The Press Tent: Fine whine edition

Top Story

Waste of $$$$

A Twitter controversy involving a couple of Press Tent staples this week – and a rare one where the coverage doesn’t feature the words “swiftly deleted” – as Australian viewers were briefly subjected to the torment well known to British viewers of the Ashes.

Yes, Graeme Swann was on Channel 10’s Big Bash coverage for the Melbourne Stars against the Brisbane Heat.

David Warner was one such viewer, who pleasingly for us managed to be correct about Swann as a commentator (labelling him a ‘waste of $$$$ from 10’) while being wrong about everything else.

When it’s anyone other than Warner, we always get terribly frustrated by people bringing up the circumstances of Swann’s retirement when having a go at him. Retiring due to a long-standing and debilitating elbow injury strikes us as just about the least objectionable thing about the Clown Prince of Banter.

But in this case it means we can enjoy Warner dragging Swann, without having to remotely alter our view of the man.


Big Trash

Sticking with the Big Bash, and a bit of an own goal from the ECB before Christmas as they took the Great British Press Pack for a junket at the Etihad Stadium to show them how splendid T20 franchise cricket is.

Now a lot of these lads aren’t convinced about it. And it turns out a pretty ropey match in front of a quarter-full stadium didn’t quite win hearts and minds.

Root Maths

For the second winter in a row, Joe Root has correctly identified the reason for England’s heavy defeat in a high-profile overseas tour.

On Steve Smith: “Take his runs out of it and we’ve been there or thereabouts to win.”

Yes, had Smith scored 610 fewer runs in this series it might have been very different. Fine margins.

But it’s not the first time Root has correctly made such a link.

Turn the clock back 12 months, and the then vice-captain was doing exactly the same thing in India about another member of the Fab Four.

“The number of runs Kohli’s scored this series, if you take them away it’s a completely different series.”

He’s not wrong, you know.

A fine Aussie whine

Fair play to everyone involved for sticking with the Hardy’s gag about England not having any openers even as Alastair Cook was helping himself to a double-hundred that took him past Brian Actual Lara in the all-time Test run-scorers list and a half-century at Sydney away from 12000 Test runs.

Greg James correctly summing up the assorted issues here, the worst of which is undoubtedly the piss-poor, lazy writing in having “open” in the set-up and “openers” in the punchline.

“Why can’t Australian wine companies write gags? Because they haven’t got any gag-writers.”

Dead Rubbers

Plenty of chat this week about whether runs or wickets count in matches played after a series result is known (SPOILER: they count).

Our suspicion, as with all things, is that people’s opinion on this is capable of great fluidity depending on who is doing the runs and wickets.

The still surprisingly large English cricket blogging community built on the iffy founding principle that Alastair Cook is 100% responsible for Kevin Pietersen’s exile are quite clear that Cook’s runs don’t count.

It’s interesting, though, because these lads are very keen to (rightly) point out that the still lamented KP was England’s top run-scorer on that fateful 2013/14 Ashes tour. But he got there thanks to innings of 71 and 49 (nothing, it should be pointed out, as historically monumental as 244*) in a, er, dead rubber at Melbourne.

The great man himself has had his say on the subject.

So it must have been a different Kevin Peter Pietersen who, during his all too brief stint as captain of the side, said England should be “really proud of themselves” after drawing the final Test of a lost series in India in 2008.