Hey Good Lookin’, What You Got Cookin’? Thoughts on the 2nd ODI


He might be the leader of the most ineffectual England ODI team for some time, but good old chef has plans. We’re going to win the World Cup you know. And we’re going to do it in Australia! That’s the plan anyway.

The problem, of course, is that we’re crap. Our batting is about as convincing as Alastair Darling’s recent performance in the Scottish independence debate, and the bowling looks almost as bad (which is just as damning as any other simile I might concoct). If Alastair’s cooking up anything, it’s a recipe for disaster.

The good news for the ECB is that the greatest living Englishman – the most handsome, honest, family orientated blocker in world cricket – top scored in our pitiful innings. Consequently he must be absolved from any blame whatsoever. I’m sure you’ll all agree (wink, wink).

The good thing about the Cook dilemma is that we all know how to solve it: drop the bloke. England’s other issues are a little harder to figure out.

We’ve been rubbish at playing spin for as long as I can remember. And as someone who can remember quite a lot – when he’s not downing bottles of vodka in an attempt to forget another pitiful performance of course – that’s a bit of a worry.

What on earth are we going to do? We sweep badly. We use our feet badly. We can’t pick the right ball to attack. We can’t rotate the strike. It’s a tale of misery, doom and err, horse faeces.

Meanwhile, our seam bowling has less teeth than Alf Garnet – or for those of you who can’t remember the world’s most miserable West Ham fan, Man United’s attack. Tee hee.

I’m also extremely worried about the future of Steve Finn. If a bowler isn’t incredibly accurate, incredibly cunning, or able to move the ball sideways, he must be incredibly quick to thrive in international cricket.

We all love Finn to bits, but the same rules apply to him as everyone else. He used to have pace, but now he’s operating at 82-86 mph. If he’s not quick anymore, he offers very little.

If Finn isn’t back to his best – and I think it’s pretty apparent that he aint – then he shouldn’t be in the squad.

James Morgan


  • I would just like to congratulate A Cult on a brilliant captains performance. He stuck majestically to the laptop plan to the letter. Absolute genius! How do I know this? Because Mr Swann told us……….

    “I’ve sat in these meetings for the last five years listening to how it is a statistics-based game. There was this crazy stat in the last World Cup that [if we got] 230 we would win 72 per cent of our matches. The whole game was built upon having this many runs after this many overs, this many partnerships, doing this in the middle working at 4.5 an over. I used to shake my head thinking: ‘This is crazy.’

    “I remember Trott getting 86 [in [the 2011 World Cup quarter final] in Colombo. We’d batted to our batting plan perfectly, got 229, everyone said brilliant – they knocked it off in 39 overs. That’s how we always played it. It’s crazy.”

    A Cult and his team were only 3 runs short of the required laptop target of 230. Fantastic job. You can’t criticise the captain for only being 3 runs off Hal 9000s computer score target. Absolutely nothing to see hear, please move along.

  • When Ramprakash was wheeled out to utter trite platitudes I decided to look up his one day record, as I don’t remember him ever standing out. I see his highest score was a single 50. I also happened to notice, as this was Wikipedia, he attended Harrow school…

  • This was the third ODI. The first one was abandoned due to rain. I know this was only the second game actually played but it does help to keep to the correct terminology. I started reading and wondered what on earth you were going on about Finn for since he didn’t play the 2nd ODI.

    • I absolutely knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that today’s game was the 3rd ODI. The fact I wrote 2nd above is completely inconsequential. In fact, if you look hard enough, it doesn’t say 2nd at all. Your eyes are wrong :-)

  • You may not know this but look out for the pre-Christmas release of the old Rodgers & Hart show tune – “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” – released on the EpicTeam label by the full England Cricket Squad, coaches, physios,and psychos. The release is timed for the early rush and hopes to make the Number 37 position in the Charts – much like the team will in the World Cup

  • Glad someone else spotted that Finn is down on pace. He was maybe a smidgen quicker than Stokes for his first couple of overs but then dropped to sub-84mph. And his action looks all over the place still.

    Poor lad.

    • Spot on Burly. Sad to say, but true. Doesn’t look right to me at all. Will he ever be the same? How can he lose 5mph at his age if it’s not technical. I really fear for him

      • It’s awful. Our bowlers seem to be ruined in turn by the coach, Jordan being the latest. Finn’s career was destroyed by a South African captain playing games.

      • Finn has at least 3 marks on the ground to help him with his run up. This suggests to me that he is still worrying about where he puts he feet rather than where he puts the ball. I don’t think he will ever be the bowler we want him to be until he sorts this out and he should not play for England until he does. If he gets “the yips” and looses his run up whilst playing for England his confidence may never recover.

        Hopefully I am completely wrong and he was just a bit nervous in his first game back.

        • I got the yips twice during my time bowling in local league cricket. Just went back to bowling wonderfully in the nets (funny how it’s easier in the nets). The first time, I recovered. The second time, I didn’t. Really hope Finn comes through OK

    • [b]Another victim of Serial Killer of Bowling Actions, David James Saker (48).[/b]

      Warning: Do not approach this man if you are a young,impressionable bowler trying to make his way in the England side. And remember, if he tries to offer you any advice with your run-up, grip, or bowling action: Just say No, kids!

  • “What on earth are we going to do? We sweep badly. We use our feet badly. We can’t pick the right ball to attack. We can’t rotate the strike. It’s a tale of misery, doom and err, horse faeces.”

    No. no, James, you don’t understand… the thing is, everybody else is playing the wrong sort of cricket. Only England understand the right way to play an ODI. Everyone else is out of step.

  • George Dobell calls for Cook to resign.


    Time for the English cricket media to pull their heads out of their backsides and start acting as critics and journalists. If not, they can’t be taken seriously, and their integrity will amount to nothing.

    • Well done Dobell. It’s absolutely crazy that the media keep calling Cook one of the, if not THE, best batsman in England’s history. Can you imagine anyone describing a Thorpe, Gower or even bleedin’ Alec Stewart inns as ‘painful’. Cook is, and always has been, a decent / good test opening batsman but nothing more. He’ll break records due to longevity: being picked for the team earlier than most, staying in it irrespective of form when others would be dropped, and (I predict) staying in the team far too long in the future. Why? Because he looks the part, speaks well, and is quintessentially middle class Waitrose.

      I have nothing against the guy personally, and I certainly don’t think he’s a weasel, but it is favouritism pure and simple by an institution that is living in the past, and seems far too class conscious. He was annoited long ago as some kind of messiah / golden balls. It was unwarranted, and is beginning to look increasingly daft.

    • Dobell mentions that England Lions were 43-4 and 48-4 in their recent matches against SL and NZ A, both of which were lost. This has been used as an argument (not by Dobell but BTL at the G) against giving the likes of Vince or Roy a chance instead of the Cooks and the Bells. Two points about this:
      1) Yet again there are the double standards of new players being damned after a handful of opportunities whereas the old guard get chance after chance. Cook has had 37 ODIs and over two years to make an ODI century. “Keep selecting them and we’ll eventually play someone weak enough” feels like the main selectorial strategy at the moment.
      2) England Lions lost and the batting failed. Of course the players should take most of the blame. Anyone else? Remind me who was the coach? How was his record in another role in bringing through young batting talent? Curious how little comment there was in the mainstream media about such matters. No doubt it would have been the same if the Lions had won.- and there wouldn’t have been puff piece after puff piece about another excellent appointment by the ECB…..

  • ‘As for Cook, he admitted in last week’s Observer interview that dealing with . . . strong opinions in the dressing room was always difficult: “For a guy who probably didn’t have the confidence in [myself], that’s where I found it hard,” he said. “Swanny and Trotty have gone, the side’s younger, so it’s become easier in that side of the leadership.”

    An Emma John special, destined for tomorrow’s Observer.
    It probably doesn’t need illuminating with any comment, does it?

    • I’m quite speechless reading that. I have nothing against his honesty in admitting he found it difficult to captain older more experienced players. But why does the ECB then try to make him out to be ‘Captain Cook man of action, leader of the Waitrose 101st airborne division?”

      The ECB and the gutless media have created an image, (as I have said before a cult ) surrounding him that is complete balls. In some ways I kind of feel quite sorry for him. Because they have created a fantasy world in which he has the staring role. But it is all fiction. It’s straight of Disneyland.They have created all this image to protect their own sorry backsides. He is just being used by the higher ups for their own defence.

      It also calls into question how he deals with older more experienced coaches. One of the criticisms of him was that he was just carrying out Flowers orders. Can he stand up to Moores and say no? We do it my way? (Whatever way that is) The whole thing is becoming farcical.

  • Some things don’t add up. If Paul Downton was a star at JP Morgan, would he have have employed a team leader who confessed ‘For a guy who probably didn’t have the confidence in [myself], that’s where I found it hard. Swanny and Trotty have gone, the side’s younger, so it’s become easier in that side of the leadership.’ as Cook did in interview?

    Secondly, if English batsmen are all incompetent at playing spin, how come all county sides don’t employ an average spinner like Jadeja and destroy the opposition? Answer: ‘cos it ain’t true. It’s only Whittaker’s favourites who don’t know their job. Go and look at Taylor although I suspect Mike Newell won’t let you have him until Notts have finished with the Royal London Cup and the Championship.

    How come the selectors are Teflon coated and rather invisible when it comes to discussing why England, with 60 million residents, have difficulty finding 11 who can play international cricket well?

  • You’ve just got to love the way Anderson only bowled 7/8 overs as he was being held back for the ‘death’ …. except of course, there wasn’t one …. Cook really has to go as he will be the death of England

  • James et al,
    It’s impossible to disagree with anything that’s been written here in the last few days – from the dismal nature of our play generally, to Cook’s woeful batting and captaincy, to the continuing ineptitude to play average spin in the middle overs, and on and on. I agree with all of it – I honestly do.
    But my problem is simple. Try as I might, I just can’t bring myself to care much about ODI’s. I’ll watch them, because any cricket is better than no cricket. As a Melbourne-based expat, I have my ticket for the Australia game in March and I’m looking forward to it. I’d love England to win, of course – but it won’t bother me that much if we lose. Whereas losing the Ashes series next summer (if we do) or the South Africa series in the winter (when we do) will bother me greatly.
    The point of this observation is to ask a question – how do you think “most” England fans view ODI’s and the World Cup? Are they an afterthought, as they frankly are for me, until we can get back to Test cricket? And if so, does that attitude explain, at least in part, why we are so habitually bad at short-form cricket? Or am I just a dinosaur who’s way out of touch with the new reality that ODI’s are considered just as important as tests by players, fans and ECB alike?
    I honestly can’t find any other way to explain why we should be so bad, for so long, at One Day cricket, except to say that deep down, at some level, English cricket just doesn’t really care that much about the short form.

    • A year or two ago in a pub much the same question came up: do we really care about ODIs?

      I mooted the Faustian suggestion that, in exchange for the next five Ashes series, I would happily never see England win another one dayer. No one disagreed. No one, in fact, could find it in them to really care what happened in ODIs. I don’t remember any World Cup after ’92. Whilst the scoresheets from twenty year old Test matches are seared in my mind, I don’t remember the details of ODIs from last week.

      We’d prefer to win than not, but we don’t really care deep down. It just doesn’t mean anything to us.

    • Big Kev ………”But my problem is simple. Try as I might, I just can’t bring myself to care much about ODI’s. ”

      Well you better get used to it Iam afraid. Remember the ECB rearranged an entire Ashes series so England would be ready and able to win the World Cup. Effectively the ECB sacrificed the prestige of an Ashes test series for a one day tournament. And in the light of England’s last two ODI’s that looks idiocy.

      In addition the ECB ‘s mafia like stitch up deal with India and Aus means ODI’s are seen as the big money spinner. And the ECB does so like its money. How can they otherwise afford all the back room staff and computers?

      • “Remember the ECB rearranged an entire Ashes series so England would be ready and able to win the World Cup.”

        Correct. They also:

        – Cleared the Test schedule for autumn 2014: the last time we had the autumn off (2011) we lost 4 out of 5 Tests in early 2012. Prior to that we hadn’t had a pre-Christmas period without Test cricket since 1997.
        – Arranged a triangular tournament in Australia (also featuring India, of course) to precede the 2015 World Cup
        – In return for this, were obliged to play Australia at home in a ‘quid pro quo’ series that was scheduled for June/July 2012
        – Because of that ‘quid pro quo’, and not because of the Olympics, the Test series against South Africa (a battle for world no.1 status against our most consistently well-matched Test opponents of the last 20 years) was scandalously, disgracefully reduced to three Tests. Only three years earlier the ECB had made noises about SA series being guaranteed ‘icon’ status and given five Tests.

        See Mike Selvey’s fifth paragraph here:


        and see this from the horse’s mouth:


        – Because of a combination of that ‘quid pro quo’ and the re-organisation of the Ashes schedule, South Africa will have played only three Tests in England between 2009 and 2016. That is one more than Bangladesh; one fewer than New Zealand and West Indies; five fewer than Pakistan and Sri Lanka; six fewer than India; and an appalling twelve (two and a half series worth) fewer than Australia.

        Australia also played two more Tests in England, against Pakistan, in 2010. So in the same period, the only years when Australia haven’t visited England for Tests and/or ODIs are 2011 and 2014. To find a year when neither Australia nor India came to England you have to go back to 2008.

        I would urge anyone confronted with the dismal “oh well, we can rebuild for the next World Cup” argument to use these facts and remind people just how much we threw away for the sake of *this* World Cup.

      • Mark,
        Agreed. And it’s already happening. Australia and India seem to have played each other just about every year lately, and the Aussies seem to be in South Africa every couple of years. Of all of the points consistently made on this blog since I’ve started reading it, the massive damage done to the game by the Clarke-Edwards-Srinivasan stitch up is the one I agree with most strongly. Scandalous is the only word for it.

    • I can only really speak for myself, but I do actually care about ODIs. Not as much as test cricket of course, but I still think it’s relevant. I think it’s because I want us to do well in world tournaments. It’s when the world is watching. However, I’d definitely settle for an average Eng ODI side if I knew we had a very good test team. What I can’t accept is England being humiliated in international tournaments by the likes of Holland and Ireland.

  • To be honest, you see a lot of comments from Test “afficionados” declaring:- Who cares? It’s only the pyjama game, hit and giggle!! In my opinion, these dinosaurs are too myopic, if you love cricket, you love it in all it’s forms. This attitude probably prevails within the English Establishment too. Test cricket does not have the “World” prefix attached to it, and if Giles Clarke had his way it would only be played in a cosy club of three?
    In terms of bums on seats (and Sky viewing figures) Test cricket, as wonderful as it is, aint a top drawer attraction? Ah!, but what about The Ashes they say! Well, what about it? In a “World” contest it’s just a derby match that the rest of the world doesn’t give a toss about!
    Cricket, in all it’s formats is the greatest game in the world, in my view, and when my team pull an England shirt on I want them to be the very best in the world, beating the best in the world…and when they lose, especially in this manner, it bloody hurts!!!

    • Dave,
      I agree 100% that your attitude is a much healthier one for the long-term good of the game than mine. A strong England in all formats can only be good for the game, even if it still wouldn’t be enough to make me watch T20! I just wonder whether my view, which is less healthy, is actually more prevalent, particularly amongst the powers that be? I don’t know – hence my question.
      For what it’s worth, I used to enjoy ODI’s a lot more than I do now. Lifeless pitches, bigger bats, smaller outfields and negative tactics have tipped the balance way too much in favour of batsmen for my taste. Cricket is about the balance between bat and ball for me. Once that’s lost, especially in the shorter forms, then the game becomes a glorified home run derby. But that’s probably a discussion for another thread.

      • I agree very much that the balance is too much in favour of the batsman. (Unless it’s England’s batsman against spinners.)

        I can’t help thinking they are trying to turn cricket into a a Baseball style game. Which leads to another worry. I think there are some administrators who dream of getting cricket into the US. They dream of the American €. And 20/20 is the vehicle they think they can do it with. I don’t think this will succeed personally, but I do worry how Americans will want to mess about with the game. We saw with Stanford what happens when you put a pile of money in front of the ECB.

        • Mark,
          I can certainly see T20 as a potential vehicle to try and promote cricket in the USA. And for someone like me who doesn’t like T20, the irony is that I love baseball. I lived in the US for a few years, and fell in love with it. One of the reasons for that is that good pitching will usually beat good hitting. Getting someone out in baseball is statistically much easier than hitting a home run, or even just getting a base hit. So baseball retains that balance between bat and ball for me in a way that T20 absolutely does not.
          From that perspective I think T20 could work in the US and it wouldn’t need to be changed much. It’s actually more batsman/hitter friendly in its current form than baseball is.

      • Agreed Kev, in many respects. There was an interesting item on Ciricinfo recently that floated the idea that England should look at ODI’S as 50/50? (As a mindset change) That all the creativity, flair, batting and bowling skills, were gravitating up from 20/20 to ODI’S then Test, and not a lot gravitating the other way,because Test requirements were mainly technique, application, and concentration. I know there will always be a place for the “purists” and more power to them, but, I dislike the supercilious, patronising and utterly dismissive view they have of the other formats…..it gets on me tits!!

  • On the ‘England are bollocks at ODIs because we don’t really care about them’ argument:
    1) There is no necessary connection – you can be bollocks at something you care about or very good at something that isn’t the most important thing to you. Most top football clubs don’t care as much about the League Cup as the Premiership or Champions League but still win it sometimes. The idea the two are linked comes from American self-help nonsense that all you have to do is really want something and it’ll be yours (it won’t but it’s your fault for not wanting it enough).
    2) Caring about forms of cricket isn’t a zero-sum game where caring for ODIs must subtract from the amount you care for Tests. I love all forms of the game and don’t see why one needs to be played off the other (probably it’s mostly nervousness about the future of Test cricket).
    3) Would Australians argue this? They take Tests pretty seriously but it doesn’t seem to stop them winning plenty of ODIs.
    4) I can remember plenty of ODIs in obsessive detail and plenty of great cricket moments are from ODIs (ABDV’s innings against Aus last week will live longer in the memory than any Cook Test ton.
    5) If England were any good at ODIs we’d be caring about them and remembering them. (Check out how many England fans remember winning the 2006/07 series after the Ashes’ whitewash and you’ll find it’s rather alot).

  • I think that ODI’s have sown their own seeds of irrelevance.

    They are often pointless and far to many are played to give them any caché. There have certainly been memorable one day games but certainly for me they are mostly in the distant past. Did England need to play so many after the Ashes, in fact do any teams need to play so many after or indeed before test fixtures.

    Who wouldn’t have preferred extra test/s against Sri Lanka (England team excepted).instead of irrelevant one day games.

    I quite enjoy a good one day game and I think good arguments can be made for them. But the frequency needs to be reduced and 7 match tournaments after a test series are ludicrous.

    In my view T20 is totally irrelevant in the cricket pantheon. So many games are played that they are pointless and take away scheduling of more important fixtures. They are money makers and I find pretty much everything about them distasteful.

    If you want to argue for T20 from a financial point of view I think that is valid but for me it doesn’t reach the standard for acceptance as cricket. it’s my belief T20 was created in an attempt to get cricket accepted in the States in whatever form in order to milk the perceived cash cow that the country represents.

    I understand that it’s unfashionable to argue against the ‘evolution’ of cricket but it is sad to me that the development of the T20 format is presiding over the obsequies of test cricket.

    Perhaps that’s as it should be but for me the Americanisation of much of what we value in our lives to pander to the instant gratification that is largely driven by the values of the USA is a devaluation of much that is worthwhile in life. From taking the time to prepare a good meal. or the idea that if a book is good enough they will make a film of it, thus negating the need to read the book. And indeed that if cricket is packaged in a format that bears very little resemblance to what many have thought of as cricket but will sate the right now desires of this generation of watchers, is in my view a poor days cricket indeed.

    • “cachet”, non? :)

      I do think that ODIs are the poor cousin to T20 and Tests in purely sporting terms now, but I really have to disagree with you about T20’s place in cricket. I think it’s been a breath of fresh air and has clearly engaged an awful lot of people. There’s room for both T20s and Tests; I’m not sure there’s room for ODIs.

      That doesn’t mean I think it’s fair that England just write off ODIs as meaningless – they’re paid and paid well to produce the goods, and they consistently fail to do so.

    • As you may have noticed, the Women’s Ashes are now played as a mixed-format series, with each format counting as part of the whole and scoring different levels of points: 6 points for a Test and 2 for an ODI or a T20. Obviously this is because the women play very few Tests, but it seems a good idea to me.

      ODIs and T20s then cease to be meaningless and, if they come after the Tests for whatever reason, they can still affect the final result as well as reflecting the different skills of the various format teams.

      • Hi Zephrine.

        I certainly think that the women have found a way to make OD cricket relevant and I understand where you are on T20 although it’s not a view I am likely to come round to.

        But yes this is what I mean on the lack of relevance of the one day format. Personally i’d just like to see them played less with more import being attatched to those that are played.

  • T20 squad – somewhat nearer to what the ODI squad should be, no? Have the selectors been listening in?

    England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire, wk), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Harry Gurney (Nottinghamshire), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).


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