A Little Learning Can be Dangerous

So there we have it, the second Test tour of the winter is over, and England are in rude health, having dispatched South Africa and found a team.  So runs the more optimistic take after what became a dominant performance in the second half of the series, following a floundering one at the start.  Reading too much into England’s performances at any given time is a perpetual danger, but failing to give them any credit for their successes when they have them is taking a curmudgeonly attitude too far.  There were good things to take from the tour, there were examples of players finding their feet in the Test arena and the kernel of a half reasonable team was more identifiable by the end of the Tests than at the beginning.

It must be noted that South Africa weren’t far short of a rabble by the end, either broken by England or by the circumstances in which they find themselves.  Triumphalism at England’s victory has been limited, given the problems afflicting both South African cricket and the wider game.  Few in the media generally have spoken about it in depth, partly for fear of damaging the product even further, partly because of a lack of detailed knowledge about the particular difficulties faced.  It’s wise not to pretend an awareness that doesn’t exist, but it doesn’t make it any less concerning to see one of the game’s major powers in such disarray, and while there are always local factors or specific challenges (Kolpak in South Africa’s case being one), there is a pattern of struggle off the field among all the nations apart from Australia, England and India.

That doesn’t mean there can’t be good teams produced, but the financial reality of the world game is predicated on ever increasing wealth accumulation by those who already have it, and descent into penury for the rest.  When ideas are mooted to “help” Test cricket (just as there have been lots of initiatives to help the FA Cup that have gone swimmingly) they always fiddle around the fringes rather than examining the fundamental imbalance in world cricket that have led to this point.  Four day Tests are proposed as a means of saving money, supposedly supporting poorer national boards, but their advocacy is from one of the wealthiest – at least before the splurge to support the Hundred drained the bank account – and is indicative of the way absolutely every option must be considered apart from those that have created the major structural mess in which the sport finds itself.

The self-interest by those who have been tasked with acting as defenders of the game never stops.  South Africa’s own shortcomings on and off the field can’t be directly addressed by the world game, but it can provide a sufficiently level playing field that South Africa have a chance of succeeding, rather than continuing to undermine any prospect of a viable long term future.  This is why the repeated claims that Test cricket is the apex of the game, the highest form of cricket, are met with such scepticism.  It’s not that every action and proposal is intended to wreck Test cricket, it’s just that if that was indeed the aim, it would be hard to see how there would be a great deal of difference in approach.

It’s not as though there aren’t enough warning signs elsewhere, even if governance has been less than stellar in many nations.  The admission of Ireland and Afghanistan to Test cricket was greeted with delight as a rare instance of the game seeking to grow its international footprint, but Ireland have already cancelled scheduled Tests because they can’t afford them, such is the loss making nature of the five day game outside England and Australia.  That the other formats benefit from the presence of Tests is rarely factored into the global reach of the sport anyway, but the point is that concepts such as four day Tests don’t resolve this fundamental imbalance in any way, nor is there any prospect of someone who isn’t a fan of five day Tests becoming one by virtue of removing a day.

All of which is to attempt to provide some context for an England success that showed significant promise, but was against a cricketing nation in real difficulties.  The next tour to Sri Lanka will be against another country struggling to maintain its cricketing base, albeit there too there are substantial self-inflicted woes.  The England players aren’t responsible for the circumstances in which they find themselves, and it can seem churlish to qualify their win by rationalising the circumstances of their opponents.  But as long as the gulf between the haves and the have nots continues to widen, the premier form of cricket is in peril, and the victories against those without the means to develop their own game to the same level has to come with an asterisk, as well as making clear the laughably awful administration in England that can’t even regularly make the most of its overwhelming financial and structural advantage.

This is unfortunate.  For England have a collection of likeable cricketers who may not all be exciting in the sense used all too often by boards determined to reduce every facet of the sport to variations of T20, but who have shown a willingness and ability to grasp the nature of Test cricket itself.  Of the batsmen, Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley and especially Ollie Pope enhanced their reputations as young players with the patience to play the long form of the game at the top level, while Zak Crawley showed flashes of potential that he might be able to do the same.  Added to a core group of players in Root, the estimable Stokes and Broad whose records, whatever the blemishes, speak for themselves and there is the basis for a half decent team.

In Mark Wood and Jofra Archer there is pace to burn, and if fitness is a concern over both of them, then that is still something of an improvement on not having pace at all which has been all too frequent.  The negative comment that Archer attracts continues to baffle, but he does receive a more questioning press, shall we say, than is remotely warranted.  There are suspicions aplenty about the kind of briefing that is being carried out – it may well be denied, it may well be not true, but that suspicion exists because of the track record of various ECB personnel doing just that to certain players.  As someone once said, this is a matter of trust.

Of the players deemed to be at risk for the Sri Lanka tour, two stand out, and for different reasons.  Jos Buttler is under pressure for his place following a fairly long fallow period in Test cricket.  He has his defenders, and his basic talent is not in question, more his aptitude for the red ball game.  He simply doesn’t have the track record in either county or Test cricket to suggest this run of “form” is an anomaly rather than a reversion to the mean.  A wicketkeeper batting at seven and averaging around 30 is no disaster, certainly.  But when that wicketkeeper is primarily a batsman anyway, and when at least one of his rivals is both substantially better in that role, and also probably as a batsman too, it is increasingly difficult to make a case for him.

The other player now under pressure, to the surprise of many, is Joe Denly.  He has certainly been consistent – consistently moderate perhaps, but consistent.  Plenty of starts, plenty of decent contributions, but he’s lacked a big score or two to go with it.  What he has done though is set the tone for those around him, absorbing the new ball, putting mileage into the legs of the bowlers, and providing a platform that the middle order , glory be, have started to turn into decent totals.  To that extent, Denly’s contribution to the team could well be viewed as being significantly greater than his run totals and average might suggest.  Even so, it’s not of a level that would normally make him a certainty to retain his spot, and if Burns was fit for Sri Lanka there might have been some support for thanking Denly and moving on.  It is that the reported change would be for Bairstow to come in at number three instead that provoked some disbelief, both given his own poor performance which led to his dropping, and a technique that isn’t often described as tight.  It is one report, so we shall see.

Prior to the series, indeed after the first Test, an analysis of what might constitute England’s best team, and what changes might be made would have been a problematic matter to debate.  Not because of limited options but rather despair as to where to begin, so many were the holes in the team, so varied were the disasters.  England are a hell of a long way from even approaching being the finished article, but perhaps there is the basis of something with which to work in the years ahead.  All that is needed is opposition comprising more than two other teams for them to measure themselves against.



51 thoughts on “A Little Learning Can be Dangerous

  1. Grenville Jan 29, 2020 / 11:05 pm

    I agree everything you have said here. I want to add something about the briefings. It’s racist. The ECB and their stenographers have a problem with outsiders. You are an outsider if you black. It is not a necessary condition, cf KP, but it is sufficient. Its racist and it stinks.

    I don’t care how much they chortle and splutter over the great West Indies teams. a. at the time they hated it and they hated them and b. they can do it now they’ve used their financial muscle to put those uppity colonials firmly back in their place.

    It’s our cricket establishment which is in need of transformation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas Jan 30, 2020 / 10:02 am

      I really want you to be wrong but I’m afraid your not.


    • Marek Feb 1, 2020 / 12:24 pm

      …although the end is probably in sight generally: 2020 (or possibly 2021 if the transition period is extended) should be the last season that Kolpak or EU registrations will be valid. As I understand it, after that the only poaching possible will be players whose eligibility relies on connections with the UK itself or with Ireland. (I appreciate that wouldn’t stop Bedingham going but it should stop a lot of the exodus).

      …which also makes it a mystery to me why counties are still handing out two- (or even three-) year Kolpak contracts!

      I read somewhere that the Cotonou Agreement hadn’t yet been renewed anyway and that it is due to lapse this month, so the whole Kolpak concept might fall apart soon regardless of Brexit. Have you heard anything more up-to-date on this?


      • dArthez Feb 1, 2020 / 12:57 pm

        No I have not heard more about it.

        But i suspect that contracts that were signed under EU legislation / rights, will remain valid for their duration, even if the original legal basis (eg. Kolpak ruling) is not applicable anymore. And the same will probably apply to a few other things, such as migrant workers in the UK.
        Once it is clear when the Kolpak ruling ‘closes’ , expect another rush by counties to sign the last lot of them before the deadline, probably on long term contracts, that can be wound down cheaply by the counties, in case the player(s) involved is not as good as the counties thought they were.

        As for eligibility requirements being restricted to the UK (and Ireland? Thought the ECB closed that route a while ago, due to Ireland having Test status), that may simply mean that the talent gets poached earlier in their careers, on scholarships and such.

        But Ashwell Prince raises a valid point, and one that I have made on this blog in the past couple of months as well. Let’s see how CSA respond to this.


      • Marek Feb 1, 2020 / 1:40 pm

        You might be right about contracts within the EU signed under the Cotonou Agreement.

        However, as I understand it the last word from the ECB was that they wouldn’t honour such contracts beyond the point when they have to by law, which as things stand is the 2020 season.

        I assume that, due to the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, those players will still have the right to work in the UK if they’re resident for enough of the year (which they probably will be, since it’s 180 days I think)–ie the ECB won’t be able to block the registrations on the basis that they don’t have a work permit.

        But they will be able to stop them playing as non-overseas players, which I suspect is crucial to the NUMBER of Kolpakers in the county game. (Of course, some of them will have qualified for England by residence by then, such as Conor McKerr; but some won’t–Harmer is apparently nowhere near, for example).

        Ireland should still be a route because it’s in a free movement zone with the UK–provided that the players give up their rights to play for any other country during the county contract (ie they’ll be in the same position as Murtagh and Poynter). But Brexit should stop players coming over on the basis of other EU nationality–most importantly for SA players Dutch nationality, I assume.

        So unless the ECB changes their minds, then there is no closing date for signing of contracts–although the media were talking, wrongly I think, about yesterday being it (if there is a closing date at all, I think it will be the last day of the transition period). The important date will be when freedom of work and movement legislation stops applying, which is the end of 2020.

        As you say, that could mean that counties sign a load of young players who have UK or Irish ancestry on long-term development deals even though they won’t be able to play them for two or three years while they qualify for England by residence. But my guess would be that the number of South Africans in county cricket will decline sharply in the next few years.


        • dArthez Feb 1, 2020 / 2:34 pm

          It is all murky, and a lot will depend on what actually gets into the withdrawal agreement. I would not be surprised if there is a (lengthy) transitioning period, especially for whatever area of critical expertise the government faces shortages. Now obviously, cricket should not be anywhere near that list, but you never know what will happen when politicking, greed and shortsightedness intervene …

          South African players will know that they will need to make up their minds in time, and that may also result in a surge of South Africans going to the UK in particular in 2020.

          I do not know how easy or hard it is to obtain an ancestral passport in the UK or Ireland (if people from Ireland are still enjoying non-foreigner classification). But that is undoubtedly something that will be explored by some players …

          As for the residence qualifications, were they not relaxed so that Jofra Archer could play in the World Cup (both in terms of length of residence (7 years to 4) but also in terms of the number of night spent in the UK)? Under the old rules he would have had to forego BBL 2019 to qualify. Thus players and counties may push for a loosening of the rules, which may be great for the individual players, but not so great for the international game.

          The state of the South African economy will make the scholarship route an attractive proposal to many aspiring cricketers in South Africa (especially if there is already family based in the UK). We have seen the same thing happen with the West Indies.

          And that is not just England. New Zealand have been getting a fair number of South Africans as well in the last few years. In the case of New Zealand, South African players simply relocate and then spend 4 years qualifying for residence status.

          A fair number of Dutch players play in Full Member nations domestic leagues on second passports. Or rather, they represent the Netherlands on a second (Dutch) passport. Sure they would count as foreigners rather than as Kolpaks or even domestic players (until the ECB scrapped that rule), but how many of those are there in England at the moment anyway? The only ones I can think of are Ryan ten Doeschate and Roelof van der Merwe. And both probably qualify as residents now anyway?

          There is no simple solution to the problems bedevilling South African cricket. But it will be interesting to see how CSA respond to Ashwell Prince.

          Short of South Africa winning the World T20 (as if that is going to happen), I really don’t see how (domestic) public interest in cricket in South Africa is not going to collapse completely, and with that, eventually the game.


  2. dlpthomas Feb 5, 2020 / 10:52 am

    Anyone got Plunkett’s phone number?


    • Marek Feb 5, 2020 / 11:17 am

      …the chairman of Cricket USA, maybe….?


  3. dArthez Feb 5, 2020 / 1:13 pm

    Meanwhile South Africa U19 are set to finish 8th in a home World Cup. Which would be dismal in the best of times, but probably closer to “meeting expectations” in 2020.

    First losing to Afghanistan, then beating Canada comprehensively and UAE barely (on DLS), before losing three games in a row against Bangladesh, West Indies and Afghanistan. None of the lost games were even remotely close.

    The only reason they made it to the quarters is that they were in a ridiculously weak group (yeah, it ought to be a bit easier to qualify from Afghanistan, South Africa, UAE and Canada, than it would be from Australia, England, West Indies and Nigeria, as England found out the hard way).

    So they lost 4 out of 6 games, all of which were trashings, they managed to comprehensively beat mighty Canada and barely beat UAE. So they could not even beat a single U19 team from another Full Member nation. So by all accounts they should consider themselves even lucky to finish as high as 8th.

    Sure, there is a bit of randomness involved in U19 World Cups. But it is does not inspire much confidence for the future of the game either.


    • dArthez Feb 9, 2020 / 4:22 pm

      At least South Africa can say they lost the quarters to the eventual winners. Congratulations Bangladesh. That was an awesome display with the ball, a jittery display with the bat, but captain Akbar Ali saw them over the winning line. Barely but still (the margin looks more comfortable due to DLS).

      Sadly, the final has been a bit overshadowed by verbals, abuse, and some (near) fisticuffs.

      This was Bangladesh’s first World Cup win in any format in any age group. Congratulations to them, and their supporters. Let’s hope it is something that they can build on.


  4. dArthez Feb 6, 2020 / 6:38 am

    So captains can’t be banned anymore for slow overrates. India celebrate by getting 3 overrate offences in three matches. Namely the last two T20Is and the first ODI against New Zealand. Coincidence?


  5. dlpthomas Feb 6, 2020 / 1:04 pm

    The ECB have released a statement saying Jofra Archer has a “low grade stress fracture of the right elbow”. I wonder how that happened. (I also wonder why it took so long to diagnose it.)


    • dArthez Feb 6, 2020 / 2:10 pm

      I am guessing he’d be strongly considering retiring from Test cricket now.

      Because it won’t cost him much, and missing one year of IPL (or seriously reduced wages) will cost him much more. All because the ECB, despite spending millions upon millions on backroom staff, can’t see to it that someone with more than a single digit cricketing IQ is appointed as an England captain. Bowled into the ground, and Jofra is paying the price for that now.

      Speedy recovery wished, and I hope for him it is not going to be a career altering or ending one.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Marek Feb 6, 2020 / 9:01 pm

      Yes, who’d have thought that giving a younghish player who’s played more T20 cricket than f-c 970 overs in an Ashes series would have a knock-on effect?!

      An interesting side note to the whole saga has been (stop me, as the man said, if you think that you’ve heard this one before) the revelation that he got through the WC final on painkillers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • simpsonlong1 Feb 12, 2020 / 10:19 am

        Could not agree more.


  6. Marek Feb 6, 2020 / 9:06 pm

    Meanwhile, another cautionary tale:

    “The question, then, is how this happened: how, in the space of five years, did a young, hungry, talented bowler, who had taken bags of first-class wickets head from England’s spinner-in-waiting into early retirement?

    “You can look at the footage, and it’s all obvious. I was never the same bowler after that winter,” Riley reflects. “At the time, I remember there being a big push for spinners to bowl a bit quicker. That’s what Swann was doing, that’s what Ajmal was doing, Muralitharan did that, Warne did that.

    “I guess they were trying to find that ‘next Graeme Swann’. Swann was a world-class spinner – the best who’s played for England, certainly that I’ve been able to watch live – and he naturally bowled a very quick pace but still got shape on the ball. That’s what they were encouraging us to do.

    “I probably took that too literally, and ended up focusing on trying to bowl quicker instead of getting shape on the ball.”

    The parallels with a current England spinner are immediately apparent. Before the end of his first over on ODI debut on Tuesday, Matt Parkinson’s bowling speed was being criticised by TV commentators: the suggestion was that while his loopy legbreaks worked at county level, he would need to speed up to have international success”.

    Matt parkinson–the new Adil Rashid in more ways than one, clearly!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Quebecer Feb 7, 2020 / 9:19 pm

    I’m not a huge fan of Barney Ronay, but the article In The Guarniad on Jofra Archer – though stuffed with the bleedin’ obvious, at least exists.


    • dlpthomas Feb 8, 2020 / 1:59 am

      I thought it was an excellent article and one to keep for future reference because I’m pretty sure “they” are going to continue to mistreat Archer. What infuriates me is that what was “bleedin’ obvious” to so many of us was completely ignored by the majority of the media.

      I suspect the England dressing room is a pretty lonely place for some players.


    • dArthez Feb 8, 2020 / 12:20 pm

      It is an okay article, but just states the bleedin’ obvious, with the occasional quote of people who ought to have known a lot better. Anyone with half a brain would have been able to tell you that this was going to be a likely outcome – and that is without even knowing that he was playing with an serious injury to begin with!

      Depending on the severity of this injury, those may well end being the people who will have screwed Archer out of a career and say 20 million pounds (and that is a modest estimate, could even have been significantly more than that). It would have been much more interesting if the discussion had been at what point, in professional sports does medical incompetence become criminally negligent?

      Because at this point, I’d be seriously willing to entertain the thought that the backroom staff and several other key players have been criminally negligent. Whether such a case would hold up in a court of law, is a different matter maybe – but no one is taking responsibility and Archer ends up paying the price.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 8, 2020 / 8:27 pm

        Can only agree. That it is absolutely nothing new is scandalous. How on earth does this thing keep happening?


        • simpsonlong1 Feb 12, 2020 / 10:21 am

          Well my reply to this question is that the ECB and all who sail on its ships are a bunch of p****s.


  8. dlpthomas Feb 9, 2020 / 3:11 am

    “It would have been much more interesting if the discussion had been at what point, in professional sports does medical incompetence become criminally negligent?”

    I’m usually one of the few here to defend the medical staff but I’m struggling to understand why it took so long to make the diagnosis. We don’t know what investigations were done (saying he went for “a scan” doesn’t mean much – CT scan? MRI scan? Bone scan?) and these sort of injuries can be subtle and easily missed. It is possible that the original imaging has been reviewed leading to detection of a stress fracture. However I can’t help wondering if the injury was not taken seriously and therefore not investigated properly.


    • dArthez Feb 9, 2020 / 4:39 am

      Sometimes, if you don’t know what you are looking for, it can take some time before tests are conclusive. Then again, it should have been pretty obvious what they were looking for beforehand. So it really should not have taken that long (it is not like a regular Joe shoes up at a doctor with complaints of a vague nature, that ultimately are caused by some kind of exotic affliction). Besides if they know there is something wrong, how can such a young player be cleared to bowl, let alone repeatedly being bowled into the ground? And that was for all to see!

      I am sure such injuries also happen in the amateur game. But if it happened to an amateur player, it would have been frustrating but understandable that this transpired. Because amateur players don’t have anyone but themselves to look after them. Not so in the professional game, with all the support from backroom staff, quick(er) access to medical checks and all that.

      Was the point not of having the bloated backroom staff to avoid such things from happening? What else are they paid for? To give players shots whenever they carry injuries, so they can be ‘medically approved’ to cripplehood when they are 35? There is a massive failure there.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. dlpthomas Feb 9, 2020 / 9:49 am

    “Then again, it should have been pretty obvious what they were looking for beforehand.”

    I wonder about that. How common are elbow stress fractures in fast bowlers? (Isn’t it more of a baseball injury?)

    Meanwhile, the umpires have called for a DRS review of an LBW. Strange days, indeed.


    • dArthez Feb 9, 2020 / 9:58 am

      With regards to the ODI:

      The issue was that Snicko was not available for the previous dismissal (Bavuma). So the review from South Africa went against South Africa on umpire’s call, rather than it being proven conclusively wrong (as per the protocol as far as I know). We can argue the merits of that, but that is the system that is in place. If there is no conclusive evidence to overturn a standing umpire’s call, the decision counts as an umpire’s call (as for lack of conclusive evidence that has been in the games for years with low catches where more often than not the standing umpire’s call with regards to the catch is upheld).

      So South Africa still had a review left next ball, when van der Dussen was given leg before. If the England players had been bothered to actually know the protocol they would have known that. Instead they decided to act all outraged, and a few minutes later give a send off to van der Dussen dismissed, etc. Which normally should lead to a few demerit points.

      Oh, and it is the same England that won a World Cup on several umpiring howlers, and I don’t think they were too outraged when they benefited from them …

      Liked by 1 person

      • dArthez Feb 11, 2020 / 8:07 am

        Seems that no demerit points or talks to the match referee took place after that. That is justice ICC style, I suppose.


    • dlpthomas Feb 9, 2020 / 10:32 pm

      Yes lets blame those 4 over spells in the BBL and IPL – that’s what caused a stress fracture. I hope Jofra is a more forgiving man than me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas Feb 10, 2020 / 11:58 pm

      “Chris Silverwood says England may reduce Jofra Archer’s workload when he returns to fitness after the paceman suffered a low-grade stress fracture of his right elbow.”



  10. quebecer Feb 9, 2020 / 10:15 pm

    Really nice to see rash bowl like that. he looked really good, sharp and strong. It does also mean he should get a pat on the back for getting through the World Cup as he did when clearly nowhere near full fitness. Still, he’s a brown malingerer, isn’t he?

    Well bowled Rash.

    Liked by 2 people

    • dlpthomas Feb 11, 2020 / 12:25 am

      There’s a recent talksport podcast where Mark Butcher is talking to Gough and Tudor. Butcher asked Tudor was he ever accused of not trying (as Archer has been). Tudor replied that it happened all the time. It was not said out loud, and I could be wrong, but I got the impression that both Tudor and Butcher believe that some players are treated differently because of the colour of their skin. As a fat, old white man, I am not going to argue with them.


      • dArthez Feb 11, 2020 / 4:59 am


        Obviously, I don’t know much about Tudor, let alone what was said and written about him at the time of his England career. But if such stuff was not written and said in public (and I do mean media coverage such as news papers and dedicated cricket coverage on television), that would suggest that Archer is / was having it even worse than Tudor! Which really should not even be close to happening.

        I do know that language used in media reports tend to portray Black young men in particular as more physically imposing, threatening and all that (they can be 5’7″, weigh 120 lbs and still be described as such) – with the corollary that they don’t suffer from ‘minor’ injuries and such (and that the authorities need to pump them full of lead to deal with their threat – and basically anything can be construed as a threat). It is easy to see how such language is highly problematic, and leads to many unwarranted deaths, especially in more militarised societies. That is just in public life. It is not just particular to the US; even in South Africa this problem of language exists.

        Obviously cricket is not that extreme, but such popular narratives will feed into the physical abuse suffered by Black / minority players, especially when they are fast bowlers. And no one will notice because of the internalised prejudices and problematic beliefs.

        Which gets us back to the opening response on this thread from Grenville. That the authorities need transformation.


      • Marek Feb 24, 2020 / 12:42 pm

        It was absolutely said out loud–particularly by Nasser Hussain, who didn’t hide the fact that he thought that Tudor’s injury record hid a mental weakness (much like the suggestions about Rashid in 2017). As`I recall, he was open about it being the reason why Tudor didn’t play more Tests.


  11. Benny Feb 11, 2020 / 11:40 pm

    I wonder what Sussex think of the treatment of their bowler. May be mistaken but I thought central contracts were introduced to protect England players from overuse


  12. simpsonlong1 Feb 12, 2020 / 10:13 am

    “The negative comment that Archer attracts continues to baffle, but he does receive a more questioning press, shall we say, than is remotely warranted. There are suspicions aplenty about the kind of briefing that is being carried out – it may well be denied, it may well be not true, but that suspicion exists because of the track record of various ECB personnel doing just that to certain players. As someone once said, this is a matter of trust”

    We have seen this before. TRUST! HAH!
    Just don’t go whistling in the dressing room Joffra…


  13. dArthez Feb 15, 2020 / 4:26 pm

    The President of CSA, Chris Nenzani, famous for not seeing any problem whatsoever with the Big 3 stitch up, has survived yet another meeting. Which basically means that all the idiots who were responsible for just about everything cricket-related to turn for the worse in South Africa are still in office, with only Moroe suspended, and a few people resigning their position, probably out of fear for legal liability more than anything else (as they could have, and probably should have, done years before).

    Under his excellent stewardship, massive losses have been registered, strife with players over restructuring the domestic game, salaries, sponsors walking away, a failed launch of the Global T20, agreements repeatedly breached, attempts to silence journalists, players leaving in droves for England and New Zealand, and whatnot. But all is well.

    Elections are due in September, not that Cricket South Africa can afford to wait that long but hey egos are always more important than doing what is good for the game.


  14. dArthez Feb 26, 2020 / 7:05 pm

    Seriously, if David Miller is good enough to be picked, it would be more sensible to stop playing cricket altogether as a Full Member nation.


    • dArthez Feb 29, 2020 / 11:06 am

      I wonder if South Africa will even bother posting 200 just once in the ODIs. I imagine there are quite a few county teams with better batting lineups.


      • thebogfather Feb 29, 2020 / 11:47 am

        Perhaps the counties will now be aiming to follow the SA ODI model, now that ECB have downgraded the 50 over comp to second XI status from this year…


        • dArthez Feb 29, 2020 / 12:13 pm

          If I had a WordPress account, I would have liked your comment Boggy. And honestly, I really don’t see the end of the tunnel with regards to cricket in South Africa.

          Honestly, if they had to play qualifiers for the next World Cup (still possible of course) I would not even be surprised if they can’t pass that hurdle. There is simply no batting in the middle order (a veteran of 15 ODis averaging 23), a debutant and Miller who I have come to call “Filler”).

          Oh and the only backup bowling option that has actually bowled in their entire (domestic) career is Bavuma – that is if you discount the one over that Quinton has bowled in his entire FC career. So you can imagine how much depth there is in case of an injury to a bowler.

          Although the batting is so poor, that it would be a challenge to defend a target for 40 overs anyway, so I am not even sure why South Africa have picked 5 bowling options with this batting lineup.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Sir Peter Feb 28, 2020 / 1:07 pm

    “I am incredibly proud to be appointed to such a prestigious position and look forward to continuing Colin’s work and making the most of the tremendous momentum that cricket is currently enjoying,” Watmore said.


    • thebogfather Feb 28, 2020 / 3:18 pm

      A previous be, yet so brief, FA boss
      Who deviously vetted glow relief, with no toss
      Yet another unaccountable yes man fool
      A wet ‘Gravesy trained, ECB well paid tool


    • SteveT Feb 28, 2020 / 5:21 pm

      “I look forward to working with the ECB and its stakeholders to grow the international, domestic and recreational game and make a positive difference to society.”

      From the departing chairman

      “”When I took the post back in 2015, I could not have dreamed that the game would be in the shape it is today. The opportunity to grow cricket and bring more people into the game has never been so significant.”


  16. thebogfather Feb 28, 2020 / 2:34 pm

    Shock! Horror! No surprise…. Mark Wood is injured and out of the Sri Lanka tour


    • Marek Feb 28, 2020 / 3:31 pm

      …to be replaced with a bowler who apparently wasn’t fit enough to be playing in a red-ball match which finished three days ago!

      Mahmood’s had an interesting red-ball winter. Good enough to be the support seamer in NZ when people were injured, then magically worse than Craig Overton three weeks later when England needed injury cover, despite not having played in either Test and Overton not having played any competitive cricket for three months; now magically better than Overton again despite not having played a competitive match since and Overton having done reasonably well on the Lions tour which is still going on.

      Confused? You will be!

      Or maybe it’s an extremely subtle bit of analytics-driven horses-for-courses selection based on Overton’s extensive experience in SA and Mahmood’s in SL…


      • quebecer Feb 29, 2020 / 11:25 pm

        I wish someone could explain Craig Overton to me.


        • Marek Mar 3, 2020 / 11:12 pm

          Not the fastest bowler in his family…


  17. Marek Mar 8, 2020 / 5:58 pm

    “What happened prior to that was a complete breakdown in trust between him and the team.

    “The way back in for him is to try and rebuild that trust and that takes a considerable amount of time. We are in that time at the moment.”

    …said which England figure about which other, and when?

    I’m interested because I’ve just read two separate articles about two different players, both of them amongst England’s most successful in the format concerned (albeit in one case from a fairly small sample size), who were apparently frozen out of the side because of offending the giver of this quote….


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