See Nothing, Hear Nothing, Do Something!

I doubt that it would have escaped many of our eagle eyed readers that the squad for the tour of New Zealand was announced on Wednesday, nor would it escape many that it was another tremendous let down. Indeed it smacked of the fact that it had been cobbled together in 5 minutes over a pint of Fosters in a dingy bar in Sydney. Toothless bowling attack – check, flimsy batting attack which is likely to collapse at any moment – check, lack of spin options – check, well that’s that then, all good to go. It almost seems that the selectors decided to totally ignore the failures of the last series and just stick with jobs for the boys, no matter how they perform. Of course there were some casualties, Gary Ballance paid the price for carrying the drinks in such a disengaged manner that he had to be dropped. Jake Ball and Tom Curran also paid the price for not being able to bowl at 90mph or for not being Jimmy and Broady. England on the other hand have decided to injure Mark Wood again and also call up Ben Stokes (yep remember him) and also Liam Livingstone, no doubt for when Stokes is ruled out of the tour on the grounds that there is still a criminal investigation going on!

The thing that really gets me though is the complete lack of imagination of our selectors. Anyone in their right mind can see that James Vince doesn’t have the technique for County Cricket Division One, let alone for batting at number 3 in Test cricket against a world class swing attack. Vince may have shiny toy locked in his corner, but one feels that he must also have some explicit pictures of someone at the ECB to account for his continued inclusion in the squad. Likewise Moeen Ali, who is a rotten trot of form at the moment both with the bat and with the ball. I wrote before the Ashes series that I felt Moeen had to decide whether he was going to become a batsman or a bowler and not be the jack of all trades and master of none if he was to make a success of Test Cricket. It would be fair to say that to most seasoned cricket viewers that this experiment has failed dramatically, yet here we are again, heading to another away series with a part time bowler likely to lead our spin bowling attack because he can bat a bit at 7. I also feel that Messer’s Broad and Woakes are incredibly lucky to keep their respective places. Broad has looked weary and jaded for the past year and Woakes is the epitome of a home track bully – brilliant in English conditions, but truly terrible when the ball doesn’t swing away from home. To be honest, very few of the team with exceptions around Anderson, Root, Malan and to an extent Bairstow could’ve put together a cohesive argument at their treatment should they have been dropped for the upcoming series.

So what are we actually paying the selectors for? The continued reward to failure is simply breathtaking. Do they actually watch any cricket? I agree that whilst being an England selector is not an easy job at the moment, such is the paucity of the talent waiting in the wings; however, surely English cricket deserves more than sticking with a plan that is pretty much doomed to failure. What do they say about the definition of madness again? Now I’m certainly not advocating that England blows the whole thing up and starts again, but surely there is merit in trying to invest in players with the right mental fortitude than players who look nice and then get out edging to first slip EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Dawid Malan is an example of this, as was Marcus Trescothick as was Michael Vaughan, players that didn’t have outstanding county careers but had the mentality that they deserved to be on the biggest stage. What we would give for another Trescothick or even a Vaughan (the batsman and not the man obviously). Whilst I’m in agreement that there is a general paucity of talent around, England is not totally without some talented players and I would prefer them to test that on the biggest stage than settle for a mediocre 22 or 1-150 from a Test player that has proved that they are not talented enough to play Test Cricket time and time again. Some individuals who have not been capped or been capped briefly, that I feel worthy at looking at are:

  • Dan Lawrence
  • Haseeb Hamed
  • Sam Robson
  • Nick Browne
  • Daniel Bell-Drummond
  • Sam Northeast
  • Joe Clarke
  • Ben Coad
  • George Garton
  • Jack Leach
  • Olly Stone
  • Tom Helm

Now I’m not saying that any of these are guaranteed to have success in an England Test Shirt and I’m certainly not advocating the hire and fire culture of the 90’s, but I’d certainly have been a little more excited about the NZ tour than watching Cook fiddle about on anything but a flat pitch, Vince edge another delivery after a breezy 20, Moeen going for 4 an over and Woakes looking completely toothless. After all we have just been stuffed 4-0 for the second consecutive winter, surely alarm bells should be ringing somewhere in the selectors heads?

Alas no. we’ll have more of the same please, lets give these players another 10 Tests to prove what we knew after 5 Tests, that they aren’t good enough to play Test Cricket. Where is the accountability though? Whittaker is joke no doubt who is actively stealing a living, and Messer’s Fraser and Newell hardly seem to be the dynamic duo that we need, whilst our own Head Coach who wants out after 2019, freely admits that he doesn’t have a clue about county cricket. Hardly the recipe for success is it? Still no doubt, they’ll still be here in the summer, still making the wrong decisions and still benefitting from a complete lack of accountability from a board that couldn’t care less about the results on the pitch. After all, if you stick your head in the sand for long enough, you can almost pretend to see the positives.

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29 thoughts on “See Nothing, Hear Nothing, Do Something!

  1. Mark January 12, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    The greatest example of how triumphant and all powerful the ECB/media complex has become is the total lack of any outrage, and a general shrug of the shoulders from so many England fans over this latest debacle. This 4-0 defeat has been hailed as not too bad, and “better than last time.” This follows the 4-0 defeat in India after which the ECB, and most of the media begged Cook to stay on as captain.

    Most England fans either don’t care or don’t feel there is anything that can be done. If you do care, as this site does, you can be ignored because you are not important. I have watched English football slide down this path over the last 30 years. Every World Cup it gets a little bit worse until England under Hodgson in Brazil are knocked out after the 3 first round matches and there was no outcry. Woy stayed in his job, and went on to lead England to even greater humiliation two years later against Iceland.

    Like it or leave it is the message. If you don’t like it,,,,do one! I think I may stick around, and just laugh at them. It’s become the greatest comdey show in town.

    Like

    • Sean B January 12, 2018 / 7:38 pm

      4-0 again, yeah but didn’t Cooky score a great century in Melbourne. See he is truly the greatest of all time.

      And repeat…

      Like

    • Cricketjon January 13, 2018 / 4:06 pm

      Technically Mark England Footies were knoecked out after two games in Brazil. It had the ignominy of having to play Costa Rica whilst on the plane home!

      Like

  2. oreston January 12, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    What about Plunkett and Rashid, or maybe even Hales? A genuinely quick bowler, a leg spinner who actually takes wickets and an explosively talented batsman. Is the cupboard really THAT bare? (I know, I know – they’re all limited overs specialists who’ve taken solemn vows never to play a red ball game ever again.)

    And Stokes? Can anybody perceive any logic or consistency in the ECB’s handling of him since that night in Bristol? What’s he going to be in New Zealand? The team mascot?

    A great summing up of the absurdity of the situation though, Sean. I don’t know what one can say about a board which (surely?) is aware of both the underperformance on the pitch and of the vocal criticism of their management thereof. Except that where once upon a time we often had bungling incompetence there seems now instead to be a total disinterest – maybe even a wilful disinterest – in the health and fortunes of the Test team. The gin slinging old dodderers who a certain all rounder complained about 25+ years ago may not always have been very good at administrating English cricket, but at least on some level they actually gave a shit. Their 21st successors, with their insouciant self interest, scare the hell out of me.

    Like

    • Sean B January 12, 2018 / 8:39 pm

      Couldn’t have put it better myself O. I was a big advocate of taking Plunkett to Australia this winter, but he has now been pigeonholed as a white ball player. As for Hales and Rashid, one is in the doghouse, the other is persona non-grata these days.

      Like

      • oreston January 12, 2018 / 11:07 pm

        Funny how they’re all in the ODI squad though, isn’t it? Along with Morgan (the other man they hate to love). That team may not have one of the great bowling units, but at least Morgan doesn’t have to get by with a 20 yr. rookie leg spinner or a pair of decrepit seam bowlers. True he does still have an out of sorts Moeen, but at least there are slightly more options available to him.
        It does smack of the prioritising of white ball cricket nonsense, even though (quite perversely) several members of that squad are permanently on the naughty step. It’s all very strange.

        Like

  3. lionel joseph January 12, 2018 / 6:41 pm

    “What we would give for another Trescothick or even a Vaughan”

    What we would give for another Fletcher who had the insight to recognise the qualities these two possessed.

    But repeatedly it seems as though, in the current set-up, no-one can even see it when it’s in front of their noses.

    That Vince doesn’t have the grit, that Bairstow, and it became particularly obvious after India, does and shouldn’t be buried at 7.

    And that if county cricket is failing to give a clear indication of these qualities we should be more flexible in our selection so we can uncover the necessary talent.

    Like

    • Sean B January 12, 2018 / 7:36 pm

      Absolutely agree, I’d even advocate Peter Moores to be on the selection panel. Whilst he was not cut out to coach at international level, he was good at identifying younger talent in the system and then promoting it…

      Like

      • Mark January 12, 2018 / 7:55 pm

        Wasn’t even Newman calling for the selectors to be fired a year a ago? Mind you that was because they kept picking Compton, and others he didn’t like.

        How the selectors survive this latest cock up I don’t know? Oh silly me, Strauss sits on the same selection committee. That means they’re bullet proof!

        Like

        • Sean B January 12, 2018 / 7:56 pm

          It’s all about who you know…

          Like

      • "IronBalls" McGinty January 13, 2018 / 10:53 pm

        Agreed!

        Like

  4. northernlight71 January 12, 2018 / 10:05 pm

    To be fair . . . if I can . . . it’s taking some effort . . . but to be fair, the problem doesn’t seem to be that we’re picking the obvious candidates from the CC or the Lions and they’re failing to do a Vaughan or Trescothick. In some ways, the teams IS being selected with “character” prioritised over bare stats with the bat or ball. The problem is that the judging and the criteria of “character” are less to do with having the mentality to succeed at test cricket but more about being a “team player” and impressing the great Hoover on away-days, trips to cemeteries and weekends at Sandhurst.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sean B January 12, 2018 / 10:10 pm

      Absolutely fair. As you say the character being picked is that you won’t upset someone or are fully media trained, rather than the character to apply yourself against a 90mph quick or a good spinner.

      They’ve locked the unsuitable, but good team player to a tee (unless there’s booze involved)..

      Like

  5. Silk January 12, 2018 / 10:31 pm

    Fucking awful selection. Don’t really see the point in commenting on the team, what is going well, what needs fixing, who’s coming through etc. if Whittaker and Co are trolling us like this.

    What’s the point? It’s a joke.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B January 12, 2018 / 10:33 pm

      I wouldn’t say we were enthused by it either…

      Like

    • nonoxcol January 13, 2018 / 7:24 am

      The one involving you, Sean and three of our oldest friends?

      The only thing I would dispute (most vehemently) is any notion that his pieces stink with the benefit of hindsight.

      They were a sewage explosion as soon as they were published, as a great many of us pointed out BTL. Just about enough comments remain unmodded to prove this.

      Journalism. Asking the questions the public want answered.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Sri. Grins January 13, 2018 / 1:40 am

    Agree. I was hoping in behalf of guys on this blog who are passionate about cricket (the way we Indians used to be born 30 years ago-☺not true any longer though) that the English selectors would show some gumption and drop a few players so that the message is clear to the team and the fans can have some optimism.
    This selection is crazy. Nz has a good bowling attack and I am going to hope that most English batsmen end up with averages less than 20 except root, bairstow., malan and (Stoneman for Q).

    I am also hoping that all bowlers barring Anderson will have averages exceeding forty.

    Like

  7. Benny January 13, 2018 / 8:55 am

    Cobbled together in 5 minutes? Whittaker’s predecessor got a gong for doing the same. Miller had a list of 11 players, chanted “Consistency” as his justification and totally ignored planning for the future or even for injuries.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. metatone January 13, 2018 / 10:10 am

    To be a contrarian for a moment, if any overseas series should be a place Woakes can show something, it should be a NZ series – so while it’s ugly to be giving him second chance immediately, rather than sending him off to work on his game there’s a logic that says this is the way to find out what he has got.

    Vince tho… and Moeen… and harshly, I’m not at all seeing the point of not sending Crane off to work on his game either…

    Broad definitely needs time to work on his game outside of Tests. And I’d argue that Anderson might be better off putting his feet up than being flogged to death on yet another tour.

    As for Wood, we come back to the problem of the England medical setup. Is there any reason to believe Wood can stay fit and play in Tests for the next 2 years? I’m really not sure. If there is, we need to be careful not to rush him into the team, if there isn’t, we need to admit it and move on…

    Like

    • metatone January 13, 2018 / 10:12 am

      I hope Ballance got some money out of carrying the drinks. He shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but the dropping smacks of “here’s someone we can drop without making any hard decisions about the balance (sic) of the team.”

      Like

  9. Miami Dad's 6 January 13, 2018 / 10:54 am

    Guptill
    Williamson
    Taylor
    Santner
    Southee
    Boult

    I reckon all these would get into Englands team, and that they might turn us over. I feel bad on Root, who might carry the can, but if a loss against Australia and India doesn’t do it, hopefully the kiwis can come up trumps. Boult in particular looked immense last night, albeit vs Pakistan.

    Like

    • Scrim January 13, 2018 / 5:26 pm

      Neil Wagner is in the top 10 bowlers in the world according to the ICC, ahead of Boult and Southee.

      Sure, all he ever does is bowl bouncers, but he somehow keeps taking wickets and it still might be a decent tactic against England.

      Liked by 1 person

      • oreston January 13, 2018 / 6:10 pm

        Well that’s Cook’s timing found out, Stoneman’s head scrambled by chin music and Vince edging one like a fuckwit after showboating with a couple of imperious cover drives (not that he actually needs any help from Wagner). 50/3 most times England bat, then.

        They say the definition if madness is… Oh, never mind.

        Liked by 1 person

        • oreston January 13, 2018 / 6:12 pm

          *of madness*

          Like

        • Sean B January 13, 2018 / 6:17 pm

          Probably worth a trip the bookies, seems a sure fire thing to me!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • oreston January 13, 2018 / 8:34 pm

            Tempting, but it’s so surefire I don’t think there’d be much of a return on it! I’d get far superior odds on a really contrarian, out there bet. Say, the first wicket partnership in England’s first innings averaging a minimum of 50 across the series. It’d just be throwing good money after bad though.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sean B January 13, 2018 / 8:36 pm

            Crazy talk!!

            Like

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