the wrong 'un

Monday, October 23, 2006

Column of Dumb Certainty

The Twat with the Hat (no, the other one) puts the suede brogue in.

"Saturday's latest one-day debacle has confirmed my feeling that the time has come for a change in the England dressing room."

New coat of paint? Hooks?

"The coach, Duncan Fletcher, has now been with this team for seven years. If you talk to people like John Wright and Bob Woolmer, successful coaches with a lot of international experience, they will tell you the job comes with a shelf-life. And Fletcher has just reached the end of his."

No hint of self-justification from some, ahem, 'well-travelled' coaches.

"I'm not saying he is a terrible coach."

Generous, Geoffrey, care to name a better one?

"In fact, I think he has done a good job — full marks to him for the way he made England's Test team competitive after the dark days of the 1990s. But, after a while, I believe a coach runs out of new ideas and the players get comfortable and complacent with him. He almost becomes too familiar and the players stop listening.

Fletcher's weakness has always been the one-day game..."

So this week's "debacle" is neither here nor there?

"...and there have been some madcap decisions here in India."

Okay, so now you are going to dissect the England games in this, the most meaningless of all competitions, and explain why England need to sack the man who, together with some talented players, has utterly transformed English cricket. But of course, no-one is beyond criticism, and if you have some serious charges to lay against Fletcher, let's hear them.

"It is ludicrous that England have failed to bat through their 50 overs in either of their two matches to date."

I'm not sure ludicrous is the right word, disappointing perhaps. And likewise the coaches of New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and once again New Zealand, will be just as disappointed. In fact, the only team batting first to have completed fifty overs in this oh-so-necessary tournament has been that notoriously well-disciplined (and presumably brilliantly coached) West Indies.

But I am sure that Sir Duncan would agree with Boycs that that the England batsmen needed to do better, but he may be at a loss, as I am, to know precisely what the coach can do to stop his players being dismissed.

"One-day cricket is stacked in favour of the batsman: if you are a bowler, you know you can bowl only one bouncer an over, anything off line will immediately be called a wide and you have to keep a certain number of fielders in the circle. Even when you are having a particularly good day, you have to stop at 10 overs no matter how many you feel like bowling. The whole basis of one-day cricket is batting. It is the total opposite of Test match cricket, where you need top-notch bowlers to take 20 wickets."

Tough to hit that thousand word mark, ain't it?

"And yet, England still keep failing to bat through their overs. I find it astonishing."

Come on Dunc, buy the lads some wider bats!

"Clearly, the batsmen need to look at their own games, but Fletcher has not helped them with some bizarre batting orders."

Aha! Some specifics!

"For a start, what is he doing with Michael Yardy? This is a left-arm spinner with just a handful of internationals to his name. And he went in at No 3 against India and No 5 against Australia. It's crazy."

Crazy.Should have stuck to the tried and tested batting order that had, er... been so successful...

"I've always believed that as a batsman I'm paid to make runs, bowlers are paid to take wickets and just occasionally we can help each other out, by me doing a little bowling and them making a few runs. But if I were playing for England and the team sheet went up and Yardy was batting in front of me, there would be hell to pay. I wouldn't let it happen."

Not content with trying to nit-pick minute flaws in England's coach, the Fitzwilliam Foghorn now dispenses sage advice on how England's batsmen should behave towards their coach and selectors, based on the twenty plus sun-filled and recrimination-free years that our Geoffrey spent getting on beautifully with his his teammates, captains, selectors and county and national officials.

"How do you think it makes other batsmen in the team feel?"

Probably similar to what messrs Ponting, Hussey, Martyn and Clarke think about Shane Watson going in ahead of them

"What sort of message does that send out if a left-arm spinner who bats a bit goes in ahead of you?"

"Maybe I should bat a bit better" ?

"Then England have Andrew Flintoff batting at No 3. He hasn't played for months, so he's rusty, and they still experiment by pushing him up two places. If you're going to experiment with somebody, do it when they're in great form, not completely out of practice."

Another golden nugget, move the player in form AWAY from the position he's been doing well in.

"The same point applies, in reverse, to Paul Collingwood. This is a guy in the form of his life. Over the last year he has had a brilliant tour of Pakistan, an excellent tour of India and a bloody good season at home. He's never played so well, or been so confident. And where is he batting? No 6. By the time Collingwood came in on Saturday the game was over, and there was nothing he could do but hang around with the tailenders and wait for the last rites."

Sheesh! Lunacy! Wouldn't find the brilliantly coached, bat-all-the-way-through-their-overs-West-Indies making elementary howlers like this. Why, they had some know-nothing berk called B.C. Lara batting at six against the Aussies, and he came in when the Windies were in the fantastic position of 63 for 4! And a fat lot of good it did them.

"Surely, if you've got 300 balls in an innings you want your best players in early, so they have the opportunity to bat for longer. But England don't do that, do they?"

Stand up Shane Watson, there may have been doubters, but we always knew you were brilliant.

"Finally, we come to the bowling. Steve Harmison is bowling absolute rubbish. I take no pleasure in saying that about a smashing lad, but it's the way he's been for most of the last year. He has no confidence, his line and length are all over the place and the captain daren't bowl him with the new ball. He's got to come on first change after one guy who is coming back from injury (James Anderson) and one new kid on the block (Sajid Mahmood). Then, after two appalling overs, Flintoff decided he daren't bowl him with the old ball, either."

Oh Duncan, Duncan, Duncan. Why oh why do you keep selecting these terrible player? What? It's not you who does the selecting? David who? Geoff what?

"When I have spoken to retired bowlers out here, every one of them can see that Harmison's arm at delivery point is past the perpendicular, and his wrist is falling over anti-clockwise. If you watch his action from behind, his arm is at five-to-12 and his fingers are ending up at about 10-to-12 by the time he releases the ball, when they should be staying upright. These mechanics are guaranteed to shove the ball down the leg side. But if it is so obvious to all of us ex-players, what are our coaching staff doing?"

Probably the same as the England coach was saying in 1974, about hooking dibbly-dobbly medium pace roobish straight down long leg's throat. But do the players listen? Do they heck.

"This is where I come back to Fletcher."

You left?

"Somebody needs to shake Harmison out of his malaise, but this set-up just seems to be too cosy for anyone to make that happen."

Cosy set-ups are notoriously bad at realigning past the perpendicular delivery points, this was conclusively proved by the Portugese in the sixties.

"Even within the corridors of power there are all these county connections — David Morgan (former Glamorgan chairman) is now chairman of the national cricket board, Fletcher (former Glamorgan coach) is the coach and Matthew Maynard (former Glamorgan captain) is the assistant coach."

Fucking Welsh, undermining our national game

"Morgan may think Fletcher has a job for life, but that is just a recipe for stagnation."

Jobs For Life Causes Stagnation Shocker - Read All About It

"The time to move on is now. The dressing room needs some new personnel with fresh ideas and the ability to stimulate the players. When England have got knocked out of this tournament, struggled in the Ashes and gone out of the World Cup, I'll be telling people: "You read it here first.""

You'll be telling everyone; it's not because of players underperforming, it's not because of piss-poor selection, it's not that crucial players were unavailable because of injury, it's not because Ashley Giles managed yet again, against all known logic, to finagle himself onto an England teamsheet, it's not because administrators had agreed to ludicrous, strength-sapping schedules. It's because that twat Fletcher batted Flintoff and Yardy in the wrong position against India.

You tell 'em, Geoffrey


  • This is more like it, lets have a bit more.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:54 pm  

  • Quote from Boycott in the Telegraph today :

    "I resent the fact that my argument has been misrepresented by a pompous prat who obviously has his own personal issues regarding my cricketing record as it compares to his own public school and club career"

    Fucking hell, looks like you touched a nerve ...


    By Blogger Andy_Ward, at 12:15 pm  

  • Fletcher is a clueless one-day coach as his record shows. I'm worried about our batting once the top 4 are out because we're only playing 4 strong batsmen. His philosophy seems to play players who are below average at everything.
    if you have different teams for one-day and test-cricket what is wrong with having different coaches? We may have won the Ashes but there is zero depth Bob Woolmer is probably one of the finest one day coaches the game has ever had but he will never get a chance with England.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:38 am  

  • Good stuff Allan. More during the Ashes please.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:37 pm  

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