You only have to see how they are tying themselves in knots over it. . He is a major part of the team, and without him England may lose, and lose badly. If England lose the Ashes what is the point of Strauss? It is the only test series they take seriously. (India for the money obviously)

      As far as the money making section of the ECB they could not care less. If Peruvian jugglers would sell out Englands cricket grounds then that’s just fine!


  6. Deep Purple Fred Sep 29, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    “Some nasty minds have asked the question as to whether if Stokes is convicted he would then be eligible for Australia or not.”

    Fortunately this is such a classy site there’s no one around here who would stoop so low. It’d drag the whole debate down to comments about raiding talent from other countries, and no one wants to go there.


  7. SimonH Sep 29, 2017 / 4:40 pm

    He does like the implication he’s privy to things we aren’t:

    A ban for the rest of the year would mean he misses four Tests but none of the white-ball matches. Well, they are our priority….


    • man in a barrel Sep 29, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      Suspension for the rest of the year – obviously they did something far less wicked than looking out of a window or texting to opponents, or turning up drunk for training


    • Mark Sep 29, 2017 / 5:13 pm

      According to Cricinfo the Police are now looking for two witnesses to collaborate Stokes version of events that there were men being subjected to homophobic abuse.

      They also reveal that some at the ECB are sympathetic to Stokes if this this version of events is proven. So that doesn’t quite sit with what 39 is now saying. If the two witnesses can be found and they back up his story I would have thought it is unlikely he will be banned for the rest of the year.


      • thelegglance Sep 29, 2017 / 5:17 pm

        Ah, I’ve written a response to that so many times to try and get a point across while treading the fine line of commenting on it. I can’t do it and not be at risk. Dammit.


        • oreston Sep 29, 2017 / 5:48 pm

          The severity of the alleged offence vs the supposed mitigating circumstance. Hmmm… Can’t see it making enough of a difference, even if those witnesses come forward. I’ve tried to be circumspect here but please do moderate this comment if you deem it necessary.

          Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Sep 29, 2017 / 5:50 pm

            I’m thinking more about the likelihood of charges being pressed. Oh you’re alright – basically the rule is that we can’t say anything that might prejudice a trial once an arrest has been made. So we’re all tiptoeing I know.


      • Zephirine Sep 29, 2017 / 9:21 pm

        As I said on the other thread, the fact that a charge of ABH has been mentioned means this is being taken seriously by the police.


      • AB Sep 30, 2017 / 7:59 am

        I wouldn’t hold your breath.


    • oreston Sep 29, 2017 / 5:33 pm

      “Regardless of police findings…”

      Apparently they’ll have to answer to a higher authority than the criminal justice system and the law of the land.

      Also, love the way he’s already decided that both players should receive the same penalty and by implication are equally culpable. I’d be worried about that if I were Alex Hales, because it’s clear that Hughes is little more than a parrot for ECB thinking. What’s the betting that, regardless of the outcome of the investigation and any temporary ban imposed, Hales never actually plays for England again?


      • man in a barrel Sep 29, 2017 / 5:54 pm

        It’s an odd thing to say – “regardless of police findings” – because it seems to imply that the police will be inclined to take a lenient view of this. [Edited].


        “Assaults which are described as actual bodily harm cause injuries which are serious but don’t cause serious permanent damage to the victim – for example an injury which requires stitches.

        The perpetrator also doesn’t necessarily have to intend to cause an injury – they only have to intend to apply unlawful force. This is known as committing the offence “recklessly”, as opposed to “intentionally”.

        For example, if a person pushes another person and they fall causing an injury, they can still be convicted of ABH because they intended to push the person.

        The Crown Prosecution Service recommends a charge of ABH, instead of the lesser Common Assault, in cases where a sentence of over six months is likely.”



        • thelegglance Sep 29, 2017 / 5:56 pm

          You can’t make a material judgement as to guilt or innocence in a post I’m afraid. Had to edit those bits and leave the rest – sorry!

          Just to explain why, however unlikely it might be, we have to take into account the outside possibility that someone on a jury might read this blog and be influenced by it. If that became known we’d be in a whole heap of trouble. So yes, that’s deeply unlikely, but I don’t want to take that chance – is that fair?

          Liked by 1 person

          • man in a barrel Sep 29, 2017 / 9:42 pm

            Absolutely. I think it is useful to have a good definition of a potential charge and the potential consequences however


          • thelegglance Sep 29, 2017 / 10:28 pm

            Entirely agree, hence I left that bit. I thought it was valuable.


          • jomesy Sep 30, 2017 / 7:37 am

            There has to be a substantial risk of serious prejudice. I have not seen anything on this site that is likely to come near that test.

            However you are right to be cautious (because Stokes was arrested and so we can consider there to be criminal proceedings subject to the principle of sub judice).

            FWIW, it’s not just the jury who may be influenced. The principle applies to judges too although is accepted/established (by Not The Nine-a-Clock news) that judges don’t know what video recorders are and, by extension, don’t know what the internet is. They are also not outside cricket.


          • dlpthomas Sep 30, 2017 / 9:30 am

            Dobell and Swann don’t seem too worried about influencing the jury.


    • dlpthomas Sep 29, 2017 / 5:36 pm

      I’d be surprised if more video’s don’t surface.


      • man in a barrel Sep 29, 2017 / 5:47 pm

        I would be fairly sure that the nightclub has CCTV and that has not been sent to the Sun. There are probably other CCTV feeds in that vicinity.


        • oreston Sep 29, 2017 / 6:07 pm

          Any other footage that surfaces is not going to alter the events shown in the Sun video. The most it could do would be to provide more context for those events.


  8. Silk Sep 29, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    Agnew sees the way in which Stokes might be let off the hook – “Ultimately, the only way I can see Stokes being in Australia is if the police take no action against him.”

    If Adil Rashid, Monty or Eoin Morgan had been caught on camera doing that Stokes was caught on camera doing, do you like we’d be waiting to see ” if the police take no action”?


    • thelegglance Sep 29, 2017 / 8:29 pm

      You’re completely right. However, I tend to agree with Agnew. Which is the beautiful hypocrisy.


  9. Benny Sep 29, 2017 / 7:55 pm

    To be simplistic or simple, if you wish, he shouldn’t have done it and, if I’m not mistaken, it’s illegal to punch people to the ground.

    One point I haven’t seen mentioned – celebrities or stars are expected to set a good example to those who look up to them.


    • Mark Sep 29, 2017 / 8:46 pm

      Hmmm, I know what you mean, but if he doesn’t get charged…… he could argue …….why am I being banned for a non criminal conviction.

      The problem with ” a good example ” may or may not involve legality. Is it a celebraties job to bring up other people’s children? And who is the judge and jury on these matters?

      This goes to the heart of the hypocrisy and double deelings that go on in sport. Is drug cheating a good example to kids? No, but it doesn’t stop drug cheats getting away with it some times with the tacit aproval of both governing bodies and governments in general.

      It’s a mined field.


  10. Scrim Sep 29, 2017 / 10:15 pm

    One interesting thing no one seems to have mentioned about the video. There are two guys in white t-shirts and dark jacket, so it can be a bit confusing in the chaos. However, correct me if I wrong, but the guy who got floored by the punch, wearing white trainers and standing on the footpath at the start of the video, isn’t the idiot having a swing with the bottle.

    Unless there is more to it not caught on this video, he seems to have knocked out the peacemaker, not the instigator.


    • jomesy Sep 30, 2017 / 7:39 am

      That’s what I concluded too.


  11. AB Sep 30, 2017 / 7:53 am

    Was chatting to a journalist at a drinks thing last bit who has done some digging. Apparently the incident started when Hales became involved in an argument with some lads over a young lady he was talking to. Apparently they took a photo without asking permission. The homophobia thing is pure ECB fabrication.


    • Deep Purple Fred Sep 30, 2017 / 1:25 pm

      Really? If the police are investigating a possible criminal offence they will presumably take a very dim view of the ECB spreading disinformation, or in the spirit of the times you could call it fake news. Nixon went down because of the cover-up, not the original crime.
      But I guess the police are more inside cricket that outside it, and they won’t pursue that line. A call from Giles will sort that out.

      If it’s true, it a very offensive and despicable move from the ECB. Did a bunch of guys really sit around a table and say “I know, lets say he was protecting gays, that will play well!”


      • Neil Sep 30, 2017 / 4:57 pm

        Have the ECB done the homophobic line? I’ve only seen Piers Morgan put it out in public via twitter.


        • Clivejw Sep 30, 2017 / 7:34 pm

          You are correct, and I can’t see the ECB having leaked that line to Morgan, of all people, given the bad blood between them. The police are appealing for “two specific witnesses” who might be able to shed light on the circumstances leading up to the incident. Which could fit in with the suggestion that Stokes is claiming he was protecting a gay couple. Or not.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. AB Sep 30, 2017 / 8:05 am

    Anyone else feel sorry for jos buttler, who is now going to Amsterdam for his stag do by himself?


    • Zephirine Sep 30, 2017 / 9:43 am

      As a female person, I feel more envious of the future Mrs Buttler.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Mark Sep 30, 2017 / 9:32 am

    I see the (look a like video……Men Without Hats….You can dance if you want do) beer commercial has now been scrapped.

    The boys will have to move on to flogging betting sites next. What could possibly go wrong? Maybe Ray Winston has got it covered…”we never sleep, we are watching everything…..”


    • Mark Sep 30, 2017 / 9:37 am

      By the way, I’m looking for the first reference by the English media to……”The New Zealand born Ben Stokes.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • clivejw Sep 30, 2017 / 10:14 am

        Right, I’m signing up to Word Press right now just to “like” this comment!


      • Deep Purple Fred Sep 30, 2017 / 1:31 pm

        …”Stokes, who’s lately been very focussed on maximising his earning power at the glitzy IPL, rather than domestic duties…”

        Liked by 2 people

  14. LordCanisLupus Sep 30, 2017 / 3:22 pm

    We didn’t get Martin Samuel, but instead they got Jeff Powell out of cold storage to moralise all over the place.

    This bit is priceless (you know, if you are having a go at Stokes, maybe Botham isn’t the best to compare with):

    Perhaps he was goaded to some extent the other night. But be sure, also, that Botham and Flintoff endured frequent provocation, much of it, with worrying relevance, in Australia — without the police being called. (the euphimsim “calmed the passenger down is interesting. If it were that “calm” why was he sacked!)

    Oh, sorry, we did get Martin Samuel.

    In all fairness, how do these idiots get paid to pontificate on sport when they know, or remember, fuck all?


    • Clivejw Sep 30, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      Is Samuel the first person in the MSM to admit that what Stokes has done is just a teensy bit worse than the offences for which Keven Pietersen was permanently expelled from the team?


  15. LordCanisLupus Sep 30, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    I missed this gem from Newman.

    Sadly, the sobering reality of a corrosive drinking culture prevalent within the closest knit of England teams has forced Strauss and coach Trevor Bayliss to question their commitment to a trusting environment.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Clivejw Sep 30, 2017 / 3:54 pm

    From sportskeedia (whatever that is):

    It has recently come to light that the man allegedly punched by England all-rounder Ben Stokes is a former soldier. Ryan Hale, the alleged victim, is a 26-year-old from Bristol who had served as a squaddie with the British Army on a tour of Afghanistan in 2013.

    “It is not okay and it is not something that happens on a daily basis. It is not something you expect to happen. But I don’t want to comment on it as I think it is up to the police to do their job and carry out their investigation. I don’t want to say anything to discredit anyone. But you have clearly seen the video footage. I just know there was a fracas and I have seen the video,” Ryan’s mother Angela was quoted as saying to Mail Online.

    However, a barman privy to the proceedings claimed that the group of men who were involved in the scuffle had earlier instigated another confrontation. Amantas, an employee at Steinbeck & Shaw, insisted, “I was walking down Park Street close to The Triangle (close to where Stokes got arrested) when this group of lads approached us. They were really hyped up and they were troublemakers. They were judging our outfits and saying ‘Oi Oi’. I can’t remember what exact insults were used. There were maybe five or six of them and they looked in their twenties. They were looking for a fight. But I wasn’t and I had been drinking too.”


    The same source suggests that, if convicted of ABH, Stokes could be looking at a five-year sentence.


    • Silk Sep 30, 2017 / 6:54 pm

      No way is someone with no previous convictions going to do time for fighting in the street.

      Fine, perhaps community service or suspended sentence.

      (looking online it suggests that if one were to plead guilty to ABH at the magistrates court, 6 months is the maximum sentence that could be handed down. The magistrates, if they felt this insufficient, could refer to crown court. Scrapping in the street? No one seriously hurt. Can’t see it going to crown court unless one were to plead not guilty.)


  17. Miami Dad's Six Sep 30, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    Replacing Ben Stokes in the side is difficult. He performs the 4th seamer/5th bowler role and is usually ok at it. He is a good batsman, dangerous when set, and probably good enough to now warrant a place at 5.

    If England want someone to keep the balance of the side in check, they basically need to look at a good batsman who can bowl adequately enough. I dont really see him as either a containing bowler or a massive wicket taking threat, most of the time he is just there to bowl 5-10 overs a day to reduce the workload of the actual bowlers, and reduce the pressure on Ali when the ball gets older. Chris Woakes is a threatening front line bowler who bats very well; Stokes is an explosive top order batsman who occasionally bowls well.

    I think there are 4 players who can be considered like for like replacements in the CC. Paul Collingwood and Darren Stevens are too old to be in contention. Ravi Bopara’s previous Test experience vs Australia (it was batting at 3, mind) will count against him.

    That leaves Liam Livingstone. Any good? He bottled it at Taunton in the only game I’ve seen him play..!


    • Silk Sep 30, 2017 / 6:44 pm

      England don’t need an all rounder. Ali counts. Woakes good enough to bat 7 (with YJB at 6). England need a proper spinner. Leach.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. nonoxcol Sep 30, 2017 / 5:47 pm

    2005 Ashes question on Pointless right now (name anyone who played: I went for Geraint Jones, Katich and Tait).

    Simon Jones was pointless!

    (As were all of mine, as were Lee and McGrath among many other Aussies)


    • Rooto Sep 30, 2017 / 6:04 pm

      Simon Jones pointless? Who the fuck were they asking? 😠


      • nonoxcol Sep 30, 2017 / 6:12 pm

        Sounded like the only ones who scored points were the England top six plus Giles and Harmison, Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting.

        Terrible really.


        • LordCanisLupus Sep 30, 2017 / 6:22 pm

          In a glorious moment for the site we’ve just had our 10000th spam comment blocked!


          • Mark Sep 30, 2017 / 7:14 pm

            Does that mean you block them or are they just blocked automatically because they are non cricket spam?


          • Mark Sep 30, 2017 / 8:18 pm


            Don’t know if that’s good or not.


          • LordCanisLupus Sep 30, 2017 / 8:20 pm

            Whenever I see Shiny Toy on TV, I think this has to go up….


          • BoredInAustria Oct 1, 2017 / 5:15 am

            10000 Pam spams?


        • SimonH Sep 30, 2017 / 6:23 pm

          There was a Pointless question last week to name the James who has taken most Test cricket wickets for England.

          Sixteen people knew.


      • Silk Sep 30, 2017 / 6:55 pm

        Gary Ballance. Oh, I thought you said “runless”.


  19. Mark Sep 30, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    Nothing to do with cricket, but I’m just watching the Chelsea vs Man City game on BT. Talk about production costs. You have Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard, AND Frank Lampard. In addition you have Glenn (mood Hoover) Hoddle. How much is this costing me?

    If 2 ex England players can’t tell us what is happening with the back up of an ex England player/manager as a co commentator do we really need the third ex England player as well?

    This is money for old rope. TV media sport is like having the winning lottery numbers every week.

    I’ve just realised they have got another ex player, Martin Keown in the commentary box as well. 3 pundits in the studio, plus front man, and two in the box, plus non playing commentaor who spends most of the time asking Hoddle what he thinks.

    On this basis they are going to have a 3 coach loads of pundits for the Ashes.


    • thelegglance Sep 30, 2017 / 6:13 pm

      The ‘experts’ have also managed to call the match entirely wrong. They’ve all gone for a comfortable Chelsea win and this is a 1-0 hiding City have dished out. Well done chaps.


      • Mark Sep 30, 2017 / 6:22 pm

        It’s a bit like having 7 or 8 plumbers in to fix your boiler, and they tell you the problem might be your lawn mower in the shed.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Clivejw Sep 30, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    Hmm, now it’s being claimed that naked selfies of Hales have been posted on line. Seems like there’s a concerted effort under way to smear England players.


    • Benny Sep 30, 2017 / 8:23 pm

      Or people with nothing better to do with their time


    • Clivejw Sep 30, 2017 / 10:21 pm

      Hah, that’s what I get for posting before reading through to the end. Actually, Holt isn’t done with Morgan after the brief parenthetical dig at him in the paragraph seven. He returns to him later, by name this time, and virtually accuses him of being responsible for the entire cult of drinking in the England team.

      “If there is a drinking culture, maybe we ought to look at the example Stokes has been set by his one-day captain, Eoin Morgan. Morgan’s Twitter feed sometimes reads like a paean to booze.

      “It is spattered with enthusiastic references to Captain Morgan’s, a brand of rum he is paid to endorse. It is also worth remembering that soon after Stokes and his teammates arrived in Bangladesh last autumn for a tour that Morgan refused to lead, Morgan took to Twitter thanking Guinness for entertaining him at a jolly somewhere.”

      Good grief. “Obsessed” doesn’t cover the half of it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Sep 30, 2017 / 10:48 pm

        The man has gone quite mad, and no Mr Holt, I am not to blame for Stokes predicament. Nor is the vast majority of the people of this country. So You speak for yourself without dragging everyone else into the sewer,

        Holt has become The Mails very own Sigmund Freud. Trying to find excuses for the bad behaviour of the sporting elite. Under Holt’s theory perhaps Morgan is also to blame for Wayne Rooneys drunken bouts. Perhaps Ray Winston is to blame for every compulsive gambler? Perhaps Morgan’s Twitter feed is to blame for the start of the temperance movement in the 19th century? Or the antics of Peter O’toole and every other drunken actor.

        The bigger the star, the guarantee is that Holt will give them immunity from responsibility. Isn’t that why they have an army of managers, lawyers, and PRs to smooth over the bad headlines?


        • clivejw Sep 30, 2017 / 11:20 pm

          He focuses obsessively on Morgan. But, for example, Jimmy Anderson is sponsored by Hardys, the Australian wine merchant. The England team’s sponsors include Hardys and Veuve Cliquot. And so forth. More than one cricket commentator has his own vineyard, in particular, one who seems to be forever hovering around the current team in the hope of enticing one of them on a bender. Moeen Ali is always left out of team celebrations because they inevitably involve the spraying of and consumption of alcohol. It’s not Morgan who is responsible for the England team’s drinking culture, it’s the wider culture of British society.

          Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Oct 1, 2017 / 8:14 am

        Put “Ollie Holt John Terry Luis Suarez” into Twitter or Google for more desperation, deflection and double standards.


        • LordCanisLupus Oct 1, 2017 / 9:21 am

          This quote in Lawrence Booth’s piece is amazing (in my eyes)

          One or two did try to nip this all in the bud. When the Daily Mail were dissuaded from publishing a story in late July after Stokes had enjoyed a late night out in Manchester during the Test against South Africa, he received a rebuke from his manager Neil Fairbrother.

          1. How were the Mail “dissuaded” from publishing such a story? On what grounds did the ECB, or Team England, get this to happen and why did the Mail agree? Why does Stokes get special treatment and previous transgressors less so? If, as a newspaper, you are being told what you can and can’t print, have the ECB not learned a damn thing since the nonsense of the last Ashes?

          2. Who the effing hell is Neil Fairbrother, a man who in part depends on Ben Stokes to supply him money as part of services he provides, to tell Stokes what to do, and secondly, why are the ECB handing over pseudo-disciplinary measures to an outside source – a management company which has Vaughan on its books and who you’ve barely been able to shut up the past few days? What thought processes are carried out that says “I’ve got a player out late at night during a test match, I know what, I’ll get his Mr 10% to talk to him rather than me.”

          3. I mentioned it elsewhere but I’ll chuck in the Holt piece here. How can a fellow Mail pundit, writing a reasonably similar article in that Stokes persona is celebrated until it goes wrong then use this as part of his very personal vendetta against Eoin Morgan? What is it? A transgression slap bang in the middle of a test series can’t be pinned on Morgan, but one during an ODI series can, so let’s go to town. So far the Mail have had Newman, Booth, Gibson, Hussain, Holt, Powell and Samuel comment on this in depth. Guess you have to make up for lost time. It’s a major story, but it’s death by repetition, and by not publishing earlier in the season, it’s by omission too.

          Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Oct 1, 2017 / 9:50 am

          I love this headline:

          Graham Gooch is a true great of the English game – it is time reluctant hero got the knighthood he deserves?

          For what? So we can officially forget he defied English management by going on a rebel tour to apartheid South Africa?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Oct 1, 2017 / 10:18 am

            Never let an opportunity go to waste.

            One persons Day of shame is an opportunity for someone else to be elevated to hero status. I guess for some…… deserting your country to go to South Africa is not as bad as brawling in the street.

            Every cloud………


          • man in a barrel Oct 3, 2017 / 8:34 pm

            More than once! His disloyalty as a player to Gower as a captain is nothing for anyone to be proud of, unless you are writing “being a traitor – a handbook for dummies and people who play for Essex”


  21. clivejw Sep 30, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    Meanwhile, Hales is apparently under fire inside the “close-knit” England team for not telling anybody about Stokes’s arrrest (including Stokes’s wife, Clare), but checking out of the hotel and driving 120 miles to play golf


    • LordCanisLupus Oct 1, 2017 / 12:01 am

      Ah. They sing like birds when the moment arises. Good journalism all over the place.


    • BoredInAustria Oct 1, 2017 / 5:42 am

      And all of that after “…Video footage appears to show how Stokes stepped into a fight to defend team-mate Hale…”. Or was it the help those other 2 blokes? And is Mr Anderson at all involved – The senior pro?


  22. clivejw Oct 1, 2017 / 12:35 am

    And now, the Buttler stag party in Amsterdam, throwing a dildo at a passing moped rider and into the chambers of a bona roba. I’m going to bed before it gets any worse.


  23. Pontiac Oct 1, 2017 / 12:57 am

    It’s a confusing situation. It will be interesting to see how things develop.

    At this stage some alleged justifications reported in the media are siimilar in some ways to taking a swing at someone for wearing a party wig on their chin and thereby being disrespectful to someone (in the same line of work) not actually present.

    Anyway, the answer is obvious: Samit Patel.


  24. BoredInAustria Oct 1, 2017 / 5:49 am

    Brilliant posts over the last days.

    This all does seem to be bad Karma. Or a cunning plan to construct a campaign even worse than in 2014 to be able to create a new myth around Flower and Co(ok).

    PS – I had the opportunity to spend a day with my father in Pretoria that included watching the first day of the Proteas vs Bangladesh test on television (a special experience as he is practically blind and sits 30 cm away from the screen), so here a few impressions from SA:

    The cricket itself was influenced by the odd (and that is kind) decision of Bangladesh to bowl first after winning the toss on what seems a very good batting wicket in Potchefstroom (the series is being played in smaller cities around SA). This set up the SA openers (with Markram on debut) to score 99 runs in each of the first two sessions, with Markram falling on 97 one over before tea to a run out. Stumps were at 298 for 1 in what is starting to look like a mountain for Bangladesh. They did manage to complete the 90 overs for the day. (I saw yesterday SA posted 496 with Elgar just missing his double ton and Bangladesh managed to get 320 runs all out).
    The commentators (I think at that point Haysman and Wessels) covered the issue of Mr Absent Batsman (AB) with a degree of sympathy in the context of the amount of cricket being played. They felt that international ODIs should be scrapped altogether (except World Cups), and that the idea of day/night tests could bring new excitement (although they felt at most one test per series). The issue of 4-day tests was dismissed outright. There was also reference to “the Stokes video” and that “it did not look good”, and that the England prospects for the Ashes are dim.

    I also saw that Lorgat had a left the CSA board over …. T20 TV rights: Crickinfo: “An insider told ESPNcricinfo that Lorgat’s departure would likely smooth the way for the broadcast deal to be wrapped up. Without it, the T20 Global League’s business model is in danger of being deemed unsustainable and, with millions of dollars invested in the tournament, CSA cannot afford that.”

    I flew back yesterday so will miss seeing any of the rest of the test and series that is interesting as it is Ottis Gibson vs Courtney Walsh.


    • SimonH Oct 1, 2017 / 2:04 pm

      The other Test going on is bubbling up nicely in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan were looking in trouble against Herath until Haris Sohail (who looked good in ODIs a couple of years ago and then fell off the radar) rallied the tail. This is of course the post Misbah-Younis era for Pakistan.

      It’s two weeks until the ICC meeting that’s going to okay four-day Tests so let’s enjoy it while we may.

      Liked by 1 person

    • BoredInAustria Oct 1, 2017 / 3:58 pm

      Stumps day 4 – Bangladesh 49/3 needing another 375. Bad light stops play, rain predicted for tomorrow and Morkel probably not able to bowl due to a side strain. They might just get out of jail…


  25. dlpthomas Oct 1, 2017 / 9:22 am

    From Michael Vaughan
    “It is about knowing personalities. England know Ben Stokes has been in scrapes before. When you put Alex Hales in the mix as well, it is arguably the worst combination of an England pair you could have out in the early hours of the morning. If those two are having a night out, they need security with them.”

    I might be being a bit unfair but are Stokes and Hales two more names to add to the list of players that the ECB have mis-managed in recent times? (A list that by my reckoning includes, but is not limited to, Flintoff, KP, Monty, Trescothick, and Trott.) I get that managing players, some of whom have huge ego’s, too much money and no common sense, is not easy. However, the ECB does seem quite bad at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Oct 1, 2017 / 9:30 am

      The implication is that Alex Hales has a list of indiscretions as well. Which we’ve never been told about before (have I missed something?)

      These are adults. They should take responsibility but when a player is bigger than the game, it goes awry. You’ll only be briefed against if you rub the players up the wrong way, the coach up the wrong way or offend a journo’s moral code. When the media say “We” created Stokes, they surely mean themselves. Naff all to do with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Oct 1, 2017 / 10:09 am

        This is why the media have zero credibility when they try to play the moral card. They are sitting on stories of the bad behaviour of many people including sports stars. Waiting to bring them out when the time is right for their own agenda.

        Governing bodies, media, players management companies are all in this together. A giant sewer of self interest, back scratching, and hypocrisy. John Ethridge lectured us once when we all laughed at their golf day out with the players. I think he said something like “you don’t know how journalism works.”

        Oh yes we do. Stories covered up for the benefit of “access.” As you point out above Dmitri why did the media sit on the Stokes Manchester story? Why are we only now hearing journalists asking …..”has the drinking culture gone too far? ”

        Then we get the grudge holders like Holt. His high profile top gun routine. Flying in to do a hatchet job on Morgan. But horror of horrors Holt’s piece had no effect. Morgan stayed in place as captain. So now is another opportunity to kick him because of the behaviour of someone else.

        A player gets into a fight, and Holt blames the person not involved in said fight. This is a rare form of stupidity. Shinny toy is now suddenly an expert on which players in the current squad need their own security to go out. How does he know? He is not in the England set up anymore. Or perhaps he is more involved through the managememt company than people inside the ECB?

        KP is looking like small beer compared to all of this. Yet he was slung out for good. Funny what the prorities of the management are.

        Liked by 3 people

  26. Rooto Oct 1, 2017 / 10:47 am

    It is starting to look as if Hales is being spun against and hung out to dry in a “spread the blame around” operation. His payback for refusing to tour last year has been cashed in sooner than many of us will have imagined. The only thing in Hales favour is the evidence of the video, in which the main aggressor is clearly the shorter, lighter-haired man. Lucky for him, as the spin might well be more aggressive otherwise.
    The irony for me is that the news journalists – the unprincipled diggers who I would normally look very poorly on – are the ones undoing all the spin from the ECB’s pals. They’re the ones whose videos and stories are making the Olly Holts of this world look like the patsies they are. It’s a case of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clivejw Oct 1, 2017 / 6:57 pm

      I don’t think Hales is necessarily being “spun against.” If England players are genuinely annoyed with Hales for leaving Stokes in the lurch and not telling management (and not even Stokes’s wife, for Christ’s sake) about his arrest, it wouldn’t have taken long for this to reach the press (it may not even have been a player, but a familiy member or friend of a player). If this report is true, Hales has only himself to blame for arousing resentment. If I were Mrs. Stokes, I’d want to give him a piece of my mind.


  27. Zephirine Oct 1, 2017 / 11:25 am

    The somewhat tarnished silver lining is that cricket is on the front pages. People who wouldn’t recognise Joe Root or Alastair Cook now know what Ben Stokes looks like. Shame he won’t be playing.


    • Sophie Oct 1, 2017 / 12:07 pm

      Shame also that there’s no point in going anyway without their one player and everyone else only there to make up the numbers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Oct 1, 2017 / 12:57 pm

        ‘The heartbeat of the team’ according to Ali Martin in the Guardian…

        Who knows, they may do rather well without him.


      • BoredInAustria Oct 1, 2017 / 1:22 pm

        And Moeen rolled out to say what needs to be said. Wonder what he really thinks about the situation. But it takes TRJ tp speak “intelligently” about it, says Vic.


        • Sophie Oct 1, 2017 / 1:51 pm

          I think I read a thing where they interviewed Toblerone Jones on cricinfo, but of course it’s impossible to find again, but as far as I remember he mostly talked like the issue was having an occasional pint, not beating up people. IIRC, he only mentions that in passing and in very general terms. Of course, he’s got nothing to do with it, so I’m not even sure why he’s getting dragged into this. (There’s always the possibility that I’ve read that somewhere else and I’m wrongly accusing cricinfo of being shite!)

          Liked by 1 person

          • thebogfather Oct 1, 2017 / 2:37 pm

            The thing is, be it the ECB drain-trained stenographers, other cricket press, and those ‘in the know’ as well as the bandwagon jumpers, do not know how to approach this or who to chase or knowingly upset/disparage. It seems Hales is the easy option at present, Morgan invoked ‘because’, no doubt Adil will be included somehow too.
            Typical ECB hide and peek from behind the curtains, hoping it will all go away… because, because, best interests of cricket, bested interest of moneyed accounts – wow, one of our expendable cricketers has put us on the front page…pour the verve-cliquot Giles!


          • Deep Purple Fred Oct 1, 2017 / 3:44 pm

            Nah, no wrongful accusation there. Cricinfo is shite. Cricinfo the cricket news organisation is very good, but Cricinfo the website is shite.


  28. Sherwick Oct 1, 2017 / 2:27 pm

    I’m waiting for Selvey to talk about Stokes chasing the ‘filthy lucre’, or John Etheridge to ask me to look at a photo of Stokes Very, very carefully.

    Until then I’m not interested.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BoredInAustria Oct 1, 2017 / 4:08 pm

      Newman: “Stokes insists he is not money motivated and I believe him. He loves playing for England and would never turn his back on his adopted country to fully cash in on the Twenty20 revolution. His passion for the international game and for England is in his DNA, too.”


      • Rooto Oct 1, 2017 / 6:54 pm

        Sorry? His what country? BINGO!

        Liked by 1 person

        • oreston Oct 2, 2017 / 2:05 am

          Director Comma has done quite well for himself in his “adopted country” too.


  29. Deep Purple Fred Oct 1, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    As always with these things, one event can trigger a gradual release of information, revealing the iceberg underneath.

    Why not a word on Anderson? He was there. Senior pro, leader, suddenly absent from dispatches? Can’t let the image of the greatest* bowler* ever* be tarnished.

    I remember the good old days when England did nothing worse than take a tinkle on the pitch after a few beers, try to push the black colonies around (Cook/Mathews, Anderson/Jedeja, demanding Bell’s ditzy dismissal in India be overturned, etc) and bully the South African. How quaint.

    I thought this lot were better. Doesn’t look like it. I used to cringe just a little when English cricketers were exposed to the harshest treatment in Australia, I won’t be cringing anymore.

    Still, who cares, for most people it’s just about sport, not character or morals. I’m still disappointed we won’t see Stokes tested down under, even if he is a drunken brawling thug.


    • Clivejw Oct 1, 2017 / 6:47 pm

      Oh, come on. Jimmy was having a drink at the Bristol earlier, as were others, but they went home to bed long before the incident with Stokes. Only Hales and Stokes are reported to have been still there at 2:30 am. This was mentioned in the very first reports. One can say that the others behaved very sensibly, as did Broad and Root by opting not to go to Amsterdam for Buttler’s stag do. I must say, I originally thought this was overdoing the caution a bit and rather hard on Buttler, but after the shenanigans in Amsterdam, I can see they were well advised to keep away.

      It cannot be a bad thing for senior players to go out and have a drink or two with the younger ones, but the latter really ought to follow their seniors’ example and know when enough is enough. You’re hard pushed to find Anderson at all at fault here.


      • Deep Purple Fred Oct 1, 2017 / 9:16 pm

        Fair enough. He went home. I didnt read the very first reports.
        A stag do in Amsterdam? I suppose it must sound like fun when youre 25.


        • AB Oct 2, 2017 / 9:50 am

          Ah come on, Amsterdam is great. Beautiful city, Van Gogh, Anne Frank, the Jewish Museum, the Sex Museum. Something for everyone.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Deep Purple Fred Oct 2, 2017 / 2:08 pm

            I have the good furtune to be required to visit Amsterdam periodically, I love it, it’s a great city and the Dutch are generally brilliant. But I imagine the stag do won’t be spending much time at the Rijksmuseum or the Concertgebouw.

            Liked by 1 person

          • AB Oct 3, 2017 / 8:57 pm

            Depends on the stag do I should imagine.


    • Rooto Oct 1, 2017 / 6:57 pm

      Don’t worry Fred, I’m sure the Australian press will up their game and be as cringeworthy as ever. They’ve never let us down so far.


      • Deep Purple Fred Oct 1, 2017 / 9:21 pm

        They learned from the best:)

        Liked by 1 person

  30. Mark Oct 2, 2017 / 10:04 am

    In all the media angst about how England can’t possibly win or even retain the Ashes without Ben Stokes it seems they are ignoring their own narrative of the last 4 years. Namely, how great is one Mr A Cook? In all the sucking of teeth what has happened to Mr A Cook?

    Remember him? The worlds greatest cricketer (of all time!! According to some) Have the media forgotten about their great idol? Won’t super Alasdair carry England single handed over the rickety Ashes bridge? Slaying everything around him. Laying waste like Rambo to all comers!

    And what about the nations two leading wicket takers……of all time? Anderson and Broad? Are these 3 men backed up by Root, and Bairstow and Ali not enough to see off those pesky Aussies? Are England now just a one man team? If so it doesn’t say much for all the others.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. SimonH Oct 2, 2017 / 10:36 am

    Belting finish in UAE with Pakistan 60/5 needing another 77 off about 30 overs.


    • SimonH Oct 2, 2017 / 12:25 pm

      Herath wins it for SL!

      10wm in the match, the first bowler to take 100 wickets in Tests against Pakistan and the first SLA bowler to take 400 Test wickets. The ball that got Shafiq was a peach.

      The match went to the last session of the 5th day. Obviously we can’t have any more of that nonsense.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Oct 2, 2017 / 2:24 pm

        Yes, we can’t any more of this. This ICC getting ready to kill 5 day tests on behalf of the elite nations who fund them.


      • BoredInAustria Oct 2, 2017 / 3:52 pm

        But Bangladesh collapsed in a heap 90 AO with Maharajah taking 4/25. On day 5….;)


  32. clivejw Oct 2, 2017 / 11:17 am

    I didn’t realize that in June this year Stokes received his fourth penalty for speeding and was warned that a further offence would lead to a jail sentence. That’s on top of his already being threatened with suspension if he commits another on-field disciplinary breach. Sounds like he needs a period of self-reassessment. Any talk of his going to Australia should be scotched right away.


    • Mark Oct 2, 2017 / 11:42 am

      Yes Clive he does seem to be living in the last chance saloon. Both on, and off the field. It might have been a better idea for the ECB to try a life changing ban a little while ago as a wake up call. (Easy to say after the event of course.)

      Maybe he is just not someone who will listen? Hot headed. The red mist comes, and everything just becomes a blur. Sad for someone of such talent. I hope he can get a grip otherwise you worry where all this will lead. Because if he gets involved in something like this again I can see him being banned for good.


      • AB Oct 2, 2017 / 8:39 pm

        There seems to be something of a culture problem in English cricket – you can tell Stokes is a bit of a psycho just by watching him on the pitch. He gets this look in his eye. A lot of the other players – Broad, Anderson seem to have similarly short fuses and childish attitudes. Its just played off as “competitive”. Its not – its unhealthy and completely unacceptable. We used to complain about Australia, but its England who have been the unlikeable dickheads of international cricket for a decade now (since the Flower era, funnily enough)

        A real captain and coach would have stepped in several times over the years and changed the culture, and helped these young men with their emotion-control problems. Something like this was bound to happen eventually.


    • Zephirine Oct 2, 2017 / 11:53 am

      Didn’t know about the speeding. It’s all adding up.
      He doesn’t appear to be in control of his life and somebody needs to help him with that. It’s all very well people laughingly saying ‘You can’t captain Ben Stokes’ but there’s a difference between ‘maverick’ and ‘self-destruct’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel Oct 2, 2017 / 8:43 pm

        It’s that thin line between wanting to succeed or get on with people or get a laugh in the dressing room, and being a dick. I find it hard at times. You always need someone to pull you back. Swann manages to survive, amazingly. Perhaps he is even worse than that when the mikes are off.


    • nonoxcol Oct 2, 2017 / 11:55 am

      Just give him a fatherly pat on the head.

      Liked by 2 people

  33. SimonH Oct 2, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    Lions’ squad announced:

    So Rory Burns (1041 f/c runs at 49.5) gets left out for Jennings (490 runs at 25.8) or Gubbins (314 at 24.1). Repeat the same point in the bowling about Ben Coad. And they’re taking a spinner with just 3 f/c matches?

    Mind you, the fixture list is so bad anyone not going probably isn’t missing much.


    • oreston Oct 2, 2017 / 1:37 pm

      Also included are Jennings’ fellow test failures Ben Duckett and Tom Westley, along with Mark Wood whose fitness has to be a concern. Aren’t these suposedly England’s first choice back-up players in case the sh*t really hits the fan in the Ashes (aka Difficult Winter Syndrome)? The ECB must be feeling very confident about the main team’s prospects.


      • man in a barrel Oct 2, 2017 / 8:39 pm

        The Aussies are probably wondering whether to play a decent young quickie against the Lions. The England strategy is a little bit obvious – pick all the out of form openers and hope one of them comes good,in case the grown ups need another opener or #3. Maybe get Shaun Tait to shake them up. For an opener, HH gives cause for concern with his low hands. Pitches tend not to bounce much these days, even Perth is a tamed animal, but to get a broken hand in India is not an encouraging thing


    • nonoxcol Oct 3, 2017 / 7:42 am

      Is it wrong of me to want Andy Flower utterly humiliated for the second consecutive Australian your?

      No. No, it’s not. Then he might finally fuck off.

      (See also exchange between old friend Andyinbrum and George Dobell on Twitter)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Oct 3, 2017 / 10:14 am

        But as we know, Flower is impervious to failure. He simply uses it as an opportunity to get what he wants, like an easier job with less travelling.

        Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Oct 3, 2017 / 11:09 am

          Head coach of Lions since July 2014. All eight essential England Test players (Cook, Root, Anderson, Broad, Bairstow, Stokes, Ali, Woakes) were Test players by then and only Woakes was not a firm pick.

          What has he actually achieved since his last humiliation? I think Moores has done way more for England since the difficult winter, and even that wasn’t good enough.

          He’ll never disappear. He’ll be like English cricket’s Vladimir Putin, and little boys will be ignored as they point out the Emperor hasn’t actually done anything of note since 2013.

          Liked by 1 person

          • BoredInAustria Oct 3, 2017 / 11:21 am

            Is he becoming the Bob Mugabe of English cricket….?


          • AB Oct 3, 2017 / 1:35 pm

            He did his best to try and destroy Jack Leach’s career, after he sat in Andy’s favourite seat in the canteen or didn’t laugh hard enough at one of his jokes or some similar faux pas.


  34. SimonH Oct 3, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    Not him again you might think and not bother:

    Hang on a minute though, there’s something interesting in here:

    “A story came out this week that Ben Stokes was out until 3am during a Test match in Manchester… I knew that at the time, it was the talk of the media centre. The story was ripped out of the newspapers, it wasn’t allowed to go in, they fought tooth and nail to make sure that story didn’t reach the papers – bad PR, looks terrible on Ben Stokes”.

    It wasn’t “allowed” to go in? WTF? And what else does everyone in the press box know but isn’t “allowed” to say because it’s “bad PR”?


    • LordCanisLupus Oct 3, 2017 / 4:40 pm

      Put this in the comments earlier. Booth said the Mail were dissuaded from printing it. One can only imagine the persuasive tactics.


      • oreston Oct 3, 2017 / 5:14 pm

        Loss of “access” to the team? The threat of no more “good journalism” exclusives? Fifteen years’ political re-education in a Siberian salt mine?
        Joking aside (…not that I was really joking very much) I think it will become increasingly clear that the ECB should’ve known there was a potentially serious problem brewing but as usual did sod all about it until it was too late. I’m not saying they could’ve foreseen anything as dramatic as what happened in Bristol but with the Jagerbomb-fuelled late nights and talk of him battling a “red mist” it begins to look more and more like a racing certainty that something was eventually going to go badly wrong, either on the field of play or away from it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • SimonH Oct 3, 2017 / 4:57 pm

        Yes I’d seen it earlier – what’s striking here is that Vaughan’s choice of words goes beyond persuasion.

        Maybe it’s just a loose use of words. After all, it’s not like he’s a journalist and the accurate choice of words is his job or anything….


      • Mark Oct 3, 2017 / 5:19 pm

        Do you remember when Strauss talked endlessly about trust?

        So the people running cricket don’t trust the fans (customers) to know the truth. They think it would be too much for our simple minds to understand that a top player was out till early morning in the middle of a test match.

        When you are paying the best part of £100 per ticket is it unreasonable to expect that a player is in the best condition for playing? Some will say no. It has always been like this. But players weren’t earning squillions of £ 20 years ago. Others will say it didn’t effect the result of the match so who cares?

        If it isn’t such a big deal why are the authories so terrified that the public will find out? And why are the media once again showing contempt for their readers? They knew about this,but said nothing. Oh to be a fly on the wall when the ECB were turning the screw on the media to stop them printing the story. How many free tickets, and corporate hospitality days did that cost? How many free interviews with top players were promised?

        Did Ollie Holt know about this? If so he should STFU attacking Morgan for so called morality issues. Any journo who knew about this, and didn’t report it is a liar and a fraud.

        On 5 live last night shinny toy tried to claim that this is completely different from the Strauss/KP issue. And Phil Tufnull said he was unhappy at the idea of players being banned for off the field issues even if they are criminal. “What happens if it’s fraud or drink driving? ” asked Phil. Message to Tuffnel, if you drink drive and kill someone it’s not a minor offence.

        Stokes is a lucky boy (not that he will think so at the momemt.) If you are street fighting in the backstreets in the early hours anything can happen. Next time, someone might take out a knife or Stokes could have punched someone, and on falling split his head open. Stokes would now be on a manslaughter charge.

        Liked by 2 people

        • oreston Oct 3, 2017 / 6:46 pm

          Exactly how “lucky” he is remains to be seen, but this is a point well made.


          • man in a barrel Oct 3, 2017 / 8:43 pm

            The video broke before the money guys could “cool things down”. This sort of thing was regular in Hollywood in the 30s and 40s. I am surprised that it is still possible to clamp down on journos. But with the footage out there, someone has to play the patsy…. Take a coupla million and take the rap, OK?

            It used to be a studio employee rather than a special talent such as Hales but… The modern game is better in every way


  35. Scrim Oct 4, 2017 / 9:31 am

    Can someone explain the Daily Mail to me, an Australian? On the surface, it looks like an extremely trashy tabloid or celebrity gossip magazine. The “stories” section of Snapchat always has the Daily Mail with the latest on the Kardashians or whoever in a bikini or yoga pants. They seem to be terrible purveyors of clickbait articles and lists, and use more pictures than words.

    Then there’s their cricket writing. It is one of the more respected newspapers amongst the readership here, if I’m not mistaken. It seems to be one of the few English papers that will take a contrarian look at all things cricket. Lawrence Booth has written for far more respectable papers, and is the editor of Wisden.

    What’s the story? Who is the target audience? How credible is an article from a newspaper that is more preoccupied with Kylie Jenner than Terry Jenner?


    • SimonH Oct 4, 2017 / 10:14 am

      Scrim, I don’t think you’ll find much respect for the DM here! It’s more an acknowledgement of their power in the UK and a feeling that they have an access to certain types of stories that other papers don’t. Plus they aren’t behind a paywall!

      Lawrence Booth sits uncomfortably with the paper’s overall outlook and quality. However there really isn’t anywhere else for Booth to go in the current UK newspaper market (what remains of the UK’s vaguely progressive newspapers has been shedding cricket writers, not taking new ones on).


    • Zephirine Oct 4, 2017 / 10:53 am

      The Mail print newspaper has a high circulation, as modern newspapers go. Mainly older readers (45+) and slightly more women than men. Until recently these were the people who could be relied on to vote, so politicians courted them.

      The current editor’s very powerful in British politics because of the thing of bringing in the vote, which he doesn’t hesitate to exploit, and his views are stridently right-wing. I do know people who read the Mail, but I can never work out whether they believe the anti-immigrant screaming or it just washes over them.

      The website does seem to be predominantly pictures and gossip. It has a lot of users though. I imagine the Mail spends a fortune to be the first result on Google.

      I think it pays its journalists well and gives them a high profile, hence perhaps why someone like Booth is there.


      • Benny Oct 4, 2017 / 6:49 pm

        Pictures and gossip yes and opinion from some writer you would’t know if you tripped over them in the street. Newspapers became redundant years ago when the Internet and indeed breakfast telly arrived. I remember in 1987, I went to a seminar in London, bought a newspaper at the station and read the situation after 30% of the results were in. Arrived in London an hour later, logged on to the Internet and learned that Tories had won. Threw “newspaper” in the bin.

        For Scrim, sex sells – whatever the PC wallies try to demand. News doesn’t. The press industry is very competitive and the Mail goes with the flow.


    • nonoxcol Oct 4, 2017 / 11:42 am

      Google Charlie Brooker’s “Daily Mail Island” to get some impression of how that newspaper actually looks to anyone not a swivel-eyed nationalist with a fetish for pre-1960s Britain. Look up a few articles about how its editor actually lives his life. And also note that its lead cricket correspondent won this site’s “Worst Journalist” poll last year.

      Personally I regard it as one of the top three most relentlessly, unambiguously toxic influences on British public life, alongside the irredeemable cesspit that is the Sun and the life and works of your man Rupert Murdoch in general.

      Liked by 2 people

      • northernlight71 Oct 4, 2017 / 12:49 pm

        Couldn’t agree more. I’d need to be homeless and destitute before I’d even consider taking paid work from any of them. And even then, I’d probably still turn them down.


        • Silk Oct 4, 2017 / 3:04 pm

          I’d happily join you in the gutter. Pass the tonic wine.


    • Elaine Simpson-Long Oct 5, 2017 / 8:55 pm

      When Ian Woolsridge was alive and their sports reporter it was wonderful. Superb writer. They also had Keith Waterhouse on their staff. Linda Lee Potter, whatever you might think about her , also a great writer. I used to read it in those days. Not now.


  36. SimonH Oct 4, 2017 / 11:06 am

    Switch Hit and #39 podcasts address the Stokes’ affair.

    GD isn’t rowing back at all from his initial Twitter stance, even calling Stokes “the victim”. He seems to have completely capitulated to the English press box vice of deciding if someone’s a “good man” and then fitting everything that subsequently happens into that pre-conception.

    #39 says something aboyt Vince in comparison to Ramprakash which might make a few around here combust!


    • dlpthomas Oct 4, 2017 / 12:16 pm

      George is too one-eyed an English supporter to be objective (not to mention too close to the players) I don’t suppose he has been Stoke’s ghost writer?


    • northernlight71 Oct 4, 2017 / 12:42 pm

      I assume George was all for the “lets cover up his other non-criminal but nevertheless unprofessional behaviour” omerta we, er, didn’t hear about previously.


    • northernlight71 Oct 4, 2017 / 12:40 pm

      The last line of it this week makes me think it was a rather rushed, phoned in piece.
      But I’m commenting on it anyway. 🙂


  37. Mark Oct 4, 2017 / 11:49 am

    In other news, and not related to cricket, but part of the ever widening gap between the haves and have nots of sport The Premiership is meeting to decide on changing the way the tv rights are divided up. The so called big 6 (not to be confused with the big 3 of cricket) want a bigger slice of the pie. Same as Cricket then?

    Man U and Man c Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool also want more money for the fact they provide more of the players for England. This comes on top of the weekend where upity premier mangers were whining that It was so unfair that their multi millionaire superstars should be forced to play premiership matches after exerting themselves playing Champions league football.

    How about we just shut down all matches that are inconvenient to the big clubs, and just hand the trophies over without us customers ever having to bother paying out any of hard earned for the privilege?

    The Emperors New Clothes is so relevent to modern sport. All the lackies, and hangers on worship the ground they walk on. It will take a little kid in the crowd to point and laugh and say “He’s naked.. And a fraud…… I’m going to do something else with my time and money!”


    • thebogfather Oct 4, 2017 / 12:02 pm

      Chelsea….wanting more money for providing England players??? At present, they have Gary ‘So one footed and the turning circle of a Paraguayan oil tanker owned by Giles Clarke’ Cahill… and yes, I’m a CFC fan…
      In other news, congrats to the bloke who showered Blatter with fake money a while ago… he’s just given the Maybot her ‘P45’ at the CPC in Manc!


  38. Mark Oct 4, 2017 / 4:44 pm

    The MCC has come out in favour of keeping 5 day test matches. Which is good.

    They also want to keep two test matches at Lords even if the ECB reduce the total number of tests per summer to six. They also want ODIs and 20/20, and they want the new franchise 2020 cricket at Lords. Their spokesman mumbled something about “the customer experience being the best.” I’m sure it is for wealthy corporate elites.

    Why don’t we just play every cricket match there. Soon the MCC members will be the only fans left.


    • SimonH Oct 4, 2017 / 6:33 pm

      They’re also talking of using drop-in pitches and some sort of net strung between the floodlights to prevent rain interruptions (checks it’s not April 1st…..).


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