Who will provoke whom into provoking them in the third Test

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We’re not saying either England or India goes out there looking for a fight. We are however saying that quite a few of the players have a keen eye for provocation and could probably uncover a bit of it even if they were sentenced to solitary confinement.

“It just showed this team is not going to back down and take a backward step when provoked,” said Virat Kohli about his team’s response at Lord’s.

Response to what? “I cannot give you the details of the words that were spoken,” he said.

Why were ‘words spoken’? Probably because Jasprit Bumrah fancied a bit of Jimmy au Poivre when England were batting.

Why was Jimmy treated to a ruck of half-pitched no-balls? Probably something he said or did.

Why did Jimmy say or do whatever he said or did? Presumably he was provoked.

Anderson is however responsible for the most astute comment about this whole thing.

Successfully summing up both sides, he said: “They use emotion differently to how we use it. They channel it well.”


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. Top quality I take full responsibility from Jimmy. Heavy implication that it would have worked if the rest of the team was as hardcore as him, but sadly they’re weak, which means his real mistake was not realising how weak they were.

      Most encouraging day in English cricket for a decade; so I’m commenting about something negative from days ago. Jesus Christ.

  1. I think it is slightly shameful of you KC that you have used a image of Kohli from the World Test Championship rather than the present game.
    We come to this site for what is fresh and the latest and greatest news.

    1. You think you’ll get away with reusing one photo when you’re writing something on your phone in the middle of your holiday. You think you’ll get away with it because it feels vaguely relevant and isn’t itself a crucial element. You think something that is wrong.

    1. Wish it wasn’t slow mo. Harder to get a feel for what actually happened.

      Desperately hoping that ‘tip and run’ utterly takes over baseball in a Moneyball stylee.

      1. Very fine. Makes you think about one of the less remarkable cricket skills as well. What a sport.

  2. Taking nothing away from Anderson & Co., one has to wonder how much of this was self-imposed. All this unnecessary talk of “giving it back” and “banter” – add to this the press coverage this kind of stuff gets these days. Perhaps if Kohli and his men had just concentrated on the cricket, would things have been different? This might be too simplistic, but I can’t help but think that not everyone is built the same way and some of the Indian players don’t really enjoy this confrontational style of playing. Rohit looks like someone who would much rather sit down with a pizza and Pujara would undoubtedly want to get back to his macaws (or whatever, he definitely seems like a bird person) instead of mouthing off. Why should captains simply assume that everyone thrives under these conditions? I could well be wrong, but Virat might be missing a trick here.

    1. Feels like it worked on day five of the last Test, but tail end slashers and bowlers benefit from hot tempers and chaos a hell of a lot more than batters do.

      1. It may also just be the short sightedness of the current world. No one looks ahead to the next Test in the white heat of celebration.

      2. Well for all the fluff surrounding Bumrah, it was actually Shami that did the bulk of the scoring. And this “fired up” Virat Kohli for whatever reason. As you say, it could just be short-sightedness – investing your emotional energy in these little 100 m dashes oblivious to the marathon ahead.

  3. Bit disappointed by the lack of Ged / Dexter anecdotes today.

    I assume there must be some.

    1. I never met him so have no first hand anecdotes.

      I know it is not the done thing to talk i’ll of the dead, but I was never able to see past the atrocious Radley School bully anecdotes about Ted in Peter Cook’s biography.

      1. Obviously Dexter had a (large!) degree of self-justification and reputation management in mind when he wrote it, but this piece on corporal punishment puts a very sad complexion on the whole affair: http://www.teddexter.com/blog/index.php?/archives/80-Corporal-punishment..html

        The system at Radley back then involved the prefects delivering the canings while the headmaster didn’t lift a finger. Dexter does admit to administering severe thrashings during while Head Boy, without it having troubled his conscience at the time. But then, he had himself been brutalised by being on the receiving end since he’d been a young child, so being entrusted with this “duty” formed part of a natural progression that had maintained the whole rotten system in place, presumably for more decades than anyone at the school could remember.

        I doubt there’s anything there to give you a change of heart, but I think the wider context deserves consideration even if it doesn’t convincingly render him a sympathetic figure.

      2. I do recognise that those who doled out corporal punishment back then were products of their time, although I’m sure that some were more reluctant and conscience-ridden about the matter than others.

        Interesting read, that Lord Ted reflective piece, but sadly I think his closing remark about the Peter Cook aspect – “not sure he even was at Radley” – I paraphrase – still shows Ted in an arrogant light.

        Peter Cook’s excellent biography (including a fair bit about his Radley years) was authored by Harry Thompson… https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Thompson
        …who not only wrote biographies but also the superb cricket book Penguins Stopped Play.

      3. Also the creator of Monkey Dust, which it’s hard to believe is almost 20 years old now. Timeless stuff, and still as dark as it was at first broadcast. Plenty of things seem dark at the time but have lost that edge when regarded in retrospect, but Monkey Dust is not one of them!

        Suspect Dexter could harbour no serious complaints about being deemed “arrogant”! He was fairly frequently asked in interviews what Cook was like at school (always replying that he simply couldn’t remember the chap) so you’d have thought he’d have noticed that Cook’s presence at Radley wasn’t some later invention.

        I was a prefect at a more civilised school in post-corporal punishment days, but we still had a lot of latitude to set punishments – some definitely straying into “cruel and unusual” territory – without the intervention of teachers. I was of tender conscience and lacking in inventiveness, so no great harm done I hope, but the power definitely get to some heads! While arrogant, I’m very much prepared to believe Dexter was telling the truth about his lack of recollection of Cook: the vast majority of people we punished were complete unknowns to us. Several people who were technically my “contemporaries” at the school have gone on to be very famous, but I have absolutely no memory of them. It’s quite possible that one of my fellow prefects gave one of them a humiliating essay to write for some minor infraction, and remains blissfully unaware to this day just who they had picked on.

        Anyhow, that’s not to justify what even Dexter admitted he did. But there’s an interesting duality in how a person can be alive in our times yet not be of our time, and how they can be deemed by one section of their peers a dashing chap and smashing fellow, while, with simultaneous accuracy, be regarded by others as a total **** (filled in however you may feel appropriate). I’ve long been suspicious that many hailed for their derring-do, whether as sportspeople, war heroes, business mavericks, or political revolutionaries, had a **** side that manifested when conditions presented. I fear a lot of gloss would fall off some very high reputations if you only asked the poor sod who was on the receiving end of it.

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