Monday, July 13, 2009

Why on Earth is Strauss still Captain?

In an ode to the putty he still had left under his armpit one morning, Grunthos the Flatulent, the poet master of the Azgoths of Kria, still found time to describe the uselessness of England cricket captain Andrew Strauss, the most pathetic specimen of Englishness since the bloke in the shield wall at Hastings who ran down the hill at the Bretons to let the Norman cavalry break in upon the rest of his suddenly stricken Saxon comrades.

Strauss is a loser. It's written all over his face.

His head bends at moments of pressure. Unlike Ponting, he fails to deliver runs when the chips are down. His selection of bowlers is appalling; his acceptance of the inevitability of defeat is always highly visible, and his inability to motivate is clearly apparent for all to see.

So let's get him back to scoring runs again. Let's get him back into the ranks of the flanking archers and allow him to concentrate on what he's really good at, which is thinking about and delivering runs against Australian bowlers. Let's drop the pilot and replace him with someone better in the bloody centre of the field before we fail to regain the Ashes by the Third Test.

So who should be captain? Well, from Maturin Towers it's completely obvious who it should be. Who is Sharpe? Who stands in the trenches when all others around him are flailing? Who is gritty? Who is determined? Who would Ponting be frightened of in a fight at closing time? Who would trade punches with Shane Warne? Who would be the last man standing in a fight with Alan Shearer?

There's only one man. Yes, OK; he's limited in the thinking stakes. He ain't no Mike Brearley. But from this end of town there's only one man capable of dragging England over the line to beat the hard-shouldered men of the prison colony, and that's the whip-handed prison guard himself, Her Majesty's doughty discipliner of rugged Aussie rock-breakers, a man who would force himself into the the Aussie team himself if he didn't love the Queen so much, and who was too smart to get convicted for stealing that sheep, and that's Paul Collingwood.

Make him Captain. Do it now.

And then we might actually beat these Australians. And send a few of the buggers back down under without stealing any more of our women or drinking any more of our beer.

In the meantime, can we praise Monty Panesar enough for roughing out the last few overs, today, and hanging on for the draw against the magnificent Australian attack?

Monty Panesar, we salute you.

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