James Taylor – middle order giant

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England in UAE middle-order partnership shocker. Who’d have Liam Plunkett (thunk it)?

Fours and sixes are all well and good, but it’s important to cater for fans of the nurdle as well. Today was a most nurdlesome day. Nudges, leaves, jabs into the offside, works to the legside – all were on display.

James Taylor showed himself to be impressively nurdle-adept. With England’s batting currently weighted towards bombast, that’s most welcome. Batting line-ups should be like your plate after your first incursion into good buffet territory. You want a bit of everything.

This writer is also rather pleased to see Taylor and Jonny Bairstow making a decent labourers-gloved fist of things. People can sometimes get too clever with their tips for the Test team, picking out whatever second division stylist happens to have made a hundred that day – but it’s clear this pair have been too good for domestic cricket for quite some time now. That should mean something.

Last night, in a dream, someone tried to persuade us that there weren’t many famous people called Jim any more. They wouldn’t accept Jimmy Anderson as a Jim, so we very much doubt we’d have got away with suggesting James Taylor. It was still clearly a sign though.

This article was going to end with a bit about why it was the right time to pick James Taylor and how continually overlooking him up until now has helped build inner steel and and indomitable spirit. Turns out we wrote that article last year. Have a read.


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. I am pleased by this. For too long he was given short shrift, probably because he was playing for one of the smaller teams.

      1. I think other players were just seen as having higher potential – maybe they thought his game wouldn’t fit the rarified heights of international cricket. He lost out in the jockeying for position – too many options in the lower middle order, and his averages for Notts were too low – it was easy to see past him to someone else putting their hands up higher.

      2. No need to belittle the guy now – it’s high time he got a chance. This performance won’t be a high watermark – his average will soon dwarf that of other recent contenders for a middle-order berth, mark my words.

  2. “Batting line-ups should be like your plate after your first incursion into good buffet territory. You want a bit of everything.” Yes the time is right to come back to this blog.

    Very happy to see Teeny Tiny making a big impression.

    I dreamt I was on a mini bus in Georgetown Guyana last night. Only one other passenger, and driver who was driving like a madman. [the roads were miraculously free of other traffic] I had no money, I realised this when the other passenger got out and brandished his fare. I think our next stop was going to be the bank… but then I woke up.

  3. This writer? This writer? When did the first person plural morph into the third person? Is that even the third person? What would Chris Gayle usage done?

    1. “This writer” in that context is an impersonal substitute for a pure first person pronoun, probably intended as an intensive. It does pick up third person verb forms, so I suppose technically it is impersonal enough to be a third person usage, although it is not, in my opinion, pure Vaughnism.

      Some writers consider the form “this writer” to be overly formal; I myself tend to use it in circumstances where alternatives, such as “I myself” seem a bit too “me! me!”

      Personally I tend to use it when writing something that reflects the theories/opinions of others and then returns to my own.

      George Orwell said, “never use a long word where a short one will do.” This writer thinks that a little bit of sesquipedalian loquaciousness never hurt anybody.

  4. Disappointing to see James Taylor fall short this morning, but Samit Patel is now living off the fat of the land so diligently prepared by little James.

  5. “Rashid departs on stroke of lunch” says Cricinfo. How misguided they are. This is a brilliant move by Rashid – if Samit had fallen, it’d say “Patel falls at stroke of lunch” and everyone and their uncle would make fun of how big Patty needs his lunch, making Sammo a sad man. By supremely sacrificing himself at the altar of sausage, Adil has ensured a Samit century.

  6. What I’m getting from all this, the takeaway message, is that James Taylor is short.

    Have I got that right?

    1. You’re in the place, Sam – this is the buffet, not the recycling centre! Although England aren’t recycling this test match. Oh no. They’re throwing it straight in the bin.

    2. The takeaway message is as follows:

      “Would you like small, medium or large fries with that, sir?” Small please.

      “Would you like small, medium or large sides, sir?” Small please.

      “…and the drink, sir. Would you like small, medium or large?” Small please.

      1. What’s the different between James Taylor and Samit Patel?

        5cm and 15kg, or thereabouts.

      2. Being as Ballance can’t be got on, no matter how much the royal We (that writer) demands it, it appears that the legendary boy wonder Joe ‘Golden Arm’ Root has been criminally underused as the fourth spinner here.

      3. Get Cook on! Round-arm shod all the way.

        It’s no exaggeration to say that Alastair Cook is probably our favourite bowler of all time.

      4. Is it an equal understatement to suggest, then, that this was probably your favourite day of test cricket of all time? Cook bowling off-spin then taking a wicket with military shod? And Ballance bowled too! I wonder, with a test bowling average of 7, why Cook doesn’t get himself on more often. A wicket every 18 balls!

        Apologies for the linkage – it’s the best record I could find of this momentous day. Just don’t, whatever you do, actually click on it!


      5. Although it should be noted, we only really rate his spin. His seam bowling’s a bit generic.

    1. Indeed, it was the height of optimism expecting him to fit in as a test opener; he’s been cut down to size and will no doubt be lowered in the order for the SA series. Wait, what height is Mo?

      Who’s the next cab off the opening-partner-for-Cook rank? Is the CompDog back in the queue again? Hales?

      1. Hales next and then they’re basically hoping they can kill enough time that Compton can be deemed ‘too old’ the next time there’s an opening.

      2. Sir Godfrey Blunderbuss is advocating Carberry on TMS for SA – perhaps for his other string namely his spin bowling. Oh no, isn’t that the Moin template?

        To be fair to The Bearded One, England took 51 wickets in the series and TBO took 9 of them – Anderson 13 wickets, Rashid 8 and Broad 7. TBO batted like a lemming but he did contribute! How quickly people forget his contribution against the Penal Colonists.

      3. …9 out of 45 – I was overlooking the 6 run-outs! Life as a Pakistan fan is never dull.

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