England vs. Pakistan, 2nd Test – The Ostrich Preview

Being the following act after such a strong and on the money piece that was written by Chris a couple of days ago is never an easy act to follow (we all grudgingly congratulated him in the pub last night with the rest of us wishing we had written it). It is also doubly hard when he has basically commented on everything I planned to say alongside the fact that this is simply a Test Match preview. So after the Lord Mayor’s show so to speak…

Whatever the heat Messer’s Graves and Harrison felt before the last Test with their half-arsed 100 ball plan and the ridicule that has rightly come with it, that heat has now turned into a furnace after the debacle of England’s performance in the first test. I didn’t actually get to watch most of the game but it would not be too strong to suggest that absolutely no positive came out of that game, bar the fact that none of our players got a catastrophic injury. It was a farce from start to finish, from Root’s decision to bat first, to watching England’s top order collapse in a heap not once but twice, to watching Pakistan’s bowlers who had very limited experience in these conditions completely embarrass England’s so called ‘best new ball attack of all time’. I would say I felt for the majority of the fans who paid the best bet of 100 quid for the privilege of watching such a spineless performance, but then I remember the game was held at Lords and most of the spectators are there for company networking and to be seen as part of the ‘old boys club, and to whom the cricket most definitely comes second, and then I happily remembered that I couldn’t care less!

This Test Match was the perfect riposte to the hollow words that have emerged out of the ECB over the past few years that Test cricket is the hallowed game (Graves, Harrison and Strauss have the unenviable reputation of making Hugh Morris, David Collier and David Morgan look not only competent but as the guardians of English cricket). The lack of investment in grass roots cricket, the wilful demolition of county cricket, the sheer corporate greed, treating the fans as commodities and then the obsession with T20/T100/dumbing down the sport lie squarely on the shoulders of the ECB. If this was a court then the ECB would have been tried and executed on the grounds of homicide. The gaping holes in the batting line, the over-reliance on two quick bowlers who are coming to the end of their career and the lack of a spinner, all of which were highlighted in our pathetic but unsurprising performance in the last Test is quite simply what the ECB (and not the fans) deserve for years of lip service and a criminal under investment in our red ball game. And guess what? This isn’t even close to the nadir yet! When Cook, Anderson and Broad finally retire in the next couple of years, the pipeline of talent behind them is completely desolate, a very real consequence of greed taking precedence over the health of the sport that they are supposedly the guardians of. It’s all very well for Shiny Toy to call for either Anderson or Broad to be dropped for the next game, but who exactly is going to replace them?? If Ed Smith didn’t think he was in for a challenge when he accepted the Chief Selector role then he has had a very rude awakening, this is the most poisonous of chalices. Of course, Smith could ban all players from social media from now on, but contrary to Simon Hughes’ hair brained and quite baffling declaration that it was this medium that has caused all of England’s travails, I’m afraid the problem is a little more terminal than that. Something the ‘rent-a-quote’ duo either don’t get or willfully choose to ignore.

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So off we head to Headingley, with little time for England to lick their wounds after the thrashing at Lords and for me, it will be interesting to see what type of appetite the natives have for the match, considering they had the rare the luxury of a late season Test last season. The current omens look good mainly down to the sensible pricing and promotion of the Test by Yorkshire and the fact that we won’t have a repeat of two teams in the North East fighting for spectator hearts and minds in concurrent Tests against teams that aren’t India or Australia. This is by no means to denigrate the appetite for cricket in the North East, who are some of the most passionate fans out there, nor to denigrate the level of opponent as Pakistan showed in the last Test, but concurrent Tests in the same geographic region was just madness (I certainly know one individual, who will be netting the profits from the advertising around the ground that will be happy at the lack of the competition).

As for the game itself, then Pakistan should surely be in the unusual situation of being favourites away from home. Certainly if they can bat and bowl like they did in the first test, then a very weak England batting line up and an egotistical, old and inconsistent bowling department could be in trouble once again. England have done the merciful thing by dropping a completely out of touch Mark Stoneman, who has looked like he has been batting with a matchstick this season, with the fairly uninspiring choice of Keaton Jennings. Whilst Jennings has scored some runs this season for Lancashire with one century, he still only has a batting average of 43 this season compared to 26 last season, which hardly suggests that he is pulling up trees in county cricket. It will be interesting to see if Jennings has made any tweaks to his technique after being ruthlessly exposed by the South African pace trio last season or whether we will see much of the same – mind you the black cab rank is pretty much empty at the moment. It is also likely that we will see Woakes replace Mark Wood as I would imagine that the England ‘brains trust’ see Headingley as a pitch where you need to pitch it up more and combined with the pitiful contributions from the tail all winter and in the last game. Woakes at least should give them a little bit of stability at 8. Without watching any of the last Test, it is hard for me to properly asses Mark Wood’s performance though I have had heard that his pace has consistently dropped in the 2nd and 3rd spells of the game. It is hard to know whether this is a fitness thing or a confidence thing, but it surely can’t be good for Wood to be bouncing in and out of the team on the whim of the selectors. I think England either have to stick with him all summer or let him go back to the county game (when it eventually starts again) to try and rebuild his fitness, but thinking about it, when has the good of the player ever been on the radar of the English coaches.

This is also an important Test for Joe Root as it has been pointed out that if England lose the series, then they slip down to number 7 in the Test rankings. Root has looked like he is carrying the world on his shoulders over the past 6 months, rather than the happy, cheeky chap he was before he was lumbered with the captaincy. Without doubt, this has not only affected his batting but all the current firefighting has quite possibly carried over to the rest of the team, who have looked anything but a team over the last few months. If England were to lose this game, I like many, am of the opinion that we need to find another captain within the squad. Root scoring runs is by far the most important thing we can ask of him and if the captaincy is wearing him down, then we need to find an interim captain for the next 18 months. Trevor Bayliss will also probably be sweating on the outcome of this Test, as whilst he has done a great job with the ODI side, the Test side smacks of staleness with the Test team knowing that Bayliss will be gone after 2019; after all we have seen in other sports what happens when a manager is pretty much dead man walking, the players stop giving that an extra 10% and often rely on their judgements rather than the instructions of the coaching staff. Still after the few months that the ECB’s have just had, is there anyone out there who doesn’t think they will bungle it? I look forward to Nick Knight being given the Test coaching job in the near future!

For those that have the inclination, please do share your thoughts below:

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86 thoughts on “England vs. Pakistan, 2nd Test – The Ostrich Preview

  1. Elaine SImpson-Long May 31, 2018 / 6:00 pm

    Anderson ranting on that he knows what he is doing and clearlyd does not like criticism. Can you see Root shutting him up? and if Anderson reacts like this then you know damn well he is not going to listen to anything that Joe asks him to do. He and Broad should be dropped from the team for their attitude more than anything else. They have lingered too long and are a toxic pair.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean May 31, 2018 / 6:10 pm

      The problem is who do you replace them with? When Hoggard and Harmison were deemed either past it or not worth the hassle, we had both Broad and St. Jimmy in reserve. Who do we have now?

      Like

      • Mark May 31, 2018 / 6:22 pm

        When they wanted to keep Cook as captain they used the TINA argument. “There is no alternative.”

        Who knew that in a few short years the philosophy of TINA would spread to every part of English cricket.

        Chairman, Graves, TINA

        Head of cricket, Strauss TINA

        TV negotiater in chief, Harrison TINA

        Coach, does it matter? TINA

        Captain, Root TINA

        Opening bowlers, Anderson & Broad TINA

        Opening batsman, Cook… Still TINA

        New head of selectors, Ed Smith (there was the option of Selvey) so still TINA

        TV broadcasting rights, Sky TINA

        No county championship cricket in June & July TINA

        No pre tour preparation before test matches, TINA

        Cringing, inside the beltway loyal media TINA

        Perhaps we should just re name English cricket TINA?

        Liked by 3 people

        • Rohan May 31, 2018 / 10:21 pm

          I prefer TIANA. My gut reaction is to think, who can replace Broad, Anderson or Cook? By doing that, however, I am as bad as ‘they’ were when we all wanted Cook gone in 2013/2014 and they cried TINA. There is another alternative and it’s the job of the selectors and scouts to find them and pick them. There are a lot of players in county cricket that might work (see Miami dads post down the page), but if we believe TINA, we’ll never know if they might work……

          Like

      • Rooto May 31, 2018 / 7:57 pm

        Deleted a long post to get to the point: was Broad a star in 2008? I seem to recall (not sure though) that he was a bit of a Sam Curran-esque punt at the time. Help, O knowledgeable ones…

        Of course, that doesn’t take away from your point about the lack of future stars banging down the door in 2018.

        Like

        • Sean May 31, 2018 / 8:03 pm

          Broad was a lot quicker back then, could reach 87 odd MPH and at 6″5 tall met the prototype English fast bowler model back then. He also had a good couple of years as a regular in the odi squad.

          His batting probably wasn’t as polished as S.Curran but he was genuinely seen as a bowling all rounder who could potentially bat at 7 back then.

          Still think Curran will be a batting all rounder if he is to make the team on a regular basis and we have one of them already…

          Like

          • fungineer99 June 1, 2018 / 6:52 pm

            I remember watching an early-period Broad ODI when the speedgun showed him bowling a spell in the low 90s and hitting 94. However, the Sky ODI gun around 2006/7 was regularly accused of adding a few MPHs so how reliable those numbers are is anyone’s guess.

            Like

          • fungineer99 June 1, 2018 / 6:53 pm

            Possibly same speedgun that showed Harmison touching 97 in one game!

            Like

      • Elaine Simpson-Long May 31, 2018 / 8:36 pm

        As lmg as they think this both SB and JA will carry on thinkng they are untouchable and do what they like. Try new people and just put up wuthnthe factbthat until we have youngbtalent trained up we will lose a lot. But then we are now!

        Like

          • thelegglance May 31, 2018 / 9:20 pm

            Always makes me chuckle how I’m a dinosaur for having a physical keyboard even though I type faster and more accurately than all the piss-takers…

            Like

          • Sean May 31, 2018 / 9:27 pm

            That’s so aimed at me and my supposed Toy phone/iPad….

            Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto May 31, 2018 / 6:35 pm

      What do you think would be the outcome if Broad was dropped and Anderson made captain? I’m torn between thinking that being alone in charge of new, younger bowlers would be the shake-up he needs, and fearing that bossy, mouthiness would become the default setting of the whole team without any improvement in performance. I don’t know…

      Like

      • Sean May 31, 2018 / 6:39 pm

        Grudgingly I do kind of agree. I think not considering bowlers for the captaincy is insane. If anything the extra responsibility might actually make him think occasionally. Of course it might not either, but we’re hardly blessed at the moment…

        Like

  2. Rooto May 31, 2018 / 6:43 pm

    Re: Bayliss. Vic Marks’ article saying essentially “Bayliss can’t be sacked because his nominal boss is now Andy Flower who’s only a locum” clarified the situation for me. I don’t imagine anyone here is in any doubt that Trevor will be clearing his desk on Wednesday, while Mr Locum prepares to move his cane and mortarboard back into the head office, ‘temporarily’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol May 31, 2018 / 7:37 pm

      Just stop it, before I turn permanently into this man:

      Liked by 5 people

    • Zephirine May 31, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      And in a South African game reserve, the sound of Kevin Pietersen’s hysterical laughter echoes through the bush, causing rhinos to flee in panic.

      1st Game Warden: Was that bloke just singing “Da Mood Hoover’s gonna getcha! Da Mood Hoovers gonna getcha!!” or am I imagining things?
      2nd Game Warden: Yah, don’t worry, he’s bonkers. We send them off to play cricket in England and they come back like that.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Riverman21 May 31, 2018 / 6:45 pm

    Suddenly this Test is taking on a lot more importance than just “noise”

    Like

    • Sean May 31, 2018 / 6:49 pm

      ‘Noise’ the favourite word of the media/administration when trying to take the heat off oneself…

      Like

    • thelegglance May 31, 2018 / 9:23 pm

      Fascinating isn’t it? There’s just the whiff of complete panic.

      Like

      • Riverman21 June 1, 2018 / 6:40 am

        Yes. It’s definitely getting interesting.

        The press pack have found their critical voice. Losing home series was never supposed to happen. Knives are being sharpened….but who will get the chop?

        No criticism of Root the player but to me as a captain he looks terrible. Getting worse actually.

        Like

  4. northernlight71 May 31, 2018 / 7:00 pm

    Pictures are hung. People are hanged.

    (*runs away and hides in a very embarrassed fashion*)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean May 31, 2018 / 7:07 pm

      Doh, will amend it! I’m a grammar freak too!

      Like

    • thelegglance May 31, 2018 / 7:29 pm

      You have no idea how often I bite my tongue. Sean does the American spelling on purpose because he knows it sends me into orbit.

      The bastard.

      Like

      • Sean May 31, 2018 / 7:42 pm

        Pipe down Crampton!

        A little bit of praise and it all goes to your head 😉.

        American spelling from now on….

        Liked by 1 person

        • OscarDaBosca May 31, 2018 / 8:33 pm

          It adds color to the blog. I think I could eulogize about Sean’s spelling, it always the center of my thoughts. You shouldn’t take offense, he has a defense, and I don’t think he needs to apologize, as he has a license using a blogging platform and his humor and behavior all can recognize.
          I won’t labor the point any more.

          Sorry 😉

          Liked by 2 people

          • Sean May 31, 2018 / 8:36 pm

            Hahaha, I’ve inadvertently wandered into a year 11 English grammar exam! Mind you if it winds that many people up, then I’m all for it 😁

            Wait until I start practicing with other English based languages…

            Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance May 31, 2018 / 9:24 pm

            I’m with Arron’s gif above reading that!

            Frigging autocorrect refuses to acknowledge that Arron is a correct spelling.

            Like

  5. oreston May 31, 2018 / 7:58 pm

    A 2-0 home series loss to Pakistan would be richly deserved (in totally different ways by the respective teams) but it wouldn’t change very much where England were concerned. There’d be a semblance of panic stations ahead of the India series, but mainly from the media and punditerati rather than the ECB – and they’d largely go after the wrong targets as usual anyway. Baylis might well fall on his sword (Flower would probably add the coaching role to his Director Comma brief on a caretaker basis) but Root would I imagine be told he had to soldier on – unless Cook were, however reluctantly, persuaded, to take over again by his adoring public. Smith would make a few more team changes during the summer to little obvious effect (I would almost feel sorry for him, but FICJAM will get what FICJAM deserves…) England would be heading to the bottom third of the ICC test rankings, Virat Kohli would likely finish the summer wearing a very broad grin and 2018 would go down in the annals as an almost unparalleled nadir.
    Trouble is, there’s not much prospect of 2019 being any better. An utterly broken England taking on a recovering Australia with a still half-decent (even without the aid of DIY supplies) seam attack in a home Ashes series? Not an appetising prospect. The outcome could be like the mis-matches of the ’90s and early 2000s… just without the talent on display and with little to admire in either team. With things as they are I don’t rate England’s chances in Sri Lanka in the meantime either. The best of it is, I hardly care anymore. It’s all over, finished, done and dusted. Let the imaginary legion of nu-cricket fans have their Hundred Ball Hokum. There’s little left to retain my interest.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sean May 31, 2018 / 8:11 pm

      I thought only Chris wrote those things I wish I had said. Well said sir…

      Like

      • oreston May 31, 2018 / 9:22 pm

        You’re much too kind…

        Like

      • thelegglance May 31, 2018 / 9:28 pm

        Sod off Sean. As you well know, even my missus prefers reading you, Danny and Peter to me!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sean May 31, 2018 / 9:31 pm

          A lady of great taste 🙂

          Like

  6. oreston May 31, 2018 / 8:00 pm

    I don’t even care if my comments appear or not anymore 🙂

    Like

    • Sean May 31, 2018 / 8:05 pm

      Ahem, think I’ve fished then out…blame WordPress…

      Like

      • oreston May 31, 2018 / 9:21 pm

        Cheers Sean!

        Like

  7. Miami Dad's 6 May 31, 2018 / 8:06 pm

    Mark Wood averages 29 with the ball in First Class cricket. Why we’re surprised he’s crap in Tests is beyond me.

    Yorkshire have Ben Coad, a 24 year old medium fast bowler (mid 80s) who has taken First Class wickets at 20 thus far in his career. If you were open to giving a bowler a debut on his home patch, as an intro to Test cricket, and to evaluate a potential successorship, then you might think someone has missed a trick, there.

    The fact that Coad *might* be shit in Australia doesn’t mean he’d be shit in Leeds in May. Ask Jimmy and Broady when and where they’ve picked up their 5fers.

    The batting order is a mess and is going to be until one or two of these Stoneman/Jennings/Malan/Vince/ANOther type selections eventually comes good. I’d beef up the lower order to compensate. Woakes and Ali are perfectly serviceable cricketers with bat and ball in England. There is a series on the line this week, so lets give ourselves the best chance of 350.

    Cook
    Jennings
    Root
    Malan
    Bairstow
    Stokes
    Buttler
    Ali
    Woakes
    Coad
    Anderson

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan May 31, 2018 / 9:35 pm

      Great post, perfect antidote to TINA!

      Like

    • thelegglance May 31, 2018 / 9:36 pm

      The trouble is, they’ve made such a mess of the first class season that the bowling averages don’t give any indication about Test cricket now. You’ve got Darren Stevens averaging 12.5, and much as I admire him – few are suggesting he’s the answer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • northernlight71 May 31, 2018 / 10:24 pm

        I think Darren Stevens is the answer.
        What was the question? It doesn’t matter. Darren Stevens is always the answer.
        (Full disclosure – though I wasn’t born there and have rarely visited it, I am a Kent supporter. Blame my Mum.)

        Like

        • thelegglance May 31, 2018 / 10:26 pm

          I kind of like, played against him a fair bit, back in the day. I love him. It’s far far better than seeing some of the other Kent players coming through, who I didn’t play against, but did play against their fathers.

          FFS.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Rohan May 31, 2018 / 10:32 pm

            I have worked with teachers who are on their second generation of teaching a family and feel the same as your sentiments! Fortunately I’ve not had that pleasure yet, but give it time.

            Like

      • Rohan May 31, 2018 / 10:25 pm

        True, but I think it’s clear that Stevens is not test material regardless of average (although Mark Ealham! 😀), but Coad MIGHT be…..

        Like

        • metatone June 1, 2018 / 5:59 am

          Haven’t seen Coad a lot this season, but he looked like he had genuine potential. He’s looked better than Brooks who (while not quite Test class and getting on a bit) is a quality bowler.

          Like

      • Miami Dad's 6 June 1, 2018 / 5:00 am

        You are right, to an extent. Although it makes it even more glaring that Wood isn’t the answer that he can’t take wickets even when the odds are perennially loaded in his favour.

        Like

  8. BobW May 31, 2018 / 8:29 pm

    Interestingly Dobell has a take on Broad tomorrow.
    From Twitter.

    ‘Judging from the body language at training, not sure Stuart Broad is taking the new ball or perhaps even playing in this Test.’

    Like

    • Sean May 31, 2018 / 8:33 pm

      Hmm, that would be rather surprising. Perhaps Shiny Toy has reminded FICJAM who really picks the team..

      Like

      • Mark May 31, 2018 / 9:35 pm

        It would be a huge surprise, especially as they were claiming Broad had re-invented himself before the last Test match.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance May 31, 2018 / 9:38 pm

        Lets be honest, how much would we giggle? How much material would it give us?

        Like

        • Mark May 31, 2018 / 9:54 pm

          Perhaps someone should create a fake twitter account.

          @Stuartgenius I will pitch it up when I feel like it.

          Then we can have Agnew explain to us again how Twitter passwords work, and how he knows for a fact that tweets weren’t sent from the dressing room.

          Such fun!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sean May 31, 2018 / 10:00 pm

            Do It! Actually he won’t get the irony…

            Like

    • Rohan May 31, 2018 / 9:18 pm

      If correct, bowling attack of Curran, Anderson, Woakes and Wood?

      Like

      • Sean May 31, 2018 / 9:19 pm

        Curran will bat at 7, Buttler 6, Woakes 8, Bess 9 is my best guess…

        Like

        • Rohan May 31, 2018 / 9:25 pm

          I must admit, Curran is an exciting prospect and gets me interested that he might debut. He’s only a prospect, but why not try him and chuck him in, it works for other nations.

          Like

  9. man in a barrel May 31, 2018 / 9:14 pm

    It’s a time for the Surrey tactic, pioneered by Leveson-Gower,former chair of SCC. Bat down to 8, Struddy keeps wicket, 2 quicks. But one of the batters must bowl slow left arm. And another must be a good fast medium quickie

    Like

    • Sean May 31, 2018 / 9:17 pm

      Never fails, welcome back Mike Watkinson (yes I know he bowled right arm slow, but we’re splitting hairs..)

      Like

      • man in a barrel May 31, 2018 / 9:20 pm

        Given the relative strength of WI v England it wasn’t so bad But Illingworth influenced the pitches in a way that might have worked in the 1970s but only helped Ambrose and Bishop in the 90s

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Rohan May 31, 2018 / 9:16 pm

    Few random thoughts:

    Lots of the media/pundits blaming the amount of T20/Odi cricket played, for England’s deterioration in test cricket. How long then, before one of them makes the serious suggestion of playing tests with white balls (Ori type kits as well), as they think it will help England!? I could seriously imagine one of them suggesting it, even though it’s ludicrous.

    If and, it’s a big if, we win the home World Cup, the ECB will be even worse I guarantee it. I could also imagine a raft of ‘see all is well’ and ‘told you so’ and ‘nothing wrong here’ from the usual acolytes. It will be even worse for English test cricket.

    Lastly, just watched ‘Joe Root:One year in’ on sky. Root was asked how far is the test team from where you want them, his reply, ‘not very far at all, very close’. Seriously? Now I know this was filmed before the first test against Pakistan, however, it was after we lost 4-0 to Aus and lost 1-0 to NZ. I like Root, I do, but sorry, that is just poor. Either he is delusional like the rest of team ECB. Or he is so ‘on message’ it’s unreal. Or he’s just weak and rubbish as captain. Ho hum, maybe it’s time to crack out the DVDs of 2005.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Zephirine May 31, 2018 / 9:41 pm

      It’s the England Test team view of themselves. “We’re really very good, world-class. A really talented side. There’s great character in the dressing-room. We just didn’t happen to play very well today….

      Like

      • Sean May 31, 2018 / 9:44 pm

        The ‘Trevor Bayliss’ script in one easy sentence, though supposedly he’s at a loss now. At least Peter Moores’ actually believed his script…

        Like

  11. man in a barrel May 31, 2018 / 9:17 pm

    So I think that means a place for Woakes. Bess instead of Ali because at least Bess seemed to have more control. Wood probably loses his spot. But Bess will have to bowl a shed load of overs

    Like

    • thelegglance May 31, 2018 / 9:40 pm

      Do you remember the good old days when we debated whether Moeen averaging 40 with the bat over the last 12 months was good enough?

      *sigh*

      Like

  12. Mark May 31, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    My prediction is for a comfortable England win. Sounds a bit optimistic I know, but England are due a performance, and for all the credit the Pakistan team got I don’t believe they are as good as the one here a few years ago. England were shockingly bad.

    At some point the England batting has to able to put 350/450 on the board, and I still think the Pakistan batting could be brittle if put under pressure.

    Jennings and Cook have a first requirement to bat the firsts 30 overs, and see off the new ball. If that can be achieved the much vaunted stroke players will have a much better chance of building a score. If England lose in a similar fashion I think the gig will almost be up. They will have run out of excuses and options.

    I wish I didn’t have a nagging feeling this is exactly what the powers that be secretly dream of.

    Like

  13. metatone June 1, 2018 / 6:14 am

    Can I say how tired I am of this meme going around: (excerpt from Dobell’s match preview):

    “Either way, England’s current predicament underlines how underappreciated the 2013 side were. It reminds us, too, that their style of play – routinely criticised for its lack of positivity at the time – had many virtues. Attitude and positivity aren’t enough. Success at Test level also has to be earned through denial and determination and discipline.”

    We’re talking about a team who were objectively much stronger than we are now. We wanted them to press on and be good enough to challenge the best teams regularly, both home and away.

    In fact, what happened wasn’t that “positivity” undermined the team, it was mediocrity. Mediocrity endorsed from the top of the ECB, but also from the press. We never took up the challenge of getting better, we lapsed into “our home form is good.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol June 1, 2018 / 7:13 am

      Can I second that?

      I don’t remember “routine” criticism of their style of play for a start. I remember people arguing that “bowling dry” and “playing to their strengths” by omitting Panesar in Ahmedabad was taking inflexible strategic thinking way too far. I remember them being proven right, and them not having any issue for the rest of the series. I remember the NZ game, where England batted slowly when rain was forecast, and that seems to have been extrapolated over the entire summer. The 2013 Ashes actually included a 14-run win, a thrashing, a rain-affected draw, a 74-run win that was thrilling on the final day and a draw where England needed only about 20. It (pun intended) pissed all over the “one of the boxers is always a drunken palooka” 2015 Ashes for quality. I hope nobody is going to take the next step and argue that this under-appreciation contributed to the 5-0 thrashing, and I certainly hope they don’t take the final step and tell us we should all be grateful if The Pragmatist returns.

      The bigger problem, for me, was the *lack* of criticism for some bloody poor results in the UAE and NZ, and home v SA. I’ve never forgotten Jimmy saying “we want to be legends, all-time greats” about a month after a 5-0 winter whitewash was averted by Pietersen and Swann, and getting away with it. Nor have I forgotten the complacent chest-beating of things like this:

      https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2012/jul/18/england-south-africa-test-series

      Or this:

      https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/jul/03/the-spin-england-cricket-zenith

      Or the constant low-level assumption that their achievements were objectively superior to 2003-05, and The Pragmatist objectively superior to Fletcher.

      Like

    • Miami Dad's Six June 1, 2018 / 7:23 am

      To NOT be able to merge Trott, Bell, KP, Cook, Prior, Swann, Anderson and Broad into a lasting dynasty, even with the likes of Stokes, Root and Bairstow coming through – is actually quite the shambolic failure, worse in hindsight, but it isn’t as if there was no appreciation at the time.

      Succession planning, mood hoovering, flogging individuals to early retirement – all these are repeated failures.

      Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket June 1, 2018 / 7:31 am

      There was a lot of criticism of Jonathan Trott and the way he batted. He scored too slowly, and didn’t convert his fifties to hundreds. Harrison and Bayliss have both said that they want aggressive batsmen to play for England’s Test team, which means that we get batsmen like Vince chasing swinging wide balls at three instead.

      Like

      • nonoxcol June 1, 2018 / 7:44 am

        I sort of get that, but one of my bugbears was that Trott was clearly declining statistically after his innings at Cardiff in 2011, and it wasn’t picked up on across the media until his career was virtually over. I wrote BTL on the Guardian in August 2012 that he’d gone from a Barrington average 2009-11 to a Gatting average afterwards, but (like Cook now) he was still largely treated as if he was a dependable rock the likes of which we’d not seen in a generation.

        The only time I saw this statistical decline mentioned by the media was Andy Zaltzman, on Twitter, during Trott’s ill-fated return in the WI. It was a way more precipitous fall than Pietersen’s, yet that received considerably more attention.

        None of which is to say that he wouldn’t improve this rabble, whichever half of his career we took.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. dannycricket June 1, 2018 / 10:38 am

    Broad is pitching it up and causing the batsmen lots of problems. Literally no one could have predicted that. Stuart Broad is a bowling genius!

    Like

  15. Sri.grins June 1, 2018 / 10:47 am

    Looks like broad starts doing well when he thinks his place in the team is under threat.
    😁
    Now, all England has to do is to clmske broad and Anderson feel the same every test.

    Like

    • dlpthomas June 1, 2018 / 10:52 am

      “Clmske”? Is that the Indian version of “covfefe”?

      Like

      • Sri.grins June 1, 2018 / 11:15 am

        Spell check. I was typing another word and made an error in make (a replaced by a) obviously I had not deleted fully the earlier word I started to write which I replaced and there you have a new word.
        😁

        Like

  16. pktroll (@pktroll) June 1, 2018 / 11:11 am

    I see the regulatory seven overs spell and rest is applied to Broad and Anderson. Still looking forward to see how Curran goes even though I don’t honestly think that he’s ready yet.

    I’m not sure that Woakes should be persisted with any more than Wood, although he did have success at home versus Pakistan 2 years ago.

    Like

  17. dlpthomas June 1, 2018 / 11:18 am

    Bloody hell Curran looks young.

    Like

  18. metatone June 1, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    Seems like Pakistan chose the wrong side of the toss.
    (Bat first? Headingley? With some swing?)

    As ever, one of my frustrations is “why couldn’t Broad do some of this last time?”

    Assuming we don’t let them off the hook this afternoon, game over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stevet June 1, 2018 / 12:06 pm

      Remember England have to bat on it as well!

      Like

      • oreston June 1, 2018 / 2:21 pm

        Can’t wait to see how England are going to contrive to not take 20 wickets this time – but hey, where there’s a will there’s a way, right?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mark June 1, 2018 / 12:13 pm

      It’s why I will never view Anderson and Broad as genuine all time greats , no matter how many wickets they take. This may seem harsh, and ludicrous, but I find their arrogant attitude to bowling the wrong lengths very unprofessional.

      They were indulged by Flower/Strauss/Cook on and off the field in a way that made them too big to fail. This is the result. They appear to turn it on when they feel like it. Perhaps they need to be threatened with the sack every game. A bit late now as they are near the end of their careers.

      Like

      • Rohan June 1, 2018 / 3:50 pm

        https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/anderson-and-broad-aren-t-greats-these-are-the-top-20-bowlers-ever-a7055361.html

        This article agrees with you Mark as do I! Unfortunately things like strike rate and averages are routinely ignored by the usual suspects, when it comes to Anderson and Broad. They make simple unuanced judgements, based on wickets taken or how much they swing it, whilst conveniently forgetting the other stats which show they are not ‘all time greats’.

        I should add, however, 500+ test wickets is an absolutely tremendous feat of longevity, fitness and skill.

        Like

        • pktroll (@pktroll) June 1, 2018 / 4:07 pm

          In many respects the arguments about Broad and Anderson for bowling are similar to the argument about Cook and where he stands as a batsman. In bare longevity and number of runs/wickets both are impressive but fall well short of the true greats.

          Like

          • dlpthomas June 2, 2018 / 4:48 am

            My (I’m going to take credit for it) “Anderson and Broad have too many bad days to be considered all time greats” argument also applies to Cook.

            Like

        • dlpthomas June 2, 2018 / 4:54 am

          An interesting article, though judging by the comments, not a popular one.

          Like

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