The sixth ODI


All your thoughts welcome on the sixth ODI between Sri Lanka and England in Pallekelle, which is currently under way.

As I write, England are heading for defeat at 146 for 6 off 29 overs.

If you’ve not long been up, you’ll be amazed to hear that Alastair Cook once again went cheaply, LBW to Senanayake for 1. Cook used to be vulnerable to fast bowling outside off stump but confident and fluent against spin. Now he can’t play anything. He’s just missing the ball.

As DanDanBoom wrote on our comments board for the previous match.

Never, in my cricket history (for those with a care, back as far as 1980), have I witnessed any person so ill-equipped for the rigours of international captaincy. He is very socially awkward, he is lacking in charm, he is incapable of making English sentences, with meaning. Also, his batting form has been destroyed by his insistence on playing ODI’s. In Tests, Cook knew how to leave a ball. In ODI’s he had to learn how not to (he didn’t), and it ruined his finest quality – patience.

Moeen Ali made a good start, and Joe Root’s shown gumption. Earlier, in the field, Woakes was fast, Jordan was expensive (9-0-68-2) and Tredwell was the pick (10-0-37-1).

Assuming England proceed to lose this match, and with it the series, ECB sympathisers will say, “well, you can’t infer anything about the World Cup from this – the conditions will be completely different in Australia and New Zealand”. So why go to Sri Lanka, then?

If you can’t afford to subscribe to Sky Sports, or abjure the channel on principle, you may be reliant on Test Match Special for coverage of this series. Any views on the commentary team for this tour? My quick snapshot: Simon Hughes – rapidly becoming an old fogey but surprisingly engaging on the radio; Simon Mann – solid but dull; Russel Arnold – concise and insightful; Graeme Swann – mercifully absent.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Indian Ocean, an enthralling conclusion to what sounds like a magnificent test match between Australia and India. Chasing 363, India made a spirited fist of it – only losing by 48 runs, and at one point well placed on 277-4.

Michael Clarke’s chronic back and hamstring problems have ruled him out for the rest of the series, and he even admitted “there’s a chance I may never play again”.

You can’t but wonder if Clarke only played at Adelaide – in the teeth of significant injuries – to serve the memory of Phillip Hughes. Perhaps, deep down, he knew he might never get another opportunity.

If Clarke does retire, who would replace him? There’s no blindingly obvious heir apparent. And what would the implications be for the 2015 Ashes?


  • Watching live and just seen Root go. England unlikely to make this one but quite understandable when they are a 10 man side. Agree on tbe Aus India game , fantastic last day.

  • The Cook saga is becoming sad.

    Pride is a essential ingredient in a sportsman’s makeup, so I can understand Cook’s stubbornness. It has no place in selectorial deliberations.
    The blame for Cook’s continuing presence in the team rests solely on the selectors, who are simultaneously too proud and too craven to admit their error I’m basing England’s ODI future on a Cook captaincy.

    And I agree with DanDan; whatever future Cook might have as a test batsman is being imperilled by this obstinacy.

  • Replacements for Clarke? I’m sure the Aussies will be looking for a good company man, someone who isn’t a natural orator, lacks imagination or dynamism, but ‘leads from the front’ i.e. tries to do the job he’s paid for rather than refusing to take the field or whatever the opposite of ‘lead from the front means’. I think Harold Bishop from Neighbours would be perfect. He’s made of exactly the right moral fabric, and everyone thinks he’s a nice guy.

  • their error I’m basing England’s ODI future on a Cook captaincy

    Autocorrect typo. That should, of course, have read “their error in basing England’s ODI future on a Cook captaincy”.

    Just in case anyone thought I had gone mad….

  • One thing I would like to point out – this website harps on and on about the fact that one can only watch cricket if one pays Sky a lot of money and that it’s no longer available on ‘normal’ TV.

    Well, anyone who knows anything about the internet knows that this is just not true – have internet, then you can watch live cricket for free.

    I am not going to mention all the websites that offer this service but there are many of them.

    It’s not difficult to establish which websites they are – so please don’t treat us like complete idiots – it’s all out there, you only need to look – Google is a great place to start

    • The quality of live streaming sites is poor, watching in a study on a laptop isn’t the same as watching on TV, and as a website we cannot possibly condone or suggest the use of illegal streams. Sorry! But i accept your point.

      • Plus those of us on a usage plan end up paying a huge amount to watch it! My 15Gb will be used up in a very short time.

    • thanks for that Steve, we’ll accept your apology once you recognize that normal tv is not the internet ….

    • So you are actively encouraging people to break the law? I would therefore suggest you ARE a complete idiot.

        • I’m sorry James if you felt my response was harsh, but he was the one who came on here shouting the odds. He claimed that we treat people like him as idiots. “so please don’t treat us like complete idiots”

          Not sure who “us” is but I suspect he represents the pro ECB, Pro Cook camp. He appeared just at the same time this morning that team ECB crashed to another defeat. So I guess It was rather difficult to make another spirited defence of Captain Cook. Instead he seems to be attacking this sites stance on TV rights issues with sky.

          If he is, then (a) he seems at odds with his glorious leader Giles Clarke who has gone on the record as saying free to air internet sites are the biggest threat to modern cricket. And (b) he is encouraging people to break the law. Which I think is idiotic. And a bit rich for someone complaining about being treated as idiots.

          In future I will leave the trolls ( and yes, I think he was a troll) to the sites administrators.

    • Steve – thanks for your point. But I’d argue that a poor-quality pirate internet feed is no substitute for proper coverage on free-to-air television.

      Pirate sites (described by Giles Clarke as the “biggest danger” to cricket) are technically stealing the ECB and Sky’s property. Not that I have much sympathy for the ECB, of course, but my point is that watching pirate streaming sites is not a viable way forward for the general British public. To exaggerate the argument slightly, it’s a bit like saying you shouldn’t make a fuss about Apple Macs being so expensive, because you can easily go and steal one.

      I go on about the subject a lot because I genuinely think it’s very important – and an issue too rarely discussed in the mainstream cricket press.

  • That surely has to be the end of the line for Cook. Either he gets out for a really small score or uses up overs ‘getting set’ and then gets out for a poor score. I agree with Ron that England are now a ten man team.

  • Hales in for the last game on a “score a hundred and we might take you to the World Cup” mission?

    Not instead of Elephant-in-room of course.

    By the way, there are hints from reports by Brenkley and Berry that Anderson’s knee may be worse than they previously thought (or let on).

  • “He is very socially awkward, he is lacking in charm, he is incapable of making English sentences, with meaning. ”

    Sounds like we’ve got Price Charles as captain. Oh how the MCC/ECB and Giles Clark would love that thought. I wonder if he can bat?

  • Number of times England have chased 293 or more to win an ODI against a Test-playing team: 3

    India have done it 17 times, SL 9 times, Australia 7 and SA 6.

  • Cook’s series stats: 87 runs at 17 with a SR of 67.

    With 44 sixes hit in the series by 16 different batsmen Cook has hit none. “A modern cricketer in every sense”, wrote Simon Hughes..

    A fifty in the last match and he will certainly lead the side to the World Cup, writes Scyld Berry.

  • As BBC Online reports:

    “The skipper has now scored 499 runs at an average of 24.95 – with only one half century – in his last 21 ODIs, during which time England have won only eight matches”.

    And as Scyld Berry points out:

    “In this series he has scored 10, 22, 34, 20 and one. In this calendar year he has made only one half-century, 56 against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston”.

    The main post-match quotes from Cook:

    “It’s tough at the moment. I’m a better player than I’m showing at the moment, and I’ve just got to keep going.”

    “Not scoring the runs I’d like is not a great place to be as a captain. You want to lead from the front, and when it’s not happening for you it is incredibly frustrating,”

    “Days like these don’t make the job any easier. It’s probably a good job I’m off a lot of social media and in the middle of Sri Lanka at the moment where the internet is not so great.”

    “I’ve scored a lot of runs there (in Australia).I’ve always scored a lot of runs in the sub-continent as well, so it’s not the conditions, it’s just that I’m not playing well enough at the moment. I think we’ve actually made some good strides on this tour. We played so well last game, and to play nowhere near as well as that is incredibly frustrating because we need to be consistent.”

    Scyld Berry, meanwhile, interprets Moores’s post-match comments as a sign the ECB may sack Cook as part of a “review”.

    Feeling sorry for Cook? He’s a selfish and mealy-mouthed tell-tale who relayed private conversations to Andy Flower. Remember this from the ECB dossier?

    “Meeting between AF and KP in AF’s hotel room (at AF’s request following AF finding

    out that KP saying to AC, MP and others that AF shouldn’t be the coach any longer”.

    • Maxie, Cook has always said he would put England first. So this is a bit of pickle for him. If he really means that then he has to seriously consider his position. Of course the suspicion has always been he doesn’t mean that at all.

      He seems more than happy to let others talk him out of resigning (Downton, Alice. ) It is perfectly natural for an individual to cling on to a position of power, or wealth as long as they can. And he has every right to leave it up to the selectors to make the call. But then please stop playing the “doing it for the best interest of England” card.

    • The interesting thing about the Moores interview for me is his use of the passive. It’s has such a strong tinge of British management-class weaselling about it. You state that the candidate has your full personal support, but carefully invoke a sense of forces gathering against him.

      My best guess is that we’re watching a practised corporate shapeshifter positioning himself for the long game ; a fine afternoon pursuit sometimes enjoyed by former professional cricketers where the aim is to infiltrate the ECB’s political superstructure and then burrow your way to the brain stem to inject a stream of absolutely terrible ideas for just as long as you can possibly manage to clamp on.

      • “a practised corporate shapeshifter positioning himself for the long game”

        Now that is just about the finest thing I’ve ever read about anyone in the ECB.

      • When I heard the interview, I did not notice any verbs in the passive. None of the accounts I have read have contained any passives. Are you saying that you are surprised by the lack of passives? Admittedly he did use a sentence conveying that the team had gone through a lot of bad experiences but there was no verb in the passive.

        • Well I’ve checked the article I was reading (I think) at the time of the post and come to the conclusion that I was hallucinating.

          I think I prob misread “If you ask my opinion on Alastair, I would have Alastair as captain for the World Cup” and “If you ask me my opinion, Alastair Cook will be captain for the World Cup” as containing “Alastair would / will be named captain”.

          Really that whole construction struck me as odd and evasive, like Moores’ didn’t want to be seen to be briefing against Cook, but also couldn’t help trying to get a few extra words further away from the rapidly increasing stench of necrotic captaincy and decayed batting form.

          Clearly I didn’t read the piece all that carefully so maybe I’m just projecting unfairly, though.

          Hopefully the one thing we can all agree on from here on in is that on no account should anyone read my posts.

          • Au contraire, John – and you may have noticed that I quoted your insightful comment in one of my posts yesterday.

            Perhaps what we mean is subjunctive rather than passive, but the point still stands – Moores used tenses and cases which separated himself from the action and depersonalised the remarks. It reminded me of the MPs during the expenses scandal who said “it should not have happened” rather than “I should not have done it”.

            • Well I think perhaps my mistake was in attempting to describe in such simple terms the varied and complex network of verbal mechanisms that high level ECB operatives are currently using to levitate themselves away from the constraints of base reality in interviews.

              Downton moves things to the next level with an ambitious attempt to warp the fabric of reality itself by retconning Cook managing to miraculously escape the sack over the summer despite consistently shitty performances into some sort of unspecific feat of dressing room mastery.

              “He’s come through a traumatic summer, in terms of the pressure on him. But, in doing so, that dressing room is very much his dressing room, in a way that it could never have been before.”

              Sort of part generic sports bullshit, part movie poster tagline.

              No doubt Sam Robson, Nick Compton and Michael Carberry are enormously inspired by seeing Cook somehow manage to stay on the teamsheet for every game despite performances that would have seen any of them discarded long before.

              No doubt they’re right this minute working on their family histories to improve their own captaincy potential and powers of undroppability. No doubt when the time comes they too will be ready to show the steely determination to carry on being England captain no matter what other losses may be incurred.

    • Yes. Who went and blabbed to Flower what was said in a players only meeting? What disgraceful behaviour that was.

  • HAHAHA … is it true that Cook also said he’s playing well in the nets?? HAHAHAHA … nurse, I need some oxygen now …HAHAHAHA ….. this is the captain of the England Cricket Team ….. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH …. GIVE ME STRENGTH ….!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • “The story of Cookie is drawn from One Thousand and One Tumults, a collection of Essex and England fables. It was first published in England between 1704 and 1714 when Lords was just a field. This story was dramatised in 2014 by Paul Downton following the Ashes Test series in 2013. In early 2014, the comic character of the “dumb slave” was introduced to appease the supporters of the England & Wales Cricket Board as a vehicle for the clown, Giles Clarke, and at the same time, a washer-woman, Peter Moores (Widow Twanky) was introduced to the scenario.

    Widow Twanky first appears in a previous dispensation as the characters who runs a Chinese laundry in Lancashire and is, in reality, a pantomime dame, always played by a man. One of her sons, Cookie, is the hero of the pantomime, while her other son, often named Wishy Washy, ( James Whittaker) just helps in the laundry. Cookie’s family is not pivotal in the plot (such as it is), but more a source of interaction with the audience through jokes and innuendo – mostly centred on items of underwear on the washing line and antics with sheep.

    The character has had a number of different names over the years, like Mooresie.The character became the Widow Twanky – named for a cheap blend of China tea. Twanky, or ‘twankey’ is an inferior grade of green tea, with an old, ragged, open leaf – the implication is that the widow is ‘past her best’ — with the name Twankay deriving from Tun-chi (or Tong-ke), from where the tea in China originates.

    The story is located in a mythical Ingerland, but with many cosmopolitan ideas, names and places which betray its Essex origins. In some productions, the Chinese laundry has been located in Limehouse, in the East End of London. Today the story is firmly based at Lords in St John’s Wood where the ECB sits firmly on its arse.

  • When does the time come that you have to say it is not a bad run of form but actually this is what you are now. A player who can only average 25. Maybe the ICC will take the decision out of everyone’s hands and ban him for 4 matches. It is such a shame to see hales dropped twice, woakes has been in and out, stokes like finn is being slowly destroyed and our best bowler, tredwell, regularly left out but our skipper ploughs on regardless. Be surprised if his team-mates respect him.
    Also I make it 5 straight series defeats for Cook and 1 win in 8 (Sa 2012 draw), Lost in Ind, won in NZ, lost to NZ ( home), and the 4 defeats this year ( Aus away; ind and sl home and now sl away). We did get to the champs final though to be fair.

  • Alice if you are reading this, please advise him to resign now before he makes it impossible for you to hold your head up high. Remember, the internet is forever and when your children grow up, they will google their fathers name and every article and comments made about him will come up. Do you really want them to know this? Do you want them to know what a dishonourable man their father really is?. You have your farm and probably a good lifestyle, be content with that before you are lumbered with a bitter and broken shell of the man you thought he was.

    • Wow! I hope there was some humour behind that. It didn’t come through too well.
      I agree with the sentiment, even with the anger, but not the wording, or the family stuff.

  • I heard AC interviewed earlier and he said he was going to stay as Captain of the ODI side. Surely that’s a decision for the selectors, and of course, the ECB : the executive role of the ECB has extended over the last year into team selection. If he can say that with such confidence, he’s presumably received assurances to that effect.
    I heard Geoff Hurst on the radio telling the story of leaving the England celebrations after the World Cup win and saying to Alf Ramsey “see you next time”, to which Ramsey replied “if selected, Geoffrey : if selected!”. Times change !!!

    • Cook is arrogant and deluded. He is also in the weakest position of all because when the ECB finally do sack him he will wonder what has hit him. Cook is an embarrassment to himself, to English cricket and to the nation. If the ECB don’t sack him now they too will be seen as an embarrassment by the wider public – something I’m not sure Paul Downton understands

  • Sorry, should have pointed out for the benefit of younger readers (!) that a few hours earlier Hurst had scored a hat trick in the World Cup final!

  • I posted these on Dmitri, thought I should share them here too…

    The IronRod…Shod of all real responsibility
    Dropped one, scored one, took one for the ECB team
    now he hangs himself out to dry, under storm-filled SKY’s
    And yet the pro’s in the know, still won’t accept he should go…

    And at last
    The true cracks appear
    Moore’s now unsure
    To follow the ECB Cookie, his fear
    For if he swallows, the Chef bereft
    Then he may be scalped first
    By the mighty Flower’s thirst
    For power, putting the one before the team
    Recriminations build
    On and off the field
    Yet at least Downton Abbey
    And sleazy, greasy, Sir Giles
    Can stand back in silence so shabby
    Kissing the big three toes, undefiled

    • By all accounts it’s going to be an orgy of celebrations of his first year in charge. Nothing else.

      Peter Moore’s has already backed down from yesterday. No doubt he was told he doesn’t get to choose the captain. The English cricket team is rotten to the core. Players and captain selected for non cricket reasons, and the coach nothing more than a corporate yes man.

      Integrity is non existent. No wonder all the management worked for banks.

  • Downton will say nothing that means anything. These people don’t care.

    They don’t care about the players any more than they care about an expensive car they buy and drive badly until it breaks down. When they’ve had enough of Cook they’ll dump him for a newer model.

    They’re just asset-strippers.

    • Yup.

      Interesting position for the players now. Cricket authorities are treating them like lowly workers on a production line. Completely unlike footballers,and golfers and tennis players.

      Maybe time for a bit of player power to rest some control away from the fools who lord it over them.

      • “Time for a bit of player power”.

        Unlikely as they’ll remember what happened to the last guy who tried it (which was largely the point I guess).

        Speaking of him, I think the Big Bash starts on the 18th and his team play the first game. I want him to make a big score so badly I’m in danger of pulling a wanting muscle.

        Oh, and I hope Hales tells Downton/Whitaker/Moores/ Cook et al to do one and goes to the IPL.

  • The ECB and I include all the people who blindly follow their coaching/development type ‘pathways’ by the way as they’ve sold out!!, only care about money. It’s all about money. They do not care one bit about the game, it’s traditions or the people who truly love the game. It wants to destroy amateur cricket (because all it does is suck money from them), it wants to have people watching sky (because that’s easy money) and then wants all the fools who over pay for tickets to go to the T20, ODI or test matches..

    It really is time to forget about pro sport, it’s a lost cause. The players don’t care really, they will play for whoever pays them the most money. The people running county/national teams do not care about anything other than money or their career. Until people truly vote with their feet ‘we’ can keep tweeting, posting and moaning but not a thing will change.

    This modern western world is corrupt to the core and until people finally realise this it will continue to just keep getting worse.

    • Darts gets a bigger audience than cricket on Sky.

      Cricket is living off Premiership football. Very few people subscribe to Sky just for the cricket. Cricketers, and ECB officials are living off Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, Anfield etc etc. if football ever goes it’s own way, cricket will have to live off much less money. Players will be lining up to go to the IPL then. And the ECB will be powerless to stop them.


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