Wednesday, January 17, 2007

On why England is crap

Finally, a semi-legitimate reason to write about cricket, in particular England's misery during this Ashes tour.

This story about the useless touring English cricket team reminded me of this post I did on the fallacy False Attribution WRT Professor Juan Cole. It comes in the form of a possibly "fake but true" Email to cricket commentator and writer Simon Barnes:

Dear Mr Barnes
As an ardent cricket fan of the non "Barmy Army" variety , I hope youwill forgive me for writing you on the subject of my experiences ofbeing in the same 5 star hotel as both the English team and indeed manyof your journalistic "colleagues" for the last week or so in Perth.I thought it might be best if I diarised the experience of myself and mycompanion, another who prefers luxury to discomfort! I can't beabsolutely sure of all times due to various (occasionally alcoholic)reasons but I hope my point will be clear fairly early on….

The email continues outlining what the Emailer claims to have seen at breakfast in the hotel leading up to and during the 3rd Test. Here's one example:

Wednesday 13th December- c9.15am-T Day minus 1 day - we've just had thesame hallucinatory experience as yesterday except that KP and Monty seemto have found each other at breakfast. Oh yes and Andrew Strauss can beheard laughing about how little sleep he got last night 'cos his nipperwas up half the night! What a 21st century man he is. I mean if I waspossibly going to be facing the best cricket bowling attack in the worldwithin 24 hours, I would probably want at least 12 hours completelyuninterrupted sleep - that Strauss bloke must be super-human!

And then finally, the English team's reaction the after losing the Ashes:

Monday 18th December - c11pm - we've just been out drowning our sorrows after Christmas has come a bit early for England and we've been stuffedharder from behind (and in front and indeed sideways) than any turkeycould reasonably expect to be. We feel in need of a bit of cheering up.We get back to the hotel to see much merriment going on in the Bar. We figure it's those naughty Sky journos again, living it up. But no, it'smost of the English squad (plus WAGS obviously) laughing and joking.Well I suppose it was only a game of cricket after all. And I'm sure allthose people who've spent all that cash coming out to see the gamesreally wouldn't mind the guys looking as though they've just lost avillage match would they? The really funny thing though is that in themiddle of this throng of laughter, one player stands out as looking asthough he's feeling a bit upset. Trust him to spoil the frivolities,that KP. Oh and where's Monty? Gone to bed early someone said. Anotherparty pooper.

I found this email on the blog of freelance Cricket journalist Rod Gilmour, Nutley to Nagpur: cricket blog. He has used an unverifiable account of the English team's [lack of] preparation due to the distraction of WAGs (wives and girlfriends) to justify the commonly held view (in the press) that the English team's mind wasn't on the job. He says:

We all know about the WAGs and the 90-odd personnel on tour, but the email reads true all the same, even if it is all lies.

"…reads true… even if it is all lies…" So even if it's not true, it's still the reason England have performed so poorly this tour? (And continue to play poorly, just beating New Zealand doesn't count for much.) If a source is unverifiable, it is simply not evidence, no matter how true it sounds. To use it is to make a False Attribution.*

*However, all that being said, it does actually ring true… though, everyone knows the reason why England lost the Ashes and the English are crap at sport is because, as a general rule, English people lack rudimentary coordination (a legacy of being indoors all day).