It Never Rains But it Pours

There wasn’t too much play at the MCG in the end, and what there was proved to be inconclusive.  England are now the only side that can realistically win the match, but a draw is now possibly the most likely outcome. Perhaps though the series to this point colours perceptions, were England in this position, doubtless the expectations would be different, given Australia will likely need to bat into tea to make the game reasonably safe.

In what play there was, England extended their innings by one ball -Anderson being dismissed – and then picked up a couple of wickets before Warner and Smith saw out the day on a surface that is slow and unresponsive.  England certainly tried to get as much out of it as possible, working furiously on the ball, and trying the age old trick of flinging it via the ground at every opportunity in the field in an attempt to create reverse swing.  There was a marvellously manufactured row from Australian television attempting to imply Anderson was digging a nail into the ball, which sadly foundered on the reality that if he was doing so, it was to the shiny side – i.e. the wrong one – meaning that Anderson would have to be the dimmest nefarious cricketer since Herschelle Gibbs.

Of course, Cook’s double century continued to cause debate and, let’s face it, abuse, particularly given the shortage of play and lack of decisive action.  So here’s a cut out and keep guide to the stupidity of the low quality “debate”:

You just can’t give Cook any credit whatever can you?

Um, well apart from saying repeatedly how well he batted and how good an innings it was.

Yes, but you said it’s irrelevant in a dead rubber, don’t deny it.

No, it’s not irrelevant.  Some fabulous innings have been made when a series is gone – Mark Butcher at Headingley, Brian Lara’s world record at St John’s.  In both cases, that series irrelevance was pointed out as a qualifier, mind, however unfair might have been.  And regret that it hadn’t come earlier in the series.  Oddly enough Cook himself said the same thing, he’s obviously frustrated as well as proud. This shouldn’t be too hard to work out, saying it’s meaningless is stupid, saying it’s the greatest and most vital innings ever is equally stupid.

There you go then, you don’t think it matters.

Of course it matters, England were heading for a whitewash.  His knock means that’s now not going to happen and England have shown some fight.  And every Test matters, so well done him, and goodness me, didn’t he bat well?  Irrespective of surface and Starc not playing, that’s the best he’s looked in years.

You just can’t give him any credit at all can you?

We keep saying we are, aren’t you listening?  The reaction from some quarters – knighthoods, pantheon of greats and all that – is a bit over the top though, surely?

See, there you go again, it’s all about Kevin Pietersen.


It is, don’t deny it.

It’s you who keeps bringing him up.  You seem obsessed with this subject far more than anyone else.  

And that’s why you wanted Cook dropped.

Here’s a curious thing.  Nuance is no longer allowed it seems.  This place has been pointing out Cook’s struggles and declining returns for a couple of years, and expressing concern for this series that while England needed him badly to perform, the evidence suggested he probably wouldn’t. But after three Tests, those now screaming with delight were saying he was probably done and should retire.  Those great Cook haters at BOC kept saying this was absurd, he was still one of our two best openers by a distance, irrespective of his struggles.  Losing him weakens the side, why would that anyone who wants England to do well want that?

It’s just about you hating him.

Can’t you read? Has any of that gone in?

You never give him any credit for anything.

He’s been a terrific player, and England’s best opener in a long time, why is that not enough?

There you go, proof you loathe him, qualifying that statement.

Sorry?  What is wrong with that? It’s significant praise.

No it isn’t, it’s grudging.  No credit whatever.

Because we might not think he’s England’s best ever batsman ?  That’s what the problem is?

Clear hatred.

Let’s get this straight, saying he batted really well this Test is not enough, saying he’s a very fine opening batsman indeed is not enough?

You just can’t bear seeing him succeed.

No, what the problem is, is the endless hagiography, the use of Cook as a weapon to beat up everyone who points out double standards, the media treatment of him as an exceptional case and the sheer hypocrisy of it all.  Cook isn’t responsible for that, others are. Why on earth can’t you just be pleased?  Why is it an excuse to win on the internet?

There’s loads of hatred for him on Twitter.

Yes, there is.  Since when has Twitter ever been anything else?  You do realise there’s loads of hatred on Twitter for others too, right?

So what do you have to say about that?

You mean we’re responsible for the stupidity of others?  Blimey.  Is that all stupidity, or just where it applies to Cook?  You have seen the stick others get haven’t you?

It’s not the same.  Cook is one of England’s greatest ever.  

Isn’t this debatable?  Isn’t this something that is rather open to question given the records of others?  He’s been the best opener England have had in a fair while, that’s pretty clear.

Qualifying it again, that’s just like you.

Of course it needs qualification.  Doesn’t everything need qualification?  This is madness, an insistence at genuflecting at the altar of greatness without any context, either for this innings or a career.

I rest my case.  You’re furious he’s done well.

No, we’re furious at the over the top response to him doing well.  Can’t you see the difference?  What’s wrong with praising him for doing well and observing when he hasnt? 

It’s nothing more than abuse, you scumbag.

Sigh. Ok, you win.

Being a writer down might be considered unfortunate, being two is unquestionably careless.  Sean you utter idiot! But it did make us laugh.

Day five is a chance for England to register a win on a tour that has proved a disaster to date.  Should they do so, it doesn’t undo that, but nor is it an irrelevance. It does highlight what was said in the build up to the series, that for England to compete, they needed their main batting guns to fire.  Cook has done so here, and now they’re in a very strong position.  Of all the people thinking if only he’d done it earlier, no one will be feeling it more strongly than Alastair Cook himself.  And that’s kind of the point isn’t it?


113 thoughts on “It Never Rains But it Pours

  1. LordCanisLupus Dec 29, 2017 / 1:46 pm

    I think the Q&A pretty much nails it. I think the likes of Brian probably need to read this.

    I would also like to point out that one nincompoop once told me that I had run an “Anti-Cook” blog for years. In fact I set up my blog as “an Anti-Cook Blog”.

    HDWLIA was started in 2010 and hence I will be appearing in Back to the Future. BOC refers to a comment by Paul Downton, but Einstein carried on. I will give genius one thing… this is not a Cook Fan Site.

    Look at the innings I nominated as the best of 2015. Most of the media focused on another century in that innings, but I didn’t. Without it Stokes would have been a footnote in that game. Cook’s 162 v New Zealand at Lord’s is one of the 10 best England innings this decade in my opinion. I hate the man that much. It was also a better knock than the 244. But maybe that makes me the heretic.

    Cracking stuff, Chris.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thelegglance Dec 29, 2017 / 1:51 pm

      I’d also say his century in Ahmedabad, in defeat too, was an absolutely sensational knock, and gave confidence to the rest of the team that it was possible. That’s a hundred that the idiots would say people could dismiss as meaningless, when it was anything but, and nor did it feel it at the time – it felt like a player leading from the front and showing balls and exceptional skill.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. OscarDaBosca Dec 29, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    Oh Sean

    How could you? Does your classics background not suggest some metaphor (having not studied Latin or classics I am very jealous that you have) that would be apposite for this situation?


  3. Silk Dec 29, 2017 / 1:53 pm

    Pretty sure you, me and everyone else was pretty damm effusive about his brilliant performances when we won in India.

    As you say, no nuance. Which leads to comments like “Outside cricket”. If you are not with the establishment then you are against it and must be punished.


    • Riverman21 Dec 29, 2017 / 2:49 pm

      Almost worth joining Twitter to make the obvious ventriloquist gag.
      He seems to be awfully worked up. Can’t be good for a man of his age.


    • nonoxcol Dec 29, 2017 / 3:31 pm

      What more does he have to do to get a place on Mount Cricketmore? Hughes is an amateur by comparison, frankly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Dec 29, 2017 / 3:40 pm

        Giles Clarke (right) with Mike Selvey. Picture circa January 2014.

        And the best part is that some of the press people will be saying exactly the same thing. You know it. We know it!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Riverman21 Dec 29, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      Isn’t this whole story a natural consequence of what happens when “independent” media voices become party line cheerleaders. Reap as you sow.


      • LordCanisLupus Dec 29, 2017 / 3:49 pm

        I do believe he is saying that it is much more disingenuous to have your own organisation’s website at arm’s length than it is to have your Chief Cricket Correspondent act as a de facto press officer for Giles Clarke and not tell his readership that.

        To answer nonoxcol, he will be feted. Of that I am sure.

        Liked by 2 people

        • nonoxcol Dec 29, 2017 / 4:11 pm

          Ha ha brilliant, cheers for that little beauty!

          “Properly” feted I hope? 😉

          Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Dec 29, 2017 / 4:08 pm

      Wtf is he talking about?

      If @selvecricket is independent of Mike Selvy who is writing the tweets? He seems to be saying his brain is independent from his fingers.


      • Silk Dec 29, 2017 / 5:03 pm

        I think he’s mocking the Aussies re: ball tampering.


  4. Sri. Grins Dec 29, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    Nice 👍


  5. Scrim Dec 29, 2017 / 3:36 pm

    I’ve never seen a Dukes ball before, but from what I gather, it has a smooth, covered quarter seam. It is apparently relatively much more prominent with Kookaburras.

    The idea with picking at the quarter seam isn’t necessarily for scuffing up one side to get reverse. If it can be lifted slightly, it opens up the ball, allowing moisture in and weighting one side (similar to, to cite an extreme example, the effect you’d get from rubbing in vaseline or sunscreen in one side if you’ve ever tried that for fun in the nets)

    This is not to say he was aiming to do that, the evidence is pretty flimsy, but shiny side/rough side doesn’t matter if you’re using weight rather than air resistance.


  6. LordCanisLupus Dec 29, 2017 / 3:37 pm

    Let me make another point.

    Not having a go at Hopps here, at all. But the accusation, very much levelled at me and this blog, and as mentioned above is that WE, US, BOC are “obsessed with KP” and the fallout from 2014. It’s been used in the last couple of days, is aimed in part at me, and I’m more than pissed off about it. The only ones raising KP have been Cook fans.

    Look at this. I mean they devoted an article to a rich, famous, celebrity with millions of followers shaking down an airline to give him the customer service he’s paid for. Us mere mortals don’t get that at the back of the plane because we don’t make the profit on these routes. People like KP do. I’ve been privileged to fly Emirates Business and it is lovely. KP’s one up from that. He, or his expense payers, are paying top, top dollar!

    But who is obsessed here? Really? Why? Is making a case for something we are told to forget about (and mainly have other than framing a constant narrative) because it upsets the neighbours a more heinous crime than BLATANT FUCKING CLICKBAIT!

    You’ll have to tell me. I’m lost with all these nuances.

    UPDATE: When even your own…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark Dec 29, 2017 / 3:56 pm

    Eight Austalians wickets, and 70 odd overs of batting stand between what will be either a moment as meaningful as a gnats bite on the arse of a hippopotamus, and the most ludicrous celebrations imaginable since the moon landings. That is how stupid English cricket, and those that report on it have become.

    I have to plead guilty here. I am one of those people who have said this test match is meaningless. This seems to have annoyed some. (Although I wonder if the anger would be so great if Mr A Cook hadn’t scored a daddy?) Well, five years ago I may have felt differently. But I ask you in all honesty how anyone can not think this test is meaningless in light of the statement by Tom Harrison put out just before Christmas? In some ways you could read what he said as meaning the whole Ashes series was meaningless.

    The same people who are throwing their toys out of the pram seemed quite happy to be told that not to worry about the ashes 3-0 scoreline the 20/20 was still to come. And anyway the most important thing was the TV deals were in place, the new 20/20 is on the horizon, and the woman won the World Cup. How can anyone take this test match seriously in that context? But the media gave it a pass, as they always do with anything coming out of the ECB. So spare me your fake outrage that some of us now find the whole thing preposterous.

    I keep saying, and I will repeat……You made Cook England, and England Cook. You made them one and the same. You can’t just claim a test match is important because your boy did well. That’s bullshit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy Dec 29, 2017 / 8:10 pm

      I’d add to the charge sheet the interview Baylis gave that after the last Test match….and the circle is complete.


  8. Grenville Dec 29, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    Just to say, I have wanted Cook out of the team for both cricketing and non-cricketing reasons. I thought that he was in a terminal decline and that it was time to move on. I wanted 2 of Robson, Stoneman and Hameed. I think that this knock shows that there is life in the old dog yet. I also find him irritating and derive a great deal of pleasure watching him nick off for 13. I’d have more and cleaner fun if he wasn’t around. I’m not BOC, obvs, but I know that I’m not alone in having held either of those two views. Not sure what my point is, because my existence doesn’t excuse the sort of crap that has been flung at BOC nor do I think that he is a bad player and I’m, in fact, stunned by his latest herculean (totally serious) knock. I guess it does go a tiny way towards explaining the gloating from those who love His Holiness. (I know that I went to town when KP scored that triple against the mighty Leicestershire). Maybe there are people out there who are incapable of assessing Cook’s performances. Err.., the end.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Silk Dec 29, 2017 / 5:11 pm

      While seeing Cook do well can be irritating (not because of Cook himself, more because of the reaction it engenders in certain people), not having to write Cook off is surely a good thing when the alternative is Vince or Ballance nailed on at 3?

      England are stronger, much stronger, with a functioning Cook in the top 3. Preferably at 3, IMHO.

      The worry for me is that he’s not really back, but can only make big scored on very slow decks. One double hundred and a set of low scores every 10 innings isn’t what England needs. We need more

      Liked by 2 people

      • Rooto Dec 29, 2017 / 7:35 pm

        And if the openers have stickability, he might be facing slightly less speedy and hostile bowlers at 3. An English Che?


    • oreston Dec 29, 2017 / 5:58 pm

      I think we’ll have a better idea of how much life is left in the old dog when we’ve seen how he goes on from here, batting on a wicket that does a bit against a full strength attack. Maybe he has turned a corner. Apparently there are some promising signs that he might’ve sorted out his technique, but all he’s really proven at Melbourne is that he’s still good enough to be a highly effective flat track bully. We already knew that (I’ve said so more than once) although I think this was a better innings than the double century at Edgbaston.
      Those of us calling time on his career were perfectly justified in doing so, based on a long run of disappointing returns against India, SA and Australia that the pundits would’ve certainly been highlighting if he were any other player – and probably calling for their head. He looked all at sea up to and including the Perth Test. Nobody else, NOBODY gets this “you can never right him off” indulgence when they fail again and again. (Was there a hint of it towards the end of Botham’s time? Maybe, but that was 25 years ago and I don’t think his waning powers were denied to anything like the same extent.) Actually one or two were quite recently starting tentatively to suggest that Cook might be nearing the end (didn’t his mate Swann say he couldn’t envisage him playing on much longer?) but strangely that’s all forgotten now, we’re told that we were the only ones who ever questioned his performance – and then only because of Kevin bloody Pietersen.
      For me, this innings (highly commendable though it was) represents a conditional success, not an out-and-out triumph. Sydney and the New Zealand series will either confirm that he’s turned a corner… or that Melbourne was just another flat track exhibition amidst a mire of mediocrity.

      Liked by 4 people

      • BobW Dec 30, 2017 / 12:52 pm

        New Zealand have drop in wickets too don’t they? That could have a bearing.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 1:05 pm

          Auckland will be for the day night test. The other is at Hagley Oval, which might not be.


  9. BOZ Dec 29, 2017 / 4:51 pm

    I don’t use the word PIONEER often.

    I’ve used it once about myself in days gone by. I’ve used it about my son for the amazing work he has done. Now, I want to use it again for Peter/Dmitri/LCL/Vlad the Impaler/UpYoursSelvey and all other pseudonyms. Without his energy, determination, focus, ability, eye for detail, impervious analysis, scrutiny, courage and good humour nobody would be ‘Outside Cricket’ or an ‘Bilious Inadequate’ – and now we all are and I am proud of it!

    Unlike Bruce Springsteen, a blue collar hero (apparently), he isn’t charging $845 for the pleasure of listening to him – although it is a possibility that he could venture onto the ‘touring & speaking circuit’ if he had time and what a story he would have to tell. It must take a lot to hang up the pads and the cap and the pen, especially as his love for the game is second to none, but he cannot go without me taking this opportunity to say thank you and well done – I raise my mug to you :0)

    Liked by 2 people

    • BOZ Dec 29, 2017 / 4:59 pm

      sorry, forgot – “The higher you build your barriers, The taller I become ….. “


    • thelegglance Dec 29, 2017 / 5:52 pm

      Ok, I said I wouldn’t talk about what Peter wrote and I’m not going to either, although I daresay we’ll talk to each other privately.

      But your post does allow me to say this, and only this, and I’m not going to add to it anywhere:

      I came across HDWLIA when someone linked to it in one of the comment sections, either in the Telegraph or the Guardian, I can’t remember which. And I loved it, I loved the anger, the writing and the passion of it. I was home. I didn’t realise until a little while later that we were already aware of each other, one with a blog, one posting endlessly about the same thing on one of the papers (it was only ever one – life’s too short to be across both).

      When that disappeared I was sad, but understood the pressure of a blog suddenly going viral. When this place reappeared I was straight back, and given the same time and emotional pressures, offered to help out.

      That’s coming on for four years ago now. Goodness me. In that time Peter has become a friend, and to the joy of both of us, so has Sean. It’s been a privilege.

      Peter was my mentor and is a blogging inspiration. Whatever he does, that never changes.

      And that’s all I have to say. I’ll be around as long as I’m wanted, trying to live up to what he started.

      Liked by 4 people

  10. man in a barrel Dec 29, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    Oh dear, someone is tweeting that 5 of the 7 highest innings for England since 1990 (which conveniently eliminates Gooch’s triple) were made by Cook. Of course, if you look at the all-time figures, only 1 of the top 7 was made by Cook but why top 7? It reminds me of a visit with my 9 year old daughter to a monkey zoo. She started out by saying that the golden-headed tamarin was her favourite monkey. Then the white-throated capuchin was one of her 2 favourite monkeys….all the way up to 1 of her 7 favourite monkeys. Stupid clickbait tweets are on that kind of level

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 29, 2017 / 5:48 pm

      The amusement there, and I know stat mining when I see it, is that Ian Bell also made 235, but because he was out the list ends there. Being very technical here the score is the thing, not the status of whether he was out or not. So he has the 5 of the 8 top scores since 1990.

      And to think they had a go at me for 6 out of 105 or whatever. The cheeky sods.

      Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol Dec 29, 2017 / 6:34 pm

      Why did I bother checking who this was? I knew already.


  11. Quebecer Dec 29, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    TLG: perfectly put piece.


  12. Mark Dec 29, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    The BBC have just informed me…..with glee….. on 5 live that tomorrow Cooks name will go up on the honours board replacing Viv Richards as the leading overseas run getter at the MCG…….

    And another bit of Test cricket history dies… be replaced with the Teddy tubbies.

    The same reporter, who sounded like a Cook fan boy also informed me that if England can get the eight wickets…..they will have no better man than Cook to hit the winning runs.

    And they wonder why people like me have come to loath English cricket.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oreston Dec 30, 2017 / 12:05 am

      Viv… Richards? Nope, no idea – you’ll have to remind me. Who did he play for? He’s not one of those, like, really, really old guys from back in the day is he? It was all a bit shit and amateury back then, wasn’t it? What kind of bowlers did he play against? Fat blokes huffing and puffing in big sweaters? The fitness levels, skills and coaching are next level now so it’s about time some old duffer no one even remembers gets replaced by a modern, all time great. Gotta keep it relevant…


  13. Pontiac Dec 29, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    If Cook is still in the team in 2019 then England will lose the home Ashes.


    • thelegglance Dec 29, 2017 / 9:47 pm

      Worth mentioning that for all the Australian crowing, they haven’t won in England since 2001. It’s quite a while. When England won over there in 2011 it had been 24 years, well for Australia it’ll be at least 18 years.


      • Pontiac Dec 29, 2017 / 10:51 pm

        This is true – according to series wins and losses alone things are roughly even over that timespan.

        However, this sorta goes to show that these last two games do have a level of significance in that the Australian away series losses haven’t been as bad as England’s have been over that timespan; if England came out of these last two with a win, that means something.

        And Cook came through, sure, but is this a late summer swallow or a very late summer swallow? In 2019 how many of Cook, Broad, Anderson should be playing? How is that transition worked?

        Admittedly, a strategy of openly putting them all on essentially half-duty from tours while building up the next generation in the gaps provided, no ifs or buts about it, and then making a straight up Ashes squad selection from the best players available to play at that time might be the best move from everyone’s perspective but nothing of the sort would ever happen.


  14. LordCanisLupus Dec 29, 2017 / 10:26 pm


    I am sure there’s an article to be written on the Barmy Army. There are good points and bad points. But I’m not sure someone who has been on an all expenses paid jaunt and doesn’t pay for his tickets should pass judgement.

    My experience was I enjoyed being in with them at times – Cape Town was good, Brisbane not bad, Adelaide less so, Perth we were scattered to the wind. Their function I went to in Adelaide was the last one I’ll ever attend. It was a bit too rugby club for me. But I liked the football elements of it for a certain period of time. I’m not into all that trumpet playing tosh, but others are.

    I’ll give Liew one thing, he doesn’t shirk the issues.

    The other thing I laugh at is Shiny Toy telling the world how great they are. I know of players who thought they weren’t as much fun. But these are paying punters, fans, keen on the game and paying for it themselves. Journos sniping at them is very dangerous.


    • Mark Dec 29, 2017 / 10:51 pm

      I doubt there is a sport in the world where the governing bodies, and the media that prop them up have such a disdain for the paying fan as cricket does. I’m sure the barmy army are far from perfect, but they pay their way. Unlike so many of the freeloaders in sport.

      As for Liew, I get the increasing impression he would be far happier covering a Greenpeace rally rather than cricket. At least the Barmy army has a “gender balance” that meets with Liews politically correct approval. So thats ok then!


      • LordCanisLupus Dec 29, 2017 / 11:00 pm

        When I went on away tours I always did it freelance. The Barmy Army got me the tickets for the Newlands test, but the other five we secured ourselves. I sat with them on the afternoon of the 1st test at Brisbane (2002), the end of the 2nd test at Adelaide (2002), all test at Cape Town (2005), there wasn’t really an army at Joburg (2005), and on the last day at Adelaide (2006). Accommodation we arranged ourselves. We don’t have the genes to be on a tour party with uniforms etc.

        But the guys I met for one to one chats, without exception, were fantastic. They knew their stuff, they were living their dreams of travel and sport, and they helped us out – they gave us tips on securing cheap, very good, accommodation in Australia. The one downside was the do at Adelaide. It just wasn’t for me. If you saw a piece on them from me it would be from the perspective of having paid for it. I just think journos, unless there’s a racist or pure nasty element, should not really go there. But, as I also say, glad that Liew doesn’t shirk it. He’s not dull.

        So I guess I want my cake and eat it.


        • Mark Dec 29, 2017 / 11:21 pm

          My observation of the barmy army was initially the media sneered at them. Then news filtered throught that the players liked them, and as if by magic, and wanting to keep their access the media shut up about them.

          That has nothing to do with them, but says everything about the media. I think they are having fun, and paying their way. I don’t need sneering articles from Liew about Graham the Honda dealer who is only interesting because he is in the Barmy army. You could make the same case about Liew, and that he works for a national newspaper.


      • Grenville Dec 29, 2017 / 11:57 pm

        Mark, half the world is female. #justsayin


        • Mark Dec 30, 2017 / 1:20 am

          Thank you for that Grenville….And I know it might come as a shock to you but I do know that woman are 50% of the population..

          However, let me ask you a couple of questions…….

          How many men are members of the WI?
          How many men are members of the mothers union?
          How many woman work down coal mines?
          Men/woman % that work in essential jobs like nursing?

          Just because we are 50/50 in society it doesn’t follow we have to be 50/50 in every job/club/activity/pastime. If woman want to join the barmy army good for them, but we don’t need a gender studies professor in Mr Liew ticking a box to ensure they have made up his imaginary quota.

          Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Dec 29, 2017 / 11:15 pm

      I’ll say one thing about Jonathan Liew, and that’s that he writes stuff I agree with, he writes stuff that enrages me, but he always makes me think. I don’t want a journalist who echoes me, I want one who makes me angry, smile, laugh and think.

      He does that. And I don’t agree with this article at all.


      • Grenville Dec 30, 2017 / 12:25 am

        For me it was an article of two halves. The opening discussion of the commodification of watching cricket resonated with me. I have long maintained that when sky bought the premier league, they worked hard to turn a profit by creating the ‘fan’. It’s all about the passion. The ‘fan’ is not someone who likes the game and a team, but an identity you inhabit by buying the merchandise to join the club. I didn’t know that the barmies had become a commercial enterprise. The second half was sickening class snobbery.


  15. LordCanisLupus Dec 29, 2017 / 11:21 pm

    It should be noted, of course, that if Shiny Toy was in charge of world cricket we would be having an early night and getting ready for Sydney.

    How did that four day experiment go the other day?


    • Mark Dec 29, 2017 / 11:28 pm


      There will be a lot of journos and officials who will be celebrating tomorrow like its 1999 if England can take 8 wickets….. who, if they had their way would have packed up and left the ground last night in the rain, and set of for Sydney.

      39 of course…..thinks we should have pick and mix test matches.


    • thelegglance Dec 29, 2017 / 11:57 pm

      Do you actually have any kind of opinion, or is it purely going to be appeals to authority? Don’t link, argue your case please. Call me names. Tell me I’m an idiot. Whatever you want, just don’t keep posting other people’s view we can read for ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adam H Dec 30, 2017 / 12:01 am

        I put the link there, because I think it’s quite relevant to the content of this blog post, and very well written and argued. I think anyone who finds this blog post interesting would also find my linked post interesting.


        • thelegglance Dec 30, 2017 / 12:07 am

          Already read it. I tend to do that. But I’m more interested in why you think it’s interesting and what you took from it. Go ahead, that’s the point of discussion. Hell, I promise not to answer if it helps at all. I want to hear your view, not Geoff Lemon’s, I can read that any time.


          • thelegglance Dec 30, 2017 / 12:10 am

            Sorry that sounds unnecessarily combative reading it back. Truly, I am more interested in knowing what you took from it than the article itself. Please?


          • Adam H Dec 30, 2017 / 12:17 am

            Well, I don’t think I have too much to add to what he’s already written, without repeating most of his points. Needless to say, I agree with all the points he’s made.

            One thing I would add is that, personally, the most intriguing part of test cricket are the individual battles between batsmen and bowlers. I really don’t care about which *team* wins, or which team is dominant. It’s the individual performances that I appreciate and enjoy the most. And it’s the great individuals that we remember the past eras of cricket by. People remember so much about WG Grace, but hardly much about England teams of 1880s or 1890s. Similarly, 1930s is all about Bradman and Larwood and Jardine — rather than the Englilsh/Australian teams of that era. For almost any era of cricket, you’ll find the same. Individual feats and careers are what goes down in the history books.

            This is perhaps another reason why I don’t particularly care about the concept of “dead rubbers”.

            Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Dec 30, 2017 / 12:20 am

            Interesting perspective. I’d ask whether that might be the case because it’s the past we weren’t present for rather than the current time that makes that the case? It’s an intriguing point about our perception on individuals though. You’re right we tend to remember the individual performances, but do we ‘remember’ those we weren’t present for?


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 12:22 am

            When regarding the internet, one might draw parallels with an open sewer. It’s a useful conduit, but don’t dwell too closely on what goes floating by.

            Well that’s a great start. You, sir, are going to get most of your readership through the internet. I know, it’s odd. You are linked on it. So how about you kicking off an article by basically insulting your readership. What you write is, frankly, shit, is what he’s saying. So listen to me.

            It’s not the most auspicious of starts, it has to be said.

            Oh, have I misrepresented your point, Geoff? Well, we can’t be having that, can we?

            I’ll read the rest when my rage at that insulting first paragraph dies down.

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 12:27 am

            After Alastair Cook stacked up his fifth Test double century at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, there was a substantial online cohort determined to talk the achievement down.

            Why are you bothered? It’s all shit.

            Whether these people actually watched the game was unclear. But their contention was that Cook’s innings didn’t really count, given it came after the Ashes had already been lost.

            Some said that. Most didn’t. Straw Man.

            To this way of thinking, nothing mattered but numerical triumph in the series scoreline. To lose 5-0 was no different to 3-2, the manner of those losses was irrelevant, and playing for pride was just a construct to hide the self-serving need to preserve careers.

            KP isn’t the oracle. Straw Man.

            Accompanying this came the contention that any performance after a series had been decided was innately sub-par in quality, because the winners no longer cared enough to prosecute their advantage, and all pressure was off the losers.

            It’s not sub-par. Anyone who thinks that is mad. Straw Man.

            And while there were some partisan Australian voices among the critics, the greater number seemed to come from notional England supporters, showing a resentment as though Cook had deliberately not tried during his first three Tests, only to mock them with his improvement in the fourth.

            Good grief. Are you picking out insane tweet after insane tweet and framing an article around it? This is strange.

            The dismissal of “dead rubber” results is not new, but it’s something that seems to have gained traction. It is rhetorical and logical effluent; a mixture of arrogance, assumption, elitism, and dismissiveness as pungent as anything the Phantom of the Opera went wading through.

            Bloke is obsessed with shit.

            Not worth my time.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 12:34 am

            Start going through the big innings and they all have to go. Brian Lara’s 400 and 375, dead rubbers. Matthew Hayden’s 380, well, that was against Zimbabwe. Mahela Jayawardene’s 374 was on the flatty in Colombo.

            He’s making a point about dead rubbers, and two of the scores he mentioned were in first tests of the series. He’s either monstrously lazy or he’s conflating flat pitches with dead rubbers.

            My heart sinks with rubbish like this. This is taking his readership for fools, conflated dead rubber with not trying, which isn’t what anyone (who isn’t completely off their head) is saying, and then quotes two of the top four scores as evidence that took place in first tests – indeed Mahela made his 374 after South Africa, with Ntini, Steyn, Nel and Hall as the bowling line up had been dismissed for 169 and lost by an innings.

            Geoff can’t keep living off that Channel 9 piece.

            Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Dec 30, 2017 / 12:38 am

            Oddly enough, I was probably aware of him before most, because I used to read The Roar a fair bit (still do sometimes) and he’d write pieces as an amateur on Ashes trips over here. They were good too, the perspective of the paying fan in the cheap seats.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 12:40 am

            His demolition of James Brayshaw, the journalistic equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel, or collaring a turd in an open sewer, but someone had to do it, was magnificent. Absolutely brilliant.

            This. Not so good. We all have bad days.


          • Adam H Dec 30, 2017 / 12:30 am

            @TLG, I have no problem with your tone! In fact, one of the reasons I like and visit this blog is the no-nonsense tone of the posters and commenters!


          • thelegglance Dec 30, 2017 / 12:32 am

            Thank you, but I did – I was overly harsh on you, rather than the article. So my apologies to you.


          • Adam H Dec 30, 2017 / 12:33 am

            No problem!


          • BoredInAustria Dec 30, 2017 / 12:33 am

            Geoff Lemon is a satirist, writer, and the editor of Going Down Swinging. He’s on Twitter @geofflemon, or his site at


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 12:35 am

            There’s satire and being wrong.

            If this is meant to be a joke, I missed it. Must be too caught up in his shit jokes.


          • BoredInAustria Dec 30, 2017 / 12:59 am

            That was a tag from his 2011 article.
            Now: Geoff Lemon is a writer, broadcaster, and editor of Going Down Swinging. He’s variously at @GeoffLemon and @GeoffLemonSport.
            I fear he is serious… or he is Ed


        • nonoxcol Dec 30, 2017 / 12:14 am

          It’s exactly the same argument as his tweet thread, with a bit of flesh and rhetorical flourish, a straw man big enough to scare Edward Woodward, convenient misrepresentation of the opposing side’s argument and a premise that rests on denying the fundamental significance of the urn and ownership thereof.

          Apart from that, yeah, it was great.

          Liked by 1 person

          • oreston Dec 30, 2017 / 12:35 am

            A “dead rubber” is a series that has already been won and lost with games remainlng to be played. The “rubber” is the series of matches and “dead” is, well, pretty self-explanatory. Once a series is lost it can’t be unlost, or even (if it was lost in the shortest sequence of games numerically possible) lost less quickly by winning the remaining games. Sure you can avoid a whitewash, and that’s a worthy endeavour, but doing that doesn’t un-lose the Ashes or greatly redress the humiliation of being steamrollered in the first three games and surrendering them meekly. But what do I know? I’m obviously one of those who doesn’t understand Test cricket. Although I do recognise an article written by a snooty, offensive prick when I read one.

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 12:49 am

            It was an innings across three days,

            Lord almighty. One day he faced ZERO balls. Technically, just, correct.

            Liked by 1 person

  16. Grenville Dec 30, 2017 / 12:30 am

    Question from a terrible cricketer, is one reason why England seem consistently too short that they lack the pace to pitch it up without getting spanked back down the ground/through the covers? The extra 10 mph must make a ‘good’ length different, no? Especially on true wickets where you can hit through the line of the ball.


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 12:52 am

      I’m not technically great either. But this stuff happens on flat wickets. England were bloody good first time up because they tied the Aussies down and played a little bit on ego. It’s not also in our nature to take that risk of being hit for runs.


    • Mark Dec 30, 2017 / 1:29 am

      There is a good piece from Darren Gough on Maxies old site about how to bowl in Australia. He makes the point that as a slightly shorter man he bowled the ball further up on a fuller length with a skiddier action. He does not agree with the obsession with having to have only very tall bowlers to be succesful in Australia.

      He bowled a lot of Yorkers in Australia, and had good resluts with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Grenville Dec 30, 2017 / 11:44 am

        Gough was a little quicker than the current lot if p recall correctly (could be the ol rose tinted). I am almost certainly wrong, but I feel that England don’t have the pace to bowl full on these wickets. Almost certainly barking up a completely inappropriate bush.


        • AB Dec 30, 2017 / 4:09 pm

          Goughie was consistently high-80s, with the occasion 90mph delivery. He could also bowl both orthodox and reverse swing.

          If he had played at Melbourne, he’d have been the best bowler in either side.


  17. thelegglance Dec 30, 2017 / 1:00 am

    Christ almighty, that’s an AWFUL shot from Warner.


    • Grenville Dec 30, 2017 / 1:04 am

      Bring on Dean Headley….

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Dec 30, 2017 / 1:06 am

        It was that bad, it reminded me of any of the lifelong 30 or so wickets I ever took…


        • Grenville Dec 30, 2017 / 1:15 am

          It was terrible.


    • dlpthomas Dec 30, 2017 / 1:31 am

      As the locals put it, Warner just got rooted.


  18. thelegglance Dec 30, 2017 / 2:27 am

    I don’t really understand Australia’s tactics here. At the rate they’re crawling along, they’re going to need to bat another 40 overs to make the game safe. They need runs as well as survival.


    • dlpthomas Dec 30, 2017 / 3:42 am

      Not sure I understand England’s tactics either. Surely you go on the attack? Malan bowling well and getting a bit of turn so why not put some men around the bat? I’m not sure how these fields will get a wicket (but I know fuck all about captaincy)


  19. dlpthomas Dec 30, 2017 / 4:04 am

    Boycott doing a guest spot in the Channel 9 box. I haven’t heard for years but he clearly hasn’t changed ie very entertaining in small doses. He and Warne had a good discussion about bowling spin in Australia (and why overseas spinners struggle in Australia).


    • Tom Dec 30, 2017 / 6:26 am

      I missed that – if I might ask, what were their main conclusions?


      • dlpthomas Dec 30, 2017 / 8:39 am

        1) even quality over-seas spinners struggle in Australia
        2) top-spin is really important in Oz
        3) warne reckons bounce is as important, if nor more so, than turn (side-ways movement)
        4) if it seams, it spins


  20. dlpthomas Dec 30, 2017 / 5:49 am

    Now Swann is doing a spot on Channel 9. I’ve not heard him before (and I’ve always thought he is a bit of a dick) but I have to admit he’s been pretty good.


    • Scrim Dec 30, 2017 / 6:38 am

      I guess if you put him next to Tubbs and Heals, he must be relatively excellent.


      • dlpthomas Dec 30, 2017 / 8:42 am

        Fair point. I suspect he was on good behavior – no jokes / “look how clever I am” routines.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 12:34 pm

          He was particularly unbearable when on with Michael Hussey just before I packed in the day’s play. There are a number who say when he talks about spin bowling he is top notch. That’s a bit one trick pony, and not a lot of use for most of the day. When it becomes “when can I get my next gag / smart arse quip / comedy story” into the comms it grates. A lot.

          His special moment in this test came when he had a comedy go at Broad for pulling out of test matches with “injury” in the UAE. Leaving aside him leaving the Ashes tour (and yes, he was sent home but it looked awful) in 2013, his big buddy Jimmy has missed a few recently when we’ve got pasted. This one comes to mind…

          Karun Nair. [shakes head]

          Anyway, just one more test to suffer if you are a BT Sport viewer.

          Liked by 1 person

          • man in a barrel Dec 30, 2017 / 12:56 pm

            It is extraordinary to think that Karun Nair’s top score is so much higher than Cook’s. By the logic of the Twitter crowd this makes him one of the greatest of all time


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 1:02 pm

            Karun Nair is exhibit A in the “dead rubber” for want of a better phrase, massive score having a mitigation. Sachin never made a triple. Dravid never made a triple. Sunil never mad a triple. Nair did. (PS – Nair 303* is just 9 runs ahead of Cook’s best).

            Remember the Indian reaction? Basically was, “HE got a triple century? Ha Ha Ha”. He didn’t last long in the test team after it.


          • nonoxcol Dec 30, 2017 / 1:04 pm

            But not if you are a TMS listener…,


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 1:07 pm

            Which is why I said BT Sport, sir! I sometimes know what I am doing.


          • nonoxcol Dec 30, 2017 / 1:10 pm

            Written as a resigned sigh of existential dread and despair, not a pedantic correction!


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 1:12 pm

            I know. I know. But I’m spectacularly prickly and touchy at the moment. As you’ve probably guessed.


  21. quebecer Dec 30, 2017 / 5:49 am

    Well in to the afternoon session now, Aus 243/4, and I for one am optimistic we might get a draw here.

    I feel sooooo vindicated.


  22. quebecer Dec 30, 2017 / 6:01 am

    Aus declare on 263-4 and the match is drawn. A draw! I so totally called that. 1am here, -27 outside, and still expert optimism and analysis from the tundra. Calls for another drinkie 🙂


    • dlpthomas Dec 30, 2017 / 6:24 am

      -27? Stop bragging. It’s 28 degrees inside and hot as hell outside in Sydney. (though it rained yesterday so God knows what the weather will be like for the test.)

      So, Mason Crane for Sydney?


      • quebecer Dec 30, 2017 / 6:48 am

        -27 isn’t bragging. It was -32 when i got up the other day. Officially colder than the north pole. I decided to stay in bed though, where it was toasty.

        Two points about Crane: if not selected in Sydney, it admits he was the wrong selection in the first place; if selected, however, it shows Moeen was the wrong pick in at least this last test, and it has to be Mo that makes way now. It also then means either the great Chris Woakes at #7, or four bowlers and Ben Foakes as a specialist batsman at #7. This is four points, not two, I know, but shows how fucked we are.

        So, to answer your question, who knows? No point applying logic. Another whiskey makes sense though.

        I for one am optimistic. Slange.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sri. Grins Dec 30, 2017 / 11:03 am

          You are under undue influence from me Q. So, no wonder you feel optimistic.

          Seriously, your point about selection is well made. Shows what an impact a small decision can make when it results in the team not being confident of the people in the bench.


  23. Tom Dec 30, 2017 / 6:24 am

    I didn’t see the first session today but watched the final two. I thought England bowled well and they were getting a fair amount of reverse swing when the second new ball got older. I think on another pitch they may have taken more wickets and perhaps even have bowled Australia out, but the lack of pace in the pitch *plus* the lack of pace in England’s seamers meant Smith and Marsh had time to adjust. If either had been quicker, we may have stood a chance, although on a faster pitch, maybe England wouldn’t have been in such a position on the last day.


  24. Rpoultz Dec 30, 2017 / 8:07 am

    Just read on the bbc report that the pitch at the MCG was friendly to batsman throughout. First I’ve heard of this and wasn’t mentioned when cook made his score. But now smith makes a match saving 100 and the pitch is now included. Interesting


    • oreston Dec 30, 2017 / 1:27 pm

      Interesting, but entirely predictable. As a modern cricket fan you’re expected to be a gullible cretin with the memory span of a goldfish and zero capacity for independent thought, let alone analysis. They don’t like it if you choose the red pill.


  25. dlpthomas Dec 30, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Buttler on fire in the BBL. 4 x 6 in the over and 2 over 100 m.


    • whiterose76 Dec 30, 2017 / 10:48 am

      He hit the ball well on a pitch where everyone else is struggling to score. It’s about time as he hasn’t delivered for a while. As an aside, Mark Waugh is actually a worse commentator than a certain JJ Swann. And I wouldn’t have believed that possible. Although I do remember Waugh being embarrassingly terrible last year too.


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 12:52 pm

      I do share one thing in common with Newman. I thought we had a test player there. No chance now. Pigeonholed as a white ball specialist and won’t get first class batting anywhere in the world now. Lancashire have a promising wicketkeeper batsman and I’d invest in him.


      • @pktroll Dec 30, 2017 / 2:07 pm

        He was playing pretty well in the Mumbai test last year and made another contribution in the Mohali test too. The problem is that he then didn’t play a first class game for many months afterwards. Shame really.


  26. Riverman21 Dec 30, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Now we have everything in context of the match result/pitch.

    For me Cook’s innings had impressive concentration and numbers but overall not as good an innings as Malan at Perth. Given the conditions, live state of series, bowling attack.

    I realise this is heresy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      There was a moment when BT Sport put up the top run scorers in test cricket, just after Cook passed Mahela, and Alison Mitchell said “those numbers stand out”.

      I looked at it, and maybe it’s me, the first thing I saw was that every one of them in that group averaged over 50, except Mahela who was in the very high 49s. Cook was in the 45s.

      I have to say I could write a book on the stupid reactions to the Cook double hundred from those “defending” him. If you think someone thinks 12000 runs in test cricket makes that individual useless then ignore that stupidity unless it is coming from a member of the media paid to be an expert. If someone is arguing that 244 not out is a nothing knock, then sorry, they know nothing. But to ascribe that nonsense to me, and most on here, is bollocks. As I said, people who should know better, a lot better, have done that.


      • AB Dec 30, 2017 / 4:15 pm

        There was a bloke on twitter who claimed this innings proved that Cook was the equal of Hobbs/Hammond etc… if not better, and anyone who disagreed was a Cook-hater.

        That’s the kind of thing that makes you bang your head against the wall.

        Cook is a fine player, with known issues, who is definitely top 20 English batsmen of all time but definitely NOT top 10.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 30, 2017 / 6:15 pm

          It’s the kind of thing that makes me mute them if they are following me (not block, that’s reserved for top level dickheads).

          He has five test double centuries now. That is impressive. It can’t be denied and it shouldn’t be. Nor should his bad run. It’s the nonsense that surrounds this individual that just gets to me. Never seen anything like it. The point I would raise, pure and simple, is that if that were Ian Bell making it, how many would say “typical Bell, runs when the pressure is off”. A lot more, in a lot higher media places, than are saying it now.


  27. man in a barrel Dec 30, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    I hope that “great in training” gets into the glossary. Ever since a certain doe-eyed imbecile said words to the effect that the lads were working the nuts off it in training during the last debacle down under, I have been following their clueless training routines with interest


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