Mop-up of the day – tails and knees

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First up, tail-enders. They’re ace, but they’re a dying breed. Blame professionalism.

Now we love lower-order shenanigans as much as the next person, but the key word there is ‘shenanigans’. A textbook forward defensive stroke is not a shenanigan. These are shenanigans.

A tail-end innings should bring all the fun of the fair (actually more fun than that because fairs aren’t really considered unusually fun in this day and age). Sadly, what we typically get from nine, ten and jack nowadays is basically just mediocre Test batting.

If we’re watching cricket, we want it to be either really good or really bad – and preferably the latter. That middle ground holds little appeal. The modern tail-ender is neither good enough nor bad enough to be worth watching yet occupies a greater proportion of Test matches than ever before.

It’s a scandal. We wrote about happier times for All Out Cricket.


We’ve moaned about Michael Vaughan’s inexplicable obsession with the hashtag #justsaying before, but it seems we haven’t quite got it out of our system yet.

We’ve previously described the term as a beacon, warning you that the person who uses it really enjoys having arguments, is ready for one and will probably refer to it as ‘banter’. But it’s worse than that. There’s a smugness about it; an intimation that the person deploying it is a plain-speaking, calls-a-spade-a-spade type surrounded by fearful cowards.

We’re hoping that analysis of precisely why it infuriates us so much will somehow dissipate its impact, but the truth is our efforts are something akin to getting angry at a traffic jam. The rage builds so that you’re in a heightened emotional state where everything becomes annoying – which is of course a fine state to find yourself in when trying to pan for gold in the torrent of excrement that is cricketers on Twitter.

This week’s round-up features quite a lot of Michael Vaughan #justsaying things and a jaw-dropping effort from Chris Gayle which you’d hope would be tongue in cheek, but probably isn’t. Gayle’s Twitter bio has him down as ‘World Boss’. We honestly don’t know whether he’s joking with this stuff.

Strengthen those quads

You probably saw the news about Syd Lawrence last week. We missed it somehow. The man sadly most famous for his gruesome on-field knee explosion has apparently become a highly successful bodybuilder.

Oh, and Pakistan v New Zealand

New Zealand have impressed us, bouncing back impressively from the pannery that was the first Test. But Pakistan have impressed us too. They’ve not been disheartened when things haven’t gone their way.

We’ll not mention the score because it’ll probably be something completely different by the time you read this.


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. What has become of your All Out Cricket portrait photo, KC?

    I particularly liked it, as it didn’t seem to matter where I was in the room, it seemed to be looking at me.

    Frankly, I find it hard to imagine that you actually look like that picture, which is a bit of an issue, especially as I have met you…

    …but surely you haven’t let the ramblings of a few poltroons on the KC site bully you into downing your picture on All Out Cricket? Utterly scandalous if you have. And shame upon those bullies and teasers – I distance myself from them completely.

    1. Me too. Complete distancing. It’s just Bert and Sam though – schoolyard bullies, both of them. If I did say anything at some point, surely KC realizes it was only because I was unsettled by His Majesty’s magnificent manliness.

    2. Think it’s just the way the article’s been uploaded. It’s culled from the magazine rather than being one of our regular web pieces. The links all point to our Twitter profile as well.

      We’re pretty confident that you’ll once again get to see our unsettlingly magnificent manliness in a tiny square in the top corner of your screen for next week’s King of Cricket.

    1. In those days there were more dead rubbers in the County schedule than in an Amsterdam flop house.

      Leicestershire were a good one day side in those days – Middlesex Students and Geriatrics XI were no match for them in the one day game.

      Indeed, back then, Middlesex’s first choice XI would have been no match…

      …indeed, not much seems to have changed in that one-day department, Middlesex-wise.

    2. They were a good side period. County Champions that year.

      I didn’t realize Strauss was playing in that game. I wouldn’t have thought he’d played alongside Fat Gatt too many times. I do remember the run out off the first ball. Always a good start, that.

  2. Crikey, KC readers are early risers and/or live in different timezones – 2 comments posted between 4 and 6am.

    Contrary to the view stated in the AOC piece, I actually think it would be No Bad Thing if No. 11 batsmen were bowled at by the opposition’s worst bowler from one end (they could still use a decent bowler from the other end).

    Imagine the drama/hilarity/shame.

  3. Excellent shenanigansing from Southee there I thought. Although someone should tell him that there is a time and a place to hit every ball for six, and the time and the place was today.

  4. Side note: the stark contrast between Auz camp and Nz camp in their approach to the game against Pakistan – Aussie captain was all about attacking while Nz camp was about learning about the condition. The draw proves that Aus needed to learn rather than attack.

    1. Or that winning in the UAE = winning the toss. Let’s wait until the last Test before we decide one way or the other.

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