Killing Puritans

Ah yes. Always going to throw in an Armand van Helden reference where I can. If you thought not, well, you don’t even know me.

But the main reason for invoking the above album name is because of George Dobell. Those of you who have not listened to his podcast with Peter Miller, aka The Cricket Geek, should. End of. Those of you who think the “campaign” I’ve run here and on my previous incarnation, and that The Full Toss has been on too, is one based on bile and rancour need to listen to it. You have to. Choose not to believe George when he mentions when the ECB deliberately leaked misinformation on an individual, and instead believe Selfey with his “anal about leaks” comment. Choose not to believe George when he said that individual items on the dodgy dossier were leaked to journalists, and that when the full document became public property the ECB tried to sue, and instead believe the mainstream media who believe their work is good journalism rather than the beneficiary of crumbs from the table from above.

This podcast has so much to recommend it. Readers of the previous incarnation will not be surprised at my “bigging up” of George Dobell, and also Peter does a superb job of keeping the fires burning. The podcast leaves you wanting more, almost as if you’d just like to go down the pub with the bloke and get the lowdown as he sees it. There is definitely a “I know a lot of what is going on, but can’t tell you” but the fact is, he lets you know a lot more than the ECB line.

The podcast is also good on the current England set-up. From Dobell’s standpoint it is clear to him that Andy Flower remains a key influence in the England firmament. There is some even more damning stuff around the fall of the Flower Empire, which I’ve not seen or heard in such graphic detail, and the story arounf Boyd Rankin, for instance, really needs to be examined if he was told to play with what was a pretty bad shoulder injury. Flower seems to be the sort of bloke Downton is in awe of, and this is worrying. Dobell clearly initmates that it is Flower pulling many of the strings. Maybe, just maybe, we are getting some clarity on the KP exile that the ECB don’t want to admit.

I’ve got a bit of sympathy for the Moores stuff. As you know, I’m not one who wants to plunge the knife into him, but it is inescapable that this team set the 2015 World Cup as a goal, and the preparation was farcical, the late switch of plans a hint of indecision and the current performances are lamentable. Moores is going to be in the firing line, big time, if this doesn’t turn around. The narrative, set by a friendly media last summer, was that he had created a good environment, and that young talent was thriving under him. People ignored the dodgy start against Sri Lanka, leaped on the turnaround of the India series, and put the late season ODI collapse down to end of season blues. Moores had a friendly press after their initial scepticism.

Moores, as Dobell says, doesn’t do himself any favours in press conferences. He does always seem a decent bloke trying his best to me, and if that sounds slightly patronising it isn’t meant to be. Moores was handed a horrible bed of nails to lie on, and he’s starting to show the marks. The latest interviews seem to indicate that the plans are right but the execution is at fault. Fair enough, but the players look shit scared when they go out there. The problem, and I know it is extraordinarily simplistic, is that our lot go out there as if this is a job of work. Many of us who do jobs don’t love what we do, and hence we don’t perform to our best. Some respond to the threat of the Sword of Damocles, and others retrench and play it safe. How many of this lot actually look like they are enjoying playing the game out there? I felt a little bit of that once we turned it around against India, but it needs the team to grasp the nettle before we get into winning positions. Given what we’ve been told about the regime that ended in Australia last winter, it seems fun was well down the agenda. Was it really true that players were asked not to celebrate birthdays because it could disrupt the team? This is sport, not a war. It’s meant to be enjoyable, not a torture. I perform better when I’m enjoying it, not when it is a matter of fear. I have been told of players snapping at journalists for daring to suggest there may be alternatives to them in the team, as if some believe they have a right not to be questioned. They may be a likeable bunch, according to George, but that message isn’t getting through here.

There are so many nuggets in that podcast, that I urge you all to listen to it. So, before this evening’s entertainment, let me leave you with a quote from Nick Hoult’s article…

Michael Vaughan, Paul Collingwood, Cook and now Morgan all found run making difficult while Moores was the head coach. The only one who did not struggle was Pietersen, partly because his tenure was brief, and he probably did not listen to Moores anyway.

But, never forget, KP was the problem. The real problem. The thing that needed to be dealt with.

My thanks to Mr Miller and Mr Dobell. Do it again soon.

On other parish news, here is where a friend of mine has been recently and mailed to me today…

Galle