Old Trafford Test survives as BCCI turns its attention to a recipe for burnout | Mop-up of the day

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England have reportedly declined India’s ‘informal’ invitation to cancel the fifth Test at Old Trafford. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will therefore do what cricket boards always do in these situations: it will schedule exactly the same number of matches within a shorter span of time.

Just to recap, the reason for the request was so that it would be slightly less difficult for the BCCI to squeeze in the rest of the IPL. However, Ali Martin reports that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is quite reasonably having none of it, having already sold a bunch of tickets.

The Old Trafford Test is due to end on September 14 and the BCCI now seems to want to hold the rest of the IPL in the UAE between September 18 and October 12.

Compounding things further, the UAE is also the ICC’s backup location for the T20 World Cup (which was supposed to be held in India). This is due to start on October 16 or 18, depending on who you ask.

The specific date is arguably of less importance than the fact hosting both competitions will mean an attempt to conduct 76 matches across the same three venues. (A tip for World T20 participants: bring a spinner.)

Cricket’s rich history of cramming shit in regardless of the consequences

We’re currently in the process of recording the second series of the Ridiculous Ashes podcast with Dan Liebke. As you may or may not be aware, we’re focusing on the 2013/14 series – which is not to be confused with the 2013 Ashes that immediately preceded it.

We seem to recall thinking back-to-back Ashes maybe wasn’t the best idea even before the first of those two series began. A bunch of players duly crumpled.

Among the less prominent of these was Ian Bell, who this week told George Dobell that his Test decline was basically down to mental burnout.

“At the time, I was one of those guys who thought I should keep ploughing on,” he said. “Andrew Strauss, to his credit, offered me the winter off.

“But I’d just accepted a central contract. So I didn’t feel taking winter off was the right option. When I look back, probably that was the wrong decision. It probably would have been a good option.”

It’s been interesting to revisit the needlessly unnecessary premature demise of England’s greatest Test team of recent years for the podcast and you’ll have an opportunity to join us for those episodes before too long.

We mention in this in large part because we’re acutely aware we haven’t done too many features of late and that’s not unconnected.

Our “plan” was that we’d have a busy period while we recorded the podcast and that King Cricket wouldn’t be affected. In practice, we haven’t been able to magic up as much free time as we thought we would.

So we’re wondering to what extent you see the Ridiculous Ashes as being an aspect of this website? Podcasts and written articles are different things and our Patreon crowdfunder is built around a promise to devote time to written features.

Do those of you funding the site feel short-changed at the minute? Or do you feel like, okay, there’s some audio stuff coming in a bit and then normal service will be resumed?

Whatever you say, we’ll bear it in mind and quite possibly come up with a different way of going about things if and when we do a third series of the Ridiculous Ashes.

Oh and by the way…

Ben Foakes is out of the New Zealand Test series after slipping on the dressing room floor in his socks and tearing his hamstring.

Clearly Foakes doesn’t have a one-year-old who insists on careering around the kitchen in his babygrow or he’d have been acutely aware of the dangers of traversing tiles in cotton footwear.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


    1. FFS….

      Foakes Follows Stokes (in being ruled out of the First Test with an injury)

  1. With regard to feeling short-changed, just repost the ‘Rob Key on a capybara’ picture or the drawing of him ‘fielding a pie’ every couple of months and all’s well.

    1. I’ve got to admit that I’m not here for the Ridiculous Ashes. Specifically, I’m not here for the Ridiculous Ashes in which England do badly, which is most of them. I’m not non-partisan enough for that. (Also I’m drowning in podcasts as it is without adding another one. (Also also I feel like farming this choice out to Twitter was a mistake and it would have been much better to lead with 2013, but I haven’t listened to it so that’s all I can say. Maybe you and Liebke have done a blinder anyway. You probably have.))

      That said, I haven’t noticed the downturn in features too much. I’m always here for more rehashed Rob Key art though.

      1. As was pointed out to me, redoing the 2013/14 Ashes as the Ridiculous Ashes means that England actually stand a good chance of winning 5-0 this time. Let the partisanship flow through you!

      2. I am at the same place for Ridiculous Ashes. When you get around to a series I’ll enjoy a recap of, I’ll try it, but 1997 wasn’t very interesting to me, and there’s few series ever I care to relive less than 2013/14. I suspect the show is good, and that the actual results of the series aren’t the point, but I just don’t fancy it.

        I don’t feel short-changed, I’m not churlish. I’m very grateful for everything you do here. I don’t expect it all to cater to my specific interests.

      3. Very kind.

        We’re just concerned that if absolutely everyone here thinks the podcast is not for them, then really it’s a totally separate thing. We’re working on the assumption there’s considerable overlap but if our patrons don’t like it then we shouldn’t be devoting website writing time to it, even if it is only for relatively short portions of the year.

      4. At the same time, our having the freedom to repeatedly head down dead ends is what makes the site what it is.

      5. I’m the same, I have enough podcasts to be going on with. I’m listening to The History of Philosophy Without Gaps (currently on episode 95 of c.390 and it’s only reached Reformation times) so that’s me sorted for the next year or two.

        I don’t mind too much though. I contribute partly to show my gratitude for several years of entertainment and genuine wit

  2. Foakes has done this due to elite niceness. He wants to give Bracey a test cap and he wants to get Hameed back in the squad. What a nice chap.

  3. I don’t mind having days without anything, because a.) it means something longer and interesting is coming up soon and b.) because it gives me time to go through the rest of the site.

    Yesterday I read an article from 2013 in which Ged Ladd predicted that eventually enough there would be a “Joe Root should be captain” debate, followed by him being made captain, following by a “Joe Root shouldn’t be captain” debate. All of this sounded quite familiar.

    I don’t feel particularly short-changed – bring on the Ridiculous Ashes!

  4. I don’t really tune into the Ridiculous Ashes thing because

    1. I like the written word better, and
    2. Not being intimately familiar with the Ashes series in general (except for the famous ones), not really sure I can get the jokes.

    But #1 is more important for me – I just don’t listen to any podcast, not just cricket-related ones (even back when the world was normal). Just not my thing.

    Having said that, I think you should do what appeals to you more. In these troubled times, that is the only way to keep our sanity, rather than trying to do it all. I am sure I speak for everyone when I say I don’t feel short-changed at all, and this is pretty much the only site (other than gmail!) that I visit everyday.

    1. Also very kind.

      We too prefer reading to listening – and indeed writing to talking – but it’s fun to do something different and fun to work with Dan.

      Don’t imagine for one minute that it’s a sign of where we want to go though. This will always be the main thing.

  5. I’m one of the crowdfunders for the website (still waiting for my expired gift cards from obsolete shops…) and I listen to the podcast. I see them as having common elements but separate entities and I hadn’t considered one affecting the other until you mentioned it today (on reflection, a lack of foresight on my part).

    I read every article on the website and listen to most podcasts so definitely the website is more important to me. I had noticed there was less content on the website than there had been but I didn’t feel short changed by this (I just thought you had other things on).

    I anticipated my funding going to the website rather than the podcast. I wouldn’t be distraught if the funding went to both.

    Long winded way of saying I’m pretty much ok with whatever mix!

    1. Yeah, we certainly have had other things on as well. Although we don’t feel especially guilty when “life” stuff impinges.

      It’s all part of the mix though. Stuff crops up and there are only so many hours in the day. Sorting out the pissing email was actually one of the main things that ate into recent writing time.

      We should say, however, that the Ridiculous Ashes has given rise to a couple of features – both as inspiration and through our having effectively already done the research – so it does cut both ways.

  6. Yup, I prefer reading to listening, but I rather like The Ridiculous Ashes and it keeps me away from the screen for a while, which is a good thing…

    …apart from the fact I fall asleep while listening blah blah.

    I see the podcast as very much a different thing but it is nevertheless steeped in the Alex Bowden personality, much as Cricket Badger was very you, but not King Cricket.

    I don’t have a problem with any of this.

    Love the reference to KC’s 2013 piece about Joe Root, Adam. I just hope Joe Root doesn’t burn out ahead of (or too early in) the 10 to 15 year career I suggested he had ahead of him.

    Also hope you don’t burn out, KC. Less can be more and less is certainly preferable to the thought of you feeling undue pressure to churn out pieces.

    In any case, surely the community could chip in with a few more match reports, indifferent animals and cricket items in unusual places, especially now that society is starting to open up.

  7. I had noticed that you had written less articles recently but I just thought that was due to fact that there is no international cricket going on right now (The Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka ODI series doesn’t count as international cricket in my mind) and it doesn’t bother me in the least. Seeing as I’m not a Patreon contributor anyway I wouldn’t be any position to moan if I did think you weren’t doing enough.
    In summary, keep up the good work, KC. You can publish as little or as much as you like.

  8. I personally thing as a previous Patreon funder I feel that either written articles or podcasts are good. And although someone mentioned about not being interested in series that they didn’t have an invested interest in at the time, I agree to a certain extent but when you listen to the 1997 one, yes it was one that is way out of my era of interest, but it did make me feel that I did have some part in it just by listening. And going through looking at some clips of what did happen, creates a opportunity to waste time, but in an enjoyable way.

    I personally think that the article writing should be given wholly to the people who feel they can write article for the website. And KC you should record every single podcast that would cover from about 1990 to present. So we have one period of loss of writing but also a change in style and what peoples opinions and perspectives are. You can also then release the podcasts as you feel and you satisfy everyone for the oncoming months/years/however long.

  9. Only because you specifically asked, the podcast isn’t a thing for me either. I don’t listen to any, so no offense to yours.

    Meanwhile, I haven’t missed the features either because I have been busy reading about Adrian Shankar courtesy of your Wisden link – it’s a treasure trove.

  10. Yorkshire’s whites have a black stripe down the side. It’s becoming like Wimbledon. A slippery slope I’ll tell thee.

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