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Thread: Sack Fletcher!!!!

  1. #46
    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHopCassidy View Post
    Enormous over-reaction for mine. Defeatism isn't an issue concerning ethics or integrity. The scorecards remain - regardless of first-chance averages, luck, Ealham's non-selection or otherwise - telling of England's success rate of the 1990s, which was undeniably dross. England lost many of their Tests prior to their recent resurgence because of a culture and a mindset that had been drummed into them via numerous Ashes beatings, numerous West Indian drubbings and the British press (more than any other). The 'gallant loser' ideal that was put up by the fourth estate gave the cricketers - never mind the tennis players, badmintoners or Olympic athletes - nothing to aspire to. As soon as defeat was lifted from being demeaning to expected, England's Test side could expect selfsame results, brilliant - yet isolated - individual performances to win the odd Test notwithstanding.

    The massive over-reaction that came with the 2005 Ashes win and the reversion to the "same 'ol" this summer is a case in point.

    It's a perfectly fair statement to make. If sporting attitudes overlap onto integrity, as you seem to be purporting, then you've got your priorities tragically wrong.
    That's pretty damn well put.
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  2. #47
    Hall of Fame Member Jamee999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHopCassidy View Post
    Enormous over-reaction for mine. Defeatism isn't an issue concerning ethics or integrity. The scorecards remain - regardless of first-chance averages, luck, Ealham's non-selection or otherwise - telling of England's success rate of the 1990s, which was undeniably dross. England lost many of their Tests prior to their recent resurgence because of a culture and a mindset that had been drummed into them via numerous Ashes beatings, numerous West Indian drubbings and the British press (more than any other). The 'gallant loser' ideal that was put up by the fourth estate gave the cricketers - never mind the tennis players, badmintoners or Olympic athletes - nothing to aspire to. As soon as defeat was lifted from being demeaning to expected, England's Test side could expect selfsame results, brilliant - yet isolated - individual performances to win the odd Test notwithstanding.

    The massive over-reaction that came with the 2005 Ashes win and the reversion to the "same 'ol" this summer is a case in point.

    It's a perfectly fair statement to make. If sporting attitudes overlap onto integrity, as you seem to be purporting, then you've got your priorities tragically wrong.
    Well said.

    I'd also like to add that the abolition of competitive sports in school from the Government (the extremely dodgy reasoning being that losing damages children, or the like -I think-) won't have helped some of the new breed.
    Or something.

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  3. #48
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McKanga View Post
    comfirms? Chage? Buffon?
    I think you should seek help from a native English speaker before posting.
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  4. #49
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHopCassidy View Post
    Enormous over-reaction for mine. Defeatism isn't an issue concerning ethics or integrity. The scorecards remain - regardless of first-chance averages, luck, Ealham's non-selection or otherwise - telling of England's success rate of the 1990s, which was undeniably dross. England lost many of their Tests prior to their recent resurgence because of a culture and a mindset that had been drummed into them via numerous Ashes beatings, numerous West Indian drubbings and the British press (more than any other). The 'gallant loser' ideal that was put up by the fourth estate gave the cricketers - never mind the tennis players, badmintoners or Olympic athletes - nothing to aspire to. As soon as defeat was lifted from being demeaning to expected, England's Test side could expect selfsame results, brilliant - yet isolated - individual performances to win the odd Test notwithstanding.

    The massive over-reaction that came with the 2005 Ashes win and the reversion to the "same 'ol" this summer is a case in point.

    It's a perfectly fair statement to make. If sporting attitudes overlap onto integrity, as you seem to be purporting, then you've got your priorities tragically wrong.
    That's nonsense, IMO. Absolute nonsense.

    1, there was certainly no overreaction to the 2005 victory. This was a series many were willing to describe as the greatest in history. Was it not worth celebrating then? Sure, the MBEs were going OTT and many said that at the time. But... funny thing... they just happened to be nothing whatsoever to do with the cricketing establishment.

    2, England's cricket in the 1990s was, for the most part, very far from dross. Sure, it was dire in the 2nd half of the 1980s, but so was Australia's 1984-1988\89. Similar reasons, too - rebel tours and bans and the like.

    This mud-tinted-glasses lookback has given people one hell of an inflated idea of the last couple of years. For much of the 1990s, England had some very, very fine cricketers in the side and to call them "defeatists" is a complete and utter insult to their integrity, as it is to suggest that passionate, intelligent men of the likes of Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart and Nasser Hussain are shallow enough to be influenced by Press ideals is utter bull****. Virtually everyone ever picked for England has tried their damndest to do their absolute best to win cricket matches every single time they've stepped onto the cricket field. In many, many instances, however, they did not manage to get over the line.

    There are a multitude of reasons for this - and you'll get one hell of a lot from "looking at the scorecards" - so why don't you do it, instead of just reading the scorelines, and maybe not even doing that, maybe just believing the bluster ("England were terrible in the 1990s").

    An ingrained defeatist attitude was categorically not one of them. Try reading an autobiography or two before throwing your wildly insulting accusations around.


  5. #50
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albo97056 View Post
    but do you see aus going down to ninth at any time?
    1988\89.

    Not ninth out of nine, but sixth out of six.

  6. #51
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albo97056 View Post
    Yes. Its a small window of opportunity. You retire at 35 ish with a load of money and can have a relationship then. Playing for your country has to be the ultimate. Boycott would agree with me lol!
    And that says a lot about Boycott and not much about most people.

    For most people, a wife and kids and a happy life are more important than a cricket career. As for enjoying all that at 35... so how many other people do that then? Why the hell do cricketers have to suffer when they can not suffer.

    Oh, and incidentally - do you see the Australians (or anyone else, for that matter) imposing a complete ban on romantic relationships?

  7. #52
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamee999 View Post
    Well said.

    I'd also like to add that the abolition of competitive sports in school from the Government (the extremely dodgy reasoning being that losing damages children, or the like -I think-) won't have helped some of the new breed.
    The exact reasoning was that competition damages children, but I do agree that that was bull****.

    Whether the attempted regeneration does genuinely help is only something we'll see in 30 years' time.

  8. #53
    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    2, England's cricket in the 1990s was, for the most part, very far from dross. Sure, it was dire in the 2nd half of the 1980s, but so was Australia's 1984-1988\89. Similar reasons, too - rebel tours and bans and the like.

    This mud-tinted-glasses lookback has given people one hell of an inflated idea of the last couple of years. For much of the 1990s, England had some very, very fine cricketers in the side and to call them "defeatists" is a complete and utter insult to their integrity, as it is to suggest that passionate, intelligent men of the likes of Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart and Nasser Hussain are shallow enough to be influenced by Press ideals is utter bull****. Virtually everyone ever picked for England has tried their damndest to do their absolute best to win cricket matches every single time they've stepped onto the cricket field. In many, many instances, however, they did not manage to get over the line.

    There are a multitude of reasons for this - and you'll get one hell of a lot from "looking at the scorecards" - so why don't you do it, instead of just reading the scorelines, and maybe not even doing that, maybe just believing the bluster ("England were terrible in the 1990s").

    An ingrained defeatist attitude was categorically not one of them. Try reading an autobiography or two before throwing your wildly insulting accusations around.
    Im a little confused. As someone who watched so much cricket in the 1990s I find it hard to accept that England were any good during the period. OK, maybe. Poor possibly, Decent a stretch, but good never. By arguing against England being poor during this period you seem to be implying they were good.

    During the 1990's England won 26 tests and lost 43. Its a dreadful record and my thoughts on the situation are the same now as they were then, they just happen to clash with yours.

    They are-

    a) Many of the public and press in England overestimated the players talent
    You mention a list of
    Butcher, Atherton, Hussain, Stewart, Thorpe, Ramprakash, Cork, Caddick, Fraser and Gough
    I couldn't understand it then and certainly can now, how a number of those people are rated highly.
    Of that list Stewart and Fraser were genuinely World Class with Thorpe beings Englands best batsman of the period, but never comparing to the best the world could offer.
    Butcher, Hussain, Ramprakash and Cork were decent Test players. Nothing more (Ramprakash probably a lot less so). Capable of scoring or performing well on occasion but not having the ability to be the focal point and 'stars' of a top test team.
    Atherton, was certainly struck by back issues which hindered his game, he however also had a very ordinary technique to the short of a length ball and was never a rounded enough player (especially with this weakness) to be considered top draw.
    Caddick and Gough were Englands best opening pair since Willis and Botham but given the standard of those in between that was not much of a claim to greatness. Both were different types of players but fall into the same category. Good but not very good and certainly not top draw.

    I dont think throughout the 90's England were capable of putting a very good team out on the field. Decent- Yes, Competetive- Yes but flawed and lacking raw talent.

    b) The psychology of losing

    It is now a cliche, but losing is a habit. This England team of the 90s became proficient and it became part of the culture. I will state now, it is impossible maintain the same level of hatred and loathing of losing if it is a regular occurance. After a period time it is impossible for the emotions to be as intense. Noone ever like losing but the more it happens the less of a shock it becomes and the more you realise that life does go on and the world isnt going to end. Sooner or later a level of acceptance comes in. Its hard to give a speach about must win games and how it is important and essential to win a particular game if you are going to have to do the same week in week out after loses.

    Also the mentality of a number of members of the England team in the 90's was certainly suspect. This was certainly not helped by the choice of coaches and the man-managment skills they brought with them. Hussain was prone to self-doubt and introspection, Hick was fragile, Atherton (though different in personality) had similar issues as Hussain, Thorpe had issues outside cricket, Ramprakash was a nervous but egotistical player, Caddick was an emotional and high maintainance player etc.

    The personalities and balance of characters was not there to succeed

    Obviously you disagree with me on both aspects, and thats fine.

    A question I would ask is, if there was no mental or cultural issues and there was a lot of talent in the team, why did England have a record as poor as winning only 26 games out of 107 during the decade (less than 25% winning percentage)?

    Apologies and thanks to anyone that actually read all this

    EDIT- Richard, I do agree with you on the role of a family life and the need for cricketers to be allowed to live as normal as life as possible. If there is 1 thing I would suggest that makes cricket an unattractive career choice, it is the challenges it presents to being with and having a normal relationship with your wife and kids.
    Last edited by Goughy; 15-01-2007 at 05:14 PM.
    If I only just posted the above post, please wait 5 mins before replying as there is bound to be edits

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  9. #54
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughy View Post
    Im a little confused. As someone who watched so much cricket in the 1990s I find it hard to accept that England were any good during the period. OK, maybe. Poor possibly, Decent a stretch, but good never. By arguing against England being poor during this period you seem to be implying they were good.

    During the 1990's England won 26 tests and lost 43. Its a dreadful record and my thoughts on the situation are the same now as they were then, they just happen to clash with yours.

    They are-

    a) Many of the public and press in England overestimated the players talent
    You mention a list of
    Butcher, Atherton, Hussain, Stewart, Thorpe, Ramprakash, Cork, Caddick, Fraser and Gough
    I couldn't understand it then and certainly can now, how a number of those people are rated highly.
    Of that list Stewart and Fraser were genuinely World Class with Thorpe beings Englands best batsman of the period, but never comparing to the best the world could offer.
    Butcher, Hussain, Ramprakash and Cork were decent Test players. Nothing more (Ramprakash probably a lot less so). Capable of scoring or performing well on occasion but not having the ability to be the focal point and 'stars' of a top test team.
    Atherton, was certainly struck by back issues which hindered his game, he however also had a very ordinary technique to the short of a length ball and was never a rounded enough player (especially with this weakness) to be considered top draw.
    Caddick and Gough were Englands best opening pair since Willis and Botham but given the standard of those in between that was not much of a claim to greatness. Both were different types of players but fall into the same category. Good but not very good and certainly not top draw.

    I dont think throughout the 90's England were capable of putting a very good team out on the field. Decent- Yes, Competetive- Yes but flawed and lacking raw talent.

    b) The psychology of losing

    It is now a cliche, but losing is a habit. This England team of the 90s became proficient and it became part of the culture. I will state now, it is impossible maintain the same level of hatred and loathing of losing if it is a regular occurance. After a period time it is impossible for the emotions to be as intense. Noone ever like losing but the more it happens the less of a shock it becomes and the more you realise that life does go on and the world isnt going to end. Sooner or later a level of acceptance comes in. Its hard to give a speach about must win games and how it is important and essential to win a particular game if you are going to have to do the same week in week out after loses.

    Also the mentality of a number of members of the England team in the 90's was certainly suspect. This was certainly not helped by the choice of coaches and the man-managment skills they brought with them. Hussain was prone to self-doubt and introspection, Hick was fragile, Atherton (though different in personality) had similar issues as Hussain, Thorpe had issues outside cricket, Ramprakash was a nervous but egotistical player, Caddick was an emotional and high maintainance player etc.

    The personalities and balance of characters was not there to succeed

    Obviously you disagree with me on both aspects, and thats fine.

    A question I would ask is, if there was no mental or cultural issues and there was a lot of talent in the team, why did England have a record as poor as winning only 26 games out of 107 during the decade (less than 25% winning percentage)?

    Apologies and thanks to anyone that actually read all this
    Okay, it's probably easier to ask you to do something EVEN MORE incredible than reading that post and read this (don't worry about the rest of the thread) than to respond in type here.

    One thing I'd ask beforehand - have you read Hussain, Atherton, Thorpe, Stewart's autobios? I know you haven't actually called any of them defeatists but I just think they make good reading for anyone who's stupid enough to even consider the possibility of doing so.

    As for individual players... a few things I'd mention.

    Gough and Caddick between 1999\2000 and Lord's vs Pakistan 2001 were IMO as good an opening pair as you could wish for. That, of course, falls outside our scope here. Gough, however, when fit, was a brilliant bowler for most of the time. Caddick was rarely any good before summer 1999.

    Atherton was troubled by his back a couple of times. He was also brought in prematurely. If you take his career from 1990 to 2000 (calender years) and knock-out the series he could barely even bend (Zim 1996, Aus 1998\99) his record is top-drawer and fit IMO to rank with the Kirstens, Slaters, Anwars and Taylors. I feel Atherton is often given a raw deal in the context of the shoddy cricket we've seen in the early 2000s.

    Hussain, too, often gets a raw deal. Sure, he was one hell of an introspective chap, but that made him as good as he was (again I refer to his autobio, it's hugely revealing). Aside from the year 2000, his record 1996-2004 stands-up very well indeed.

    Sure, Cork, Butcher, Ramprakash and Caddick never achieved their potential (or at least what I saw as their potential). Cork of those disappointed me more than any. Yet they all had more than their moments (as, of course, early in the decade did Gooch, in a massive way) and only Ramprakash could really be said never to have made England a better side in the 1990s (given that he only became good in 1998).

    As for Thorpe - his issues outside cricket didn't often cause him problems until 1999\2000, really, did they?

    I do feel that this psychology of losing stuff is overplayed. No-one who actually played around that time ever mentions "I got really down at being beaten constantly by X". Surely, surely, if it really was something of significance it'd have got a decent mention?

    One final thing - it maddens me, it really does, that people talk about the 1990s as being the worst of the worst, when even in bare statistical terms IT WASN'T. In the 2nd half of the 1980s England played 40 Tests and won THREE! And those three numbered a one-off at home against Sri Lanka when they were only just good enough to be playing Tests, and two in Australia in 1986\87 who are often referred to as the worst Australian team ever.

    And that doesn't tell half the story (whereas 26 out of 107 IMO most certainly does) - out of those 37 England looked like winning just ONE!

    Sure, England weren't crash-hot in the 1990s and even I'm not claiming they were. But they were a damn sight better than they were in the 2nd half of the 1980s, and virtually no-one seems to realise that.

  10. #55
    International Captain LongHopCassidy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    1, there was certainly no overreaction to the 2005 victory. This was a series many were willing to describe as the greatest in history. Was it not worth celebrating then? Sure, the MBEs were going OTT and many said that at the time. But... funny thing... they just happened to be nothing whatsoever to do with the cricketing establishment.
    MBEs aside, it would be difficult to overlook the fact that by beating Australia, English cricket - every facet - was now seen as unquestionably superior, according to the media. Fletcher himself was seen as infallible for his Ashes innovations, and as a result the subsequent howlers he endorsed or at least allowed (selecting Udal for Pakistan, Flintoff as captain, persisting with Giles) didn't come under the savage scrutiny we'd come to expect, except on this forum. Ingrained problems with the Test team - such as the reliance on Fred and the keeper dilemma - were overlooked as long as the Ashes beat-up remained.

    I think you're sorely underestimating the media's power here, and the attitudes they create. If cricket was entirely a pragmatic sport, then Harmison might have been MOTS this series.

    It's not only a problem associated with England, either. The Indian side from 2001 to 2004 had a multitude of problems ignored because of their penchant of beating Australia and the fame it brought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    This mud-tinted-glasses lookback has given people one hell of an inflated idea of the last couple of years. For much of the 1990s, England had some very, very fine cricketers in the side and to call them "defeatists" is a complete and utter insult to their integrity, as it is to suggest that passionate, intelligent men of the likes of Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart and Nasser Hussain are shallow enough to be influenced by Press ideals is utter bull****. Virtually everyone ever picked for England has tried their damndest to do their absolute best to win cricket matches every single time they've stepped onto the cricket field. In many, many instances, however, they did not manage to get over the line.

    An ingrained defeatist attitude was categorically not one of them. Try reading an autobiography or two before throwing your wildly insulting accusations around.
    Steve Waugh showed during most of his captaincy that mental strength and a positive attitude went a long, long way towards making winning a habit. In fact, he placed more of an emphasis on it than actual technical skill (if his writing is to be believed), with the assumption that you already had the skill to compete at Test level - the mentality to use it was often the only obstacle. His enviable record as a Test captain speaks for itself. Are you telling me attitude doesn't play a part, or that 1990s England were simply on a different level?

    As for press ideals, I think you're not giving enough credit to the unique ability to make sweeping statements about people daily, to be read by millions across the country. Simply because the worst you've encountered is abusive comments on the internet in a community of about 250-300 people, I'm not sure you have an authoritative knowledge of how negative press affects your mentality.

    I remember being positively stoked when I got in my local paper - which has a readership of perhaps ten thousand. If that makes me shallow and robs me of my passion and intelligence, then believe what you like. I do know, however, that I'd be much less amused at millions being told I had no ticker and had no place in my national team. I also know that my game would be adversely affected.

    Forgive me for dealing in hypotheticals - it's just my thoughts.

    And regarding the fact that they 'didn't get over the line' - I wonder why?
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  11. #56
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHopCassidy View Post
    MBEs aside, it would be difficult to overlook the fact that by beating Australia, English cricket - every facet - was now seen as unquestionably superior, according to the media. Fletcher himself was seen as infallible for his Ashes innovations, and as a result the subsequent howlers he endorsed or at least allowed (selecting Udal for Pakistan, Flintoff as captain, persisting with Giles) didn't come under the savage scrutiny we'd come to expect, except on this forum. Ingrained problems with the Test team - such as the reliance on Fred and the keeper dilemma - were overlooked as long as the Ashes beat-up remained.
    What? You on this planet?

    Duncan Fletcher has been treated about as disgracefully as anyone in recent memory, certainly in cricket. Even before this tour, people were saying "I agree with Boycott['s bull****] 100%" which simply exposes a complete lack of cricketing logic.

    Before and after 2005, Duncan Fletcher was the best thing to happen to English cricket. Tell me, please - how was selecting Udal a bad decision? No-one could guess how flat the pitches would be, no fingerspinner was ever going to take decent figures on them. Nor was the captaincy a bad decision (or completely his) - had Strauss been picked, criticism would be equally flying, the captaincy was a no-win situation IMO.

    Of late, he's come in for as much flak as anyone, from all quarters: ill-inforemed public, well-informed public (on here) or Press. To expect anything less would be to display dismal ignorance of human psychology. Disaster happens: scapegoat is required. Unfortunately, this time it may be DF.
    I think you're sorely underestimating the media's power here, and the attitudes they create. If cricket was entirely a pragmatic sport, then Harmison might have been MOTS this series.
    Eh? Someone who takes wickets at 60 might be MOTS?

    I certainly don't underestimate the media's power to influence selection, not at all. But I do doubt their ability to damage players. I think people like Atherton and Hussain (based on reading their books) were above nonsense like that.
    It's not only a problem associated with England, either. The Indian side from 2001 to 2004 had a multitude of problems ignored because of their penchant of beating Australia and the fame it brought.
    I don't understand that at all. India had few problems, they'll go down as one of the best Indian sides of all-time, and it showed in their matching of Australia and many other things.
    Steve Waugh showed during most of his captaincy that mental strength and a positive attitude went a long, long way towards making winning a habit. In fact, he placed more of an emphasis on it than actual technical skill (if his writing is to be believed), with the assumption that you already had the skill to compete at Test level - the mentality to use it was often the only obstacle. His enviable record as a Test captain speaks for itself. Are you telling me attitude doesn't play a part, or that 1990s England were simply on a different level?
    Just because something worked for Stephen Waugh doesn't mean it works for most people. Stephen Waugh was a freak. And I do think (as do many Englishmen) that he vastly overdid the "mental" thing. I think his record as captain speaks for one thing - that he had himself, his twin, Gilchrist, McGrath, Warne, Fleming, Gillespie, Slater, Langer, Ponting, flat pitches for Hayden to bully on, and a multitude of other advantages.

    In my estimation attitude is vastly overrated. Do you seriously believe Joe Smith on the street could just go and pick-up a cricket bat and have the right attitude and suddenly go and become a Test-class cricketer? Because that's what that idea basically boils down to.
    As for press ideals, I think you're not giving enough credit to the unique ability to make sweeping statements about people daily, to be read by millions across the country. Simply because the worst you've encountered is abusive comments on the internet in a community of about 250-300 people, I'm not sure you have an authoritative knowledge of how negative press affects your mentality.

    I remember being positively stoked when I got in my local paper - which has a readership of perhaps ten thousand. If that makes me shallow and robs me of my passion and intelligence, then believe what you like. I do know, however, that I'd be much less amused at millions being told I had no ticker and had no place in my national team. I also know that my game would be adversely affected.

    Forgive me for dealing in hypotheticals - it's just my thoughts.
    If you read the autobios, far more players than not stop reading their press once their "honeymoon" is over. Not surprisingly, it all gets too much. There's nothing wrong with being pleased about being in the paper, nothing at all - but I suspect your attitudes would change if they were all barracking you. Most people's do.
    And regarding the fact that they 'didn't get over the line' - I wonder why?
    Because they weren't good enough - quite. They were good enough to get damn near many times, though - which if you believed a few people was impossible given how crap they supposedly were.

  12. #57
    International Captain LongHopCassidy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Before and after 2005, Duncan Fletcher was the best thing to happen to English cricket. Tell me, please - how was selecting Udal a bad decision? No-one could guess how flat the pitches would be, no fingerspinner was ever going to take decent figures on them.
    He took a fingerspinner. A 36-year-old fingerspinner. Isn't that enough for a sound shellacking, according to you?
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    In my estimation attitude is vastly overrated. Do you seriously believe Joe Smith on the street could just go and pick-up a cricket bat and have the right attitude and suddenly go and become a Test-class cricketer? Because that's what that idea basically boils down to.
    It's simplistic to polarise. Of course talent is 90% of a cricketer's repertoire and it's what's getting them Test caps in the first place. But mental strength, is essentially what breaks the deadlock in most Test matches. If one side has a palpable psychological advantage over the other, then talent be damned - at Test level the gulf in technical skill usually (usually) isn't that much anyway. Pakistan are an ideal example of the difference attitude and mentality can make.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    I think his record as captain speaks for one thing - that he had himself, his twin, Gilchrist, McGrath, Warne, Fleming, Gillespie, Slater, Langer, Ponting, flat pitches for Hayden to bully on, and a multitude of other advantages.
    I'll grant you McGrath, Warne, Slater and Mark Waugh. The others were a product of his own cajoling, encouragement and innovation to get to where they were, and only really blossomed during his captaincy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    If you read the autobios, far more players than not stop reading their press once their "honeymoon" is over. Not surprisingly, it all gets too much. There's nothing wrong with being pleased about being in the paper, nothing at all - but I suspect your attitudes would change if they were all barracking you. Most people's do.
    Exactly. The highs I felt would undoubtedly be matched by the lows I would experience were the press negative in any way. On a nationwide scale, that's not good for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Because they weren't good enough - quite. They were good enough to get damn near many times, though - which if you believed a few people was impossible given how crap they supposedly were.
    Fair enough - but I persist that mentality was what could have extricated them from mediocrity (and if 1990s England weren't at least mediocre, then you're simply kidding yourself).

  13. #58
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHopCassidy View Post
    He took a fingerspinner. A 36-year-old fingerspinner. Isn't that enough for a sound shellacking, according to you?
    Nope, because it was reasonable to expect the pitches to give something to fingerspin.

    Udal had performed well of late. No-one else had performed as well as he.

    In the event, the pitches offered virtually nothing to any bowler.
    It's simplistic to polarise. Of course talent is 90% of a cricketer's repertoire and it's what's getting them Test caps in the first place. But mental strength, is essentially what breaks the deadlock in most Test matches. If one side has a palpable psychological advantage over the other, then talent be damned - at Test level the gulf in technical skill usually (usually) isn't that much anyway. Pakistan are an ideal example of the difference attitude and mentality can make.
    You having a laugh?

    Quite aside from the fact that Pakistan is a freak case (they've been volatile beyond the bounds anyone else would even consider for about the last 20 years), to me it's patently obvious that levels of talent vastly differ across all spectrums and all teams.

    Added to the fact that "talent" is something I've always taken a broad view of, and most people have a pretty shallow view of it.

    For me, mental talents are little different to physical ones, and indeed they're interwoven.
    I'll grant you McGrath, Warne, Slater and Mark Waugh. The others were a product of his own cajoling, encouragement and innovation to get to where they were, and only really blossomed during his captaincy.
    Gilchrist came straight in and went from the word go. How Waugh deserves any credit for that is beyond me. I don't see that he deserves credit for Fleming and Gillespie gaining fitness, either. Nor Ponting getting his opportunities and overcoming his off-field problems. The only person I think you can say Waugh might have influenced his career is Langer and even he'd got established just before he took the captaincy.
    Exactly. The highs I felt would undoubtedly be matched by the lows I would experience were the press negative in any way. On a nationwide scale, that's not good for you.
    So your natural defence-mechanisms kick-in and you think "stuff 'em, I ain't reading that garbage".
    Fair enough - but I persist that mentality was what could have extricated them from mediocrity (and if 1990s England weren't at least mediocre, then you're simply kidding yourself).
    I persist that it's unlikely to have done, because near enough each and every player was trying their damndest.

    BTW - how old are you these days? 16 from memory... if so, you write beyond your years.

  14. #59
    International Captain LongHopCassidy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIchard
    I persist that it's unlikely to have done, because near enough each and every player was trying their damndest.
    I imagine 'damndest' may be perceived by different people. Effort is all well and good, and nothing less is expected at Test level, but when a side is weighed down by defeat - and proceeds to accept it with more familiarity than a team weaned on victory, a loss doesn't become such a undesirable outcome.

    I know that's thoroughly ambiguous and flak-worthy, so let me explain:

    As an Australian blessed to be represented by such a good team, winning is expected. Expected. As a result, I don't believe I give victory the same sanctity that a Bangladeshi cricket fan would. At the same time, I take each defeat (and with the Australian team, it's usually in exceptional circumstances - see Jo'burg, Edgbaston) far, far worse. As if it's a travesty. I feel emotions that I shouldn't as a follower of something so ultimately trivial.

    Conversely, with the English, an Ashes victory is a recipe for euphoria purely because the situation is almost the inverse (sweeping statement, I know). Many contemporary British writers acknowledge the 'losing culture' and 'gallant loser' maxims that the press has capitalised on. A media like the British have with their savagery, bickering and borderline libel only magnifies such emotions and nationwide feeling.

    And this is never more so relevant than with cricket, where - despite the national side's best efforts - they have a tendency to taste a losing beer more often than a winning one. The frequency of defeat after defeat means that an expectation softens the blow after a while. That it hurts just that little bit less.

    That's defeatism. It's not a case of 'My word, they're better than us, let's simply roll over!' which, as you quite rightly say, IS a slight on someone's personality.

  15. #60
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    In other words, a defeat hurt Adam Gilchrist more than Michael Atherton.

    Wrong, IMO.

    I can quite see where you're coming from, and I quite appreciate the Australian-perspective that you paint. I don't disagree, indeed, that the British media (or at least sections of it - the likes of CMJ and Matthew Engel are rarely less than exceptional) are often unhelpful in the reporting of something that they're supposed to care about - in the fact that they do influence selection and decision-making, often IMO for the worse.

    I don't, however, think you quite appreciate the character-traits of the likes of Atherton and Hussain, who simply don't allow for such a thing to become engrained, no matter how much someone might try to bash it into them. It's thanks to powerful characters like Graham Gooch and those two that English cricket 1990-1999 didn't indeed descend into total farce (which it patently didn't, as you might hopefully realise if you read my article that I linked to earlier) with England doing a Bangladesh and being thrashed every game.

    And I certainly refute totally the suggestion that the likes of Trescothick, Strauss, Collingwood are better batsmen or contribute to a better team than the likes of Atherton, Hussain and Stewart. The latter three are infinately more talented than the former three and I don't see that the former three deserve any sort of denegration just because they happened to play in a side that didn't win a great deal while the latter three can be praised despite massively inferior talent.

    It crosses my mind many times the possibility of a Duncan Fletcher sort of type turning-up in 1992, say - how different might things have been...

    A 2-1 loss to Pakistan would IMO very likely have become a 2-1 win

    A 4-0 loss in the subcontinent would probably have been less of a farce, even if the results might've been the same.

    A 3-1 loss in WI might well have been a 2-2 draw.

    A 3-1 Ashes loss might well have been a 3-2 loss at worst if not a 3-2 victory.

    A 1-0 loss in South Africa might possibly have been a 1-0 victory.

    A 0-0 draw in Zimbabwe would almost certainly have been a 1-0 win and there'd have been no "We flippin' murdered 'em"; and a 2-0 in New Zealand might well have been 3-0.

    A 3-2 Ashes loss could quite possibly have been a 4-1 victory.

    A 3-1 loss in West Indies, like in 1990, would probably have been little different because bad luck was the only factor and even DF can't change that.

    A 3-1 Ashes loss might have been 5-0 or it might have been much closer.

    And a 2-1 loss to New Zealand could have been 4-0.

    The margins in the 1990s were often minute.

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