The Press Tent: GE2017 Edition
Theresa May’s ill-advised decision to call for a general election spilled over into the world of cricket journalism and we can’t decide if it was hilarious or tragic.
Little bit of politics
Clued-up readers of the Press Tent – and, let’s face it, is there any other kind? – will know that the good people of the United Kingdom have gone to the polls for yet another general election. At press time the polls remained open, but by the time you read this it should be clear enough whether Theresa May has won a big majority or a massive one.
But what is certain is that an election has taken place. And this has not gone unnoticed at The Cricketer, which is, like all things English cricket, a Tory bastion despite currently being helmed by English cricket’s 39th Most Powerful Man, the vaguely progressive Simon Hughes.
Nevertheless, the magazine’s Huw Turbervill has noticed something uncanny. This 2017 election is happening in the same year as Some Cricket. Using this as his leaping-off point, the intrepid correspondent has gone back through the archives and discovered that this coincidence is no one-off. Remarkably, in the year of every UK election since the war, there has also been Some Cricket.
The statgasms don’t stop there. England have won some series in election year, while losing others. The County Championship has also been won (or shared) by one (or more) of the 18 first-class counties in every single election year.
Turbervill, perhaps unsurprisingly, is unable to spin this cricket-election tie-in beyond 269 words and resorts to a classic student word-count-padding technique of simply listing all the election results since the war, alongside the salient cricket details. We’ve all done it.
He does also manage to accidentally call the Prime Minister a man (“Messrs May, Corbyn, Farron and co…”) and has surely buried the lede in reducing an anecdote trailed in a sub-heading that would also have made a cracking Half Man Half Biscuit song – “Mrs Thatcher was a Worcestershire Fan” – to a throwaway line about the Ladies Pavilion at New Road.
“The British public,” muses Turbervill, “has had its fill of elections and referendums in recent times.” Indeed.
The entertaining feud between Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi continues. It’s fair to say the pair don’t get on, andhaven’t done so for at least a decade.
After Shahid Afridi singled out the feisty Gambhir as the only Indian cricketer he couldn’t be friends with, Gambhir has suggested that Afridi’s brain may share its owner’s body’s apparent ability to defy the passage of time.
Into the unlikely role of mediator steps Shoaib Akhtar to declare both men “beautiful humans” whose decade-long spat is down to a simple misunderstanding, and reckons the pair can and will hug at their next meeting.
If Shoaib manages to sort this, we need to get him involved in the far less thorny USA-Russia thing.
Long to rain over us
It is a well established fact that England is the only cricketing nation where it ever rains, and it has been raining plenty during the first week of the Champions Trophy.
After Australia suffered a frustrating washout against Bangladesh – admittedly one featuring some of the self-defeating nonsense at which cricket truly excels – Steve Smith cut a frustrated figure, passive-aggressively blaming the day-night scheduling and then the groundsmen, who “perhaps could have shown a bit more urgency” but confusingly also “did the best job they could”.
Yet this ignores the fact that the rain has helped, not hindered, Australia. After two games of the tournament Australia have precisely the amount of points they deserve, while rivals New Zealand are one point down.
And all this while England, previously the most reliable comedy performers in one-day cricket, have cannily played their games when it hasn’t rained and, almost as cleverly, won them.
Michael Vaughan latest
It is with a heavy heart that we must confirm Michael Vaughan has been at it again this week. To save time and our own sanity, the Press Tent will in future only provide updates in any week when, against the odds, Michael Vaughan has not been at it again.
Nasser Hussain Commentary Exchange of the Week
Kumar Sangakkara: “We had some good chats when we played. You had a lot of nicknames for me. The only one I can repeat on air, I think, is ‘Cymbals’.”
Nasser Hussain: “Yeah, there were others… South Africa are 130-1.”
Read of the Week
Vithushan Ehantharajah writing about Kumar Sangakkara’s batting is very nearly as good as Kumar Sangakkara’s batting. This piece on the hundred that wasn’t is masterful match reporting.
Tributes pour in for former umpire Rudi Koertzen following death aged 73
The MCC said it was “saddened” to learn of Koertzen’s death.
Lisa Keightley to step down as England head coach at the end of the summer
The Australian took over in January 2020 and led England to the final of this year’s World Cup.
Chance to Shine graduates Lauren Bell and Issy Wong excited to keep on inspiring
The pair have enjoyed a memorable year so far with international debuts in multiple formats.
Jordan Thompson stars with the ball as London Spirit hammer Manchester Originals
Seamer Thompson, who took two wickets on his tournament debut at the Oval last week, followed that up with a remarkable four for 21 from 20 balls.
Sam Billings aiming to use England Lions game to push for Test recall
The wicketkeeper will captain the side for the tour match against South Africa.
Moeen Ali fears 50-over cricket could be lost due to ‘unsustainable’ schedule
The World Cup winner is worried people are starting to view the 50-over format as ‘the long, boring one’.
Alex Hales leads Trent Rockets to opening Hundred win
The former England opener hit 58 off 41 balls against Birmingham Phoenix.
Richard Thompson named as new ECB chair and pledges to restore trust in cricket
The 55-year-old will leave is role at Surrey.
Jos Buttler shines but Manchester Originals lose to Northern Superchargers
The England white-ball captain top-scored but the hosts were beaten at Emirates Old Trafford.