England July 16, 2011

Duncan's deadly dossier

England's weaknesses revealed

Tuesday, 12th July “The best man who walked the face of the earth never did anything wrong, but he was still crucified. And I am nowhere close to that.”

So now we know. Darren Sammy is not the Messiah. He can’t walk on water, but he does at least know how to get to the water and if you asked him, I’m sure he’d borrow a dinghy and row you across. He’s one of life’s triers. He doesn’t boast. He doesn’t score any runs. But he does at least give the impression that he quite likes being West Indies captain, which is always nice for Caribbean fans to hear.

And I know he isn’t quite good enough to be in the team, but there have been some very successful captains who weren’t quite good enough to be in the team. There was Mike Brearley, for example, and, well, the other ones, whose names escape me at the moment. Anyway, good luck Darren, I hope you succeed in your aim of getting West Indies into the top five by 2015, although it might depend on at least four of the other Test nations withdrawing from the ICC.

Wednesday, 13th July We live in strange times, friends, and on days like these I feel particularly uneasy. But there’s no point shying away from it. Al Gore didn’t want to deal with the inconvenient truth, but he did it anyway. And if Al can do it, so can I. Here goes.

Today I read a story involving the PCB and found myself agreeing with them.

Yes, really. I know, but there it is. I think the PCB are correct. I’m right behind you Ijaz. Excuse me while I go for a quick lie-down.

What could possibly have led me to such a conclusion? Well, the Pakistan Task Team have produced recommendations for reform of the Pakistan cricket system. Jolly good thing, too, you might say. But then you read on. Apparently, only one member of the PTT had visited Pakistan, and that was because he caught the wrong plane. And neither of the two ambassadors for Pakistan have visited the place either.

Pakistan cricket may be poorly. But if you’re going to offer a cure, you should at least go and visit the patient. I’m a big fan of House, but I’m not sure the programme would have caught on if Hugh Laurie had done his diagnosing via email.

Thursday, 14th July The News Of The World may be no more, but here at the Long Handle, we are keeping up the fine English tradition of sneaking about and getting our grubby hands on information we have no right to possess. Posing as an airline stewardess, I recently infiltrated an AirIndia flight to Heathrow and managed to swipe Duncan Fletcher’s SpongeBob SquarePants carry case.

Inside, I found a copy of Alan Border’s Fitness Programme, “Shed Pounds The Grumpy Way”; a good-luck card from Greg Chappell, 17 pairs of identical sunglasses and a highly confidential dossier, revealing the secrets of England’s top players. With this deadly dossier in their hands, the Indian team are certain to triumph this summer (even though they probably would have anyway). Here is just a selection of big Dunc’s inside info:

Kevin Pietersen: In my opinion, he could struggle against left-arm spin. Stuart Broad: The lad has a bit of a temper. Andrew Strauss: Posh. I believe he could be captain these days. Alastair Cook: Can score a lot of runs if you don’t get him out. Ian Bell: Short. Matt Prior: He’s no Geraint Jones. Ashley Giles:Retired.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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