England regroup as Lloyd lets off steam

Cricket

reports from Harare

It may not feel like the season of goodwill, and Harare is the last place on earth you would expect to see a White Christmas, but that is no excuse for England to play humbug, particularly their coach, David Lloyd, whose latest gaffe was to get involved in a verbal altercation with Ian Goggen, the chairman of the Mashonaland Association who is an official from the Zimbabwe cricket union, immediately after last Sunday's dramatic finish.

The incident, described in a local paper as "an exchange of words," was heated enough to have been brought to the attention of Hanumant Singh, the match referee. In a statement issued yesterday, Singh decided that no further action would be taken, indicating that the matter had been resolved quickly and amicably.

It is a view unlikely to be taken at face value by the barnstorming new chairman of the England Board, Lord MacLaurin, who arrives here on Friday. MacLaurin, who has already stated his desire for English cricket to become a more consumer friendly product, is unlikely to have been impressed by this latest indiscretion and will hopefully seek an explanation from Lloyd, who is barred from commenting about it by ICC regulations.

For a series that was meant to be gift-wrapped, it has certainly been a frustrating time for England, who now have five days to salvage something other than ignominy from this tour. It will not be easy, not least because of the weather and every night so far, Harare has been lit up like Dracula's castle by heavy thunderstorms.

The pitch, should saturated outfields prove playable, will be slow, and will probably offer some early assistance to the seam bowlers. Unless they drop Phil Tufnell, England's response will be to replace Chris Silverwood with Craig White, who despite not having bowled a ball in Zimbabwe is now set to play irrespective of the final balance of the attack.

This gives England an extra batsman to bat at seven behind the six that played in Bulawayo, leaving them - if Tufnell plays - with just two and a half seam bowlers, a risky gambit considering that White has yet to prove his worth at Test level. For a side whose coach remains convinced that they had "flippin' murdered the opposition," last week, the combination smacks of must-not-lose defensiveness.

It is also flawed and should England bowl first without Silverwood in the side, there will be no one to probe that full wicket-taking length needed on a slow seamer. Instead an unvarying diet of Mullally, Gough and White will prevail, bowlers who all prefer to hit the pitch short of a length, a method that provided a rich source of runs for Zimbabwe's top order in the last Test.

Having derived far more than England from the result of the last Test, Zimbabwe are still likely to make changes and the left-hander Mark Dekker is certain to open the batting in place of Stuart Carlisle, who looked hopelessly out of his depth. Unless Eddo Brandes, who damaged his ankle last week, is fit, the bowling will probably remain unchanged unless water gets under the covers.

For England, who spent the festive season trying to fit in practice between thunderstorms, there is now a Test match to be won. However, before the plotting starts, they may like to consider the ghosts of England tours past.

Since the Boxing Day Test 10 years ago, when Mike Gatting's England last won the Ashes, their record abroad has been appalling. In 42 overseas Tests, including last Sunday's thrilling draw, England have won only five. Evidence that, away from home at least, we don't tend to "flippin' murder" anyone.

Suggested Topics
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness