GOOGLIES & CHINAMEN
An Occasional Cricketing Journal
- Everyone: The good news about the Corona Virus is that the Hundred will be cancelled!
- Jonathan Agnew: Who is first on the team sheet in all forms of the game?
- Ian Ward: What is your approach to boundaries?
Eion Morgan: Why bother? I don’t.
- Alex Hales: I don’t get it. I was the one who stopped Stokesy from killing that bloke in Bristol and he is a national hero, whilst I don’t even get in the squad.
- Stuart Law: I think that the channels of communication will be much easier this season now that we have an Australian captain.
Stuart Law: Search me.
Out and About with the Professor
Has there been, in recent times, a more successful overseas tour than this one to South Africa?
I have been on ten tours in the last 15 years or so and only India in 2012 and, of course, Australia in 2010 come close.
To reprise the results:
Lost the first Test but won the series 3-1
Lost the first ODI and drew the series 1-1
Lost the first T20 but won the series 2-1
Only the rain at Kingsmead spoilt the possibility of a perfect symmetry.
To add to this little drama there was the illness that afflicted most of the England team just prior to the first Test (I don’t know - by which I mean I haven’t read - what was the exact nature of the illness, but the South Africans have form in this department...recall the New Zealand rugby team all suffering from food poisoning on the day of the World Cup final with the exception of two who had dined out the night before, at a nearby restaurant). Whatever the nature or cause of the malady it could not but have detracted from the team’s performance in that first match. Add to that the personal stress that Stokes had to confront with his father’s illness, and his conclusion that the Tour was “cursed” seemed an apposite, if melodramatic, description at the time. But cursed it was not. Indeed, for a number of young players it may well prove to have been closer to a blessing. Sibley, Crawley, and especially Pope have advanced their careers as has Bess. It is only one tour and Sri Lanka, next up, may prove very different, but it would be curmudgeonly not to take some optimism from these performances.
It is surely much too soon to make a sensible attempt to assess the abilities of Bess. He took 5-51 in the 3rd Test but he is hardly the finished article, indeed at 22 it would be bizarre if he was. Off-spinners, so it seems to me, mature at a later age than most cricketers. Any new England candidate is inevitably compared with Swann, but he made his Test debut at the age of 29. Bess could turn out to be the equal of Swann, or even his better...but then again.
Winning also, as we all know, is wonderful for the reputations of captains, and while I still have my doubts about Root’s captaincy, and especially some of his field placings, to win 3-1 from one down is about as good as you can do. Morgan, of course, is unassailable.
England’s field to Bess: Philander facing. Better field placings than some.
Add to all that, obviously, has been the closeness of the matches. Only the Port Elizabeth Test was a truly one-sided affair; the two ODIs were competitive and, especially, the three T20s which were as close as it could be. And what entertainment. We have discussed T20 many times in this journal. For some it is a grossly inferior (rather than different) form of the game: “pyjama cricket”, tabloid or “hit and giggle” cricket. (Actually, I’ve never understood this last epithet...who, exactly, is doing the giggling?). If you take that view, (as, for example, does Michael Holding) you will not be affected by what you see – even if you look. But what T20 is, is popular. And entertaining. And at times, quite brilliant. Indeed three matches won on respectively: the last scheduled ball, the last scheduled ball, and with five balls to spare, could hardly be more so. It has also been, to use a word that many do not associate with cricket, exciting. Indeed more than just exciting. Even if you knew nothing about the game, the closeness of the last three matches could hardly fail to get you out of your seat. Many times, in these sell-out matches, no-one was actually in their seat. It helps, also, if you happen to be committed to one of the sides - and people who travel all round the world to watch England might reasonably be assumed to have commitment. This is not, at least in my case, to be confused with patriotism. I guess that many of the travelling fans describe themselves as such - for the Barmy Army it must be an assumed credential - but I don’t. I support England because they are my team and the enjoyment of sport is greatly enhanced by some sort of identity with one of the contenders. It is, I suppose, a vicarious participation.
Commitment or not, T20, above all, enthuses the public. And professional sport is, should anyone forget, a public entertainment. If the public are not entertained by Test or County cricket to the extent that they don’t attend, it is pointless to say that they should be. They aren’t. But few sentient beings could fail to be entertained by those three games. I read that they produced 1,200 runs with 448 of them coming at Centurion. Does anyone, reading this, have the slightest idea of how you can score 226 from 19.1 overs? I can recall 126 being considered a decent score. Morgan has now twice scored 50 from 21 balls. I’ve played with people who couldn’t get 50 from 21 overs. …and I might be one of them. 21 balls! And without, in this last match, hitting a four.
An astonishing end to a wonderful tour.
This & That
I missed some of the tests in South Africa but was back in time to see the ODIs and T20s. There was much good stuff on show. Not least was Moeen’s return to form. His 39 from 10 balls was comprised of flicks and exquisite timing. In this 2nd T20 England scored 79 from their last 5 overs. In this match de Kock reached 53 from 17 deliveries with 7 sixes and his final tally of 65 included 8 sixes and he faced just 22 balls.
Chris Jordan has high standing as a closer with his accurate yorker length bowling but he is a liability in the earlier overs. De Kock played through the line and lifted his first three deliveries for six on the perfect surface at Centurion. Morgan appropriately completed the memorable six matches with a cameo in his inimitable way in an innings which included 7 sixes and no fours. In this, the third T20, England knocked off 224 with 5 balls to spare which has become an enormous margin in this form of cricket.
At some point Linesman had their status elevated to that of Assistant Referees for no good reason. Now that VAR deals with all important matters perhaps it is time they reverted to being Linesmen again?
Premiership football has developed a dead period whilst VARs are in progress. Referees keep the game going whilst the review takes place until the ball goes out of play. In the Burnley v Bournemouth game whilst VAR was reviewing a handball in the Burnley penalty area, Bournemouth went up the other end and scored. But VAR awarded a penalty at the other end from which Burnley scored and so the Bournemouth goal was disallowed. But what happens to other action in this period whilst VAR is taking place? For example, if a reckless defender brakes someone’s leg and is shown a red card is this rescinded? And does the unfortunate casualty miraculously have his leg repaired?
I continue to be baffled as to why highly paid footballers have such difficulty in kicking footballs. Apparently Pogba is paid 290k a week. Let’s say that lesser players get £100k. If you say that on average a guy may get 40 touches in a match then each is worth £2.5k. It seems incredible to me that paid this amount so many Premiership takers of corner kicks are unable to clear the first defender in front of the near post. I would still reckon to be able to get such a kick closer to my team mates congregating around the penalty spot. Oh! And I would be very happy to pocket £2.5k a time.
I believe that youngsters are now snapped up by their clubs at an early age so that they can be fully immersed in all things football. However, it seems that their tutors are missing out on the basics. In a recent match Brandon Williams was penalised for a foul throw whilst playing for Manchester United and then chose to argue with the referee about it. Playing for Notts Forest Joe Worrall's header was ruled out because Joe Lolley's corner was deemed to have been delivered from outside the quadrant.
A particularly puzzling feature of the modern game is that subs are never ready to come on. The cameras will pan across to young men sensibly wearing track suits to keep their finely tuned limbs warm but when one of them is selected to strip off it transpires that they are not wearing their kit underneath and have to be furnished with this by their attendants who may, of course be their mums and dads. In many cases they also do not have their shin pads in place or their boots on! Consequently, there can often being a critical gap whilst their injured teammate is removed from the playing arena and they are eventually ready to come on and replace them.
In the Southampton v Aston Villa match the Villa goalkeeper Pepe Rainer went up for a corner late on in the game in a desperate attempt to force an equaliser. Puzzlingly he stood on the goal line rather than in an attacking position and then when the ball was cleared made no attempt to get back to his own demesne as Southampton went down the other end and scored into an empty net.
The pundits have a terminology all of their own. You often hear reference to the number ten role. What can this mean? Since the range of possibilities includes Johnny Giles and John Toshak, I find that I am none the wiser. Of course, players now use their squad numbers and so such descriptions are meaningless to them as well.
There has been discussion of the merits of “Showboating” in the modern game with players juggling and performing the “Rainbow”. Neymar is one such exponent of this art and he must have perfected his technique after scrutinizing tapes of the Great Jack Morgan from the seventies.
In a recent ODI Sri Lanka racked up a winning 342 against the West Indies without any of their batsmen hitting a six. This is truly full circle as it was the Sri Lankan, Sanath Jayasuriya, who transformed this form of the game with his six hitting.
The New Zealanders have outperformed themselves in their home series against the Indians. Having lost the T20 they then won all three ODIs followed by the first test. They are also handily placed in the second test.
The Great man is struggling to find pertinent cricket matters in the month of the Women’s WC
The PCA is supporting two overseas players per county from 2021 because all Kolpak deals will be terminated from the end of the 2020 season.
J Archer has a stress fracture of the right elbow, ruling him out for at least 3 months. He has bowled more overs than any other England bowler in 2019 despite not making his debut until May, but J Root denies over bowling him, pointing out that he has played a hell of a lot of cricket for teams other than England eg all 3 formats for Sussex and other tournaments like the IPL and Big Bash.
Rawalpindi: Pakistan 445 (Shan Masood 100, Babar Azam 143), Bangladesh 126-6, still trailing by 86. Pakistan’s 16-year-old paceman Naseem Shah became the youngest to take a hat-trick in Tests.
C Silverwood is planning to alternate J Archer and M Wood... and O Stone as well. Archer will also bowl shorter spells.
The England Test squad for the SL trip is Root, Bess, Broad, Buttler, Crawley, S Curran, Denly, Foakes, Jennings, Leach, Parkinson, Pope, Sibley, Stokes, Woakes, Wood. Anderson and Archer are injured, Bairstow “rested” and Moeen is "unavailable".
Today's G has a long news piece by Amelia Gentleman about MPs voicing their anger about the sad fate of the Windrush victims, which is illustrated with a quite large colour photo of the late great Middlesex hero Richard "Wes" Stewart. He looks much older, greyer and heavier than in his playing days, but (at this stage) he still looks quite healthy.
The waiting time for MCC membership is 29 years!
In the "Cricket World Cup League 2", USA made 35 a/o, Nepal 36-2 won by 8 wkts. USA equalled the world record lowest score in an ODI held by Zims v SL in Harare in 2004.
Rs were 0-2 down to lowly Stoke after half an hour, but Hugill, Eze, Osayi-Samuel and Chair (in stoppage time) gave the lads a welcome 4-2 win... but I do not think I will break open the champers just yet.
F du Plessis has stepped down as SA's Test and T20 captain.
C Silverwood has told the Times that he knows 9 of the T20 WC XI: Roy, Buttler, Bairstow, Morgan, Stokes, Moeen, Jordan, T Curran and Rashid. The candidates for no 5 are Denly, Malan and Banton, while those competing for no 11 are Wood and Archer.
Ross Taylor is set to play his 100th Test for NZ today against India in Wellington.
Mitchell Marsh is joining Middlesex for this year's T20.
There is quite a lot in the news at present about ECB Chief Executive, Tom Harrison, opposing 4 day Tests "except against Afghanistan and Ireland for instance". Seems fairly sensible.
Colombo ODI: WI 289-7 (S Hope 115); SL 290-9 won by 1 wkt with 1 ball remaining! Nice One!
Rs are 0-0 at Forest after 80 mins... and that was how it finished. Not a bad point at promotion chasing NF.
My latest candidate for the position of "poofter in the England cricket team" is... K Jennings.
Rs in top half of table sensation! Yes, it is true: after thrashing Derby 2-1, they have shot up to the dizzy heights of twelfth. The G reported that "Ilias Chair capitalised after a mistake by Wayne Rooney to score QPR's winner in the 2-1 win over Derby".
Former FA Chief Executive Ian Watmore (what more could we ask?) is to succeed C Graves as Chairman of the ECB. Graves is "understood to be in the running to become the next Chairman of the ICC".
Poor old injury-jinxed M Wood is out of the England Test tour to SL with a side strain. He is replaced by Saqib Mahmood of Lancashire.
Bush, Wembley, JSE Price and Me
Alvin Nienow sent me this
I can go back a bit further than Peter Burke concerning extraordinary October fixtures between the Bush and Wembley. It was 1959 and as Peter pointed out, we had already played Wembley at the Bush in late September. They arrived with a fearsome reputation on the circuit which particularly related to a new fast bowler. Wembley were skippered by Bobby Pipe, a war veteran who still bore horrific face scars due to burns as a result of being shot down in the war. He was a very difficult guy to judge, maybe because he had very little facial expression because of the scaring but he was recognised as an astute captain. He opened the bowling at what I would call club fast medium with great control and especially when the ball was new, could swing it both ways.
On this occasion, Wembley batted, were a bit slow but still declared with a relatively low score (I would say a pitiful score compared to the number of runs club sides score these days), leaving the Bush more time than they had had. We were very surprised and thought they had been overgenerous! That was until John Price’s first over! Anyway, I can’t remember more details but we lost, falling well short of their total. After the game, I remember the prediction of Bobby Pipe that John would go on to play for Middlesex and England.
It had been a wonderful summer and so it was on the first Saturday in October. The Bush were captained by Bob Talbot, another war veteran with a great rivalry with Bobby Pipe. He also opened the bowling even though he had one leg shorter than the other, again due to a war injury; and had to wear a special orthopaedic boot. Wembley opened with Dave Watson and Ken Pearce, their regular pair, who were a bit of legend and featured for many years in a picture in the Wembley Pavilion of them and the scoreboard showing 200+ for 0! This time Wembley batted a little faster but still gave us a good declaration. I batted at 3 and runs came quite fast mainly off John Price running down the slope off his full run towards the Wasps ground. That was because I got lots of edges and over the hard outfield they raced for 4. After a while, John was removed from the attack and it got easier, though one also had to handle a fair amount of verbal abuse from Peter Ray, a trait which he never lost and which got him into quite a bit of trouble.
I was eventually out for 93, bowled through the gate by an arm ball from Peter! I am clearly quite egocentric because I can’t remember who batted with me but when I was out, we were close to victory and there was not much time left. Still to bat in the Bush side, as in Peter’s account, were Alan Keates and Steve Thomas, who incidentally was also a world class piss artist (he held some very senior position in the UK headquarters of an Antipodean Bank). We got home with 9 down with Steve in and a few minutes to spare. Again, as Peter said, in typical Bush style (a style it still has), we had a splendid evening in the bar; and of course, being pre-breathalyser, I was driven home by a well-sozzled Steve. What a way to end the season! And Bobby Pipe was right of course!
Ken Molloy sent me this
Another dreadful game from Bale today. I don’t understand why Madrid don’t just cut their losses and let him go because he does not even contribute enthusiasm
After watching Madrid mid week and the last couple of Spurs games I am thinking of offering my services as a defence consultant.
When they were teaching me in junior school that defenders should mark their man, try to get to the ball first or if not possible to stay goal side of him I never realised they were revealing deep secrets that some clubs either do not know or are unable to pass on to their players
It is now clear that there is a wonderful opportunity to market these ideas
The fee would be a modest 1% of the club’s defensive wage bill for one four hour session, or 1.5% if it included lessons on the importance of chasing back using a skill called running rather than moseying back when losing the ball or beaten by an opponent or an opponent’s pass.
For 2% clubs could opt for the deluxe version which would include a haircut for real defenders (shaven head) or a choice of one tattoo (added or removed)
If you would like a franchise for this course, please let me know.
England’s first Test tour: death, brawling, betting and cross-dressing
George continues his historic forays by contributing the following which he found by Simon Burnton
England’s 500th Test match on foreign soil, which concluded in Port Elizabeth on Monday, prompted a lot of people to reminisce about tours past, but few could hope to match the tale of England’s voyage to their first ever away Test, played in Melbourne in March 1877. It is a tale of death, drama, donkeys and cross-dressing, and one that was thankfully diarised in sometimes excruciating detail by an unnamed player in a series of letters to the Sporting Life.
In all 255 days passed between the players setting sail from Southampton and their return to London’s Charing Cross station. The correspondent details every day of the outbound trip. Along the way they stopped at Gibraltar, Malta (“the beggars and guides are a perfect nuisance, pestering you the whole time”), Port Said and Suez at either end of the Suez Canal (“Suez is a wretched town. No pleasure can be got by a visit to the place, which is a tumble-down, narrow-streeted, stinking hole”), Yemen and Galle, before the players switched boats for the leg to King George’s Sound. Before they reached Malta one of their shipmates died. “About half-past 10 a death occurred on board, and at two the funeral took place. A very impressive ceremony – the ship stopping, and the knell tolling as the body was committed to the deep,” wrote the player. At Suez several players engaged in a donkey race, during which Allen Hill, the bowler who was to take the first ever Test wicket, fell off his ride and injured an elbow – the line of totally unnecessary injuries sustained by touring England cricketers engaged in completely unnecessary pursuits having started long before Rory Burns did his ankle playing football.
At King George’s Sound they changed to yet another boat, for the trip to Glenelg in South Australia, where they were loaded on to a horse-drawn cart and taken the final six miles to Adelaide, where they played and won their first match. The tour was off to a fine start, but it would head downhill fast.
There were nine matches in Australia and eight in New Zealand in the run-up to the first Test, against teams that ranged in size from 13 men to 22. Results were mixed, and finances poor. Gate receipts were the team’s only source of remuneration, but in many places locals were not keen on contributing if they could avoid it. In Christchurch, for example, the local paper complained about “the numbers of people who visited the ground without having the generosity to contribute to the very heavy expenses of the Eleven.” Meanwhile England lost to Victoria and twice to New South Wales. “The Englishmen have made no show, indeed the match is considered quite a fiasco,” read one report, while a rumour swept Sydney that they had lost on purpose.
England line up in Chichester a day before departure. Back row (l-r): Harry Jupp, Tom Emmett, R Humphrey, Allen Hill, Tom Armitage and George Ulyett; centre: Ted Pooley, James Southerton, James Lillywhite (captain), Alfred Shaw and Andrew Greenwood; front: Henry Charlwood and John Selby. Photograph: Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images
And there was the travel, which continued to be long and arduous. Particularly memorable was the journey from Greymouth on the west coast of New Zealand’s south island to Christchurch in the east, which started in two stagecoaches. They were due to spend the night in Otira, high in the Southern alps, but they were still not there at 11pm when, in heavy rain, they were forced to cross a river that had burst its banks. All safely reached an island in the middle of the stream, which was where their lights blew out. The first coach reached the far side of the river, but the second got stuck. “All had to jump for their lives into the stream, which was now up to their waists,” the player wrote. “By great exertion the coach was got out, but only just in time, as soon huge stones, trees and logs began to be carried down the swollen river.” The soggy players dragged their sodden luggage the remaining half-mile to their hotel, where they discovered that there were only three beds for their party of 17. Happily the couple who owned the hotel were able to lend them some clothes while their own dried out, though less happily that involved some players being forced to put on dresses.
In Christchurch they played an 18-man team representing Canterbury. Before the match Ted Pooley, England’s outstanding wicketkeeper – who had not played in the tour because of a knee injury and who was to participate in the match only as an umpire – got talking with Ralph Donkin, an assistant railway engineer who, like the England team, was staying at Warner’s Hotel. They struck a bet, at odds of 6-1, that Pooley could predict the score of any Canterbury cricketer. “It afterwards turned out that this was a catch bet [in other words, one that Pooley couldn’t lose], Pooley boasting that he ‘had’ Donkin by placing a duck’s egg next to each man,” reported the Timaru Herald.
After four batsmen were out without scoring in Canterbury’s first innings, Pooley offered to waive any winnings from the second if Donkin paid out immediately, demanding a sum of £36. Donkin refused, and that night the two men got into a fight. A bloodied Donkin, whose room was next to Pooley’s, decided it would be safer to stay at a different hotel, and in his absence his room was broken into: “Every particle of Mr Donkin’s wearing apparel torn to shreds, and some important plans partially destroyed.” A witness saw Pooley and Alfred Bramhall, described in the media as England’s ticket-taker, in the corridor “not a yard from the door of Donkin’s room”. Both men were arrested and though released on bail had to stay in New Zealand until April, missing the remainder of the tour. Pooley was eventually fined £5 for assault and he and Bramhall acquitted of wilful, unlawful and malicious damage, the defence being that either man could easily have been confused with other members of the touring party.
Then came the first Test, in which England were beaten almost single-handedly by Charles Bannerman, who scored 165 before a delivery from George Ulyett hit his right hand, splitting a finger open and forcing him to retire. In the Sporting Life he was said to have “played the best cricket possible to conceive … his hitting was terrific, and his defence perfect, and I think he is about the best professional batsman I ever saw.” The result was widely celebrated – “Such an event would not have been dreamed of as coming within the limits of possibility 10 or 15 years ago, and is a crushing reply to those unpatriotic theorists who would have us believe that the Australian race is deteriorating from the imperial type,” wrote the Age. Though England won the second and final Test, also at Melbourne, by four wickets, the team’s reputation had been irrevocably damaged. “Since the result, the fashionable query has been, ‘What about the English cricketers now?’” wrote ‘Grubber’ in the Brisbane newspaper The Week. “Previously, during the progress of [their other defeats], the popular reply was ‘bets’, or ‘sold the match, of course’, but these won’t go down any longer.”
A couple of weeks after the second Test the team were on a boat once more. This time they sailed as far as Brindisi, on the heel of Italy’s boot, and then travelled by coach and train to Calais. This journey alone took 45 days, and was, according to Ulyett, “not nearly so enjoyable as the outward one”. Ulyett was known as Happy Jack, but by the time he returned home he was anything but. A few days later he was interviewed by his local paper, Sheffield’s Daily Telegraph. “He ascribes many of their defeats to the immense toil they underwent in getting from place to place,” they reported. “The trip was not a success in any respect. George has about had his fill of Australia; at any rate he would not like to go again under similar circumstances.”
England’s next Test in Australia was played in January 1879; Ulyett opened the batting.
The Last Old Danes Gathering
It has been suggested that the 2020 Old Danes Gathering be the last. It will be held at Shepherds Bush CC on Friday 24 July from 2pm. It is the Friday of their Cricket Week and so there will be members present from earlier if there are any premature arrivals. Any Old Danes together with wives, partners, concubines and pets will be welcome. There will be a bar open all afternoon. There are no fixed times. Attendees can wander in and out through the afternoon and early evening as they wish.
My apologies for the last edition which went out with edit markings still visible. I hope that this did not affect your enjoyment of the content.
All the back editions of Googlies can be found on the G&C website. There are also many photographs most of which have never appeared in Googlies.
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