England vs Australia: 2nd Test, Day Five

After the fireworks yesterday, today ended with more of a damp squib than anything else. The rain which removed another seventy minutes of play from the game made the draw seem almost inevitable from the start. Stokes and Buttler made it through the truncated morning session unscathed, which made the possibility of an Australian win vanishingly remote. England then declared on a conservatively high total, meaning nothing less than a miraculous spell of bowling would manage to take ten wickets in the space of just 48 overs.

Archer did rise the hopes of England’s fans early on though, taking the early wickets of Warner and Khawaja with his customary quick deliveries. He followed that by hitting Smith’s replacement Marnus Labuschagne on the helmet with just the batsman’s delivery at the crease. The South African substitute batsman recovered though and, together with Cameron Bancroft, steadied the ship until Tea.

Leach struck in the first over after Tea, trapping Bancroft LBW, but Labuschagne again buckled down and defended well. It wasn’t until the last hour that England managed to break through the Austrealians’ defences, with Leach taking the wickets of Labuschagne and Wade in successive balls. But, even with these dismissals, England simply ran out of time to press for a result.

With the next Test starting on Thursday, all eyes are already turning to selection issues. Jason Roy didn’t do himself any favours by dropping a slip chance which bounced off his chest, but it seems unlikely that England would make a change to their batting lineup at such short notice. Perhaps they could swap Denly and Roy’s batting positions, but that seems like a pretty marginal improvement to me. Archer and Leach both made themselves seem indispensible in the game, which raises the headache for England’s selector about who to leave out if Anderson is ‘fit’.

In truth, most of England’s batting lineup should be in the firing line. Other than Rory Burns, who averages 56.50 in the two games so far, it’s been a lacklustre couple of games for the specialist batsmen. Root (24.75), Denly (21.25), Buttler (12.25) and Roy (10.00) should all consider themselves lucky that the quick turnaround and the fact that county batsmen have been playing T20 for the last few weeks makes it unlikely (but not impossible) that England will ring the changes in Leeds.

For Australia, the situation is more serious. Steve Smith was finally diagnosed with a concussion this morning, which left him unable to play today and unlikely to be available for Australia in the next Test too. There would be no guarantees beyond that either, as concussions can last for an indeterminate length of time. Marnus Labuschagne did a fine job filling in for Smith at short notice, but there is also Marcus Harris and Mitch Marsh vying for the open spot. It would be a huge blow for Australia if Smith wasn’t available though, as he virtually won the first Test single-handed for the tourists.

I have what I acknowledge is an unusual viewpoint when it comes to cricket. Whilst I love watching it, I often view it through the prism of being a workplace rather than wholly a source of entertainment and drama. So, for example, I don’t expect a player to be any more ‘loyal’ to his team and fans than someone working behind the counter at McDonalads would be to that huge corporate machine and its customers. Another, more pertinent example would be the low regard with which teams, journalists and fans often regard the health and wellbeing of players when in pursuit of short-term glory.

I missed most of yesterday’s play, and so I didn’t see Smith’s full batting performance personally, but his dismissal to Woakes and his subsequent review did not seem the actions of a batsman with all of his faculties. There is an attitude in cricket (and many other professional sports) that it is necessary for players to ‘man up’ and play through pain, risking further injury. Those who choose to leave the field of play or make themselves unavailable for selection to seek treatment are called ‘weak’ and ‘not team players’ in the press, and can have their card marked in terms of selection.

Concussion is an incredibly serious condition, one which can become significantly more serious if it recurs soon after the initial blow. I cannot imagine any other workplace in the Western world which would even consider allowing an employee to return so soon after taking a blow like Smith received to his unprotected head. It is a decision which should have been out of his hands, regardless of how much he wanted to get on the Lord’s honours board.

Cricket Australia justified their actions in a press release by saying that 30% of concussions don’t show symptoms until 24 hours later. If that is the case, considering the strength of the blow to an exposed part of the head, why didn’t they wait 24 hours before allowing him back on the field? Cricket is just a game, or a job, and not worth risking someone’s life over.

As always, feel free to comment on the game or anything else below.

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92 thoughts on “England vs Australia: 2nd Test, Day Five

  1. growltiger Aug 18, 2019 / 7:34 pm

    Yes, the Test arena is a workplace and presumably (although I don’t know this) Cricket Australia has an employer/employee relationship with Smith that means they have obligations to him regarding safety. He probably also has compliance obligations towardst CA. That is before we get to insurance issues. It is not any longer (nor should it be) a matter of a player wanting to get back in the saddle, or get on the honours board by batting another over or two. There should be clear protocols that mean when someone has been as seriously decked as Smith, they are taken off the park and not allowed back until at least 24 hours has elapsed during which time no concussion tests have been failed. Once the concussion test has gone positive, anything less than a week out is also likely to be a mistake, although this is a more complex question. And, finally, the wearing of the Philip Hughes protection round the neck should be mandatory.

    Like

  2. dArthez Aug 18, 2019 / 7:48 pm

    Wonder why Archer is English if Labuschagne is South African … At least the latter player never represented South Africa, or played for a South African side.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Aug 18, 2019 / 7:51 pm

      That was just a gentle ribbing for any Australians reading. Labuschagne is Australian, Archer is English.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Deep Purple Fred Aug 18, 2019 / 9:09 pm

      Oh, is that what it was? I’m glad, I thought for a moment it was prejuduce shining through, again. Or maybe some coy play on the way England couldn’t decide whether KP was English or not.

      Labuschagne was taken to Australia by his parents when he was ten. Archer was actively scouted by England after he represented WI U19.

      Labuschagne is one of the few overseas born players to represent Australia. Archer is the latest in a long line.

      Labuschagne is an Australian cricketer. Archer is a West Indian cricketer playing for England.

      (Technical/legal correction to that last point. Archer is indeed an English cricketer, legally. I guess if you see sport as a workplace, that’s all you need.)

      “It is a decision which should have been out of his hands, regardless of how much he wanted to get on the Lord’s honours board.” Really? That’s just pathetic, and doesn’t do justice to this blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      • quebecer Aug 18, 2019 / 9:29 pm

        “Archer was actively scouted by England after he represented WI U19”

        Oh Fred, my dear fellow. We’d been talking to him for a while before that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • dannycricket Aug 18, 2019 / 9:34 pm

        It’s not so much pathetic as literally a quote from Australia’s coach Justin Langer:

        “I was saying ‘mate are you sure you’re okay’. These are like my sons right, so you’re never going to put them in harm’s way, even though you’re always in harm’s way with Test cricket. But he’s going ‘mate, I’ve got to get out there, I can’t get on the honour board unless I’m out batting’. That’s what he says.”

        https://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/109416/getting-on-lords-honours-board-was-motivation-for-steven-smith-justin-langer-the-ashes-cricket-2019

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      • Deep Purple Fred Aug 18, 2019 / 9:48 pm

        Hey Danny, you’d be an excellent tabloid journalist. Take a single line from a conversation you read third hand and spin it into somthing it isn’t to cast aspersions on someone. Great work.

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        • dannycricket Aug 18, 2019 / 9:57 pm

          I don’t believe I was casting aspersions on Smith. He wants to achieve things in his profession, and in the normal course of events that’s a perfectly acceptable course. In this particular case, however, it was against his own interests and the people responsible for his wellbeing should have stepped in and stopped it.

          Also, I’m enjoying the irony of you taking a single line from the context of a series of paragraphs where I clearly place the blame on Langer and the Australian medical team for not stepping in and acting earlier rather than allowing Smith to place himself in danger, and then using that to accuse me of being a tabloid journalist who has taken a single line out of context. That is very much *chef’s kiss*.

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        • Deep Purple Fred Aug 18, 2019 / 10:17 pm

          You cast aspersion on Smith because you implied he was seeking the personal glory of being on the honours board. I suspect Smith’s motivation is not personal glory. I think you’re being cute by misunderstanding the point I’m making here.

          I focused on that line, because that was the one you quoted! Without any context. There was no series of paragraphs, you simply implied Smith and/or Australia management was reckless, because Smith wanted to get on the honours board. I think that’s unlikely.

          Having read the quotes from Langer you linked to, it sounds to me like typical Australian droll/ironic humour, as exchanged between two close cricketing buddies. You can use it to put the boot in, if you wish.

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          • dannycricket Aug 18, 2019 / 10:36 pm

            Well, to be clear, I’m explicitly saying that Australia’s management was extraordinarily reckless with Smith’s wellbeing (and even his life) when they allowed him to bat again yesterday. Whatever Smith may or may not have said, and however he may or may not have said it, changes none of that.

            I don’t blame Smith personally for two simple reasons. Firstly, he may have been feeling the effects of the concussion at the time, in which case his thought processes may have been affected. Secondly, and most importantly, he has spent years in a toxic work environment which has told him that his personal wellbeing is less important than the result of a game of cricket. He simply did what years of training told him to do.

            I don’t think it is an issue just for Australia. England could just have easily done the same thing, I would say that the same views regarding what players’ priorities should be are as much in force here as Australia. England’s medical team are notorious for giving clearly injured players a clean bill of health. I have no doubt that, if the situations were reversed and Root was the one injured, Bayliss would have allowed him to bat again.

            So yes, I will put the boot in to Australia because they are the culprits today. But it is the bizarre attitude that cricket is more important than a player’s life or health which is my main target.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Burly Aug 19, 2019 / 8:17 am

            “You cast aspersion on Smith because you implied he was seeking the personal glory of being on the honours board. I suspect Smith’s motivation is not personal glory. I think you’re being cute by misunderstanding the point I’m making here. ”

            So in rugby it’s completely understood that you have to protect the players from themselves. They want to be out there regardless of risk to their health – they are ridiculously competitive and are desperate to succeed.

            Same goes for Smith. For honours board, read “be the man who wins the match”. It’s not a slur, it’s a well understood fact of life for top quality sportsmen.

            Liked by 1 person

          • quebecer Aug 19, 2019 / 6:56 pm

            Danny, with all respect, when you say “…I’m explicitly saying that Australia’s management was extraordinarily reckless with Smith’s wellbeing (and even his life)…”, that is something you really don’t know. You, like all of us, were not anywhere near it, have little or no information as to what Smith’s condition was at the time, and like me, would not have the necessary medical qualifications to make any judgement anyway. Not all blows to the head result in a concussion, not all concussing are the same, the symptoms and when they manifest can vary, and the even with the most straightforward of cases, it is not fully understood anyway.

            You did, as Fred said, presented the Langer thing without context and I think it’s fair to say it was presented from within your own perspective which you have (fairly) explicitly stated above.

            Obviously, nearly everything we talk about here is opinion and that in no way makes it invalid, but there are times when simply saying, “I don’t know” is reasonable. Should Smith have batted again? I genuinely don’t know, and it’s the only position I personally feel comfortable having.

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          • dannycricket Aug 19, 2019 / 7:51 pm

            Nope, I’m sticking to my guns on this one. Cricket Australia themselves have said that concussions often don’t present with symptoms immediately, with 30% only being diagnosed 24-28 hours later. Given the extreme high risk due to the fact that the impact was at high speed, to a totally unprotected part of the head and flush rather than a glancing blow, he should not have been available to play for at least 24 hours, and probably 48 hours to err on the side of caution.

            A concussion is a brain injury. One which is usually minor, thankfully, but a brain injury nonetheless. One thing which everyone seems to agree on is that a second concussion before the first has recovered has a much higher risk of causing very serious, life-changing results. It is perhaps only in professional sports that such dangers are treated so lightly, and that absolutely shouldn’t be the case.

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          • Quebecer Aug 19, 2019 / 8:12 pm

            Ok, Danny. I’m not saying you can’t have your view/position/opinion, but you are guessing about Smith. And Labuschagne.

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          • dannycricket Aug 19, 2019 / 8:42 pm

            You mean I’m guessing about Smith’s condition whilst in the dressing room? Because, quite frankly, it appears the Australian medical team and management were guessing about his condition too and they guessed wrong. The joy of erring on the side of caution, as Australia should have done, is that there is no real penalty if you’re wrong. If he didn’t have a concussion, the worst case scenario is that their chances of winnning or drawing what is (in the grand scheme of things, at least) a fairly meaningless game of cricket are a bit lower. On the other hand, if he does have a concussion then you have successfully ensured the safety of your employee.

            As for Labuschagne, you mean the blow he took on the grill from Archer? I would say that was of lesser concern in terms of concussion because the helmet did its job and the impact was away from his brain. Had the blow been on his temple, or like Smith’s at the back of the head, then he absolutely should have been taken out of the game as a precaution.

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          • Mark Aug 19, 2019 / 8:30 pm

            Danny prefaced his comments about Smith by writing the following..

            “I have what I acknowledge is an unusual viewpoint when it comes to cricket. Whilst I love watching it, I often view it through the prism of being a workplace rather than wholly a source of entertainment and drama.”

            That seems perfectly fair to me. You may not agree with him but it’s his opinion.

            As to Smith, if the quote is true……Langer…”.But he’s going ‘mate, I’ve got to get out there, I can’t get on the honour board unless I’m out batting’ ………..then that is rather damming evidence that he was driven by a desire to get on the honours board.

            I don’t put any blame on Smith. What he did was what many sports stars do….which is to put personal safety second to the team, glory, and personal archivementnt. Take your pick. I have no problem with any of his motives.

            The question….is why did the Australian management let him decide to go back out there? To claim we don’t know what happened is I think disingenuous. We saw exactly where the ball hit Smith. We know how hard it hit Smith. He was dammed lucky he wasn’t carried off on a stretcher and taken straight to hospital where he was kept over night.

            Now you can argue if you like it should be the players decsion but most I think would say the medics should protect the player from his own bravery. He looked out of it when he returned, and didn’t last very long. If he had been hit again who knows what would have been the outcome. It was absolutely no surprise when it was announced the next day he would play no further part in the match.

            Let’s get real here. I think we know exactly what happpened. Smith wanted to get back out there just as most sports stars want to do. The adrenaline is flowing, and he wants to do his bit for his country. Also he was zooming in on another 100, and he had an eye on the honours board.

            No blame for Smith, he did what most sports stars would do. But why did the Australian management let him?

            Well, I suggest that so far in this series the score is England 0 Vs Steve Smith 1

            Without his two hundreds at Birmingham England would have won that test match and without his first innings score at Lords England would have been in a commanding position to win this test match as well. It is no surprise that he is going to play on Thursday. So far it its England vs Steve Smith.

            Finally, I can’t help thinking that some of this is still a left over from Danny’s comment in the first test match. Some took umbridge at that. (They are entitled to do so) But Danny is just giving his take. You are free to disagree.

            But I wonder how much of this is coloured by hostility to Danny, and not thinking rationally about what Australias management allowed their best player (not that it should mater when we are talking about player safety) to do?

            I wonder if the roles had been reversed, and if England medics had allowed an England batsman to go back out after a hit in the neck at that pace, if they wouldn’t just be taking aim at the England medical team?

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          • quebecer Aug 19, 2019 / 9:34 pm

            Apparently, where Smith was hit it seems it wouldn’t have been the impact that caused a concussion, but the whiplash. (https://completeconcussions.com/2017/03/14/neck-causing-concussion-symptoms-part-1/) This would be equally likely if being hit on the grill.

            Can’t help sticking to my “I don’t know” position.

            P.S. The link doesn’t cover everything that’s relevant to this situation but does give some useful info.

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          • Deep Purple Fred Aug 19, 2019 / 11:20 pm

            Quebecer
            you’re using logic and facts in a debate with someone who is working on opinion and prejudice. Noble but doomed.

            Danny has completely side-stepped the issue that I raised, and wrapped himself in the impregnable cloak of righteousness about looking after player’s health, which no one would disagree with. I certainly never did.

            The challenge I raised was skirted. Of course it was, there was no other way out. No one ever defends prejudice convincingly, because it can’t be done.

            Now I’m being described by Oscar as an Australian media fanboi and a Smith hero-worshipper. A guy who hasn’t lived in Australia for 20 years, never reads Australian press because it’s largely excrable (except Haigh who’s behind a paywall), and who is fundamentally unimpressed by everything about Smith except his unprecedented ability to score runs. It’s utterly laughable. Still, I’ve not hidden my nationality, and I guess that’s all some people need to make judgements. I didn’t think it mattered so much on this site; perhaps it does.

            Everyone knows it’s a fool’s errand to argue with idiots online. I’m a bit slow to catch on sometimes. It won’t happen again.

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          • dlpthomas Aug 20, 2019 / 2:15 am

            Danny

            “it appears the Australian medical team and management were guessing about his condition too and they guessed wrong”

            There weren’t guessing, they simply followed the guidelines and used a sports concussion assessment tool (either SCAT5 which is used FIFA and the Olympics or Cog Sport) They are not perfect tests partly because they rely on the player telling you what symptoms he has and, spoiler alert, some players lie. (eg a player may not admit to a bit of pain in his calf after bowling in the nets)

            You can criticize the guidelines (many do) but it is unfair to say that the medical staff were “guessing”. This event may highlight the need for an independent doctor to assess the player. Team doc’s and players are quite close and it is actually difficult to tell a player that he can’t play (it also increases the chances that a player will downplay his injury in the future)

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          • dannycricket Aug 20, 2019 / 6:28 am

            Yes, but I’m not saying that the Australian doctors and management didn’t follow the guidelines and procedures to the letter. In fact, I fully assume they did. I’m not even saying that Smith himself failed to report symptoms. I obviously have no idea, nor does anyone except Smith himself. I’m saying that, if there was even a chance of a concussion (and clearly there was) then he should not have been allowed to bat again.

            Sports seem to operate in their own world when it comes to preventing brain injury. It’s been pointed out that rugby players can come back on the field within 10 minutes if they pass an initial concussion test. Obviously the NFL has been in the news over the past few years regarding brain trauma in their players. No other field of work regularly places their employees at risk in this way.

            And it’s not altruism on their part. At least not always. It’s the fear that that they would be liable for a huge legal settlement. We have adverts in the UK asking, “Have you had an injury at work?” Just imagine the size of the payout Smith would be entitled to had a second impact caused severe brain damage. Lost earnings plus a lifetime of health bills alone could easily go to $50m.

            Personally, I would say that ensuring someone I was responsible for remained healthy was reward enough. But it still surprises me that sports teams, which are typically all about chasing every available dollar, take such a risk.

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          • dlpthomas Aug 20, 2019 / 9:34 am

            Sorry – I assumed that when you said the medics were “guessing” you meant that they didn’t follow the guidelines.

            Concussion is a complicated diagnosis but at least people are taking it more seriously than in the past. There is a lot of work going on at the moment to come up with better diagnostic tests
            eg blood tests (biomarkers for neuronal injury)
            eg computer analysis of eye movements (which it is hope may allow earlier diagnosis)
            eg other esoteric shit

            There are even multiple apps to help diagnose concussion because of course there fuckin are.

            Public education / awareness of the dangers of concussion is really important and some good may cone out of Smith getting hit (he may disagree with that)

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          • jomesy Aug 20, 2019 / 10:57 pm

            Fred – I like your comments. I like the discourse on this site from different posters. I like the fact that IanRSA liked your earlier post – I’d like to hear from Ian again.

            That said, I think you’re (and Quebecer too) 100% wrong on this one.

            Let me make it easy for you both:

            Line up to be hit in the neck with a 90+mph ball.

            Talk to me afterwards.

            Talk me through Smith’s leave – weird – then his review and then his departure from the field.

            I’m still listening- but I shouldn’t because it’s bullshit and you know it.

            Like

          • quebecer Aug 21, 2019 / 12:58 am

            Jomesy, I think the points I made to Danny were fair ones. Of course, I’m often wrong – just ask my wife. However, I have lined up and got hit at 88mph, which I know is an accurate speed as it was what the bowling machine was on. It pinged off my helmet, I was fine, we kind of laughed because we shouldn’t have been doing it anyway, and called it a night. The only other time I was hit was top edging a hook (without a helmet on) and taking a very slight glancing blow during a game. It was nothing serious at all, but by Christ I was rubbish afterwards. Hesitation, suddenly over thinking, too slow, bad decisions, feet still, it was bad. Yet none of these things were due to a concussion. The point is you can’t look at Smith’s leave and say it was concussion, as not only did he not actually have a concussion then (according to the medical evaluation), but his error was no different to the type of mistake many batsmen make after being hit due to the psychological impact alone. Not total bullshit.

            I really don’t think it’s “easy” as you suggest. I think it’s complicated.

            I agreed with Fred that casting aspersions on the Aussie management for letting Smith bat again is unreasonable. Presuming the motivation of Smith (whether it be honours board or sandpapergate) is something anyone can believe, but to present as fact is, to my mind, not so reasonable. There’s simply too much presumption involved, at least for me to be comfortable with in terms of that shaping my own opinion. That people here seem split on it is to me also an indication that this is not cut and dried. Just as Danny wishes to stick to his position, I’m still comfortable with my original point of “I don’t know”.

            Still, hope you’re well.

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      • Burly Aug 19, 2019 / 8:15 am

        Archer’s an English cricketer by virtue of being someone with an English dad and a British passport who plays cricket in England and for England.

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      • OscarDaBosca Aug 19, 2019 / 6:34 pm

        Wow, you are prickly at the moment.
        Let me think…
        Pattinson (Born in the UK)
        Khawaja (Born in Pakistan)
        That’s 2 in the current team, and you have a long history of also having overseas born players. People in glass houses.
        Also accusing any of the writers of this blog of prejudice is a bit rich, this blog tends to have a clear eyed view of most things, but I guess the Australian media have been doing their usual job of creating controversy and you seem to be ‘drinking the kool aid’.
        It appears that the root of your complaints recently is that Steve Smith isn’t treated like some Bradman type figure instead of an ex captain of a team who systematically cheated against SA. Your whole team was part of it unless you are trying to suggest that international bowlers didn’t notice the ball visibly deteriorating after each delivery?
        It is what it is, they got caught, got punished, covered up the rest of the teams involvement and now they are back. I personally find the booing unedifying, but if you find yourself with a ticket to the Ashes that cost you over £100 then you have the right to express your dissatisfaction.
        Having a go at Danny below for quoting Langer (who has form for ignoring his own concussion) and suggesting that he is misunderstanding ironic comments is a bit rich too. Unless you were at the press conference (and also in the field when Buttler and Archer got the receiving end of your ire the other day) I have to presume you are a mind reader too.
        Sorry to rant, but you have been a very angry commenter during the last few months and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it.

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        • quebecer Aug 19, 2019 / 11:34 pm

          Can I suggest everyone just take a deep breath or two please?

          Lordy, when I’m the voice of reason…

          Liked by 1 person

        • dArthez Aug 20, 2019 / 5:31 am

          Neither Khawaja or Pattinson represented Pakistan or an English team at any point in their career. Same holds for Labuschagne and South Africa.

          Wish the same could be said of say Trott, Jennings, Robson, Archer, and representing other countries (South Africa, South Africa, Australia and West Indies respectively) and I could be forgetting one or two players in the last five years … No, Stokes does not qualify since he never represented New Zealand, and I don’t think Jordan ever represented West Indies.

          In the case of South Africa, they have been shorn of an entire potential Test bowling attack in the last three years, because the value of the rights to international cricket in England compared to South Africa allow English counties to pay international players much better for quitting the international game and play domestic cricket in England. So before any South Africa – England series begins, the ECB through Sky monies have effectively already unduly influenced the outcome of such series, by means of financial doping.

          To somehow claim that the cases of Australia and England, in terms of picking foreign-born players are equivalent seems to be greatly glossing over the pillaging in world cricket in the last few years.

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          • dArthez Aug 20, 2019 / 6:29 am

            Scratch that. James Pattinson was born in Australia. One Test wonder Darren Pattinson was born in England.

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  3. man in a barrel Aug 18, 2019 / 8:55 pm

    Captaincy alert. Not really in a position to watch the game but didn’t Archer bowl more overs than any other English bowler? Strange way to treat your spearhead. But, of course, Root learned at the feet of the divine Chef, tactical genius

    Liked by 1 person

    • oreston Aug 18, 2019 / 11:24 pm

      You know how it’s going to go: Archer will be bowled into the ground, break down physically at some point in the next couple of years, then spend eighteen months battling to get fit again but will lose his express pace. He’ll be selected and dropped/forced out by further injury repeatedly for several years but never be the same bowler again. Oh, and of course there’s always the possibility someone will decide his action’s all wrong and ruin him further by trying to coach the wickedness out of him.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Elaine Simpson-Long Aug 19, 2019 / 7:58 am

        I said this to a friend yesterday who told me to stop being so pessimistic!

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  4. man in a barrel Aug 18, 2019 / 9:00 pm

    Player of the match was Ben Stokes! What was the thinking there? A century when the pressure was off and no wickets. Why not Broad?

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    • Deep Purple Fred Aug 18, 2019 / 9:26 pm

      It wasn’t just the century. His innings was pivotal, he soaked up the pressure when needed, then accelerated when needed. His innings removed the risk of losing and then provided a chance to win, perfectly judged, and some fine clean hitting at the end (not just wild, nothing-to-lose biffing). He more than anyone controlled the third and fouth innings.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. quebecer Aug 18, 2019 / 9:08 pm

    I was a little disappointed with Leach today. He’s a good bowler, and yes, almost certainly the best spinner in England, but he just couldn’t get the turn from around the wicket to the right hander to be a real threat today. On a 4th/5th day pitch you need as little more, but it just wasn’t happening for Leach today.

    Another thought, I was trying to think of other instances where a quick bowler had the influence Archer had in this test. After the West Indian quicks and Waqar and Wasim retired and after Steyn in the first half of his career, only Mitchell Johnson has had s similar effect in a series. Thinking back to 2013, did Johnson hit that many batsmen? Is my memory failing or did Archer hit more batsman in one test than Johnson did in that whole series?

    Obviously, the fact that Archer gets so close to the stumps, gets extra lift while not being too short with his bouncer, and that it natural follows the batsman all factor in, but I can’t help thinking the batsmen didn’t play it that well. That’s a little strange considering these are Aussies.

    Another consequence of white ball cricket? That there simply aren’t the numbers of quicks around that there used to be? Archer is that much better than every other quick we’ve seen for the last 20 years?? Anyone got any ideas?

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    • dannycricket Aug 18, 2019 / 9:31 pm

      It’s not like English cricket has been awash with quick bowlers for decades. In truth, it’s not necessary in ‘English conditions’. If anything, a pure fast bowler is likely to be less economical and less threatening than a medium-paced swing bowler in most county teams. Those that have come through typically end up injured due to a poor action (either before of after some enterprising coach tries to fix it) or overbowling (as we saw today).

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    • growltiger Aug 19, 2019 / 7:01 am

      Archer was chilingly influential. Except that they didn’t want to look as if they were condoning GBH on the field, they should have given him the magnum, no question. Stokes played beautifully, but we might have got closer to winning if he had holed out on 75.

      Like

    • metatone Aug 19, 2019 / 7:19 am

      A lot of it is the change in technique you diagnosed, from a bit side on so you can sway to more front on. A lot of players are actually ducking into balls at the moment. Johnson in 2013 hit many more batsmen than Archer has so far, but because fortunately there was no obvious concussion no-one, especially not Aussie press or fans, raised any concerns at all.

      Like

      • metatone Aug 19, 2019 / 7:20 am

        Extra note: a lot of the 2013 hits were at around collarbone height, as players weren’t ducking into the ball.

        Like

    • metatone Aug 19, 2019 / 7:26 am

      I didn’t get to see play live, but from the bits I’ve seen Lyon also struggled to get consistent spin. Maybe the pitch/ball situation – rain etc – meant it wasn’t gripping quite as a normal 4th/5th day pitch?

      Like

      • growltiger Aug 19, 2019 / 6:04 pm

        Lyon wasn’t all that scary. He didn’t get it into the rough much, and it mainly didn’t do anything much when he did. That said, he could have had Stokes about three times in the first over or two (dropped twice and once going for inexplicable byes). On the whole, the England batsmen have worked out they can play Lyon successfully off the pitch if they hang back. Pitch was nothing like a normal fifth day pitch, really.

        Like

        • dArthez Aug 20, 2019 / 5:33 am

          You are forgetting a lbw that the umpire did not give, and Australia did not review. The umpiring from Lyon’s end deprived him at least two wickets.

          Like

          • dannycricket Aug 20, 2019 / 6:34 am

            That is a little harsh on the umpire, since Lyon and Paine were clearly not convinced either. Personally, if the technology ever became quicker (I assume any extra computing power over the years has gone into making it more accurate), I’d advocate LBWs being placed entirely in the hands of the TV umpire. Whilst not perfect, it would at least bring consistency to what has always been a somewhat random form of dismissal.

            Like

          • dArthez Aug 20, 2019 / 7:35 am

            Still does not alter the fact, that Australia would have had Stokes lbw if they had reviewed, or the umpire had given it (England review would not have helped England then). The same for Burns earlier in the innings.
            Two wickets to Lyon’s name might well have improved his returns on day 5, due to uncertainty on England’s part, as well as confidence on Lyon’s part, never mind the scoreboard pressure. For example, if Stokes’ lbw had been given it would have been 74/5 in the third innings, and then things could have developed in quite a different way. Of course, what if, is rather useless in the context of a post-match analysis.

            I am not saying these are atrocious decisions, but that Stokes and England certainly can’t complain about getting the benefit of the umpiring in 2019.

            We don’t know 100% what is actually needed due to the confidential nature of the technology; and we can’t test if ‘simplified’ models are just as accurate for the same reason (hell we don’t even know how accurate DRS is, since we only have the claims of the manufacterer and the ICC, notorious liars at best, to go by). But I would imagine that if they are willing to spend another few thousand dollars a day (and given the cost of DRS that is not a massive cost), this can be achieved.

            Like

  6. man in a barrel Aug 18, 2019 / 9:17 pm

    Q, bowling speeds have settled in the 80 mph range, so Archer clearly managed to unsettle with pace but he also seems to get surprising bounce. Cummins is not doing as well as he did in the last Ashes to get unusual bounce. Bounce is a key weapon

    Like

    • quebecer Aug 18, 2019 / 9:25 pm

      Very true. Cummins is fantastic, but he isn’t quite the tear away quick he was before the horrible injuries. I noticed in the first innings that when Cummins was concentrating on short pitched bowling, his length was actually quite short. Archer’s bouncer pitches closer to the batsman (something he didn’t get right initially) and leaps a little. I suppose I’m trying to work out exactly why the Aussies got hit so much. I don’t remember that really happening since the days when touring the West Indies was like being at the wrong end of a shooting gallery.

      Like

      • growltiger Aug 19, 2019 / 7:18 am

        If Archer puts it in as short as Cummins, it actually gets called for a wide – too high for the batsman to hit – or to be hit. The length that he finds, and which repeatedly finds the batsman out, is only just in his half of the pitch. Combined with his delivery action (almost over the stumps) and his wrist action, his ball on this length is very difficult to duck, sway, or dodge. He will hit lots of them if he continues able to bowl it over 90mph. Pre-helmet batting techniques (back and across) would help, but only if the batsmen watch the ball, which Smith didn’t in the end. Mitchell Johnson hit a lot of batsmen on the hands and feet, through sheer pace, from a good length, and yorkers. His bouncer was not so vicious, in the sense of likely to hit them on the lid.

        Like

  7. Pontiac Aug 18, 2019 / 9:34 pm

    Archer wound up bowling 29 + 15 = 44 overs while Leach bowled 11 + 16.3 = 27.3 overs. In any sane situation Leach would have 10 more and Archer 10 less, but this would break with the decade long tradition of bew bowler mismanagement.

    Maybe Archer won’t feel the workload, but that is a lot of overs to bowl at 90+ over 3 days to be expected to start again at short rest. Again, are they just asking for an injury?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Aug 18, 2019 / 10:05 pm

      Agreed, I thought Leach was under bowled in the first innings. Although England will argue they bowled them out for 250 so what the problem?

      I fear for Archer as a genuine fast bowler under England. If he plays test cricket and ODI and 20/20 he will be driven into the ground under England’s itinerary.

      Like

      • dannycricket Aug 18, 2019 / 10:10 pm

        It is an insanely packed schedule over the next few years for England, made worse by their reliance on multi-format players. Of today’s Test XI, 7 are also first-choice ODI cricketers. That simply won’t be sustainable. It will be tricky to fix though, since Roy’s injury in the World Cup showed that England’s ODI depth in certain key areas isn’t as deep as they thought it was.

        Like

        • Sophie Aug 19, 2019 / 7:39 am

          Well, it would have been if they hadn’t gotten rid of Hales.

          Like

          • dannycricket Aug 19, 2019 / 7:47 am

            Well quite, but they only did that because they thought Vince was more or less equal to him. It turned out to definitely be ‘less’.

            The bowling isn’t very deep either, at the moment. Curran and Dawson didn’t get a game despite being in the squad, did they?

            Like

          • Burly Aug 19, 2019 / 8:14 am

            They didn’t only do that because they thought Vince was as good as Hales. I don’t believe they ever thought they. They did it because they clearly think Hales is a wrong’un and had lost patience with him – and didn’t want to be carrying more drama going into the world cup.

            Like

  8. Mark Aug 18, 2019 / 9:51 pm

    So after all the drama a test match that had a whole opening day washed out ended in a draw. (Note to ICC, this will happen a lot if you bring in four day Test cricket. ) Hardly any of the overs where made up, with other stoppages a draw should have been nailed on. It’s testimony to the fragile batting line ups that both sides managed to get bowled out for 250 in the first innings which created a possible result.

    I wasn’t optimistic this morning. I expected England to be bowled out by lunch time, and a target of approx 180 which would be knocked off, and Australia would go 2-0 up, and the Ashes gone. Well batted Ben Stokes, who is rapidly becoming England’s best test match player at the moment. What a summer he is having.

    Instead of 2-0 it’s still 1-0, and with the emergence of Archer, and the possible exit of Smith this test series may have turned around? But, and it’s a big but, England still have to bat six more times.

    Like

  9. Mark Aug 18, 2019 / 10:12 pm

    Pundits and modern players talk about how the game has changed in the modern era, but actually bring in a really fast bowler, and the game is as it has always been.

    We saw that in 2013/14 with Johnson. A good batting line up was reduced to rubble. Modern players just don’t see much of it these days.

    Like

    • Benny Aug 18, 2019 / 11:40 pm

      Must agree. Reckon Captain Root is like a kid with a shiny new toy too. Given a dangerous quickie, I was half expecting Archer to bowl non stop till 7.00. Last captain to have such firepower available was Vaughan.

      Like

  10. dlpthomas Aug 19, 2019 / 2:46 am

    Root was quoted in the paper as saying Archer “really has made a massive impact.” Perhaps not the best choice of words.

    Like

  11. metatone Aug 19, 2019 / 11:48 am

    It’s looking like Smith will play in the next match and that a medical clearance that wouldn’t be considered valid in other sports will be issued. The short-sightedness of cricket knows no bounds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Aug 19, 2019 / 12:15 pm

      I vaguely seem to remember that Morgan wasn’t allowed to play for 10 days when he got hit on the helmet by Starc I think in 2015.

      Like

    • Marek Aug 19, 2019 / 12:37 pm

      Re-reading this was quite interesting to me in the light of Smith–esp. the third and fourth paragraphs from the end.
      http://www.espncricinfo.com/west-indies-v-australia-2015/content/story/883367.html

      (In the end, he didn’t return for Jamaica, a match that started eleven days after he was hit).

      While there are differences (he had been hit quite badly a few months before, too), it’s still instructive. Interesting too that the CA protocol is absolutely explicit more than once that the doctor shouldn’t be influenced by anyone.

      Like

  12. LordCanisLupus Aug 19, 2019 / 12:36 pm

    A couple of things. One mainly. The Ashes Panel will need to wait until after the 3rd Test. I came down sick last night, and wasn’t online to organise it. Apologies. Let me know if you want to take part after Headingley.

    Like

  13. Mark Aug 19, 2019 / 2:22 pm

    Yup, I think Root would like to have him bowl all day from one end. This is the danger when you have a potent fast bowler. It’s why I think they will kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    There is a huge difference between a bowler who bowls 82-87 miles an hour and a bowler who bowls 88-95.

    I remember in 2005 the media interviewed Adam Gilchrist & asked him why he wasn’t smashing the ball around like he used to, and he said it’s quite difficult to play the reverse swinging ball at 90 miles an hour.

    Like

    • Mark Aug 19, 2019 / 2:23 pm

      That should have been in reply to Benny

      Like

  14. man in a barrel Aug 19, 2019 / 5:33 pm

    I guess the panel will need to think about the “ball that changed the Ashes”, per Sir Geoffrey.

    Like

  15. man in a barrel Aug 19, 2019 / 5:43 pm

    Andrew Miller, normally quite a reasonable guy, also seems to be doing the soccer thing – eg Owen’s goal against Argentina, or Dean Headley or Devon Malcolm v Saffers or Norman Cowans…. And he didn’t even take five wickets. Smith’s substitute was chinned but rebuffed him subsequently. A realistic appraisal of Archer is needed especially in view of the green steamers that will undoubtedly by waiting

    Like

    • quebecer Aug 19, 2019 / 6:40 pm

      Green Steamers sounds like a 100 franchise I could get behind.

      Like

  16. quebecer Aug 19, 2019 / 7:09 pm

    Manus Labuschange! This might sound like what you’d hear from the ramparts of an old colonial fort in Algeria immediately before all the Legionnaires on the parade ground below scuttle around to form the shape of a flour-de-lis, but this lad needs some props. In a way, perhaps being thrown in as he was left no time for nerves or doubts, but what was clear was that Labuschange was absolutely of the opinion that this was his chance, and there was no way he was going to let it slip by.

    This, of course, was very good news for Australia at the time, because the game was by no means safe, and he essentially made it so. While his response to getting hit so early on was commendable, he wasn’t just being a ‘trier’. That was an excellent innings in every sense, and technically as impressive as any of the Aussie (and English) batsmen we’ve seen so far. Very well played indeed.

    I have to admit, the reasons why I’m talking so much about other stuff is that I can’t quite allow (bring) myself to believe that Jofra is as good as I think he is. I haven’t been this excited by anyone since I first saw Pat Cummins when he was 19, but I’m not ready to accept this reality yet. Surely it can’t be true. An ENGLISH test bowler??? Like this???????

    Like

    • dArthez Aug 19, 2019 / 8:05 pm

      Cummins made his Test debut at 18, and was mightily impressive (against South Africa, fairly decent players of pace; 6/79 in an innings on debut). Injuries and strain on the body have robbed him of his express pace – he would not play his second Test until nearly 5.5 years later.

      Archer was already noticeable down on pace in his third spell. Not saying that he was easy to play then, but obviously, the body can only take so much (and I am sure that many quicks can rank the speed up, if they’re willing to accept that they significantly shorten their career in the process). We will see at what pace Archer will be bowling in his 50th Test, if he makes it that far.

      Like

      • dannycricket Aug 19, 2019 / 8:08 pm

        Given the short gaps between Ashes Tests, I’d be worried about his speed on Thursday rather than four year’s time!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Rooto Aug 20, 2019 / 6:55 am

    An idea I had: an automatic 24-hour standing down (with substitute) for all blows to the head/ helmet. The umpire could judge whether such a blow has occurred. It might encourage batsmen to tighten up their technique for bobbing, weaving and watching the short ball more carefully if they know that a misjudgement leads to a day in the cooler.

    Like

    • dannycricket Aug 20, 2019 / 6:59 am

      That is an eminently reasonable suggestion. Allow the concussion substitute to come in immediately, and if the player is fine 24 hours later then they can come back into the game. The only major issue I see with that is whether the teams would pressure the umpire to keep the injured player on the field, which probably isn’t a great position to put the officials in.

      Like

    • dArthez Aug 20, 2019 / 7:14 am

      Everyone will be bowling close to 100 mph to force-retire the good batsmen (hits on the helmet are not that hard to achieve), and then get the not so good batsmen left out at more sustainable pace. Would mean that touring parties would have to contain 15 or 20 batsmen.

      After all the umpires are not medical personnel, and they will be choosing (issues of legal liability make certain of that) to play safe rather than be sorry. Never mind what such a ploy would do for the bowlers long term.

      And that is not even discussing what would happen if members of the bowling attack get hit on the helmet. Who will replace them? Would it even make sense for the bowlers to bat in the first three innings of the game?

      Like

      • dannycricket Aug 20, 2019 / 7:37 am

        For a start, since when was playing safe with regards to player safety a bad thing? It’s literally what I’m calling for.

        As for teams and bowlers trying to intentionally injure opposition players, I’d go to the local police station and report them. Again, seeing cricket as a workplace, that’s what would happen to me if I tried to render someone unconscious at my job. There are other things you could do, such as lowering the line for height wides/no balls to the shoulder or reducing players allowed behind the batsman on the leg side to 1 (or even 0, to absolutely punish bowling at the body whatsoever).

        [EDIT] On second thoughts, reducing fielders on the leg side might be counter-productive since it would incentivise batsmen to step across the stumps to score more easily, which could increase the danger to them…

        Like

        • dArthez Aug 20, 2019 / 7:58 am

          I am not saying that it is a bad thing, to look after safety of the players. I am all for it.

          The work place analogy does not entirely hold – if it did half the players would be receiving warning letters for their banter each day on the field (bullying). Instead what we see is that the boards these players play for are routinely defending such ‘banter’.

          The problem is that if the rules reward gamemanship, guess what will happen? We have seen it countless times before with runners, deliberate delays in play by the fielding or batting side, excessive appealing and what not. In the end, the ICC had to ban runners, due to blatant abuse of runners.

          If given the choice to bowl to Steve Smith or Shaun Marsh, obviously teams will be trying to make certain they will be doing the latter. Likewise with batting against James Anderson vs. Mark Wood to give another example. Such a thing ought to be avoided as much as possible, and the best way to ensure that is to avoid explicitly rewarding us with such outcomes in the rules.

          The spirit of cricket is long dead when massive amounts of money are involved. Never mind the egos. If it were not dead, players would not be substituted during play, unless they had suffered a serious injury for example.

          As for going to the police, that is opening a whole different can of worms, since police forces, pretty much around the entire world, do have issues with minorities and people of colour. Never mind home police service advantage. We already have home broadcaster advantage with regards to detecting cheating …

          Like

  18. dlpthomas Aug 20, 2019 / 10:12 am

    Smith rules out for the third test.

    Like

    • Mark Aug 20, 2019 / 10:43 am

      So it is as serious as was obvious at the time. You didn’t need to be Dr Finley with his casebook (one for the teenagers) to see.

      In fact, seeing that they allowed him back out there so quickly, and seeing how brave Smith is it must be serious for him to now be pulled out for Thursday.

      It has to be the right medical decsion for the players safety, and also the better option for Australia in the series. Even if they lose the third test match, it will still only be 1-1 and England would still need to win another test match. If Smith is back for the last two Tests Australia will have a better chance of securing the Ashes.

      Now the heat of the moment has cooled, common sense has returned.

      Like

      • dlpthomas Aug 20, 2019 / 11:24 am

        I see poor old Labuschagne got hit in the grill again – this time by Starc.

        Like

    • metatone Aug 20, 2019 / 12:29 pm

      I’m very relieved my prediction was wrong.
      It’s the right thing to do for his safety.

      Like

    • jomesy Aug 20, 2019 / 11:21 pm

      I’m a bit behind time having been traveling today. I’d heard before my flight that Smith was playing.

      Does matter.

      But I stand by my comment above – and this might rub people up the wrong way unintentionally but:

      1. I think that’s it for Oz now – Steve Smith was/is the captain – but for him there’s not much going
      2. Aus batsman are getting hit/hurt – that has a huge impact.
      2. Smith was clearly trying to assuage the sandpaper incident by standing up and being the best.

      Shame on him, given his talent, that he took the easy route.

      Now he’s taken the harder route and it isn’t in his control.

      My sympathies are limited.

      Like

  19. thebogfather Aug 20, 2019 / 1:15 pm

    So, this Ashes series is going to be downgraded…

    1. Roy still opening (for an over or three)
    2. Root still at 3
    3. Denly…
    .
    .
    4. Some vaguely useful batsman called Smith missing for Aus
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .5. Most importantly, our own LCL, felled by illness, thus no #AshesPanel full of wonderful words, great thoughts and rhyming flannel!

    Get well soon Dmitri, your long run may/will still be needed soon!

    Like

    • Mark Aug 20, 2019 / 1:59 pm

      Echoed!!

      Get well soon Dimitri!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Grenville Aug 20, 2019 / 8:31 pm

    Feeling a little sad that things got so tetchy so fast. It is awful when we stop being able to deal with disagreement, give vent to our prejudices and look to score points.

    A suggestion, dealing with text based disagreement requires reading with a principle of charity. Always assume that the other person is in good faith, not balmy and has good reasons for what she writes. You have to try to read it in the best possible light.

    So when it comes to the above, best to assume that Danny was being flippant about Labasaghne (even if he shouldn’t make that sort of joke), that he wasn’t casting aspersions on Smith, Langer or the Aussie medical team. His point becomes the eminently arguable view that the concussion protocol sucks, given that symptoms are often delayed, we should be taking victims of head strikes out of action for at least 24 hours.

    Fred, read like this, quite clearly isn’t a one eyed fanboy but instead is objecting to Danny’s crass joke. There are enough racists out there who do question Khawaja’s or Labaushagne’s right to play for Oz. He also takes issue with the use of the journalistic trope of taking a quote to make an argument. That Langer said something in a press conference proofs nothing. On the positive side, Fred and Q’s riposte to Danny’ is that nobody could tell whether or not Smith was concussed. He had no symptoms and, although he might have been,the epistemic position is the same with any blow to the head. We can only say Smith is to be subbed out if we want to see that for any ball-head collision and that is going a bit far.

    For what it’s worth, Smith was knocked down. To a complete ignoramus that seems different from a ball to the face that smarts a lot but leaves you standing. Not that I know the first thing about head injuries

    Let’s try to disagree constructively. as the Rabbis say, for the sake of heaven.

    Liked by 2 people

    • dannycricket Aug 21, 2019 / 5:52 am

      Yeah, I am regretting not putting “South African-born” but, to be honest, I couldn’t resist winding up any Australians reading who have had a tendency to question the Englishness of several England players. Most recently Jofra Archer.

      As you might have guessed, I don’t have a problem with players moving countries in order to make more money, or have greater opportunities to play. England’s 18 professional teams means there are far more available spaces to build a career than anywhere else in the cricketing world, bar perhaps India. I would suspect that, even if he had never made the England squad, Archer would make almost as much from being a top county bowler and playing in T20 leagues over the winter than he would turning out for the West Indies. Perhaps more, especially during the regular West Indies contract disputes. For white South Africans, the small number of first-class teams relative to England and the quotas in place to ensure more representative squads means there are fewer opportunities for them in their home country. Generally speaking, I don’t begrudge any cricketer moving somewhere else for a more secure future.

      Which isn’t to say that I’m necessarily happy with the situation where a county cricketer can get paid more than an international player, or the relative dearth of domestic teams in other countries. Obviously it would be great if every country’s domestic system was as large and lucrative as county cricket. The ECB seem like they are trying to rectify the first point by demoting half of the counties to a second tier. Brexit, if it leads to a significant devaluing of the pound, could make moving to England less financially rewarding too.

      Honestly, the way some cricket fans treat players’ nationality as in some way immutable or only being allowed to change in very specific circumstances amuses me no end. In football, having a single English grandparent would qualify you for the England national team, regardless of whether you had ever set foot in the country. In Athletics, it’s even less strict. Some national athletic associations essentially pay athletes from poorer countries to swap who they represent, just to boost their medal tallies.

      Like

  21. Deep Purple Fred Aug 21, 2019 / 10:53 am

    Quite a few words have been put in my mouth since my original comment, so it might be worth clarifying.

    My comment was that attributing Smith’s return to the crease to an egotistical desire to be on the honours board was pathetic (the source subsequently revealed to be a third hand comment reported in the press, presented out of context). I don’t know the guy but from what I’ve observed I expect he was primarily driven by a desire the win the match, by scoring runs, and I thought that reading of it was cynical, demeaning and provocative. Probably it was meant to be, and it succeeded. I hope this blog doesn’t adopt that tone more generally, in would be destructive.

    I said nothing on the actual concussion management matter. The writer has subsequently described the team management of being extraordinarily reckless with Smith’s very life, but also probably professional and following established protocols, so it’s a bit hard to know exactly what he thinks.

    For the record, I was very dubious that he should have been back on the field, and I’m glad he didn’t get to face Archer again. But I take Quebecer’s point that it’s a grey area, and only those involved directly are in a position to make the best call.

    As regards the nationality business, I have long accepted that England using players formed elsewhere but with family connections is just a fact of life. England raped and pillaged the world with its empire, and in some ways continues to benefit from that. It’s why England is relatively multi-cultural, and alot of people think that’s a good thing.

    Since Labuschagne was called out, I thought it worth making the distinction between those born overseas and were taken to a country as a kid, and those who made a career choice after coming through the ranks of another country. As others have noted, England is in a position to attract and pay players, and it does seem to routinely talent scout the former colonies. It’s just the way it is. It’s not a fair world. England will continue to do it, and some will continue to be skeptical about imported talent.

    I wonder if Stokes’ match saving, almost match winning, innings was motivated by a desire to be on the honours board? I guess we’ll never know.

    Like

    • Mark Aug 21, 2019 / 12:00 pm

      Fred,

      I lay no blame whatsoever at the feet of Smith. If he wanted to save or win the match (which I think would be 100% accurate) I have no problem with that. I also wouldn’t care if he did want to be on the honours board. Cricket is both a team and individual sport. (Let’s not try and pretend that personal glory plays no part in this.) Never mind the honours board, he was on for this third successive century against the old enemy.

      After what he has been through who could blame him for wanting to be the hero for his country, and prove his critics wrong?

      The issue is the medics. If that had been Root out there and been knocked off his feet and then returned to the crease so quickly and behaved oddly getting out almost immediately I would be a big critic of England’s medical team.

      As to the overseas players issues it’s an occupational hazard/big benefit of having a former Empire. England, in particular has many people dotted around the old colonies with parents and grandparents connected to England. Perhaps one day Australia will have an Empire, and can then benefit.

      I wouldn’t be surprised in a few years if Asian players born in the UK have the chance to to play for India and Pakistan in the future. Particularly India as there is a lot of money to be made.

      Like

      • Deep Purple Fred Aug 21, 2019 / 1:23 pm

        Sure. I didn’t, and don’t want to, participate in the debate about medics, as I don’t have enough information to say what happened, and how it should have been managed. All I’ll say is he didn’t look right when he came back out, that was pretty obvious.

        Well that would be funny, the son of Rashid chosing to play for Pakistan one day, after learning his trade in Yorkshire!

        Like

      • Marek Aug 22, 2019 / 10:55 am

        It’s already happened. I’m pretty sure the only Welsh-born player currently playing international cricket is….playing one-dayers for Pakistan. Imad Wasim was born in Swansea–although he moved to Pakistan at a young age.

        Wikipedia tells us–surprise, surprise–that he’s the first Welsh-born player to represent Pakistan!

        Like

        • dannycricket Aug 22, 2019 / 11:56 am

          And the last Welsh man to play international cricket since 2006, when Simon Jones played his last game. And yet Cardiff still hosts a ton of games and one of The Hundred teams.

          Like

    • dlpthomas Aug 21, 2019 / 2:59 pm

      “the source subsequently revealed to be a third hand comment reported in the press, presented out of context”

      I’m curious – have you watched the interview with Langer? It’s been played on a couple of sports shows in Australia and it was a bit odd. (though to be honest, I find most of Langer’s interviews a bit odd)

      Like

      • Deep Purple Fred Aug 21, 2019 / 3:48 pm

        No I haven’t seen it. I don’t live in Australia. The link provided was just to an article, I didn’t know it came from a TV interview. I’d be amazed if that comment was intended as anything other than a half self-deprecating, ironic attempt to inject some humour, and convince his coach he was good to go. Especially since he’s already put a double ton up there!

        Langer is a bit odd that’s for sure, I’ve always found his intensity quite unusual.

        I notice a little while ago he was reported as having the team walk barefoot around Lords to connect their souls with the energy spirit of the place, or something, which was reported as typical of Langer’s weird ways. A player said later that was a load of tosh, it was just more pleasant to walk on the grass in bare feet, nothing to do with spirituality. I think everyone knows you only get a little glimpse of the truth through media reports.

        Like

        • dlpthomas Aug 22, 2019 / 7:31 am

          From memory, coaches have had players walk barefoot through the grass before both AFL grand finals and state of origin in the ARL so there must be some wacky theory behind it.

          Smith may well have made the comment about the honour board as a joke (it does seem a reasonable suggestion) but in hindsight it was probably a bit silly of Langer to have repeated it outside of the dressing room. All he really needed to say was Smith passed out concussion protocols and as such was cleared to go out and bat again.

          Like

    • dannycricket Aug 22, 2019 / 5:13 am

      My position is that the Australian medical staff and management followed Cricket Australia’s protocols, and so in that sense did their jobs professionally, but that those protocols are dangerous, reckless, and any other adjectives I’ve used when compared to any other non-sports business. And, I would suspect, unlawfully so in the UK. Which is not to single out Cricket Australia, as this approach seems prevalent amongst all professional sports teams.

      The priority for sports teams seems to be to have players who show no signs of concussion in the initial tests return to the field as quickly as possible. In rugby, for example, players typically return after 10 minutes if they are given the all-clear by the team doctor. Obviously Smith had much longer than that before he batted again. But, as Cricket Australia themselves said, symptoms of concussion can frequently take 24-48 hours to present. In this sense, any player who a team is concerned enough about to give a concussion test should be considered potentially concussed until 2 days of no symptoms. Most businesses would rather rest 10 healthy employees than risk putting one concussed employee in harm’s way (mostly since they might be considered liable). Sports teams seem prepared to risk putting ten concussed players on the field rather than unnecessarily resting one healthy player.

      So I’ve said repeatedly about seeing cricket as a workplace. Imagine instead that Steve Smith worked on a building site. One day he’s bending over and a brick falls and hits him on the back of the head and neck. His manager sends him to the company doctor, who tells him he isn’t showing any symptoms and is safe to immediately return to the site and his regular duties. He does that, only to for the symptoms to show up after he gets home that day. In that situation, given the health and safety training I’ve received, I think Smith would at the very least have grounds to report his employers to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, file a grievance against his manager and send a complaint about the doctor to the General Medical Council. And that’s almost the best-case scenario. If Steve was part of a union, they could strike to protest the unsafe work practices. If he had a second injury, there would be the possibility of a very expensive law suit. All of which is to say that managers and medical staff will typically err strongly on the side of caution in such circumstances, to avoid individual and corporate liability.

      I’m by no means a lawyer and so it’s possible that the laws regarding health and safety have some exemptions for sport, but if they don’t then I suspect this is a situation not unlike football before the Bosman ruling. Before 1995, professional football players whose contracts had expired were still controlled by their club. That club had to pay wages to the player (presumably at the rate agreed in their contract), but could still demand a transfer fee from other clubs and were under no obligation to play them. This system was in place for decades until a Belgian second division player took his team to court and won, because of course he did. Imagine any company not renewing your contract and yet not allowing you to apply for new jobs elsewhere. If sports are operating under the same health and safety laws as any other business, all it will take is one player prepared to go to court and they will win. And that will hopefully put an end to teams systemically risking their employees’ health, as they do now.

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