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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Come in, Number One, your time is up

Well that was a risible pile of manure, wasn’t it children? The Indians came into the heart of English cricket and knocked down our flimsy house of cards, complete with its card-analysis suite, card masseur and high-performance card director, with a flamethrower. Cut the pretence, it’s looking like the 1990s again.

A sign of how desperate things are in English cricket now is that we’d almost be prepared to go back to the bad old ways of the 90s, if only so we could have a selection panel that would actually have the courage to grab matters by the soft-and-danglies and switch captains during the series. Cook is hanging on like a shipwreck survivor hangs on to the last bit of flotsam this side of the horizon, with about the same long-term chances of survival.
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KP: Method or madness?

A bright new dawn peeks over the horizon of English cricket. Well no, it’s another huge raincloud coming to dump some more misery on the ECB and its media machine, which has been pumping furiously to try and clear the knee-deep sludge which is starting to smell pretty nasty. To put it lightly, it’s been one of the worst winters on record. On the field, the team has been thrashed in every which way it is possible to be thrashed. Off the field, it’s looking like some of the worst imaginings of Hieronymous Bosch. Whichever way you look, this is a team in disarray. Its coach has resigned, its captain shell-shocked, its vice-captain dropped, its senior batsman mentally unfit for the rigours of the game and its world-class spinner retired. Yet through all of this, the attention is instead on Kevin Pietersen, as it has been for the past eight-and-a-half years.
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Well-known Comedy Group Reunites

In a move that has shocked the cricketing world, the legendary comedy troupe, Monty Panesar’s Flying Circus, have to decided to re-form for a hilarious, high-jinks filled tour to Australia.

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How it might look

With their legendary slapstick humour and unpredictable shifts in comedic tone, MPFC were in their heyday during the 1990s, when their side-splitting antics, featuring dropped catches, woeful batting collapses and left-field selection decisions left everyone apart from England in fits of hysterical laughter. Over the last few years, however, their appearances have become fewer and further between, last being seen in public in January 2012, with the seminal ’72 all out’ episode.
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Here we go again…

Fear not, those of you suffering through the first gusts of the chilly England winter. You’ll soon be able to turn on your televisions and warm your hands on the hot Australian summer emanating from it. Or, even better, make yourself a nice cup of hot chocolate, get back under the covers, and put TMS on.

Now the world has got over the fact that a man who used to play cricket now no longer plays cricket, we can focus on some men actually playing cricket in a series which isn’t a glorified charity game for Sachin Tendulkar. So here’s a few thoughts from us:
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The Ashes: Alternative England marks out of ten

Every cricket site, blog and their dog have been arbitrarily awarding England and Australia’s cricketers marks out of ten for their performances in the Ashes. There’s nothing more to add, really. Everyone knows that Ian Bell had a good series. So here’s some marks out of ten that really count, starting with England.

Alastair Cook – Bus-hailing ability – 2/10

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“Where can we hire a pedalo?”

It’s not all chauffeur-driven Bentleys for England’s Ashes-winning skipper – on Sunday night he was reduced to hailing a night bus. Cook gains marks for his technique – any bus driver could recognise that as the signal for him to stop. However, it appears that Cook and Prior are not actually standing at a bus stop and by the look of the passing buses, none of them are in any danger of stopping. Matt Prior’s not even trying to stop a bus – he appears to be trying to get a hitchhike.
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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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From the archives…

While looking through our blog history, we came across a couple of draft posts that, for some reason, never made it to press. Dusting them off (figuratively – it’s on a computer, duh) we actually thought a couple of them should see the light of day, even in their unfinished state, now that we’ve reached our hundred. Apart from anything else, it gives us a chance to look back at what we were thinking at the time (it was usually bonkers).

The first, which I found fascinating to read back, is an extremely depressed take on the start of last season, which, as some of you may recall, was about as wet as living in the Mariana Trench. I (being testmatchspecialist) wrote a piece bemoaning this from a club cricketer’s point of view. And here it is:

The Life of a Club Cricketer – April

I play for a large north London cricket club (who compete in the Middlesex league). I’m not a first team player, obviously, but I while away my days playing a decent standard of cricket.

Indoor nets started on 15th February this year. I’ve never liked them – there’s too many aches and pains after a long winter, they’re always stiflingly hot and humid and my footwork is always like a newborn calf for the first few weeks. Finally, it gets to early April, the doors are opened and we step out blinkingly into the warm sunsh… oh, wait, no it’s raining.
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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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