England might keep their one-day openers

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Alastair Cook - one half of summat

You go away for a few days and the unthinkable happens. England at least appear to have settled on a pair of one-day openers.

It’s like we’ve been to a faraway planet and have returned to a parallel earth. We had to switch Radio 1 on for a minute just to check that most people are still cow-brained.

It’s hard to express just how unlikely this is. There are rules about this sort of thing. England’s Test team is sacred. It is kept in a locked cupboard and only dad is allowed to touch it in case someone gets one of the settings wrong. The one-day team is a big, brightly-coloured, plastic toy for babies that makes sounds when you faff with it.

No parts of the toy invite a press and a squeeze more than the two opening slots. The chunky plastic is oh-so-inviting and both children and adults can’t help but jab at it.

Since Alastair Cook made his Test debut, England have used seven opening batsmen in the longer format. Two of those batsmen – Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan – have retired. A further three – Jonathan Trott, Mike Carberry and Ian Bell – have played one match each at the top of the order.

In that same period of time, England have had 16 one-day openers, including Mal Loye, Ed Joyce, Joe Denly, Luke Wright and no fewer than four different wicketkeepers. You might think 16 is a lot, but think about how many ways you can combine those names.

It’s not like there’s been an ever-present. This isn’t the charts. It’s not all ‘blah-de-blah, featuring Rihanna’. Instead, it’s a near endless list of ‘blah-de-blah, featuring blah-de-blah’. To have this uncertainty replaced is profoundly unsettling.


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    1. I think you should have rendered it thus to avoid the ambiguity:

      England have — or at least appear to have — settled on a pair of one-day openers.

    2. Clearer, but we like the rhythm of how it is now.

      Also, we can’t be bothered making a second edit.

  1. Really? They’ve played the same pair for 4 matches on the trot and haven’t buggered about with it whilst things are going well. It is quite an extrapolation to suggest that they are now “settled”.

    1. I think that this may well be the point. England don’t have the highest of standards for a ‘settled opening pair.’

  2. Tut tut, KC. I think all that rain and Jennings must have gone to your head. Nothing has changed. It’s just a matter of time.

    High score by either of the opening pair, AC and KP:


    And now into the future:


    The tendency to tinker will only be supressed while they are scoring at a level that is unrealistic to maintain. Any reversion towards ordinariness, even for a single match, and we’ll have Peter Purves and Dickie Davis opening in the next game. Because, like pasta sandwiches or BDSM, you never know until you try.

  3. England have had 18 different T20 openers in the same period, which is pretty impressive when you consider that they’ve only played 40 matches.

  4. Bert – I once had a discussion with a cricket-mad friend of mine who didn’t believe there was a cricketer called Dickie Davis. I had send him the cricinfo profile link to prove it.

    Come to think of it, didn’t he die a few years back?

    1. Could be, Sam. I was of course refering to the moustachioed star of the song “Dickie Davies Eyes”, a song which contains surely some of the greatest lines in all of poetry:

      “Mention the Lord Of the Rings just once more
      And I’ll more than likely kill you”

      “Moorcock, Moorcock, Michael Moorcock you fervently moan”

      “Brian Moore’s head looks uncannily like London Planetarium”

      Anyway, here he is for old times sake:

    2. I was going to put this but Bert beat me to it. Still, here it is:

      With a set of cultural references that barely acknowledges a decade outside of the 1970s and 1980s (proof: this is a man who spent last Xmas Eve listening to the Sisters of Mercy; even his porn movies are a) not viewed online b) sound suspiciously like they were filmed in the 1970s in Sweden, and c) sound even more suspiciously like thay are actually on VHS), I think we can safely assume it’s not that Dickie Davis that Bert is referring to.

    3. “Art stopped short in the cultivated court of the Empress Josephine.”

      The 80s was unquestionably Culture’s palmiest day.

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