England are in a spin

Terrible headline. Terrible, terrible headline. You’ll see it again at some point in the next few weeks and minus a billion points for the guilty publication.

Don’t worry though. We’ve got an angle on ‘England are in a spin’ and so we’re going to salvage our pride in the final paragraph with a poor joke based on deliberately misunderstanding what someone has said. At least it would result in salvaged pride if we had any pride to begin with. Which we don’t. Let’s be clear about that.

England’s weakness against mystery spin

An incredible amount is being written about how England are going to play spin during this series. Clearly it’s important, in which case you’d think people would have half an idea what the batsmen’s weaknesses are. The consensus seems to be that it’s all about mystery spin. These are professional cricketers and mystery spin’s the biggest challenge, so clearly that’s where the weakness lies.

This is not about mystery spin.

Just because Saeed Ajmal took wickets last winter, it doesn’t mean it was FX3 – The Even More Deadly Art of Illusion (that reference isn’t too obscure, is it?). As we remember it, England’s batsmen were mostly dismissed LBW following a review via ‘the straight one’. Clearly all this focus on spin is overlooking an even bigger weakness – playing slow deliveries that don’t do anything whatsoever.

The notion that England only really struggle against mystery spin is also disproven by the fact that the batsmen have also failed against plenty of conventional spinners in recent times. Abdur Rehman took 19 wickets at 16.73, Rangana Herath took 19 wickets at 17.94 and even Mohammad Hafeez managed five wickets at 16.00.

Mystery spin might be the headline, but as usual no-one’s really paying attention to what’s in the article.

Speaking of headlines?

Oh yeah, right. Erm, well Graham Thorpe’s spoken to the Guardian about how England might try and play spin bowling during this series and aside from coining the phrase ‘tick-over shot’, he also says of the batsmen: “it’s important that you are able to keep rotating.”

So there you go: England’s batsmen are going to spend their entire time at the crease rotating. England are in a spin.

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23 Appeals

  1. Bryan Brown!

    • I reckon if someone went back through all the King Cricket posts that have ever been published, we could build up a pretty accurate e-fit image of you.

      Any volunteers?

    • Just about any post will get you a cheery snapshot of the King

      “It’s better keep a low profile and hope no-one exposes you for the worthless human being you know yourself to be.”

  2. The last line of that article:

    “If England win in India it will be a great achievement – just look at the stats. But am I an optimist? Yes.”


    • King Cricket

      November 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      It’s the old ‘optimism is about consciously rejecting logic and that is somehow a good thing’ philosophy.

      People do it all the time. They tell you what they think and then they make a point of saying that their REAL opinion is the exact opposite. It’s their way of presenting themselves as being ‘positive’ because for some reason people think that’s a laudable attribute as opposed to a debilitating character flaw.

      People always confuse being illogical with positivity, just as they confuse being logical and realistic with being a bleak, depressive sort of person who likes cycling and has carpet hair.

    • I was with you until carpet hair.

      Carpet hair?

    • Like Doug the Rug?

    • King Cricket

      November 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Hair that is thick, dense and coarse – like carpet.

    • Thick, dense and coarse? Oh, you mean Denise Van Outen hair.

    • Thick, dense and coarse? Oh, you mean Piers Morgan hair.

    • I love this website, KC.

      Daisy and I went to see a preview of The Effect on Saturday – a play very much about the notion that realism leans, on balance, to received perceptions of pessimism rather than optimism – but if you deem such realism to be mild depression, you end up medicating many realistic people and deeming optimism to be “normal”.

      Meanwhile, my week went south big time with a phone call Monday evening – family bereavement – Ged the Last Mohican/Designated Mourner from our side of the family – coming home from the funeral, the Gedmobile broke down on the M25 at 18:30 …

      …heck, I need to decompress at 01:30 having just got home…

      …but I’m mercifully still alive and still optimistic, yes, even for England’s chances in the forthcoming test series.

      England are not good against spin, even the “straight-onna” variety, but India also have their flaws. England might surprise us all this series – there is a lot right with England as well as some wrong.

      Question for advanced students: – Ged is clearly clinically optimistic. What medication should Ged be on for this condition? (Show your workings – in particular demonstrate how much money could be made by a global pharma convincing doctors to prescribe your preferred medication willy-nilly).

    • Apologies, forgot to link to “The Effect”:


    • King Cricket

      November 14, 2012 at 9:23 am

      Commiserations regarding the bereavement.

      Regarding the optimism, we prescribe beer – maybe something Belgian or a strong British number. Studies have shown that heavy alcohol consumption is an excellent remedy for feelings of hope and adequacy.

    • Yup, that worked. I feel terrible. And glum.

      Thanks a million KC – you’re a pal.

  3. You have to be prepared. You know, like me, more than a decade ago against Pakistan. I was prepared then, you know. And you have to stay in the moment too, like I did in Karachi. Even my enemies couldn’t have accused me of staying five moments ahead. So entirely was I in the moment it was clear I was prepared. You need to take your chances too, you know, like I did against Muttiah Muralitharan. Ah, the memories. He was wild, that one. But I tamed him. Oh, I tamed him alright.

  4. Who is this mystery spinner that the English media keeps talking about? I wasn’t aware we had any. I always thought a mystery spinner was one whom you couldn’t classify as an offspinner or a leg spinner, like Narine or Mendis. Ajmal is an off spinner, as is Ashwin. There’s nothing vaguely mysterious about them, or am I missing something?

  5. His name is Muthu, Uday. He is currently holing up in my house, but the BCCI don’t let me take photos of him, drink with him, or enjoy his company in any other way whatsoever. In response to my understandable indignation at this situation the BCCI have explained to me that “The BCCI are not seeking to minimise my happiness in any way but that they have a general policy of being assholes”.

  6. Mystery spinner= bowler who would never have been allowed to play pre-Murali.

  7. It’s all about the mind games to which teams especially England seems to pay attention as it happened during their last test series against Pakistan where they were so afraid of Saeed Ajmal’s so called “teesra” which we all know now that there was never such a delivery so the point here is that the English management is paying too much attention to mind games instead of working in the field.The batsman should merely focus on the ball rather what’s going on in the bowler’s mind.So a nice article.

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