England are so good they even managed to beat Bangladesh

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When England lost to Bangladesh at the World Cup, the British media stuck with the word ‘even’ – as in, ‘England are so bad, they even lost to Bangladesh’.

That line was a good fit for the narrative of the time, so it would have been counterproductive to investigate, let alone advertise, the merits of the winning team.

Since then, things have changed. The England one-day team has earned itself a heap of goodwill from the press and this means that there’s currently no real motive for talking down the opposition.

It’s nothing personal

Foreign readers, this is the truth of the matter. It’s not about you. The English are an increasingly insular people and so their apparent condescension is often just a vehicle for self-criticism. Arrogant, dismissive words about your cricket team are just a setup so that the England team can be made to look even worse.

This has been the attitude for so long that much of the media has been obliged to make a jarring leap of tone for the series just gone. “No, listen – Bangladesh are actually pretty good at home,” has been the recurrent message. “Who knew?”

They’ve presented that question as rhetorical because the answer “well apparently not you” doesn’t reflect well on them.

A lot of people did know, however, which has made their coverage seem a little odd.

All of which is just a bizarre excuse for our own slothfulness

You’ll notice that in contrast to this, we’ve hardly covered the series at all. This is not because we’re not interested – far from it. It’s just that our usual themes for one-day series – that there are too many matches and the outcome rarely seems to mean much – really didn’t apply.

Three matches was the perfect number, the teams were well-matched and the series as a whole was meaningful in that it has changed perceptions of both teams to some degree.

Quite simply, we had nothing to say.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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    1. (Do we have a running theme of “England should play less financially-rewarding but nevertheless entertaining teams more often than they currently do”?)

    2. You’ve made what we like to call ‘the Ashes mistake’.

      Based on this series, England should play Bangladesh as often as they currently play them. Ditto New Zealand and Pakistan.

      1. I think you could argue that they should still play Bangladesh a bit more regularly – more in line with how often they play everyone other than India and Australia currently. This is the first series of any kind since 2010 – they have played about 6 global tournaments since then, let alone how often they have played everyone else.

      1. I’m not sure whether I have ever made this point before, but I don’t consider two test matches to be a series.

        Unless there are three test matches it shouldn’t be considered to be a series.

        The three ODIs bit of this tour was just fine though, granted.

      2. Yeah, sorry, that’s what we meant. Agree that three Tests should be played. So yes, England should play Bangladesh (slightly) more.

  1. Enjoyed reading about this series. Shame it wasn’t on TMS. Tried listening to TalkSport but decided it would be more enjoyable to stick knitting needles in my ears.

    1. Listened to Guerilla Cricket, a.k.a. Test Match Sofa Redux. Have the theme tune and several of the jingles stuck in my head, jostling for room.

      1. Is that Daniel Norcroft’s venture? I gave him a packet of Rizlas and he never had the courtesy to thank me.

      2. Norcross came up with it, but has since defected to TMS. And from your Rizla story that sounds like exactly the sort of thing he’d do.

      3. Ah, not just me then. When he came on TMS this year, I had to watch the radio with the sound turned off.

      4. I met him briefly at the Authors v Actors XI at Wormsley. Sebastian Faulks’s face was a picture that day when some old gent came up him after the match and said, “interesting cameo, Mr Faulks.”

    2. Sam – have you considered just listening to Soul Limbo for a while and then alternating between listening to TalkSport (other non-BBC broadcasters are available) and eavesdropping on ‘older’ colleagues discussing how they spent the previous evening and/or weekend?

      1. Good idea. But they would have to be talking quite specifically about cake, buses, cranes and uncovered pitches.

      1. With all the news about the Thai monarchy, I feel I need to ask: are there lèse-majesté laws in the realm of King Cricket?

      2. Even if there were, the strongest sentence we could impose would be to ban you from commenting using a particular email or IP address.

        Unless we have heavies? Would anyone here consider themselves a heavy or a henchman or somesuch?

      3. Are there no rotund all-rounders of sufficient mass available to fulfil this role? You could also defend the fiefdom throughthe use of bouncers…

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