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Galle Day 3 – Jennings Sweeps His Way To A Hundred

It looks like this game is in the bag. There’s always a chance that something miraculous might happen – although Sri Lanka aren’t exactly blessed with many miracle workers – but one would expect England to romp home quite comfortably from here. I guess the rain might make an unwelcome return too, but we probably only need one of the two remaining days to wrap up a well deserved victory. In the words of a countercultural icon turned middle-aged pop-rock sell out “nothing’s going to stop us now”.

The big talking point of the day was obviously Keaton ‘the punchbag’ Jennings. He absorbed all the media punishment dished out to him last summer – some of which originated from this blog – and finally threw a punch back. His unbeaten 146 was a study in concentration and, erm, the sweep shot. Perhaps a new broom at the top of the order wasn’t required this winter after all.

I’ve already read a lot of praise for Ed Smith for keeping faith with Jennings – I swear Smith is related to Alastair Cook in some way because the majority of English fans seem either enamoured or outright infatuated with him – but I think that caution is the best way to respond to Jennings’ success here.

Yes he played very well indeed, and he deserves huge credit for weathering his personal storm, but it’s just one innings. My former co-editor Maxie used to call it the Collingwood rule. If you pick a guy indefinitely of course he’s bound to score runs at some stage. It’s the consistency with which he scores runs that’s the key. Even tail-enders occasionally come good.

However, I see Jennings’ success in a slight different light. I never doubted that he’s a good player of spin. He proved that in India two years ago. The problem is whether he can play seam bowling. Is it really any surprise that he’s finally scored some runs against a team containing just one seamer – and one with a poor test record at that?

Naturally this argument leads on to the old ‘horses for courses’ debate. Indeed, I read an absolutely terrible article in the Guardian the other day that tried to argue that tinkering with teams, and backing certain horses on certain courses, was a new and ingenious strategy devised by Ed Smith. And in coming up with such a strategy, our national selector had proved himself to be both an eccentric genius and the cricketing equivalent of Sir Alex Ferguson. I didn’t catch whether the same writer is one of the guys nonsensically calling for Alastair Cook to be knighted.

The trouble with the horses for courses strategy (which is as old as sport itself) is that you always have to persevere with a winning horse for the next race – irrespective of where that race is being run. Otherwise it’s unfair and the selectors in question get heavily criticised by the media. Basically, if your horse for the course does well then you’re saddled with him for a while. And that can undermine long-term team building.

England used to do this all the time when Ted Dexter, and other idiosyncratic characters (aka madmen), were running English cricket in the 1980s and 90s. We’d call up a medium-pacer like Neil Mallender for the Headingley test, watch him skittle Pakistan under overcast skies with the ball swinging around corners, and then wonder why the horse-for-the-course suddenly looks like a complete donkey in the next game at The Oval when the sun is out. In the meantime they’d missed the opportunity to blood a superior prospect with a higher ceiling.

What’s more – and I really hate to doubt the bloke after he’s done so well today – all evidence suggests that Keaton Jennings isn’t even a particularly good bet as a horse-for-a-course because the conditions he thrives in are particularly rare. He’s an opener that can’t play pace bowling. Although he might be some use in India and the UAE too, it’s worth remembering that India and Pakistan have recently unearthed some pretty potent seamers, and they’re bound to play at least two of them whatever the conditions.

The question, I hate to say it, is therefore this: what good is an opener who can’t play pace? How many matches are England going to play against teams that only pick one (poor quality) seam bowler? Although Jennings’ runs will probably win England this test match, I worry his success might handicap the side in the long run, especially with more important series on the horizon. Somehow I can’t see Keaton enjoying much success with the sweep shot against Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc next summer. 

There is a chance, however, that now Keaton has got some runs under his belt he might relax and start moving his feet more. Stranger things have happened. And if that materialises then we really can start celebrating his emergence as an adequate replacement for Alastair Cook. However, it’s going to take some time for him to make the necessary changes.

The one thing, however, that I do like about Jennings – and I’ve read that England’s management feel the same way – is that he has a superb head on his shoulders. He’s really impressive in interviews and comes across as confident (without arrogance), intelligent, and personable. We all know that cricket is a mental game (just ask soon-to-be Sir Alastair) and if Keaton’s tough upstairs then that’s half the battle.

Consequently, perhaps today’s very laudable century was most significant because of what it says about Jennings’ mental make-up rather than the make-up of his technique. My limited experience of psychology (added to my decades of watching cricket) tells me that sportsmen can change their techniques through hard work, but changing their personality and mental resilience is much, much, harder.

My final thought, therefore, is that at least we now know that Jennings indisputably possesses half the qualities required to be a successful test opener. And that’s important progress.

James Morgan

2018-11-08T17:48:32+00:00 November 8th, 2018|SL v Eng 2018, Test Cricket|57 Comments

57 Comments

  1. muffin November 8, 2018 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    My thoughts about Jennings entirely – I had already planned what I was going to say. An opener who can play spin but not pace? I suppose that he may get another go against proper bowlers after this, though….
    (btw James, are my eyes going, or is the paragraph starting “The question, I hate to say it….” in a slightly smaller font size from the rest? – I do a lot of proofreading!)

    • James Morgan November 8, 2018 at 5:51 pm - Reply

      I thought the same. There must be a ghost in the WordPress machine somewhere. It’s definitely either a different font or the same font with slightly different spacing or size. Nowt to do with me. I just run the site!

    • Marees November 8, 2018 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      The fonts are different!
      Look at the ‘g’

      • muffin November 8, 2018 at 7:21 pm - Reply

        Well spotted, Marees

    • Vashtar November 8, 2018 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      Good article. Good luck to Jennings, but he is not the goods and will undoubtedly fail against a decent attack. Ed Smith has a hint of the Emperors New Clothes about him. That Guardian article was dreadful sums up the sad decline of a once excellent newspaper. Ghastly ‘journaliats’ like Gary Younge,Owen Jones and Toynbee. The enemies of free speech.

  2. Simon H November 8, 2018 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Agreed on the assessment of Jennings. I’m guessing the media aren’t going to play the “third innings’ runs when the team has a big lead don’t really count” rule and instead it’ll be taken as further evidence of selectorial genius.

    (By the way, just to be clear, I don’t have anything against Jennings. Good luck to him. It’s the feeling that he’s been given more chances and put under less media inspection for reasons that aren’t to do with what’s in the scorebook that has grated. He’s not responsible for that)

    • James Morgan November 8, 2018 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      I agree entirely Simon. I’m really beginning to think that Ed Smith is the new establishment hero now that Cook has retired. There will be little objective analysis of his failings; only somewhat exaggerated praise for his achievements.

      For what it’s worth I think Smith is doing an ok job, and I mostly agreed with the squad selected for this tour, but the fawning is completely over the top & I have reservations about his preference for all-rounders over specialists, plus the way he seems to pay more attention to the IPL than the championship. Give that Guardian article I linked to a read. It’s absurd, and kind of encapsulates the trend I’ve identified.

      • muffin November 8, 2018 at 7:51 pm - Reply

        Hi again James

        Which batsmen would you bring in that are better than the “all-rounders” – Stokes, Ali (and I would include Buttler and Bairstow, although with Foakes’s success they would have to be included as straight batsmen)? Would Pope displace either Buttler or a fit Bairstow?

        If, as a short-term solution, Bairstow comes back in at 3, who would be dropped? It seems so obvious (as nearly all the Sky pundits are arguing) that Root must overcome his prejudices and bat at 3.

        I look forward to hearing from Cricketcricketcricket why he thinks that Root can’t bat at 3.

        • muffin November 8, 2018 at 7:53 pm - Reply

          ….and I’m not accepting “he doesn’t want to” as a vaild reason!

          • jennyah46 November 8, 2018 at 8:54 pm - Reply

            Root doesn’t want to bat at 3 because he is not comfortable there, so why put a square peg into a round hole. His style of play is much better suited to 4.

            • muffin November 8, 2018 at 9:07 pm - Reply

              “His style of play”? Which other player on the tour has the solid technique to play at 3? A re-imagined Ben Stokes perhaps?
              Could somebody please explain why 3s and 4s are so different in approaches? As I said (and regretted) the 4 could come in 1 ball after the 3!

              • jennyah46 November 9, 2018 at 10:10 am

                3 is there to consolidate or to put the brakes on after an opening disaster. 4 is there largely to take the game away after a good start. Now I do know that for us good starts are a bit thin on the ground, but there’s always hope.

              • Cricketcricketcricket November 9, 2018 at 10:29 pm

                11 could be in within 9 balls

        • Cricketcricketcricket November 9, 2018 at 10:28 pm - Reply

          Root is not a 3. Not only does he not want to but he has technical and mental failings for the top 3. He nicks off a lot and looks to put bat on ball which suits the middle order not top order.

          It really isn’t rocket science fella

  3. Cricketcricketcricket November 8, 2018 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    How world class are England .. so would class.. Jennings.. world class..

    Lol lol

    Well batted Foakes but before you get any other praise you have to repeat and show actual consistency. Moeen proving nothing other than what we knew (well those of us who are honest), he’s not a top six batsmen. Jennings has been dropped many times, buttler missed stumping (village).. peoooe are yet again getting all giddy

    SL do look woeful and not really interested sadly. England haven’t really proven anything yet and certainly nothing to make anyone think Jennings is worth his place

    • James Morgan November 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      I think Jennings deserves a lot of credit, as does Foakes, but the big story of this test (from a neutral’s perspective) really has to be Sri Lanka’s performance. They look completely flat. No energy. No interest. And, I hate to say it, they don’t look very talented. It’s a real worry. Mathews and Chandimal are talented guys but the rest worry me.

    • James November 8, 2018 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      I have to agree about SL. You’d think they’d want to give Herath (who is a top bowler) a decent send off.

      I think Foakes batted better than Jennings overall, because he made his runs when the going was tough (105/5 in the first innings). And he looks like a proper keeper.

      Is Moeen a no 3? Probably not (realistically, he’s a 7 or even 8). However, he’s still justified his place in the team (4 first innings wickets), and someone has to bat 3, since Root (the best equipped for it, and the captain) wants to bat 4. I don’t think you can criticise Moeen for wanting to help the team. The only other way you can do this (if you want to keep the current bowling attack, which has worked) is to bring YJB in at 3. If you assume that opener is a specialist position (which it is), and you want to keep Moeen and the rest of the bowlers in the team, the only person you can drop is Buttler (unless you drop Foakes and ask YJB to keep and bat 3, and there’s no logic for that). My point (I think) is that Moeen batting at 3 allows a lot of other positive things (in terms of this tour) to happen, so it makes overall sense, even if it doesn’t make sense in isolation (and he does bat 3 for Worcs). This is just my two penn’orth, so feel free to disagree, and/or put forward your alternatives.

  4. Mark November 8, 2018 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Errm. Wasnt cook also a flat track bully that made cheap runs against poor attacks but struggled against good ones particulary with bad foot movement? If so he sounds ideal not adequate replacement.

    Also i dont buy into the strong mentality part. He can only prove that when he has made some tough runs.

    • James Morgan November 8, 2018 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      Bit harsh on Cook! Yes he was better in Asia than elsewhere, and he wasn’t nearly as good as advertised against good quality pace bowling, but he’s certainly a cut above Jennings. The latter averages just 18 in England.

      Totally agree that Keaton needs to show consistency though. And yes, these were somewhat easy runs as the field was spread and England had a big lead. Perhaps I jumped the gun on the mental toughness thing. However, by all reports he does have a good temperament.

    • James November 8, 2018 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      Mark, I’d say Cook earned that reputation (with some justification) at the end of his career. The counter-argument is series like the 2010/1 Ashes and the 2012/3 (I think) tour of India, where he made mountains of runs in tough conditions.

  5. James November 8, 2018 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    All fair comment. The one seamer in the team (Lakmal) got injured too. Looking at the rest of the “top 8” test teams, they all have pretty good pace attacks:
    South Africa: Rabada, Steyn (if fit) Ngidi
    Aus: Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood
    India: Bumrah, Shami, B Kumar
    Pakistan: more left arm quicks than you can shake Wasim Akram at
    New Zealand: Boult, Southee Wagner
    West Indies: Gabriel and Roach are a good opening pair, and watch out for Oshane Thomas, who has hit 150k in the ODI’s v India and rattled Rohit and Virat.

    Having said all that, the guy has just hit 146*. I don’t think we can give him too hard a time. I was looking at the rankings today, and was shocked to see that SL are above Pakistan in the test rankings. Really?

    • James Morgan November 8, 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      That’s bizarre. Pakistan are look a much better side than SL. Then again, I don’t think SL have given a good account of themselves in this game. Plus they’re about to lose their best spinner.

      • James November 8, 2018 at 6:18 pm - Reply

        I think the SL ranking takes into account some recent home wins against South Africa (who play spin even worse than England) and possibly Australia. In those series the tests were played before the ODI and T20 series. But I agree: Pakistan are a far better equipped test side than SL.

    • Cricketcricketcricket November 8, 2018 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      Rabada is being driven into the dirt.. he’s lost a yard by being flogged
      Steyn isn’t the great Steyn now
      Ngidi isn’t great tbh
      Philander spends more time eating that playing

      Pakistan are as mercurial as always

      Nz are solid but like Anderson. Rely on conditions and lack real pace

      Aus have pace but they are made of glass.. just hope they aren’t all fit at once as outside that trio.. they are powderpuff

      WI.. meh.. crap
      Zim crap
      Bang crap

      Ther eint much quality around sadly

      • AndyB November 9, 2018 at 1:28 pm - Reply

        Philander may not be in peak condition but it makes no difference in conditions which suit him. Bowling at 78-82 mph he remains (far and away) the best seam bowler in the world. He is also the best I have seen since the greats of the 80’s, Hadlee and Marshall.

      • James November 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm - Reply

        They’re all considerably better pace attacks than Lakmal flying solo.

  6. adsdad November 8, 2018 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    I can´t take Jennings seriously unless/until he acquires a Proper Opener’s Nickname. We’ve had Boycs, Brocket, Banger and Chef: proper openers all. I suppose he’ll just have to be Buster?

    • AndyB November 9, 2018 at 10:32 am - Reply

      I was thinking ‘Justin’ – as in ‘just in time’ to save his place.

  7. Mark November 8, 2018 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    I believe that Bairstow or roy will need to find thier way into the team as openers hopefully to partner a more settled burns as a left right partnership and if its roy to open bairstow has to bat 3 in the long term. Buttler has to prove his worth as batsman and hopefully foakes is here to stay.

    Anderson and broad have not got long left so we will have room for our many allrounders pretty soon and have some great young prospects who are not far away from breaking into squads.

  8. muffin November 8, 2018 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    I’ve just watched the first part of “The cricket debate” on Sky. Willis was insistent that Stokes can’t bat at 3 if he is going to bowl. However he is going to be a 3rd (or even 4th) seamer…didn’t Jacques Kallis manage that role for some time?

    • Cricketcricketcricket November 8, 2018 at 11:17 pm - Reply

      Kallis was a legend.. stokes isn’t remotely close to Kallis

      • AndyB November 9, 2018 at 1:31 pm - Reply

        Kallis was also a proper test bat, prepared to graft as his default approach. Stokes has improved in that regard but remains – in temperament – a white ball middle order bat. Oh, and Kallis at Stokes current age was also 3-4 mph quicker with the ball.

  9. Alex F November 8, 2018 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    I’m just enjoying this, to be fair.

    • Inland Sailor November 8, 2018 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      Exactly! The fact we’re winning a Test away from home for the first time in 2 years is a blessing in itself. It seems like some people would prefer if we lost…

      • jennyah46 November 8, 2018 at 9:04 pm - Reply

        I’m finding it difficult to get too excited about this series because one team is not really trying. It’s disappointing and seems a bit pointless to me.

        Bairstow is not a natural number 3. We haven’t got one.

        • Inland Sailor November 8, 2018 at 9:25 pm - Reply

          “Not really trying”? That’s a VERY serious accusation.

          Far more likely that they’re just not very good atm.

          • jennyah46 November 9, 2018 at 10:13 am - Reply

            A bit of both.

    • Marc Evans November 9, 2018 at 3:40 am - Reply

      Well said that man!!!
      Why in this country can’t we appreciate the present unreservedly. There seems to be something in our national character that prevents us looking at any achievement in ny aspect of life positively. Praise always seems to be grudging. Look at the controversy Roony’s one off selection for the USA friendly has caused. He is an iconic modern day footballer who’s achievements in the game are unsurpassed in this country, certainly a far greater talent than any of the present crew, yet still he is strangely unappreciated. The same could be said of Cook when he retired, with all the talk of flat track bullying. No doubt if he gets a knighthood, which others with lesser sporting achievements have managed, we will be suitably underwhelmed.

      • Inland Sailor November 9, 2018 at 4:10 pm - Reply

        We literally prefer complaining to winning.

        Let’s see how people try to claim that a 211-run Test win away from home is somehow a bad thing…

  10. David Deakin November 8, 2018 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    I agree that Moeen is not a no 3 (more like 7 or 8) but the only solution is if you want Moeen to bat lower down is to either promote Ben Stokes to 3 or bat Sam Curran at 3 and bat Moeen at 8. As far as I can see, there is no place for YJB. Indeed, the way Bairstow is batting at the moment, I don’t think he justifies his place in the team.
    Looking long-term, if I was Ollie Pope, I would be insisting Surrey bat him at 3 as the only way he will get back in the Test team is to bat at 3.

  11. Marc Evans November 9, 2018 at 12:29 am - Reply

    I don’t see that Jennings selection for this tour has ever been more than horses for courses. Even ‘Funky’ Smith in a pre-tour interview eluded to the fact that Jennings ability to play spin was high on the list for his retention, and he made a good point when questioned about averages that few of the other England batsmen had managed much better during the summer.
    Alright so the Sri Lankan bowlers seemed strangely toothless, but no one else managed half the runs Jennings accumulated and in such accomplished fashion, so I think we need to see, as James pointed out, whether undoubtedly renewed confidence will produce more consistency and as it so often does with batsmen, shows itself in more relaxed movement at the crease, which seems to be his Achilles heel against seam. Plenty of obviously dodgy techniques have been shored up by confidence. Stiff footed openers like Trescothic come to mind.
    I am a great believer in horses for courses in test cricket and do not see this as a barrier to team building. Cricket is unique in team sports as playing conditions vary so widely the world over. It just means you use a greater pool of players and maximise the available talent, rather than settling on a ‘Best X1’ policy, which often excludes players who maybe more effective under certain conditions.

  12. Mark November 9, 2018 at 4:04 am - Reply

    I would imagine almost everyone on here prefers that england win and have enjoyed this test a great deal.

    The points made about jennings are more in response to the debate raised about what is good for the long term future of the team. I fully buy into the comment that any opener should be able to play pace and this is why Roy was mentioned.

    Yes you can say that jennings deserves all the plaudits after a difficult time and indeed he does. However now that he has ‘justified’ his selection, how can you drop him for a next series against a team with a pace attack? We need to find a stable batting unit. In my opinion the only ‘horses for courses’ selection and team make up questions should come down to whether we need one, two or even three spinners depending on which country we are playing in.

    Will ed smith say that foakes was also a horse for the course in sri lanka where we needed best wicket keeper in the country in conditions where they need to stand up most of the time but next series revert to type to accomodate bairstow and buttler??

    Will be interesting to see whether ed smith is a horse for course man in the future or still relies on the ‘jack of all’ in addition to our plethora of allrounders??

    As i mentioned earlier england have a lot of good young players coming through but how you bundle them into the team and solve some of the gaps in the line up creates some great questions…

    • Marc Evans November 9, 2018 at 11:13 am - Reply

      Have we a lot of good young players? i would dispute that, hence we revert to Denly.
      Where are the alternative seamers, spinners and opening batsmen left at home?
      Very few would argue with the core selections for this tour, because there are no obvious alternatives.
      No youngster is pushing themselves forward in any form of the game apart from Olly Stone.
      Even the Currans and Pope who are out there are not forcing themselves into the team.
      Sam Curran, of whom I am a big fan in terms of attitude, having originally been picked a a bowler, is now in the team as a horses for courses all rounder, Woakes being clearly the better bowler.
      There are some who perform decently at county level, but no one is more than a fringe test player.

      • AndyB November 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm - Reply

        If he comes back fully fit next season I assume Henry Brookes will break into the team, and deservedly so. I wonder if he would have got the nod over Stone barring the injury.

      • Mark November 10, 2018 at 3:00 am - Reply

        All comfortably under 30. Some with plenty to prove but still very young. Some waiting for passports but plenty of talent here who did not play last test…

        Roy
        Haseeb
        J clarke
        Livingstone
        Pope
        Duckett
        Billings
        Bess
        Archer
        Curran
        Overton
        Overton
        Stone
        Brookes
        Garton
        Mehmood

        • Marc Evans November 10, 2018 at 4:20 am - Reply

          That list makes my point better than I could.
          Roy is certainly not a promising youngster anymore. Of the rest who is coming through?
          I would suggest none of these apart from Stone is a likely Ashes inclusion unless they have a particularly good start to the season or there are injuries to established players.
          I am not disputing their promise, just their present ability to make an impact at a higher level.
          Coming through implies they will become the test players of the future, in which case they have to show more than just promise. They need consistent application and technique. Pope has shown that, but the notorious second season will define his career one feels, especially as we have a plethora of established middle order batsmen.

        • Cricketcricketcricket November 10, 2018 at 9:19 am - Reply

          I can’t even be bothered to rip apart that list.. someone is listening to some ECB stooges and believing them

          • AndyB November 10, 2018 at 10:02 am - Reply

            I presume you have never seen Brookes play. Over 90mph and moves it both ways with control at the age of 18. I saw him make his FC debut when just 18 in 2017. He is already quicker than all but one or two English bowlers yet Giles said he had another 2-3 years of physical development to come. The most promising English fast bowler to emerge since the 60s (Anderson is a fast medium bowler – great but a different type). I just hope the injury is a one off.

            • Marc Evans November 10, 2018 at 11:45 am - Reply

              I confess, even as a Warwickshire man I have seen little of Brookes, but that is largely because his played very little first class cricket. I know quickies develop fast and are often selected young, but I would be reluctant to select a teenage seamer for test matches unless he has a developed physique like a young Rooney. Otherwise you risk early injuries which could ruin a career, as the stresses and strains of test cricket are on a different level to the county game.

        • AndyB November 10, 2018 at 10:06 am - Reply

          I would add Matt Critchley of Derbyshire. I know he has been slow to emerge but that is a stain on the counties management of him. A very decent bat with possibly the best repeatable leggie action I have seen (despite his numbers). Unfortunately Derby have recruited overseas spinners which has limited his chance to develop his bowling. But leggies usually take time and he still has plenty of that given a chance.

  13. Colin November 9, 2018 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Great blog James. Also begs the question, how good are England and how bad are Sri Lanka

    • Cricketcricketcricket November 9, 2018 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      Average

      Very bad

    • Marc Evans November 10, 2018 at 4:25 am - Reply

      This confirms my point. Just enjoy this performance. It’s better than anyone hoped for and you can only play what’s put in front of you. How many England batsman have lasted longer than six hours recently and in those concentration sapping conditions too. How many times have we passed 300 in both innings recently?

      • Cricketcricketcricket November 10, 2018 at 9:23 am - Reply

        People will enjoy it otherwise we wouldn’t watch or comment. The issues are that people suddenly jump on bandwagons or claim a player is suddenly a messiah after one or two digs. Sure statistically it was a great win but when you actually watch the game you see a very poor SL side and a eng team that wasn’t that great either. We could claim they are all great and what a win and how good are the boys and how world clsss won’t they all be.. however people need to be more honest than that if England are to produce a world class (when compared to previous world class test teams) teams.. not just against the current crop or utter tripe test teams being put out

        • Marc Evans November 10, 2018 at 11:57 am - Reply

          I disagree, I think it’s the ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ mentality rearing its head. I don’t think these types are capable of enjoying it, they want to dissect it and point out flaws as though those of us who are enjoying it are burying our heads in the sand. As I pointed out originally you can only play what’s put in front of you. Do you think the Windies supporters of the 70’s looked at sides they were rolling over and muted their celebrations accordingly. I don’t think so.
          Take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate victories, as no one has a right to them. Do you think Root and co are saying to themselves, were not that good, Sri Lanka are piss poor. It’s not just players who gain confidence from victories, it should be supporters as well.

        • Inland Sailor November 10, 2018 at 4:21 pm - Reply

          If you want to point out all the bad things, then you have to point out all the good things as well. Otherwise everything you say is just negativity bias.

  14. Smylers November 9, 2018 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    I think you’re being a little unfair re that Rob Smyth article*. Rob has been calling for a flexible approach to team composition for some time. He clearly knows his cricket history, and in the article states what Ed Smith is doing isn’t new. But it is a change for the England men’s team to do this, in that they weren’t doing so immediately before. And Rob’s happy that after years of saying somebody in charge should do this, they now have.

    You can reasonably disagree with that view — you make an excellent point about whether it would be possible to drop Keaton Jennings after this tour — but that doesn’t make it a terrible article.

    * Though I may not be its target audience: on seeing the headline, my brain was trying to work out what cricket had to do with that town in Missouri with the racist killer cops I having so little interest in football that that was the ‘Ferguson’ that sprang to mind …

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