That was the year that was – part three



1st. Moeen or Monty – who’s the future for English spin?

6th. Andrew Strauss calls Kevin Pietersen a “c***” on live television.

8th. We ask whether the obsession with l’affaire Pietersen is distracting everyone from longer-term problems in English cricket.

9th. The Full Toss obtains exclusive access to Alastair Cook’s secret diary.

14th. England extent their winless run to nine matches after the battle of the tail-end stands ends in stalemate at Trent Bridge.

21st. In a year of sickening lows, this was virtually rock bottom. A fourth-day abomination and fifth-day surrender consign England to catastrophic second-test defeat by India at Lord’s. A helpless and hapless Alastair Cook survives only by virtue of ECB politics. The outlook is as bleak as anyone can conceive.

25th. What to do with a coach whose methods are discredited and reputation tarnished? Put him in charge of the England Lions.

27th. “Unlike his bowlers who indulge in brainless, long-haul spells till their broken bodies are blistered and bloodied, Cook has had the good sense to carefully manage his workload, preserving his energy by batting in slow, short bursts at a time”. We stop worrying and learn to love TINA.

30th. To the Ageas Bowl for the third test. Alastair Cook is nearly out to the first ball of the match and is dropped on 15 plays the finest innings in the history of test cricket. When a few spectators applaud the captain’s half century, Mike Selvey has an orgasm. England proceed to victory, and win their first test match of the summer, at only the fifth attempt. The nation erupts in joyous celebration. But why were fewer than 5,000 spectators turning up to watch?


5th. Post Pietersen, England are striving, commendably, to rebuild the ethic and culture of the team. James Anderson just how far the side has progressed when he calls MS Dhoni a “a fucking fat c***” and greets Ajay Jadeja with a cheery “what the fuck are you smiling at? I’ll knock your fucking teeth out in the dressing room”. The dastardly Indians press charges, but Anderson is cleared.

10th. After reducing India to 8-4 on the first morning, England emphatically win the fourth test, at Old Trafford. But would winning the series at the Oval actually help English cricket in the long term?

14th. The ECB, virtually silent on the important questions, announce that the England team will wear special caps to celebrate Sky Sports’ two hundredth test match broadcast.

16th. During the fifth and final test at the Oval, Paul Downton reveals how close Cook came to quitting after the diabolical fourth day at Headingley earlier in the summer, before his wife talked him around. England hammer India to win the match and series. The result secures Cook’s position as 2015 Ashes captain and ensures he will continue to lead from the front.

23rd. Many England supporters still feel utterly miserable: disenfranchised, patronised, and betrayed. But what can we do about it? One idea is to approach Giles Clarke for an interview. Here’s the response.

26th. “If we got 230 we would win 72 per cent of our matches”. Graeme Swann reveals England’s ODI masterplan.

27th: England return to losing ways in the second ODI against India.


1st. It’s now only a month until the ECB-Pietersen confidentiality agreement expires. What will the book reveal?

3rd. England subside to a 3-1 ODI series defeat (but win the T20). The ECB’s loyalty to an increasingly useless Alastair Cook is now too preposterous for words.

8th. Out of the blue we find ourselves at the centre of a Twitter war between Jonathan Agnew and Piers Morgan. The former had taken exception to the “total uninformed drivel” we’d published in May – a piece entitled Inside The Turtle Tank – a link to which Morgan had randomly Tweeted the previous day. Agnew wanted us to withdraw the assertion that Andy Flower was “long on memory and short on forgiveness”. At that point, no one had seen the ‘due diligence’ dossier (leaked in October) which described Flower’s bizarre conduct in the ECB’s own words.

9th. The chucking debate reopens after Saeed Ajmal is banned from bowling in international cricket.

10th. After TFT reader Clivejw posts that “I haven’t had this miserable a summer as a cricket fan since 1999”, we ask you to nominate your best and worst times ever as an England supporter. We later indulge in some more nostalgia and wish-fulfilment here and here.

13th. One half of TFT’s editorial team is all smiles after Worcestershire win promotion. In division one, Yorkshire seal the championship.

17th. Only fourteen days now separate Pietersen from full disclosure, and tension is building. We look at how the mainstream press report his alleged misdeeds and wonder how we tell the difference between fact and fiction.

18th. Andrew Gale-gate.

30th. Six months since the sacking, and twenty four hours till the gagging clause expires, there is only one story in town. If the number of comments indicates how strongly people feel about the underlying issue, this post works as a thermometer. It received 148 comments.

To be continued.





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