Relatively speaking. Escape with a draw and that’s basically a win for the tourists, isn’t it? And being as it’s a one Test series, that would also mean a Bangladesh series victory. Again, relatively speaking.
Three sessions seems an awful long time when you’ve only got seven wickets left though. Three fifth day sessions. Three fifth day sessions with R Ashwin bowling at you. When you’re Bangladesh.
So, in other words India are seven wickets away from victory. In fact, being as most of you will read this on the daily email which won’t go out until mid-morning on Monday, check the scorecard – India have probably won.
It’ll be funny if they don’t though. All these big India tours this season and Bangladesh were the ones who stood the best chance of escaping with a draw.
Virat Kohli (CC licensed by James Cullen via Flickr)
Is ‘supersizing’ still a thing or did it die out after that Morgan Spurlock film? We’re old enough now that we should probably research our knee-jerk cultural references to see whether they still apply. Let’s not bother and just assume that this one’s still current.
Virat Kohli had never hit a Test double hundred until July 2016. He now has four of them. His other hundred in that period, 167 against England at Visakhapatnam, was a mere daddy – an innings so mundane, we didn’t even write about it.
We were in McDonald’s in York about 20 years ago. We’ve a vague notion that the cooker had broken but can offer no defence beyond that. There was an American guy ahead of us in the queue. He was one of those touring Americans who likes to enjoy his trip by loudly proclaiming how much bigger and better everything is in his home country.
“You see how there’s a medium and a large on the menu,” he said. “In the US, everything is large.”
Another person might have seen this as a lack of choice, but he could only see merit in it. Everything’s bigger, you see. And bigger’s better.
Virat Kohli currently gets his hundreds from a possibly fictitious 1997 McDonald’s somewhere in the Midwest.
Alastair Cook has said that the ECB “kind of let me out to dry a little bit” over Kevin Pietersen’s sacking and the ensuing brouhaha.
Being ‘let out to dry’ makes him sound like a cat who’s mistaken bubble bath foam for solid land and now needs the back door to be opened so that it can dry its soggy legs in the sun. But let’s fight back our natural inclination and not dwell on that minor slip of the tongue and instead focus on the more significant inaccuracy in that statement.
A little bit?
The ECB’s quasi-nepotistic public pronouncments seemed almost purpose-made to undermine Cook’s captaincy. As we wrote at the time, statements seemingly intended as props to support him became sticks with which the public and press beat him. This went on pretty much throughout his captaincy. Whatever his aptitude for captaincy, he is a very resilient man.
Giles Clarke’s comment that “he and his family are very much the sort of people we want the England captain and his family to be” may have become infamous as some sort of crystallisation of the outdated prejudiced views at the ECB, but it also made Cook – through no fault of his own – the embodiment of that attitude.
If it was a garland, it was a rubber one that was instantly set on fire. Actual support, in any tangible, pressure-alleviating sense, was conspicuous by its absence. Intead, Cook was just foisted up there as a figurehead with a big ol’ target across his chops.
We could go on, but you’re busy people and it feels like a ‘less is more’ kind of a day. Should you be in need of further reading, here’s three more links that we may or may not have included had we gone on.
Photo by Sarah Ansell
“Even more than making it in Twenty20 or 50‑over cricket my real ambition has been to become a Test player,” said Eoin Morgan when England first gave him a shot at the five-day stuff.
After 16 Tests and two hundreds, it seems highly unlikely they’ll give him another go, but the ICC’s latest proposals would see Ireland become a Test nation. The country of his birth would surely give him a game, no?
A certain part of us would love to see Morgan up sticks and head home purely to see how forceful and obnoxious the “SEE! SEE! WE TOLD YOU HE WAS A TRAITOR!” response would be in those parts of the media that like to characterise him as a kind of national-anthem-scorning pseudo-Pietersen.
The truth is Ireland’s Test status wouldn’t be for another couple of years, even if it happens, and Morgan currently seems rather heavy-in with leading England’s short format sides anyway. A career-minded cricketer, you can’t really imagine him walking away from his current job.
This might be a possibility further down the line though. If nothing else, a Test match between England and an Ireland side led by a cold-eyed Morgan furious about media criticism would surely be well-attended. Even if they played it in April. Which they would.
After four-and-a-half years and 59 Test matches, Alastair Cook has finally thought to himself: “Wait a minute, this is a rubbish a job and I don’t actually have to do it.”
It sometimes seems like every England captain’s career is simply a long, slow deduction that the honour and prestige don’t remotely outweigh all the millions of negatives. By the end of the India tour, Cook had the downbeat, dejected air of someone who had finally attained clarity.
After all this time, we’re still not entirely sure what particular qualities Alastair Cook brought to the job. He wasn’t an innovator or a rabble-rousing public speaker. He progressed from ineptitude with the press to speaking honestly and fairly informatively by the end, but it was never what you’d call a strength.
As we wrote a couple of months ago, with one obvious exception all of the players seemed to support him, which was a pretty decent achievement. A decreasingly competitive England side remained on an even keel, despite that creeping mediocrity. His team didn’t implode. Would Cook have won a lot more with a few better players or did he prevent the team from fulfilling its potential? Hard to say for definite, but personally we’re inclined towards generosity on this one. We might get a clearer idea when Joe Root takes over.
Concern that captaincy will somehow undermine Root’s batting seems peculiarly British being as we only have to look back as far as the present day to find examples of players who’ve improved on already high standards after taking over as leaders of Test teams (Virat Kohli and Steve Smith).
Admittedly, Cook himself was the opposite. But then the corollary of this is that he might now revert to being one of the most effective openers in Test history, which is the kind of thing that might well come in handy.
To Alastair Cook! [Somewhat bizarrely toasts him with a halloumi and tomato barmcake due to time of day and an uncharacteristic selection at the café just now.]
Boardroom table (CC licensed by Jonathan Baring via Flickr)
The Test nations are poised to rain an almighty storm of compromises down on the ICC’s proposals for the international cricket schedule.
We know this for a fact because in cricket ‘proposal’ means ‘thing that will never come about in any recognisable form’.
These latest proposals – for some sort of Test championship and a league for one-day internationals – are the product of the International Cricket Council’s chief executives committee. Now that they’ve agreed on them, the plans need to go in front of the ICC board.
The ICC board comprises representatives of each of the ‘full member’ nations, plus three blokes from the associate nations (not actually checked that they’re blokes, but we’re in real boys’ club territory here so it seems a safe assumption).
At the time of writing, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is being run by temps after the Supreme Court finally tired of the last president’s bullshit. The temps will doubtless be far too busy to approve anything significant.
They will be entirely preoccupied by three main concerns:
(a) Faxing their timesheets over to their agency
(b) Wondering why they hell they have to fax something in 2017
(c) Trying to sort out back pay after being paid a seemingly random amount last week
If they do find time to look at the proposals, all they will do is run them by the TV networks to see whether they would result in a contract featuring a bigger number.
When told that the proposals would result in a smaller number, they will make a few suggestions.
Or possibly had. Graeme Swann doesn’t make it clear in his tweet just how long the bottle’s been at the back of his cupboard.
More of this kind of thing in our latest Twitter round-up.
Unsure how to respond to this news? We’ll start you off with a trio of condimentary wicketkeepers: Jeffrey Dijon Mustard, Bruce French Mustard and of course, Phil Mustard.
MS Dhoni (CC licensed by Marc via Flickr)
Ah, bless. He’d made a few in club cricket, but this was MS Dhoni’s first fifty in T20 internationals. Hopefully this is a first step towards a successful career on the big stage.
Speaking after the game, Dhoni may or may not have said: “This was my first fifty in T20 internationals. Hopefully this is a first step towards a successful career on the big stage.”
Not to be outdone, England claimed some sort of record or other by losing eight wickets for eight runs.
Six of them were taken by Yuzvendra Chahal as he returned the third-best figures in T20 internationals.
Chahal almost certainly didn’t observe: “Hopefully I can be the next Ajantha Mendis.”
If you didn’t know it already, “it’s not my fault, I asked someone else to do it for me” is not a legitimate defence for failing to tell dope testers where you’re going to be. Andre Russell has therefore been handed a one-year ban.
If that sounds harsh, consider that testing athletes for performance enhancing drugs is kind of important. If you can’t test them, you can’t catch them and doping is almost certainly a bigger problem in cricket than anyone currently thinks it is.
Alternatively, you might think the ban too lenient. However, its duration reflects a general impression that Andre Russell is more of a plain old shambles than he is a devious doper playing the system.
The message here – which really isn’t being broadcast loudly enough – is that all professional cricketers have to take anti-doping seriously. Failure to do so undermines confidence in the sport.
The West Indies’ World T20 win last year is far from soiled by the fact that one of their number could have been banned for the entire tournament, but it does have a bit of a greasy smudge on it now. A bigger doping scandal – or a large number of them – would tarnish the event to a greater extent. No-one wants this. Swifter action in such cases wouldn’t go amiss either.
An effective testing regime is a deterrent as much as a means of actually catching people – although it has to do the latter to function as the former. As was mentioned above, if you can’t test athletes, you can’t catch dopers, so there have to be consequences for repeated unavailability for testing.
Unfortunately for Russell, for the reasons given above, being a bit of a shambles and not really worrying too much about letting the doping authorities know where you’re going to be simply doesn’t cut it as an explanation.
We’ve been away. We’re not really up to speed. Thanks to Roscoe H Spellgood, we know that speed equals distance over time, so we suppose that we’ll just sit around for a while and hope that we recover the ground.
Doubtless you can help us out by providing a few nuggets in the comments because we only really caught three pieces of news.
We saw that Eoin Morgan was probably going to moan about an umpiring decision and then we later saw a headline saying that he’d done precisely that. We didn’t read the article because moaning about umpiring decisions is the lowest form of the already low art of the post-match interview.
Ben Duckett sort of paid a visit to the trope about teams getting more out of players by encouraging them to play how they normally play (rather than encouraging them to develop any sort of adaptability whatsoever).
“Cookie spoke to us – ‘we’re going to try to bat all day here, whether it’s 20 runs off 160 balls’. That isn’t my game. I did try to do what we were asked. On another day, my way of batting for the draw is actually trying to get 120 off 160. It’s tough just trying to prod back.”
Duckett is presumably aware that there was no guarantee that he’d have survived 160 balls had he played his own way because earlier in the interview he admitted that he didn’t have much confidence he’d have made any runs in his that Test no matter how he’d approached things.
It strikes us that this is a close cousin of the ‘natural game’ myth.
The third piece of cricket news to make it past our eyes and into our head was Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s return to Lancashire. There’s no real need to say anything about how we feel about this.