Leave Out All The Rest

Beware folks, it’s one of those posts….. (but as a teaser I list this year’s Dmitri Award winners and the second nominee to Mount Cricketmore).

I look at that counter at the bottom of the right hand column and see 927,000 plus hits in the past 2 years and 10 months, and think what is this monster I created? I looked back last night at some of the stuff I wrote on How Did We Lose In Adelaide, to prepare for a piece I intended to write on the Ashes, and reflected on a time when I was talking to no-one by myself. There’s a post I wrote the day after the Outside Cricket press release (still one of my best posts was on that, in my opinion, called “Know Your Place”) and it’s theme is one of worrying because I had received 260 hits that day. Worried that I’d unleashed a whirlwind, and how would I cope? I did it by writing post upon post upon post. Much of it missing the target, in hindsight inaccurate, in the light of history missing some of the key clues. But it was from the heart, spoke to a few, and gained traction. I proceeded with a mixture of excitement and fear.

It was also interesting to see how I reacted in the immediate aftermath of the defeat in the Ashes series. I went silent for a whole month. I did not post on cricket between the end of the Sydney Test and the day KP was sacked. I was massively disappointed, had a lot of anger, but felt no need to write. I had plenty to say but couldn’t bother saying it. Then the storm came, the dam burst and off I went. And I’m still going.

Now, as we sit 3-0 down in this series, I feel the same. I am hugely disappointed because, in my view, this team has massively underperformed. But I can’t really fathom what to write about. I can go off on one about Cook, but you’ve heard it all before. I can have a pop at the media, but what’s the point, because although there’s been a little change there, it’s not enough. I can have a go at the bowling, and if KP’s record last time around is scorned, then taking 5 wickets in Adelaide when it was much too late, and cleaning up the mess after 550 runs were on the board needs a little analysis, but to do so is to reinforce messages, and talking about spin bowling is fraught with danger. I can talk about social media, and what grinds my gears about it, and most of all, I can talk about the ECB, but they don’t care for the likes of me, and what I might have to say. Also, Chris, Sean and Danny have covered it. So instead I do what I do a lot. Talk about myself, what it means to me to be a blogger, and to reflect.

Over the past four years I’ve had insults, a death threat, an attempted doxing, people ascribing agenda to me that I never had, being called a Piers Morgan acolyte, had a late night Twitter row with Etheridge, a fall out with Agnew, journalists block me (it’s up to them) and a lot of attacks. I asked for them with the combative stance, but it does wear on the old soul. With the help of friends I’ve managed to see this through. I’ve never found that I’ve gone to the writing well when the cricket needs to be written about (it does if you are writing a blog) and found nothing. Today, I can’t find anything to say about what has just happened. Other than I take absolutely no pleasure in it, I feel bereft when it comes to the future of test cricket, I hate much of what the game is becoming, and for the people around it who purport to be on the side of the loyal, weather-beaten, stuck by it through the lean times cricket fan, with very few exceptions, you aren’t. So stop insulting our intelligence.

Chris, in particular, knows how moody a sod I can be. I’ve had about five “breakdowns” of a blogger’s insecurity sort in the past four years. It has cost me more sleep than I care to think about. It has caused me more stress than I would ever want to contemplate. And when I look in that box on the bottom of the right hand column, and add that to the 300k hits I got in 2014, what does it matter? We’re just cricket fans, caring about the game. We don’t do it for a living. I do not do this for a living. So what if I’ve had over 1 1/4 million hits in 46 months? It’s for nought, except “enjoyment”.

The Ashes are the pinnacle of the sport for me. It is what I look forward to the most. The history. History means a lot for a generation like mine. The tales of derring do between the two teams, when for many of those we were up against a superteam. Winning the Ashes was vital to me, still is. But it only matters if it is treated as the pinnacle, and it’s not any more. Without us even competing in an Ashes series is a sign that maybe the time is nearing the end for me and cricket. Or at least devoting endless hours to keep this show on the road, monitoring the spam pages to make sure all your posts that might get caught in there are allowed through, keeping an eye on the conversations, trying to nip conflicts in the bud, admitting my mistakes, and trying to debate if there is an issue to be had.

A cricket blog like this is not just a case of write something down and leave them to it. It is a labour of love. It is something you have to enjoy. It could also be doing with someone a little more stable than me running it! I’m responsible for the vast majority of the photographs on here, including all the random header pics. I want someone, one day, to say to themselves, when they see the header “I’ve not seen that one before”. If even one of you did that, it would make my day.

Conflating the Ashes and some of the stuff that leads me to despair about being a blogger is appropriate. Test cricket is the greatest sport in the world, in my opinion. Like all sports there can be bad games, but something miraculous can happen. It doesn’t often, but it can. No sport can put you the wringer that the Edgbaston test did for me in 2005. That includes my team hanging on for 70 minutes in an FA Cup Semi-Final! Those days seem long gone. Long gone. The media seem impervious to it, the public oblivious to it, the players just seem to want to be paid, and the authorities appear to care little about anything other than good publicity and maximising revenue. You’ve heard all this from me for just under 3 years (or thereabouts) on here, and another on HDWLIA.

AWARDS SEASON

Before the finale to this piece, I would like to advise you that given the Melbourne test, I’m not going to get the chance to do the full Dmitri Award honours on a post by post basis by the end of the year. I have decided that the awards are:

  1. Ben Stokes’s 2017 (you’ve seen that)
  2. Kumar Sangakkara (for his amazing county season)
  3. Jimmy Anderson (England player of the year)
  4. Hope and Brathwaite at Headingley
  5. Nick Hoult (for being the best journo not to win the award – Dobell and Wigmore having won before)
  6. Simon Hughes (as worst journo)
  7. A day at Guildford
  8. The Overexposure of Michael Vaughan
  9. Tom Harrison

I would also like to inform you that the second nominee to Mount Cricketmore is Simon Hughes. He joins Giles Clarke on our virtual monument of shame. The next nominee will be in the Autumn of 2018, enthusiasm and pieces permitting! Well done to #39 for his achievement, gained in a tough year with massive competition from Andrew Strauss and Tom Harrison. Odds on one of those two joins Clarke and Hughes next year.

BOC Rushmore 2017

THE END PIECE

Back to the cricket and the blog. Whenever there is an incident of any kind on here, I immediately get nervous. This may be ammo to those who want to not partake in the way I hope, but it’s the truth. I hope the one thing that shines through on here is I try to be honest. I’ve failed a couple of times – most notably not tearing Lawrence Booth’s piece on Paul Downton a new arsehole because it allowed Downton to talk utter bollocks – but not often. The blog is now run by four of us, so I am not the sole decision maker, nor am I the writer on which this place depends. I’m immensely proud to have brought many good people together on here. I’m immensely proud that at times we’ve been listened to. I’m immensely proud of growing the blog from nothing but a personal journal to a place I know a lot of you visit many times a day. We have a liberal moderating policy, but we are also clear – we make the rules. You are all very welcome visitors, you can argue away, but do not abuse the trust placed in you. And yes, AB, this is the main acknowledgement you will get from me, do not ever dare call this a clique. I call them friends.

I know it is bad for mental and physical health to worry. I am writing this on the year anniversary of one such mental health issue. That I can’t find much to say about the Ashes is a concern, ameliorated by the excellence of all my co-writers and friends. That they are acquiring great hit rates for excellent work is testament to what we do and how we do it, more than picking over the carcass of what we write. We generally put our thoughts down very quickly and discuss / correct later. We are all busy people. They have been magnificent.

Firmly Outside Cricket. More than ever.

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64 thoughts on “Leave Out All The Rest

  1. emasl December 20, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    Dear Dimitri I am a book blogger of some eleven years now but it is not as stressful as yours appears to be. I have my own Rants on the blog which seem to be more popular than the book reviews which is a tad lowering! I just wanted to say how much I appreciate you and your colleagues on here and all the comments and interaction below, ok there are some rude sods around but best to ignore them though it is difficult. I comment on the Guardian BTL on Strictly Come Dancing, yes really, and everyone on there is delightful witty and amusing and it is all huge fun. A few weeks ago the usual cry of racism was raised and I rebutted it and then found myself on the receiving end of abuse from some trolls who then traced me through my twitter feed. It is upsetting and horrid but they went away in the end.

    This is a bit of a ramble really but just to say you all do a great job and I turn to this blog and the Full Toss for informed comment and to chew the fat with the Real Fans.

    Merry Christmas to you Dimitri and your fellow cohorts

    Elaine

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus December 20, 2017 / 10:22 pm

      Thank you Elaine. I know how much we are appreciated. But sometimes o
      It pays to tell you the emotional and mental stress this blog has brought into my life. None worse than the threatening tweet. And the doxing threat.

      Merry Christmas to you too.

      Like

      • Elaine Simpson-Long December 20, 2017 / 10:36 pm

        I can imagine. It all took off didn’t it? But now you have colleagues to pick up some of the slack and take the flack which I hope helps. But you must never let it get you down or take over too ,much of your life. X

        Like

  2. jomesy December 20, 2017 / 9:59 pm

    Dude – bit (bit he says!) tipsy…work do…this place is majestic and, I know I’ve said it before, but have patience, this will be the future. You can only sustain the bullshit (cricket MSM for so long and we’re already seeing the death of the dinasours). Great, great site. You’ll be remembered as a pioneer. Ps if you want a great photo of ponting taking one in the nuts from Freddie at lords happy to supply (post tomorrow’s hangover).

    Liked by 1 person

    • quebecer December 21, 2017 / 2:03 am

      Post of the month.

      Like

  3. Mark December 20, 2017 / 10:13 pm

    I Am not a techie so I don’t know how these things work, but have you ever thought about trying to financialise this site? You sure as hell deserve it. I know that was never your initial aim, but all the hard work deserves some reward. Especially as the quality of writing, and the topics covered have put the so called professional writers to shame. Look how much money combined those charlatens have earned over the last 4 years.

    As to the aftermarth of this Ashes the difference from last time is a realisation that we don’t matter. 4 years ago there was a belief that change could be accomplished. Not any more. They didn’t just thrown KP under the bus, they threw the game, and it’s hard core fans away as well. What followed was a brutal power grab, and a determination to stamp out any accountability. They succeeded, which is why they have repeated the same mistakes, got the result, and there is nothing you can do about it.

    They are a law to themselves. They have an agenda, and if you don’t like it……then go away. That is their MO. Like it or leave it. Some of us are moving towards the exit. We don’t really want to, but the alternative is not very appealing.

    Like

    • thelegglance December 20, 2017 / 10:26 pm

      We’ve discussed it. We are all absolutely adamant we won’t do it. None of us are interested, we have our own careers and they’re going ok – it’s why the idea we’re wannabe journalists is so funny. No thanks. Even if we did, it would be peanuts. Maybe it would pay for the hosting, but hell, that’s not much either, a few pints worth when we meet up.

      We’ve even been approached by betting companies, asking if we’ll have ‘sponsored by’ posts. No. Just no.

      What we all, you and us, value most of all is the independence. We don’t want to be beholden to anyone who places rules on us, and although it sounds like bullshit platitudes, one of the few principles that we rather feel strongly about collectively is being properly independent. The moment we gave that up we’d feel we’d let everyone down. Not just all those who visit, but everything we stood for. We might be wrong, we might be ignorant about cricket, but that actually matters to us.

      It’s free. It’ll stay free including indirectly. We have zero intention of monetising it. It’s an absolute we all agree on. And it wasn’t actually a debate, not one of us wanted anything else. Not one.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Elaine Simpson-Long December 20, 2017 / 10:38 pm

        Agree totally Chris. Over the years I have had people wanting to advertise on my blog and I have always turned them down. I like to know that my reviews are,y own and free from pressure

        Like

      • dannycricket December 20, 2017 / 10:39 pm

        Absolutely. Just because money has taken over all other facets of cricket, it doesn’t mean it has to hold sway here.

        This comment was sponsored by Bet365. We’re sorry for putting Ray Winstone’s floating head everywhere. Please gamble responsibly.

        Like

      • Mark December 20, 2017 / 10:44 pm

        Interesting stuff. I have no idea how much you could make from all those hits. But it sounds like very little. If that is the case it certainly isn’t worth giving up you independence for. Quite funny if you were selling Alsatair Cooks lamb, straight from the farm! Or…..”Oh We are the lads from county life, you never put a better bit of butter on your knife……..Oh fuck, Anderson has bowled short again!”

        It seems once again the content providers get screwed over by the platform owners. Facebook and Google are killing media by taking the lions share of the advertising revenue. There is just scaps for eveyone else.

        Like

        • dannycricket December 20, 2017 / 11:35 pm

          Yeah, I don’t think web adverts make much money unless visitors to the site click on them or you have 100,000s people on your site every day. There seems to be more money in sponsored content, or in other words adverts masquerading as articles.

          Like

          • Elaine Simpson-Long December 21, 2017 / 7:23 am

            If anybody buys a book from Amazon through my site I get a click. This results in an average of two gift certificates from Amazon, works out about £50 a year. Nice when it happens but it is never planned and not sre the IRS will be after me!

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus December 21, 2017 / 8:47 am

            Are you going to give us the two pence piece we are owed for this blatant piece of advertising?

            Like

      • Sean B December 21, 2017 / 12:36 am

        I’d happily pawn myself out though no one wants to pay my going rate. Seriously none of us want to be journos and hence being supported by pennies from a betting site really doesn’t do it for any of us.

        We may talk crap at times, but it’s rare and no one wants to have to include that this post has been sponsored by Betway!

        Like

      • Miami Dad's 6 December 21, 2017 / 7:18 am

        Do you know what it feels like to be Kwiffed, though?

        Seriously it is one of the most striking things about BT Sports coverage. I was going to do a tally of the adverts that weren’t to do with gambling, but then I went to sleep.

        I dabbled in the odd 5er here and there and it was all pretty harmless, however a few of my colleagues are ‘really’ into gambling. One of the younger lads is maybe 28ish, I reckon he earns 50k+ a year and has done for the last 5 years. He lives with his parents, pays no rent, and yet has absolutely nothing saved. When you put it to him that he might have a place to himself by now had he managed to avoid Coral on payday, he insists that he is “about even”. It is maddeningly dull. So is he, mind.

        But it is a wider issue that wont last forever, which is why the likes of the Coates family are giving themselves huge payouts and dividends now while it lasts.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus December 21, 2017 / 8:49 am

          Thinking the same thing. All on loop. Every one of the leeching bastards. Having a gambling addict friend you see how effective these people are. Must be more to be made given the way a betting company pops up every five minutes.

          Like

          • Miami Dad's Six December 21, 2017 / 9:12 am

            Great work on keeping the blog going BTW. I certainly didn’t have the juice in me to keep my shoddy blog up for longer than I did, especially when the subject keeps peeing you off again and again. I had a bit of a break commenting until more recently, but have always read the thing, it’s good to get non MSM stuff going through my head. I can definitely see why you brought in the hired help though – I’ve certainly no energy or desire (let alone time) to restart writing things in my spare time for the perenially unread the wrong un at long on!

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus December 21, 2017 / 9:24 am

            You little sod. Been wondering where you’ve been. Wrong ‘un at long on was one of my early inspirations. Glad you are still here!

            Like

          • Miami Dad's 6 December 21, 2017 / 5:56 pm

            Always here, watching, unafraid to tap out some dribble, and apparently inspiring!

            I didn’t mind writing to no one, but it was an absolute pain editing, formatting and battling with WordPress…

            Like

        • Mark December 21, 2017 / 10:15 am

          As Danny Baker always says about betting shops…..”there’s a reason why there are 4 paying in windows, and 1 paying out window. ” That should tell you right there.

          Problem is now betting has gone on line that visual no longer exists. Also, these on line accounts make it much easier for them to monitor what you are doing, and what exactly you are betting on. This makes it easy to target promotions straight to your door.

          I have also been told by some people that if you start to win more frequently than they like they shut your account down. In the old days of betting shops it wasn’t always easy to monitor who was winning. They had to do it be face recognition. If you walked into a betting shop infrequently and had a win, but didn’t return for a few weeks it was difficult to keep tabs on what you had won over a longer period. Now it’s easy. At the click of a mouse they can see evey bet you have ever had with them.

          It’s a total mugs game. I know some people make a living out of it, but it’s very few. The bookie always wins over time.

          Like

          • Miami Dad's Six December 21, 2017 / 3:05 pm

            Australia have banned all gambling adverts in live sport. A couple of other countries in Europe (I think it was Belgium) have done the same. I’d be all for practically banning gambling completely. Who on earth gets any sort of benefit from fixed odds machines? Sitting in your pants at 4am watching cricket and betting on it isn’t any form of life, either.

            Like

          • Benny December 21, 2017 / 3:11 pm

            I have a terrific advantage here. In all my long life, I’ve won one raffle and a couple of lottery tenners only. There is no point me betting as I am guaranteed to lose so I don’t bother.

            Like

  4. BobW December 20, 2017 / 11:39 pm

    Thanks for all your hard work guys. It really is appreciated. It’s my favourite blog. Not just for the writers but the great crowd of people who make comments. The standard is really high and you really need to know your stuff.
    Let my may it continue.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pontiac December 20, 2017 / 11:41 pm

    I can only congratulate and express my appreciation for what you are doing here.

    Much of what makes cricket interesting is that its pace and intermittent drama match up to all the different timescales in life, out to a while lifetime. And to a great degree a theme of what is going on here particularly is that although it is all about the cricket, cricket itself cannot be comprehended apart from what goes on outside the rope.

    So since here these discussions are pursued with consistent integrity, they like the game itself hold a mirror up to the world as it changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Benny December 21, 2017 / 2:55 am

    I’ve been here a long time now and you can’t get rid of me. I’ve learnt a lot and this blog is like a book you can’t put down. I’ve always likened it to the local pub – forgive me for being repetitive – where you go in to meet like-minded, sensible people and feel comfortable. The bozos you leave at the other end of the bar.

    So many thanks to the landlord and his companions. Wish you all a merry Christmas and a better 2018.

    Like

  7. SimonH December 21, 2017 / 8:52 am

    For anyone who missed it and is wondering why Simon Hughes is on the face of Mount Cricketmore, here more than any other reason (more than listing himself the 39th most powerful person in English cricket; more than writing that Jonny Bairstow was unpopular with his teammates and then deleting it; more than sundry other sins I’m forgetting) is why:

    http://theanalyst.net/2017/02/04/a-six-point-plan-to-fix-english-cricket/

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus December 21, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Simon reminds me here that we are, finally, updating the glossary. He has contributed to it already. Let me know terms which you need defined..

      Like

    • nonoxcol December 21, 2017 / 10:34 am

      Iannucci and Coogan could scarcely create a better Partridge gag than:

      “Women, who often hold the family purse strings these days, are still too often treated in a patronising way at cricket”, right under the headline “The fairer sex”.

      The rest of it starts to remind me of this all-time classic the longer it goes on:

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/jul/17/imbackingboris

      (This is imo, genuinely the greatest article ever on Guardian CIF)

      Like

      • SimonH December 21, 2017 / 11:04 am

        Which reminds of another classic from #39’s output this year:

        http://www.thecricketer.com/ecb-add-hollywood-glamour-to-world-cup-board-by-recruiting-sam-mendes.aspx

        Includes the particular favourite (and he may be quoting someone else – but he still does so with an apparently straight face):

        “There is a growing realisation that women (i.e. mothers and wives/partners) make the majority of the ‘business’ decisions in households so there will be a major campaign to make them feel more involved in cricket’s mysterious world.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Zephirine December 21, 2017 / 2:32 pm

          “Cricket’s mysterious world”, so mysterious to women that the England women’s cricket team just won SPOTY team of the year.

          What he actually means is:

          “The ECB thinks it can get away with grounds charging extortionate amounts for tickets if it can somehow persuade the girlies that spending too much money on cricket is OK.”

          Look out for adverts with pink lettering and more close-ups of Alastair Cook.

          Like

  8. OscarDaBosca December 21, 2017 / 9:15 am

    Just when I thought it safe to return to the cricket we get this series.
    I am so angry I still can’t arrange my thoughts into any coherent narrative.

    Which is why I come here and used to follow on HDWLIA

    Keep up the excellent work, I may not comment but I always read and I generally agree.

    Just as an aside Australia is an off-spinners graveyard, a few adjusted stats and some outliers don’t change this. 😉

    Like

  9. pktroll (@pktroll) December 21, 2017 / 10:38 am

    Although I understand the anger – heck I was positively volcanic after 2013/14 this time out I felt nothing like the same. I won’t say I have the same antipathy towards this team as others do, heck I still went to India last year even though I wasn’t exactly optimistic England would get a result there, I just can’t let the decline of the team get to me in terms of either hating them or just being angry at the ECB. Angry at the ECB I still very much am, but the England team themselves? They are where they are because of the decisions on development they’ve taken in the last few years, the retention of Flower as Lions Coach, no overhaul at Loughborough, the selection of a load of medium quicks who wouldn’t get my mum out in Australian conditions and the lack of batsmen coming through.

    Perhaps you could say that more than anything I just feel apathetic, just can’t get into it and haven’t bothered to get BT Sport for this series, only watching some occasional highlights when I have had access to it (usually friends or family). I take no credit for seeing a comfortable defeat in Australia coming from a very long way off, though I can’t say the supine nature of it has pleased me.

    Sure I despise the cheerleaders who fully deserve their Mt Rushmore spot, but they don’t get to me as much now. Their stupidity/blind support has been shown up for what it is. In fact in some ways that does please me.

    Like

      • SimonH December 21, 2017 / 2:05 pm

        From the first article –

        “he decreased in confidence and control as the series went on” [Liew]

        How did the rest of England’s bowling go “as the series went on”? If Rashid had cried off the last Test with “rib soreness” we’d never have heard the end of it.

        “It can be difficult for some guys to cross between formats” [Root]

        True – but can anyone think of what in Rashid’s play Root is referring to? They couldn’t have been concerned that playing Tests was spoiling Rashid as an ODI bowler, could they? If so, that’s our priority, right there.

        “If you’re looking for a second option, you have to weigh up what works best for the team”. [Root]

        True again – how about someone who offers some wicket-taking threat working best for the team?

        ““This time we wanted to give Mason an opportunity. Could he play? Of course he could”.

        And as we all knew would happen when push came to shove, he didn’t.

        “As an ambassador for health and life insurer Vitality, Joe Root uses his passion for healthy living to inspire everyone to be active and make positive changes to their lifestyle”.

        Oh fuck off.

        From the second article –

        “He picked a team that might, in some ways, be considered mean. He might have gone for Adil Rashid as his spinner, but he reasoned that Rashid bowls too many four-balls and, with runs hard to come by at times in Test cricket, England couldn’t afford such profligacy. Instead he went for Liam Dawson, who will resent every single scored off him. Defensive? It depends how you define the word. Dawson won’t bowl many unplayable balls, but he’ll give away nothing and make life much harder for batsmen than England sometimes have of late. There’s an aggression of sorts in that”. [Dobell]

        A section GD would like flushed down the deepest, darkest memory-hole that humanity could engineer.

        What to make of it all? If Root desperately wanted Rashid, he’d have been in the tour party. I don’t see any great antipathy either (although Root could of course be being diplomatic). I’m aware that there have been some whispers around Yorkshire not happy with Rashid but Root spends so little time there it seems unlikely to have influenced him.

        Root didn’t pick the team on his own. There were at least four, possibly six, other guys in the room. Of them, only Bayliss has much of a record of advocating Rashid and he looks a master of sensing which way the wind is blowing and going with it. Young captains often find trusing their spinners the hardest part of the job – especially if they are batsmen who play spin well themselves (you don’t hear it now but Smith got a lot of flak for his handling of Lyon in 2015 and early 2016).

        It was a collective failure not to take him (not even really seriously consider him I suspect).

        (FTR I don’t think Rashid is the next Warne and I don’t think the result of the series would have been changed. All I want is England to make the best of their available resources and they haven’t).

        Like

        • Mark December 21, 2017 / 3:30 pm

          Bowling dry is baked into the England DNA now. Anderson it seems would rather bowl a little too short, and waste the new ball than risk being driven for runs. How did that work out in the wicket taking stakes? Flower hovering not too far away on this tour, and Strauss sits in on the selection meetings. You don’t need to be Stephen Hawking’s to join the dots.

          It appears that an executive descion was taken to dump him after the India tour. Roots role in all of this has not been delved into in enough detail. As Rahids Yorkshire colleague, It appears Root is happy with the descion. That is worthy of investigation I would have thought seeing how bare the cupboard of spin options is.

          I agree with Simon that it wouldn’t have changed the series, but we seem to pick out main spinner for his batting. So even when his finger was injured ….we still picked him for his batting. And Crane lifts the drinks tray.

          Like

          • Blind freddy December 21, 2017 / 11:03 pm

            The thing is, when England last won in Australia, they did so in large part by bowling dry. It is a strategy that, historically has worked very well because Australian crowds demand boundaries and batsman often feel that pressure. Which is why Smith’s Brisbane hundred (his slowest) was such a good knock. It showed his team that they had to be patient. Also, while Anderson has managed to bowl dry, he has often had no support. The lack of bowling partnerships is the real weakness of England’s attack this series.

            Like

          • SimonH December 22, 2017 / 10:05 am

            Indeed – but the next time England win the Ashes in Australia isn’t going to be a simple recreation of 2010/11! I’ve seen three away Ashes’ wins in my cricket-watching lifetime (’78/79, 86/87 and 10/11) and they were all different. Probably the single stongest theme was that each one caught Australia when they were a real shambles.

            Of course it’s fair to say that England aren’t the only team to have had troubles with a spinner they perceive as somewhat flaky. Ponting apparently felt the same about Hauritz on the 2009 tour and eventually dropped him for a lack of “up and at them” spirit. It didn’t work put too well as it left them with a four-man pace attack and Marcus North for the last Test on that Oval pitch that hadn’t been watered for over a week.

            Liked by 1 person

  10. mdpayne87 December 21, 2017 / 11:53 am

    Both Archer and Mills bowling at 150kph in the BBL tonight, I thought we didn’t have any fast bowlers?

    Like

    • dlpthomas December 21, 2017 / 12:12 pm

      I turned it on just to watch Mills. I’d never heard of Archer but I started paying attention when one of commentators says that he is trying to qualify for England. He looks like he could be a very good player.

      Like

      • mdpayne87 December 21, 2017 / 12:57 pm

        I saw him take a hatful against Kent at Hove earlier on this year. With Garton as well Sussex probably have the best fast bowling stocks in the country.

        Like

    • AB December 21, 2017 / 4:39 pm

      Both of them appeared plenty on sky last summer playing in the NWB. I was surprised Sussex didn’t have a better season given the team they had- but that just shows the strength of the tournament.

      Of course, in the NWB they’re mediocre county trundlers wasting their time playing in a second rate competition, as soon as they appear in the BBL they’re world leading super-duper-stars playing in the bestest tournament ever.

      Like

  11. KidVicious December 21, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    This year marked the first year I ever commented on a blog/article, on this very site.

    I just want to say thank you for all the hard work you all put in; the research, late nights, twitter perseverance and all the other things that contribute to make this place a fine community and an interesting read. That goes for most of the comments too.

    I only ever follow the cricket matches. Following the daily activities of those inside cricket is not something I have historically become involved with. I struggle with the time, and think it would probably make me too angry to do so. As such, all the effort you all put in has been even more appreciated and very much opened my eyes to some of the goings on.

    My wife, coming from abroad, has no idea or understanding of cricket. She can only boggle when 15 days into the Ashes, the series has still not finished, every day I tell her we are losing, and yet still want to get up early before work to catch what I can via tms. But that’s the sport we all fell in love with, and still, despite everything, continue to do so even if the way we do has changed over the years.

    Hope you all have a very good Christmas, and like me, will be tuning in to Melbourne with a mix of hope, anticipation and sadism.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. SimonH December 21, 2017 / 3:04 pm

    Bull excuses the ECB. What a surprise.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus December 21, 2017 / 5:06 pm

      I’m not sure he actually said anything in that article. More about Dexter than anything else…..

      Like

    • man in a barrel December 21, 2017 / 9:34 pm

      Meanwhile Prick Dobell is still blaming Malan for the defeat. Prick! He is turning into Guy Verhofstadt

      Like

  13. Rohan December 21, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    You mention the word CLIQUE and I have to say, this may not please you, but I want to be honest, there are times when I (just my opinion) have felt this place to be cliquey. Not often, but occasionally and it has put me off posting, although I still read.

    Look, the articles are great and I don’t want to offend, but felt I needed to share my feelings. I don’t want to cause trouble, but I did have some sympathy for AB!

    Anyhoo, what do I know, I’m just one person…….

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus December 21, 2017 / 5:04 pm

      Rohan,

      Of course it is fine for you to feel that way.It doesn’t make it any easier for me to take it, but that’s my problem not your’s. As anyone who e-mails me (and sorry Silk for not getting back to you on the last one!) I am happy to discuss stuff offline. You’ve been around a while, Rohan, so happy to hear from you if you wish to. (dmitriold@hotmail.co.uk)

      Anyway, good to know you are still reading us. There’s a post up at 6pm tonight….

      Like

      • Zephirine December 21, 2017 / 6:18 pm

        I don’t think this site is bad at all, compared to some (try the CC blog at the Guardian for a real clique!). A good blog always has some running jokes and shared memories, that’s what people come back for. The question is, to a new or seldom-visiting person, does it feel excluding?

        The only thing I do wonder about here is the ‘private names’ #39, Shiny Toy, Lovejoy etc. If I was thinking about joining the blog I might find them a bit too ‘in-group’.

        Otherwise I think it’s not so much cliquey as affable and generally conflict-averse. Other people might see that as back-slapping, of course. Eye of the beholder, and all that.

        Like

      • Rohan December 21, 2017 / 6:22 pm

        Looking forward to the new post. Certainly wasn’t trying to make you feel bad! Been out and had a few drinks now, so won’t comment in detail, but will email you at some point tomorrow. Thanks and much appreciated…..

        Like

  14. BoredInAustria December 21, 2017 / 4:18 pm

    This blog is one of my favourite bookmarks. And my main source of cricket news, and the issues behind the news

    Thank you all for the effort, dedication and the very informed insights. And a special thank you to our host, whom I had the great pleasure to meet this year.

    Season’s greetings to all from Vienna.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 21, 2017 / 5:08 pm

      Good to meet you, sir. I may be out there in late January /early February. Official duties permitting, of course, it would be good to meet up.

      Like

  15. ArushaTZ December 21, 2017 / 6:06 pm

    Hi. Haven’t commented for a long time. Just wanted to say I’m still here lurking quietly reading everyone’s comments.
    I still enjoy reading your alternative, non-MSM writing on the game. I suppose I’m just not quite ‘into it’ as I used to be to feel the need to comment.
    Merry Christmas to all.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. man in a barrel December 21, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    Fessing up. Some unguarded and poorly worded comments of mine about the English medical team brought a storm of adversity upon you. For that I am truly sorry. But you did not take the easy option of repudiating me and… Were we wrong? Ali and his finger and rib issues; Overton’s cracked and undiagnosed rib; Broad’s injury if such there is. And in India we had the strange cases of Broad and Anderson. And……..

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 21, 2017 / 10:10 pm

      Yes. You were the reason Chris and I had the early hours Twitter row with Etheridge. Good fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. man in a barrel December 21, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    This whole speed and mystery spin thing is a total sham. Medium pacers can thrive in Australia: Ken Mackay, Max Walker, Alderman, SFBarnes, Tate, Bedser, Asif, Philander. Length is vital. Variety matters.

    Starc is fast and swings it.
    Hazelwood is consistent and hits the seam and gets bounce.
    Cummins gets alarming bounce and a little lateral movement.

    They all offer something different. Not just fast medium out swing back of a length.

    Like

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