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Old 29th March 2018, 10:12   #1
Ali TT
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Who's to blame?

After the humiliation in Auckland, coming on the back of another disastrous Ashes tour, one has to wonder how English cricket, despite its relative financial strength, continues to be so mediocre?

The England team was pretty dire in the 80s, little better in the 90s, and with a couple of minor exceptions (2004-5, 2010-11) hasn't been that great in the 00s. On top of that, for about 20 years our ODI side was a laughing stock, continually behind the curve in that format of the game, although at least we've won a T20 WC.

Then there's the players - if the benchmark for world class is to average <50 with the bat and <25 with the ball, England have produced only one batsman (Root) and no bowlers to meet these criteria in the past 50 years. When you look at other sides, this doesn't reflect well.

So who is to blame? Is it the schools and youth system that doesn't bring quality players through? Does the county system stifle talent or the England set-up not push the players to their maximum potential? Have the ECB just never got it right?
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Old 29th March 2018, 10:37   #2
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Old 29th March 2018, 10:46   #3
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All of the above up to a point although the one thing I would add is that a great stifle of talent appears to be the ECB Loughborough set up who appear to turn quicks such as Stuart Meaker into trundlers, have no spin bowling expertise to develop young talent.

I also wonder what has happened to young batting talents such as Ben Duckett. Answers on a postcard messrs Strauss and Flower.
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Old 29th March 2018, 11:07   #4
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All of the above up to a point although the one thing I would add is that a great stifle of talent appears to be the ECB Loughborough set up who appear to turn quicks such as Stuart Meaker into trundlers, have no spin bowling expertise to develop young talent.
I'm not sure about that. They've had Mustaq, Saqlain and, more recently, Stuart MacGill. Is your argument that these people should be working with the youngsters rather than the established international players?

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I also wonder what has happened to young batting talents such as Ben Duckett. Answers on a postcard messrs Strauss and Flower.
Duckett was exposed as having an inadequate technique against the turning ball, although he is by no means the only one in the England set up. I think he remains one of the brightest prospects around (along with Joe Clarke, Livingstone and Lawrence) and he will hopefully be given further opportunities. It would be a shame if the incident involving Saint Jimmy was held against him.
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Old 29th March 2018, 11:25   #5
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I'm not sure about that. They've had Mustaq, Saqlain and, more recently, Stuart MacGill. Is your argument that these people should be working with the youngsters rather than the established international players?.
Surely more expertise is needed at Loughborough. It was plainly obvious that our spin stocks were so low when we toured the UAE in 2015. Despite some respectable batting performances and useful performances from the seamers, our efforts were undermined by the awful spin stocks that we had. Apparently the blokes in place at the academy are much the same as they have been for about a dozen years or so, hence a tailing off of true talent coming through in all aspects of the game.

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Duckett was exposed as having an inadequate technique against the turning ball, although he is by no means the only one in the England set up. I think he remains one of the brightest prospects around (along with Joe Clarke, Livingstone and Lawrence) and he will hopefully be given further opportunities. It would be a shame if the incident involving Saint Jimmy was held against him.
Yes he was, but surely some work needed to be done with him BEFORE he went to Asia at the end of 2016 rather than be the first out the door when things went south out there. I agree with you on the rest of that entirely.
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Old 29th March 2018, 12:40   #6
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Graeme Swann goes on about English off spinners being taught to spin off the wrong finger from a young age, but I don't get why he isn't involved more in coaching them if that's the case.

Overall I think we have built some great teams since the turn of the century, but for one reason or another we have a very weak pool of first class cricketers to choose from right now, whereas we have a huge pool of one day players. I don't buy the argument that it's because Strauss wants us to win the World Cup, as there is still plenty of first class cricket played at county level and opportunity to develop potential England players.
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Old 29th March 2018, 13:43   #7
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Obviously Kevin Pietersen.

Where have you been since 2014?
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Old 29th March 2018, 14:00   #8
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Surely more expertise is needed at Loughborough. It was plainly obvious that our spin stocks were so low when we toured the UAE in 2015. Despite some respectable batting performances and useful performances from the seamers, our efforts were undermined by the awful spin stocks that we had. Apparently the blokes in place at the academy are much the same as they have been for about a dozen years or so, hence a tailing off of true talent coming through in all aspects of the game.



Yes he was, but surely some work needed to be done with him BEFORE he went to Asia at the end of 2016 rather than be the first out the door when things went south out there. I agree with you on the rest of that entirely.
Spot on. I have long had reservations about the Loughborough set up, where, as far as I can see, the coaches are a bunch of timeservers. Bowlers seem to emerge with modified actions, making them less effective and the preferred batsmen are those who kiss a certain person's backside.

The organisation is not fit for purpose and does not think far enough ahead. Lack of spin coaches may simply reflect that, Swann aside, we have had few quality spinners who might have been drawn into coaching.
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Old 29th March 2018, 14:15   #9
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Old 29th March 2018, 14:21   #10
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I hate to be the one to mention a "Boycott-ism" but I get the impression the pitches here are essentially made to prolong a match and guarantee an income rather than develop any particular style of bowling - we seem to have spinners who can spin - but not very well and fast bowlers who can bowl - but not very fast - it just seems to encourage mediocrity in all.
Players of earlier years seem to have learned the basics on rough terrain of all sorts,from back alleys to beaches to cow fields so why do we expect players who only get to practise their skills on what are basically bland pitches/nets or indoors to play in anything other than a middle of the road way ?
Cricket isnt exactly one of my specialist subjects so I could have this all wrong mind you !
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Old 29th March 2018, 19:31   #11
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I probably take the opposite view from Ali and marvel that England has managed to remain competitive at Test level these past 40 or so years. The game in this country might be financially robust, but I've long wondered how much raw material is allowed to go untapped?

Compared to football, cricket is a fringe sport in England. I'm not sure it was any different when I was a kid. But, even though my school was a bog standard secondary modern, it still managed to put out a cricket team for each year group, and occasionally a second eleven. We had a number of very handy, if raw, cricketers in our year's team; the problem was, there was direction through which their talent could be developed. No regional structure, no seamless avenues into local colts teams and certainly nothing like proper coaching. I have no idea whether a system now exists to develop kids from ordinary schools. I'm more concerned as to how many ordinary schools bother to play the game at all. How many potential fast bowlers might be being lost by them never even holding a cricket ball in their young lives?
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Old 29th March 2018, 23:19   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali TT View Post
After the humiliation in Auckland, coming on the back of another disastrous Ashes tour, one has to wonder how English cricket, despite its relative financial strength, continues to be so mediocre?

The England team was pretty dire in the 80s, little better in the 90s, and with a couple of minor exceptions (2004-5, 2010-11) hasn't been that great in the 00s. On top of that, for about 20 years our ODI side was a laughing stock, continually behind the curve in that format of the game, although at least we've won a T20 WC.

Then there's the players - if the benchmark for world class is to average <50 with the bat and <25 with the ball, England have produced only one batsman (Root) and no bowlers to meet these criteria in the past 50 years. When you look at other sides, this doesn't reflect well.

So who is to blame? Is it the schools and youth system that doesn't bring quality players through? Does the county system stifle talent or the England set-up not push the players to their maximum potential? Have the ECB just never got it right?
The ECB set up is Victorian. Selection by a panel of selectors in the 21st century is embarrassing. What does Strauss actually do? Why doesn't the coach pick the squad? Why was King Kevin ostricised! Nearly all the problems are entirely of the ECB's own fault.
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Old 30th March 2018, 06:53   #13
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I was going to put a poll up as well but messed up the post... Doh. One of the options was going to be youth/school cricket, as Rob mentions.

Interesting that some have laid the blame at recent appointees like Strauss and Graves, but this mediocrity has been endemic in the English game for decades. Surely they are symptoms of the problem, repeating over and over, and simply replacing them with someone else will not resolve anything long term.
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Old 30th March 2018, 11:29   #14
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Old 30th March 2018, 15:36   #15
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I probably take the opposite view from Ali and marvel that England has managed to remain competitive at Test level these past 40 or so years. The game in this country might be financially robust, but I've long wondered how much raw material is allowed to go untapped?

Compared to football, cricket is a fringe sport in England. I'm not sure it was any different when I was a kid. But, even though my school was a bog standard secondary modern, it still managed to put out a cricket team for each year group, and occasionally a second eleven. We had a number of very handy, if raw, cricketers in our year's team; the problem was, there was direction through which their talent could be developed. No regional structure, no seamless avenues into local colts teams and certainly nothing like proper coaching. I have no idea whether a system now exists to develop kids from ordinary schools. I'm more concerned as to how many ordinary schools bother to play the game at all. How many potential fast bowlers might be being lost by them never even holding a cricket ball in their young lives?
The game does need to be “rediscovered” as a great sport to play. In many ways, it has been captive to the success of its previous forms and organization, encouraging tweaks to the structure rather than reimagining.

Although, I do have reservations with the direction we are currently heading, towards more marginalized first-class competitions, cricket is in something of an existential crisis, as WAK would say, and needs to get back to its grass roots appeal.

Getting more money into the game could be expected to get better athletes looking to participate as an alternative to football. A larger pool of talented players, other than those emerging from the public school stream or ex-pats coming back to their roots is essential.
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Old 30th March 2018, 15:58   #16
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I probably take the opposite view from Ali and marvel that England has managed to remain competitive at Test level these past 40 or so years. The game in this country might be financially robust, but I've long wondered how much raw material is allowed to go untapped?

Compared to football, cricket is a fringe sport in England. I'm not sure it was any different when I was a kid. But, even though my school was a bog standard secondary modern, it still managed to put out a cricket team for each year group, and occasionally a second eleven. We had a number of very handy, if raw, cricketers in our year's team; the problem was, there was direction through which their talent could be developed. No regional structure, no seamless avenues into local colts teams and certainly nothing like proper coaching. I have no idea whether a system now exists to develop kids from ordinary schools. I'm more concerned as to how many ordinary schools bother to play the game at all. How many potential fast bowlers might be being lost by them never even holding a cricket ball in their young lives?
State schools have never been great at developing cricketers and it's been the clubs in large parts of the country which develop talent. The mining areas in the North Midlands and North of England always had a cricket team as part of the fabric of the village. I think that focus of summer life isn't quite what it was when I was young. I'm lucky that I've worked and lived all over the world. There is a lot more community focus on Saturday afternoon local cricket in most test countries. When I'm back home it tends to be families of players and a few older, generally ex players, propping up the bar. It's increasingly a problem that good local league players virtually stop playing now as soon as they get a girlfriend, because cricket does take a big chunk out of the weekend.
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Old 30th March 2018, 21:26   #17
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Old 30th March 2018, 23:35   #18
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State schools have never been great at developing cricketers and it's been the clubs in large parts of the country which develop talent. The mining areas in the North Midlands and North of England always had a cricket team as part of the fabric of the village. I think that focus of summer life isn't quite what it was when I was young. I'm lucky that I've worked and lived all over the world. There is a lot more community focus on Saturday afternoon local cricket in most test countries. When I'm back home it tends to be families of players and a few older, generally ex players, propping up the bar. It's increasingly a problem that good local league players virtually stop playing now as soon as they get a girlfriend, because cricket does take a big chunk out of the weekend.
At one time a lot of cricketers were produced by Grammar schools. They sometimes even employed coaches but they aren't there anymore. Most comprehensives don't play cricket so it's all on the clubs, which aren't strong in a lot of areas.
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Old 31st March 2018, 00:25   #19
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Old 31st March 2018, 10:01   #20
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Most comprehensives don't play cricket so it's all on the clubs, which aren't strong in a lot of areas.
As I have mentioned before, a lot of school systems across Europe don't even organise any competitive sport - it is all done by the clubs.
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