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, 20 July 2015

Ashes 2015: 2nd Test defeat & 'Operation Mitchell' is going to plan for the Aussies.

I knew a guy called David Spencer when I was at school. He wasn't a big kid, in fact he was what we used to refer to as being 'weedy', in other words he was a small skinny specimen. David also had two other notable features about him; he had a bit of a big mouth and never knew when to keep it shut, and also he had delusions of grandeur when it came to fighting kids older and much bigger than him. In other words, he often got the crap kicked out of him - before, during and after school. He still came back for more each time, all the while shooting his mouth off. We didn't call him 'bat shit crazy Davy' for nothing. I liked him a lot.

I distinctly remember him saying before one summer holiday that during that particular break he was enrolling in a Karate class in order to, in his words, give him some 'arse-kicking skills for those hits' on his return to school. Now I had a soft spot of bat shit crazy Davy, I think I identified with his obsessive side because boy did he throw himself into the Karate thing, Not only did he get his dad to enrol him in Karate, he also managed to get him to pay for a Judo class AND a kickboxing course. "I'm gong to show those bastards that they can't pick on me any more, Stuey mate" he said one day. And do you know what, I believed him, because he not only looked the part but his instructors regularly heaped praise upon him. So much so that one day when I called upon him one sunny afternoon to play a game of cricket in the garden, his dad couldn't wait to show me bat shit crazy Davy's certificates on the progress that he was making. 

Davy had always been confident, delusionally so in fact, but now he had something to back it up. He was starting to develop some muscle too (I was very jealous). My only fear, after watching him take apart somebody in one of his kickboxing matches, was that he wouldn't get into too much trouble at school when he began 'looking after himself'. I needn't have worried, because the day we returned to school he immediately sought out the group of neanderthals who had more often than not given him the most grief, and immediately set upon them.

It was amazing to see. Within the first minute there were two of them lying on the floor in rapturous pain and clutching what possibly remained of their nether regions. Boy, I can still remember him turning to me with a victorious 'I told you so' grin on his face. I can see bat shit crazy Davey being all, well, bat shit crazy, even when Gary Short (who wasn't actually short, but instead about 10ft tall and just as wide) came up to him with a look of murderous thunder. Davy just looked at man mountain Gary and gave him a selection of his favourite expletive-ridden insults while showing all and sundry some of his newly acquired Karate kickboxing judo moves. 

Davy got the living crap kicked out of him...... He spent the next few weeks off school nursing the broken arm and ribs he sustained at the hands of Gary and his cronies. He gave up the kickboxing, Judo and Karate. He didn't however keep his mouth shut and so still occasionally got a beating throughout the rest of his schooldays.
After watching the 2nd Test match defeat at Lords I think I now know how Davy felt. We were all feeling so swimmingly optimistic after the victory in the 1st Test with our young skillful hungry team. The Aussies were going to continue to get a tonking throughout the rest of the series......

.......and look at us now, on the receiving end of a 405 run defeat. Yes, that's what I said, Four hundred and bloody five runs. We were outplayed, out thought and outfought while displaying an unenviable level of meek capitulation particularly in the 4th innings where not one England batsman went past 17 runs. I've seen some quite calamitous England batting collapses over the years, in fact we have happily turned the act into something of an art form, however there were new heights of ineptness in that final innings where we were practically Van Goghesque. Yes Ben Stokes, I'm talking to you.

When I was sixteen and playing in the final of our inter house school cricket competition (yes, it was a posh school, so sue me) I was slapped around the ear after the match by our coach. My crime had been to run for an easy single and simply canter to the other end of the pitch with a nonchalant (yes arrogant) jog without grounding my bat. I wasn't run out, but I still got a clip around the ear for being sloppy in my running. In fact it was four clips, each rhythmically applied to the words "Ground your bloody bat!" I shudder to think what my coach's reaction would have been when seeing Stokes jogging through for a very comfortable single, only to see Mitchell Johnson shatter his stumps with a direct hit. No matter that he was nearly a metre inside the line, Stokes had seemingly decided that grounding the bat was for la la nancy boys. The brainless fool, batsmen was in fact in mid-stride when the ball hit. Numpty. Actually, thinking about it, I'm pretty sure that my coach would have taken him aside and smashed his face in.
The Aussies were brutal and remorseless in their approach, as we knew they would be, and so nothing should take away from the level of their play. As much as it pains me to say so, they were twice as better than us in EVERY department - they never looked like losing a wicket during both their innings while we never looked like being able to keep ours. Their bowlers were outstanding, their batsmen even better.

However, I do feel that some complaint needs to be made to the ICC or other relevant cricketing governing body regarding one sneaky tactic of the Australians. I don't know If I'm the only one to notice, but they are definitely up to something and I'm onto them. The practice of filling their national team with 'Mitchells' I feel really needs to be investigated. Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and now, Mitchell Marsh. Now I'm not yet quite sure just what the Aussies are playing at here but it seems that not only do they have a conveyor belt of talent coming through their ranks, they are all seemingly called Mitchell. It's very fishy and something needs to be done, though I'm not quite sure what.

I don't like losing, especially to the Aussies, but when that loss is as spineless and at times bewildering as it was yesterday, then I'm afraid I now have my angry face on. Yes, things are that bad.

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