3rd Ashes Test, Day Four

So here it is.  Rain is the only thing that might prevent Australia regaining the Ashes in the quickest time possible as England seem hellbent on making the last tour look like a high water mark.  Predictable in its ineptitude, exceptional in its execution, the anger doesn’t even apply to what’s happening on the field.  

This has been a tour created over four years, and with all due respect to the hosts who have played well throughout, they aren’t even really a part of it.  Last time out England were obliterated by a bowler who took ample revenge for his previous tribulations, and instead of taking defeat on the chin, English cricket decided to turn in on itself, dismiss all those who dared to question the prevailing line and embark on a process of self immolation exceptional in its stupidity.

There’s no wishful thinking about what might have been, no feeling that had certain players not been kicked out they’d have been the saviours of this particular tour, but merely a total lack of surprise that we have reached this particular point.  A culture gets what a culture deserves, and this is what English cricket is and what it deserves.  

Is there anybody out there who is prepared to take even the smallest amount of responsibility?  It doesn’t seem so.  Not the ECB, who care about money to the exclusion of all else, not the administrators who openly regard people who love cricket with the kind of contempt no other sport quite manages, and not those players above reproach who seem to find any excuse that allows others to be blamed.  At Adelaide, a bowler with 500 Test wickets to his name agreed England could have bowled fuller, but said that the coaches could have told them that.  Did Courtney Walsh need a coach to tell him what to do?  Did Glenn McGrath?  In microcosm, there is England right there, a cricketing organisation where nothing is ever anyone’s fault, and nothing is anyone’s responsibility.

Players come and go, form comes and goes.  But the absolute certainty of the modern England structure is that only a few should ever be blamed for it, useful patsies who can be vilified and discarded, as long as those who are chosen can be protected and kept in place.  Turn the most successful batsman of the modern England era into public enemy number one (and you know, who gives a shit about the rights and wrongs, this is what it amounts to in the round), keep in place, and not only keep in place, but actually create a legend around a captain who has oversaw the most abysmal leadership seen in years, praise to the skies the decisiveness of a new administrator even though he is plainly woefully out of his depth.  And then above all else, insult and abuse anyone who dares to object. All that happened last time, all that has led to this.

Four years in the making, the ability to plumb new depths should come as no surprise to anyone, yet apparently it still does.  Every decision the ECB makes studied in isolation, with no regard to the whole, no consideration of a pattern of behaviour.  Players chosen because they fit into a box of conformity and woe betide anyone who dares to be an individual.  Standards of behaviour that manage to fall despite the attempt to force everyone to be the same, and a side that has no chance of being good enough because of the panic stricken ejection of the latest scapegoat who coincidentally always seems to be an individual. And there’s one coming too.  As it lurches from crisis to crisis there’s one ready made to be castigated, not for his own behaviour, but as the person responsible for everyone else’s failure.  It’s going to happen, and it has happened before.  Why be properly reflective when there’s a useful idiot who can be hung out to dry.

These are chickens coming home to roost. Each exclusion from the side, each whispering campaign against a player which might be the right call on its own as far as selection goes, but is ever underhand, vicious and endlessly repeated.  One after the other, those who aren’t the right sort of chap are removed, and the latest lamb to the slaughter slots in for a few games.  No plan, no strategy, just endless marketing bullshit and excuses.

It’s not like any of this was unexpected.  The “all time great” opening batsman who has been struggling for some time, but all those who dared to point out that might be a concern were told to pipe down.  Again. The bowling attack that lacks pace and variety, with a structure entirely unable to produce anything out of the ordinary, but which manages to wreck the unusual, either via the press or the medical teams.  It’s all part of the whole. Individuals don’t matter, the cosy little club does. 

And then there’s the press.  The most supine, pathetic body as a collective it’s been our misfortune to have inflicted on us.  They haven’t been observers, they have been complicit.  Following the diktats of the governing body, exchanging analysis for access, attacking those who pointed out the lack of emperor’s clothing, failing to consider the reasons for the shambles and justifying the unjustifiable.  Cricket reporting as a means of advancing an agenda, picking on those who dared to be different, refusing to criticise those in charge.  They have been the entirely witting participants in reaching this point, and even now they would rather criticise those individuals who have done the most in a failing team.

They ECB are responsible for cricket in England, they are not meant to be a cabal of self appointed, self promoting, self aggrandising charlatans who view their own interests as being the same as those of cricket.  Yet at every stage, they ignore the wider game, and this is where they’ve led us to.

Test series come and go, players come and go.  There are ups and downs and successes and failures.  None of that is new, none of that will ever change.  But a governing body who loathes the game except as a means of making money won’t be devastated by this performance because it simply doesn’t matter, unless ticket sales and subscriptions fall off.  This is where we are, success is not defined on the field, success is defined in the accounts.  

And perhaps the most damning crime of all, is turning passionate cricket supporters into those who don’t give a stuff how the team does, except as a symptom of the wider malaise. Those who would follow England abroad, those who would buy tickets, reduced to rage at the sport and ennui at the performance of the team.  This is a special achievement, one that can only be managed by deliberate, determined attack.  Replaced by those who care little, but who will attend an irrelevant T20 match to have a few overpriced beers and add further to the coffers. 

And the worst bit of all is that it doesn’t work.  Every sport has its fanatics, those who can be relied upon to be there through thick and thin, while the casual interest fan can bulk it out in time of plenty.  But not the ECB, who expressly push them aside as performance disintegrates, viewing figures plummet and participation amongst males reaches crisis levels.  This is their defeat, this is their disaster.  And it’s not an accident.  

Rain permitting, England are going to lose.  They thoroughly deserve it.  Not the players, who are undoubtedly doing their best, but the structure, the governing body, the media and all those who care for filthy lucre over the game.

I hope you’re proud of yourselves.


149 thoughts on “3rd Ashes Test, Day Four

  1. thebogfather Dec 17, 2017 / 11:42 am

    Every word says everything I think, but could not express so perfectly without resorting to deserved abuse of all those to blame for killing OUR game.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dannycricket Dec 17, 2017 / 11:58 am

    Those of you on Twitter, don’t forget to vote in our scientific poll:


  3. Rpoultz Dec 17, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    Great, great piece!!! The shame for me at the moment is those on twitter, who benefited most from calling out the ECB over the Pietersen fiasco, now seemingly have done a 180and are happy to side with the ECB on many issues and ridicule anyone who now dare disagree


  4. jomesy Dec 17, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    Utterly depressing but devastatingly correct. Even the typos work – because they show that this was typed life and posted.

    Those comlicit in this should be forced to read this article and then be publicly invited to put a counter argument.

    They won’t of course. But more importantly, they can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

      • jomesy Dec 17, 2017 / 12:46 pm

        Genuinely meant what I said about them…


      • jennyah46 Dec 17, 2017 / 12:54 pm

        It’s best to ignore them Chris! 🙂


  5. Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    Bravo! Well said.

    This is the ECBs Waterloo. This is the result of the road they set off down 4 years ago. It couldn’t happen to nicer bunch of people! (snark)

    The simple question all sports teams or even business have to ask is this……Are we getting the best out of what we have? If anyone at the ECB answers “yes,” they should be fired immediately.

    If you are going to destroy individualism as they did. (KPs demise was the end of the individual) then your collective face fitting better be an improvement.

    The ECB is no longer the governing body of English cricket. It’s a private club that is out for its own interest. And those interests , amazingly are not necessarily succesful test cricket on the field. They don’t deserve the fans they have screwed over. Maybe the fans don’t care? More fool them. Just empty your wallet into their greedy grasping hands.

    As to the media, they are joined at the hip with the ECB. Have been for the last 4 years. They have no solutions because they are part of the problem. Giant dollops of egg all down their faces. Shinny Toy said before this series started that 7 of this team were the best cricketers to ever leave Englands shores! Let that sink in!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. nonoxcol Dec 17, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    Is it true that Boycott is blaming Vince for getting out to *that*? Please tell me it isn’t true.


    • Nicholas Dec 17, 2017 / 1:39 pm

      I didn’t see much of today’s coverage, but if the comments made on Twitter about Boycott blaming Vince refer to the bit that I did see, they are a gross exaggeration.

      In a commentary handover, Vaughan jokingly said, ‘and now Geoffrey Boycott will tell us how he would have played that ball’. Boycott did a bit of technical analysis on how Vince might have counteracted the possibility of extreme movement from the cracks (take a middle-stump guard), but concluded that there were some that were just good balls that would get you out most times.

      I found it an interesting bit of analysis, without any blame attached to Vince, and – I must say – I’m finding Dave Tickner’s constant sniping at Boycott and at BT’s coverage to be quite tiring (and I normally enjoy Tickner’s irreverent take on the game, so that is a shame).

      Liked by 4 people

      • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 3:03 pm

        Boycott was effusive of Vince’s innings on the radio when I was driving to Heathrow this morning. Saying it had been a perfect half century full of excellent shots and good defence. He wasn’t on radio commentary when the wicket fell – it may have been Mann/Plagiarist with Vic Marks. Victor said it went like an Underwood delivery only 30 mph faster. On the one clip of the wicket I’ve seen Vince got well and truly cleaned up, but looked a touch awkward to me. As I said, one clip. Don’t shoot me. I’ve been “unplayable delivery” and “greatest ever” to death to believe the pundits and commentators waxing with their hyperbole. That’s the problem – if everything is the greatest ever, then when something special does come along, I wonder if they are telling me the truth.

        As for your last part? After 2013/14 if I knew Tickers was on the podcast, it was required listening for me. Now? I think I’ll leave him to it. I think it’s a bit of a shame. No recriminations, but it’s not for me any more.

        Liked by 1 person

      • whiterose76 Dec 17, 2017 / 3:11 pm

        Spot on I think, Nicholas. Boycott and Damien Fleming had quite an interesting discussion about it. As you say, it involved moving across (vince still plays from outside leg stump) and knowing what Starc was trying to do – Boycott has seen Starc bowl like that at Yorkshire – and so playing with a slightly straighter bat. I think he concluded that the best Vince could have hoped for was to nick it and said the best way he would have played it was from the other end.

        Liked by 2 people

      • nonoxcol Dec 17, 2017 / 3:17 pm

        I suspected as much I’m afraid, just because there were a few replies taking the high road but effectively shouting into the void. Thanks Nicholas.


  7. Silk Dec 17, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    For me, in the entire 4 years of shit , the treatment of Adil Rashid sticks out as the worst thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • SimonH Dec 17, 2017 / 1:19 pm

      With Compton a very close second….

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Dec 17, 2017 / 1:20 pm

        The genius of which is to treat them sufficiently badly that the “not good enough” line becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.


        • Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 1:35 pm

          If the ECB was a club side like a Premiership football team, and your agent rang and said “The ECB wants to sign you” …….you would run for the hills.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Pontiac Dec 17, 2017 / 3:47 pm

        Carberry was hard done by too I think.

        Liked by 2 people

        • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 3:53 pm

          Did Carberry ever convince you he was a test opener? I like the guy, but he never convinced. It was a tough tour to do so, of course, and maybe he was worth a shot, but Robson had been hyped up and made a ton in his second test.


          • thelegglance Dec 17, 2017 / 3:58 pm

            Carberry did better than most others that tour to be fair. But both he and Robson are good examples of the merry go round approach to selection in the England team. The suspicion in both cases is that it’s not cricketing reasons that caused them to be either dumped or in the latter case, not considered again.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Pontiac Dec 17, 2017 / 5:53 pm

            Sometimes these things take time. And to some degree maybe it is not the talent that is rare but getting the experience that is the hard part.

            England would never have found or kept around a Nathan Lyon.

            All of the patience in selection in England is used up on the old heads.


          • thelegglance Dec 17, 2017 / 5:55 pm

            Forget a Nathan Lyon. They’d never have selected Steve Smith, and would have permanently dropped Shane Warne after his Indian debut.


    • nonoxcol Dec 17, 2017 / 1:33 pm

      But “his card was marked”, so why ask questions about it? Pipe down.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Quebecer Dec 17, 2017 / 6:26 pm

      And my god how it’s hurt us in these three tests. Of all the bowlers available to England, Rash is the one we needed here.


      • OscarDaBosca Dec 17, 2017 / 11:03 pm

        ‘The mysterious case of Rashid’ is one that will perplex me. Has a decent leg break, one that straightens and is about as expensive as any leg spin bowler not called Warne (and maybe Kumble)
        Apparently ‘attitude’ was what was hinted at by hacks such as Selvey.
        Funny thing about ‘attitude’ is that it can win and lose you test matches based on the surrounding narrative. If they like you ‘attitude’ is a good thing, but if they don’t like you it is seen as a negative. And Stokes will soon see them flipping on his ‘attitude’ and becoming an escape goat in the words of Warner’s brother.


        • thelegglance Dec 17, 2017 / 11:09 pm

          My deepest suspicion about the England set up is that “attitude”, “commitment”, unimpressive off the field” and “problematic” are all code for “doesn’t obey orders from their betters”.


          • OscarDaBosca Dec 17, 2017 / 11:37 pm

            Yes, but I wonder whether those ‘betters’ include the captain?
            The senior bowling clique cannot last forever, Cook will probably go soon too. That will leave a completely different team dynamic, and potentially one more open to difference.
            I think, Rashid, Compton, Carberry and Robson were possibly too different and outside the ‘groupthink’ to be seen as anything but difficult to deal with.


          • quebecer Dec 17, 2017 / 11:48 pm

            Too slow through the air was a euphemism for it too, don’t forget.

            Plus, in practice I’m not sure exactly how much Rash doesn’t follow what they say, as such: I fear it might be more the fact they have the general impression he wouldn’t, rather than the fact that he doesn’t.

            While Moeen is clearly a good Mirpuri boy, Rashid is a bit more… street. A bit more slouchy. A little less ‘one of ours’. He’s just a bit more different – off the field.

            In fact, the more I think about it, the more ‘less one of ours’ seems to sum it up.



    • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 10:21 pm

      I’ve got to agree. Some of the stuff being put out was very disturbing. Almost as if people didn’t want him to succeed.


    • BobW Dec 18, 2017 / 10:58 am

      For me it’s the treatment of KP but then that story goes way beyond that in the total mis-management of his career by the ECB who were jealous and petty.


  8. SimonH Dec 17, 2017 / 1:39 pm

    So, “arguably England’s greatest ever player” (Newman, less than a week ago) and the captain both make 14. One is the emblem of all that’s gone wrong and one doesn’t get mentioned by Martin Samuel –


    Crikey, I’m sure nobody could guess which way round it was going to be.

    Gratuitous football reference?

    “at the opposite end is the John Terry of cricket captaincy…. Australia’s Steve Smith”.

    Once is not enough?

    “Returning to Terry a second time”

    I’m too clever for my brain pop culture reference?

    “like Bob Hoskins in the last scene of The Long Good Friday”

    See Martin, two can play at that game

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 1:50 pm

      Why am I not surprised that a middle aged West Ham supporter would have a reference from “The Long good Friday?”

      I guess it was either that or Peggy Mitchell.


    • SimonH Dec 17, 2017 / 2:00 pm

      Newman looks like he might be taking the “we need to talk about Alastair” brief at Sportsmail and, to be fair, he has even started to notice Cook’s long-term record against Australia – but Newman being Newman, he just can’t help himself:

      “It would be foolish to write off a man who has so often confounded the doubters but Cook is not the sort to outstay his welcome if this desperate run extends to Melbourne and Sydney”.

      I can’t think of a more egregious outstaying of welcome in 42 years of watching England than Cook and the ODI captaincy.

      “Root showed all the symptoms of a scrambled brain when he aimed an expansive drive at Nathan Lyon’s very first ball and succeeded only in edging to the omnipresent Smith via Tim Paine’s gloves. This was why there were still those of us last winter who hoped Cook would be able to fulfil his last great captaincy wish of leading England in this series because it would have stopped Root being exposed to this so early”.

      This was why?… You sure it wasn’t that you were dreaming of shouting “redemption for Cook… and take that Shane and all you doubters”?

      And a couple of snippets on other themes –

      “all too brief but classy cameo from James Vince… It is no exaggeration to say that Vince was playing for his Test career here despite his encouraging start to this series in Brisbane because he has flattered to deceive far too often while not impressing England off the field either”.

      “Broad, revealed to be carrying an injury to his left knee”.

      The same old tunes from the same old playbook.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 2:15 pm

        I agree with Newman on one thing. What a shame Cook wasn’t leading the team here. But not for the same reason. It would be the final humiliation for the ECB, and the ECB media, and it would be “REDEMPTION FOR KP.”

        ” while not impressing England off the field either.” What has Vince done off the field? And why does Newman know what England think about this? The same leaking and whispering goes on. They have learned nothing in 4 years.

        Liked by 3 people

        • man in a barrel Dec 17, 2017 / 2:52 pm

          Is this stuff about Vince off the field reminiscent of the rumours about Bell?


          • Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 4:16 pm


            Yes, good call on the Bell business. It sounds the same. I think they are selecting their scape goats at the moment.


        • amit Dec 17, 2017 / 2:58 pm

          Quite well put.
          I suppose that for a marquee series and possibly the only one ECB seems to publicly care about, the prep work is nothing but shoddy. The issues with bowling have been known – Jimmy’s 5-fer in the last game does not really change his overall need for conditions to suit him while Broad is down on pace and hasn’t been threatening all year. Moeen was always likely to find Australia a tough place as most offies do and neither of Stokes or Woakes is express pace to turn in a truly hostile spell. Whether it’s the general inclination to pick allrounders or the piss poor way any pacer with genuine speed has been treated in recent years by ECB, I don’t know, but the net result is as you say – they haven’t learnt anything in 4 years.

          On the same note, reading Finn’s views on the effect of county cricket on pace bowlers is a good insight into the thought process that has existed in the setup. link from cricinfo article below.


          Liked by 2 people

          • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 3:10 pm


            Good comment sir. But I’m getting a little tired with the blithe acceptance that if the test is away from home then the visitors have no chance. South Africa won in Australia last year. Australia gave India a great series the last time they were out there. I think India might give us a really good tussle in the same way Pakistan did in 2015. We played better in South Africa than we did at home to them until this year, when a key player thought sending pep talks on Twitter was a replacement for him being there. In a time when cricket has never been more international we are sudden given to believe that the away team has no chance. There’s been nothing on these Aussie wickets to suggest an inherent advantage other than they have quicker bowlers than us.

            Jimmy Anderson is supposedly a genius and in 2012 was cited by Dhoni as the difference when England won out there. Now he’s an English conditions specialist! Drives me mad. He’s either the greatest bowler we’ve ever had, or a one skill set specialist. He’s neither of course, but he’s hampered here by not being able to hunt in packs with bowlers giving him control and support. Sure, he’s not on the top of his game, but again, is he the best we have currently? Bowling dry won 2010/11. We’ll never be allowed to forget.

            Liked by 1 person

          • amit Dec 17, 2017 / 4:04 pm

            I hear you. Really do.

            But it wouldn’t be wrong to say that maybe except for South Africa, most countries have been poor travellers in the last few years. India have had a terrible record in a few countries, Australia have now routinely got mugged in India. England regularly win at home.
            Sure there have been exceptions to this pattern, but I suppose most administrators take a win irrespective of it being home or away. The justification will often be that they play more games at home so home records and home performances are just as important.

            As fans, we are emotionally vested in the team and it hurts if the team isn’t even competitive. As an Indian fan, I have experienced it innumerable times with Indian cricket team being a lousy traveler. We expect a contest, even if the team loses. We expect the team, the management to do everything to ensure that overseas tours are not an afterthought.

            The incompetence showed by the boards in planning for important overseas tours is therefore, a big source of frustration. I get that part.

            It would help if someone in the food chain owned up to the mistakes but I have yet to come across a plain talking cricket administrator in recent times – one who was honest and prepared to accept a mistake. Most administrators seem more interested in the optics of the situation than solving the problem. That and the cheerleading journalists that fail to hold these administrators accountable have been a deep source of frustration for a few years.
            If there’s a reason I have found myself on this forum, it is because I have felt this frustration (of a fan being left out and ignored) as a common thread connecting all of us.

            Re Jimmy, I have no doubt that he will go down as one of the best English bowlers of all times. I think he deserves his place there. My personal dislike for his personality aside, he is a brilliant bowler who has all the skill. If there’s a criticism, it is that he tends to succeed only when conditions suit him. Even if he’s not operating at his peak, he’s delivered solid numbers this year, except that most of it have come at home. He has been found wanting on this trip despite being the top bowler in the side and 3rd highest wicket taker.
            And yes, the support act hasn’t been good enough.

            Broad hasn’t been the same bowler he was, even if he can bowl an occasional spell.
            Woakes has been an honest trier but despite his improvement as a bowler over the last few years, I would be surprised if he could turn games around on his own as Broad or Jimmy have done in their pomp.
            I wonder what the composition of team would have been if Stokes was here. Would they have played Ball or Overton at all? Or would they have gone with Woakes as the 4th pacer?
            Stokes being here would’ve only bolstered the batting – I doubt it would’ve done anything significantly different for the bowling…
            what do you think?

            Liked by 2 people

      • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 2:54 pm

        “It would be foolish to write off a man who has so often confounded the doubters but Cook is not the sort to outstay his welcome if this desperate run extends to Melbourne and Sydney”.

        It’s the same sort of run as the last time around, with a fifty here and there to break it up. It’s the same desperate run that meant he failed to make a test ton for nigh on two years. It’s a desperate run where it is now no Ashes hundreds in 35 tries, a run we are meant to not know about because of a briliant series 7 years ago. It’s a desperate run of 6 test hundreds in 109 innings (I’m not checking) which would, and was, the sort of evidence to indicate KP’s inconsistency and decline – the big knocks were getting fewer and further between remember?

        As you say, Mark, Cook was supposed to be Joe’s confidant, his guiding hand, his senior pro. He’s shown all the inspiration in that role as he did as captain.

        But, and here is the but. There should be no other thing that matters more than “is Cook one of the best two openers in England?” If he is, then he plays. That’s what I wanted the decision to be with KP, and it wasn’t. I can’t have it both ways. This rush to get rid of him by those who would be his supporters, or the bloody useful idiots who haven’t paid attention to what we were really saying – we were NEVER saying drop Cook on any grounds other than form – is unedifying.

        Newman says “it would be foolish to write him off”. If you wait long enough, he’ll run into a hundred this summer. And like 95s as scratchy as they come, he’ll be “back to his best” before you know it. The thing is, we’ve seen his best (India away in 2012 and Australia away in 2010) and have memories. Not an agenda.

        Liked by 2 people

        • nonoxcol Dec 17, 2017 / 3:32 pm

          Smyth even went for “his 88 was England’s best innings of last summer”, which I thought was a tad harsh on Root’s 190.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 3:41 pm

            There’s a passive aggressive element to selections like that. The same element that when I pointed out 5 in 99 or whatever it was, you get the “centuries are an arbitrary measure” stuff in much more clever ways, as if I’m some cricket greenhorn who doesn’t understand the game in anyway at all.

            The same people who laud a pseud’s corner 88 like Cook’s are the same to point out that pretty 60s and 70s don’t win test matches. So when does your thing become an arbitrary measure, or are they the only people smart enough to see it?

            It’s getting more stark. I’m not trusting many views of people on cricket who depend on it for their livelihood or pocket change.

            Liked by 3 people

        • Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 4:13 pm

          Oh yes Dmitri. I remember they days after Root was appointed captain, and the media were falling over themselves to say……” There is no one better to have alongside him in the slips than Cook.” They might as well have been reading off an ECB press release.

          I can even remember a 5 live show where they said he could give Root tactical advice. TACTICAL ADVICE!!! Stop laughing at the back.

          Not the sort to outstay his welcome? He was still moaning about having the ODI captaincy taken off him recently wasn’t he? And this After the huge improvement under Morgan. So much for putting the team first.

          He is a cult, and Newamn is a cultist.

          Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Dec 17, 2017 / 4:41 pm

          OK, well, having popped over to Stasguru, the first thing to say is this:

          Cook never went ten innings without a fifty even in 2013/14 or 2010. The Holy 95 was his tenth innings after the last fifty of the 13/14 Ashes. The shocking run in 2010 was eight innings, bookended by centuries in Dhaka and Kennington.
          The next thing to say is that he made 129 runs in those 9 innings, which is as near as damnit the same average as he has over his last ten innings now (14.33 to 14.40).

          But the really interesting thing to note is this:

          After his 54 in the second Test in India, he made no more fifties that winter and averaged 27 in six innings. Against SA he made two and averaged 33.50. Against WI he made the 243 and almost literally “feck all else” as some berk said of another batsman on the Guardian last week. In the Ashes he has none, of course.

          Now I’m just not having it that this is #tedioushashtag, sorry. He’s made 3 scores above 50 in his last 25 innings, for crying out loud! And lo and behold, two of them are being used to gloss over a chronic lack of form that – you could now argue – is *worse* than that of 2013/14.

          Hit reverse cumulative and you see he averages 32.68 over those 25 innings, AND THAT’S WITH A DOUBLE HUNDRED IN THERE. His calendar year average is 34.47. Let him have the full India tour, in which he made a hundred in the first Test and a fifty in the second, and it’s still only 35.31. You have to go back as far as the final Test v SL 18 months ago to get him over 40. It dips back below 40 because SA away was his worst long series, and you won’t get it to stay over 40 until you reach the double hundred in the UAE.

          I mean seriously, come the fuck on. It isn’t the people pointing this out who have the agenda here.

          And no, I wouldn’t drop him either.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Deep Purple Fred Dec 17, 2017 / 7:44 pm

            Yeah but he has other qualities, aside from the crude measure of runs scored.
            Leadership. Character. Steel rodded-back. Dreamy eyes and strong jawline. The right family. He’s got a farm too, in case you were unaware.

            Imagine where England would be if it was full of KP’s and Stokeses (aside from retaining the Ashes).

            Liked by 1 person

        • Pontiac Dec 17, 2017 / 6:00 pm

          There is the aspect of letting yesterday eat tomorrow in Cook these days.

          I don’t care about hundreds. I care about Cowans. The problem with Cook is that he isn’t sticking around.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 10:25 pm

            I’m dying to ask. I care about Cowans?

            Does not compute with me….


          • Sophie Dec 18, 2017 / 12:12 am

            I think “a Cowan” is where you face 100 balls without scoring more than 35 or so runs. It’s from some county cricket live blog or other.


      • thebogfather Dec 17, 2017 / 3:29 pm

        A question that even ‘Lovejoy’ espouted… why didn’t Cook (GOATbatsman) and GOAT (longevity) Captain at least place a ‘knowledgeable’ arm around the shoulder of Overton (bowling with all his heart with cracked rib and such like?) – It’s not just Steely, but the selfishness of our 900 wicket, can’t be accused, opening pair
        There is no ‘we’ in team England
        But the ‘we’ has to be approved by the sponsors
        Cos the money…
        So, the ECB may be the idiots
        But it’s the ‘fans’ that truly are
        And of us Outside, to those perfidious
        Who will be left bereft, and truly feel the scars
        The continued #DeathOfAGentleman


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 3:51 pm

          Remember Swann and his clique in the team putting many arms around shoulders when things were going tits up? No, not me. I thought that was a lot of the problems with the team (no, KP wasn’t the only thing).

          There’s a bit to criticise Cook for over the years, but this is well down the list. If he interferes he, well, is seen as interfering ex-captain. If he doesn’t and retreats to the ranks, he’s aloof etc.

          In the words of Hal Holbrook when talking about Haldeman in All The President’s Men, “they’ve even got people feeling sorry for him, and I didn’t think that was possible.” That’s me and Cook. I almost feel sorry for him. This must be dreadful right now.

          On a side point, Vaughan mentioned on comms that Cook had been practising in the nets with Thorpe for an hour and a half. I love how those hardworking nuggets just get out there….

          Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Dec 17, 2017 / 4:03 pm

            Cook has been used repeatedly by the authorities to justify their own actions. Even if he felt hard done by when he was eventually dropped from the ODI team, it doesn’t alter the way that it was done, which was pretty shoddy. Sympathy for that is mitigated by him being on the receiving end of the kind of behaviour he accepted when it benefitted his own point of view of course.

            I have sympathy with him on a batting level; he’s all over the place technically at the moment. His weight distribution is wrong, his head is wrong, his feet are wrong. That can happen, though I’m genuinely surprised he went into the series like that. Someone must have noticed in the nets he was struggling somewhat before the series. Once it’s under way it’s too late to make changes.


          • thebogfather Dec 17, 2017 / 4:31 pm

            If Cook had been practising with Thorpe, wherefore art thou be Ramprakash with his new 2 year deal? Oh, and Selfey suggests he should go back to be smooched by Gooch… and I thought Alastair had his own recent guru – forget his Essex bod name…

            Liked by 1 person

          • SimonH Dec 17, 2017 / 6:02 pm

            Gary Palmer. I haven’t seen any mentions of him since the tour started.


          • man in a barrel Dec 17, 2017 / 6:44 pm

            On commentary today I think Vaughan said that Cook had been working with Gary Palmer recently


      • oreston Dec 17, 2017 / 5:50 pm

        So a score of 55 is a “cameo” now, is it?

        Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Dec 17, 2017 / 3:07 pm

      If only England cricket had a John Terry on the field as ‘leader, legend’ rather than Cook/Anderson now and Cook/Anderson/Swann in13/14…


  9. LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 3:34 pm

    Simon pointed it out, but there was that little nugget after Adelaide that two of the batsmen were playing for their careers due to off field incidents.

    It is no exaggeration to say that Vince was playing for his Test career here despite his encouraging start to this series in Brisbane because he has flattered to deceive far too often while not impressing England off the field either.

    I have two points on this – no, three.

    The first, the obvious one, is that, of course, the ECB doesn’t leak. That never tires. Anal about it, they are.

    Second, why has this been mentioned now, and not at the time, leaving the paying punter to guess who it could be (and it was only going to be two out of the three “support cast”)?

    Third, why mention it at all in Newman’s usual “I know a little bit, so I’ll give you a little bit”. MiaB said it reminded him of the Ian Bell leak about the company teambuilding shite. It reminded me of Ben Duckett’s Indian subcontinent report dutifully not leaked about 10 days ago.

    All the time this happens, Chris’s points about the relationship between an ECB that Newman recently has not been happy with, and the press who will frame a lot of the narrative post-series like they did last time around is crucial. We got humped in India because it was India, but this isn’t a vintage Australia, and we are being humped again. Newman is the most interesting of the lot to watch.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. @pktroll Dec 17, 2017 / 3:40 pm

    Although I think that Root won’t have the same platitudes adorned on him post series as was so ludicrously done to Cook four years ago a question I pose is this, what the blazes happens next? Does he relinquish the role if he thinks he’s not up to it? Does he soldier on even if his form suffers even after this series? Re Broad, his form has been on a real downer since that excellent spell at Joburg. Not one 5fer and a very high strike rate. Before this test his average in that period was circa 31 and s/r of 67. It is only going to be notably worse after the wicketless nightmare at Perth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 3:45 pm

      He, or the ECB, have let it be known that Broad is carrying an injury.

      You may well ask where we go from here. These series happen and Root is no doubt underperforming. The interesting thing will be whether Root will be subject to a whispering campaign (Jar Jar Lovejoy doesn’t count, or at least he shouldn’t), or if, in the words of Downton his captaincy “won’t really be discussed”.

      What the blazes happens next? Indeed sir, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Dec 17, 2017 / 3:54 pm

        I’d give Broad some leeway because one thing he’s never done as a bowler is shy away from a fight. He’s had a poor series, certainly, but he surely has enough in the bank to be given the benefit of the doubt. And he’s never used the injury excuse either.

        As you rightly point out, the only criteria should be whether they’re best in their position, and irrespective of this tour, he is. As is Cook. It’s astonishing to see some of the press veer from Greatest Ever to Time To Go with nothing in between.

        As for Root, he’s had a rough time with the bat, but under no circumstances can his captaincy be described as even approaching the abject levels displayed by Cook last time and excused completely.

        Liked by 2 people

        • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 4:05 pm

          Broad is being written off. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, TMS today had stats about his bowling in Ashes tests since Trent Bridge, his lack of five wicket innings and so on an so forth. He’s having a tough series, and deserves the benefit of the doubt, but someone put it out there.

          Of all the post-Ashes selections that have teed me off it is Robson near the top of the list. We made great play about stealing him from the Aussies and how gutted they were. He showed good temperament in making a ton off New Zealand in a losing cause it turned out. Then the technical difficulties were highlighted, along with that absolutely monstrous shite from Selfey of having no presence in the field. Then he was left out of the subsequent tour, never to be seen again. Such confidence in their own judgement, eh?

          Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Dec 17, 2017 / 4:08 pm

            Yep, and Robson was anything but disastrous anyway. He had a technical flaw that he went away to work on. Nothing wrong with that. But here was a born Test cricketer (apparently) who has been thrown away. and just look at all the ones they’ve gone through since.

            Liked by 1 person

          • @pktr Dec 17, 2017 / 4:19 pm

            My point was looking at Broad’s returns since Joburg. It was my perception that he has not been able to crank up his pace when he has those golden spells and the lack of 5fers. It is something I have noticed for some time. There are times when things fall off a cliff as they might be doing for both him and Cook. Collingwood had a run of about 9 games where he totally flatlined and called it quits after 2010/11. It remains to be seen if either/both think their time has come.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 4:23 pm

            Fair enough, squire, but when the stats are put out on media outlets, and people start mentioning it in media land at the same time, I get suspicious. We can harbour our own statistical and perceptive analysis to our heart’s content!


    • SimonH Dec 17, 2017 / 4:07 pm

      Williamson’s batting suffered a little after he got the NZ captaincy. He had a fill-your-boots’ series against Zimbabwe but made just three fifties (“should’ve been 150s, Kane you weakling”) in the three series after that. His double failure in Wellington probably cost NZ their series against SA and he’s only made 98 runs in two Tests against WI. Kohli also didn’t immediately have a glut of runs when he became captain (it was masked by a 200 against WI but he had quite a lean time until the last Test of their series against NZ).

      In short, even the best may find it a difficult transition. He has made a 190 as captain, after all. If he wants it, then of course he should be given longer to come to terms with the role.

      In a sensible world, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with saying “Joe, you’ve had a taster – go back to the ranks, think about what’ve you learnt and come back stronger”. This is ECB world though and such an idea is unthinkable. There must be continuity, there must a four-year cycle, the captain must own the team (remember all that “this is still Strauss’s team” when Cook had led them 30 times? None of that for Root of course). Root as captain would be fired into outer space to the accompaniment of ex-players dancing on his captaincy grave and “good journalism” revealing all that he – and not anyone in management – had done wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Dec 17, 2017 / 4:15 pm

        Ironically enough, when Cook was there the TINA approach was pushed repeatedly, even though there were senior players who could have done it. With the shambolic mess they’ve made of selection and casting people into oblivion, they’ve now managed to remove any obvious candidates from the equation. Doesn’t mean someone couldn’t do it well of course, but they’ve not groomed anyone and there are hardly any strong character types who scream out ‘give it to me’.

        Still, if it saves a few pampered arses from being criticised, I’m sure they’d happily throw Root under the bus. Personally, I’ve not seen much wrong with his captaincy. The decision to put Australia in at Adelaide was undone mostly by his bowlers being incapable of grasping what was bleeding obvious to a church team.

        Liked by 2 people

        • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 4:25 pm

          2019 is going to be a fascinating year, isn’t it? The white ball success is needed to keep some people in jobs. The Ashes is what stirs our soul.

          And they take place on top of each other. Happy days.


  11. Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 4:21 pm

    I thought the English media were all about off field role models in cricket? How can they then nominate Terry? He was a leader on the field but, off the field? Hasn’t he had his share of bad headlines?


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 4:31 pm

      This is Martin Samuel. Terry is an East London boy. Same manor.

      That article was so piss poor, it’s not worth a proper acknowledgement. I know some of what Tim Wigmore had to do to get where he is today (he talked to me briefly about his experiences at the last World Cup). Meritocracy? Don’t make me laugh. Samuel is having a great paid holiday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 4:49 pm

        I notice they have pulled Ollie Holt out of his jolly there. They needed him back for the Manchester derby.

        Newman must have wondered what he has done to deserve this lack of trust in his abilities?


  12. nonoxcol Dec 17, 2017 / 4:48 pm

    I see TLG has already replied to this.

    Isn’t it interesting? Here you go Sri, this is why cricket journalists get so much attention here.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. man in a barrel Dec 17, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    Does anyone other than the clickbait brigade seriously think that Overton will play the rest of the tour? The poor guy was obviously struggling today but what a great attitude he showed. God knows what he was doing as a boundary rider, though

    Liked by 1 person

  14. man in a barrel Dec 17, 2017 / 5:29 pm

    Boycott pointed out that Root had a poor tour of Australia last time around. Why is it 3 matches in that the analysis starts to emerge?


  15. SimonH Dec 17, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    Potential for “senior player needs rest/has minor previously undiscovered injury so will miss the last two Tests and come back in NZ” gambit.


  16. man in a barrel Dec 17, 2017 / 5:56 pm

    For that matter, Starc looks as if he needs a rest, some kind of foot problem. Meanwhile, Sean Marsh discovered a month ago that he was myopic. Both medical teams seem equally clued up. However I do recall that Benaud mentioned that his side got their eyes tested and Neil Harvey, one of the leading batsmen of the time and best out fielders, needed glasses. The media, including Benaud, of course can’t be expected to know that there are gradations of short sightedness

    Liked by 1 person

    • Benny Dec 17, 2017 / 6:53 pm

      It strikes a chord with me. I was a pretty fine short leg catcher but rubbish further out. Finally got some specs and the whole world looked clearer. Fairly irrelevant in the grand scheme except I notice Monty now wears specs. Makes me wonder.


      • thelegglance Dec 17, 2017 / 6:54 pm

        I’m pretty sure he was wearing contact lenses when he played.


    • Zephirine Dec 17, 2017 / 8:44 pm

      Perhaps Neil Harvey was long-sighted?


  17. Pontiac Dec 17, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    Having read Dobell’s piece today I find his mention of how Root got out as … interesting … as I expected, and as unfair as I expected when compared against what he had to say about Malan earlier.

    ‘Trying to be positive and keep Lyon from settling into a groove.’ On the first ball? Please. That is apparatchik level nonsense.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Quebecer Dec 17, 2017 / 6:30 pm

    TLG: I’ll catch up on the thread later when time allows, but just to say now, a perfectly written article, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. BobW Dec 17, 2017 / 6:52 pm

    As ever another brilliant article on this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 10:32 pm

      Sometimes I (very briefly) hate Chris for being so damn talented.

      All I can say is that the blog has been especially fulfilling recently – and to get Maxie to do a couple of pieces, watching Danny become a really valuable and insightful contributor, and Sean, who I know is massively overloaded at work, do his forensic thing – the response has been great.

      I’m going to stop all this Smashy and Nicey stuff now (dated 90s pop culture references are me).

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Dec 17, 2017 / 10:45 pm

        Smashie and Nicey never date. “The End of an Era” is a work of absolute genius that became even better some time around 2012, for very well-documented reasons we have no need to go into here.

        “How old are you my darling?”


      • Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 10:59 pm

        I think the articles on here are really on fire at the moment. No newspaper or cricket rag offer this quality. Obviously I’m biased but……..

        In another Universe far, far away governing bodies would actully value such passionate sports fans. Here on planet ECB we are just obsessives


        • BobW Dec 18, 2017 / 11:09 am

          I agree with Mark. This blog really has been outstanding lately as have its contributors. It’s funny how it seems not that long ago, one of the writers (I think I know who but do not want to get the wrong name. Apologies for my crap memory) felt that they were running out of things to write about and the blog was going through a quiet phase. But then a disastrous tour like this gets the juices flowing and suddenly it’s on fire again. I know in my heart I am desperate for the English cricket team to do well (even though I agree with Maxie’s post recently) but when it comes to another loss like today I am just full of despair and it really isn’t difficult to see the reasons why. Worryingly I cannot see how things are going to change and move forward.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 11:33 am

            The running out of things to say was me. I sometimes feel as though we have to go through the motions. There’s also a fear that if we don’t keep putting out content, and not blatant filler or endless guest posts, that we are letting down those that I think rely on us as something to pass some of their day, and that they may not come back. I know a couple of people from doing this blog, and met a few at various junctures. All love the game, all have been great to meet. I love the blog for those reasons more than any.

            I am so angry right now I can’t imagine being short of something to say. My main fear is acceptance of this as the normal run of things.

            Liked by 1 person

          • BobW Dec 18, 2017 / 4:55 pm

            I was also aware that you had a family situation going on in the background as well. That was not helping either. I didn’t want to appear flippant about that or you. I hope things are better now too.
            As for the regular posts it must be difficult thinking of new ideas and thoughts all the time of what to come up with. Though I do enjoy your re visits of test matches of the past. I have a booklet of the 1977 Centenary test somewhere and reading that from time to time still evokes strong memories of when I first grew to love cricket as a young teenager. (I’m still convinced Randall’s knock of 174 is one of the great innings of cricket!)


  20. Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 7:05 pm

    Funny if it pissed down all day, and England then win the last two tests….



  21. Benny Dec 17, 2017 / 7:08 pm

    Very perceptive article. I believe the ECB is, above all, incompetent. I latched onto:

    “There’s no wishful thinking about what might have been, no feeling that had certain players not been kicked out they’d have been the saviours of this particular tour”

    Obviously KP, if still playing, would make a difference. Then, if the management and their “medical team” had a clue about what they’re doing, we may have included Trott and Monty, much as England Women got the best keeper in the land back. Not sure if Finn could have been rescued but our Irish Rankin not being ordered to bowl with an injury may have changed his career.

    Did someone say Broad is bowling with an injury as well as Overton? Do the management never learn anything?


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 10:36 pm

      I’m pretty sure none of us would have expected KP to still be playing for England now. But what happened is a salutary lesson to anyone thinking that their own career is an important concern over what the ECB has in mind.

      If England play Overton in the next two tests, I think I’ll need a new laptop.


  22. Deep Purple Fred Dec 17, 2017 / 7:18 pm

    Each country is beaten by the other, so the Ashes are swapping alot. I don’t really see this as a problem.
    However, when Australia tours England, their losses range from bad to quite close. When England loses, they lose spectacularly, and the team eats itself.
    Australia looks much more likely to retain the Ashes in England than England do in Australia.
    Just a randonm thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 8:10 pm

      Yes, I would agree with that. And if you can keep your pace men fit, in two years time I would not be surprised to see you win in England.

      Even in the 1990s when Aus had a really great side England won the odd test match. They havent look like doing that in their last 8 tests in Australia.


    • Pontiac Dec 17, 2017 / 8:11 pm

      I get the sense that the Australian team tends to learn more from what happens than otherwise on these losing tours – actually changing personnel around instead of bringing them for no reason, etc.

      I also think that more of the Australian senior team members normally get some time to play in England – like, Lyon doesn’t play T20 or ODI much for Australia (although I think he very well could!) but I suspect he probably has done more bowling in England between away Ashes than has, say, Broad vice versa.


      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 17, 2017 / 8:50 pm

        That’s true, Chris Rogers was pretty handy for Australia, with all his County experience.


  23. metatone Dec 17, 2017 / 8:10 pm

    Some random issues that come to mind:
    (I may try for a long run piece, but everyone has said many of the salient things, so who am I to repeat them all?)

    1) I can’t remember if it was SimonH or NonOxCol one year ago who looked at the coming schedule and reminded me (and everyone else!) that there was every chance that we’d get to this series with our bowlers crocked. But, if they/we could all see it, why couldn’t the ECB? Or Farbsey and Baylissy? (And of course it all applies to batsmen like Root who was flogged out across every format too.)

    I remember going nuts at various points across the year where obvious opportunities to rest players were spurned…

    2) Swann is pretty much irreplaceable (as a bowler, not a commentator 😉 ). Some significant percentage of the last loss Down Under can be put down to his injury. Rather than accepting that and looking for a new strategy – we tried to force the spinners into that mould. As much as I like Mo, I think he got defaulted into the team more than anything.

    All that is more grand strategy tho, the real failing that must not be ducked is the inability to budget for an injury to Moeen. Where was the groomed backup? For all his flaws, why wasn’t Rashid in the party? No-one ever thought they would dare pick Crane while the series was still live. It’s a nonsense…

    3) We’ll never know if Stokes would have made enough of a difference, but I think, looking at Moeen and Woakes it’s time to stop putting all our eggs in the allrounder basket. The downside of a year of the lower order bailing the team out is that once you hit some good opposition bowling, it fails. And you never got around to really thinking through the top order. And, let’s be candid, too many allrounders means the bowling isn’t quite what it should be either.

    4) The best book I ever read on the strange malaise of English cricket was by an Australian. It’s an old book, so much there needs updating, but a key point (backed with stats) was that somehow England never managed to keep their best bowlers fit for long. Some of those issue that Finn point up re: County Cricket bear more inspection, but central contracts were supposed to help.

    That they haven’t really since 2011 says it’s time once again to take a long harsh look at the England medical team. I’ll pass over rumours relating to Broad and just ask the obvious question – how the hell do you end up playing a bowler with a rib cracked in the last match?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Dec 17, 2017 / 8:23 pm

      Feel free to write one if you want, there’s going to be more than enough anger to go around in the coming months!

      On the all rounder thing, I guess the one observation I’d make there is that it’s the top order that’s been the problem rather than anything else. We’ve got used to the middle and lower bailing England out time and again, and this time they haven’t. Stokes’ loss affects that of course, but it’s very different having them at 300-3 than it is at 80-3, or even 350-5 than 170-5. The tail being blown away matters so much because of the failures further up.


    • oreston Dec 17, 2017 / 9:21 pm

      You rightly highlight the failure to include a viable spin bowling alternative in the current Ashes squad. One of the other glaring omissions is the failure to send a back-up dedicated opening batsman, so that they haven’t even got the option (say) of rotating Cook out of the eleven for a match or two – for his good as well as the team’s. How’s it working out? He’s averaging 13.8, that’s how well. It’s as though TINA was deliberately built in at the selection meeting, with key positions having no cover, a bowling attack that gives the captain zero meaningful options whatever (particularly when considered in relation to the anticipated playing conditions) and – just like in 2013 – half the “spare” players who are there virtually unselectable. It’s really difficult to see how the Selectors/Flower/whoever else was involved could’ve have made a worse job of putting this squad together if they’d tried. Literally anybody here could’ve done better.

      Liked by 2 people

      • oreston Dec 17, 2017 / 9:39 pm

        While I think of it and related to the Cook issue: I do understand the job of a no. 3 batsman and the variety of scenarios in which they can expect to come to the crease and for which they should be prepared. I’m also aware of James Vince’s flaws. It has to be said however that he hasn’t had much opportunity during this series to come in after the new ball has been seen off. A persistent weakness in the opening pair heaps a lot of pressure no. 3.


        • man in a barrel Dec 17, 2017 / 11:16 pm

          When Illingworth took his side to Australia in 1970, he insisted on 3 opening batsmen, the incumbents Edrich and Luckhurst, plus the guy returning from injury, Boycott. He realised the threat was in the first ten overs and planned to nullify it. Or so he says 40 years later. It seemed to work. Both Luckhurst and Edrich got centuries at Perth


          • man in a barrel Dec 17, 2017 / 11:17 pm

            I cannot imagine Vince as an opener. He should be able to score runs but is too loose.


      • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 10:08 pm

        But, but, but…

        The Lions are out there, there are ready-made replacements etc. etc.

        More ECB bullshit.

        Liked by 1 person

    • BobW Dec 18, 2017 / 5:01 pm

      The one thing about Rashid is that I do think if Root wanted him (as he is his Yorkshire team mate) he would have gone instead of Crane. I’m not sure if the blame can be laid at the selectors door for that. If Root wanted him he would have had him.
      That said I totally agree with you about the back up spinner. When you play on flat wickets you need specialist batsmen or bowlers not bits and pieces players. (which are an advantage on green top wickets in England)


  24. SimonH Dec 17, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    Thinking about the post-tour reaction, I’m more and more convinced that there will not be some sort of mass-sacking meltdown. I don’t think those who really matter at the ECB are actually that bothered, except a sort of low-level throbbing embarrassment. It’s more a bunion than a broken leg.

    Look at the journey of travel in the last two 5-0s:
    2006/07 – major inquiry; main coach and captain sacked (although Fletcher only went after the WC).
    2013/14 – no inquiry; batting and fielding coach sacked; main coach apparently sacked but not really; captain survived; one player scapegoated.

    So we’ve seen an abandoning of looking into why, a watering-down of sackings and an increase in scapegoating. I expect to see them travel further down that road. I don’t expect any coach to be sacked – Ramprakash has a new contract, conveniently (and bizarrely if one stops to think about it) there isn’t a bowling coach and I don’t see any moves against Bayliss or Farbrace. Anyone higher? Forget about it! It’s quite possible nobody at all will go but if they want to create a kind of supremo, it’s possible they might give Whitaker his P45 and combine the coach and chairman of selectors. Some will depend on how bad it gets and if a few crumbs of comfort crop up to cling to like an ODI series win or winning the NZ Tests. It’s going to be a long time from the SCG to the end of the tour and I think maybe now I understand why as the pain of the Tests dulls and attention spans dwindle.

    The interesting bit is going to be how far the media go along with the agenda. They can be actively complicit (creating false narratives, turning crumbs into a feast, mis-directing attention etc), sullenly compliant or positively hostile. I don’t see much hope that there’ll be much other than active complicity. The building blocks of the false narrative (lack of discipline, useless captain, oops we just didn’t have the bowlers etc) have been too obviously been sliding into place. Getting the media to accept humiliation would be the triumph of ECB media-management strategy in this decade and the stepping stone to the final triumph next decade when the media don’t object to (indeed, positively welcome) the killing-off of their own sport. Which brings me to…. ,

    The thing is – I don’t think the ECB give much of a shit about away Tests (or Tests generally really). I’m increasingly thinking that includes the Ashes (#39’s idea that the Ashes could survive in isolation was always ridiculous). They can’t say it yet because they want a fat cheque from 2019 but after that?…. They have Indian TV dosh to get through 2018 and the WC hosting for 2019 and then we hit 2020 and the new cricket world order arrives. The Test championship can be declared a failure and Tests consigned to the history books with some tinkering first to alienate traditional supporters (now labelled “obsessives” “weirdos” and ” probably “bed-blockers”) – my guess is that they’ll copy the women’s model for a while and then dump the Tests altogether as the boring bit.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 17, 2017 / 10:11 pm

      Lord, I hope the last paragraph isn’t right. India has had the IPL for a decade now and they still seem to quite like test match cricket, even if their public might not be so keen. And as India goes so does the world.

      As for the ECB? A Big Bash a decade too late for a market that isn’t designed for it? Hard to see how the greatest organisation in English sports is destined to do something extraordinary….


      • SimonH Dec 17, 2017 / 10:39 pm

        I want to be wrong – but things like the Lions’ schedule make sense viewed in terms of what I’m arguing and don’t make much sense otherwise.

        The English BBL may well not work. What does the ECB’s track record suggest they’d do – admit error or keep throwing money at it? I think the best that we can hope for is that they haven’t completely torched the old world before introducing the new.

        I don’t think CA are any better. The future of Test cricket is in the hands of the BCCI! The BCCI had a recent rediscovery of Test cricket but I’ve heard their prospective schedule ahead shows that love has waned. I’ll admit I haven’t looked at it closely though.

        I heard it argued recently that there is a direction of travel (planned or not) towards a world of city-states with the nation-state reduced to near meaninglessness. I used to put this sort of talk down to the paranoia of deranged nationalists but I’m not so sure these days. I see international sport in the team sports I follow (cricket, football, rugby) struggling at the expense of city-franchises and the two ideas seem to dovetail.


        • Sri.Grins Dec 18, 2017 / 5:15 am

          Interesting perspective from the Dark Side 🙂 😀


    • Mark Dec 17, 2017 / 10:35 pm

      Nail on head Simon!

      The point about how few walked the plank after the last Ashes 5-0 is very relevent. They got away with it before why not again? Remember the media were quite distraught after the India and Bangladesh debacle last winter when Cook said he was considering his position. Some of them went into great sadness when he finally resigned. That was after a 4-0 hidding.

      4 years on from the last tour down under, and Strauss has erected a series of fire walls to protect himself. Who actually is responsible for this total cock up? Bayliss? Farbrace? Ramprakash? Root? Flower? The panel of selectors? It’s like wack a mole.

      And they know that the media will cover for them. Some of the media seem to have conflicts of interest in the new 20/20. Many are going to make money out of it. And then you have the average England fan……who if social media is anything to go by think the Bristol police are to blame for this loss.

      Maxies’s position seems more and more rational by the day.


  25. Zephirine Dec 18, 2017 / 12:01 am

    Meanwhile, the women’s cricket team has won the team section of BBC Sports Personality of the Year, which is very interesting since they don’t exactly get the same media coverage as the men. But they did win a World Cup.


  26. Sri.Grins Dec 18, 2017 / 2:36 am

    Looks like the rain dance and snow dance worked, Looks like no play till lunch at least.

    In trivia section, the rain dance is a popular routine used in Indian movies in any language. :-). So, we are kind of expert at it I guess to at least save England for a couple of hours 🙂


    • dlpthomas Dec 18, 2017 / 2:54 am

      I’ve always associated the rain dance with Native Americans / American Indians rather than Indian Indians (let’s see how many cultures I can offend in one sentence) which I guess goes to show how ignorant I am of wordly matters. Anyway, thank you to who ever is responsible.


      • quebecer Dec 18, 2017 / 3:13 am

        Well, it wasn’t me. I wouldn’t do that.

        But Mrs Q’s cousin Danny lives on the res and I asked her to text him. Nipissing Algonkin, I think.

        Good lad, is Danny. Always happy to share the beers and pickerel in his four wheeler.


    • thelegglance Dec 18, 2017 / 3:19 am

      The rain isn’t the problem. An outbreak of ineptitude so spectacular that even the ECB haven’t thought of it is. Water has got under the covers and there’s a damp patch on a length. Some are saying the match is in real trouble as the state of the pitch has changed.

      Truly hilarious.


      • quebecer Dec 18, 2017 / 3:26 am

        If the hair dryers don’t work, maybe they can get enough blokes to stand around blowing on it. They should definitely try.


        • dlpthomas Dec 18, 2017 / 3:45 am

          England are pretty good at blowing it (on and off the filed if you listen to scurrilous which of course, I do)


          • dlpthomas Dec 18, 2017 / 3:52 am

            sorry “scurrilous rumours” – I was so proud at spelling “scurrilous” correctly that I fucked up


  27. dlpthomas Dec 18, 2017 / 3:47 am

    A bit of topic, the podcast formerly known as “The Australian Cricket Podcast” has morphed into “Cricket Unfiltered” and is (still) really good and surprisingly well balanced. They do a summary at the end of each days play as well as a weekly podcast on men’s and women’s cricket that is well worth listening to.


  28. veturisarma Dec 18, 2017 / 4:09 am

    That’s one session safely negotiated without loss of any wickets. Do it for 5 more hours and then MCG


  29. dlpthomas Dec 18, 2017 / 4:39 am

    Starc has a bruised heel and hasn’t done the warm up with the other Australian bowlers.


    • veturisarma Dec 18, 2017 / 4:58 am

      Mitchell Starc, who has a bruised heel, has begun to warm up.


      • dlpthomas Dec 18, 2017 / 5:03 am

        Damn. Still, if can be a bugger of an injury for as fast bowler (if true)


        • dlpthomas Dec 18, 2017 / 5:05 am

          He may not be needed.


    • dlpthomas Dec 18, 2017 / 5:10 am

      In what sense? Not much wrong with his bowling


      • veturisarma Dec 18, 2017 / 5:12 am

        always plays spoilsport…right in the very first over…


        • dlpthomas Dec 18, 2017 / 5:15 am

          Yeah, our bowlers wouldn’t do that – much more polite.


    • SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Someone needs to tell him RFM bowlers can’t take wickets in Australia….


  30. veturisarma Dec 18, 2017 / 5:50 am

    So, they played out 10 of those damned overs. I’ve been waiting for long to see a draw like this one, assuming this gets to be one.


  31. Sri. Grins Dec 18, 2017 / 7:11 am

    201/7. Q, we need more effort from the American Indians too. Good knock from malan under pressure


  32. Sherwick Dec 18, 2017 / 7:31 am



  33. Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 7:55 am

    Really depressed. Not that bothered that England lost, but don’t see anything changing.


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 8:03 am

      Knighthood for Downton. Job done you moron. Well done to all who contributed along the way. Surprised Flower does not have Aussie citizenship yet. Keep that elite talent flowing Andy.

      Difficult Winter II. The ECB must be really proud.

      Liked by 2 people

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