Why wasn’t Captain Hindsight made England coach for this series?

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Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

We can’t understand it. It seems such an obvious solution. Captain Hindsight wouldn’t have made all the obvious mistakes that Peter Moores made.

Maybe England’s loss would have been embarrassing if the opposition had been as mediocre as they were infamously branded, but this West Indies side seemed to us to be much better than that. They’ll surely make real progress until their next internecine conflict, at which point all the good work will be undone. They’re not dissimilar to England in that regard.

There are the usual calls for revolution, but England tend to make significant changes after every high profile defeat. There comes a point where it’s change itself which is holding back the side.

Moeen Ali should never have played

Moeen Ali was getting a lot of criticism yesterday. He certainly bowled badly – self-consciously, perhaps – but it’s also true that spinners get harshly judged for failing on a turning pitch in the final innings in a way that an opening bowler failing to exploit the new ball does not. You’re very alone and there’s no chance to make up for poor bowling later on. Moeen is also unfortunate enough to be an all-rounder. An all-rounder gets twice as many chances to fail.

After the match, Nasser Hussain conducted an interview with Peter Moores in which he looked like he was about to drive a broken bottle into the England coach’s neck at any moment. He asked about the absence of Adil Rashid. We’ve been desperate to see Rashid play, but not because we feel absolute certainty that he’d have won the game for England. The question therefore seemed to amount to: “Would you have preferred to have been slagged off for selecting Adil Rashid?”

Give us what we want

As George Dobell said the other day, hindsight is Twenty20. A lot of the people moaning now are those who were previously moaning about the absence of Stokes, Moeen and Buttler – players who are all now in the side. Whenever England lose, the reason, to them, is obvious. But we can never dip into alternative universes to find out what would have happened had things been done differently. Only the coach finds his decisions exposed by reality. Some were good, some were bad, but we at least can’t rouse ourself to outrage. If nothing else, we hugely enjoyed this Test match, last day and all.

Michael Vaughan, the King of Populist Opinion, has expressed an interest in the new director of cricket job. Doubtless he’ll reject it because they didn’t create quite the right job description and will add this to his list of obvious problems with obvious solutions, but maybe England should kowtow to him.

They should give Vaughan the job and let him select the side. He can even put it to a public vote on Twitter to ensure it remains populist enough (“Fav for Plunkett, RT for Wood”). Give him complete control. Let him decide everything so that when England lose we can all agree to stop whinging on, pretending that the solutions were always obvious. Maybe then people can get back to enjoying Test matches, win or lose, without revelling in the latter as being some sort of proof in the flawlessness of their world view.


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  1. To sorta reiterate what I said underneath the other post, we clamour about selection because it’s the obvious thing to change.

    That doesn’t make it the right one, but the idea that what is almost the best batting line-up that England could have fielded got bundled out for 123 against the WIndies is less scary than the idea that a sub-par batting line-up got bundled out against for 123 against the WIndies.

    England were an Old Man Jimmy spell (as opposed to the magic one he actually produced) away from losing a test series against the number 8 Test team. Their next two series are against two of the top three Test teams in the world right now, in my opinion. I am, to use a technical cricketing phrase, absolutely bricking it.

  2. Also, comments about Adil Rashid being a “specialist spinner” and Moeen being a “part-time spinner” are hilarious, for all the wrong reasons.

  3. England at home will be a different proposition to England away. The Aussies are hardly the greatest of travellers.

  4. I dislike Michael Vaughan as a cricket commentator and generic media presence that if he is given genuine power within English Cricket I might genuinely consider supporting Australia in the summer. How has it come to this…?

  5. On the plus side, Vaughan’s already pulled out of the running, because of his media commitments.

    So we’ll get Strauss. Right sort of family, knows all the chaps involved. Won’t rock the boat. At the very least it’ll be funny to see him show up before they’ve replaced him at the top of the order.

    I’m not surprised that the batting didn’t work – I don’t think that you need top order batsmen at 8. Didn’t we already have this conversation? Stokes got brought back in at 6, did well. Then promptly got demoted, and didn’t.

    1. This is an England performance that showed what has been obvious since the start of last Summer- Englnad are so reliant on Bell Broad and Root that when they fail there is no back-up save praying that the tail will hold on long enough for Buttler to do something magic.

    2. For media commitments, read lucrative sports management conflict-of-interest commitments.

    3. I wish someone would declare his lucrative sports management commitments to be incompatible with his media work. I never thought in September 2005 that I would one day wish he would just shut up forever.

  6. Spot on about Vaughan, very much an ‘i told you so’ sort of character and never really likely to take the job for fear of being found out a la Martin Johnson in the rugby. (At least Johnson was brave enough to step up).

    I think Strauss might be the right man, he at least showed some invention and positive attitudes as a captain/batsman whilst being pretty level headed. (Obviously not in insane McCullum mode of positivity but certainly about 10 times more than Cook exhibits).

    I do buy the promise of a young team though, Cook, Ballance, Bell and Root will score runs. Its the bowling that worries me with Anderson in the twilight of his career and Broad not the player he was for longer than the odd spell here or there. Like Jordan but again not sure he is ever going to be a truly good international bowler.

    Who to bring in though is the question and one beyond my ken…

  7. Us Middlesex supporters are lucky enough to get a repeat of the England innings, only sped up!

    1. What is this, onedownmanship?

      155 for 3 after polishing off Leics’ last 5 wickets quickly this morning. Doesn’t seem so bad to me.

      I dream of supporting a side as good as Kent.

    2. Indeed, Balladeer, Daisy and I were there to see the whole thing unfold. Although, as I kept pointing out to those around us, at least Middlesex went into that situation 160-something ahead rather than 60-something ahead, which gives it all a rather different feel.

      Once again, all results still possible going into Day 4 of a Middlesex CC match.

      Middlesex – don’tcha love ’em?!!

      The weather potentially will play as much of an unspoken role as the absent pace bowler…

      …and on the subject of Murtagh – but Murtagh the bat, the Fred Karno circus that was the last wicket stand made many of us bemoan the demise of the runner in international cricket. There were at least half a dozen hair-raising moments in that short, sweet and highest stand of the innings. So much fun taken out of the interntional game.

    3. haha – i posted that before i checked the scores. However I think our entire top 6 can’t be averaging much more than 30 tops and sadly 200 ish is about par it seems for us. Even the magisterial Key seems to be struggling.

      89 however is a low we have not yet faced (but neither is 400 plus a high at the other end of the scale in the first innings…)

    4. Things looking a bit rosier now, Gedd – what’s happened at Lord’s? Barbed wire? Heavy shelling? That’s no mere minefield, that’s for certain.

    5. It’s simply excellent new ball bowling in ideal atmospheric conditions.

      Yesterday Rushworth and Hastings looked unplayable. Last night so did Harris; presumably Harris has simply carried on where he left off last night.

      Harris really is a special bowler – I think I said words to that effect on this board recently, but before his latest antics.

    6. 9-34, s’not too bad that.
      Somerset’s 90ao vs Worcs is looking more and more like the batting performance of the week.

  8. I was beginning to think I was the only one who thought like this about Michael Vaughan, someone who claims to have all the answers but makes absolutely sure that he’ll never be put in a position where he has to put any of them into place.

    1. The big advantage of Vaughan as Director of Cricket is that he will not be spouting off on TMS which would be a relief

  9. Trott on into the great night of county cricket, loyal steed of England.

    1. Do not go gentle into that good night,
      Old age should burn and rave at close of play;
      Rage, rage against the fading of the light.

    2. At least he got that one last chance and knew it was time to go. He’ll never have to worry about ‘if only’.

      I remain baffled as to why Robin Smith (with a similar record) was dropped when he was.

      But now – Lyth, Lees, or Hales? (or anyone else?)

    3. Surely Lyth has got to get a chance now? An opener filling a vacant opener’s slot, seems almost too easy really. And give him the whole summer like they did with Robson last year, barring any unmitigated, repeated disasters.

  10. Michael Vaughan as the end of last summer said that Moeen Ali should be opening the batting for England in Test cricket.

    That’s all, really.

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