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Dubai defeat disaster: the positives

It hasn't all been all terrible for England in the UAE so far, you know

Alan Tyers

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A
Monty Panesar could return to the England team in the second Test, Dubai, January, 21, 2012
Monty Panesar cunningly deploys a cricket ball on his fretboard during the semi-finals of the World Air-Bass Guitar Championship © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Monty Panesar | Saeed Ajmal | Bob Willis
Teams: England

If the Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flower era has been characterised by one thing, it has been only ever dropping bowlers no matter how badly the team bat.

Sorry, hang on. If the Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flower era has been characterised by two things, it has been only ever dropping bowlers, no matter how badly the team bats; and chucking in one horror performance per series.

No, wait. If the Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flower era has been characterised by three things, it has been only ever dropping bowlers, no matter how badly the team bats; chucking in one horror performance per series; and taking the positives from a situation.

So yes. The positives. Despite the disrespectful sniggering from the peanut gallery (India, Australia), there were a lot of encouraging developments to take away from the Dubai disaster.

Firstly, the match brought the work of Bob Willis to a wider audience. British-based cricket fans have enjoyed many years of Bob's brilliantly grumpy "heads will roll" style of punditry, and we are more than happy to share this national treasure. Bob makes it clear that he thinks the current generation of cricketers are, without exception, a disgrace and should be hanged and flogged in the town square, which they would be if it weren't for the meddling interventions of the PC brigade. The fire-and-brimstone work of Willis is a branch of the entertainment industry and should be taken on these terms.

His insistence that spinners like Saeed Ajmal should be made to bowl in a vest was genius: few international sporting spectacles would not be improved by making the participants do it in their underwear, like schoolboys who have forgotten their PE kit. Bob unquestionably contributes to the gaiety of nations, not that he would thank you for saying so, and as such should be enjoyed worldwide. No need to get irate, just enjoy it as it is. You're welcome.

Secondly, Pakistan were brilliant and fantastic to watch, proving once again that they can be an irresistible force in any cricket match that they are actually trying to win. Also, nobody has been arrested, spoken to by the police, or even caught out in a tabloid sting operation at the time of writing in this series. This is real progress.

Thirdly, a more acceptable Akmal brother has been inserted into the team. If we must have an Akmal, let's at least have one of the competent ones.

Fourthly, because England batted so badly, they may have to change their bowling line-up, which might well mean a chance for Monty Panesar. Any chance to see Monty is always a joy; as long as you don't have to listen to him talk.

Fifthly, by suddenly realising that they aren't so sure about the DRS after all, England can now find some common ground with their antagonists in the BCCI. If England can win the hearts and minds of cricket's most powerful body, perhaps using their new-found mistrust of technology as an ice-breaker, India might even let them carry on playing Test cricket for a few more years.

And finally, the spectacle of England getting gubbed in subcontinent-style conditions by a mystery spinner was an enjoyable stroll down memory lane. It gave fans of teams worldwide a chance to laugh once again at the outraged, spluttering ineptitude of the former colonial masters; and reminded England fans of the exquisite misery of the 1990s. At least it can never be that bad again: not while there's only three Tests in series, thank heavens.

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Comments: 15 
Posted by Srijoym on (January 24, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

Hilarious! But you only have to deal with Willis ... We have Ravi 'bleepin' Shastri, Sunil 'where's my 5 crores?' Gavaskar and Harsha 'i just can't stop smiling' Bhosle :(

Posted by CharlesCrasto on (January 23, 2012, 20:16 GMT)

No disrespect to Mr. Alan Tyers, but maybe because I am a little thick in the head, can someone please point me towards the funny parts?

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

Nobody has been arrested, spoken to by the police!! LOL good one Alan!

BTW, I was expecting an other master piece from you on the australia-india series! Spycam would be better on that one! Curious to know what duncan talks in the dressing room, especially to the senior indian players!

Cheers!

Posted by PiyushD on (January 23, 2012, 15:14 GMT)

truely speaking it did not even bring a smile.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 15:14 GMT)

"Secondly, Pakistan were brilliant and fantastic to watch, proving once again that they can be an irresistible force in any cricket match that they are actually trying to win. Also, nobody has been arrested, spoken to by the police, or even caught out in a tabloid sting operation at the time of writing in this series. This is real progress." hahahha i love my country :D

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

"If we must have an Akmal, let's at least have one of the competent ones. " well said :)

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

It DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK.

Posted by olly_76 on (January 23, 2012, 14:13 GMT)

Not usually a fan of these 'comedy' pages but this is pretty good, last paragraph especially.

Posted by iBilal on (January 23, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

I was expecting it to be more funny

Posted by Kavum on (January 23, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

You forgot Willis being appointed spin bowling coach at Worcs. this season.

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Alan Tyers
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.

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Alan TyersClose
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.
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