How to Save English Cricket

From utter humiliation. Sort of.

I first became obsessed with cricket in 1991, and have spent most winter months since then getting up stupidly early to lie in the dark listening to Test Match Special broadcast across the crackling airwaves. I love it.

So I was particularly excited about coming to Bangladesh and being able to actually watch an England winter series, live, without having to get up at 3am. Except that we turned up in Australia and played the worst, most uninspired, gutless, directionless and cowardly cricket I can remember.

So it’s been a massive disappointment. I watched the first day of the MCG Test and haven’t bothered with the end, it’s like watching a dog die slowly.

I should point out that I have a huge amount of respect for the Australian players, and think that Shane Warne in probably the best bowler in the history of the game, and possibly one of the best players full stop. But I hate them. I really, really hate the Aussies, and their joyless gloating at beating us. The fact that we deserve it makes it worse.

So last night I came up with an incredibly cunning plan to wipe the smile of that weasly little bastard Ponting’s face.

We’re going to lose 5-0. It’s a certainty, because we’re rubbish.

Sooooo:

1. Everyone who cares donates a few quid in to some kind of online money-box that some techie person who reads this invites quickly.

2. Once there’s about 500 grand in there, offer it to whoever’s umpiring the fifth Test, on condition that they falsely accuse England of ball tampering. It will end the Umpire’s career, but Daryl Hair tried to do it for 500 grand, so it should be ok.

3. Flintoff, indigant, refuses to lead England out to play. We forfeit the Test, but the series will forever go down in the history books with an asterisk saying that it wasn’t a complete 5-0 demolition. Hopefully it would put a dampener on the Australian celebrations and means that we can leave with the moral upper hand. Accused of cheating. Fancy that! We would certainly have won the Test otherwise…

I admit there are a few tiny flaws in what is otherwise a supremely cunning plan. But let’s face it, it’s our only hope. Playing competitive cricket is never going to happen. If anyone  can suggest  improvements,  comment away…

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2 Responses to “How to Save English Cricket”


  1. 1 Pete in Nigeria January 6, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    You say “I first became obsessed with cricket in 1991”.

    I was a slow learner by comparison – my first vivid memory is the ’96 series against India. Alan Mulally was just starting out his brilliant 400 wicket Test career.

    You say: “I was particularly excited about…being able to actually watch an England winter series, live, without having to get up at 3am.”

    Yes, those late nights are a fuck-up. But one of my best ever cricket memories is the Boxing day test in 2004 – against India. High-scoring draw, with Steve Waugh having to bat to save the game in his last ever test match. Sehwag twatted MacGill everywhere, and Tendulkar ended a long run-drought with a 150-odd, carefully complied, utterly without flaw or risk. Watched it with my mates pissed on our Christmas booze.

    You say. “it’s been a massive disappointment”

    Yes, yes it has. Sigh.

    I think the biggest thing we need to do is give the pace attack a facelift. Tall pace bowlers are the key commodity. We need two out of Broad, Tremlett, Mahmood and Plunkett to upgrade themselves from ‘promising’ to ‘actually good’. They are all supposed be able to bat as well.

    Having said that, I wonder if the best thing in the meantime for us to copy the Aussies. There best bowler was Stuart Clark, who made his debut late in his career. Maybe there is room for an experienced county line-and-length merchant like Jon Lewis. Modern batsmen, the theory goes, don’t have the patience against accurate bowling.

    Mind you, Lewis can’t bat, which is another problem. But even if he’s too similar to Hoggard to play in the same team, I’d have preferred him to play at Sydney – Mahmood is so unreliable you may as well bowl Pietersen and pick and extra batter.

    But then what’s going on with the rest of the squad? By picking Joyce and Plunkett, we’re ‘building for the future’ by including people who would never risk in an Ashes Test. I’d would have taken Key or Shah and Lewis instead. Send the kids to grade clubs when they can actually play cricket.

    Take care mate – Pete

  2. 2 sowula January 7, 2007 at 3:43 am

    Hi mate,

    I don’t follow English domestic cricket anymore, so aren’t as up as I used to be on the next generation.

    Personally, I think the biggest reason why we’re crap and Australia aren’t is mental. We’ve said that we planned for about two years for 2005, whereas the bartenders have admitted that they were still hungover from India 2004.

    This time around we were a shambles, lost three of our best and more experienced players, and some back-room staff, and we picked Ashley Giles. No contest.

    I don’t think there’s too much point trying to compare us to the Australian team because the Aussies with McGrath and Warne are unique; no-one’s ever had those players together, and probably never will. Gilchrist has been revolutionary as well.

    If we could get two more good fast bowlers (keep the Hog), or alternatively tell Harmison to concentrate, then we’d be at least competative. Ultimately, that’s all I ask for, that we compete.

    We competed every ball in 2005, got a bit of luck at the right times, and pinched the Ashes. We barely made any effort whatsoever this time and look what happened. Embarassing.


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