Strauss rejects unexpected Boycott claim for England recall

New ECB Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss was at the centre of a media storm today after saying that controversial ex-England batsman Geoffrey Boycott was not in the frame for an England recall, mere decades after being dropped for being on the golf course while claiming to be ill. This comes after Boycott claims he was assured by the ECB that if he could prove his form, he might have a chance of a call-up.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that Boycott made a very large score in his back yard yesterday, batting “with a stick of rhubarb” against “some small children”, according to a source, before being out, apparently caught in his mum’s pinny.

But Strauss was adamant that Boycott was “not in England’s short-term plans”, adding: “There’s a lack of trust – we think that Geoffrey would just be his old self, running everybody out and being a grumpy old sod in the changing room. And anyway, he’s 74 – Joe Root and Gary Ballance are much younger and are much less hassle. Why would we want some old bloke who has dodgy knees and is past his best, no matter how many runs he once scored?”

Strauss also revealed that Boycott had been offered an advisory role in England’s T20 setup, but was told to “Fook off, young’un” by Boycott, who reportedly added: “Three not out’s a good score after twenty overs, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Boycott’s friends and supporters took to Twitter after the press conference, lambasting the decision, but everyone ignored them because nobody cares what anyone says on Twitter, particularly Piers Morgan.

In an unrelated incident, Strauss also rejected an approach from the estate of W.G. Grace, who appealed for the late Doctor to be included in England’s squad for the first Test against New Zealand next week. Strauss commented: “Dr Grace was once very good indeed, but his capabilities have definitely declined, owing to the fact that he’s dead. I’d say he’s not in our short-term plans, although I won’t rule out a return in future.”

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The KP Saga – Part the First: The Dressing Room

Right, time to limber up, climb to the top of the ten-metre board and dive headlong into the KP debate.

Unless you’ve been living under several feet of rocks for the past few days, you’ve likely seen Kevin Pietersen’s got a book out and, in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, it’s full of juicy scandal about the inner-workings of English cricket. There’s lots and lots to say about all this, so we’re going to have to break it all down into a few blog posts. First up, an attempt to work out what was actually going on behind closed doors in the England dressing room.

For some reason our free copy of the autobiography hasn’t arrived yet, so what we have to go on are the various pieces splashed across every conceivable medium known to man (the Morse Code one is particularly enlightening) detailing every last moment of Kevin Pietersen’s acrimonious fallout with the England team. Anyway, this is our take. It’s as impartial as we can get it, and is an attempt to try and explain, justify or whatever what was going on in the dressing room.
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The State of the Union

So, here we are.

We’ve been cluttering your inbox / news feed / Google search results for over a year now. We were rather too busy to mark the occasion with a proper, flag-waving ceremony, complete with lip-syncing major artist, but now the time is ripe to look back over the last year. A lot of interesting stuff has happened to England cricket in that time, so we thought we’d take our own, probably not all that unique, look at that.

The catalyst for this blog, as the web address might suggest, was England’s utterly abject subsidence to Pakistan a year ago (a Pakistan, we note, that got bowled out for 49 this very morning). We can still picture it now, rather too vividly for our liking (you see it’s imprinted on the inside of our eyelids and we still lie in bed at night in a cold sweat thinking about it) but if you’re not quite as haunted by it as we are, the full, horrible evidence can be viewed here. It was a spur of the moment thing – a combination of anger and embarrassment coupled with the need to vent those emotions led to our establishment.

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The TGECF Awards 2012 (Part 2)

A few days ago, we brought you the first part of our awards for the year. However, there’s still a few humdingers to come, so we hope you will enjoy our entirely subjective look at the year past.

Unpleasant noise of the year – Adnan Akmal (award presented by Kamran Akmal)

We’re guessing that, somewhere in the mists of time, the Akmals had an ancestor who was a large-lunged opera singer. Either that or they were the secret love-children of a Stuka and a vuvuzela. In one of our very first posts we wrote about the horrible noise emanating from the latest Akmal’s larynx and the experience has stayed with us for nearly a year. It probably didn’t help that England were getting soundly thrashed at the time by Saeed Ajmal et al but Akmal’s wailing really did get on our nerves. Our greatest wish for 2013 is that someone discovers a TV technology that can filter out the sound of his voice. Failing that, we’re starting up an earplug factory.

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The TGECF Awards 2012 (Part 1)

We felt we would be missing out if we didn’t follow everyone else’s lead and give out some awards on the arbitrary basis that the date is about to change or some such. After a black tie gala dinner at one of London’s finest establishments (more like a couple of pints and some peanuts at a south London boozer) we’ve come up with some exciting awards to give out. There aren’t any actual prizes, although winners can apply personally to us with £19.99 (plus £2.99 post and packaging) and a couple of signed shirts and we’ll send them a cuddly toy or something.

We’ve split the awards up into two parts, so here goes with Part the first.

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The Flower Waltz, a piece for small ensemble, arr. Strauss; soloist – K Pietersen

TMS spent a good part of Tuesday’s ODI going on about cricketers with composers’ names, prompted by the appearance of Dean Elgar. This, given the news that came out on Wednesday, gave us an idea…

So the final movement has drawn to a close, perhaps with slightly more of a piano finish than the conductor intended, but with the critics looking back on the entire piece and exchanging some impressed looks.

Let’s be clear here, maestro Strauss did not compose this piece – rather he arranged it from an original theme by the modernist duo of Fletcher and Vaughan, with significant (and not entirely positive) later alterations made by Pietersen. Strauss, speaking at the unveiling of the new arrangement, was quick to highlight the Flower theme of the piece, which is present throughout, and the constancy of the instrumentation, which sees only a few new textures introduced mid-piece.
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Three England captains

(With apologies to Marty Feldman and John Law)

ANDREW STRAUSS: (in whites) I look down on him (looks up at Cook) because he captains in a worthless form of cricket.

ALASTAIR COOK: (in ODI kit) I look up to him (looks down at Strauss) because I want his job, but down on him (looks up at Broad) because he plays hit-and-giggle cricket.

STUART BROAD: (in T20 kit, with dancing girls on either arm) I know my place. I look up to them both. But I don’t look up to him (looks down at Cook) as much as I look up to him (looks down at Strauss) because he has innate breeding (and two Ashes wins).

STRAUSS: I have got innate breeding (and two Ashes wins), but I have not got any money or glamour. So sometimes I look up to him (looks up at Cook).

COOK: I still look up to him (looks down at Strauss) because although I have money, I am vulgar. But I am not as vulgar as him (looks up at Broad – and dancing girls) so I still look down on him.

BROAD: I know my place. I look up to them both. But while I am rich, I am a fast bowler – industrious, athletic and underappreciated. Had I the inclination, I could look down on them both. But I don’t, because I want their jobs.

COOK: We all know our place, but what do we get out of it?

STRAUSS: I get a feeling of superiority over them.

COOK: I get a feeling of inferiority from him (Strauss) but a feeling of superiority over him (Broad).

BROAD: I get a sackful of money.