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…
I’ve said this before, but I will say it again; LCL you are spot on in your assessment, which makes me sad, because test cricket and England should not be like this, it should be the pinnacle! LCL, you sum up many of the feelings I have about this test team…..thank you.
The whispering against Archer is not acceptable and anyone with any decency in the paid media, should be calling those responsible out on this, it disgusts me. We have a gem, a bowler of great talent and potential and look how they are treating him…..
I did take amusement from one report I read on the BBC website, where the match summary stated England collapses have been common over the past 2 years 🤣 really, only the last 2 years, what on earth have they been watching……unbelievable……
…the main thing pointed to by the rapid evaporation of hope in Archer being a matchwinner is that Root should be sacked as captain…
Joe Root is a funny one. This time last year, instead of a break in the schedule to recharge his batteries, went off to the BBL to get himself an IPL gig. He failed. Now I don’t begrudge a man trying to maximise his earnings, but, well, you know who I’m going to compare him to.
Root is not a leader of men. I think that much is clear. If he was, Morgan wouldn’t be ODI captain. That speaks volumes to me. So the test team are secondary to the ODI team. I happen to believe if we’d left the ODI team with Ed Smith another year and the World Cup would have been in 2020, we’d be in massive trouble.
The other thing is the treatment of Bairstow and of Foakes. What the hell does that tell you about selection processes, giving players opportunities and so on.
Root is Cook Mark 2. This is what the ECB now prefer as the so called Test captain. These are no leaders of men however.
Perhaps the coach does the captaincy under the England model?
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“Tourists’ collapse was awfully predictable”
Reported upon like a vicarage tea party.
One thing that still stays with me years after I read it is an interview with Ricky Ponting (when he was still a player) where he said that a good captain needs two of three things.
First was to be a leader of people. Second was to be good tactically. Third was to be in good form at your main discipline so that you could inspire your team through example.
I don’t see either Root or Cook having any of these most of the time (from time to time they have the last one), let alone two. They seem terrible both as leaders of people and as tacticians (liking and being inspired by your captain are not the same thing), and unfortunately they’re also shown up by having Morgan as captain of the one-day team. I also don’t see these qualities in Broad, who’s one of the most frequently mentioned alternatives but who I seem to recall being a not especially inspiring and tactically poor captain when he was in charge of the T20 team.
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Thanks Rohan. I have utter contempt for this team at present. The new coach has not yet convinced me that he isn’t an ocean going cretin making me pine for Peter Moores. The captaincy will drift, appointing the right yes man, rather than the right man. Root is insipid. And yes, I am looking at what he is working with.
But what has saddened me the most is that while my enthusiasm wanes, I don’t see anyone outside this church standing up for the supporters ebbing away. The astroturfing of Hundred opposition is something. There isn’t anything out there other than a Tufty Club. People have tuned me out, as much as they listened in the first place. But I see people trying to play nice with the ECB. You can’t. You just can’t.
Organizations can pass an event horizon where any ability toward mission in someone is actively suppressed, because it will make the rest of them in power look bad by comparison.
It is completely unforgivable in such organizations to be the one entity that hasn’t failed where everything else has. The antibodies come out, and the cycle accelerates.
This sums up my thoughts. Same issues same faces. I’m fed up with it.
You’ve a right to be fed up. Same old same old. Nonsense after nonsense.
Still, we have a big TV deal and the players will benefit royally, especially the top ones. And we pay for it. Jobs a good one. Keep taking the rubbish displays, the favouritism, the supine media not willing to crap on their own doorstep, the bloggers and social media giants who just want to be clever rather than critical. OPPOSE THE HUNDRED. What stopped them opposing the powers that be before then, because it was absolutely hunky dory up until that fustercluck.
I still wouldn’t rule England out of winning this such is the dire state of SA cricket. But I don’t give a shit anymore. Couldn’t care less. In fact there is something deeply satisfying in knowing I no longer pay for any of this shite. Sky cancelled.
Looking on from a far watching the Titanic sink having been warning for some time that the she is holed beneath the water line one can only laugh at the situation. Of course it’s not really funny because I once cared, as we all did about this sport. But it was stolen from us by spivs in cahoots with a cricket traitorous media who have royally fucked it up.
John Major wrote a book about Brian Johnson many years ago called I believe ….Summers will never be the same. If only he could have known of the dickheads who now run the sport. Graves is a disgrace. He has run England into the ground in his tenure. He should have been sailing the Titanic on that fateful night. The test team is a joke away from these shores, and has been for a number of years, and his plans for Micky mouse 100 balls of shite will insure that at home “Summers will never be the same” again. Cash registers ringing often is all that matters.
This is what happens when you put retail people in charge of a national sport. Pile them high, and sell them… er……very expensive as it turns out. A Mini metro at Rolls Royce prices. Fuck you Graves, and all who sail in your fucked up world view. I’m out, I made up my mind this would be my last summer of paying for this village green bollocks. As long as they can still fill Lords twice a year with Mick Jagger, Stephen Fry and an assortment of lovies all is well in la la land.
Colin Graves CBE. For services to cricket.
They still call them “Honours”. What an insult to those who earned them many years ago.
Yes, I’m finding it hard to even get angry. It’s such a mess, obvious problems just running on and on. Once upon a time I would have been tempted to buy a week pass to watch this Test – I have a bit of time off work. But it was obvious that selection in particular was going to be just as pointless as usual.
I still care about England as a test team which is why I am so fucking angry. This is a woeful performance and not all the blame can be placed on the bug running through (and out of) the team. On the bright side, Root is off the field and Stokes is in charge – maybe he knows how to captain a side.
This morning’s bowling performance has been comically clueless. All the classic hallmarks of England looking listless in the field over the past 10 years. A strike bowler being played at less than 100% fit. Half track bowling plans on what has been a tricky pitch to bat a good length on. Curran and Philander have been the best two bowlers on this surface, they both bowl a similar way… We’ve actually just taken a wicket – who knew that aiming at the stumps might prove successful? Immediately Archer decides to bounce out Quinton de Kock, result – x2 sixes.
Back from a lovely Christmas and now able to watch the cricket. Settle down. And then start to wonder why I am paying my Sky sub now that the tennis is on Amazon Prime and the only thing my sub now covers is the cricket. The only person on the field who is displaying any kind of commitment is Stoke. root is on and off as he is not well. So stay off. When Stokes takes over he seems to be making an effort. The rest are in full Alastair Cook mode ie – stand around, pick nose, occasionally clap hands and should Come on Lads before relapsing back into torpor.
How much longer are we going to put up with Root?
Good comments! But you’ve highlighted the one simple fact why nothing will change. Illness. Illness. Team is ill, ready made excuse for a poor series and the eternal brushing under the carpet…
Also, I love your description of ‘full Alistair Cook mode’ made me laugh! 😂
Nice to see Archer get a “5 for” even if he was expensive. I just wish he’d bowl a bit fuller – he’s supposed to have a good Yorker but he rarely bowls it.
When you go, I’ll miss you. I’m feeling very sad about the game and disillusioned. You always manage to be spot on in your verbose way. You help me understand what I am feeling.
I don’t mind England being crap. I mind them destroying the world game whilst doing it. I mind them shooting themselves in the foot in the pursuit of power. I mind the greed. And I mind the racism.
It was always going to be difficult to maintain the standards that they reached from the Duncan Fletcher through to Flower’s teams. When Colly retired they had a clear replacement in Bopara, but no, they had to try the blue eyed ones first in Morgan and Taylor. They never replaced him. They broke Trott, fired Pietersen before he was done. Dumped a sucession of plausible openers (not least the working class black guy) for what they couldn’t do. Stuck with Cook well beyond his sell by date cos they couldn’t admit to a mistake. Beat on Hales and Compton and promoted 1 for 190 Bess over Rashid because they ‘didn’t fit’ and now are hoping that players who have to learn the long form game in a reviled competition played in the damp and cold are suddenly going to learn the test game in a failing team captained by an entitled, if talented, fool.
They didn’t have to try to shrink the game to the IPL, BBL and the hundred, whilst breaking any international team not called England, Australia or India. At least the BCCI and CA are halfway competent and don’t consider the paying and playing public an irrelevance.
I don’t want to be a fan. I want to watch human beings excell and I want to be part of something that matters, not a mug who cheers when a wicket falls to Jimmy jagging a ball off a length to a player with no defense on a damp green top.
Also Moeen should have been the captain and number 5 who bowled a bit of better than useful off spin, not a burnt out utility player who can’t be bothered with the grind and the racism any longer.
PS. to preempt anyone who thinks I’m wrong about the racism, name me one non-white player who has had a fair shot since Nasser Hussein.
I disagree on Moeen for captain but on everything else I am with. Great post.
Absolutely incandescent about the gong for Graves. And the simply appalling batting in the first innings (two sessions !!!). And the totally inept use of a not-unhelpful pitch by the bowlers, second time. If the stats are so great that they tell us not to play a spinner, why are they not good enough to tell Silver**** that the right length is just back of a length, at Centurion? And that decent batsmen usually don’t get caught on the boundary when you have posted three men out for the hook? etc, etc.