There’s Only Words And Twisted Songs My Dear – The End Of The Second Test

“The past is a candle at great distance; it is too close to let you quit, it is too far to comfort you.”

I guess the person who put together that little beauty of a quote couldn’t have been at Adelaide Oval in 2006, and probably wasn’t one of the paying guests today on “People’s Monday” at the second home of English Cricket (accept no pale North London imitations). While the gold standard of last day disasters for an England supporter could be that fateful December day nearly 15 years ago, while following the action today two other magnificent meltdowns entered my mind. Of course there was Day 4 at Headingley in 2014 – a fustercluck of captaincy and frazzled brains that Moeen Ali’s fifth day brilliance could not save. The second….well you might wait a little.

According to my Twitter feed, the captaincy, or abject lack of it today, brought back those harrowing memories of 2014 for me. Even a tweet from a member of my favourite band you have never heard of…

By the way, None But The Brave remains an amazing album.

No, I was actually reminded more of a June day in 1989. England were playing Australia in the first test of that series, at Headingley, the location that had scars for all Aussies, or so they said. I was a mere teenager, actually working in a temp job as a ward clerk in a private hospital in Stepney. Many was the time during the day I would sneak into one of the patients private rooms to bring them a cup of tea or something, and then sit with one sports mad fellow who had the cricket on. The chiefs in charge soon realised that the tea didn’t take that long (they were really pissed off I sat in and watched the Derby) and I couldn’t pay so much time. However, that day started without an apparent threat. A flat pitch, 1260 runs for 20 wickets on the board, England needing to bat out time. Except, from nowhere, they didn’t. It was scarcely believable. How the hell had we lost on that deck? To the worst Australian team to leave those shores?

I wasn’t invited back when my two week period expired at London Independent. I wasn’t overly depressed. The stories I could tell…..

“No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories”

So said a supposedly wise person, and they were right. Adelaide and Headingley, both 1989 and 2014, as well as other utter disasters mean that the Cardiffs and Cape Towns, Kandys and Centurions mean so much more. There are the abject failures and the heroic escapes. Test cricket provides you with the full spectrum of possibilities, and the game never ceases to surprise. Just yesterday test cricket reminded you of its taut brilliance with the last wicket win by the West Indies, and the massive efforts of Pakistan to grab that win. Snippy Hundred “agitators” made their points, and were brushed off, in the manner that Michael Jordan might brush off a lippy scoring guard back in the day. Test cricket stretches the nerves for hours on end. All England fans knew this could go sideways, no matter how much they had to chase. That the chase was largely academic….

Foresight is not about predicting the future, it’s about minimising surprise.

The cliche was writ. All four results were possible today. I thought only two were, and, despite the runs India had, it included them winning and us winning. A draw only came into play if it rained (and a band missed London). When the day started the thinking was “if England get Pant early, then it is really on for England”. If Pant made runs, then England might find two tricky sessions to bat. The hosts were on top. And they got Pant early, nicking off to Ollie Robinson, soon to be followed by Ishant Sharma.

Then, with the game in the palm of their hand, England appeared to want to settle scores, rather than settle the score. Suddenly we had a bumper barrage, and two reported bunnies hopped around and then whacked it around. From 209 for 8 all the way up to 298 for 8. A half-century for Mohammed Shami, and a test best for Jasprit Bumrah, and an odd declaration two overs after lunch, and England were facing a nominal target of 272. It was nominal, despite the usual bores saying that we should look for England to go for it. They claim to be cricket writers of some repute. No names.

Anyway, those sorts must have felt like lemons when England lost both their openers for ducks, which was the first time this has happened to England at home. Burns getting a weird one to hit to cover, Sibley nicking off as you always might as an opener, but which happens far too frequently. Hameed and Root dug in, with the former avoiding a king pair. His 45 ball stay was promising but not enough, when he was pinned in front LBW – I confess I was not watching live, and only saw the review, and said “I hope that’s a not out review and not an England one”. Bairstow was nailed on in front before tea, and four down (although bizarrely that was given not out).

Four down at tea, all hopes really rested on Root. That did not last long, with Bumrah getting an edge, and Kohli pouching the catch. Kohli dropped Buttler soon after, and as Jos batted for 96 balls that looked more expensive as the day wore on. Buttler and Ali then saw off a few overs, but Moeen was playing and missing more and more in between some solid defensive work. It just looked inevitable that he was going to nick off, and so he did after nearly 16 overs without a wicket. Sam Curran survived as many balls in this test as a dead man, which incidentally, might be the role he plays in the next test after a chastening game. Ollie Robinson played a sensible knock, but all he was doing, along with Buttler was raising hope. Over to John Cleese in Clockwise

it’s not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.

Chris and I exchanged WhatsApps – the hope kills you, defending a draw is just amazing cricket etc., and then it happened. The breakthrough. Robinson pinned in front by Bumrah. Buttler followed shortly after nicking off, and Siraj applied the coup de grace by bowling Anderson to bowl England out for 120 and give India a famous win.

India bowled magnificently, they were feisty, perhaps a little too feisty for some tastes. In this attack, which can leave out Ashwin, they have no easy outlet to relax against. All four seamers played their part. The atmosphere of people’s Monday, with many fans of the visitors in attendance, was a bit boisterous as well. It speaks volumes for the stuffiness of Lord’s, as with Wimbledon, that to admit the plebs at something approaching an acceptable entrance fee and not to be booked months in advance for a fee that would make moneylenders blush, is something to be celebrated. You might even have seen someone quoted in the Daily Mail (without his permission) about it today!

I am watching the interview with Joe Root, and fair play for him to say his captaincy let them down. There is no doubt that he had a terrible morning, and he has owned it, but for heaven’s sake, without his 180 England would have been dead and buried. People might ask “aren’t you angry” and the answer is absolutely no. Not with this team. They aren’t leaving the best players out through spite. The captain doesn’t hide behind a media shield and let people say he’s still “learning the job”. The bowlers are, Anderson apart, young and upcoming, or with real promise at times. This isn’t a team that I don’t like. I don’t think it is the best team England have, by some long shot, but I am not angry with players that are up against the best or second best team in the world.

No. I am angry at the ECB. I am angry at the Hundred being the only cricket anyone can play who wants international aspirations at red ball cricket. I am angry at the ECB. I am angry at a head of English cricket who has let the game get into such a god-awful mess. I am angry at the ECB. I am angry at a coach who seems not to care overly about the primacy of the test game when there is a T20 international tournament coming up. I am angry at the ECB.

The Head of the ECB, or whatever Harrison has called himself, had the temerity to show up for an interview during this test. He blamed covid, he blamed the schedule and he blamed pretty much everything except himself. I’ll go through that nonsense in due course. What we have now, six years after he went out on the balcony and supported Strauss and his trust covenants, is an absolutely disgusting mess. England’s test team looks bereft. Root gave about the limpest “we could come back” speech in his post-match interviews, and knows that he has one hand tied behind his back. His governing body, who love the word trust, should never be trusted. This decline has been telegraphed. John Wooden, a famous college basketball coach said “failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be”. If we carry on treating test cricket like this, then we can only expect to fail more. This doesn’t feel like 2014. This India team isn’t that lot. It’s driven. Unless Kohli gives this up, and that isn’t going to happen, the rest of the series does not bode well.

Comments below.

55 thoughts on “There’s Only Words And Twisted Songs My Dear – The End Of The Second Test

  1. Sean Aug 16, 2021 / 7:49 pm

    Well I was there and the result seemed inevitable after Shami and Bumrah partnership, especially when you lose both openers for zip. Aside from the shitshow on the pitch, Lords on a 5th day is wonderful. Very few suits, lots of parents with their kids and in general, a pretty friendly atmosphere.

    Indian fans definitely outnumbered England fans but there was no trouble that I saw. The only thing I can complain about, apart from England’s performance, was why did Lords decide to leave a whole upper deck empty, when there was a big demand for tickets?🤷🏻‍♂️

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  2. Mark Aug 16, 2021 / 8:54 pm

    This is not a good England side so it doesn’t hurt like it once might have done. It’s all too predictable.

    Some times you lose from day one, and as each day passes the position gets worse and worse. This was not one of those test matches. England got themselves back in the match on Saturday, even got a small lead, and then knocked over the top order of India for a small deficit. They turned up today needing four wickets. They didn’t even manage to get three…. even though the media had made such a fuss about India having three number elevens. India had the luxury of declaring such was their strong position at the end.

    You feared the worst. Well, if you understand test cricket and understand England. It is amazing fully paid up journalists think a team is going to chase down 270 in 60 overs on the final two sessions of a test match. (They should get a job at the ECB, they are full of idiots who can’t think logically. The 16.4 has frazzled people minds.)

    Root is not a captain, but then who is? Who can learn to be a red ball captain in today’s ECB world? And would the ECB even want him? Image, and sponsor friendly is the required MO. But hang on a minute. England have a back room staff as expensive to run as a Formula One racing team. Is there no one including the hapless coach who understands where to pitch the ball to tail enters? Doesn’t Jimmy Anderson know this by now? Just another reason why the so called “greatest ever” media clap trap just annoys the shit out of me more than losing.

    For some time the ECB and their media loyalists have been happy to write off foreign tours. Even happy to be thrashed by 4s and 5s wallopings. This was ok as they bet the farm on being able to win at home. Now even that escape hatch seems to be looking a bit rickety. Oh and Root will fail at some time, and when he does that will be 2-0. Or 3-0 or 4-0

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  3. Marek Aug 16, 2021 / 9:44 pm

    Some fun random statistics:

    –three of India’s bottom five, including the man who’d once in 70 innings got to 35 before today and the man who was averaging 2.2 before this series, are averaging more than any England player except Root….

    –whose average is very nearly 100 runs better than the next England player

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marek Aug 16, 2021 / 10:31 pm

    “I don’t think it is the best team England have, by some long shot”. I’m very interested in that–who would you say are these players that would improve the team by quite a bit?

    For me, one of the gloomier things from an England perspective is that it isn’t very far off the best team. Apart from the no-brainer–Stokes instead of Curran (as well as, quite possibly, instead of Root as captain) would clearly make it much stronger–who outside this XI would clearly make it a better team?

    I would argue Archer and probably Stone instead of Wood–but then Archer has barely two wickets a match since the Ashes and averages 43. I would argue Pope instead of Hameed at three–but Pope averages 31 in tests these days and 24 since the South Africa series last year.

    I think you could argue Foakes instead of Buttler overall (although that depends a bit which version of Buttler turns up), and Leach instead of Ali (although for me that’s a closer run thing than it’s sometimes portrayed), but that’s about it. And I think that with the exception of Stokes, those changes would make it a somewhat better team rather than a vastly better team, at least until or unless the replacements start playing to their potential.

    In four innings so far, only Root averages 30 and only one other batter has reached 70 runs (he’s also the only other, unsurprisingly, to average more than 20). That will lose you nine tests out of ten–but there aren’t really any other batters apart from Stokes and Pope even coming close to banging the door down, let alone making a case over a number of seasons. Bohannon, if you look at his record, is head and shoulders above the others, but apart from him you’ve got players who are averaging 38 in the Championship and who sometimes or often have very poor or very inconsistent years…which is going to get you an average of around 30 in tests generally.

    So England are basically a souped up version of WI or Bangladesh–one that will, and certainly should, lose most of the time, home or away, to the best teams, largely because you won’t win much with a team of batters who all average 30 except against another team with a team of batters who all average 30 (which, luckily for England, is quite a few at the moment!)

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    • LordCanisLupus Aug 16, 2021 / 11:12 pm

      Although not totally clear, I meant in recent history, not due to missing players. Woakes would be an improvement on Curran, Stokes obviously, but the top three worry me, Pope has Ramps vibes, Foakes is a better keeper but not a huge run-getter here. But the comment was more that Root doesn’t have the back up of years past. Not that there are legions of players queueing up.

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    • dArthez Aug 17, 2021 / 5:38 am

      A great team is more than the sum of its parts. England are clearly not. Not just this Test, but for the better part of a decade now.

      The only certainties in the batting order are Root at 4 and Stokes at 5. And possibly Jimmy at 11 (I really don’t see England picking a “rabbit” worse than Anderson; mind you Anderson is not that bad with the bat either – has a decent defensive technique, which can be rather useful). All other slots in the order are pretty much up for grabs.

      Other than that, the team has been a mess in the other batting positions, to not even mention the quite poor fielding standards. England are among the worst slip catchers in world cricket, they prefer not to pick a wicketkeeper (the fact that Bracey and Pope kept wicket as stand ins for injured non-keepers is a damning indictment of England’s policies), and when they do, it almost seems as if they are happy that Foakes gets injured.

      I hold no brief for Foakes, but the sheer number of runs that get saved by having a proper keeper is worth much more than the management seem to realize. Ditto for good fielding. This pig-headedness reminds me of Moores ‘the laptop says 230 is a good ODI’ score, despite being humiliated on many an occasion, before England more or less accidentally wizened up.

      They can’t pick a proper frontline spinner and stick with them. They can’t manage fast bowling resources (Wood, Archer); it is almost as if they are desperate for Archer to retire from Test cricket. They refuse to trust their batting and bowling. If you are adamant that you should bat down to #11, that also absolves the top order, and the (lower) middle order from having to take responsibility and score those runs. Sibley, Burns, hell, even Root, don’t become better batsman, if 9, 10 and Jack are bailing England out every other occasion. And the bowlers can’t, because bad batting performances will adversely affect bowling performances as well.

      The captaincy has been lamentable for close to a decade now. Despite 200+ Test experience among the bowlers, despite 100+ Test experience for the captain, they still don’t seem to have learned the basics of bowling to the tail, and on many an occasion, they refuse to pitch it up / bowl at the stumps. Egos get in the way on the field, and probably in the dressing room as well.

      Some of the problems are caused by domestic scheduling issues. But you can’t tell me that if you can spend 10s of millions of pounds on all kinds of hanger-ons, such as a dietician, numerous batting consultants, social media managers that can’t be bothered to do their job (see Ollie Robinson saga) and the like, that this is really the best that can be achieved. Hell, they can’t even bother to merely pretend to be bothered about perceived racism in cricket under their auspices – other than that it is bad PR.

      This while England do have the money to properly manage their human capital.

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      • thelegglance Aug 17, 2021 / 11:30 am

        “I hold no brief for Foakes, but the sheer number of runs that get saved by having a proper keeper is worth much more than the management seem to realize”

        It’s interesting that despite all the meaningless and pointless drivel that Winviz come out with, they provide no assessment on the value of differentially skilled wicketkeepers.

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    • Marek Aug 17, 2021 / 2:38 pm

      …and, to underline the “no obvious alternatives” point, several outlets today suggesting possible recalls for Dawid Malan (average 27,average in England 20) and–lord help us!–James Vince (average a touch under 25, average in England 19).

      So the best the system can do is two batters with a combined home average of less than 40!

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      • thelegglance Aug 17, 2021 / 2:47 pm

        It’s remarkable how unwilling the media talking heads are to acknowledge the crisis in quality we have with the batting, preferring instead to have this kind of discussion about which subpar Test batsman to select. Though to give Sky credit, they had Atherton talking at length in one of the breaks about exactly this. Perhaps it says more about my cynicism that it surprised me that they brought it up.

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        • Mark Aug 17, 2021 / 4:21 pm

          The thing that is most worrying is there are no new names mentioned. It’s always a return to the tried and tested.

          This says two things. First the total lack of new talent at county level. And second…..There seems to be a pool of players that they only pick from. Almost as if other considerations are the reasons for selection.

          Also, does Silverwood install any confidence in anyone? The Root/Silverwood partnership is beginning to look like The two Ronnies.

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      • Marek Aug 17, 2021 / 4:58 pm

        I sort of see the lack of new talent point. I mean, they’ve tried many of the ones with a county average of 37 (or 34, or 32!) already–and I’m not at all convinced that any of the rest, or the ones who’ve only been tried very briefly (Duckett, Livingstone, Clarke, Libby, Alex Davies, Ollie Robinson….Lees was mentioned on the county commentary today) would do any better given their form over the last few years in the Championship.

        But, with regard to your second point–and I know I’m banging on about him a bit–it makes it all the stranger that Bohannon hasn’t even been been mentioned in dispatches by anyone. His average is five runs higher than anyone else who’s a realistic alternative as far as I can see.

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  5. dlpthomas Aug 17, 2021 / 9:14 am

    Do you reckon anyone from the ECB has been on the phone to Ben Stokes yet?

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    • Miami Dad's Six Aug 17, 2021 / 3:01 pm

      Silverwood popping out the casual “Hi Ben hows it going?”, akin a single man texting an ex at 2am whilst drunk on a Friday night.

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      • thelegglance Aug 17, 2021 / 3:04 pm

        Worst news about this analogy is that it’s usually Sean texting me.

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        • dlpthomas Aug 17, 2021 / 4:20 pm

          Questions. So many, many questions.

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  6. LordCanisLupus Aug 17, 2021 / 9:38 am

    Verily, this thread amuses. The trying too hard vs the bitter and twisted.

    Preceded By

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    • Mark Aug 17, 2021 / 12:45 pm

      Trying too hard (greatest EEEvers) vs the bitters. One of those you don’t care who loses

      Why don’t they do a six part documentary on the absurdity of the ECB, the state of English Test cricket, and the media’s role in that state of the absurd?

      Like

      • Mark Aug 17, 2021 / 12:52 pm

        By the way, on the topic of……“The greatest everrrrr”

        Check out polite enquiries……” Does Bumrah bat like Sachin & Dravid combined?”

        No, England are just crap bowling at tailenders.

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        • Marek Aug 17, 2021 / 2:39 pm

          To be fair though, Polite Enquiries is supposed to be ironic!

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  7. Miami Dad's Six Aug 17, 2021 / 2:59 pm

    Silverwood on Mark Wood:

    “What he did for the team, and the effort to bowl at 90mph with a sore shoulder, it just shows how much he cares about the team and how much he cares about playing for England, and how passionate he is.”

    Great passion. I hope he still feels it when he can’t rotate his arm at the age of 45.

    Meanwhile 39 year old thigh-injury-doubt James Anderson bowled 55 overs across the Test. He had a calf injury at the start of the summer.

    Finally, does anyone know of a reason Ollie Robinson bowled the fewest overs out of any of the front line bowlers in the Indian second innings? To go from 33 in the first innings (Sam Curran bowled 22) to 17 in the second (when Curran bowled 18). A niggle somewhere, p’raps? Shorely we should have had him bending his back for an 8 over spell with a bodyline approach and could have given him an injection of something to help him bowl through the “pain”.

    There is the relief of an 8 day gap until the next Test, after which the remaining 3 Tests are back to back with just 3 days between each.

    I make the current injury list:

    Broad
    Woakes
    Stokes
    Stone
    Archer

    Will we have any additions to that for the 3rd Test?
    Who will be left standing by the 5th?
    How much cortisone will the medical team get through?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aug 17, 2021 / 4:13 pm

      Unless England can find a spin bowler who can bowl twenty five overs a day and they learn how to use him they are going to screw up all their fast bowlers in the future.

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      • Miami Dad's Six Aug 17, 2021 / 8:30 pm

        There is a huge lack of trust in spin bowlers in the country. Only Swann has been backed for any length of time and even then I doubt they’d have persevered if he didn’t average 20 with the bat.

        Alternatively I like how NZ use Colin de Grandholme. He bowls seam up, wicket to wicket stuff, probably no more than 15 overs a day, and goes at 2 runs an over. If he picks up a wicket that’s great, if not he’s keeping the impact bowlers slightly fresher and reducing their workload so when things are happening they are ready to put in 100%. Collingwood or Trott used to do similar. Root might do it as an offy but he seemingly only wants to bowl himself to non aggressive left handers.

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      • Marek Aug 17, 2021 / 10:01 pm

        This series’s no.7 issue sorted then–call for Ryan Higgins!

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    • Marek Aug 17, 2021 / 4:49 pm

      To my mind, they shouldn’t even be considering playing Wood at Headingley unless the unjury list gets longer still, regardless of his shoulder, His general injury record makes it fairly unlikely that he’ll get through four tests in five weeks without being rested, and Headingley would seem to be the ground where a bowler of his type is least needed.

      So surely they should be looking, injuries permitting, to play Mahmood at Headingley, both of them at the Oval (on the basis that the 39-year-old playing his 165th test could also do with a rest mid-series given that it’s five tests in six weeks) and Wood at Old Trafford, which I keep reading is the fastest pitch in the country at the moment.

      And Overton for Curran pronto, at least until Woakes is fit, which realistically won’t be till the last test at the earliest given that he hasn’t played a red-ball match for a year and has only played 11 days at all since mid-September

      Liked by 1 person

      • Miami Dad's Six Aug 17, 2021 / 8:46 pm

        Curran’s position looks untenable at the moment. He’s probably unfortunate that even with the injuries England have there are still a few bowlers out there who are considered “in line”. If he was a batsman it’d be easier to say “who else is out there” knowing full well there are no obvious successors.

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  8. quebecer Aug 18, 2021 / 3:32 pm

    Root and Stokes are 30. This means England haven’t produced a test batsman for a decade. And there are literally no contenders to change the fact. This is a shocking indictment of the policies of those running the game, and exactly what we all feared ooooh, about a decade ago.

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    • dArthez Aug 18, 2021 / 4:27 pm

      Most of the alternatives touted (Vince, Malan, Denly, hell there will be calls for Cook). Of the younger brigade only Hameed and Pope are remaining. Hameed will probably open.

      Malan is picked, Leach is on-standby (Moeen will play of course – utterly idiotic), and Crawley and Sibley have been axed.

      In news that surprises no one, Yorkshire has not released the report a full year after it was commissioned. Azeem Rafiq now calling for politicians to intervene (and the ECB, but that is utterly useless).

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    • Mark Aug 18, 2021 / 5:09 pm

      This is an excellent point. And I don’t see any end to it in a cricket environment that now is dominated by One day cricket. A young player today will see little opportunity to learn red ball skill , bat time, and in which he is told it’s cool to play the 16.4 and more lucrative than county cricket.

      You can’t play test cricket very well if you can’t produce the players with the skills to do so. Quite how long the ECB think they can go on charging £150 seats for the product they are now selling is baffling. (Perhaps there are more corporate suckers out their than I imagine!)

      I suspect they don’t care as long as the 16.4 takes off. And as a player you only have to bat for 30/ 50 odd balls an innings Max.

      If you also look at Anderson and Broads age you could make the same argument about the bowlers. And we don’t have a spin bowler, even an old one. But they won’t acknowledge any of this.

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    • Marek Aug 18, 2021 / 5:30 pm

      Today’s random statistics:

      –Sibley’s batting average this year: 19.78

      –Sibley’s average in England this year: 22.86

      –Ollie Pope’s average in England in 2020-21: 23.78

      –Dawid Malan’s average in England (this is the new no. 3 who has rarely batted in the top three as far as I can remember): 20.23

      Are they SURE they’ve thought this one through?!:

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      • dArthez Aug 19, 2021 / 2:49 am

        The ECB: where they don’t know what Test match batting, wicketkeeping, spin bowling, thinking or good governance are.

        So my answer to your question is: they don’t understand. Then again, hardly anyone would argue that the ECB are fit for purpose.

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  9. Mark Aug 19, 2021 / 11:35 am

    Off topic……

    Can anyone please explain a question I have about the Royal London cup?

    How have Gloucestershire finished in third place in the group stages with 8 points ahead of Lancashire who had 9 points? Gloucestershire had 4 wins to Lancashire’s 3 wins, and their run rate is better. Do points not matter as to who qualifies?

    Also, why did Glos and Midx finish with only 7 games played and not 8 like everybody else? Surely if the game was rained out it should have been classed as a no result with a point each?

    I’m sure there is a logical reason but I can’t fathom it.

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    • dArthez Aug 19, 2021 / 5:27 pm

      Think that game (Middlesex – Gloucestershire) got cancelled due to Covid outbreak. Thus group got decided on average points / game. Which is farcical, but then again, this is the ECB we’re talking about: it would be farcical by ECB-standards if it was reasonable.

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      • Mark Aug 19, 2021 / 9:10 pm

        Ok thanks for that!

        Trust theECB to have some over complicated system for a cancelled game. It made it sound as if it would be replayed, but there is no time for that. If the game was rained off they would have got a point each.

        Lancashire must be even more pissed off because they tied with Essex after they got 22 off the last over to get a tie.

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    • dannycricket Aug 20, 2021 / 5:12 am

      A covid cancelled game isn’t treated like a rain affected game because of the fear that teams would abuse it to gain a ‘draw’ against stronger opposition. The umpires and match referee are responsible for making decisions based on the weather, although the home team’s ground staff have a role to play too. In terms of covid though, teams seemingly have a lot of leeway in determining how many players are classed as ‘close contacts’ of someone who tests positive.

      The solution is therefore to use average points per game. The team with the better record therefore effectively gets more than the one point for the draw (but still less than the two points they’d get for the win), whilst the team with the worse record effectively gets less than a point from the cancelled game. This reduces the benefits for either team for cancelling the match if they don’t have to. Or at least, that’s the theory.

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      • dArthez Aug 20, 2021 / 6:06 am

        In theory. In practice of course this can be gamed.

        Just as the redone format for the WTC can be gamed. Just play 5 Tests against Bangladesh, West Indies, and Sri Lanka, and play 2 Tests against strong opposition each series. With a bit of competence, that ensures close to 71% of the max points gained, even if you’re whitewashed three times by competent opposition. That is probably enough to qualify for the Final, since the money men have decided that the strong opposition must play each other each cycle (and thus greatly reduces the % of points that England, Australia and India can muster, due to losing points against each other).

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      • Mark Aug 20, 2021 / 10:24 am

        I guess I’m so old fashioned that the idea a county cricket team (in a not very important competition ) would game the system using a global pandemic is rather sad and pathetic.

        I suppose they have to think up all possible eventualities.

        All that trouble, and still they won’t come up with a solution to bowl the required overs in a day at a Test match.

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        • dArthez Aug 20, 2021 / 3:41 pm

          Remember the good old days, when Somerset declared their limited overs game 1/0 after 1 over? This was because the tiebreaks were flawed. I am sure the name Brian Rose rings a bell. Somerset – Worchestershire, 1979, Benson & Hedges Cup if memory serves.

          The English establishment should drop all sanctimony – they have come up with plenty of ways to game the rules. With every ruleset (not just for cricket but for all sports), they should be immediately tested for ‘how to break the rules’. In this case of the Covid-rules, really not that hard. Same with the WTC rules.

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          • Mark Aug 20, 2021 / 6:13 pm

            I did not mean to suggest that gaming the system has never happened in the past in English cricket, which it obviously has. (As it has in other parts of the world) But those didn’t involve a global pandemic where millions have died.

            The ECB talk about trust, but they obviously don’t trust anybody including their own counties to do the right thing, even during a pandemic. I find that a pity, but obviously we have to make sure no one can cheat…….Or do we?

            Pity they can’t find a way to bowl the required number of overs during a five day test match. I guess some rules are more important than others.

            Like

  10. maggiej Aug 19, 2021 / 1:35 pm

    Isn’t it absolutely typical of the way cricket fans are viewed that having paid no interest whatsoever in the Royal London, Sky are showing the final and as a result there is no live stream that we can watch? I’m spitting with rage here!

    Like

    • Marek Aug 19, 2021 / 9:34 pm

      Yes, absolutely!!

      Like

  11. glenn Aug 21, 2021 / 7:10 pm

    How come everyone was outraged at the football European super League, but with the Hundred people say “oooh I enjoyed it etc”. You couldn’t make it up!

    Like

    • maggiej Aug 22, 2021 / 9:57 am

      I think one of the reasons given for the 100 was to get a new audience for cricket. Do you suppose the ECB is planning to do market research to find out if, after say 5 years of the 100, any of those who have watched it are going on to watch other forms of cricket as well? Personally i doubt it, might be good for an independent body to do it though.

      Like

      • dArthez Aug 22, 2021 / 4:06 pm

        They’re planning to, undoubtedly. And when the results are not to their liking (as they probably are), the results won’t be released. For an example of that: see the research conducted that made the Hundred absolutely necessary according to the ECB.

        In other news, a racism incident happened in the Dutch domestic cricket scene earlier this month. I suspect that that will be concluded even before Yorkshire CCC actually release the report on Azeem Rafiq’s (and others) complaints. YCCC merely had a decade head start on that one.

        Like

  12. dArthez Aug 22, 2021 / 5:25 pm

    In exhibit #22471, of how to make Test cricket not appealing to the masses, the situation with the runup in the West Indies. This after a day’s play + the first hour and a half has already been lost on bad weather.

    Like

  13. Miami Dad's Six Aug 23, 2021 / 10:59 am

    BREAKING: England bowler Mark Wood has been ruled out of the third Test against India because of a shoulder injury. Wood jarred his right shoulder on the fourth day of the second Test at Lord’s.

    The news is breaking. The fast bowling stocks are breaking.

    Like

    • dArthez Aug 23, 2021 / 2:51 pm

      Breaking news would be: member of backroom staff who okayed Mark Wood bowling despite an obvious injury on the fifth morning of the second Test has been sacked for wilful medical negligence.

      The previous headline was provided for by Captain Obvious, not to be confused with Captain Oblivious I and Captain Oblivious II, who were previous and current England Test Captain.

      Seriously, that Wood is ruled out was not unexpected.

      Like

      • Miami Dad's Six Aug 23, 2021 / 3:58 pm

        Who’s left then?

        Jimmy – 39 and has had 2 injuries already this summer.
        Robinson – No whispers in the media, but was mysteriously under-bowled in India’s second innings at Trent Bridge.
        SCurran – “unselectable”.
        Overton – His warm up for this Test series has been great, he’s bowled 60 balls since July 18th, at a little under 2 balls a day.

        Mahmood? Uncapped but at least he’s healthy, got a pulse, etc?
        Stevie “unselectable” Finn – p’raps if we adjusted his run up a bit we could get him doing bits?
        Ravi Bopara – could do a job with the new ball?

        Like

      • Marek Aug 23, 2021 / 9:53 pm

        Or they could go full English: Rushworth, Stevens, Higgins, Porter, Coad!

        Like

        • Miami Dad's Six Aug 24, 2021 / 10:47 am

          I’d love to see Porter and Coad as they’ve been floating around for a while at the top of the wicket taking columns for a few years, and from what I can tell they bowl at an ok pace as well (not hugely important to me, but they’re not exactly 75mph dobblers) – but they obviously didn’t pass the skills challenge or the personality tests at ECB HQ.

          Like

  14. dArthez Aug 25, 2021 / 3:24 am

    To get back to the Dutch racism incident:

    Apparently it is offensive to call someone a f***ing . Of course I do agree that that is hardly great behaviour. Whether or not it is racist is debatable (would obviously depend on who uttered those words). But players of the same team who got so mightily offended saw no problem whatsoever with calling players from another team a bunch of people who copulate with their sisters (in Hindi no less).

    Oh, and depending on the ruling on the appeal the sanction for the former may be much worse, than for the latter. Since the outcome of the appeal determines who plays who in the play-off season. Obviously if you (as a team no less!) have no problem to refer to people as the latter, you should be thick-skinned enough to not be upset when you are referred to as the former.

    Like

    • dArthez Aug 25, 2021 / 3:25 am

      The word after f***ing should be a nationality. I guess WordPress did not approve of my proposed formatting.

      Like

    • Marek Aug 25, 2021 / 10:06 am

      I can’t really see how the example you give here could be anything but racist, unless it’s being used ironically: it’s directing an aggressive insult at someone where the defining characteristic is their race or nationality. That’s pretty much the definition of the word.

      Like

      • dArthez Aug 25, 2021 / 12:35 pm

        Yeah, but do notice that they had no problem using Hindi slurs themselves also when referring to people who speak the same language.

        As long as the ethnic background of the user of the term is not revealed, it could also be seen as just a poor attempt at an insult (they could share a nationality / national origin; I would not bet against that, since a lot of Dutch players have subcontinental roots). I suspect there was a racist angle, but the accusation of racism is a bit hollow when you yourself also happily engage in such use of language. And even write the expletive down on your team ‘strategy board’ for all to see. Clearly no one in the team with the racially abused player was offended when another team was referred to as a bunch of sister-copulators.

        Then it seems to be ‘willing to dish out, but cannot take it’ – otherwise they would have thought twice to use Hindi slurs for another team themselves. It still reflects extremely poorly on both teams involved.

        Like

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