MICHAEL PARKINSON on why the English can't even win a game they invented:
What English cricket desperately needs is dynamic leadership, radical rethink, a revolution.
What it has instead is a system so antiquated, so contrary to sensible management, so unsuitable for producing Test cricketers it would appear to exist in a world of its own imagining.
In other words, it is bloody useless.
While we're on the subject, former cricket teammate John Barker – we both played for Tooronga; being a good player, he was invariably several teams above me – writes regarding Malcolm Knox's racism claims:
As for these teetotallers who are getting shut out of "in groups", surely this would -- and should -- happen to teetotallers of any nationality or religion. But it doesn't mean they're getting shut out of the team. In my experience of tinpot Australian sporting clubs, the desire to win is so pathological that the best players, regardless of race, would be selected in the top teams even if the chairman of selectors was David Duke.
I don't recall much if any racist sledging in my 16 years wasted on the cricket field. And this was in an atmosphere where mean, nasty taunts were encouraged. Anything racist was likely to incur the wrath of teammates as much as opponents.
John is exactly right. Tooronga was a spitefully competitive club, where any and all means of winning were aggressively adopted. Our match plans were devious and often contravened the spirit of the game. In other words, it was a typical Australian sports club.
Yet I can't remember any racism. I remember fantastically obscene abuse, and getting my chin cut open by an angry fast bowler, and once being cited for blatant cheating, but racism – no, that wouldn't do at all.