West Indies in England 2012 May 30, 2012

Boring, boring England

What's a sportswriter to do when they keep coasting along so efficiently and dully?
35

Another home Test, another thumping victory for England, another surgical cauterisation of a visiting top order hopelessly ill-equipped and under-trained for the challenge of facing a remorseless, varied, high-class bowling attack. Another Test in which West Indies played well in patches, but against opponents with superior batsmen, bowlers, fielders, experience, facilities, funding, organisation, depth of talent, technology and any other facet of the sport you can imagine on and off pitch, they also played badly in patches, and were duly hammered. Another Test in which almost nothing was learnt.

One of the problems with the current England side is that, in their home series at least, they give journalists so little to write about. Long gone are the days when five or six places in the Test team were constantly up for discussion, and when you imagined the selectors sitting in a secret vault at Lord's, literally sharpening their swords, whilst a grainy television showed a replay of Malcolm Marshall bowling an unplayable 90mph outswinger to a county journeyman speculatively catapulted into the Test team, whilst muttering: "Hutton would have hit that for four. Let's try someone else. Pass me the county scorecards from the Times, my blowpipe, my lucky dart, and my blindfold made from Gubby Allen's jockstrap, and let's see who we come up with for Headingley."

Nowadays there are meagre scraps to feed on when reporting on England's home Tests, and some of those scraps turn out to be mirages, hallucinated by copy-famished writers. "Strauss under pressure as captain" ‒ he had lost one series in ten and had put in some below-average, but not disastrous, batting performances. "Bresnan's place under the microscope" ‒ he had bowled only adequately in one match, and some people seemed to have either forgotten his return of 29 wickets at 18 in his previous six Tests, or regarded it as a fluke, or decided it was not as good as *Sydney Barnes would have managed, and therefore open to criticism.

Now Bairstow needs to refine his game in country cricket because he struggled with a blistering throat ball from Roach when new at the crease, then played some more short balls quite well before getting out a bit oddly. Given that ten of the starting XI are basically inked in for the rest of the summer, assuming they maintain fitness and resist the temptation to ride a jetski down the Thames during the Queen's jubilee flotilla and moon at the monarch, it is inevitable that Bairstow will receive considerable critical attention.

He might come good, he might not. He is 22, young for an England batsman - since Gower and Botham made stellar starts to their careers in their early 20s, only Cook and, to a lesser extent, Atherton, have had significant success under the age of 24.

The only way that any speculation about the bowling line-up can be engendered is by discussing whether the first-choice men need resting from their only Test match for the next seven weeks. Perhaps they need the full seven-week break from the five-day game, rather than just the five weeks they will have if they do play in the third Test. They will not want to rest. Particularly if Barath, Powell and Edwards are still the West Indian top three.

Compare this with the situation a couple of decades ago. Then, the cricket itself often seemed on the undercard to the incomprehensible game of selectorial rodeo poker that went on between the Tests. Graeme Hick seemed to have overcome his painful early struggles in Test cricket when he made his maiden hundred in India in 1992-93 ‒ a superb 178 after coming in at 58 for 4 in Bombay. He was dropped three Tests later, after the disastrous second-Test thrashing in the 1993 Ashes, in which he scored a respectable 20 and 64. He had scored a century and three 60s, and averaged 52, in his previous five Tests. All of which England had lost. It must have been his fault. How the selectors must have giggled.

Hick was recalled for the sixth Test, scored a brilliant 80 in a surprise victory, and proceeded to average in the high-40s for the next couple of years, against a series of top-quality bowling attacks, before everything went bafflingly pear-shaped again. Perhaps he had stumbled into that secret Lord's vault in the 1993 Test, and never shook the uneasy feeling that the England selectors' preferred method of keeping their players on their toes was to intermittently fire a pistol at their feet. Perhaps not. It is certainly true that Hick, Ramprakash and Crawley, England's three greatest unfulfilled talents of the 1990s, were all crassly handled at various formative times of their careers, and if Cook and Bell had been playing in the 1980s or 1990s, they would each have been dropped about ten times by the current stage of their careers. As it is, England largely stuck with them through some relatively mediocre times, and have been rewarded by them eventually maturing into insatiable run machines (give or take the odd jaunt to the subcontinent).

Another victim of the random almost Soviet-style justice dispensed by the England selectors in the early-to-mid 1990s was Graham Thorpe. He replaced Hick for the third Test in 1993, scored a debut century, then 37 and 60 in his third Test - against Hughes, Warne, May et al ‒ before, following a difficult start in the West Indies early in 1994, he scored a couple of outstanding 80s against a tidy pace attack of Ambrose, Walsh and two Benjamins. He had come through his early examinations with merit. And was promptly presented with a certificate telling him that he had failed. Next up: a limited New Zealand, at home. Thorpe was dropped. (And please bear in mind that, compared with large swathes of the 1980s, the selectors had calmed down considerably.)

It must have been an awesome time to be an English cricket scribe. You could champion a county player in the confident knowledge that he would probably at least be discussed as an England possible; you could question an incumbent, knowing that one below-par match was enough to get the selectors reaching for their bolt-gun of mercy. You must have felt like a Greek god, toying with human chess pieces.

But now - nothing. Central contracts, sound management, persistent collective and individual success have rendered the job of the press-box scribbler rather grey in these mostly disappointing early-summer series. How many different ways are there to write "He played another good innings", or "He bowled well again", or "The opposition were not at their best"?

England's struggles in the winter made for fascinating viewing, but this series was never likely to reveal anything new about England. They are very good in home conditions, and were always likely to win against a team that basically never wins Test matches, has two tails (one at the front and one at the back), a limited bowling attack, and minimal experience of playing in England. West Indies have played better than expected/feared at times, but still lost both Tests comfortably, just as expected/feared.

On their last four tours of England, they have now lost 11 of 12 Tests (and in the other, rain washed out the last day after England had declared twice in the match), and nine of those defeats have been by at least seven wickets or 200 runs. Even when West Indies had England in a degree of discomfort, as at Lord's on the final day, there was always the feeling that they lacked the depth in bowling to overcome England's depth in batting, and they gave up any hope of victory some time before the end.

There has been some grumbling about the West Indian top order lacking the application to play long innings. What they lack is the technique, know-how and experience. They are not going to acquire those attributes in the space of a couple of weeks. You would not expect a kid who is quite good at flying kites to be able to jump into a fighter jet and instantly become an ace combat pilot. Unless you were an England cricket selector in 1989.

● Despite the lack of uncertainty of outcome that sport needs to be truly compelling, there has been some good cricket in the two Tests, the highlight of which has been the batting of Marlon Samuels. He has played with such poise and authority that he has rapidly elevated himself into the realms of the great underachievers of Test history. Just as the highlight of last summer's objectively disappointing England-India series was Dravid's lone battle with an all-conquering attack, so Samuels' old-school cocktail of dogged resistance and classical strokeplay has been the most interesting facet of this current series.

Dravid, an established modern legend and one of the great technicians of all time with a stellar record in England, could have been expected to shine. Samuels, who made his debut as 19-year-old in 2000, and before this series had played in 37 of West Indies' 115 Test matches since then, scoring two centuries (one in 2002 and one in 2008) and averaging in the high 20s, could have been expected to fold like an origami flamingo in a similar manner to his colleagues. Instead, he has batted like a master. If he had played some of his off-side shots 500 years ago, he'd have had Michelangelo and da Vinci queuing up to paint him.

Samuels apparently turned down half of his lucrative IPL contract in order to join this tour. So he has in effect paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for the privilege of playing Test cricket. Good on him. And, judging by the way he has batted, he likes to get his money's worth. Perhaps the WICB should auction off the top three spots in their batting order to the highest bidder. If you have paid top dollar to have a bat, you are going to want to make it last.

(More on Marvellous Marlon in my next blog, later this week.)

03:14:27 GMT, May 31, 2012: *Sidney Barnes changed to Sydney

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Victoria on June 28, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Good for you!I went to England a couple of times duirng my 1970s in Europe . One was a 2-week? tour by bus or as the British say by coach from London to Cullode Field and back. Up the western side and down the eastern. It was wonderful though I found each stop too short and was almost inevitably the last to get back on the bus.I especially loved Scotland. My mother spent 6 months in Scotland in 1936, living with different families and learning English. One of her favorite faux-pas was saying I've got a pickle on my nose . The boys in the family there rolled in their seats with laughter. Pickel in German means pimple . So they gave her this to read It's a bricht moolicht nicht tonicht certain that she'd fumble with that one as all the Enlish inevitably did. But she read it faultlessly. They were stunned. The ch sound in Scottish is the same as in German.Then I went 2 or 3 more times to London and area, the last time on my way home from Germany back to Canada. My favorite memory of that trip was the window displays in one of the big department stores, Selfridge's. They used the fairy flower theme by Cecily Mary Barker. That was the first book that my mother gave me after we came to Canada. She found it at Goodwill or someplace like that. Of course it contained only a few of them. Much later I tried to get the whole series. I find them absolutely charming. They also did plates of them in the 1980s duirng the plate craze.

  • Tyagi on June 13, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    u r gonna see england at their worst in nov...in INDIA..flop england.

  • Vilander on May 31, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    come November, its time to play in India.... oh we gonna give you a lot of grief.

  • Tendulkar_forever on May 31, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    What abt 3-0 drubbing! I think Andy intriguing Ajmal's ghost!

  • Anil on May 31, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    Thanks Andy, for the "usually" great article. I, however, am getting somewhat superstitious. The accolades that are flowing toward Marlon seem eerie to me. Can you please delay your planned blog on him--at least until after the third Test is done? I want the poor man to enjoy the English sun to the fullest. I fear that there is some truth about jinxes.

  • Mustafa on May 30, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    May I suggest a visit to UAE, that should spice things up, or spice down, depending upon who you support.

  • hah on May 30, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    haha... forgot Pakistan so quickly! Even though this is not about away tests, a 3-0 brownwash just a year ago should've given the journalists plenty to write about!

  • Nadeem Sharifuddin on May 30, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    I don't believe that england team standards have improved in last 5 years, they are playing the same way they were in 90s but their opponents are playing so bad in test cricket that i believe soon test cricket will die. England fast bowlers have average of 30 which is at par. Not even great. Not even unbelievable. Endland batting average is 45 which is again not great but at par. After the decline of mighty australians test cricket is dead now. England is not good, infect other teams are bad now. Very bad infect.

  • prasanna on May 30, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    keep this article safely with you ... you may write a exact opposite theme of this in November.. yea of course its India vs Eng.. :P

  • keith on May 30, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    Enjoy it while you can.We(W I) did it for 15 years and enjoyed it.Look where we are now.It wont last forever.

  • Victoria on June 28, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Good for you!I went to England a couple of times duirng my 1970s in Europe . One was a 2-week? tour by bus or as the British say by coach from London to Cullode Field and back. Up the western side and down the eastern. It was wonderful though I found each stop too short and was almost inevitably the last to get back on the bus.I especially loved Scotland. My mother spent 6 months in Scotland in 1936, living with different families and learning English. One of her favorite faux-pas was saying I've got a pickle on my nose . The boys in the family there rolled in their seats with laughter. Pickel in German means pimple . So they gave her this to read It's a bricht moolicht nicht tonicht certain that she'd fumble with that one as all the Enlish inevitably did. But she read it faultlessly. They were stunned. The ch sound in Scottish is the same as in German.Then I went 2 or 3 more times to London and area, the last time on my way home from Germany back to Canada. My favorite memory of that trip was the window displays in one of the big department stores, Selfridge's. They used the fairy flower theme by Cecily Mary Barker. That was the first book that my mother gave me after we came to Canada. She found it at Goodwill or someplace like that. Of course it contained only a few of them. Much later I tried to get the whole series. I find them absolutely charming. They also did plates of them in the 1980s duirng the plate craze.

  • Tyagi on June 13, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    u r gonna see england at their worst in nov...in INDIA..flop england.

  • Vilander on May 31, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    come November, its time to play in India.... oh we gonna give you a lot of grief.

  • Tendulkar_forever on May 31, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    What abt 3-0 drubbing! I think Andy intriguing Ajmal's ghost!

  • Anil on May 31, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    Thanks Andy, for the "usually" great article. I, however, am getting somewhat superstitious. The accolades that are flowing toward Marlon seem eerie to me. Can you please delay your planned blog on him--at least until after the third Test is done? I want the poor man to enjoy the English sun to the fullest. I fear that there is some truth about jinxes.

  • Mustafa on May 30, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    May I suggest a visit to UAE, that should spice things up, or spice down, depending upon who you support.

  • hah on May 30, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    haha... forgot Pakistan so quickly! Even though this is not about away tests, a 3-0 brownwash just a year ago should've given the journalists plenty to write about!

  • Nadeem Sharifuddin on May 30, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    I don't believe that england team standards have improved in last 5 years, they are playing the same way they were in 90s but their opponents are playing so bad in test cricket that i believe soon test cricket will die. England fast bowlers have average of 30 which is at par. Not even great. Not even unbelievable. Endland batting average is 45 which is again not great but at par. After the decline of mighty australians test cricket is dead now. England is not good, infect other teams are bad now. Very bad infect.

  • prasanna on May 30, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    keep this article safely with you ... you may write a exact opposite theme of this in November.. yea of course its India vs Eng.. :P

  • keith on May 30, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    Enjoy it while you can.We(W I) did it for 15 years and enjoyed it.Look where we are now.It wont last forever.

  • Craig on May 30, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    It was the selectors treatment of Jack Russell in the 90's that broke my heart. He was my childhood idol, and Stewart would have scored more test runs if he hadn't kept wicket.

  • George on May 30, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    The 1980s and 90s may have been an awesome time to be a cricket scribe but they were a bloody awful time to be an English cricket fan! Even with the passing of 20 years, the sheer idiocy of May, Dexter & Illingworth defies belief. I shuddered as I read this article...

  • Anurag on May 30, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    "One of the problems with the current England side is that, in their home series at least, they give journalists so little to write about."

    What is Mr. Zaltzman talking about? Has he been on another planet recently? Did he not see the England captain barging into the Indian dressing room during the 2011 Trent Bridge Test and pressurising them into nullifying the umpire's decision? That was a first in Test history. Or is it that English journalists didn't think this was important enough to write about? Lol.

  • swayaminfotech on May 30, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    nice post...

  • njr1330 on May 30, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    Masterful...at last, back to proper writing, and not that pseudo-statistical clap-trap!!

  • Marnus on May 30, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    I am sure you will have plenty to write about come the South African tour. Weaknesses wil be exposed. Steyn, Philander and Morkel will tear the English to shreds. And when they are resting so will Tahir and Kallis. The England team will anew learn the meaning of "short ball", pace and bouncer. So just hang in there, soon you will be running out of ink.

  • Niraj Bhatia on May 30, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    "There has been some grumbling about the West Indian top order lacking the application to play long innings. What they lack is the technique, know-how and experience. They are not going to acquire those attributes in the space of a couple of weeks. You would not expect a kid who is quite good at flying kites to be able to jump into a fighter jet and instantly become an ace combat pilot. Unless you were an England cricket selector in 1989." LOL....Absolutely SPOT ON! Andy your sarcism speaks volumes on the sad state of affairs test selection has become in the once great West Indian team.

  • Jason on May 30, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    Never fear - there will be columns of things to write about come the series against SA....

  • Sehwag_Is_Ordinary on May 30, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    No matter how much you oil England team they are no where as effective in Sub continent. Their attack is very overrated in home soil too. As an english writer definitely you are going to praise this team to a high new level but this attack is no where near to cunning old Aussie attack. They lack penetration skill IMO. Against a fragile weakest WI batting, people are praising like they are playing against Clive Lloyd era batting

  • krumb on May 30, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    I'll be honest, I never used to click on Andy's blogs. 'The confectionery stall?' I thought, 'sound like piffle and nonsense. I want a proper analysis of the last test, not humourous tit-bits on the precise circumference of Tim Bresnan's waist. I mean, look at that man's haircut - its hardly CMJ territory.' But, haircuts aside, I reckon this is some of the best sports journalism going around today. Insightful, witty, well-researched and, above all, really well-balanced. The Confectionery Stall is now my first port of call for a post-match round-up. Which I guess is just my way of saying, congrats on another excellent blog Andy, really enjoyable reading.

  • jp on May 30, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    I can second the headline. Kept clicking toward Star-Cricket even as we looked forward to a CSK win, in the hope that the windies would get the better of the angrez. But no. These guys seem to have finally learnt how to keep the score board ticking 2s, 4s and even 6s at a time (least care for the technique or doggedness on their part because they lack the "spectacular-ness" that is brought about by the likes of tendulkar, dhoni, now chandimal, some of the Pakis and now even the Bangladeshis). Watching English cricket is not my most favorite pastime - too picture book good for my desi 'cauldron' taste, would not have but for the windies and the new wall Chanderpaul. Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and the rest should be with their test team ASAP and check out whether they can do something to this run-machine English side - IMO it is the huge scores that unsettle the oppositions and make way for wins. Steady batting without anything spectacular about it adds to the boredom! Clinical :-(!

  • Richard S on May 30, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    Fantastic article, absolutely brilliant. Its easy to forget just how utterly ridiculous the England selectors used to be, those two paragraphs about Hick and Thorpe seem almost unbelievabe now. It is generally excepted that Hick couldn't handle test cricket and didn't make the most of his talent, but when you read that you have to wonder whether it was his fault. Plus, there were some handy bowlers about then too.

  • Raks on May 30, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    Only if WI Board did not play God. WI would have had Gayle, the other Bravo, Pollard(even though he is a limited over specialist, he will do much better than the tail in the beginning, is an excellent fielder and can bowl) et al. England would have a hard time beating that team. The performances of England are amplified by way below par opposition. Would be fun to see how they perform against Good teams like SA and Aus(when they are playing like they should and not like an A team).

  • Luke Curtis on May 30, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    very good and very funny, and it sums up how most people used to think about the Aussies 10 - 15 years ago, even if you got them down to 70/4 Gilchrist would come in and score 80 at a run a ball, if you got a good first innings lead Warne would come in and take 6/15 and bowl you out for 100 but the most likely start to any match was either Aus would bat and be 350/1 at stumps on the first day or your team would be 180ao and Aus already nearly having a 1st innings lead and your already thinking, oh well better luck next time!

  • david on May 30, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    This piece shows Andy in top, top form: In its entirety a sublime, highly nuanced double century. To pick out individual shots: the classic grotesquerie of a bunker full of semi-deranged Times-reading, blowpipe-wielding selectors; the West Indies test team as Push-me-pull-you; the simple, painful truth of the account of the utter debacle of the treatment of Graeme Hick.

  • MrBrightside on May 30, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    Do much prefer it when you don't try and make a pun virtually every line...make a reasoned comment then swing with the pun...or drag the pun out to long...a pun can be overdone...good narrative regarding old selection meetings - there is also a subtle innuendo regarding column inches not on all the places up for grabs but now England are the new Australia drivel....keep up the good work oh follically challenged one...

  • Paul on May 30, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    Fear not - the South African attack will give you guys something to write about...

  • Paul on May 30, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    Fear not - the South African attack will give you guys something to write about...

  • khan on May 30, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    Andy Zaltzman knows how to shift gears. Oscillating between imaginative humor and insightful analyses, he constructs his articles better than many batsmen can pace their innings. One question, Andy: who or what was chanderpaul in his previous incarnation?

  • Navin Agarwal on May 30, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    Masterful writing, a great sense of humour, marvellous choice of words, phrases and examples; as always. Take a bow, Andy!

  • Pushkar on May 30, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    If you have paid top dollar to have a bat, you are going to want to make it last. So True

  • balaji on May 30, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    "were always likely to win against a team that basically never wins Test matches, has two tails (one at the front and one at the back)"

    The above line pretty much summed up the whole series to me. Eng-Ind series and Ind-Aus was pretty disappointing to me as an Indian supporter, will have to see the what the selector are going to do with upcoming test matches. Regarding WI, there should be a second tier of countries who they should play tests among themselves to make it a little interesting and work hard to move to the first tier of nations. The second tier should include, india, WI, ireland, nz, and bangladesh. India has no right in playing tests with the other top nations.

  • Vivek Atray on May 30, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    Ah Andy! Well written as usual...with some delicious bits like 'If he had played some of his off-side shots 500 years ago, he’d have had Michelangelo and da Vinci queuing up to paint him.' ....and... 'could have been expected to fold like an origami flamingo in a similar manner to his colleagues.'

    England's selectors must be doing side-jobs during home series in this era when England hardly look like losing a session, let alone a Test Match. They don't need to watch the cricket at all. But perhaps it would be a good idea for them to send an 'A' Team to India twice a year in order to ensure that England are better equipped for the dust-bowls of the subcontinent too, in the years to come...

  • natmastak on May 30, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    in a way it is also boring to comment on your articles andy . How many different ways are there to write “great article”, or “i laughed out loud on reading that sentence”, or “these should not be read while at work ”?

  • natmastak on May 30, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    though i hate to write this and england team as a whole, but i am getting a feeling that poms are getting more clinical in their HOME wins, than aussies used to do.anyways thanks andy for a good article once again.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • natmastak on May 30, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    though i hate to write this and england team as a whole, but i am getting a feeling that poms are getting more clinical in their HOME wins, than aussies used to do.anyways thanks andy for a good article once again.

  • natmastak on May 30, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    in a way it is also boring to comment on your articles andy . How many different ways are there to write “great article”, or “i laughed out loud on reading that sentence”, or “these should not be read while at work ”?

  • Vivek Atray on May 30, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    Ah Andy! Well written as usual...with some delicious bits like 'If he had played some of his off-side shots 500 years ago, he’d have had Michelangelo and da Vinci queuing up to paint him.' ....and... 'could have been expected to fold like an origami flamingo in a similar manner to his colleagues.'

    England's selectors must be doing side-jobs during home series in this era when England hardly look like losing a session, let alone a Test Match. They don't need to watch the cricket at all. But perhaps it would be a good idea for them to send an 'A' Team to India twice a year in order to ensure that England are better equipped for the dust-bowls of the subcontinent too, in the years to come...

  • balaji on May 30, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    "were always likely to win against a team that basically never wins Test matches, has two tails (one at the front and one at the back)"

    The above line pretty much summed up the whole series to me. Eng-Ind series and Ind-Aus was pretty disappointing to me as an Indian supporter, will have to see the what the selector are going to do with upcoming test matches. Regarding WI, there should be a second tier of countries who they should play tests among themselves to make it a little interesting and work hard to move to the first tier of nations. The second tier should include, india, WI, ireland, nz, and bangladesh. India has no right in playing tests with the other top nations.

  • Pushkar on May 30, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    If you have paid top dollar to have a bat, you are going to want to make it last. So True

  • Navin Agarwal on May 30, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    Masterful writing, a great sense of humour, marvellous choice of words, phrases and examples; as always. Take a bow, Andy!

  • khan on May 30, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    Andy Zaltzman knows how to shift gears. Oscillating between imaginative humor and insightful analyses, he constructs his articles better than many batsmen can pace their innings. One question, Andy: who or what was chanderpaul in his previous incarnation?

  • Paul on May 30, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    Fear not - the South African attack will give you guys something to write about...

  • Paul on May 30, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    Fear not - the South African attack will give you guys something to write about...

  • MrBrightside on May 30, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    Do much prefer it when you don't try and make a pun virtually every line...make a reasoned comment then swing with the pun...or drag the pun out to long...a pun can be overdone...good narrative regarding old selection meetings - there is also a subtle innuendo regarding column inches not on all the places up for grabs but now England are the new Australia drivel....keep up the good work oh follically challenged one...