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Old 20th February 2021, 14:48   #241
Michelle Fivefer
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He wasn't likely to play so probably on balance the right decision.
Maybe. But you know the old saying - you’ve got to be in it to win it.
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Old 20th February 2021, 15:49   #242
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... not sure who is on the old central contracts malarkey or whether that counts for much with such selection policies and practices
Indeed. The whole point of central contracts was that they would allow the ECB to protect key players from wearing themselves out playing comparatively insignificant cricket for their other employers. Now they are being used by the ECB to make sure that players don't wear themselves out playing test cricket.
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Old 20th February 2021, 17:27   #243
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Is it my memory, or have England's poor performances recently often been the result of misreading the pitch beforehand and not recovering/adjusting from their pre-match analysis. So, in the last test going in a spinner short, playing two fast bowlers expecting the pitch to help at Southampton, Sam Curran for Broad in West Indies, Overton at Manchester etc
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Old 20th February 2021, 21:50   #244
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Is it my memory, or have England's poor performances recently often been the result of misreading the pitch beforehand and not recovering/adjusting from their pre-match analysis. So, in the last test going in a spinner short, playing two fast bowlers expecting the pitch to help at Southampton, Sam Curran for Broad in West Indies, Overton at Manchester etc
I think you're right, it happens repeatedly. Judging by the noises coming from the England camp, it is a danger for next week's test match in Ahmedabad.
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Old 21st February 2021, 11:26   #245
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I think you're right, it happens repeatedly. Judging by the noises coming from the England camp, it is a danger for next week's test match in Ahmedabad.
Yep, I can think of at least two Tests at home to India and Australia where we opted to put the opposition in for some daft reason and lost the match at that very point.

We're in danger of believing the hype about the Bangas getting bowled out by the Indian seamers under the lights. We should remember the Bangas aren't great players of seam, I also don't think that pitch will be anything like this one.
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Old 21st February 2021, 18:54   #246
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I feel that with dew around - England will play the extra seamer and hope the pink ball lasts. So is it Woakes Anderson Leach Broad/Archer/Wood or Bess Anderson Broad Wood/Archer?
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Old 22nd February 2021, 00:11   #247
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I feel that with dew around - England will play the extra seamer and hope the pink ball lasts. So is it Woakes Anderson Leach Broad/Archer/Wood or Bess Anderson Broad Wood/Archer?
Given that most of the overs will probably be bowled by spinners however many seamers we pick, I'd definitely have Leach and Bess in there. Anderson is a cert but after that it's all a bit meh. I think Stokes could do as well as any of the seamers if Root would bowl him a bit more.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 10:50   #248
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Test cricket is being poisoned by toxic attitudes at all levels of the sport
Those who run cricket are increasingly detached from game's loyal supporters and what happened in Ahmedabad will become the new normal

SIMON HEFFER
2 March 2021 • 7:30am
Simon Heffer
The ball spits out of the rough at Joe Root
The third Test in Ahmedabad lasted less than two days CREDIT: BCCI
The headline on Michael Vaughan’s column in last Saturday’s Telegraph made an arresting assertion: ‘India are being allowed to turn the Test game into a freak show.’

His point was that the wicket prepared for last week’s Ahmedabad Test was not equal to the most elite form of the game; and when a five-day match ends well before the end of the second day, something clearly went wrong - possibly beyond the grim lack of application displayed by most of our batsmen, and the utterly bizarre decision to put out a team with four quick bowlers and one specialist spinner.

It ended up with a non-specialist spinner, the captain, taking five wickets for eight runs on the second morning and as the pitch deteriorated the play became, to quote Vaughan, "like watching Twenty20 cricket played in whites". He went on to make some highly-important points about the consequences for the future of Test cricket: that to ensure home teams don’t ruthlessly prepare defective pitches that suit them, points might be deducted in the World Test Championship and that broadcasters, who have paid handsomely for the rights to cover five days of cricket, might start asking for their money back if they are presented only with two or three. These are good points, but things are perhaps even worse than Vaughan has suggested, and might require even more drastic solutions.

Did Ahmedabad pitch break ICC rules and will India be punished?
Let’s start with the financial implications of bad pitches. Enabling broadcasters to demand money back if a pitch were proved responsible for a game ending early, rather than the incompetence of the players, is not simply a good idea but an entirely just one, given the amount of money television pumps into cricket. It is important, though, that the contracts are drawn up in a jurisdiction where ensuring they are enforced wouldn’t be a problem. But deducting points from a side that has had such a pitch prepared? No-one cares enough about the Test Championship to worry about that, and I doubt anyone ever will. By all means fine the home cricket board so heavily that it becomes the equivalent of cutting them off at the knees, and indeed strike such a match from the record as though it has never happened – strip it of Test status and advise Wisden that its statistics should not be included in the averages of players and the records of the two teams; that might have an effect.

Vaughan, in talking about the degradation of Test cricket, called the ICC "toothless". So it is, at least in the maintenance of what some still call the ‘elite’ form of the game. It exists now to protect and further the commercial interests of forms of the game that are about as elite as a dog track, only infinitely more remunerative. And it has only become toothless because of the complicity of the respective national boards, whose common obsession with money by any legal means is what binds them together. And it is their obsession, more than any dodgy pitch, that is turning Test cricket into the ‘freak show’.

Vaughan also asks, entirely legitimately [and this brings us to the root of the present problem] why Jonny Bairstow, having been sent home to "walk his dogs" for a couple of weeks, didn’t demand to be allowed to stay and play. Presumably, Bairstow thought he would be wasting his time. England have a ‘rotational’ policy where it rests fit young men, including fit young men in far better form than Bairstow, and alternates them with other players.

One argument advanced for this is that England must play 17 Tests in this calendar year. Let us pass up the cheap joke that, at their present rate, that equates to 34 days’ cricket; even if they go the full 85 [which they won’t], it is a still not an excessive amount of first-class cricket, especially given how little County Championship cricket most of our players participate in during the home season.

Of course, the real reason players are rotated is to spare them for the T20 circus that the ICC and individual national boards worship with Midas-like fervour. The cricketing public – those who buy tickets for matches, or pay a subscription to the channels that normally show Test cricket, or just listen to Test Match Special – tend to express a preference for Test cricket not so much as the ‘elite’ form of the game, but as the most absorbing and satisfying form. They should be aware, though, that the people who run cricket are determined to put it far down their list of priorities.

But then those who run cricket are remarkably detached from those who have loyally supported the game for years or decades. An indication of this unfortunate mentality came in the weekly email MCC has been sending to its members during lockdown. Last Saturday’s, signed by the club’s chief executive, Guy Lavender, talked of the "very exciting development" that Lord’s would host a "spectacular day of cricket" in August when the men’s and women’s finals of The Hundred take place there.

One can only conjecture how many MCC members felt even a twinge of excitement at this news; a percentage, I imagine, that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. This is not least because an equally tiny proportion of people who become members of a serious cricket club such as MCC regard The Hundred as coming within the accepted definition of ‘cricket’.

Given the choice between having a ‘spectacular’ day watching this preposterous confection, or sipping a pint of beer on the balcony of the Bowler’s Bar while watching a sedate session of Middlesex against Leicestershire, for example, in a Championship match, most would plump for the latter any time.

What happened in Ahmedabad should be regarded as part of the new normal of Test cricket. And it is a new normal that will come about because of the toxic attitudes of cricket boards the world over to make Test cricket take third place to 50-over cricket, which itself is now taking second place to T20 cricket; and, God help us, if The Hundred finds enough people to make it viable, Tests could move yet one more rung down the pecking order.

The new normal will consist of England routinely not fielding their best XI because some of that XI need to be preserved for inferior forms of cricket that pay more, especially in India. It is likely also to consist of England players turning out in even fewer domestic first-class matches than they do already. This cannot but cause a decline in the calibre of Test cricketers, and Test cricket. Then it will start dying out in countries that for economic reasons find it hard to sustain the form. And thus in the end just England, Australia and India will be playing it.

Ahmedabad was indeed a "freak show", but it was, I fear, only the first act.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 11:24   #249
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I don't really see the problem. If the broadcasters are miffed that they didn't get their moneysworth, they can bid less next time. The less money the broadcasters are prepared to put up, the more likely the non-paying public is to be able to watch the cricket. In the meantime I'm delighted that England can still get punished by heavy defeats for their reluctance to develop batsmen and bowlers who can cope with interesting surfaces, and I think it is churlish of Vaughan to moan about the pitch. The main problem, as I see it, was the use of the pink ball, which ironically is an ICC wheeze to try to make test cricket more appealing, and thus was inappropriate for a game where the audience was restricted anyway because of Covid. As far as I can see, insofar as there is any egg at all, the egg is all on the faces of the ICC for their pink-ball scheming and of the England selectors for their "we demand to play seven seamers wherever we go in the world" approach.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 12:40   #250
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jock McTuffnel v3 View Post
Test cricket is being poisoned by toxic attitudes at all levels of the sport
Those who run cricket are increasingly detached from game's loyal supporters and what happened in Ahmedabad will become the new normal

SIMON HEFFER
2 March 2021 • 7:30am
Simon Heffer
The ball spits out of the rough at Joe Root
The third Test in Ahmedabad lasted less than two days CREDIT: BCCI
The headline on Michael Vaughan’s column in last Saturday’s Telegraph made an arresting assertion: ‘India are being allowed to turn the Test game into a freak show.’

His point was that the wicket prepared for last week’s Ahmedabad Test was not equal to the most elite form of the game; and when a five-day match ends well before the end of the second day, something clearly went wrong - possibly beyond the grim lack of application displayed by most of our batsmen, and the utterly bizarre decision to put out a team with four quick bowlers and one specialist spinner.

It ended up with a non-specialist spinner, the captain, taking five wickets for eight runs on the second morning and as the pitch deteriorated the play became, to quote Vaughan, "like watching Twenty20 cricket played in whites". He went on to make some highly-important points about the consequences for the future of Test cricket: that to ensure home teams don’t ruthlessly prepare defective pitches that suit them, points might be deducted in the World Test Championship and that broadcasters, who have paid handsomely for the rights to cover five days of cricket, might start asking for their money back if they are presented only with two or three. These are good points, but things are perhaps even worse than Vaughan has suggested, and might require even more drastic solutions.

Did Ahmedabad pitch break ICC rules and will India be punished?
Let’s start with the financial implications of bad pitches. Enabling broadcasters to demand money back if a pitch were proved responsible for a game ending early, rather than the incompetence of the players, is not simply a good idea but an entirely just one, given the amount of money television pumps into cricket. It is important, though, that the contracts are drawn up in a jurisdiction where ensuring they are enforced wouldn’t be a problem. But deducting points from a side that has had such a pitch prepared? No-one cares enough about the Test Championship to worry about that, and I doubt anyone ever will. By all means fine the home cricket board so heavily that it becomes the equivalent of cutting them off at the knees, and indeed strike such a match from the record as though it has never happened – strip it of Test status and advise Wisden that its statistics should not be included in the averages of players and the records of the two teams; that might have an effect.

Vaughan, in talking about the degradation of Test cricket, called the ICC "toothless". So it is, at least in the maintenance of what some still call the ‘elite’ form of the game. It exists now to protect and further the commercial interests of forms of the game that are about as elite as a dog track, only infinitely more remunerative. And it has only become toothless because of the complicity of the respective national boards, whose common obsession with money by any legal means is what binds them together. And it is their obsession, more than any dodgy pitch, that is turning Test cricket into the ‘freak show’.

Vaughan also asks, entirely legitimately [and this brings us to the root of the present problem] why Jonny Bairstow, having been sent home to "walk his dogs" for a couple of weeks, didn’t demand to be allowed to stay and play. Presumably, Bairstow thought he would be wasting his time. England have a ‘rotational’ policy where it rests fit young men, including fit young men in far better form than Bairstow, and alternates them with other players.

One argument advanced for this is that England must play 17 Tests in this calendar year. Let us pass up the cheap joke that, at their present rate, that equates to 34 days’ cricket; even if they go the full 85 [which they won’t], it is a still not an excessive amount of first-class cricket, especially given how little County Championship cricket most of our players participate in during the home season.

Of course, the real reason players are rotated is to spare them for the T20 circus that the ICC and individual national boards worship with Midas-like fervour. The cricketing public – those who buy tickets for matches, or pay a subscription to the channels that normally show Test cricket, or just listen to Test Match Special – tend to express a preference for Test cricket not so much as the ‘elite’ form of the game, but as the most absorbing and satisfying form. They should be aware, though, that the people who run cricket are determined to put it far down their list of priorities.

But then those who run cricket are remarkably detached from those who have loyally supported the game for years or decades. An indication of this unfortunate mentality came in the weekly email MCC has been sending to its members during lockdown. Last Saturday’s, signed by the club’s chief executive, Guy Lavender, talked of the "very exciting development" that Lord’s would host a "spectacular day of cricket" in August when the men’s and women’s finals of The Hundred take place there.

One can only conjecture how many MCC members felt even a twinge of excitement at this news; a percentage, I imagine, that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. This is not least because an equally tiny proportion of people who become members of a serious cricket club such as MCC regard The Hundred as coming within the accepted definition of ‘cricket’.

Given the choice between having a ‘spectacular’ day watching this preposterous confection, or sipping a pint of beer on the balcony of the Bowler’s Bar while watching a sedate session of Middlesex against Leicestershire, for example, in a Championship match, most would plump for the latter any time.

What happened in Ahmedabad should be regarded as part of the new normal of Test cricket. And it is a new normal that will come about because of the toxic attitudes of cricket boards the world over to make Test cricket take third place to 50-over cricket, which itself is now taking second place to T20 cricket; and, God help us, if The Hundred finds enough people to make it viable, Tests could move yet one more rung down the pecking order.

The new normal will consist of England routinely not fielding their best XI because some of that XI need to be preserved for inferior forms of cricket that pay more, especially in India. It is likely also to consist of England players turning out in even fewer domestic first-class matches than they do already. This cannot but cause a decline in the calibre of Test cricketers, and Test cricket. Then it will start dying out in countries that for economic reasons find it hard to sustain the form. And thus in the end just England, Australia and India will be playing it.

Ahmedabad was indeed a "freak show", but it was, I fear, only the first act.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 21:14   #251
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As bad as the surface was in the last Test, I couldn't really give a **** what Simon Heffer or Michael Vaughan think.
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