I warn you. I’m going to vent. For those of you who still care enough.
Because if you give more than two f***s for this test team, I applaud your faith. If you care how they do, I applaud your loyalty. I’m 50 now, too old for blind faith, or to be loyal to such an abusive partner.
The openers failed again. Sibley made his case in county cricket, and has made his case to show that in the top theatre, he ain’t up to it. We had to try. Burns averages, what, just over 30 and is as close as we have to a settled top order batsman. Speaks volumes. Denly battles hard, and is an exemplar for making the most of his opportunity, but it’s a bit like that time when your football team has been beaten 3-0 at home and the tannoy announcer says your defensive midfielder is the man of the match because he ran around a lot and kicked somebody. If Denly is your main positive, you are in trouble. 19 tests, average at 30.
Root can’t carry all before him in the batting, and even Nasser was losing his rag over the captaincy. Stokes, is the best cricketer we have, but he’s ill, his father is seriously ill, and he can barely bowl. Buttler is an enigma still, and probably still will be when he is in the side after 70 tests with two hundreds and a load of 20 not outs. Bairstow was dropped for being crap, then picked again rather than someone who went on a tour for which Bairstow was dropped (Crawley). Seems they’d rather not have given Zak one test too many. Sam Curran has no first class hundreds, so he’s not someone to rely upon. The team subsided from 140 odd for 3 to whatever all out. It’s not new. It’s happening all the time. Frequently. But hey, all we need to do is see an ECB stooge say we care about Test Cricket and the gullible idiots of the press lap it up, alongside the insipid media commentators who care more about looking scrumptious in front of the cameras than actually holding these fools to account – yes, Wardy, I’m looking at you.
Then there’s the Jofra Archer whispering campaign. Built up in July, Shot down by December, as Frank Sinatra might have sung. Pollock is especially all over him. Seems if you have crap body language and aren’t pinging it down at 95 every ball, you are a slacker. Jimmy and Stuart scowl all day at the fielders and have done for a decade, and nothing is commented on their poor attitudes. It’s getting worse, not better. That said, those last two balls from Jofra were naughty. Someone does need to get into his shell on that.
England don’t take test cricket seriously. This team proves it. This squad proves it. This selection process proves it. How can a wicket-keeper batsman with one century in 38 tests move sweetly into a spot when a better keeper, with a century, in Sri Lanka, on debut, is totally excluded for, well, reasons, and you bring back someone you dropped for technical reasons against pace. They’re laughing at us. Their twitter feed is mocking you. The press boys love their paid holidays too much to care whether the real fan is being short-changed. The TV media are goons, cutting costs (notice it’s the South African feed in its entirety), pushing Wardy to the front, and having three people commentating at the same time, when two might have been one too many. Pommie Mbangwa has no reason to make a living out of this, and Mark Nicholas on my screen is as welcome as the blue screen of death on my laptop.
I can’t watch this nonsense much longer. I can’t write the same old same old about a test team that pretends to care, but all messages are that they just want to maximise their earnings, without the increase in performance required. They are about as far away from the ODI team as is possible. We have come to this. South Africa are in utter turmoil. They’ve lost players and will lose more. They are handing us our arses on a plate, but it’s going to be more of the lessons learned, take the positives and play better cricket. Letting Philander bowl you to a stop is not learning. Getting nervous when a batsman hits you hard like QDK did isn’t learning lessons.
You carry on. There’s a lot more rage where this comes from. But maybe a finite supply because the time will come when enough is enough and I get out of this abusive relationship and hand the gig over to those on other feeds who got the journo gigs they so wanted, who turned into the media stooges they sometimes berated, and who look down on the likes of us as mugs who do this for no reward, no wanting a full-time job, and the abuse it sometimes gets us. Why care about something the protagonists, and the people that pay them, don’t give a shit about? Let’s have some more “Big Three + 1” series to make life so much better.
Yes, Amazon (if you followed my Twitter feed you’ll know) have riled me and made me angry, but there’s a lot more stored away. Who are the angry voices out there now, about this test team? Where are they? What are they doing? Why sniff at a five man bowling attack? Why whisper your disapproval of sticking a team in? Where’s the rage? Where is the caring? Do we want to go back to the 80s and 90s of being plucky triers? On the money these guys are getting now?
Have a good one. Comments, if you give a shit, below. I’m handing over to others for the rest of this farce.
UPDATE – Colin Graves has been awarded a CBE. If you aren’t livid, you should be. Chris will be giving our reaction tomorrow, but in the meantime, a preview…