Tee hee

England cricket: an apology from The Times
We may have given the impression in Saturday’s Times that Joe Root’s England side had “No fight, no idea, no hope” after they were bowled out for a dismal 67 in their first innings.

We now recognise that they are among the finest, battling sides this country has ever produced. We are happy to make this clear.

20 thoughts on “Tee hee”

  1. We also may have given the impression that England has no ability to survive as a nation outside the EU, and that it will rapidly collapse.

    We will never recognise that this is just wishful thinking on teh part of Remainers…

  2. We also may have given the impression that England has no ability to survive as a nation outside the EU, and that it will rapidly collapse if it leaves.

    We will never recognise that this is just wishful thinking on teh part of Remainers…

  3. Ben Stokes heroics notwithstanding, England’s batting has been shit for several years now. All last summer the top order consistently put the team into holes against India that the lower order managed to dig them out of. They did the same in the Caribbean and then again against Ireland just a month or so ago. So one wonder innings by Sir Ben doesn’t change the fact that English cricket no longer produces Test batsmen. The sort of players who could succeed at Test level aren’t even getting professional county contracts now, as everyone has to be able to biff the ball, to play T20 and one day cricket as well as first class.

    So the grinders, the plodders, the hard to get out but slow scorers who are what you need in a 5 day test, particularly at the top of the innings just never get near playing first class cricket. Or if they do are immediately told to up their game and become hitters as well, thus destroying their defensive game. Alastair Cook would not get a pro contract today. Or would have to change his game to suit the shorter formats and thus destroy his USP – his ability to bat for long periods of time.

  4. Root playing a decent innings and Stokes a magnificent one does not solve England’s batting problems.

    In the short term, swapping Denly and Roy around might help.

    @Geezer – the Times’ output of Brexit scare stories is prodigious to say the least. Today they claim companies are abandoning Britain en mass to go to the Netherlands.

  5. Jim,
    Absolutely correct. Drives me mad watching these “Test” batsmen try and put every ruddy ball over the boundary. I know Boycott and Tavare drove us to drink on occasion, but the name of the Test game was first, “Wear down the bowling”.
    But, fair play to Stokes.

  6. But you do have to be realistic here. First class cricket’s an entertainment, not a sport. If you can’t sell the long form of the game to a buying public, you probably shouldn’t be wasting your time trying. Unless you’re willing to turn Test cricket into some sort of amateur thing where players & grounds stage it for little reward other than the kudos.
    Or if you want first class First Class cricket gets yer bums on seats.

  7. “First class cricket’s an entertainment, not a sport. ”

    First class cricket (ie county cricket) hasn’t been an entertainment since the 1950s. Its entire role is to produce Test players for the England team, which is an entertainment, in that people willing pay handsomely to watch it. The trouble is that the ECB discovered T20 cricket 15 odd years ago which suddenly gave county cricket a profitable product to sell to the public. You can sell out the Oval on a sunny Friday evening for a county T20 match. Even unfashionable counties out in the sticks can get decent crowds for T20 cricket. The next Tuesday there’ll be 2 men and a dog to watch many of the same players perform in the county championship.

    And thus to accommodate the counties with their money making the ECB have allowed the T20 schedule to dominate, and just shoved the first class stuff in wherever it can. The early and late parts of the season basically, when conditions are not that suited to cricket anyway, especially batting, as the wickets are pretty sporting at those times. Festival cricket has been shoehorned in at random times as well, so you get the ludicrous situation of teams going from swinging wildly in T20 one night to being expected to bat sensibly for a whole day the next. And the result is things like Kent getting shot out for 46 in a county championship game the other day.

    You cannot ask professional sportsmen to suddenly swap their entire style of play overnight. It would be like asking Rory McIlroy to prepare for the Open by spending the preceding week on a crazy golf course. Cricket is a muscle memory thing – you practise for hours and hours to hone your ability to do a certain thing without even having to think about it, it becomes instinctive. And the instinctive action to launch the bowler over cover for 6 is not the same one that allows you to come forward and play a safe defensive stroke to exactly the same ball. You can have one instinctive reaction, not several and choose from them.

  8. The key to test cricket batting is to mentally reset yourself every ball so that you defend against the good balls and score off the poor ones. You can see Steve Smith doing it which is why he is so successful in test cricket. The England batsmen struggle to maintain the necessary discipline and concentration.

    That said, it is times like these that make it such fun to live in Australia, they really cannot handle losing to us poms.

  9. I remember Tavare in particular as being incredibly slow scorer, interestingly his Wikipedia entry claims he was originally an attacking batsman who changed his game to adapt to Test Match format.

  10. Incidentally, much is being made (rightly) of Stokes’s achievement, and people calling it the ‘best Ashes innings ever’. I think if you went back to 1902 there was a chap by the name of Gilbert Jessop who might have a pretty solid claim too:

    The Fifth Test at The Oval in August 1902, known as “Jessop’s match”, highlighted Jessop’s ability to play quickly. England had an unlikely one-wicket victory against a quality Australian side who set England 263 to win in the fourth innings. Jessop came to the crease with England at 48 for 5. He scored his first 50 runs in 43 minutes and reached his century in 75 minutes. He was eventually dismissed after 77 minutes for 104, which included 17 fours and an all-run five. Many of the fours had well cleared the boundary, but the laws of cricket in 1902 meant that to obtain six runs the ball had to be hit out of the ground. One of these “fours” was caught on the players’ balcony. A newspaper managed to keep a detailed record of his innings, which shows that Jessop reached his hundred off 76 balls – one of the fastest Test centuries of all time.

    This would have been an uncovered pitch as well.

  11. “And thus to accommodate the counties with their money making the ECB have allowed the T20 schedule to dominate, and just shoved the first class stuff in wherever it can.”

    I like the sneer at ‘money making’. sneer Jim. What do you think professional cricket is? A public service?
    If professional cricket can’t produce the money to support itself, no professional cricket. End of. Like professional tiddly-winks.

    But it’s a curse cricket’s long suffered. Any number of bystanders waffling on about how cricket should be. With very few of them willing to pay to support it. You’d think it’d been nationalised, or something.

  12. “If professional cricket can’t produce the money to support itself, no professional cricket. End of. Like professional tiddly-winks.”

    Oh I agree entirely. But the ECB have forgotten that its England Test team are the goose that lays the golden eggs. People pay handsomely to see the England Test team do well. Not get bowled out for 67. And the first class county championship is the where the golden egg laying geese are bred in the first place. The ECB have neglected the County Championship, and now wonder why there’s no batsmen worth picking for the England Test team. Thats not good for business – spectators and sponsors won’t be interested in paying through the nose to watch and be associated with a Test team that gets bowled out for double digits on a regular basis. They’ve committed the usual sin of Leftists – just because getting rid of or changing something thats been a certain way for a long time doesn’t result in immediate catastrophe doesn’t mean its still not a stupid idea.

  13. Kylie Minogue, Ned Kelly, Mrs Mangle, Dennis Lillie, Crocodile Dundee, Rupert Murdoch, Skippy, can you hear me Skippy? Your boys took a hell of a beating!

  14. Frankly, I’m inclined to agree with whoever the chap was who said that “watching test cricket is the Englishman’s preparation for eternity”.

  15. ““watching test cricket is the Englishman’s preparation for eternity”.”

    No thats county cricket. Where nothing much happens, in a largely empty ground, the only spectators being pensioners and their dogs, and a few other odd social misfits who have no jobs and nothing else to do on a Tuesday afternoon. Test cricket can actually be rather exciting, as shown by Sunday. County cricket is unrelentingly tedious, and if by a miracle it become exciting there’s no one there to see it happen anyway.

  16. This would have been an uncovered pitch as well.

    To be fair, the whole ‘uncovered pitches’ thing is a bit overblown. If it doesn’t rain for the five days of the match, it is a perfectly good pitch. There were no lights in those days and umpires were far harsher about bad light. There was the odd horror story about a thunderstorm on a sunny day leading to having to bat on a drying pitch, but that was fairly rare.

    With the drainage ‘problems’ at the top English test venues (too much, pitches drying out too early) maybe we should go back to uncovered…

  17. “If it doesn’t rain for the five days of the match, it is a perfectly good pitch.”

    It did rain during that match, thats what makes Jessops innings even more amazing – Australia batted first and made over 300 (a very good score in those days) and then it rained overnight, and England were bowled out for a first innings deficit of nearly 150. Australia were also skittled on the wet pitch for just over 100 in their 2nd innings, and then reduced England to 48-5, and no-one would have expected England to make 3 figures, let alone 260, given the conditions.

  18. I attend the odd day of first class cricket every year, interesting to watch professionals doing what I do every weekend as a hapless amateur.

    I’d much rather watch Test cricket on TV though, the noisy drunken crowds would do my head in, plus there’s good odds of you sitting behind someone in colossal fancy dress which blocks the view of half the stand.

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