Enjoy It, It’s Your Last Chance Anyhow

With England already down 2-0 with only 3 games left to play, it’s fair to say that they’re currently drinking at the last chance saloon. Metaphorically speaking, of course. After the Stokes and Bairstow incidents, they’re probably all teetotal and in bed well before their curfews. But they need to win at least 2 games, and probably 3 since a drawn game seems somewhat unlikely. Looking at the team’s performances so far doesn’t instil us with confidence that they can achieve this, but perhaps they can bring some new blood from outside the current team to turn things around

On a related note, an England XI led by Moeen Ali will play a 2 day game against a Cricket Australia XI in Perth starting tonight. Apart from the England spinner, the 12-man squad for the match contains the 4 players who didn’t play in Adelaide from the senior squad plus 7 from the Lions squad which is also touring Australia. It could be England’s last opportunity to make changes to the squad while it can still make a difference, so the performances in this nonsense game could still make a massive impact.

It’s fair to say that I know almost nothing about county cricket. This could be a problem, because 6 of these players haven’t played for England’s Test team. But seeing as I’m on the internet, I figure I can just bluff it out with 5 minutes of research and, so long as I act confidently enough, I’ll get away with it. So here’s my profile of England’s hopefuls:

Mark Wood – Probably the one player mentioned most from the Lions squad, Wood can reach speeds of 90+mph when he puts his back into it. Never seems to be fully fit, as he’s either injured or returning from injury at any given point. His current Test bowling average of 40.65 doesn’t really suggest that he’s going to blow Australia away, and I’d doubt he’s up to full speed yet.

Mason Crane – Being managed by ISM, there seems a fairly realistic chance that Crane might be selected. A First Class bowling average of 43.98 doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but he’s only 20 so does have youth on his side. He does have the advantage of having played Shield cricket in Australia last year though.

Jake Ball – A current Test bowling average of 114.33. Match figures of 1/115 against Australia. If Finn was considered “unselectable” in the previous Ashes series, Ball has to be somewhere beyond that now. “Banished from cricket”, perhaps?

Gary Ballance – I’m a big fan of Ballance, I thought it was massively unfair when England dropped him for the first time. But in the 8 Tests he’s played since then, he averages 20.26. On top of that he’s a left-handed batsman, so is presumably vulnerable to Lyon’s off spin.

Ben Duckett – Another left-handed batsman, he averaged 15.71 in his 4 Test innings in India and Bangladesh. Obviously there’s a very different playing surface in Australia, but he lost his wicket all 7 times against spin bowling and was clean bowled 3 times.

Keaton Jennings – Left-handed batsman? Check. Test average under 25 in the last 2 years? Check. Shouldn’t be within a million miles of the England team when they have to face Lyon? Check.

Tom Curran – The only “pace” bowler in the senior squad not to get a game so far, his time will probably come after England are beyond saving the series.

Ben Foakes – His First Class batting average is 41.84, which is higher than 3 of England’s current top 5 batsmen. He’s right-handed. His being in the side would allow Bairstow to bat higher in the order and probably cause a net increase in both England’s batting and fielding. On paper, I cannot fathom why he isn’t in the side.

Dan Lawrence – Also with a career First Class batting average over 40, and right-handed, surely he could replace Malan or Vince in the middle order?

Jack Leach – Just looking at his figures, I wonder why he’s not in the team already. And then I remember that he’s bowled most of his games in the Somerset fortress of spin, Ciderabad. I think I’d need to see what his figures are like away from home before I jumped on this particular bandwagon.

Liam Livingstone – I’ve maybe left the best for last here. His First Class batting average is the second highest in this squad to Ballance, he’s right-handed, and he presumably can’t be any worse than Vince or Malan. Get him in the team already!

So, who would you bring in from this game into the Ashes? Or would you go for someone else who isn’t in this squad? As always, comments welcome below.


142 thoughts on “Enjoy It, It’s Your Last Chance Anyhow

  1. Tony Bennett Dec 8, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    Foakes – I was thinking much the same as you. He is said by some to be the best keeper in England. And he can certainly bat. If Root won’t bat at three, maybe Bairstow could, as a specialist batsman? But of course it would be a left-field selection by ECB standards, and therefore won’t happen. I fully expect the starting XI at Perth to be the same as at Adelaide.


    • Tony Bennett Dec 8, 2017 / 7:35 pm

      You note I have already jettisoned James Vince. Expectations of his success batting at 3 in Australia seem to me to be at a similar level of optimism to expecting a snowball to survive in hell. He looks good when he’s good – a sort of right handed DI Gower with a lot less talent. It seems he is missing the requisite temperament / judgement / brainpower to succeed at this level, which is a shame as his cover drive is great when its outcome doesn’t end up in the hands of first slip.


    • dannycricket Dec 8, 2017 / 7:39 pm

      The thing I don’t understand about England’s selection is that they’ve chosen 4 left-handers in the top 6. Lyon has taken 11 wickets so far in the series at an average of 22.72, of which only 2 were against right-handers. I think bringing in at least two of Foakes, Lawrence and Livingstone will help reduce Lyon as an attacking threat (although still very effective as a holding bowler) and extend England’s batting.


      • Tony Bennett Dec 8, 2017 / 7:42 pm

        I think the selectors have only just realised that Lyon is any good. I doubt whether he featured in their deliberations at all. I also think that bringing in even one non-original-squad member is an admission of error that the ECB would be highly unlikely to contemplate. The only possibility to my mind is Wood, and that would probably be another error.


        • Tony Bennett Dec 8, 2017 / 7:46 pm

          Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see all three of Foakes, Lawrence and Livingstone lining up for England next home summer against Whoever We’re Playing.

          Sorry, not only do I not know who England’s 2018 Test opponents are, but I cannot recall who they were in most of the years since 2000, Ashes excepted. Ask me about the period 1946-2000 and I can rattle them off – overseas tours too. Not sure what lesson to draw from this.


          • dannycricket Dec 8, 2017 / 7:55 pm

            The ECB will be crushed to hear that. It’s only a 5 game series of the two biggest teams in world cricket. The richest, most powerful, greatest Test team in the history of the world. And England.

            I think it’s fair to say that if England stick with the current lineup, Ravi Ashwin will have a very good series.


          • oreston Dec 8, 2017 / 7:59 pm

            We haven’t played India for nearly a whole year now, so it’s bound to be them next summer. Not sure who the three Test support act will be.


          • dannycricket Dec 8, 2017 / 8:02 pm

            India with 5 Tests, preceded by Pakistan with 2 Tests. And between them, a 5 ODI series against Australia for them to prepare for the World Cup in 2019.


          • Tony Bennett Dec 8, 2017 / 8:02 pm

            And all England’s batsmen, of right or left handed persuasion, will be out of form because there is virtually no County Championship cricket at all in the middle of the season.


          • Quebecer Dec 8, 2017 / 8:03 pm

            It’s two tests against Pakistan who we haven’t played at home for ages. Hopefully, Chris Soaked can get them under grey skies on an early season Lord’s pitch so many, many people can keep talking him up.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 8, 2017 / 8:12 pm

            We played them last year. At home. Finished 2-2.


          • Tony Bennett Dec 8, 2017 / 8:18 pm

            Anyone miss those old days when England played other teams no more frequently than every four years? This will be the shortest gap between Pakistan tours. 54 62 67 71 74 78 82 87 92 96 01 06 10 16. Okay, there was a long gap before the last series.


          • Quebecer Dec 8, 2017 / 8:15 pm

            Huh. Seems my phone has the same view of Woakes as I do.


          • Quebecer Dec 8, 2017 / 8:34 pm

            Dmitri: Sorry, clearly had my irony filter on high there. I’ve said before I have no idea why we didn’t get the Banglas rather than Pakistan for those two tests. The only answer I can come up with is we don’t give a monkeys for world cricket and the advancement of upcoming nations. But, surely that can’t be it….

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Dec 8, 2017 / 8:35 pm

            Q, I’m on a work Christmas do. Ignore my nonsense!


          • Sri.Grins Dec 9, 2017 / 9:42 am

            Greatest test team in the history of the world? You mean the Mel Brooks movie of course? 🙂


      • Quebecer Dec 8, 2017 / 7:57 pm

        Danny, that’s a fair point and certainly the perennial underestimation of Lyon is puzzling (as has England’s seeming lack of plan as to how they’ll play him). The only thing I’d say though is that Lyon has probably had his best two tracks to bowl on in tbis series and may not be quite the same factor for the last 3 tests.


  2. Rooto Dec 8, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    The ECB obviously remember how Steve Smith was brought into the Aussie team in 2010 to tell a few jokes and lighten the mood in the dressing room. Emulating this seems to be the only reason why Mark ‘Imaginary Horse’ Wood is so close to playing again.
    I hope Moeen is under strict instructions not to bowl, and to let his finger heal. Like Tony, I’d love to see Dan Lawrence and Joe Leach (and maybe Livi) in the England team soon, but maybe next summer rather than throwing them to the Lyons just now. At least not en masse. Foakes should really enter their thoughts though. Bairstow makes an excellent outfielder, and extra right-handers benefit the team. I’d hope that, if this was explained to Jonny Bairstow, the much-mooted idea that “he needs to keep to take pressure off his batting” would be put to bed. Stand up tall and bat, like we know you can!


    • dannycricket Dec 8, 2017 / 8:18 pm

      To be fair, Mark Wood’s Horse could be a viable replacement for Vince. Less vulnerable to balls 2 feet outside off stump, for example.

      Ashes series usually mark the end of a cricket cycle for England, and it could easily be that several players and staff are dropped or sacked if England are humiliated. That leaves a lot of potential places for these three batsmen to fill. I wonder if they’ll debut in the dead rubbers in Australia or wait until the Pakistan series.


      • dlpthomas Dec 9, 2017 / 12:51 am

        Or in New Zealand?


        • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 7:56 am

          The first New Zealand T20 is 3 days after the last one in Australia. There’s no space between the two series for England to make wholesale changes like sacking the coach or selectors. With the same people in charge of picking the team, you would expect a similar lineup. Unless of course any players retire after the Ashes series, about which there is always some speculation.


    • quebecer Dec 9, 2017 / 3:22 am

      I like the sound of the Joe Leach fellow. What’s he do?


      • Rooto Dec 9, 2017 / 7:43 am

        His main job is to wander around making eejits get confused between him and Jack Leach.


      • Silk Dec 9, 2017 / 7:52 am

        Decent medium pacer and number 8 batsman. Solid County Pro. Unlikely to make Test at side.


        • Quebecer Dec 9, 2017 / 8:06 am

          Too many others in his way? Poor old Joe.


  3. northernlight71 Dec 8, 2017 / 8:53 pm

    Does anyone else feel incredibly bored by the mantra “The middle of an Ashes series is no place to throw a new…..(legspinner/opener/wicketkeeper/bowler)” ?
    If that’s really the case, don’t bother putting them in the squad.
    If that’s really the case, when would be a good time to have a debut? One of the famous “easy” test Matches we so often arrange?


    • dannycricket Dec 8, 2017 / 9:08 pm

      I don’t think there is a good time to make your debut. Really unless you can manage a 3 year run of good form, you’re always only a bad 2 or 3 games away from being dropped. Of course once you’ve had an extended run of performing well, you’re then in Test contention for the rest of your career whether your current skills deserve it or not.


      • Tony Bennett Dec 8, 2017 / 10:04 pm

        I think that’s generally true and it hasn’t markedly changed in the last 50 years or so. I can remember Jackie Hampshire of Yorkshire making a great hundred on Test debut in 1969, and he was dropped two games later and never managed to establish himself. Showing my age here of course. Frank Hayes of Lancashire made an even better debut ton in 1973 and was soon axed after a few failures.


        • OscarDaBosca Dec 8, 2017 / 10:43 pm

          When Fletcher (Duncan) picked you, you got an extended run in the side, which is why Bell was allowed to bed in during the Ashes series of 2005, Collingwood simulator, Flintoff had 3 years, Trescothick (who had an issue outside off-stump when he first played for England)
          He was the last coach we had to give players extended runs and he reaped the rewards for it.


          • SimonH Dec 9, 2017 / 9:49 am

            Oscar, I understand gratitude for what Fletcher did as England coach and some resentment at how parts of the media treated him – but there’s a hefty dose of mythologising in what you’ve written there.

            By my reckoning, Fletcher used 66 players in 100 Tests in charge. 31 of them played in 6 Tests or fewer. I’d rate Fletcher as England’s best ever coach for the attractiveness of the team at its peak and the quality of the opposition they overcame – but let’s not over-romanticise him. In contrast, 37 players were selected in Flower’s 64 matches in charge (including as interim coach). 17 got six matches or fewer.

            On selection continuity generally I’d make a couple of points: 1) Excessive continuity was part of what bred the senior player clique under Flower IMO. I also suspect it played a part in the premature burn-out of some players. It isn’t an unalloyed good thing. 2) It’s easy to practice continuity when you have a core of very good players (or lack potential alternatives who are nearly as good).

            The big problems in England’s selection process are the clash of interests two selectors have as county coaches, the unaccountable power of Andy Flower who seems to have no demonstrable aptitude for his role and the sock-puppet Whitaker.

            Liked by 1 person

          • OscarDaBosca Dec 9, 2017 / 6:09 pm

            Hi Simon

            Yeah, you are right in some of the mythologising, but he and Hussain changed English cricket for the better, and I will never forget Pakistan and Sri Lanka, those two victories remain the greatest away results I have ever witnessed in my lifetime and that includes the Ashes victory in Australia.
            That England team performed greater than the sum of their parts.
            What Flower did was different and whilst I appreciate what he did, the fact that prior to the last Ashes tour he demanded a new job to meet his criteria, he then presided over a sorry mess, with an England team who were far, far better than their counterparts (not 5-0 better, but they should never have lost 5-0), and as a coach instead of being given the proverbial revolver he was allowed to move into his ideal role and he remains a pernicious influence over the England team.
            The protection of him, Saker and Cook is the reason why I stopped being interested in England cricket.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Silk Dec 9, 2017 / 9:15 pm

            Simon – Fletcher and Flower inherited very different sorts of England side. When Fletcher took over we were the worst we had ever been. When Flower took over, we had problems, sure, but the bulk of the side was there. Moores (like Stuart Lancaster) was good on getting the right players into the side, just not at getting the best out of them.

            And in the end, Flower’s failure to pick new players led to the problems we saw at the end of his tenure.

            Anyway, the Flower period seems to me like an oasis of stability compared to what we’ve had since. What the feck was Ben Duckett doing in the side at 4? Liam Dawson and Gareth Batty? Give me strength.


    • Scrim Dec 9, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      Under what sort of circumstances did Panesar and Stokes debut?


  4. oreston Dec 8, 2017 / 10:23 pm

    So England are now going to field a Test/Lions Grand Unification Desperation XI to try to work out what the hell to do next. A sort of Coalition of the Damned. So much for knowing your best team before the series begins.
    Foakes should definitely be given his chance, if for no other reason than that the Australians might mishear and be momentarily cowed by the thought that the mighty pugilist whose name sounds quite similar has returned. In that case YJB to no. 5 (Such an obviously logical notion, and now being repeated so widely, that it will of course not happen). No guarantees that it would work out even if tried, but definitely worth a shot.
    Root’s not moving from 4, so maybe drop Vince and try recycling Malan at 3? No, I don’t really think it’s a winner either but I’m clutching at straws. It can’t be a worse proposition than bringing back Ballance, surely? Ideally we’d replace the grossly underperforming opener, but with who? (I realise some will think this a little harsh on poor Stoneman but after all, he’s only made one 50 in the series so far.*)
    Answers please on a postcard as to how we could improve the bowling. To play an extra spinner, who are you going to drop to make room? Mooen and Woakes are probably safe because they’re all rounders who can bat (can’t have too many of those lads, eh?) It’s not going to be A., B. or (after his OK debut at Adelaide) C. I can’t in fact see them deviating from a four seamer attack and so the idea of Leech or Crane coming in is probably fanciful (although the idea of Crane playing should be deemed sufficiently fanciful under any circumstances). Ball is probably close to unselectable and Wood’s fitness and potential effectiveness are sadly open to serious question. This is however decent progress compared to 2013 when we had (what was it?) three unselectable pace men in the main Ashes squad.

    I know they have to be seen to be trying something but whatever team takes the field at the WACA (hardly England’s fortress over the years) I think the English goose is basically cooked and headed for a stuffing.

    *Kindly engage your irony and sarcasm detectors while reading this line.


  5. Messy Jez Dec 8, 2017 / 11:21 pm

    I think it is time to leave behind your love of Ballance. Quite aside from his woeful test performances since being brought back, I watched him at the WACA against WA (2nd XI), and he was woeful. There was pace, but not much else, in the wicket, and he was scratching all over the place. It was a miracle he made 50, but, in all honesty, he would have been better off getting out early rather than staying in scratchily for a while. Seems his head is shot for mine.


    • dannycricket Dec 8, 2017 / 11:40 pm

      I like gritty batsmen with ugly techniques. I just do. Some people enjoy watching players with flowing cover drives, but I prefer seeing someone jamming down on the ball at the last millisecond as his bat comes from gully and his body is falling over the off side. Or just leaving everything that’s missing the stumps. I liked Collingwood. I liked Trott. I liked Ballance. I even liked Cook as a batsman.

      Which isn’t to say I’d pick Ballance. As I said, I don’t have any confidence about him facing off spin, which is a crucial factor in this series and possibly also against India this summer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Messy Jez Dec 9, 2017 / 9:04 am

        Well, if you like ugly, Danny, then Handscomb in the second innings in Adelaide must have had you in paroxysms of delight! One of the few who can make Smith look attractive!

        I doubt that spin will play a big part at the WACA. Only Bruce Yardley and Monty have ever had a 5 for there in an Ashes test, and neither of those was on a winning side. There is still enough pace in the wicket, and enough ill discipline in both teams, to see the quicks take the great majority of the wickets.


    • BobW Dec 8, 2017 / 11:55 pm

      Ballance could not play spin in India and his defensive technique will again be horribly exposed.
      Lyon will tear him apart, I will tell you now, there will be two close fielders on the leg side and Ballance will edge it square or behind with his bat well in front of his pads. Just like he did in India. (Whilst he is sat back right behind the crease).


  6. "IronBalls" McGinty Dec 8, 2017 / 11:36 pm

    James Whittaker must be losing sleep over all this agonising. ….or, then again, maybe not?
    Is he in Australia? Just asking!


    • dannycricket Dec 8, 2017 / 11:40 pm

      I assume he’d have to be in Perth watching the England XI? Surely?


  7. Sri. Grins Dec 9, 2017 / 1:04 am

    My Naya paisa worth

    A) we should not assume that lyon will struggle to take wickets of right handers. Out of 12 wickets ashwin took recently, 5 were right handed.
    B) tell bairstow he is losing the gloves if foakes is the best wicket keeper. Tell him also that for the next 15 tests for example, he can bat at 3/5/6 whichever he prefers and that the ecb guarantee his position in the side to let him find his feet.
    C) choose for Perth. If a player is not doing well example Vince but handles bounce well play him. Perth will surely be bouncy and Cummins pace will be significant. If Vince is not the choice drop him and don’t worry about his 83 in the first test.
    D) moeen cannot be your preferred spinner in Oz given his injury and lack of ability to hold. Throw in one spinner at the deep end and see. Can’t be worse than moeen in the first two tests

    So, cook, Stoneman,ali, root, bairstow, malan/Vince , foakes, four pace bowlers ideally same as Adelaide


    • Sri. Grins Dec 9, 2017 / 1:07 am

      If you don’t wish to replace Ali as a spinner that is the team.

      I would prefer to consider only one of malan, Vince, Ali nor two and take leach or crane even if it weakens the batting.


  8. Sri.Grins Dec 9, 2017 / 5:36 am

    Foakes, lawrence, ballance, ali failed

    Jennings is making runs with livingstone making a few so far and being not out.


    • oreston Dec 9, 2017 / 12:09 pm

      Jennings in for Cook then? Otherwise what’s the point of this exercise?

      I am being a little facetious, but only a little.


  9. dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 7:06 am

    Ben Duckett has been suspended for an incident at a Perth nightclub, and been replaced by Joe Clarke in the England XI. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if it’s a serious infraction or just another ECB overreaction.


    • Sri.Grins Dec 9, 2017 / 7:16 am

      Poured his drink over another senior england player. Now, let us vote on who it is.who got a ducking 🙂

      Seriously, younger players appear not in control of their emotions after drinking. No clue whether this was the case earlier too but hushed up or it reflects changing times but certainly a course on managing oneself aboad without creating chaos is well advised fo young guys getting into any sports team i guess.


      • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 7:27 am

        I think it’s possible that, without the narrative the Australian media has created by exaggerating the Bairstow thing, this would be laughed off or ignored. Unless the “senior player” was Cook, Broad or Anderson, who the management would definitely listen to if they wanted Duckett kicked off the team.


      • Quebecer Dec 9, 2017 / 8:09 am

        I hope it was Cook, in an animal rights protest.

        Liked by 1 person

        • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 8:23 am

          If it was Cook and he went on to score 200+ runs in the next game, maybe they would start pouring drinks over him before every game?


      • Messy Jez Dec 9, 2017 / 9:13 am

        I think it’s pretty clear that all he was doing was trying to use Archimedes’ principle to determine the weight of his team-mate’s head – it’s what we do here in Perth. How else are you going to find out who has the heaviest head in the team?

        Liked by 3 people

      • northernlight71 Dec 9, 2017 / 10:19 am

        I am pretty sure that now, recently and back in the day, a lot of incidents were hushed-up. In the past thanks to chumminess/nod and a wink, and these days because nobody dares upset the ECB and lose access to those scintillating.exclusive interviews (given in association with Hardy’s/Investec/Gile’s Clarke’s Corner Shop) which we all wait to read with drooling anticipation.

        So, er, in short, I think these things have always been covered up. Unless there was an agenda that needed pushing . . . 🙂


        • SimonH Dec 9, 2017 / 11:28 am

          Stocks reporting that Anderson was the senior player.

          KP tweet to Etheridge produced a lengthy thread for those who don’t have enough Twitter nonsense in their lives.


          • SimonH Dec 9, 2017 / 1:41 pm

            From the BBC report:

            “The latest indiscretion involving the England team is thought to have left management incredibly angry. There is a feeling that trouble usually centres around the same small group of players and that they could pay with their place in the squad, even if that weakens the overall strength of the team”.


          • Sophie Dec 9, 2017 / 2:38 pm

            Why am I getting the impression that BBC Sport’s main agenda these days seems to be stirring up trouble?


          • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 5:29 pm

            If the BBC and DM are both reporting it, then someone is leaking it. Probably Strauss, as an indirect warning for what he considers the “usual suspects” via the media.


          • Deep Purple Fred Dec 9, 2017 / 2:55 pm

            “They will not include vice-captain Anderson, who England feel was an innocent party in the shenanigans…”
            Yeah, he plays that card really well, Anderson. Sweet little Jimmy, wouldn’t say boo to a fly.

            Liked by 3 people

          • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 5:24 pm

            You can’t go round accusing the senior bowlers of things…


          • Mark Dec 9, 2017 / 3:32 pm

            It’s hardly the BBCs responsibility to cover up stories on behalf of the England cricket team. The media have already covered up the Stokes Manchester story. And why can’t the players just behave with some common sense?

            The only people stiring up trouble is the England players who can’t seem to go to any bar without either fighting, head butting or pouring drink over someone. It’s not as if he has poured drink over an Aussie fan who provoked them.

            No wonder they can’t do the basic cricket fundamentals of batting and bowling. They can’t even behave like grown ups. Professionals they are not.

            There is high jinks, and then there is just basic control. The players problem is what has gone before. It’s like the little boy who cried wolf. They have claimed “its no big deal” too many times. Now they just look like a bunch of unprofessional pillocks.


    • Quebecer Dec 9, 2017 / 8:08 am

      Did he do it while looking out a window though.


    • Mark Chapman Dec 9, 2017 / 11:27 am

      Be interesting to know what Saint James said or did to provoke the incident!


      • BoredInAustria Dec 9, 2017 / 12:26 pm

        “The batters cost us the match in Adelaide…”


    • Pontiac Dec 9, 2017 / 2:41 pm

      In the same bar as the head butt incident… so it is reported.

      I am a hyena and a mathematician and not a psychologist but it seems to me that going back to the scene of previous nonsense is ludicrously poor judgement for anyone, individual or team, seeking to avoid further nonsense.

      Curfew off, have fun boys, except that nanny is there. Don’t leave! Sit and drink! Designated drinking time!

      And it is reported that Andy Flower is ‘leading the investigation.’ What is there to investigate? England staff was there at the time! Also it is reported that the incident wasn’t visible to anyone outside England.

      So what kind of crazy Loughborough-ology is needed to analyze what is really going on here? I don’t know but I bet a lot has nothing whatsoever to do with the players.


      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 9, 2017 / 3:18 pm

        Not being a natural born supporter of England, I try to watch my manners on this blog. But it really is getting a bit difficult to be polite. Turning up with a barely capable team, being indicisive on Stokes, allowing him to go to NZ “to visit family”, Bairstow gives an Australian cricketer a friendly headbutt, ECB investigates headbutt instead of laughing it off and imposes curfew, Root gets publically upset that Smith was laughing, Anderson publically points the finger at the batsmen, players start bleating again about sledging (Ali let slip that England gives as good as it gets, as if that myth needed more puncturing), and now another shot to ones own foot: an entirely internal and private, trivial incident with no press, public or Australians present, is in the papers. Who really cares if someone poured a beer on someone else late one Friday night, honestly, are we back in primary school? And it was a return to the headbutt bar? You’ve got to be joking.

        Flower leading the investigation? God I’d love to be a part of that investigatory team. Only problem is there’s no way I’d be able to keep a straight face. “And what did Mr Anderson say to you, Mr Duckett, that caused you to reach for the pint of beer, in that fateful moment…?”

        So many self inflicted wounds, and thats before the players have even taken the field.

        I’m also quite interested in how you combine being a hyena and a mathematician, that sounds fascinating, and a bit scary.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Pontiac Dec 9, 2017 / 6:12 pm

          It involves being lazy and calculating at the same time…


        • oreston Dec 9, 2017 / 6:31 pm

          No need to pull your punches! I always appreciate your reasonable, well-informed and witty – if understandably non-neutral – Aussie perspective. It’s valuable to have an external (as in “outside England” rather than “outside cricket”) view of the clown car that is Team ECB on tour. You certainly can’t complain that England aren’t good value entertainment-wise. The pity is that so much of it has sod all to do with the cricket.


          • Deep Purple Fred Dec 10, 2017 / 12:28 pm

            Thank you Oreston. The ECB does give lots of opportunity to point and laugh (and sometimes cry)!
            They’ve made a right horlicks of this tour so far, you think they’d have learned by now.


  10. Silk Dec 9, 2017 / 7:54 am

    I wouldn’t make any changes. But I’ve written this series off.

    I’d have a completely different side in NZ.


  11. Silk Dec 9, 2017 / 11:28 am

    Nothing from the match today which suggests major changes should be made. Unless we recall Jennings!


  12. Mark Dec 9, 2017 / 11:52 am

    I would make changes to the batting line up. I’m not convinced we have got players on the side lines pulling up trees.

    First, Bairstow has to bat up the order. He is completely wasted batting with the tail. After Cook and Root I think he is our best player. I understand the argument about the batsman/wicket keeper dilemma, however it’s not as if he is going to do this for the next 3/5 years of hard slog. At 2-0 down we can only focus on Perth. If we loose there the Ashes are lost anyway so who cares what happens after that? We have to get back into the series. For me he has to bat at 5/6

    Second, Root has to bat at 3 even if he prefers to bat at 4. Vince is far too lose to bat at 3, and you know he may give it away at any moment. (The Aussies certainly do which is why they keep feeding him outside off stump.) If Root wants to bat at 4 in the future then he better find a solid number 3.

    Vince batting at 4 means more chance of a right hander being there when Lyon comes on. My top 7 would be as follows……


    Broad and Anderson pick themselves plus Woakes. If Wood is really fit, and can bowl, 86/90 without long term injury risk then I would play him.

    The cupboard seems bare which means we have to make do and mend.


    • Silk Dec 9, 2017 / 1:29 pm

      All the chopping and changing bollocks since the ‘difficult winter’ has really hampered us. I said it before and I’ll say it again. Cook should drop to 3. Robson should have been retained and Root should never have gone down the order.

      No idea what we do now. Browne, Lawrence and Livingston, perhaps?


  13. BoredInAustria Dec 9, 2017 / 3:36 pm

    ECB – Cannot organise a p*ss up in a brew…. ehm….oh
    Seems I have underestimated their competence


  14. Zephirine Dec 9, 2017 / 3:37 pm

    Well, who hasn’t at some time wanted to pour a drink over Jimmy Anderson’s head? This Duckett seems to be expressing, shall we say, the will of the people…
    However, the choice of venue was very poor, as it’s clearly the Gossip Bar in Leak Street, Indiscretion City, as YJB could have told him. Do these players not have hotels to go to?

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 4:38 pm

      Maybe Duckett was suggesting that Anderson should pitch the ball up a bit and aim somewhere near the stumps? That usually sets him off.


  15. Rooto Dec 9, 2017 / 3:54 pm

    It seems as if Vic Marks has finally received the memo about Guardian journalists having to incorporate celebrity tweets in their articles.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. hatmallet Dec 9, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    I was reminded of the same fixtures 11 years ago…


    England couldn’t even get an XI together so had Alec Stewart and Robin Smith! Both 43 at the time. And Adam Holioake, who was 35 and a T20-only player by then.

    As for this game, a shame that no-one really threw their hat in the ring. The trio of Livingstone, Clarke and Lawrence are very higher rated but need to do more than that.


    • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 5:13 pm

      Maybe they intentionally played poorly so they wouldn’t be selected in this horror show? After the winter is over, there could another decimation of players and management like in 2014. Their chances of playing long term might be improved by being outside the team until then.


  17. hatmallet Dec 9, 2017 / 5:15 pm

    Also, am intrigued that “Bayliss … will recommend to captain Joe Root and the selectors that certain players are not picked for England’s tour of New Zealand in February”.

    The Bristol incident included Stokes, Hales, Bairstow, Plunkett and Ball.

    Dropping the latter two would be a bit easy – Ball doesn’t have the performances behind him, whilst Plunkett is 32. But are they really the problem? Dropping Bairstow would take balls, even with a player of Foakes’ ability in the squad. Maybe they’ll make an example of Hales?


    • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 5:19 pm

      I’d have thought that Bayliss would want the strongest team he could possibly have, regardless of any infractions. Stokes, Bairstow, whoever. If England lose 5-0 against Australia, and then don’t dominate the ODIs, T20s and New Zealand series, I genuinely think Bayliss would be sacked. He’s coaching for his job right now, and in terms of player management he isn’t doing a great job of it.


  18. Silk Dec 9, 2017 / 5:36 pm

    Can I just point out that Andy fucking Flower is (a) in charge of bringing new players through to the Test side and (b) in charge of installing the appropriate attitude in said new players.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OscarDaBosca Dec 9, 2017 / 6:19 pm

      yep, exactly my point above. He should have been sacked ages ago.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Benny Dec 9, 2017 / 8:55 pm

        Agreed. Utterly bizarre that he is still in a job

        Liked by 1 person

  19. dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    Johnathan Agnew on 5 Live: “Ben Duckett’s only 23, I mean what is he doing tipping a drink over the 35 year-old vice captain, most successful bowler we’ve ever had?”

    In all honesty, my first thought was “Jimmy Anderson’s 35. I mean, what is he doing in a nightclub with a bunch of guys in their twenties?” It genuinely baffles me. Wasn’t there a box set he could have been watching in his room, or some books he could be reading by the fire. 35 is too old to go drinking with a bunch of young ‘lads’, and if you do then expect crap like drinks being poured over you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OscarDaBosca Dec 9, 2017 / 6:18 pm

      Jimmy’s one of the lads though isn’t he!

      What interests me is who these ‘usual suspects’ are that Bayliss and other media organisations have intimated.

      Is it the bully boy senior bowlers? I can’t think of another clique who would seriously weaken England (unless they mean the captain)


      • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 6:28 pm

        hatmallet posted an hour ago: “The Bristol incident included Stokes, Hales, Bairstow, Plunkett and Ball.”

        Stoke and Hales were obviously suspended due to the fight, etc. Bairstow, Plunkett and Ball were also fined and warned by the ECB for ‘unprofessional conduct’ whilst on the same night out.

        The problem with this attitude from Bayliss is that dropping Bairstow would be career suicide, and if he drops the others but not Jonny then he’s outed as a toothless hypocrite. Personally I think the ECB are cocking this up colossally right now…


    • Tony Bennett Dec 9, 2017 / 6:26 pm

      Danny, truly brilliant. Comment of the week.


    • Mark Dec 9, 2017 / 6:37 pm

      Waste of good beer by the sound of it!


      • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 6:47 pm

        Surely it’s a waste of *Australian* beer? That’s a very different thing altogether…

        Liked by 2 people

    • Rooto Dec 9, 2017 / 7:00 pm

      In response to Agnew more than to Danny: What the hell is Anderson doing being such a cock as to deserve a beer in the face? Oh, that’s it! Being himself. A smug, entitled, cliquey expletive-deleted.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Rooto Dec 9, 2017 / 7:01 pm

        Yes, I am a Northants fan…


        • Benny Dec 9, 2017 / 9:10 pm

          I’m a Surrey fan and I find the whole thing hilarious


    • Zephirine Dec 9, 2017 / 7:39 pm

      So Agnew’s main objection is that Duckett was tipping drinks above his station?

      As for the age thing, I echo your bafflement.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sri. Grins Dec 10, 2017 / 1:44 am

      That is a weird comment. It is like a hierarchy set even while drinking.

      I don’t drink (Q, do my optimism is simply not fuelled by alcohol.😀)

      But, I have been in bars and parties where people got drunk and lost control of what they said or did. It is pretty obvious that observing hierarchy and niceties of socially approved etiquette is not in their minds and au contraire hierarchy or hurt egos or dislike impels the words or actions when control is lost by someone drinking.

      It is stupid to publicize it and worst of all have a control freak like Andy flower manage the inquiry.

      Honestly, no clue why you guys put up with flower in any position to do with English cricket after the issues he had. If you want a guy to nurture young players get a guy like dravid to mentor the players than a ‘I know it all’ personality like flower

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Deep Purple Fred Dec 9, 2017 / 6:39 pm

    England need an Ethics and Comportment Coach.
    Gower is tied up with Sky, and Botham doesn’t travel these days. Flintoff has moved away from cricket. Maybe Gatting is available?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Dec 9, 2017 / 6:41 pm

      Flintoff was uncomfortably close to cricket when I tried to peacefully watch T20 finals day.


  21. dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    I’ve not worked out how to post gifs here properly, so…


    • jomesy Dec 9, 2017 / 9:08 pm

      No offence Danny, but you’ve still now mastered it! 🤔


  22. Benny Dec 9, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    Someone above mentioned the word suicide. My wandering mind latched onto “what is the Aussie sledging that got got Bairstow upset?” I wonder if it could have possibly been references to his dad. In that case (hypothetically/allegedly) the perpetrators are scum and Bairstow is right to want to take it further


    • Silk Dec 9, 2017 / 9:19 pm

      If that were the case he should walk off the field, and his batting partner should go with him. There’s no way the ICC should be allowing that sort of thing to happen, but they’d probably only act if a stand was made.


    • oreston Dec 9, 2017 / 9:30 pm

      He absolutely would be right to take that further but thankfully we’ve no reason to think it’s anything as sick as that. Let’s hope it stays that way.

      This is a nice story:



      • Mark Dec 9, 2017 / 9:38 pm

        There have been rumoirs that it has been very personal about Bairstow. The big Cheese claimed as much on 5 live, and so did pundits on Sky.

        It’s ovious that certain sections of the media know the full story, but they are not reporting the full contents. Perhaps,they should, and shame the players involved.


        • dannycricket Dec 9, 2017 / 9:51 pm

          I think Australia has very strong libel laws, and so reporters would need proof (ie sound from the stump mics, video, etc) to be able to report it. It’s not in Channel 9’s interests to let English journalists root around their footage looking for evidence of these things. Unless Jonny Bairstow complains to the umpires and it became an ICC matter, presumably that will be the end of it.


          • Mark Dec 10, 2017 / 12:02 am

            One has to ask wtf are the umpires doing about this. They ban players for nothing these days. They must know shit is going on.

            Neither team comes across as very pleasant. Both seem deeply unlikeable.


  23. Pontiac Dec 10, 2017 / 2:15 am

    Hypothesis: effectively, it’s a setup. Not a planned one, but someone’s got to be left holding the bag and it’s not going to be Strauss, the England selectors, anyone with anything to do with player preparation, anything like that.

    The ECB hierarchy can’t be wrong. Someone else must be.

    So there have been 3-4 players already identified as the ‘bad apples’ who are going to be the ones responsible for the distractions, the problems with team culture, etc etc, and will have their careers sacrificed – that this is the reason for losing, not any of these other entities.

    That all of this is being dribbled out in the media before the series is even decided is what makes it so infuriatingly scurrilous. And any player who is at all smart will be looking at this and realize that — money aside! – there’s a lot less pain and stupid politics involved in focusing on the shorter forms.

    It was KP last time….


    • Silk Dec 10, 2017 / 7:34 am

      No no no, the English cricket establishment wouldn’t … Oh.


  24. SimonH Dec 10, 2017 / 9:55 am

    Pietersen says something about Cook. Newman and Booth have gone into full meltdown mode.

    “Some grudges clearly last longer than others”. Pietersen holds a grudge; his ex-captain merely lacks “trust”; journalists, well…. they don’t hold grudges, do they?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Dec 10, 2017 / 10:01 am

      Nope, no grudges. Nothing to see here. Only the journos with their solid gold laptops, and polished halos can comment.

      KP will be able to play these people for the rest of their careers.


        • Sri.Grins Dec 10, 2017 / 10:58 am

          What I read was pretty sensible. Did of course say that cook seems to lack the fire in the belly but also made positive noises about his mental strength and ability to make runs.

          Looks like high profile commenters on KP’s article haven’t really gone through it in detail.

          After all Sachin had critics say his career was over 6 years before it actually got over. People don’t seem to be able remove their bias filters when they hear of comments from a specific person whom they either like or dislike


        • SimonH Dec 10, 2017 / 12:09 pm

          One thing Pietersen said that hasn’t been widely reported was:

          “‘I have heard rumours that a couple of people didn’t want to bowl first in Adelaide and if Root has made that decision and they’ve lost then certain factions can happen in dressing rooms when that happens”.

          You don’t need to be Inspector Morse to work out who those “couple of people” might be.

          Liked by 1 person

          • pktroll (@pktroll) Dec 10, 2017 / 8:28 pm

            Been away the last few days so I’ve missed the whole sorry charades and am only now catching up with most of it. I did catch the Pietersen comments and I can see why people can spin it the way they did. Him questioning Cook in terms of body languageand perhaps not truly wanting it enough now. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms that you can make of Cook about his batting and we’ve done it ad nauseum but I think it is perhaps extending it for Pietersen for in essence accusing him of similar sort of things that he found himself ostracised for 4 years ago.

            What you have just there Simon I guess is obviously an extension of the bowling ‘clique’ altough there’s not fat controller Bresnan or the ‘Cheese’ this time out.


  25. Mark Dec 10, 2017 / 9:56 am

    Sunday morning rant…

    About time they retired Paddy Barclay off to a care home. Usual nonsesne and idocy on the Sunday supplememt. He’s shocked, SHOCKED that refs impose an agenda on games because Clattenburg has admitted he did that in the Spurs Chelsea game.

    Just shows why Barclay and his profession are completely out of touch. Sitting with the prawn sandwich brigade watching the top teams. Has it occured to him and other journos to go and ask the fans of mid table sides who watch week in week out referees come with a clear agenda when their side plays one of the biggest teams? No of course not. That would mean lowering himself to the moaning fan.

    The other gormless journos nod along. It’s a group think of blind faith. Which says…..”refs never do bad things. Football in England is not corrupt, the big clubs don’t get the big decsions.” You are kidding yoursleves. Cheerleaders not journos.


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 10, 2017 / 10:35 am

      What was it? 4 years Manchester United never committed a single piece of foul play within their own penalty area at home? Staggering.


      • Mark Dec 10, 2017 / 11:26 am

        I honestly don’t believe these journos ever talk or listen to the fans of the non big clubs. If they did they would tell people like Barclay that the refs seem to have a agenda almost every week. But of course that is always dismissed as a conspiracy theory. Unless it comes from one of the superstar clubs.

        The media took it seriously when Ferguson complained about refs. Couldn’t stop repeating it. But laughed it off when people pointed out they didn’t conceede a penalty for about 5 years.


  26. SimonH Dec 10, 2017 / 10:04 am

    Ollie’s hollies are over:

    Is Agnew back as well – and does this mean FICJAM takes over on TMS?


    • Mark Dec 10, 2017 / 10:12 am

      Perhaps his gold coach got stuck in the snow, or perhaps it got weighed down by his on ego. Ollie has flow in, the country must take notice.

      I believe Agnew has come home or is coming home. He said that it had already been decided pre tour. Not surprised because of his wife’s illness you wouldn’t expect him to be away for months and months.


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 10, 2017 / 10:36 am

      Agnew is back due to his wife’s illness. As mark said, which I read afterwards of course.


      • SimonH Dec 10, 2017 / 10:53 am

        No criticism of Agnew was meant to be implied in what I wrote. I was more wondering where FICJAM is as I’ve not heard or seen any hints that he’s in Australia.


        • Mark Dec 10, 2017 / 11:16 am

          Sorry Simon if you thought my reply was a bit blunt. Was not meaning to sound critical. Just passing on factual information. I heard Agnew say it had been pre planned so people should not worry that his wife’s conditioned had worsened.

          As to FICJAM I have no idea. Perhaps he’s at Sandhurst giving a speech on the rights and wrongs of tipping beer over your fast bowler?


        • Rooto Dec 10, 2017 / 11:24 am

          With reference to the Edwin Smith stand in Adelaide, Dan Norcross mentioned that “our own” Ed Smith would be joining them in Perth. 😦


          • nonoxcol Dec 10, 2017 / 12:06 pm

            I thought my TMS luck would be running out soon.


  27. SimonH Dec 10, 2017 / 10:30 am

    The shape of future cricket becomes a little clearer:


    The end of Tests in April and May looks certain to be ratified. Tucked away in there, there’s this:

    “The BCCI will host an ICC Champions Trophy in 2021 and the ICC 50-over World Cup in 2023 and a windfall can be expected considering India’s demand for a hike in hosting fees on the lines of what the ECB received from the world governing body in the run-up to the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy”.

    What visionary leadership the game has….


  28. Rooto Dec 10, 2017 / 11:32 am

    Can’t help feeling that a press campaign / series of incidents of ‘good journalism’ in favour of a stricter, more sergeant-majorly coach is only one more drinking incident away. It’s noticeable how Bayliss himself had to front up to the press on this occasion, while Comma puts 8,000 miles between himself and the incident.
    How fortunate for the ECB that they have a candidate on hand who knows a lot of the new players that will be brought in to replace the “bad influences”!


    • Zephirine Dec 10, 2017 / 2:07 pm

      Oh, God, you’re probably right, Rooto. Stand by for the There Is No Alternative to Flower movement…

      Still I think Joe Root is made of sterner stuff than he appears. I’ll always remember him when England were being marmelised in 13/14, just going out there and smiling at the bowlers. I think he might end up with the team he wants and the coaching setup he wants, but it’ll take a while.


      • dannycricket Dec 10, 2017 / 2:11 pm

        I think Root is the one member of England’s management who has demonstrated the best understanding of what is happening and putting things into perspective. Which potentially could cause issues for him because he’s not in lockstep with management, as Cook was. If Strauss, Bayliss and Flower survive the winter, they could make things difficult for Root.


  29. SimonH Dec 10, 2017 / 1:40 pm

    A few nuggets from Newman’s latest:

    “The gifted Northants opener played four Tests last winter but, Sportsmail understands, received a bad tour report when there were questions about behaviour that has seen him clash with authority throughout his career”.

    What sort of report did authority give themselves for leaking player reports to the press?

    “And this latest incident will surely delay any possible comeback by Stokes and Hales regardless of whether England’s talisman is cleared of any criminal charges by the Crown Prosecution Service”.

    That “….and Hales” is very deliberate.

    “It will be up to team director Andrew Strauss, who has clouded the picture here… Strauss is under considerable pressure now to clamp down”.

    Is Newman falling out of love?…

    “The time to act is now, starting with Duckett and then spreading to the bigger fish who Bayliss clearly wants to fry when England get home”.

    But not with Bayliss. Newman’s constructing this narrative that Bayliss wants to be the tough nut and only that rotten Strauss is frustrating him. Does it seem particularly credible?

    Keep a close eye on the captaincy – if they lose in Perth and Root doesn’t make a century then things may start happening there. Some pieces are being moved into place….



    • LordCanisLupus Dec 10, 2017 / 1:58 pm

      It’s interesting. The one thing the media like is a message, a theme. This is the everyone gets drunk tour, and nothing is going to get in the way. Of course there’s an issue about drinking culture, but I’d be a fucking hypocrite (and judging by twitter, there are a lot of Mary Poppins out there) to say I’ve been an angelic choir boy when I’ve had a beer. Yes, I’ve had beer thrown over me, but it (a) isn’t worthy of fourth story on the BBC News website and (b) I wouldn’t want that person to be humiliated and have his career ended over it. People seem to want them to stay in the hotel. Great. Three months away and they aren’t allowed outside the confines of the hotel. You fancy that? (question to all).

      Put it this way – we’ve heard rumours of some behaviour of people connected to cricket (from those outside the cricket bubble, to be clear), but we don’t publish them. Happened a bit a couple of years ago. Football journos, of who people like Holt (who semi defended the players today) and Hayward (who is being pious) spend a lot of time in press boxes with, have a marvellous reputation. Jonathan Liew had it right yesterday. He didn’t give the tiniest shit.

      And one question keeps coming back to me. What did Saint Jimmy of Jadeja do to provoke it?


      • Zephirine Dec 10, 2017 / 2:13 pm

        If Anderson was sounding off about Root and actually undermining the captain, where would that put Duckett’s response? File under ‘boorishness’ or ‘loyalty’?


        • dannycricket Dec 10, 2017 / 2:15 pm

          That is another part of the ECB’s response being damaging to the team. By bringing the whole thing to the attention of the media by dropping Duckett, they also tarnish Jimmy’s reputation (quiet at the back) because it raises the question of what Anderson was arguing about and whether he might be culpable in some way.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 10, 2017 / 2:24 pm

            I have the Merseyside derby on. How often is it mentioned, or going to be mentioned, that not two months or so ago Wayne Rooney got into a car, pissed as a pudding, with a woman who wasn’t his wife and thought “this is ok, let’s drive home (or somewhere else)”. Sure, a little bit of fluff at the time, but drink driving kills innocent people.

            Last time I looked, pouring a beer over someone else wasn’t anywhere near as fatal, and I’d wager Duckett gets less per year than Rooney does a month.

            I once had a former England captain, well connected and still getting official gigs, walk up to me and scream “FUCKING CHEAT, FUCKING CHEAT” in my face. No, I’m not going to add the context, just like this story hasn’t. See how it works?


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 10, 2017 / 2:36 pm

            Stokes had been sent home from a Lions tour. Swann got done for drink driving. KP got done for speeding. So has Ben Stokes. People are flawed.

            There’s some serious lines people are drawing in the sand. Duckett may well be a wrong ‘un, but this isn’t the reason to go off on one. That I didn’t know he’d been done for DD is revealing.


          • Mark Dec 10, 2017 / 4:22 pm

            I understand what you are saying Dmitri. And it is the old chestnut about what can employees get away with outside of their working hours. We all know that stuff goes on, and has done in the past. Sports stars private lives are given more scrutiny that average Joes.

            I think the problem is that rightly or wrongly results and performances on the field are judged by behaviour off the field. This seems to be a team that has little discipline both on and off the field. If they are not tipping drink over each other they can’t bowl disciplined lengths. If they are not doing weird head butting greets they are giving their wickets away wafting outside off stump or playing across the line for breezy 20s and 30s.

            This team smacks of ill discipline on and off the park. Whether it’s right or wrong management always turn a blind eye if employees are performing at their jobs. I worked for a firm once where the top salesman was a complete law to himself . Sometimes taking 2/3 days off a week. But he always topped the sales charts every month. It got so bad that eventually they suspended him, and the firms sales plunged so they brought him back. It wasn’t what he was doing, but that others who weren’t performing wanted the same privileges. Eventually they sacked him, only to re hire him a year later.

            They aways said about KP that they waited till they thought he was past his best, and then got shot. As long as they thought they could benefit from him they kept him.


          • dannycricket Dec 10, 2017 / 4:38 pm

            It is a team with poor discipline, for sure, but that isn’t the problem. Whilst indiscipline off the field is strictly enforced by their management, on the field indiscipline of the kinds you mention are not. This means that rather than seeming strict, they appear puritanical. More concerned with issues of morality (as they see it) than people actually doing their jobs.

            In the example of your firm, the ECB are like a company which fires their top salesmen for drinking on his days off and making a tit of himself, but retains several salesman who haven’t made a sale in months but have the “right kind of attitude”.

            I think you’re probably right about KP. I wonder if Bairstow wasn’t so crucial to this England team whether he would have been hauled over the coals like Duckett.


      • SimonH Dec 10, 2017 / 3:05 pm

        “What did Saint Jimmy of Jadeja do to provoke it?”

        We would know, but unfortunately the TV cameras weren’t working at that moment….

        But seriously folks, there seem two competing narratives here. The initial one was that the beer-dunking was after some sort of argument; the subsequent one was that it was a bit of horseplay. Which one was it? I doubt we’ll ever know. Was the former based on unverified gossip – or is the latter a cover story? Personally, I’ve become more inclined to believe initial reports and less inclined to believe subsequent “clarifications”. Does it seem a likely scernario for horseplay, given the age and power differentials between the two?

        Liked by 1 person

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