Thursday, 2 August 2012

Looking for Improvement

Commentators have been struggling to explain England's dismal performance at the Oval when they went down to an innings defeat against S Africa.  After a lethargic first day, S Africa were clearly more focussed, more committed and more controlled than England.  Why should this be?

Will this do the trick -
FB wishes good luck to James Taylor
Too much cricket.  Too little cricket.  Too much of the wrong cricket.  The wrong conditions.   The right conditions but the wrong cricket.  The right cricket the wrong conditions but the wrong players. Too much of the right players in the wrong conditions by the right players.  A failure of technique.  A failure of application.  A failure of the application of technique. And so on.  And so forth.

Fantasy Bob is bogged down in all these vice versas.  He doesn't know what to think.  He has always wondered about the 4 man bowling attack and it seems highly questionable to persist with it especially with Graeme Swan carrying an injury.  Bowling 52 overs with a sore arm does not strike FB as a particularly good idea.  FB is a great admirer of Andrew Strauss, a feeling which the England skipper reciprocates, but he fears for him - his century against W Indies gave false hope that he was on the way back.  If his batting is no longer rock solid reliable, does he provide enough leadership in the field in times of stress?  But he was just one of the batsmen who lost any sense of what the appropriate shot was in the second innings.  Since FB only has one shot, he is not usually troubled by shot selection, but even he notes that the sweep seems over selected and at the Oval it caused trouble just as it did in the UAE.

Bob Massie - a sideburn assisted performance at Lords, 1972
Deep thought has led FB to a different conclusion from the professional commentariat.  There is one factor that all the punditry have not lighted upon that may be of crucial importance to England's performance.  Bradley Wiggins' achievement in winning the Tour de France and the Olympic Time Trial in rapid succession shows the power of performance enhancing sideburns.  They have been cleared by the dope testers, they are completely legal.  FB hopes Andy Flower has taken notice.

At one time the cricket world was overgrown with sideburns.  They were clearly important to some performances of the past, perhaps none more than Bob Massie's amazing 16 for 137 at Lords 40 years ago.   If the England bowlers don't have time to grow their own they need to get a hold of yesterday's Sun newspaper and a pair of scissors.  That should get Amla worried.


  1. The interesting thing about this post is that it reveals Fantasy Bob as a Sun reader - and not just of page 3. Purely in the interests of research, I assume.

    1. FB is astounded that any reader should find any part of a posting interesting.