The numerous tabs of county cricket

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We missed a trick when naming our county players to watch. Instead of trying to keep things manageable by limiting ourself to five, we should have completely changed the rules and just named all the England squad contenders who we were watching anyway.

What happens now is we open all the scorecards in different tabs and there are three things to write about from each one. It’s all become rather unwieldy.

This is why we try and ignore the second division. There’s only so much our tiny brain can sift through.


We said at the outset that we would be very, very surprised if Sam Robson didn’t open against Sri Lanka. Yesterday, he scored 163, so maybe we can stop watching Michael Carberry et al. and just draw a line under the potential England openers section to cut down our workload.

Middle order

A nothingy 48 from Ravi Bopara (…in the second division. This is the problem, you see. Why are we having to pay attention to these nothingy, meaningless matches full of crap players?)  James Taylor followed up his fairly nothingy 62 with a more nothingy 33. Eoin Morgan made a reasonably noteworthy 86. Gary Ballance made 77.

Spin bowler

There really aren’t any. Obviously, there’s always someone who’s the best of what’s available, but that shouldn’t be mistaken for being the future of England’s spin bowling. Simon Kerrigan’s probably the best specialist, but it would be a brave decision to return him to the national side right now.

The first division has some batsmen who bowl spin. Samit Patel’s done nowt of note this week; Scott Borthwick took 1-50, which seems about right; and Adil Rashid is bowling pretty much as predicted, taking 1-127.

So again, we find ourself dredging the second division – which is as sure a sign as any that the situation is dire. Monty Panesar took 0-12 and 1-41 and you feel he’d really have to go some to find himself back in favour. Then there’s Moeen Ali, who isn’t even a spinner – he’s a number three batsman. On the strength of 3-43 and 0-14 he’s now being talked of as being the frontrunner. The sad thing is, he probably is.

It doesn’t help these guys that half the County Championship is played in the spring these days.

Pace bowling

It’s easier for these guys to look good at this time of year, but let’s not complain about that. Steven Finn has followed up his first innings 5-91 with 3-63. Chris Jordan took 3-15 and then 3-121.

Owt else?

Yes. Of course. County Championship coverage never ends and it’s only week two. We’re going to burn out in no time. Firstly, Usman Arshad, who was starting to look like the worst-ever selection as a player to watch even before we’d clicked ‘publish’ rather hauled things back. None for 50-odd became a very respectable 4-78. Reverse swing? No idea. We’ve never even seen him play. That’s how much we research these things.

Finally, we feel we have to draw attention to Ed Joyce scoring a hundred in each innings against Warwickshire, even though he’s not going to play for England and even though he’s not one of the players we’re officially watching. But at least he has the decency to play in the first division.


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. James Taylor’s “nothingy 33” looked really quite special until Steve Finn came along with a spell that looked even more special and took a couple of quick wickets including Taylor.

    Sorry to besmirch your punditry with actual witness statements from watching Division One cricket, KC. You may rest assured that I shall file a match report from yesterday that contains no such defilement.

  2. Even if we’re going down the road of not picking a spinner, and instead picking a batsman who can bowl a bit of spin (which probably isn’t entirely daft given it’s early season and that we don’t actually have any spinners), I’m still not convinced Ali is the best option. With Root already likely to be in the side offering passable part-time offspin, I’d rather have Borthwick or Rashid offering a different option.

    Still, promising scores with the likely top three all scoring daddy hundreds and Jordan and Finn getting wickets.

  3. Carberry has got some runs “when it matters”. Thats really going to piss England off, how can they drop him under the radar now?

    1. They can and they will.

      As they proved with Compton and countless others, it’s not about how many runs you score. It’s about more than that.

      As Mike Gatting once reportedly said about Graham Thorpe: “What does he bring to the table, other than runs?”

    1. We suppose that was his issue. If Thorpe had brought gateaux, he’d strongly have been in favour of his selection.

    2. Coincidentally, you’ve reminded me that I should report to Cricket Badger that I saw Gatt eating lunch in London pub last Wednesday.

      He had his head down every time I looked up. Lunch is a serious business for Gatt, I do declare.

    3. Bit worried that you’ve already provided all the vital incidental information already, but please do send.

    4. Yup, that’s it really.

      Actually, the only other material fact is that the pub in question was the Lord’s Tavern.

      I thought that might disqualify the sighting, even though it was not a match day.

    5. I saw the entire Sri Lanka team hanging around in our hotel lobby on a very cold July in Edinburgh in 2011. I think they were supposed to be playing Ireland later that day but the game got rained off.

    6. Sri Lanka playing Ireland in Edinburgh, daneel?

      Are you some sort of crazy separatist or something?

  4. come to think of it, i saw gatting myself, years ago now (oohh… mid-90s i should think), waiting for a tube. he was much shorter than i expected him to be. i did a double-take, so that he could see i’d recognised him and he looked slightly worried that i was going to say something… but i didn’t in the end.

    wow, great story 😉

    1. After Trott did those interviews, Vaughan said: “He was struggling for cricketing reasons and not mental, and there is a massive difference.”

      When you’re a professional cricketer, there really isn’t.

      There is a very real chance that Jonathan Trott to some degree measures his self-worth in runs, which makes him incredibly vulnerable.

    2. … but this must be true of all top-level batsmen to some extent – ? which is, i suppose, vaughan’s point. because i am apparently in the minority who thought that vaughan DID have a point, even if he did make it rather insensitively, to say the least. since he had known players (trescothick) who had been diagnosed with depression – whatever that really means (and i say this as someone who has previously consulted a largely-clueless medical profession for symptoms of that type) – he seemed to think that trott was cheapening the issue by clarifying that he didn’t actually have any mental or emotional problem, he was just totally knackered and burned out. i mean, that is a different thing altogether. this doesn’t mean that trott might not still be genuinely suffering and, as i say, i don’t think vaughan went about it all particularly well. but then, he has rather bought into this whole latest-in-a-long-line-of-forthright-yorkies cliche, hasn’t he…

    3. Not sure it is a completely different thing really. After Trott’s interview, we pointed out (on Twitter) that his self diagnosis that it wasn’t/isn’t depression was questionable. In the same interview, he detailed feelings of guilt and unrealistic expectations and these are textbook symptoms.

      And yes, it probably is true that most top batsmen to some degree measure their self worth in runs, but it’s the extent to which that’s the case which is perhaps key. You get the impression with Trott that there isn’t a great deal more there. That isn’t meant as an insult at all. It’s just that he strikes us as being an obsessive.

  5. “feelings of guilt and unrealistic expectations… these are textbook symptoms”

    – yes, but of what? performance anxiety is still not the same as depression. also… *self-* diagnosis? that very much suggests that he hadn’t seen a specialist (which is unlikely). it’s more probable that he had, but had not been diagnosed with depression.

    trott strikes me as obsessive as well (takes one to know one). still not the same thing..!

    in a way i feel as if i’m just splitting hairs now. people who have never struggled with these sort of things – but who know they are supposed to take them seriously – have a tendency to talk about any mental/emotional/stress-related condition as if it were completely disabling. and don’t get me wrong, in some cases it can be exactly that. in others… well, it just makes me roll my eyes a bit when people talk about (say) depression as a “serious condition” when they don’t regard other things as serious at all if they don’t have the “weight” of an official medical opinion behind them. yes, i’m aware that i am sounding bizarrely hypocritical now – having said that vaughan had a point, i’m now basically saying that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. but what can i say… i can make a case for both of these arguments {rolls eyes again, this time at himself}

    1. We were really just saying that Trott’s probably suffering with something that is somewhere on that depressive continuum, so for Vaughan to say ‘it is not X, it’s Y, so I feel tricked’ misses the point.

      Is there a universally recognised anxiety threshold that has to be reached before a person’s condition is officially considered ‘depression’? It’s not that Trott’s justifiably anxious about something so it doesn’t qualify. It’s not always about being down or emotionless for no reason. Sometimes there’s a very good reason, but the problem is that the person’s response is disproportionate and disruptive.

      Hopefully not, but maybe Trott’s currently en route to something worse. If that’s the case, will Vaughan monitor the situation and then eventually conclude ‘right, I can start caring now’?

  6. heh. who knows… he has to manoeuvre his way into a public u-turn first. is he the type for that? remains to be seen i suppose – if things continue to go badly for trott, we may very well find out soon enough.

    as regards your second para – unless things have changed recently (which is quite possible), the medical profession doesn’t give a diagnosis of clinical depression *unless* the sufferer is, precisely, down or emotionless for no reason; if you are unhappy and you know why, they won’t label it the same way. but, you know, this really is splitting hairs now because your basic point is valid enough… the guy is in a bad way and does not need people getting on his back about it. will he ever play for england again? seems unlikely now. (but then, will ANY of those guys play for england again, apart from cook and broad?!)

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