Colin Graves’ gesticulating is simply not good enough

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3 minute read

You might be expecting some sort of pithy takedown of Colin Graves’ tenure as ECB chairman here. Don’t get your hopes up. Our headline is brutally literal.

We just watched Graves defending The Hundred and other things on Sky Sports and it struck us that his hand gestures were feeble.

That one at the top of the page – that’s him saying, “I think they’re beginning to see the reasons *why* we’re putting it together.”

And here he is saying, “I think they’re starting to see the excitement of a new competition.”

This next one’s for, “I think they’re starting to see as well that we’re attracting a new broadcaster to it.”

This is really limp, insipid hand work.

But this next one’s the clincher.

This is for, “I think they’re starting to see all that thing coming together.”

Now that is pathetic.

In our parallel life as a cycling writer, we have spent an awful lot of time watching Team Ineos boss Sir Dave Brailsford talking with his hands and we know for a fact that Sir Dave would have given “together” enormous physical emphasis.

Sir Dave is the benchmark for talking with your hands. And it is surely no coincidence that he has helped British cyclists win a zillion Olympic gold medals and a whole bunch of Tours de France.

‘Together’, ‘team’, ‘unit’ – these are words for which you really need to convey closeness. Say what you like about Sir Dave, but uttering the exact same words as Graves, his hand gestures would have left you in no doubt whatsoever that everything was indeed ‘coming together’.

Conversely, look at Graves’ hands again and tell us that everything isn’t in fact slowly falling apart like a loosely-packed ball of kinetic sand.

Now this is how it’s done.

This is Sir Dave saying “selecting” earlier this week.

See how his hand is very precisely ‘selecting’ something?

“Oh, that’s very precise,” you think upon seeing that. “Team Ineos are being very precise when selecting their team.”

You think this even though what Sir Dave’s actually telling you is that they aren’t picking the lad who won the Tour de France the year before last or the other lad who’s won the race four times, because even though they’d planned to pick them both, neither is in fact in any kind of shape to actually compete.

Now here he is gleefully slapping his hands together to indicate “a big challenge.”

“Ooh, that’s exciting,” you think. “The rider he’s talking about now has a really big, exciting challenge ahead of him.”

You think this even though the challenge in question is racing a slightly-lower-profile race instead of competing for the Tour de France.

In the same short video, Sir Dave does similar things for “opportunity”, “highest level”, “excited” – words like that.

Here’s him saying, “put that team together”.

You can actually see him putting the team together!

You can see him thinking about the job of putting the team together and carefully ensuring that all the different bits fit together correctly.

He’s absolutely bullshitting you, but it’s also kind of convincing.

Now here’s Colin Graves saying, “… children getting really excited at The Hundred.”

Oh we’re alive with anticipation now, Colin.

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  1. My first reaction was this was brilliant and amazing but I had immediate second thoughts about how badly I would fail this test myself.

    1. Though the monstrous avatar version of myself seems to have excellent Egyptian-style handiwork, so I might just get away with it.

  2. Crawley on the verge of ‘doing a Key’ here…

    An as I type it looks very likely that a full allocation of overs bowled, crikey. Maybe Pakistan don’t fancy getting up half an hour early tomorrow.

    I think we all need to see a bit of Fawad Alam’s acting career, as well, following the revelation of his ‘between-Tests’ sideline appearing in a sitcom.

    1. Zak Crawley’s dad is a bloke named Terry. Zak is not son of creepy.

      All together now…”he’s big, he’s bad, but Creepy’s not his dad…”

      Big daddy though. Glorious. Missed most of it. Hoping to see a Day Two double.

      1. I’m very relieved to hear that Ged – children of sportspeople you can actually remember should be no older than ten (children and grandchildren of distant legendary figures get a free pass) and on no account should be playing international sport.

      2. Sadly, it seems that the current England team are as unimaginative as their predecessors a generation ago, so the current lot have nicknamed Zak Crawley “Creepy”.

        But there’s nothing creepy about Zak, unless you think that extreme focus on work ethic and trying to improve is somehow creepy, rather than creditable. “Creditable Crawley” doesn’t quite work as a nickname, though, granted.

        I’m afraid I am too old to have avoided the “children of sportspeople I remember” problem – Chris Broad’s international career was during my young adulthood…and oh boy have I been glad for Stuart Broad who is unquestionably “better than his dad.”

        But your time might come soon, readers. Josh “son of Atherton” De Caires is 18 now and doing well. One of his Middlesex Academy “classmates”, Blake Cullen is debuting for Middlesex in the Bob Willis Trophy match as I type.

      3. Presumably a lot of people who have seen Tagenarine Chanderpaul bat remember his dad, what with them appearing in the same team several times.

      4. I believe Josh de Caires was coached at school by Mark Ilott, which makes his youthful batting feats even more impressive!

        Sadly I can think of several examples where not only can I remember the father, but the son has played out their entire career and now retired. Mostly in other sports – Shaun Wright-Phillips springs to mind – but it might happen in cricket with young players who don’t quite “make it” retiring in their early twenties, so quite possibly several examples have passed me by.

        I suppose now I have to worry about the grandchildren.

      5. A tad unfair about Mark Ilott, Bail-out – he was hardly a complete numpty with the bat…

        …and in Josh de Caires case, he was hardly without additional guidance beyond school, as reported on this very site by an eye witness:

        What a day that 2016 day was for cricketer spotted incidents; Paul Collingwood, Michael Atherton and Josh de Caires. Mind you, if you hang out for the day twixt Lord’s and Radlett…

      6. Yes, to be fair, a handy number nine or so for Essex. We had some proper number elevens (wasn’t rare for Peter Such to be batting at ten…) so we needed it. But still, I’ve always been curious about this aspect of coaching – that a batsman has to teach bowlers to bowl, or that a bowler has to teach batsmen to bat. I wonder which is the harder task?

  3. I was coached (briefly, unsuccessfully) by Russell Cobb, father of Josh. Must have been right around the time he retired – I’d never heard of him, I remember being disappointed because we were expecting him to be Tim Boon.

    1. I was there at Lord’s the day young Josh (we’re talking Cobb now, not de Caires) scored that record-breaking ton against Middlesex; the record relating to the lad’s age – just turned 18 – the youngest Leicestershire 1st class centurion.

      Strangely, daneel, today turns out to be the anniversary of that event, which motivated me to share .

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