A little bit about me and my little blog

This is by far not the first cricket blog to be written and it certainly won't be the last (or necessarily the best). But it's mine.

This is mainly an excuse for me to carry on about a sport that has been something of an obsession since I was knee high to a middle stump. An obsession which has never left throughout the many highs (behave, there have been some) and lows (and boy have there been many of those…..) of being and England cricket fan in the years since.

The views and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Sometimes light-hearted, occasionally irreverent, hopefully never offensive.

What gives this fool the right to have an opinion on this great sport? Where are his credentials I hear you ask? Well I think my catch at mid-on in the inter-house final at Heath Grammar school in 1981 speaks for itself…..

Monday, 21 July 2014

England v India: The 2nd Test - Disaster at Lords

Hmm, I left my batting form around here somewhere.....
It may well be a mistake to write a blog piece just a few minutes of witnessing the most lamentable and shambolic hour of Cricket, in England by an England team, since probably the dark days of the 1990's. But I'll have a go.

Don't get me wrong, overall India were the far better team and fully deserved their first away Test match win for 16 matches and their first actual victory at Lords since 1986. They bowled well, batted even better and showed patience and guile after losing a very important toss. They deserve the win, simple as that.

I would also loved to have been a fly on their dressing room wall after the final morning session which had seen Root & Ali put on a century partnership to make victory just 146 runs away. Even when Ali was bounced out (again) by the final ball before lunch England still had 5 good, solid wickets intact and were arguably in the box seat. All we had to do was be sensible........

I'm pretty sure that the conversation in the Indian dressing room went something like this;

Seven Wickets for Ishant Sharma - Thats's
Capt Dhoni: Right lads, I've got a fab plan. We're going to use some tactics that the English won't expect, in fact, they literally won't see it coming.

Random Indian player: We're going to use spin, right?

Capt Dhoni:  Nope - not with the Burnley Lara coming in at number 11 with his reverse sweep malarkey. I've got something else in mind.

Random Indian player: Ooh ooh ooh I know, we're going to bowl a nice tidy length outside off stump and let them just prod it about until the new ball. Then use spin.

Capt Dhoni:  No we're not going to bloody well use spin!! We're going to set a trap for them with my plan.

Random Indian player: Oh fab! - Is it a cunning plan?

Capt Dhoni: No, its going to be bloody-well obvious-in-your-face plan. The thing is though, the English batsmen are a bit thick so they'll fall for it no bother.

(Sniggers, giggles and whispers abound the dressing room from the Indian players, the noise is mostly incoherent except for the odd intelligible word such as 'Pryor, Broad and Peter Moores')

Idiot number 9 - come on in, your time is up
Random Indian player: C'mon boss - tell us the plan.

Capt Dhoni: We're going to bounce them out. We'll set out fields with men out in obvious catching positions and the England lot will fall for it. After all, I saw that Johnson chappie make them cry in the Ashes and now everybody knows that the England boys don't like it up em.

(Suddenly the room goes absolutely silent to the point where you could hear a pin drop. Ishant Sharma particularly looks uncomfortable)

Random Indian player: Funny one boss, but you've forgotten a couple of things. We're playing in England, they know the playing conditions and we don't have a brilliant fast bowler like the offence Ishant, mate. We know that the England players a bit thick, but not that much.

(Sharma sadly nods his head in agreement)

Capt Dhoni:  No, I'm deadly serious. Ishant is going to bowl fast and maybe even get the odd one on target (more giggles erupt). The English will think that they have to get all the 146 runs to win in the few overs that they have before the new ball is taken. They'll think that once the new ball is taken Ishant will really go to town on them.....especially if he gets the odd one out of six on target. (Again more giggles, Sharma sadly nods his head in agreement).
The pathetic end to a pathetic performance 
Random Indian player: But won't they realise that Ishant will be a bit knackered by the time the new ball comes and actually all they have to do is just be sensible and be just play intelligently?

(At this remark the whole dressing room erupts in laughter........amidst the noise, only garbled hysterical words such as ......" Employing Moores again as coach", "Cook is still the captain" and "they got rid of KP', can be understood)

The rest is history.

Losing is bad enough, but losing when good situations before and during the match have been squandered, reducing the Indians at one point to 145 for 7 on a lush green day one pitch, is simply not good enough. The final morning's magnificent work by Root and Ali should have provided the foundation for a patient, intelligent attack in the afternoon - not a Hail Mary charge up the beaches at Normandy.

I have been a long time supporter of Alistair Cook as captain - but questions will now be asked more than ever about not only whether he is fit to lead but whether his batting is fundamentally, possibly terminally, damaged as a consequence. An average of 14.33 in the  last five Tests and captaining his side in what is now 10 winless matches tells its own story. Previous England Captains have been sacked for less.

I apologise to my Indian friends if it doesn't appear that I've given their side enough credit for the win. Maybe I should have waited until tomorrow, or better still, another 10 years before writing this.