We worry for Alastair Cook’s skin

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< 1 minute read

If you need Alastair Cook any time soon, he'll probably be doing this

He never goes indoors when he’s Down Under. He just stays out on the pitch, day after day, in direct sunlight. We know he’s got sunblock on and everything, but what if he misses a bit. Actually, that’s ridiculous – in Australia, Cook never misses.

Arriving with little form and a bad back, Cook’s gone and batted all day for 154 not out in the first match he’s played. In time-honoured tradition, he’s dragged someone along with him as well. Mike Carberry is on 153 not out and with an unusual amount of uncertainty surrounding the batting line-up, might just play in the first Test.

Would this be so bad? Not really. Carberry’s got a certain wisened heft about his batting and Joe Root’s tyres have been partially deflated by the odd pothole encountered as an opener. Root shouldn’t grumble about being sent back to the smooth tarmac of number six and it’s high time England fielded a part-time electrician (Carberry).


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  1. Cook’s a machine. This all got me thinking and statsguru-ing.

    There are 15 players, of whom Cook is one, who average over 2 hours per innings in tests played in the last ten years. Note that there’s no lower limit to the number of innings.

    Can you name the others?

    1. Oh jesus, now I can’t count. 25. Not 40, not 15. It’s twenty-five.

      Sorry, please ignore me. I don’t deserve the attention.

    2. I’m pretty sure the more you guess the more there are. I am in the 21st (tertiary) circle of hell here.

      But yes, Petes and Steve, they’re all in.

    3. Here are the 25:

      Mominul Haque (Ban)
      R Dravid (ICC/India)
      MH Richardson (NZ)
      S Chanderpaul (WI)
      KC Sangakkara (SL)
      Younis Khan (Pak)
      CA Pujara (India)
      F du Plessis (SA)
      Misbah-ul-Haq (Pak)
      JH Kallis (ICC/SA)
      AN Cook (Eng)
      IJL Trott (Eng)
      DPMD Jayawardene (SL)
      HM Amla (SA)
      GP Thorpe (Eng)
      MEK Hussey (Aus)
      SM Katich (Aus)
      Azhar Ali (Pak)
      Mohammad Yousuf (Pak)
      BC Lara (ICC/WI)
      PA Jaques (Aus)
      SR Tendulkar (India)
      JE Root (Eng)
      ND McKenzie (SA)
      DM Bravo (WI)

      Predictable, huh? Anyway, Cook, Trott and Root all feature, which was my takeaway. Good news for us.

      You asked about those players who lost track of time and gained a +. I discarded the +. I discarded it in the same way that we’ve all been discarded in the past by Giles Clarke.

      I told you this game was shit.

    4. However many names that contains, that’s a brilliant list. We hold almost all those players in very high regard.

  2. The post you linked claims that

    ‘When you drop a 30 year old, it tends to be terminal’.

    Yet here we are recalling a 33-year old.

    Few people have claimed that Carberry is to old to come back, but many people said the same of Compton, even before he was dropped. Maybe it’s that Compton appeared to be a lot older than he was, and everyone thought he was 43, but I think it’s more likely that ‘old’ was being used as a euphemism for Compton. I think people knew that he was on his last chance straight away because he just wasn’t that good.

    1. The linked post was on my birthday. I didn’t mention it at the time, because I thought someone, anyone, might notice.

      Nobody did.

    2. Carberry was never really given a proper chance, so he couldn’t be dropped. He was just left out when everyone from the first team was available again. Compton was dropped.

      If Carberry is picked and later dropped, that dropping will be terminal.

  3. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself, but this has made me realise that I’d pay a significant premium to have my consumer unit replaced by an Ashes winner.

    Come back to Croydon Michael Carberry and get yourself on the Electrical Safety Register.

    1. I had a little “replaced by” / “replaced with” confusion for a moment, so I was wondering how it was going to work exactly. Also, that it might have been a little disconcerting for the kids when they were looking in the cupboard for shoes.

  4. If Nick Compton has a cat, there is a fair chance by now that it has a boot shaped imprint on it.

    Watching the Aussies get themselves in a flap today has been most amusing though.

    Ian Healey reckons there were too many dot balls throughout the day. I think the issue, Ian, is how many they scored off all the others.

    Tim Paine reckons that the Aussies will get Carberry out caught in the gully come the First Test, but obviously noticed too late in this game to stop him getting 150.

    Everyone else is just moaning that this Aussie A side is rubbish, and are helping England get into form. Pick better players then.

    1. I’m quite sure nobody who is in a position to select better players is actually moaning about the team selection.

      The Australian selectors hardly even want to see a bowler perform. Plus, I think if Australians sit down and work it out, they wouldn’t much care if the selectors could unearth Australia’s new 10th best bowler.

      Just about the only outcome they want is a number six, hence the five batsmen and almost as many all-rounders. Even then, the choice is considered likely to come from beyond this match, inducing such a layer of triviality that one wonders why the very same organisation has deigned to televise the match.

      The great irony is the recent complain of “result pitches” in Sheffield Shield, albeit largely from a community that doesn’t watch enough first class matches to know if a pitch is green or if a batsman is just shithouse. Suffice to say, when Aus A get bowled out for 280, it’s hard to imagine someone declaring that the downfall was because Australian cricketers just aren’t used to batting on such good wickets.

    2. Angy is spot on, none of the bowlers are serious contenders for a test spot. In fact I’m surprised at you not seeing this for what it is KC as the Australian selectors seem to be running with your theory.
      Basically we have selected a bunch of rubbish bowlers to serve up pies on a flat deck to tempt the English batsmen into squandering all their runs for the series before the first test even starts. Cook and Carberry have taken the bait.
      Contrast this with Graeme Smith who knows how to prepare for a big series – he did bugger all in the warmup games and bravely resisted the temptation to score big in the first test, instead saving the bulk of his runs for the clutch game in the second test.

  5. Still not convinced by Carberry. He just looks like he’s going to get out a lot. But then so does Pietersen. And he’s done alright.

    Nick Compton must have superhuman powers of calm acceptance. Either that or he’s internalising all his rage and it will all come out in a mid-life crisis. You’ve got to feel for the chap.

  6. hey, is this big “sachin sidehow” in serious danger of being a gigantic anticlimax or what? of course, he could yet make a big century in the 2nd innings and win the match, but so far it just looks as if (like ponting) he left it too late to retire… lbw to a west-indian spinner, *at home*… this is the guy that famously dismantled shane warne… dear oh dear

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