Andrew Flintoff is injured again and needs to have knee surgery. Of course there will be a lot of fuss and some serious questions asked of the ECB, namely: ‘Should Andrew have gone to the IPL’. For me it’s irrelevant. Andrew Flintoff is a professional cricketer; he plays cricket for money. If he was not playing IPL cricket he would probably be playing for Lancashire... and with more workload. The real worry for Freddie is that he needs another operation. The media quite often treat operations as if they are trivial. Cutting people open and chopping bits off is never trivial and can cause unexpected complications. The ECB say Andrew will be out for three to five weeks and will be back for the ICC World Twenty20 in June. Personally I just hope Andrew will be ready for the Ashes – England doesn’t have a chance without him. Get well soon Andrew.
So it’s all go for the IPL or SAPL. Am I excited? Well, no and here is why: I will not be watching it because it's subscription only and on a channel that hardly anyone has. I could pay another £40 (two month subscription) but am I really that bothered... If I, a cricket fan, cannot be bothered to pay then the IPL is a non-event in the UK and will remain that way until it has had at least a year on a free channel.
Four years ago the UK went Ashes crazy, helped of course by the England team actually doing well! Will there be as much fuss this time around? Well, no and here is why: people will not be watching it because it's subscription only. Four years ago the Ashes was on free-to-air TV. This time around, if you do not already subscribe to Sky Sports, it will cost at least £35 a month to watch the Ashes – with a minimum 12 month contract! £35, that is just not going to happen for a lot of people. Even if a miracle occurs and England are pushing for a win, the Ashes will not have anywhere near the following they had four years ago.
There is an interview with Ian Bell here. I actually laughed out loud at one point when he said
"Changes had to be made, it's difficult, no one got any runs and we were beaten heavily so someone had to go and it was my turn ... It was disappointing not to get another opportunity to try and put that right.”
I think the CEO of Lehmann Brothers said something similar. Bell has had chances galore and botched virtually every one of them. It is an interview with Bell so I suppose I didn’t expect him to say “Yea, I have been crap for a while and I deserved to be dropped. I plan to put all that right this summer though.”. It would have been nice to see a touch of reality though.
Bell and Vaughan are contracted players so I would be amazed if one of them did not start the first test against West Indies. Sadly, I suspect either one does not have to do much to get a spot. Long gone are the time when players had to deserve their place in the side...
Andrew Strauss has been left out of England’s 30-man squad for the ICC World Twenty20 competition in June. Quite right too. He may have ‘suddenly’ become a 50-over player but he is in no way a T20 player. However, Andrew Strauss captained England’s last T20 match and did about as badly as everyone else.
Did they pick him in the Caribbean knowing he wasn’t the man for the job? Probably, they really are that stupid.
Did the one match he played force him to be dropped? I would hope not, he did as badly as everyone else.
After captaining in the previous match how did he suddenly become not worth mentioning in the best 30 players? Error, does not compute.
Do the England selectors have even the slightest clue what they are doing?
The full squad: Kevin Pietersen, Kabir Ali, James Anderson, Gareth Batty, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Stephen Davies, Joe Denly, James Foster, Andrew Flintoff, Stephen Harmison, Rob Key, Sajid Mahmood, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Eoin Morgan, Graham Napier, Samit Patel, Liam Plunkett, Matt Prior, Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett, Shaun Udal, Chris Woakes, Luke Wright.
Darren Sammy is a cheat. He grassed a difficult catch in the last ODI but came up from it and claimed Kevin Pietersen’s wicket. Pretty poor really. Happily the West Indies lost and quite rightly so after such a display of cheating. What I cannot figure is:
Why there was no referral system for the ODIs
How Sammy thought he was going to get away without anyone knowing
Why there hasn’t been that much fuss made
Had Ricky Ponting or Rahul Dravid grassed the catch there would have been howls of people calling for their banning. Sammy however seems to have largely gotten away with it.