“For the first time, we have been allowed to wear those little ear pieces in the dressing room to hear the television commentary,” says Finn. “Before that they were banned. The TV would always have to be on mute. It is important that, when you are out there playing, you are a team. But it’s also hugely important to let the people in: the fans, the media, and give us an insight.”
But can England maintain this new attitude in the Ashes under Alastair Cook given that he was not part of the one-day revival after being dropped from the squad for the World Cup? “He is a different sort of leader to Eoin (Morgan) with the one-day team but that is necessary in Test cricket. I don’t think Cookie gets as much credit as he should for his captaincy. He is a very good leader, a lot shrewder than people think.”
And Finn points out that Cook will have two cricketers who have lit up the summer.
“Joe Root has been a revelation. I remember, on his first tour to India in 2012, I was bowling in the nets and I thought, ‘this guy is going to be bloody good’. The way he left the ball, the way he watched the ball was something I hadn’t seen in a young guy. He can grind out innings in a Test match, he can up the tempo, he can play funky shots. He is a real situation player. It’s scary to think how good he can be if he keeps learning at the rate he’s been.
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The one Blatter legacy that will live on
Inside World Football
It is interesting that, despite all that has been written about FIFA, one issue has not been much discussed. This is how will politicians treat any future FIFA that emerges from its bribery crisis? We know how western politicians now regard FIFA. They have nothing but contempt. David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has made this abundantly clear in the House of Commons.
Hugh Robertson, who was sports minister when England made its disastrous bid for the 2018 World Cup, told me: “We should not host the World Cup, or any FIFA tournament, until such time as the organisation is successfully reformed.” It should be emphasised that this seems largely a northern European and American political view. Vladimir Putin, for instance, has suggested that the ongoing investigation is all an American plot and his views are echoed by politicians in the non-western world, particularly the Sepp Blatter strongholds of Asia and Africa.
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