An Englishman and an Irishman walk onto a cricket field

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Sometimes there is cricket news that positively cries out for an irreverent article. In these situations, we know instantly that we should produce no such thing.

It’s usually the kind of news that people email us about; the kind of topic people think we would cover well. It’s usually something to do with Rob Key or Matthew Hayden. Most recently, we followed Ireland v England and like everyone else, noticed that England did well thanks to their Irishmen, while one of Ireland’s strongest performers was an Englishman.

There is nothing to say about this.

We need to state that explicitly. We need to write an article about how there’s no point writing an article because some part of our brain keeps telling us that there’s a really good way of covering this and that we just haven’t thought of it yet.

There is no good way of covering this. People can come up with their own jokes for this kind of thing. What would be contributing? Nothing.

Striking cricket news that is in some way amusing is not our niche. Our niche is writing about things that are boring and entirely unremarkable.

For example, we like Graeme Swann very much, but he sometimes skirts very close to ‘japes’ and ‘zaniness’. These are not topics we are qualified to tackle. Conversely, Jonathan Trott standing on the boundary edge, vacantly admiring the architecture of the stands, oblivious to the fact that he happens to be appearing in an international cricket match at the time – that’s the kind of thing that interests us.

So, regarding Ireland v England, the partnership between Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara was incredibly impressive considering the parlous situation they found themselves in. That’s all we have to say on the matter.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more high octane thrills. Sign up for the daily email so you don’t miss a thing.


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  1. Way to undercut us “budding cricket writers”.

    Rather than busting a gut to write decent articles, I might just start sending e-mails to national newspapers and magazines saying “I thought about doing something on this subject, then decided it was beneath me. Please find my bank details attached.”

  2. Ooh ooh, can I be the first to almost willfully fail to get the point of this article?

    An Englishman and an Irishman walk onto a cricket field.
    “It must feel a bit strange,” says the Englishman. “This is your home ground, where you watched the game as a kid, where you dreamed of playing, yet here you are playing for the opposition.”
    “We’re used to it,” says the Irishman. “All my teammates feel the same when we play in Johannesburg.”

    1. A Scotsman takes over from an Englishman as head coach of a previously successful English county who are champions of England. They proceed to lose to all the other English counties.

      The Englishman is now head coach of England, who have an Irish captain. They beat Ireland, whose Irish captain bats like a busted arse when he plays for the aforementioned English county.

      England’s Irish fast bowler takes four wickets against Ireland, having previously perfected a decent impression of a limb gazelle with seasonal affective disorder when playing for the aforementioned English county, previously coached by the Englishman and now by the Scotsman.

  3. Given the amount of players in various sports who have suddenly discovered Irish grannies when they’re realized that they don’t have a chance of playing for the country of their birth, I have to say I don’t much care about Irishmen playing for England.

    That said, Rankin swapped to England so he could play for Warks, not because he wanted to play Tests, because he won’t. Giles has thrown him some pointless caps to make it look more kosher.

    Tony Cascarino played for Ireland because of an Irish grandfather, but since his mum was adopted that probably shouldn’t have counted.

    Shane Howarth played for the All-Blacks then swapped to Wales, claiming nationality through his granddad. Turned out he was born in New Zealand.

    1. Hmmm, not sure about that. Porterfield, Stirling, Joyce, N O’Brien, Wilson, Dockrell and Murtagh all play for English counties and still play for Ireland internationally.

    2. “Rankin, 28, will join the England squad ahead of the second match at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday. He has played 37 ODIs and 15 T20Is for Ireland but retired from Irish cricket towards the end of 2012 in order to concentrate on winning a place in the England Test side. The 6ft 7in Rankin had struggled to remain injury free and it was made clear to him that his body could not sustain the burden of playing all formats of the game for Ireland, Warwickshire and England Lions. It was also made clear by his then club coach, Ashley Giles, that he would not be guaranteed another county contract unless he committed to Warwickshire and England.”

    3. The problem here, Sam, is that Ashley Giles has senior roles at both Warwickashire and England, a potential conflict of interest, albeit one that is transparent.

      While I have no beef with Giles’ good faith and his ability to “wear more than one hat”, in this instance the potential conflict of interest is highly problematic, not least because it is confusing for Warwickshire players such as Rankin.

      At the very least, the sort of gossip (or waffle as you put it) is only to be expected. At worst, players like Rankin are put in an invideous position. Rankin is a fine, decent chap, but I cannot imagine anyone having a nuanced conversation with him. Conversations he presumably had with Giles regarding his future and his position re Ireland and England were likely to be confusing to him.

      Further, you have pondered elsewhere on this site why a fine test ground such as Edgbaston has missed out on tests two years running while picking up lots of one-day stuff as scant compensation – is it really a coincidence that Giles is both a WCCC and an ECB one-day supremo?

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