C365 Press Tent: Holt your horses!

Blog Opinion

It is Press Tent time. Everyone’s new favourite journey into the wonderful world of the cricketing media.

Put a Holt to it!

We are into the fifth week of Oliver Holt’s increasingly bizarre vendetta against Eoin Morgan, England’s one-day captain. Holt, the Chief Sports Correspondent for the Daily Mail has been on Morgan’s case for over a month now and he isn’t letting up.

First he wrote a column about how Morgan was wrong not to go to Bangladesh despite the Morgan’s employers at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) say it was fine if he didn’t go to Bangladesh.

Then he arranged to fly to Bangladesh for three days to watch England play in one ODI. Then he flew home and filed another piece about how Morgan was wrong not to go to Bangladesh while using lots of personal pro-nouns drawing attention to the fact that he went. Replete with militaristic terms like ‘band of brothers’, Holt set about saying that Morgan should never captain England again.

Holt refrained from another jibe about Morgan being Irish and not singing the anthem, but he did claim that England didn’t miss him in a tweet that seem to miss that it was evident from the way England batted and the way they were led that the missed Morgan very much.

In the piece itself there are a remarkable couple of sentences.

“Let’s be honest about Morgan’s decision not to tour Bangladesh: he got it wrong,” Holt wrote. “The evidence of a one-day tour that passed without incident off the field proved he was mistaken.”

The first seems to claim that a personal decision based on a man’s feelings can be wrong. The second ignores that while the tour has gone incident free thus far it has done so in the presence of thousands of armed guards. That does not suggest that a trip to Bangladesh was risk free.

But Holt wasn’t done there. Four days after his latest hatchet job he was on Twitter again, this time saying that Morgan would be travelling to Lahore for a match in the Pakistan Super League.

“So Eoin Morgan’s playing in the Pakistan Super League, which may mean playing in final in Lahore. But wouldn’t tour Bangladesh,” Holt tweeted.

Again, this is two sentences with a huge amount packed in. First, we do not know if Morgan’s team, Peshawar Zalmi, will reach the final. Second, it has not been confirmed that the final will be in Lahore. Third, we do not know if Morgan will agree to go.

And lastly, and most importantly, England will be touring the West Indies when the final takes place so assuming Morgan is selected, and that is a safe assumption, he will be on the other side of the world.

Still, why let facts get in the way of a really good agenda.

Ben Stokes anger

In the best non-story of the week Ben Stokes has been given a torrid time for turning down the opportunity to shake the hand of an opponent. This was enough of an incident for it to get a write up on Sportskeeda.

So, let’s break this down, shall we. This incident was at lunchtime on day one of a fairly meaningless two-day warm-up game. The batsman, Abdul Mazid, seemed to want to shake the hand of an opponent at the strangest of times, just two hours into the game. While you make think Stokes should have taken his hand, and this is a strange view given the timing of the offer of a handshake, what came next was really quite remarkable.

To strike back against Stokes for this rather minor infringement in cricketing etiquette, hundreds of people took it upon themselves to send Stokes foul abuse over Twitter. As we all know, swearing at someone you have never met is the best way to point out them acting in an ungentlemanly fashion.

Facing a former part-time spinner who is wearing jeans

The way the media gets access to high profile cricketers nowadays tends to come from either them selling something, usually a book, or when they are being paid to turn up at a sponsor’s event.

The Mirror clearly got one of these emails in the inbox and asked around the office if anyone liked playing cricket. The chap who put his hand up was their online editor, Ben Rankin, and he popped down to the Oval to face Michael Vaughan’s bowling.

Yes, Vaughan, who bowled occasional off-spin for England. This was made even better by Vaughan wearing jeans as he half-heartedly threw down some cricket balls at Ben who had brought along his kit bag. The piece that Ben produced was a star-struck story about how Vaughan gave him compliments and was still quite good at bowling.

There was some cricketing questions for Vaughan to answer. When talking of the Oval he tells Ben; “I liked playing here. I liked the pace and the bounce.”

Then it is back to Ben’s big day of throw downs from Vaughany. Journalism.

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