England v South Africa – World Cup 2019 Open Thread

It’s been over three months since England’s most recent Test match, and almost two months until the next one against Ireland at the end of July. So far, they have had four T20Is, eleven ODIs plus two 50-over warmup games in that time. We now have at least another nine to look forward to in the group stages. All of which is to say I already feel a little burnt out and low on enthusiasm for the shorter forms of the game, even if the current England men’s ODI team is relatively likeable and fun to watch.

After the recent minor injury concerns for Morgan, Rashid, Woakes, etc. in the past couple of weeks, it seems likely that England will select their first-choice side with Vince, Wood, Curran and Dawson missing out. Surprisingly, the actual team news hasn’t seemed to have been discovered by someone in the print media through “good journalism”. They’ll be very confident, having won their last four ODIs (ignoring the two warmups) against Pakistan

South Africa are on an even better run, having won their last six ODIs. Five of those were against Sri Lanka at home, but still. They will be hoping that their bowlers, particularly Rabada and Ngidi, can take a few early wickets and force England to consolidate rather than trying for a score over 400. England are seen as favourites for the game, but I wouldn’t be an England fan if I wasn’t worried…

I missed the coverage of the opening ceremony last night, although by all accounts it was a damp squib (in more ways than one). Wet weather, low turnout and lacklustre production values all give us a glimpse of what we have to look forward to next year with the ECB’s launch of The Hundred.

Speaking of which, it appears that Will MacPherson of the Evening Standard has discovered the names for six of the eight The Hundred teams. They are, if you haven’t already read them:

  • London Spirit (Middlesex)
  • Welsh Fire (Cardiff)
  • Southern Brave (Southampton)
  • Birmingham Phoenix (Warwickshire)
  • Leeds Superchargers (Yorkshire)
  • Trent Rockets (Nottinghamshire)
  • Me Pissing Myself Laughing (Being Outside Cricket)

There’s a lot to look at there. It’s quite hard to pick out one thing to criticise, when they’re all so bad. “London Spirit” was the first to be leaked on Tuesday, and it was roundly mocked. Now, compared to the other five, it might honestly be the best of the lot.

I am, as I’m sure you’re aware by now, a pedant. Perhaps the one thing which annoys me most about these team names is that some of them are plural nouns (Rockets, Superchargers) and the rest are singular nouns (Spirit, Fire, Brave, Phoenix). This genuinely irks me. There are other inconsistencies which are almost as frustrating, not least the team’s locations with cities, regions, nations and (bizarrely) a river used for the team’s identity. The names are bland, generic and have little tying them to their host teams, which may well be the point.

Trent Rockets is clearly the most ridiculous name of the bunch. It just sounds like a parody. ‘Rockets’ is a fairly typical team name, the most famous example being the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and there’s no obvious connection to Nottingham. Choosing something from a major American sports team has to be one of the lazier choices available for an overpaid consultant. But “Trent”? I guess it was their attempt to extend their reach outside of Nottingham, but it may well be so vague and meaningless as to alienate even some cricket fans in their home city.

“Southern Brave” would be another major embarassment for the ECB. It’s a vague nonsense of a name for an English sports team, but it would work well for an American band. Texas Country band Southern Brave certainly think so, which is why they currently have the @SouthernBrave Twitter handle (and likely much more besides). Choosing a name where you can pick up the social media accounts is almost the first consideration for companies nowadays, and it’s funny to see the ECB and the counties fail to clear even the lowest of hurdles.

It was reported last night by Lawrence Booth that Surrey had rejected four options from brand consultants FutureBrand: London Fuse, London Rebels, London Union and London X. A wise choice, given the options. There’s no word yet on Lancashire, the other host county yet to choose a team name. It bears pointing out that Surrey and Lancashire are perhaps the two best host counties in terms of commercial success, and that they are therefore arguably better equipped than the other teams to stand up to the ECB if they think a mistake is being made.

One thing the names appear to overlook (not unlike virtually all aspects of The Hundred so far) is the women’s competition. Whilst all of the names are gender-neutral, it appears unlikely that many (if any) of the games for The Women’s Hundred will be played at the same grounds as the men’s. Welsh Fire at least makes some sense when played in Cardiff, less so if they are playing their home games at Taunton. If the Trent Rockets women’s team are in Derby or Leicester, neither of which are on the River Trent, how will that help attract local fans?

If you have any thoughts, on the World Cup or The Hundred team names, please post them below.


45 thoughts on “England v South Africa – World Cup 2019 Open Thread

  1. nonoxcol May 30, 2019 / 6:54 am

    “Trent Rockets”. It gets better and better. Sounds like a preppy, over-earnest trust-fund Yank “indie” singer (white, obviously) desperately trying to sound a bit rebellious, but it won’t matter if he doesn’t sell because daddy will find him a starter job in the company and he’ll be on six figures before you know it.

    Any parallels with the ECB, money and cricket are purely coincidental, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marek May 30, 2019 / 11:17 am

      When I was a student at Nottingham Poly (which until recently had been Trent Poly), it acquired university status. They dutifully paid a rather large sum of money (revealed in the local press if I recall) to a consultancy firm who placed their backsides firmly on the fence and declared it “THE Nottingham Trent University”. We were told that the “the” was very important and shouldn’t be missed off any official refernce to the name.

      I wonder what happened to that consultancy firm…..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. nonoxcol May 30, 2019 / 6:57 am

    As someone who grew up one mile from DH Lawrence’s birthplace, I endorse this message.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Metatone May 30, 2019 / 7:00 am

    Gasometer London for Surrey I think.

    As for the WC opening – Thursday? What do you think you are, football?
    I’ll be following the match largely by text update across work and train travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark May 30, 2019 / 9:16 am

      Why does Simon Hughes now think he is Dave Lee Travis? Or Mike Read? Or any other cheesy 1980s Radio One DJ?

      If you look carefully at that picture, up in the clouds over Lords you will see Hughes disappearing up his own backside.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dlpthomas May 30, 2019 / 9:36 am

    Not an ideal start but I’m not worried (much)

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus May 30, 2019 / 9:58 am

      As soon as Nasser said “Jonny Bairstow is a good player of spin”, Bairstow was doomed.

      Also tickled by Ganguly being brought in for “analysis” (it was analysis because the ICC coverage told you it was analysis), said the ball to Bairstow was a wrong ‘un, and then Nasser said it was a top spinner. They’re winging it people….


      • dlpthomas May 30, 2019 / 10:35 am

        I haven’t heard Ganguly for years (I think it was the last series India won in England when J P Singh was bowling left arm surprisingly quick) but I’ve always enjoyed his commentary.

        I reckon most of the commentators “wing it”. Bill Lawry used to drive me crazy by using the words “swing” and “seam” interchangeably.

        This Root fellow is quite good.


  5. psoans May 30, 2019 / 9:55 am

    The 💯 has shown a huge lack of imagination and innovation for a competition that is supposed to bring changes in to attract people. They seem to be alienating the established fans with every move they make.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. dlpthomas May 30, 2019 / 10:59 am

    What’s the deal with the music that’s playing when a new batsman walks on to the pitch? Are they too cheap to pay for the originals and got some local garage band instead? Seriously, only the ECB could fuck up Smoke On The Water.

    Liked by 3 people

    • dlpthomas May 30, 2019 / 3:40 pm

      That was a bit mean spirited. I’m not having a go at the guitar player just at whoever thought it was good idea to have a single guitar player belt out a tune (however competently) to accompany the batsmen as he walks out to the middle. It’s the world cup – surely they could come up with something better than that.


    • Deep Purple Fred May 30, 2019 / 4:23 pm

      No one can ever fuck up Smoke On The Water. The ECB can do their pathetic worst, but the song remains unfuckedup.
      Completely bizarre and mindless choice, unsurprisingly for the ECB, given the song is about a disaster, I suppose they got sucked in by the guitar riff.


      • dArthez May 30, 2019 / 4:24 pm

        Maybe it was a rebellious act of self-reflection


      • Deep Purple Fred May 30, 2019 / 5:50 pm

        Makes sense. The lyrics seem to eerily reflect ECB strategy:

        Frank Zappa and the Mothers
        Were at the best place around
        But some stupid with a flare gun
        Burned the place to the ground

        They burned down the gambling house
        It died with an awful sound
        Funky Claude was running in and out
        Pulling kids out the ground
        When it all was over
        We had to find another place.

        I guess they were outside cricket too.


      • dlpthomas May 31, 2019 / 1:33 am

        When I was a kid several guitar shops had signs up saying that if you played Smoke on the Water you would be thrown out. (They later add Wish You Were Here to the list). Steve Morse who has been Deep Purple’s guitarist since the 1990’s reckons some fans complain that he is still playing Smoke on the Water “wrong”.


        • LordCanisLupus May 31, 2019 / 12:32 pm

          That he played it at all is something of a mystery, but then that musical genre isn’t up my strasse, so I’m probably not best placed to comment.


  7. Sir Peter May 30, 2019 / 11:33 am

    Nexus, Agile, Collaborate, Diversity, Paragon, Synergy…all fine management terms that have been overlooked. I like the IPL subliminal tobacco references, Rothmans Royals, Superkings…missed sponsorship opportunity? And what’s that logo? Bet that cost a few grand. They usually do…

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus May 30, 2019 / 12:06 pm

      Ever heard of the company Futurebrand. They are responsible. Guess they put the interns on it.

      This firm has branded Nespresso, American Airlines and Bentley, according to their tedious blurb of a website. London X. Jesus wept.


    • thelegglance May 30, 2019 / 12:49 pm

      Already been picked up on that with tobacco advertising we could go for the Park Lane Park Lanes versus the Mayfair Mayfairs.


      • Mark May 30, 2019 / 12:58 pm

        If they want a nautical feel how about

        Southampton Solent…..or Southampton water?
        Cardiff Taff
        London Thames
        Surrey Docks
        Birmingham’s canals
        Nottingham Trent
        Leeds Aire…….Has a ring to it
        Manchester Medlock ………better than Irk I suggest.

        Or perhaps better still, scrap the whole hideous nonsense.


  8. Mark May 30, 2019 / 12:03 pm

    Whatever short comings this World Cup may have I would rather watch these games than any 16.4 nonsense. The franchise names just confirm everything you know about the sort of people who are organising it. How about, oh I don’t know…..


    Good old fashioned English county names that have been around for hundreds of years, and will out last some pillock with a clip board, and the imagination of a Boy band manager.

    Oh the 16.4
    Such a colossal bore
    A chore…. I prefer to ignore
    I’d rather sell my soul to the devil… I’m sure
    I’ll never pay to watch a single ball……..Ever.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Mark May 30, 2019 / 1:02 pm

    Three overs to go…….England not getting four hundred to day. Struggling to get 300 at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance May 30, 2019 / 1:06 pm

      To be fair, nothing sums up how the England one day side has changed over the last few years as much as saying “struggling to get 300” and it being a reasonable comment!


      • Mark May 30, 2019 / 2:33 pm

        This is very true. Remember….. “the laptop says 230?” The good old days!

        England will need their bowlers to win this one. Let’s see if they can do it.


        • thelegglance May 30, 2019 / 2:38 pm

          I was trying to find that quote earlier and couldn’t. I can’t remember the exact wording – it wasn’t the “look at the data” one, it was something about how what even then looked a pathetically modest total usually wins games. Can you remember?


          • dannycricket May 30, 2019 / 3:14 pm

            Yeah, I’m sure someone said they aimed for something like 270 but I can’t find the quote either. I think it was along the lines of “70% of teams who reach 270 in the first innings win in ODIs”.


          • Mark May 30, 2019 / 3:34 pm

            I can’t remember the exact quote either, but it is chilling that this theory was passed off as top analysis by an international cricket team only four years ago.

            Interesting to see how many teams win matches with scores of 230 this World Cup? Or even 270?


    • dlpthomas May 30, 2019 / 1:07 pm

      Been an odd innings – it’s not a bad score but it feels like they should have got more


  10. Sir Peter May 30, 2019 / 1:08 pm

    Ah yes Futurebrand – worked with them once many moons ago…nice offices and sandwiches I recall

    Liked by 1 person

  11. dlpthomas May 30, 2019 / 3:26 pm

    Terrific opening spell from Archer. Apparently some people didn’t want to pick him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dArthez May 30, 2019 / 4:07 pm

      I think most SA supporters had written this game off before it started, barring favourable bowling conditions and a won toss. SA are that bad in ODIs. So in that sense, the outcome is not disappointing.

      I was expecting a 60-ball thirty from Duminy, because that is exactly what South Africa needed …

      Four years ago, SA had a middle order. Not in 2019. A middle order of Faf van der Dussen (the only position in the playing XI that has improved over 2015, at least if you don’t put him up against AB), and Duminy / Miller will not contribute meaningful runs. On average I expect 60/3 from those three. Make that 65/4 if Miller is included.

      So now the ICC have picked a format, where the semifinalists pretty much pick themselves. And we have to wait six whole weeks before the obvious is announced. How engrossing.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. dlpthomas May 30, 2019 / 3:35 pm

    South Africa getting their “choke” over and done with early in the tournament.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. quebecer May 30, 2019 / 5:01 pm

    I think it’s fair to be INCREDIBLY EXCITED about Jofra Archer. Best player to debut for England since KP. (Heh heh heh…)

    Liked by 2 people

      • Mark May 30, 2019 / 5:35 pm

        England bowlers did a great job today, and defended the total easily. It’s good to see the bowlers winning a game for England because the emphasis has been on the batsman.


      • quebecer May 30, 2019 / 5:47 pm

        Nice 🙂 I couldn’t help putting it BTL as well.


    • Deep Purple Fred May 30, 2019 / 7:53 pm

      Been looking for those interviews with coaches from when he was just a young English lad, coming up through the ranks, and they always knew he was going to be something special. Always used to help out with cutting the oranges, stayed a bit longer in the nets…progessed to the national academy, posters of Botham on his bedroom wall, mentored by English legends etc. Still looking. Don’t understand why the press is not littered with such anecdotes, now he’s taken a few wickets.


      • dannycricket May 30, 2019 / 10:37 pm

        Notably, I don’t think Archer has attended Loughborough or the ECB pace programme once. And he’s both quick and healthy. What a coincidence…

        Liked by 1 person

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