Desecrated While The Coroner Waited

Walking to work this morning, and the same old thoughts came through my head. I’ve not written a piece for Being Outside Cricket since the farcical reaction to the 2nd Test of the Pakistan series. More importantly, I’ve been wondering what I could write. So the thought rumbled on as a site I obviously care deeply about, and a collection of writers and commenters, or as they are known to me “friends” (well, nearly all of you), falls further from the top of my things to do, what can I do? What can I write?

Chris is doing the business on the shenanigans surrounding the 100 competition. It beggars belief that anyone, and I mean anyone, can endorse the way this consultancy exercise is being conducted. The starkest of all, and probably most stupidly, is the “it’s not aimed at you” mantra which is just amazing. You have a load of people who want to help, who want cricket to grow, and yes are ultra protective of the long form because that’s what they see as the pinnacle. Many a first class cricket fan can also see the attraction of the T20 stuff, just as we did 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 over stuff.  A lot don’t, but instead of insulting them, or dismissing them, the ECB is an equal opportunities idiot and slags them all off. Without demeaning anyone, or any age, mobile phone companies push off smart phones and every new bell and whistle each year for the customers who they want to attract, but those older, or less tech inspired folk, who just want a simple mobile with no real complexities are still catered for. Companies see them as important customers. They provide steady income. They provide regular business. The do not leave, the churn rate is low. They cost next to nothing to keep on their books. It’s not their big business, it’s not the big winning, but it’s steady. That way when disaster releases come the company’s way, they have something to fall back on. They don’t go out of their way to anger long-term customers just to attract the new. The ECB might understand that if they weren’t too busy being the smartest guys in the room.

I’ve not a lot more to add to Chris’s pieces – he’s a bit kind about the we’ve all been too busy and the World Cup has been on as an excuse. For me it’s a total lack of inspiration. I’ve watched Selvey doing his Walter Raleigh act for the ECB and it continues to depress me (oh and how I laughed at him moaning about what happened to his Open golf reporting a week or so ago), but it doesn’t surprise me. In fact the one thing that ceases to happen now is anything that surprises me, both in the reporting and the administration of the game. The sides are entrenched, the game has yet another schism, and the whole think makes me sad. As I have said frequently on Twitter, I really have no anger left to give. And as you people know on here, and in the words of Public Image Limited, anger is an energy.

As I walked to work the Public Enemy track “Harder Than You Think” came on the Ipod shuffle (the old Ipod 164gb is a magnificent piece of tech, but that idiot company doesn’t make them any more. Hence I don’t buy their stuff – alienating customers). This was the soundtrack to the Channel 4 Paralympics coverage in 2012 (I was abroad when they went on). It’s Chuck D in brilliant form, railing against the superficiality of the modern rap scene, talking about bitches, snitches and drugs, as against the pioneers who had messages. It goes on about how Chuck delivers his message, how it is relevant today, and how it is hard to have to keep on keeping on. Chuck is one of the great rap artists ever, and so nothing in common with me, but after 4 years of constant anger, constant delivering of messages on here, it sort of spoke to me a little. This blog loves test cricket – the hits prove it – barely tolerates ODIs unless they have meaning via a competition – again the hits prove it – and doesn’t have T20 on its radar because no-one gives a stuff. We recognise that we can’t compete on county cricket, so we don’t. Delivering our messages has been wearing on the soul, corrosive on the mind, destructive on the health. It is good to care, it is not good to care too much. It is harder than you think.

You know my posts are more personal, more also about the conduct and business of blogging than others. That’s good. We have a diversity of output, certainly in terms of style, that resonates. I was thinking about how my love of cricket, the real passion behind me has evolved, and possibly revolved in the past ten or fifteen years. Going back to my first Ashes tour in 2002, getting to see Brisbane and Adelaide with some stops in between, cemented the love of test cricket. I was watching a world legend team play an England team scrabbling to get to the summit. In almost a diametrically opposite trend, that England team started badly, but improved, so that by the end we’d scared them a little in the 4th Test and won the 5th. There was no quit, they were driven on. Then there was England improving under Vaughan, winning in 2005, proving their fallibility in Pakistan straight after and then going on my second Ashes tour in 2006 when I saw the Adelaide and Perth tests.

But in between those Ashes series it was the chance to go to Newlands, it was the chance to go to the Wanderers, it was also the chance to walk on Kensington Oval’s square, that brought my love for the game even further up – talking cricket to friends and locals. Yes it was also great to watch the England batting line-up when it fired, the England bowling as well, but the game had great global competitiveness at a time now when we are seeing teams collapse on tours. I would stay up to watch test matches, and hang on their outcomes. I would look forward to my days at the Oval Test, hope I might get into the odd Lord’s test too, and I was a county member at Surrey. While personal circumstances changed drastically in 2005 and 2006, and then again on a more positive note in 2008, cricket remained a passion. Test cricket felt better, in my view was better, and although T20 was around, it was seen as it’s more lively cousin, rather than a predator about to swallow the game whole.

I still loved the game through the England team of 2009-2013, which had a great batting style about them, and a bowling unit that was effective and delivered what was needed. I didn’t feel as down about 2013 as many others did – we won the key moments in tests, the weather saved us in one, the other was boo-hoo as if a day being rained out was our fault. But the 2013-14 series was something else. And I could tell early it was something else. Here’s why. I’m an obsessive when it comes to recording cricket, and I have the whole of 2010-11 Ashes on disc. All of it. Every ball. So to the 2013 series. I didn’t even bother for that series. Not at the start. Could not be arsed. I just about managed to keep the highlights. I know, I know, the question is “why?” but I just did. I still sit down, when reading a book, or thinking what to write with the last two days of Brisbane 2010 playing, or KP’s double at Adelaide. It’s nice. When I feel a bit more involved in watching, the morning session of the Boxing Day test is nice too. I didn’t bother with 2015.  For some reason I did with the last series, but have no idea why. Perhaps I can watch Cook’s double ton at Melbourne? You can insert your own punchlines.

What this piece is failing to nail down is why I don’t feel the same way. Were the signs early? Well post that series and the nonsense that followed it, I’ve been at journos and administration. I’ve been going on, and on, and on, about that. I felt it was a thing missing in the cosy, back-slapping world of cricket writing. Someone who had an anger and a passion to point out what I saw as their stupidity and ignorance. I did it in a style you see rarely in cricket and people loved it and loathed it. It was driven by a dying love, and an anger that these people were applying the morphine while stabbing me in vital organs as I declined. The ECB are utterly craven, the heads I’ve gone at in the past four and half years have all been garbage. Yet the cricket press, many of them, seem to want to laud them before they even prove they are able. Yesterday a creature by the name of Gordon Hollis crawled out to respond to the Cricketer’s survey, and spouted off the same pathetic, management speak drivel we are used to. Graves may not come from a speak your consultant machine, but he’s just the sort of despotic, do as I say or do one individual the world seems to be adept at producing this stage, confusing leadership with power. Downton should be scarred on each and every one of the individuals who thought he was a good appointment, but is he really much worse than Harrison, an Empty Suit strangely silent recently as the 100 debacle collapses around the ECB, who have their fingers in their ears and their heads up their arses – a neat anatomical trick.

And do you know what has made me angry? Ish? Jonathan Liew’s piece in the Independent on the 100. I’m not a Liew fan, but it was a good piece, written in his own, waspish, style. It grates on some, but not on others. I liked it. But wasn’t it saying what we have been saying all along? Why do the press boys pretend as if this is some new phenomenon just because a daily paper, albeit on line (doesn’t that make it a really big blog?) had a reporter write it while they seem strangely reticent to give Dobell much credit, let along pathetic 250k hit per year blogs like this sorry effort. It only matters when the press write it. A circular firing squad of self regard. No wonder I lost my marbles over the KP business.

As I got to the station this morning, and PE’s masterpiece finished, on came 1980s house anthem “Let It Roll” by Doug Lazy. Maybe I should just let it roll. Maybe blogging is just shouting into the wind, heard only by those prescient enough to keep their ears to the window, ignored by those who want peace and quiet by the fire. The 100 is not designing a horse by committee, but it is throwing ideas and hoping one might stick. People wantonly confuse the T20 launch with this one. That T20 Blast was launched tentatively, with not a lot of games, played on out grounds (Richmond Park anyone?) to see if it worked. They would have pulled the plug in a heartbeat if it hadn’t. It had done market research to see what punters wanted and published it – even Giles’s ECB did some things right – while this market research is hidden from view.  It was surprised by the public who liked it. They have no idea what the public wants here. And the one question I’ve never heard answered to any degree is why won’t the same people who go to the Blast be the core audience for the 100? Because let’s not be fooled, the ECB have seen the IPL and Big Bash and figure there’s room for one more big market T20 jamboree in the calendar and they want to make money. They have the base TV deal to work from. This is all about money, and little about growing the game. In my view.

So for someone not angry, who doesn’t really care, I’ve written 2000+ hastily written words to convey some muddled thoughts. That’s where I am folks. Lost the mojo. Not quite on form. Losing the love. Feeling the lack of enthusiasm. It has been a dull white ball season for me because you can’t force me to care. The worry is that I might be forced to care about this test series coming up. Because if I’m forced to care about test cricket, I am seeing the game desecrated while my own cricketing coroner is waiting.

Thanks to Chris in particular for keeping the show on the road. It is much harder than you think.


55 thoughts on “Desecrated While The Coroner Waited

  1. Mark Jul 24, 2018 / 3:36 pm

    What has changed since the unveiling of 20/20? Back then we were told the new shorter format would be fun, and fast, done and dusted in about three hours. It was to attract a new audience. Get the kids interested in something new and shinny that would hopefully lead some of the new converts to the longer form of the game. But most importantly bring in much new revenue that would subsidise cricket as a whole.

    So did this new venture succeed or fail? In terms of money, and particularly global audiences it has been a huge success. But has it attracted new people to the longer form of the game? Judging by the Test crowds abroad you would say no. It has become its own monster. It funds itself, and in a short time has taken over the game as a whole.

    So what is the point of another new venture? Once again the ECB propagandists still trott our the drivel about attracting a new audience for Test cricket through giving the public something that is not the longer form of the game. It will be a taster for the new kids and their simplistic mother’s who can’t count to six. But where is the evidence that this will lead to interest in the longer game? On that front 20/20 has failed completely.

    As you say this all about money, and a pissed off English establishment who missed out on the chance to cash in on 20/20. India ran with it and have created a giant gloabl brand. Australia followed with their particularly Aussie model. Helped by a warm climate giving rise to day night 20/20. (No dew, and it really gets dark)

    This is an ECB Mulligan. Let’s see if we can once again invent something new, only this time be the ones to cash in. Like crazed scientists locked into their laboratory’s frantically messing with their test tubes for the magic formula. They are desperate to create the new golden ticket to riches.

    But that is not the role of the governing body. If they want to be entrepreneurs then they should do it on their own money, and time. They are employed to govern the game of cricket. Not to destroy it on the faint off chance they might get lucky and rich. It is less than twenty years since they came up with 20/20. It doesn’t need need another format. It needs some people who actually like the game, and respect the fans. Unfortunately English cricket has neither the people in charge or the people who report on it who fall into that role. They seem to positively loath both the game, and the fans. Well the feelings mutual.

    The BBC is so desperate for live sport of any kind they have signed up for a dogs breakfast that they don’t know what it is. Will it be 16.4 or 100? Will it be 5 ball overs or 6? 11 players or 15? Will LBW still be a way of getting out. Who knew the BBC would be so lavish with licence payers money?

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jul 24, 2018 / 3:38 pm

      I have been advised that the BBC are paying a lot less than you think for the first few years of the 100, or whatever it is. They haven’t been lavish at all.


      • Mark Jul 24, 2018 / 3:50 pm

        So what the hell is the point of the exercise then? The BBC are being used as loss leaders to get the whole rotten vehicle on the road. Once they have launched it with free to air tv the ECB will then put it back behind a pay wall for profit, and the same problems will start again.

        Some times civilisations are too stupid to survive. Looks like sports governing bodies are the same. Difference now is so few people care anymore.


        • LordCanisLupus Jul 24, 2018 / 4:25 pm

          They want FTA. If only to get some exposure to the game, and it probably had to be BBC. Whether this is a good thing, who knows? Whether this is a change in long-term thinking, who knows? BBC have the mens T20 internationals as well.

          I think the “golden age” of paywall sports is rapidly drawing to a close. Every World Cup and Olympics shows that paywall sports can only go so far. The Premier League is the exception and not the rule. The sooner some figure that out, the better.


          • Mark Jul 24, 2018 / 6:03 pm

            I agree about the golden age of the pay wall drawing to a close. The cost of subscriptions is going to have to rise hugely with such low viewing numbers. Those that can afford it are going to have to pay even more, and many more new outlets.

            They could try cutting the cost of subscriptions, and doubling the numbers of subscribers. Perhaps they think most people would still not pay anything. Sky sports has been going for nearly 30 years now. You would have thought people would have subscribed by now if they were going to.

            Perhaps this is why Murdoch is getting out?


          • thelegglance Jul 24, 2018 / 7:22 pm

            Yep. The BBC are not the supplicants here, the ECB are. Though they’d rather die than admit it, they’re reaping the consequences of going fully pay TV. And they desperately need the exposure. So the Beeb are sat back knowing that they are needed.

            Some might say that one or two pointed this out years ago…

            Liked by 1 person

    • "IronBalls" McGinty Jul 25, 2018 / 8:18 am

      Good grief!!


    • Stevet Jul 25, 2018 / 8:53 am

      Where do you start? The Aplomb bit it priceless


    • Mark Jul 25, 2018 / 11:09 am

      I hope he speaks at some length about his career as a golf writer, despite having never been a professional golf player. Seeing as he seems to sneer at those who despite never playing cricket at the highest level like to write about it too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • oreston Jul 25, 2018 / 3:36 pm

      Oh damn! Can’t go – think I’m going to have some washing up (or something equally important) to do this evening.
      Just checked and there are still tickets available though…


    • jomesy Jul 26, 2018 / 7:24 pm

      I’d forgotten about this. With hindsight, I think as many as us as possible should have gone along. Would’ve been fun. Perhaps next time, but needs some critical mass otherwise there’ll just be a few in the audience scratching their eyeballs.


  2. Miami Dad's Six Jul 26, 2018 / 8:03 am

    This was a great piece. I didn’t comment immediately because there isn’t a lot to say.

    Matt Engel’s latest in the Graun more or less nails it too, and even has a call for the ECB protagonists to go, which is the first I can recall seeing in the mainstream media.

    In other news, I see Imran Khan is looking likely to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He’s got the military on his side, which apparently counts for a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto Jul 26, 2018 / 10:49 am

      Agreed about both this piece by LCL and the Engels article at the Graun. The Guardian at least seems to be hauling the tanker slowly around with regards to attitudes to the ECB since you-know-who was chucked out to start his own blog. 🙂 *sound of tumbleweed*

      Engels is invited back a little more often, Marks (the two of them should write a book together) is also very scathing about the Hundred and cynical in general, and Andy Bull has effed off to write about rugby and any other sports he can find. Bull appeared to be a fine-writing, thin-skinned, establishment-toadying chip off the Selvey block, so his absence has been welcomed by me and probably a few other Guardianistas who come here.
      Anyway, it feels like a slight change in the climate. Better late than never, I suppose. Best wishes and many thanks to all the writers here: please keep on keeping on!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Miami Dad's Six Jul 26, 2018 / 12:46 pm

      Ed Smith MUST be commended for the Buttler call, and the Rashid stuff too. Even if they don’t work out in cricketing terms, they’re at least a sign of change that the selectors are adapting to what can only be considered to be reality, nowadays. This comes with the caveat that I have a soft spot for both players; I’m not so sure I’d be as keen on it if it was Mason Crane and Sam Robson tearing up Limited Overs cricket.


    • Riverman21 Jul 26, 2018 / 1:36 pm

      See what an LCL post can do! Dark forces…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Riverman21 Jul 26, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    White ball contracts. Clearly the way forward if you want to get in the Test team.


  4. CRICKETJON Jul 26, 2018 / 12:48 pm

    I said to my other half this morning “the Rashid selection could be the straw that breaks the camels back” and she said …and get this “This COULD put BOC into meltdown”


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 26, 2018 / 1:13 pm

      Meltdown? It’s the press, the bufton tufton’s and the self righteous media in meltdown. Not here. I’m laughing at the mental gymnastics on display.

      How do you reckon it would have been spun if Rashid had been offered an England test place and said “no, to be fair, I’m not playing red ball cricket and so want to play for Yorkshire.”


      You know it. I know it.

      KP played a handful, a handful of county games over 10 years. Same with others in that era playing all forms. Now it’s a problem?

      Ed Smith’s honeymoon is over.

      Selvey, spitting nails…

      It is bizarre. What did Adil do?

      Modest record, maybe, but a lot less modest than others…

      Liked by 1 person

      • oreston Jul 26, 2018 / 6:45 pm

        Selvey’s sticking to his guns on this one in a truly absurd fashion. I just love the idea that Kohli deliberately tried to make Rashid look a better bowler than he is.
        Of course, such a tactic would not be without precedent. The West Indies’ top order executed exactly the same cunning plan at the expense of one MWW Selvey at Old Trafford in 1976. Worked like a charm – he only played two more tests in which he couldn’t buy a wicket 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • oreston Jul 26, 2018 / 8:25 pm

        “…he is only a modest Test match bowler…” Well, they say it takes one to know one 😁


    • d'Arthez Jul 26, 2018 / 2:02 pm

      So the complaint is that Rashid did better than Warne in India, and therefore is unselectable? Keep picking Dom Bess then. I only wonder why Selvey had a Test career of 3 Tests, rather the 120 he merited on his excellent stats then.

      Personally I am not against Rashid playing Tests (he is certainly one of the better spin options), but the problem is that he gave up red ball cricket. That might pose issues (difference between white balls and red balls), but the bigger headache will be: who wants a red ball contract when a white ball contract can get you in the Test team?


      • oreston Jul 26, 2018 / 5:21 pm

        I do think we need to consider the background to his decision to walk away from red ball cricket (past England selectors effing him about and the understandable perception that he wasn’t getting what our Antiopodean friends call a “fair go.” So his selection is poetic justice in that regard. Does it set an unhealthy precedent? In my view, no it doesn’t. He’s already capped and it’s not as though he hasn’t proven himself over many seasons as a very capable First Class cricketer. He has, in fact, only been a “white ball specialist” for a matter of months so the whole thing really is an artificial and meaningless debate in Rashid’s case. I have far more of a problem with the selection of someone like Mason Crane who had barely a single season’s First Class experience and was nowhere remotely close to international class. Oh, and to witness Selvey effectively breaking ranks with Ed Smith over it is delicious!

        Liked by 2 people

        • d'Arthez Jul 27, 2018 / 7:24 pm

          It was absolutely shameful how Rashid was treated by the press. And personally, I was of the opinion that he never should have been dropped to begin with. I mean, he got blamed for not winning the first Test against Pakistan in 2015 (when Cook was batting as slow as molasses in the first innings), then blamed for not saving the second Test against the same opposition (let it be noted, that his last innings resistance was the longest by any England batsman in that Test, but naturally, you can’t blame Cook for a 22-ball stay, or Buttler for a 26-ball stay. No, blame the bowler who stayed a mere 172 balls for that).

          The hole I am referring to is not from the players’ side, but from the management side. Because if indeed Rashid is the second best spin option available, would it not help future England batsmen, if they get to face the best spinner(s) they have to offer, before they are picked for international honours? How can even an incompetent body like the ECB allow this situation to arise to begin with? And the ECB will probably, in all its wisdom still insist they did not leak / brief against Rashid – in other words, they are eager to repeat similar clusterf*cks, just to soothe a few egos. It has little to do with merit.

          If Leach is not fit, Rashid is probably the best option available. So on that basis, it is only right that he gets selected. Bess and Crane are jokes of selections. Bad jokes at that. And I don’t really see many alternatives at the moment (then again I am not in England).

          I certainly see the possibility of Hales getting another go in the middle order in the near future (Malan is not looking too hot now). And players will be grumbling that they were overlooked for others who don’t even play red ball stuff anymore, because they can supposedly make more money in the white ball stuff (if Hales gets the gig, I can imagine Burns being a bit peeved to say the least; yeah I know Burns is an opener, but we have only had like 15 combinations of openers since Strauss retired).


  5. Scrim Jul 26, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    Shane Warne’s stats in India: 34 wickets at 43.


  6. quebecer Jul 26, 2018 / 2:02 pm

    The Rashid thing is hilarious, no doubt. The ‘sends the wrong message’ argument is my favourite, as it`s never made clear what the message actually is. That no matter what, if you’re good enough, you’ll get the chance in the test team regardless of circumstance? Anyway, doesn’t matter: it’s just amusing to hear the bluff and bluster and choking on seedy cake coming from the officer classes and the CC hobbyists.

    I’m really more interested in how we get Ali, Buttler, Stokes and Bairstow into numbers 6 and 7.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Nicholas Jul 26, 2018 / 2:09 pm

    I think that Ed Smith might be an unlikely hero here – he is, at least, making calls that are ruffling feathers of the ECB groupthink that we’ve been hostage to over the last decade or so.

    This might not turn out too well in the long run, but it’s fun while it lasts.

    Incidentally, I was in Worcester last week and saw a session of the England Lions v India A match, and Ed Smith walked past me a couple of times and he looked very relaxed indeed, even telling Lizzie Ammon that he wished he was playing on such a beautiful ground. More importantly, I saw part of Leach’s and Bess’ ‘bowl-off’ and both of them were given no respect whatsoever by the Indian batsmen and I am not surprised that neither has been selected for the first test given what we saw at that match.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. quebecer Jul 26, 2018 / 3:15 pm

    Changing the subject, I’m going to go ahead and predict Jack Leach will never really make it at test level, for one simple reason: he’s unlucky. Full disclosure, I do think he’s the best spinner in England, and should be selected. However, they’ve been trying. Finding the ‘kink’ in his action set him back over a year, but he worked hard and came back, and was rightly selected for NZ – where he played on the least helpful wicket possible. Still, he did well enough to be in line for the spinners spot at the beginning of the summer – and broke his thumb. If there had been more of a chance for him to play CC then he still might have had a shout for the 1st test, but there really wasn’t much, and from what Nicholas says above, the result is he hasn’t quite found his rhythm. And along comes Rashid with an excellent limited overs series, a new selector who (despite everything else) thinks differently than the conventional wisdoms and is comfortable putting Rashid next in line.

    My conclusion? Jack Leach is an unlucky cricketer. When people have that quality, it rarely changes.


    • oreston Jul 26, 2018 / 5:26 pm

      They’ve also included Moeen but apparently Leach (and Bess) will train with the England squad. So while picking Rashid was something of a bold move it seems that there’s also some hedging of bets going on – perhaps with a view to later in the series.


      • LordCanisLupus Jul 26, 2018 / 5:40 pm

        This is getting to KP levels of hysteria. Laugh my arse off if he takes bundles.

        As said, I’ve never seen anything like this. What has he done to deserve this hatred? For that’s what it is.

        Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Jul 26, 2018 / 6:09 pm

          Quite. What makes it even more obvious is we have the recent precedent/comparison of Mason fecking Crane taking 1-193, getting 7/10 for his efforts and no brickbats whatsoever….


  9. dlpthomas Jul 26, 2018 / 3:39 pm

    I don’t think a player should be picked for the test side if they have made themselves unavailable for county cricket though that could be because I am old and grumpy. More importantly, is he fit enough to bowl long spells in a test match?


    • quebecer Jul 26, 2018 / 3:48 pm

      As someone whose opinions I respect, can you explain exactly why they shouldn’t? My position is that we should pick the best XI we can. I’m more than happy to hear your side in detail though and I’m genuinely interested in what you think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dlpthomas Jul 27, 2018 / 9:49 am

        Mate, nobody respect me. I’ve struggled to come up with an explanation that doesn’t make me sound like a pompous old wanker but the problem is I am a pompous old wanker (or at least I am when it comes to test cricket.) I think to consistently produce a strong test side you need a strong first class competition and you can’t have a strong first class competition if your best players start making themselves unavailable. I like watching Rashid play and I hope he has a good game – he could cop a lot of (unfair) abuse if he doesn’t.

        There is some interesting comments over on “The Full Toss” about Rashid’s selection.


  10. Sri.grins Jul 26, 2018 / 4:23 pm

    I am glad that rashid was picked if the selectors thought he was the best around. After all, it is always good to best the best available team rather than a weaker team because of injury, bans etc.

    I see the point that he opted out and it is not the right signal to other players but as England’s opponent, I would rather India beat the best possible team.

    I know our bowling has been blunted due to bhuvi, bumrah non availability but I am backing India to do very very well.


    • Zephirine Jul 27, 2018 / 8:10 pm

      “Whether you want to spend three to five days, a full day or three hours watching a cricket match from start to finish there is a format in existence that meets your needs. And there is absolutely no need for another.” The Racing Post knows a broken-down nag when it sees one.


  11. nonoxcol Jul 26, 2018 / 5:11 pm

    If it comes down to FICJAM versus “ECB Special Award” (aka OBN), I think readers (especially Guardian veterans) know whose side I’m on. No-one who has played Tests for England in the last decade has been given more disproportionate shit from the press corps than Adil Rashid. Exhibit A is literally ECB Special Award’s reporting of the entire 2015 UAE series.


    Liked by 3 people

    • Rooto Jul 26, 2018 / 9:13 pm

      It feels good to be able to get behind the England team again, just like when I was a kid. No more awkward “no need to console me, really” conversations with the family when England lose because, as the well-known diplomatic saw goes, ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. And you just know that the enemy is waiting for England to fall on their faces.


      • LordCanisLupus Jul 26, 2018 / 9:47 pm

        Distinctly remember being told not to lose my shit over KP being dropped by the same talking heads going batshit now. I’d get angry but there’s none left to give.


  12. OscarDaBosca Jul 27, 2018 / 8:57 am

    I am this close to creating a twitter account to troll Selvey. He can’t give it up at all (and I have to go into a different browser to see this because he blocked me, what for I have no idea).

    So basically cleaning up the tail is no longer important, even though England haven’t managed that for a good few years now (unless the ball is swinging like a 70s party)

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jul 27, 2018 / 9:54 am

      He genuinely hates Rashid. It’s hilarious. And no-one calls him on it.

      Look at this.

      He’s insulting FICJAM just by implying that one ball made the difference. I’m no Smith fan but he explained the rationale well to me. It was simple. He wants the best squad. Job done.

      Liked by 1 person

      • OscarDaBosca Jul 27, 2018 / 10:40 am

        I would find it odd that a bloke who was young in the 70s hates a young Asian man, but then I grew up in the 70s in East London and a lot of blokes his age were like that. Also Vaughan calling him a kid!! This is a 30 year old man who has played a lot of 4 day cricket, he’s not exactly wet behind the ears.

        I would love to call out Selvey on it, but it would mean creating another twitter account for it, and he would just block me again


          • OscarDaBosca Jul 27, 2018 / 1:16 pm

            What I find interesting about Atherton’s response is that he openly admits there was a whispering campaign a few years back.
            So as we on here all suspected, information is seeded in the media and certain acolytes just repeat it without comment.


      • nonoxcol Jul 27, 2018 / 12:01 pm

        England 400 all out, India reach 400-5. Rashid gets one of set batsmen out. Rashid gets 4 of last 5 to fall. India all out 450.

        Please let it happen. Please.


        • OscarDaBosca Jul 27, 2018 / 1:13 pm

          That would be perfect.


  13. nonoxcol Jul 27, 2018 / 12:07 pm

    There’s more: “It is not pundits’ job to ra-ra England but to offer opinion.”

    Well that one stands alone. No embellishment required there.


    • OscarDaBosca Jul 27, 2018 / 1:22 pm

      I am assuming he is a very bitter man over a slight that Rashid may have made.
      I am guessing he walked past the esteemed ex-TMS ex-Chief Guardian Cricket Correspondent ex-Three Test Wonder and didn’t say hello because he didn’t know who he was?

      Having met a few professional sportsmen before, some are incredibly egotistical and cannot believe anyone who doesn’t know who they are, and take offence at this.

      A niche player from the 70s and early 80s is hardly going to be recognised by many.


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 27, 2018 / 3:10 pm

      “Currently, the way in which Rashid has been selected in squads suggests not just that they wish to keep monitoring him at first hand but that at the moment there is no other credible option.

      There is a view, though, one held within the England set-up, that Rashid bowls too slowly for Test cricket where the demands of batsmen are not to try to score at seven an over with fielders round the boundary. The easy manner in which Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor played him during the ODI series this summer shows such is his pace – 47-49 mph – that, even if his variations cannot be read from the hand, he can be played from the pitch or from down it. If he tries to bowl quicker, he loses control and the ability to spin the ball.

      There are also doubts about how comfortable he would be in a Test environment. The thing is, England would surely not want to discover these things in the first Test in Abu Dhabi when Younis Khan, say, gets to the crease. So now is the opportunity.”

      Not ra ra…..


      • Zephirine Jul 27, 2018 / 8:15 pm

        There is a view, though, one held within the England set-up,
        Mostly I can’t be bothered to get annoyed by Mike Selvey, but that little turn of phrase…… [grinds teeth]


  14. nonoxcol Jul 27, 2018 / 5:30 pm

    They would not have had a sniff of winning the first Test in the UAE without his tail-end second innings wickets.

    Because Malik’s innings cancelled out Cook’s, they would not have had a sniff of saving the second Test without his 60-odd on day five.

    He was the leading wicket taker in a generally terrible series in India.

    There have been worse 10-Test careers.

    Any pundit worth a light would at least offer this in mitigation before condemning him outright.

    We all know how pundits who aren’t worth a light reported those Tests though.


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