A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

51allout Mass Debates #12: Ranking The Debacles

Posted on January 12, 2017 by in Opinion, Tests

Watching England’s pathetic attempts to bat out the final day in Chennai, talk amongst the 51allout staffers inevitably turned to two things: 1) where exactly has all the gin gone? and 2) was this the worst tour-long performance that we’ve ever seen from England? And if it wasn’t, which one could possibly be worse?

Several hours later, having located the gin in a big way, things gradually moved on to more traditional drunken topics, such as which brand of security alarm Margot Robbie uses at her house. By this point, it’s probably fair to say that none of us had the slightest idea of what was going on. Much dribble was spouted, we forgot about the shambles that had so enraged us earlier in the day and continued to drink away any lingering sorrow.

The next morning however, Editor Steve was not impressed. Seeing the mess we’d left in the kitchen (amongst others), he demanded that we spend the day actually writing an article instead of just eating greasy fast food and trying to watch the Big Bash. No-one was exactly enthusiastic but then we had a brainwave: we’d pinch the footage from the security cameras and just transcribe the conversation from the previous night. One article full of fascinating insight, just needing a couple of low quality picture jokes to top it off. And so, with further ado, here is said conversation in all its glory:

Nichael Bluth: Where exactly has all the gin gone?

Matt H: I think it’s in the gin cupboard, that enormous monstrosity that takes up half of the actual office. Do you not remember spending a whole day trying to get it into the building? Now that was a debacle!


One that we still laugh about to this day!

NB: Ah yes, that rings a bell now you mention it. Right then. A couple of questions before we start drinking: was this the worst tour-long performance that we’ve ever seen from England? And if it wasn’t, which one could possibly be worse?

MH: You’re being harsh on England, if that’s what you conclude. I mean, at least Ben Stokes didn’t get sunstroke from a shaved head, like Chris Lewis did that time. More pertinently, they found a couple of promising top order batsmen who know where their off stump is.

NB: Yes, but they also lost 4-0, twice losing by an innings after making 400, a score that basically 100% guarantees that you won’t lose by an innings. That’s a whole new level of rubbishness, surely? I mean, no-one expected them to win or anything like that, but the least they could have done was emerge with some pride, rather than just falling in a giant four-match heap as soon as things started to get difficult.

MH: Pride? That’s a deadly sin as far as I’m concerned. Why bring that up, it’s not as if we talk about gluttony and sloth, do we?

Aussie Matt: Don’t we?

So is gluttony.

Yeah, fair enough.

MH: That gives me an idea for a bandwagon. I suppose the rubbishness of the recent Test series was inevitable, i.e. India being better at playing spin and being better at bowling spin than England. For me, that reduces the scale of the debacle, compared with the good old days when they didn’t have a clue about anything at all.

NB: Example?

MH: I’m fond of reminiscing about the 1992/93 tour of India, which was terrible in many ways: the unlucky dip policy for picking spinners; Richard Blakey; thinking good old fashioned English seamers would do the trick; and, worst of all, Graeme Hick scoring a century that pretty much saved his international career.

NB: Back then every tour was like that: England’s only away series wins in the 90s both came in New Zealand. The whole decade was just one long continuous debacle.

With a few notable exceptions, of course.

With a few notable exceptions, of course.

MH: The last overseas Ashes was also, in my view, worse. Nobody in their right mind would have thought England had much chance of a series win in India, but ahead of the drip down under there was an arrogant sense of inevitability, even before Andy Flower discovered that a diet of quinoa would turn Boyd Rankin into an international class bowler.

AM: Whilst the last Aussie Ashes will obviously always hold a special place in my heart, and in particular was so bad that it made “Pomnishambles” a part of everyday vernacular, it would be remiss to forget the 2012 tour of the UAE. That one really had everything: England losing from the most inconceivable of positions (including that brilliant collapse in the second innings of the second Test), Eoin Morgan’s new batting stance and Ian Bell just being thoroughly rubbish. But my favorite part was that it came right after England became the number one Test side, which just made the whole thing far more hilarious.

By the end of a hard tour pf the UAE, Morgan's grip of sanity seemed tenuous at best.

By the end of a hard tour of the UAE, Morgan’s grasp of  sanity seemed tenuous at best.

NB: Of course, there’s also the tour that gave birth to this site, the defeat away to the West Indies in 2009. Unlike the two Ashes 5-0 defeats, where there was a comforting sense of inevitability about the whole thing from the start, this tour was frustrating every single step of the way, England threatening to win every Test before being thwarted with the West Indies inevitably eight wickets down. Plus it had Owais Shah’s constant running mishaps, Amjad Khan’s legendary debut and the absurdity of the West Indies picking nine batsmen and asking Brendan Nash to bowl 30 overs every innings.

MH: Ah yes, I see you know your England cricketing debacles well.

NB: It’s hardly surprising – I grew up on a cricketing diet of debacle after debacle. If the internet had been around in 1994 this website would probably have been called 46allout and would have run out of ideas approximately 22 years ago. Basically, as soon as either Graham Gooch or Michael Atherton were out the alarm bells started ringing loud and clear.

AM: Speaking of alarm bells, I wonder which brand of security alarm Margot Robbie uses at her house?

[the remainder of the tape is indecipherable – Ed]

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