Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Neil Harvey standing in the slips with his legs apart, waiting for a tickle

I have been requested by a dear friend, devoted reader and quasi-relation to share my views on the selection of the England cricket team to tour Australia this winter.

I could just say "Ashley Giles" and leave it at that, but that would not be fair to all of those of you waiting eagerly to be better informed.

A team has been selected with only one reserve batsman (assuming that the captain bats at number six) and a handful of bowlers who are all either out of form, unfit or not quite up to standard.

Giles is clearly so far below standard that he hardly merits discussion. It would be kind to say thank you and goodbye. You were an almost adequate stop gap until a genuine attacking spinner could be found. I hope that Panesar continues to develop and learn, although he will have to play extraordinarily well to make a real difference in Australia. I would have chosen Dalrymple as the second spinner, if one is needed. He is a better bat than Giles, and looks to be a better bowler, at least he is unafraid to experiment and they certainly don't need two left arm spinners.

Anderson is clearly not fit. Flintoff may be fit. Harmison and Hoggard are well below their best. Mahmood and Plunkett are (and they may improve), at the moment, reminders of the nameless and mediocre bowlers who were back up in the bad old days of Caddick and Gough. Not that there is much alternative. It is right to send Broad to Perth for the winter. I know that Lewis is not suited to Australian conditions, but I think he might be more reliable than Mahmood. It is a great pity that Simon Jones remains injured.

Nothing very original there, alas.

I doubt whether the bowling attack will be strong enough to win the series. If I am wrong, I will echo the sentiments of the sainted Michael Holding who expressed the view this evening that if England were to steamroller Australia, he would not cry for the Australians.

On the other hand I have never seen an England team with so many batsman who are so good to watch. Not even in the days of Cowdrey, Graveney and Dexter.

I realise that this post is entirely devoid of the normal levels of filth and humour, but at least I can guarantee that this is one thread that will not be taken over by the smutty comments of that dirty old man, Tom.

Let's finish with a story told by Fred Trueman about his time in Australia. In the days when there were more first class and exhibition matches than in current times. The team had a fixture against a country eleven, whose big star was the opening batsman. As was customary, the umpires were local. The first ball from Fred to their star player took the outside edge and was cleanly taken by the wicket keeper. Not out said the umpire. The second ball was plumb lbw. Not out said the umpire. The third ball removed the middle and leg stump. "I bloody nearly got him that time, didn't I?" said Fred.


Pamela Troeppl said...


I'm sorry, did you say something?

Richard said...

Yes and it destroyed the 600 word comment that I was in the process of posting. I will now have write an even longer one in protest.

Dave said...

How nice to find a genuinely interesting (and clean) post on someone else's blog. You are to be commended.

I suspect few of us will feel a need to apologise to our cousins from across the water if they fail to understand - after all, it was their decision to declare independence, and thus lose our vital cultural input.

raincoaster said...

I changed all the nouns to medical terms and ran it through Gizoogle. Much more fun that way.

Sharon J said...

Could you wake me up when you're finished, please?

Richard said...

It appears I am unable to post a comment beyond a particular length. How annoying.

Vicus Scurra said...

The comments went very peculiar when they introduced this beta blogger thingy.
You can email me the comment and I will post it.
Ladies, the next article will be about sewing or washing up or something.

Dave said...

There are some ladies who read this blog?

raincoaster said...

Not that I know of.


Tedious, ungrammizzle unorizzle n tasteless C-R-to-tha-izzap from someone old enough ta kniznow playa n obviously in need of niggaz ta advise him how ta pimp spend his time.

Muuuuuuch better!

Richard said...

If I email it to you, you will solemnly promise on a copy of this years' Wisden to not alter it in any way shape or form. It is largely supportive but as this thread was only destined to be read with any form of interest by two people it's annoying to not be able to at least converse.

Vicus Scurra said...

Yes yes yes

Anonymous said...

Richard's comment:

I'll précis my original entry:

Agree with nearly all you say. Can't understand Giles going when he's not had a bowl all year especially when there's what looks to be a genuinely good stock spinner in Pietersen, capable of taking wickets. Panesar looks to be able to take wickets when the conditions don't suit - 25 years and they've almost found another Deadly. With him alongside a proper fast bowling all-rounder in AF and there's the genesis of another great team.

An almost embarrassment of riches when it comes to quality batsmen but I think Rob Key from the Academy squad ought to be ready to drop in for Trescothick if his "mystery illness" takes hold (another Thorpe?). Key's had a rotten end to the season after a great start but he deserves another crack. Being best mates with the skipper might help his form, too. I don't think he's too popular with the Australians either which might fire him up even more. I honestly think Ramprakash ought to have been given a swansong tour. He's had a terrific season and has matured no end.

I'm glad they took Jones as cover for Read. He thrives better when Flintoff's in the side. Worryingly reliant on Mahmood as the other quick if Flintoff's not healthy. I don't think he's dangerous enough to counter his waywardness, unlike Harmison. If they work him out quickly it could be a bad tour for him. I think Harmison will be OK but Hoggard might suffer in the conditions. I do hope Jones recovers well, he's a very popular player with the crowd and that's good for an extra few yards pace.

I laugh when they say players get too much cricket. If they did why aren't there more test players with 25000 career runs and 1000 wickets? They're not getting enough of the right kind. Let the second IIs play the 20/20s and ODIs and allow centrally contracted players to play for their counties between tests. Get the crowds back to the counties, too. It was being able to see half the England and West Indies sides playing for Kent in the early 70s that got me interested in the first place.

That's solved that then and forget the bit about it being a précis.

Richard said...


ziggi said...

Oh great, I was happy in my ignorance :(
You shoulda nobbled that Shane whilst he was your neighbour!

Richard said...

Sharon will be starting her knitting blog again soon, now the sun's gone.We promise we won't butt in.

tom909 said...

Sorry Vicus, you've lost me here.What's this got to do with sex?

Vicus Scurra said...

Nothing, Tom, just like you.

tom909 said...

You're talking on a cosmic level here, right Vicus.

realdoc said...

This sounds like Mr. Realdoc's idea of romantic pillow talk. Wake me up when it's over.

ziggi said...

I'm worried that Freddie will be so busy thinking about the captaincy that he will not adequately be able to get completely ratarsed like a proper Englishman.

Carmenzta said...

Fascinating topiczzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Pamela Troeppl said...

I woke up for this?

Vicus Scurra said...

Pamela, you woke up to spread your beauty across the planet. Any man claiming anything different will receive short shrift from me.

Note that I am filling in for that awful eejit, Tom, who seems to be distracted by ovine oral sex.

tom909 said...

Nice try Vicus. Just a tad more sincerity and Pammy will be putty in your hands.
By the way I do like cricket but my rather limited knowledge leaves me feeling completely inadequate to comment here. I'm just to the left of Pammy and Carmy on this one.

Steven_L said...

I disagree with your pessimistic outlook Vicus.

Giles and Panesar could play together on turning pitches (i.e. the ones they prepare with 2 leggies in mind)

The aussies bowling attack looks even more frail to me - they have to decide whether to risk Shane Watson as an allrounder and play a 5 man attack or play 4 men.

4 men would mean McGrath (who hasn't played much and is over 35) Lee (their best paceman now) and one other from Bracken (worse than plunkett/mahmood etc), Gillespie (over the hill) Clark (over 30 again) and Johnson (promising but unexposed at test level).

So it is conceivable they will play 2 leggies at some stage.

One injury to either Warne, McGrath or Lee and they are well and truly screwed.

Oh and Harmison at Perth will be pretty much unplayable if his radars on.

Have a bit more confidence, take william hills 4/1 on an england series win and I'll see you down the casino on November 23rd for an all night session!

Anonymous said...

I am sad to say that the Australians have decided not to field trained cricketers this year, but cannibals desperate for a feed.

The lack of cricketing ability gives the English some hope, but fear of the consequences of failure may undercut this advantage to a dreadful extent.

Vicus should come over. Disguised as a giant carrot, he would be safe enough.

- barista

Vicus Scurra said...

Barista, mate, I never go anywhere without my carrot disguise. I can't stand the attention that my high profile internet presence attracts.