Will England revert to steady cricket for the Ashes?

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A number of times this week, we’ve read people questioning whether England will be able to carry their positive approach from the one-day series against New Zealand into Tests. You would think so, being as that positive approach was carried into the one-day series from the preceding Tests in the first place.

We’re no Grand Master of Memory – we only ever remember that we don’t actually need more paprika as we’re adding a fifth or sixth jar to the shelf – but we do remember England v New Zealand at Lord’s. That’s when things changed – specifically when Joe Root and Ben Stokes decided to dig in by scoring at a run-a-ball for an extended period.

It’s probably a branding problem. The new, young, fresh, exciting one-day side is synonymous with bold cricket because being only one series old, that’s all it’s ever produced. Alastair Cook’s Test team has a different reputation and nobody’s going to be swayed into thinking differently of it just because it played in a different way in its most recent outings.

A friend of ours has these two friends – one was fat as a child and one wasn’t. The fat kid gained a fat nickname that has remained with him throughout his life, even though he is now thin. The non-fat kid is now fat and yet still calls the other guy the fat nickname.

Previously-fat guy pointed out to previously-thin guy that the nickname no longer made sense and that actually previously-thin guy was now the fat one. In the face of this logical argument, previously-thin-but-now-fat guy simply replied: “Yeah, but you’ll always be the fat bastard.”

That, friends, is branding.


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. Getting a bit excited about The Ashes now. The big question is, how do I follow it properly while juggling a full-time job, four-month-old child and attemping to buy a house?

    To be clear, I’m not literally juggling the four-month-old child. That would be weird.

    1. Yeah, and you can’t juggle abstract concepts like ‘attempting to buy a house’ either. We recommend you switch all three for apples or something similar.

    2. Stick with juggling abstract concepts – it’s a lot easier than apples. I’ve been juggling fear of needles, friendship, blue, and the Continuum Hypothesis for some while now, and haven’t dropped a single one.

    3. I have the same issue, only with a 7 week old rather than 4 month old. Cricket seems to send her to sleep though, which while irritating if it continues into later life is perfect for now.

  2. It’s nice to know I’m not the only person who buys numerous jars of paprika absentmindedly.

  3. People don’t get thinner as they get older. They get fatter. I know that some people get temporarily thinner by dieting, but they end up right back on the slowly fattening curve where they would have been anyway. That’s just the way of things. You can’t go around claiming you know someone who was fat as a kid but then became thin when this is contrary to all received wisdom. To quote John Williamson, Professor of Nutritional Physiology at Oxford University:

    “People don’t get thinner as they get older. They get fatter.”

    “And that’s a fat.”

    “I mean fact, not fat.”

    “In the second bit, that is, not the first bit, because facter isn’t a word.”

    “Yes I know factor is a word, but did I say that? Eh, did I? No, I said facter.”

    “Well unclog your bloody ears then.”

    Take my advice, people. Don’t go around disagreeing with John Williamson, he can be a proper arsehole sometimes.

  4. “On a true pitch showing occasional signs of bounce, the tourists made the most of the Essex hospitality against a line-up in which four of the bowlers had played only 28 previous first-class matches between them.”


    Runs made against second-division back-up bowlers with an average of seven first-class appearances each do not count. The Aussies are going to be deliciously undercooked for this series, scorching heat or not.

    1. To be fair we probably started it. England had to warm up against state 2nd xi’s which allow only 2 or 3 players aged over 23.

  5. A guy on work experience in my office has just sent round an email asking for everyone’s Ashes predictions.

    I’m now worried my reply might have gone a bit too far in listing every player alongside their strengths and weaknesses.

    Also, my boss hit ‘reply to all’ and it’s painfully clear he thinks Ian Bell batted at number three in 2005.

    I shall be handing in my resignation forthwith.

    1. Think this comes into a subject previously breached on here. Especially during Ashes season, when everyone suddenly knows about cricket, how much knowledge do you feel happy to impart around the office?

      I always reign myself well in. Partly because I don’t want to look the cricket nerd, but more because if 5 people are standing around discussing how Gilchrist was a great Test opener and you go in and try to correct them, you either look like a know-all prick or they gang up on you and you look like the one that knows nothing.

    2. You reign yourself in? Are you a member of the Royal Family?

      Sorry. My pedant-o-meter is on overdrive today.

    3. I’ve never been afraid of looking like a know-it-all prick, fortunately. Happily I can take advantage of when the conversation inevitably spins round to the football or who’s running a marathon to cede rapidly from that position.

    4. @ Steve… Yes, yes, conflating limited overs and test cricket even more annoying than folk straying in front of the sight screen. Definitely not as funny as the security guard straying in front of the sight screen then dully searching for the source of the ballyhoo while frozen to the spot.

    5. Of course you are not afraid of looking like a know-it-all prick, Balladeer. As a member of the student fraternity, surely it is your job so to look.

      The problems come later, e.g. 30 years after leaving University, when you haven’t grown out of the know-it-all prick-ness yet.

  6. Meanwhile, spotting the headline to this piece again as it comes through my e-mail on the feeder, I realise that none of us have pointed out another fine example of Betteridge’s law of headlines.

    Well done KC.

    1. It was ‘Will England carry positive approach into Tests?’ initially before we realised that was the wrong way round for what we were trying to say.

    2. One of the senior managers described a company we used to work for as ‘a sausage factory’. When another manager objected, believing the term diminished what we did, he made a point of using it as often as he could.

      To be clear, we didn’t work in an actual sausage factory. It was a reference to churning stuff out with minimal regard for quality.

    3. Another example in this week’s Badger. More appropriate answers, though, might be “anything” or “human decency”.

    4. Um, Betteridge’s law requires the answer “no”, Balladeer. That’s the law.

      “What Does Brad Haddin Not Understand?” can only be answered “no” in surrealist dialogue or some such.

      Unless you meant the perennial “Still got 20 minutes of your 10-minute tea break left?” question/headline. Even then the answer, for me, is always, “for most people no, but for you, KC, of course.”

      Apologies for assuming you were a student, Balladeer; you mentioned revision once and I jumped to conclusions. But at least that allows a Betheridge’s headline:

      Revisionist Balladeer Is Still A Student?

    5. There are technicalities here. Bottom line is that I’m studying for a professional qualification, which makes me technically a student, but in the reality provides all the pain of being a student without any of the pleasures of…

      I mean, er, no. No is what I meant.

      (Whew, almost slipped up there.)

  7. On another Badger-related topic, Mark Wood’s ace. Seems like your proper pace bowlers have to be a bit unhinged – there’s Mitch with his moustache, and Harris with his knees (that are literally unhinged).

    1. No.

      Neither is Tom Westley, who also scored a big hundred against the hapless, hopeless tourists. Geoffrey’s mum with a stick of rhubarb…

      The Australian Bowling Attack Is One To Fear?


  8. 2nd highest ever T/20 score by Brendon! Well, equal 2nd with Brendon.

    Go Bears!

  9. no-one said anything about ryan harris yet? you are all having busy saturdays with barbecues and all that i suppose 🙂

    well bring on the bloody ashes now say i… for the first time in years i shall actually be able to watch live on tv and so i shall very much be doing… even if the aussies start getting the upper hand (couldn’t even watch the highlights last time down under… reading the scorecards was bad enough)

    this does add some extra spice though doesn’t it. all these omens or whatever went against them back in 2005 and there are repeats starting to stack up already, before a test ball has been bowled…

    1. Harris is one of the Australians I never really could bring myself to hate. Now they’re that much less likable. And chances are we’ve seen the last of Siddle as well, and Rogers is done at the end of the Ashes, so unless they bring back George Bailey, the ranks of Australian cricketers I don’t really mind will be down to just Nathan Lyon.

  10. I thought that when KC said he had put Betteridge to bed he meant that …. Never mind, the answer is probably no.

    Mitch and Mitch will be worrying about their knees now and will probably concentrate on medium pace with the odd cutter.

    I did like Lyon bowling 35 overs for no wickets and about 180 runs. i didn’t look it up, it’s near enough. The best bit was Ryder hitting 26 off 6 balls from Hazlewood and then going to his sponsers tent for a few beers.

    1. If he has a sponsor in a tent = “his sponsor’s tent”

      In the unlikely event that he has more than one sponsor who happen to share a tent = “his sponsors’ tent”

  11. It’s fairly late on 4th July in America, with hindsight i shouldn’t post at all

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