Harder Than You Think, It’s A Beautiful Thing

The morning after the night before. An exhaustion of emotion akin to any life event you can imagine, a thrill ride which included luck, luck and more luck and a questioning of your own eyes. A conflict of emotions, a turmoil I’ve not experienced with a sporting event ever. Yes ever. I watched a team suffer under the weight of their mental pressures, I saw two rocks battle, scrap and claw their way to a chance of a win, and then scrap some more as lady luck turned up just in time. Then the Super Over. The Super Over. So let me try something with this piece. 50 thoughts plus 2 for the Super Overs. It blatantly steals Danny’s idea, but I’m sure he won’t mind.

Over 1 – Imagine if this event had been on pay TV only. Just imagine if the sheer terror of this finale, the pain and ecstasy had not been made available to all. Imagine a sporting body who thinks that this is acceptable. Imagine.

Over 2 – Many people think Ian Smith’s commentary at the end made the Final, added to the event. I then imagine what the doyen himself, Richie Benaud, would have made of it. I’m not sure he would have approved.

Over 3 – Very noticeable empty seats throughout the day. I can go on and on about ticketing arrangements for sporting events, and the legitimisation of onsale markets which become a ticket tout’s charter. But it’s not a great look to have the prime event of the sport’s four year cycle played to areas of seating not occupied. Those there may have a better perspective.

Over 4 – Martin Guptill’s review proved crucial. Not sure why he decided to review something knocking middle pole out, but I really think we need to keep this in mind when having a go at Erasmus later on.

Over 5 – Kumar Dharamasena has been a decent umpire. No-one would have made any comments on the “errors” today if he had not missed the Jason Roy phantom glove, and Roy not go mad about it. I generally loathe people going at umpires. It’s a cop out.

Over 6 – My next door neighbour has never, in my 40 years living next to her, mentioned cricket. I heard her going mad during the Super Over. I was pacing around in the garden between balls.

Over 7 – Chris Woakes bowled another very good opening spell. Not long ago lots were saying what is he doing playing for England. He’s so vanilla. He’s very decent at his job and that is to open the bowling for England in ODIs. He had a really good competition.

Over 8 – Henry Nicholls played a really sensible innings that set a platform for his team. It will barely be remembered among the hubbub that followed. An important constituent part.

Over 9 – Jofra Archer’s opening spell, and then his closing overs justified his selection. He has a nasty bouncer despite not being up there at Mark Wood pace. It’s really odd that you don’t feel Wood’s short stuff is particularly venemous, but Jofra’s is. He made de Grandhomme look like a club pro at times.

Over 10 – Andrew Strauss will probably get a knighthood out of this. As usual England success will be down to the coaches and the authorities, when really it is the players. No ECB planning gives you the ability to play the game. I’ll talk more about this in due course, because the ECB are going to milk this, and how they do is going to be important to watch.

Over 11 – Liam Plunkett wasn’t even in Rob Key’s squad. In this World Cup he played, and we won, and he played a big part. He has an uncanny ability to look toothless and then take wickets. He doesn’t seem to go for too many. A much underestimated cog in the wheel.

Over 12 – Mark Wood bowled a super little spell including a wicket maiden. He also went off injured, with what looked like a rib injury. I’m sure that was improved by his fruitless dive for the line later in the day!

Over 13 – Adil Rashid had a low-key final, bowled his 10 overs, run out without facing a ball, and scarpering when the champers was opened. His presence in the team is valued by those who matter most, his captain and team-mates. And nothing that is said outside is going to impact that.

Over 14 – Sourav Ganguly’s commentary was annoying in the extreme, especially the bit where he rubbed Isa Guha’s nose in it after the Jonny Bairstow decision. Not good. Trolling England fans throughout isn’t particularly a good look.

Over 15 – Sometimes life just isn’t fair. A cosmopolitan England side, with an Irish captain, two Muslim bowlers in the squad, players born overseas, and you get to see pictures of arch-Brexiteers, cosying up with Piers Morgan, on Twitter. I don’t do politics on here, as you know, but some hypocrisies make me retch.

Over 16 – For all our mocking of Paul Farbrace after the Australia loss, he was right, wasn’t he? It’s always appropriate to recognise when we were wrong. Well, I was.

Over 17 – I hope the tired, lazy tropes about momentum and so on are put to bed, although I know they won’t be, and yes, again, I fall into that trap. The final had no momentum issues. None. Nil. Nada. It was a one-off match.

Over 18 – The Williamson dismissal via a tiny nick was pounced upon by critics of Kumar. I’ve umpired, obviously not to international standard, and hearing nicks on a quiet Sunday afternoon game is tough, let alone at an international final with 25000 or so people not keeping quiet. What do you want him to do? Guess? He couldn’t hear anything, so there are reviews to prove otherwise. If batsman and bowlers weren’t so keen to tell umpires that they don’t know the LBW rules better than the person there to adjudge, then I’d have sympathy for the players.

Over 19 – Then there was Ross Taylor. I’m not going to go overboard here, but credit to Michael Clarke, who immediately called “height”. No-one else did in the box. If you call it when you see it, you can then comment on the error made. Otherwise, bin it. Erasmus has been a very good umpire and is widely respected (I still think Agar was stumped early on in his 2015 innings), and suddenly the angst pivoted to him. I found that amusing. More of this later on.

Over 20 – Have you ever seen a batsman look more out of his depth than Colin de Grandhomme? It was painful to watch. Archer tortured him.

Over 21 – I for one was wondering what the New Zealand game plan was later on. No-one seemed to try to biff it. I wonder if, looking back, New Zealand wished they’d pushed the button a little earlier. But hindsight is an exact science.

Over 22 – England’s bowling really impressed me again, but you do need to wonder about how much the wicket played a part.

Over 23 – Jason Roy was pinned first ball. It looked it to me. It looked it to most. The verdict was about as close to three reds as could be without being given out. Ian Smith went over the top in the comm box, but listen to his commentary. “Missing leg, is it missing leg”. Yeah. Ian, Slam dunk once you watched it on replay. That annoys me no end. As you can tell.

Over 24 – Jason Roy’s innings never got started, and it is concerning that when he fails, England seem to struggle. Certainly in this World Cup. For this to be comfortable he needed to make a quick half century, because he does seem to drag his partner with him. His dismissal made the chase less Australia semi-final and more India Champions Trophy 2015-like.

Over 25 – Who’d have thought cool Joe Root would let the occasion get to him? 30 balls of tortured batting, an inability to master the wicket, a few skittish attempts to whack it and then a windy swipe to nick off. He exemplified the need to just rotate the strike as much as possible. Easy to say from my sofa, but something, notably Jos Buttler, who is a shotmaker, did when needing to restrain his instincts.

Over 26 – Jonny Bairstow played a very sensible knock, having a little luck, but I was entertaining thoughts of him sealing the cup with a century. He then chopped on, as he looked like he could do, sparking Simon Doull and Sourav Ganguly commentating like infants for a couple of minutes. Bairstow’s rant midway through the tournament betrayed the concerns of the England camp, but he, as much as anyone, spoke in content afterwards with his two centuries. His fielding was immense on the boundary.

Over 27 – The opening bowling was decent without being worrying. Yes, England sort of got away with one early, but reaching 30 without loss should have been the platform to ease to victory. The fear really was what would Trent Boult and Matt Henry do. They weren’t really a factor early on. England were scoring nicely.

Over 28 – The vice was applied by Colin de Grandhomme. He dropped Bairstow when he failed to grasp a firm drive back to him. But the Big Man bowled with guile, skill, accuracy and mental pressure as players who thought they should be smacking him, couldn’t. His application meant the target started creeping up and up. I bet the players could sense our frustrations. Somewhere, out there, Ian Austin was saying to himself “if only” and Mark Ealham was thinking of coming out of retirement.

Over 29 – I never believed Eoin Morgan was going to get us over the line. Whisper it quietly but if someone had scored some runs to put pressure on the team, the obvious batsman to drop is Eoin. Now he has his plaudits and critics in the media and on here, and I think he can be a bit in love with his own brilliance, but when someone called him Brearley with runs yesterday, they were part correct. He’s a more valuable batsman than Brearley ever was, and he’s a very good tactician and leader, that is evident. The credit should rest a lot with him, instead of his authorities. But he’s getting weaker against the short ball, and his dismissal showed that. It seems a long time since he flayed Afghanistan.

Over 30 – Lockie Ferguson’s catch was as good as his tache is bad. His cheeky “soft signal” was, to this contrarian, one of the moments of the Final. I was a hopeless fielder, hated the ball coming to me. I admire anyone who takes a catch above the ordinary because I know I couldn’t. To do that knowing if you miss you might cop a mouthful of rock hard red ball gets my thumbs up. Then Ian Smith called it one of the “greatest ever” and my heart sunk. Really?

Over 31 – Four down and Buttler came in. Stokes had struggled to get going, but as was accurately mentioned on comms, the ball makes a different sound on Jos’s bat. What Jos did which was so damn good was he rotated the strike. Whereas Stokes kept hitting fielders, Jos kept avoiding them. He got the wicket early, knew it wasn’t one for his pyrotechnics, and played the situation. He would hit the shot when it came to him, but he let the game flow naturally knowing that a partnership needed to be built. He was the calm to the Stokes energy.

Over 32 – The run rate kept climbing. My brother asked me, via text, who I thought was going to win. I said New Zealand. This was not a pitch to score more than a run a ball on. New Zealand’s last ten overs reaped 62,

Over 33 – The Stokes/Buttler partnership saved England, no doubt. But was it a touch too slow? I’m not sure what Stokes’ issues were early on, but he was scoring at Root rates early on. I can only guess how hard it was for him to temper his natural game, but he was getting leading edges, bunting it into gaps where it wasn’t intended to go. Stokes has been the rock of the middle order, and it is hard to question him in hindsight, but the accelerator was always going to be tough to push.

Over 34 – Buttler got to 50, but the 40-42 overs all came in at much less than required, and at that stage I was convinced it was New Zealand’s. I said so on the blog. Especially when Buttler got out.

Over 35 – Jos Jos Jos. What was that shot? It’s easy to pop from your sofa, but you played a shot to a ball that wasn’t there and you’d been almost perfect up to then. While you were there I believed, hoped. When you were out, I felt that feeling in the pit of my stomach. I recognised it. It was the one when Simon Jones dropped Kasprowicz in 2005. At that point, I knew how far along the spectrum I was in the England love-o-meter. I couldn’t say I didn’t care. I know I did. I wanted them to win. Very badly. Oh, and it was a fine, fine catch by Tim Southee.

Over 36 – Woakes was overmatched, and departed to a skier. I noticed Tom Latham’s little photographer’s dive after taking the catch! A big plus to Nasser’s pretty cool commentary during this time. Concentrating on the dot balls, the number of balls and targets rather than wickets. I made a note to mention it.

Over 37 – Liam Plunkett put bat to ball better than most, but he was faced with having to do it from the start and with no time to adjust. His catch given to long off was inevitable. Liam had a good World Cup, and 10 off 10 balls doesn’t sound much, but it gave us hope when there wasn’t any.

Over 38 – Jofra Archer came in in front of Rashid, and promptly got bowled going for glory first ball. I have yet to see Jofra the bat, and he can according to many, but his was a minor part in the overall proceedings with the bat.

Over 39 – Went out of order.. the batsman crossed from the Plunkett steepler, and Stokes smashed the next ball from Neesham to long on. Boult was under it again, he took the catch, stepped back, knew he was going over the boundary, threw it to Guptill, and I put my head in my hands. But wait. Guptill is signalling six. What? Why? How? Oh my god, he’s stepped on the boundary. Is our name on the trophy? 16 off 8 sounds better than 22 off 9. A moment to say well done to Guptill. Of course, it would have been proven to be six, but he signalled it, knowing what the replay would show and not trying to pull a fast one (as Morgan, perhaps, could be accused of with the Ferguson catch). It says a huge amount for the way New Zealand play the game. I think it sounds patronising to keep patting their heads, but they are a fine team and do not compromise it by cheating. I wish it was like this everywhere.

Over 40 – So we are now down to 15 off the final over. Stokes in the position to be the man again, like the T20 Final. Irony not lost on me. Two dot balls were not in the script. Stokes might have been able to take a single but he thought he was the only one who could score the runs. The third ball was in the slot, down low he got under it, and belted it over midwicket, a long way back for 6. Great, but it is still 9 off three.

Over 41 – The moment of the match. Stokes hits the ball to midwicket and they were always going to go for two. It was a 1 3/4 run. Stokes steamed, head down, for the crease knowing the only chance of staying in the hunt would be to get there. Guptill’s throw was quick, hard, accurate. Stokes stretched and the ball appeared to ricochet away. It diverted past Latham and kept running, on and on, to the boundary. What? How? What? That’s six runs, isn’t it? Stokes sticks his arms out to say sorry. But it is going to be six runs. Suddenly it is 3 off 2. We have to win this now. The luck has been going our way.

Over 42 – There is something quintessentially English about feeling guilty about profiting from luck or mistakes, yet we are the first to moan about our ill fortune. England’s 1966 win is prefaced with us going on and on about the third goal. Do you think Germany, who in their guises have won the competition three times since give a shit now? Argentina don’t asterisk their 1986 triumph about Maradona’s Hand of God. I watched the 1992 Final, and honestly never remembered the Pringle LBWs until he made a thing of it a bit later – I was more pissed off at Botham not nicking it and being given out. Pakistan don’t give a shit, it’s all “cornered tigers” BS. Yet here we are – we should have let them win, it was only five runs, it should have been just two, it should have been this, been that. It’s sport. It wasn’t dishonest. It was luck. I am sure the rule will be changed as a result, but just do one with this asterisk shit. Why bother if the sport is to be cleansed of any element of chance. It is why I hate VAR. If your motivation for this is an anti-England feeling, then that’s your choice. I recognise it for what it was, a massive, enormous, huge slice of luck.

Over 43 – Three off two balls, but Stokes mishits one to long on, and there’s barely one and a half runs in it. The ball is thrown to the bowler’s end and Rashid is miles short. Out not facing a ball, note how Adil, when he walks off, tries to encourage Stokes. The thought, under all this pressure, was were New Zealand playing it safe getting the non-striker out, and not going for Stokes, who would have been out in all likelihood because he had a slow start given he’d got so low in hitting the yorker. In that cauldron, better to play safe.

Over 44 – The last ball, two to win, one for a Super Over. What will Stokes do? Go for glory? Make sure of the one if he can and gamble for a second. Mark Wood isn’t the fleetest of foot at the non-striker’s end. Boult bowls a full toss on middle stump, the ideal ball to whack, but Stokes bunts it to mid-on area. We have the single, they turn, the throw is deadly accurate at the non-striker’s end, Boult gathers and takes the stumps. The replay confirms he had ball in hand, nothing untoward, and it is a Super Over. At that point, I think I inhaled some air for the first time in 15 minutes. This is crazy. But this is sport. Meanwhile, at Wimbledon, the Men’s Final goes into that competition’s equivalent of the Super Over, a fifth set tie-break at 12-12. Sport.

Over 45 – The Super Over rules, and another chance to de-legitimise the victory. It is clear, if the score is tied after 50 overs, wickets are irrelevant. It has been for about 20 years so bloody well spare me the angst over that. There’s an Irish guy I follow on Twitter who is banging on and on about this (and the Super Over) and all he ever does is complain about sport. I genuinely ask why he watches it any more if he hates it that much. Yes, coming from me. So it is clear. Super Over – most runs win, and if it is a tie, who hit the most boundaries in combination. It’s in the bloody rules of the game. You might not like it, but it is clear. I still hate penalty shootouts. It still doesn’t mean I don’t count Millwall knocking Chelsea out of the Cup in 1985 because we won on one. Don’t be daft.

Over 46 – It had to be Buttler and Stokes. Never did find out who was number three (was it Roy?). First ball squirts for three runs down to third man. Second is a well hit single to mid-wicket by Jos. The third finds a gap between the two leg-side boundary fielders to give Stokes 4 runs. 8 from 3. What is safe? The next ball Stokes carves straight to cover for a single. Buttler hits a yorker for two, and then smashes the last ball over mid-wicket for four. Is 15 any good? I can’t process basic thoughts. It sounds good. Archer is warming up. Good god. We’re trusting a kid, relatively, to bowl that last over. Really? Really? And this did not help:

Over 47 – Don’t bowl a wide. Don’t bowl a wide. Don’t bowl it in the slot. Don’t bowl a no ball. Don’t bowl a long hop. The first ball passes over the blue tramline. It’s a wide. Was it harsh? I thought so. Would I have gone on about it if we’d lost? Probably not. Thin margins.

Over 48 – Neesham squirts the next ball for two. The Black Caps got their skates on. At this point the comms were questioning whether Neesham was the right man for this. Next ball he takes a good length Archer ball and belts it into the Mound Stand. We’ve lost. 7 from 4. Neesham hoicks the next one to mid-wicket, Roy misfields, and it is another two. Five from three. Next ball, yorker, Neesham repeats the shot, it is better placed and there’s another two runs. Three from two. It has to be three, because England have hit more boundaries. Next ball is a slower ball bouncer. Neesham pulls it into his body. Guptill gets a motor on and makes it easily. Two from the last ball.

Over 49 – Time stands still. Utterly still. Only sport can do this. Spellbinding. Two to win, and the man tasked to score them was out at around 11:30. He hasn’t faced a ball in the Super Over. Archer is a rookie. On their heads the game rests. The field takes ages to set. The tension building. I’m absolutely numb. I know that a win is what I truly, totally want. It feels good, but it also feels like I’ve been a bit of a fraud. My last five years of agnostic, almost loathing of elements of this team. But damn you Stokes, damn you Jos, damn you Jofra, you’ve brought me back. Archer bowls full on leg stump, Guptill gets a great bat on it, you can’t smack that and gets it to deep mid-wicket. The fielder, heaven knows who it was at the time (the irony being Jason Roy who misfielded earlier) threw in, Jos gathers, smashes the stumps. Guptill looks well short. I am screaming yes, yes, yes. Jumping around the living room. Teddy looks scared, so I hug him and give a non-plussed border collie dying for his walk, a big old kiss. I feel that wave of elation, it lasts not as long as it used to, but that is what sport, and excitement, makes you do. I try to focus on what needs to be done, but I’m numb.

Over 50 – I am genuinely, totally uninterested in anyone else’s reaction. I don’t care in the immediate aftermath. I don’t want to hear pundits, I don’t want to hear people tell me what I think about it. These memories are mine, not yours “experts”. I want to react the way of the natural order. I take Teddy for his walk. I am buzzing. England have won the most exciting game of cricket I’ve seen, certainly since 2005, and up there with the best finales you could ever wish to see. And as sport fans, what more can you ask for?

Super Over 1 – From a personal standpoint I was trying to reference this match with other great sporting events I’ve watched. Personally, nothing can match the tearing up of my insides that was the second half of the FA Cup Semi-Final in 2004, but in hindsight that was meaningless, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time. The obvious cricket reference point is Edgbaston 2005. I think it is really similar to that, but a little different. England had that game won, and couldn’t finish off the team. Here England never had that won, and indeed, to be fair, didn’t win, but the miracles it took to get there made it exhausting. I am trying to remember an event where I actually shed tears during it. I did after that ball hit the bat and went for the boundary for the four “overthrows”. I actually couldn’t breathe. The winning moment was greeted with huge excitement, but I think I’ll remember the richochet more. Sport is amazing. Utterly amazing.

Super Over 2 – The time to talk about the ECB is in the next few days, not really now. But let this be said. They have been given this blessed gift from the gods. For a long time this was a dull ODI, played on a dog of a pitch, with no pyrotechnics, and only lifted because of the occasion. It finished in a maelstrom of total, utter, excitement. Think Wilkinson’s drop goal, Jones catching Kasper, the Aguero winner/Thomas winner of the league with the last kick of the season. Think Liverpool and Spurs on successive nights. Think how that can catch a country’s imagination, bring them together. The ball is in your court. I’ll wager you’ll congratulate yourselves and ignore the signs of what can be. Or as one of our number just said in this tweet:

There will be more, and I’m sure I missed some key moments too. I hope this conveys my thoughts adequately. I have the whole game recorded. I’ll be committing it to digital copy this afternoon. It’s not often a whole confluence of emotions are concentrated on half an hour of sheer sporting drama. I can’t do the flashy words. I’m more visceral. Yes. Yes. Yes. Get In There!


ADDITIONAL….. Maxie is right to raise the following:

For a long time this was a dull ODI, played on a dog of a pitch, with no pyrotechnics, and only lifted because of the occasion.

For someone coming to the game for the first time in ages, the match might have appeared dull, the same way a taut Cup Final with no goals can be to those not emotionally involved. It’s amazing how many big football matches my team played that were 1-0 or 0-0 never seemed boring to me. It wasn’t a dull game, it was tight one, but this was meant as a reflection as to how someone new to this might look at it. This isn’t T20….

Also, and totally remiss of me, I want to thank Chris, Danny and Sean for the coverage of the whole of this World Cup. I am biased, but it has been brilliant. Chris did the end of the live blog last night when I could barely think, let alone write. Danny and Sean put the hard yards in during the interminable group stages, and brought their own perspectives to the blog. I love what we do, I am honoured to write this blog with them, and even in those times when none of us are up to it, the BOC thing still resides in our heads. We are nothing special, we are just cricket fans. When we speak, we speak from our hearts. We care, care so much that it hurts some times. We can be brutal, but we are never trolls. We can call people out, but we do it through our own frustrations. The blog and the community we have, both here and on Twitter live for moments like this. There is no correct reaction. It is personal. All four of us show that in our writing. Thanks to all of them. I don’t say it enough.


159 thoughts on “Harder Than You Think, It’s A Beautiful Thing

  1. LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2019 / 9:52 am

    Will MacPherson is saying initial figures say 7.5 million watched the Final. Not quite Ashes, but a bloody decent number.

    Sport is for all. It should never be for the privileged only.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rpoultz Jul 15, 2019 / 10:00 am

      Awesome number of people watching. I wonder how the viewing figures will be interpreted as either giving it as FTA meant more people we able to watch or whether it will be spun as they had successfully engaged people through the tournament and this was the result of it.


      • Marek Jul 15, 2019 / 10:14 am

        Presumably there’s fairly clear evidence on which to judge that, because Sky also showed it on their own channels.

        So how many watched it on C4 and how many on Sky? That would be interesting to know….!


        • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 10:18 am

          In terms of peak numbers, 4.5 million on Channel 4, 1 million on Sky Sports Cricket, 1.3 million on Sky Sports Main Event, 1.1 million on Sky One.

          So nearer 8 million in total.


          • nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 11:31 am

            Some have their own spin, of course.


          • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2019 / 11:38 am

            As Chris said, some of them were on Sky One, and also, didn’t they bring down the paywall on the subscription channels as well? Meaning that it was free to air across all the platforms?

            He is doing a Rick Astley to Giles Clark. He’s never going to give him up, he’s never going to let him down, he’s never going to run around, and he sure as hell isn’t going to desert him. Get it?

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2019 / 11:59 am

            This has made me more angry than it should have. Instead of actually being happy that the residual support for the top level is still there, and got a chance to share in the occasion, he is sticking up for the subscription bespoke cricket channel, and the main event channel getting 2 million, and the non sport channel, which most people can get, got another million (Sky One is nearer to C4 than Sky Sports). It’s absolutely dumbfounding how this bloke just shills for Sky as if the sport would not exist without them.

            I mean, you’ve got cricket fans talking about cricket, whether they pay through the nose, or not. Can’t you actually be happy about that? I despair.

            He had the cheek to lecture me about his attitudes towards the Hundred, hidden behind some facade of some honorary posting when we know he bats for Sky. Spare me the righteous indignation this time around. And you can tell him I wrote that Russell / Andy.


          • nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 11:31 am


          • Mark Jul 15, 2019 / 11:43 am

            So he’ still bitter then? Good!

            All his utterings should be headlined….”There now follows a party political broadcast on behalf of Sky.”


          • nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 12:12 pm


            Well quite. And if the verifiable history wasn’t there, I would barely have noticed this tweet. It almost seems innocent and fair-minded, but it isn’t.


          • nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 1:14 pm

            That thing I said last night about Vic Marks v his predecessor – he’s thankfully vindicated it straight away:

            “The last hour at Lord’s was complicated, yet there seemed to be women and children present who found it utterly captivating.”

            Then he abandons subtlety:

            “The final highlighted the bleeding obvious: that the pinnacle of the game should, on special occasions, be available to a wider audience rather than an unloved, hare-brained scheme dreamt up in a vacant boardroom. The biggest audience warrants the best cricket – not a wild, unproven gamble that may well make the game look stupid.”

            “Maybe this is not the time to complain about the Hundred. The myopic sleepwalk in that direction, with barely a murmur from the counties who are denied hosting any matches – they will take the dosh instead, thank you very much – allied to the tacit support of ECB employees and the influential pundits, who must remain loyal to their paymasters, is more or less complete.”


            Liked by 2 people

          • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 1:25 pm

            Christ, that’s pretty brutal at the end.


          • nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 2:10 pm

            Some of the BTLers at the Guardian find Vic’s humour too subtle and prefer to think he’s the one patronising women and children….

            No wonder the ECB get away with so much, is there?


          • Marek Jul 15, 2019 / 2:19 pm

            Marks is a star–and he’s been consistently having a go at the Hundred for months now.

            It’s also completely the right time for this approach. THIS is the time for people to be saying there’s not too much wrong with cricket that giving it more exposure wouldn’t go a long way to solving–and that it certainly doesn’t need the Hundred.

            In a few months–even a few weeks, or possibly days–the moment will have passed and everyone will be talking about the Hundred again as a fait accompli. It isn’t. Of course, tens of millions of pounds have been neglectfully thrown away on it so far, but there’s almost literally nothing physical there. No competition, no players, almost no advertising done, one coach and a bunch of names from a school sports day. It really doesn’t have to go ahead.

            But, as Marks says, if it does, it may well not only make the game look stupid, but in the UK at least, bankrupt it doing so. How anyone thinks it’s a risk worth taking is beyond me. Hell, Alex Honnold does things which have less risk attached to them!

            Now there’s a very short moment where it can be pointed out that all the interest and emotion people have been showing in the last 24 hours have come precisely despite, rather than because of, the whole administrative (as opposed to playing) strategy of the ECB.

            George Dobell, if you’re reading, then we need your CSA to do some serious campaigning!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Marek Jul 15, 2019 / 2:21 pm

            NonOxCol–that’s one of the things I reallly like about Marks’s writing, the little hang grenades wrapped up as cuddly toys…

            Liked by 1 person

    • RufusSG Jul 15, 2019 / 10:09 am

      Given that the tennis would have lopped a few casuals off, that’s a very solid number indeed.


      • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 10:11 am

        The tennis peaked at 9.6 million. 16 million people were watching live sport at 7pm last night.


      • nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 11:03 am

        Also, in their INFINITE wisdom, the ECB chose this weekend as one of very few with a full county programme. There are no words that adequately convey my contempt for them, time after time.


    • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 10:09 am


    • dArthez Jul 15, 2019 / 10:35 am

      Well, it will be interesting to compare the figures of the upcoming Ashes with the previous Ashes, and see how much of an effect it has had on viewing numbers. Personally I fear it won’t be that much.

      Participation numbers are of course trickier to measure (also given that participation is vaguely defined).


      • metatone Jul 15, 2019 / 10:55 am

        Have to agree that it won’t be that much, few casuals are going to pay Sky to watch the Ashes, no matter how good the WC final was…

        Liked by 1 person

        • jennyah46 Jul 15, 2019 / 7:50 pm

          Sadly, you are right.


    • Rohan Jul 15, 2019 / 8:22 pm

      I have Sky Sports, but watched it on Channel 4. There was something far more exciting and satisfying about watching it this way, knowing that I was not part of a small niche viewing group as I would be on Sky, but rather, was part of a larger group drawn in by an amazing spectacle; I enjoyed the whole match and thought it was up there with the best I have been to!

      Extremely happy for certain England players and the game of cricket and I have to say, I love the whole ethos and approach of NZ……….


  2. Maxie Allen cricket (@MaxieCricket) Jul 15, 2019 / 10:17 am

    I’ve spent the last five years loathing England and wanting them to lose, but somehow…somehow…in this tournament, and long before the final, I found myself wanting England to win. Can’t particularly explain that, although I always slightly separated the white-ball team from the test outfit.

    And yesterday I properly wanted England to win.

    I don’t agree that it was a dull match before the extraordinary end-game – it was a taut and gripping contest throughout.

    The final hour was sporting drama at its most intense, tortuous and riveting.

    It left me utterly uninterested in picking holes or winkling out caveats.

    The tournament may not have been perfect, and I’m not the greatest 50 over fan anyway, but somehow the whole thing made me properlyenjoy cricket again, for the first time in years.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2019 / 10:24 am

      Problem with one take. You come to this England team new and the game might appear dull. But it wasn’t. Let me correct that later. As you know, one take, correct later. My blogging style.


    • jennyah46 Jul 15, 2019 / 7:59 pm

      Welcome home Maxie! I completely agree with you re the tension running through the whole game. Outside of the mesmerising last hour, the variations in the pitch made it a compelling contest throughout. The winner was always in doubt.


  3. Burly Jul 15, 2019 / 10:25 am

    Lovely. And largely in line with my thoughts – I got _very_ irate with some of the commentary during England’s innings. Given the Kiwis are without doubt my favourite commentators, it was weird hearing them be so one-eyed and triumphalist during England’s innings, aided and abetted by Ganguly. I guess I expected better, especially given Sky had sensibly binned off the worst of the English commentators. So I was quite prickly when watching and listening to that run chase.

    Anyway, the way I saw it:

    – This was not a pitch worthy of a final. It was an absolute dog, and the Kiwis had the better of it. I know it led to the most dramatic game I can remember, but who really wants to watch guys like Williamson and Root barely able to hit the ball, let alone time it?

    – England were pretty slack in the final 10-15 overs of the NZ innings, with far too many extras, too many poor balls from the likes of Wood, and general complacency even though NZ were far from cantering.

    – England’s fielding was also a bit poor, with too many fumbles again

    – Woakes has been brilliant and I’m still not sure that the obsession with speed didn’t hurt us, given he didn’t bowl his 10 again. Then again his comeback over was awful.

    – I’m not convinced by Mark Wood and feel he’s not the smartest of bowlers, and doesn’t have Archer’s variations or control.

    – I was someone who would have had Plunkett struggling for his place (I wanted Willey in the squad) but he really came through. Unfortunately, he also showed NZ exactly how to strangle England.

    – I’ve bleated about umpire’s call for years, and Roy’s non-dismissal didn’t change my mind one bit. Come on, that’s smashing leg stump. Change it to the outside half of the stump or just the bail as “umpire’s call”, not something where the stump is getting fully hit but it’s the outside half of the ball. Schrodinger’s Wicket does no-one any favours.

    – I don’t blame Root for getting out. I think he felt that by staying in and not scoring, he was causing England bigger problems than if he let Morgan / Stokes / Buttler have a go. It felt like a calculated attempt to raise the run rate or die trying.

    – Morgan, on the other hand, as a natural big hitter just hit an awful shot. He goes down in history as a world cup winning captain whose own game falls to pieces at world cups. Career average a touch under 40, but in 29 world cup matches he averages 25. I had no confidence in his batting in this world cup, but loved what he did as a captain and a leader. The “good” news is there’ll be no serious calls for his Test recall as a result.

    – What can I say about Buttler that hasn’t been said before? Freakish ability to time the ball, find the gaps, and play innovative shots – or in this case, rethink innovative shots when the ball is halfway down. Phenomenal.

    – Stokes’ comparative lack of fitness is bizarre. He’s always absolutely dying at the end of innings, and seems to struggle more than most. As it turned out he was fit enough for this and the super over, but I can’t help but think we lost a few runs as a result of him being unable to push for twos (or not fall over). He took on all the pressure and came through the other side, which is exactly what England needed from him.

    – The luck went against NZ with the overthrows, no doubt. I’ve read it should have been 5 runs, not 6, which is a real “hand was off the bat” moment. Then again, I argued over a few of the wide calls/non-calls, so I’m sure we got sawn off somewhere! I don’t view Boult stepping on the ropes as unlucky, that’s just slightly poor fielding / slow thinking under pressure. Fielders are much better than that these days.

    – That Ferguson catch was good, sprinting in and diving, but he was able to comfortably get two hands to it. Excellent catch, but far closer to “regulation” than the orgasmic Ian Smith would have you believe.

    – NZ’s bowling for the entire England innings was near-perfect given the match situation. Every bowler did exactly what was asked of them. Williamson barely put a foot wrong. The only thing that seemed like a mistake was giving Henry one more over at the end of his spell, after the pitch had died, and he went for runs as a result. But so many Kiwi bowlers who I’d happily dismiss as being fairly average looked like world beaters and it wasn’t just the pitch; they bowled with great intelligence and accuracy.

    – Super Overs are, well. One of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever seen. I wanted Roy and one of Buttler or Stokes – see above re: Stokes’ fitness – but 15 was a fine effort. Archer is the bowling equivalent of Jos Buttler; it’s not always going to work, but he has every skill he needs and is freakishly cool under pressure.

    – Countbacks on boundaries is arbitrary but more fair than wickets. Wickets merely means that you punish the chasing team, who are told to get the score using the 10 wickets they have at their disposal. Spending those wickets in equalling that score should not then be held against them. Most other sports would have gone to “number of wins” or something along those lines, so England would’ve been ahead on most metrics there.

    – I am not someone who believes the rugby world cup final 2003 was a draw, but this felt like a draw. A shared trophy would’ve been absolutely fine by me. I know that runs contrary to sporting finals, but for the first time in my life I felt like separating these sides was wrong.

    I’ll take England’s name being on that trophy, though.

    Side note – this isn’t the youngest (or fittest) team, and I don’t really expect a legacy. I wonder how far the drop will be in 4 years time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 10:29 am

      On the lbw umpire’s call, this is entirely the fault of the broadcasters who never explain it properly, but that ball was NOT smashing into leg stump, it is not what Hawkeye shows and never has been. It is a probability matrix and indicating a low probability of the ball hitting the stumps. Concentric circles around the ball showing the likelihood of impact would be a more accurate representation.


      • Burly Jul 15, 2019 / 10:32 am

        No, that’s not true at all. Hawkeye is far more accurate than “umpire’s call” would have you believe. It’s millimetres at most.


        • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 10:38 am

          I didn’t say it wasn’t accurate, I said you’re misunderstanding how it works. The forecasting of the ball path is a probability matrix that can be claimed with varying degrees of confidence depending how many cameras picked up the tracking for a particular ball. You never see that, you just get the ball shown according to the algorithm used. It might be accurate for that ball, or it might not. It’s not remotely a problem with the system, but how it’s represented on television.

          Hawkeye can claim extremely high accuracy for what has happened, and very good accuracy for the forecast. But it relies on the ball tracking being picked up immaculately, which may have happened for this ball, or may not, because we’re never told.


          • Burly Jul 15, 2019 / 10:41 am

            I very much understand how ball tracking / flight prediction works. When was the last time there were issues with the tracking picking up balls?

            “Umpire’s call” is there to stop undermining umpires, NOT because of any deficiencies with the system. Any potential variation is minor enough to make essentially no difference. It’s not actually that difficult to predict a ball path post-bounce over a short distance, and we’re talking about millimetres of variation, not enough to make “umpire’s call” worth a jot.


          • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 10:47 am

            No one knows the last time there was an issue with the predictive ball tracking, because by definition it’s unprovable either way.

            Again, tracking what happened is easy. Tracking the variables for what might have happened is not. If the multiple tracking picks up every point of reference, then there can be a high degree of confidence in the forecast. If it doesn’t, then there isn’t, which is why those concentric circles indicating the degree of probability would answer that question. We don’t see that.

            It absolutely might have been able to show that ball tracking and say it was a 99% probability. Or it might have said 60%.

            The reliability of the forecasting element has never been publicly demonstrated.


          • Burly Jul 15, 2019 / 11:01 am

            “Tracking the variables for what might have happened is not. If the multiple tracking picks up every point of reference, then there can be a high degree of confidence in the forecast. If it doesn’t, then there isn’t, which is why those concentric circles indicating the degree of probability would answer that question. We don’t see that. ”

            Can I ask where you’re getting this from? Nothing from the large amounts of literature I read on this a few years ago, or on any of the reporting on multiple sports has suggested that this happens or is a legitimate problem – broken tracking is considered a fault, not “we’ll use this but with less accuracy” – when using Hawkeye’s 6 cameras.

            The accuracy of the system has not been “publicly” demonstrated, but it absolutely has been demonstrated to the people running the sport. In absolute worst possible scenarios, it’s 1cm accuracy. Generally it’s <5mm.

            There are not actually many variables for what might have happened once a ball bounces, given the distances involved.


          • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 11:07 am

            The accuracy claims come from Hawkeye themselves. The ICC did do a test on it, but didn’t release the information, meaning there is absolutely no publicly available information concerning the levels of accuracy about the predictive element, which only cricket uses.

            Sure, plenty of sports use it for tracking what has happened, but only cricket uses predictive. In other words, the accuracy levels you are talking about are being taken entirely on trust, and from the system provider. Now you’re completely free to think that’s fair and accurate, but there’s no objective measurement of that accuracy available anywhere. So I would ask why it is that you are so certain about it, let alone what grounds you have for assuming that for any particular given ball the tracking was able to pick up from every camera source.

            There have been a few academic papers written on the system, mostly from a few years back so it seems entirely reasonable to conclude that technological advances have improved it.

            But it still ultimately comes down to them making claims of its accuracy and you choosing to believe them.

            An example of an academic paper observing the issues is here:



          • Burly Jul 15, 2019 / 11:16 am

            Hang on, so those claims about tracking not being picked up are essentially ones you’ve come up with yourself? That doesn’t seem very scientific.

            That article is _ancient_ – the technology is vastly different now. It’s been through two major upgrades in the last 10 years, and uses a) more cameras, b) much higher FPS, and c) much better back-end tech.

            The ICC have been planning to reduce the impact of “umpire’s call” because every bit of testing they’ve done on this has suggested the technology really is that accurate. And on the face of it, it makes sense: all it’s doing is using a bunch of high speed cameras to work out where a ball would travel over a short distance had it not hit an object. This is the sort of problem that many industries have effectively and efficiently solved. It might be rocket science, but of the simplest type…


          • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 11:22 am

            Its entirely scientific to ask questions and ask for proof of its efficacy. That hasn’t been forthcoming and you are basing your accuracy claims entirely on those made by the manufacturer and baldly repeated.

            I am entirely prepared to concede that it might be everything you say, but I would ask why it is that no one has ever demonstrated that, or been permitted to do a publicly available analysis.

            That as I said it’s reasonable to conclude the technology has improved doesn’t remotely change the fundamental point, that there is no available independent evidence to prove it. You are simply choosing to believe the claims. Which you are free to. Where is this evidence from the ICC? Do you believe everything they say?

            I am prepared to concede that it might be extremely accurate in all circumstances, if the evidence demonstrates that. How much more scientific do you want?


          • Burly Jul 15, 2019 / 11:36 am

            Saying “I’ve never seen the public evidence for this accuracy” is a valid complaint to a certain extent, but it’s a very long way away from making up problems that you then admit have no basis in fact, and accusing other people of not understanding how the technology works.

            Just because we’ve not seen _public_ analysis doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been done _privately_. When it comes to sports there’s good reasons not to do this out in public.

            It is not a difficult thing to do well.


          • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 11:44 am

            I haven’t made anything up whatever, nor said remotely that there is no basis in fact. Those questions over the accuracy have been raised by lots of people over the years, and the way in which it is represented has been questioned academically, such as in the article listed, and others as well.

            If you wish to believe the claims, that’s fine. But you simply cannot claim a level of veracity that has never been demonstrated, it is nothing other than faith to do so.

            You have absolutely no idea of the tracking accuracy or certainty of the ball in question and nor do I. Nor does anyone. Errors will happen, and that’s fine because no system is perfect. That we have no clue of the reliability of it is a different and very important question. No matter how many times you try and say it’s not difficult to do well, unless you can point to evidence showing that, it’s not very helpful.


          • Burly Jul 15, 2019 / 11:40 am

            Just to clarify – no-one in the running of the sport has just taken Hawkeye at its word. The technology had to be demonstrated to them multiple times, and Hawkeye themselves have to send detailed analysis of overturned decisions to the ICC on a regular basis.


          • Burly Jul 15, 2019 / 12:59 pm

            OK, so:

            1) You say I have misunderstood how the technology works. This is patently false.
            2) You claimed that there’s varying degrees of confidence depending on how many cameras picked up the tracking. No, that’s not how this works and it’s also not a problem _anyone_ has talked about – that would simply represent faulty equipment.
            3) You correctly note that there’s never been “public” testing of this.
            4) You also correctly note that there’s been plenty of private testing, including with the ICC, who are happy with the technology and have been recently discussing changing Umpire’s Call to 25%.
            5) You claim that I have no idea about the accuracy of the system, purely because you’ve decided that any claims to its accuracy that can be traced back to the people who make the system and have had to prove its accuracy to every single client they have cannot be trusted in the slightest. Whereas your disbelief in the accuracy of the system is based on, erm, I’m not really sure if I’m honest with you.
            6) Your evidence of other people questioning hawkeye is an article from 2008 which I’m pretty sure you haven’t read, talking as it does about limited framerate (the current hawkeye cameras are multiple hundreds of frames per second) because it’s talking about a version so old it’s essentially completely different technology. I am certainly not suggesting that pre-2010 hawkeye is anything like today’s version!

            I keep saying this isn’t a difficult thing to do because a) it’s using technology that we use in other parts of life to track things in real time to great accuracy, b) because it patently works very well, and c) because the people whose jobs depend on getting these things right have been shown the evidence and are convinced it’s accurate – plus they get regular reports and analysis of individual decisions.

            We have a clue about the reliability and accuracy of the system. It’s just the statistics and analysis all comes from Hawkeye + their clients, so you instantly dismiss it. That’s not the same thing as not having a clue.


          • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 1:22 pm

            Well ok, let’s go through that:
            1) if you understand it, then I withdraw the remark. Your initial reply suggested otherwise, but no problem.
            2) actually it is, because we’ve had instances where ball tracking isn’t available when going to DRS, and the reasoning why not has been an insufficient number of data points. So it’s an entirely reasonable question about the reliability.
            3) not just public testing, but independent testing. For some years after its introduction even the inventor bemoaned the lack of cricket testing, given the unique way it’s used.
            4) what relevance does that have? The ICC were also ecstatic the World Cup was sold to the highest bidder, that doesn’t mean a thing.
            5) No, I don’t have disbelief about its accuracy, you have not noticed the word I chose. I said it is an unknown about its reliability. This is a different thing altogether, and perhaps explains some cross purposes.
            It is usually accurate. But we do not know and cannot know the degree of confidence in the prediction for a given ball. This is a point made in the article quoted, which I apparently haven’t read, but which specifically talks about the presentation and recommending the use of an “error bar” or “error circle” to indicate the confidence level of whether the stumps would have been struck. It says this entirely to ensure the binary projected outcome is not misunderstood.
            The reason why that one is quoted is because I can find no more recent example and thus while accepting the likely improvements, the principles espoused in a highly detailed paper which you are dismissing entirely on the grounds of frame rates is not reasonable. By all means disagree with me, but you seem to rejecting every single element of that paper.
            Again, tracking an actual is used across multiple sports, tracking a predictive is used in one. Assuming one proves the other is not a reasonable position.
            Nor have I dismissed anything at all. I have said, again, that I am perfectly willing to accept it may indeed be perfect, but that there is no objective evidence for doing so.
            If the facts change, I change my mind. I await the facts.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Burly Jul 15, 2019 / 2:05 pm

            Fact: That paper is talking about an entirely different system – one that piggybacked existing low-FPS broadcast cameras. It’s an utter irrelevance at this stage, because their concerns don’t apply to the version we’ve had for years now. It’s moved from a bit of a joke system to a bespoke one with a major leap forward in technology. I can’t stress enough how different this is.

            Fact: You’ve said there are times when ball tracking isn’t available, which is a system failure as mentioned. What doesn’t happen is they carry on anyway but with reduced accuracy, which is exactly what you were suggesting earlier!

            Fact: An independent study would indeed help, and I am not arguing that point.

            Fact: Cricket might (I’m not sure!) be the only sport that uses predictive tracking, but I’m also struggling to think of another sport where it would be needed. The fact here is that we use predictive tracking in other parts of life, not just sport, and it’s a well-understood and reliable technology when used for more complicated things than a ball moving over a short distance.

            Fact: I am getting a bit ratty and I apologise; I felt your initial responses were very much of the “you don’t understand what you’re talking about” style and reacted as such.

            I am completely on board with the idea that public demonstrations would help fans, and that independent studies are very useful. I don’t think that the lack of those is enough to claim we cannot believe the reliability of the system, given that it has been (and continues to be) demonstrated to plenty of people at the ICC, including plenty whose home nations despise it…

            Ultimately, we’re talking about a technology where the claimed accuracy makes the current umpire’s call setup deeply unsatisfactory and where it is clearly better than the umpire’s own guesswork.


          • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 2:16 pm

            Genuinely – we don’t know the number of data points that are considered acceptable for it to run. We literally don’t know that. There are six cameras, but the idea that all operate perfectly for every ball is in defiance of all similar systems. Now, if you can find a statement that only the maximum number of cameras are operative in order for it DRS to apply, then I’m happy to concede the point. But I have not found that anywhere, ever. And believe me I’ve looked. It might well be the case that in all instances there are identical numbers of data points, and thus a consistent level of confidence in the prediction, but that would be highly unusual – not even missiles offer that.
            And yes, sure the system has improved. And in general terms I’m not opposed to it either. The central point here was that we do not know, for any given ball, how accurate it is for that ball. And that therefore the statement that the ball is hitting the stumps needs to be qualified. Now, for the vast majority of decisions this is probably not too important, it’ll be accurate enough, but for when the presentation shows the ball clipping a stump, it is.
            I agree the system has moved on, and that the accuracy will certainly have improved, but the principles remain the same behind it.

            Oops, posted too soon I hadn’t finished.

            As a general principle, I agree with you that it’s almost certainly more accurate. My issue with the way it is PRESENTED on television is that it is done in a misleading manner, with binary outcomes to a highly complex algorithm. Cricket is indeed the only sport where predictive elements are needed, and that’s why that part of it should have more scrutiny than the rest of it which has been employed so widely.

            And don’t worry about being ratty. We can disagree!


      • metatone Jul 15, 2019 / 10:33 am

        Yes, fundamentally it’s about drawing a sharp line in a field of grey and the ball tracking graphics display hurts as much as it helps in the close calls.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Topshelf Jul 15, 2019 / 2:53 pm

          Read this with interest. I haven’t read all the literature, but I have had a Hawkeye net at Lord’s. I’ve watched as the predicted path – clearly wrong to the naked eye – was adjusted by multiple manual interventions, because the cameras hadn’t picked up the path of the ball pre-impact accurately. Centre of ball clicked on frame-by-frame until the Hawkeye path matched the “true” path.

          Now I know the Lord’s cameras won’t be as fancy as broadcast ones, but I guarantee you’d be surprised by how much operator input there is, and that explains why it’s “ball-tracking when ready”.

          Upshot – I believe Hawkeye is accurate if operated properly, but I also believe mistakes/adjustments can be made.


    • metatone Jul 15, 2019 / 10:35 am

      On Stokes fitness, I’ve noticed that too, I also note his face looks just too thin, and his arms… I wonder if his nutrition isn’t right and it’s affecting his stamina. Sounds daft to say as pro-sports have all this thing under examination, but it would be just like the England med staff to be missing it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Burly Jul 15, 2019 / 11:17 am

        At one point one of the commentators talked about the “mental fatigue being written all over Stokes’ face”. I was yelling at the TV “It’s ACTUAL fatigue, have you ever seen this guy play??”

        I might have been a bit noisy yesterday.


    • metatone Jul 15, 2019 / 10:40 am

      Here’s the thing for me re: the pitch – we (England selectors and fans) have spent years learning in the Test arena that pitches that make people like De Grandhomme and Ian Austin look like geniuses are actually crap pitches. They level down the game. It would have been (marginally) acceptable if the tradeoff had been to give the spinners something, but neither Santner nor Rashid got much assistance from the pitch.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jennyah46 Jul 15, 2019 / 8:29 pm

      A very interesting post and a fascinating conversation with The Leg Glance following. Whatever the merits and demerits if the system, I like the umpires to have a role in the game.


  4. metatone Jul 15, 2019 / 10:29 am

    I think I actually felt wrung out by the roller coaster.
    At the end I was happy we won, but not ecstatic, it was just too much, the sheer improbabilities involved in getting to the tie, and then winning the super over… too much.

    This morning I’m actually smiling thinking about it.

    Yes, Strauss and the ECB will get too much credit, but I love it that for once we set out to win something and did. Reminds me a lot of the first Team Sky victory at the Tour. Someone decided they wanted to win something and then actually planned and worked to make it happen.

    We scheduled more ODIs (in the past we were short on experience in the format) and we tried really hard to think about selection and strategy. God knows, even more than I’m not fond of Strauss, I’ve utterly disliked just about all the selectors we’ve had in recent years – but credit to them that we largely put together a good team and gave them enough games to be ready for some big games.

    I’ll have quite a bit to say on this theme come the Ashes previews…

    Liked by 1 person

    • rpoultz Jul 15, 2019 / 10:39 am

      I feel that too much is made of the transformation as such. I 100% understand how this team is very different to those of the past and also how it plays as a result of that. But realistically a lot of these guys were around and could/should have been selected 4 years ago for the WC. We had Bell, Balance and Bopara in that side. Stokes wasn’t even in the squad back then. Bringing in a lot of these guys has been a no brainer for me.


      • metatone Jul 15, 2019 / 10:51 am

        Key for me is that we could have had a better side in 2015, (Stokes is the obvious choice, but there were others too) but we still wouldn’t have looked like winners – just not so obvious losers.

        Key decisions that I admire (although that doesn’t blind me to the huge faults of the people involved):

        – Take ODI scheduling seriously, the top teams generally have quite a bit of experience – in the past we’ve tended to mess the ODI team around. The team also take the bilateral series seriously.

        – Boring old consistent selection is hardly a miracle, except when you’ve been an England fan for a long time… but still, it helped. Likewise splitting up the captaincy and selection of the 3 formats is nothing but a no-brainer… but we spent years not doing it…

        – This is a far from perfect team and certain pitches in this cup have indeed been their weakness (including, arguably this final one) – but a lot of commentary confused this with “not being good under pressure” and rolling out the hoary “it’s different in the World Cup to a bilateral.” Yet, in fact, it wasn’t really – because England have been taking the bilateral series seriously… much more seriously than most England cricket fans (who tend to think about Test cricket first) and indeed more seriously than the opposition.


        • rpoultz Jul 15, 2019 / 11:17 am

          I definitely agree with you that we wouldn’t have really been in a position to win 4 years ago even with certain personnel changes as the lead up and planning was awful. Also understand taking it more seriously by playing more ODI’s and having almost separate teams has been a key to the turn around in fortunes. Again, though I just don’t get the theory behind the genius in the selections etc.


          • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2019 / 11:35 am

            I’m definitely going to go more into the Strauss effect later on. It’s not to be ignored, of course not, but some of the decisions, even then, seem nailed on as sensible. We had two ICC tournaments at home, and he wanted to make sure we were competitive. Playing bilateral series wasn’t new – hell we played one against Sri Lanka prior to the last World Cup, and played a triangular tournament in 2015. Strauss is a good “manager” of great talent. On a personal level, he’s lost his wife this year, and however much we may disagree with him and his culture at work, on a personal level, his emotions are totally understandable. Even as just a fan I know how much the Ashes 2005 meant after my mum died. Lord knows what it means if you go through that and it is your whole personal working life on display.


          • rpoultz Jul 15, 2019 / 11:42 am

            Definitely cannot begin to imagine the emotions that Strauss has and is going through. Losing someone can be the most difficult experience in life.

            I’ll look forward to the Strauss Director of Cricket reflections at a later date. I may be being too simplistic but feel that he didn’t do anything other than what would be regarded as sensible or a given.


          • dArthez Jul 15, 2019 / 12:14 pm

            Also, several sides in 2015 were WAY better than they were in 2019. South Africa and Sri Lanka being the prime examples of that.

            Both of those are not even a shadow of what they were in 2015.


  5. Zephirine Jul 15, 2019 / 10:56 am

    this felt like a draw. A shared trophy would’ve been absolutely fine by me. I know that runs contrary to sporting finals, but for the first time in my life I felt like separating these sides was wrong.

    That’s how I feel this morning. Yesterday I was just thrilled that England won, however narrowly. Today I think the tied super over should have meant a tied Cup. Deciding a world title on number of boundaries in the match seems a step too far.

    Interesting point about Stokes – it is noticeable how he gets into such a state. But he recovers quickly so it doesn’t seem to be his actual fitness. He seems to get sort of hyper-adrenalised (any actual medics will no doubt tell me that’s nonsense).


    • metatone Jul 15, 2019 / 11:35 am

      Reflecting on my feelings from yesterday, I did think “maybe joint champions is actually the correct outcome” even before the Super Over – and I promise it wasn’t all because I thought England might well be no good at cricket penalties…

      It’s cricket, we’re used to 5 day matches ending in a draw, we can handle joint champions, after all ties are not that common in ODIs.


      • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 11:39 am

        Perhaps. But in all honesty, that might just be the closest ODI ever, and in a World Cup final to boot. I doubt it crossed anyone’s mind that it could go down to such a tiny fraction, it’s unprecedented in a cricket tournament.

        So they would have gone through the list of tiebreakers if the game got to that stage without much expectation it would ever come to that. A shared trophy with hindsight might seem reasonable, but really, which of us went through all the playing conditions to see what would happen in advance of the final?


  6. Mark Jul 15, 2019 / 11:05 am

    Yesterday was a day of conflicts. Everybody in English cricket was conflicted. Outsiders and insiders. We the outsiders finally had our FTA triumph. No thanks to the governing body. And it was delicious to see Harrison out and about in the days leading up to the event trying to explain why this was happening, and that the ECB had played no part in it. Yesterday was a triumph, and the bloke who gets paid £700 thousand a year was irrelevant to the decision.

    The I’m all right Jack brigade were conflicted. As much as they hated the idea of the plebs getting a free ticket to a final…deep down they knew it was a major event for the sport. Didn’t stop their bitterness mind, and a certain former cricket correspondent tweeted out his increasing bitterness before we got started. As the excitement of the day grew these people would have only got more and more bitter that the public was getting something for free. These bitter people were conflicted between their own small mindedness, and a deep inner truth that this was amazing for cricket. The best they could do was demand we all praise Sky.

    And let’s be honest, we on here were conflicted. We knew full well that an England win would mean a Strauss knighthood, and an ECB triumph. And yet, I wanted England to win in a way I haven’t since 2005. Call me opportunistic if you like, but it was many on here who had called for a complete overhaul of the England ODI side long before Morgan took over. In 2015,2016, 2017 ODI was the England team we preferred. Morgan vs Cook was a no contest.

    So here we are again. Just like 2005, a great England win, (with large dollops of luck sure, but huge entertainment) and all live on Channel 4.) It’s as if the intervening years were a nasty nightmare. But let’s not get carried away. We all know this was an accident. It was never planned. It happened by mistake. No one believes that cricket will not be put back behind a pay wall. But it shows there is a case to give the public a taster, a little sample of the goods on offer. Ironically Sky may even sell some boxes for the Ashes.

    It astounds me that nobody at the ECB or even Sky have considered this for 14 years. Deep down they know that hiding the sport completely has not been good for growing the game even if it has grown a small group of people’s bank balance. This is why they have cobbled together the 16.4 do try and do what yesterday achieved. To front window the sport.

    Yesterday was one of those magic days. The cricket, and an English guy won the Grand prix, and a men’s Wimbledon final went the distance with one of the greatest players of all time at 38 strutting his stuff. All FTA. Enjoy it, because it won’t happen, if ever again in your lifetime.


  7. Zephirine Jul 15, 2019 / 11:05 am

    Reflecting on the NZ players’ reactions sent me off to check up Marcus Aurelius, the Universe Boss of Stoic philosophers. Here’s a really ace quote that might sum up the BOC worldview:

    The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grenville Jul 16, 2019 / 8:55 am

      I don’t want to be too gushing and all, but greatest comment ever?


      • Zephirine Jul 16, 2019 / 1:03 pm

        Sorry Grenville, can’t always tell which comment people are replying to. If appropriate, Marcus Aurelius thanks you. Calmly.


        • Grenville Jul 16, 2019 / 10:44 pm

          And then quietly chalks me up in the ranks of the insane.


  8. nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 11:17 am

    Just to go alongside Over 6:

    Tom Harrison’s probably wondering why this 6-year-old doesn’t have a mobile phone where he can watch those all-important digital clips, free of context.


    • Mark Jul 15, 2019 / 11:26 am

      Yes, funny we don’t seem to be hearing about mobiles phones, and tablets, and laptops this morning.

      Can’t think why!

      If you build it, they will come………and they might put their bloody mobile phones down for a few hours.


      • rpoultz Jul 15, 2019 / 11:30 am

        Absolutely brilliant if there are kids out there wanting to play the game. Hope that the areas that they live have cricket clubs who still have youth sections functioning which has been sad to see in some the clubs local to myself.


  9. Sherwick Jul 15, 2019 / 11:42 am


    1. Roy’s pick up and throw, under tbe severest of pressure, was magnificent. Especially so, given that he had fumbled a couple of balls earlier. Anything could have gone wrong with the pick up and the throw.. but it didn’t. As it happened I was too scared to watch the final balls after the 6 anyway, and instead went to the dining room to srudy my book collection, so missed it live anyway.

    2. Everyone keeps mentioning Edgbaston 2005 as a comparison of tension and stress, but for me nothing was as bad as the first few hours of day 5 at The Oval that year. After Vaughan and Bell (for 0! again!) were out and then KP was dropped by Warne in over 31 in the morning (5 down at Lunch!) , I simply couldnt watch again until after Tea.
    Yes that day 5 was far more stressful than the Super Over yesterday!


    • Mark Jul 15, 2019 / 11:45 am

      I think also the 2005 reference is also tied in with the fact that it was the last time cricket grabbed the nation, and it was FTA. And on channel four.


      • Topshelf Jul 15, 2019 / 3:26 pm

        My wife was at home in the early stages of labour with our first born on the Oval 5th day in 2005. Until the bails were removed we were both more stressed about the cricket than the impending birth!

        Yesterday I was incredibly lucky to be at Lord’s with wife and 2 kids; the last half-hour was ludicrous. I’m genuinely drained today, and thankful that my family and I got to experience the best, silliest, most exciting and downright confounding passage of sport we’ll probably ever see.

        Oh, and I’ve had happily shared the cup. Or gone back today for a replay!


  10. nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 11:58 am

    This was retweeted by John Etheridge.

    Not by Mike Selvey.



    • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 12:09 pm

      They’ve lost this argument. They know it, we know it. Selvey can continue railing at it all he likes, but the evidence from other sporting events was clear, and now cricket has joined it as well. Every single time they try to raise it, the viewing figures will be thrown back at them.


      • Mark Jul 15, 2019 / 12:16 pm

        Which is why some of them didn’t want this shown live on FTA. They knew what would happen.

        It is staggering that this is the mindset of the people who claim to be the self appointed custodians of the sport. Shocking!


        • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 12:21 pm

          Yep. And the implication is that they would have preferred a viewing audience of 25% of what it actually got. Imagine being that person.


  11. Nicholas Jul 15, 2019 / 12:16 pm

    Greg James opened up his breakfast show on Radio 1 this morning by saying: “Lots of my friends were texting me yesterday saying, ‘you’re right, cricket is brilliant!’ – I’ve only been telling them that for years. To be fair to them, though, it’s not been on the telly for about 15 years.”

    Good man. (He then played Mambo No 5 to celebrate)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. REDRUM106 Jul 15, 2019 / 12:37 pm

    Just want to say a huge thank you to the 4 of you for the time and effort you put into this blog and particularly over the past few weeks. Like many others here I’ve become an agnostic about the England cricket team in recent times. Whilst I like and admire most of the players and wish them well individually I’ve not been too bothered whether or not England actually win as the people I don’t have a lot of time for, the ECB,Cook and to a lesser extent Strauss usually get all the glory.
    On this occasion however I was rooting for them and although they had most of the luck going I feel they had earned their moment of victory after all the work that has been put in over the past 4 years. Like LCL I turned off the coverage after the presentation as I wanted to remember the game as I saw it and not listen to pundits telling me what to think. I was privileged enough to be present for the Lancashire v Gloucestershire game in 1971 that finished in the dark and never thought anything would top that, but yesterday just about did.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 1:42 pm

    I’m still saying no, unequivocally and without hesitation, if anyone is trying to make this claim across all formats. No beating Day 3 at Edgbaston 2005 for me. There’s at least one other day of Test cricket from 2005, two from 1981 and one from 1999 that would all be better.

    In the absence of a tied Test, I’d absolutely go along with greatest (double) finish.


    • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 1:46 pm

      Agree. Across all formats is a bit of a nonsense. A good argument can be made for it being the greatest climax ever to an ODI though.


    • Rohan Jul 15, 2019 / 8:42 pm

      Having been at Edgbaston for day three, in the hollies stand dressed as a monk, I have to agree! Yesterday, however, was still a stellar game and by far the best ODI I can recall, it was a grea5 game to watch…..


  14. Miami Dad's Six Jul 15, 2019 / 1:43 pm

    Colin de Grandholme ought to have bowled the super over. I’ve thought for years the England side lacks a Collingwood/Bopara style bowler to take the pace off in the middle overs on a sticky dog. De Grandholme embodied that feeling better than I can ever explain.

    15 to win, in a match gone at under 5 an over, I had the fielding side winning. Absolute mixed feelings on the ricochet. I mainly had sympathy for NZ – for the first time that day, having been choked for 99.2 overs, England were then on top. I also had the “wry smile” feeling, the one you get when you consider how much luck adds to sporting drama. I didnt celebrate, or feel happy particularly. Just embraced the moment – it’s sport.

    16 to win, in a match gone at under 5 an over, I had the fielding side winning. A bloody brave effort from Neesham to get to the final ball with just 2 needed, and an excellent fielding combination between Roy and Buttler to finally settle it. A word here on New Zealand – this tournament has had some awful cricket played by some mediocre teams, but they are a balanced side with a strong middle order, a good set of fielders and an excellent pace attack. Well-led, even without their proven opening batsman firing at any point they had enough to come within 2 balls of winning the tournament.

    Fantastic drama made better for being available to all. I don’t particularly consider myself a “fan” when it comes to cricket any more. Patriotism/nationalism just about works for me where the sport is truly global like football or the Olympics, but when most of the time the ECB XI are up against someone like this admirable NZ side (or maybe Sri Lanka, or a country with the disadvantages of Bangladesh, or the Caribbean), I find it difficult to want anything other than a fair and good contest. I got that yesterday, and then some. Amazing stuff.


    • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 3:00 pm

      I’ve got some sympathy with the not particularly caring part. Although the “intend to keep it” bit is hilarious given the effective abolition of domestic 50 over cricket from next year.

      I note and defer to Simon Taufel’s comments, but I also have seen quite a few referencing the way the law talks about the throw OR ACT and the question as to whether the act is the ball hitting Stokes’ bat. It’s not a very clear law, and I’m not sure it was framed with something like this in mind given the ambiguity.


      • Marek Jul 15, 2019 / 3:22 pm

        The phrase in the laws is “wilful act of a fielder”–which is fairly clear. (In any case, just as a matter of correct English, “act” surely requires human agency. A ball hitting something is not an act).

        I interpreted the “wilful act of a fielder” to be something like deliberately allowing the ball to run to the boundary in order to keep a tailender on strike–in which case, if they’d run one (or more than half!) when the fielder did nothing, it would both concede an extra run and get the tailender off strike.


        • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 3:28 pm

          I’m no laws expert, but I suppose the “or act” part is trying to take into account something that’s not the fielder, otherwise why put it in there? Edit – Oh I suppose it might refer to something like kicking the ball rather than throwing it.

          I don’t have a strong view, you might well be entirely right, but most of the comment I’ve seen in support of the idea that it should be 5 not 6 is predicated on the explanatory advice rather than the law itself.

          Dunno really! Could have been framed much better I guess.


          • Marek Jul 15, 2019 / 4:00 pm

            I’m pretty sure that it isn’t that, otherwise why include the words “of a fielder”?

            My guess would be–from my time in the legal profession,where this is often how laws work–that originally it was simpler, and it was extended to cover something specific that they didn’t approve of. (I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the example I gave in a professional match).

            I’m with Taufel on this one–if you read the laws, it was a clear mistake. (In fact it’s even simpler than Taufel says, because he defines the throw as “the act”–but the law says “throw OR act”, so by definition the “act” is not a throw). I’m not convinced it could have been better framed–it just requires people to read it more closely.

            Where is this explanatory advice, by the way? I can’t see any appended to the laws–only a glossary, which doesn’t help at all.


          • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 4:18 pm

            Yeah, I think I misread the “or act” part – it’s referring to (for example) a fielder kicking the ball rather than an inadvertent act by the batsman.

            I’m certainly not going to argue with Simon Taufel on this, but I guess I can see why there’s been some confusion.

            Not sure where the expanded advice came from, but I’ve seen it on a few tweets, and it’s much more explicit.


    • Northern Light Jul 16, 2019 / 12:10 pm

      What seems very telling to me is that, albeit in the insane hothouse that is online media, it seems that most of the people who are furious that England won in such a way are Australian or Indian. The New Zealanders have accepted it with admirable equanimity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Jul 16, 2019 / 12:46 pm

        I shouldn’t get worked up by the shit that Denis has just put on Twitter, but I do.

        So to explain.

        Jason Roy came to this country at 10. Who is he supposed to play for? He played for Surrey at U-11 level upwards.
        Jonny Bairstow – Yorkshire
        Joe Root – Yorkshire
        Eoin Morgan – Qualifies for England as he has an English mother. As someone in a multi-national marriage, this thing annoys me more than it should.
        Ben Stokes – Moved to UK when he was 12. Learned the game here, came through the ranks here. Again, who is he supposed to play for?
        Jos Buttler – I saw someone claim he was Welsh. Somerset lad.
        Chris Woakes – Birmingham lad
        Liam Plunkett – Middlesbrough lad.
        Jofra Archer – Has an English father. Had to qualify due to residency rules. Under the strict requirements of Aussie rules, should be able to play for England due to parentage.
        Adil Rashid – Yorkshire lad. Anything else, and we are entering r-word territory.
        Mark Wood – Ashington, Northumbria.

        Struggling to find the second South African, let alone give them the first.

        It shouldn’t drive me spare but it does. I’m sad he’s become a Malcolm Conn tribute act. I genuinely hesitated before pushing the reply button, but it has to be said. This isn’t banter. In this day and age, it can’t be played off as such.


        • thelegglance Jul 16, 2019 / 12:50 pm

          He included Moeen and Adil Rashid in his list of foreigners once when he did this a while back. To which the answer is “go fuck yourself”.


        • Marek Jul 16, 2019 / 1:11 pm

          Was he ever not a Malcolm Conn tribute act?!

          The second South African–and I’ve seen this in several places–is even more ridiculous: it’s Tom Curran. Who I believed moved to the UK at the age of one, and has two brothers both born in the UK who are respectively one and three years younger than him. That’s like saying Bob Woolmer should have been playing alongside Bedi and Gavaskar rather than Knott and Willis.

          I can see that there might be arguments related to people who move from one country to another as adults mainly to improve their cricketing prospects, even if they have one parent from the second country (Archer or Symonds, say)–although of course that’s why there are residency requirements. Or possibly even older teenagers who move mainly for their cricketing prospects (Morgan or Jordan, say). But someone who moved at eleven, four (Strauss) or one?!

          I’d also like to see some consistency in these arguments. No-one accuses England of having won the 2005 Ashes by pinching players from Papua New Guinea. And even in this World Cup, how many of the same commenters have referred to Imran Tahir or Usman Khawaja as Pakistani, Colin de Grandhomme as Zimbabwean, Colin Munro as South African, or Imad Wasim as Welsh.

          You know, Imad might have been better than Moeen in the same role, would probably have been a better back-up than Dawson–but no, the bloody country where he’s only spent 95% of his life had to go and steal him from England and Wales. And what would we give to be considering Matt Renshaw as an option for one of the opening spots in the Ashes?!


          • LordCanisLupus Jul 16, 2019 / 1:35 pm

            Curran. Who didn’t play a single game. I forgot about him. He is actually the weakest link to the England team because he was born to Zimbabwean parents, went to school in Zimbabwe, and came over in his late teens on the recommendation of Ian Greig. Served residency requirements. Born in Cape Town, because you can’t be a horse unless you are born in a stable, so he must be South African. Or Zimbabwean. While his brother Sam was born in Northampton to the same parents, so that obviously makes him English.

            Let me talk about Australia’s greatest ever footballer. Tim Cahill. Technically should never have played for them. He represented Samoa. Of course he was an Aussie. But it makes me laugh thinking they had to change the rules to get him to play for them.

            And there is always, and will always be Andrew Symonds.


  15. Mark Jul 15, 2019 / 3:03 pm

    Ok, my tuppence worth about the review system. (I can’t comment about the accuracy of Hawkeye because I don’t know the evidence, and can’t be bothered to read all about it. I probably wouldn’t understand it anyway.)

    However, putting the actual tech to one side here are some other problems with the format of reviews.

    1 Should all major decisions be reviewed? Now I know the great fear here is that we would be still playing at midnight because selfish players will review everything but 1 review seems a bit stingy. Would it really hurt to up it to 3 reviews?

    2 umpires call was brought in to keep the umpires involved. But I’m not sure this is now right. We see how many no balls are no longer called because they only check when a wicket falls. Plus, the game is about players, not officials. It seems a bit odd seeing a player being given not out, when it is clearly clipping the stumps, and everyone says you can see why the umpire gave it not out. Yet we roll the film back and forward to see if a ball has gone for four. (By the way, there are no restrictions on how many reviews we check to see if the ball has gone to the boundary.)

    3 To help speed up the process can we start with the actual reason for the review? For example… for LBW, let’s see if the ball is hitting the stumps first. If it isn’t there is no point messing about with snicko for an inside edge or for a no ball. Find out first if it’s an actual LBW. Same with caught behinds. Start with the snicko. If he hasn’t hit it we are just wasting time.

    4 Some have said all LBWs should be decided by Hawkeye. If it’s clipping it’s out, no umpires call. Again the problem here is that umpires will no longer have to make decisions yet is the game played for their benefit or the players? The tech is only going to be available at the top of the game because of its expense so they will have plenty of opportunities to umpire at a lower level. County matches won’t have the tech.

    I just think the whole procedure of reviews needs an overhaul. An umpire can give all of one side out on umpires call, and then give nobody out on the other side and claim umpires call again. Can’t be right.


    • metatone Jul 15, 2019 / 4:15 pm

      Heartily agree with the point about fielding reviews wasting time compared to all the other reviews being carefully rationed. Nothing has been more boring than watching them rock back and forth over a fielders dive to see if his leg touched the rope while his hand was touching the ball.


      • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 4:19 pm

        There is a slightly odd drive in top level sport to have absolute certainty in sports where absolute certainty isn’t possible. Cricket I would argue is better than most – certainly compared to the farce of football replacing one person’s opinion with another’s in a bunker somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2019 / 4:36 pm

    I’m getting old, but do any of you recall if this Select Committee appearance ever happened?


    Because good old Damian is granstanding again.


    • Mark Jul 15, 2019 / 6:50 pm

      Complete waste of time.


  17. man in a barrel Jul 15, 2019 / 5:03 pm

    I was unable to watch live but I must admit that I was surprised at the “six” scored by Stokes. I have seen many similar occurrences and they always score 5. It is hard but not totally inconceivable to conjecture 2 completed runs and then the overthrows but… An odd decision. What was the third umpire doing? Making a cuppa? What about the match referee? It is rare but I can recall such an incident when Boycott and Knott were batting in 1977 at Trent Bridge.


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2019 / 5:50 pm

      Many, many years ago, in the mid 90s, Leicestershire played Surrey in what was in effect a Championship decider. There was a 7. 4 overthrows on the third run. I wasn’t there that day, it was the first, but went to the second. Can’t remember if it was a relay, or if the throw from the boundary was that strong that it missed the stumps and went all the way.

      I wasn’t aware that if there were overthrows, the batsman had to have crossed before the throw. I have got to be honest, I really don’t care what the jobsworths or the bitter people think. Sport is full of illogical or wrong decisions. I just think it is part of the life and essence of sport.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jul 15, 2019 / 6:42 pm

        Had to be an Australian umpire who picked it up.

        I still think if England had needed more than 2 to tie on the last ball Stokes would have put the full toss he received into the stand. My hunch, and they thought so on the verdict last night that they decided whatever happened to take the guaranteed one run and ensure the super over.

        We will never know!


    • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 6:52 pm

      Wait a minute, didn’t the ECB brief that they’d had nothing to do with persuading Sky to share it with FTA?
      “To be fair, Sky helped with it. They could have easily said no but they didn’t. It took a while to persuade them but it was for the right reasons and they saw the value of it.”

      If the ECB persuaded them to do it, it can only be because they thought it was a good idea. How do they square that with all their insistence that people don’t “consume” sport this way?


      • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2019 / 6:55 pm

        I saw Tom Harrison mentioned as brokering the deal. I thought he’d insert himself into the credit.


        • thelegglance Jul 15, 2019 / 7:00 pm

          Yes, now it’s a success they want the credit. Beforehand it was all about wonderful Sky are as partners to have done this. Now it’s because the ECB dragged them kicking and screaming to the table.

          They’re utterly shameless.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Jul 15, 2019 / 8:05 pm

            Yup, shameless! But oh so, so predictable.

            Why wasn’t Harrison claiming credit last week when he was touring the tv and radio studios? Because that would mean admitting his media strategy of growing the game is pants.

            I would have more respect for him if he just said we want the money for our salaries and so you plebs will all have to pay. It would be more honest.

            I bet Sky will back him up mind. After all, they are partners don’t you know!


  18. Glenn Jul 15, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    I read Vic Marks’s great column in the Guardian, One of the first comments said-

    “I can’t see how the BBC can actually show much live sport any more on the limited channels they’ve got. Sure, they do it for Wimbledon, but that’s because it’s the only live sport they’ve got to show now.”

    He must have missed the Summer and Winter Olympics, Six Nations Rugby, FA Cup, football European Championships and World Cup, Masters Golf (extensive highlights of other tournaments), Wimbledon, and David Cup tennis, World Athletics, gymnastics, world cup track and outdoor cycling, darts, bowls, snooker etc etc!!.

    I enjoyed the cricket – reminded me of watching cricket in the 80s/90s.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 8:45 pm

    I’ve just seen this BOC tweet:

    This has been pissing me off for months, possibly years, when I’ve seen it pushed by BTL goons at the Guardian. The rewriting of social history is jaw-dropping. When I was first getting into cricket I learned from my grandad (a miner) and dad (a hosiery worker, later unemployed). The main voices on the BBC included Jim Laker and Ray Illingworth. I figured Peter West was posh but didn’t give a shit. Tom Graveney sounded quite well-spoken but wasn’t at all posh by background. I have been mistaken for being “posh” even at a Big 4 accountancy firm because I can use big words and that, but would frankly be amazed if my parental income wasn’t in the bottom quartile of everyone I worked with there. Of the XI in the first Test I watched, I guess Gower was obviously posh but it didn’t even register until I read an article long after his retirement in which he moaned about IHT. And then there’s Brearley, but again it didn’t matter. Good grief, even when I first heard TMS in 1989 I didn’t give a monkeys that everyone bar Trueman and Mosey were patently about as stereotypically public school as a 16-year-old comp boy could possibly imagine. All the worst and most actively harmful snobbery I’ve seen in life has come from a certain subset of the middle classes, incidentally. And some of the most infuriating attitudes towards my class tend to come from a certain subset of the left that wants to portray us all as noble savages. It’s a real growth industry at the moment, that one, mentioning no names.

    We didn’t play enough of it at school but there was never any doubt that cricket was *the* summer sport. If any major sport was regarded as posh where we came from it was rugby union – never discussed, never on the radar. I lived in Derbyshire: there are loads of very working-class clubs and I even scored for one of them during the summer after my illness.

    It just strikes me as absolute revisionist nonsense that, funnily enough, suits the agenda of those who are happy to close the sport off these days. Helps them justify the paywall, ticket prices, the ECB/Sky nexus, There Is No Alternative. For if it’s always been a rich man’s sport, what’s the difference now you have to pay through the nose to see it, my dear old thing?


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2019 / 8:56 pm

      My mum and dad paid to put me through my secondary school, a fee paying former grammar school. That makes me a class traitor in their eyes. That school provided me the opportunity to play the game properly, but I went on to play for a club side that came from a religious school in South London. I have a decent job now, pays pretty well, but I am still on the same council estate because of London prices and my own inverted snobbery (I do plead guilty to that). Hence my problem with Lord’s.

      I’m not apologising. My dad was a printer – great unions, decent pay – and mum worked in the family pub. As working class as you can get. I could never be more privileged than having those two as parents. I was utterly blessed. Both inculcated their politics into me, but also taught me to talk and speak and think for myself.

      I’m not going to discuss politics. It’s the road to ruin. But I so agree with the “noble savage” needing to be saved line it hurts. I love Public Enemy because that’s the vibe within me – not on race, but speaking up, fighting for yourself, thinking out loud. It’s to the game of cricket’s eternal shame that it gave up on the likes of me. When I do the piece I promise myself I will do, you’ll see what I mean.


      • nonoxcol Jul 15, 2019 / 9:04 pm

        “speaking up, fighting for yourself, thinking out loud.”

        Ah well, you see, I have not often been the same in person as I may come across on the page. Haven’t done that enough when I really should have. Without giving too much away, I think this was a significant factor in me becoming ill.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Jul 15, 2019 / 11:30 pm

        None of us are Marcus Aurelius, Dmitri. Except possibly Kumar Sangakkara.


        • Sherwick Jul 16, 2019 / 12:15 pm

          Captain Morgan on Sunday:

          “Are you not entertained?!”

          He was Marcus Aurelius, just for one day.


        • Marek Jul 16, 2019 / 1:16 pm

          Oi y’all, use English thinkers! Stop poaching Latin ones, even if they do qualify under the Bosman ruling…


  20. OscarDaBosca Jul 15, 2019 / 10:02 pm

    Thank you BoC. Still love cricket partly because you all remind me why.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jul 16, 2019 / 1:29 pm

      Thanks Oscar. It’s been tough sledding, but at the end of the day we all love the game. It’s the BS around it that drives us mad.


  21. BobW Jul 16, 2019 / 10:03 am

    Just a quick line to say thanks for all your coverage over the tournament. I have not really posted much. As others have said what needs to be said and better than I could anyway.
    It was great to see the game on Channel Four. If Wimbledon had not been on the viewing figures would have been much much higher.
    As for the draw comment. Not for me. I remember the British Lions drawing the series against the All Blacks last year. More than anyone, the players were distraught. Either way you need a result.
    Thanks again guys and keep up the great work. This blog is one of the best things going on the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. LordCanisLupus Jul 16, 2019 / 12:30 pm



    • nonoxcol Jul 16, 2019 / 12:49 pm

      What is he, performance art? AI? Something out of Black Mirror?

      GOD FORBID a journalist challenges the ECB view of things. GOD FORBID.

      Currently (1:50pm Tuesday) every other response below that tweet is critical of the ECB strategy. Every single one.


      • Marek Jul 16, 2019 / 1:18 pm

        If there isn’t turmoil…why the hell not?!


    • Mark Jul 16, 2019 / 2:19 pm

      Weren’t the counties told they would have a 50/50 split of ownership? It seems almost Mafia like the ECB now wants to own 100%.

      This is getting to the heart of what theis whole 16.4 thing is about. It’s got nothing to do with growing the game, but a bunch of people who claim to be the governing body trying to set up a private business which they will profit from. It explains why certain usual suspects in the media promotes this. Hint…..It has nothing to do with the good of the game but making a fast buck.

      The counties were stupid to believe anything they were told by the ECB, and they sold themselves cheap.

      This is a get rich quick scheme run by people who claim to be the custodians of the game. Ronnie and Reggie & Arthur Daley springs to mind.


      • thelegglance Jul 16, 2019 / 2:27 pm

        Said before that when they talk about “the game”, they mean the game as they are involved with it, and benefit from it. They absolutely do not mean the game as a whole. Either deliberately or unconsciously, they only see it in those terms – not schools, village or club cricket, not the wider cricket loving public, only their part of it.

        Imagine you were one of them, and thought that way, then all of the pronouncements make sense. More than that, you can even get the desperation involved in them.


        • Mark Jul 16, 2019 / 3:38 pm

          Yes, you have been pointing this out for some time that “the game” is not what supporters think it means.

          Its beginning to sound very similar to the language that comes from another bastion of good governance The Olympic movement.

          “The Olympic family” is always a syrupy line to make you throw up. I wonder when the ECB will move to Geneva for tax purposes.

          Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Jul 16, 2019 / 3:44 pm

            Ha, I’ll tell you a little story from London 2012 when I was a volunteer. A group of staff at the Olympic Village and I were having a conversation and I piped up “so am I a member of this Olympic family too then?”. There was a silence for a moment or two, a few glances at each other, and then eventually the confirmation, yes – yes I was. It tickled me no end at the time. Not sure they realised I was taking the piss a bit.


          • Mark Jul 16, 2019 / 4:28 pm

            That is priceless! They probably didn’t know what you meant at all. The family line is only put out for the plebs to buy into.

            They probably saw you as staff.


      • nonoxcol Jul 16, 2019 / 2:45 pm

        And by “co-operating”, Selvey means in the way Mr Takagi failed to co-operate with Hans Gruber.

        Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Jul 16, 2019 / 3:09 pm

      “This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardise it.”


      • Mark Jul 16, 2019 / 3:30 pm

        And he has absolutely no connection with Middx, one of the counties who will magically become a franchise club for a few weeks, pretending they are a completely new entity.

        So nothing to see here, please move along.


        • Marek Jul 16, 2019 / 6:35 pm

          “We’re just tenants”.


  23. LordCanisLupus Jul 16, 2019 / 1:28 pm

    Someone help me here. I don’t speak Esperanto.

    And the 42-year-old admits that while change is ongoing, the success of Eoin Morgan’s side must be the start, rather than the end.

    “It was an easy narrative to look at the World Cup and say ‘look at the opportunity we have’,” he added.

    That created a platform for us to drive through a lot of change. The England team changed the way they played, but behind the scenes the conventions we had with counties about how seriously they take white-ball cricket.

    “That silver bullet became one that had cut through for us. It is a really good opportunity to learn from what has been before. This can’t be the end, this has to be the start of something bigger.”


    • nonoxcol Jul 16, 2019 / 1:34 pm

      I preferred his earlier work:

      “If you look at things objectively The Hundred is the best opportunity to engage the people who tuned in for the first time to that Lord’s final and make them more than just casual fans.”

      Objectively, mind.


      • LordCanisLupus Jul 16, 2019 / 1:37 pm

        Something not happening for another 13 months, taking place at the same time as the Olympics, is the best opportunity to “engage” (that fucking word again) the people who tuned in for the first time…

        I’ll wager there were a lot of lapsed, not got subscriptions fans, who tuned in too, Andrew. But hey, they ain’t nothing to concern yourself about.

        There was a danger they’d make fools of themselves soon after. They thought they’d strike while the goodwill was hot.


  24. LordCanisLupus Jul 16, 2019 / 1:47 pm

    Jimmy Anderson gets it. I am absolutely thrilled he said this…

    Perhaps he should tell Nasser not to have a go at old duffers who still play the game.


  25. dlpthomas Jul 16, 2019 / 4:07 pm

    Now that the world cup is ancient history (been there, won that), lets address the more important issue of how do we fit all of Anderson, Broad, Woakes, Archer and Wood into the test team.


    • Northern Light Jul 16, 2019 / 5:32 pm

      Anderson might be injured and Wood isn’t good enough.
      There, sorted!
      I’m available for children’s parties, too 🙂


      • quebecer Jul 17, 2019 / 12:52 am

        “Hello, Children. Life is awful, isn’t it? Who wants to see some magic?”


        • Northern Light Jul 17, 2019 / 4:33 pm

          Hey, I work in schools. Children love me, Genuinely. I’m quite different in real life 🙂
          But you’re right, they need to know the truth . . .


    • dannycricket Jul 17, 2019 / 7:00 am

      I wouldn’t pick Broad, Archer or Wood in England. Stokes, Woakes, Curran and Moeen collectively average 36.65 with the bat and 24.87 with the ball over the past two English seasons. There’s literally no reason not to pick 4 allrounders and Anderson as your bowling attack. And, with numbers 7-10 adding on average over 280 runs per game, almost literally no possible way for England to lose the series.

      Unless they pick James Vince again, obviously.


      • dlpthomas Jul 17, 2019 / 3:00 pm

        So Woods out for 4 to 6 weeks but Jimmy appears to be fit.


  26. thebogfather Jul 16, 2019 / 6:45 pm

    Downton Speaks Alert!
    During the tea interval of Lions v Aus reserves today we were treated to a live interview with Mr Outside on BBC5X. Among all the usual corporate bollockspeak and despite some good questions from Kevin Howells to which he had no reply or at least nothing relevant or new to add, the truth came out…
    The resurgence and new dynamism of the white ball team is purely down to Downton. He says he noted it first and began putting things in place for them to rule the world, well beforee anyone else (so stufff you Comma, Gravesy and empty suit). he just thinks it was a shame he was unable to complete his plans for world domination.
    So now we know – all hail Paul!


    • nonoxcol Jul 16, 2019 / 6:51 pm

      Please tell me you’re having us on.


      • thebogfather Jul 17, 2019 / 12:02 pm

        Sadly, it’s true – the whole interview was from another planet apart from the bits from the white ball unicorn of the current ECB directive re TheStunneDread


  27. Rooto Jul 17, 2019 / 5:35 am

    Just caught up. Missed the match due to travelling in France. I was very happy to see England had won, but my reserved Englishness started to come through as I read about how it materialised. Now I feel guilty and sorry for the Kiwis. (I know they’d give me a slap for being patronising, but I can’t help how I feel)
    We’ve enjoyed the day and had the party; we’ve had a great time. Now, without worrying about whether it should have been 5 runs or 6, can’t we just give them the trophy with a little note saying “you deserve this”?
    Still very conflicted …

    What’s much more clear cut is my appreciation of all the time, effort and blogging you guys have put in. Thanks for adding even more to the spirit of community that makes me happy to be outside cricket.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. nonoxcol Jul 17, 2019 / 8:07 am

    An absolutely fascinating, long thread with lots of replies. If you are creating a new post today I will re-post it in the comments, as it deserves attention.

    Don’t expect any surprises…


    • Mark Jul 17, 2019 / 8:57 am

      Hmm…. and for many years when you were making a living at the Guardian, the newspaper was losing money. It was buttressed by a benevolent trust fund. So spare me the lecture on use it or lose it.

      The decline in crowds for the fifty over game mirrors the decsion to remove cricket, lock stock and barrel from FTA tv. Something you have supported.

      40 over Sunday league used to be shown, and fifty over county matches, quarter finals and semi finals and final were shown live. Then it vanished in a flash of Sky smoke. Cricket has been removed from state schools, as no kids even saw it.That was all down to geniuses like you who didn’t have to worry about paying to see cricket as you walked right in for free with a Guardian or BBC press card.

      Also, you have provided not a shred of evidence as to who this new audience will be. If cricket keeps making itself ever shorter and moron friendly it will eventually not produce the players who play Test cricket. Surely it is International cricket that generates the money?

      For someone who worked at a publication that lost money, was given free entry to major sports events by either said newspaper or BBC you seem amazingly chipper about people paying their fair share.

      Sunday revealed there is still an audience for cricket, despite the best efforts of zealots to make it invisible. There wasn’t a 16.4 game in sight. The game doesn’t need a new format it needs more imaginative ways of selling the existing product. Problem is most of the people who run cricket are clueless.


      • nonoxcol Jul 17, 2019 / 9:13 am

        This may have been my personal highlight. How beautifully illustrative it is:

        Giles Falconer

        Replying to @selvecricket

        This year the RL Cup was played (group stages) between 17 April & 7 May – mostly midweek and in barely clement weather conditions. Hardly encouraging big crowds!

        Stuart Green


        And that’s before you mention scheduling England-Australia for the day of the final

        mike selvey


        If only there were 500 days in a year eh.


    • riverman21 Jul 17, 2019 / 2:44 pm

      The village pub analogy. Trotting out the classics here. Let’s take that Selvey.

      Back in the late 00’s and early 10s the 18 counties played the last days of a thriving competition by appointment each Sunday. Every game I remember at New Road was packed.

      Now imagine your pub stops opening on a Sunday and only opens occasionally on a wet Tuesday and the odd Saturday. Said pub will no doubt go to the wall. I saw more than one Cotswold pub go this way. Oh look (says the opportunist wishing to turn it into private housing) for shame the locals don’t use it.
      Even though they are no longer welcome and no longer know when the pub will be open.

      So it is with domestic 40/50.

      Coming next year the destruction of the county championship.


      • nonoxcol Jul 17, 2019 / 2:49 pm

        I’m not even that passionate about county cricket beyond wanting it to thrive. But this whole thing is such a perfect paradigm of ECB mis-management, alienation of cricket fans, and unquestioning support and faith from the usual suspects in the face of contrary evidence, that I can’t help but make a big deal out of it.


  29. Mark Jul 17, 2019 / 9:49 am

    These are excellent points. The messing around with the domestic cricket schedule has played a huge role in the destruction of people wanting to watch.

    It’s not rocket science. People would prefer to watch in the warm, not wrapped up in coats and hats and drinking hot tea and coffee. You know?like….oh I know……Sunday, in the middle of July. Hint hint.

    The decsion to ram cricket into April and September is one of the biggest nonsenses going. It also coincides with the football season.

    If I had a suspicious mind (Elvis reference for the teenagers) it’s almost as if the people at the top of cricket want to destroy the existing structure to use as an excuse to usher in their brave new vision, which quite extraordinarily they will have awarded themselves sole ownership of?


  30. Marek Jul 17, 2019 / 4:52 pm

    Is it me or is the Test squad really bizarrely balanced (or unbalanced)? According to the selectors’ own recent definitions, they’ve picked four specialist bowlers plus four bowling all-rounders and only five specialist batsmen…whilst managing to ignore the most successful batsman in the country this season despite the fact that no-one has nailed down the position he plays in.


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