Monday, 3 December 2012

The X Factor

Thorpster is back and questions Graham Gooch and England's obsession of picking seam bowlers in spin friendly conditions. He also has a pop at numerous celebrities along the way, in keeping with our style here at The Middle Stump.

Gooch...Fitness first?

Given that the main object of Dan's attention is clearly Tulisa (as per his recent and frequent barbs) the show she judges on, sprang to mind whilst watching England grinding India into the dust this weekend. We all know how much grinding Tulisa does, so I am sure she was watching events unfold at the aptly named Wankhede stadium as keenly as Dan watched the now legendary online sex tape of the x factor judge which a "friend" tells me involved her personally performing some Wankhede action. Tulisa brought a high court action regarding the video and I am thinking of taking the same course regarding Dan's recent point in his first test review regarding Tulisa's love of a JJB tracksuit.

Those of you who follow the showbiz gossip will have heard that Tulisa is 'dating' Danny Simpson the Newcastle defender. I hear her prime motivation in getting 'close' to Simpson, whose wife is six months pregnant, was to become friendly with the Newcastle owner and cockney entrepreneur Mike Ashley who also owns Sports Direct and with it, a plentiful supply of tracksuits and other chav essentials. If this rumour is true, and she is indeed close to both Danny and Mike, maybe she is trying to assist in the formation of Ashley and Simpson in the honour of the eighties pop duo Ashford and Simpson? Putting her judges head on, she could then judge who was the more "solid" of the two men.

Ashford and Simpson...solid as Mike's cock

But coming back to matters pertinent to cricket, I think we can safely say when looking at the match winners KP and Monty, they have the X factor which turned a first test trouncing into a second test triumph. Personally I was delighted by the decision to play Monty and in the second innings hand him the new ball. However it also shows how badly wrong the management team got it when plumping for the indentikit three seamers and one spinner.

This selection took me back to another disastrous first test selection involving a current member of the England management in India. Graham Gooch as skipper in 1993 decided to go with just one spinner and four Tommy Rundlers in a literal dust bowl in Calcutta and again paid the price. Meanwhile India used Kapil Dev and Prabhakar to take the shine off the ball before tossing it to their three twirly men who bowled us out twice. Meanwhile Devon Malcolm and Chris Lewis were joined by classic old school Tommys, Paul Jarvis and playing in one of only two tests "Puffing" Paul Taylor. The Northants wobbler bounded in over and over giving the cracked surface a pounding (no comparison to Tulisa).

A man for all seasons?

Many eyebrows were raised as to how Taylor was preferred to a second spinner but we all know how fond Goochie was of seam. A little known fact is that Taylor the Northants left armer was one of the fittest men on the circuit and we all know how much fitness influenced a Gooch selection. Monty is certainly not the sort of athlete preferred by Gooch and Co and in fitness terms as he is less General Montgomery and more Colin Montgomerie! 

However he is a match winner having taken five wickets on twelve occasions now in just 43 Tests. His selection has often been hotly debated, including on the ill feted Flintoff whitewash Ashes tour in 2006/7 when a fading "coaches mate" Ashley Giles was picked ahead of him for the first two tests.

A bit like in this series not selecting him became impossible, and he immediately took 5-92 at the WACA. Monty has the X factor and it will be shame if due to England's obsession with doing things in formulaic manner leads to him only being picked when he is impossible to ignore in sub-continental conditions. I got a few sarcastic texts yesterday suggestimg Goochie would ask the ICC to render the test void as England hadn't lobbed down the obligatory 50 overs of seam!

Another man who certainly has the X factor is the Dumb Slog Millionaire, KP. In my previous on his subject I implored and predicted that he be recalled as despite his character defects, there ain't many who can bat like the DSM. However the transformation from the first Test to Mumbai was astounding, as he went from hopping about like bug entering Eric Bristows builders bum in the jungle. to batting like a bottle of "Pistows" favourite champagne. In fact KP's transformation was almost as much of a miracle as the Crafty Cockney going two weeks without a beer! The KP subject has been thoroughly covered top to bottom (like Tulisa) so suffice to say the DSM is here to stay. The way captain Cook is batting it will be fascinating to watch him and KP go head to head for the test ton record.

Don't tell Geoffrey though as he takes as kindly to his records being beaten as did his girlfriend to her face being beaten...allegedly.

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