The Joy of Selection Complaints

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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: England Coach Trevor Bayliss (right) and Assistant Coach Paul Farbrace during day four of the fourth Investec test match between England and Pakistan at The Kia Oval on August 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Corbis via Getty Images)

After England‘s defeat to Bangladesh at Dhaka, fans were quick to voice their dismay at the balance of the team.

Some might say we should give the selectors a break. They’re trying their best to cope with a ridiculous international schedule, and they are a darn sight more qualified than the rest of us.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to sit on our sofas moaning that the likes of Zafar Ansari, Gary Ballance and Adil Rashid are not cut out for Test cricket, as if we have been anywhere near that level ourselves.

But then again, complaining about selection policy is one of the great joys of being a cricket fan.

Perhaps it’s a peculiarly English thing, like queueing, talking about the weather, or existential self-loathing. Or maybe cricket fans worldwide think they could do a better job with a scrap of paper and numbers one to eleven left blank.

It’s why the fantasy football industry is still thriving, and it’s a major reason why we all still love sport. The feeling that if only those in charge would ask us, we could sort it out.

The comedian Dylan Moran put it best.

He said: “Look at the people who give it everything. The Beckhams or Roy Keanes of this world. Running up and down the field, swearing and shouting at each other.

“Are they happy? No! They’re destroying themselves. Who’s happy? You. The fat f**ks watching them, with a beer can balanced on your ninth belly, roaring advice at the best athletes in the world.”

Social media, of course, has made all of this so much more visible.

When 43-year-old John Emburey was recalled to the England Test team in 1995, I have a vivid memory of seeing the news on Teletext, turning to my dad and simply saying: “Emburey?”

If that happened now, I probably wouldn’t even turn around. I would reach for my phone and spew my thoughts straight on to Twitter, and they would immediately be buried under the thousands of others doing the exact same thing.

The selectorial merry-go-round is sure to be in full flow as England kick off against India on Wednesday.

Nobody seems to know whether we stand a chance against the might of Virat Kohli, Ashwin et al.

But one thing is for sure: if we couldn’t complain, we wouldn’t be half as interested.

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