Monday, 26 March 2018

Test Cricket WTF?

What the fuck is going on in the world of cricket?

England started their test series against New Zealand with a shambolic collapse on the first morning, all out for 58 which was a recovery from 27-9.  After that New Zealand batted long, before and after almost two days were lost for rain and once again England were unable to bowl their opposition out.  England's second innings was better but nobody made a century despite seven of the top eight players scoring 23 or more.

You can look at the eleven players selected for this match and reasonably conclude that is a very strong team to field in English conditions.  However England have now gone twelve consecutive away tests without a win and have failed to take twenty wickets in eleven of those matches.  When will the selectors wise up?

Of the team that played the first test I'm going to single out two players;  Moeen Ali is out of form.  Chris Woakes has been consistently poor since returning from injury late last summer.  He may score useful runs but his job is taking wickets.  Both should be dropped and replaced by the pace of Mark Wood and legspin of Mason Crane.

In March 2009 England went to the West Indies confident of winning the test series only to lose the first test after being blown away for fifty something in Jamaica and went on to lose the series 1-0.  After that low point England kept improving and were the number one test team by August 2012.  Right now we have the players to repeat this feat and the second test would be a bloody good time to start.

The series in New Zealand is completely overshadowed by what has been going on in South Africa where Australia are touring.  The series stood at 1-1 after two hard fought but fractious matches, there was bad blood between the players and the odious David Warner was taking centre stage again.

The third match was of the same vein, tough cricket in front of a partisan crowd, Aussie coach Lehmann had the gall to complain about the abuse his team was receiving!!??!!  Oh Darren you whinging, hypocritical oaf!  Midway through the third day, with South Africa starting to dominate the match the Aussies resorted to cheating by tampering with the ball.  Bancroft was seen on TV behaving in a highly suspicious manner and concealing something that looked a lot like sandpaper.  Messages came from the coach to the players, this was followed by more suspicious behaviour.  Whatever they were trying didn't work, South Africa were well on top.

After play Bancroft and captain Smith turned up at the press conference and basically said "Yea sorry, we cheated and you caught us. We discusssed it at lunch and decided cheating was a good idea. Honestly it's never happened before and will never happen again.  Sorry see ya later".  The morons obviously didn't have the slightest idea of how seriously the world of cricket would take these events.  They probably thought they could front up and then be applauded for their honesty.  Now a couple of days on I think even idiots like Smith and Warner realise how deep the shit is.  The coach Lehmann cannot have been ignorant of what was going on. 

Meanwhile, in the background, the match continued.  Aus were set 400+ to win and managed to lose 10-50 on their way to being bowled out for 107.  A collapse of English proportions.  South Africa took an unassailable 2-1 lead and well played them.

So what happens next?  There will obviously be investigation and scrutiny.  As an English cricket supporter I'd like to know How long has this 'tactic' been going on?  It looks likely that Smith, Bancroft, Warner and hopefully Lehmann will all receive bans, they should be long ones.  In my opinion deliberate, premeditated tactical cheating is worse than spot fixing.  The bans handed out to these characters should reflect this.

The teams led by captains such as Border, Taylor, Waugh and Ponting would never have behaved in this way.  We disliked the Aussie cricketers for many years but we disliked them because they were so bloody good, it was a compliment.  This team has neither the class or the skill of those great Aussie sides but are disliked because of the arrogance and hypocrisy of the players.

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