Match Number 33 – New Zealand v Pakistan (and a few other musings)

Any of you wondering whatever happened to Comical Ali, the faintly ludicrous former Iraqi press officer, the butt of many jokes. He may have been such a character, but he was just doing his job. After all, if he hadn’t said what he had, old Uncle Saddam may not have been too chuffed. And when Uncle Saddam got cheesed off, well, it was off with your cheese. Or something like that.

Image result for comical ali
Here’s Farby!

I wonder who is the man standing behind the set at Sky Debate HQ after the performance of the man we like to call Chuckles – Paul Farbrace. If you had just watched the “Debate” on Sky, one could be forgiven for thinking that losing on the three occasions (out of four) England have chased was nothing to worry our pretty little heads about.  Sky’s Debate became more like a North Korean broadcast, with Willis there to be the state agent provocateur. Do not worry, England will be fine, win four games and be world champions. They’ve not become a bad team overnight. Don’t worry.

Well, that’s if you worry about that sort of thing. Past performances of useful idiots like Chuckles, and the Uncle Saddams at the ECB have taken away many of those stomach churning, teeth grinding fear moments from my emotional lexicon. I watched the scores on ESPN Cricinfo, and later caught the “bitesize highlights” and can only say to you good folk, “what did you expect?” My Kiwi colleague in the office keeps winding me up, and wonders why I don’t react as if this is a knife to my gut. I don’t have it my heart to get disappointed any more. How can you be disappointed when an opening bat keeps getting picked, despite keeping on failing, because he has loud supporters in the media and occasionally plays a lovely cover drive. You don’t pick players like that and be disappointed.

Dmitri has been in Paris, and returned last night speaking in the third person and referencing a DJ. I might as well have been in Paris given the visibility of this fixture. It speaks volumes that the organising authorities, absent of making this the opening match of the tournament, sat down at their Ipad, because the mumz and kidz love em, and thought “let’s put England’s biggest match on a Tuesday, right in the middle of the competition”. What a top idea. No, we’ll make sure India have their big three games – Pakistan, Australia and England – at weekends, but make sure this game, the one I think means most to both teams in midweek. You could laugh, if you wanted, but this sport is run by clowns, no matter how much supporting Twitter feeds love to trust these same bodies to run a major competition without alienating fans. I sometimes wonder if the ICC and ECB actually want to alienate everyone outside of India. Mumz and Kidz don’t really need to be “engaged” until next year.

So, England lose and now we work out if we can get by winning one of the last two matches. Chuckles is having none of it “England will be thinking they can win both games” in as stunning an insight as I’ve ever come across in a sporting pundit space. Well, I’d hoped that the world number 1 team would expect to win home fixtures, and I would hope that the world number 1 team wouldn’t be totally bottling it. I would also hope that the world number 1 team, in case you’d forgotten that Chuckles had mentioned it, might have more than the brains of rocks they’ve displayed every time they have been remotely under pressure, and I hope the world’s number 1 team have finally flaming well realised that James Vince is not your man.

But let the real post mortem wait. If we don’t make it, let the real blood-letting begin. Because we need to get behind the lads, who will need to do the basics better, and do an impersonation of Australia, who, by and large, don’t bottle it when they mouth off and walk like they own the place.

Watching Chuckles call all the players world class that he did, and advocating that we should pick Jason Roy if he could walk (more Willis than Chuckles to be fair), seemed funny. But it isn’t funny. England are not playing on roads, are not playing one-off series where teams shuffle the packs, and are now finding out that this is very, very tough.

Tomorrow’s game is between New Zealand v Pakistan. England fans will be cheering on New Zealand with some gusto. They can clinch their semi-final spot by winning, and in doing so will draw Pakistan further away from a semi-final spot. A Pakistan win and the heat will well and truly be on.

Propaganda once sang “sorry for laughing, there’s too much happening”. I am stuffed at work on the run up to my break in a couple of weeks time, Chris is busy with work, and Sean is stuffed too. Danny’s head has exploded over the Hundred. I ventured into a debate on Twitter and instantly regretted it. The World Cup has livened up as England have been found out a little, and for that we owe our team a great debt. Watching the media and the England diehards in the next week or so is probably going to be more entertaining than the cricket. And the ECB will be in church all week to pray for divine assistance. Next up for England is India at the weekend, in Birmingham. I venture that the majority of fans won’t be cheering on England. As Propaganda also sung, the first cut didn’t hurt at all (Pakistan, only a blip), the second only made us wonder (Hmm, two bad days, maybe a bit of a headscratcher), and today, the third has had us on our knees (we might be doomed). England are bleeding, and there are plenty starting screaming.

Comments on New Zealand v Pakistan, being played at Edgbaston, below.


76 thoughts on “Match Number 33 – New Zealand v Pakistan (and a few other musings)

  1. man in a barrel Jun 25, 2019 / 7:50 pm

    Etheridge is leading the latest stupid tabloid campaign…. Against the zing bails. Does the Sun have to run a pointless campaign every week?

    I am working on the theory of zing bails causing global warming and climate collapse!

    I need and demand sponsorship from all over-privileged climate exploiters, as long as they self-identity as cricketers


  2. man in a barrel Jun 25, 2019 / 8:01 pm

    Oh and it was interesting or amusing or puzzling to watch Andrew Strauss tell Ian Ward that the way James Vince shaped up to his second delivery from Starc was… suboptimal or thereabouts.

    The fallout from this will resemble a Carry On film. I don’t think Strauss can do Sid James, Kenneth Williams or Charles Haightrey however. Will he be Hattie Jacques? Farbrace is shaping up for the Kenneth Connor role though


  3. Riverman21 Jun 25, 2019 / 8:28 pm

    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

    Ah Propaganda knew a thing or two about illusion and sleight of hand.

    We now have the momentum of a rower with one oar. Time to crank up the propaganda machine


    • LordCanisLupus Jun 25, 2019 / 8:39 pm

      Were they talking about a certain individual in the ECB hierarchy…

      He’s a satanic gambler but you just the fool
      And you’ve already lost the chance of your lifetime.


  4. LordCanisLupus Jun 25, 2019 / 8:50 pm

    I have to say my eyebrows were ever so slightly raised by this comment from Mr P. Newman of the Mail parish…

    “It felt significant when Jason Roy tore a hamstring against West Indies and his absence has been magnified by the self-inflicted blow of losing the perfect opening stand-in in Alex Hales. Vince, sadly, is not up to it temperamentally and England must abandon any thoughts they may have had of including him in this summer’s Ashes.”

    Some self-inflicted blows are more serious than others, sir.


  5. LordCanisLupus Jun 25, 2019 / 9:01 pm

    There is something reassuring about a Newman rage article. This was a little bit naughty…

    Buttler and mainly Stokes delayed an inevitable defeat that came with 32 balls to spare, Behrendorff finishing with a five-wicket haul he is unlikely to ever repeat.

    That’s not very nice, is it?


    • nonoxcol Jun 25, 2019 / 9:11 pm

      Ah, that’ll be the wounded entitlement then. Thought it would turn up somewhere. As Guy Mowbray put it: “How many of these Germans with names like Behrendorff would get into our team?”


      • Marek Jun 26, 2019 / 12:50 pm

        …and stubborn refusal to learn about anything that happens beyond your own borders.

        “If I haven’t heard much about him, he must be a nonentity”.


        • nonoxcol Jun 26, 2019 / 1:07 pm

          Well yes, these attitudes tend to go together… if I’d used the full Guy Mowbray quote blathering on about how amazing and world-class the Premier League is *at the same time England were 4-1 down*, that would prove the point.

          Four years later those Germans were world champions and England went out in the group stage with one point.

          I asked the original Q about wounded entitlement because I found Agnew, Tufnell and Vaughan ever so slightly nauseating during the win over West indies. To be fair, it’s been very rare, but all the stats they were coming out with about wins in bi-lateral series just weren’t cutting any ice with me.

          There’s a reason I often turn up BTL with the words “do you think world champions India ever gave the slightest toss that England were ranked ODI World No.1 in 2012” when people get over-excited. World Cups just aren’t the same as the meat and potatoes stuff, which probably helps explain why only two different countries have won one since 1996.


    • Mark Jun 25, 2019 / 10:22 pm

      I see what you mean about chuckles on The World Cup verdict. Dear lord he is like a character out of the fast show. He is saying England would have learned from the semi final defeat against Pakistan at Cardiff in the Champions throhy. I don’t think they have learned anything. If they had, they would have knocked off the runs against SL.

      He thinks the bowlers were fine and didn’t ball too short Now he is talking about the England “journey.” Oh, and Vince is one innings away from being a top player. He does a lot of ifs and buts doesn’t he?

      Finally, another example of the smooth path from ECB employment to Sky studio. It’s like a conveyor belt of gold.


    • Scrim Jun 26, 2019 / 7:12 am

      I’ve mentioned Behrendorff on here before. He is an extremely good bowler who would have made his mark earlier if not for chronic back injuries. In just his second international match, a T20I vs India, he dismissed Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, and Pandey before he finished his 3rd over. In a shield game last season he took 9-37, including the wickets of 5 Australian capped batsmen/allrounders. If he stays fit, he will repeat performances like these and like yesterday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel Jun 26, 2019 / 9:54 am

        His action reminds me of Bruce Reid, whose career was wrecked by back injuries. I hope he gets to establish himself in the side because it will leave the Aussies with some fire power if and when Starc breaks down during the Ashes


  6. Mark Jun 25, 2019 / 9:13 pm

    It’s a measure of how detached from the sport I now feel that I have no anger at all, no mild annoyance even , or no irritation. We’ve seen it all before,and read the excuses.

    I wasn’t really paying attention last night on five live but I think Shinny toy was saying something about how against SL Bairstow went out to bat with the wrong batting gloves, He had two left handed gloves or something? No, neither do I? It’s just another example of the comedy you have following England. Are they a bit thick?

    No one doubts this teams talent, but if the conditions aren’t exactly how they like them, then making adjustments seems impossible. Winning ugly is not on the menu.

    England put dressing room harmony above individual talent. They seem to demand a zen like atmosphere. Trouble is, it makes you wonder if they are mentally tough enough to do the hard yards and make the tough calls when it matters?

    And yet this team could still end up in the semi finals. If Butler goes berserk against India who knows? India might prefer England in the last four anyway rather than their unpredictable arch rivals who did them up like kippers in the Champions thophy final.

    Still only ten times a team have chased, and won in this tournament. Win the toss, and bat seems the way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jomesy Jun 25, 2019 / 9:40 pm


    Fuck the lot of them.

    And I say that having been a Morgan fan but he started to lose my respect with the whole Hales stuff and then really lost all my respect about the booing. Virat lead. Morgan sounded like an idiot.

    Anyway, put the best team on the park. AUS did that with Warner, Smith and Lyon.

    Are we really surprised?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Rohan Jun 25, 2019 / 9:48 pm

      I agree completely about the booing, I thought what Morgan said on that was very poor.

      I think the comedy value of team ECB possibly not qualifying for the semi-finals of their own World Cup (that they have focussed everything in for 4 years) is hilarious 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • jomesy Jun 25, 2019 / 9:59 pm

        I don’t mind the crowds booing Rohan (in fact I applaud it!) but Morgan’s comments on it were pathetic. It felt like if we can have an iota of advantage over the Australians he’d take it….without thinking it through. It also sounded dishonest “I’d never try to influence…”

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Jun 26, 2019 / 7:13 am

        Rob Smyth suggested it [failure to reach the semis] might even rank as the worst World Cup humiliation for any nation ever. Which, in full context, is a justifiable argument.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Burly Jun 26, 2019 / 9:57 am

      I don’t think you can look at Australia and say “just put your best players on the park”. Australia chose to ban their players for much longer than the rules dictated. England have merely chosen to not pick Hales for the squad on the basis that he’s a repeat offender / idiot.

      Does anyone honestly think Hales would’ve made a difference yesterday? He’s not exactly Virat Kohli, and he didn’t make his name battering high quality pace and swing attacks in favourable conditions.

      Australia also do things like cheer on their fans booing players, so it seems a bit hypocritical for people to complain about Morgan not giving two shits what the crowds do or don’t do.


  8. Rohan Jun 25, 2019 / 9:45 pm

    Shiny toy was banging on about Morgan needing to ‘pump up Bairstow’s tyres’ to give him back his confidence. I personally think that’s way of the mark. I think it’s actually Bairstow having to bat with Vince. The dynamic with Vince is totally different to that of Roy, which he is more used to. Roy is aggressive, goes out and attacks teams and bowlers and takes the onus and emphasis off YJB, freeing him up to play without worry or pressure. YJB, playing this way still accumulated runs at a great rate and combined with Roy is a formidable opening partnership. Vince, however, does not give YJB any security at all; all the emphasis and onus is on YJB, when he bats with Vince. YJB can’t play his normal game with Vince, it is this that is undoubtedly affecting him. As attacking as YJB is, I would argue he needs an even more attacking opener alongside him, for him to perform, a la Roy or Hales (cough cough). Vince, just why? Who? How? What? I cannot fathom it…


    • Rooto Jun 26, 2019 / 7:08 am

      I listened to that radio post-mortem, too. I found it interesting that a rather aereated Alec Stewart was saying that Roy’s future (short-term) could depend on today’s match. A Pakistan win could mean the England management say to the medical staff /Roy, “we need him on the pitch on Sunday, even at the risk of him getting properly knacked”. Stewart pointed out that this would bugger up his Ashes chances (but didn’t point out that it would also hit Surrey’s Blast campaign).


    • Sophie Jun 26, 2019 / 7:40 am

      I found it interesting that, when they decided to get rid of Hales, they apparently asked neither Roy nor Bairstow, who are surely the most affected by the decision. And they haven’t been around that much shorter than the “senior players” who made the call.


      • LordCanisLupus Jun 26, 2019 / 8:02 am

        We don’t have all the facts of the Hales incident so we can’t be sure how justified it was. But what riled me, and hit my faith in Morgan, was him coming out and acting the tough guy afterwards. For someone so supposedly free thinking, he doesn’t half toe the ECB line. I’m sure Ashley was absolutely thrilled that Morgan did that, because it gave him cover.

        They seemed more pleased with themselves, thinking it wouldn’t make a difference. Then they did the silly thing and listened to the siren voices around Vince (for a squad where there are supposedly loads lining up, that he was the next best option was worrying). Now our only hope is a half fit player. For a well oiled machine, the parts are seizing up.


        • Mark Jun 26, 2019 / 9:11 am

          As you say,……Whatever the Hales situation, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to go out and talk, smugly about “stigmas”, and “dragging the team down” if you then turn in the performances England have delivered so far. (They of course had no idea Roy would get injured, & Vince was along for the ride.)

          If England get into the semi finals, and final then they can dismiss any critics of their actions. To do so before hand leaves you open to ridicule.


        • Burly Jun 26, 2019 / 10:01 am

          “For someone so supposedly free thinking, he doesn’t half toe the ECB line.”

          Hang on – Morgan ‘acted the tough guy’ because he had as much input on this as anyone. There’s not a single iota of evidence that Morgan was anything other than eager to punt Hales after his final screw-up. That’s not toeing the ECB line, it’s him deciding where the line is as the captain.

          Criticise him for doing that by all means, but I just cannot understand the idea that Morgan is just parroting the ECB on this. It doesn’t match the facts at all.


          • LordCanisLupus Jun 26, 2019 / 10:20 am


            A couple of observations on Morgan, and why my early impressions of him have diminished.

            In hindsight, the comment pre the T20 World Cup, when there were drumbeats wanting KP back in that team, because none of the main antagonists (Cook, Swann, Broad, Anderson) were in the team, that the decision to exclude him were “on me” struck me even more when he then went out and publicly slagged off, for that is what it was, Alex Hales. The ECB had the captain “acting” as cover for that decision. He did exactly the same a few years ago.

            He’s always advocating, very effusively, ECB’s competitions (the Hundred especially), but we’ve always given him a bit of slack (well I have) when some other decisions he made, like not touring Bangladesh, or basically opting out of the county red ball game while coining it in elsewhere in whichever competition paid him (which is within his right), because he turned England around in the 50 over format. Like all generals, though, he is going to be judged on how his team performs in the consequential battles. In my view, and only my view, it’s the typical England leadership conundrum. If we win, it’s never down to the talent, it’s down to the leader, the coach, the management structure, the team ethic, the culture – some ephemeral, intangible nonsense. When we lose, the captain and coach are usually the first to be blamed. It’s as misleading for the first part as it is for the second.

            In my view, Morgan likes playing the tough guy too much. He likes to give the impression he marches to a different beat. He appears to want to give off this ethos of some magical leadership, maybe played up by the press who still seem not to have much bad to say about him. He is an interesting character, and it’s not too late for something good to happen, but his lustre has rubbed off for me, and it isn’t sudden. It’s been going on a while. That KP incident, I gave him the benefit of the doubt as a newish skipper who was hardly going to rock the boat. In hindsight, in my eyes, it was a warning.

            As for the Aussies being reinstated. The bans were ludicrous, but remember at the time when they had “brought shame on Australia” and David Warner was “ostracised” and that no tearful apology was going to be enough for the cricket loving people of Australia. They are back now, as of course, they should have been a minimum 9 months ago, but penance had to be paid. Australia brought them back in, with little real fuss, other than getting a bit touchy about jokes around sandpaper. Sky are running a trailer for the KP documentary, where Michael Vaughan, says after textgate that “I wouldn’t have picked him for England again”. Hales serves his ban, and he’s booted out. Yes, we brought Stokes back, but we’ve been told by one journalist that Ben is the “ultimate team man” and so fits the bill nicely. Hales was the third opener, who has international pedigree. No-one can doubt, surely, that Hales is a better option opening in ODI cricket than Michael Vaughan’s own James Vince? Can they? I’m not saying he’d make the difference yesterday or tomorrow, or Sunday or whatever. What I will say is he has more chance of doing that than Vince.


          • Burly Jun 26, 2019 / 10:32 am

            Hales served his ban but the problem was the news got out. Occam’s Razor suggests Morgan and the other players simply went “we do not need this shit hanging over us”, which is entirely reasonable. He was a repeat offender. Hales has earned the public slagging off – he needs to grow up. We brought Stokes back after his incident in Bristol, but Hales was also an offender that night which shouldn’t be forgotten.

            Agree with what you’re saying about the type of leader Morgan is, and that any sort of ‘strong’ leadership style is great when it works but quickly becomes counterproductive when it doesn’t.

            IMO one of the bigger problems here that’s going untalked about is the secrecy over Hales’ drugs ban to begin with. Is there a policy of hiding this stuff in general? Was it just the ECB clownishly trying to prevent anything from interfering with the World Cup and shooting themselves in what’s left of their feet? If it had been out in the open and dealt with at the time, picking him for the squad would’ve been so much easier.


          • Rooto Jun 26, 2019 / 11:25 am

            Does Vaughan really say that in the documentary? My god, he really blows with the wind, doesn’t he? I remember him on TV backing Pietersen in 2014, talking about strong captaincy and using the talent at one’s disposal. Obviously just so much hot air, like most of what he says.


          • LordCanisLupus Jun 26, 2019 / 11:46 am

            In the trailer, there’s the moment when KP is confronted with the texting the South Africans during the match (I think by Nasser) and KP interjects “Because they’re MY MATES”.

            This is followed by Andrew Strauss dolefully shaking his head going “how can you do that” and Vaughan saying “I would haven’t let him play for England again”. (Correction – I don’t think he should have played for England again, personally”)

            If you catch it, it’s great. English cricket’s foibles and areshole behaviour in a 90 second clip.

            Here’s the clip via Twitter…

            Liked by 1 person

          • Deep Purple Fred Jun 26, 2019 / 11:37 am

            “When we lose, the captain and coach are usually the first to be blamed.”
            Not always! Sometimes it’s the batsman who scored the most runs. (But broader point taken).


          • LordCanisLupus Jun 26, 2019 / 11:46 am

            How could I have been so foolish, Fred? You got me 🙂


          • Mark Jun 26, 2019 / 11:56 am

            “ If we win, it’s never down to the talent, it’s down to the leader, the coach, the management structure, the team ethic, the culture – some ephemeral, intangible nonsense. When we lose, the captain and coach are usually the first to be blamed. ”


            It’s always a balance between leadership and talent.

            Which is why England are wrong in my view to be so cavalier with genuine talent that is sometimes difficult. “Stigma” (whoever he is?) ain’t going to score any runs or take any wickets.

            The media are already talking about what does Morgan do between now and Sunday? Shinny toy says he has to pump up Bairstows tyres. Personally I think there is little he can say. He needs them to perform, and that comes from within. It also requires the talent and strength of character to deliver.

            Why are England so obsessed about dressing room harmony above all else? Too much harmony, and it becomes a bit too much like a hammock.


          • Mark Jun 26, 2019 / 12:11 pm

            “KP Story of a genius.”

            The title rather gives away the agenda. KP Genius is the title of the fake twitter account run by friends of certain players. One can only imagine if KP or other players had run a mocking twitter account about England’s captain or coach.

            “The Brainless trust”…..for example…or how about
            “We are not good enough to ever play IPL and earn millions.”

            Yes, I’m sure that would have been laughed about for years.

            I also wonder in the old days when players used to go for a drink with the opposition and talk about the day’s play do you think they never talked about each other’s weakness or technical flaws?

            Thank God KP never bet money at 500-1 to lose a Test match with the other side following on……


          • Escort Jun 26, 2019 / 6:34 pm

            You mention “The Line”
            That’s an Australian thing isn’t it?


        • pktroll (@pktroll) Jun 26, 2019 / 10:48 am

          I can’t help wondering if Pietersen’s criticism of Morgan backing away to leg being a poor example was a case of revenge being a dish best served cold?


          • LordCanisLupus Jun 26, 2019 / 11:06 am

            Given we are particular about Mr Occam choosing Gilette or those Wilkinsons, I think the tendency for KP to shoot off his mouth without engaging brain, nor caring for the consequences is probably in order here.

            A week ago, he was awarding the trophy to us. So pay no heed. A journo on a wind-up, as always.


        • Sophie Jun 26, 2019 / 4:48 pm

          You would think so. Cricinfo has an article that says: “Morgan added that the decision had been reached in consultation with “the six most experienced guys in the team, [including] myself”, namely Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes.” And I think I’ve read those names elsewhere, too.


  9. Metatone Jun 26, 2019 / 5:19 am

    Ok, heretic thoughts this morning.

    So it’s fair enough for supporters of other countries to mock the ECB’s “four year focus on the World Cup” as well, they’ll mock us when we lose no matter what.

    BUT – actually, nothing wrong with putting the focus on a home World Cup. It should have been a moment to at least really showcase the game. Indeed, had the matches been on free to air, England’s good start to the tournament could have been a great advert for the game, despite the disappointments to come.

    Really the flaw here is in that “had the matches been on free to air” not – “focusing for four years on a home World Cup.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marek Jun 26, 2019 / 12:26 pm

      I don’t think it’s the putting the focus part that jars–at least not with me.

      It’s the potentially absurd (and damaging) difference between the lengths the ECB have gone to to reposition one-day cricket in general and the World Cup in particular as its major goal, dwarfing everything else–everything from inventing a new tournament with fewer teams to eliminate the less competitive counties, to shunting the Championship into the margins of the season, to rehiring the batting coach while the last Zing bail was still flickering on a totally insipid batting performance in the last Ashes–with the paucity of the result.

      Lose to India in the final by 17 runs chasing 379 OK, but go out at the group stages having failed to chase 230-odd against the ninth-ranked team in the world, at home, when you’re no.1, in conditions completely alien to them? Hmmm…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Metatone Jun 26, 2019 / 5:38 am

    Assuming Pakistan don’t have another off day, which is a big assumption, I think this game is too close to call.


  11. dArthez Jun 26, 2019 / 6:32 am

    A Pakistan win here would finally enliven the tournament. But that is solely due to an outbreak of incompetence in the England ranks, not due to the brilliant format of the tournament. Eliminated teams may gift easy wins to the teams that are still in contention (not that ACSU cares about corruption).

    If England had batted with a modicum of sense against Sri Lanka, all these games would exist solely to make up the numbers (and it is no surprise to me that Stokes was the standout performer in both losses England suffered in the last few days). Sri Lanka would have been out of the running already, leaving just Pakistan and Bangladesh in with a very unlikely chance to qualify (need to win all their games, and hope the weather does not ruin things for them.

    Also the washouts have robbed Sri Lanka of 2 potentials points (meaning they need to end up with more points than England due to the tiebreaks – Head to head is meaningless, bizarrely). The damage of the washouts is less severe for Pakistan and Bangladesh. Though we could end up in the situation that England qualify for the semis, due to the washouts the other contenders have suffered, with any result other than (a) tie(s) eliminating England. Likewise, England could qualify if the weather gods sprinkle the earth on select days in the upcoming week and a half. Thoroughly unsatisfactory.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mark Jun 26, 2019 / 9:04 am

    I haven’t really listened to Farbrace much before, but listening to him last night I’m frankly astonished. He sounded like a second hand car salesman trying to flog us “England” as a one lady owner, with a full manufacturers service history. (Which begs the question……. can you get serious analysis from ex ECB management?)

    Everyone was either brilliant or magnificent, and even when it was pointed out that some players are not delivering………cough, cough, Vince….. he kept talking about ifs and buts. “If Vince had made a score” or Ali’s batting which has gone over a cliff.

    Bob Willis made the seemingly obvious point about England bowling too short in the firsts hour and the low % of balls that would have hit the stumps compared to the Aussie bowlers. Yet he was back to ifs and buts. If this had gone to hand, if this had been caught, if the umpire had given out, the umpires call. Blah. England bowled first because it was bowling friendly conditions. They didn’t use them. The alarming thing is if England had restricted them to forty or so less, they still wouldn’t have got them.


  13. Borderer Jun 26, 2019 / 9:11 am

    So the ECB decide to consign the county championship and red ball cricket to the margins, appoint shiny suit Harrison on £700k a year to come up with a wheeze new game to appeal to mums and toddlers fronted by franchise names beyond parody, appoint a white ball specialist coach,set their sights on winning the World Cup at home and plough million of pounds into the effort – and it all fails at the first hurdle with a set of one dimensional cricketers who seem incapable of playing to the situation. You’ve got to laugh haven’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Burly Jun 26, 2019 / 10:12 am

      “we’ll just bank the future of the sport’s popularity on our ‘inevitable’ success at a tournament we’ve hosted with minimal publicity and no free-to-air matches, with terrible scheduling for domestic fans”

      It’s breathtakingly stupid.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Ruth Morrison Jun 26, 2019 / 10:24 am

    I think Morgan is delusional. with the facts in front of him and asked about whether the English bowlers had bowled too short…..”no I don’t think so”

    We are on a journey and will continue to play well!

    Well show us!!!

    he is an arrogant prick who thinks he is a gift to English cricket.


  15. LordCanisLupus Jun 26, 2019 / 10:36 am

    Guptill gone early again. A sure sign these wickets aren’t the roads the World Cup was hoped to be played on, because he’s fearful once through the rough stuff.


    • Burly Jun 26, 2019 / 10:46 am

      So, a question for you all, triggered by this comment on Cricinfo:

      ‘Stefan: “As a neutral (unfortunately that’s that we SA fans are now), I would like nothing more than to see Amir finish as top wicket taker in the tournament. He has fully deserved his redemption!”‘

      Sporting redemption, to me, means coming back from past failure to redeem yourself. It doesn’t, for me, mean “coming back from being banned for match-fixing and then playing well again”. If he, I dunno, led an anti-corruption group or something, then that would be redeeming himself, but personally I do not understand why so many cricket fans consider Amir’s success to be redemption for his crimes.

      I’ve seen Stefan’s opinion mirrored in many places and I just don’t get it. What do you guys think?


      • LordCanisLupus Jun 26, 2019 / 11:05 am

        Redemption is utterly the wrong word.

        I had some sympathy with Amir, who served jail time, did he not? I watch him bowl, grateful to see his ability when it comes off, and feeling that he had done the time he was sentenced for, and having a little bit of sympathy for his position in the team at the time.

        Don’t confuse that with feeling glad, cheering him on, or thinking this is some redemption. I am an advocate for letting people earn a living when they’ve served the appointed sentence. But I know that isn’t the route for everyone.


        • dlpthomas Jun 26, 2019 / 11:47 pm

          Perhaps he meant “rehabilitation” rather than “redemption”


      • Rooto Jun 26, 2019 / 11:12 am

        I think it’s a reasonable opinion, given the fact that we’ve been told by the media (for 10 years now) that he was a young ingenue lead astray by the moustache-twirling bad guys in the dressing room (Butt and Asif).
        Of course, we don’t know for sure that it’s the complete truth.


        • Rohan Jun 26, 2019 / 6:16 pm

          I might be wrong Rooto, but at the time it all happened wasn’t Butt only just 25 and Asif perhaps a bit younger? The kind of age for an English cricketer, that our media will tell us is young and still learning and will make mistakes, see captain Cook, or the test team, or Joe Root or Ben Stokes etc. Double standards? Interesting.


          • LordCanisLupus Jun 26, 2019 / 6:20 pm

            He was 25, I think, though Amir was 17, I believe.

            Nice intro to Salman Butt’s wiki page.


          • Rohan Jun 26, 2019 / 6:46 pm

            Wow, yes it is isn’t it! Asif actually a bit older than I thought, he was 27 at the time, still young by English media standards though!


      • Mark Jun 26, 2019 / 11:38 am

        Burley, I have some sympathy for you on this. I’m certainly not cheering him on. His age at the time meant many felt he was lead astray, and deserved a second chance. ( people will have there own opinion on that.)

        Bottom line is……The ICC had failed to make the issue clear. Bring in life bans for match fixing or spot fixing and then everybody knows where they are. I’m assuming the fact they have been wishy washy with this is because many member countries were not on board with life bans.


      • Deep Purple Fred Jun 26, 2019 / 11:59 am

        I think it’s just an over-enthusiatic use of the word redemption. Serving your time doesn’t equal redemption, as far as I know. Not all ex-cons are necessarily redeemed, they’re just out.
        Not sure superb bowling delivers redemption, either.
        I think alot of people are just happy to see him bowling, and get a bit carried away.


        • Tahiti Condo Jun 26, 2019 / 1:54 pm

          Isn’t it the case that Amir was convicted of spot- fixing? Not match- fixing. He bowled, I think, 2 no balls to order (presumably on the orders of his captain). Theoretically those 2 extra runs could decide a close run match, but it’s unlikely. And I’m sure when he was told to bowl the no-balls he was assured it wouldn’t affect the outcome of the match.
          I totally agree that spot fixing is wrong and should be punished (because once you start that, where do you stop) but I do think it’s different from something like the Cronje case.

          Liked by 1 person

          • dlpthomas Jun 26, 2019 / 3:24 pm

            My understanding is that bowling no balls isn’t done for spot fixing (I’m not even sure you can bet that a specific delivery will be a no ball.) Players bowl no balls on command to show a potential client that the gambling syndicate has control over the players actions. For example, the syndicate tells a potential client that the 4th ball of the 10 over will be a no ball. After the no ball has been delivered, the the syndicate says if you pay us $XXX we will get a certain player to score less than 20 runs or between overs 10 and 20 the batting team will score less than 30 runs etc. Such fixes don’t always come off but when they do huge money can be made.


      • jomesy Jun 26, 2019 / 6:58 pm

        It’s not proper redemption like that of, say, of Sir Alistair’s. (Mmmm).

        More seriously, I have very mixed feelings on this. The guy was undoubtedly young and uneducated and (probably) under the sway of his “betters”. On that basis I give him, by the skin of his teeth, a second chance and wish him well. (I do enjoy watching him bowl a lot and he made Giles Clarke look properly pompous and murderous at the same time so he has some credit with me for that).

        Interestingly, in Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy, the author makes a decent argument that no actual crime was committed. Doesn’t alter the intention but, in such a depressing book, I found it quite interesting. Didn’t look into it any further and suspect it may not actually stack up given none of the convicted appealed on those lines…


  16. man in a barrel Jun 26, 2019 / 12:06 pm

    Another 19 year old Pakistani seamer taking wickets for fun! Some production line they have!


    • Marek Jun 26, 2019 / 12:43 pm

      …another one lurking in the squad too…!


  17. nonoxcol Jun 26, 2019 / 12:16 pm

    As a Surrey man, what does LCL make of this?

    Well it was that or Oval Rebels, apparently. Oval Originals may have been preferred I suppose, given your frequent references to the first Test match in England? But that was already taken, of course.

    Dear lord, what a nonsense.


    • LordCanisLupus Jun 26, 2019 / 12:45 pm


      For the absolute love of God. There’s no inspiration, no catchiness. Look, names aren’t for everyone, but there seems to be a vacancy for a new team to be called the SouthWest Trust, the Norfolk Culture, the North East Partners, and the Chelmsford Pathways. They are either emotions, fire related, or nonsensical nouns. I’d have had more respect if they called them the Oval Greatest Ever.

      Names are always going to cause disagreement, but take your inspiration from minor league baseball.

      I love this story…

      “In the late fall of 2018, one of the most viral sports stories was about a new Minor League Baseball (MILB) team in Madison, Alabama. The reason for all the hype wasn’t their game so much as their name: the Rocket City Trash Pandas

      The name was unveiled in September 2018, after the “Trash Pandas” moniker won a public vote, beating out four similarly absurd space-animal combinations: Moon Possums, ThunderSharks, Space Chimps, and Comet Jockeys. ”

      FutureBrand would have eaten their own shit before coming out with something like that. My “local” minor league team is the Lakewood Blue Claws. I’ve seen the Salem Red Sox (dull), Delmarva Shorebirds (actually it was rained off), Wilimington Blue Rocks, Harrisburg Senators (dull), Greensboro Grasshoppers and my favourite, Vermont Lake Monsters. There are the Flying Squirrels (Richmond), the Isotopes (Albuquerque), Jumbo Shrimp (Jacksonville), and to my mind, the best of the lot, the Sod Poodles (which sounds like it is illegal, but is a team in Amarillo).

      And yes, it captures imagination. Back to the Trash Pandas…

      By mid-December, the Trash Pandas — who aren’t set to actually start playing until 2020 — claimed to have broken the Minor League record for most online sales in a three-month period by a Minor League Baseball team with over $500,000 in merchandise moved. Between October and December, the team received nearly 3,500 online orders.

      That topped previous three-month period sales for two other rebrands: 1,022 online orders from the El Paso Chihuahuas which debuted in 2013, and nearly 2,400 items in late 2016-early 2017 for the New Orleans Baby Cakes. (Note: these numbers are all team-reported and not confirmed by MILB.)

      A pop-up team shop that opened in mid-November proved to be so popular, selling over 32,000 items in just six weeks, that instead of closing at the end of December, as originally schedule, plans were made to make the store more robust and reopen it in early February 2019.

      They had a chance. Be fun, be catchy, be different. No. We get focus group, ad exec gobshite. And another missed opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • AB Jun 26, 2019 / 1:57 pm

        They’re just crap, aren’t they. They’re not amusingly awful, they’re not begrudgingly sensible, they’re just predictable and depressingly poor.

        Given that they’re all controlled by the governing body, you’d at least think they’d manage a bit of consistency. Like 8 different animals or 8 different colours or something.

        None of the match-ups make any sense. Originals vs Superchargers. Phoenix vs Rockets. Spirit vs Greats. A 5-year old could come up with better than this.


      • dArthez Jun 26, 2019 / 5:51 pm

        It would even have made more sense to name them after the 8 biggest sponsors they could gather for this travesty of a game.

        Judging by the franchise names, you have no idea whether this would be a cricket franchise competition or a chess engine competition (Fire is the name of a rather good chess engine), or some RobotWars franchise model or something of the sort (Superchargers, Rockets). Which is not a terrible disaster in a country where the population breathes cricket (though even the name of Kings XI Punjab gives away that whatever is being played it is with 11 players in a team). In England, that obviously does not apply.


      • jomesy Jun 26, 2019 / 7:56 pm

        But LCL you’re touching on something the establishment hates…the population at large.

        Boaty McBoatFace anyone?

        I’ll bet Trash Pandas was a private enterprise. The ECB could never allow the great unwashed to have a say!


        • thelegglance Jun 29, 2019 / 8:05 am

          To be fair, one of the launches on that ship is indeed called Boaty McBoatface to acknowledge that public vote.


  18. man in a barrel Jun 26, 2019 / 12:37 pm

    NZ 84-5 off 27 overs… It’s going to take a lot for NZ to win from here. I wonder what Chuckles is thinking


  19. Sir Peter Jun 26, 2019 / 3:31 pm



  20. Metatone Jun 26, 2019 / 4:42 pm

    It would be better for England if Pakistan lost this game, but I can’t help but get swept up by the roar of the crowd and the sheer spirit of the Pakistan team at the moment.

    Sod England, c’mon Pakistan!


    • Metatone Jun 26, 2019 / 4:59 pm

      Top jinxing there, soon as I hit post, down goes a wicket.


    • Benny Jun 26, 2019 / 7:37 pm

      Indeed. I got swept away too. I’d guarantee Pakistan a place in evert World Cup


  21. Rohan Jun 26, 2019 / 6:23 pm

    So here comes the Pakistan charge for the semis? The MSM broadly wrote them off and Sky ignored their games in hand and ability etc. Not sure who it was, but someone on here, said watch out for them, they might not be done yet? Obviously it’s a long way off, but there are stirrings there, they COULD do it.


    • Mark Jun 26, 2019 / 6:31 pm

      Chuckles said last night England won’t be thinking of winning one game, they will be thinking of winning both of their remaining games.

      Well, they have no choice now. I expect Pakistan to get 11 points.


      • Rohan Jun 26, 2019 / 6:48 pm

        Your comments about him on the verdict last night were spot on. I couldn’t believe the twaddle he was pedalling, at times it looked like neither could Bob Willis.


        • Mark Jun 26, 2019 / 7:19 pm

          I was astounded at some of the things he was saying. Now, I realise he feels loyalty to those players as he has worked with them all. But what is the point of Sky having him on?

          You might as well have the current England coach and captain.


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