November 28, 2014

The ECB media cheat sheet

A guide to better understand what England players mean when they speak at press conferences

"Losing is a great learning curve, because it's the reverse swing that did us in" © Getty Images

In the last two years, England have lost a whole bunch of one-day series. Their record is not quite as horrific as people make out, but it's the wrong side of mediocre and India and Australia have both hammered them.

"If we get on a roll and play well then you never know. It's a really exciting place to be at the moment," is Alastair Cook's take on this. The warped reasoning is that things can't really get much worse, so what's to come must be exciting. For his part, Ian Bell offers: "We haven't played particularly well in our last one-day series, but this is a great place to start improving", which seems cut from the same cloth.

These statements are straight off the ECB media cheat sheet, a laminated single-page propaganda document that is handed out to all the players and staff to help them present bad events in a good light when interviewed by the press. Here are some other highlights.

Player out to a mindless slog = showed positive intent
Okay, so we needed one run to win off 14 overs and the last recognised batsman was caught at long-on, precipitating a collapse that saw us lose the game - but at least he showed positive intent. That's the main thing. We're all about playing a positive, attacking brand of cricket. You don't win anything by playing intelligent cricket according to the circumstances in this day and age.

Never even looked like chasing down the target = lost wickets at the wrong times
Even though we were bowled out for 83 chasing 340, we would definitely have got there with overs to spare if we hadn't lost wickets at the wrong time. All you need to do to win cricket matches is build partnerships; big 300-run partnerships where the players score at more than a run a ball. If it weren't for the wickets, we'd have managed this.

Don't know your best side = opportunities for players to put their hand up
The great thing about mucking about with team selection to such an extent that we have absolutely no clue whatsoever who should be playing is that it gives players opportunities to put their hands up and make a case for selection. The best players grasp their chance with both hands when they are given four overs in a dead rubber at the end of a seven-match series. We look forward to seeing who that's going to be, because despite paying people to know which players are better than others, we haven't really come to any conclusions.

Good player not getting picked = competition for places
Yes, we know that Player X is making an unanswerable case for inclusion and that he's being kept out of the side by Player Y, who just happens to be the captain, but it's a good thing. It shows that there's competition for places. Think about it, if Player X isn't playing then Player Y must be unbelievably good.

Familiar catastrophe = we know what we have to work on
The good thing about losing by 200 runs for the fifth match in a row is that we know what we have to work on. The players are showing positive intent; it's just that we're just losing wickets at the wrong time. Fortunately, there's plenty of competition for places, so maybe we'll bring in some new faces and give them an opportunity to put their hands up and make a case for selection. One thing's for sure, it's an exciting time to be involved with this team with there being so much scope for improvement.

Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket

Comments