If a Wicket Falls and Everyone is Asleep, Did it Really Happen?

So there we go, the pitch ultimately won, as always seemed likely, and Australia batted out the day comfortably in the end.  The only point at which it livened up was when David Warner played what must count as one of the worst shots of his entire career, and Shaun Marsh was unlucky enough to get a genuinely good ball.  At effectively 16-4, Australia were in some trouble.  But that was as rocky as it got, and while the play was as turgid as the pitch, it was also a masterclass in saving a Test match.

Probably the area where England do deserve some credit is how well they bowled on the second day, for Australia’s first innings total was ultimately some way below par.  England’s response was excellent, and of course Cook’s innings extremely fine, but the degree of comfort with which Australia batted out the day placed all before it in context.  Losing half a day to poor weather was unfortunate, but there were few indications that it made that much difference given England bowled 124 overs for just four wickets second time around.

On the plus side, England arrested a run of seven consecutive away defeats, although it’s still only their second draw in ten, and likewise a run of eight consecutive away defeats in Australia.  These are pretty small crumbs of comfort and the backdrop of that is hardly cause for much celebration.  Moeen Ali has been fundamentally poor this whole series, and while it’s not so surprising that he’s struggled with the ball, he’s also had problems with the bat.  He must be vulnerable for the final Test, and how responsible his finger injury may be is open to question.  It would hardly be the first time England have picked a player who is unfit and then been surprised they haven’t done well.  England’s batting problems have been presumably the reason for reluctance to pick Mason Crane, but the same old question arises – what is the point of him being on the tour if the primary spinner is struggling so badly that Root and Malan are the ones turned to on the final day.  To put it another way, had either Adil Rashid or Samit Patel been available – and never forget they were both discarded summarily, and it seems not for cricketing reasons – it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t have been brought in, if only because both can bat.

Other than that, Stuart Broad was much improved this time around, and while he remains as divisive a character as ever, he was admirably frank about his own shortcomings this series, only to see his words deliberately misinterpreted and used against him in yet another tiresome jab from the Australians.  George Dobell called out the “bullshit” in an unusually annoyed article that rightly mentioned all the times England have been equally guilty of it.

Melbourne usually provides a good Test, and a result.  Here they clearly got the surface preparation wrong, and it ended up the kind of wicket certain to kill any interest in the game and drive viewers to the Big Bash with batsmen unable to score freely and bowlers unable to take wickets.  They’ve had plenty of criticism for that, but c’est la vie, it’s not a normal state of affairs, and in truth England should be grateful for it, as on the showing so far, that was the only way they were going to avoid another pasting. 

Maybe that’s harsh, but with Starc back for Sydney, and a more responsive pitch, it is surely not unlikely normal service will resume.  How Cook performs will be intriguing, not in that it should be expected he repeats a double century, but if he looks as good at the crease as he did in Melbourne.  He’s a funny player in so many ways, when he’s technically off he looks truly dire, and it’s unusual to see a player so visibly battle his technique on such a regular basis.  The SCG will have more pace (not hard) and it may answer a few questions about how much he’s changed his game.  Here he appeared so much more upright in head position and balance.  Irrespective of series position of preposterous media response, that’s as good as he’s looked technically in three years.

After the game there were the usual platitudes from both sides, and the usual statements of regret at not winning, but above all else it was just dull, viewers drifting off to sleep in Australia, let alone England.  

Grateful as they may be for it, 3-0 down with one to play is no position of joy.  The torture tour is not over yet.

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74 thoughts on “If a Wicket Falls and Everyone is Asleep, Did it Really Happen?

  1. LordCanisLupus December 30, 2017 / 4:07 pm

    Let me begin…

    You’d think being on the end of a bore draw on a road, where, if the game had gone another day we might have needed to be chasing down 200+, you’d be a bit more circumspect.

    But no. Rejoice! Rejoice!

    Tom Harrison has nothing to fear when people like #39 are holding him to account.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol December 30, 2017 / 4:29 pm

      I bought the relaunched Wisdem Cricket Monthly from St Pancras yesterday. On principle. The principle being that #39 is a joke and every opportunity to snub his wares should be taken.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 30, 2017 / 6:09 pm

        Phil Wisden got a gig on the TMS reporters show I see. It’s a cruel world.

        Confession – I do think The Cricketer has improved markedly in the last couple of years. It goes a bit silly every now and then, and it still employs Henderson in what can only be a charitable gesture for the serial muppet, but there are good reasons to read it. It was better under Andrew Miller, sure, but it’s a vast improvement. How much of that is down to #39, heaven only knows.

        Like

    • metatone December 30, 2017 / 5:07 pm

      Did he just claim England were not at full strength as a plus? smth smth Starc? WTF?

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 30, 2017 / 6:06 pm

        The irony of celebrating a draw when, when the stumps were drawn, Australia were not quite on level terms, but not far from it, is amazing. I think it sums up our sporting mentality. Hell, I reckon even Cook and Root would be embarrassed by it. We’ve avoided a whitewash. Big effing wow.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Mark December 30, 2017 / 5:19 pm

      You can’t have a reasoned argument with village idiots. I’m sorry, but there is no point. They are the flat earthers of English cricket. Quite delusional! The funniest part is that respectable ex sportsman like Brian Moore hang out with these numpties on Twitter. They are conning you Brian! They are clueless, whatever they may have told you, it’s utter bullshit!

      “England have Finished the year on a high?” Really? You can’t be serious? We are 3-0 down in an Ashes, having lost 4-0 away last winter to India , and 5-0 away the lat time we toured here 4 years ago.

      If this is Tom Harrison and 39s idea of success I never want to see their definition of failure. It will be Armageddon! By the way, 39 they couldn’t even be bothered to pick their best bowler for this match, and we still couldn’t win. Have we even taken 20 wickets in any of the tests so far?

      You and your charlatan mates have leaned nothing from four years ago, and so you have made the same mistakes. Definition of madness is doing exactly the same thing and expecting a different result. Suckers!

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 30, 2017 / 6:04 pm

        I think you might be stretching it with “respectable ex sportsman like Brian Moore”.

        Whenever I’ve seen him “debate” on any sport it’s inevitable that if you don’t bend to his will the “when did you ever play international sport” card will be played. The last refuge of a tosser, in my view (also known among friends of mine as Ray Houghton Syndrome). He is in a profession now when he needs people to read what he writes otherwise he doesn’t get paid. I think a grand way of going about this is telling the reader “you know sod all”. Enamours me to them.

        Like

        • Mark December 30, 2017 / 8:29 pm

          He was a goodish rugby player, but anyone who resorts to the “you have never played at the highest level” bullshit is not to be not taken seriously. After all, as far as I’m aware he has never played either cricket or football at the highest level so by his own logic he should not comment on those sports. It’s a ludicrous position.

          As for 39 I’m not really sure what he is. He certainly doesn’t talk like a journalist. He sounds more like an administrator. But he is not one. He seems to have combined the two roles into one. A sort of hybrid of bullshit. Im not even sure he really supports test cricket anymore.

          4 years ago these geniuses claimed it was all down to KP. That excuse looks rather hollow now.

          Like

          • thelegglance December 30, 2017 / 8:42 pm

            Or indeed much else. Hughes once said he wanted the Analyst thing to cover such subjects as travel. I wait with bated breath for him to give me the benefit of his lack of knowledge on something I’ve done for 20 years.

            Like

          • dannycricket December 30, 2017 / 9:31 pm

            It’s all down to the drinking now, I think…

            Like

          • Benny December 30, 2017 / 9:50 pm

            Simply, an average cricketer comes to the end of his career and needs to find a living. He’s done quite well for someone with no obvious talents

            Like

  2. Narelle December 30, 2017 / 8:05 pm

    While a draw is commendable, before we get too carried away with how much England have improved, simple maths says if you subtract Cooks 244 from total 491, how effective have the other 10 been??

    While lauding the Messiah, both Vince and Malan consulted him on whether they should review their dismissals, he advised against it.

    Was he saving the review for himself? National Treasures would never be selfish.

    hopeful of a better pitch in Sydney.

    Like

    • quebecer December 30, 2017 / 10:04 pm

      I must admit, I wondered that about the reviews. The thing is, I can understand it if he did indeed think it best to save them for himself – he’s not the only cricketer who might do that (one G. Boycott springs to mind). However, there is also the point that Malan’s in particular looked pretty bloody obvious to me at first sight, and I wonder the extent to which Cook was concentrating on it and whether he might have been in his ‘bubble’ right then. Again, it wouldn’t surprise me and to be honest, I wouldn’t blame him for that too much either.

      Like

      • thelegglance December 30, 2017 / 10:29 pm

        To be fair, I did like the observation countering the argument that you always know when you hit it by asking how you would know on those occasions you didn’t realise you’d hit it.

        Like

        • Quebecer December 30, 2017 / 10:39 pm

          Yep, that’s something I can’t figure out. Did Malan think he hit it after it hit the pad? Or is there something we’re missing in terms of playing at that level with the speed of delivery that alters that ‘knowing’ you hit it? Or, as you say, we only think we always know because there are times we don’t? Oooh, bit philosophical though, isn’t it? The review system is meant for the howlers, after all, not definitive answers regarding the nature of knowledge and existence itself. Which is a pity.

          Like

          • thelegglance December 30, 2017 / 10:41 pm

            He can’t have known. We’re back to my Schrodinger’s Bat concept. 😉

            Like

          • Scrim December 30, 2017 / 11:10 pm

            Can I get a side on? Yep just rock and roll that there. Ok. Yep, Kumar, I’ve got a clear spike on snicko indicating that existence is pointless, painful suffering. I’m going to need you to change your decision. And you’re on screen now.

            Liked by 2 people

          • oreston December 31, 2017 / 12:52 am

            DRS as tool for ontological investigation. A novel technique, but why not? Test cricket can teach you a great deal about the human condition. Witness the Sisyphean labour of England’s bowlers trying to get Smith out yesterday. If that had been a timeless Test (instead of just feeling like one) who knows who would’ve eventually crawled exhausted over the winning line?

            Like

    • Benny December 30, 2017 / 10:36 pm

      Makes you wonder if they’d want to consult him again

      Like

  3. quebecer December 30, 2017 / 10:15 pm

    It’s a very good point about our bowling on the second day. It really did define the game, and also showed how we have underperformed against this not particularly special Aussie team in the series as a whole.

    Smith really is bloody something though. What a test batsman he is.

    And again, idiot comments like those by Hughes dilute the fact that there are some scraps of positives to take from this draw. What England have not done is fold embarrassingly, and this is a leadership point. This is a step in the right direction – although as Dmitri points out, only positive because of the relative nature of the situation compared to last time. It shows Root and Bayliss (yes, him too) as better influences than Cook and Flower, and I also feel optimistic that Root will learn from this series and become a better captain for it.

    Like

    • Benny December 30, 2017 / 11:01 pm

      Absolutely. Neither England nor Australia have a Test team at the moment. Both have a few talented players but neither have a full eleven. What is needed is for an intelligent board of administrators to step back and consider how to develop the next excellent team. I’m happy if they lose a few before the players get the hang of it. Expect Alan Border is too busy at the moment.

      Like

  4. nonoxcol December 30, 2017 / 11:30 pm

    Not sure if this has received much attention, given how Cookland finished the year on a HIGH and everything.

    This was the first drawn Ashes Test at Melbourne in 43 years. The last one (which was before my time) was the third Test of the Lillee/Thomson series. It sounded like an infinitely more exciting draw, with Australia eight runs short of victory and England needing only two wickets themselves.
    (Eng 242 and 244; Aus 241 and 238-8)

    And yet, oddly enough that 1974/75 game had been the fourth consecutive Ashes draw at Melbourne, the previous three sounding almost as boring as this one.
    (1965/66 2nd Test: Aus 358 and 426; Eng 558 and 5-0. 5th Test: Eng 485-9 dec and 69-3; Aus 543-8 dec. 1970/71 Aus 493-9 dec and 169-4 dec; Eng 392 and 161-0).

    Round of applause for the pitch doctors!

    Like

  5. BoredInAustria December 30, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    I did not see any of the match – serious question: How was Root’s captaincy?

    Read criticism he should have declared earlier, that he should have not taken the new ball. I had the feeling they did not attack too much in the second inings in terms of field placing (understood the bowling was fairly solid).

    All sounds small margins, would probably not have made much difference… with the rain the draw was always on.

    Like

    • thelegglance December 30, 2017 / 11:44 pm

      You may be right, and I’ve actually idly debated that in my own mind, and it’s kind of made me smile in that I seem to be immune to captaincy debates – not being horrifically inept seems the new Mike Brearley these days. He’s not horrifically inept…

      Like

    • dannycricket December 30, 2017 / 11:48 pm

      Given the nature of the pitch, I’d argue that Smith made the greater error as captain. Namely, choosing to bat first. The best chance of getting 20 England wickets was for England to bat first, otherwise (in hindsight) a draw was the most likely outcome.

      Like

    • Mark December 30, 2017 / 11:49 pm

      The journos attacking Root should instead be asking questions of the selectors for bringing such a bland, one size fits all bowling attack..it smacks of Andy Flower, and seeing as Strauss sits in on selection meetings you have to wonder who picks the team?

      In light of England’s piss poor performance on any track that doesn’t seam aroumd you wonder why we don’t start picking horses for courses teams? If we are going to lose 5-0 or 4-0 or be 3-0 down after 3 could we really do any worse? How about a spinner who spins the ball? There’s a novelty? Or a pace bowler who can pitch it up and, bowl both bouncers and Yorkers? Probably doesn’t fit with genius modern theories.

      Like

      • quebecer December 31, 2017 / 4:23 am

        “The journos attacking Root should instead be asking questions of the selectors for bringing such a bland, one size fits all bowling attack”

        Bang on there, Mark.

        Like

  6. nonoxcol December 30, 2017 / 11:55 pm

    Also, Steve Smith now has as many Ashes centuries (8) as Ricky Ponting in about two-thirds of the Tests (22 v 35).

    He also has five Ashes MotM awards, which is level with Botham, Warne and Ponting and matched or exceeded only by notional match awards to Bradman, Trumble, Hobbs, Sutcliffe and Hammond.

    His five MotM awards have come in the space of eleven Tests between Perth 2013/14 and Perth 2017/18. Which is frankly absurd and definitely unprecedented.

    Like

    • thelegglance December 31, 2017 / 12:00 am

      Remember in 2010/11 when everyone laughed at him? Honestly, I felt he had something about him even that series. I’ll qualify that by saying I was sure Warner wouldn’t play 15 Tests, so I’m no sage.

      Like

      • nonoxcol December 31, 2017 / 12:13 am

        A century at Sydney and he joins an elite band of three men to make four centuries in an Ashes series. They all did it in the space of five and a half years (four series) and no-one else has done so since 1930.

        Smith would be the first to make four in a home series.

        http://stats.espncricinfo.com/wi/content/records/282955.html

        Like

      • Stevet December 31, 2017 / 5:15 pm

        I thought at the time he was crap and would never cut it at test level (i’d seen him in India where he was a leggie batting at 8). Was delighted when he was picked for 2013. Think he got a 96 and gave it away (Geoffrey called him a muppet on tms). He got his maiden century soon after then months later he’s scoring loads of runs and has not stopped. This from someone who thought Strauss and collingwood were not good enough and joe Denly definitely was

        Like

        • thelegglance December 31, 2017 / 5:17 pm

          Collingwood was never remotely good enough. That’s what was so utterly magnificent about him, and why he became one of my favourite ever players. Someone extracting every single ounce out of his natural ability and then adding sheer determination on to it.

          Like

        • Stevet December 31, 2017 / 5:38 pm

          Knew his limitations and played within them. Guts mental strength determination and sheer bloody mindedness. Loved him for it

          Like

          • LordCanisLupus December 31, 2017 / 5:55 pm

            Glad I was there to see his greatest innings.

            Like

  7. Mark December 31, 2017 / 12:03 am

    Just watching match of the day. Is it me or do all the modern stadiums look the same? They all look like they were built by b&q or Jewsons. Progress I guess, but where is all the differences? We keep hearing about diversity, but it seems real diversity is just not commercially viable.

    I see the BBC interviewer almost genuflected in front of the great Jose. He was like a poor drummer boy having to tell Napoleon the bad news. Even Jose laughed at the fact he didn’t need to make the point about the penalty because the BBC man had already coughed it up in total deference. Pathetic.

    Like

    • thelegglance December 31, 2017 / 12:08 am

      The old stadia were dire Mark. Hideous. For all the issues with football, that’s not one I can complain about. I remember the rivers of piss in the Kippax at Maine Road, it was grim.

      Like

      • Mark December 31, 2017 / 12:17 am

        Yes I know, but there was real difference then. Teams didn’t like going to the Dell because it was so closed in. The grounds had character. Even if they were Victorian shit holes. They all look the same now, with the same flashing advertising hoardings, and the manicured bowling greens.

        As I say, I know what you are saying…..it’s progress. Don’t you just love the progress that You can pay £10 for a burger and feel you are at Covent Garden? Football is millionaire row now. Probably why all the fans are middle aged. 50 year olds wearing team shirts.

        Don’t mind me, I’m just an old fart.

        Like

        • thelegglance December 31, 2017 / 12:18 am

          No, I hear you totally. There’s that regret I agree. But maybe we remember the good and forget the bad, who knows.

          Like

      • Stevet December 31, 2017 / 5:41 pm

        Kippax was also a nightmare to get out of. Got squashed up against rails many a time. Thought about that a lot after Hillsborough

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus December 31, 2017 / 5:48 pm

          Three times I went to Maine Road (never to the Etihad) with Millwall. Twice in a week – played them in the league and FA Cup on consecutive Saturdays. I was at the infamous 1999-2000 game there. Hard to think of being closer to proper, nasty, violence inside a stadium in all my years of following us away. Awful place.

          Like

          • Elaine Simpson-Long December 31, 2017 / 11:21 pm

            I used to stand at the Shed End of Stamford Bridge surrounded by skinheads. I am surprised I lived to tell the tale

            Like

  8. "IronBalls" McGinty December 31, 2017 / 1:18 am

    The biggest piss take in English cricket is Andy Flower at Loughborough….

    Like

  9. LordCanisLupus December 31, 2017 / 1:21 am

    Just pruning last night’s play and came across Vaughan saying he was “surprised Ballance was picked” and Adil Rashid could consider himself unlucky.

    https://beingoutsidecricket.com/2017/10/12/i-had-some-dreams-they-were-clouds-in-my-coffee/

    In this piece is his Ashes squad. The one he would have taken. Vince from left-field. Ballance in there. No Rashid but Crane mentioned.

    That’s why I don’t trust what you say Michael, You want it all ways. It’s only my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto December 31, 2017 / 10:35 am

      Another thing about that list. Who is “TBJ” meant to be? Tory Boland-Jones? A mistake we might all make, but I’d want to correct before publishing.
      (And “Balance”…)

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 31, 2017 / 5:06 pm

        One of the things Tickner said a while back, and he was prescient on this, is the more Vaughan speaks, the more you realise he was winging it as England captain. That there wasn’t this masterplan. You see, my argument was that Vaughan didn’t want players who had scars of being turned over by Australia time and time again. That’s why Thorpe was dropped (was one reason given). Vaughan makes it sound like this idea of his was one of the key reasons we won. It doesn’t pass muster. It’s an example of the legend of Shiny surpassing his feats. He was a good captain, a really good one. But he was also a lucky general. Examine the dropping of Thorpe pre-2005 Ashes. One of those, presumably, scarred for life by his losing experiences with Australia.

        Thorpe had played since 1993. He missed pretty much all of 2001. Wasn’t on the 2002-3 tour. Missed all but one of the 1998/99 tests. Averaged 45.74 against Australia, an average all that Vaughan at the time would have bitten their hands off for, with three hundreds and eight fifties. Yet he was scarred and had to go. It was drivel then, and it’s drivel now. And yes, I am a Thorpe fanboy. He was 14 months off that amazing hundred in Bridgetown, an innings of such brilliance, tenacity, grit and all the things that Cook gets the credit for, that it should have been recorded in the annals of English history. It’s barely mentioned. But he was scarred. Vaughan always goes on about it. Giles was on the 2002/3 tour. Tres was too. So was he. Hmmmm. (Thorpe should have played instead of Bell but Ian made it impossible for him to be dropped once KP came into view).

        Liked by 2 people

        • thelegglance December 31, 2017 / 5:09 pm

          I can remember my sense of frustration as Bell racked up a huge score against Bangladesh as Thorpe sat with his pads on. I knew what was coming.

          Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol December 31, 2017 / 7:44 pm

          This is actually (by a long way) my biggest England selection bugbear between Gower 1992 and KP 2014.

          (The fact that those three would be the middle order in my post-1981 England XI is no coincidence, of course)

          The only other argument in favour I’ve ever heard was that Thorpe’s back had gone.

          Like

          • Silk January 1, 2018 / 6:16 pm

            Robin Smith. Still angry.

            Like

          • nonoxcol January 1, 2018 / 7:12 pm

            Smith would be my first reserve! And yes, most definitely in second place 1992-2014. That his career outlasted Gatting’s by less than a year is an almighty disgrace.

            Like

  10. man in a barrel December 31, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    Channelling my inner Shane Warne, which is never far from the surface……Most commentators have been saying that Moeen cannot be dropped for Crane because that would lengthen the tail, regardless of the fact that he has batted like a tail-ender this series – 136 runs at 19 versus Wosakes’s 114 at 16 or Broad’s 101 at 14.

    So, now that Cook has returned to full form, the batting can take care of itself and England should play Crane instead of Moeen.

    What could go wrong?

    Like

    • oreston December 31, 2017 / 2:56 pm

      The other argument I’ve encountered is that they have to play Crane, otherwise why’s he even there? (Such childlike faith in the ECB selection process…) The best answer to that question is quite possibly “Gary Ballance.”

      Like

      • thelegglance December 31, 2017 / 3:13 pm

        I dunno, I think that point’s usually made to highlight the idiocy of the selection process rather than a serious suggestion Crane will make all the difference. Why they brought him when they wouldn’t play him even when the main spinner is supposedly unfit is a reasonable question.

        Like

        • oreston January 1, 2018 / 3:15 pm

          Fair point – I think some have asked the question from that angle.

          Meanwhile a certain pundit, known to be of a fickle disposition, now seems just a little spooked by the possibility of Crane actually playing at Sydney and is hedging his bets: “If England don’t play Crane in Sydney then the only reason must be they have seen in practice that he is not ready yet. If that is the case then he is one of the most ridiculous selections of all time.”

          http://www.news.com.au/sport/cricket/michael-vaughan-on-englands-spinning-conundrum/news-story/523717a195855fd1a2c6aa58239a6666

          (I don’t have access to the original Telegraph article that’s cited.)

          LCL has already shared Shiny’s handwritten Ashes squad sheet. I’ll give him his due for suggesting Leach and Plunkett, but other than that it’s broadly similar to what Whittaker & Co. came up with (give or take one or two seam bowlers). Crane was apparently good enough for the Lions and had the potential to be added to the Test squad.

          “The selectors have got things wrong in Test cricket for a while now. It is not one person’s fault but they have made mistakes. Who is accountable? Do we continue with the system we have now?”

          But who should take over, Michael? Any suggestions?

          Like

  11. man in a barrel December 31, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    The fact that Cook had 83 at 14 prior to Melbourne is now irrelevant because he is back to his best as all those “people who know” are declaring it so

    Like

    • oreston December 31, 2017 / 3:12 pm

      This is a cult, remember. He only has to be at his best once a year. To appease the angry gods and ensure the great one’s annual Harvest of Runs, a hapless opening partner or uppity South African will sometimes be ritually sacrificed under a full moon.

      Liked by 2 people

      • LordCanisLupus December 31, 2017 / 3:26 pm

        There’s a really interesting, well written (of course) piece on Cook on Sky Sports by Gideon Haigh. It comes at Cook from another angle. A man full of self-doubt, self-deprecation, humility and people wanting him to do well. Aussie journos and players appreciated his achievement. It’s interesting because it paints Cook as full of flaws, of a man fighting his game. You know, as we’ve sort of pointed out for a while now.

        What it doesn’t do is paint the appallingly tedious narrative the English media have made of him. The conquering hero, the man of steel, the stubborn man who doesn’t sweat, is ice cool under pressure, is a leader by example, a leader from the front, is the iron rod, the cussed determined warrior. The media still don’t believe they have been part of an agenda, or have one, but this curious narrative has found massive traction and is now, whether they like it or not, believe it or not, part of the problem. Instead of actually thinking, analysing, contemplating why when an England opener has thwarted a whitewash, made a 244 not out carrying his bat, an achievement whether the intensity was as high as it was previously is still a very good one, the media and the Cook fans just scream. Loudly.

        As I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, I understand why you feel the way you do. You patently do not see mine. If you think it is KP, you seriously have not paid attention. You’ve allowed a false narrative to be created, built upon, and then used it as a stick to beat your “opponents” with. I’d say those who have put the KP animosity into the past, and in my case a distant one, are not the creators or maintainers of the schism any more. You are. And your actions post this 244 not out have shown it with bells on.

        With cock-nonsense like this:

        Liked by 2 people

        • Zephirine December 31, 2017 / 4:32 pm

          The Haigh piece is interesting.
          http://www.skysports.com/cricket/news/35780/11190582/alastair-cook-has-fronted-up-again-and-will-leave-with-australias-respect-writes-gideon-haigh
          You could be cynical and say Haigh has fallen for the fluttering eyelashes routine, but it’s interesting that the British press doesn’t report Cook in those terms. “I’ve doubted myself for 12 years” – you don’t recognise the Steely One of the ECB soap opera in those words, and yet it seems that’s what he said.

          Had he doubted himself? “One hundred per cent. I’ve doubted myself for 12 years. I’ll probably continue to doubt myself. The longer it goes, the harder it becomes. That’s why I’m quite proud, going to the well again and delivering a performance. It’s just a shame it’s four weeks too late [to help retain the Ashes]. I’ll have to live with that for a long time.”

          That’s a fascinating speech, self-deprecating yes – I’m not sure I’d say “humble” – but self-absorbed as well.

          Gillespie, in another good piece,
          https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/31/alastair-cook-david-warner-test-maestros-ashes-jason-gillespie
          mentions that much of the hype washes over Cook as he doesn’t do social media and probably doesn’t read the cricket press. I think Cook lives in a world of his own making, just him and his stats and the people he cares about and the collie and some sheep, and is pretty indifferent to everything else. It’s quite enviable in a way.

          Liked by 2 people

          • LordCanisLupus December 31, 2017 / 4:57 pm

            Zeph,

            Oh yes, I agree. I’ve had a conversation off line (very amiable stuff) about whether Cook could have done anything about the way the media have represented him. You could say he just throws up his hands and say “there’s nothing I can do about it” but you wouldn’t be human if you thought if this plays to my advantage, I’ll let it go. What Haigh does is come at it from the human weakness/doubt side rather than the way the ECB and the media portrayed him post Ashes 2013/14 and treated the England captaincy and subsequent career as his personal fiefdom. I think he has the right to be proud of that innings, and it is much easier to say the things he has about being dropped (when the press seem more concerned that he be given a proper exit) now he has made a score. I’m not signing up to any fan club on the basis of Haigh, nor has it resolved many of my issues with the current and recent past nonsense, but it’s a beacon the likes of some of our journalists should emulate. Too often with Cook, they’ve written as fans, not journalists.

            I don’t buy for one minute that Cook doesn’t do social media, by the way. He most certainly does read the cricket press. That we absolutely do know.

            Like

          • Mark December 31, 2017 / 5:58 pm

            Very interesting, and again confirms my belief that Cooks biggest problem has been the English cricket media. They have done him no favours in the way they have portrayed him. It’s even worse than covering him as fans not journalists. They have covered him as if he was their best mate. In some cases (who an earth could I mean?) I think he is their best mate.

            The whole dead rubber thing was brought on by their own completely hysterical over reaction to his double hundred. If they hadn’t claimed that one innings by one player made up for everything that went before people would have just said “ok, well batted” and moved on. They created a monster that increasingly gets people’s backs up. Malans inning was far more important because it was made with the ashes still alive. The media gave it a fraction of the coverage.

            I do think they were genuinely shocked at how much push back there was from many fans. It wasn’t just the usual suspects. The fact they are doing pieces to camera on the concept of “dead rubbers” and “meaningless test matches” and Geoff Lemon sport is having a meltdown about it shows how seriously they were taking it. It just shows it was not just a few people. Selvey was doing the old Prince Charles thing about how we will miss him when he’s gone.

            Neither side is going to back down so this will just continue until he retires. It will be very interesting to see if he goes into the lucrative world of the media when he hangs up his bat. Sky do love their ex England captains. Even if they are not all great broadcasters. Look at Strauss.

            Like

          • Rohan December 31, 2017 / 7:17 pm

            Didn’t Cook say, after a test against India in the summer of 2014, ‘something has to be done’ with regard to the criticism of his captaincy. If I am not mistaken, this was in response to both SKY (Warne), newspaper and social media comments. To me this indicates he knows exactly what is happening in all the forms of media. Furthermore, I would guess he ‘plays dumb’ but knows full well the powerful effect of the media and has carefully orchestrated and cultivated the way he is represented by the MSM. In short, I don’t believe he is completely innocent in the way he is deified!

            Liked by 1 person

        • Cricketjon December 31, 2017 / 8:04 pm

          We’re not saying “get rid of this record, get rid of that record” we are asking the MSM to make the distinction between those types of innings compared to when the series is up for grabs. But as always they answer a question with a question.

          Like

  12. Mark December 31, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    It seems the dead rubber thing has sent them insane…….Even Alec Stewart has gone down the rabbit hole…….This in response to the WBA vs Arsenal match tonight

    @StewieCricket
    “With neither side winning the League it was a dead rubber with the pressure off and therefore the result doesn’t matter!!!! 😂 ”

    It would appear that dear old Alec doesn’t understand the concept of relegation (which WBA are fighting against) or a top four champions league place. (Which Arsenal are fighting for)

    Alternatively, you all massively overreacted to an innings in a test match. That’s the real truth, and you got called on it.

    Like

  13. Deep Purple Fred January 1, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    Found this gem in the thread on Gillespie’s article on Cook and Warner. Questions posed about whether Gillespie wrote it himself or not.

    “selvecricket RobTwickenham 19h ago
    Ali does it. I don’t work for Guardian any longer. And in any case I always refused to ghost because I felt it compromised me as chief cricket correspondent. And, to be perfectly frank, I didn’t like the idea of someone else earning from my efforts. Ali is a superb ghost writer who captures his subject well. As does Nick Hoult, who is extremely prolific at Telegraph for their numerous ghosted columns.”

    Compromised as chief cricket correspondent? You’ve got to be kidding. The man who effectively became the mouthpiece of the ECB, who sat calmy by while the big three heist took place, and actively supported the takeover of English cricket by the money men? Who never once expressed an opinion contrary to establishment orthodoxy? His lack of self awareness is stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark January 1, 2018 / 1:25 pm

      Oh man, there is enough material here to write a Book. So sitting in bars drinking beer with bowling coaches, and head coaches, and having meals with certain favoured players does not compromise you as a cricket correspondent? Hmm

      Sorry….CHIEF correspondent. I didn’t think Guardian types were big on fancy titles? But then as he pointed out recently Saker is not Australia’s bowling coach,but deputy head coach. There are those pesky titles again.

      Always good to see the Guardian types don’t like working for others. Don’t want others living off their efforts. How very Donald Trump like. Want to keep all the cash for themsleves. Sorry folks, but it was such an open goal.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus January 1, 2018 / 2:09 pm

        I sometimes wonder whether he thinks we are stupid.

        Name names, Selvey. Name names. As you say, you don’t work for the Guardian any more. Set up a blog and tell us more.

        Ha ha ha.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Deep Purple Fred January 1, 2018 / 2:47 pm

          “We are all journalists”.
          I have no words.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Mark January 1, 2018 / 4:06 pm

          “We are all journalists.”

          BBBWWHHAAAAAA

          Is it New Years day or April the 1st?

          As you say Dimitri… he should name, names. Who are these imposters? Who are these fakes? These Johnny come latelys that are getting easy money? And who are these people who think ghosted columns are written by the players? Name…names.

          “Readers,my contempt, for I, have.”…..You can rearrange these words to make a good sentence.

          Like

        • nonoxcol January 1, 2018 / 7:09 pm

          There’s another corker later where he asks for a dinner in honour of all the journalists sacked in order to pay for celeb columnists.

          One of the “journalists” he names above gave a “celeb columnist” the editorial of The Cricketer as soon as he took over.

          This is, once again, made too easy by a man taught absolutely no self-awareness by his readers’ revolt.

          Like

          • LordCanisLupus January 1, 2018 / 7:16 pm

            No. It’s all the fault of the bean counters and not of himself. This has been crystal clear from Day One. He and Pringle especially have not yet got that particular memo. That you aren’t going to get anywhere asserting that you know everything and your reader doesn’t and that their mission was to inform and enlighten, not to teach and preach. There’s a lovely one of Selvey drinking a Portuguese beer, Pringle asking if it was Cruzcampo, and a punter saying that beer was Spanish. “Close enough” goes the Muppet. You have to love them. Hinge and Brackett of the old press corps.

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus January 1, 2018 / 7:22 pm

            This might be me, and my personal animus towards Selvey, but isn’t he rather dismissing his successor as a “ghost writer” and not a decent cricket journalist, and then does the same to Nick Hoult who took over the reins from his mate Pringle? The clear, in my eyes, impression from Selvey is that those two, by lowering themselves to ghosting columns, are not half the men the old duo were, and well, they’ve cost them their jobs by doing it. Pandering to celeb columns and not the wit and wisdom of Selvey who didn’t half do a great impression of Andy Flower and David Saker’s ghost writer, before we even start on Giles Clarke.

            Hoult got my Dmitri for a reason. He’s consistently breaking stories, doesn’t hold himself up as anything amazing, but gets his job done, has done it well from years, and puts Pringle’s output to shame while having to cope with possibly the worst online interface a newspaper has ever devised. And yes, he can ghost columns too.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mark January 1, 2018 / 8:09 pm

            Nailed it Peter.

            I Think he has a rather inflated view of his so called expertise, and how much it’s really worth. I notice he hasn’t put his hand in his pocket and gone off down to Australia as a free lance. Perhaps a bit un fair at his age. Although if the Guardian were paying his way would he have turned them down? Surely if the paying punters are crying out for his wisdom the air fare and expenses would more than pay for themselves?

            There is a delicious irony to all this in that he may well of been used by the ECB just as long as he was useful to the crixket establishmemt to cover for Chef and Downton and Giles. Once that was no longer neccessary the Guardian got shot of him.

            Another causulty of defending completely and unquestioning the regime. A lot of people got discarded once they had out lived their usefulness.

            Like

          • Deep Purple Fred January 1, 2018 / 9:08 pm

            Precisely Lupis,
            “Me? I’m too good for that nonsense, I wouldn’t stoop so low. But Ali, he’s really good at it”.
            Back handed compliment, passive aggresive, cynical.

            Like

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