Introducing ‘The Moaner’

After England’s sparkling, series-sealing victory in Sri Lanka, we didn’t think there was a lot to moan about. Until we found The Moaner.

This is a man who seems physically incapable of being happy. He’s miserable. He’s cynical. He’s the first person to complain when England are collapsing like the walls of Jericho. And he can still find fault when England are 517-1.

He’s the type of curmudgeon who will say: “good luck on the upcoming divorce” as he meets the bride and groom on their wedding day. And readily snipe “I’ve already booked in the rehab” to the baby’s auntie at a christening.

The Moaner claims that he loves cricket. But his friends suspect that he hates it. He thought the roller-coaster series against India was “simply an example of two bad sides”. He argues vociferously that David Warner and Steve Smith should’ve been banned for life (“because knowing our luck they’ll hit hundred upon hundred in next summer’s Ashes”).

In fact, he can barely raise a smile on a sunny day at The Oval. Why? Because the beer’s too warm and the weather’s still too cold.

So what has our cantankerous old fuddy duddy been saying about England’s win in Sri Lanka? Obviously he’s not impressed. And here’s why …

1. ENGLAND STILL CAN’T FIND A DECENT OPENING COMBINATION. The Rory Burns-Keaton Jennings thing simply isn’t working. England were hoping and praying for a steady opening partnership, yet one of them is forever ‘breaking the partnership’. If it’s not the Jennings reverse sweep, it’s Rory Burns’s luck. The opening partnerships have been 10, 60, and 12. And that’s plain crap. It so bad they’ve even tried Leach at the top of the order. And fat lot of good that did. The Moaner thinks we should get rid of them both and start again. Sod Jennings’s century. And Burns looking good be damned!

2. SAM CURRAN IS INJURED England’s modern day Ian Botham is injured. And he was out for 0 in the second innings of the 2nd Test. Why do all these new Bothams threaten to be something special but then let everyone down? Let’s just face the fact that England are doomed. We’ll never see a cricketer like Beefy again. Why do we bother getting our hopes up?

3. WE STILL NEED A NUMBER 3: That Moeen Ali at 3 experiment went more wrong than the test tube experiment that created Giles Clarke. The Stokes experiment at 3 wasn’t good, either. Why isn’t Root batting there? The first two wickets are falling so quickly that he’s a de facto No.3 anyway. 

4. THAT’S IT, JIMMY ANDERSON IS FINISHED! They say that Jimmy Anderson can get swing from anywhere and wickets from anywhere? He hardly did that over in Sri Lanka, did he? They are claiming he’s “getting a rest”, but really they are dropping him. And for good reason too. Just one wicket in two tests! He’s washed up and his career is over. Thanks for the memories, Jimmy.

5. THE TOP ORDER, THE TOP ORDER, THE TOP ORDER Generally we need the bottom 6 batsmen to pull us out of the gloom. You jest, but if it hadn’t been for Jimmy Anderson and those sterling 10th-wicket partnerships in the 2nd Test, we might be 1-1 going into a decider and hating ourselves for various missed opportunities.

6. WHY PICK THREE WICKETKEEPERS? Do we really need Buttler, Foakes and Bairstow? Is it simply because he’s been ‘such a service’ to England that Johnny is back in the side? It sure can’t be for his performances against India I tell you. He’s a fantastic one-day batsman is Bairstow, but he’s a poor Test bat nowadays. If we want a white ball biffer why don’t we just go the whole hog and haul in Jason Roy from the UAE?

7. THIS WAS A WEAKENED SRI LANKA TEAM We would’ve been 2-0 down by now if the hosts were any good. And our fans would’ve preferred drinking their £3 beers on the beach. We missed out on seeing the REAL Herath, the REAL Chandimal. England should thank their lucky stars that Sanga and the other legends have retired. They’d have eaten our miserable lot for breakfast.

8. THE AUSSIES ARE BACK: The Aussies beat India on a rainy day down under so we’re doomed. This win will give them the momentum to destroy us in 2019. And they’ll probably win the World Cup too. All this talk of England reaching No.1 in the rankings has tempted fate. And fate is going to kick us in the googlies. Again.

Now you probably think all the above has taken pessimism and bellyaching to a whole new level. However, when it comes to TalkSport’s coverage of the test series – it’s just not TMS is it? – the Moaner is spot on.

His main gripes are (in no particular order): 

  • “Was Darren Gough drunk?”
  • Can Mark Nicholas actually describe anything other than what’s happening on the square?
  • Are the commentators trying to make everything a lot tenser than it actually is?

The answers are ‘probably’, ‘probably not’, and ‘most definitely’.

Alex Ferguson



  • I’d like to moan about a former Scottish football manager commenting on cricket! (Slightly more) seriously, I’ve seen most of these on these pages (not sure about the “Jimmy is finished” one). Not sure about “the Aussies are back” either. Did they ever go away? Is this based on a rain affected T20?

    Are Sri Lanka an all time great team? No. Do they miss the likes of Mahela and Sanga? Yes. Who wouldn’t? England have beaten what’s been put in front of them.

    • I’ve been a personal friend of Sir Alex for many years. He loves cricket and paid a hefty fee for the privilege of writing on TFT. Honest guv.

  • Isn’t it about time to start asking “Who’s the next Freddie Flintoff?” rather than “Who’s the next Ian Botham?”. (I don’t have an answer to either question, though Ssm Curran is the closest I’ve seen).

    I’m disappointed that they have picked Broad (what does he has to prove?) instead of Stone; “resting” Anderson was a no-brainer.

    • To clarify my last comment: the very best all-rounders would justify their selection as both a bowisr and as a batsman (think Sobers). Botham, and Flintoff as his peak batting, would both qualify. I wouldn’t pick Stokes for hsi bowling. I wouldn’t pick Sam Curran for his bowling either, at the moment, bit I think there is the potential there for him to develop into a very useful contrasting bowler.

  • My moan is ‘the old pals act’ which saw Bairstow and Broad picked over Denley and Stone. Lost opportunities here.. What’s the point of Denley’s selection as a specialist 3 or Stone’s as a quickie. Even if Bairstow makes 100 it won’t make him a no.3. He doesn’t have the temperament or technique for it. As for Broad, even he accepted he could make little difference in the conditions out there.
    Now, something to balance the trend on this particular blog.
    A huge well done to England’s women, who progressd to the final of their T20 World Cup, beating an Indian team packed with spinners on a slow turner in the Windies. Should be a great final against the Aussies on Sunday. I urge bloggers to watch as the best of the women’s game is certainly worth it.
    Without Sarah Taylor, probably the best ever women’s cricketer, certainly as good a keeper standing up as Foakes, they played a really skillfull accumulation tactic to cruise to an 8 wicket win with 3 overs to spare. They never took stupid risks, respecting the conditions and the bowling, picking the gaps and running hard to keep up with the run rate, before capitalising with some well struck boundaries. No reverse sweeps, no cross batted sixes, just quick feet and skillfull game management. Classic stuff!

    • “What’s the point of Denley’s selection as a specialist 3”

      Denly is not going to be the answer to the long search for an England number 3; it’s just possible that Bairstow might be – though far from certain, despite his century today.
      And I rather think Bairstow would be mildly amused to be called a beneficiary of the old pals act.

      • We’ll never know bout Denley unless we try him out. Opinions without basis are worthless.
        Bairstow is clearly part of the present ‘In crowd’. One of the boys and with good reason.
        We know about his technical and temperamental flaws and this admittedly fine innings on a benign track against benign bowlers has done nothing to dispel them.
        As James pointed out, who was the last no 3 to score a century for us, apart from Trott, who was the real deal, a certain Ravi Bopara, a good player but his technical limitations were quickly exposed against the Aussies. Bairstow has more natural talent than him but the same rushes of blood and vulnerability outside the off stump that good bowlers will exploit. James Vince for me is worth persevering with in the short term as he is comfortable in that specialist position. For me Bairstow is not a red ball cricketer, he has not shown an ability to graft when the situation calls for it, essential for a number 3, but would be an ODI shoe in as wicketkeeper, allowing Butler to play purely as a batsman.

  • England won the tosses 3-0, will win the series 3-0. Just as well, that toss dictates result 90% of the time in Sri Lanka in the last three years.

    Well tossed Joe Root. Pity that no one in authority sees anything wrong with the pitches if the home side loses ALL the games when they have lost the toss (or had an incompetent third umpire to thank for allowing them to beat Zimbabwe).

    This Test could have been interesting if Sri Lanka had won the toss. Then we could have seen whether England would have overcome the challenge of the toss in Sri Lanka. That would have told us much more about the quality of the side, than yet another win toss=win game encounter.

  • Us Aussies are moaning about how CA put cricket behind a paywall and trashed the audience figures..

    Cricket Australia’s decision to forge ahead without a single T20 international on free-to-air TV is set to cost them a staggering three million viewers by the end of Sunday’s third clash against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

    Wednesday night’s T20 opener between the traditional powerhouses, screened exclusively on Foxtel, attracted 318,000 viewers, which is excellent for pay TV.

    But T20 internationals averaged more than 1.3 million viewers when shown on Nine last summer. Based on similar figures, the three T20s against India would have attracted around four times the number of viewers had they been shown on Seven.

    A keenly fought T20 series on free-to-air would have generated maximum interest for Seven heading into their first Test series against India, which starts next month. Instead, they will screen All Together Now and The Greatest Mafia Hits on Sunday evening.

    • We’ve got the same issues here with Sky, with no live cricket atall on terrestrial TV and now no highlights either. They’ve even highjacked the footie, with no Champions League coverage atall and Rugby internationals featuring England highlights only, though we can watch Wales, Scotland and Ireland live. Match of the day is about all we have left of regular high profile terrestrial sport.
      Sad that the government haven’t the balls to introduce legislation to prevent empire building like this. After all these are our national sports and should be accessible to everyone and far from everyone has sky. With NowTV and Netflicks available at a fraction of the cost, there is less incentive to buy a Sky package, which encourages them to poach not just events, but entire sports.

      • The anti siphoning laws just give FTA tv networks first right of refusal. I think they just pitched the price high enough that only foxtel would pay. At least we are still getting tests but CA are shooting it self in the foot long term. Although they have kept most of the bbl on tv which is good as while I like most grumpy test cricket fans couldn’t care, with a kid in junior cricket I have seen that having cricket on tv basically every night over summer makes them super keen. (And some wacky attempted shots come February)

        • I don’t have any issue with Sky showing wall to wall cricket on a specialist channel. That is clearly good for the game. I don’t think it has much effect on live attendances, as few people live close enough to more than one venue to make a trip to watch. What I object to is losing the chance to see your country play atall, through commercial power plays. If you watch Sky sports news, a channel available to most cable users, it gives you a good idea of their sporting priorities. Soccer, even the championship, gets 10 times the coverage of any other sport.

  • The BBC has also been crap at pushing their online coverage in Sri Lanka – including The Cricket Social. However, during the India series, they banded together the highlights with their OWN radio coverage and it was fantastic.


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