England v Pakistan – 2019 ODI Series, a (late) preview of sorts

We were unable to write a preview of the series before the first game on the Wednesday, due to our various workloads etc, but in the end it didn’t matter too much as the rain gods intervened before the match could seriously get going. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t been active, Danny’s dissection of The Hundred here if you haven’t managed to read it, is a work of art and has got some great traction on various social media outlets. It’s a long post, but a very insightful one and it has upset Simon Hughes a hell of a lot, which is always the sign of a great article…

So we now approach a slightly shorter warm up series comprised of 4 games against a streaky Pakistan team with the series seemingly of interest only to those players who are on the fringes of each team. I personally don’t blame the schedulers wanting to get some ODI practice in before the World Cup, especially with places up to grab, but I must admit that it really hasn’t struck any particular interest with me, it’s all a little bit before the Lord Mayor Show.

The main talking point before the series was the cover up and then subsequent dropping of Alex Hales for drug related offence. Of course, the ECB being the ECB handled the affair with all the care and aplomb of an elephant trying to walk on stilts. It still amuses me that they thought that somehow they would be able to cover the whole thing up as ‘personal problems’, which for those cricketers (and those in general) who genuinely have had personal issues in the past, must feel like a slap in the face that the ECB decides to constitute drug problems as such. Yet as soon as Ali Martin revealed the reason why Hales had been dropped by Nottinghamshire, the ECB think tank went into overdrive and promptly kicked Hales out of the World Cup squad. Suddenly words such as ‘loss of trust’, ‘welfare of the team ethos’ and ‘letting down teammates’ started to appear with at an alarming rate. Ashley Giles and Eoin Morgan were wheeled out in front of the media to be the ECB’s Chief Executioner (well Morgan did owe the ECB big time for the skipping of the Bangladesh tour and the ECB cashed in that cheque big time’), never mind that this whole mess could have been avoided should the ECB have approached this with a modicum of good sense at the time they found out, but then that’s not what the ECB does.

Now I am not a big fan of Alex Hales, the bloke is a bit of a burke who clearly hasn’t learnt his lesson from his first failed drugs test nor from the fallout from Bristol and I don’t particularly have a strong opinion about him being suspended from the World Cup especially as he was likely a reserve player at best; However for the ECB to go holier than holy on this whole subject is hypocrisy of the highest order. I certainly wouldn’t trust the ECB to boil an egg unsupervised let alone run an international cricket board and as for the whole letting down teammates, the ECB having been letting down the fans and players for years, especially with the advent of the 100, a white elephant that nobody bar the ECB actually wants. Naturally the empty headed sycophant that is Michael Vaughan, leapt to the ECB’s defence to such an extent, one might surmise that garnering favour with the international board could benefit him directly:

“Eoin Morgan spoke brilliantly, very mature, great leadership, everything he said was to the point,” said Vaughan. 

“It is a message to Alex Hales that this England side isn’t going to mess around anymore. Bristol was a line in the sand moment, they all realise they have to be better role models. 

“Alex Hales was on a 12-month suspended sentence from his actions in Bristol. I don’t know how he comes back from this, he has lost the trust of the team.

“It’s not a great look for the game but I think the England team have dealt with it in the best way they can. The conversation with Hales would have been hard but easy in a way because he has let them down.

“If you’re a professional sports person not thinking clearly you are not in a position to represent your country in a World Cup.

So Hales is now on the naughty step for the foreseeable future and of course, Shiny Toy gets to benefit with one of his clients called up in Hales’ place. Who says blind and blatant obsequiousness doesn’t reap results in this world??

As for the series itself, it appears that most of the places area locked down now, especially on the batting front and the only real question is whether Jofra Archer can show the selectors that he merits a place. Personally I think England are a better team with Archer in it, despite protestations from those who appear most at risk, about team spirit etc. Archer has something that we are lacking in the pace department, which is both pace and control and added to his ability to ‘hit a long ball’ with the bat, then personally I think it’s a bit of a no brainer. Of course, someone is going to be unlucky to be left out with Curran or Wood being the prime candidates in my opinion (though I would laugh if it was Chris Woakes), but that is international cricket at it’s highest level and there’s always going to be someone that has to miss out. The only question mark with Archer is whether he can adapt his bowling to the longer 50 ball game where batsmen get a longer look at you compared to the 4 over stint in 20/20; however I would be quite surprised if Archer isn’t the most penetrating and hard to face bowler in this tournament. That being said, the ECB selectors are a funny bunch, so don’t be too surprised if they brains trust decided to pick Jake Ball in the end!

As ever, any comments on the game or wider thoughts are always welcome….

*UPDATE: England have dropped Jofra Archer for this game 🤦🏻‍♂️


37 thoughts on “England v Pakistan – 2019 ODI Series, a (late) preview of sorts

    • Mark May 11, 2019 / 9:28 am

      What is Simon Hughes’s problem with your piece? He has a huge cricket media platform to pontificate his hugely biased opinions. Why shouldn’t others not be allowed to think he is talking nonsense? This ridiculous claim that the new Sky deal is because of the 16.4 is such a crock it just shows that nobody should believe a word these clowns say.

      As for Dean Wilson and Simon Mann, once again we see absolutely no push back from so called “cricket journalists” on anything the ECB does. There is no cricket journalism in this country (as the last five years has shown) You are either pro ECB or you are cast out. I find it very suspicious that the media have turned themselves into cheerleaders for this new project. They should get a marching band!

      As to the meat and potatoes of the 16.4 I have not a slither of interest in it. It is clear to me that the ECB want inner city franchise cricket, and they are going to impose it even if no one wants it. My suspicion is this has always been a Trojan horse to eventually abolish all counties and have just ten city based franchises. They can’t admit that, and it would be impossible to do it in one go, so instead this is the beginning of a salami sausage of endless slicing of English cricket. Counties to be phased out and replaced with a city based football team replacement. This week has seen four privately owned and very wealthy Premiership teams end up in the two European finals. This is the model they want to move to. Their own version of The IPL, but one where they own all the rights,

      If the 16.4 is a success who will be the first obedient pundit who will say…..”what a shame these franchises can’t play 20/20 or 50/50?” The counties who have accepted their £1.3 million pay off have signed their own extinction warrant.

      The ECB destroyed cricket as a major sport in this country when they put it behind a pay wall. In one swoop of the executive pen they made cricket invisible from a generation of kids. Now they & their media stooges (who have access to a Sky contract) are desperately trying to pretend they care about this, but without admitting they got it wrong.

      (By the way, how many of these teenagers Hughes is so obsessed with bother listening to his hip hop, down with the kids podcast? )

      Liked by 2 people

      • dannycricket May 11, 2019 / 10:22 am

        Hughes thought the line at the end where I describe the podcast episode as “abysmal” was rude. That was a shame, because I tried very hard to ensure that I only argued against the statements made on the podcast rather than doing any ad hominem attacks against the people on it.


        • Mark May 11, 2019 / 11:04 am

          Oh right, rude?

          Yes, these are the smiling assassins who regard good manners, decorum, chocolate cake, and protocol as very important, as they stick the pundit metaphorical knife in peoples backs.

          But leaking against people is just fine? Taking sides with certain players against others? Or carrying out clandestine cosy dinner dates with players, and admistrators and then slavishly repeating their words as if they are your own. The old…..”I know things, that you don’t know……..brigade.”

          They should go and work for the Foreign office.


        • Grenville May 11, 2019 / 12:04 pm

          I think that ‘abysmal’ is a polite description Simon Hughes’ output.


          • dannycricket May 11, 2019 / 12:33 pm

            Having just written a 5000-word post disputing most of the content, I certainly didn’t feel it was a controversial description.


        • dArthez May 11, 2019 / 4:59 pm

          Yeah. It was rude. Abysmal is a generous assessment.


      • Sean May 11, 2019 / 10:22 am

        I couldn’t have put it better myself. Spot on.


    • Mark May 11, 2019 / 3:30 pm

      WTF? What are they arguing about?

      When Aggers is using the C word you wonder if someone hasn’t hacked into his account?

      What in God’s name would need lawyers to get involved?

      Pass the popcorn….


        • dannycricket May 11, 2019 / 3:55 pm

          Most of the African-born players were public schoolboys though, often spending time at Harrow or the like. KP was an exception, although his state school was still very exclusive. And, of course, they were all white.

          Amazing really, when you think of it. England have picked 25 players born in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia or Papua New Guinea, and 24 of them were white. I can only assume that 96% of people living in Africa are white, because literally nothing else would explain it.


        • Mark May 11, 2019 / 4:16 pm


          Mixed views I’m afraid. Liews points are sound until he tries to tie in Asylum seekers, and so called benefit tourists.

          The reason Archer can play for England is he has a British passport, and a British dad which is most certainly not the case with the examples above. Liew should stick to cricket reasons and whether Archer complies with the regulations dreamed up by the ICC.

          England has had many players from many parts of the world both Africa and the WI which is a reasonable argument. I do find it slightly unseemly that England is often a second choice for many players when they don’t get the chance in their native born countries. And we can name a stack of them over the last forty years. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but you do sometimes wonder if it is more commercial than pride.

          Also, Liew should come out and say it if he is calling people racist. Not hide behind dog whistles about saying (there is a word for it, but. ) And he should name the journalist on the BBC. Im not Agnews biggest fan but I’m not at all surprised Agnew is pissed off. Liew should put up or shut up?


          • dannycricket May 11, 2019 / 4:24 pm

            I’m not sure he’d be able to, in all honesty. I’d assume that his editors and bosses wouldn’t appreciate either him or the paper being sued for libel, even if Liew was able to prove his case in court.


          • dArthez May 11, 2019 / 5:11 pm

            “I do find it slightly unseemly that England is often a second choice for many players when they don’t get the chance in their native born countries.”

            Considering that Archer was happily plying his trade for Barbados U-19, Trott for South Africa-U21, as well as Jennings (even an age group captain), I am not sure if second choice is the most apt description. It is murky to say the least. In some of these cases it is also a bit of a stretch to argue that they received their formative training / development in England (at least Jordan seems to have played a fair bit in England before representing Barbados U19).

            And if it were really just about opportunities (and material considerations are irrelevant, supposedly out of love for the game), how come there are so few English born players, who played cricket in their formative years in England, representing South Africa, West Indies, Australia, or New Zealand?


          • dannycricket May 11, 2019 / 5:27 pm

            I would guess because England has 18 professional teams, and so it is much easier to get and keep a job here as a professional cricketer. With a minimum salary which is higher than many cricketing countries too. And now junior participation has dropped off a cliff, there’s probably less competition from English youngsters too.


          • Mark May 11, 2019 / 6:18 pm

            Yes that was a little clumsy when I said they don’t get a chance in their native born country. What I was meaning was not opportunities to start playing cricket, and learn their trade, but when they become decent players but then get looked over for the national team they quite often then decide they want come to England.

            In the case of South African players during the ban this was a way of playing Test cricket which was cut off from South African cricketers. To be fair, some of them made their lives here, and are still living here many years after they have retired. In latter years a number of SA born players were not good enough to play for SA so then they came here. Some came here to play country cricket and then wanted to play for England.

            There were some WI cricketers who played for England in the 1980s and 1990s who were not great enough to play for the great WI team. What chance have you got breaking into Holding, Garner, Roberts, Daniel, Walsh, Ambrose?

            How many English born players who grew up in England have a SA, NZ parent or an Australian parent? Not many I would have thought. Maybe in the next few years we might see an English born Indian who would like to play for India. If he is that good I should think England will want to offer him a contract. There was that white guy from Australia who ended up playing for the WI who had some connection to the islands through his parents. Although there were some mutterings by some in the Caribbean that it was wrong he did play a few test matches.


  1. dannycricket May 11, 2019 / 12:35 pm

    I’m hoping TMS get Liew into the commentary booth a few times this summer. Maybe even a nice long interview at lunch?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean May 11, 2019 / 12:40 pm

      I for one, second that motion 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather May 11, 2019 / 3:06 pm

      Your 103* was exemplary
      In incisive dissection of ECB fed lines to fairies
      Not derisive, nor abusive, just truly inclusive
      Of thoughts by the official polled 94 %
      Who see through the ECB greed and intent
      To kill OUR game with no forethought nor shame
      As should be Wilson and Mann for playing the ‘InsideCricket’ game- faking
      I thought they were better than this, now they align themselves with ECB p!ss-taking


  2. thelegglance May 11, 2019 / 3:08 pm

    One of the more instructive things on the Agnew subject is Barney Ronay (not the least smug person himself) saying he got the same treatment for daring to say he liked Talksport’s cricket coverage.


    • thebogfather May 11, 2019 / 3:15 pm

      I like talksport’s cricket coverage too – much more info, much less laddo self loving…


    • THA May 14, 2019 / 11:59 pm

      A few years ago I was involved in a bizarre exchange with Agnew regarding an article on The FullToss blog.

      In that instance it was even stranger as it was unrelated to him. He chose to take offence on behalf of Andy Flower regarding a throw away remark which would be put in the ‘fair comment’ bracket.

      As with Ronay, for anyone who has ever had a private exchange with him finds this completely unsurprising


      • jomesy May 16, 2019 / 7:48 pm

        Can I be the first to say that Agnew calling Liew a c**+ is more offensive than someone calling someone else a doos? (I’m sure I can’t btw but I don’t inhabit social meedya.


        • THA May 17, 2019 / 1:00 am

          It’s pretty classic behaviour for him. It’s mostly shocking because it’s so far removed from his public persona as a lovable duffer, an ageing Labrador sitting in front of the fire.

          Unfortunately most people who encounter him discover he’s incredibly vain and thin skinned (a bad combination) with a bizarre sense of entitlement and self-importance

          Liked by 1 person

  3. thebogfather May 11, 2019 / 3:13 pm

    Some cracking batting today
    Apparently Buttler, Roy and Morgan made hay
    Yet due to ECB greed, few got to see
    Any of it at all, e’en tho’ a WC warm-up it may be
    But hey, we won’t be able to watch that either anyway


  4. dlpthomas May 14, 2019 / 3:13 pm

    I can only assume that Archer has been left out of the side again because the powers that be have already decided that he has shown enough already to make the world cup squad. However, I would be very keen to see him bowl on a flat wicket like this one.


  5. jomesy May 16, 2019 / 8:11 pm

    Is there a new website I’m missing or is everyone else just preoccupied/tired.

    I’d hoped someone would call out Agnew’s behaviour so I could comment. There’s been some discussion but I think it needs opening up?

    Hope everyone well.


    • thelegglance May 16, 2019 / 8:16 pm

      You know, it’s one of those things where lots of people write things, and honestly, I don’t have anything to say about it. I’d be doing it for the sake of it. Sometimes things happen and you just feel dirty about the whole thing.


    • Sean May 16, 2019 / 8:30 pm

      I do have a post in my head about this, it’s just getting the breathing space to be able to write it. I’m just stacked until next weekend..


        • jomesy May 16, 2019 / 9:50 pm

          Fair enough – I think it’s bad. Really bad. But maybe that’s just me.


          • jomesy May 16, 2019 / 10:02 pm

            Not helpful I know but the issue stems from “early” qualification. Archer didn’t make the rules. He has a British passport. I think Liew had a very valid point. If he was a white guy from SA who the team could identify with I think they’d (the players/press) would be welcoming him to the team. Liew called it without saying what is, I think, called institutional racism. And that is what it is I’m afraid.


          • Sophie May 17, 2019 / 9:10 am

            I may be naive, but I think the players’ issue was more that he had never played a game for England at the time of asking and it all went very quick.


    • dannycricket May 17, 2019 / 6:46 am

      I don’t get worked up about the cricket media particularly. I couldn’t stand TMS as it became more about banter with Swann and Vaughan, and ever more obsessed with the celebrity status of Agnew. The one thing you can say about Agnew and racism is that everyone looks less racist if they’re sitting next to Boycott all the time. That Boycott, who went on a rebel tour of Apartheid South Africa and once suggested he would be more likely to get a knighthood if he blacked up, hasn’t been fired is particularly damning of the BBC’s policies.


    • Sean May 17, 2019 / 6:42 pm

      A new post just for you Jomesy…


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