When you’ve lost the first three matches, and need a win to have any realistic prospect of qualifying for the semi-finals, what you really need is a dodgy weather forecast. Today in Southampton there are showers. All day. It’s not promising.
Still, it will give the opportunity for plenty to lament the unique phenomenon that rain only ever happens in England.
If a game is played, it looks a tough ask for South Africa to resurrect their World Cup, and the various pieces of information coming out concerning AB De Villiers late bid to be included in their line up implies a squad ill at ease with itself. That he would have strengthened their line up is not in question, that it appears they bent over backwards to encourage him to be part of the side only to be knocked back until the 11th hour is very much the Cricket South Africa line. Whatever the truth of it, it has been a distraction at best, though it doesn’t explain the supine performances to date.
Yesterday’s India – Australia match, magically assigned a Sunday when coincidentally Indian television audiences might be at their height, was far more one sided than the raw scores might suggest. Australia were never in it, despite Malcolm Conn’s description of their chase as a “brave” one. It was a curious innings from David Warner, who looked hideously out of sorts, and left the subsequent batsmen with a near impossible task. Perhaps it would have been better if the bails had been knocked off early in his innings.
Ah, the bails. On five occasions this World Cup the ball has struck the stumps hard without them being dislodged, the zing bails apparently being heavier and the stumps themselves heavier. Since it’s the same for both sides, it perhaps doesn’t matter overly, except that it is remarkable that it has been ignored as an issue in favour of the bling of them lighting up. In a wonderful example of the kind of daft controversy cricket can embroil itself in, there has been lengthy discussion of the depth of the grooves, the weight of the bails themselves and even how firmly the stumps are held in the ground, with Scyld Berry offering up the solution of watering the holes rather more to loosen the stumps. On such subjects, it’s far from impossible to have no view on it whatever, but to be deeply amused that it has come up at all.
Assuming there is any play today, comments below!
If Warner had the foresight, he could of placed a piece of sandpaper in his pocket, and then he could have sanded down the groove on the stumps a bit to help out the umpire.
But what are the chances a player would ever take sandpaper out onto the ground? 1 in a million?
Has Warner been possessed by the spirit of Alastair Cook?
Big challenge for the SA openers, you can see the glint in Holding’s eye when he says “I think there’s a little bit in this pitch.”
The first bit of good news for SA supporters: they have dropped Duminy. A decade too late, but hey, some selectors accidentaly wizened up. If only for one game.
At least it is now 10 against 11, rather than the usual 9 against 11 when both Duminy and Miller play.
What do you make of the AB De Villiers story?
Seems very odd to me. If he wants to play, and has been offered the chance to play why not play? Otherwise make it clear you are not available. Seems like petty politics on both sides.
Think there are several factors at play.
I suspect AB simply could not be bothered with the low profile games anymore, i.e. the meaningless ODIs, the meaningless Tests (he played against India and Australia, before retiring), and all the travel it involved. He is coming to the end of his playing career, and in terms of proving anything, there was no need for him to prove anything, even to himself.
Another factor that plays a role is that pay on an SA central contract is not great – he literally gets more for one game of IPL than 12 months of an SA central contract. The same applies to lesser leagues. I would not be surprised if he would make more on a CPL contract than he would for 12 months of slogging for the country. Pay is that low.
I can really understand why he wanted to avoid the meaningless bilateral series (Pakistan and Sri Lanka had extremely bad records in South Africa), for little pay and no glory. And it may also be the case that his advertising potential is bigger for the T20 leagues than it is for everything related to national duty (I don’t have the figures, but given the popularity of AB in India, he could easily be making millions in endorsements from IPL-related endorsements alone).
Obviously there is no reason to think that he is not among the best middle order batsmen that South Africa could have picked. Especially given that the incumbents cannot even be bothered to average 20 at a decent strike rate (looking at Duminy and Miller; I suspect van der Dussen will soon be playing for Kolpakshire). So it is certainly not a quality issue.
CSA has been quite rigid. Probably does not help that the moment someone talented emerges, they are off to Kolpakshire (Harmer, Viljoen, Morkel (doubt he would have picked Surrey if pay in SA was of a comparable level for domestic cricket, he might even have prolonged his international career, but I certainly don’t begrudge him anything – he has been a great servant to South African cricket), Olivier, Abbott, Rossouw, and the list goes on). Undoubtedly there is paranoia in the echelons of CSA due to that. And they can’t really afford to play favourites due to there already being massive disgruntlement among the domestic players due to low pay already. That includes strike threats and everything associated with that.
Reason pay is low is the collapse of the Rand, and the collapsed T20 Global League, as well as the desperate need to invest in getting South Africa more representative; because it is an important issue that needs to be addressed. And as the central government is failing the poor massively, that is no small ask at all.
So it is an extreme balancing act for CSA and they have been caught between a rock and a hard place. Whatever decision would be made, would have been terrible. They could choose between torpedoing the chances of SA in 2019, by not picking AB, or by picking AB, create even more discontentment among the domestic players / scene.
He was not given the chance to play. As far as I know, the selectors and CSA never considered picking him.
CSA’s version of events.
Yes, the one where he would be forced to play low-profile series for little pay or glory (South Africa had won about 5 times as many games against those opponents at home than they lost; it is only thanks to the sheer incompetence of Faf that Sri Lanka won the Test series).
That one. Really not inconsistent with what I described above.
Sorry, it wasn’t intended to take issue with anything – merely to provide the context for your post as Mark asked about it.
In case the confusion is about the last line, I am referring there to his decision to offer to come out of retirement on the eve of the World Cup.
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How could they take AB de Villiers to the world cup at such short notice – if it was short notice. CSA was right to refuse. No board anywhere can allow a player so much leeway to dictate when and where they want to play.
I can understand why he thought he could get away with it. CSA clearly has different rules for different players. Take Duminy for example. Can’t be dropped no matter he does. Morkel announced his retirement at the end of the Australian series in SA in 2018 before it even started. The selectors thought nothing of dropping him for the second test – only three tests left before he was out the door anyway but they had to point it out to him that he was history.
From a purely player point, CSA should have taken AB to the world cup. Putting him next to Duminy or Miller is not even worth a discussion.
The fact that they took Steyn (injured before he even went), Amla (done and dusted a while ago already), Duminy (words fail me) and Miller (reduced to just a fielder in the IPL and pretty much a tourist now) is shocking.
I enjoy all the shit that lands on CSA – they deserve it.
One guess which former correspondent re-tweeted this:
(in response to a complaint from his own former colleague about the scheduling of C4’s World Cup highlights)
I didn’t actually know they were doing that. For some reason they don’t seem to have advertised it widely…
Forecast not great for games tomorrow, Wed, Thu.
Although a change of the wind could help a lot.
One of the all time great abandonments
Perhaps, after Jamaica 1998 (?) , the greatest abandonment ever.
Cue that Markram’s failure will be used to drop him yet again to make place for JP …
West Indies lost a point today due to weather, and can argue they lost something from the game against Australia due to poor umpiring (although they qualified on a massive howler themselves). In short the weather gods seem to suggest that anyone who might be a surprise #4 (Pakistan and West Indies) suffer from bad weather, so they have to win more games against the favorites than the favorites themselves have to.
David Conn makes some points (from a tweet):
6m people watched England women’s football on BBC; just 1m watched England men; presumably a fraction watching the Cricket World Cup (how many young people even know it’s happening…?); note to our national sports: stop selling your fans, and souls, to ££Sky….:
Paul Newman gets in before Mike Selvey on Conn’s next tweet….
That “half-hearted” coverage that literally everyone I know watched in 2005 in preference to fucking Sky. I would urge anyone to compare coverage of the end of the Edgbaston Test, for instance, and still argue that Sky is inherently superior. That “half-hearted” coverage that featured Benaud, Boycott, Greig, Atherton and Slater (and Nicholas and Hughes), but apparently lacked “expertise” compared to Sky. Still banging on about missing Gooch’s 300 from 29 bloody years ago.
What don’t they (choose to) get about some of us feeling that the incremental cost does not justify a) the small increase in coverage from near-total to total and b) the adverse impact on a generation of viewers that Matthew Engel called out straight away in his 2006 editorial for Wisden?
The relationship between the British cricket media and Sky stinks. The lack of challenge and interest in this is jaw-dropping.
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Cricket would be dead without Sky.
Never stopped me playing.
Oh you mean the players who earn fortunes wouldn’t be living it right without Sky? The players who were household names in 2005 compared to legends just about in their own house now? And Newman has the gall to complain that the crowds didn’t turn up at Headingley for that elite ODI.
I suppose without Sky, the likes of Newman wouldn’t have been able to jet around the world and receiving tons of good journalism from an England setup that never leaked.
It’s a different digital age to 1990. He knows that. It’s funny how no-one ever mentions how Sky had Martin Kaymer’s rather crucial to the outcome of the Ryder Cup, 2nd shot to 18 at Medinah on tape because they needed to squeeze an advert break in. Oh, someone did. Lizzy complained I was being too negative. Interesting it was that hill she fought on!
Why is a journalist who works for The Mail (neither owned by Sky or not a commentator on Sky) so determined to defend said broadcaster?
Could it be that instead he chooses to defend without criticism the governing body of cricket? The biggest thing to come out of the KP affair of the last five years was how rotten the majority of the cricket media is. And seeing as Harrison now tells us that Sky is a “partner” of the ECB any criticism of said broadcaster is by definition an attack on the governing body. I find journalists want their little scoops and soft focus interviews with the the players they can’t say anything.
We all understand that the ECB wanted large amounts of money, and Sky was the only option, but could they have kept back a small amount of coverage to show live on free to air broadcasters? A few 20/20 games or the odd county ODI? The ECB chose to sell the whole sport, lock stock and barrel.
Over night cricket completely disappeared from view, and the journalists who cover this sport, and claim to love it (though I have my doubts seeing as they very rarely pay to watch any cricket) cheer this on like maniacs.
The BBC was not perfect in the latter years, and did go off to the horse racing or the news too often, and they paid the price, but cricket moved to channel four another Free to air broadcaster. I sometimes wonder why the Beeb don’t just tell cricket to piss off, and not bother with TMS. They are treated like shit by people like Newman, and the entitled Selvey. (Who was happy to sit there for 25 years watching free cricket from the best seats in the house.)
But boy did Somme journos or ECB stenographers (take your pick) whinge when BT won the contract to the last Ashes. I guess non of them had a BT contract so they were the ones blocked out. They didn’t take it very well. Hypocrites.
Just started reading a book on the formation of the Premier League which is bound to raise my blood pressure. Because it “worked” for football then it is supposed to work everywhere else. In ten years time the big clubs in Europe will be fed up with these leagues and play more with their own super rich mates. Unless the premier league gets so big it just buys up all the best talent.
India has the IPL. If it expanded it to 12 or 16 teams, which with population and interest it could do easily, and eases restrictions on overseas players, then it’s goodnight Vienna, and we all know it. Sports owners aren’t famous for comprehending “longterm development of sport” or “competition”. They want money.
Conn is right. A 1999 arrangement should have been in place. But the “terrestrial channels” aren’t able to compete because they can’t set the price. How long Sky can keep going to the well is also debatable. See IPL, the additional match v WIndies, no India test cricket.
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I’m going to go back to what I said last week – no-one with two brain cells expected to see the entire World Cup, or even all England games, on FTA TV. But when you can’t muster a single live ball from nine matches, for the first time in five home World Cups (75, 79, 83, 99, 19), something has gone terribly wrong. The likes of Newman and Harrison cannot change my view on this. I’m only here because, sometime around peak Flower, senior cricket writers effectively became stenographers for the ECB and Sky, and nothing that’s happened since has changed my view on that either.
There are many reasons Richie Benaud is so fondly remembered, but commitment to FTA is right up there. Implicitly denying that just makes you look like a pillock.
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The woman’s football match viewing figures only confirm my view that a very large amount of people are prepared to watch sport for free if its on. But if they are asked to pay more they will find something else to do.
The amount of people who will willingly pay for sport on tv is small, and therefore those that are willing pay a lot of money to do so.
Football is now getting into this area. Take the Champions league this year. Two incredible semi finals involving English clubs and an all England final. But how many people saw any of this? When the Premiership was starting up there was plenty of European football live on free to air tv. Not any more.
Any aminsistrstor who says his priority is to grow the game of his sport while supporting the black out of his sport to pay tv is talking out of both sides of his mouth.
Meanwhile, on a planet not far away…
Any confusion that Mike Selvey might not be joined at the hip with the ECB is absolutely false. Viva La Hundred. Viva My Overlords!
How frightfully non-combative. Can’t do nuffink to stop it, might as well work with it. The executive version of “Move On”
Oh do stop it Selves.
He is on fire… A response to Annie…
I must have missed the time he called out Tom Harrison for saying the Hundred had “overwhelming support”. I must have missed all those fans who are living and dying for the hundred (we know of one, and we have our suspicions over that individual). To quote a mentor of Lord Selvey, maybe Annie should “pipe down” and wander off to watch the Welsh Fire!
I see someone’s already made the obvious response that would be redacted here for political reasons…
So in the meantime…
Whoops my finger slipped and I found this:
Since when did Selvey appoint himself to speak for everybody at Middx? Who is this “we” he speaks of?
As to his argument that we have to all make it work?
It’s a bit like saying we are going to take Selvey up in an aeroplane, and then throw him out without a parachute. It would obviously be in everybody’s interest if we can find some way to make it work, and stop him from crashing into the earth like a dart. Save the poor sods all the work who will have to clear up the mess
I think it would have been better if someone had intervened before the plane took off, and said this is a crap idea.
He’s the President of Middlesex CCC
Oh right thanks…..I had no idea…
So they like the 100, but don’t want Graves to continue. Doesn’t make much sense to me.