Chris Silverwood respectfully disrespects New Zealand and India

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“With all due respect…” people say, or “No offence but…” What follows these phrases is somehow never respectful or inoffensive.

England coach and selector Chris Silverwood (we warned you he’d try and become a ‘supremo’) didn’t actually plump for either of those options when speaking about the summer ahead earlier this week. They were there though. As subtext.

“Playing the top two teams in the world, in New Zealand and India, is perfect preparation for us as we continue to improve and progress towards an Ashes series in Australia at the back end of the year,” he said.

Silverwood is fundamentally a very good guy, but if you take on a role within England cricket, that comes with certain obligations in the field of arseholery. Chief among these is that you should forever diminish all other cricket by comparing it unfavourably to the Ashes.

It’s not as simple as saying, “everything else is off less importance than the Ashes” though. You have to do it in a way where you’re on the face of it talking up the matches against other nations.

But actually you’re not doing that. You are, in fact, doing the exact opposite.

Silverwood delivered what might just be the finest example we’ve yet seen of this other-matches-are-important-too doublethink when later speaking to Cricinfo.

“We have the greatest respect for our opposition,” he began, misleadingly. “We have two great Test teams here. To get to where we want to be against Australia, we have to perform well and carry that respect into these Tests as well.”

You can’t give yourself a pass for these things. You don’t get to decide how your words are taken by other people. You can’t say, “We have to carry respect into these less important Test matches,” and have it make sense.

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  1. At least New Zealand feel the need to point out that they’re not treating the England series as warm-up for the WTC final, which means they almost certainly are.

    No word on India. What do they do, take each series on its merits and appreciate Test cricket for what it is or something?

  2. The fact is that when they actually play the series, players and fans alike will take them seriously and desperately want to win.

  3. Daisy and I use the phrase “with all due respect” as a precursor to saying extremely outrageous, disrespectful things about idiotic people…

    …like, in Daisy’s case, the jobsworth in the bank today (don’t ask) or the former National Selector.

    1. You went to a bank branch and interacted with a real person for some aspect of your banking needs? Shocking.

      1. I have warned Daisy about the associated risks before. She won’t listen.

        Ever since the bank lost an entire batch of her deposit-point bankings (admittedly about 15 years ago), Daisy insists on seeing her banking slip stamped by a human.

  4. They (ECB/team management) have been talking about the Ashes since the Sri Lanka series, at which point they had a series in India ahead of them, where they still had a chance of qualifying for the WTC final. I get the rivalry thing, but think a slight reordering of priorities would be nice.

      1. The thing about this rivalry that’s puzzling is this: Australia don’t seem to do this. It’s the England management that seems stuck in just one series.

        Maybe what England need is an elite intervention from a set of guys who’d really do that kind of thing with gusto.

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