Shut your eyes and think of England.

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Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Thu May 08, 2014 7:34 pm

If Paul Downton was in charge of the seven dwarfs, would he sack them for whistling while they work?

Not my joke, so it's ok that I laughed. Just the sort of comment that clusters around the media activity of the ECB since the re-whitewashing of the England side last winter. Every announcement seems to bring some new PR calamity, usually centred on Paul Downton. I've been so pissed off since Andy Flower got himself demoted to a more aloof position at HQ, with a fancier title, and since Downton found himself analysing the calamity of the winter and deciding that he really had only one decision to make. Sack Kevin Pietersen. Dropping is too good for him. As I was going to say, I've been too pissed off, to bother commenting. Plus I've been busy in the garden.

The press has played its part, like parents testily berating children who won't allow the treat of the odd victory, like a stick of candy from the jar, divert us from playing up to the patronising didacts at the ECB. We must pipe down, we are outside cricket.

Which has actually provoked little response on this board. That surprises me. And not just because we have been distanced from the national team by the ECB which sees itself as patricians of the national summer game, not the custodians (surprising, as every job is given to a wicket keeper). We've said little about Giles' (and Moores') management speak. Of Clarke's view that the workings of the ECB are of no interest to supporters. The undertaking of the press to only print the good news. The dodgy dossier. I can't remember a lot of this stuff. Just a general awareness of having been (as a long follower of our team) defecated upon. Time has passed sufficiently for many events to now appear an indistinct sludge of obfuscation and diversion. Words float by in the effluence, like 'disengaged' and 'stakeholder'.

And yet, the ECB is giving us incredible material. Downton seems like comedy gold, a man who only has to shuffle his papers to make everything worse. Like when he saw every ball at Sydney and felt that the only problem he had to confront was that KP appeared detached... That was after Sydney! And then seemed to tell his captain that he wasn't strong enough to deal with difficult players. Or when the ECB thought it was a good idea to make it look like it was Cook (who after Sydney was in no position to divert blame) who was the tough captain that told Gooch he had to go.

This could be an era reminiscent of the time of Lord Ted, when Malcolm Devon was in the side and Mars being in conjunction with Uranus was an explanation for defeat. It would be remiss not to offer some acknowledgement.
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby D/L » Fri May 09, 2014 11:28 am

Some strange and rather impenetrable analogies there.

Perhaps the grief felt by some over Pietersen's sacking leads them to criticise everything to do with the new setup.

The Pietersen era is over, and not before time. Something radical was needed to excise the poison and set English cricket back on the right track. We should at least give the new regime time to turn things around.
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby sussexpob » Fri May 09, 2014 1:47 pm

Something radical was needed to excise the poison and set English cricket back on the right track


Completely agree. Something radical was needed to move forward, but instead we have:

The same captain who failed in Australia and has shown he cant manage the dressing room, or provide anything on the field....

The reappointment of a coach who previously was sacked after a year in the job....

The promotion of the head of a selection panel that never picked one decent youngster in his time to Managing Director of the team....

The promotion of the head coach who overseen this calamitous period.... he will now oversee the coaches performance, while being responsible for youth development.... despite the fact he didn't in years produce any youth players.

The promotion of the selector to chairman of selectors.

As far as I am aware then, the radical changes have been to sack the batting coach and not appoint one, and the movement of Angus Fraser into a selection position.... Whoopie for change!
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby sussexpob » Fri May 09, 2014 1:50 pm

On the general point, yes its pretty amazing what has gone on with the setup.

The ECB have treated the game and fans with a contempt that is hard to stomach, and I have no doubt the winter will have an overall effect on the popularity of the sport going forward for a short term.

Sports administrators seem to think they own sports nowadays and treat fans like cows the can milk
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby braveneutral » Fri May 09, 2014 2:11 pm

Mick Newell in and Ashley Giles out as well.

One thing that perturbs me is the rising trend of media articles supporting the selection of someone or statements by players backing their own causes. This is nothing new and has been around for nigh on forever but I have seen two for keepers this week both of whom are arguably not the first or second choice. One of them was like reading a breaking news report on a global crisis with bullet points used to describe 'how he was the answer in the post KP era - how he would put bums on seats' and so on and so forth. I actually logged on to this site straight away assuming many would have seen the article and a thread would be in full swing. There wasn't one and perhaps I was slightly surprised but maybe I over read the article.
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I suppose.

At times.

Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby D/L » Fri May 09, 2014 2:45 pm

sussexpob wrote:
Something radical was needed to excise the poison and set English cricket back on the right track


Completely agree. Something radical was needed to move forward, but instead we have:

The same captain who failed in Australia and has shown he cant manage the dressing room, or provide anything on the field....

Who could have managed a dressing room containing Pietersen? God knows, they tried, even when they shouldn't have, with the "reintegration" fiasco.

We won't really know whether Cook can "manage the dressing room" until he's given a reasonable dressing room to manage. His off field captaincy duties so far have had to be carried out in Pietersen's corrosive presence. Cook's contributions on the field, certainly his batting (captaincy is neither here nor there) have been pretty good on the whole.

It is time to see how the new team performs and put the acrimony that arose through the Pietersen years behind us.
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby sussexpob » Fri May 09, 2014 2:54 pm

We won't really know whether Cook can "manage the dressing room" until he's given a reasonable dressing room to manage.


So he couldn't manage the dressing room, but until he has a dressing room tailor made with people he bonds with, we cant judge him as a leader?

His off field captaincy duties so far have had to be carried out in Pietersen's corrosive presence


A fact that only people with an interest in self preservation seem to have floated as an argument... and without KP's "corrosive" presence, Cook wouldn't have won in India, pretty much his only noticeable achievement as leader of the team.
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby DeltaAlpha » Fri May 09, 2014 4:26 pm

I don't know where D/L gets the idea that KP has a corrosive effect on the dressing room. I once read somewhere, relating to his time at Notts. that he actually had a great unifying effect on their dressing room: they all hated him...
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Fri May 09, 2014 8:41 pm

Downton's comment about KP being 'disengaged' has already been challenged by Stuart Broad, and isn't really the smoking gun that the ECB suggested they had. That Cook and chosen journos had promised us. They've all gone quiet on the dossier too. The misdemeanour we know about from the dossier is the whistling in the dressing room...

Another issue is Cook's inarticulacy. Though prepped by the ECB to be on message, he seems to confuse things. I think sometimes he makes no sense at all. What was all that about creating a team that has English values? What are they then, and how are we going to deliver them? I think Cook maybe just misunderstood the ECB's search for a corporate identity.

I think that is part of what they mean by 'ethics and philosophy', that is, a corporate image, rather than what an academic would think of as 'ethics and philosophy'. But I would like it, if the England team continues to play with the churlishness and gamesmanship that they have in recent years , that at least someone in the press would then ask them to square that with the touted ethics.
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby D/L » Sat May 10, 2014 10:03 am

DeltaAlpha wrote:I don't know where D/L gets the idea that KP has a corrosive effect on the dressing room. I once read somewhere, relating to his time at Notts. that he actually had a great unifying effect on their dressing room: they all hated him...

Nice one, DA. I'd add that the fact of the texts trumps all the speculation (who said this about him, who said that about him etc. - see above and other threads) about everything else surrounding Pietersen.

Of course, Pietersen contributed to some of England's success. If he hadn't, his behaviour would have seen him out on his ear years ago.

Time to move on and give the new regime some time without the handicap of Pietersen before making a judgment.
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby DeltaAlpha » Sat May 10, 2014 10:21 am

Quite so, D/L; time to move on. Be nice to watch England without a peacock strutting up and down the pitch, though.
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby D/L » Sat May 10, 2014 10:35 am

DeltaAlpha wrote:Quite so, D/L; time to move on. Be nice to watch England without a peacock strutting up and down the pitch, though.

Indeed, DA, and moving on should include people still grief stricken ceasing to grab at snippets of reported conversations in an attempt to justify their outrage.

With Pietersen gone and no prospect of a return, things may now be said in some sort of spirit of reconciliation. Players may have to deal with Pietersen in a later life - as commentators, for example.
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Sat May 10, 2014 12:08 pm

DeltaAlpha wrote:Quite so, D/L; time to move on. Be nice to watch England without a peacock strutting up and down the pitch, though.


That's a minority view. Do you not think players should be picked on merit?

I don't think it is time to move on. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding KP's sacking. A poor home summer and the press might get interested in this. England need wins desperately. Not just to give credibility to the ECB decisions/statements, but Moores can't really stand a bad start after last time, especially if there's a suggestion of any dressing room unrest. A few people have been sacrificed for Cook's sake, when Cook had a very bad winter himself. There's no one left to blame. Only a very good home summer will prevent things unravelling further.
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Sat May 10, 2014 12:41 pm

DeltaAlpha wrote:Quite so, D/L; time to move on. Be nice to watch England without a peacock strutting up and down the pitch, though.


Some statements from people who feel the ECB have behaved reasonably seem to suggest that a personal dislike of KP is at least partly behind their view. Surely it is right that even those we don't like should be treated fairly?

Downton's justification was hard to accept.

That the only decision he had to make after Sydney was the future of KP. The only one. Not Flower's intensely forensic coaching. Not the crazy squad selection. Not Cook's trauma eyed captaincy. Not a collectively failing batting line up.

That Downton used as his evidence the observation of a single match. He made much of his observing the whole of the Sydney game. As if that was a huge and adequately representative period for the assessment of the problems. A single game at the end of a dismal tour.

That he didn't take into account the view of the incoming coach, just the outgoing coach and Cook and Prior. Their behaviour over the player's meeting has really soured my view of these players.

The blind faith expected by the ECB in their decisions which I suggested in the title of the thread, as well as an element of farce, doesn't just concern KP, though he is the most obvious victim. It's to do with Downton's mission creep and verbal pratfalls. Cook's panicky captaincy (and verbal pratfalls). The reappointment of a coach who has previously failed emphatically. It's to do with the covert influence of Flower, and the absence of analysis of how the team fell apart on his watch. It's the almost complete failure at the level of selection to successfully bring in new players. When we make it all about KP, we do the ECB a favour, because it obscures everything else that has gone wrong...
Last edited by Arthur Crabtree on Sat May 10, 2014 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shut your eyes and think of England.

Postby DeltaAlpha » Sat May 10, 2014 12:47 pm

Arthur Crabtree wrote:That's a minority view. Do you not think players should be picked on merit?

A minority view maybe, but that doesn't make it intrinsically wrong, unsound or even unreasonable.

Players should be picked on the value they add to the team, not solely on merit.
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