The Monday Macadamia

Afternoon all. I hope you enjoyed the weekend more than I did. England lost the rugby, my club side lost their relegation showdown at London Irish, and obviously our cricketers lost their ODI against New Zealand too. It was one of those weekends that felt like a kick in the crotch … a kick in crotch delivered by a steel-capped miner’s boot. Ouch.

Anyway, at least my weekend was better than Mark Wood’s. The poor bloke pulled out of the 1st ODI because he was suffering ankle pain again. I really don’t know where he goes from here. He’s now had multiple surgeries and the problem never seems to go away. We’ll have to wait and see what the medical bulletins say but I imagine he must be close to calling it a day. What rotten luck.

Wood’s mood wouldn’t have been improved by his team’s performance either. England weren’t at their best at Hamilton and succumbed to a three wicket defeat – even though it looked like we would win comfortably at various stages.

After scoring 284-8, with Joe Root and Jos Buttler making valuable half-centuries, we reduced the Kiwis to 27-3. However, a huge partnership between Latham and Taylor temporarily swung momentum New Zealand’s way. It looked like they’d canter home until a flurry of wickets put England back in the ascendancy.

I fully expected us to win when Taylor came dancing down to pitch to Rashid, missed by a country mile, and was stumped. The Black Caps were seven down and needed 41 off 4 overs. Unfortunately, however, Santner played an absolute blinder and stole victory from the halitosis plagued jaws of defeat. What an absolute bastard.

The big story of the game though was the return of Ben Stokes. How did he do? Well, he was ok I suppose. He didn’t get any runs but he did bowl a lively first spell and take a decent catch. And at least he didn’t punch anyone in the process.

Talking of Stokes and Wood, it only recently came to my attention that Stokes was the main reason why the latter secured a minor IPL contract. Well, I say ‘minor’ but it was still worth £166,000 dollars. Not bad for a bloke with one good leg.

Apparently Stokes recommended his Durham teammate to Chennai coach Stephen Fleming, whose team was only too happy to shove a large wad in his direction. Talk about doing a mate a favour.

However, one can only imagine what the likes of Root, Curran, Willey, Plunkett, Rashid, Hales, and Bairstow felt. They must have been thinking “thanks a lot Ben, you could’ve told Fleming and your Indian buddies how good we are too”. If I was an England player I’d be sucking up to Stokes big time over the next 12 months.

In other news, Liam Livingston has injured his ankle and might not be available for the test series in New Zealand. In normal circumstances this might mean a call-up for one of his Lions colleagues, however the Lions have played so dreadfully against West Indies A that it’s hard to justify picking any of them.

Consequently, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Sam Northeast will get a call-up if Livingstone’s ruled out. Why? Because he’s just signed for Hampshire. Well, playing for Hants was a good enough reason to call up James Vince so why not send Northeast to the Southeast of the planet too?

Before I sign off, I also want to mention the news that Morne Morkel has decided to retire from international cricket at the end of South Africa’s test series against Australia. It’s a shame for the Proteas, as Morkel has been a very fine bowler indeed for a long time, but he’s now 33 years old and the schedule is obviously beginning to wear him down.

We haven’t seen the last of Morkel, however, as it’s rumoured that he might accept a Kolpak contract in county cricket. I hear it’s very nice up at New Road, Morne. And the cakes in the Ladies pavilion are much nicer than the ones they serve at Headingley and The Oval. Money isn’t everything you know.

One assumes he’ll also receive a lot of interest from T20 franchises around the world too. Whatever he decides to do we wish him well. I can’t think of many bowlers I’ve enjoyed watching more over the years. International cricket will miss him.

James Morgan


  • England once again paying for a specialist captain, I did enjoy when they put up the top fours number in the last 10 games and Morgan is under 20 and is he isn’t even under pressure. He did an interview in the telegraph in which the writer suggested that he isn’t playing T20 comps to focus on England which is nonsense team owners/selectors have looked at the data and seen there isn’t a return with him.

  • Pretty sure Wood will be another 20/20 only convert soon, though for different reasons. It’s a shame. Then again, when he did play Tests for England he was generally pretty awful, as his record shows. For someone who (to quote Vaughan’s tiresome rhetoric) was supposed to be “a 90 mph bowler with a bit of X factor” he spent a hell of a lot of time doing a very good impression of a run-of-the-mill right arm medium fast bowler, spraying it around at 85.

    I can’t imagine how tired some of this tour party must be though. It’s a brutal and disgraceful schedule. Feels like they’ve been away for about half my life.

    • Why do people fell sorry for them being away?

      Highly paid…. yep
      Easy life… yep
      Free kit, health care etc etc.. yep..

      Not entirely sure why people are so keen to give them more time off

  • Is there any other team sport the world where players are expected to be away from home so long. I am sure this has a deal to do with variable form, as you can’t sustain the necessary intensity for success indefinitely. Surely the players are pretty sick of it, as one hotel room blends into another. Look at the toll it’s taken on rock bands over the years.
    In my view every series should be separated by at least a month for some down time with family and friends back home. I don’t know how any young family can take the strain year after year without becoming disfunctional. I would have thought the players union would have massive support for a change in priorities here. To me it is uncivilized.

    • yeah all that touring has obviously taken its toll on Mick and Keef; who says a rolling stone gathers no moss. Then again they’ve been at it for six decades, the antipodean tourists not even six months…

    • Umm., they are well compensated financially!!! If you don’t want the travel then don’t be a professional cricketer.. can’t have it all ways

      • I’m not suggesting they don’t want to tour, just that tours are shortened to lose some the relatively unimportant games after the test series is completed, and also that there are gaps for recharging batteries, so that one tour doesn’t blend into another.
        How long is Root going to carry on playing red and white ball full time?
        If you look at the burn out rate these tours engender in top players, in the long term financial compensation doesn’t cover it. A top test batsman used to be in his prime in his early thirties, now he’s thinking of retirement. How many years wages is he losing this way? What use is financial compensation and temporary celebrity when you’re not around to see your kids grow up. I don’t accept the need to sacrifice one for the other. The people arranging these tours certainly don’t have to. It just requires a more thoughtful approach to balancing interests.

  • It’s a shame young Dan Lawrence was injured during the Lions tour, he must be close to a call up. Seen him a few times for Essex and at U19 games, exciting batter, plays his own game.

    • I haven’t seen too much of Dan Lawrence but what I have seen (and read) I like. I have a horrible propensity to confuse him with Alex Davies of Lancs though! Lawrence seems quite old school which I like. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

  • Surprised there is no mention of Woakes becoming the fastest ever England player to 1000 runs/100 wickets in ODI (faster than Botham and Flintoff), in 71 games. And no, Stokes will not beat that as he has 55 wickets in 63 games. And he did his job again, removing the top 2 NZ bats. Batting him at 9 is such a waste.

    • Hi Andy. I have to say this one has slipped under the radar somewhat. It’s a fine achievement by Woakes. He has turned into a very good white ball player indeed. Good in all three disciplines.

      I’m quite surprised that he hasn’t kicked on in his test career. He has most of the tools. Yes there will be some conditions where he’s not so effective, but overall he’s a very solid cricketer and a good guy to have around.

      • 60 players have reached this particular landmark in ODIs. Surprisingly perhaps, Shaun Pollock is the fastet at 68 matches followed by Abdur Razzaq in 69 and Lance Klusener in 70.

        • Pollock doesn’t surprise me actually. He was an extremely fine cricketer and people forget that he averaged pretty much the same as Flintoff and Botham with the bat (in test cricket at least). Excellent player. It used to be almost impossible to bowl South Africa out with guys like Boucher and Pollock coming in down the order.

    • At last, some recognition for a player who should be celebrated more. He has no outrageous talent, but is consistently making the best use of what he has. More talented players should take note of his application. He’s more than the bits and pieces cricketer he’s constantly being labelled as. For my money he’s a better all rounder than Moin at present.

  • Well I’m so bored with this never ending England tour, that I really can’t be bothered to say much. A diet of endless one day games of little interest to anyone. I don’t have Sky, but I don’t even want to listen on the radio. Oh dear. I take it Woakes, Wood and Plunkett are injured, Hayles out of form, Roy can’t get a run, Moen still playing? Thought he’d been sent home. Sorry if you like it, but I think it’s a load of tosh.
    One question why is Stokes now allowed to play? He’s not been proven not guilty yet. More ECB nonsense I suppose.
    Thoroughly ….ed off.
    Roll on the County Season.

  • Re the IPL, it’s interesting to look at the managers of the teams. People like Ponting, Kallis, Fleming, Vettori, Jayawardene, etc etc. Surely there must be a link between who gets bid for and who is managing the team, the manager will want to get in the players that he knows . Hardly any ex-England players go on to become managers (Ashley Giles honourable exception) so it’s not entirely surprising that our players get overlooked in these auctions. Why do all our people go to the wretched media? Are they just chasing the money?

    • I’ve always thought that the media is a great career for ex-players, if they’ve got the necessary personality. It’s less pressurised and probably more secure than a job in coaching.

      The example of Atherton kind of sums it up really. He used to hate the press when captain, but then immediately joined their ranks when he quit playing. I imagine he looked at his options and thought “I’m going to swallow my pride here, because the media offers me security and pretty much a job for life”. Especially when you can write as well as Athers can!

      • Atherton won the award for cricket Sports Journalist of the Year again last night.

        He’s very good but there really isn’t much serious competition from the rest of the English cricket press pack.

  • It was an excellent performance by Santner, who’s batting has been disappointing in the last year or so, NZ were hoping he could develop into a genuine all rounder but it’s been looking more and more like he’ll wind up as an excellent white ball spinner who bats a bit.

    Kane Williamson is in doubt for the next match, possibly a blessing in disguise given his workload, I suspect a rest ahead of the tests might be good for him.

    • If I was a professional player I think I’d definitely develop a chronic condition that gives me random (and preferably extended) breaks every so often!

  • I found it very disappointing that the BBC’s reporting of the last game seemed to focus on the return of A Thug.
    I thought cricket was team game. That said my interest in this never-ending tour has declined to virtually zero. There was a time, long ago, before the internet, when I would scour the Yorkshire Post and other papers for reports of the tours Down Under and I would try to listen through the crackles and pops of my little trannie to any coverage. Ah, those were the days.

    I also hope we see Morne Morkel on the circuit. Often underrated but a fine bowler.

  • Morne Morkel retiring has made a lot of people very sad but the guy has paid his dues and even if he takes up a kolpak deal, I doubt anyone would cringe over it.

  • There are some highlights of the Lions’ Tests on Youtube posted by an uploader called ‘We Love Cricket’ if anyone’s interested and hasn’t seen them.

    One or two of the West Indies A players don’t look like they’d do too well at a Loughborough bleep test – but it doesn’t seem to be stopping them handing the Lions a thrashing!


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