Blind Hope, Blind Visions, Blind Centre, Blind Hell

I’m back. It’s me again. I feel like I have been here before. Post overseas Ashes, and another crippling loss, filled with hopelessness and despair. This one felt worse. Inevitable. Overmatched, overstretched and over there in a hostile environment, under covid protocols, and having been on an unremitting treadmill that gave no time for practice. I barely watched any of it.

We’ll get into the personal stuff at the end, because I have something to say on that, but we have the usual old thing to get through when it comes to England in Australia, and we need to be absolutely clear that this appears to be terminal for the test game in England. It is going to take a seismic change to get things back to a level we can only dream of at the moment, and I am not sure adminstrators, counties, international cricket or the players are really that interested in seismic change.

I don’t hold myself up as any representative of the cricket following public and never have done. I’ve expressed my views on the game on this blog, and its predecessor, forcefully, angrily, sometimes over the top, but all with one thing front and centre – I really wanted to see, which was England being a good side, players introduced to the team to make our humdrum lives more palatable with exciting performances. For me, while white ball success was nice, this meant test cricket. It meant good series, hard fought series, home and away.

If I watched more than 2 hours of this series live, and I have BT, I would be surprised. I wasn’t letting this disturb sleep patterns, and the only way I was going to watch was if they surprised me. I can be accused of being fairweather, of glory hunting or whatever, but there are decisions to be made, time to be allocated, and in this time of pandemic, and especially after setbacks, choices on what you are going to invest your mental anguish in. An England test team with no preparation, in a semi-bubble, not really having had a break, with their talisman having missed the summer due to mental health issues, with a team riddled with faults, a batting line-up that looked fragile, and a fresh Australian side who have barely toured and on the morale-boosting back of a World T20 title. The portents were not good.

I’ve turned my back on it because it is the only recourse I have left. If you bang your head against a brick wall, some day it is going to cause permanent damage. When Chris Silverwood talked about taking the positives after 68 all out, the only thing I could think of is I had discovered the “do not disturb” feature on my mobile phone to stop getting alerts overnight. Honestly, it is hard writing this. I love the sport, owe it a lot for meeting friends and seeing places in my lifetime that I would never have gone to. It was a game I liked playing (well the batting part) but was never that good at, but when in the midst of a tight match, was something to behold.

I posted a tweet half way through the series that essentially said “draw a line back to 2005, and take it from there”. While that principally meant that the catastrophic decision to take the live game totally off free-to-air on the back of a once in a generation victory that united the nation behind the team, there are other strands. Players from that team, including Vaughan and Strauss, and yes KP, have had far too much influence with their mouths and attitudes than should have been – none of them have gone into coaching since they packed in, rather admin, or social media belching. or god-awful punditry, or player representation (sniff sniff, massive conflicts of interest). There is also the tendency to forget that the star of that series has now had to become some perennial TV celebrity to maintain profile. In that team we had one, possibly two, players drown under the responsibilities of the game and the treadmill they were on to be burned out. Another had his career ended, quite possibly through over-work. There were strands from that team that still weave through the game today.

Fast forward to today. As part of this post I decided to listen to Tom Harrison’s interview with Jonathan Agnew, and George Dobell’s reaction. Let me take you back to what I wrote four years ago on a similar theme:

“A few days ago Tom Harrison, in an interview covered in detail by George Dobell, basically said there was nothing to see here when it came to this Ashes. That winning in Australia is difficult because of home advantage. That because the money is now taken care of, and we aren’t a national embarrassment at white ball cricket any more, we are in a safe place, a nice place, a place to build upon and make hay when the sun shines. The complacency was immense, as teeth itching as Downton calling the 2013-14 series a “difficult winter”. The media fell asleep at this wheel. Nothing to bother their pretty little heads about, concerned more with what he didn’t say about Stokes than what he did say about how great Tom Harrison was while we lost the main test prize we seem to care about.”

This came on the back of Alastair Cook’s face-saving 244 that drove me into another blogging meltdown and another break from writing. The media at that point were so dashed happy that their hero had averted a whitewash, they almost seemed to forgive Tom his little excuse therapy. Fast forward four years, supplant Covid for the difficult to win in Australia, and the disappearance of all the money, and the media, without a Cook to really get behind (because Root or Stokes didn’t make the defining contributions) are ready with the skewers. With some exceptions, just the minimum four years too late – I would say 8 myself. If the light had been marginally better at Sydney, and their quicks could have stayed on, we’d be talking about a whitewash, where the heroes were Head, Khawaja and Boland for the home team, and where Smith and Warner barely featured.

The interview Agnew held with Harrison was sickening. Agnew tried to be firm but genteel as always, polite doesn’t work with people like him, and Harrison avoided answers (how many enquiries have you had accusing racism was met with some word salad involving sub-committees, sub-divisions and confidence they’ll get it right), or spouted nonsense (we need to reset the domestic summer and not denying that the Hundred franchises might be the route to that), cited irrelevances (seam changes, heavy rollers, blah blah) and then pretty much did what he did in August and pleaded how hard his job was.

This is the man, who led the organisation, that had decent cash reserves to allow it to manage its way through crises, but spent it all to bribe counties to accept a competition that isn’t needed (certainly for the men) and that marginalised red ball cricket to the outer edges of the season, and he’s telling me hard luck stories? Yes, we’ve had a pandemic and it has messed up many people’s lives. But you have insisted on flogging the players, the international players, the multi-formatted international players, the multi-formatted attractive to the IPL players until they are shadows of themselves. This is to fulfil TV contracts, no more, no less. Four years ago England were battered in Australia, and then went to New Zealand and found themselves at 21 for 9 a couple of weeks later. Most of us thought that it was cruel and unusual punishment for this series to be tacked on to the end of a battering, and it shouldn’t really happen again. So what do we do this time? One more test than 2017-18, in the West Indies. Oh, and five T20s which won’t be anywhere near our best team in that format, but that doesn’t matter. There are TV contracts to fulfil.

The players can take only so much of the sympathy. Of course they are going to feather their own nests in more lucrative T20 tournaments that only get bigger in size. We probably all would. Not picking on him, but what do you think Liam Livingstone would choose if he could only have one of a white ball England contract, or a high paying, top end IPL deal? Test cricket is mentally exhausting work, and it is really hard to establish yourself. IPL/T20/Hundred you have to chuck down a few darts, or smash it to kingdom come, and you have youre internet memes, your media darlings screaming like Bay City Rollers fans and the gravy train in process where you get paid, as long as you maintain your standards, and won’t have to face 7 hours in the field as the oppo make 300 for 2 on a road. Joe Root, already very highly paid as England captain, has been desperate to play IPL (I thought he still was, but Danny has corrected me and he knows things much better than me). Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler also. You can’t take that money, then complain about workloads. I’m sorry, you just can’t.

Harrison knows red ball doesn’t have a viable long-term future, and he insults us by pretending that he thinks it does. Even if he has deluded himself, he won’t be the man to make that change, as any decent governing body would have fired him by now, and even this indecent one can’t let the small matter of devastated finances, a test team bottom of the World Test Championship, a game at war with itself and a parliamentary report calling the sport endemically racist go by, can it? Can it? Players are underperforming on a relentless treadmill where each organisation wants its piece of the cake.

Meanwhile, like dutiful morons, we are expected to pay our subscriptions to Sky and BT, buy our tickets for cricket grounds that look to soak the punter of any cash they have (£6.80 for a pint of rubbish – overpriced cheaply produced merchandise) while accepting that the man in charge will be trousering a monstrous bonus while presiding over a test team that is worse, and I’ve said it, than anything I’ve seen since that team that toured India in 1992-3.

We’ve pointed this out for years. We don’t expect to be listened to, so what’s the point? The authorities believe they know best, so why would they? The press is dropping away like flies, the old behemoths falling by the wayside, and the young guns need to work their nads off to keep themselves afloat these days. They make loud noises on Twitter, but what do they actually do to confront the men in suits? Are they worried about access?

Etheridge, in a weather vane moment, is being told the Sun won’t pay for a full time cricket correspondent. Crikey, although no-one bought the Sun for its cricket coverage, isn’t that a neon sign for the game? Even he said the punters aren’t interested in suits, but rather boots…. well they should be. It is going to take more than a Barney Ronay “how jolly clever and smart this piece is” approach to get things done. I’m not as big a fan of Liew as others, but at least he has a proper pop. We absolutely need to go at the suits.

Giles Clarke sold the game out behind a paywall, Graves was the personification of be careful what we wish for, and Watmore took one look at the whole clusterf*ck and preferred retirement. During that time we had Hugh Morris preside over the Moores v Pietersen debacle, Downton bestride the ECB like a housetrained Mr Blobby and Tom “Trust” Harrison live down to my day 1 predictions and then some. I take no pride or delight in being right, but goodness me, when you hear the next steps why are you not alarmed:

  • Ashley “Don’t Blame Me” Giles will prepare a tour report.
  • Joe Root – must stay as captain because There Is No Alternative. Stop me if you’ve heard that before
  • Chris Silverwood should be sacrificed, but it says a lot that (a) they gave him full selection power (b) the white ball team which is arguably more of his remit is pretty good, but that’s not enough (c) he’s another English coach that has utterly failed, so what does that say about ECB coaching and (d) there doesn’t appear to be a domestic alternative.
  • Ashley “Don’t Blame Me” Giles will prepare a wide-ranging tour report – oh, I’ve said that – and it will go to…
  • Andrew Strauss, who supposedly did one of these four years ago, and is revered, somehow, in authority circles because he no doubt killed off the KP spectre and made the obvious decision that our white ball cricket was a laughing stock so something must be done! The vision.
  • The game is dying through lack of exposure, working class kids don’t even know it really exists, and so we are looking to take a long-term view…. by hiding 90% of it behind a paywall for another 10 years.
  • We must look a domestic schedule crammed with too many games, and decide that the Hundred is untouchable. Joe Root’s comments today appear to back that up. A competition hyped to hell, and then forgotten (really, on the men’s side, how much do you actually remember).
  • We worry about players’ mental health, so let’s stack even more concentration of fixtures on them in an uncertain coming out of, or post-Pandemic period, and then wonder why performances are nonsense.
  • And pay the wretches “contractually agreed” obscene bonuses.

Why the hell do we still care? I mean, just look at that.

On a personal level, I feel sad that I stopped watching the Ashes. It has been a cornerstone of my cricketing journey. I remember following the highlights of the 5-1 tour in the Packer era; the listening to TMS as we eked out wicket after wicket at the MCG in 1982; the joy of the rampage in 86-7; the 90s watching our overmatched teams go up against greats; and yes going there in 2002 and 2006. The 2010-11 tour may well be the last we can ever watch and say, that was good. Because since then it is 13-0. In fact, since that Ashes tour of 1986-7 it is 32-6. Yes, it has always been tough, but it has also had competitive moments. We were never really in any of these games this time around, and we’d be lying to ourselves if we said we were. Winning the Ashes away is the holy grail for me, just as winning the Ryder Cup in the US always seemed sweeter than at home. And like the Ryder Cup, we face absolute batterings away from home unless something changes. The fear is, that the damage done to the game, through neglect and under-exposure, through contempt for the recreational game, through awful administration and the love of TV money over all, through class driven snobbery and elitism taking the game away from the masses, who now don’t care, renders any change now meaningless. Too late. Ships have sailed.

People like me should be warnings that you can’t take us for granted. I represent me, and only me. I am suffering badly through the pandemic on a mental health level. Others have it bad financially or both. I have to pick my things to care about, and adjust life to those that have left me. I feel cricket has left me. Others continue the good fight. I wish them well.

Happy New Year!

30 thoughts on “Blind Hope, Blind Visions, Blind Centre, Blind Hell

  1. Marek Jan 16, 2022 / 4:55 pm

    Great title! “Blind words…and no reason for actions” could have been written for Tom Harrison. Speak fucking comprehensible English, you manipulative, dissembling little man!

    But at least he’s on his way out. Silverwood will be too–but Giles and Root bear at least as much responsibility for the failings of this team, even though in the latter’s case he can’t do much about the system.

    One of the “reset” (or “fresh start” as we say in plain English!) principles ought to be that nobody who has helped create this mess should be part of “resetting” it. The problem cannot be the solution.

    So that means that all four of Harrison, Giles, Root and Silverwood need to go (along with Thorpe and, unless he’s trusted to do the white-ball job Collingwood)–and Strauss shouldn’t be let anywhere near the chair.

    As you say, one of the worst things is how ineffective the English coaching system is (Collingwood or Farbrace might be OK for the white-ball team, but the red-ball team will need somebody foreign: the only one within spitting distance of it should be Mark Robinson, but looking at the international success of Silverwood, Giles and Moores–three of the country’s most successful coaches of the century–I’d be fairly wary about that. Maybe let him loose on the white-ball team.

    And the new DoC absolutely has to be foreign. The English system is just too soft-centred and inward-looking. I wonder about someone like Grant Bradburn.

    And until they start speaking proper English, rather than this word-soup diarrhoea which businesspeople love so much now and whose main purpose is to obscure rather communicate, there’s no hope at all. It may be small, but it’s a symptom of the whole sorry “don’t-give-a-fuck-because-I’m-getting-my-bonus” mess.

    Oh, and of course Harrison’s bonus should be withheld…:-) Performance-related they say in business, I believe.

    Like

  2. Mark Jan 16, 2022 / 5:30 pm

    Excellent post! Glad to see you write something substantial again, and I feel your resigned hopelessness. Which is why I stopped paying the tv companies who are funding the ECB all this money which they then continue to pay themselves fortunes to keep destroying the game of red ball cricket.

    We have been over and over what needs to be done, but there is no will at the top to do any of this because they are looting the game while it’s still is there to do so. Soon it will be gone. Those who believe in what Harrison or Strauss say are delusional. What needs to be done is at odds with where the ECB wants to go for money.

    The ECB wants endless tv contracts which in turn want endless meaningless series. As you say, the players can’t escape criticism either. They want the money so they have to keep continuously breaking their bodies to earn the dosh. Administrators want big pay outs, players want big payouts too, and nobody cares about the long term of the game.

    What has changed since 2014 and the KP saga is they can’t pretend the product they are selling is any good anymore. It’s shoddy merchandise. Actually It’s very over priced shoddy merchandise. Would you pay £150 for a ticket to watch this shite? I wouldn’t. But the dreamers and Professional cricket celebrities will continue to rock up to Lords twice a year and pay up. More fool them.

    The game needs to be split up. White ball cricket is a completely different sport to red ball cricket. Rugby union and Rugby league if you like. They should be governed differently. The ECB should relinquish control of red ball cricket because it makes no money, and so they are not interested in it. Red ball cricket may have to go semi professional and focus, on players who are not explosive enough for hit and giggle. There will always be some cross over players as there are in the rugby formats. Of course this won’t happen because despite the ECBs loathing of red ball cricket it is how they make their money from SKY. Selling the rights to home test matches, and all other matches. You get the biggest bag of money if you sell the whole thing as an exclusive deal.. Never mind, no one can see the sport anywhere else, so it slowly dies. Criminal.

    I’m sure the Aussies enjoy beating the poms so conclusively at home, so often, but there must come a time when it’s not worth bothering with? When will it go to a three series event?

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    • maggiej Jan 17, 2022 / 7:45 am

      I agree with you on the splitting up of the game. Seems to me the players want to have their cake and eat it. They pay lip service to how wonderful test cricket is but need no encouragement to go and ruin their red ball skills by trousering money at the IPL et al.

      Agnew yesterday was saying it’s all very well saying we need to restructure but it’s all down to the counties and you need to have them in agreement which is very hard. Which seems to miss the point that the ECB hold the purse strings and can pretty much coerce the counties into doing what they want, you only have to look at how they got them to agree to the Hundred.

      I wonder if could could achieve a split via the counties; have a group of them who play red ball cricket and nurture those players, and the others play white ball, and all could play the Blast if they wanted to. We already have a situation where the Div 2 counties see the Blast as their best bet for success, it’s been won by several of them over the years. The red ball counties would need more financial support from ECB but if they could pick the players with test potential and concentrate on them and pay them well enough to deter them from going to T20, it could lead to more and better test players. Just an idea!

      Like

  3. Grenville Jan 16, 2022 / 6:23 pm

    I caught the England collapse this morning. I was genuinely angry. I don’t mind watch England lose. It’s the clueless, spineless incompetence that galls. Get in line, play straight. I’m sure that Ollie Pope has talent, but what was that? You compare them to South Africa and you realise how utterly disfunctional the whoneole set up is. SA have dodgy openers, one good middle order player, a wicket keeper who can’t bat, decent pace bowlers and an honest, but limited slow bowler. They knuckled down and ground it out. If India had been at full strength and on top of their game, SA lose. It is not about winning. It’s about taking the thing seriously.

    It is entirely, as you say, aaa product of the organisation. They want to keep most of us out. If they let us in, their failure wouldn’t pass for genius

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  4. Helen Devries Jan 16, 2022 / 8:32 pm

    Read Duncan Stone ‘ Different Class – the untold story of English cricket’. Even given the lack of cricket in state schools, those running English cricket have a history of excluding talent.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Jan 16, 2022 / 10:10 pm

      Hi Helen,

      I am currently reading a book published in the 1990s by ex-Wisden Almanac editor Graeme Wright called Betrayal. You might be interested in it – in the book the author bemoans the lack of amateur players, gets wound up by the reduction of the influence of the MCC in their turf war with the TCCB in the 1980s, which was really two sets of upper class toffs arguing with each other, and bemoaning alcohol at cricket (I presume that is beer and not G&T for the members) as well as coloured clothing besmirching Lord’s. Duncan might have a field day! It is a bizarre set of seemingly unrelated tomes, but it just seems to have a thread that there is an establishment class and it is there to rule. They are, after all, patricians.

      I was brought up on a council estate and still live on one. I went to a fee paying school and got to play cricket there, but I did play at my state primary school too. My employer also had cricket teams which have disappeared. The sport declined in that sphere markedly in the last 10 years as youngsters, from different backgrounds, just don’t engage with the game. They are from all social classes. It’s not a one size fit all problem as I am sure Duncan knows. Got a ton of reading material at the moment, so will look out for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jan 16, 2022 / 11:03 pm

        While the class issue is important, and the whole gentleman and players issue has always been bubbling in the background we must look at the role of cricket in state schools. I’m afraid it is a game that is too time consuming. Sometimes too expensive, and one that many kids are just bored by. In my youth there were many kids who loved football and rugby but hated cricket.

        I got lucky, it was available on free to air tv, and was kind of compulsory at school. Kids have so many options and other things to do these days. Test match cricket is like marmite. You either get it and love it or you think it’s boring and pointless. It’s quite clear the ECB believe that it’s on its death bed. They are going through the motions while watching it fade away. They have bet the farm on white ball cricket because they think it is the only cricket that will survive in the future. I fear they may be right. But they won’t be honest about it. And even if red ball cricket should survive it just won’t be very profitable.

        The ECB elected to go with a pay wall in 2005 and took the money and made the sport invisible to millions. Was that a mistake or part of a cunning plan? Who knows, but the outcome was for cricket to disappear from the eyes of masses.

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      • Helen Devries Jan 17, 2022 / 2:00 pm

        No, I agree, it is not a one size fits all problem….no terrestrial TV after the 2005 Ashes was a major factor, lack of school playing fields another, but the underlying factor for me, is the hostility of the upper middle class toward anyone stepping on their turf.

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  5. Marek Jan 16, 2022 / 10:05 pm

    Oh my, it’s upset month! Ireland get a series victory against West Indies in the ODI League. Played!

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    • Marek Jan 16, 2022 / 10:11 pm

      …worth remarking too that Ireland were missing their best batter for the first game, their tightest bowler for the whole series and both their captain and keeper for the second and third games due to Covid. It really was quite a performance.

      Suitable enough on the CWI live stream the final rites were observed by Niall O’Brien, who seems to be to understatement what Kevin Pietersen is to diplomacy…:-)

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  6. Penty Jan 17, 2022 / 1:04 am

    Love this article. It sums up how so many of us feel. I live in Australia and as a teacher was on school holidays (and I was at 3 days of the Gabba test) and I had to walk away from the TV, turn it off, do something else. Cricket used to be my happy place, my escape, but this England team, for 1001 reasons, fail to compete and then fail worse and worse. It gets me down. And it’s all avoidable. But the ECB needs to know that people are stepping away from the game due to their actions. This can’t go on.

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  7. StaffordshireKnot Jan 17, 2022 / 1:19 pm

    Can’t disagree with a word of that……..well put together.

    Like

  8. StaffordshireKnot Jan 17, 2022 / 1:27 pm

    p.s.

    Just decided to drop the ECB a line in order to communicate a few essential words.

    This is the shower of shite that are running our game……..lawyers, accountants, politicians and shitehawks.

    https://www.ecb.co.uk/about/who-we-are/our-board

    Like

  9. Marek Jan 22, 2022 / 11:14 pm

    Am I having deja vu…:-) England’s batting falls to pieces and the much-vaunted strategy (here allegedly to have a look at England’s bench strength) reveals itself to mean playing a 30-year-old, a 31-year-old and a 32-year-old who’ve been around for years and never quite become regulars in any format.

    Which I guess is much better than having a look at Salt, Smith and Parkinson….

    Like

    • Marek Jan 23, 2022 / 12:18 pm

      This, from Cricinfo’s report, caught my eye: “…while Akeal Hosein, the left-arm spinner, got the ball to turn away sharply from the outside edge of England’s right-handers…”

      I’ve watched quite a few WI home games in the last year or so and Hosein’s done that almost every game against different teams: he’s been a handful. Did the England analysts not watch that footage?

      Fail to prepare and all that….

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus Jan 23, 2022 / 12:22 pm

        As we have seen over the years, thou shalt not doubt the analysts. They write books and stuff to tell you why what happened, happened. With numbers and stuff. You couldn’t possibly understand if they were right or wrong because they’ve studied every ball bowled since 2005 or something. So as you can’t have done that, you are not in a position to comment.

        I’m not a fan, as you can tell. What did those analysts tell the England management when they selected Jason Roy as a test opener? Or what they are saying about Jos Buttler as a test keeper/batsman?

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        • dannycricket Jan 23, 2022 / 8:08 pm

          And, of course, no one else can check their working because it is proprietary information. But that is almost the point. They’re like the economists who keep being invited on television even though they seem to get every prediction wrong. They can just wave off any mistakes as being something they have now fixed in the algorithm and they’re still the people to trust.

          If they could genuinely predict anything, they’d make billions on Betfair. They could even create their own gambling platform inviting punters to ‘prove the experts wrong’. People like that kind of thing nowadays. Instead, it’s bookies and professional gamblers like InnoBystander who actually make money from their predictions, whose opinions I would trust a lot more than professional analysts.

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    • LordCanisLupus Jan 23, 2022 / 12:27 pm

      Some people treat Vince like he’s some Ramprakash clone. That if only he’d be given a long run he’d be knocking out test tons and looking good doing it. As if the prize is there, if only we had the fortitude to take it.

      Your reminder that Vince averages under 40 in First Class Cricket, and Ramps averaged 53. Vince has 26 first class tons, Ramps ended up with 114. I’d say Vince has had the international career his record suggests. In fact he may have had a better one because of, coughs, the agency and advocates he had in the media.

      PS, how long before the knives are out for Morgan in T20? He looked like, at times, he was batting with a cane.

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      • Marek Jan 23, 2022 / 4:52 pm

        …and they’re at risk of repeating the mistake with Crawley…

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      • dannycricket Jan 23, 2022 / 8:15 pm

        To misquote Bill Parcells, you are who your record says you are. You might make adjustments here and there, but a 30 year old like Vince isn’t likely to suddenly boost his first-class batting to the point where he’d be an obvious improvement.

        That said, his average in the 2017/18 Ashes which was seen as disappointing at the time could have seen him ranked third or fourth in England’s runscorers this time round. Maybe England’s Test batting has declined to the point that he is a realistic option.

        Like

  10. Mark Jan 23, 2022 / 1:34 pm

    You can’t put much on one twenty/twenty game but there are some slightly worrying signs that England’s white ball cricket team may have passed its zenith. The last World Cup before the Ashes saw England fail to reach the final. (again) Yes, England won the fifty over World Cup, and yes the pundits class prefer to give all the credit to Strauss rather than the captain Morgan even though when Morgan took over from Cook there was a very quick improvement. In any case , fifty over cricket is being slowly killed off to make way for more 20/20 and 100.

    The ECBs complacency after England became a top test team could be about to happen again with white ball cricket. Surely they couldn’t make the same mistake again? It would appear so with talk of more tv deals locking cricket away for another ten years. (So they can lavish the underperforming players with ever bigger contracts)

    In the aftermath of the latest Ashes debacle the pundit class in the peanut gallery have been quick to point out how fantastic we are at white ball cricket. (There is that complacency again!) While apparently not noticing that the country that just destroyed us in a five test series is also the same country that just won the 20/20 World Cup only a few months ago.

    England could soon find that they are really good at a format (the 100) that no one else plays or cares about while being hopeless at everything else. But very well paid.

    Like

    • Marek Jan 23, 2022 / 4:49 pm

      That;s why yesterday’s selection was so frustrating for me. One of the reasons they’ve probably passed their zenith is because the team is ageing–only ever so slightly, but all together, a bit like the Indian test team.

      So the good planning strategy absolutely isn’t to bring in another bunch of 31-year-olds, even if they’re much better than Billings, Vince and Dawson.

      It’s things like that (and his comments about the pitch yesterday, which was also a predictable pitch to anyone who’s watched a WI home game in the last year or so….the most recent of which were played by Morgan’s compatriots, when the commentators were making exactly the comments about the pitches) that make me wonder if Morgan’s quite all he’s cracked up to be as a captain. He clearly has absolute power, too, so I suspect there’s no anyone else to blame if it all starts to go wrong on his watch.

      I suspect that smart thing to do might be to step down as captain now and let Buttler take over and create the team that he wants for the next few years. At the least, they need to get a bit more ruthless on selection–not tolerating Jason Roy’s slumps just because Morgan likes his attitude, for example; or deciding if Jordan really has still got it in him or if his time is up.

      Like

      • Mark Jan 23, 2022 / 5:10 pm

        I think we have seen from the Ashes that nobody is accountable. The fact is Root happily says he wants to carry on, the coach wants to carry on, and the man who appointed the coach wants to carry on.

        Nobody seems to think it odd that failure should be so well rewarded. England got almost every selection and decision wrong, and the players did not perform to even a standard that would make them mildly competitive. Some captains of the past would have resigned out of embarrassment.

        In a jobs for the boys culture, and big contracts, resignations are few and far from normal.

        Like

      • dannycricket Jan 23, 2022 / 8:23 pm

        It’s tough with Roy. The England white ball team is built on unrelenting aggression by its batters. The top four all go for it from ball one and it pays off more often than not. At least it does when they pick their best players (Buttler and Bairstow both missing), the pitch is flat, and the bowlers don’t make early breakthroughs.

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  11. The Artist Formerly known as Boz Feb 7, 2022 / 1:19 pm

    I can’t believe this site is still running!!

    I left it years ago once it was obvious that the only change in cricket at this level would be the income for the ‘stars’, playing or otherwise.

    A masterpiece of analysis by Dmitri, who despite his own lack of hope, is still able to put words together that make far more sense than any media pundit.

    I have to say there is no ‘pandemic’ rather we are encountering the first flushes of global tyranny. This includes the complete breakdown, certainly of western societies, in preparation for the ‘great reset.’ The breakdown started years ago and includes the corporatisation of everything. Entertainment is one of the main pillars to go, resplendent with goffers willing to discriminate at all levels to both endear themselves to the tyrants and cause a logjam in believable operations that on scrutiny make no sense to the awake man at all.

    Everybody here is awake to the machinations of the ECB and cricket and the media, why not use the same skills to evaluate what is going on on the planet – because then the demise you speak so correctly of will make more sense – it’s deliberate and no amount of slobbering over it will change anything.

    best to all

    Like

  12. IndiaNetzone Apr 5, 2022 / 6:44 am

    Blind cricket is for those who are also partially-sighted players. It has been governed by the World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) since 1996. So far, four Blind World Cups have been held in New Delhi in the year 1998, Chennai in the year 2002 and Islamabad, Pakistan in the year 2006. In 2012, the first Blind World Cup Twenty 20 was held in Bengaluru. The blind cricket relies on common use of the ‘sweep shot’, in order to provide maximum chance of the bat hitting the ball.
    https://www.indianetzone.com/73/blind_cricket.htm

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