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November 2008
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England diary: Peter Moores’ Stanford reflections

November 6th, 2008 by Alan Tyers in Alan Tyers, England, Stanford Twenty20 and tagged ,

As I said, the most important thing about Stanford was not the money but actually getting the players tuned up for India. One of the key skills about an England tour to the sub-continent is having your moaning in really tip-top order, so that when you arrive, you’re ready to hit the ground complaining.

“Bang… The hotel’s not up to scratch… bang… That bloke’s looking at my missus… bang… This foreign muck don’t half play havoc with my guts…”

We worked on all those key areas in Antigua and that’s going to stand the lads in good stead here, barricaded in the honeymoon suite of the Swallow Hotel, Mumbai, watching Only Fools And Horses re-runs on UK Gold Plus Eight.

India is such an amazing, diverse place; to give you just one example, they call a Custard Cream a ‘Milk Biki’! From the days of Gatt’s Branston to Priory and Andersony passing up an opportunity to ride Sri Lankan elephants so they could play Championship Manager in the hotel for 18 hours, an England tour offers wonderful opportunities to see the world and interact with the locals.

However, we’re professionals and that means doing things for money. I want our lads to take pride in that, but not show it too much, but also to demonstrate that pride 100 per cent at all times. I was absolutely clear about that in the Stanford tournament and it was a bit disappointing the message didn’t get through.

As I’ve said elsewhere, a lot of our boys just couldn’t get their heads around the concept of the tournament – playing cricket and only getting paid if you do well. To be fair, we’ve tried to move away from that sort of one-dimensional “rewarding success” thinking in Team England and Michael Vaughan’s central contract is just one example of how effective it can be.

In the Stanford, we just came up against a side who wanted to win more than we did. It was a new experience, other than for the lads who’ve played against Australia, or South Africa… or India…

Their boys also seemed to be a bit better at cricket, but you can’t prepare for everything.

But that which does not kill me makes me stronger, as a wise man (Duncan Bannatyne, at the ‘Winning For Winners Management Seminar And Book Signing’, Croydon Conference Centre) once said. And there’s no reason whatsoever to suppose that we can’t come back from India with a few quid, and maybe even a victory in a One-Day International.

Alan Tyers found Peter Moores’ diary while he was looking for cold pizza in a bin outside Croydon Conference Centre

Posted in Alan Tyers, England, Stanford Twenty20 | 3 Comments »

Miles Jupp: England forgot that Stanford was all about winning

November 6th, 2008 by Miles Jupp in England, Stanford Twenty20 and tagged , , , , ,

Tuesday night can’t have been fun for John McCain and his team as the news of their electoral defeats in state after state were communicated to them. I know exactly how they felt, because on Saturday night, during the 20:20 for 20 game, an Australian friend texted me every time an England wicket fell. His actions may have swelled the coffers of England’s team sponsor by £1.20, but that was little comfort for me.

Until that night I didn’t think I was concerned about the Stanford game, but I was wrong. Losing hurts, no matter what it is or who it is against. And losing like that is agony. I was nowhere near a television that night, but in the days since have managed to see as much of the game as possible and it makes for horrendous, nightmarish viewing, like a dress rehearsal in which no-one knows quite where they should be standing and people come on carrying the wrong props. They were even dazzled by the lights.

Peter Moores said it was all about attitude, and that our thinking had all been wrong. He even implied there might have been too much thinking (which sounds dangerously like bollocks). It is hard to imagine anybody being able to use that excuse convincingly anywhere. “Your honour, although my client’s actions may appear thoughtless, the truth is in fact quite the opposite. At the very moment he took the staff of that depot hostage he was, if anything, thinking too much…”

The idea that England allowed themselves to think too much about the nature of the game and the contradictions it threw up seems far-fetched. Moores made it sound as if each and every member of the team went out to bat and immediately suffered an existential crisis. As if someone as happy-go-lucky as Paul Collingwood would suddenly raise an arm during the bowler’s delivery stride and howl plaintively “Oh never mind the cricket - what are any of us actually put on this world for?”

In fact, England’s behaviour during the week seemed directionless. The team was like a giant, confused pensioner who had wandered into a tournament and then immediately forgotten what it was doing there. It’s true that before the game all manner of journalists were suggesting that this sort of tournament raised serious questions about cricket, about where the game is going, and about why people play. But if they were looking for grand and philosophical answers to these questions, they needn’t have bothered, because England’s performance provided a simple answer to an apparently complex question: the point is to win.

Next year, if it goes ahead, it will be a very different game indeed. By losing the fixture so emphatically, we have given the game more meaning than it perhaps deserves. For Stanford it is a job well done – people can’t call the cricket he creates meaningless if the guys playing the games feel as much pressure as England appeared to. But England, whilst hurting, have also done themselves a favour. Next year they won’t be distracted by the money, and the glitz. They will return with a serious grudge and with pride to play for.

Anyway, let’s hope it’s just a blip. We’ve only got seven one-dayers to enjoy against India before we get to take on the most exciting team in the world in a whole two Tests. Isn’t international scheduling fun!

Miles Jupp is an actor, comedian and cricket fan

Posted in England, Stanford Twenty20 | 1 Comment »

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