Why aren’t the big teams embarrassed about losing to smaller teams?

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Scotland beat England (via Sky Sports)

Scotland’s obvious delight at beating England at the weekend was in no way matched by the anger of the England fans or the embarrassment of the players. It’s not an exact mathematical thing, but normally in sport you’d expect similar sorts of weight on both sides. Why was that not the case?

If you could boil the England fans’ reaction down to a jus, it would taste something like: “Bit disappointed, but happy for Scotland – it’s great for them.”

This is in no way appropriate and absolutely 100 per cent not what anyone from Scotland wants. Those guys want tears and this sort of phlegmatism really undermines their celebrations.

As for the opposition, when the final wicket fell, Trevor Bayliss stood up and flattened out the pocket of his hoodie. You could argue that by Bayliss standards flattening out the pocket of his hoodie pretty much amounts to dropping to his knees and roaring at the heavens, but we’d argue that it more accurately amounts to flattening out the pocket of his hoodie.

Eoin Morgan said: “It’s not the end of the world for us. It was a really good run out and good to have a practice coming into the series against Australia.”

That pretty much sums up the whole problem: There’s nothing riding on it. There are no consequences. Scotland’s big game is just a warm-up for England. The two sides viewed the game completely differently.

England’s one-day side hasn’t been together recently, yet they only met up the day before the Scotland match. They barely practised. The match was their practice.

That is dismissive and insulting and if you think that being beaten will make them act differently in the future, think again. It is a get-out. So long as games against Scotland are viewed as warm-ups, defeats can be shrugged off.

“Onwards to the proper stuff – we’ll be playing properly come the proper stuff,” will be the gist of any comments after a defeat.

Scotland are of course not invited to the one Proper Stuff event that is supposed to be about celebrating and encouraging the spread of the sport. The ‘world’ cup is currently a closed shop reserved only for the made guys.

People do seem to be a bit sick of this and we get the distinct impression that the 10-team format of the 2019 World Cup will be a one-off. Nevertheless, even when Scotland did get a World Cup invite, the format was generally rigged to the extent that there were still no real consequences unless the big teams suffered a whole series of poor results.

There have to be consequences. Consequences are what piss losing fans off. A guarantee that one way or another there will be a whole bunch of pissed off fans makes any cricket match infinitely more exciting.


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  1. My suggestion is that every match should contribute towards a composite points system over a rolling 5 year period weighted appropriately by the overs in play.

    For example
    winning Test = 4 points
    winning ODI = 2 points
    winning T20 = 1 point
    winning T12 = 0.5 point

    points thus accumulated over a rolling period of 5 years should be used as the qualification cutoff for major ICC tournaments.

    This will ensure that there is something at stake no matter what/where/how the match is being played

    1. But some of the smaller teams don’t play ODIs and, all of them play far fewer than the big guns do, don’t they? So isn’t it still a system that’s going to be rigged against them?

      1. The ICC recently made all T20s as international matches.
        So smaller teams can play regional T20 leagues amongst themselves and earn points

  2. Good one King. I have nothing to add. You have put this topic to bed. Not really what you’re looking for seeing as your articles are supposed to attract comments and opinions, but unlucky – that’s what you get for doing a good job. I thought you tried to avoid doing that sort of thing?!

    1. Well it’s not a very funny article, so we still consider this a job half done.

      1. This is true, but it is a particular seething about England losing to Scotland, and in particular Bairstow losing them the game out of a mixture of arrogance, complacency and selfishness.

  3. It’s an ODI. It’s a format nobody cares about and we play approximately a bajillion of them a year.

    If England had lost to Scotland during a World Cup, where there were meaningful consequences, then yeah, sure, be upset (although it’d still be an ODI, so even then…I can’t claim that I was upset when Ireland beat England back whenever that was. That also was amusing and thoroughly deserved).

    There’s no reason to be upset. I personally am delighted every time any of the Test teams loses to an Associate side. It’s better for the game and maybe, eventually the ICC will pay attention and fix the terrible format of their World Cup (yeah, right).

    Plus, losing at ODIs might be the one thing that gets Bayliss fired, so there’s that.

      1. I thought Durham should come under Yorkshire country, if the north became independent

    1. If he’s back in the swing of things – and it looks like he is – he could do a Ramprakash over the next couple of seasons.

      1. Play for England, average 27 in tests?

        Sounds like an improvement on recent picks – sign him up!

    1. A minor typo – was supposed to say 17 runs, but that hardly detracts from it really does it?

      1. Amazing achievement, but judging by the scores in this series I feel Ireland may be a tad undercooked at present. What did detract slightly was the net session that seemed to be going on in the outfield, from the farmer’s son’s handicam footage (from the long-off boundary) which I watched.

  4. We need to talk about the Aussie bowling attack and how samey it is, pogonically-speaking, apart from the clean-shaven speedster Billy Stanlake.

    Those are chap beards. I normally see such beards in the audience at the Wigmore Hall and at union meetings.

    Such beards have no place in the Australian cricket team. If they think they can trick us into believing that they have eliminated the cheating and foul practices simply because their bowlers look like fine, bearded chaps – forget it.

    I’m not fooled that easily. Nor are my pals here at King Cricket.

    1. Well, the 200-grit stubble of yesteryear does look a bit suspect now, doesn’t it?

      1. Don’t be fooled, Exile. These new beards are a work in progress, but ultimately they’re designed to hide a pre-scuffed cricket ball in. The bowler gets to the top of his run, deftly switches the match ball for the beard ball, bowls on off stump, then quickly retrieves the ball from second slip, where it swung to, and reverses the switch.

        The plan is for each bowler to have two beard balls hidden away, one a nicely sanded Duke, the other a taped tennis ball painted red for if they’re really struggling to get some swing. They considered having more, but Moeen Ali plays for England.

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