It's all about culture


Change is coming
By London Leprechaun
September 30 2019

Our final report of the season is about the forum which was not just a cut and paste from last year. It is not a verbatim report of the forum so if anyone else who was there feels anthing is missed please add your pennyworth.

It was reasonably attended given the weather, timing and transport problems.  Fair number of empty seats though.

Started with the player news now up on the web site but just to recap:

Malan resigns captaincy role
Cummins signs 3 year deal
Sowter extends contract
Rayner leaves Middlesex
Barber leaves Middlesex

None of the website quotes were repeated tonight and there was nothing to suggest during the evening that Malan is leaving.  But the question was not directly asked; Cummings signing is apparently, potential cover for TRJ and Helm still on the England radar.

Stuart Law talked about other changes next year which he described as cultural.  For example

However, it is also felt the batting group need someone who can coach batsman on the field as well as be good influence of, so the overseas player next year likely to be a batsman. We are in discussion with some now. Stuart Law tried to see if AB was interested for a full season but no luck in that.  No decision on whether the overseas player would also be captain but not being ruled out.

Other points in no particular order

And sadly as it was getting dark and we still had to run the gauntlet of MCC security there was no chance to see how much more of the Compton stand has been eaten.

pqs: qs:
It's all about culture
Posted by: Middlesex till we die (IP Logged)
Date: 30/09/2019 22:13

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:10:14:21:39:12 by London Leprechaun.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: hdo (IP Logged)
Date: 30/09/2019 22:49

Well, I might be more easily placated than some other members, but I'm fairly happy with most of that. However, actions speak louder than words, so let's see what happens next season.

I know it pretty much says so above, but I'll ask anyway - was it directly confirmed that Murtagh is staying?

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: adelaide (IP Logged)
Date: 30/09/2019 23:36

"It's the pitches fault" - that was one of the skipper's refrains, wasn't it?

Interesting that negative dressing room comments are now presented as coming from batsmen who are out rather than from those waiting to go in. I would have thought that comments about how the wicket is playing would be useful to the rest but there is a difference between a despairing comment and one that it is constructive - such as - he's swinging it late so think about batting out of your crease.

While cutting run ups sounds good, wasn't that one of the reasons why Finn lost form? It won't sort all bowlers. Less faffing about with the field during overs, never mind in between them - and get back to your mark quicker.

I'm not too keen about the comments on some signings being unable to cope with living in London. You are unlikely to know that in advance so it comes across as an excuse not to sign anyone. I note that it hasn't stopped Surrey signing players regularly, though arguably some of them have not reproduced their form from elsewhere.

As for wanting to be a big fish in a small pond, we're looking like a pretty small puddle at the moment.

All in all, it leaves me unconvinced that the hierarchy has properly come to terms with the huge increase in mobility in the game.

TRJ and Helm on the England radar? Sounds like Kevin Hand drafted that bit.


Adelaide

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 06:33

Playing for a London club does create problems.

Play for teams like Somerset Derbyshire, Kent (in fact anywhere else) and I expect the first thing a new player does is buy a flat or house within 5 miles of the ground. They can then get to work in 10 minutes, and a nice easy meeting point if the club arrange a coach to travel to an away game (to save stress and driver tiredness if it is an important T20 match the day after a home game)

Our players seem to be strung out all over the place. Some living in the country (Bucks) whilst Chiswick and Barnet might both be in 'Middlesex' but try driving from one to the other in the rush hour.

So- if you hire a coach (I know we don't normally) where do yo start from? Make everyone spend an hour or more getting to Lord's first, or say Uxbridge (easy access to M25 and M40).

The problem is you need to be a millionaire to buy a property in St John's Wood which must make player recruitment and retention harder than other counties.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: BeefyRoberts (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 06:43

Agree with Adelaide about some being unable to cope with living in London,how do other Counties manage being based in large cities?
It does look like,from the report,that Murts will still be gracing us with his presence next year.
More games at Lords....does that put any outgrounds at risk,as stated 50 over games could be at Lords as well?
Signing someone will deny a player his place?...called competition for places,healthy if used properly by the backroom staff!
And,finally,it looks like the Lawman is going to sort out the over rate,in sure the lesser spotted batting points will be sorted as well.

Thanks for an in depth report,sadly missed forum.
We wait to see who will enter our club now!

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 06:43

Quote of the night. Captain Cook was an Irishman. Another bloke sounded off on Northants and Gloucester who he reckoned shouldn't be promoted ahead of Mx. It was because they they played better cricket mate. Sounded like a 6.06 caller who was exasperated that Man U didn't win every week



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:10:01:06:56:38 by Seaxe_man1.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 06:49

Agree with you Adelaide re Joe Denly. Like many from that era. Not used properly. Poor judgement by someone who wouldn't know a player if he fell over him.. Joe said he was happy to stay but no contract way offered from my memory.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 06:55

Plus likely 6 cc games and a further T20 at Lord's. Enquired later as to whether that means more money. Told yes. Would hope so as it is another seven figure night for MCC.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 07:56

Re the negative comments.

What is a player supposed to do when he is out cheaply?

Go back to the dressing room, swear a lot, and throw his bat through the window?

Say nothing, and sit in the corner and sulk?

Say 'That was entirely my fault I'm a useless xxxx'

or 'The ball is swinging all over the place?'

Maybe it would help if he added 'but finding a way to get through these difficult passages of play is essential if I am to retain my place in the side and become a better player. I'm eager to learn. How do I stop this xxxx Robinson getting me out?'

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 08:52

Sowter to be number one spinner.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 11:27

A couple of other things. Mike O'Farrell said after lobbying, counties to receive 300 grand extra to invest in county cricket. Said ECB denied 8 county franchise setup and wanted all 18 to thrive. MTS likely location of 7th cc match. Not great on member facilities but reachable on Met Line.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: freddie tittlemouse (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 13:32

The Times review of the season today stated that Middlesex should show contrition for their sorry performance. Sounds as if contrition was pretty thinly spread.
As for cricketers unable to settle in London this is as pathetic as it gets. Millions of people have to commute and don't have the luxury of living in St John's Wood. Somebody tell Jo Denly that Kent isn't exactly the Hebrides. This reminds me of Emburey's excuses for not signing players that nobody could afford to live in London.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 13:37

It is a factor though, FT.

In some parts of the Uk you can buy a 3 bed house for 150k

You couldn't even get a garden shed for that in Greater London, and we know we are in the 'middle range' when it comes to what we can afford on players salaries.

S_M I know you are a Sowter fan, and he is good in white ball cricket. So far he has seen off both Patel and Rayner, so hopefully his red ball form will justify that faith.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 13:52

I think Sowter is a good cricketer who gives 100%. Both those you mentioned were not seen off by him. The first was not a favourite of the then coaching staff. The second was a favourite with the previous regime. My point with regard to Nathan is, merely that he is given more of a chance than his immediate predecessor got. If you saw his first up knock at OT. Some decent square cutting and driving were on show.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: snicko (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 14:06

Sowter played as our frontline spinner in Championship matches and returned 14 wickets at an average of 46 !

Very valid points made re housing costs. Despite the salary caps for Middlesex and Surrey being in excess of the other 16 Counties, you won’t get much within Zone 4 for £600,000 (which would pay for a large detached house with garden in most other counties).

Wouldn’t have thought that many of the Middlesex squad are earning in excess of £100,000. You do the maths.

Players do have to make lifestyle choices.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: freddie tittlemouse (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 14:20

Essex is not exactly the sticks and they seem to be coping quite well.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: snicko (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 14:29

Quote:
freddie tittlemouse
Essex is not exactly the sticks and they seem to be coping quite well.

I suggest you search Zoopla and look at properties circa £600,000 in and around Chelmsford. No comparison.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Lifer (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 14:32

Quote:
freddie tittlemouse
The Times review of the season today stated that Middlesex should show contrition for their sorry performance. Sounds as if contrition was pretty thinly spread.
As for cricketers unable to settle in London this is as pathetic as it gets. Millions of people have to commute and don't have the luxury of living in St John's Wood. Somebody tell Jo Denly that Kent isn't exactly the Hebrides. This reminds me of Emburey's excuses for not signing players that nobody could afford to live in London.

The point made was that London can be a cold unfriendly place if you live a long way from the other players and do not meet socially. Those who play for say Somerset tend to live within 20 mins of the ground.
It may only be a small point but it does help team bonding and spirit.

Similarly about not coming back to the dressing room and not saying no one can play that. Its ok to say the umpire is blind but not other kinds of negativity especially when you have young players in the side.
Again a small point but one Law wants changed.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: freddie tittlemouse (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 15:24

Quote:
snicko
Quote:
freddie tittlemouse
Essex is not exactly the sticks and they seem to be coping quite well.

I suggest you search Zoopla and look at properties circa £600,000 in and around Chelmsford. No comparison.

They do not need to live in Central London! Has this all become a factor in the last 3 years and caused us to slide from 1st to 16th? Come off it.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: adelaide (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 15:28

Quote:
freddie tittlemouse
The Times review of the season today stated that Middlesex should show contrition for their sorry performance. Sounds as if contrition was pretty thinly spread.
As for cricketers unable to settle in London this is as pathetic as it gets. Millions of people have to commute and don't have the luxury of living in St John's Wood. Somebody tell Jo Denly that Kent isn't exactly the Hebrides. This reminds me of Emburey's excuses for not signing players that nobody could afford to live in London.

Freddie

It isn't something you can just throw a switch on and then everything is OK. Some people are really unhappy in London despite expecting to like it. Others find that they love it despite expecting to loathe it. They didn't know that before they moved there, nor did their employers. In the worst cases it can lead to depression or other forms of mental stress (I've seen it). Telling anyone, cricketer or otherwise, to just "pull themselves together" is not the answer. If that person is able to move elsewhere to pursue their living and be happier, that is what they should do.

Of course that should not be used as an excuse not to think about signing players from elsewhere, which was part of the vibe I got form the forum report but youm do have to be preared for some to go pear-shaped.


Adelaide

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Darren Gosling (IP Logged)
Date: 01/10/2019 23:07

Interesting Law said blaming the pitch was a negative thing to say...…
Gus Fraser when asked at a Forum earlier this season why we gained so few batting points last season (2018) blamed er …. the pitches at Lords!!!
Good to see that the coach and director of cricket are on the same page(!)
NB Incidentally 11 of the 14 batting points gained in 2018 were at Lords with only 3pts gained away - proving Gus doesn't know what he is talking about as usual.....unless he thinks the pitches away from Lords were even worse. excuses, excuses, excuses

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Sussex Seaxe (IP Logged)
Date: 02/10/2019 13:05

The living in London business has two elements, I think. Living in and enjoying the lifestyle is one thing. I would hope that most people with character could cope with that as millions who live and work there have to. If not, then maybe they are not suited to Middlesex.

The other is the housing cost, which I do think is a genuine issue. In my working days before self-employment (or loafing around, as Mrs Seaxe calls it), those of us in my international company who lived and worked in London were paid greater allowances in recognition of the costs involved; I've no idea if Middlesex can afford to do that, but suspect not. I am also involved in a school in the south east (not London) and can guarantee that the cost of housing is a huge factor in getting very few applicants for jobs from people elsewhere in the country.

Cricketers are, I think, better paid than they used to be, but unless they are internationals, are not hugely wealthy. We shouldn't underestimate these factors when looking to recruit players.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 02/10/2019 17:26

Some interesting possibilities for our overseas player next year.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 02/10/2019 17:47

Quote:
snicko
Sowter played as our frontline spinner in Championship matches and returned 14 wickets at an average of 46 !
Very valid points made re housing costs. Despite the salary caps for Middlesex and Surrey being in excess of the other 16 Counties, you won’t get much within Zone 4 for £600,000 (which would pay for a large detached house with garden in most other counties).

Wouldn’t have thought that many of the Middlesex squad are earning in excess of £100,000. You do the maths.

Players do have to make lifestyle choices.
Those 14 wickets at 46 were garnered at the back end of the season when spinning tracks apart from a couple of places aren't the norm. Certainly the Lord's track wasnt and neither was OT.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: rod/ed (IP Logged)
Date: 02/10/2019 19:31

Quote:
Seaxe_man1
Some interesting possibilities for our overseas player next year.

Ross Taylor fits the bill. Alan Coleman spoke highly of his attitude and influence off the park.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Primrose Hillbilly (IP Logged)
Date: 02/10/2019 19:42

Normally, a leg spinner coming on to bowl guarantees that things WILL HAPPEN.

Sowter has been an utter revelation.

I must have drowsed through every single spell he has bowled. He neither threatens with monstrous spin,nor horrendous bounce, nor a range of deliveries that make him hard to pick. He just trundles in, goes for a few runs, then scurries round the outfield between overs.

When he takes a wicket, it comes as a bit of a surprise. It's never because he's put the batsman through an over of utterly bewildering "couldn't lay a bat on him", groping, humiliation, and then finished him off.

I have never even seen anyone else look up and start taking notice when he comes on. Sowter is the least charismatic leg spinner I have ever come across, and the most anonymous fielder. Who's that one? .........err, well, going round, Simmo, then Robbo and Mala in the slips, that's Toby, there's Gubbins, Helm's the tall one, Tim's the dark one................so that must be Sowter by process of elimination.

I have to believe that unless he develops some variations during the close season, "the word" that will have gone out round the circuit that he is pretty innocuous will become completely justified next season - at our expense.

My hope is that we once had quite a good leg spinner, but the captain would not bowl him enough. Now Dawid has stood down, maybe we will get more overs out of him.

OMFG...........Titmus, Edmonds, Emburey, Tufnell, Weekes, Peploe even ........

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: adelaide (IP Logged)
Date: 03/10/2019 00:34

PH

To me Sowter still looks like a one day spinner and he hasn't really taken what opportunities there were in the CC, though come to think of it not many spinners have taken wickets against us either (perhaps because we are 35-6 too often). His batting has made things happen more frequently than his bowling. He is surely one of the best fielders in the team, anonymous or otherwise.

Reading between the lines, Sowter as main spinner says to me that we will quite often not be playing a spinner at all next year, a depressing thought. Malan (if still here) is surely not up to bowling long spells.

I can think of less effective Middlsex leggies. Yogi Gowalkar and early Imran Tahir, for a start.

Now if we can get an overseas batsman who also bowls decent spin. Labuschagne? Williamson? (I almost wrote Stirling...).


Adelaide

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
Date: 03/10/2019 06:14

Primrose throwing in a hand grenade!

There's definitely a breed of spinner who can take wickets in white ball cricket, when the batsmen have to attack, but can't do so in red ball cricket.

It was right he got a chance in the championship side and I hope he improves, but I don't think (so far) he has convinced people that he will be our first choice spinner for the next ten years.

Considerably more expensive than Rayner- both in terms of runs per over conceeded and wickets taken.

But unless we are planning to sign an established county spinner from somewhere it's going to be Sowter plus a couple of spinners in their first year (assuming we sign Walallawita and Holman)

As Ollie obviously didn't want to leave it might have been wise to hang on to him for a little longer.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: dingy bags (IP Logged)
Date: 03/10/2019 08:11

Books have to balance, Chunky. County contacts tend to be incremental - you get a bit more with each new contract. So, Ollie would be on a good wage and on a better one with a new deal. With both he and Stirlo off the salary bill, we have every chance to 'reinvest' in an overseas batsman. Cummins will cost more than Barber, so that 'swap' is an increase.

Of course, if Mala goes (we all hope not), that frees up more cash.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Primrose Hillbilly (IP Logged)
Date: 03/10/2019 11:29

A nostrum of the game is that spinners tend to improve with age, Chunky, I will grant that.

Just as Sowter will have been looked at by others, I hope he will have similarly researched his subject when next he comes on to bowl, and has learned a bit.

From watching him, I suspect that Sowter just does not have that seriously "big ripped" turning leg spinner in his armoury that - once unsheathed - is in the batsman's mind every delivery thereafter. If you have that, it keeps the batsmen honest when playing every ball and other variation.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 03/10/2019 11:46

PH. Tuffers in 1985 was described in similar terms. Went on to get 121 for England pre DRS and 842 for Mx. Sowter fielding and batting already better than Phil's. Took a sensational T20 catch as sub at Uxbridge . Can be viewed on YouTube. He may turn out as you say but I hope not. Last time there a turning track at Lord's was 1976 when Jin Fairbrother was groundsman. Smokey Featherstone picked up 30 wickets in August and we won the Championship.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 03/10/2019 11:49

Quote:
rod/ed
Quote:
Seaxe_man1
Some interesting possibilities for our overseas player next year.

Ross Taylor fits the bill. Alan Coleman spoke highly of his attitude and influence off the park.
Good shout Rod. Or Faf du Plessis who is jacking in international cricket.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 03/10/2019 11:56

Plus chunky. Rayner was a slow bowler not a spinner. His batting had evaporated and I would lhave liked to have seen his outfield bleep test. Not a lot of running in the slips. There were some other issues besides on the culture front. Rossington was offloaded due to bleep test failure. Interesting to have seen the comparison with OR.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:10:03:11:59:55 by Seaxe_man1.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
Date: 03/10/2019 16:53

S-M

I've seen Rayner get the ball to turn in matches on Sky.

I think he might have self deprecatingly referred to himself as a slow bowler, but at this level it's often tiny fractions of spin that gets a batsman out, particularly if you have deliberately not made any attempt to get the previous three or four deliveries to spin. I think it's called subtlety.

What is unusual is you wouldn't normally let the senior player go until you were sure the junior player had overtaken him productivity wise, which is why Rayner is entitled to be a bit miffed.

Sowter is a bit like an enthusiastic young puppy dog, so I expect Law was impressed with the 'energy' he brings, rather than Rayner who comes across as your more laid back philosophical type of cricketer, so I suppose he was an easy target if Law wanted to wake everyone up.

Re: It's all about culture
Posted by: Seaxe_man1 (IP Logged)
Date: 03/10/2019 17:09

Can't see why he should be. Had nine years at Mx. A number of which were not very productive. Further, as we move on, club have tried to assist him with another club. In his hands now. Your comment that it is tiny fractions which get the batsmen out could apply equally to Sowts.

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