For some mental reason I transcribed the Kinnear on Talksport interview. I have no idea why I have just spent the last hour typing but I have.
Anyway here it is minus the last little bit cos I was beginning to want to hurt myself
Apologies for typos and players who I just didn’t know who the eff he was talking about. Here’s most of it – I lost the will at the end.
Good evening – shall we get straight to it. Newcastle are yet to confirm your appointment– why is that Joe?
JK Cos I only signed the contract last night. So that was someone speaking to Mike but it’s been on-going for the last 3 weeks. Derek Lambeese [sic] was the director of football – Derek has resigned now
OK – reaction has been negative from the fans – has that been a surprise?
JK – yeah but it’s only a certain section – it was exactly the same when I got there. I got over 10k letters when I had my heart attack and that was a wonderful thing and I felt really proud of that. I thought I’d done an excellent job there and no way would we have gone down. But the trouble is that there are a lot of Geordies up there who are influenced and upset – and the fact is that because I stood up to about 100 journalists that night – you know – it was the night we beat Tottenham 2-1 and I suppose the journalists always had it in it. And I am not saying all of the Geordie fans but many of them were sucked into it. If they looked at my job, what I done, carefully they would have said I done a good job.
Has it upset you?
JK – Look it’s part and part of the game today. You look at managers today over the last 2 seasons – the fans have feelings and if they aren’t happy with what is going on the manager gets the bullet. Unfortunately for them I’ve never been sacked in my life. SO you know – look at my record – they keep saying to me – what did I do? Where have these people been – have they been on another planet? I have played in 5 cup finals – I have won the lot. I had over 400 games for Tottenham Hotspur – been manager of the year 3 times – I have travelled all over the world as a manager. Now this job come up –which I thought was a fairly responsible job – but already they are jumping on the bandwagon “oh watch out Pardo – watch out “ – but that’s the snidey press. That’s the people up there or the people round that area that I have upset and they have a grudge so I expect it. It’s water off a duck’s arse.
When did NUFC first approach you about becoming Director of football?
JK – about 10 days ago – when Derek resigned
and that was the first you’d heard of it? Your on good terms with Ashley – you hadn’t heard about it till then?
JK – Derek didn’t resign until then. Derek has decided to go back and be in charge of finances. The job really is in detail that you’ve got to be in partnership with the manager and look at the strengths and weaknesses of the team. Look anyone who wants it – I had to do that as a manager – with Bobby Gould beside me – look when you’re at Wimbledon – there ain’t no budget – you find the players yourself – there aint’ no budget. We didn’t have any scouts and Bobby will tell you and we worked there at Wimbledon – well I did – for over 10 years. And if you look what we had to go out – we went to non-league clubs and found players. We trained and worked them and then sold them for millions – as simple as that. So they say I haven’t had any experience in buying and selling players – sure I have – I bought Dean Holdsworth for 50 grand – sold him for 3 million. I sold John Scales for 3million – he was a free transfer. I sold Robbie Earl for x,y,z. I sold Marcus Gale, Liam Ards (?), Micky Hartford, John Harkes, Hans Seigers, – most of them were free transfers. And we sold to survive so I know exactly what type of players are needed and what type of players are needed to play. I played with some of the best players in the world at Tottenham – in the best team in the world in Tottenham – you know I have been through it every stage of my life.
Unfortunately for some reason when I went up there I didn’t dance to the tune of the Geordie media – so I didn’t play what […incomprehensible..] – I took no notice, I just got on with it. So whatever they have got to say, fine, say it. I’m single minded – I am not worried.
Have you spoken to Alan Pardew since your appointment?
JK: I am meeting Alan tomorrow for lunch. I’ve spoken to him on the phone and we’re having lunch tomorrow to discuss and have a game plan for the upcoming season.
And to the best of your knowledge who has the final say on players coming into the club
JK: We both do. We both do. He’s the manager and we’ll sit down and discuss it – we have Graham Carr up there – he also has a say in it – we’ll discuss it. We will look at the strengths and weaknesses between us. No one’s got an ego. I haven’t got an ego. We will all sit down and discuss what’s best for Newcastle football club. We’ll discuss areas what’s desperate – in my opinion we need a striker and I see that desperate – as my opinion – when I speak with Pards tomorrow he may see some other position that he wants to look better of or get a better player for that area.
But will it be him instructing you or you instructing him?
JK It will be “who have we got in mind” – I shall ask Alan who is seeing and I shall sit down with the scout – they seen those players, I want to cast my eye over them. It’s as simple as that – I will have a look – if I say to them I’ve seen somebody better but what do you think? This is not about me coming in – not the crap that’s being said – about me coming in taking over. It’s absolutely nonsense. And then I read another article recently That I am coming and watch over your shoulder Pards – I mean – what a load of crap. And this is what’s going out there. Unfortunately they’re feeding it to all the Geordie fans and I just hope they’re not daft enough to believe it.
The Interview that you did once with very “limited English” in it do you regret that?
JK: Not really Bob – I meant it at the time – I was just so fed up with them wanting me to dance a tune and dance to everything they want to say. I wasn’t having it – I am a football manager – I just want to get on with it. Look Bob – I remember it – we beat Tottenham that night 2-1 and the first question I was asked was “how do you feel about everyone in the ground chanting there’s only one Alan Shearer” – you know – and I don’t think there was a person in the room that actually said well done. I think they were all gutted cos we won. And that’s the way I see things and I’m not worried really.
Have you seen much Newcastle over the last season
And you mention they need strengthening up – is that the only area you think they need strengthening up front ?
I think they’ve got some magnificent midfield players – Tiote. Ben Afra [sic], Yohann Kebabs [sic], Sissoko – are very solid
Up front if you look at the goals tally last season- I think we lost our top goal scorer in Demba Ba when he went to Chelsea for 7.5m or something like that – he was the top goal scorer with something about 13 or something like that. Then you had somebody like Sisi (Cisse) he was the next goal scorer with something like 8. And then after that tere was a big drop into midfield where cabaye and Hatem Ben Afre [sic] – you know – he got 4 and then sissoko got 3 – the total wasn’t much neither.
So we need a prolific goal scorer to come in there and assist Cisse and I think that’s one of the areas – there might be other areas – I mean this is a side I haven’t had priviledge to be with – a lot of players still there that were there when I was still there – I brought Krul to the club and I think he’s a terrific goalkeeper. Shola Ammomobi [sic] is getting better and better –he’s a young kid. Galteirez – and of course a lot of other players, Tails is still there. Ryan Taylor is still there so there’s enough players still there that I know BUT I still think we are shor t of quality players
[Bit below taken from Mail online cos I didnt' get as far as these questions - you try transcribing an man who is barely coherent]
Do you think Newcastle will continue to buy French players or under you are you going to try and explore the UK market more?
I think we will look at all the markets. I’ve got nothing against anybody as long as he’s a decent player and he’s quality player, it doesn’t matter where he comes from, if he fits the requirements we’re looking for. If he’s the best right-back we’ve seen and he’s better than what we’ve got then it makes sense to go and buy him.
Graham Carr did a great job with the French lads, has there been a designated certain amount of money or will you have to go to Mike Ashley between the three of you and sort out what actual money is on the table for you to spend?
I think Michael’s a very generous owner and I think he’s one of the best owners in the business to work for and I don’t think Michael will mind when we give him our business plan. Of course it may mean that we make a decision between the three of us that we have players that we need to move on and they are not up to the Newcastle standards and then OK, we will look at that, if they are £2m plus, and we will move that around and three or four are going out and we will add that to the, excuse me, to the tally of what players we going to sell.
We’ll make money on certain players, we know that, but we will be getting the finance to come in and take other players and if we spell out to Mike it’s a serious situation where we do need a quality striker then I’m pretty sure he’ll pay up. He wants us to be successful don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t even want us to be in the position that he found us. We finished fifth two seasons ago and last season we were something like 15th or 16th from the bottom and he doesn’t want that.
I think the year we finished fifth we had something like 65 points and this year we have gone to 41 points and so there was a big deficit of 24 points, so that is a big loss, so I want to sit down with everyone who was involved with us last season and find out the reasons why and if can all put that knowledge together then we’ll make sure that we mend that.
Maybe someone might not have come up to scratch or maybe we were weak in certain areas of the pitch or we may have been struggling on things but once we all sit down and all meet together in pre-season and then we get a gameplan and get it going. There’s lot to do. If you remember the last three home games we didn’t score a goal. Liverpool, Sunderland, Arsenal, where’s the goals coming from?
Joe, listen, thanks for coming on. Before I let you go, is there anything you would like to say to the Newcastle fans who perhaps don’t don’t back this decision?
JK: To all the Newcastle fans who don’t do this decision then shall I bring Lambezi back? What do you want, what do they want? I heard that silly comment what can I attract. I can open the door to any football manager in the world, anyone. That’s the difference. I spend my whole life, picking up the phone, talking to Alex Ferguson, week in, week out, what would you do, what would you do? Pick the phone up at any time of day and speak to Arsène Wenger.
I can pick the phone up and speak to any manager in the league, any manager in all divisions. So I don’t know what angle they’ve got. If they want to sit down and argue with me, some of them are talking out their backsides, a load of tosh and I’m not accepting it. It’s as simple as that. I’ve certainly got more intelligence than them, that’s for sure
AND IT WAS AT THIS POINT I LOST THE WILL TO LIVE. SORRY
Cricket Australia have got a right old dilemma on their hands.
What do they do with David Warner?
He hit someone in an unprovoked act of violence. In the scheme of misdemeanors that’s right up there amongst the most serious.
If they’re going to be apply their own code of behaviour properly, they have to send him home and even possibly terminate his contract. It’s that serious. He hit someone. If you or I had hit someone in a bar we’d probably have the old bill knocking on our door.
Anything less than sending him home with a substantial fine would be considered lenient. And perhaps lenient for cricketing reasons rather than for any moral reasons. There’s an Ashes series to try and win. Pragmatism would say that they need him – not because he’s in any way brilliant as a Test opener but because he may be the best option they have – or at least he’s an option and if they send him home they’ll be left with Watson, Hughes or Rogers to open with Cowan. None of them are terrible options but sending Warner home gives them one less option and they’re not exactly awash with Ashes winning players.
Warner is clearly thick as two short ones – his twitter outburst against Crash Craddock and Malcolm Conn was both stupid in the act itself and stupid in the content and terrible spelling of the tweets. He was fined and told not to be a dick and that was that. Tweeting is one thing – hitting someone is quite another.
But he’s a cricketer – he doesn’t need to bright, he doesn’t need to be classy and he doesn’t need to be teetotal – He does need to not hit people.
Cricket Australia have left themselves with a problem. Given the sanctions they handed out to 4 of their players during the India tour for far less serious incidences of ill-discipline, they’ve left themselves down a bit of a cul-de-sac in PR terms. They have to send out a message that violence is far far worse than not filling in “wellness reports” or being late for team meetings. If they don’t it’ll be hunting season on them.
And even if they don’t care about the press reporting – they should care about the responsibility they have as a sporting body and the responsibility that their employees have.
If they don’t send Warner home, they’re basically saying that whilst it might not be OK to hit someone in a bar – it’s OK if you’re an Aussie cricketer in an Ashes year.
The outcome of this code of behaviour hearing is going to be very interesting whatever the outcome.
There seems to be a general air of Meh about the Champions Trophy that starts next week. I don’t understand it.
Here’s six reasons to be excited about the Champions Trophy – humour me a little ……
1) 120 of the best International cricketers are all in the same place. All in blighty. All at the same time. OK so it’s not the Olympics – but it’s an International tournament and it’s in the UK.
2) After much trying, the ICC have stumbled upon a format that works. 3 weeks start to finish. Bish bash bosh.
3) Although ticket sales in Cardiff have been slower than the Oval or Edgbaston, there will still be big crowds. Big noisy crowds. Especially for matches like India v Pakistan.
4) How often do you get tickets for an international sporting event at a price that no-one can legitimately moan about? Not very often – The ticket prices for this tournament are beyond reasonable.
5) OK so not everyone will agree with me but 50 over cricket can still provide tremendous excitement. (I type that despite sitting here at Lord’s watching a particularly crap ODI between England and NZ). But remember England v India tied match? Australia v West Indies in 1996? OK – there are a lot of one sided games too but that can happen in any cricket
6) England really do have a decent chance of actually winning this one. Even without KP.
OK that’s not the sexiest of headlines and wouldn’t be popular with SEO geeks but it’s not very often that something actually interesting comes out of a cricket committee meeting.
The ICC cricket committee which met this week in London has “reiterated its support for the strategy of ensuring an optimum balance and a clear differentiation between the three formats of the game, and noted the need to ensure that Test cricket, in particular, was protected.”
In light of recent examples of Test nations “postponing” Test matches and replacing them with other formats, the committee have recommended that Test playing nations must play a minimum number of Test matches within a 4 year period in order to maintain their Test status.
They haven’t, of course, specified how many this minimum number should be and it may end up being ludicrously low but the recommendation is a well intentioned attempt to stop some Test nations turning their Test fixtures as set out in the Future Tours Programme into ODIs or T20s (which are generally more lucractive in terms of broadcasting money). It’s an attempt to protect the balance between the 3 formats which should be applauded although the devil will, of course, be in the detail and it’s still got to get through the ICC Board of directors – it is merely a recommendation at the moment but it’s a start.
UPDATE: Cricinfo are reporting that the committe have recommended a paltry 4 Tests a year as a minimum. JUST FOUR. Well quite frankly they might as well have not bothered with the recommendation
What would be a sensible number?
Well England are playing 14 Test matches in 2013 but that is more than the norm as England are about the only side other than Australia (for the Ashes) that are involved in any series that contain 5 Tests.
What would be more realistic is to expect a Test playing nation to take part in 25-30 Tests in a 4 year period.
Although even more ideally, every Test nation should play each other home and away in a Test series within a 6 year period. (with the possible exception of Zimbabwe whilst the current Political situation remains). South Africa haven’t played a Test match in Sri Lanka for nearly 9 years for example. We’d have a much better way of comparing like with like in terms of rankings.
The knives are out for Nick Compton. Maybe rightly – there’s a very good argument for playing Joe Root at the top of the order and for Jonny Bairstow at 6 with KP slipping back in to 4. Joe Root is clearly one of the most exciting talents England have unearthed. He’ opens for his county and has done for the England Lions. He’s shown his maturity and impressive mentality.
Compton, on the other hand, has had something of a proverbial mare. It is logical and rational to think maybe he’s just not the right option. And maybe he isn’t.
But I’d give him a bit longer. There’s a reason he got so many first-class runs last year when other top order batsmen were struggling with the dreadful English summer and the enormously difficult batting conditions. And it’s barely 2 months ago that he scored 2 Test centuries. He hasn’t become a bad player in that time. He’s let the pressure get to him and he’s playing shots and doing things that this time last year he wouldn’t have dreamt of doing. Compton’s strength was in his ability and confidence to leave anything he didn’t need to play at. He’s clearly feeling the pressure of feeling like he’s not going to be given the same time as others may be afforded – perhaps because of his age or perhaps because it’s an Ashes year.
If he can find a way of ignoring that pressure and returning to playing the way he was – the way that got him picked in the first place – then I believe he is the right man for the job at the moment. And Root can continue to make hay and develop his game further down. He does seem to be doing rather well down there.
And before we call too loudly for Compton to be chopped, think back to August 2010 when there were a lot of loud voices calling for Alastair Cook to be dropped for the 10-11 Ashes.
[And in case you'd forgotten - some of those v9ices are linked below. (not to have a dig at them in particular - just to illustrate that perhaps when we call for someone to be dropped, we get it very wrong. That's obviously fine - we all get things wrong and we call things as we see them at the time)]
My point? We do need to be a bit careful before you call for the chop. Imagine if we had dropped Cook for the Ashes – he might never have made it back again and we’d have missed out on his quiet, understated yet sheer brilliance.
Root is almost certainly England’s opener in the longer term and in all probability England’s future captain. But there’s plenty of time and I think we should give Compton at least a couple more Tests before we stick the bread knife between his shoulder blades. Some with a more expert eye than mine simply don’t believe in Compton – don’t think he has what it takes – good player though he is and that we shouldn’t waste any more time with him when there is someone like Root who can slip in easily. They might be right but having watched Compton through recreational, first-class and now International cricket for a lot of years, I think his hardwork and hunger might just see him to being a good solid opener for England for a little while. I could be wrong.
Some examples of articles calling for Cook to be dropped in 2010 http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2010/sep/24/eoin-morgan-ashes-duncan-fletcher
Sales for this, the second Test against New Zealand, at Headingley have been slow – a late surge has taken them to respectable for the Saturday (around 12K) but they will need a substantial number of walk ups to break into 5 figures for the other days. This has led the new Yorkshire Chief Executive, Mark Arthur to question whether the number of grounds hosting International cricket has become unsustainable. He has warned that there is a real danger that there will become a North/South Divide in International cricket and that the ECB must resist the temptation to award the prestige matches to the more affluent South East grounds.
Does he have a point? Are there too many International grounds?
Well clearly there are more grounds than there are Test matches every year although there are plenty of ODIs and T20s to be allocated as well. There are 10 counties who now have a ground deemed to be of a standard to bid for some International cricket (although Taunton is only in the market for ODIs and T20s not Test matches).
But that’s not the point. There are 18 counties. 18 counties who are independent businesses. This is a marketplace – why shouldn’t those who are able at least have the opportunity to try and get a slice of the International money pie.
Some county grounds will never be in a position to host International cricket – they are simply not big enough or have good enough facilities but those who are should be able to access some of the wealth that can be gained from hosting major matches.
It’s not without its risks though – International cricket isn’t a licence to print money though. As a number of grounds have found, it can come at a real cost if ticket sales are low or concessions revenue is lost because of weather.
Durham recently handed back two of their international match allocations for 2014 and 2015 to the ECB after assessing the risk and realising that it would be likely that they lost money on them. They made a loss on last year’s T20 against South Africa and given the county’s precarious financial situation they have decided to err on the side of caution. Glamorgan, similarly had been due to host the first Test against the West Indies last summer but the match had to be put back out to tender.
It’s important to note that part of the reason that the ECB opened up the International hosting market was for customer experience reasons. Many of the Test grounds hadn’t developed their grounds for decades and the customer experience was not always a good one with tired and decrepit facilities. By opening up a bidding process, with one of the criteria being the customer experience, the ECB forced grounds like Old Trafford, Headingley and Edgbaston to develop their grounds and to improve the match day experience for spectators. It also introduced an element to the bidding process about community links forcing counties to think more deeply about the links with grass roots cricket in their area. Given that a few counties have received public funding, it is not at all unreasonable to expect them to give something back to the local community and tax payer.
When the bidding process for international matches was first introduced it was done in an arse about face way but having a blind bidding process which forced a number of counties into levels of financial committment and risk that they simply couldn’t afford.
The last round of allocations (which took place last year) had a number of set packages which counties could bid for ranging from £200,000 to £12m. The open bidding process took the emphasis away from the quantity of the bid in money terms on to the quality of their tender bid.
The bids were assessed on a range of things including facilities for the customer, the standard of food and stewarding and community links and legacy.
It wasn’t an assessment based purely on the financial clout or otherwise of counties. And certainly not based purely on geographical location. It is, of course, important that international cricket is spread around the country to give access to as much of the population as possible.
If you were going to design a system of first-class and International cricket grounds, you certainly wouldn’t design it like the system we have but we are where we are. Counties have spent enormous amounts of money developing their grounds on the understanding they can bid to host. We cannot on the one hand tell counties they must try and be as financially independent as they can be and increase their sources of revenue and then on the other hand deny some counties the opportunity to get revenue from hosting International cricket.
And for some counties, the previous rotation system meant they believed they had a God given right to host and therefore became lazy and complacent.
Mr Arthur raises a genuine point and it’s certainly a concern for those Test grounds outside of London about how they make sure they can host enough marquee International cricket to make money without being able to charge the high prices for regional economic reasons. The ECB have accepted that there is perhaps an issue and have stated recently that they will be reviewing the bidding process and will seek to ensure sustainability at all 10 venues (and more if there are more in the future) by “reviewing and communicating policy regarding Major matches through to 2019 and by increasing the differentiation between Test and ODI status”, - taken from the ECB’s recently published strategic plan.
Now that’s ECB gobbledygook but essentially it is an obtuse recognition of at least some of the problem that Mark Arthur is highlighting.
We await to see who gets what matches up to and including the World Cup in 2019 and indeed whether those who have matches this year have made them profitable.
James Anderson spoke to the press after picking up his 300th Test wicket. I say spoke – it was more of a whisper. There was no sense he was over the mood or even really enjoying the achievement. Of course, he was obviously pleased but actually more relieved that it was out of the way because it had become a thing. This rather sums up Anderson. He’s clearly not a massive fan of the limelight, not a fan of hyperbole and actually not much of a fan of the press.
He’s a quiet family man. He likes bowling. He enjoys his mates. He loves time with his family. He likes a bit of golf.
But he’s essentially an uncomplicated Burnley lad who’s become a master of his art. His self-belief is clear but it’s an understated self-belief. He was asked about how much better he was now than when he took his first Test wicket. He answered factually about how much he had learnt with experience but was clearly not comfortable with blowing his own trumpet.
There’s a bit of a risk that the sheer quality of James Anderson’s swing bowling in this first Test will be overlooked because of Stuart Broad’s last day destruction.
But it shouldn’t be.
Anderson is the most skillful swing bowler in the world. He’s not the fastest or the most intimidating but he is the most skillful.
How many bowlers can swing it both ways at will and with a such a disguised action that outwits batsmen time and time again. It’s the subtlety that is so impressive. It’s mostly not huge movement but it’s enough to make batsmen play at balls they might not from other bowlers. They simply don’t know which way it’s going to move and can’t take the risk of leaving a ball they think is going to move away outside off in case it is one of his well disguised in-swingers.
What’s most impressive about Anderson is he continues to want to develop new skills and to continue to perfect the ones he already has. He knows himself. He knows his body. He knows his game.
When England tried to alter his bowling action all those years ago, he knew it wasn’t right. He had the self-awareness and belief to know that bowling his way would be the best way.
There are plenty of effective swing bowlers in professional cricket but what Anderson has over almost all of them is a metronomic rhythm and cunning guile that gets wickets even when the conditions aren’t swing friendly. His ability to work out within an over or two how to adjust his lengths to get the most out of the pitch or the overhead conditions is a special talent. Getting the ball to move in the air and move so late is something that you probably can’t really coach – it’s just special.
Equally important is that he knows his own body, he knows how to bowl just enough within himself to prevent injuries – he has missed just one Test through injury in the last 64. And bear in mind he plays across the one day format too. He has developed an action and a rhythm that works for him and his body and should stand him in god stead to go onwards towards 400 Test wickets or more.
His record speaks for itself. The list of his victims is like a cricketing hall of fame. There isn’t anyone he can’t get out. The very best of best find themselves in a tangle facing Jimmy.
This is a man who is a long way from a celebrity sportsman – it’s pretty unlikely we’ll ever read any off-pitch scandal about him – he’s more likely to be at home with his wife and kids watching a film.
In many ways a very simple man. But in cricketing terms, anything but simple. Especially if you are at the other end trying to face him,
A closely fought contest was ruined on the morning of the 4th day by Stuart Broad with a ridiculously good spell of 11 overs. It was a masterclass in control. In line and length. In movement both ways. In relentless pressure.
But it ruined what could have been a seriously exciting Test match. The first 3 days were nip and tuck with grip on the game swinging between the two sides. But whichever you look at it, New Zealand were in the end comprehensively beaten. Losing by 170 runs isn’t close. And the history books will say they were on the end of a drubbing.
I accept that ruined is a harsh word. I’m being selfish and purely parochial. It’s much easier to write about the things that have gone wrong than the things that have gone right. I was partially hoping for an England loss so that I could write about a mini-crisis.
There’s no crisis, mini or otherwise. It was a far from perfect performance by England particularly with the bat but also in the field. There’s a bit of post-match analysis to be done but to coin a cliche plenty of positives too.
Steven Finn continues to be a concern – he picks up wickets regularly but continues to leak runs. Maybe that doesn’t matter? Maybe it’s fine to get wickets in ugly fashion as he does. But he hasn’t progressed as a bowler in the way you might have hoped he would. He is beyond the stage of being a highly promising youngster and you’d hope to see him developing more than he seems to be. He’s still a fine bowler and has attributes that stand you in good stead in International cricket in that he’s tall, strong and fast. Although those things in themselves are not enough.
If today was the first day you’d ever watched cricket, you would be forgiven for thinking that the game is unfair. How could batsmen stand any chance against that? And surely Stuart Broad is the best bowler in the world.
And on days like today, you wonder why he isn’t.
He isn’t because he’s infuriatingly inconsistent. The epitome of a bowling Jekyll and Hyde.
In 2011 during the Sri Lanka series, Broad was at his most infuriating, insistent on playing the “enforcer” with ineffective short bowling. Whether he’d been given this role or whether he’d decided this was his role – it wasn’t working. It was pointed out by broadcasters and writers and tweeters and spectators but Broad was insistent that he hadn’t taken on an enforcer role and that short bowling wasn’t his instructions.
It was all very odd. And then just as oddly, he came back against India later that summer an entirely different Broad. The highlight of his 2011 must surely have been his hat-trick at Trent Bridge which came as part of a devastating 24 overs in which he took 6 for 46.
Inconsistency is allowed. Of course it is – no bowler has ever been consistent match in match out. The infuriating bit is that you wonder why he deviates from the formula that works best for him. Even in the space of less than 48 hours in this Test match we saw the inconsistency in action.
Why doesn’t he just stick to the line and length he bowled today? Simple. Of course it’s not simple. It’s far from simple. Some days it comes out right, you get a rhythm. Some days it inexplicably doesn’t.
I don’t think it’s that which infuriates people. Everyone understands that bowling is hard, it’s not an exact science, sometimes you can do the same thing you did yesterday and get completely different results. The infuriating thing about Broad is that he is teetering just on the cusp of being one of the best bowlers I’ve seen in my lifetime.
Something holds him back from going over that cusp. He’s a stubborn lad. That’s OK – stubbornness is something you need at the top level of sport, you have to believe that you’re right and that you’re good enough. But perhaps his stubbornness doesn’t let him admit to himself or others that sometimes he’s got it wrong. I remember a Sky interview with him in New Zealand after he hadn’t bowled particularly well where he said he hadn’t talked to the analysts (one of which is his sister) about why the NZ batsmen were finding it particularly easy to get him away. Why hadn’t he talked to them? It was only a small thing but an interesting insight.
We know he can be petulant, we know he can be stroppy, we know he’s a little bit celebrity – none of that is an issue. But it’s frustrating in the extreme that we don’t get to see the Stuart Broad we saw today as often as we should.
Last night the awful news that Olympic silver medalist Andrew Simpson had died in a tragic accident during training for the America’s cup.
The news sent me cold. I cried. For a man I’d never met. I am not even particuarly into sailing but I do remember thinking during the Olympics what a lovely man he seemed, full of life and zest.
I don’t really understand it. I didn’t know the man, I’d never met him, I’d barely heard of him. But my reaction to the situation was exactly the same as the one I had after hearing about Gary Speed’s death. I’d never met Gary either. And the death of Tom Maynard had an even more profound effect on me as I had met him a handful of times and because it affected so many people do deeply in the sport I love.
So why did these 3 incidents have such a deep effect on me? Why don’t I have the same reaction to the daily reports of suffering and deaths on the news? People are dying all the time of famine, war, disease and natural disasters. Is it simply that the news is so packed with terrible stories of suffering and death that I’ve become desensitised to it? When I watch the news I’ve come to expect it to be full of stories that are just to awful to digest or maybe it’s that I simply can’t cope with the scale and extent of the death and suffering in the world that is happening every minute of every day so I switch off from it?
Why would I be so genuinely upset by the death of a couple of men I had never met and not upset about the thousands of others I hear about dying? I don’t know and in one sense I feel desperately guilty about it. Why should one person I don’t know have more impact on me than thousands of other people I don’t know?
But I think it’s because sport is at its essence is something that is inherently fun and full of hope and something that allows us to escape the shit filled world of suffering and death. It’s also the unexpected. We expect people to die when they’re very ill, we expect them to die in war situations, we expect them to die when there’s famine or disease. Of course, that doesn’t make them any less horrific or tragic.
Often when you hear the families of servicemen and women speaking after the death of their loved one in action, you hear the phrase “He/she died doing what they loved”. I suppose we should feel the same about sportsmen who die in the pursuit of their sport. Except, sport isn’t war – it isn’t supposed to result in death.
In Andrew Simpson’s case it was a terrible, awful accident and accidents happen in life whatever you’re doing.
It doesn’t make it any easier to comprehend though but then the older I get the less I am able to make sense of the world.