Two Eyes Staring Cold And Silent

Public Enemy, in their landmark album “It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back” were not talking about the IPL, nor even the breakage of total free to air domestic coverage in Australia. In the excellent album track “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos” the lyrical poet Chuck D could have been summing up my attitude to the cricket writing establishment, and authority in general when he said:

“They wanted me for their army or whatever, picture me giving a damn, I said never”.

Being a cricket blogger is a funny old thing. I sense you can go a number of ways. You can be the oppositional defiant type, railing against decisions, being the contrarian, sometimes for being contrary’s sake. You can rail against the establishment, any approach by them is treated with utter contempt, any approach to them would be treated the same. It’s been a summary of my last four years, if truth be told. I’ve not wanted to like the ECB or the press, or the TV coverage, and they’ve given me little reason to change my mind. Some have, those that engaged, but not many.

Others have come with us some of the way, then turned inward and in many cases matched up with the cricket writing establishment. It’s not for me, has never been for me, never will be for me. I blogged because I could put my opinion. Opinions make the world go round, but as you may have noted since Alastair Cook’s 244 not out, those opinions have been much more muted. What’s the point? For some, though, that 244 was among the most important innings ever played. Really, yes it was. It stuffed everything back down our throats. We were WRONG. I was WRONG. Take it, sucker.

Then there is another breed of blogger / writer. Those that indulged us when it was trendy to do so, and may still think that we (and when I say we, I really mean me) have a voice that is worth reading, but only things that they are comfortable with. I really don’t care now what people make of what I write. It’s gone well beyond that point (and Chris, to his due credit got me out of a lot of that) where I have to not go off the reservation to prevent offence to the neighbours, or be the man to make the attacks when I really don’t feel like it. At the moment, on matters like Dobell v Graves, I really, really don’t feel like doing it AGAIN. In case you out there in the writing world haven’t noticed, I’ve been doing this for ages, time for others to take the shot and shell.

So, Dmitri, you don’t care, but you cared about the Cook 244? True. They may not be positions that match, but the sheer paucity of logic behind the buffing up of that innings was too much even for me. What the hell was the point? Those that loved him, love him more. Those that had pointed out his world was of peaks and long troughs thought ignoring the past few years was a sign of madness. I then thought the mad one was me.

I’m writing this late on a Saturday night. I’m watching the NBA Play-Offs, I’m keeping up with the Red Sox and their great start to the season, and I’m marvelling at Millwall’s run at the Championship play-offs with a squad that cost £800k to buy. In short, with a job that is now all consuming and recovering from an injury caused by getting out of my loft (I will never have a go at bowlers with side strain, ever), what is there to write about cricket? What is there that fuels my passion to write about the game? I don’t care about the IPL, I just don’t. You can’t make me care. I watch the scores and see close game after close game, and think, this is rigged. That’s how cynical I am. Like Jason Roy wafting at three harmless balls to get to the last ball to win it today. If Jason Roy were an Indian or a Pakistani we’d be calling foul. We’d be wrong, but that’s the world we live in.

The County Championship is upon us, in freezing cold April. I’d dearly love to go on Friday, but I can only slip out for one day this week, and as the 12th anniversary of my father’s passing is on Thursday that takes precedence (it was my late mum’s birthday on Friday, which still is a gut wrenching day at the best of times). I have a week off in May, but it’s when there’s garbage Royal London nonsense on. I might be able to nick off a week in June, but then the World Cup football is on. I may get to the T20. I do have a day at the Test this year, but that’s not really by plan. Cricket is getting relegated to the edges of my life, and not even this blog can raise the enthusiasm. You’ve read that before, and yet something fires me up. But what can do this now.

I’m so proud of the work Sean, Chris and Danny have done. I can only think of a couple of other things that have meant that much to me as this blog and this community outside of friends and family. I think we’ve kept things real, we’ve never been fake, we write from the heart, and we write with our souls. The blog has never been a job, and it never should be. It should be what we all want to do. I know, from experience, that it can cause and add to immense stress. I know it can turn you slightly mad. I know it can be harmful as well as rewarding.

In a week when Chris gets the accolades he so richly deserves, for being that commenter back in the day who I said to myself “I want this bloke to write with me”, I look forward to the summer. I genuinely hope it is filled with plenty to write, plenty to comment upon, plenty to get us happy, plenty to get us mad. I hope to see great cricket, I hope to see new talent develop and given the chance to flourish. I want it to be great. I don’t like not caring. The sport, through school years, through playing bad club cricket, through watching at home, and overseas, for giving me life experiences a working class kid, from working class parents, raised in a tower block in Deptford, could never have dreamed of. A bat, a ball, a decent sized playing area, and four or five people and we could play the game in the street, or on the fields, or in the playground. Love nurtured, and sadly, now taken for granted. Our generation, who had the game in our hearts see the authorities, and increasingly the writing community turn away from us. We are the dying of the light. The rage that doesn’t matter any more. The obsessives utterly taken for granted. “They won’t desert the sport, they love it too much”.

Don’t count on it. I don’t like being told what to write. I don’t like being told what SHOULD annoy me. I write in my increasingly limited spare time, and it’s likely to become even more limited. Being taken for granted is not an option.

In Rebel Without A Pause, Chuck D said:

“Playin’ the role I got soul too
Voice my opinion with volume
Smooth, no what I am
Rough, ’cause I’m the man”

I’m the man is a bit strong – I’m seriously not that self-centered, but you could never call me smooth, and I’ve been a bit rough around the edges. But we voice an opinion with volume while being in touch with the soul of the game. I’ve just burned off all the winter’s cricket on to hard drive I could record. I’ve suddenly become fascinated with the career of Tom Hayward. I’ve been thinking about a really long piece on the career of Alastair Cook, because he’s a massively important cricketer, arguably the most important of the last 10 years for reasons that may not be obvious, or obvious only to me. But to do it justice it’s going to be really long, and it will bury the annoying lie that this is an blog that made it’s way by being Anti-Cook. And I need to sit down, get the Wisdens and videos out, and getting stuck in. Maybe in a month’s time.

There’s not a huge amount of comment on here, and please feel free to comment on any cricket below (treat this as an open thread), but one thing I’ve always written about is how I feel, about cricket, about life, and about the blogging world. I think it is a real trough at the moment. Too cosy. Too many people not doing what they should, seeking affirmation from others for their opinions, seeking to ingratiate rather than inform. If you read this and think I am talking about you, I probably am, but it shouldn’t matter. No-one needs my opinion, however rough around the edges. I just see an attempt to be the voice, rather than concentration on the message. There’s a softness now, including me. Maybe it will change. Maybe it won’t. Maybe it won’t be the lack of coverage that kills the interest, it will be apathy. Apathy is the incurable illness of sport. You have to care. The canary is struggling in the goldmine. No decent T20 sales, or close IPL finishes are going to change that yet.

There’s a song by Yotto, a Finnish musician, that I’m playing a lot:

I’ve been wondering,
Would you watch me slip away?
Would you watch me fall in silence?
Would you watch me fall in silence?

Now we finally realize,
To shine ahead of time.
You know it won’t last forever.
You know it won’t last forever.

There’s something to be said about that. Nothing does last forever. Both blogging and first class cricket at ends of the sport’s scale.

Especially when you see that one of the Wisden Cricket Photos of the Year didn’t even get the ball in shot. I did!

P1080219

Have a great weekend, and speak when I have something to say!

Dmitri (Peter)

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83 thoughts on “Two Eyes Staring Cold And Silent

  1. Sri.grins Apr 15, 2018 / 9:59 am

    The problem with viewing ipl or any other t-20 with a cynic’s eye as to close finishes is that, it does not impact just t-20 cricket but test cricket and all other long form cricket too.

    Unless the argument is that the players are dishonest only in specific formats and automatically revert to being honest in long form cricket as almost all the players are involved in long form cricket and also some in tests.

    So, if you are a cynic, being a cynic only about some formats seems not a sustainable logic

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 15, 2018 / 11:33 am

      And that’s what you took out of the piece, Sri?

      The issue is lack of enthusiasm. Packaging more important than content. The older fan being dismissed as obsessive. The writers knowing you either stick with the devil that runs the sport rather than talk pointedly at what is going wrong.

      I think that if someone like me can’t be bothered cricket should be worried. But they couldn’t give a toss.

      Like

      • Sri.grins Apr 15, 2018 / 12:53 pm

        I understood your thoughts on feeling not cared for. I had no comments on it because it represents your experience with cricket on England.

        In India, we fans have never been seen as important by the bcci so maybe we never went through the process of having any expectations from the bcci.

        I watch cricket not because I think the bcci is going to care about us or give us great facilities but because I fell in love with cricket and thus don’t worry about the packaging but just the pleasure of watching cricket and the various players.

        So, it is difficult to comment on the waning or waxing of your interest based on the game authority in England empathizing with older fans.

        That is because I don’t really care about whether the bcci cares about us older fans but only about cricket being played which I can watch.

        Like

        • Mark Apr 15, 2018 / 1:36 pm

          It’s not about caring whether the governing bodies care about us. (They clearly don’t). It’s about what they are doing.

          Fortunately for you 20/20 and IPL is something you love. Just as well…… because the BCCI is going to give you bucket loads of it. Have a nice day & Do you want fries with that?

          Some of us oldies can’t get that enthused or interested in 20/20. Sorry, just can’t. It was the model to save cricket financially, and it has achieved its aims, but at a cost. In essence it has replaced other cricket forms. Now it maybe that this is just inevitable. Give the public what they want……Crap food, crap movies, crap music, and celebrity culture. The public love it. Some of us find it lke those other things a bit unfulfilling.

          Doesn’t mean we are right or wrong. We just are of a particular time, and are free to say so.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sri.Grins Apr 15, 2018 / 4:23 pm

            Sure Mark. Obviously not everyone is enamoured of limited over formats. But, at the same time, we cannot avoid the purveying of fare we dislike.

            We have to accept and move on.

            Like

          • Sri.grins Apr 16, 2018 / 1:22 am

            One more question. If England had won the ashes and nz series would you have thought that things are going downhill for English test cricket?

            I feel that often poor performances of the team you support in test cricket create a depression about the sport.

            Unless you happen to be an Indian fan of course since we are never used to doing well away. 😁

            Like

          • dannycricket Apr 16, 2018 / 6:35 am

            Well there’s two separate issues here: on the field failure and off the field failure.

            On the field, England are great in ODIs (when they’re batting second). Everything else is a mess. In the Test team, no player who has had their debut in the last four years has managed to solidify their spot in the team. This means that not only have England failed to replace KP, Trott, Strauss and Swann, they are also likely to have problems replacing Cook, Anderson and Broad in the next year or two. In 2020, it seems like England will have a team consisting of Root, Bairstow, Stokes and 8 sub-par players.

            Off the field, the ECB is just a giant mess. Thanks to them putting all English cricket behind a paywall for the last 12 years, general interest in cricket has declined massively. Everyone now seems to be hoping that up to 20 T20 games on the BBC every year will solve that, which seems unlikely to work (although there should be some improvement). The ECB board seems to be imploding, with claims that the ECB hierarchy has lied to it’s members and those board members now leaking stories to the press. The ECB’s projects, like All Stars Cricket, are a disaster. The sheer number of mistakes and missteps they make on a daily basis suggests a frightening lack of competence. And, bearing all of the above in mind, the Chairman of the ECB is apparently suing a journalist for criticising him.

            So yes, if England’s Test team was better then I would be happier. But that still wouldn’t fully obscure the problems at the ECB. As it is, I fear that India and Pakistan might both beat England this summer. What’s worse, however, is that almost no one will care if that does happen.

            Liked by 1 person

    • AB Apr 16, 2018 / 12:46 pm

      I don’t actually think that the entire games are scripted. In the age of spread-betting, in-play betting and instant cashouts, there is no need for that.

      What I do think is that occasionally, certain players in the IPL, most likely non-internationals, might do something surprisingly incompetent that dramatically shifts the odds of winning, like running out their batting partner, playing and missing at 3 straight deliveries, dropping an easy catch, or bowling a high full toss that goes for 7 for the first ball of the last over, with the opposition needing 15 to win.

      I like T20, I must do, I’ve been playing the format for 20+ years, – I just don’t think it makes very good television, and I see limited evidence that anyone else does either. Some of the IPL games are interminably slow – once you get down to the last 12 balls, you have time to make a cup of tea between each delivery. Its painfully boring.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sri.Grins Apr 17, 2018 / 6:31 am

        😀 😀

        Like

  2. Mark Apr 15, 2018 / 10:06 am

    Just reading all about the Australian tv deal. It appears that channel ten have been their version of channel four here in England.

    The administrators seem to have used them to move cricket away from the main broadcaster (BBC in England & channel 9 in Aus ) And then having let them innovate cricket coverage, and aclimatise the public to a new broadcaster the authorities shafted them, and the FTA audience by putting cricket behind a pay wall.

    But the good news is these same people are carrying out an inquiry into integrity and values in the game of cricket. Here in England the head of English cricket is suing one of the very few independent cricket journalists in this country. You can’t make it up.

    Meanwhile the IPL chugs along like a playstation game, and there are stories of county members being booted out for having the wrong opinions. Never mind, I’m sure the freezing weather in April and September will act like a reinduction camp for those members that have the wrong ideas. It’s like crickets version of Chinas culitural revolution. Still, they won’t have to worry if the freeloading pundits have their way…….county cricket will move abroad to sunnier climes, so if you want to watch county cricket in the future in sun bathed summer you will need to get down to your local travel agent.

    Is there a worse run sport in the world?

    Like

  3. Silk Apr 15, 2018 / 4:45 pm

    I dunno. In the US a substantial minority (perhaps as many as 40%) believe we are living in the end times.

    Apocalypse makes us feel special. We see signs and apply meaning to them. But it’s just curve fitting. The same signs were always there. There is nothing special about today.

    BUT

    I do feel like it’s coming to an end. The ECB want to kill the CC. Tests, aside from the Ashes, and then only at home, don’t matter.

    It’s dying. People care, deeply, but far too few.

    When Anderson, Cook and Broad go, will England have a Test side anymore? Will many notice if we don’t?

    I’m depressed (about cricket – life is good otherwise)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Silk Apr 15, 2018 / 8:05 pm

    It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that I tremendously appreciate the amount of work that goes into maintaining, and particularly writing for, this blog. There’s a lot that needs to be said, and it doesn’t look like too many others are particularly interested in sticking their necks out and saying it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 15, 2018 / 8:13 pm

      I have a lot I’d really like to say, Silk. I couldn’t be more disappointed with some of the things happening at the moment. The blogging community got in a rage over a number of ridiculous losses, but seem to have given this winter a total pass, with a shrug and an oh well. I was angry enough to have another “flounce”. We all make choices.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus Apr 15, 2018 / 8:35 pm

        Courtesy of Sean who sent me this. Amused? You bet. We really got to them, if it was only for a couple of months.

        Damn good job George Orwell didn’t write about cricket.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Mark Apr 15, 2018 / 9:25 pm

          Wow, drenched in entitlement as usual. Does that apply to some bloke who calls himself the anylist?

          But if he wants rules for what is to be taken seriously how about no journalist should ghost write players columns? Smells like cowardly nonsense to me.

          Or better still…. so called “serious” cricket journalists should name their sources. We are not talking about national secrets or maters of national security here. If a selector or coach bad mouths a player in the national team shouldn’t the journalist name that person? Otherwise it seems a bit cowardly to me.

          See how easy it is to turn anonymity into cowardice. Claiming you know something that others don’t know could be described as total cowardice in not naming sources. And what about financial conflicts of interest? Articles that are actually nothing more than sponsors adverts. Very dishonest practice that.

          Or free tickets to select games, on and on it goes. Let’s open it all up Mr Newman and see where all the tit bits come from. Newman sounds like the civil servant on Yes Minister who sat on the board of the campaign for freedom of information.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Silk Apr 16, 2018 / 10:00 am

        I’m afraid that’s it, isn’t it?

        A lot of people have gone from being angry about the way English cricket, and global cricket in general, is being run, to just giving up.

        The lack of rage over this winter is just indicative of the fact that the whole thing is withering on the vine. And if we don’t win the 50 over world cup, it will all have been for nothing.

        I’ve no idea what happens if we do win the 50 over world cup. Will anyone notice?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. BoredInAustria Apr 15, 2018 / 8:07 pm

    At the risk of completely missing the point, and being a pain…but the Wisden photo does have the ball in the top corner of the “E” of UNIBET.. I thought…

    Just recovering from a rough bout of flu, and this might contribute to a mild depression (world politics not helping…). No interest in the IPL, looking forward to the summer. Mind, the series in SA that did shape up nicely, ended up just horribly. Completely missed the NZ games.

    Who knows…

    Will google Yotto though…

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 15, 2018 / 8:10 pm

      Wondering is amazing.

      Firewalk is pretty good.

      North is superb.

      Aura, not bad at all.

      (Advance warning, filed under the genre “deep house”).

      Oh well, re the ball. He also had massively good pro equipment and I had my trusty old bridge camera.

      Like

      • BoredInAustria Apr 16, 2018 / 3:58 am

        Expecting BOC to win the Wisden Photo of the Year in 2019…

        Like

  6. Rohan Apr 15, 2018 / 8:11 pm

    Apathy, apathy! I think you hit on a hugely interesting point about apathy Dmitri and, I agree with your point. I teach in a large secondary comp and in this school and the previous one I taught in, kids never told me they didn’t like cricket, or love it, loathe it, no nothing like that, they were completely apathetic towards it, or, even worse, were not really aware of it!

    I hear kids at school talking about Messi, or chanting Mo Salah’s name, never heard them chant Stokes, Cook or KP. Of course this is all anecdotal and, what do I know? Well, I know school kids after 14 years teaching and I know, sadly, they are generally very indifferent and apathetic to cricket. Private/public school, perhaps its different, but not much I would guess.

    Apathy with yougsters and also with older generations, is just as much of a danger to cricket in this country as the ECB, sad times…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 15, 2018 / 8:28 pm

      Hitting the nail on the head. We played cricket in the summer months at school, in the playground and on the street. We used to play pretend leagues with county players, we used to watch test matches during the summer holidays. It mattered to me as a kid.

      That will never come back in England. Never. There’s more sport crowding out cricket in England, the regular sunday viewing of the League was a key component, and the appointment to view of knockout cricket the day or two after the test finished got top crowds. They sabotaged that.

      Apathy or just not knowing. It’s difficult to judge but the result is the same. The erosion of the sport.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rohan Apr 15, 2018 / 9:59 pm

        Some of my best memories watching test match cricket on BBC in the summer with Richie Benaud, Tony Lewis et al on commentary. All gone, so none on TV since 2005, more than a whole generation deprived of test match cricket on FTA…..

        I think it’s both, apathy and not knowing, but as you say = same result.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AB Apr 16, 2018 / 12:36 pm

        Cricket come back before, it could come back again.. One hot summer with a good close test series or another T20 world cup run on FTA tv, and you’d have kids playing cricket in the streets again. Unfortunately our current governing body has neither the capacity nor the intent to carry out either of those things.

        Decline is never inevitable – I hear from local cricket teams all the time how its “impossible” to find players and how forfeiting games and folding sides is “inevitable”. Its not inevitable, it just requires hard work and good management. Amongst a number of struggling clubs around here, there are a handful, including ours, who are growing. The only difference between growth and decline is the level of effort and competence expended by the club committee.

        I think people just give up too easily nowadays. People seem almost doggedly fatalistic, its like they want things to fail. Test matches get record crowds, “test cricket is dying, might as well just put it out of its misery”.

        Like

    • AB Apr 16, 2018 / 12:40 pm

      I have a similar experience. Even amongst the group of lads who enthusiastically play cricket at our club, there is complete and total ignorance and apathy about professional cricket. We don’t live in a 1st class county, so domestic cricket passes them by entirely. In principle they’d be interested in supporting England, they’re just never exposed to it – they don’t have sky themselves, cricket is never shown in the pub or the window of the bookies like it used to be so they don’t catch glimpses of it, its not covered on the back pages of the newspapers anymore, and it goes without saying that their friends never talk about it. It might as well just not exist.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. @pktroll Apr 15, 2018 / 9:12 pm

    What I personally have felt this winter is resignation rather than blind acceptance or similar. Resignation that the focus on the white ball sides have utterly undermined any planning for the red ball game and resignation that so little has been done about the entirely predictable slump in Australia. The same failures checked in for NZ without any real discussion. In many respects the angriest I felt was at that point. There was a good opportunity to really clear the decks and effect change but instead the opposite has occurred. To be honest I feel sort of weary about this.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. quebecer Apr 16, 2018 / 10:01 pm

    So, a predictably turgid start to the English season. With so much talk about places available in the test team, a laughably poor first week was always on the cards. No batsman apart from His Almightyness Lord Ian of Bell looked anything remotely like test class, while the bowling was of low standard yet highly successful.

    With one exception.

    This is Olly Stone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRToGgc3T6U

    Stone looked very slippery as a youngster when he broke in to the Northants side a few years ago, but then tore his ACL. He moved to Warwickshire to further his career, and of course, now finds himself back in Div 2 anyway. None the less, in times where so many names are banded about as the next generation of English bowlers after Jimmy and Stu, Stone is the only one who to my mind has any international promise. He has a lot going for him:
    – He’s quick. Properly so.
    – He gets very late movement and can shape the ball away from both right and left handers.
    – It’s a good fast bowlers action. He has a good approach, and runs through the crease rather than landing hard, with this is a very important issue in terms avoiding injury moving forward. His pace comes from shoulder, body, and follow-through.
    – He stepped in as captain of England U19s on a tour to South Africa, and was named man of the series. So, he’s got something to him.
    – While on the England set up radar, his ACL and long recovery means he’s not been ‘Loughboroughed’ like so many others. They haven’t had the chance to ruin him.

    He’s 24 now, and just as happened with Pat Cummins who was injured at a similar age, his body has grown now, and he’s a man not a boy. He’s strong, fit, healthy, and to my mind the best – and only – prospect out there.

    Like

  9. oreston Apr 17, 2018 / 3:16 am

    “Loughboroughed.” I like that – it should enter common usage as English cricket’s equivalent of FUBAR.
    Good luck to young Stone. Hopefully he’ll find the West Midlands a conducive environment for his craft and will continue to avoid having his mind and body corrupted by Flower Power. I won’t get my hopes up though, if it’s all the same. For all too familiar reasons it’s a tough ask right now to work up much enthusiasm for the future of English Test cricket.
    But is this in fact exactly how they want us to feel? It’s tempting to see this disengagement and apathy that so many are experiencing as the culmination of a strategy in three stages for the planned obsolescence of the Test cricket format in the UK: 1) put it behind a pay wall to ensure there’s no possibility of attracting a new generation of followers and strangle at birth the enhanced profile that should’ve been the legacy of the 2005 Ashes; 2) run it so appallingly badly that after a few years performances fall off a cliff and the talent pool shrinks because the First Class county game has also been neglected to the point where it’s on life support; 3) the coup de grâce: remaining long term fans eventually lose interest and become so alienated that they simply throw in the towel, leaving the way clear for the terminally sick animal to be put out of it’s misery.
    I’d like to think that’s all a bit too tin foil hat theory. The problem is that even if what we’re experiencing isn’t the enactment of some long term master plan (but merely a perfect storm brought about by epic incompetence) then it might just as well be, because the outcome – an existential crisis – is exactly the same either way.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mark Apr 17, 2018 / 9:00 am

    I see the ECB s plan to improve the test team by playing most county cricket in April and September is forging ahead at warp speed.

    Lancashire lose 8 wickets for 15 runs, and then Nottinghamshire, with a daunting target of 10 to win managed to achieve their total with only the loss of just four wickets.

    A Stella morning of county cricket was had by all, where 12 wickets fell for 25 runs.

    And these people pay themselves hundreds of thousands of £s! Money for old rope. No wonder they can have the luxury of bringing libel action cases against dissenters.

    Like

  11. thebogfather Apr 17, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    This blog
    Reaches farther
    Than ever I, TheBogfather
    Could reach, thus I love it, every day even more…
    It may be a collective slog
    Unappreciated by ‘those in the know
    Ignored or faux-fellated, it still ever glows
    More brightly and significantly than most MSM so poor…
    Dear LCL, Leggy, SeanB and DannyC
    Please keep scribing with such intensity
    Tis you who manage to keep me sane
    On the precipice ‘tween loving and losing OUR game…

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 17, 2018 / 9:25 pm

      Andy Flower in pole position to be Chief Selector.

      Just rejoice at that news.

      Like

      • jacobsweetman1978 Apr 18, 2018 / 7:23 am

        I wasn’t with it but just that very minute,
        It occurred to me,
        The suckers had authority?

        I appreciate your steel Lupus.

        Liked by 2 people

      • LordCanisLupus Apr 18, 2018 / 8:08 am

        Hold on. Gideon Brookes was the useful idiot. The Sun and Times now say it’s Ed Smith. With Selfey and Pringle in the frame. Almost as if they read this blog and say “Let’s give ’em some more ammo….”

        Like

        • nonoxcol Apr 18, 2018 / 8:40 am

          I am officially fucking DONE (once I’ve stopped pissing my pants laughing).

          Three of those people are literally my most-nominated individuals for awards in my four years on your sites, and the other one is Derek bloody Pringle. If only they’d added Simon Hughes I’d have a royal flush, never mind a full house.

          I cannot……even………process………….this……………shit.

          Sorry about the swearing kids. I’m off to piss in the wind and howl at the moon.

          Like

        • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 8:45 am

          The Sun won’t know. Their cricket correspondent has said on the record that the ECB don’t leak. So he will have no idea what is going on.

          Flower or Smith? It’s like choosing between Agadoo or The Birdie song as your favourite all time number one pop song. With Selvey playing Clive Dunn’s Grandad as back up choice.

          Jesus… the ECBs gene pool of people who they deem acceptable to employ is amazingly small.

          Like

          • nonoxcol Apr 18, 2018 / 10:41 am

            Both of those, er, “songs” were, quite literally mate, number twos.

            (you have ‘Prince Charming’ and ‘Careless Whisper’ to thank for that)

            Like

        • nonoxcol Apr 18, 2018 / 8:45 am

          And to think I only clicked because I thought Talksport was the big story…

          Like

          • SteveT Apr 18, 2018 / 9:07 am

            At least it will get him out of the commentary box (and hopefully no more horse-shit articles). Perhaps they should employ Lovejoy ………….

            Like

        • oreston Apr 18, 2018 / 10:29 am

          They’re definitely trolling us.

          Like

  12. nonoxcol Apr 18, 2018 / 11:32 am

    Quelle surprise at this angle:

    The single most over-praised and under-scrutinised figure in my 37 years as an English sport fan. Only Dave Brailsford close.

    Like

  13. nonoxcol Apr 18, 2018 / 11:37 am

    Absolute doozy for Dmitri here:

    Like

    • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 12:03 pm

      You don’t know whether to laugh or cry…….or despair?

      I wonder if Smith will be allowed to continue writing about cricket while he tries to pick the team. . He can inform potential England players about how if they want to fully understand what it is to be a professional sportsman they should have lived in Greek village at the time of Socrates.

      The only thing in his favour is he’s not Flower. But he is part of the ECB bullshit industrial complex. Jobs for the boys and a revolving door that spins like a top.

      Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 18, 2018 / 12:10 pm

      Moneybollox. Ask why Michael Lewis virtually overlooked the fact the As had a Cy Young winner, a perennial all star, an all star and a future front line starter on their books as a pitching staff.

      Like

      • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 12:17 pm

        He will probably pick Roger Federer!

        Like

  14. northernlight71 Apr 18, 2018 / 12:01 pm

    Ed Smith.
    Andy Flower
    Mike Selvey.
    Derek Pringle.

    You know, there comes a point when you start to realise that they really aren’t doing this to upset all the intelligent people who used to be interested in English cricket. They just really don’t have a clue. They haven’t got the wit to work out who might actually be any good at the job, and even if they did have most of those who could be qualified and useful just aren’t interested. It would be like applying to be Trumps communications chief, or head of the FBI. Or the new manager of Sunderland.
    There’s no conspiracy or secret plots. They’re just incompetent and the candidates who they attract reflect that.

    Still, great news that radio duties are now also falling under the auspices of Murdoch. Another pillar of the world community there.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 12:15 pm

      The short list is so bad I suspect it’s a job without any real power.

      Strauss will still pick the team. And one of these clowns (Smith) will get the blame. Never mind, I’m sure there is a book in it. He’s been writing about captaincy after being a captain. Now he can write about being a selector, and he can write about what he should have done. After the event.

      Like

    • nonoxcol Apr 18, 2018 / 2:08 pm

      It’s somehow fitting that this shortlist may well take the site over 1,000,000 hits.

      Well, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Apr 18, 2018 / 3:46 pm

        Someone noticed! 3 years, 2 months, 12 days. Not bad for a load of cowardly nonsense.

        Like

        • nonoxcol Apr 18, 2018 / 4:43 pm

          95 to go as I write.

          Couldn’t resist pointing that out.

          😉

          Like

      • Rooto Apr 18, 2018 / 7:33 pm

        That shortlist is pretty much the complete Mount Cricketmore, right there!

        Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy Apr 18, 2018 / 6:25 pm

      Agree… because I was happy when it was announced that Whittaker was being replaced. I honestly, to the point where it was beyond my even comprehending who could be, didn’t think they could find a worse replacement. Christ I’d even argue that Flower would not actually be worse and had contemplated him. But they have far exceeded that. They’ve got 3 potentially much worse candidates! This has got to the point where I’m wondering whether I have some form of Stockholm syndrome – ie is it ME that’s wrong on this?!

      Like

  15. James Apr 18, 2018 / 1:58 pm

    I was hoping to ride out the retirements of Cook, Broad and Jimmy so I could support England again.
    Fuck em. Here’s to SA glassing the ‘Big Three’ at every single opportunity.

    Like

  16. Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 5:08 pm

    This last Ashes series saw Agnew be much more critical of England than he has been for the previous four years. He was critical of selection, and preparation, and itinerary. And the way the county championship is played in the spring and autumn.

    Result

    The BBC have lost the rights to overseas tours. I’m sure this played no part whatsoever in this decision.

    Like

    • northernlight71 Apr 18, 2018 / 5:40 pm

      I’m all for a good conspiracy theory Mark, but the ECB had nothing to do with the media deals preferred by the WICB and Sri Lankan Cricket.
      Well, unless you’re taking the conspiracy to worldwide levels – which I am pretty sure would be impossible as the ECB would be hard pressed to scheme their way out of Middlesex, let alone England.

      Like

      • oreston Apr 18, 2018 / 6:10 pm

        Don’t forget that Giles Clarke is still out there – the ECB’s effective international rep. Doubtless he still exerts some influence at the ICC and perhaps by extension with other full member boards. Who really knows what’s said behind closed doors?

        Like

      • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 6:28 pm

        I don’t think it played any part either, I’m just pointing it out.

        It would irresponsible not to! 😉

        I would point out though that the ECB were pretty dismissive of the BT deal for the Ashes which was done overseas. Be interesting to see how many more tours BT gets?

        Like

        • oreston Apr 18, 2018 / 6:44 pm

          Sure, I was just pointing out the (obviously far from certain but by no means completely unfeasible) Giles Clarke dimension because, as you say, it would be irresponsible not to! It’s amazing how often healthy speculation, informed by previous experience, turns out to be not so wide of the mark.

          Like

          • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 7:13 pm

            Sorry Oreston, I was replying to Northern-light.

            Like

    • Rpoultz Apr 18, 2018 / 8:26 pm

      First series without his chum cook as captain tbf

      Like

  17. oreston Apr 18, 2018 / 6:55 pm

    Whoa! Just noticed: 1,000,003 hits. Break out the MOTM winning magnum of Veuve Clicquot (or maybe something else as they’re ECB sponsors…)
    We’re extremely fortunate to have four match winners: His Lordship Canis Lupus Dimitri Peter, Chris, Sean and Danny. Well done all.

    Like

      • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 7:10 pm

        Perhaps it was Sir Ian Botham?

        Like

  18. Rooto Apr 18, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    I’m a million and fourth. Well done everyone. I hope this milestone can be seen as an indication of the vital role you all play. I’m personally gutted as I won’t get a supermarket sweep…
    Meanwhile, Ed Smith? This is a Kissinger Nobel moment. If this is the way things are going, your second million will come up in half the time.
    Seriously, my thanks and congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 18, 2018 / 8:06 pm

      Including the last year of HDWLIA it’s 1.4 million. Not bad at all.

      Thanks to all who visit us, read us, like us, dislike us.

      Like

  19. Rohan Apr 18, 2018 / 7:25 pm

    Well that was leftfield. I mean seriously, who at the ECB sat and thought ‘I know Ed Smith, he’ll be a great selector’. So now a man who thinks calling someone a C**t is acceptable, could be teamed with one who thinks it’s okay to plagiarise his newspaper articles…….

    If my students plagiarise they fail, Smith plagiarises and could be rewarded with a top ECB job…..😔

    Like

    • nonoxcol Apr 18, 2018 / 8:58 pm

      Be fair. Two of the other candidates spent *years* writing about sheep, doe eyes, movie star looks, swooning women, sheep, lambing, standing ovations at Southampton, Alice, sheep, Bedford School where my sons also go, Essex where I used to play, quiet lives on the farm away from the gaze of social media, confident innings of 16, 43 that deserved a hundred, 95 that deserved a public holiday, statement in the House and Victoria Cross, and ludicrous profiles that now have official status on Cricinfo. And they might have mentioned sheep once or twice.

      At least that’s just one article from FICJAM.

      I have been reduced to defending FICJAM in an imagined misty-eyed wank-off. What a day. Oh and thanks to Danny for rounding it all off so perfectly:

      Liked by 1 person

      • oreston Apr 18, 2018 / 9:39 pm

        Ideas and creativity? No, he’s a fucking selector. He just needs to be objective (will he be? See my previous comment) and pick a balanced team, comprised of the most capable dozen or so players in their respective disciplines in order to give the coach and captain the best possible chance of fielding an eleven that’s capable of winning games. Yes, he needs to spot emerging talent and choose the optimum time to bring it into the squad but that’s not creativity – it’s just effective forward planning. If you ask me, we’ve had more than enough “creative” selections over the past four years (wall-to-wall all rounders, Mason Crane, the second coming of Vince, Barry Gallance and indeed Gary Ballance…)
        Let’s just wait and see how brimming with new ideas the team actually is by the end of the India series.

        Like

      • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 9:43 pm

        I’m staggered The ping pong maniac wasn’t on the short list.

        English cricket has descended into pantomime. A cast of toss pots and intellectual snobs patting each other on the back yet clueless about anything that matters.

        They write books about misty eyed theories they pulled out of their arses. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. Run for the hills.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus Apr 18, 2018 / 9:46 pm

          Don’t judge him until he fails.

          I’m not quite as confident that he will be as big a disaster as Downton. He gave off the whiff of incompetence from the start. Slightly more confident he will perform worse than Moores. About the same confidence as I had with Empty Suit.

          Like

          • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 10:00 pm

            Its the process that fascinates me. How did they come up with a short lis like that, and think what English cricket needs right now is Ed Smith?

            Of course he may be just a patsy. I still believe Strauss and Flower run English cricket. It’s their mo of player type that gets selected.

            Smith has written about accommodating the maveric individualist. Let’s see if he will put his money where his mouth is when it comes to picking the individualist that doesn’t fit in.

            Like

          • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 10:04 pm

            Oh, and how much of our Sky money will go on his salary?

            Like

  20. nonoxcol Apr 18, 2018 / 9:05 pm

    Good Lord (pun intended), I thought I’d seen it all and then I saw this comment on TFT:

    “Finally Mike Selvey is Administrator friendly? Not my experience of reading him or following it on Twitter. You are being unfair on him.”

    Anybody got that John Cusack gif………..?

    Like

      • Mark Apr 18, 2018 / 9:49 pm

        Ah……

        A ……”knowing what I know” post right on schedule from Selvey.

        But how do you know, and what do you know?

        Not much if the last four years are any guide.

        Like

      • nonoxcol Apr 18, 2018 / 10:25 pm

        One might even say “inspired”, like Downton, eh, Mike?

        Or “excellent”, like Moores II.

        Be honest, guys, you couldn’t have written this script in one of your satirical annual predictions, could you?

        Today, by itself, has justified your entire last four years of existence.

        Probably my favourite single day since the one after 355*, to be honest.

        Like

  21. Zephirine Apr 18, 2018 / 9:25 pm

    Hurrah, a million! Well done you guys! ! Very impressive. It’s not just the talent, it’s the perseverance.

    So, the selector – it was the Random Academic Phrase Generator* versus the Mood Hoover? What a choice. Something tells me none of the people who’d have been good at the job wanted to go within a mile of it, wonder why.

    *https://phrasegenerator.com/academic The best one of these isn’t online any more, but this is still useful for anyone who needs to write a FICJAM article.

    Liked by 1 person

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