The 2014 English Cricket summer must go down as one of the best of all time.
Well, it will if reaching great heights in stupidity and hilarity mean anything to you.
The ECB have attempted to surmise their ‘achievements’ with this hilarious article written by Will Jackson.
Follow him on twitter here.
Read it. Please. Just for the laughs. It’s very funny.
To be fair to Will, he looks like quite a nice young chap who was probably doing what he was told to do.
He can’t possibly hold the views that he wrote. Not even the mad Cricket Australia marketing machine would have been so brazen to publish something so distanced from reality.
He really should have tagged the author as “ECB Staff Writer”. That’s what Cricinfo do when they are embarrassed about what they’ve been asked to write.
[pullquote]Yes, a leadership team for the ages, if by ages, you mean not for the ages.[/pullquote]
The old adage that the victors write the history nearly fits, except that England won bugger all during the summer. Therefore I have no idea what purpose this official release from the ECB is meant to do, except to serve as poorly scripted propaganda.
Objectively, the piece is far more at home at Dennis Does Cricket. At least people people would laugh at it for the right reasons.
My favourite quote from the article is this:
“Cook began to rediscover his midas touch with the bat and in the field.”
How could you pen that with a straight face?
So, for balance, here is a true look at what the English cricket machine achieved in the summer of 2014.
It’s actually quite a bit if you allow slapstick to be labelled an ‘achievement’.
The New Era
We began the summer with what the ECB called a ‘New Era’.
This included the sacking of KP, the recycling a head coach and overt board support for the captain.
Yes, a leadership team for the ages, if by ages, you mean not for the ages.
It got even better for England when they poached T20 World Cup winning coach Paul Farbrace from Sri Lanka. It seemed England needed help to beat, well, Sri Lanka.
Jump to the end, and all that recruitment exercise allowed for was a series drubbing in the T20, ODI and Test series. England got an assistant coach. Sri Lanka racked up ‘W’ after ‘W’.
Highlights of the England vs Sri Lanka mismatch included:
– Shortening the planned 3 Test series to only 2. The aim was to allow the coming Indian series to be stretched from 4 Tests to 5. I guess England never considered what happens when you are 0-1 down after two Tests with no more to play.
– Jos Buttler being mankaded by a guy on report for chucking.
– James Anderson being voted Man of the Test Series, despite being the bloke who lost England the series on the 2nd last ball.
– The subsequent tears from Anderson at the awards ceremony.
– Giles Clarke coming out in support of Alastair Cook with the pompous quote ‘he comes from the right kind of family’. Because it’s the type of family that you come from that dictates whether or not you are fit to be the English captain.
– Moeen Ali coming in to the Test side at number 6 with English scribes saying he should have been number 3. His technique against the short ball was shown to be that of a number 11.
Anyhow, that’s enough laughter from that series. England lost everything, gave Sri Lanka their first ever Test series victory in England and the world smiled.
The Indian series was just as hilarious. No matter what the result, England was in a no win situation. India, by law, are not allowed to win away from home.
Although England won the Test series 3-1, we didn’t learn much. After Lords, India gave up quicker than the French in WWII.
Highlights that should never be forgotten included:
– The pitch at Nottingham being so bad that match referee David Boon had to put down his can of VB and report the ground for being crap.
– Cook, despite being under immense pressure to act like a leader, wins the toss at Lord’s and chose to bowl. In effect, he ran away from the new ball with a massive yellow stripe down the middle of his back. The ECB said he ‘Bravely ran away’
– Speaking of Cook, his comments that ‘something should be done’ in regards to commentary about his captaincy and performance was a top 5 all time sook.
– The result of that decision was that it allowed Ishant Sharma to bowl India to victory using nothing but an 80+ over ball and slow bouncers. It also established the myth of ‘Mitchant Sharma’ and MS Dhoni’s captaincy genius.
– Matt Prior finally quitting after choosing to play with injury and horrible form carried over from the Ashes. The selfishness of him playing at all confounds belief. His 35 runs at Lord’s nearly made up for his 36 byes. English captain Alastair Cook said of his natural replacement, Jos Buttler, ‘I don’t think he’s quite ready’. That made us laugh. Butler’s decent performances when he finally made the team was the cherry on top.
– Moeen Ali’s ‘Save Gaza’ campaign was misplaced and a distraction the team didn’t need.
– The rotating door that allowed Stokes, Woakes, Jordan and Plunkett to battle for spots that none of them deserved through performance. Steve Finn didn’t get a look in yet he has a better strike rate and average than James Anderson.
– Ending the season with no openers who deserve their spot. Like an old dog, Cook needs to be put down. Australia doesn’t want Robson back
– Pushgate. Anderson v Jadeja in one of the greatest ego battles of all time that was actually between MS Dhoni and the rest of the world
There’s an ODI World Cup Coming
This is possibly the funniest part of the whole summer.
When Alastair Cook declared that England’s chances of winning the ODI World Cup were ‘a bit far fetched’, England groaned and the rest of the world burst out in hysterics.
When England lost to India, they had succumbed in 5 of the last 6 ODI series that they had competed in. The one win came in the Carabbean, when funnily enough, Cook wasn’t captaining the team.
Cook also went on to say that “if I can bat for 40 overs, I’ll score enough runs.” Someone needs to remind him that he has only lasted until the 40 over mark 5 times in his career. He is also now 39 consecutive innings without an ODI hundred.
This is also the bloke who had to look England’s leading wicket taker in the format over the preceding 12 months, James Tredwell, in the eyes and drop him for performance
What a man. What a leader.
So, that’s my review of the English Cricket Summer that should have been written.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments section below.