May 25, 2011

Straussy’s book, and a pretend Test series

The captain tells his stirring Ashes tale
20

Saturday, 21st May Though the market for Ashes literature may be more crowded than an elevator at an obesity convention, it seems there’s always room for one more, hence the existence of Andrew Strauss’s new effort, Winning the Ashes Down Under: The Captain’s Story. Described by one reviewer as “another bloody Ashes book”, it is a stirring tale of how a team of professional sportsmen battled against the odds to beat another team who weren’t quite as good. This epic rollercoaster story is told in three parts:

Part One: Arrive in Australia Part Two: Beat lower-ranked Test opponents Part Three: Return home

Sunday, 22nd May It is a peculiar thing, this Morgan situation. A man makes himself available to play Tests for England, flies all the way back from India to take part in a trial game to demonstrate his readiness to play Test cricket, and then has to answer questions about his priorities. It seems quite straightforward. He wants to test himself against the best players on the biggest stages, so he spends his early season time playing high-pressure cricket in the IPL rather than pottering around in the shires accumulating easy runs. What’s the problem?

Tuesday, 24th May Pakistan’s visit to the Caribbean has come to an end with a 1-1 Test scoreline that left the viewer wondering whether these teams were equally good or just as bad as each other. An intriguing if peculiar little tour also threw up the following thoughts:

1. That the captaincy of the Pakistan cricket team is as inconstant and unpredictable as the world of haute couture. Right now, it seems that thirtysomething veterans are back in, Misbah is quite the thing and suddenly that hand-clapping, floppy-fringed look that everyone was raving about a few months ago seems to belong to a quainter time, like bell-bottomed trousers and responsible investment banking.

2. That West Indies is the new south Asia. As it happens, I like low, slow, crumbly result pitches that take prodigious spin. I just don’t like them in the Caribbean. That’s the wrong place for them. What chance have the next generation of Ambroses, Walshes and Marshalls got when they charge to the crease, let fly and watch the ball splat into the earth with a sigh and trundle towards the batsman at knee height?

3. That two Test matches is not a series, it is a pair of isolated incidents.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Adarsh on May 26, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    "more crowded than an elevator at an obesity convention".. it is for gems like this that I regularly visit your column..

  • Aina on May 26, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    This is the most apt: 3. That two Test matches is not a series, it is a pair of isolated incidents.

    It should be 3 tests, 5 tests, even 7 tests, but my team is always playing these ridiculous 2 test series. The first test is wasted in getting used to the transition from limited overs to tests, and the only way to decide the series is to arrange a draw, which is hardly an exciting prospect.

  • shakeel on May 25, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    PCB is the real culprit. Yusuf is dropped only on the basis of being religous otherwise Pakistan could not have had better batsmen than Yusuf. The only batsmen who came after zaheer abbas. The class of Yusuf cannot be measured after so much of cricket in the world. Yunus is good for nothing. Abdur Razaq showed his mettle hundereds of times but still board has decided to be the most crooked one. Shoaib is made to retire unnecessarily. With his talent pakistan was always a valuable team. Imran Nazeer needs to be there because of great hitting power. But very less the board understands.

    thanks

  • Shahid A-freedi on May 25, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    @Nadeem Khan - Are you seriously saying Pak A team is better than the current national team?? Lets analyse this

    Imran Nazir - Doesn't have test match temperament only good for a few flashy shots. Then will get caught ad Mid off

    Imran Farhat - Less said about him the better a complete failure at test level with an average in the 20s.

    Yousuf - Still good enough but too selfish character. And awful and immobile fielder.

    Fawad - Dont make me laugh another failure at test level. Too bits and pieces not a specialist at either batting or bowling.

    Kamran Akmal - Incompetent as wicketkeeper and useless with the bat at test match level, just look at his average

    Razzaq - Too old and anyway better in the shorter format

    Kaneria - Only legspinner who cant spin the ball or take wickets compared to all other intl class spinners. Ajmal, Rehman and even Hafeez are better than him.

  • Aditya on May 25, 2011, 18:37 GMT

    Wow, I thought Strauss writing a book on winning Ashes 6 months back was a funny story you made up. But then I googled it.

  • Jim on May 25, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    Looks like Cricket Fatigue did not stop Andrew Strauss from finishing a book about Ashes within next 4 months, while the same was told as an excuse for the World Cup loss even as the world cup was getting started! It really tells the truth behind the phenomenon called fatigue.

  • Mayur Selvartnam on May 25, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    Both teams are equally bad and deserve the ICC botton rankings . This is why series was tough..3-2 in ODI and 1-1 in test series...When two equals meet there is always good contest.......even if it means minnows like Ireland -Canada play the result would have been similar.

  • ash porter on May 25, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    the pakistan-west indies series could only ever end in a draw.were talking about two teams who have shuffled players about and who both consistently blow hot and cold.

    something a cricket writer once said of both teams: its a fool who bets on them, a bigger fool who bets against them.

  • Saood on May 25, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    I think Misbah is the quiet lead by example type which is a rarity in this day and age but perfect for the youngsters on the Pak team to follow, i just hope they will let him continue and not oust for some stupid reason, as it is PCB has destroyed his career, he could have been one of the greats. If you see his numbers and the way he plays, the calmness, the confidence you wonder has be played so few matches?

  • Asif Rashid on May 25, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    i just want to say that Afridi is good captain of Limited over cricket in pakistan and Misbah is for test cricket

  • Adarsh on May 26, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    "more crowded than an elevator at an obesity convention".. it is for gems like this that I regularly visit your column..

  • Aina on May 26, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    This is the most apt: 3. That two Test matches is not a series, it is a pair of isolated incidents.

    It should be 3 tests, 5 tests, even 7 tests, but my team is always playing these ridiculous 2 test series. The first test is wasted in getting used to the transition from limited overs to tests, and the only way to decide the series is to arrange a draw, which is hardly an exciting prospect.

  • shakeel on May 25, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    PCB is the real culprit. Yusuf is dropped only on the basis of being religous otherwise Pakistan could not have had better batsmen than Yusuf. The only batsmen who came after zaheer abbas. The class of Yusuf cannot be measured after so much of cricket in the world. Yunus is good for nothing. Abdur Razaq showed his mettle hundereds of times but still board has decided to be the most crooked one. Shoaib is made to retire unnecessarily. With his talent pakistan was always a valuable team. Imran Nazeer needs to be there because of great hitting power. But very less the board understands.

    thanks

  • Shahid A-freedi on May 25, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    @Nadeem Khan - Are you seriously saying Pak A team is better than the current national team?? Lets analyse this

    Imran Nazir - Doesn't have test match temperament only good for a few flashy shots. Then will get caught ad Mid off

    Imran Farhat - Less said about him the better a complete failure at test level with an average in the 20s.

    Yousuf - Still good enough but too selfish character. And awful and immobile fielder.

    Fawad - Dont make me laugh another failure at test level. Too bits and pieces not a specialist at either batting or bowling.

    Kamran Akmal - Incompetent as wicketkeeper and useless with the bat at test match level, just look at his average

    Razzaq - Too old and anyway better in the shorter format

    Kaneria - Only legspinner who cant spin the ball or take wickets compared to all other intl class spinners. Ajmal, Rehman and even Hafeez are better than him.

  • Aditya on May 25, 2011, 18:37 GMT

    Wow, I thought Strauss writing a book on winning Ashes 6 months back was a funny story you made up. But then I googled it.

  • Jim on May 25, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    Looks like Cricket Fatigue did not stop Andrew Strauss from finishing a book about Ashes within next 4 months, while the same was told as an excuse for the World Cup loss even as the world cup was getting started! It really tells the truth behind the phenomenon called fatigue.

  • Mayur Selvartnam on May 25, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    Both teams are equally bad and deserve the ICC botton rankings . This is why series was tough..3-2 in ODI and 1-1 in test series...When two equals meet there is always good contest.......even if it means minnows like Ireland -Canada play the result would have been similar.

  • ash porter on May 25, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    the pakistan-west indies series could only ever end in a draw.were talking about two teams who have shuffled players about and who both consistently blow hot and cold.

    something a cricket writer once said of both teams: its a fool who bets on them, a bigger fool who bets against them.

  • Saood on May 25, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    I think Misbah is the quiet lead by example type which is a rarity in this day and age but perfect for the youngsters on the Pak team to follow, i just hope they will let him continue and not oust for some stupid reason, as it is PCB has destroyed his career, he could have been one of the greats. If you see his numbers and the way he plays, the calmness, the confidence you wonder has be played so few matches?

  • Asif Rashid on May 25, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    i just want to say that Afridi is good captain of Limited over cricket in pakistan and Misbah is for test cricket

  • Satwik on May 25, 2011, 10:55 GMT

    "That two Test matches is not a series, it is a pair of isolated incidents. " Will someone please give him an award for this or do I have to do all the hard work?

  • SZA on May 25, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    World cup, the latest event in which england team is tested and obviously they were so bad. I was thinking for the next year world cup ICC should ask Engld to play Qalifier for the participation in the event. With all the foreign players in thier line up, they are still awful and theyshould stop thinking of beating india.

  • Happy Man on May 25, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    Hello, Andrew!

    I don't agree with you where you have blamed WI pitches in paragraph. You can see Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib etc has been produced in dead wickets. So Ambroses, Walshes can be produce in dead wickets too if WI do special work to produce fast bowlers and eliminate their Cricket Board problems. Thanks

  • saqib on May 25, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    Andrew; Pakistan also has similar if not worse pitches for fast bowling and still we are able to produce amazing bowlers. So lets not make an excuse about the pitches when the country does not want to bowl fast. And to make my point further, teenagers over there have more role models as fast bowlers then anywhere else in the world, so if that is not motivation enough then nothing is.

  • JackieL on May 25, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Let's put it another way.

    Part One Arrive in Australia Part Two Beat Australia at home for the first time in 24 years. Thrash them 3-1 by 3 innings defeats. Part Three Don't go home. (20 more games to go).

    What's the problem re Morgan? Well at the high pressure IPL he failed in all his innings but one. He batted brilliantly in the Lions for 193, then got 4 when the game needed to be won.

    But hey, you think Cardus is better than Bradman but Cardus certainly didn't spin success or failure (rather more accurate).

  • zaky on May 25, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    just made my morning!

  • Nadeem Khan on May 25, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    I am sure, the T & T team is better than WI national team at the moment.

    I am also sure that a Pakistan-A team is better than Pakistan team. Look at this lineup against Pakistan team: Imran Nazir, Yasir Hameed/Imran Farhat, Yousuf, Fawad Alam, Kamran Akmal (as a batsman), Sarfraz Ahmad, Abdul Razzaq, Kaneria, Sadaf Hussain, Sohail Khan, and Asad Ali.

  • Nadeem Khan on May 25, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    The series required a DECIDER. Poor management by two sick-minded cricket boards. I am still trying to understand who is more sick-minded. a. PCB: For see-sawing the captaincy again. Dropping Yousuf, Fawad Alam, Adnan Akmal from tests, Bringing Salman into tests, overlooking Sadaf Hussain without any chance. List goes on.

    b. WICB: Gayle is hitting hundreds in IPL T20. He could hit tripple hundreds in tests against Pak. Dropping Chanders and Sarwan in ODIs. Making Sammy captain. This list is long too.

  • Sunil on May 25, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    3. That two Test matches is not a series, it is a pair of isolated incidents

    ha ha ha ... to funny!!

  • b.k.thomas on May 25, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    good work andrew !! yup, was really bizarre to see spinners making the news in the caribbean pitches...it was a pleasure indeed to see fast bowlers torturing the batsmen with the ball,cartwheeling stumps and even breaking 'em those days....

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • b.k.thomas on May 25, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    good work andrew !! yup, was really bizarre to see spinners making the news in the caribbean pitches...it was a pleasure indeed to see fast bowlers torturing the batsmen with the ball,cartwheeling stumps and even breaking 'em those days....

  • Sunil on May 25, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    3. That two Test matches is not a series, it is a pair of isolated incidents

    ha ha ha ... to funny!!

  • Nadeem Khan on May 25, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    The series required a DECIDER. Poor management by two sick-minded cricket boards. I am still trying to understand who is more sick-minded. a. PCB: For see-sawing the captaincy again. Dropping Yousuf, Fawad Alam, Adnan Akmal from tests, Bringing Salman into tests, overlooking Sadaf Hussain without any chance. List goes on.

    b. WICB: Gayle is hitting hundreds in IPL T20. He could hit tripple hundreds in tests against Pak. Dropping Chanders and Sarwan in ODIs. Making Sammy captain. This list is long too.

  • Nadeem Khan on May 25, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    I am sure, the T & T team is better than WI national team at the moment.

    I am also sure that a Pakistan-A team is better than Pakistan team. Look at this lineup against Pakistan team: Imran Nazir, Yasir Hameed/Imran Farhat, Yousuf, Fawad Alam, Kamran Akmal (as a batsman), Sarfraz Ahmad, Abdul Razzaq, Kaneria, Sadaf Hussain, Sohail Khan, and Asad Ali.

  • zaky on May 25, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    just made my morning!

  • JackieL on May 25, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Let's put it another way.

    Part One Arrive in Australia Part Two Beat Australia at home for the first time in 24 years. Thrash them 3-1 by 3 innings defeats. Part Three Don't go home. (20 more games to go).

    What's the problem re Morgan? Well at the high pressure IPL he failed in all his innings but one. He batted brilliantly in the Lions for 193, then got 4 when the game needed to be won.

    But hey, you think Cardus is better than Bradman but Cardus certainly didn't spin success or failure (rather more accurate).

  • saqib on May 25, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    Andrew; Pakistan also has similar if not worse pitches for fast bowling and still we are able to produce amazing bowlers. So lets not make an excuse about the pitches when the country does not want to bowl fast. And to make my point further, teenagers over there have more role models as fast bowlers then anywhere else in the world, so if that is not motivation enough then nothing is.

  • Happy Man on May 25, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    Hello, Andrew!

    I don't agree with you where you have blamed WI pitches in paragraph. You can see Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib etc has been produced in dead wickets. So Ambroses, Walshes can be produce in dead wickets too if WI do special work to produce fast bowlers and eliminate their Cricket Board problems. Thanks

  • SZA on May 25, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    World cup, the latest event in which england team is tested and obviously they were so bad. I was thinking for the next year world cup ICC should ask Engld to play Qalifier for the participation in the event. With all the foreign players in thier line up, they are still awful and theyshould stop thinking of beating india.

  • Satwik on May 25, 2011, 10:55 GMT

    "That two Test matches is not a series, it is a pair of isolated incidents. " Will someone please give him an award for this or do I have to do all the hard work?