The Roar
The Roar

Joshua Kerr

Roar Guru

Joined March 2019

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Sixth former living in England with a passion for sport and sports journalism. Obviously, an England fan of anything we play. Mainly write about English football, rugby and cricket. Also enjoy a spot of Formula One, supporting Max Verstappen and Red Bull. Follow me on Twitter @Joshua_T_Kerr.

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How about Sydney? Or does that bugger up the tradition of the New Year’s Day test?

The idea behind the dangerous MCG pitch was right, but the execution means another Boxing Day snoozefest awaits

Wow Ben! The research and re-reading that must have gone into this is epic!

I agree with your list and will make a note to have a watch of all the videos that you have linked in.

I vaguely remember the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix as my parents watched it all (I never watched it because I was too young to give a monkeys about what is now my favourite sport). I just remember them saying that they had to change channel and it didn’t finish till gone ten o’clock (UK time). I’ve probably watched it more times than I like to think but it’s still a classic and definitely worthy of the greatest race of the decade.

I am a child of the turbo hybrid era so I’m just used to a ‘dull’ grand prix but I’ve stuck with it all this time. You note that there have been 199 races this decade – I’ve probably watched about 150. It still is the only sport where I cannot miss a moment of it. I must wake up at 4am and I must stay up until 10pm – anything that is necessary to watch it.

Why am I insane enough to do this? Apart from making writing about it my main hobby, it is the fact that for all the substandard races that are a bit boring, we get the gems like the ones you list in this article. The reward for all the hard effort an F1 fan puts in – yes, I am the annoying person who plans his life around F1 – are the races that have you jumping out of your seat, shouting this is the best thing ever as the adrenaline courses through your veins and you rediscover why you fell in love with the sport in the first place.

The stats may show that it was a Red Bull then Mercedes domination but when you read between the lines, you realise that this sport isn’t that bad after all.

The top ten F1 races of the decade

Thanks Jawad. I’m in two minds about Mercedes. Because I’m a stats man, I love them breaking records and dominating as they do but, as a fan, I would much rather they didn’t win by half a minute all the time. And indeed the good races of the hybrid era have been those where Mercedes have been challenged and beaten.

I was on holiday during the Hungarian Grand Prix so only watched the highlights which chopped out Hamilton catching Verstappen but it was a good race. Not necessary a top five race though IMO (unless your Hamilton-mad David Croft, in which case it was your favourite moment of the season!). As much as I love strategy, I didn’t put races in here that were strategy-dominated.

My top five Formula One races of 2019

1. Of course it hasn’t been the greatest and, now I think about it, the points margins that a world champion has won by have been quite significant. I don’t think I notice the lacklustre racing as much now as I’m writing my article, contributing to Jawad’s blog, looking at Twitter etc.
2. I’m just worried that at some tracks Ben, we would lose overtaking entirely. You’ve got to remember that the current cars do not exactly encourage overtaking. And depending on the length of the DRS zone, you still have to send it down the inside in true Ricciardo style. On the whole, I think DRS will just be something that we have to agree to disagree on.
3. Agreed.
4. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating there Ben. The narrow nature of the circuit could force drivers into mistakes which would be test them a bit. I think I’m biased on that one due to being a Verstappen fan. The track at Vietnam looks great with that long back straight with the left-hander in it but I just don’t like the fact that it’s in Vietnam. The circuit will just about be ready in time, part of the track currently goes through a swamp and it’s a 22nd race that, in all respects and purposes, we don’t need.
5. When I first got into F1 in 2012, we had Hamilton and Button at McLaren (the dream team) and Paul di Resta at Force India. Once Button retired, it was just Hamilton at Mercedes so I had to endure two whole seasons of people asking me why I don’t support Lewis because I’m British, which was so annoying! Now, with four drivers to choose from, I can say I’m a Lando Norris and McLaren supporter. That’s in terms of my British support, there’s still a special place in my heart for Max Verstappen, who I hope will win a world championship one day because he can do it!

The verdict’s still out for Stroll. I don’t want to stir things up but his move to Racing Point has ended up kicking Nico Hulkenberg out of our sport. (Lawrence Stroll buys a controlling stake in Force India, now Racing Point, Lance signs for the team (cue feined surprise), Esteban Ocon is dropped despite having a superb season, Ocon signs for Renault for 2020, Hulkenberg has nowhere to go and leaves.) That doesn’t make me happy! Probably just a bit bitter that’s all…

Five talking points from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

‘Despite having played three day-night clashes, the Poms don’t appear overly keen on the idea of day-night Tests.’

Our daylight hours don’t accommodate day-night test matches. On the summer solstice, the sun doesn’t set until 10PM and throughout the majority of the summer, it only sets at about 9PM. Not much point having a day-night test if most of it is going to take place in the day.

How do nations feel about day-night Test cricket?

1. I started watching Formula 1 in 2012. I remember falling asleep during the 2013 Italian Grand Prix then waking up and noticing that it was still Vettel in 1st, Webber in 2nd and Alonso in 3rd. I went back to sleep. Of course, if you look at the stats, it was complete dominance by Red Bull and Mercedes. But, for the first half of 2017, Ferrari and Vettel were giving Mercedes a run for their money. And who could forget the great championship fights of 2010 and 2012? F1 is still exciting, you just have to look elsewhere for your battles but, unfortunately, those tend to not be shown live on the world feed. (see my comments on Jawad’s live blog of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for more on that). Also, F1 has always been considered a ‘snoozefest’ in some people’s eyes – it is a strategy-based sport and it cannot be expected to be anything else. In my opinion (and it may be controversial), if you don’t like it like that then tough luck because there are hardcore fans like myself who do. F1 is not designed to be action-packed all the time.
2. Oh come on Ben, if we didn’t have DRS in Abu Dhabi, it would definitely have been a snoozefest. Just because they had DRS didn’t make the overtakes easy!
3. Brazil needs to be the final race of the season. Abu Dhabi always seems so anti-climactic and not a good way to end a season at all. Yes, the title may be sealed but Brazil lends itself to a good race and we have had one for at least the past four years (my memory is struggling before 2016!).
4. It’s nice to have some consistency. Hoping that the season we had post-France (Austria onwards) can be seen throughout the entire 22 races. Not looking forward to Vietnam because I honestly think there’s no need to go there apart from to boost F1’s coffers. Can’t complain with the addition of the Dutch Grand Prix – can’t go to see my man, Max Verstappen, as part of the Orange Army in Zandvoort next May as I’ve got exams but I will definitely save up for a trip in the future.
5. I still don’t like Lance Stroll (sorry Ben) but it will be interesting to see how Nicholas Latifi ranks against George Russell. Glad you get to experience what I had this year (and what I will have in 2020) in having FOUR British drivers on the grid in Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris, George Russell and Alexander Albon. Will be good to see what support Stroll and Latifi generate in Montreal next June.

Five talking points from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Root’s mindset is not one you would expect of an England test captain and I am annoyed at him for this. His test game will continue to flounder if he continues to play T20 internationals and in T20 leagues. The Hundred takes place during next year’s Pakistan tour so how on earth that is going to work I have no idea but Root will definitely need to prioritise.

Ben Foakes has disappeared after his good 2018-19 season and I think that’s a shame – would be great to put him back in the team as the new replacement wicketkeeper for Bairstow.

England enters a new phase of Test cricket

I didn’t mean to! I just took the ball and ran with it! Past the tryline. Into the crowd. Out of the stadium. Across the road.

England enters a new phase of Test cricket

‘La-bush-cag-nay, is that similar to what you are running with?’
Yes, that is the correct way to pronounce it. I have no idea why the commentators are pronouncing it La-bu-shane. There is no way on earth that Labuschagne can become Labushane! Australia tour South Africa in February – hopefully the South Africans can put things right.

Nine talking points before the second Test

Roy was just plonked into the test side after the World Cup, having not played a first-class game at all in 2019. I think that was more of a spur of the moment thing.

Root does not play the ‘captain’s innings’ and I do think that the pressure of the captaincy is getting to him because he has to answer questions about a) the team’s poor performance and b) his own poor performance and he knows that he can’t just say to the media ‘oh, I’m rubbish, drop me’ (as if he would but you get what I mean). Root used to be on par with Smith, Kohli and Williamson but has now lagged behind.

Disagree with you on Buttler – I think he is a good middle-order batsman who can get some good runs on the board in style and you do need at least one batsman like that. But of course you don’t want a destructive white ball style in tests but something in between is quite useful.

England enters a new phase of Test cricket

Wow! You’ve left us with plenty to think about there Paul, good job.

I only picked up bits and bobs from the Gabba test as I was following my beloved England shooting themselves in the foot in New Zealand but, from what I picked up, it was a great win by the Aussies. Nice to see Marnus Labuschagne (I’m pronouncing that the South African way – discuss) get his first century and also great, from an English POV to see Steve Smith out for just 4 runs! So, clearly Pakistan did well there.

I understand that Pakistan have a lot of new players so that mustn’t help too much but I do like the look of the new talent that they’re bringing through. And, of course, not playing much test cricket recently doesn’t help either.

I like your comment about complacency which is a thing that all teams must be aware of because, as you say, Pakistan may be able to pull a few punches and catch Australia unawares.

Nine talking points before the second Test

England are still reliable at home.
I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with you there, Ryan, as I find that England scrape their way through test matches. They got bowled out by Ireland for 85, for goodness’ sake (no offence to the Irish as they played well but you get the point). The scorecards may say that it’s an England win by hundreds of runs but the XI is not equal and the opening batting lineup has been shocking for years.

The focus on the short formats of the game has paid off well and there can be no question about that. Despite not actually winning the World Cup, England won it (contradiction, I know, but, hey, six runs for an overthrow instead of five). If performing well at a home World Cup had to come at the expense of the test game (which it did) then so be it. England could not be embarrassed like they had been at home in 1999 and in more recent tournaments like 2007 and 2015.

The opening batsmen that England have in the test team at the moment aren’t bad – they just got caught out by Santner’s excellent spell at the end of day 4 of the first test v NZ. The team needs improvement, yes, but that is going to take time as personnel changes come into effect. NZ are a strong team and England are not as strong as them despite thinking that they are and that could be a part of their downfall. The last overseas tour that went well was the Sri Lanka tour in 2018 – they misunderestimated what the West Indians could do and suffered two batting collapses in their series over there earlier this year.

The County Championship is fielding plenty of contenders for the test squad but the jump from county cricket to test cricket is proving to be too much for some players and that is where they crumble and then depart from the team earlier than anybody would like. Remember Haseeb Hameed? What about Tom Westley? Exactly. These are players that batted so well in the County Championship before floundering in the test arena and being dropped, never to return again.

England had the same amount of points as Australia before Australia played Pakistan so it is still possible for England to do well in the World Test Championship, which India appear to be running away with at the moment. The second test in NZ, not part of the WTC (neither was the first test), will be the final ‘practice’ go before the major winter tour of South Africa.

As Geoffrey Boycott will tell you, you need to bat to survive. Yes, score runs but don’t focus on that too much, just focus on getting through to the next drinks break, then lunch and so on until you’ve built a good score. As I said in my article on Tuesday after the first test, this is not a problem that will go away quickly. The problem for England is that it kind of needs to go away quickly otherwise yet another winter will go by without too much success (they didn’t win a test match in the 2017-18 winter and only whitewashed the Sri Lankans last year because they aren’t exactly the best cricketing nation in the world).

England enters a new phase of Test cricket

You’ve read all the articles Paul so hopefully you’ll have seen my changing emotions through the test match (from the highs of that reasonable innings from England on day 1 to the lows of the wonderful innings from New Zealand on days 3 and 4 and the English collapse on days 4 and 5).

Of course, let’s not take anything from that fantastic all-round performance from the Black Caps but there is no question in the fact that England could have drawn the match (theoretically at least). Yet again, it seems as if nobody can bat in a way that is required in test cricket. Pope’s shot was definitely an unnecessary one to play.

Agreed on your point about Root. In another comment, I suggested Stokes as captain but Broad would also be a good captain. Root’s batting might improve with a bit of pressure lifted off him if he relinquishes the captaincy but it didn’t really help Cook’s batting near the end of his career after he stopped being captain. If Root’s batting improves then there will be less pressure on the middle order as it has seemed to be down to them to get the score as high as possible when that should be the job of the opening batsmen. Burns and Sibley, I think, are a great opening pair and shouldn’t be changed for the next test. They were caught out by Santner’s excellent spell, after all.

One thing’s for certain, things need to drastically improve in the Hamilton test match.

New Zealand smash England by an innings

Yeah but it still doesn’t bode well for South Africa 😔

New Zealand smash England by an innings

Look, he was trying – it was obvious that he was trying – but I think tiredness took over as well as the annoyance of bowling all these overs and not getting any wickets. Archer is not supposed to be used as a main bowler, as I have said in the report, and his bowling will not get any better if he is continued to be misused. England’s bowling is stuffed…

‘They can’t bat, they can’t bowl, they can’t field’

New Zealand smash England by an innings

It’s just a continuation of his poor Ashes form, DTM. Nothing will be done as of yet because Root came out at the end of the match and said that there was no need to panic!

The current VC is Ben Stokes – I think he’s quite good in a leadership role but it’s whether he wants a full-on leadership role as captain. I would say James Anderson but he’s getting to the end of the career so might not be a good move so I’d say Stokesy would be a good captain. We’ll have to see how it goes – England return to WTC action on Boxing Day with the first test against South Africa.

To be honest, with you, DTM, after rambling on for this long, I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen and what England are going to do – they’ve just had some personnel changes and to be fair, they had a good first two days of the test. If they can keep up the performance seen in those two days for five days then the problem should start to be fixed.

NZ should (and I say should) give Australia a run for their money. We’ll have to see how Smith does in Adelaide because he was the lowest-scorer in Brisbane! 😂

New Zealand smash England by an innings

Can’t really comment too much on that Jeff, sorry, but I do know that the field was set for a wicket off Santner and there nearly were a few but the batsmen just managed to find a gap in the field (this was the morning session before it all hit the fan).

New Zealand smash England by an innings

I knew it was coming – once an England innings goes down the drain, it usually continues going down the drain as quickly as possible. I was surprised that Buttler had his brain fade though – that was the image of England’s inadequate batting.

New Zealand smash England by an innings

I was too dungerBob. I think it’s a happy surprise and a lesson to be learnt really that I didn’t forsee NZ getting over 600, especially from 4-150 odd. I would’ve preferred Santner for MoM personally as he did create the batting collapse on day 4 and got that fantastic catch to get Pope out on day 5, plus the century and all its sixes!

New Zealand smash England by an innings

January – Australia v Sri Lanka

The blind leading the blind: Australian cricket follows Rugby Australia into oblivion

Great article Joe – sport has an amazing ability to unify people in some of the darkest times and bring light and hope to a nation when it has gone through so much.

Personally, I use it as a stress buster, not as serious a stress as that experienced by you or anybody who has been impacted by the bushfires, but it definitely lightens up my mood even if it’s just for a few hours but it is those few hours that calm me down and make me think of something else. I didn’t have the best of weeks last week but watching the Brazilian Grand Prix with my dad last Sunday, cheering on Max Verstappen, both nearly screaming with joy at Pierre Gasly as he beat Lewis Hamilton at the finish line and just enjoying a brilliant race really made the end of the week the best part of that week.

Bushfires remind us of sport's great paradox

More T20 games this season because of the lead-up to next year’s T20 World Cup so that’s why there haven’t been any one-dayers before the tests.

The blind leading the blind: Australian cricket follows Rugby Australia into oblivion

There’s currently a lovely test match going on at the Bay Oval in Mount Manganui, the first test match to ever be held there and the atmosphere is brilliant. You don’t need to put every match in the big stadiums – it can sometimes grow the game even more when you take it to the smaller, regional venues. Taunton had a boost from hosting a few World Cup matches.

The blind leading the blind: Australian cricket follows Rugby Australia into oblivion

I mean, come on, as 17 and 18-year-olds, my mates and I still know how to turn on the TV and watch something – we don’t stream as much live sport as you might think we do! Traditional TV is the way to go with live sport most times – bigger screen, for starters!

The blind leading the blind: Australian cricket follows Rugby Australia into oblivion

And I have to bring in England here because you have way more FTA cricket than we do here so you cannot say that young people can’t be inspired. The FTA games you list amount to hundreds of hours of live cricket that everyone can watch – and both World Cup formats, the pinnacle of the sport you could say, are on FTA. Over in England, nothing, nada, ziltch.

The current FTA deal provides something for everybody because you have to remember that in this day and age, not everybody wants to watch the same thing. So provide a 24/7 cricket channel for the hardcore fans and put the most popular matches on FTA – and you would definitely have to include tests in this, I mean the Boxing Day Test surely has to be one of the highlights of the Christmas period! And with BBL, you can watch 12 hours of cricket on Boxing Day without leaving the sofa and without paying Foxtel a penny! What is not to like? There is nothing wrong, I can tell you that…

The blind leading the blind: Australian cricket follows Rugby Australia into oblivion