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Thread: A winter of discontent

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    A winter of discontent

    Now nearly a year on from Duncan Fletcher's resignation as England coach, we can begin to assess how his successors in the selection box are going. It does not look good.

    A winter of discontent.
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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    A good read, even if I think you're overstating things a bit with your comparisons to the late 1980's. fwiw you missed a couple of odd selection issues: the Broad/Tremlett leapfrogging, and the dropping of Hoggard. otoh there were other oddities in the early days of Fletcher such as Ramps opening and Knight & Ward batting way down the order. And I suppose there's a chance that Strauss will reinvent himself at 3 just as Butcher did under DF. No, I don't think it's very likely either, but we'll see. Basically, I think it's early days and, despite the faffing about with Bopara/Shah and Tremlett/Broad, I wouldn't want to make a definitive judgement yet.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    I did mention the Tremlett-Broad-Tremlett-Broad thing, end of the penultimate paragraph. Left the Hoggard thing out because I didn't really think I could justify the stupidity on view there in words fit for public consuption TBH.

    As regards the Ramparaksh opening with Knight at six - as I understand, that was (inexplicably) through the choice of both players, Ramprakash who had never opened at any serious level and Knight who hadn't batted in the middle for at least 7 or 8 years and had enjoyed far less sucess there than he had since moving to open. Not, as I understood it, Duncan Fletcher's decisions. As for Ward, much as I disagreed with him being picked to bat at six and seven, there was virtually nothing in the way of complaint about that at the time, suggesting there really were no middle-order options (and this was firmed-up by Afzaal then being picked 2 games later). Ward was, of course, virtually bashing the door down.

    BTW, as regards definitive judgements - I'm certainly not attempting to make them. But after a year, we can start saying "this is a very, very poor way to start". Which is just what I did.
    Last edited by Richard; 21-03-2008 at 12:53 PM.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    Truly top stuff, Richard. The article really appealed to me and this is coming from someone who can only think of the fact that England bores him as to why he does not naturally support them.
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    International Coach tooextracool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid View Post
    otoh there were other oddities in the early days of Fletcher such as Ramps opening and Knight & Ward batting way down the order.
    Agreed, but wouldnt just restrict that to the early days of Fletchers tenure. IMO, Fletcher was a pathetic selector from day 1 while always being a fairly decent coach. Unfortunately these two completely different positions are consistently muddled up and Fletcher was allowed too much power on the selection panel. Bar the odd miracle selection-Trescothick and Vaughan, there were a fair many borderline ludicrous selections even during his prime years. The selection of players like Ian Salisbury against Pakistan, the selection of Batty over Croft in SL, the twin dropping of Simon Jones after 1 bad test each during the summer and Winter of 2004, the constant reselection of James Anderson(who did not deserve to come anywhere near the test side during the 2003-06 period), the non-selection of Ian Bell to tour SA(and subsequent selection for the 2005 Ashes), the dropping of Thorpe during the 2005 Ashes, the selection of Blackwell to tour India, the selection of Shaun Udal, the selection of Liam Plunkett, to name but a few. I for one have always found Fletcher's abilities as a selector to be distinctly ordinary and extremely overrated. His wide acclaimed persistence with players only really applied for players that he liked, and did certainly not apply to players like Robert Key and Simon Jones who were seemingly always one test away from being dropped irrespective of their on-field performances.

    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid View Post
    And I suppose there's a chance that Strauss will reinvent himself at 3 just as Butcher did under DF. No, I don't think it's very likely either, but we'll see.
    The question really is, do you really need to invent yourself as an opener to bat down at 3? I've never heard of an opener being incapable of batting at 3 given that if anything it should be somewhat of an easier job to do so considering that you are less likely to have to face the brand new ball. Its one position down which as far as Im concerned is still part of the top order and its not like hes having to bat with the tail or has to come in to play spin at the start of his innings. As you said, Mark Butcher had no problem. Nor did Gary Kirsten.Nor really did Rob Key. Cook averages higher at 3 than at the top. IMO if Strauss is good enough he should be able to succeed anywhere in the top 3. The problem is, is he really good enough?
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    International Coach tooextracool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Now nearly a year on from Duncan Fletcher's resignation as England coach, we can begin to assess how his successors in the selection box are going. It does not look good.

    A winter of discontent.
    Agree with some of it, which is more than what i can say for most articles on cricinfo. Nonetheless i would suggest that its been more than just a winter of discontent under Moores thus far. His achievements from the summer are probably hiding under a rock.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    "A summer and winter of discontent" (which was indeed what I was talking about really) just doesn't quite have that snappiness TBH.

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Going back to Moores, I would argue that even the things I've disagreed with have probably had minimal impact on the side's results. The biggest factor, as we are seeing yet again tonight, is how he's been regularly let down by established players (esp batsmen) who should be doing way better than what we see from them. Quite what he's supposed to do after this sort of debacle isn't easy to call, but the decline in English batsmanship over the last couple of years is a wonder to behold.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid View Post
    Going back to Moores, I would argue that even the things I've disagreed with have probably had minimal impact on the side's results. The biggest factor, as we are seeing yet again tonight, is how he's been regularly let down by established players (esp batsmen) who should be doing way better than what we see from them. Quite what he's supposed to do after this sort of debacle isn't easy to call, but the decline in English batsmanship over the last couple of years is a wonder to behold.
    The batsmen have been poor in the winter - execrable occasionally, indeed - not helped by the extraordinarily weak eight-eleven. And they left a little to be desired in the Second Test against India too.

    But as I was at pains to point-out - I really don't care much for match results when judging selections. Selections should be judged on their own merits.

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    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Now nearly a year on from Duncan Fletcher's resignation as England coach, we can begin to assess how his successors in the selection box are going. It does not look good.

    A winter of discontent.

    In many ways it almost feels like a return to the free-for-all days of the late 1980s. And this a feeling garnered by someone who had not yet passed his fourth birthday at the end of that most chaotic and calamitous of all summers, 1989

    What it is like now is nothing like what it was in the late 80s! Stick with what you know, and you won't go far wrong
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    I know plenty about the 80s TBH. The 2nd half of that decade was the worst time in English cricket history, I've said it many times.

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    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    I know plenty about the 80s TBH. The 2nd half of that decade was the worst time in English cricket history, I've said it many times.
    Trust me, the selection policy in the late 80s was geared towards sheer panic, England are nowhere near that stage at the moment

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    I'm well aware it was, it was shocking, and hardly surprising that it was either. This isn't as bad as that, but it does come far closer to it than anything has for quite a while.

    Notice I didn't say in every way it recalls the late 1980s, just in many ways. I do think there's quite a bit of stumbling-around-in-the-dark, pick-as-many-as-you-can-and-you're-bound-to-get-it-right-eventually. And suchlike. And that hasn't been seen for a while, I repeat.



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