Thursday, January 24, 2008

England, England

Did anyone believe Ricky Ponting when he said that Australia hadn't ruled out Shaun Tait? I didn't. He'd have needed a smack if they'd picked Tait over Hoggy.

So the fourth test is due to start in roughly nine minutes. How exciting!

Anyway. I found this at cricinfo. According to the feature, England are now mediocre as they were in the 1990s.

To me this implies that there was a period when they were excellent, presumably in the early 2000s. This would suggest that at some point they were perceived as a serious threat. And yes, I know they won the Ashes in 2005, and I'm not making light of that, but even they would have to admit that it wasn't exactly a convincing series win. (Although maybe I've just grown accustomed to 5-0 being a convincing series win). To a very large degree luck was on their side, as right up to the last innings of the fifth test it could have gone either way.

In my humblest of opinions, England need more players like Kevin Pietersen. He's not satisfied with just playing cricket at international level, he wants to be the best. The others seem deficient in ambition and drive. Though it would also be good if KP attempted to seem like he was a bit more interested in being part of the team as well. It's all about balance.

Anyway, despite their Ashes victory, I really cannot recall them ever being perceived as a short term, long term or otherwise serious threat here in Australia. No force to be reckoned with. The statistics may well indicate otherwise, but England have, in my recent recollection, always been "only England" and I can't see that changing in the foreseeable future.


Suave said...

Nasser Hussain had said almost the same thing a few days previous..

He reckons there's a few boys that are just not up to the fight..

I think a lot of it, is to with the class (social) of the player.

Most of the English side is made up of posh kids. Posh kids are always good for a whooping.

Look at the players that have been great for England over the last few years.

Hoggard, dour Yorkshireman.
Gough, as above, but tougher.
Vaughan mongrel, yorkshire/lancashire lad
Flintoff big drinking, lancashire lad.
Pieterson, saffer, and the less said about that the better.

I could go on..

Miss Field said...

Yes I do recall Nasser Hussain suggesting that the English side are 'soft'. But as my good friend Ruth pointed out, this is news to no one.

It's interesting what you say about class. I think Flintoff is the best example, he seems a good working-class lad. He has a greater appreciation of the struggle! I was talking to my dad about this a few weeks ago, and you're damn right. Remove the stigma, make cricket accessible for everyone, not just at grass roots level but also subsequent opportunities to reach one's full potential.

Here in Straya, cricket is played by everyone, everywhere. Private schools, public schools, children from all walks of life are encouraged. And that's how it should be really. It's much the same in India (although to an extreme, of course).

And then giggle when I remember how, during Freddie Flintoff's Ashes post-match press conferences (the ones he turned up to;), it was very difficult to understand a word he said through the mumbling! And you say we're inarticulate!

Also, I never realised Vaughan wasn't considered among the elite.

The Atheist said...

The last thing this country needs is more people like KP.

Suave said...

Vaughan is and isn't..

He is, because of his captaincy, and sublime batting.

He isn't, cos he's a tough northern lad, instilled with all that's toof and rite ooop norf. No university education, which is very unusual for an England captain

Not like us southern, shandy drinking dandies from London,.

Flintoff would have been drunk, I reckon.. He's a serious drinker that boy, one can away from Boon's UK-Australia drinking record.

Unfortunately, here, it's mainly public (private) schools that produce the test match players. All well mannered boys, but you wouldn't want them next to you, if you were scrapping for your life.

Most of the comprehensive schools (your public schools), were forced to sell off their sporting grounds, as Margaret Thatcher needed a few more pounds in her purse.

Miriam said...


I think that things aren't helped by the fact that cricket isn't on a terrestrial tv channel any more. There might be a few highlights for test matches played in England, but nothing for England overseas tours and as for any other overseas tests or English domestic cricket you can forget it. I know that a lot of people have Sky and I really like the Sky coverage, but you're unlikely to do what I did as a child and stumble across cricket on tv and get completely sucked in, some might say to the point of obsession. I also think I was more likely than most to come across it as a child because my father liked cricket (although he didn't introduce me to it because I'm a girl, but that's a whole other story), so in a non-cricketing household it's hard to see how this would ever happen.

Suave said...

Miriam makes a good point there (she often does).

After the 2005 ashes series (the last series on domestic TV), the memberships of local/village cricket clubs went up by 100's of percent.

Sadly, they can't just switch on TV and stumble upon it now.

I read a story about the singer from Razorlight, Johnny Borrell.
He was out of work, and trying to write songs, and make it in the music biz..
And he got addicted to cricket watching channel 4's coverage of the England - South Africa series from 03-04.

Miss Field said...

Atheist - because of his attitude? He does seem to fit the FIGJAM nickname, but then I've heard people saying he's really insecure, although it seems unlikely. Or because he's South African?

When I was in the UK over the summer I wanted to watch the England test matches, and in the middle of London I couldn't find a pub anywhere that was showing them. One was even showing lacrosse, or something, instead! Yet in Austria it was being shown live in an pub there, although it was owned by Australians. So yeah, I thought there would be a lot more interest than I perceived.

Yeah Margaret Thatcher did some nasty things. But then, things could have been rectified slowly over the years, it's been a while now since she's been gone, and Blair, who was supposed to be a leftie, certainly had his chance.

Miriam said...

Yes, the 2005 Ashes would be the last live cricketing imagery for lots of people in England, those lucky golden-memoried people.

I liked Channel 4's coverage too, except when it switched to racing / Hollyoaks. That drove me mad. I once saw - I swear - the same horserace shown simultaneously on BBC and on Channel 4, and the cricket nowhere. With that sort of treatment it's not surprising that kids don't get interested in it. I got addicted to cricket, though, during the England-India series in 1990. I have such clear memories of it, I can remember snippets of commentary. Because Tendulkar features in some of my earliest cricketing memories, I get a bit emotional when I see him now.

Miriam said...

Just read your latest comment Miss Field. I like to think that I have a reasonable knowledge of London pubs, but we also really struggled this summer to find a decent pub showing cricket, with somewhere to sit, who wouldn't switch over to something else at the first opportunity. In the end I gave up and spent the summer in my flat with Skysports, seeking occasional solace in old Wisdens.

Miss Field said...

Hey Miriam.

Yeah Sachin's a champ. I have seen the neighbourhood where he grew up, and I have unlimited admiration for how far he's gone in life.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget England were a very good cricket side in the early to mid 2000's. As for challenging the Australian Empire, you new that wasn't going to happen when you saw them after the 2005 ashes. Riding around London in a big red bus, Fredddie Flintoff with a cigar in one hand champagne bottle in the other!

Miss Field said...

Yeah it was rather comical, Brad. Although it seemed so extreme (MBEs and all) that there had to be an element of rubbing salt in. But hey. Situation rectified well and truly now.

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