Simon Hughes Ate My Hamster

Clickbait. It’s a wonderful thing isn’t it, normally bought out at the time of year when news is slow or the journo’s are feeling particularly lazy. Normally the clickbait piece consists of the ‘5 things were learned’ or ‘Self important ex-cricketer assigns marks for the series performance’ or if you are the Daily Mail, Kevin Pietersen said something that they didn’t agree with. Clickbait  is designed to lure the reader in with the hope that they might get some juicy snippet of information or controversy whilst allowing the journo’s to tick views over when there is very little to write about.

As you may have seen this week, The Cricketer has decided to take this one step further with the ultimate display of clickbait:  “Cricketers, pot bellied, balding little Englanders who are only fit enough to stand in a field all day” in an interview with that well known and respected (haha) pundit Stan Collymore. The exact quote from the tiny bit that I bothered to scan from this was equally as ridiculous

‘I’m pointing out that cricket, in my opinion, gets more column and TV/radio coverage in the UK than its popularity, entertainment and commercial reality deserve. Cricket gets more TV coverage, more coverage on radio sports bulletins (why is Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe more relevant than Brazil v Argentina in a bulletin? The norm for decades!) and papers than the quality or support of the sport earns. Why?” He called cricketers “pot bellied, balding little Englanders who are only fit enough to stand in a field all day…”

The Cricketer then proceeds to write a long article explaining why ‘Dear Stan’ is indeed wrong, as if any of us need telling that it’s not wise to listen to the views of a thin-skinned, washed up, ex footballer. I’m amazed they didn’t just write in large letters ‘IT’S STAN COLLYMORE FFS, MOVE ALONG’. Yet I saw a number of tweets appear on my timeline from various county cricketers expressing their amazement and anger at such incendiary comments coming from Mr. Collymore, an empty headed idiot who made his fame on TalkSport by making incendiary comments at every possible moment and then generally shouting as loudly as he could. When I saw this and even in the age of social media and the advent of z-list celebrities, I genuinely didn’t understand why anyone would quite frankly give a shit about it, let alone get upset by it. However the one thing that did strike me, is why on earth The Cricketer would want to publish what Stan Collymore has to say in the first place. I know their editor is one sandwich short of a lunchbox and probably spends more time stroking his enormous ego than actually bothering to edit the magazine, but still, there wasn’t any way that this wasn’t going to reflect badly on said magazine. I personally haven’t read the Cricketer since Andrew Miller left as Editor and the current content confirms my initial thoughts that this was indeed a sensible thing on my behalf, but it still saddens me that a magazine I so used to enjoy has plummeted to the depths of a tabloid newspaper. We as fans are now left with virtually nothing to give us a quality insight into the game. Much has been written about the demise of the national newspapers, the fact that their own journalists pump their own agendas, the fact that most of their articles on cricket now are mainly filled from freelancers trying to sell their services to multiple papers (I’m looking at you Chris Stocks), the fact that County Cricket has virtually disappeared from view and the fact that the mantra that ‘Alastair Cook is god’ must be repeated time and time again. Then we get to the cricket specialists and it’s equally ugly. The Cricket Paper is where ex-journo’s go to see off their retirement and to spout the same old bitter bile that they have been spewing their whole career. As for All Out Cricket, newly renamed Wisden Cricket Monthly, though quite why Wisden would allow that shower of shite to use their name, unless they’re getting pocketfuls of cash, is beyond me. It may as well be titled ‘Alastair Cook’s Great Monthly’ such are the editors unashamed deification of the former captain. Indeed you are more likely to see a more critical piece of the North Korean regime on North Korean national state television than you would see an article on WCM criticizing the ECB.

We are of course blessed with ESPN Cricinfo, which despite it’s awful rebrand and terrible functionality coupled with the fact that they used to have FICJAM write for them, is still the best cricket news and analysis site out there covering English and World Cricket. George Dobbell (although not universally liked on here) has written some great pieces and is one of the few journalists to openly question the modus operandi of the ECB. The Cricket Monthly has also published some really good long read pieces although I must admit the output has gone down slightly in my own opinion recently. The main thing is that there are very few sites and magazines where English cricket fans can actually read good and thoughtful content.

This of course brings me back to the Cricketer. I personally can’t wait for the next tranche of stories to come out:

  • Rogert Mugabe shares his thoughts on growing the game, whilst balancing the books
  • Pol Pot discusses how to create a healthy team spirit within the camp
  • Craig Overton talks about the importance of respecting ethnic diversity on the field of play
  • Michael Vaughan discusses how to appear on every cricket news feed, every 10 minutes (wait that has already happened).

I mean the possibilities are just endless. Still looking back on it, I’ve lured you into reading this blatant filler post, on the back of a click-bait headline, so I guess it afflicts us all from time to time.

On a serious note, we do have the NZ series coming up once the hit and giggle stuff ends, we might well do something special for our 900th post (this so-called post was our 899th post) and we have our 3 year anniversary coming up early in February, so I am sure there will plenty to tune into in the coming weeks.


48 thoughts on “Simon Hughes Ate My Hamster

  1. Benny Jan 25, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    I have a bee in my bonnet about this. As a self confessed dinosaur, I used to enjoy buying the daily and reading fine Journalists like EW Swanton, Wooldridge etc writing about cricket. Then came the time when the papers realised that, before they hit the streets, everyone already knew what had happened yesterday (and not just cricket). “Oh bother” they said “we’re redundant. How do we keep going?” “Let’s give them opinions, controversy, make something up” was the solution.

    I stopped buying “news”papers.

    When I was driving 90 minutes back home from work, I’d have Talksport on the car radio. They would let Collymore in front of a microphone now and then to show you don’t need brain cells to find work in broadcasting. I’m slightly surprised he still finds work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dlpthomas Jan 26, 2018 / 4:17 am

    On a completely different issue, I come home to find there is a bit of movement in the track and England are 5 for 12 (now a far more respectable 5 for 20). Flat track bullies? Dead rubber? Or perhaps just an expected occasional consequence of all out attack.


    • dlpthomas Jan 26, 2018 / 6:11 am

      8/147 now mainly thanks to an excellent half century by Woakes. He had a poor test series but he is still an excellent cricketer.


    • Scrim Jan 26, 2018 / 8:15 am

      I got woken up at 4am by a series of wicket alerts on my phone. Took me a moment to work out if it was 5/8 or 8/5.

      The sadistic Aussie in me is expecting England to look great through the group stages of the World Cup, get the whole country on board, then pull a collapse similar to that in a knockout game.

      But it can happen to anyone, Sri Lanka did it to India just a month or so ago (5-16 in that case)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. dannycricket Jan 26, 2018 / 8:24 am

    To no one’s surprise, Collymore has just kept digging on Twitter:

    Not sure where the diamonds thing comes from. The only time I can remember anything about that is from the Chris Cairns trial.


    • Mark Jan 26, 2018 / 12:03 pm

      Ok I’ll bite….The Cricketer magazine has succeeded in its moronic plan to make English cricket look good by bringing in a charlatan, and a joke to attack it.

      Invite aging, washed up footballer, who managed to convince numerous idiot football clubs to give him large amounts of money in the vain hope that he would one day fulfil his so called potential. ( he never did. Perhaps he was too “depressed” counting his money?)

      Get him to write a piece trolling English cricket, and cricketers by firing off a bunch of ignorant, dumb arse, hypocritical clap trap and then sit back and watch people rush to the defense of English cricket. Mission accomplished!!

      This allows the ECBs mouthpiece magazine to avoid having to look at how England and the ECB just got hammered in another ashes, and doesn’t ask how the selectors managed to pick the most samey pop gun attack ever to go to Austaila. We didn’t even bother with a front line spinner.

      This is the lowest form of journalism. For the last four years if the Cricket media wanted views and clicks they wrote a piece on KP. A man they loathed, and hated yet needed to sell their piss poor publications, and make the ECB look good. With him out of the picture you now rely on a loud mouthed, upity non entity (who’s career highlight was reaching the FA cup final in 1996 for Liverpool, and pouncing around in a white suit with his team mates looking like pimps) to play the same role as pantomime villain.

      Shame on you.

      Just recently Cyril Regis passed away. A black man who forged a path for other black players to follow. He suffered huge racism, and yet gave every ounce of his strength and ability. He never wavered. He never left anything in the changing room, or on the shrinks couch. Every bit of effort he had, he put it out on the pitch. And he kept his dignity off the field despite huge provocation. A great sportsman, and a great ambassador for football and black men. Collymore benefited from Regis’s sacrifices, and the path to follow. But he wasn’t up to the task. He was no Cyril Regis.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sean Jan 26, 2018 / 1:25 pm

        Well said Mark. Agree 100% with you.


      • dannycricket Jan 27, 2018 / 11:08 am

        He also apparently tweeted this, then deleted it, threatening to report some cricketers (presumably for diamond smuggling) to Interpol. And alleging that lots of cricketers know all about it.


  4. Scrim Jan 26, 2018 / 9:48 am

    The test in Johannesburg is in danger of being called off due to a dangerous pitch. Physio has been out 3 times this session, I think, due to balls that have spat off a full length and hit batsmen playing off the front foot on the gloves.

    Michael Holding, on commentary, has rated the pitch a “2… not out of 10, out of 100”, and has been comparing it to Sabina Park 1998.

    Kohli batting amazingly well given the conditions.


    • oreston Jan 26, 2018 / 10:29 am

      Interesting. Player safety is paramount and it’d be up to the match officials, of course, but I wonder if India would want the Test called off? If Kohli can stay in for a while and they manage somehow to bat out most of the day they might end up in what would be (given the context) a strong position. Another 125 runs or so (to set SA around 225) would probably be enough.


      • BobW Jan 26, 2018 / 11:21 am

        I grew up on council wickets like that!

        Liked by 1 person

        • oreston Jan 26, 2018 / 12:33 pm

          To be fair though you probably weren’t facing the South African attack!
          India have four wickets left and are 187 ahead. Looks like this might be a close result, even if not the best advertisement for Test cricket. Then again, it’ll almost certainly be done and dusted inside four days so certain people will be happy.
          I see England came unstuck in the latest ODI but seriously, who cares?


    • Benny Jan 26, 2018 / 12:29 pm

      I’ve noticed in this match that India have quicker fast bowlers than we do. Saw Bumrah hit 89 mph yesterday. Maybe ECB could ask BCCI how to find them


      • oreston Jan 26, 2018 / 12:35 pm

        Doesn’t absolutely everybody have quicker bowlers than England these days?


      • Scrim Jan 26, 2018 / 12:43 pm

        Bumrah is incredible. His run up is about 10 stuttering paces, both of his arms are ramrod straight throughout his action, and his right wrist ends up slapping against his bits, with the hand following through between his legs and around to his arse.

        And he bowls regularly over 140kmh and took 5 in the first innings. I can’t see how his action eventually wont lead to injury if he continues to play test cricket, but who knows.

        I wonder what would happen if he showed up at Loughborough?


      • dlpthomas Jan 26, 2018 / 1:05 pm

        India have a very good attack. They should enjoy bowling in England.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sri. Grins Jan 26, 2018 / 1:46 pm

          That’s music to my eyes.

          We do have a pace quartet capable of bowling well even if they are still not consistent except bhuvi.

          Ashwin/Jadeja instead of Hardik and this would be a great attack in away tests in England and Oz.

          This has been a long time coming. The pace academies have learnt from past mistakes. Munaf Patel came in as a fast bowler and was made to bowl with accuracy and lost pace. After that, the actions even if unique are not discouraged if they are legal and not causing frequent injuries. Thankfully we don’t have Andy Flower


  5. metatone Jan 26, 2018 / 3:25 pm

    Ok, devil’s advocate: Collymore is trolling, but there is a kernel of truth here and it highlights an important danger:

    1) Cricket in England has media coverage thanks to the prominence of the game in the past.
    2) Neither current spectator levels nor current participation, nor current availability of live TV coverage justify that coverage level these days.

    When people (rightly) ask TV, radio and papers when they are going to (e.g.) put some more space up for women’s football, might cricket be headed for a fall in coverage? And how do the ECB plans look then?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Benny Jan 26, 2018 / 8:33 pm

      Understand what you’re saying but I really don’t care whether Collymore approves


  6. metatone Jan 26, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    Re:ODIs – I think England showed how much they are still just a developing team, over-relaxed after winning the series… yes, those words are coming… it’s a Dead Rubber and concentration levels just aren’t the same.


  7. dlpthomas Jan 27, 2018 / 8:25 am

    KP man of the match in his last BBL game. I doubt that we will ever know the full story but the ECB should have found a way to work things out.


    • Sherwick Jan 27, 2018 / 7:27 pm

      Yep. They should have and they didn’t.


  8. oreston Jan 27, 2018 / 12:20 pm

    Amla and Elgar doing the business for South Africa. Hundred run partnership so far. Didn’t see it working out like this, but could there be a twist?


    • Sean Jan 27, 2018 / 12:26 pm

      ABdV to kick over his stumps 2nd Ball to protect his million dollar IPL contract perhaps?

      Liked by 1 person

      • oreston Jan 27, 2018 / 12:56 pm

        Now, now…


        • Sean Jan 27, 2018 / 1:05 pm

          Sorry, couldn’t resist 😂


          • oreston Jan 27, 2018 / 1:45 pm

            It was funny and I know what you mean about the IPL b****cks (my strategy though is generally to ignore all that so far as is possible). Just trying to enjoy me some hard fought Test cricket, while it’s still possible to do so 🙂

            ABdV didn’t last long anyway…

            Liked by 1 person

  9. Sri.Grins Jan 27, 2018 / 3:36 pm

    Easy win for us in the end. A bit of a better bowling performance in the first innings of the first test and batting in the first innings of the second and we could have run SA much closer.

    The pace bowlers have improved but are yet to become more consistent like the Oz pacers were in their hey days.

    Hardik has a long way to go and the team should have played Ashwin / Jadeja instead. With the kind of erratic bounce in display, they would have been quite effective in taking wickets when a partnership was on and they could have made runs too.


    • oreston Jan 27, 2018 / 6:05 pm

      Yes, I thought it seemed a slightly experimental bowling line-up from India. They got the job done nonetheless – although I’m not sure whether to credit a) the bowlers, b) the pitch, c) the South African batsmen or d) all of the above for that spectacular collapse. In the context of the innings, Elgar carrying his bat with 86* even in a losing cause is in my view worth at least as much as 244* on a Melbourne road.


      • Sri. Grins Jan 28, 2018 / 5:38 am

        Great effort from elgar but the pitch behaved a little better on the 4th day than the third day and that is where the Indians were better and they would derive great confidence from this display that they can take 20 wickets. 4 pace bowlers and ashwin / jaddu I think is a more potent attack than using hardik however green the pitch is


  10. Miami Dad's 6 Jan 28, 2018 / 10:22 am

    This might sound a bit mental, and I have written him off as a Test cricketer before, many times. But what are people’s thoughts on Eoin Morgan at 6, as captain, of the England Test side. It would improve almost everything. Bowling dry would be reconsigned as a mantra used solely by Zimbabwean captains of the 1990s. We wouldnt win every game but we would be exciting to watch and players might flourish rather than be stifled.


    • Riverman21 Jan 28, 2018 / 12:13 pm

      Not mental at all I hope as I’ve been thinking about it too!

      Captaincy is an art not a skill you can acquire easily. Brearley and Vaughan had it. Morgan has it. So far as I’ve seen Root doesn’t have it.


      • Benny Jan 28, 2018 / 4:30 pm

        Same here. Maybe someone can correct me but I have a memory that Morgan fell out of love with red ball cricket when he realised England didn’t want him.


      • Miami Dad's 6 Jan 28, 2018 / 10:25 pm

        I think that is the crux of it.

        As much as I want to give him a decent go at it, in so many ways Root is *very* like Cook. He was earmarked for England at an early age, went through the process of England age group cricket, has barely played for a non ECB team since he was 20, is talked about as a record breaking batsman, and is possibly so insulated from anything outside the ECB bubble that he has no flair for imagination, no ear to the ground for the subtle opportunities. Unfortunately the captain he has played most under…is Alastair Cook. I used to mockingly denigrate Root a lot when I wrote my own blog 3-4 years ago as just looking so bloody clean cut that it just pissed me off for no reason, and he was the recipient of special treatment certainly not afforded to, say, Samit Patel. Root has a beard now, but his face still fits perfectly for ‘them’. Whether or not he makes a good captain is going to be in spite of the fact he is an ECB stormtrooper, not because of it.


    • @pktroll Jan 28, 2018 / 2:37 pm

      The problem is that he now hasn’t played even first class cricket for nearly 3 years. Although I quite like the thought of it I just can’t see it happening.


      • oreston Jan 28, 2018 / 4:44 pm

        It’s vanishingly unlikely. Captaincy is one thing, but unfortunately his batting averages of 30 (Tests) and a shade under 35 (First Class) wouldn’t make a strong case for his inclusion in the Test side even if he were still playing FC cricket. (Brearley of course was quite poor as a Test batsman, but he was Brearley and that was then and this is now.) Still, Morgan’s doing a perfectly fine job where he is.


        • metatone Jan 28, 2018 / 5:12 pm

          Av 30 would be an upgrade on Vince…


          • oreston Jan 28, 2018 / 6:14 pm

            So broken is England’s Test selection policy (assuming there is an actual policy and they don’t just draw random names out of a hat) that I can’t argue with the basic logic of your point, Metatone. Shouldn’t be this way though, should it?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sherwick Jan 29, 2018 / 2:51 pm

            Until very recently, England’s Test selection policy since 2014 was as follows:
            “Pick anyone, anywhere, except for KP”.


      • Riverman21 Jan 29, 2018 / 1:45 pm

        As one of my ex colleagues used to say…. That bus has sailed!

        However I agree England Test team would perform better with Morgan in charge. I like Joe Root, just don’t see him bringing much more as captain than Cook.


        • metatone Jan 29, 2018 / 3:48 pm

          I think Root can improve, he’s young, not set in his ways and I think he’s more naturally proactive than Cook by nature. The big question is where does he get to learn? I hope he’s picking up some good stuff from playing under Morgan, but he still needs more hours captaining before the next big pressure series and I don’t see where he can get them.


  11. man in a barrel Jan 29, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    A fair amount of captaincy can be learned on the job. For example, Cowdrey, captain of a weak county team, found it hard to be captain at international level until he had done his time learning the ropes and bringing through talents such as Underwood and Knott. On the other hand, some guys just know what to do, such as Close, Benaud, Wooller, Jardine. What captaincy experience did Mark Taylor or Clive Lloyd have?


  12. man in a barrel Jan 29, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    Remember that Lloyd won the inter Island trophy in the West Indies with an attack with 4 spinners. Jack Bond of Lancashire was not much of a batsman but he was a fine captain. Ted Dexter was an infinitely better cricketer in almost every way but not a better captain


    • thebogfather Jan 30, 2018 / 7:57 pm

      …albeit without asking many of ‘the questions’…


      • Miami Dad's Six Jan 31, 2018 / 1:40 pm

        It annoys me that the Pakistan Champions Trophy is used as an example of England’s approach coming unstuck. Had they been 30-6 then I would agree, but England frankly abandoned their attacking approach for the semi final, and to me it looked like they simply bottled it and had no trust in the principles that had gotten them to that stage. They dropped Roy (he was in awful form, but the make-up of the side completely changed as a result), and at best they could have gotten to 250 – which still wouldn’t have been a match-winning total.


        • metatone Jan 31, 2018 / 6:51 pm

          This struck me as well. A quick look at the SRs shows Hales at the top with 100.00 and (e.g.) they were 128-3. So we’re now down to two instances quite far apart.

          Now England do need to learn to adapt better to bowler-friendly conditions b/c the weather may yield a few in a WC in Eng… but AFAIK no-one actually thinks they are the complete article yet.


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