World Cup Review: Canary Yellows Demonstrate Pecking Order


Judging by the reaction on Twitter, it’s a good thing we don’t live in Russia or North Korea. Our XI cricketers would’ve been shot.

Personally, I’d be more inclined to shoot Peter Moores and David Saker. The former because we’ve got to take at least one positive from today; the latter because any bowling coach that advocates slow short balls as stock deliveries doesn’t deserve to be in a job.

You’d think Saker would know by now that bowling short doesn’t work very well. It hasn’t been working for years.

Having had my mini-rant, I actually think it’s important not to overreact too much to this result. Let’s face it, Australia are a far superior side to us. They’re at home; they’re on a roll. It was always going to be tough.

Yes, it’s incredibly frustrating to hear the channel nine commentators in full love-fest mode, but that’s been part and parcel of watching England play cricket down under for years. Let them have their moment. We’ll have ours in the rugby world cup later this year.

The fact of the matter is the seeds of this defeat were sown several months ago. We are an unsettled side, of average talent, playing in front of a hostile crowd. We also have a coach who has never won a single limited overs trophy in his entire career. It’s a bit harsh to expect him to start now.

Although I think Australia would have dismantled most sides in the world tonight – and the result won’t affect England’s ambition of getting through to the quarters or maybe even the semis – I was still scratching my head at the toss:

I understand why Bopara was dropped, but why make two big changes to the batting order? When you’ve got an unsettled team, keeping whatever stability you’ve got seems paramount.

In what universe is it wise to go into the biggest game for ages with both a new number three and a new number six? This is exactly the kind of boneheaded tinkering that makes Peter Moores anything but the best coach of his generation.

The logical thing to do would have been to keep the order the same and simply replace Bopara with Ballance at six. The latter has plenty of shots in his locker when he needs to show them. It was hardly a vote of confidence in Taylor’s ability. I’m glad he scored some runs just to stick two fingers up at the management team. And what a blinder he played too! Shame he was robbed of a century by some brainless officiating or nonsensical regulations.

So much of England’s performance was woeful today – dropping Finch on zero, bowling too short, batting like donuts – that it would be impossible to dissect it all here. I’ll let you guys do that in the comments section.

Besides, I don’t really have the appetite for a full post mortem myself because this game is essentially irrelevant in the scheme of things: depressingly enough, England’s cup finals will be against the mighty Scots and Bangladesh.

Overall  I’m feeling a bit meh about today’s game. Yes it was rubbish but what do you expect?!

At least today brought one massive positive from a personal point of view. I’ve never been able to place who Mitchell Johnson reminds me of. It’s been bugging me for years. This morning I finally figured it out. It’s Freddy Mercury!


James Morgan


  • The thing is, both Andy Flower’s laptop and the Greatest Coach Of His Generation would probably agree that Australia ought to be packing their top order with grinders and batting Finch at 7.

    It’s not the Moores and Saker’s fault that Australia are instead utilising some bizarre plan based around consistent aggressive intent and quick scoring rather than a series of platform building partnerships that never get going followed by a mad slog to try and make the runs up at the end.

    There may be two teams on the field out there … but only one of them is paying cricket!

    *quaffs pink gin in the long room*

  • Killer Queen? At one point his theme song should have been “Another one bites the dust.”

    As for the Eng vs Aus game – England really, really needs to fix their bowling. They got some good early wickets and had a moment where they just might have had the Australian batsmen a bit nervous. That was the moment to really pile on the pressure, and maybe put on some very aggressive bowling.

    It didn’t happen. The pressure wasn’t there and the Australian middle order settled down, lead by Finch who must be on course to be the most expensive dropped catch of this World Cup. And those final 10 overs – for crying out loud, what was England doing? Did they rest the bowlers and just bring out an assistant coach to give the Australians a bunch of easy throw-downs?

    England’s batting was pretty poor, but that is hardly new. What shocked me was how England’s bowlers let the opponents take control.

    Oh, and speaking as an Aussie fan: YAY!

  • What do I expect?
    Acknowledgement that the build up to this WC has been a complete mess, and that people like Moores, Saker, Downton et al. should be held responsible.

    More realistically:
    I expect a bowling strategy that isn’t already proven to be useless.
    But apparently even that is too much…

    This game was over on paper before it began.
    It was almost certainly over by the time Aus had hit 300, let alone 342…

    I’ve been writing and raising issues about our bowling for weeks now – it seems all my fears came true at once. Jimmy looks done for on these pitches with the white ball – he’s become toothless without swing. Will Broad ever get back some of the pace he lost with a recent injury? Will we ever be brave enough to find out if Tredwell could bring more to the table than the RPO of over 6 that our seamers just gave us?

  • Another thing – the big total conceded set the stage for Marsh to take a bunch of wickets as our batsmen tried to chase the total. Some of this is a lack of talent – better batsmen would succeed when hitting out – but some of it has to be laid at the door of a culture in the team that keeps pretending “240 is enough.”

  • we need to find a space for Tredwell in the team
    and the replacing an out of form with another out of firm captain clearly isn’t working
    and as for the decision to put Taylor down to 6…..
    The Aussies are clearly in a different class to us but even so the way we bowled and our top order rolled over was very disappointing

  • It’s depressing that after the much heralded, and seemingly interminable ‘preparation’ for the tournament, and having replaced the captain at the last moment, we still haven’t decided the makeup of the team.
    It would not surprise me in the slightest should we now drop Ballance, having brought him in for a single game, completely lacking time in the middle, against the best team in the tournament.

    To me the team looks short a bowler (and I don’t mean a Bopara), and a world class batsman. Not many obvious options… and none in the squad, with the possible exception of Tredwell.

    Agreed that the management must take much of the blame.

  • As others have mentioned, and many of us have been saying for some time our bowling is very weak. We can blame the batsman, and sure, some of them seem to be out of form. However, trying to chase down 330 scores against good bowling attacks is very difficult. Australia would back the,selves to defend most scores above 260 at the moment.

    Englands fielding has also been average on this tour. Finch dropped on 0 is not helpful. And fielding is the one part of the game that any team can improve on. But the bowling strategies have been baffling for over 2 years now. The obsession with sort pitched bowling and refusal to bowl full is now reaching a point that serios question must be asked of the England management.

    One upon a time we had a cricket media who would ask these questions. But now we have a bunch of ECB puppets who go out of their way to defend every aspect of ECB management. Selvey, Pringle, Agnew, Willis are all ex bowlers. Shouldn’t they be asking tough questions of the bowling coach instead of writing puff pieces about ECB coaching , management and personnel? Ian Botham seems to be the only one who has pointed out these obvious flaws. I guess they prefer the easy life rather than doing their jobs. Maybe their employers should replace them with new blood.

    • What amazes me is how much the media focus on ‘saying the right things’ and ’emphasising the positives’.

      I was just listening belatedly to the World Cup preview on BBC 5 Live. Even Michael Vaughan, who is normally pretty astute, was banging on about this nonsense. Talking about the importance of ‘talking the right language’ and ‘still strutting around the right way’ even if they get beaten. What is this bullshit?

      Has the entire English system been hopelessly infected with this belief that appearances count for more than results?

      • It’s a very good point that Tom. And it seems to be the curse of modern management speak. All players/staff are turned into drones just parroting platitudes. The England cricket team seems full of people who sound like contestans on The Apprentice. The media laps this drivel up.

        Go back to Lords last year against India. England turned up on the most green pitch I have ever seen at Lords. 30-40 years ago bowlers like Geoff Arnold, Chris Old, Mike Hendricks, Ian Botham (dare I say it Agnew, Selvey) would not need a laptop or bowling coach to tell them what was required and how to bowl. Even more modern bowlers like Darren Gough, and Andy Caddick would have known not to bowl short. Yet that Is what we got. Utter dross for nearly 2 sessions.

        The modern player seems to be not trusted to think for themselves. There is a paralysis of who is calling the shots. Is it head coach? Bowling coach? Captain? bowlers? who knows?

        After the series with India Jimmy Anderson was asked how they turned it around? He said we gave up the plans and just bowled naturally. Hmmm says it all really.

  • Good to see that with his glazed over interview on SKY – things aren’t so bad – and equally glazed martialling of his bowlers, together with the total collapse of his batting, that Morgan is bedding in well to leadership.

    Still at leasr he isn’t as well educated or as good looking as his predecessor so some progress has been made.

    Captain and team quite rubbish (I excuse Taylor’individual effort)

    • As long as KP is out of the team and we have a harmonious dressing room and the best coach of his generation, that’s the main thing.

      • A few more stuffings and all that harmoniousness may become disengaged.

        The BCOHG better get his positivity scanner properly charged up or he might struggle to find the adequate managementspeak going forwards, etc.

    • Morgan is a better captain than Cook and England would almost certainly have lost whatever decisions he had made but there were still some key moments when he could have attacked more:
      i) When Broad had taken two wickets in an over and was looking threatening for the first time on tour Morgan took him off after five overs – he should have had another over.
      ii) First bowling change was Woakes – it would have been more attacking to bring on Finn to have a go at George Bailey (who has looked uncomfortable against the lifting ball).

      Warne spotted both of these on commentary – he may be bloody annoying but he reads the game. England were sticking to pre-conceived plans rather than responding to the immediate game situation. It also shows that Warne wasn’t against Cook personally (always a ridiculous accusation) last summer.

      England probably would have lost anyway but at least if Morgan had taken these routes it would feel like he’d done all he could.

      • They have to let Morgan breathe. Let him captain. He’s an instinctive player with a good feeling for how a game is going, and he thrives on responsibility. Put the bloody pre-conceived plans away and let him do his job.

    • It is not difficult to recall the barrage of critisicm that was levelled at Cook while Morgan gets off very lightly. I can’t help but wonder why.

      • Who says Morgan is getting off lightly Jenny?

        Boycott has had a go at him. Pringle has commented about his form. Gower, Strauss were talking about his lack of runs.

        Agnew was moaning about his lack of form on the BBC review show, and pointed out that if you exclude his 100 against Australia he was only averaging 9. Funny, I don’t remember Agnew removing Cooks better scores to bring down his average.

        Cook failed for near on 2 years and people were still defending him. They still are.

          • I’m not defending Cook in the sense that I knew he was never suited to for captaincy in any form of the game. Just hoped for the best. It was not to be but he was crucified on this blog at least, while Morgan equally poor in form and results is supported.

            He speaks better than Cook. He gives an overall impression of being more suited to the job in attitude and personality but his form and results are no better. He gets off lightly. Excuses are found.

            Morgan has been selected to captain the team and it’s too late to change that. I hope he finds better fortune and does better in the field so we can see some success and be pleased for any progress that we might make. He would not have been my choice as captain or in my team, but he has been selected and as England’s team captain I wish him well.

          • There is still a large undercurrent of the cricket writers who prefer Cook at the helm. Many of them can’t wait for this silly ODI stuff to end so the test matches can resume,and their boy can return to his rightful place.

            Pringle could not contain himself by tweeting this morning about how people wanted to remove Cook because of his form ,but look at Morgan’s form. (A clear dig at those who wanted change from Cook) Agnew (who in fairness wanted Cook to give up ODIs) can’t wait to talk about Morgan’s lack of form. Even removing his one score of 100 against Australia so his average would look even worse.

            Always remember the both Agnew and Selvey only wanted Cook to stand down for Cooks bennefit rather than Englands. Cook could then have a rest and prepare for test matches. It was all about Cook. Which is funny because they always accuse us of being all about KP.

            It is still perceived that Cook lost his job because of pro KP people. Which is sacrilege to the ECB mafia.

            • There’s a trap of getting obsessed with Cook the same way some folks are obsessed with KP, maybe. He’s out of the ODI team. But it’s not about Cook, anymore than it’s about KP, it’s about the culture.

              I’d say that Morgan’s a better captain than cook, and a golden duck is better than 12 for 30 in an ODI. But.

              There’s basically got to be a stop to all the nonsense, some kind of pushback, some kind of acknowledgement of ‘in light of the evidence, we have got $some_decision badly wrong and will aim to fix it going forward’ which we are still not seeing. Now, there perhaps was a glimmer that Morgan would come in and score heavily and also do some things to fix the culture.

              But if Morgan doesn’t make runs, then even if he knows the right things to do he doesn’t have the power with teammates and coaching staff to really fix some of the strategic problems, like the who is batting where lottery. And then what you’re left with is maybe slightly better on field tactics and 0 for 1 being better than 10 for 30, but still not good enough.

              • Excellent. Alistair Cook and Kevin Pietersen should both be left to one side as they are no longer a part of what we are trying to achieve here.

                Morgan by his presence seems suited to the role of captaincy but to be effective he needs runs and he needs to achieve results. Having seen him at Middlesex, my home county, I was never as optimistic as some as to his overall proficiency.

                Never the less, he is the England captain and I hope he comes good and increases our #WC2015 and future ODI prospects. He does have talent in this form of the game.

        • That’s the way I think about him. Tuck him up in a warm bed with a nice mug of hot cocoa :) I bet he is looking at those sheep with a smile and ever growing fondness.

      • Is it that hard to work out why? Morgan is a serious ODI talent who until now had taken to captaincy by responding with lifting his game as a batsman, who had previously shown an incisive and imaginative approach to the role.

        He’s struggling. But regular watchers know he has it in him to be a dominant force in limited overs cricket. And it’s early days for him.

        Really, trying to compare him and Cook in defence of the latter is just bleating.

        • Comparisons are odious. I was not comparing Eoin Morgan to Alistair Cook and I do not bleat. I was simply asking a question.

          Lords is my home ground and Middlesex is my team. I have seen a lot of Eoin Morgan. He does have talent, particularly in the ODI format, but he has been short of runs for a very long time. I never have stats at my fingertips but I would not be surprised if his average is worse that of Cook and his results are little better.

          It’s results and runs that count. That is why I asked the question.

          • Only if you ignore the bleeding obvious.

            Their records are reasonably similar, if you ignore the gulf in strike rates and the ability to hit boundaries, and the fact that Morgan is a middle order batsman with far less opportunity to score runs.

            As captains in this format, it’s a no-contest judging by what we’ve seen of Morgan. Let’s not pretend we didn’t swipe at the coaching staff during Cook’s reign either…

  • On the spectrum of adept to inept, England were… smelly, real smelly. Thank God we’ve had all this preparation or we might have lost by an innings. You just know that Saker has a guardian angel at the ECB.

    I am imagining England deffo having to beat Afghanistan to progress, so I’m putting a month’s lottery money on the Afghanis. What’s the worse thing that can happen there?

    Flower’s powering up the Toshiba Satellite Pro, even as we speak. He’ll be fully back in harness by Easter, unveiled at a Lords press conference by a slobbering Paul Downton, and fanned by a fully-lubed up pack of hacks. Nice.

    • I am imagining England deffo having to beat Afghanistan to progress, so I’m putting a month’s lottery money on the Afghanis. What’s the worse thing that can happen there?

      Well, if we lose to NZ and Sri Lanka, and our ‘minnows’ matches get rained off, we could go out on run rate to Bangladesh…

  • I am afraid you are right. Flower has been keeping well away from the current mess.

    You have to love Boycs on DT: “If I was the chairman of the ECB I would be asking Peter Moores and David Saker, the bowling coach, what the hell is going on” Understatement indeed

  • We sacrificed an Ashes for this pish. An Ashes series so that we could still be totally unprepared for a world cup and bowl in exactly the same way that has been failing for the last 18 months.

    Best coach of his generation, my arse.

    Best batting lineup Broad has ever played with, my arse.

    Are you proud of what you have accomplished Mr Downton?

    Stll, lets take the positives yeah?

  • What I cannot fully understand is who exactly is deciding the tactics surrounding the bowling?
    This back of a length and short pitch theory was adopted during the reign of Andy Flower and Alister Cook. Yet both have been replaced however this tactic continues???
    This leads me to believe that perhaps KP is right in his suggestion that Broad and Anderson have an undue influence on this team.

    • The back of a length tactic and the slower ball bouncer were adopted (with success) at the 2010 T20 World Cup – under Collingwood, not under Alistair Cook.

      Collingwood did a piece on this on a Sky commentary recently (he seemed to be taking credit for the tactic). They looked at the most economical area to bowl at and it was chest and shoulder high on or outside off stump. The rationale was that there was such a small margin for error with yorkers that boundaries were more likely, whereas a chest / shoulder high ball on or just outside off stump went for less runs and had a higher margin for error.

      Anderson has taken more wickets and bowled more overs in ODIs than any other Englishman, and Broad is near the top of the list. Surely it’s only right that they have an influence / input on tactics?

      The problem isn’t tactics, it’s execution.

      • If the tactics are crap then the problem is indeed the tactics.

        Are England bowling short because they are the tactics? Or are they bowling short because they can’t execute bowling full and straight Yorkers?

        If they can’t bowl full and straight Yorkers then they are not as good as they think they are. If they are under instructions from the management, then the problem is the tactics.

        • But that’s it Mark – I don’t think the bowlers are great. Would any of our bowlers get anywhere near the Australian or South African ODI sides?

          • Probably not Hamish, but both Broad and Anderson are no mugs, and as you have said …..

            “Anderson has taken more wickets and bowled more overs in ODIs than any other Englishman, and Broad is near the top of the list.”

            Now in fairness to both of them they coming back from injury, but I can’t believe they are Incabable of bowling better lengths. Jimmy is a great swing bowler. So he knows how to pitch the ball up. I’m sure this is tactics.

            If England were attempting to bowl full, and were conceding lots of full tosses you could argue that the execution was poor.

            • They probably are capable, but are they capable under the intense pressure of bowling at the most destructive batsmen in world cricket?

              That’s where English cricketers always fall down, because the cricket we play in this country is not of sufficient quality, and when the intense pressure comes on, the players’ skills let them down.

              Again, I’m not excusing the coaches, but I think it’s folly to lump this all on Moores and Saker.

              • Hamish is Domestic cricket in say New Zealand substantially better quality? I ask because I genuinely have no idea. They have a population about the same as Wales and they seem to produce some very good cricketers. Never mind the Rugby team.

                While I accept there are huge issues with our domestic game I just don’t buy the notion that we can’t produce a few bowlers who can land the bloody ball in the right area. If what you say is true then all ECB contracts and financial rewards should be cancelled. Because the players simply don’t deserve the money for such poor skills execution.

                While I Accept they are not the best in the world I do believe they are better than what they are producing.

              • The world hasn’t been standing still, though. Could it be that not participating much in domestic T20 leagues — nobody in the England setup really has done much of that recently — that their tactical styles and techniques aren’t really benefiting from the learning one gets from playing from a lot of completely different players and coaching systems?

                If it’s all filtered through that one staff, well, darn near every other team’s players have some advantages that England does not.

  • “You’d think Saker would know by now that bowling short doesn’t work very well. It hasn’t been working for years”.

    There was a table* shown during play of recent** death*** bowling by teams in ODIs. England were the second worse of the ten Test playing nations. Only Zimbabwe were worse. SA were the best.

    * The graphis for this WC are rubbish – they look like something out of Cbeebies.
    ** Not sure how that was defined – since June 2012 possibly.
    *** Defined as overs 41-50.

    • I confess to the sin of over reacting to this result. We were useless from the top down, Taylor excepted. We see the same errors time and time again. Errors of thinking by management coupled with poor and lacklustre performances, in all disciplines, on the field.

      Is it a matter of blame or is it that we are simply not good enough. I think I support the view that the team are not being given the best opportunity to make the most of themselves. The strategy was dire. If the bowlers were performing to order I see little hope. Realistically, sacking Moores Saker and Morgan is not an option. I hope this loss can be put into context/brushed off but I am not so sure that this will come right easily.

      We deserve compensation for the horror show of the final ball. A replay with a 100 run advantage to us at the least. That’s all I can say.

      • The big worry is the bowling has been an issue for some time and nothing is being done. The tactics remain the same, and it is clearly not working. Either the players can’t bowl a different length, or they are not allowed to.

        It would be nice to know who’s responsible.

        • The poor quality of the domestic game’s responsible. Tell me who in the domestic game should be in the team, because the back-ups don’t look too great.

          Harry Gurney and Jade Dernbach have had excellent domestic figures in recent years, but neither look up to it at international level.

          Believe me, I don’t think Saker is a genius coach, but compare England’s bowling resources to the barrage of bowlers that aren’t in the Aussie team.

    • So it’s important to overreact by exactly the right amount ?

      It ought to be pointed out that this is England’s second biggest one day defeat, ever.

      On the positive side, Taylor is a seriously classy player.

    • I stick by the comment 100%. Australia are very good and England are average at best. You don’t judge Hull’s season on the basis of one result against Man Utd or Chelsea. If England beat the teams comparable to them, then they’ll have done ok. In the race for a QF berth, I don’t think many expected a game against Australia to bring a win. England’s World Cup will probably be judged by the result in their QF (if they get there!)

      Yes it’s bloody frustrating, and hard to stomach, but we just had to grin and bear this game. Not many teams beat Aust in Aust.

      • But Hull wasn’t world no 1 a couple of years ago. If they had been, it would be fair to wonder how they had dropped so far that no one even expects them to compete against Man Utd or Chelsea any more.

      • James, you are right to say that it is only fair to judge England against comparable teams. The bigger question has to be why is England with its vast resources, in terms of personnel and money, a team of such mediocrity that it should be judged only by results against the least competitive nations?

        Too often the England team is worse than the sum of its parts, which suggests a malaise in the wider enterprise. If the players, whether they be batters or bowlers, are perennially failing to execute their skills, something beyond personal failure is affecting them.

        Time and again, one, perhaps two, players give standout performances in a losing cause. It never seems to be the same players and they rarely ever all perform together in the same match. On an eclectic basis, one through to 11 have produced brilliant results, but match-by-match performances offer a dismal pattern of inconsistency and frustration.

        Whether it is mental fragility or muddled coaching or hapless administrators, the system needs fixing.

        • I’m only saying we shouldn’t judge England by results against what I consider to be the best team in the tournament by some distance. I agree that there are massive problems with English cricket, but let’s judge this particular team at the end of the tournament when we’ve played the other teams too. My expectations were very low going into the game, so I’m going to hold fire for now. What if we beat the other teams in the group? Unlikely but still possible at this point. A couple of weeks ago everyone was saying progress has been made because we’d just beaten India twice.

        • Good stuff James and I do so agree with you Tregaskis! Individual members in this present team have talent. Morgan showed previously that he could set a field, could run up a decent score, and could think on his feet. However, at the moment he is all over the place. That is just too sad for words IMO. I really like Morgan and given that he was not the only one who played badly there has to be something very significant in the background that is turning very fine players into mediocre also-rans.

          I think a lot of the problem is due to to the Coach and here, I think, is the evidence from the mouth of the “best England coach of his generation!”

          “I thought it wasn’t just about execution. Our plans weren’t as good as they could have been,” he said.

          Whose fault was that then?

          “You have to take simple options and we didn’t always take the simple options. There’s no point hiding from it. Those situations are going to come again and again. You’ve got to mix both [short ball and yorker].

          No S..T Sherlock.

          “The yorker is a really good ball. But you’ve got to bowl the right ball to the right field. If you look at the stats for the best in world cricket, they don’t just bowl yorkers, they bowl simple plans.

          Simple plans for simple people?

          “I thought perhaps the reason we bowled badly was because the team didn’t now what field it was in!!!

          England were supposed to be in the same field as the opposition, my husband quipped.

          “Have we under used it [yorker]? Yes. So we have to go away, look at that and decide what are we going to do? How are we going to get clear on that? We have to move and we have to move fast because these games are going to keep coming and the last 10 to 15 overs aren’t going to go away.”

          Well what can one say? Hells bells. As 98 per cent of DT folk said, Moores is utterly out of his depth at this level. Just reading this stuff fills me with horror.

          It was also reported that Moores changed the order at the last minute because he panicked! I asked myself: how would that make anyone feel?

          Moores: plans, plans, plans, simple plans, plans and more plans!

          Gee whiz what a mess.

      • Fair point. But what about when we get spanked by New Zealand? And then Sri Lanka, well, they’ve beaten us 8-4 in 12 games over the last year so lets not get too excited about that game either? Does beating Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Scotland to get into a quarter final constitute a ‘par’ performance? And if we finish 4th in the group, will you be surprised to see us hammered by South Africa in the quarter final? Will it really only be a bad world cup at that point?

        I guess at the bottom of my rant is… how have we got a stage where we are Hull to Australia’s Chelsea?

  • “I actually think it’s important not to overreact too much to this result” —joking right

    Just because the ECB will spin it that the team only expect to get to the QF’s or SF’s..well, duh.. all they have to do is beat minnows to get to the QF’s!! Any test playing nation needs shooting if they don’t manage that!

    England are poor, the players are not good enough but are paid a massive wedge. The coaching is poor, the analysts are poor and the ECB is poor. None will be held to account by the public, the media, the players.

    Australia are good but they aren’t ‘that’ good compared to previous aussie sides really. England will beat a few minnows and people will forget the problems.. then come up against a big side and it’ll be ‘ah hard luck, just beaten on the day’ trolled out again

    Can we please find a way to have the ECB fired, Downton, Clarke, the current selectors and of course, most of the currently England team. Get rid of the oldies, might as well throw in Roy, Vince, Billings etc and lose than flog our test players.

  • Less than two years ago we cruised past Australia in the Champions Trophy. Since then we’ve gone into reverse, and they’ve moved forward and developed. That England team wasn’t spectacular, but did their job.

    I can’t accept that this just happens. Something has gone awfully wrong since then. That we got into a position that we were redeveloping a team less than six months before this competition that we cleared the decks for should never be forgotten. Never.

    But let’s keep going with this mantra that we don’t care, that we’ve never been any good at this, and all we give a stuff about is the Ashes. I despair at many who claim to be England fans who defend this nonsense.

    • “Less than two years ago we cruised past Australia in the Champions Trophy.”

      Yes…. and the key to Australia’s resurgence was getting the chance to experience a crushing whitewash against a lack lustre English team that was only interested in planning its daily meals. Without that experience, MJ might never have got his confidence back, and they would have gone to SA without nerves instead of bullish but well deserved self confidence…

      And England of course still haven’t recovered from that demolition, Maybe not such a good preparation, but how were the ECB to know? (Mere coincidence that they had a financial interest in slotting in the extra Ashes.)

      Before I had the chance to predict that England would switch from talking about “four years preparation” to “it’s a valuable learning experience”, Morgan already said it in the post match of the first game.

      • That’s a little unfair (not massively, though). I think it would be more accurate to say that the natural ECB has been restored, with their reverse-Midas touch.

        • Basically, Jonathan Trott isn’t there. When he was averaging 50 in the top order there was a decent platform set, and Morgan & the other hitters could come in late on and try to blast. Currently the top order is losing wickets early, and Morgan’s coming in 10 overs earlier and struggling against the newer ball. England needs the top order to score at a reasonable clip early, and (crucially) not lose too many wickets in the process

  • Boycott’s piece over at the Telegraph is actually worth a read. Love him or loath him, he makes good sense, even if this particular rant arises mainly from being criticised for criticising – there are enough pointers in the article to make it worth the trouble.

    • I like Boycott. He says it how he sees it, and he is usually firm but fair. He also understands better than most the whole issue of individualism in a team sport.

      But if he has a fault it is a very thin skin. You can’t dish it out like he does and then whine when you get criticised in return. He is right that Morgan’s form is poor, but wrong to say he thinks he is not as good as he thinks he is. Morgan has never done the big I am routine.he gave up an IPL contract last year to try to improve his 4 day game.

      • I am surprised with the bit about Boycott being thin skinned. That is not my impression of him. I think he is angry at the way other commentators try to make excuses for bad performances. He is, I feel, fed up, with the sycophantic way a lot of commentators around the ECB – you know the ones: “the insiders” – are continuing to shore up an utterly failed management team! He took a swipe at Moores and said it like it is and was honest. He said what was wrong and why. I don’t think he gives a toss about what others thinks of him. I remember him taking Dermot Reeve apart on Channel 4 during the commentary. He does get it wrong sometimes but mostly he is bang on. He’s an arrogant old git really, but I rather have his “wrong” than the buggers on the “inside” who constantly dribble out rubbish.

  • Morgan’s collapse in form – from a century to 3 ducks in a row is no surprise, Moores went through 3 captains in 18 months in his first stint in charge, also don’t forget that in 2007 Strauss was stand in captain for Moores’ first test in charge, 6 months later Strauss was out of the side. Cook’s form is still rubbish, a few stubborn fifties against an ordinary India don’t change much, by the end of that Oval half century he’d played himself out of form. Moores eats through captains and we all know its Clarke & Downton’s vanity saving Cook from the sack(test captaincy). England were stale under Flower, so why on earth they’d rehire the bloke who brought Flower into the setup and failed before is ridiculous. Moores’ legacy at Lancashire is nothing, proof of that them having to sign more Kolpack players and still being so reliant on Glenn Chapple.

    This idea that Cook will score lots of runs against WI is fanciful, WI are terrible but England always start away series slowly. My advice to WI is to pick some obscure spinner, like NZ selecting Bruce Martin and only going for 2 an over, England management clueless with someone they’ve no footage to analyse, like Martin, they had no idea were to bowl to Ashton Agar at Trent Bridge. Having said that nowadays all the analysis they do on players they know is crap in any case – England must be the only side Haddin has scored runs against in the last 2 years.

    The big thing to me between Aus and Eng is look at Finch, Maxwell & Warner, then look at Hales, Stokes & Roy. If Finch, Maxwell & Warner were English they’d be looked at with suspicion, not trusted, criticised in the press and be kept at a distance from the international side, they don’t play like the establishment men want, they don’t follow the MCC, Eton & Harrow coaching manuals, yet all match winners for Australia. Hales & Stokes, 2 players gone backwards big time under Moores, and Roy wouldn’t be trusted by the current management.

    • From a distance, it also looks to me loke their analysis is crap. I suspect that just as they expect their own players to be automatons that are to implement plans and execute skills, they also expect opposing players to do the same. What they never seem to reckon with is that opposition players aren’t just executing skills, etc, but are actively attacking them and trying to ruin their plans.

      Why does it always seem that England gets Australia 4 or 5 down for not so many, and then let it slip? Because their plans worked well so far, so they just keep it ticking over. They barely even register that there has been a counter-attack and it is now 6 or 7 down for an extra 400+ until they are asked about it in the press conference.

      (Morgan post match: “We think the plans are sound but our execution has not been as good as it might be. We are looking for a higher standard of skill all round.” — Pure Moores-speak. What in God’s name is this man talking about?)

  • This England side is the ECB’s preferred side full of compliant and on message players who respect their (management) betters. The problem is the players have no tenacity or staying power,are stuffed with fundamentally flawed batsmen like Ali, Ballance, Root and Buttler and ,frankly, suffer from a lack of world class cricket skill.The ECB should be proud of the mess they’ve made of this country’s international cricket team.

    • Getting a little concerned about England’s future under the ECB Flying Circus. I have hopes for Ballance, Root and Buttler but how difficult can it be, in a country of many millions, repeat millions, of people to find 11 good cricketers? Always supposing you’re competent at your job ……

      • We are a country of millions, but only a fraction of these millions play and watch cricket. The Sky exclusivity deal means we’re investing more and more money in a diminishing pool of cricketers. Cricket is disappearing from the public consciousness so the problems are just going to get worse. Would anyone like to be a runner / athlete like Jessica Ennis if the Olympics were hidden behind a paywall and few people actually knew who Jess Ennis was?

        • Indeed James. Now the deal is done between Mr Yorkshire Costco and Mr Clarke we are stuck with Sky and robbed of seeing F2A cricket. Power and money grabbing is the order of the day. Unless that changes, England Cricket will continue to go downhill.

  • I just read Broad’s article in the DM. Boy have you guys got problems. He babbles the whole time about statistics. I don’t believe he would have looked them all up himself out of interest — he must be hearing it all from the coaching staff, no coubt rpesented as “expert knowledge”. He defended the short bowling because the MCG is only 64 meters long, but 84 m wide. And anyway, Aust has a win percentage of80% at the moment, so the odds are against an eng win. And SA are the best at death bowling but only bowl 12% yorkers, while the world average is 30 – 40% yorkers…..

    So that’s how fast bowlers talk these days.

    He also wrote: “We just lacked a bit of killer extinct”, but he didn’t say exactly what percentage of killer instinct is necessary.

    • In his interview with Sky after the game Morgan also brought up the bit about the dimensions of the MCG are “64 meters long, but 84 m wide.”

      Are all their heads filled with this stuff?

      Smacks of back room staff justifying their jobs. it’s so bad it’s become comical.

      • The dimensions of the MCG outfield do not explain why they ALWAYS bowl too short, whatever the circumstances and whatever the opposition. Like you I bloody despair.

        • Well James go and have a look at Stuart Broad has said. He talks about getting “guidance” about how to bowl due to size and shape of ground? Hells, bloody bells. I’d like to know who gave him his “guidance” as he damn well didn’t really know the correct measurements. I hope it doesn’t cause you to feel as depressed as I feel at the moment. Broad sounds like a bloody Dalek! Coming on the back of Moores pathetic ramblings and I felt like putting me head in bucket of water. What makes this worse is that Moores blamed everyone but himself.

      • Read Broad in today’s Mail (if you dare!) and he quotes exactly the same figures.

        He also quotes figures that SA are the best death bowling team and they don’t bowl many yorkers. Apparently they bowl mostly a good length. So why don’t England?

      • To be fair, it’s entirely reasonable to assess the size and shape of the ground when planning for the game.

        But what that doesn’t do is explain bowling slow and short outside the off stump, the lack of variety, or the failure to adjust the plan when being tonked around the ground.

        I was also a bit surprised by Broad’s comment in the Mail – “Our big chance came when they were about 220-odd for 5…”
        To me, the real chance came when Australia were 70 odd for 3. The later moment was par for the course, and while we might have bowled better at the end, Australia were always going to post a decent score from there.

        If we’re honest, none of us expected England to win.
        The margin of defeat and lack of coherence is what disturbs.

        • Nigel,
          Totally agree. 70 for 3 with Bailey next in, in no form. Maxwell next in, certainly susceptible to good bowling. In a test match, you’d attack and look to bowl them out for 260 – but yesterday we sat back, took any attacking fielders out and let Bailey accumulate his confidence back.
          England’s passivity as a bowling unit in ODI’s has long done my head in. We often take 2 or 3 wickets off the top and then just stop attacking. Taking wickets has always been, and remains, the best way to keep runs down.

        • It might be reasonable if only the people who gave Broad “guidance” actually got the measurements right in the first place. I thought these keyboard statisticians were the real deal. Obviously got that wrong. Utterly crazy.

    • I have been following cricket since before I knew how to read and write. I never found it a particularly difficult game and I didn’t even have one of these lap top things to tell me how it should be done. I don’t know how I managed.

  • Moores has made a string of utterly bizarre comments. The poor fellow is of course completely out of his depth in this position, and it shows.

    “There was no panic, I can categorically say, no, players were not unsettled by changes.”

    –Translation: it’s not my fault, blame the players.

    “When we announced the Sri Lanka squad, I said the one bloke who we weren’t taking which was most frustrating was Gary Ballance. That is on record.”

    –A competent & confident person would have said “It was probably a mistake not to take him to SL”.

    “The players have to ask: did we play the game, and the style and brand of game, we wanted to and if we didn’t, we have to look at how we’re going to do that going through the tournament.”

    –Translation: It’s not my fault. Blame the players.

    “Our plans weren’t as good as they could have been.”

    –You should have told Morgan that before you sent him out to say “The planning was fine” yesterday.

    “I think, in this game, the players were sucked into the width of the wide boundaries and felt that was the best option,” he said. “You have to set the right fields for that and we didn’t always get the right fields.”

    –Translation: it’s not my fault. I didn’t tell them that the MCG is 94×64 so bowl short. That must have been Broad, that stickler for statistics. Blame Broad for bowling and blame the captain for the field placements.

    If England win a game, what’s the bet he’ll be saying “Yes, all my plans worked today.”

    • It’s like an episode of the The thick of it.

      Here is the strange world of Stuart Broad….

      “So what about our death bowling? Well, the talk at the MCG is that you have to try to make the batsmen hit square because it’s 64 metres straight and 84 metres wide. The guidance here is that it is best to stay on the short side.”

      The Guidence? Is this a golf course they are playing for the first time?

      Here Broad gives an impression of Brains from Thunderbirds..

      “Here’s a stat for you. South Africa are the best in the world at death bowling and they go at an average of 5.8 runs as compared with our 8.0 in the last 10 overs. So what’s making them better? The world average is 30 to 40 per cent yorkers in those last overs in the modern game and what’s South Africa’s percentage? 12 per cent. They bowl length outside off-stump.”

      Here Broad explains a new theory that flies in the face of old fashioned ideas that the length you bowl is based on the condition of the pitch. Now under this new theory you ball a length according to the grounds dimensions.

      “In Adelaide the plan will be to get the ball full and straight because it’s longer straight than wide. If the Aussies had bowled first in this game they would have bowled short, no doubt. ”

      How do you know Stuart?

      • Enough already. Blimey it just gets worse. The clues are there aren’t they?

        “The guidance?” And who the hell gave that guidance? Saker? Moores? Or both? According to Moores the team didn’t stick to simple plans? Whatever the hell that means.

        “Stats?” He even talking like Moores and like a bloody automaton. Heaven help us. No wonder he is so pitiful.

        Who is in charge on the field Morgan, Saker or Moores?

        It is an absolute tragedy.

    • Well DVYK this sounds as much gobbledegook as the rubbish he was quoted as saying in the Telegraph. You know I keep thinking of Ashley Giles when England lost matches and he just blamed himself and took responsibility.

      You know the more I read the more despairing I become.

  • Can anyone clarify the actual dimensions of the playing field at the MCG? Broad & Morgan say it’s 64m long & 84m wide, but the BBC’s “Analyst show has it at 90 long and 75 wide. (see the vid at 3.25)

    And another site says the total is “173.6m length, 148.3m broad” which would add up with the BBC.

    Why did both Broad (in the DM) and Morgan (on Sky) both have the dimensions wrong? Did they bowl short because this? And if so whose mistake was it?

    And does this mistake explain why Moores has suddenly contradicted both Broad and Morgan, and himself earlier, and said they bowled too short (see BBC link above).

    • Moores is spinning like a top. He is sounding more like Malcolm Tucker.

      First it was 84 page diet sheets under Flower. Now England have become Surveyors under Moores. They will be out there with their theodolites and distance measuring wheels soon.,

      Anything to avoid dealing with improving the basics of cricket skills. Batting ,bowling and catching. Get the cake right first, before putting the cherry on top.

    • The ground’s own figures are probably a good place to start:
      “The MCG arena now has a total of approximately 20,000 square metres in area and measures 173.6 long x 148.3 metres wide, from fence to fence. The boundary line is located five metres inside the fence…”

      Unless the pitch was rotated by 90 degrees for the tournament, the Broad/Morgan figures seem rather strange.

      • “Unless the pitch was rotated by 90 degrees for the tournament, the Broad/Morgan figures seem rather strange.”

        When it says ‘long’ and ‘wide’ it should be noted it’s referring to the football pitch.

    • Absolutely right DVYK which makes them all look like a load of pillocks that they most certainly are. Wonder what spin will be put on all this by the usual media “insiders!” I can hardly wait!

  • “Four years in the planning”…cont’d….”We need to rethink our bowling plans”…”The Yorker is a very good ball!” The GCOHG continues to make it up as he goes along!

  • John Etheridge tweeted that England had no practice session yesterday (Sunday) and didn’t make any players available to the media.

    No problems with the former but the latter seems odd. There’s been some speculation that England may have had a team meeting which would explain why nobody was available. That would presumably be the sort of ‘clear the air’ meeting where any player who criticises the coach is promptly sacked….

    • From AP via the Guardian:
      After being given a day off following their arrival in Wellington the players returned to training at the Basin Reserve on Tuesday. The session began with a stern-faced Moores sitting the players down in a group on the outfield and speaking for almost 15 minutes.
      Moores obviously channelling Flower again.

      “The problem isn’t that my strategy has hobbled you, the problem is that you’re not hopping fast enough.”


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