Mop-up of the day – guilt, great promise and grey trivialities

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‘Du Plessis found guilty’ reads the Cricinfo headline. We don’t really feel it necessary to add much to your likely response to reading that. The effect of imposing black and white morality on the sport’s grey trivialities could barely be clearer.

Here’s something we wrote last time Du Plessis buggered about with a cricket ball. It’s still relevant.


“If he does come in I think he’ll give it his best shot,” said Trevor Bayliss about the likely inclusion of Jos Buttler in England’s third Test team instead of Ben Duckett.

We’re rather hoping to see plural shots, but England are in no position to impose such lofty expectations on a man who presumably thinks of red cricket balls as being exclusively reserved for use in the nets.

At the same time, Buttler is a player for whom his first-class record appears to tell but the smallest fragment of the story. We’re excited about his return.

Had England brought him back into the team for a home Test match despite almost no first-class cricket in recent times, there’d had been an outcry. Plucked from an emaciated touring squad, his inclusion can more easily be justified.

Perhaps it was always a deliberate ploy to take Gary Ballance on tour only to instantly drop him.

Series appraisal

Basically still what we said after the first day of the second Test: “On pitches that deteriorate over the course of a five-day match, England are capable of having the better of things when they bat first. When India bat first, they are good enough that they seem almost certain to dominate. That appears to be the difference between the sides.”

Given a pitch that deteriorated quicker, England could have won the first Test. Given a pitch that didn’t deteriorate so much, India could still have won the second. The tourists need a lot more things to go their way than the home team to win Test matches here.

We’re going to stop writing about grey trivialities now.


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. Ben Duckett has shown that indubitable white-ball talent doesn’t always cut the mustard in the Test arena. So they’re replacing him with… oh.

    I too am excited about Buttler’s return, but I can’t quite tell whether it’s for seeing him clobber 100 off 85, miss a filthy great hoick second ball when England are trying to save the match and get stumped, or just so I can hear the Guerilla Cricket jingle again.

    1. If he does…

      miss a filthy great hoick second ball when England are trying to save the match and get stumped

      …then could he stake a claim to be the English Afridi (in the ‘match situation? Smash situation!’ sense).

      1. I think he’d need the beard.

        I’m not entirely sure whether Jos is able to grow a beard. He’s like Root in that respect. Even if he can, he might look vaguely sinister, whereas Afridi just looks huggable.

  2. England need have no worry about the next venue, that city they are going to play in. There’s always purchase there, sometimes even late nights. Something in there for everyone – even Buttler should he come. Wind could be a factor though. Also rain, if that happens, because it brings in humidity and jaundice. It is said this part of the year is always tricky in that part of the world. Could be worse though.

    Thought I’d set the scene and provide some local insights for the folks here.

    1. That was weirdly poetic. We also have the distinct feeling that we’ve missed a very major point, but nothing new there.

      We bought a shirt in Chandigarh once.

  3. Are Chandigarh and Mohali the same thing?

    Is this how foreigners feel when we talk about Edgbaston/Birmingham, Kennington/Surrey/The Kia Oval or Durham/Chester-Le-Street/Emirates Riverside?

  4. India have called up Bhuvaneshwar Kumar to the squad. Mohali could be very different and very interesting.

  5. Faf du Plessis has explained everything in a series of discontinuous quotations. There is probably some stuff in between these sentences that clarifies what he is trying to say, but that’s for nerds. It’s far more interesting trying to fill in his mental processes yourself.

    Ninety percent of the time, cricketers have got sugary saliva

    That’s a very specific number which strongly suggests that this is actual research. The sugariness of a substance can be easily determined by tasting it, which is what I assume Faf has done to obtain these results.

    Whether we are drinking Powerade, Coke, Gatorade, eating sweets, sucking on jellies, our mouths are always full of sugar

    As a qualified nutritionist was saying to me only the other day, eat sweets, get healthy.

    Us as cricketers, we think that it makes a difference but we are not scientists

    I’m pretty sure that the sugariness of saliva makes absolutely no difference to scientists. The Large Hadron Collider works just the same whether they’ve had a mint or not.

    It’s opened up a can of worms, what’s going to happen now, going forward with the game

    Whoa there Faf! That’s a massive step too far, and will make the game impossible to play for vegetarians.

  6. Lovely to hear a Badger mention on Switch Hit this week.

    It’s all ridiculous, but SA have defended themselves particularly badly

    “We didn’t do anything”
    “Yes you did”
    “Well everyone else does it”
    “They weren’t caught”
    “Well, prove it does anything!”

    1. Yes, George Dobell is what is known as ‘a good guy’ – and he did indeed email to claim that the person who had ben spotted was in fact not him at all, but Brad Pitt.

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