Anorak News | Whitewash?


by | 24th, March 2004

‘THERE was a time not so long ago that any England win against the West Indies in a Test match was a cause for national celebration.

‘Will you be here next season, Claudio?’

But such is the decline in the fortunes of the side that dominated cricket in the 1970s and 1980s that England’s feat in retaining the Wisden Trophy does not even lead the Telegraph’s sports section.

It took the visiting batsmen just 23 minutes yesterday to get the 28 runs needed for victory and take a 2-0 lead in the four-Test series.

It is the first time England have retained the Wisden Trophy for 35 years – since the last time they won a series in the Caribbean in 1968.

“We expected to come here and win,” said England skipper Michael Vaughan, “but to be 2-0 up after only two games is beyond where we thought we’d be at this stage.”

The Times says England’s success is die to their having a better fast bowling attack than their hosts, a more cohesive team and “to judge by Brian Lara’s decision to demote himself in the order, the tougher and more confident leader”.

Back in England, however, all interest centres on tonight’s all English clash in the Champions’ League quarter-final at Stamford Bridge.

And all eyes are on Claudio Ranieri, Chelsea’s soon to be ex-manager.

The Times says the Italian is resigned to getting the sack irrespective of results between now and the end of the season – “a victim of Chelsea’s ruthless new hierarchy”.

But he “will fancy himself as a martyr if he knocks out Arsenal over the next fortnight and is shown the door”.

Such is the incompetence and insensitivity with which Chelsea have handled their manager’s situation that Ranieri is the focus of all the pre-match build-up.

The Indy likens him to a “dead man walking”, the horrific expression used in the United States to describe a prisoner on his way to execution.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that Ranieri’s employers have made an audacious bid to sign Rio Ferdinand, the suspended Manchester United and England centre-half.

United have apparently turned down the offer, as they have done similar bids from other top European clubs – but the paper says it is unclear whether that will be enough to deter Chelsea.

Meanwhile, the one-man brawl that is Craig Bellamy has apparently been in a scrap with the team coach ahead of Newcastle’s Uefa Cup trip to Real Mallorca.

Only by reading on do we understand that it was the Geordies’ first team coach John Carver rather than the bus used to transport the team to the airport.

With Bellamy, you never know…’

Posted: 24th, March 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink