West Indies vs England – Third Test Preview

It’s difficult to know what to write here, since so little has changed in the past week. The series is still 0-0. Wood and Robinson are still out injured. Matt Parkinson is still warming the bench. The only real cause for optimism comes from the photos of the pitch, which at least look like a little grass has been allowed to remain.

With the fragility of both teams’ batting lineups, that should be plenty to force a result. Whilst some people are talking in hopeful tones about a new era for English cricket, with Dan Lawrence and Jonny Bairstow helping Joe Root lead the team to somewhere near basic competence. They have done well, as did Mahmood in his Test debut, but these performances have to be placed in the right context: The pitches were incredibly flat, and the West Indies are not a good Test team.

As it stands, the West Indies are eighth in the World Test Championship table (England are last in ninth), having won just one Test against Pakistan in the current cycle. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a team with England’s financial resources, England’s first-class depth, England’s unique focus on red ball cricket should be able to bat out a draw on benign surfaces. It should be a minimum expectation.

Aside from the players, the individual who has most obviously benefitted from England not losing two Tests in a row is Paul Collingwood. The interim head coach has apparently put his name forward for the permanent role, and not losing a Test series (as Silverwood failed to achieve four times in the past year) is clearly enough to at least be considered by the ECB. One notable aspect of this is that he has never worked as a coach in county cricket. He had several spells as a coach for Scotland, and has been with the England team for the past three years. This means that he has no experience as a head coach, and almost no track record for his potential employers to examine.

This is a very common trait amongst people who the ECB are considering for their vacant senior positions. It was reported today that Rob Key is in the running for the Director of Cricket position. I don’t have anything against him as a person, but he appears to have gone straight from his playing career to the Sky commentary booth. Whilst he might talk a good game (that is his job, after all), there’s absolutely nothing to prove that he can back it up. He has that in common with Andrew Strauss and Ed Smith, who both transitioned directly from punditry to senior ECB positions.

There are six candidates listed for the Director Of Cricket job in this article: Rob Key, Ed Smith, Tom Moody, Marcus North, Nathan Leamon and Mo Bobat. As far as I can tell, the only ones with any experience of coaching or managing a domestic cricket team are the two Australians, Moody and North. Smith, Leamon and Bobat have all only ever worked worked for the ECB as head selector, analyst and performance director respectively.

It is possible to look at this and say that the ECB are disrespecting county cricket by not recruiting people from that talent pool, but I have to question if there are any candidates who obviously deserve a shot with England. After all, Chris Silverwood was appointed by England after his team won the Championship but failed to make any impression in internationals. Peter Moores and Ashley Giles were also both county coaches before their spells with England. There is a long running and active discussion about how county cricket is failing to develop talented Test batters, but very little time is spent looking at the quality of the coaches and other staff. The two issues may well be linked. After all, poor coaching and management aren’t exactly helpful in helping the next generation of cricketers reach their full potential.

I honestly don’t know enough about county cricket to know if this is an entirely accurate picture, or what could be done about it. It doesn’t give me much optimism for any change in England’s fortunes over the next few years though.

If you have any comments about the Test, the ECB’s recruitment, or anything else, please leave them below.

47 thoughts on “West Indies vs England – Third Test Preview

  1. Mark Mar 24, 2022 / 2:37 pm

    What exactly is the point of “The Director of cricket” anyway? Seems a very pompous title as far as I can see for a role that essentially appoints others, selectors and coaches. Are we going to have selectors again or allow the coach to pick the side?

    Can’t see Collingwood getting the head coach role if they can get a star name like Ponting or some other former great players. And what is their job anyway? Australia just won the Ashes and fired their head coach. (Whatever title they give him?)

    Nasser pointed out that it sounds like a dream job. They are prepared to throw maybe a million pounds for the right applicant, yet many modern players, as we saw with Australia don’t listen or want the coach anyway. What’s the bleeding point??? Sounds like a waste of money to me. Better off spending the money on improving coaching lower down the food chain.

    Bottom line is they need better players, and that has to come from the bottom up. The coaching resources need to be with the youngsters, and the counties to create a good level of resources to work with. Once you come into the top flight you need to have your basic skills sorted out. The current modern player seems happier to have a social worker or shrink to “understand” them than a bossy coach.

    By the way…. Rob Key totally supported the decision of Strauss to drop Broad and Anderson for this tour so it shouldn’t really be a surprise if he is suddenly in the running g for an ECB job!

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    • dannycricket Mar 24, 2022 / 2:59 pm

      Angus Fraser was also fiercely supportive of dropping Broad & Anderson. You wouldn’t be surprised if he was aiming for the job of head selector.

      The Director of Cricket role is in many ways the acceptance from the ECB that they aren’t any good at managing the cricket side of their operation, so they hire an outside expert to do it for them. Of course, their ineptitude leads them to hire idiots in the role, so nothing improves.

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      • Mark Mar 24, 2022 / 3:29 pm

        They seem to pick from a small circle of loyal people so maybe Collingwood has got a chance. I’m surprised they haven’t hired “The analyst” for some job or another.

        I just don’t think all these management jobs are the most important issue. They need to start working out how to create red ball players if they want to have success at Test cricket. Perhaps they are not bothered or they accept it’s the price they have to pay for shifting to white ball cricket. It’s not as if we have a lot of great batsman hiding in county cricket that nobody knows about. We have tried most of them.

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  2. dlpthomas Mar 24, 2022 / 3:14 pm

    2 fo 29 after 15 overs – not a great start by England. Holder and Mayers both getting a bit of movement albeit at the fearsome pace of 75 mph.

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    • Mark Mar 24, 2022 / 3:22 pm

      Root out for a duck so how will England do without his runs today?

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      • Mark Mar 24, 2022 / 10:02 pm

        Well the last two England wickets managed to get England out of trouble. Remains to be seen if 200 will be an alright score after WI have batted.

        Why is Bairstow batting at number 7 behind the wicketkeeper.

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        • dlpthomas Mar 25, 2022 / 8:56 am

          I went to bed when England were 5 for bugger all. It was a good fightback by Leach and Mahmood but, as is often the case when I’m watching the tail make runs, I kept thinking what the hell are the Windies doing?

          There’s a bit in the pitch but I’m not sure we have the attack to take advantage of it.

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  3. man in a barrel Mar 24, 2022 / 9:09 pm

    Thoughts about Selvey’s good journalism rumble on. Most journalists talk about Robinson suffering from back spasms, without specifying what they are about. A growing number, including Selvey, rumble about his fitness levels. What strikes me is that the infamous English medical team might have struck again. Many quick bowlers have had back problems – Lillee, Ian Bishop to name just 2 – and it turned out to be stress fractures. What has fitness got to do with back spasms? Maybe Robinson needs a chiropractor or a competent doctor to have a look at him rather than the medically unqualified Jon Lewis or whoever Selvey’s “knowledgeable” source might be

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    • Mark Mar 24, 2022 / 10:11 pm

      My problem with this is that it’s all so reminiscent of previous cases of players who have been smeared by certain so called journos with claims that the journo has inside knowledge from within the England management.

      We saw it with Rashid and Compton to name two. But the ECB don’t leak. I think there are some who don’t like Robinson and are hoping he will fail.

      If he is unfit and won’t do something about changing the situation then that is a problem. But in that case why pick him for this series then? Doesn’t make any sense.

      If it’s a medical problem ie back problems that is rather different. But the innuendo seems to be he is not getting his fitness in order.

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  4. Marek Mar 24, 2022 / 11:19 pm

    Your point about lack of experience is well made I think. I could understand it more if this was an exceptional situation where the person’s non-coaching qulaities might have more importance than usual (Gough as Yorkshire DoC, for example)–but this isn’t one of those cases. I can see a little where they’re coming from with the people who’ve been involved in parts of the set-up but not managing it (all those ECB employees) but Key in particular wouldn’t seem to have anything at all to recommend him.

    And I think you’re right to finger the failure of the county coaching/managing structure to produce potential international coaches or DoCs as a cause of this: what we’re saying with this list (and it may not be an accurate one!) is that literally none of the willing English DoCs are worth taking a punt on for DoC, and that it’s likely that few of the coaches are either (and yes, Collingwood’s experience as a head international coach until this year was about the same as David Ripley’s as head coach of an ICC full member!)

    But then–that’s probably an accurate assessment. Surely the benchmark for someone who’s hoping to coach a successful England red-ball side is winning the Championship–and in the last twenty years almost all the successful coaches are either foreign (Inverarity, Gillespie, di Venuto), no longer involved in professional cricket (Medlycott, Cook, Scott) or have already been tried, and failed, either as England coach or (Newell) in another key cricket-related role.. That leaves a grand total of two: Robinson (who might be worth a shout, and who says he’s interested) and McGrath…although Farbrace (who’s the only English coach ever to coach a men’s side to an ICC title) might be worth considering for the white-ball role.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Mar 25, 2022 / 6:55 am

      I can’t see Farbrace as an option for the ECB. He was Yorkshire’s second XI coach in 2012-3, so would have to wait to get cleared by any and all investigations before being considered. Even then, he might still be tainted by association.

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    • Marek Mar 25, 2022 / 10:35 am

      That;s an interesting one. I’m fairly sure I remember Rafiq tweeting that Farbrace was one of the relatively few people who wasn’t part of the problem. I really hope they don’t go down the “tainted by association” line with someone who was only there for two seasons. I could understand it more with someone who’d been there from fifteen or twenty (or forty!) years ago right through to 2020, but not really in this kind of case.

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      • dannycricket Mar 25, 2022 / 9:56 pm

        Interestingly, Farbrace is also tied in wi Ollie Robinson’s tweets. Farbrace is (I think) Robinson’s stepfather, and was tagged in some of the offending social media posts.

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  5. man in a barrel Mar 25, 2022 / 12:36 pm

    What is Selvey on about?

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    • Mark Mar 25, 2022 / 3:01 pm

      I doubt most people are confused by the difference between injury and fitness Mr Selvey. You seem to be implying that Robinson is unfit. In that case why have the England management failed to get him fit in the last twelve months? Was he unfit at the beginning of the Ashes? If so why was he picked, and why did Strauss pick him ahead of Broad and Anderson for this tour?

      Did Root prefer him to Broad and Anderson? Is Root unaware of his unfitness? You are asking the wrong questions of the wrong people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel Mar 25, 2022 / 7:04 pm

        It’s weird:if Robinson is injured, why is he criticised for being unfit? Admittedly, it seems reasonable that if you are unfit you can be more likely to suffer CERTAIN types of injury. But Selvey just casts aspersions. He is clearly bring briefed but is too stupid to realise he is just a tool. Exactly what is Robinson’s injury and is it likely to be a result of over stressing an unfit physique?

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        • Mark Mar 25, 2022 / 7:21 pm

          Yes I’m sure he is being briefed by people who always tell us they don’t leak. I’m guessing it’s an attempt to put pressure on Robinson to sort himself out. But why can’t they do that direct to his face? They don’t need to do this through the media. If He wont get fit then drop him.

          People remarked on his unfitness in Australia but why did they pick him then? And again for this tour.

          Selvey made some remark about England wanting to be proved wrong about Robinson. That implies they are setting him up to fail but that seems a very unprofessional way to man manage players.

          What is the criteria that they judge his fitness by?
          How has he failed that test?
          What does he need to do to rectify the problem?
          If he fails to take the required measures then drop him.

          No need to involve the media.

          Liked by 1 person

          • man in a barrel Mar 25, 2022 / 7:54 pm

            Unless the problem is entirely different, such as he has no respect for the coaches etc… Food for thought

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          • dannycricket Mar 26, 2022 / 6:39 am

            In theory, the PCA should be denouncing Selvey and his sources for leaking and using the press to anonymously air grievances with a player. It’s funny how the players’ union picks and chooses who it defends, and from what.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Marek Mar 26, 2022 / 12:48 pm

            I think if the PCA got involved in that one then it would never do anything else. half the press are running around airing unattributed bits of gossip from the ECB, from how much the press knew about Wood’s injury to that they like Overton becasue of his mongrel-ness and his fielding.

            But I think it’s possible to over-conspiracise this too. Paradoxically enough, this might all be a sign of how much the ECB value Robinson, and they really don’t want to just kick him straight back to county cricket in the same way that they did with, say, Patel.

            Reading between the lines, I suspect that MiaB is right. Lewis’s comments in Australia, for example, suggested that even at that stage the management felt that they’d told Robinson in no uncertain terms to improve his fitness and that they suspected a certain resistance to doing so. Lewis essentially challenged him to turn up fit for the WI tour–which according to several journalists (most obviously Nick Hoult) he failed to do. So that would mean that they’re using the public “you could be fucking up your test career” approach because doing so privately already hasn’t worked. I mean, there’s not a whole lot else the management can do if a player doesn’t listen to their advice about fitness other than drop him.

            To me, the “wanting to be proved wrong” comment says that too–less they’re not setting him up to fail as much as giving him one more chance and the benefit of the doubt about his attitude.I think that’s why they’ve kept selecting him so far. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he’s dropped for the NZ series.

            I think that all Seley’s comment is about–although as usual with Selvey it’s obscured by the pomposity and condescension–is debunking a logical fallacy he’s heard somewhere that, because fitness issues often make players more injury-prone, then everyone who’s frequently injured has fitness issues.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Rob Mar 26, 2022 / 7:28 pm

      Though perhaps this is not the correct time for it – i.e. criticising a bowler in the midst of a batting collapse – but why don’t they brief against Woakes for not bowling full and hitting the pitch hard in the same way?

      An unfit Robinson is worth at least two Woakes when it comes to it in Tests (and the limited footage of Selvey bowling in 1976 indicates he was just as floaty as Woakes if not Lewis while we are at it – and as for the 6 foot 5 Agnews and Pringles, however they got their careers is hard to fathom)

      (I can see how Jimmy and Broad can use their newspaper columns to explain why they always bring their length be back at the first sign of non responsiveness – but what is stopping them with Woakes).

      Surely things have moved on since the vignette Mike Gatting gave when asked to describe Fraser and Hughes – that the former was suitable for an honest County career and the latter would play for England. The Fraser / Robinson trundler is worth more than the sub Hoggard floater that is Woakes.

      (Hopefully Woakes can do a Gillespie before being dropped from the Test side)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. StaffordshireKnot Mar 25, 2022 / 12:40 pm

    ENG cricket is completely moribund, yet we have a bunch of cheerleaders telling us how healthy it is. This is utter bolleaux – without Root and Stokes, we’d be worse than Afghanistan and Nepal.

    For at least a decade, ENG cricket has been run by avaricious salarymen, wannabe establishment figures, political activists and utter imbeciles. It goes back to the dismissal of Pietersen, arguably ENG’s best batsman since Gooch, if not Hammond. Cook was a skipper who refused to captain, and Strauss was a manager who refused to manage.

    Then red ball cricket was sacrificed for money because these unspeakable clowns intrinsically believe that cricket is about entertainment. They think that long-form cricket cannot deliver money, and so have gone for the easy option of milking air-headed punters on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, and getting Michael Vaughan and celebrity presenters to ‘big-up’ the atmosphere to prove that the Hundred is a success, pathetic………

    ……..grubby and pathetic – they can only think short-term, after all bonuses are paid annually and 3-4 bonuses and they are set up nicely and leave. The equation is very simple, yet they utterly failed to include the effect of their money-grubbing on Test cricket.

    Maybe this effect has yet to fully materialise, but it won’t be long before people begin to realise that there is absolutely no value-for-money paying £100+ for a day at Lord’s or Old Trafford, when ENG are getting gubbed by New Zealand – yes, getting absolutely gubbed by NZ. Why would punters want to spend £8,000 on following a poor and losing team to South Africa – even the Barmy Army aren’t all that barmy.

    ENG cricket is the best resourced in the world – yet where is the replacement for Jimmy and Broad? Why are all our fast bowlers always injured? Even worse, where is the replacement for Graeme Swann and Monty? Where is the replacement for Cook? Why have we spent the past 8yrs ’trying out’ at least 20 opening batsmen?

    How much money has been spent on teaching kids to slog and manufacture runs against a white ball? Turns out that winning the WC was probably an extreme negative for the game.

    People are blaming the selectors and the coach…….and also the players, but there is a complete dearth of talent to select from, so much so that the coach is having to coach basic technique to players who are representing their country in tests.

    We need radical change at the top of ENG cricket – the CEOs, the ‘businessmen’, the politicos and the shithouse figures like Strauss and Fraser need booting out.

    Whilst writing this, I have come to a decision – I ain’t going to go to another test match until the structure of the game is radically altered, and focus is placed on developing red ball cricketers. Just a small gesture I know, but I am heavily sick of the commercialism

    As for Collingwood – well, it makes no difference who becomes coach. As I said, who ever gets the job will have to spend half his time teaching Boycott batting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Mar 25, 2022 / 3:28 pm

      Good rant! I stopped subscribing to Sky as my mini protest. Hasn’t and won’t do any good. People are still prepared to go on funding a sport…. ….both at the ground ( if there is any to watch these days in nice warm weather in the summer?) or on tv…….that is badly run by clowns.

      Having said that I think Test cricket is dying and I’m not sure there is any way of stopping it. Sure, taking all cricket off free to air for 15 years has not helped spread the word and encouraged youngsters to take it up.

      The money is in the short form of the game, and the vicious circle is the more money you want the less likely it is to produce red ball cricketers. Having said that…. other countries with far less resources are making a better go of it than England are. England are right down at the bottom of the rankings.

      Test cricket like the rock star and the cowboy have had their day. Be glad to be proved wrong but I see little change coming. In many ways it might be better for Test cricket in the future to be played by enthusiastic amateurs with low expectations. They couldn’t do much worse than the current lot over the last two years,

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      • StaffordshireKnot Mar 26, 2022 / 7:35 pm

        Thanks Mark……..I was certainly in the mood.

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  7. dlpthomas Mar 25, 2022 / 3:00 pm

    Still a bit of movement but the England bowling has been poor. I’m starting to think leaving both Broad and Anderson at home may not have been a good idea.

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  8. dlpthomas Mar 25, 2022 / 5:15 pm

    I suppose both sides were due for a collapse but this is rubbish batting by the Windies. It is fun to watch, though

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    • Mark Mar 25, 2022 / 5:20 pm

      This seems to be the problem with a lot of current test cricket. You either create flat, dead pitches which are very difficult to take 20 wickets on or alternatively the match is over in three days.

      Neither is very interesting.

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      • dlpthomas Mar 25, 2022 / 5:34 pm

        I prefer this to a snooze-fest on a dead pitch but I agree, it is hardly good cricket.

        Woakes first spell was crap but he’s bowled better since then and now has 3 wickets (though there has been some shit shots)

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        • Mark Mar 25, 2022 / 5:59 pm

          The Aussies managed to bowl out Pakistan on the last day so that game went to five days with a result. But Pakistan collapsed in the first innings after a good start.

          It’s funny how when a teams tail manages to add a few runs it seems to turn the match. WI would have probably taken 204 when they put England in, but having failed to bowl them out for 150 the dynamics seemed to have changed. England will have to play really badly to loose from here.

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          • dlpthomas Mar 25, 2022 / 6:12 pm

            Australia deserved to win the series. Amazing that Scott Boland didn’t get a game. The Windies could still get to 200 from here so it could be a good finish.

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  9. Metatone Mar 26, 2022 / 6:38 pm

    England looking like they are going to lose this.
    Probably for the best because the big scores on the flat pitches were misleading.
    Although I don’t have much hope that a defeat will spur real change, at least we won’t have to hear as much rubbish about how everything is fixed.
    I didn’t watch any of this series, decided not to pay for what I suspected would be a mess.

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    • Marek Mar 26, 2022 / 10:24 pm

      You didn’t need to pay Metatone!–it’s on Cricket West Indies You Tube channel (as are all their home fixtures).

      Whether it inspires real change or not, the effects won’t be seen for some time, because the system’s broken. England haven’t solved their opening batter issues, Lawrence isn’t looking especially stable and it could also be that they’re going to be faced with a dilemma abroad–or at home if they order good batting pitches–if Foakes can’t get a few more runs.

      But there isn’t anyone better, bar possibly Bohannon, who hasn’t been tried. If they want someone to average 35+ in tests then they’re essentially going to need to be averaging 40+ in f-c cricket generally. Those that do that are mainly in the twilights of their career (Cook, Hildreth), already in the team (Root, Bairstow), or already tried (Burns, Ballance, Pope and–if we’re talking solely in county cricket–Sibley), That leaves literally Bohannon and 33-year-old Ben Brown as far as I can see.

      The giveaway is that the Lions and test teams have both been stuffed to bursting in the last few years with batters who average 31 to 37 in the Championship–so they’re probably going to average between 20 and 30 in tests.

      Something needs to be done about the whole system–pitches, coaches, competitions, the lot. And it’ll probably take a while for any results to filter up to the test team.

      Like you, I’m actually quite glad about this collapse–especially as it’s come against exactly the kind of medium-paced wobblies that the Championship is full of–because it underlines this. Two England specialist batters average more than 33 in this series–which is an absolute indictment given how difficult it’s been for bowlers most of the time…but if it had been a two-test series everyone would have been looking at those juicy 40-something averages and that almost everyone has got a hundred, forgetting that it was on puddings against the world’s no. 8 team and thinking that the problem had been solved.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mark Mar 26, 2022 / 8:36 pm

    England’s best batsman from the first innings coming in soon. Five down and still behind on runs.

    If England lose this test series will there be one of those ECB post tour reviews? They must have a few of those stacked up on the bookshelf now.

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    • Mark Mar 26, 2022 / 8:39 pm

      Hold the back page….6 down now. A run out FFS. Still 11 needed to avoid an innings defeat…..

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  11. dlpthomas Mar 27, 2022 / 3:53 am

    Utterly pathetic and If there had been any life in the pitches in the earlier matches, it could have been far, far worse.

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  12. Di Mar 27, 2022 / 9:11 am

    With men claiming to be women so they can win at swimming perhaps Heather Knight and her team can be persuaded to swop sex for a bit. Couldn’t do any worse against current WI dobbers.

    Shudder to think  of the carnage if this lot had to face Roberts, Holding, Marshall and co.

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    • Marek Mar 27, 2022 / 12:40 pm

      …or indeed Southee, Boult, Jamieson and Wagner!

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  13. Mark Mar 27, 2022 / 10:50 am

    Things must be pretty chipper in the Broad and Anderson household this morning. Quite ironic that Broad has found himself in the KP situation up against the ECB selection policies. Remember KP genius Twitter account?

    If England go on to lose this match and series today this will be in many ways much worse than the Ashes. WI are no where near as good a side as Australia. And in test cricket are languishing down the bottom with England.

    This is the result of nearly twenty years of idiotic management by the ECB… where each carefully planned out decision has been even more stupid than the previous one. First you remove all cricket from free to air viewing, sack your best players, deify a couple of poor captains and then take a flame thrower to red ball cricket. Don’t be surprised if you can’t produce red ball cricketers. Then you pay the people who presided over this f..k up millions in bonuses. Genius!!

    Test cricket is not that popular around the world, but nations with far less resources than England do at least make a better fist of it. Talk of the big three seems rather absurd now.

    Time for some honesty and reality. Stop lying to us and admit the mistakes. Then decide what you want to do, and be honest about it. Perhaps you would rather dump test cricket entirely? Be honest with the fans (customers) Stop taking money on false pretences.

    I fully expect the ECB to continue on as usual, Great news plebs, the 100 will be starting soon. Aren’t you all excited???

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    • Marek Mar 27, 2022 / 1:20 pm

      Re Broad–I see it implied, and sometimes stated directly, a lot that Broad would have made a huge difference in these circumstances. I don’t see on what statistical evidence that’s based: in the last two series in WI, on generally more responsive pitches (that is, in well over a decade), he has a strike rate of 76 and an average of 31, and he takes less than three wickets a game. On the last tour his strike rate was 99–or worse than Craig Overton’s in this series, and overall a very similar record to Leach’s in this series on pitches offering him more help..

      That’s to go with an equally inconsistent/unpenetrative record in Australia, and one which varies from mediocre to appalling depending on country in the Indian subcontinent. The only places abroad where he’s been consistently good are NZ (probably the least of England’s worries in finding seam bowlers who might thrive in the conditions), the UAE (where England may very well never play another test) and South Africa.

      If England want to improve their general record away from helpful English pitches, then Broad absolutely isn’t the answer. (Of course, in anything other than the very short term, nor is Anderson because of his age and his declining penetrativeness). I think what people have often done is fall for the three-card trick which is Broad’s cry-baby petulance and entitlement–which ironically is, I suspect, one of the main reasons he was left out of this series.

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      • dannycricket Mar 27, 2022 / 1:48 pm

        If Broad and Anderson were in the side ahead of Woakes and Mahmood, then England would have been defending a score of around 120. Short of ‘One of those spells’ by Broad, it’s tough to see how they could have affected this game. With the other two pitches being so flat, it’s not obvious they could have helped force a result in those matches either. All in all, it is a very good series for them to miss out on.

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      • Mark Mar 27, 2022 / 2:28 pm

        Do you think Broad and Anderson deserved to be dropped on form?

        If they are to be dropped because of petulance or that Root can’t manage them then why not be honest and say so?

        What they might or might not have done is not the issue. We will never know. Surely you start by picking your best players, and on form they did not deserve to be dropped. At a time when Archer is out injured and apparently they don’t trust Robinson to turn up fit it seems odd to leave out two bowlers who have so many test wickets, and are fit and in form.

        Will they now return or will they be discarded for good? Strauss said they can come back. That rather seems to go against the idea that a new era has been unleashed.

        As Danny says probably a good tour to miss if they will be allowed back. But if not, it seems a poor way to go out on for England’s two leading wicket takers. Rather shabby, and yes as I point out an irony seeing Broads position regards KP.

        I do agree though that the focus has to be the batting. That’s is the main cause of the problems and has been for years, No doubting Root as a batsman and without his runs in the last two years it would probably be some of the worst performances in all England history

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      • Marek Mar 27, 2022 / 6:26 pm

        In what way is Broad in form as an overseas bowler, Mark? For my general answer to that, see the post above. In the last five years or so. he averages 41 in India, 36 in Australia and he averaged 31 on the last tour of NZ, at a cumulative strike rate of 83, They haven’t generally picked him in Sri Lanka, and he’s failed to average below 30 on either of the last two WI tours against one of the WTC’s weakest teams, with a cumulative strike rate of 76.

        There’s quite a good case for leaving him out of most tours in general, let alone at a time when he’s almost 36 and they need to be factoring in planning for the future into the other issues relating to selection

        How he and Anderson behave is absolutely the point if it undermines the captain, they fail to follow his strategic instructions or it affects team spirit too much. It’s true that better captains might have handled them better–but I suspect that means not indulging them so much and dropping them (especially Broad) earlier!

        However I wouldn’t necessarily expect every detail of their behaviour to be aired in public–which is the answer to your “why not say?” question for me. That’s the kind of absurd bombastic moralising we saw with Pietersen.

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        • Marek Mar 27, 2022 / 6:27 pm

          Sorry, that should be 41 on the last NZ tour!

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        • Mark Mar 27, 2022 / 7:32 pm

          Anderson topped the bowling averages for England in Australia with an average of 23.37 and an economy rate of 1.79. He got 8 wickets, but he only played three test matches. Hardly his fault.

          Broad also played only 3 matches and finished third in the averages with and average of 26.30 and 13 wickets. His economy rate was 2.88. He had one five wicket haul. Only Wood took more wickets with 17. But he played in four tests. Wood was the only other bowler to take a five wicket haul like Broad.

          Robinson played in four tests and took 11 wickets at an average of 25.54. (Second in averages) But apparently he isn’t fit enough?

          Woakes played three tests and averaged 55.33 and took 6 wickets. Economy rate of 3.74

          Stokes played all five matches with an average of 71.50 and took Just 4 wickets.Economy rate of 4.50

          You can take issue with all these figures but you can’t claim that either Anderson or Broad should be dropped ahead of others for their form or fitness seeing what has happened to Wood and Robinson.

          And considering England’s cupboard is pretty bare it seems a luxury to be saying that he should not go on many tours. Their time is coming to an end so in many ways England will have to do without them. Let’s see if their replacements can deliver at home let alone away?

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        • Marek Mar 27, 2022 / 8:21 pm

          I’m not arguing that Anderson should be dropped on grounds of either form or fitness, that Woakes should have been taken or that either Broad or Anderson’s fitness is better than Robinson’s (who I would have dropped for this series)..

          Broad’s figures in the Ashes match he played when the series was live were 2-100 off 36 overs, and in the big first innings his economy rate was much worse than either Anderson’s or Robinson’s. That’s not going to win you too many overseas tests, nor was it much different from his record on the previous Ashes tour.

          However, I’m also not saying that it would definitively have been wrong to take him to the WI–I think you can argue that either way, and on balance I think I’d have taken him but not played him alongside Anderson (and I would generally pick Anderson over Broad).

          What I’m taking issue iwith is the implication that he should be an automatic pick abroad as well as at home, especially given his age, which I don’t think is backed up by his record abroad other than in SA–and the fact that you’re using statistics from an already lost disaster of a series to support the argument does nothing to dissuade me from that!

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          • quebecer Mar 28, 2022 / 12:53 am

            Interesting chat, guys, thanks. I can see the reasoning behind not selecting Jimmy and Stu for this series, but then why the hell leave them out in Aus?? Play them there as much as you can if you know they’re resting until the English summer. That’s the point for me. We changed strategies between tours and therefore got it wrong on both. Pretty ECB of them.

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