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Wednesday, October 26, 2011


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Ian Pyne

Yes, I'm broadly in agreement with these scores, but Finn was surely worth 7/10. Craig K is not good enough to be England's keeper and his batting doen't save him: Steve Davies is better. Moreover, CK has got the Somerset choking malaise. England's humiliation was magnified by the boorish behaviour displayed on various occasions by Swann, Finn, Dernbach and Bell (to name but four)and for this Cook on the field and Flower off it must take some responsibility. A man's character is accurately judged by how he accepts defeat (compare Dravid and the great Sri Lankans, Kumar S and Maleha J, with the mob above). There was a time when the ambassadorial qualities of a player were given consideration in selection and although that may have been taking things a step too far, there is no doubt that there is the necessity to send many England cricketers on a course in good manners. They are not footballers and need to know that cricket fans have a right to expect better.

The Reverse Sweep

Ian, you are probably right about Finn deserving a seven. Kieswetter is an interesting case: he has the highest strike rate of any England batsman ever in one-day cricket (qual of min 20 innings), and he got his runs in this series at over a run a ball. On the down side, his keeping was atrocious at Mohali and probably cost England the game. The case of Davies is a strange one as he hasn't been picked since being jettisoned for Prior just before the WC and coming out as gay. Davies too is hardly any great shakes behind the stumps and neither is Bairstow - personally I'd have given James Foster more of an opportunity, but I guess that his time has come and gone.


On the behavioural front, some of England's antics in this series was disappointing although mild compared to the footballers and rugby players that represent our noble country. Learning how to lose is an important part of life - we don't expect them to enjoy it, but at least be gracious about it.

Ian Pyne

I feel that there should be half-emptied pint pots on the table between us! Thank you for your detailed and thought-provoking answer. I actually agree re: James Foster, but, like you, I believe that his time has gone (and actually he disappeared off the selectors' radar long before he should have!). Why he has been ignored has always been a mystery to me. I know he is competitive to the point of abrasiveness, but provided he knows how to behave, why shouldn't he play for England again? He's only 31, for heaven's sake! Perhaps you could use your contacts to dig out this well buried 'reason'! Speaking as one who is only an outsider, albeit a close observer and well read on cricket, it seems to me that there is something against him in the England camp.. Gooch is Essex; Flower was Essex by adoption.. I don't know; it is one of cricket's small dark mysteries. Incidentally, I do believe that Gooch is not the best batting coach to have prepared the Eng. ODI side for India. His method was/is all front-foot press, strong arms and playing in the V. Sound generally, it has severe limitations when playing spin on dusty tracks. Graham Thorpe knew how to play late, off the back foot, nurdling the ball into and through gaps, etc. Only Morgan of England's current crop has the right technique (and that is why he - and he alone of Eng players - is sought after in IPL bidding, btw). Stephen Davies' coming out raises more issues. Want my take? It's to do with religious susceptibilities. As soon as he came out, I wondered if he had cooked his goose. Just for a moment suppose he was selected for matches v Pakistan and, Inchallah, the matches could be played in Pakistan... D'Oliviera all over again, with Islam playing the part of apartheid! It's all wrong, but it seems there is a shortage of moral fibre in the ECB, but what do I know? What's yours? Bitter? Right!


strewth, I really hope Stephen Davies' coming out has played any part in his non-selection. It hadn't occurred to me until now -- let's face it, our selection of 'keepers has been a touch arbitrary at the best of times (not knocking the selectors too hard, though -- one reason has been a glut of realistic options, and so there were always going to be people with decent claims on the sidelines). I think Kieswetter has to be under major pressure now, but I don't know who we ought to turn to next, to be honest. Neither Bairstow nor Buttler would represent a step forward with the gloves at this time (perhaps in the future, but not now).

(I'd've given Finny 7 too, btw)


oops -- that should, of course, read "hasn't played any part".... sorry

The Reverse Sweep

Wilo, I'm sure that Davies' coming out has nothing to do with his absence from the squad, but his sudden jettisoning does seem strange.

Personally, I think they should stick with Kieswetter - he did well enough in the summer and like pretty much everyone else struggled a bit in India.

He needs to improve behind the stumps, but it wasn't that long ago that people were saying the same thing about Prior.

The Reverse Sweep

Yes Ian, Foster's handling by the selectors has been pretty poor - he was given his opportunity too early in his career and has been pretty much ignored since despie - along with Read - being the best gloveman in the country for the best part of a decade.

As I replied to Wilo, I don't think Davies' exclusion is down to his coming out - Miller and Flower don't strike me as the bigoted type. There must be some other explanation - unless of course, having seen him at close quarters Flower just decided that Kieswetter was the better bet.

Ian Pyne

Thanks. It may not be Miller & Flower who were responsible for jettisoning Davies, but some of the faceless ones who are hypersensitive about upsetting some of the other national boards, esp. in the subcontinent. I think his coming out is a can of worms that no one cares or dares to open. The only public reason proffered for his departure is that he wasn't assertive/extrovert enough in keeping the fielders on their toes, yet he was new to the job, so that was harsh indeed. Vaughan did for Read ('Time to Declare' page 168) for Read not keeping his captain informed about what the ball was (or was not) doing in Jamaica one afternoon! Vaughan always had clear favourites and those he had no time for. Let no one let him into the diplomatic corps!

Lloyd Townsend

I couldn't manage to catch any of the games down here in Australia seeing as they were on so late, but what was the problem with Bell, Swann, Dernbach, Finn etc.?

The Reverse Sweep

Finn actually performed well Lloyd, but he was but a beacon in a sea of darkness. Bell was dropped, Swann had a really poor series and Dernbach found bowling on Indian pitches far more difficult than he had English ones just a few weeks earlier

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