Another day, another kick in the teeth for our beleaguered captain. Things could not have gone much worse for Cook yesterday. First, India’s last wicket pair humiliated the hosts with a century stand (thus wiping out the promising position England had established immediately after lunch) and then he failed with the bat yet again – this time bowled behind his legs after getting too far across.
Cricket can be unbelievably cruel sometimes. In trying to improve his offside game, and better judge what to leave outside offstump, Cook forgot about the leg peg. Oh dear. He was a little unlucky in that the ball deflected onto the stumps via his thigh pad, but it was more bad technique than bad fortune.
Other than being woken up at 6.30am on a Saturday morning by a small child jumping on your head, last wicket stands are the most annoying thing in the world. It’s the hope that kills you. The prospect of rolling over the opposition for a low-ish score fills you with optimism, only for two guys with no batting pedigree to cream your best bowlers to all parts.
Before yesterday, Shami’s best test score was three. Yesterday he made a maiden fifty. That just about sums things up. What’s worse India’s number nine, Kumar, who actually has some batting pedigree, looked a lot more solid than Cook, Robson and Ballance: he plays straight, has an orthodox technique, and was incredibly composed.
Once again the pitch didn’t exactly help our bowlers. Notts’ hope that the pitch might quicken up proved about as accurate as a Brett Lee beamer. England’s seamers therefore racked up in excess of thirty overs each – a nightmare considering the ridiculous upcoming schedule.
Was the last wicket partnership Cook’s fault? Perhaps. He was somewhat helpless considering the conditions – England’s modus operandi this summer has been to bounce out the tail – but he still could have bowled Ali more. Tail enders can’t resist a good slog – and so it eventually proved.
Cook tried plenty of things in the field. At one point we had three men close in front of square on the legside. However, none of his plans worked. When lady luck deserts you, she kicks you in balls before marching off. Poor Alastair just can’t get a break.
Before I sign off, I’d just like to point you in the direction of this article on Bleacher Report. It’s not in my nature to plug articles like this (especially not ones from bloody Bleacher Report), and I’ve tried to be relatively objective in my handling of all things KP in recent times, but I found this a fascinating read.
Those who think Paul Downton’s excrement smells of the sweetest pot-pourri are advised to stay away. It will raise your blood pressure and possibly give you a heart-attack.
However, those patronised by Mike Selvey’s ill advised reference to the “fringe idiots” and their “carefully orchestrated hate campaign” against Cook (as if idiots are actually capable of carefully orchestrating anything!) the piece will be music to your ears.
It certainly made me think. Something about Graeme Swann’s analysis on TMS hasn’t quite seemed right. Similarly, Botham’s support for Moores and his refusal to mention the word ‘Pietersen’ all summer (despite being someone who loves mavericks and dislikes the establishment) also seems a little fishy.
I’m not saying this article hits the nail on the head, but I’m certainly more sceptical about the impartiality of the mainstream media now than I was six months ago. See what you think.
More than anything I feel that Strauss’s statement shows what sort of man he is – none of my colleagues would use the C word in reference to anything at all let alone as a descriptive noun for someone. I used to think that Strauss was a decent person now I know he really isn’t.
My commute into work (Nottingham) saw the first day of muggy cloud cover in quite some time, even the weather Gods are conspiring it seems…
Regarding Strauss, I seem to recall him declining the ECB MD role because he was “Still too close to the players” the same could be said of his role as a broadcaster.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence the most astute English pundit, (in my view) M Vaughan is connected enough to the game to have played and captained the national side in recent memory but detached enough that he has no real personal ties to the current team – although he was the captain during Moore’s first stint as coach, albeit briefly.
I’m a little puzzled by the Bleacher article’s suggestion that the ECB has an unholy influence on Sky’s behaviour, mainly because cricket is extremely dependent on Sky’s money. In football, which is not short of a bob or two, Sky is known to influence many decisions e.g. what days matches are played and start times, even upsetting the calmest of managers like Mourinho (not).
If ECB is truly affecting commentators’ behaviour, it can only be for personal reasons – maybe a senior Sky manager is dating one of the board members.
Sky and the ECB:
As Mike Selvey might say: “My case rests.”
It was noticeable the day(s) after CuntGate that the ECB pet journalists all used the same line, some of them word for word. Pringle, Newman etc al all used words to the effect of:
‘And that’s it. There’s no smoking gun, no great secret. What Strauss said is the simple truth’.
This is about the fourth or fifth time the ECB has changed tack over why they sacked KP and every time, as if by magic, the same lines appear in all the usual places the next day. What’s that you say? Briefing? Never.
Not that this line even makes sense.
Bradman, Grace, Barnes, Miandad, Hadlee, Gavaskar, Boycott, Lillee, Botham, Richards, Warne…in fact, let’s make this shorter: name me a great cricketer who wasn’t also a monumental Henry Kelly?
Hell, if they’d been operating a no-cunt policy, the great Australian side of late 90s/early 2000s vintage would have been reduced to Justin Langer sitting in an empty changing room playing Patience.
The English cricket mainstream media is fast turning into the pod people out of the film Invasion of the body snatchers. Every time you wake up another one has gone over to the dark side. They appear the same, they look the same, they sound the same, but somehow there is a blank and vacuous stare. Pringle, Selvey, Brinkley, Agnew, Etheridge, The Sky commentators have all become ECB pod people. They have given up impartial, thoughtful journalism and now just parrot ECB talking points.
No doubt the ECB view this subtle, behind the scenes indoctrination as an example of their strength. In fact it is the complete opposite. It shows massive weakness. If they have to sink to these low levels to in force their shabby propaganda they are in deep trouble as an organisation.
I never bought into the Strauss choirboy image. He was a poor, deeply conservative, negative captain. The team succeeded despite him, not because of him. Cook is cut from the same cloth but he does not have the good fortune Strauss had in the quality of players. Good news for Cook is Giles Clark seems to view his so called ‘good family’ roots and image as more important than his ability. The ECB seems to long to return to a class based team of the Edwardian age.