January 10, 2014

England men facing the axe

England have the staff the size of a small country, and some of them may be deported

Graham Onions: has giant shoes to fill, which he can't © PA Photos

There have been dark hints of personnel changes within the ECB's famously overcrowded coaching and support operation, while some on the playing staff are also looking nervously over their shoulders. It's all a bit hush-hush, but here are the most likely casualties

Unnamed senior player
Reason: keeps scoring more runs than other players. Must go. All his fault.

Team kit man
Some players turned up in wrong kit, like Matt Prior said. Need to make an example of somebody.

Graham Onions
Once again failed to take a single wicket in the Ashes.

Assistant video analyst and best boy
For failing to deliver video evidence of how to play Mitchell Johnson.

Michael Carberry
Brought in to do a job, i.e. be a brilliant Test match opener at basically the first time of asking and defy the Australian attack for days at a time while also scoring freely all around the wicket. Failed. Next.

The media
For unsettling the side by failing to report that we had in fact won the first three Tests, thus contributing to a cycle of negativity.

The Australian media
For disgraceful bias pro Australia.

Cookbook writer
Eighty-two pages and still nothing with backbone, spleen, guts, heart or cojones.

Tim Bresnan
Been groomed for fall-guy role for some years. Like everything this very useful cricketer does, he'll walk the plank with commitment (just a bit slower than had been hoped).

Worrying technology that allows players to communicate without an official ECB press officer there to help them. Must be stopped.

Obviously first choice would be to keep him in the fold but Gilo has already shown his versatility with left-arm spin, useful runs down the order, fielding, being a great bloke to have around the dressing room, coaching Warwickshire, selecting, designing and ordering pottery, presiding over the ODI side, being good value on the golf course, stepping into the Test role when needed, wearing needlessly youthful wraparound sunglasses and he can definitely put his hand up and do a job in the sacrificial lamb slot if needs be.

People definitely not to blame
Cooky, Belly, Priory, Rooty, Broady, Andersony, Flowery, Giles Clarkey, our good friends at Sky TV-y, all our important commercial partners including: Red Bull, the Chicago Bulls, Boggleby And Bstard Venture Capital, Jaguar, Puma, Lynx, Sex Panther, Yorkshire Tea, Yorkshire Grit, Yorkshire Pudding, Nat West, Nat King Cole, the lovely Cheryl Cole, Stowford Press, Duncan Fletcher's Forward Press, and especially most definitely not Flowery again.

All quotes and "facts" here are made up (but you knew that already, didn't you?)
Read an extract from Alan's new book Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects, here