He’s No Coward…

It was decided in the halls of power at the Daily Mail that Mr Paul Newman and Mr Nasser Hussain were not sufficiently qualified to stick the knife into Eoin Morgan at any given opportunity. Newman tried, oh how he tried. But not well enough. So fresh from a jaunt to Minnesota, the deity that is Oliver Holt, son of Emily Bishop, a top journo back when leather jackets and Jimmy Hill’s kitchen were en vogue, had to fly out on a three day trip to back the boys up. Oliver, or as his lovely friends call him “Ollie” came, he saw, and he wrote. Badly. Away we go.

Eoin Morgan is a lucky man. He is lucky because he has a group of honest, honourable friends in the England one-day side who, through their public displays of support, have shown way more loyalty to him than he has to them.

And away we go. Remember one thing throughout this piece, because it is in his headline. He is NOT, absolutely NOT accusing Eoin Morgan of cowardice. Definition of cowardice is:

lack of bravery.
“my cowardice got the better of me and I crept out of the room”
synonyms: faint-heartedness, spiritlessness, spinelessness, timidity, timorousness, fearfulness,pusillanimity, weakness, feebleness;

informalgutlessness, wimpishness, wimpiness,sissiness;
informalwetness;
archaicpoltroonery, recreancy;
rarecravenness
“he was charged with displaying cowardice in the face of the enemy”

No, maybe not cowardice here, but we’ve got disloyalty out of the way by way of a starter for 10.

He is lucky because in men such as Andrew Strauss, Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace he has bosses at the ECB who have stood by him, even though privately they must be dismayed and disconcerted by his refusal to tour Bangladesh.

How do you know their private thoughts? Is that what Newman told you via the good journalism route? They may have disagreed, but it was they who gave people the option, indicating this wasn’t a slam-dunk decision. But hey, that’s a nicety because Eoin isn’t being accused of cowardice, even though he refused to obey orders (although held privately).

He is lucky because even though he chose to miss the three ODIs in Dhaka and Chittagong, even though stand-in skipper Jos Buttler and the young players thrust into the limelight in his absence performed like heroes, Morgan has been told he will reassume the captaincy in India in January.

Oh my god. “Performed like heroes”. We beat Bangladesh 2-1. A good result. A result if achieved under Morgan’s stewardship would have been run-of-the-mill. The ability to puff up the victories is an English specialism.

We’ve had three paragraphs kicking off on the theme of being “lucky”. Prepare yourself for five paragraphs starting Everyone knew…

Everyone knew, as we walked out of the lobby of the England team hotel in Chittagong last week and down the slope towards the waiting security convoy, that Morgan will be allowed to waltz straight back in to the side for the first ODI against India in Pune.

“I was with the England team” says Mr Sanctimony. I was with them. And because I’m with them I can say that Eoin shouldn’t be when (assistant, look up where the 1st ODI is in January) we take the field in Pune, and I’ll be sitting at home, or commenting on some old football nonsense. If “everyone knew” Sanctimony, why did you feel the need to go there and get some sort of journo purple heart to prove “it’s safe”? What was the point other than a tedious hatchet job.

Everyone knew, as we walked past the heavily-armed Bangladeshi SWAT soldiers, their backs turned to us as they scanned the lush hotel gardens for any possible threat, that even though Morgan had decided this was way too much hassle, he will lead the team out at the start of the next leg of the ODI tour on January 15.

“Way too much hassle”. Because Eoin Morgan took a serious decision, that could jeopardise his place in the England team, because it was too much hassle. Hey, as I say, WE are the ones with an agenda. Also, security. SWAT teams, possible threats. But Eoin isn’t a coward. It’s too much hassle.

Everyone knew, as we watched England’s players climbing onto the coach that would carry them through the teeming destitution of the streets of Chittagong on a journey that Morgan had decided was too dangerous for him to take, that the absent skipper’s place was safe.

I’ve had this discussion already. Not questioning why this is happening in a country racked with poverty, with a political system in meltdown, and a recent terrorist attack on westerners, and whether sums of money should be spent on it. I know this is a debate, there is no right answer, but acknowledge it. Also Morgan has decided it was too dangerous to take. But he’s not a coward. Olly took it, Eoin didn’t. But not a coward.

Everyone knew, as we rode behind the team in the convoy taking us to the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, trucks of Rapid Action Battalion troops at the front of the line of 10 vehicles and an ambulance bringing up the rear, that even though Morgan had said he could not cope with this level of distraction, he had decided the level of distraction in India would be just fine.

Ah, India. Holt has a point. Eoin Morgan cited an incident in India as a reason for not going, but has been to subsequent IPLs. We can go into many scenarios here, and I doubt Holt has, but maybe experience has proven it safe for Morgan, while maybe he wasn’t so sure about this. I mean, trucks of Rapid Action Battalion troops would convince me we’re playing in a non-hostile environment. But hey, I’m funny like that.

Everyone knew, even as England’s band of brothers defied a noisy, excitable and partisan crowd to set a record for a run chase at the ground and seal a 2-1 series victory, that Morgan will be allowed to reassume control when it suits him.

“Band of Brothers”. A bloody cricket team. Why is he, and others, not too subtly inferring that sport is like war. Leading them out to battle, fighting for England, leading from the front. etc. It’s a bloody sport.

The prospect of his recall is hard to stomach. This is a man who still, apparently, considers himself a leader but who, despite the considered advice of the ECB’s trusted and highly-respected security director, Reg Dickason, that it was safe to tour Bangladesh; decided that he would really rather not stand together with his players in Dhaka and Chittagong.

Do you think he might have discussed it with them, as Jos Buttler made clear, and they thought it fine (and will they think the same of Hales, who has given up on his test career for now over this). Or is there “good journalism” going on here too. Or, as I suspect with Holt, he’s making this shit up.

Welcome to England’s first non-playing captain; a guy who waves his team off to foreign climes when the going gets tough and rejoins them when it gets easier. Welcome to the guy who chooses the day his mates land in Dhaka to send out a tweet boasting about the hospitality he has been enjoying from Guinness at a boozy session in Ireland.

Keep this in mind, when you think about a previous England captain who rested for a Bangladesh tour, or another former England stalwart who decided in 1986-7 to not tour with England again, or our upstanding keeper-batsman who opted out of touring India. Morgan missed three ODIs. And in true Daily Mail style, if he wasn’t volunteering, or wearing sackcloth and ashes, he was to be condemned. How dare him have a beer when his colleagues were sweating away in Bangladesh.

Some captain this. Some leader. Some sense of comradeship. Some sense of solidarity. For that tweet alone, the man is an embarrassment. It says a hell of a lot about the loyalty and character of players such as Ben Stokes that they should still seek to defend and support him and it says a hell of a lot about the loyalty of Morgan that he should turn his back on them.

Some captain. One of two to lead us to an overseas ICC tournament final in 24 years. When he did lead, he was seen as a cool head on the field, a decent tactician, a supporter of his players and an evangelical pursuer of a more aggressive, attacking form of cricket which has royally entertained us. He looks like a fine leader to me, and one players might be loyal to. How dare you cast aspersions on that on the back of a three day jaunt, Holt. What the hell do you know. Still, he’s not a coward.

Let’s be honest about Morgan’s decision not to tour Bangladesh: he got it wrong. The evidence of a one-day tour that passed without incident off the field proved he was mistaken.

I pray to God that nothing happens during the test series. If there’s anything going off while we are there, England will be home on the first flight (or at least to Dubai). He did not get it wrong just because nothing has happened. That is absolutely dense logic, and one a newspaper reporter should be ashamed of.

It is important to note, of course, that the England Test team are still in Bangladesh and that a security threat remains. Just as it will remain when the Test tour moves on to India next month and when the one-day tour of the subcontinent resumes in January. Modern sportsmen live with threat now. It is their new reality.

The differences between India and Bangladesh are so stark that Holt’s ignorance is on show. I suppose them, India and Pakistan are all the bleedin’ same, ain’t they?

But it is also important to note that the ECB’s preparations for the tour of Bangladesh have been beyond reproach. They could not have done more to create a safe environment for the players. The team hotel in Dhaka was in the midst of an army-controlled area. The team hotel in Chittagong is in a secure compound.

Terrific. England created this. Not the local government, their military, their police, who could, just possibly, be trying to curtail the trouble going on in Bangladesh. It may be overplayed by us in England, but there are issues. For example, one of the Government’s own son was a participant in the Bakery assault back in July. No-one had a clue he’d been radicalised, and that he was indeed planning to be a part of that attack. Still, military preventatives are all we need and never fail.

So when the one-day players flew out of Chittagong on Thursday evening, bound for London, the ECB had kept their part of the bargain. They had ensured their safety. Morgan would have been on that plane, too, if, he had deigned to pitch up in the first place.

If he isn’t accusing him of cowardice, then what is he? Being lazy? I’m losing the will here.

Let’s be clear about one thing: I am not criticising Morgan or Alex Hales, who also refused to travel, for a failure of courage. It is a failure of logic that I object to. Logic and advice suggested it would be safe to tour Bangladesh. Logic also suggests that if it is not safe to tour Bangladesh, then it is probably not safe to tour India, either.

You must note that despite calling him disloyal, saying that Morgan thought it wasn’t safe, that he hadn’t had his players’ backs, that he wasn’t a leader, that he waves off the team when the going gets tough, he’s not, definitely not accusing him of cowardice. He’s accusing him of the crime of not being logical. Logic defies me that the Mail is our most influential rag, and that women in the main are its target, when it has the Tits and Hate column on its website. But Olly works for that rag, and objects to “a failure of logic”. Don’t be a coward, Sanctimony, call him a coward.

And, I’m sorry, but if you are the captain of a team and you wish to remain as captain, you carry a responsibility to your players. Or you should do. That’s why Morgan should be stripped of the role for the limited-overs tour of India.

What does this even mean? Because here comes a belter…

Ask yourself whether principled captains in our recent cricketing past, men such as Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan and Strauss would have pulled out of a tour and let the team go without them and you know the answer.

Andrew Strauss pulled out of a tour in 2009 to rest. Someone tell Holt that. It was to Bangladesh which was seen as an “easy” tour. Oh, so if management say so, its OK. If a player, worried about his safety does, he’s not a “principled” captain. On the contrary, Eoin sounds quite principled to me. Just because it doesn’t align with Mr Logical, out there for three days, Holt and his definition, Morgan’s a wrong ‘un.

Remind yourself of the example of current Test skipper Alastair Cook. His wife is about to give birth to their second child but he will still then fly out to Bangladesh to be in Chittagong for the first Test.

Good on Cook for going. Good luck to him. Hope his baby is well, and he scores runs. That’s his decision. But then we are talking St. Alastair here, aren’t we.

If you want to, believe those who say that Morgan’s absence in Bangladesh will make absolutely no difference to his authority with the men who travelled without him on the tour that is universally regarded as the toughest trip for English cricketers.

In the absence of public statements saying that, and every single England player questioned saying they understood it, and that it makes no difference, you carry on with your petty spiteful campaign.

Or consider instead what many senior figures, past and present players, are saying privately: that when the chips are down at some time in the future and Morgan is trying to rally his men, they will look at him and somewhere in their minds they will be thinking: ‘Where were you in Bangladesh when we needed you most?’

But he’s not being accused of cowardice. “Hey! Eoin. I’m not going to fight my hardest because you aren’t logical.”

That’ll do for now. There’s a really good baseball game on at this time.

UPDATE. A very unexpected endorsement.

I can see you, Paul….. How do you feel being undermined by Olly, because, old son, that’s what it looks like from this space. In fact “everyone knows” that.

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Clock of the Heart

The last three or four weeks have been something else. So much so that this is the first time in a while I’ve thought I should allocate some time to writing a piece that is a little bit more than a shortish match report, a snipe at a Newman piece of nonsense, or setting up a poll for you to consider.

017-01.jpeg

I’ve worked for my employer for a very long time, and now the workloads are such that we are all pushed harder than ever. It’s not a complaint, it’s a realistic setting out of the position we find us in right now. I get home later, I get home more mentally shattered, and cricket needs to compete for my time even more than ever. My job waxes and wanes. It’s waxing so much at the moment that we might call in Madame Tussauds.

Which means times is scarce, and free time needs to be appreciated. At this time of year, especially with the start of the NFL and the postseason in baseball (where my favourite team made it, but flamed out quickly) cricket is going to lose. If that happens, writing about it becomes less easy. Cricket blogging skews the attention space I give, but it isn’t going to conquer all.

With that in mind, I thought”what I should write” now I’ve got a few minutes. Throughout my time on this blog, and its predecessor, I’ve complained about how I don’t feel like actively supporting England as I think they (as Team ECB – I can’t divorce the two), and their supposed “loyal” fan base abandoned me ages ago, and they didn’t care very much about it.I’ve done that to death. It’s a recurring theme, and it still remains.

I also complained how the media was a sop to the ECB, not holding them to account, but supporting them, enabling them and in the end being in hock to them. This is a mainstay of the blog – indeed, Cricket365 have instigated a weekly review of the press on their site (like the Mediawatch on Football365, but not as punchy and not as good). We had our own focus, and it was on broadsheet journos in particular. The key individuals were Pringle and Selvey, two writers who evoke a mean spirit, a propensity to sneer towards those who dare question their omnipotence, and thus on this blog were roundly castigated for their atitudes. It speaks volumes that they have both been let go by their papers for younger, and presumably cheaper, regular replacements (Hoult and Martin).

We still have the festering boil that is most of the Daily Mail’s coverage these days (LB being an exception), but given that disgraceful rag is the leading web-traffic “news” driver in this country, it speaks more to the country we live in than anything a mere blogger, talking to his echo chamber, could ever compete against. Much of Newman’s copy mirrors the attitude of its paper, and there’s a much bigger problem there than cricket. A newspaper allowed to criticise anyone and anything that it sees fit is unable to comprehend or contemplate that anyone might dare criticise it and its ways (and doesn’t give a stuff if it does). We saw it this week with Brexit and those who think economic suicide is not a “patriotic” duty being told to be “silenced”. We’ve seen that bloody tactic before, and we’ve seen more than a few enablers of it on social media. How’s your lovely cuddly ECB now, folks?

But it’s the Mail’s attitude that I want to expand upon here, and it is related to cricket, so stick with it. If I might be indulged a little on Brexit, but only tangentially because I hate politics on here, if you doubt the wisdom of the decision you are told you are part of a “sneering metropolitan elite”. Given I live and work in London, do I tick those boxes? Well, that’s all part of the charm. I was born in a now destroyed hospital in Greenwich, and raised on a council estate in Deptford. My dad was a printer, my mum worked in a pub. I was about as working class as they come.I wasn’t a metropolitan elite, but I’m a Londoner. If I was born into that family now, I wouldn’t have Sky TV, that I do know. I’m not an elite, but what I was, was someone who loved playing cricket.

When I was living in Deptford we played football, and we played cricket on the streets. Cricket was visible. It had a presence. It was pretty much the only sport on TV on a Sunday. During summer holidays it was on TV all day when we were in the house and a test match or Gillette Cup match was on. This wasn’t a matter of consuming my media differently, it was as ingrained in me as football was. Rugby League and Rugby Union might have been on over the winter, but I had no desire to play that rubbish. Football needed a ball and five people tops. Cricket the same. How could you play rugby in the streets with those numbers? I didn’t learn how to play cricket at school. I learned in the street, with mates. But I was secured as a cricket nut from Infant School because my Dad helped me get into it, it was on the TV, and other like-minded kids wanted to play it. The cool dads in the media, especially those educated at the higher establishments, who seem to think they know what the kids like these days, are concentrating on the yoof at too old an age. Get them really young. That’s why kids play football.

I moved to another estate at the outer edges when I was 10, and we carried on playing cricket in the street, knowing the adults in their houses didn’t like it, but hell, why not. We’d improvise on our playing areas. One had no legside opportunities to score runs, so you learned to drive and cut. Another had a straight area, a bit of legside in front of square and nothing offside. So you learned to hit straight, or clear legs out of the way. You also had to take every catch that came your way. I don’t see any kids playing cricket in the street now, and I still live there, I don’t see any playing football for that matter. But unlike football, kids will consume it daily because if you are a football fan it is still easy to follow the game. Why would any kid even know about cricket now?

For a while Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself” was the England team song when people came out to bat. The opening lyrics in that song are prophetic…

Look
If you had
One shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it
Or just let it slip?

Every man and his dog knows when that opportunity was. It was September 2005. It was after the greatest England series we will ever know. It is where an underdog England team beat the mightiest of champions, and more to the point, damn well deserved to. It had characters, it had charm, it had verve, it had steel. It wouldn’t win every game, but it had people you could follow and enjoy doing so. At that point, the authorities in this country thought this would be a jolly great time to say to the 8 million who watched the denouement of the Trent Bridge terror, and who had chosen to invest their time and emotional wellbeing in a cricket event, even if it was for a short period, that no, that was it, unless you stumped up to Mr Murdoch’s lovely force for good.

Football did not do that, despite people claiming it that did. First, when the Premier League went to Sky, the biggest match in the football calendar at that point was the FA Cup Final, which remained on terrestrial TV, and the biggest tournament was the World Cup, and no-one doubted it was the world’s premier tournament, and that was entirely on terrestrial TV (at the Finals stage). Until recently the biggest Champions League matches could be found on terrestrial TV. Weekly live football wasn’t totally ingrained, and ITV for a while, after it lost the contract, covered a ton of Championship football on its local networks. Live football, free to air, with limited other routes for consumption of TV media, was available. The sport did not shut its access down across the board. It hasn’t been faultless, and the viewing figures in the UK are rarely published, but Sky invest so much money in it that if they didn’t win the contract, they’d be dead. But football is not cricket. Football did not shut down live coverage to all.

Cricket did. It took a great product, and at that time, what looked like a great team and told those who liked watching it, you have to pay, and pay quite a bit. The sport had just received a shot in the arm, after years of a poor product, winning its flagship series, and it turned in on itself. It took a short-term profit view, to prop up their addled infrastructure, at the expense of ever having it as a mass viewed event again. Why do you think the Olympics and the World Cup, and the Euros, are in the public conscience and their every move hung on by lots and lots of people, but cricket isn’t? To keep saying this doesn’t take massive insight, but to correct it, or even try, would take such a leap of faith that it doesn’t bear thinking about. It would cause a massive problem because, frankly, the players are paid too much, and the cost of facilities don’t reflect the revenue from them in most cases. Cricket is an economic basket case at anywhere other than international level in this country. As the distance between free to air, and recognising heroes, gets more distant, so does the chances of ever becoming big again. So does the point of writing about the sport.

So I sit here, less time to consume, because that is what everyone wants you to do in media land (consume), the sport and you wonder why I should care enough to write about it. I feel this even more when I see events like this week in Chittagong. As far as I recall, their chief gobshite, Oliver Holt, a man of great sanctimony, has not written about cricket for quite a while. He might have done a Lord’s test or something, but we have more recall of Martin Samuel following that line. The Mail have Paul Newman out there as the cricket correspondent, and Nasser Hussain as some combination of management stooge / bellower in chief, yet the Mail, and no doubt Mr Holt, felt the need to drop in and bring his sanctimonious perspective. Those of us out in the real world, who actually might be faced with the need to go to Bangladesh feel Eoin Morgan’s anxiety. For me it isn’t necessarily my safety, but what I’d put my loved ones through if I went. The mental torment, whether logical or not. Logic and fear are not usually compatible bedfellows. When you are dealing with the unexpected, and not knowing what you might be facing, I blame no-one for making that decision to stay at home. Sport isn’t war. Even if I had made the decision to go, I wouldn’t have questioned it. But that’s not enough for a paper that accuses the likes of me of being a sneering metropolitan elite, but does sneering for a living and a profit. No, Holt had to go. We await his piece on Sunday with a mixture of great relish, and great despair. He’s going to be a weapons grade tit, and we all know it.

What does Holt’s appearance mean to the likes of a cricket correspondent and former player who have lived through it for longer than him? Why wasn’t Newman or Hussain capable of doing precisely what Mr Sanctimony has done? Why just three days for Saint Oliver, on the back of his usual Ryder Cup shindig and a laughable piece after a visit to the new purpose-built Vikings stadium when he compared a billionaire ripping off his city partners with a monolith built for the Olympics and using it to beat West Ham around the head? Why did the Mail think it right to send someone to that country just to prove that Holt is more “courageous” than an England captain – because this is what this dick waving exercise was? As Cricket 365 said, Bangladesh are providing England military strength security. Instead of us asking if an England captain is safe, shouldn’t we be asking, as Holt probably should, whether they SHOULD be doing this, and if so WHY it is necessary? Are the ECB paying for this in totality? In part? Or are the ICC? Maybe he’ll surprise us. Given his focus on the national bloody anthem, I’m not holding my breath. And that’s something an asthmatic should never say.

Which brings me on to the ECB. I should be sitting back here smug, self-satisfied, proved right at their terminal incompetence. But I’m not. I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m disillusioned, and as time is tight, the last one is the easiest of the emotions to maintain. You can sit on Twitter and snipe at Kent doing their best to protect their own position, but that doesn’t get over the point that we judge often, don’t we, on little knowledge of the facts (it appears there is no contingency for this situation, and lawyers love a vacuum) and more on who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy”. After all, we’ve had two years telling us one player is Mr Nice Guy and the other is an obnoxious arse, and you pick your side. Why not with something that was never written down as a rule.

In this instance the behaviour of Rod Bransgrove is every bit more egregious than that of that other “bad guy” who seemed guilty only of not getting on with his coach, captain and injured wicket keeper. First of all, Rocket Rod decided that the way to get his membership on side was to call them, effectively, a bunch of out of touch oddballs. His words betrayed the attitude that many of those stuck to the good old values of long-form cricket could not possibly have the knowledge of a “successful businessman” and that they can moan all they like. If theyput in their views against the new City T20, he wasn’t going to pay a blind bit of notice to what these freaks had to say.

Now, one could admire this tosser’s honesty – but as we are frequently seeing in this sport, honesty covers a multitude of flaws barely adequately – but no, I choose not to. He’s a prick. I came to that conclusion then, and when he commented on Durham, well, I wasn’t going to be actively dissuaded by him then either. Not when he sat on a county team that had parlous financial troubles before he bailed them out, and now he’s sitting on a pile of losses too . His team was arguably worse run than Durham, but it wasn’t a going concern unless he bailed it out, which is his right.  Nah, that don’t matter to Rod. He just wants a City T20 team in his stadium in the hope he might get a little bit back of the money he’s lost. He has no more interest in developing test players as I have of setting up the Rocket Rod Rollerdisco Team.

It’s a famous quote, but one that resonates for the ECB. Bertrand Russell might have had Colin Graves in mind when he said “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” I am certainly full of doubt, so I hope I qualify for the latter, but when Graves, in his interview with TMS earlier this summer said he didn’t regret a thing he’d done in his tenure so far, I thought of this quote. Lizzie Ammon’s key revelation, in a piece lacking true meat but with a juicy morsel but certainly still far more steely than most of her media fellows have put out, relating to the four horse manures of the ECB spouting off loudly on a train confirmed fears, if confirmed they needed to be. People of the world, and of England cricket in particular, listen to me. These people are not high quality. They are lacking in insight, in competence, in ability and in strategy. The main “quality” the likes of Dig Your Own, the Empty Suit, Mr Comma, Mr Cupboard Under The Stairs, Norman Collier, Selfey’s mate Clarke … et al is that they are cocksure. I’ll leave it to others whether they qualify for the first part of Russell’s quote.

GraemeC, a contributor to the Ashes Panel last year and a sadly infrequent commenter here, has prepared a bit of an explanation on Yorkshire’s finances that is (a) better than mine last time out and (b) written brilliantly. I won’t add it to this mammoth piece of prose, but look out for it soon.

It’s really hard to think where cricket goes from here. There will be a sport. We just might not like it.

So to the blog, and the content, itself….

On the contents coming up, I’m sorry to say that I’m going to have to scale back on the ambitions for a lot of nostalgia pieces, and for that I am truly sorry, and quite disappointed. I love writing them, but they take a very long time, and it’s time I’d rather spend on other matters, if truth be told. I had done a fair bit leading into KP’s 158 in 2005, and I might add that as a Part 1, with no guarantee on timing for the meaty bits of part 2. My look back on Trent Bridge 1986 is also incomplete, but I don’t want to waste Sidesplittin’s brilliant answer to the question I posed on the mysterious Evan Gray. I’ll find some way in, one day, Sidey. I also hoped to do some stuff on the 30th anniversary of Gatting’s England tour to Australia, and started a first part on that. Then matters took over.  We have a full suite of test matches coming up (or in train) and that should keep us rolling along nicely. There’s no shortage of idiotic copy around still, so we won’t be wanting for material. All we will be wanting for is time.

Time. In time it could have been so much more. The time has nothing to show because. Time won’t give me time.

Take that FICJAM.

Violence Through Silence

I think it shows how weary I’ve become that when I saw the article (quite early in the evening) on KP and the commentary stint I thought I’d leave it be. Nothing surprises me with these clowns any more. That is should go through the conduit of the Daily Mail or Mail on Sunday is little surprise. That Patrick Collins thinks it’s great is little surprise. I’ve no doubt the likes of Pam, who was probably jumping the moon after her little Andy came in and we’ve had this massive turnaround (drawn series at home to New Zealand), and is calling us all KP fanboys, is happy too.

There’s a super piece by Maxie over at TFT if you want to comment. I have and so have other familiar traitors posters (I jest). But I’ve just re-read the Mail article and two bits in particular make my blood boil.

The ECB were outmanoeuvred by Pietersen and his advisors, led by Piers Morgan, during a sustained public relations campaign on his behalf after he was sacked following England’s 5-0 Ashes drubbing in Australia last year.

and

Pietersen has previously impressed as a television pundit, but pressure from the ECB to keep him at arm’s length this summer indicates that they remain extremely wary of his capacity to polarise public opinion and potentially alienate England supporters with his outspoken views. (my emphasis).

Listen here, journos. I don’t think we had everything to do with it, but it wasn’t you keeping “outside cricket” going, and it wasn’t KP either. There was no sustained PR campaign throughout last year when KP kept largely silent on the matters of his dismissal, as he was bound to do. They had a strategy. Stand back and let the morons at the ECB, aided and abetted by the compliant media to do the rest. Just wait, and thou shall deliver.

The ECB did itself in by appointing Paul Downton, and all the campaign had to do was keep quiet, let some of your lot throw themselves in front of the mighty Paul, and call him Lord Aplomb, and then allow him to open his mouth. I miss Downton because he was useless. He had all the suitability to the job as I have of being a court jester. There’s nothing sustained about the PR Campaign. He wrote a book and you lot took out the bits that mattered to you, and ignored some pretty salient points. And you can’t go f–king anywhere without Piers Morgan’s name coming up. Grow up you morons and admit it. Some of his fans, and many who hated the way he was scapegoated, didn’t buy what you fools were selling. Now some of you have buyer’s remorse on Downton in particular, and Moores as well, you want us to say sorry? Do one.

Which leads to the second point. His commentary may alienate some of the cricketing public. I’ve seen it all now. What do you think his sacking did? Do you think I’ve been writing this blog because I love it and accept it? Do you think I care enough to spend all the hours that I have on this and HDWLIA because I’ve not been alientated by this. And you care about those who have done nothing but insult us all the way because of it? Because we were right over Downton, over Moores, over Cook’s position in the ODI, and yes, over his leadership of the test team. You worry about alienating the people who have stuck their heads in the sand?

It would be hilarious if these chumps weren’t serious. Well done Sam. Paul would be very proud.