It’s the England Second XI captain we feel sorry for (and also Chris ‘Dante Hicks’ Silverwood)

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You may have heard that England have had to magic-up a whole new one-day squad for the Pakistan series after the first-choice one was sidelined by a bunch of coronavirus cases. Well done everyone – but that’s the easy bit.

“We’re in unprecedented territory, in terms of replacing an entire squad and management team, and I’m very proud of how everyone has come together in order to get it done – both those within the ECB and from the county game,” said the managing director of England Cricket, Ashley Giles.

The Pakistan series may have been salvaged (at least until the next rash of cases) but spare a thought for England’s Second XI captain who has presumably just lost his entire team and is now phoning round the England Over-40s and all the junior players desperately trying to plug all the gaps.

He’d spent the first half of the week trying to muster 11 players who weren’t working late or doing DIY or whatever and now, with all that hard work done, Ben Stokes has swanned in and pilfered them all and he’s back to square one.

It’s not a great development for Chris Silverwood either, who was supposed to get a few days off but will instead have to grump around like Dante Hicks, complaining that he isn’t even supposed to be here today. (Warning: linked video contains strong language. “Oh fuck you” – stuff like that.)


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. And his social media accounts.

      Maybe they just don’t know who he is any more.

  1. Of all the surprising things to have happened in the past year, the prospect of a man named Brydon Carse playing cricket for England is right up there.

    1. Useful player, Brydon Carse. Of Southern African origin, good cricketing pedigree, he’s been on England’s radar for some time.

      Pakistan might be a tough gig for this second-string England squad, whereas the Sri Lankan squad (now departing) would probably have made for a good, competitive series for the inexperienced Englanders.

      I know that the points from these matches count towards rankings and world cup qualification and all that, but it does seem to me that these micro-series are side-shows/fillers as part of this interrupted phase in the International cricket story.

      They are not even metaphorical starters before the metaphorical main course of the India series. A metaphorical amuse-bouche from Sri Lanka followed by a metaphorical amuse-gueule from Pakistan…

      …which has me metaphorically asking “did I order this?” before having a metaphorical pompous maître d’hôtel explain politely how things work in their world…

      …which is not in places like Kansas:

      The above sketch has even more “fucks” than Dante Hicks.

  2. Weirdly the Covid situation has seen Marnus Labuschagne put into Glamorgan’s Second XI shortly before he goes home to Oz – must have been a less than pleasant surprise if you’re a Northants Second XI bowler. Which if you’re reading this, you’re probably not. 276 off 268 balls with 32 fours and 4 sixes for a new Glam 2nds record. Also quite bad news if you’re a Northants 2nds batter, as he nabbed a three-fer in their first innings, including two of their top four. The good news for you is you’re probably not one of those three people.

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