Toil and Trouble

The announcement that Ben Stokes would now be available for the New Zealand leg of this winter’s tours caught most people on the hop, and it’s not too surprising as to why.  The ECB have tied themselves in knots consistently on this subject, and perhaps it was always going to be inevitable that they would do so.  As an employer of a high profile public figure, they could not afford to appear prejudicial to any trial, a problem that simply doesn’t apply to most employers in the same position, or people who never appear in the media.

Yet having followed a line of selecting him for tours at the same time as stating he was suspended for them, to then announce his return once the CPS has laid charges inevitably looks messy, and a contradiction of the previous line taken.  The ECB board was clearly split on what to do, and if nothing else that probably reflects public opinion rather neatly.  There are few easy answers here.

It’s most likely that one way or the other, they had hoped this would have been resolved by now and they could deal with that, but instead it remains a live issue, and one where everyone with the remotest degree of sense is tip-toeing around the subject.  The legal process can take a long time – though it tends to be quicker in the UK than many comparable countries – and perhaps that in itself was a factor, given nearly half a year has gone by since the story first broke.  Even so, two Tests and five ODIs is hardly a major forthcoming series (whether it should have been is a different question) and to take the decision now rather than at the start of the English domestic season could be seen to have made a rod for their own backs.  Would it have made a material difference to have delayed it?  There’s an argument that by doing so might be perceived as a judgement on guilt or innocence, which rather neatly makes the point about the difficulty of handling a situation where even the smallest indication may have significant ramifications.

That England are a stronger side with him than they are without is beyond question.  Missing the Ashes certainly unbalanced the side, and if it can’t be said that it was the reason for the thrashing England received, it can be said that his absence unquestionably weakened them, as it would any side.  To that extent, his presence in New Zealand will increase England’s prospects of salvaging something from a shambles of a winter, if he is able to focus properly on his game.  The more low key nature of the tour may too have been a factor compared to the cauldron of the Ashes.

The wider issues have yet to play out.  The ECB and its predecessor have never been particularly good at maintaining a consistent line on players around whom there is controversy, though they’ve never had a situation quite like this one to deal with.  Yet the criticism of expediency is one that regularly is thrown at them, and especially so when a player is considered vitally important.  Previous instances of rapid forgiveness for those who went to apartheid South Africa on rebel tours seemed far more forthcoming when they happened to be particularly good players for example, something that rankles still when compared to the treatment of players who did nothing so contentious.  Over the years, individual decisions and instances tend to be compared to others, highlighting inconsistency and flat out hypocrisy.  But in this one, it’s a little hard to be certain that any different actionsor decisions would have been clearly and inarguably better.  The ECB were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t, which might not excuse previous treatment meted out, but does in isolation illustrate the genuine dilemma they will have faced.

Perhaps above all else, the most delicious irony of the situation is that finally, at long last, circumstances have arisen that raise so many different and difficult ethical questions that it’s possible to have some sympathy for the ECB.  It’s a new and unusual feeling for many, and probably not one to be repeated too often.  But as an illustration of the complexity of the issues at hand, perhaps it can’t be bettered – Being Outside Cricket feeling a degree of empathy for the England and Wales Cricket Board is a first.


Housekeeping Note:

As ever, please be circumspect with comments on this matter, and don’t post anything that could be viewed as in any way prejudicial, or we’ll have to remove it.


125 thoughts on “Toil and Trouble

  1. OscarDaBosca Jan 17, 2018 / 7:13 pm

    Sorry I cannot feel any sympathy for the ECB (even if sympathy for the devil is in my all time top 10).
    Profile shouldn’t be relevant, English law is innocent until proven guilty, and no one should have their ability to work impinged until her majesty decides (via a judge and jury).
    If found guilty he will possibly lose his liberty and also possibly be barred from playing for England for a period of time.
    If found innocent he has lost 6 months of plying his trade because so po-faced invisible members of the ECB determined that it looked ‘bad’ for the sponsors. My real issue is that if it had been other members of the squad would they have been treated the same, or would they be ‘not that sort of person’?
    They’ve made the right decision 6 months to late.
    If I was Stokes and found innocent I would be tempted to sue the ECB for loss of earnings. He won’t because they’ll then work up an invisible dossier to ensure he never plays again.
    Bunch of incompetent idiots the lot of them, led by the odious president Clarke


    • OscarDaBosca Jan 17, 2018 / 7:15 pm

      Too not to


    • OscarDaBosca Jan 17, 2018 / 7:16 pm

      Also it would appear that legal advice has led them to change their mind – it is likely the advice was he’ll sue you and win you numpties

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jan 17, 2018 / 7:45 pm

      You have a right to innocence until being proven guilty, but you have no such right to continue to be employed by an employer. If they choose to put you on gardening leave or suspension until the case has been heard then there is little you can do. In addition, if you are found guilty, and serve your time you have no right to return to work. Although people often trot out the line (particulary football managers) that someone has “served his time” and has a right to return to work, no such right exists. No employer is under any obligation to contine hiring a convicted criminal.

      In practice they do so usualy depending on how valuable said employee is to them. The probation office is often trying to find employers who will consider employing people who have served their time in prison and are now out. It’s not an easy task.

      As to Stokes taking legal action against the ECB. Good luck with that. As they showed with KP they can select whover they please, and drop whoever they pleae.


      • OscarDaBosca Jan 17, 2018 / 8:24 pm

        I totally agree that your employer doesn’t have to keep employing you, it is within their purview to suspend, or sack you if they feel that what you have done is a disciplinary issue.
        However the ECB want Stokes to play for them and this was a decision made for ‘appearances’ sake rather than a moral judgement.
        As we all know, the ECB has no morality apart from the pursuit of filthy lucre


  2. Mark Jan 17, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    I will NEVER have “some sympathy” or indeed any sympathy for the ECB. That is how much they have alienated me over the last few years.

    As to the Stokes issue….. shinny toy is already saying he would have him on the plane for the remaining Aussie ODIs.


    • dannycricket Jan 17, 2018 / 7:33 pm

      ISM’s Michael Vaughan is suggesting that ISM’s Ben Stokes should immediately play for England? I think I speak for everyone here when I say I’m shocked to my very core at this turn of events…


  3. man in a barrel Jan 17, 2018 / 7:34 pm

    I hope that he is provided with a nanny or that he provides himself with one – he should be able to afford it. It is not as if the Kiwis and Aussies are unlikely to want to test his mettle


    • dannycricket Jan 17, 2018 / 7:39 pm

      I’m curious about what would happen if Australian/New Zealand journalists, cricket fans, Twitter trolls etc posted things which might be considered against the law here with regards to Ben Stokes. Can people overseas, publishing on sites hosted overseas, still be punished by UK courts?


      • thelegglance Jan 17, 2018 / 7:42 pm

        As I understand it, it’s all about where the writer is on a personal level, then where the hosting or owners are, on a site level. So a Kiwi couldn’t say anything on here because we can get done, and I couldn’t say anything on a US hosted site, because I’m still bound by UK law. It’s messy.


      • Maxie Allen (@MaxieAllen) Jan 18, 2018 / 7:22 am

        I think Chris is right there. The law in question is contempt of court, but a UK court would not have any jurisdiction over anything said or written overseas. Hence, when a celebrity takes out an injunction to suppress a story, they will be freely named by US (eg) newspapers.


        • BobW Jan 18, 2018 / 10:10 am

          I can see why Twitter gets messy then.


  4. Wisepranker Jan 17, 2018 / 7:47 pm

    Hmmm … I’m sure he won’t be distracted and will have his mind firmly on the job in hand at all times … But looking at the ‘delayed’ ECB decision.. could that be because they knew those nasty Aussies would have attacked Stokes mercilessly and effectively ripped him a new one; whilst those awfully nice Kiwi types won’t give him any hassle at all … wishful thinking!


  5. Rohan Jan 17, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    Sorry no sympathy for ECB. Also feel that as they ‘suspended’ him, now he has been charged, they should not have changed their position. If, however, he had not been charged, then I would have completely understood him being available for selection now. NB: this is not me saying I agree or disagree with the original decision by the ECB, just arguing what they should have done now based on the initial decision they made, to be consistent. Actually thinking about it, the ECB being inconsistent is entirely consistent for them!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. alecpaton Jan 17, 2018 / 9:04 pm

    While I don’t have any sympathy for the ECB (or more accurately the elements of the board whose handiwork is known to all and sundry here), theirs is a particularly thorny bind.

    The contrasts with the KP situation are worth nothing however. KP was a centrally contracted player whom the powers that be decided they no longer wished to select. He was still subject to the terms of his central contract however, and provided he did nothing to breach it was entitled to some 8 months worth of salary- hence why his autobiography didn’t appear until the autumn of that year. Given the pile of gold under St John’s Wood that would make Smaug envious, they could afford to eat the cost and assume that everything would sort itself out by the time the World Cup round (insert 28 Days joke here).

    By comparison, Stokes remains a centrally contracted player whom the ECB are desperate to start selecting again. Their main stumbling block to this point was lack of knowledge about whether or not he would be dragged away from his antipodean adventure to answer before the court (bail hearings, pleas, what have you). Can you imagine the problems if England had managed to keep the series live to Sydney, mainly due to 4 straight washouts, only for Stokes to have to fly back home 2 days into the final test on 58 not out overnight?

    At least, now there is some certainty and they can properly plan and prepare around him (helped by the fact that it’s an either way, rather than a flat out indictable offence).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maxie Allen (@MaxieAllen) Jan 18, 2018 / 8:29 am

      That’s a rather good analysis. The timing issue hadn’t previously occurred to me – the idea that Stokes could have been called back at short notice.

      Overall, given the nature of the alleged offence, and the nature of an international cricketer’s wider responsibilities, I think the ECB should have continued to leave Stokes out of the side until the legal process was complete. This is the standard practice for people in public life, once charged with a criminal offence.

      However, Graeme Swann was not suspended when he was charged with drink-driving in (I think) 2010. Maybe the ECB don’t take that offence very seriously. Swann was later acquitted.

      Liked by 1 person

    • BoredInAustria Jan 18, 2018 / 8:39 am

      “to fly back home 2 days into the final test on 58 not out overnight?”

      Would that be called – Bailed Out?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2018 / 9:52 pm

    Paul Newman’s piece in the Mail is probably what you’d expect it to be – he is furious – but it’s also interesting for what he is accusing. He is basically saying Ben Stokes was threatening the ECB. If they didn’t pick him, he and his representatives (ISM?) would sue the ECB for restraint of trade. There was a rant about him being picked up by the IPL and all the indignation you would expect from a Newman piece. This was KP vintage.

    Given this sort of stuff is always sourced through “good journalism” who is singing like a bird to Paul?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan Jan 17, 2018 / 10:03 pm

      You called this years ago. You said wait until Stokes does something wrong, they will be after him. Such a sad state of affairs……


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2018 / 10:15 pm

      Nick Hoult, in his piece, again mentioning the threat of being sued has this little nugget:

      But the senior executive of Graves, Tom Harrison and Andrew Strauss were unanimous that he should be made available for selection, once they heard legal advice.

      And this:

      Stokes should learn over the next few days when his first court appearance will take place. It could delay his arrival in New Zealand but his legal team are in the process of establishing whether he would need to attend any preliminary hearings in person. The decision will also be popular with Sky, the ECB’s main media partner, for they have live coverage of the New Zealand leg of the winter rather than rivals BT Sport, who covered the Australia tour.

      The ECB decision will have enormous financial implications for Stokes. It is a sign of support from the governing body just as he enters the IPL auction on Jan 27. Stokes will be the big drawcard and can expect a massive deal. But IPL sources have been quoted in India over the past few days that his uncertain legal position might put off potential buyers who feared he may have to miss matches due to his legal problems.

      He believes a court case may be 18 months away. The wheels of justice….


      • Mark Jan 17, 2018 / 11:10 pm

        The Sky connection again?

        Shouldn’t have anything to do with it, but the ECB just couldn’t keep their mouths shut about how they had nothing to do with the ACB /BT deal. I wish I was not so cynical. I just can’t help it.


      • BoredInAustria Jan 18, 2018 / 8:43 am

        “..The decision will also be popular with Sky, the ECB’s main media partner, for they have live coverage of the New Zealand leg of the winter rather than rivals BT Sport, who covered the Australia tour…”

        So. Do not let Mr. Big Ticket Item play for the BT series. But for the Sky series.


    • Mark Jan 17, 2018 / 11:20 pm

      So according to Newman the players representives might sue the ECB for restraint of trade. And guess which pundit pops up on 5 live this evening to say he would have him on the plane to Australia for the remaining ODIs? Even if it was to just have him around the squad.

      How many more media company’s are going to pay this pundit with out pointing out the conflict of interest in all the players the company he works for has with the England team?

      Even MPs have to declare an interest and they are right down on the ethics scale.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jan 17, 2018 / 11:35 pm

        By the way, suing the national team for restraint of trade poses an interesting moral case. Isn’t it an honour to play for your country? That’s the guff that the media and the players trot out all the time.

        And if it can be established why can’t players who were not selected Sue for restraint of trade? The Governing bodies of various sports could be in court for years fighting off cases of players not selected.


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2018 / 11:36 pm

          The honour was mentioned copiously in the tweets tonight from Ben Stokes.


        • thelegglance Jan 17, 2018 / 11:37 pm

          On the latter bit, presumably because there’s nothing stopping the rest of us signing up to any league we want to for money, whereas a centrally contracted player can’t, but is also earning less than they would have? Guessing.


          • Mark Jan 17, 2018 / 11:54 pm

            Interesting! So if you sign a central contract, you have to be selected then? That can’t be right.

            And I’m assuming he has been still getting paid (in accordance with his central contract) by the ECB during the Ashes even though he was not picked? And the argument that he could have gone and played elsewhere is surely not right because the whole point of a central contract is to give the ECB power over where the player plays.

            That is why they wouldn’t let KP go to the IPL when he had a central contract. Some said at the time he should give up his central contract, and just go to the IPL and take his chance of being picked for England when he came back from India.

            And no TLG I still haven’t got any sympathy for the ECB.


          • thelegglance Jan 17, 2018 / 11:57 pm

            No, not selected, but eligible for selection perhaps? Wasn’t that the same scenario with Pietersen where they got into hot water legally when they made it clear they wouldn’t select him? Murky waters.

            Not expecting you or anyone else to agree over that!


  8. Silk Jan 17, 2018 / 10:35 pm

    It don’t know anymore.

    All I know is that if KP had twatted anyone (or if we’d won the Ashes)…


  9. LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2018 / 10:37 pm

    My own view is worthless. I’ve had no massively strong feelings on this one from the start. Which probably makes me in a considerable minority, but that’s not stopped me. I’m with Andrew Miller most of the way here, without the “national ambassador” bit in the main.

    I do have sympathy for the ECB to some extent, but we are always going to reflect on it looking back to the KP stuff four years ago. Trust is a beautiful thing, and if you can’t trust your player not to sue you for a discretionary decision he, in some way, might have avoided, then I’m truly not sure when you can trust him. But let’s see how this all plays out. The reporting, if nothing else, is going to be fascinating.


  10. Rob Jan 17, 2018 / 10:45 pm

    Prior to the 1981 tour of the West Indies, captain Ian Botham was also subject to an affray charge – subsequently he was acquitted This did not stop the MCC picking him – indeed the hearings were adjourned until the tour was concluded. How was this case that much different?


    • thelegglance Jan 17, 2018 / 10:46 pm

      Was he? I’ve just done a search for that and nothing comes up. Do you have any more info?


      • Rob Jan 17, 2018 / 11:14 pm

        It was a widely reported story – refer to David Tossell’s 2015 anthology, “Sex Drugs and Rebel Tours”


        • thelegglance Jan 17, 2018 / 11:15 pm

          I wasn’t doubting you, but I was a little young and don’t remember it.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2018 / 10:48 pm

      There wasn’t a video recording of the alleged act, Rob.

      I will still not understand how we have to watch the words we say ever so carefully or else we might cop some trouble but a national newspaper can put that video out to the general public and not a word. Amazing.


      • thelegglance Jan 17, 2018 / 10:50 pm

        Because he’d not been arrested at that point. So you can put out anything you like. It’s only when the legal process kicks in you can’t.


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 17, 2018 / 10:53 pm

          He was arrested on the night and released the following morning. The video came out after his arrest, or am I missing something here?

          “Stokes, 26, was arrested by Avon and Somerset police on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm at 2.35am and spent the night in custody before being released under investigation without charge. He had been out after England’s 124-run win against West Indies on Sunday.”

          Also, on the Sun’s page today there is a still from the video, with an arrow pointing to an individual with his name highlighted. Again, we tiptoe, they stomp. We’re right to do so.


        • thelegglance Jan 17, 2018 / 10:57 pm

          Sorry, poor wording on my part. He was arrested and released without charge pending investigation. As I understand it when they send it off to the CPS it then becomes sub judice in lieu of the old system when it was the police who decided to charge.

          Ah, found it. ‘oral charge’ is the key point I think.


          • OscarDaBosca Jan 17, 2018 / 11:08 pm

            The video is shocking (not for its content), but for its highlighting Stokes (I wouldn’t have recognised him because the quality is poor) and because of the prejudicial nature of it.
            The fact that it is still available is surely contempt of court?
            It used to be in the olden days (as my teen age daughter says) that the Press had to be really careful, but now we get media coverage of police raids which also surely prejudices people’s rights to a fair trial. The CPS does nothing to the 4th estate so it take liberties


          • Rob Jan 17, 2018 / 11:22 pm

            Your distinction between “merely being arrested” and being charged is surely wrong (as proceedings are active from the moment of an arrest).

            Which begs the questions, have ISM or someone else sent you some sort of misleading pre-action letter?


          • thelegglance Jan 17, 2018 / 11:26 pm

            I’m not a lawyer, so it’s definitely possible! But from listening to people talk about it they’ve differentiated the bit from when that oral charge is made in terms of how they cover it compared to when arrest is made, because at that point there’s no indication of a charge being at all likely.

            Truth is we would need a media lawyer to explain properly, but that’s how it was put to me as the difference in reporting right at the start to when the legal system proper kicked in. If you know more, please do say.


          • Rob Jan 18, 2018 / 5:59 am

            My favourite Australian cricketer has always been Clem Hill, not because of any success on the pitch, but because of his altercation with selector Peter McAlister on 2nd February 1912, where one account claims he almost threw him out of third storey window (eventually ending his career in the process) – see Martin Williamson 26th August 2005, Cricinfo.

            Whichever view you take on Ian Chappell’s dispute with Ian Botham in 1977 (rather curiously, it is said that Botham clobbered Chappell whereas Chappelli has always denied much happened) – clearly everyone was denied a salacious trial.

            TLG does not need a media lawyer – I hope. We have Dominic Grieve to thank for when as Attorney General, he helpfully set out a rather dumbed down guide to Contempt (see the Prejudice and Social Media guide as to what is acceptable (i.e. among such nuggets are that you cannot say “C is definitely guilty… #throwawaythekey”). Any basic media guide on Contempt (see for example the BBC’s guide) paraphrases the usual position that active proceedings arise from the time of arrest – such that one wonders why TLG adopts a more convoluted position.

            Currently the CPS have set out a very short media statement and Stokes has responded with three scripted tweets when stating his innocence – all available online – none of which references the Sun’s video. Unlike the Sun, BOC has the disadvantage of not having the access to the original recording plus one imagines the usual witness statements as to the authenticity of the video (nor more ready access to Counsel).

            LCL misunderstands my point, that perhaps there is no inconsistency in the ECB’s position if it was the ACB who refused to allow Ben Stokes to tour (outstanding criminal proceedings something of a bar to an Australian Visa – if not as reported as well entry into other countries). Of course if he plays in the LOIs as Vaughan has tweeted, that theory is out of the window….


          • thelegglance Jan 18, 2018 / 8:45 am

            Well let’s put it this way: the video was released publicly at that time, and would not be released later on because it might prejudice a trial. Convoluted or not, it’s how the media see the difference, for whatever reason. You’re spot on that it seems a puzzle, in that the advice doesn’t make it clear there should be a difference, but there obviously is, and that’s how it was explained to me. Always possible that’s wrong, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!


  11. man in a barrel Jan 18, 2018 / 12:09 am

    About 10 years ago I read an article that said that, although there were CC TVs on every high street in England, no CC TV evidence had ever been found admissible in trial. Words to that effect. It’s worth thinking about but not discussing right now

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mark Jan 18, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    Well that didn’t last long did it?

    The court has now set the start of the trial for February 13th which amazingly is the same date as England’s first 20/20 with New Zealand.

    This has become farcical now. I think it would be a good idea for both parties to just let the court case take priority.


  13. AB Jan 18, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    Just imagine the stick he is going to get from NZ in his comeback game. They’re probably getting some criminal psychological profilers to write sledges for them. I hope he doesn’t lose his rag and punch the umpire or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherwick Jan 18, 2018 / 4:20 pm

      As long as he doesn’t whistle or look out of the window, he’ll be fine.


    • jomesy Jan 18, 2018 / 8:55 pm

      Remind me, I forget as it was only when they reported on pietersen that they drilled it into you that he wasn’t born in eng/wales, where was stokes born?


  14. KidVicious Jan 18, 2018 / 3:00 pm

    I’ve always like Vic’s articles and he puts up another one here

    He brings up the interesting point of allowing Stokes into the team at the risk of not pissing him off and having him turn his back on England, in a similar way of not enforcing Root to rest as he wants an IPL contract.

    It becomes quite an interesting question of who owes (or owns) who. This was one thing that always amazed me about the KP affair; after all the shit, he still wanted to play for England. But I can’t help feeling that times are changing.

    This is a debatable issue, but does WI cricket owe Chris Gayle or does Chris Gayle owe WI cricket? Similar can be said with KP (as a fan I definitely feel I owe him more than he does England), and of course now with Stokes it becomes more problematic as his career is still in its relative infancy.

    This is different to 20 odd years ago when playing for your country would be a huge honour. Now, you don’t play so much for England (and Wales) as for Team ECB. That’s not as an attractive proposition. The ECB may have lost a lot of their bargaining power with players, the kind of authority they had over KP which made him put with all the stuff with Flower et al. Stokes has the power, the ECB need him, otherwise he could walk away and have a lucrative career elsewhere.

    It’s hard to say whether he’s wrong!!


    • KidVicious Jan 18, 2018 / 5:56 pm

      Just looking back I realised that I framed the question in a very similar manner to the way a certain Ed Smith frames a topic.

      Feel a little nauseous.


      • Rooto Jan 18, 2018 / 8:54 pm

        Nah, don’t worry. Not half pretentious enough!
        “When he was viewing the rubble and ruins of Tallinn, destroyed by his marauding troops, the 13th century Muscovy noble Rublan III is claimed to have asked ‘When will it be rebuilt?’ Although AJP Taylor, in his seminal 1958 work on the period, believed that Ruslan was wracked with guilt over his actions, contemporaries believed he merely wanted to show that his actions were not a one-off and that he held the power to do it again. So is the eternal dilemma stemming from the internal struggles of the successful modern sportsman. When can I get the chance to do it again? I was reminded of this truism this week when (sub, fill in name) hit the headlines for his…” (cont. p94)

        Liked by 3 people

        • Sherwick Jan 18, 2018 / 9:14 pm

          You lost me at ‘when’


    • Zephirine Jan 20, 2018 / 1:37 am

      the kind of authority they had over KP which made him put with all the stuff with Flower et al.

      I think your previous description was right: after all the shit, KP still wanted to play for England. Perhaps that was to do with him and not the different times…. he’d come over here by himself when quite young, to make his way in English cricket, and it was all justified if he was playing for England… that was his weak point and they knew it.

      Of course, at the same time he wanted to go and be a big noise at the IPL.


  15. nonoxcol Jan 19, 2018 / 8:18 am

    Just seen #39’s exchange with Sean on Twitter, re PR Disaster Downton.

    He’s earned his place on Mount Cricketmore.

    I’ll just link to his parting shot, as a flavour:

    He didn’t stir it by being the polar opposite of debonair, or anything silly like that. No sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jan 19, 2018 / 9:19 am

      This one, especially the final part, is as arrogant as you could believe.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Jan 19, 2018 / 9:56 am

        39 in his eager attempt to defend the ECBs handling of the Stokes affair was getting himslef perilously close to saying things about the actual case on 5 live last night.

        At one point he said that other people had been charged which showed there might of been provocation. This forced the host to say…”no no no we can’t talk about the details of the case.” Seemed amazingly reckless to me for a so called proffesional journalist.

        He also stated that it was likely the ECB had decided to keep Stokes out of the Aussie part of the tour because the Aussies would have wound him up, where as New Zealand is a smaller, quieter place where he has family. Didn’t sound very principled to me by the ECB.

        On the other hand he did point out that Stokes is very close to being banned for on field issues as he has racked up enough points. Although 39 blamed that on the system for giving points for minor offences. It’s amazing how they defend the ones they like, and throw under the bus the ones they don’t like.


        • thelegglance Jan 19, 2018 / 10:37 am

          My conclusion over the years is that Hughes’ main problem is that he’s not very bright. Pity, and hardly his fault, but somewhat problematic when your claimed metier is being an analyst.


      • nonoxcol Jan 19, 2018 / 10:05 am

        Yes, that was the standout: I didn’t want to be accused of spoiling the whole movie.


        • thelegglance Jan 19, 2018 / 10:28 am

          I’m open jawed with amazement at his implication that not playing professionally with a ball and piece of wood means you haven’t done anything for the world. There you go everyone – you little people don’t count.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Mark Jan 19, 2018 / 10:47 am

            But this is their standard response to any criticism of the people who get hired for jobs that they are not suitable for. This, after they have ignored the fact that many people point out at the time what a bad appointment it is. They lash out at people who never get considered for such jobs by saying……

            ” what have you ever done?” Well most people don’t get the chance because the system is clogged up with a network of old boys.


          • thelegglance Jan 19, 2018 / 10:53 am

            I suspect there’s a hell of a lot of people who could answer ‘quite a lot actually’ and detail their chosen profession. That’s the arrogance of it, the assumption that because it’s not cricket it’s a lesser thing. There are people who comment on this blog who have made a material difference to humanity in their professional lives. Yet they don’t count it seems.

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Jan 19, 2018 / 12:16 pm

            He didn’t do it out of charity, did he? Downton is not Mother Teresa.

            It was a job set up by the old boys network and they fell on their faces when he was hopeless. Decent people, and I’ve no idea if he is decent or not but I’ve not been an LLP member of three organisations had up in front of the courts for tax avoidance, can be utterly hopeless at their job. I’d have felt some sympathy if he’d not branded us “outside cricket”, if he’d not insulted our intelligence over the Pietersen affair, and if he hadn’t stumbled around after the World Cup debacle absolutely clueless in what to say.

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Jan 19, 2018 / 11:30 am

            I’d need to go back to the virtual transcripts of the Downton interview with Agnew that I jotted down in 2014 in, I think, five parts, to confirm. But I think Downton said he never actually applied for the job, was tapped up by someone to go for an interview, and Robert’s your father’s brother. Maybe that’s where being “debonair” comes in.

            And by “most thought it a good appointment” that doesn’t seem to go much wider than the ECB, the Middlesex Media Mafia, Stephen “Aplomb” Brenkley, Dean “impressive behind the scenes” Wilson and Downton’s immediate family. Saying Downton was a victim of circumstance, which in part he was, is like saying to an Antarctic explorer that you’d have done OK if only you hadn’t tried to get to the South Pole wearing shorts and t-shirt.

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Jan 19, 2018 / 11:46 am

            With no further comment. Enjoy.

            Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Jan 19, 2018 / 12:19 pm

            You could say the same about Joey Essex, but he probably wouldn’t be given the job by the ECB.


          • Mark Jan 19, 2018 / 11:58 am

            39s piece in the telegraph on Downton’s appointment is comedy gold…..

            “When Downton arrived at Middlesex from Kent, where his career path was obstructed by the brilliant Alan Knott, we saw an intelligent, dapper individual from the shires nicknamed Nobby who did not immediately seem to fit with the rather cruder, laddish Londoners in the team.”

            Who are these laddish Londoners? 39? Selvey? Brearley?

            “It was a considerable surprise when, on his Middlesex debut, which was also mine, he was chosen to open the batting with the captain, Mike Brearley. He was, we thought, a keeper who could hold up an end at No 9, but nothing more.”

            Let’s see how that bastion of team spirit, subservience to the captain, and doyenne of the No dickheads rule reacted….

            “Blimey, he’s off his rocker this time,” said the swing bowler Mike Selvey referring to Brearley’s general non-conformism. “I always thought the man was crackers,” added the opening batsman Graham Barlow.

            Are yes, such respect for the captain, I wonder if he had his card marked?

            “He has always coveted a return to the cricket fold, something the England and Wales Cricket Board recognised as it recruited him before he had apparently given the job much thought.”

            So Dmitri is right…..he didn’t even have to apply?


          • man in a barrel Jan 19, 2018 / 1:54 pm

            I can see some disparaging comments about PRD’s cv but he worked for Cazenove for 17 years – one of the most highly respected City broking firms – at the level of Executive Director. So he obviously got a few things right. And if you are going to drop ominous hints about his involvement in Ingenious Films then the story is rather more nuanced than first meets the eye




            I really don’t see what this has to do with his appointment to a job in a totally unrelated field for which he had no obvious skills apart from having played cricket with reasonable success for Kent, Middlesex and England


          • LordCanisLupus Jan 19, 2018 / 3:19 pm

            There are no ominous hints, just facts. Hughes brought his character into it, not us. “What good have we done in the world?”

            Those entities were had up before the courts on tax avoidance claims. That’s a fact MiaB. Personally, I pay my taxes and don’t have these sorts of things in my portfolio. Each to their own. The nuance comes because they are complex cases, and the complexity turns a lot of us off. Hell, he may not even jave known and his accountant was doing tax minimisation.

            Oh, I have an ISA. Which according to people using these nice little schemes, is just the same. At current interest rates I probably “avoided” tax for the amount of a first class stamp.

            I work in a world where there is a ton of tax minimisation. I’m not happy about it, recognise it is the way of the world, wish we could all be a bit more altruistic and a little less selfish, but I’m barking at the moon there. But no-one is saying he shouldn’t have been where he was in the financial institution, but what they are saying is that the old boys network got him the ECB job, and to have what good have we done in the world thrown back by an idiot means, yes, you point out such trivialities.

            Liked by 1 person

        • man in a barrel Jan 19, 2018 / 2:00 pm

          For further background:

          “The May 2017 supplementary decision now confirms that the case is lost by Ingenious. However it is clear from the judges’ summing up that it is far from straight forward and has developed in a way that none of the investors could have originally predicted. The decision is said to have been reached “with misgivings and reluctance””


          • Sherwick Jan 19, 2018 / 3:49 pm

            Downton saw 2 major issues, but strangely and bizarrely one of them wasn’t why we were 4 nil down in an Ashes after 4 matches: “I arrived in Sydney on December 31, and it was clear from meeting Andy Flower that there were two major issues,” Downton said. “He was uncertain about his future and whether he wanted to stay and what we were going to do about Kevin. The issue at the stage was that you had a senior England player who had got disconnected from the team.”

            How anyone can respect the man Downton after that is beyond me.

            Liked by 1 person

      • oreston Jan 19, 2018 / 10:40 pm

        “Pipe down, oiks, or I’ll set the chav catcher on you !”


  16. Scrim Jan 19, 2018 / 10:57 am

    From the snippets I’ve seen, England have played really nicely in the two ODIs so far.

    Over 250000 turned up over 5 days to the MCG despite it being one of the dullest tests in recent memory. BBL games are pulling 45-50000 spectators every other day in Melbourne. Only 37000 turned up to the match last weekend in a stadium that holds nearly 100000, and by the time Roy raised his bat for 150 there wouldn’t have been 20000 there. Decent crowd at the Gabba tonight though.

    The domestic 50 over competition is now held as a carnival in September that visits a few cities. over 3 weeks. There hasn’t been a domestic 50 over game in my hometown, Adelaide, since February 2013.

    Despite all the World Cup success over the last 20 years, 50 over cricket seems to have died in Australia, eaten by BBL. That’s not to say that international T20 is highly regarded in Australia either – Warner, Smith, Starc and the rest of the test team were in India for Australia’s most recent home T20I series, with the last match in the series scheduled the day before the first test in Pune was to start.

    The funny thing is, no one really seems to mind. I must say that I don’t really mind either. In fact, rather than apathy, most people back home seem to be annoyed that there is no BBL due to the ODIs. Unless Starc finds his radar again and can reproduce his 2015 World Cup form, maybe combined with a return of an in-form Glenn Maxwell, Australia will continue to struggle in this format.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 19, 2018 / 11:50 am

      On the subject of apathy, I think I’ll take an excerpt from Simon Hughes, contributing to the world, and his marvelous editorial in this month’s Cricketer magazine. Basically, we forget away test series defeats pretty easily. It’s winning at home that matters to the fans, the press and importantly the media. Because when we win, TV gets more viewers.

      I mean, we’ve all forgotten 2013/14, don’t mention Adelaide at all, don’t make TV programmes about how bad we were in Ashes series and the rest in the 1990s, or turn back the clock to Lillee and Thomson, Blackwashes and We flippin’ murdered them.

      Sometimes I wonder.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jan 19, 2018 / 12:03 pm

        Someone should tell the barmy army, and the broadcasters who spend millions on these away series.

        “You only sing when you’re winning” doesn’t sound like a great bussiness model to me.


    • AB Jan 20, 2018 / 11:19 pm

      I feel like the best hope test cricket has in the long run, is that 50 over cricket dies first. There’s room for 2 formats, but probably not 3.


  17. Sherwick Jan 19, 2018 / 11:32 am

    Am loving this side with none of our ‘greats’ Cook, Anderson and Broad. And Morgan as captain. And Root doing briliantly (whp is now a far better finisher than Mike Hussey over the same no of games almost!).


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 19, 2018 / 12:11 pm

      And judging by the drop in hits, the lack of Twitter reaction, the lack of comments on here, and the press not giving it huge attention, not many give a stuff.

      Welcome to the modern sporting world. Over with in a day, forgotten tomorrow unless something amazing happens. I await all the articles telling me ODI cricket is dying, and that the uptick in English fortunes is nothing to do with one day cricket in the counties.


      • RufusSG Jan 19, 2018 / 3:51 pm

        “Over with in a day, forgotten tomorrow unless something amazing happens.” – is that anything new though? I know it depends a bit on whether you enjoy one-day cricket much in the first place (I like all the formats but I know many don’t) whether you’re going to be engaged by it, but surely you’ve forgotten many of the duller test matches you’ve seen in years past, or many of Millwall’s 0-0 results. Undeniably the press can hype sporting occasions up to the point where you’re bound to be underwhelmed and that’s certainly on them, but not every game needs to be amazing for it to have been worthwhile and worth revisiting (although the sheer number of one-day games at times doesn’t help). Lower-key games have always been a thing in pretty much every sport. ODI cricket has supposedly been on its deathbed for years anyway and people always find reasons to stick around.

        Plus there usually tends to be an upswing in comments (here at any rate, but in a number of other places I frequent too) when England are being heavily beaten: either a good or bad thing depending on your perspective…


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 19, 2018 / 3:57 pm

          Got a meeting with some bankers coming up so will have to run.

          Our biggest cricket month was when England won the Ashes in 2015. While, yes, we do call ourselves the bad news blog at times, we get a lot of hits when we win too.

          I know what you are saying about ODIs, but there’s not the passion behind them that there is with tests when it comes to England.

          I still have a recording from 1994 of Millwall 0-0 Middlesbrough. One of the worst games I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few. Always said that if we had kids we’d lock them in a room and make them watch it as punishment!


        • metatone Jan 19, 2018 / 4:42 pm

          I’ve written plenty of times on here about how I’m rather disenchanted with cricket as a whole, but I have been pleasantly surprised not just by the England ODI team winning, but also that feeling that win or lose, they are competitive. They aren’t the most talented team out there IMO, but for the first time in a long time, they have an up-to-date strategy and are making the most out of the players they have. And yes, they can win this series and it doesn’t add up to much (esp. if they fail badly at the WC) but it still brightened my morning.


  18. Mark Jan 19, 2018 / 7:37 pm

    Is there a more disingenuous and biased football journalist in all of English football than Darren Fletcher? Every Friday night on five live he turns the BBCs football review show into a tedious long winded party political broadcast on behalf of what is obviously his great love. Week after week we are told that Man U will win this or they will win that. It’s quite embarrasing, particularly in the last couple of years. You need a sick bucket standing by to be able throw up at such infatuation.

    So no surprise to hear him spinning like a top on behalf of his favourate football team tonight with the Sanchez transer almost completed (I thought the BBC had a rule about bias?) Apparently Darren has been “wound up” by some of the things said about Sanchez this week. Why? If he is an independent reporter why would he care?

    Of course if he is a staunch Man U fan it makes more sense. Sanchez is just another over paid footballer. Why would Fletcher see it as his role to jump to the defence of a footballer? I think we can guess why? Mark Chapman is a Man U fan. But he is honest about it, and is able to conduct himself with some integrity, Not so Mr Fletcher. Get rid BBC. He is a joke journalist. And belongs on MUTV.


    • Adam H Jan 20, 2018 / 3:29 am

      Not a big football fan, and never heard of Fletcher or Chapman, but why do you think “Sanchez is just another over paid footballer”? You would rather have the clubs and owners pocket this money?


      • Mark Jan 20, 2018 / 11:51 am

        Fair point Adam. However my bigger concern is where the money is coming from rather than where it is going. It can only result in massive wage inflation as other players will demand ever increasing wages to match his. This will have to be paid for by fans (customers) either through much higher ticket prices or increases in TV subscriptions. ( I wonder if this is why Murdoch is getting out of English sports tv?) It amazes me how fans are just treated as a never ending source of money for players ever larger ludicrous demands. One day the bubble will burst.

        In one generation we have seen a complete change in the average football crowd as more young people are priced out, and middle aged men are the ones who can afford the increases. This is not sustainable over the long haul. Without huge injections of cash from outside football, through owners pumping money in (see Chelsea, Man City) or sponsors who pass the cost onto their customers through higher prices of their products, football would be in deep do do.

        It’s an interesting debate as the whether owners should benefit. Seeing as they are the ones taking the risks, and as the amounts of money get even more ludicrous the risks rise higher. If the whole thing comes crashing down it will be they who loose their shirts. So perhaps they should get more of the cash. (Not a popular view in sport I know)

        It also fascinates me how football is a buisness model that rewards failure. This particular player has done little for the last year. (His team failed to even get in the top 4) and yet is now given a salary that is more than double the best player in the country. A footballers contract is based entirely on what he might do. Unlike a tennis player or Golfer who starts every year with zero, and has to earn his money by winning tournaments. Sanchez may or may not turn out to be a success. But that hardly matters. He will get the money whatever he does? And remember, unlike other industries he can’t be sacked half way through if he turns out to be a mistake.


  19. Rooto Jan 19, 2018 / 8:04 pm

    With reference to the conversation above, I’d like to dedicate this Friday night musical interlude to number 39 – the ultimate cricketing starfucker. I know it’s not typical behaviour on this blog to post a song, but every time I read about him I think of this almost-classic.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. clivejw Jan 20, 2018 / 2:58 am

    Hello. Sorry to change the subject, but can anyone tell me why Oliver Holt has gone strangely silent about his bête noire, Eoin Morgan, now that England have won back-to-back internationals under Morgan’s superb captaincy? After all, if Morgan is responsible for the drinking culture in the *test* team, of which he isn’t even a member (as Holt would have us believe), he surely must have even greater impact on the cricketers under his direct charge in their public roles on the cricket field, no?

    Now, when it comes to bête noires, I admit that I have one myself, but I hope it would be admitted that I always *try* to say something positive about the Fleecy One when he does well, however much it goes against the grain. Actually, I always find it kind of good for the soul when I have to modify or even change my prejudices.

    It seems that Holt is made of sterner stuff.


    • Mark Jan 20, 2018 / 12:07 pm

      Very good point Clive!

      Probably because he was talking rubbish when he tried to have Morgan sacked. He’s got bigger fish to fry right now. Telling us that Sanchez is the greatest player in world football, and how Man U fans should be grateful in having to pay his wages.

      Have you noticed how journalists who never have to pay to watch sport think ever rising prices for fans is just fine? It’s only when someone won’t pay their air fare to Australia they seem to get grumpy.


    • Zephirine Jan 20, 2018 / 2:48 pm

      Would it be fanciful to suggest that as long as Cook was Test captain, Morgan was the rival and usurper, but now Morgan can be safely ignored while the shortcomings of Root are examined at every opportunity?

      No, that is fanciful, obviously.


      • oreston Jan 21, 2018 / 2:10 am

        It’s not fanciful at all. Cynical? Perhaps, but not unreasonably so.


    • Mark Jan 20, 2018 / 7:33 pm

      Yes, there is some interesting stuff. Especially about the constant noise and distraction for kids. Have you watched children’s TV lately these days? It’s constant noise and flashing lights. Send your conspiracy theories care of Tin foil hat land.

      It’s complicated. But it’s all about the money I guess. It’s probably that I’m getting old, but culture just seems to be squashed into a mush of ordinaryness these days. Popularity should not be confused with quality. But quality doesn’t guarantee money.

      I was watching a BBC channel four show last night. A lady in the music industry was explaining how she finds talent, and then promotes it. It was deeply cynical, and came across as completely fake. But as she pointed out , it was no different for Elvis and the Beatles, or the manufactured sound and groups of Motown.

      It all just seems a bit more obvious these days. A bit more phony, a bit more fake. Perhaps that’s what happens when you have had a chance to see behind the curtain. I found Stokes tweet the other day about pride in wearing the shirt , in light of the rumour to sue the governing body a little too much to take, A bit like when footballers hold up shirts of their new club.

      I think maybe we are all living in the Trueman show even though we all hope that is not the case.


      • nonoxcol Jan 20, 2018 / 10:45 pm

        The Trueman Show. Tagline: “He really *doesn’t* know what’s going off out there!”

        Liked by 2 people

  21. BoredInAustria Jan 21, 2018 / 8:32 am

    On Hales in the G (the new bold G…)

    “In October, he learned he was not under investigation and began the process of getting on with life and cricket. That, in part, has begun with a change in his management team..”

    I see he is now with 366 – where was he before? Perhaps ISM?


    “His popularity may have dwindled at the ECB, especially after missing the tour to Bangladesh in 2016, but it has not in the squad. He was welcomed back with open arms – “the guys have been brilliant” – and that, in part, is down to Hales. He is regarded by many around the English circuit as a fine team-mate, one who goes out of his way to champion the achievements of others…”

    So it is not about the dressing room…


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 21, 2018 / 9:03 am

      He’s with 366 Group. Which given the number I thought might be something to do with Neil Fairbrother. It doesn’t appear to be.


  22. Mark Jan 21, 2018 / 10:06 am

    Comedy gold hour on the Sunday supplement this morning.

    The fake “independent” football jounalists are eulogising over Sanchez. (They wouldn’t be if he was going to Man City. Then they would be very concerned about his wages) There is nothing Man U could do that would not have the fat Custis on his knees in reverence, Remember when he said parking the bus at Libwrpool was a great result and would help to win them the title? He is a walking talking bulshit merchant.

    If Man U were to open fire with machine guns on the crowd you get the feeling the majority of English football jounalists would find a way to see it from the clubs point of view. . Ollie Holt shrilling away as well. It’s a Man U tag team of syrupy sweetness. Same as it always is. And always will be.

    The fat Custis is the pravda of Man U.


    • Mark Jan 21, 2018 / 10:43 am

      Custis is moaning about player power now. Had absolutely no problem at the start of the show with a certain player being offered £400 grand a week having done f*** all for the last 18 months, and sulking for the last six months.


  23. Riverman21 Jan 21, 2018 / 10:23 am

    Good decision by the umpires on the Buttler catch I reckon.


  24. Sherwick Jan 21, 2018 / 11:11 am

    3 nil and zeries won!! 😀🍾🥂
    Great bowling by all, in particular Wood and Rashid!


    • Mark Jan 21, 2018 / 11:29 am

      I know it’s a completely different game but I wish the test team would start to understand the importance of taking wickets on flat pitches. Bowling dry is just not going to cut it. You need some other options. Sometimes you can get players to make mistakes playing bad shots off bad balls.

      Ian Botham got many wickets off poor balls. I’m not suggesting you bowl badly. Just sometimes you have to tempt the batsman rather than only trying to dry up runs. Offer them something which might lead to an error. Just bowling short of length, and wide with the new ball is not the only option out there.


      • "IronBalls" McGinty Jan 21, 2018 / 11:39 am

        Agreed Mark. I still think the test team are playing “cricket by numbers”..a legacy of the Flower/Moores axis?


      • @pktroll Jan 21, 2018 / 11:42 am

        I can’t help feeling that the end of the Broad and Anderson era might not be the off the cliff edge moment for the test side. Individuality of thought would help with this.

        Liked by 1 person

        • KidVicious Jan 21, 2018 / 1:35 pm

          So much credit has to go to Morgan for all of it. Maybe a bit for Bayliss as well, but he is in both formats so I’m not convinced he has been that influential. A penny for Jo Roots thoughts as well considering he sees the attitude and approaches in both dressing rooms.

          I notice how much more fun the ODI team have on the field, and it’s not just because they’re winning. I can’t help but feeling that there are certain long-standing individuals (or a group of individuals) that make the Test dressing room a far less fun place to be in, and a far less welcoming place for people to have other ideas and suggestions.

          I have been pleasantly surprised by Andersen in the comms box though. Very knowledgeable about bowling, and sensing what a batsman is trying to do, and also field placings. Quite articulate too. I just hope they don’t put him in with his Bantz partner Swann in the future.

          One slight bugbear though. His grudging acknowledgment of Rashid’s 2-50odd being ‘cheaper than we have come to expect’ (considering the wickets have been high quality players, who have been mostly set, just when we needed them all throughout the series) compared to his analysis of similar figures for Wood and Woakes summed up the face-fits and personality attitude. Also made me smile when he criticised the Aussie bowling attack for bowling too short when slips are there for edges, and that when there was no lateral movement they looked toothless (both said during the first ODI). Having said that, he has been very good.

          Liked by 1 person

      • oreston Jan 21, 2018 / 2:31 pm

        I think they used to call it “buying a wicket.” Certainly worked well enough for Botham. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


  25. Clivejw Jan 21, 2018 / 9:38 pm

    Hard to tell if the management deserves any credit for our ODI successes (is it really 18 wins out of the last 20 completed matches?!). Bayliss never impresses me in any of his press interviews. He sounds bland and what Paul Downton might miscall “disinterested.” Whereas Paul Farbrace calls a spade a spade and sounds much more engaged. But who knows what goes on in training, maybe Bayliss really is some kind of genius on the ODI tactical front or in man management. He certainly isn’t either of those things in the test arena.

    But I haven’t been more impressed by an England captain in any format since Michael Vaughan than I am with Eoin Morgan in this series.. The self-confidence that he has instilled in this side is awesome, and it’s beginning to play mind games with Smith’s demoralized side. After the toss at the MCG, Morgan stated openly and with quiet conviction that England can chase any score. If the Aussies doubted it, Roy and Root soon enlightened them on that subject; it was this that panicked them into weakening the batting at the GABBA, and probably, after that one went even more comfortably England’s way, into bowling first at Sydney.

    Morgan’s been proactive in the field, inventive (bringing on Root in Brisbane when it became clear that spin was the key), and bold (giving Root a slip). He’s hardly missed a trick. But most of all, the fact that his players clearly enjoy playing under him and are confident in their roles (in contrast to the Aussies, who have no idea what role anyone should play apart from Finch) is a shining contrast to what is happening in the test side.

    About the 90-mph bowler argument, which was raised so often in the test series — ironically, speed hasn’t really been a major factor in this one-day series. None of the wickets have been that fast, even Brisbane, where spin was key. Sydney was more two-paced than usual — Buttler’s charge was timed to perfection (this lad has a brain as well as the sweetest bat in the white ball game). Though it was nice to see Wood make Warner hop at the MCG, his accurate line has been more important than his revs. No doubt Perth will be a faster track.

    England’s discipline with the ball has been impressive — they gave away only two wides today, compared with the Aussie’s 14. The death bowling was outstanding. Sure, the Aussies needed 30 off the last two, but England kept them down to 14. Woakes looks like a different player. Confident sides always catch better, two (I was disappointed by Smith’s behaviour when given out — the decision was obviously the right one, but even if it wasn’t, milking the crowd’s boos was poor).

    Of course, it’s never going to be as meaningful as winning a test series, particularly an overseas series (note that I don’t say “the Ashes” — I have never liked the media treatment of this bilateral series as more important than any other one). But given I was unable to watch much of the Ashes due to work, looking after sick parents, and then being ill myself, and when I did watch the cricket, we were crap, I have enjoyed this one-day series quite a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clivejw Jan 21, 2018 / 9:44 pm

      Oh, yeah, one more thing that stands out — England have seriously challenged the theory that taking wickets slows down the scoring rate. Whereas the Aussie run-rate has dipped after the fall of a wicket, even the loss of two quick wickets (twice) in Brisbane didn’t stop England’s acceleration. The long batting lineup helps — Woakes has been even more impressive with the bat than with the ball, averaging over 50 from number eight in the past two years (18 games).


      • Rooto Jan 22, 2018 / 3:32 pm

        Good points, Clive. You make me wonder whether the difference between the two sides is the confidence of the coaches transmitting itself to the players. In ODIs, “we know what to do and how to express it”, versus in tests “well, let’s try this”. Morgan’s presence could also be key.

        (BTW, we don’t know if it will be a faster track in Perth – it’s at the new, drop-in stadium. And I second zeph’s hope that everyone is better now.)


    • Zephirine Jan 22, 2018 / 2:22 am

      I suspect the great advantage of the Bayliss/Farbrace regime for the one-day game is they let Morgan lead the side and don’t get in his way. Imagine some of the previous coaches….

      Way back when the ECB was still opposing players going to the IPL, Morgan had this line: “Whenever I go to the IPL, I come back a better player.” It was a typical piece of courteous rebellion, but it also showed his attitude of always looking for what he can learn. This is in contrast to many English players who seem to have decided early on what they can do and then look to see how much of a career they can make out of it.

      What would be great would be Morgan and Root working together to strengthen their respective teams. No reason why that can’t happen.

      Sorry to hear about the illnesses, Clive, hope all better now.


      • metatone Jan 22, 2018 / 12:36 pm

        I think it’s important to remember that Bayliss coached KKR to two IPL titles in 3 years and Farbrace coached SL to the 2014 T20 WC. They certainly don’t look like a crackerjack Test coaching team, but they pretty much are as good a coaching team as is out there for limited overs cricket.

        Where that shows through for me is in the bowling plans (with due deference to the great skill Morgan shows in rotating the bowlers) – the bowlers just feel prepared for different batsmen (and different game situations.)

        (I might even say the big mystery is why the coaches find it so hard to transfer these skills to the Test team, I’ll take a punt and say that Branderson are too old dogs to take any good advice.)

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Sri. Grins Jan 22, 2018 / 1:42 am

    Good to see that I got the odi expectations from both teams right. The pitches need to help bowlers or they need to be playing a team like India which also likes batsmen friendly tracks to lose. I would expect that England would be no 1 in Lou formats pretty soon and given most English fans preference for test cricket it is going to be an interesting experience.


  27. pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 22, 2018 / 8:54 am

    Its weird that Warner and Smith both seem to be far lesser players in the shorter format these days than they are in the longer. Even more ironic in Warner’s case as he quite notably played for Australia in t20s before he’d even had a first class appearance for New South Wales. Smith is more understandable as he likes to wait for bowlers to bowl to him before he works the ball away. A fine tactic of course in test matches, but not what is required in limited overs. I wonder if in time he might be eased out of their limited overs sides given his obvious value in tests?


    • metatone Jan 22, 2018 / 12:40 pm

      I think you’re right about Smith’s approach – when he’s in perfect Test groove he isn’t thinking attacking enough for this era of ODIs. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if he can adapt for a big tournament (and I’d guess the Aussie selectors will bet he can.)

      Warner is more surprising, but I think there’s some fatigue there (even evident during the Ashes) and I think we have to give some credit to England’s bowling – they’ve looked hard for what lines/lengths cramp his style and have executed well so far.


  28. man in a barrel Jan 23, 2018 / 11:59 pm

    I should not do this but… Here is a socialist taxQC on the film “scams”

    So in 1997, (under a Labour administration by the way) the Government announced you could get all of those 13.3s in your first year. And this was enough to tip the balance. You could borrow, say, 80 and put up 20 of your own money. You’d get a tax credit of 40 in your first year so you’d be 20 up in that year alone. You’d get taxed on 92 as it came back to you (so it would be worth 55) but you’d invest the 20 you were up and make up the extra 5 and then some. You wouldn’t need to worry about repaying the borrowing – this would be done from the rental stream of 92 which the film-maker would pay a bank to guarantee.

    And the courts changed their minds. So Downton is a criminal, in your mind.


  29. BobW Jan 24, 2018 / 11:50 am

    The courts did not change their minds.
    This scheme was tax avoidance through using loopholes that existed. I am a financial adviser and knew other financial advisers who used this scheme to make money for their clients.
    I and other advisers did not use this scheme because it had never explicitly been approved by the IR. (I always take the view if it looks too good to be true. Don’t touch it)
    When it came to the IR’s notice, they looked at it and went to court with it, who found in favour of the IR.
    I would not say a criminal but someone who gambled badly and lost.


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