Monday, 31 March 2014

The Winter of Discontent

This winter has been an absolute disgrace. It started with poor selection, culminated in our best batsman being ostracised from the set up, our captain looking hopeless, our next best bat suffering burn out. If that wasn't enough on the tour to Australia, our spinner did a John Darwin in the country which is home to Darwin, we have ruined the career of our young pace hope, and lost our coach. We have been smashed in three continents, out bowled, out fielded and out batted in every series, with our coaching looking prehistoric. Today it has culminated in defeat to the Dutch, a team who recently lost one day international status for not winning enough games. I, and many of our followers on Twitter are fuming, and rightly so.

The King of Pain
It starts with the ECB. This fine institution who have in their infinite wisdom sold the family jewels otherwise known as the game of cricket. Stolen from the common man to those who own Sky, alienating the majority of future generations, the ECB have fucked up yet again. County cricket is now rarely played on a Saturday, stopping the casual dad from taking his son to a fixture. Still don't worry; it's all for the good of the national team isn't it? Then again, this is the organisation who have crammed so much of the season in that their players now suffer from burn out. This is the organisation who have moved much of the county season into early April, nullifying the decent spinners and then we wonder why there is no one coming through the system. This is the organisation who put money before the game, and this is the organisation who have to take the blame for the complete shambles that has taken place in this winter of discontent.

They are charging £75 for a ticket to Lord's for Sri Lanka this year. Loyal souls such as myself will pay it, along with their £4.70 a pint and £10 for a burger and chips. I can see it being half full, as already there are many tickets doing the rounds on Twitter or ebay. The public are starting to turn their backs.

Crowd for Sri Lanka in June?

Why should they turn up? Removing Pietersen was symbolic of their ideology. Piers Morgan was pilloried on Twitter recently for his pro KP stance, but he was right. Anyone with a modicum of flair, gets stifled and removed on the basis of being a maverick. No doubt the safe bet of Ashley Giles will get the gig as England coach soon, instead of someone who might ruffle a few feathers which is exactly what the game needs. Ash claims he isn't a man who shies away from tough decisions, so let him prove it by not putting his name forward.

Another thing that pisses me off in this hideous winter is the attitude of the players. In a similar way to the England rugby team a couple of years ago after the World Cup, this national side is aloof and out of touch with their fans. They need a Stuart Lancaster type to teach them humility and have pride in playing for the national side. Get them back on board and show the public that they care. The cognoscenti dislike quite a few members of our own national team and that is an awful situation to be in. Dernbach and Bresnan keep getting played no matter what they do, and the hatred towards them on social media is an embarrassment to the ECB. Every press conference is awash with media speak and the usual bullshit of "taking the positives out of defeat".

The talk of being "disappointed" is of scant consolation to those who spent seven or eight grand traipsing around Australia in considerable numbers. The public are completely out of touch with this team. The team look scared whether it is the batting shitting their pants from pace down under, or the T20 side not wanting to take risks by hitting boundaries, or fielders scared to go for catches, the lack of confidence is abysmal, despite the spin of press conferences. If it was about talk England would be world champions, and I am fed up with the lack of walking the walk.


Today was just another defeat. To be honest I expected it even though it was the Dutch. Yes, that mighty cricket nation. Never mind Dutch Ovens, I'd have preferred it if the ECB committee's parents had used a French Letter. Someone needs to pull their finger out, because the place is awash with failure.

The fielding, the batting, the bowling, the selection, the lack of confidence has all gone beyond a joke and the ECB have to sort it out and quickly. Get the fans back on board would be a start and sort out these over paid prima donnas who have ruined our winter. Make them have pride in wearing the three lions, as they certainly do not have it at present. I seriously fear for the future.

I most definitely, am not taking any positives out of yet another defeat.


  1. Great piece again. Only traces of your usual humour, but this is no laughing matter really

  2. Thanks Eye Jay. The Master of Metaphorical Mirth was too angry today. Normal service will be resumed soon!

  3. Yeah, feel exactly the same - absolutely pissing out straight about the performance this winter of the team & the wankers who ministrated it all. I'm not even surprised to lose today, more depressed by the predictability of it. Also reasonably safe to assume they'll follow it up by appointing a yes-man coach, they'll destroy the careers of more young players, and keep doing it until every seat at every game is empty. There's an old Cornish saying which might be too nuanced to translate for some, but as my dear old grandad would say: "the whole lot of them want bullfucking with a hay knife"

  4. Thanks for this. Pretty much hits the spot. As you say it starts with the ECB, and throwing their lot in with India (and Srinivasan) is symptomatic of the arrogance of that institution under Giles Clarke (the same man who dragged the ECB into the Stanford debacle is still in charge!). It then goes through the coaching staff, the (weak) captain and many of the players. Few specifics:

    Don't entirely agree with the Bresnan hate. He shouldn't have got back in the team following his injury, but injury is hardly his fault.
    Dernbach needs to go: the only chart he's topped is most expensive bowler. I realise that death bowling is difficult, but Dernbach has to realise that international batsmen can read his variations. AB De Villiers (one of the best batsmen around) tore him apart.
    Cook is a fine batsman, but not a captain.
    Prior's days as a wicketkeeper batsman look numbered. Buttler is not a test keeper (he's not really a keeper at all).
    Who knows why KP was chucked out? A lot of the younger players say he was the first to help them. Is there a clique (including Anderson - on his last legs - Swann - retired - Bresnan and Broad) who are powerful and against him? If so, what is being done to break up that clique? Giles Clarke tells us to move on. Tell you what Giles: we'll move on when you and your cronies get a winning England team playing exciting attacking cricket. Not impossible: look at Australia.
    Why do the players appear to regard representing their country (in some cases I accept this is loose) as a chore? "the pressure, the pressure". See Keith Miller for advice on that one.
    Is there any prospect of a test quality spinner in the near future? Borthwick isn't (currently) it.
    Lastly (and you touched on this), can we please have some honesty in the media? Enough "taking the positives" drivel ("positives" should be a banned substance!). There might have been some (small) ones from the T20WC before today. There aren't now.

    Sorry about the rant.

    1. On Dernbach, Cricinfo currently has a list of "economy rates for quicks" (all time). 60 bowlers listed. Our Jade comes in at no 60 (along with Big Jake Oram, who could at least bat). Case closed: he must go.

  5. Firstly Jimmers, may I say that your grandfather would have made an excellent man for the role and no more motivation would be needed, should he produce his hay knife!
    Jamesdar, don't worry about ranting - this is the forum to do it. Some excellent points made and Keith Miller's Messerschmitt quote is proper pressure.
    Thanks both of you for your comments.

    1. Michael Carberry in an interview today says KP was the first to try and help him. Thanks for the comments. I should have included Prior in my "clique". Michael Vaughan makes some good points in the Telegraph today. Essentially he says some of the England team think they're better than they actually are. The media is complicit in this too. 2-3 years ago (before the SA series, when England briefly got to no 1 in the rankings, they were being compared to the great West Indian and Australian sides. At best, ridiculously premature.
      It's also fair to point out that, when an organisation is divided, it's usually a sign of weak leadership (presumably Cook and Flower). I suspect that some of the problems (such as KP) result from the "clear the air" meeting in (?) Adelaide. You can't have a "speak your mind freely" meeting, then fire the guy who does so, because he tells inconvenient truths (or you will never be able to have another one).
      To me it's very telling that, as soon as the structure was tested it fell apart (like Saddam's Iraq). Suggests there's something fundamentally rotten in that structure.

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  7. We should ramp up support for KP when it comes round to the home series' against Sri Lanka India. Banners, songs, chants, protests, rallys; Anything. The ECB do not have our best interests at heart, and they need to know about it. I'll be going to the India series, but fuck knows why. Kevin Pietersen and the class of '05 got me into cricket, and now the ECB are doing their best to ruin it. Kids will disengage, you just watch

  8. Kp = scapegoat simple as that.

  9. Great article, but Piers Morgan is still a c&*t...........

  10. One last point (for now, anyway). If Ashley Giles is the answer, someone just asked a f***ing stupid question.

  11. OK, one more. Giles and Broad put the performance yesterday down to "complacency". As Aggers points out, given their record this winter, England have very little to be complacent about.

  12. Really good article, some very good points made. I wouldn't say there is hatred for the likes of Dernbach and Bresnan, I'd say it's more pity which is possibly worse(see my many tweets about free hugs for more details). I'd also say that the players are proud to represent England and from personal experience with a certain gentleman who shall remain nameless I can tell you it means everything but they are so ground down by management and being told what to say to the media that the public can't see this.
    My brother is 16 and an up and coming pace bowler, I want to know that should he make it for England that I'll be able to go to the Christmas party and that these morons won't be looking after his mental and professional well being. At this rate we will be getting him an Italian passport (shit connections) and he will represent Italy because at least we know he will be managed properly and not looked down on because he's not a member of the toff brigade.

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