Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Selectors lose the test series!

And there it is: a series loss at home- first since WI in 92-93, the first series loss at home ever to SA.

I post this before the result, but with Australia's ineffective bowling, capitulation at the batting crease and overall lesser performance, it is easy (and obvious) to make this call.

Why have we fell so hard? Well, surely the attitude that we are so the number one side in the world has grown stale; we kept saying it, and believing it so much so, that we didn't bother dealing with aspects that were going to disprove it.

First and foremost, dead-wood! It has been interesting to read forums and postings on other sites about M.Hayden. Obviously many people think it was time for him to go after Perth (many before that too!) but so many idiots -and that is the best i can call them- have said that he deserves to stay til whenever or whatever date due to his past record- absolute BULLSHIT! Only a complete halfwit thinks that you can play on indefinitely or until some arbitrary day because X-amount of months ago you did something good! As a representative of OUR country you MUST be at the top of your game...PERIOD! Sure there must be some allowance for concentration lapses, minor form slumps and bad decisions but until CA implement something- be it a 3 strikes you're out, mutual agreement between player and CA on a minimum performance level or who knows whatever, something has to be done. I can't help but think that the absolute bleeding hearts that have called for Hayden to stay on will be the first to bitch about Australia losing the series- LOSERS!
Of note was that the TV commentators said that part of the reason that Hayden has been kept on is that his fielding (at 1st slip) has been good enough according to Hilditch... what the hell is that got to do with being an opener

Then there is Hussey; it is blatantly clear he is completely out of form, so why has HE been kept too?
Same goes for Lee, and given he is carrying an injured foot, now is the time to give him time off. There must be a similar consideration with Symonds, although with Watsons back buggered again who looks likely?

And now for Ponting: it is fantastic that he has found some form with the bat at the G, 200 is a fine aggregate; it is just a pity he has no real attacking nous when it comes to setting fields. Graeme Smith has scored freely with beautiful late cuts all series... no time more easily than on the final day. Why hasn't Ponting tried something new, different, novel and placed a helmeted player more forward than 2nd slip or backwards of silly mid off? ANYTHING! And what about moving the slips forward to eliminate the many nicks not carrying through.
I have no problem keeping Ponting as a number 3 batsman- who in the world would drop such a run maker after a 101 and 99? But his tactical deficiencies have been shown up AGAIN!

Now with a dead rubber imminent for the SCG, will the team of Hilditch, Hughes and crew be ruthless and get some experience under the belts of the younger players? Those players that were always on the fringe during the past glory days must be kicking themselves, as must those that are blitzing in Sheffield Shield- i.e Klinger, Hilf etc!
If they don't, then they (the selectors) must wear the shame of this defeat, and for the further imminent defeats in SA and England... may god have mercy on their souls!

stoph verismo

Monday, 29 December 2008

Austalian XI 3rd Test...

With the 2nd test heading for a draw (I'll have $100 on it) I thought it might be interesting to get the creative juices flowing in picking a team for the New Years test, also if we can gather all of said creative juices I will mail them to the Selectors who seem to be lacking them.

1. Katich
2. C Rogers (Already nearly 700 runs this season @ 82.62 as an opener)
3. Ponting
4. Hussey
5. Clarke
6. Haddin
7. Watson (Currently the unluckiest player in the country and Symonds should be flogged for the way he got out in the 1st innings).
8. Johnson
9. Siddle
10. Krejza (Have to go with an attacking bowler in Steak and Kidney)
11. D. Nannes (Diggler is a gun, leading the sheild bowling with 28 wickets @ 19)

12. Hilfenhaus (Had a great last up match which makes his seasons stats look better than they really are but deserves his spot)

Have fun,

Sunday, 28 December 2008


In my media release for downthewicket at the Boxing Day test i mentioned how one of the things i was most enthusiastic about now with the blog and going to the game was gauging first-hand peoples thoughts about issues within the Australian side and the match.

It took very little effort to extract conversation about three main topics:

Firstly- and unsurprisingly- Matt Hayden. Only one person i spoke to (out of dozens!) thought Hayden should now retain his place. The general consensus was that he is obviously finished if he can't "knock himself into form" on the G.
A few people said that they would change that opinion if he got over 50 in the second knock (admitting it would have to be the start of a form turn-around with no early failures!), and still more added a ton would see Hayden safe for a while longer in their eyes. Going out for 8 caught -no questions asked- attempting a loose drive just so wasn't the best career choice Matt!

Next port of call M.Hussey. The Mr Consistent of the last few years is truly showing consistency now with ANOTHER (!) duck. Most people just scratched their heads (or shook them) when he went out so indecisively. How do you drop someone with a 60 average? How do you keep them in the side when they are playing so poorly? Who'd want to be a selector? Me! Isn't that what downthewicket is also about?

And thirdly D.Steyn. Early on we (other patrons i spoke with- all Aussies admittedly) all thought "I don't see what the fuss is about!"
Well an innings card of 5/87 off 29 o, 6 m has -for now- answered that. He looked like he was engaged in his task without acting like a hot-headed fire-brand.

Worthy of mention too is the concern held for Brett Lee's ability to break through at the moment.
This topic was harder to gauge due to support of Lee clearly well divided. Some spoke of never being fans; others were and thought he should retain his place for the season regardless of wickets taken given he still bowls good containing spells; and others said they like him, but he needs to get his life/head and bowling sorted out from the sidelines for a while.
Results: inconclusive!

My overall findings for the day: People that love their cricket think about it analytically and logically. There is little "following with my heart... not my head", and the general attitude is one of concern with being informed before shooting the mouth off. Unless you are writing a cricket blog!

stoph verismo

Saturday, 27 December 2008

People, Police, Ponting

Much can be said about the play on the day; I want to make a few other observations and comments.
Firstly, while there have been many comments about the size of of the crowd made in the media, to me it was irrelevant, as those there were in fine voice and the atmosphere was terrific.
And even though it was warm, there didn't appear to be to be too many trouble makers although police reports are that there were 109 evictions and 14 arrests- it didn't feel like the yobbos had taken over.

Whilst on the subject of the police, I'd like to congratulate the Victoria Police for the wonderfully approachable and friendly demeanour of the officers i encountered. They showed a very fair and even-handed approach to a few "issues" i witnessed.
To the two officers i spoke to outside the Richmond social club room entrance, thanks again for the conversation and down to earth way they dealt with our group... it was greatly appreciated and we had fantastic day; i hope the two of you did also.

More to come as the test goes on!
ps. Congrats Ricky Ponting for a fine knock.

stoph verismo

Down the wicket on the way to the cricket: boxing day 08

Thursday, 25 December 2008





I wish there were more people clicking on here to feel my excitement about boxing day, not through lack of trying on my behalf!
I have written in sooooo many other blogs, forums and press releases to try and drum up more interest in the angle we have taken here... but alas, to little avail.
On this, the lead up to MY favourite day of the year, can i just say thank you to you that have become involved in this blog. I value EVERY contribution- i hope that is evident by the fact i try and respond to every point made in your postings- that you all have made here, i hope you had a safe and bla bla pagen/christian/whatever/family day today... i did! But t kids made that happen, not me!

To Gab and Ponsford, thanks for your friends-ship and support as i got this under way, Ponsford, a special thanks for contributing your own postings (that is by way of an invite to the rest of you if you are keen to write a piece- try my contacts for details and i'll hook you in- i openly encourage other opinion).

Leftriteout, you are so broughtritein as far as i'm concerned; as a croweater you are amazingly able to produce thoughtful and factual contributions to the forum that despite your anti-Vic slant (I know that deep down in your grotty little heart-of-hearts you know S.K.Warne should of had a LONG career as Aus cap), are valuable, welcomed and enjoyed!i hope we can continue to stimulate you and elicit the same quality responses as you have so far produced.

NL, it is so good to have you on board. You have already contributed heaps and shown a real incite and thoughtfulness towards what we are trying to achieve from this. Thanks so much for straight-away adding really thought-out posts that truly add value to the discussion and exhibit a deep understanding for this game that I think is the greatest.

So now for the business: Boxing Day test.

Well the big issue that is now no longer an issue is the weather: it is going to be perrrrfect!
so that now the uncontrollable is settled, the side:

I claimed (and support) that the inclusion of Hauritz in the NZ 2nd test was an act against further development. while i enjoyed Hauritz performance and believe he bowled well enough, it still went against my "blood the youth" policy. the fact he has been held in contention for this test is astounding!i don't dislike the bloke, but...
every man and his dog in the know has said it is a waste of a player running with a tweaker! as I'm sure you know, those every man etc are the curator, and everyone that has watched a Vic game this year!

And according to my info at this time of night Siddle is still in! What do you have to do to get dropped!

As i've said, if Hayden doesn't...
Hussey better....

Ponting, don't get me started! Captain like you are making the plays, not reacting to the lack of performance from your bowlers! And get some runs before i start a petition!

stoph verismo

downthewicket will have some low rez shots of the day... for you Luke and Gab (ya soft co...)

iI we lose this test, there are some favourite moustaches at CA i want to lay a fist into.
top blokes maybe, but as selectors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Hilditch handball!

Firstly I'd like to start with an apology to our readers for not posting in a few days; given how entertaining the 1st test against South Africa was- with quality cricket and few controversies- it is no wonder i was AWOL! Secondly, congratulations to South Africa for a wonderful win of an intriguing test.

With the NZ minnow bashing series well and truly a thing of the past- and the opportunity to try out new player and combinations at this time also lost- Australia have to deal with their imminent dethroning from the coveted top-side position. More importantly, Ricky Ponting and the chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch are scrambling for a bowling combination that can bowl out a quality batting line up twice in a test.

Now two summers after their retirement, it has become boring that the media add to this problem with the repetition of remarks about Australia missing the legendary Warne/McGrath combination. These comments are self evident and do nothing to address the fact we have not really had a policy of re-building -as is stated time and again- but as I've said in previous posts, it has purely been a program of filling in the gaps and hoping that players not performing will lift.

Obviously it is impractical and ridiculous to just scrap the current line up and replace the entire team with new players; a core of performing experienced players is needed to carry on the traditions and pass on their experience to the new players. With that said, it doesn't take an expert to see who needs to have their position assessed. So who do i think is secure? Simon Katich is clearly solid as an opener. Brad Haddin has answered my concerns about settling into the side. Mitch Johnson is having a blinder of a year. Surely Andrew Symonds has answered his critics. Michael Clarke has performed well and is showing good leadership on the field and with his media statements. That's it... I'm finished!

I'm the first to admit that R.Ponting, M.Hussey, M.Hayden and B.Lee are champion players that have served their country well... but they also must be answerable when their form is off.
Firstly, why do we have an attitude now that once a player becomes test captain, they have that position until they retire? While it would be a massive concession to make, why can't Ponting step down (or be nudged!) from the stresses of captaincy for a test or two to concentrate on his batting? For the first few years of Pontings leadership he bucked a trend for batting captains to have their average suffer. But now with good knocks the exception not the norm i think he needs to step back and correct his form problems; Clarke is more than capable of holding the reins.

Lee is obviously in a slump; even though he bowled a great spell late on day 4 against SA. He needs a spell for the Blues to correct a few things like his front foot/run-up.
Huss is a bit of a mystery. He looks "heavy" at the crease and appears to be lacking his amazing shot selection and confidence. Haddos, for all of his wonderful service to the team is now past his used by date, and while luck goes against you when you are down, it is time -unfortunately- to go even though he won't be going out on top.

Who then is accountable for these problems? Typically Hilditch has claimed the onus is on the senior players to lift their game and has held them culpable for the SA loss. This is clearly dodging his own responsibility as a selector. Is it too much work for the selectors to actually select players? When players aren't performing, the selectors must take the time to personally warn the player and ensure that failure to achieve will result in new players filling their position!

For so many years now we have had MANY very talented cricketers unable to get into the national side due to every position well and truly secured by a top play... why aren't they getting their turns now? M.Klinger has over 900 runs for the season... and it isn't even the new year yet!

The announcement that B.Hilfenhaus is likely to get a cap for the Boxing Day test is a welcome change of selector form; but i can't help think that CA are scrambling to save the series instead of securing the future.

stoph verismo

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Who's day was it?

It's a funny game cricket.
At 3/15 who would have thunk the aussies would have finished the day at 9/341?
If you were told before the start of play that that would be the score would you have been satisfied that that was a good score?
Is it a good score anyway?
Always hard to tell after a team has batted on a first day pitch (was it a first day pitch....or a third?? maybe the title of another post...)
Ntini bowled exceptionally well, this guy has been around so long it is hard to believe he is only 31! He bowled in perfect areas never distracted or affected by the state of play...he had a job and stuck to it, for mine the player of the day.
Steyn bowled quick, but what does 5 or 6 k's quicker than everyone else mean on a pitch like this? The Aussies have yet to experience him at his best and they wont at the WACA.
Hayden got out to a ball that I would have left (that says alot) Ponting got a peach but he did go a bit hard at it, same with Hussey. Symonds played as he does and didn't show enough respect to the ball that got him. and Clarke had a brain fade...
After so many failures the Aussies have managed to make nearly 350 in a day. Good cricket by anyones standards, but the proof will be in the pudding that can only be tasted once the South Africans have batted once.
To be continued.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

It's elementary dear Watson

How many chances does Andrew Symonds get, or warrant?
After not setting the world on fire playing for Queensland he was brought straight back into the bosom of the 1st 11. The reason given? He was in good form last time he played for Australia...
Never mind that he was averaging in the mid teens with the bat and had only taken 1 wicket in several games.
His batting in the 2 tests against New Zulland were no improvement, neither was his bowling.
Bottom line: He took a couple of nice catches, thats about it.

What was Watson doing during this time?
Other than gnashing his teeth and trying to grow dredlocks?
Most recently he was quietly taking 7/69 against a South Australian side including Younis Khan, (match figures 8/120) and scoring 81 in the 2nd innings.
Nuff said.

It may seem that I am "Symonds bashing" again but I do love to see him play... and reckon that he is one of the top 2 or 3 all-rounders in the world when he is in top form.
Rather, if anything, I am "CA bashing" why?
The Australian side would be a better, more polished, in form, resourceful side with Shane Watson as the All Rounder.


Sunday, 14 December 2008

Pay to Stay and Play

More money for Australian contracted players; plus less commitments. Is the national side getting a bit full of themselves, or are they worth it? What do you think?
Let's look at the pros and cons:

1) The 11 players on the field represent our entire country; so therefore they are our elite. This should entitle them to remuneration that acknowledges them as such.
1a) Many players that pursue cricket show enough talent in other sports to put them in a position of having to choose ultimately which sport will serve them best, (or which one they have the most skill at).

2) Money is now flooding into the game via India, if CA are not prepared to ensure a player can effectively secure his financial future, why wouldn't players choose a career playing hit and giggle for the duration of their playing career?

3) With tour and sponsorship commitments (22 appearances a year- no more than 4 in any given month) on top of away time -up to 10 months a year, players need to capitalise on their money earning years to partially negate the lost time with families.

4) Players already earn incredible sums of money, (M.Clarke was 7 figures last year!). If you are in the national side, and are getting $5100-$12750 (plus OS loadings) in match fees, or nearly $700 a run, be grateful you represent your country and are raking it in... other representative sports-people pay their own way!

5) Cricketers are housed, fed, transported and catered for medically as soon as they are in the national side... no additional expenses.

6) On top of their CA money, cricketers receive huge amounts from sponsorships and endorsements- how dare they request less time doing such work.

I for one think that if they can get more from CA, why not! For top ranked players the draw of a few seasons of T20 in India must always be in the back of their minds; if you could earn a yearly income with only three months away, why wouldn't you? The privaledge of having played for your country won't pay the bills when you are too old to earn money from cricket!

stoph verismo

Thursday, 11 December 2008

two sides please

ok blokes, do your homework.
we've got a few day until the next test; given our respective ages i'd like an 1978-2008 world side, and because Ponsford is a big sook, an all time greatest world side to keep us going until Perth.

stoph verismo

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

"are you being sarcastic?"

What is sledging and what is verbal abuse?

There is no doubt that you can sledge someone without abusing them, but isn't just out and out verbal abuse just abuse: and should be dealt with under that title.

The ICC is on a mission to get sledging out of the game once and for all it seems: this is going to open a whole can of worms to be sure when semantics come into play. It will make the sub-continentals happy though, as it is mainly their disdain for the practice (honourable, as long as they live up to it) that has brought it to a head with the ICC- which of course crumbles quicker than an Indian dust-bowl pitch! This is all a bit hypocritical when India threatened to take their bats and balls home in the 07-08 tour of Australia when Harby got pinged for sledging.

How are the ICC going to govern such an undertaking?
There are already regulations regarding racial vilification- (page 217 of the ICC Playing handbook)

3.3 Using language or gestures that offends,insults,humiliates,intimidates,
threatens,disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person’s
race,religion,gender,colour,descent or national or ethnic origin

So what exactly are the ICC going after? To me, the above extract reads like it would cover any of the complaints i've heard/read from players that have genuine grounds to take issue over what has been said to them out in the middle.

If the ICC are out to remove every type of on field talk- short of, "Good shot, old chap!" (could that be said sarcastically and not be sledging?) they are removing an important element of sport- GAMESMANSHIP.
Graeme Thorpe recently stated, 'In my third Test match, we were eight down. I'm on 60 not out, batting with the tail. Ian Healy says, "Boys, watch this guy play to get a not out." The pride inside me said, "Stuff this, I'll show you." I charged out to smack [Shane] Warne for a six and got stumped. That was gamesmanship.'

While abusive sledging can be outright vile stuff, another definition of sledging is "verbally distracting to break a players concentration" , and in my opinion this is done best with humour.

Are the ICC out to take away all non play related conversation between sides? Or are they going to expand the rule book to define EXACTLY what players can get away with?
I can see long nights in mediation or tribunal for mere utterances... ridiculous!

stoph verismo
so, fron the 4 of us on mutual consent we have:

warne- who'd have thunk that- 2 say captain!

McGrath- Line and length pay off!
Lillee- probably the reason why blokes our age love cricket!

gee, it's looking a bit heavy on the bowlers- or awesome!

Ponsford, could you do an updated squad to fit the general consensus- players within our (your) memory, please?

stoph verismo

S.I.P cont

Self Indulgent Piffle

Well, on the first morning of the second test I thought it would be the perfect time to not talk about it (This is going to be a bigger defeat for the Kiwis than Brissie, I reckon), yawn, bring on the Saffers!
So Instead I am going to name my best Aussie team of all time, lets get stuck in.
1. B. Ponsford: He picks himself really, Bill O'Rielly reckoned he had more chance of getting Bradman out than him. He once had four consecutive scores of 437, 202, 38 and 336.
2. D. Boon: Tough, Stoic, Tasmanian with an ability to down drinks on planes that is unsurpassed.
3. Neil Harvey: Averaged just under 50 during 80 tests (ave:83 against South Africa).
4. D. Jones: Mercurial, magical batsman cut down by the stiffs in the ACB for having a personality, would have attained Demi-God status had he been allowed to play his whole career.
5. Doug Walters: The Quintessential Aussie cricketer, ocker, cheeky, loved a drink and a smoke, could bat a bit too (ave 48).
6. Keith Miller: The best all rounder Australia has produced, averaged 36 with the bat and 22 with the ball. Was a pilot with the RAAF during ww2.
7. Ian Healy: With a batting line up like the one above you don't need a batting keeper, just the best keeper. Having said that he scored 4 test centuries and 22 50's.
8. S.K.Warne (Capt.): Enough has been said about his bowling. He should have captained his country but wasn't from NSW.
9. G.McGrath: Picks himself in any team, there has never been a better Line & Length bowler in history in my opinion.
10. D.K : Didn't even need to add his surname, that's why he is in the side.
11. Thommo: Fastest bowler ever. Once stated on live TV before a test against old Blighty: "I enjoy hitting a batsman more than getting him out. I like to see blood on the pitch".
12. D.Bradman: As a teetotaller would be in no danger of drinking the refreshments of his team mates.

Well I have shown you mine how about you show me yours?


Saturday, 6 December 2008

Pontings points perspective

What an interesting perspective Ricky Ponting has on world test rankings.

He believes,

"It has taken us a long time and a lot of great wins in different conditions around the world to get us to that No. 1 spot," Ponting told AAP. "If South Africa beat us 3-0 I don't know if that gives them enough points to get over us.

"But if they won the series 1-0 or 2-1, I don't think that would mean that they deserve to take over that mantle. It's a bit the same with India last series. Just because they beat us, the No. 1 team, doesn't necessarily mean they go from the No. 4 or No. 5 in the world to No. 1 in the world, because it's something that's accrued over a long period of time."

If Australia lose 3-0 to South Africa, and given we have recently lost to India 2-0, how can the standings not be affected given these are the two teams below us on the rankings? I appreciate that it is based on a points/rating system, but it is hard to imagine that if Australia get seriously rolled we won't slip a place.

What bugs me about Pontings statement, is that he says that because the lead was created over time, he can't see a team getting enough points to get over Australia from 4th or 5th position. Well Ricky, you might want to check your facts before making such announcements; Sth Africa are 2nd on the ICC rankings! http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/rankings/content/current/page/211271.html

Australia 34 4409 130
South Africa 37 4331 117
India 40 4659 116

Of course all of this could be mind games from Punter, which is good and well apart from getting the facts wrong; but does he think that Sth Africa are playing with the sole intention of ICC rankings, or just to finally beat Australia in a series since returning to world cricket? The tours here in the past have been pretty hard affairs for the Proteas, with Smith, Ntini and Steyn in the top ten of the rankings tables, they must be rating their chances!

stoph verismo

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Does the ICC like Bangas (or mash)

"How do you solve a problem like Bangladesh?"
sung to the tune of "How do you solve a problem like Maria" from The sound of music.

What can the ICC do to get some genuine competition from Bangladesh. A test nation since 2000, the scorecard for this country of over 150 million people is rather bleak!

It is rather easy for people to cry out and say that Bangladesh should have their test status denied through lack of results- probably many were the same that said Sri Lanka shouldn't have got their status in 1981... look how competitive they have become! So with that thought in mind, why are people so quick to right off a Bangladeshi test side becoming successful?

Given the desperately impoverished state of the majority of the population, surly the onus for serious cricket development goes back to the ICC? The Global Cricket Academy is a good start as long as it offers world class training without world class costs incurred to people attending.

Then there is the ICC development plan and High Performance Program ( http://icc-cricket.yahoo.com/development/development.html ) both honourable objectives with long term outcomes. But the problem for Bangladesh is the lack of results NOW!
In the tradition of Sri Lanka, they have got an ex-first class cricketer from Australia as coach [Jamie Siddons] but for a team with only one win in forty seven tests, something more needs to be done.

It is great that the ICC has a swag of countries interested in more serious membership (104 Member countries including 10 Full, 34 Associate and 60 Affiliate Members), but let's not forget those that are holding up the bottom end of the test ladder, instead of just mashing more sides into the fray. If real dedication to advancement was applied by the ICC for Bangladesh, 150 million people would serve as a bloody deep pool of player talent!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

as per... day one, NZ

i won't lie to you... i loved the rapid fire nature of the GABBA test. until day 3 there were heaps of wickets and no way of really predicting the result.
But to be fair, i love the grind of an Adelaide test more- especially since the wonderful win in the 05/06 Ashes-(thanks again Shane for being the greatest cricketer of the modern age).

With the most batsman friendly pitch in the land- but not 'over-cooked' like many a foreign pitch- Adelaide offers the chance at real cricket competition, and more importantly- a result!
And so, once again, captain 'snake-eyes' has lost the toss- 5 in a row- and watched the opposition have the first go at an absolute belter. But that's ok.. as a steady head for the environment has prevailed- without spoiling the enjoyment with a guaranteed result. Getting off to a fine start, NZ had given away their lot straight after lunch until steadying for a slow, yet respectable
6/262... slow, but that is ok at Adelaide.. when we all want to see a test match.

A few good innings: Redman: 83 of 125 s/r 66.4
Taylor 44 of 88 s/r 50

but on a wicket for batting, a good spread across the bowling styles of :
Lee, Clarke and of course, the wonder kind/newby, M.Johnson, N.Hauritz has given away how wickets will fall: a bowler just needs confidence, and support, when being belted around

stoph verismo

Friday, 28 November 2008

CA, tell 'em they're dreaming

"His form so far this season, even if his first-class stats don't look that flash, his actual form and the way he has been bowling has impressed our selectors who have been to see him," Ponting said of Hauritz.

What on earth does that mean?

Does that mean he is landing them on the spot, turning the ball etc?

It would also imply that he is not deceiving the batsmen, who are still scoring runs from a bowler that would have been lucky to play as 12th man for NSW in their upcoming match.

I'll reiterate my previous statement: Given we are one match up in this "series" with New Zealand, why haven't CA given an un-capped rookie (even if we have to delve down into grade cricket) a chance at some international experience.

I hope Hauritz does have a great game, getting a bag of wickets and just maybe putting himself into contention for a regular spot within the side for the rest of his playing career... but it is unlikely given his form.

When is CA really going to start a proper rebuild of the side from the ground up?

If you too think CA need to re-evaluate their selection process- here is their contact link.


stoph verismo

Self Indulgent Piffle

Well, on the first morning of the second test I thought it would be the perfect time to not talk about it (This is going to be a bigger defeat for the Kiwis than Brissie, I reckon), yawn, bring on the Saffers!
So Instead I am going to name my best Aussie team of all time, lets get stuck in.
1. B. Ponsford: He picks himself really, Bill O'Rielly reckoned he had more chance of getting Bradman out than him. He once had four consecutive scores of 437, 202, 38 and 336.
2. D. Boon: Tough, Stoic, Tasmanian with an ability to down drinks on planes that is unsurpassed.
3. Neil Harvey: Averaged just under 50 during 80 tests (ave:83 against South Africa).
4. D. Jones: Mercurial, magical batsman cut down by the stiffs in the ACB for having a personality, would have attained Demi-God status had he been allowed to play his whole career.
5. Doug Walters: The Quintessential Aussie cricketer, ocker, cheeky, loved a drink and a smoke, could bat a bit too (ave 48).
6. Keith Miller: The best all rounder Australia has produced, averaged 36 with the bat and 22 with the ball. Was a pilot with the RAAF during ww2.
7. Ian Healy: With a batting line up like the one above you don't need a batting keeper, just the best keeper. Having said that he scored 4 test centuries and 22 50's.
8. S.K.Warne (Capt.): Enough has been said about his bowling. He should have captained his country but wasn't from NSW.
9. G.McGrath: Picks himself in any team, there has never been a better Line & Length bowler in history in my opinion.
10. D.K : Didn't even need to add his surname, that's why he is in the side.
11. Thommo: Fastest bowler ever. Once stated on live TV before a test against old Blighty: "I enjoy hitting a batsman more than getting him out. I like to see blood on the pitch".
12. D.Bradman: As a teetotaller would be in no danger of drinking the refreshments of his team mates.

Well I have shown you mine how about you show me yours?


Thursday, 27 November 2008

Hauricane pick a fizzer


Cricket Australia have feet flailing... in every direction!

Jason Krejza's injury has caused a typical CA knee jerk reaction with the call up of Nathan Hauritz.

What? You say. Hauritz! Didn't he get a run a few years ago in Mumbai on a turning pitch and get out bowled by part timer M.Clarke, you say?

Yep!, And at the moment he has 6 wickets for 40.67 in the Sheffield shield.
So why has he been called up? Only because he has International experience.

CA is clearly running with their stop-gap policy for fear of condemnation if an inexperienced player fails to perform- even though Hauritz must be considered inexperienced with only one test and eight ODI's. But Australia are playing New Zealand and are one test up, why not blood a new player?
If there isn't another spinner available in the First class competition, why not dig out a 19 year old from grade cricket? Give him a run. He may be carted (most likely in Adelaide), but he may step up and prove to be another champ that just needed the pressure put on to extract his best, what do we have to lose?

Instead, CA just fall back on someone that had a chance - sure Hauritz is on 27 and only got one go at test level, but where is the foresight in picking someone that now at best can only give seven or eight years service?

If we are are "rebuilding" our national side, why a retrograde call-up?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

CA believes what Symonds says

And there it is...Roy cleared! Who would have thought it?

Now that Symonds has been cleared by the CA investigation, he has all of two days to put this incident behind him and get his frame of mind right for the Adelaide test. Given that the publican was so prompt in coming to Symonds defence, why did it take CA this long to put the matter to rest?

It was a nice touch that Symonds apologised to his team mates for the distraction leading up to this test; I presume that the media and the public will now be clamouring to say sorry to the Australian number 6... NOT! I doubt that Roy's detractors will be slow to insist on his dropping from the side if he fails to perform up to their expectations; regardless of the fact he has been most distracted by all of this, through no fault of his own.

CA's James Sutherland had a great opportunity to (finally) show they were supporting Symonds in the announcement when he stated, "CA is totally satisfied that Andrew did not provoke that incident and when approached by the patron in question handled himself appropriately." and "his response when subsequently provoked, was restrained and mature." But Sutherland couldn't resist turning to a more patronising tone by adding that he was disappointed that Symonds put himself in a compromising position... sorry Dad!

And then, "Whilst it's clear that no harm has been done on this occasion, I thought it important to talk to Andrew and take advice from his professional counsellors, to understand why he could be quite open about having a problem with alcohol and then find himself in the spotlight by visiting a pub literally a few days later," added Sutherland condescendingly.

After the lack of support from CA towards Symonds last summer, the jury is out on whether they truly value this world class cricketer.

stoph verismo

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Prisoner of his profile?

There is no doubt professional sports people have a social responsibility, but should they be prisoners of their profile?

Given the bad press Andrew Symonds has received in the past regarding alcohol, it is probably not the smartest move to go out so soon after getting back in the Australian side. But whether it is smart or not, he is entitled to go out and should be able to do so like anyone else.

Of course with a public profile comes extra responsibilities, expectations and unfortunately chores. It would be nice to think that celebrities and sports stars could go out without having people constantly approaching them for acknowledgement or photos and autographs, but the reality is many people are over-awed in their presence and forget that the person they are admiring sometimes just wants a meal or a drink with their own friends, unmolested.
Many people are grateful for a quick photo or autograph, and promptly leave the "star" alone straight after.

From the various accounts of the night in question, it seems Roy was hassled by one patron- easy to imagine what a pest a half cut big mouth he may have been- that was asked to leave, and that Roy was composed and left early with nothing to answer to.
If this is true, what does it mean? Clearly this is a BIG MEDIA BEAT UP! With headline like, "Symonds under investigation", "Symonds in pub altercation" "Troubled all-rounder..." it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to see the media thought they could nail him up.
Now with the publican publicly stating that Symonds was provoked and had dealt with the situation admirably, the heat is off Roy.

Except for one big thing; how has this affected his head space and preparation? The media were so quick to attack and judge him it is plain to see they gave no thought to Symonds primary task... playing cricket! If he fails to perform at Adelaide there will be calls to cut him, even though his scorecard at the GABBA was good enough compared to other batsmen. If he does score, will all be forgiven? If he can lift, for mine it shows the mental fortitude Roy possesses and proves he can cop more than most off (and on) the field and still be a champ.

stoph verismo

Symonds' Says, but can't Do.

Dead Set, are you kidding?
Pretty much my response to what is happening in Andrew Symonds' brain at the moment, or not happening to be more precise.
Does this guy have any idea at all how lucky he is to be playing for his Country?
Does he have any inkling how lucky he was to be in the 11 for the last match (he certainly wasn't picked on form).
Does he know what "last chance" means?
Is he stupid? or just a Queenslander? Is there a difference? What's for breakfast?

Now don't get me wrong, I love a beer as much as the next bloke (more I thought) and I hate media beat-up's.
And while I don't think Roy should be a bradmanesque tee-totaller (it took an average of 99.9whatever to get the rest of the team to tolerate him) or wrap himself in cotton-wool, but he probably should have a good hard think about his situation, or if that is beyond him he could pay someone to do some thinking for him.

Just think to yourself Roy, before going out "is this a good idea? time? company? Could anything bad happen?"

Having a few beers to celebrate a test win, if only against the lamb lovers, is fine. Commiserating with mates who just dropped the world cup, if only playing Rugby League, is fine too.
But probably not in Public you fool.

When oh when are sportsmen going to realise that they don't have to have done anything wrong in particular? Just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It's pretty easy guys, but for the dimmer ones out there and oh Roy...I mean oh boy there are a few, here are some tips.
Don't do drugs.
Don't drink to excess.
Don't accept lifts home from bikies after leaving a strip club at 2am.
Don't take your mobile phone on tour in England.
Best not to squeeze that woman's breast.
If on one's last chance best not to be drinking in public less than a fortnight after telling people you are going to be a good boy from now on.

Maybe it IS too hard.
Just pay someone to think for you.

*New POLL Below.

Monday, 24 November 2008

a FINE performance

Another fine for Ricky Ponting, another problem with over rates.
"We tried really hard in this test..." boo hoo Punter, at least you had a win, that's fulfilling one of your obligations... another (yet to be fulfilled of late) is this over rates issue. It is an obligation because the spectators have paid their hard earned to see 90 overs, and that is what they deserve. "So what, it was only 3 overs" you say, deny people the last 3 minutes of a film and see how they react!

By and large, the ICC are a bunch of spineless twats that would find it hard to impress upon play- dough, let alone press an issue on field. So for once they got it right by riding Ponting hard on this.

It was obvious watching the first test that the Australians were trying to step things up a bit; shorter run ups, quicker turn arounds, cap shuttling, etc, which made the deficit much less than in previous tests, but clearly it was not enough.

Ponting now has the task of shaving more time off field placements and ensuring that batsmen aren't wasting time unduly.

Just maybe, a forceful, positive result in this 1st test might get everyone on their toes and running to position with a sense of purpose and save extra time.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

dipstick diversion or taken by the moment

What was Ricky Ponting on about in his ABC Grandstand interview after winning the first test?
For those that didn't hear it, when asked about the make-up of the team for the 2nd test in Adelaide, he (Ponting) said something like this (not verbatim) "...I'll have to get together with Hilditch [chairman of selectors] and see... we could do a few things, maybe look at the inclusion of Siddle as another quick." The Grandstand team were... miffed; for want of a better term.

The line of inquiry was more about how we get a spinner into the side, and at whose expense; the general attitude [of anyone in the cricketing world I'd imagine!] was, which of the all-rounders was going to be rested: Watson or Symonds? When pressed Ponting stated that he felt Roy was more of a number 6 batsman now than an all-rounder. whilst there are no rules about having an all-rounders, or if you do batting at number 6, surely if Symonds is at number 6 and he is called up to bowl either style, he is still an all-rounder.

Admittedly he didn't bowl much this test, he certainly wasn't belted about on a track that only the best spinners in the world get much from (see Vettori in the 2nd innings). It is hard to imagine that if Symonds stays in for Adelaide, he won't get more of the ball there.

So what is Ponting banging on about when talking about an extra quick? If it is a diversionary mind game thing it is just embarrassing, for him. It is one thing to say he wants an extra fast bowler, except he is asking for it one test late, [a bit like Krejza being picked 2 tests late!] it would have made sense to have Siddle play this first test at the Gabba, but at whose expense? Watsons batting was much the same as most of the team, rank; but he bowled well enough. Symonds didn't bowl much, but without him in the side we would have been short 46 runs, [the third highest aggregate in the team for the match], so he would feel a bit stiffed to be stood down for a spinner, let alone another quick.

It is plain to all [except maybe Punter!] that Krejza will be back for Adelaide, most likely at the expense of Watson. When Lee is clearly in the ascension with his confidence and technique improving, Johnson has over 40 (45, 2 behind Lee)wickets for the calender year, Clark's fitness is back and he continues to hit the spot for cheap wickets, it looks like this core of the Australian bowling side is sound... none of them will (should) go anywhere.

Watson has been dropped and the side is:
Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Clarke (vc), Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Jason Krejza, Brett Lee, Peter Siddle, Andrew Symonds.

So, if as Ponting has said, that Symonds is a number 6, it looks like Siddle will be 12th man.

stoph verismo downthewicket

adjudicators again control the end

Well done Simon Katich carrying your bat through; the first Aussie since M. Taylor 11 years ago.
it certainly looks like the lateral shuffle was the way to beat getting an outside or top edge in the GABBA conditions. While it has been a feature of his game for a while now, it shows what a little unorthodoxy can achieve. I can't help but think i was right that that would have had an effect on the negative bowling dealt up to the Australians in India. On another note, congratulations to Brett Lee on becoming the 4th Aussie to reach 300 wickets; a fine performance by a bloke that many had written off a few years ago as an uncontrollable tear-away with little future as his pace wound down.

In another "I told you so", it looks like my prediction of a result within 3 to 3 1/2 days will be right; and while it short changes the ticket box, the supporters that attended the first 3 days have got plenty of value for money with the uncertainty of a who might win right up to the last session on day 3... it now looks like a done deal but let's hope the NZ tail enders make something of it.

Once again, ordinary umpiring decisions have turned a potentially great battle into a desperate bid just to survive. Clearly the Kiwis can't bat out 2 days, but the loss of Ryder (NZ's next great hope) and McCullum to decisions that ones again fail to give the benefit of the doubt to the batsmen has put them in a position where they have to back themselves every shot to chase the improbable target. Umpires aren't perfect, granted, but I'm sick to death of them affecting the result!


Friday, 21 November 2008

Ball Bounces Back (or is it the Track?)

Who said test cricket was boring? With 16 wickets in a day the crowd at the GABBA certainly have got value for money. Except if they'd turned up to see some of the best batsmen in the world play their shots!

the normally uber cool Mike Hussey showed why umpires are rapidly making themselves redundant (and genuinely hated!). While I'm a dedicated traditionalist, it surely can't be long before the umpires become nothing more than message boys for directing the players in what has been deemed the correct decision by the 3rd umpire. To those that think this is not the way to go, and that decisions are "swings and round-abouts", whatever happened to the benefit of the doubt going with the batsman?

That being said, it is nice to see a match where the ball is dominating... or is it the pitch/conditions? with thunderstorms each night and sunny mornings, the groundskeepers have done a great job at providing entertaining conditions, even if it is over in 3 or 3 1/2 days with the loss of 40 wickets!

Anyway, enough of the platitudes, now for the axe!
with another failure, I'm sad to say that for mine Hayden is finished; if he isn't dropped, i hope he goes on to some really hefty knocks in Perth and Adelaide, but at his age, with this form, it is unfair to the young guns (Marsh, D. Hussey etc) waiting in the wings to hold onto him. He has been awesome, but if Australia is to seriously rebuild, it has to start at the top of the list.

And while we are at the top, when is Ponting going to lift?
123, 17, 5, 2, 87 ,24, 8, 4, 17, is not much of a scorecard for the season so far from such a prolific scorer. If he isn't to be dropped, then why not have a "rest" from the captaincy? Just to allow him time to think about his batting. Tony Jones from WWOS.com cricket seems to think it is only tall poppy syndrome... that must be a euphemism for unaccountability! Why should Ponting be untouchable when his decision making is... dubious at best. Jones also states that Allan Border's criticisms are unfair and that he should be more sympathetic as he was captain during another rebuilding phase. What rubbish! Australia aren't rebuilding, we are continuing on with this stupid "stop-gap" policy. That is, only blooding new players when we need to fill a position, not when players aren't fulfilling the duties of their position.

While having a go at WWOS.com, how is their heading "Black caps on top despite Katich...". No wonder no one put a name under that title, it is bordering on ridiculous! In such a low scoring match, how can the Kiwis be on top when they fell short by 58 runs in the first innings (their top scorer was still 18 runs less than the deficit -Taylor with 40). Even with Australia at 6 for 131 with the pitch getting better for batting, it is hard to see the Kiwis making the 189 they need now, let alone more than that.
It looks like Lee has found his rhythm, Johnson has continued his good form, and Watson and Clark are right in there too.

With zero hope of this being a 5 dayer, the best result would be to see Katich and Haddin put in a good knock, NZ to bat for the last session tomorrow with no wickets lost, and then a grinder on day 4... i hope!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

swingers are grinners

Why can't the Aussie bowlers get the same amount of swing- particularly reverse- as the teams we are playing?

The Cooley influence, it seems, has failed to get the same effect he had in England in 05, why?
Apart from Binger, no one seams (sic) to be able to get any sideways movement through the air in the Aus side, and Lee is doing it frequently faster than science says it can be done. Why do the others- namely Johnson and to a lesser degree Siddle and Watson (who got good reverse swing in one session of the last test before being taken off due to the over rates fiasco) fail to achieve this when they bowl more within the range that causes substantial swing? I have not included Clark as it is obvious his role is much more line-and-length with subtle use of cutters. That being said, everyone can benefit from a few more strings in their bows.

Johnson, who i think worked his heart out in India- would be so much more complete if over the wicket to the right handers he could in-swing some yorkers, there would be a bag of LBW's as well as clean bowled in that for him. Around the wicket he could still expect a lot of sandshoe crushers to topple the stumps, even at the loss of the LBW decisions. As it stands, the constant over after over of balls just moving away towards first slip off the bounce just isn't enough, if he could also swing it away...well, it is obvious everyone would be clamouring to get into 2nd and 3rd slip. This question of swing, is really aimed at him. He is the one to most benefit from developing these skills.

Hopefully Lee feels a little happier being back at home now, as the GABBA should be as steamy as the curry that took him out over in India and he has spruiked in the media over the last few days that he will get faster through his 30's; unlikely, but with the maturity he developed last summer, a settled head could be horrendous for NZ.

Certainly with the green-top and all of the rain and humidity, the lesser bowlers should start to find a bit more shape and movement... if not, what has Cooley been telling them? Or, given Marcus -i don't care about the rules, it's funny coz we got away with it- Trescothics admission of ball tampering, have the Australians decided not to "come to the dark side" and make the black art of reverse-swing happen due to ethics? If that is the case (and Pakistan were always suss in the 80's and 90's[and how did Z Kahn do it so early in this last series?]) we still need to be able to swing the ball AWAY from the shiny side.

But given how obvious it is that in the same day and with similar conditions, some countries manufacture swing and Australians can't, it must be said something is suss! And because CA won't say it for fear of upsetting whoever it is they are scared of, that is to say that there are cheats on the field! Someone should say it, so i will as it is just so blatant something is happening! Some would say this is sour grapes from me. NO! it is not! i can handle being beaten by a better side- when they play better cricket and deserve to win, but as a traditionalist, i say ball tampering is rank, and if that is the only way to win... you suck and are unworthy to play test cricket.

The genuine swing bowler is probably THE most effective weapon in cricket. let the skill be attained through practice and good captaincy giving the ball over at the best possible time to achieve swing! Not through cheating and ball manipulation!

It is one thing getting the guy that (partially) cost us the Ashes on side, it is another to see his results... which we haven't yet! If it was only a throat lozenge that got the 'no-better-than club cricketers' Anderson and Hoggart to be so effective, Cooley should pack his bags now and CA should apologise to D.K.Lillee and beg him (yes BEG!) to come back and teach the finer points of pace bowling; which is unlikely given CA's arrogance and J Sutherlands "futuristic" outlook!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

2 allrounders?

Well, now that Andrew "Roy" Symonds has served his time for the fishing fiasco- conveniently relieving him from a trip to India and the tensions that would have created- the jostling to get him back in the side has begun.

Steve Waugh has stated that there is no reason why Australia can't have both Watson and Symonds in the side, and given how well Watson played in India, he certainly deserves to keep his spot. I wonder how Waugh would have reacted though, if when he was captain someone suggested he have two designated all-rounders in the side.

Symonds is a proven match winner and would be any captains dream pick due to his aggressive batting, medium pacers and the missing Indian tour option of a legitimate finger spinner. These points and the fact he has proven now without a doubt that he can concentrate on long test innings batting mean he must be considered a walk up start back into the side.

So is it worth trying something new with two all-rounders? my thought is... absolutely! Why not try something different? Not that NZ will lie down easily, but it is fair to say they fear Australia coming out and getting some form back at their expense. This is the ideal time to play around with the concept of how many all-rounders fit in a side. Who ever said there was room for only one anyway? When both Watson and Symonds can score runs, and when between them we get a quick, a medium pacer and an offey, it gives Ponting bowling options right through the life of a ball and innings. Let's do it!

***new poll below***

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Ponting OUT (post script!)

Well the one thing i didn't make too much out of now seems to have come back and bit Ponting right on his box... run rates.

With India battling in the second session of the second innings, Ponting has, it seems, (finally) incurred the wrath of the match ref for slow over rates. So instead of concentrating on winning this test, we are being served a session of mostly second string bowlers trying to make up time, to save Ricky from suspension. Good one Ponting!

Why does he consistantly end up in this position? Bad captaincy: time management, field settings, bowler selection, etc.

Fair enough that it happened during tea, and so he was possibly persueded by Neilson, Hughes and CA. if that is the case... well, words fail me!

Please explain to me what are we playing for?

Ponting OUT (played)

Remember the good old days when a captain was held accountable?
It is a well known fact that in cricket- unlike most other team sports- the captain is so much more in control than the coach; who is really not much more than an extra set of eyes for the captain at training.

Well, with the first of foreseeable many trophies on the way out of the cabinet, it must be time to ask all the big questions. I have had a snipe at CA (with more to come) about Australia basically imploding, the next obvious point of call HAS to be Ricky Ponting himself.

Throughout this series, Ponting has failed to show any: arrogance, aggression and even obnoxiousness- for that matter, no one seems to have (at least in the media) shown any of these traits! And falling back on that old chestnut of solid sledging just isn't enough when you are being out classed. It feels as if after every day of the series there has been a suitably annoying (to me as an Aussie, anyway) media conference given by the main Indian protagonist. Katich's outburst falls into anger, not aggression category. And it seams Ponting can't turn it around either, he went over there on the back foot and has been unable to find any front foot attacking options since. maybe it is a lack of faith in his team that has him being so defensive (what's the old adage? "a good craftsman doesn't blame his tools."), or maybe he just knows that this Indian side is better than his! Either way, if you look beaten from day one, you are!

Still, the lack of aggression shows at every level: obviously- as stated- in the media, but also in the field settings and the use of the bowling, and particularly in the batting- talk about taking the bait on day 3 at Nagpur! Dry up the runs, bye, bye trophy.
It is a credit to Katich and Hussey that they gave us a competitive total, but surely the attitude must be, "we are not here to be 'competitive', we are here to win and retain the Border-Gavaskar." Apart from Whites knock, it is a worry when the next best score is the EXTRAS (equal with Haddin). What was the directive to the batsmen, play for a draw?
And while he hasn't been too shabby with the bat this tour of India, i hope Ponting didn't laugh too much when Warne tormented Daryl Cullinan, because when Ponting comes out to bat next innings, it would be totally justified if Harbi walked straight up and gave him a carrot.

For mine, Ponting is on his last legs; I've always enjoyed him as a batsman, but the 2005 ashes captaincy showed his underlying lack of aggression when directing his team. The following ashes in Australia is rightly a moment to be proud of as captain- but how much was Ponting controlling the procedure? Given the amount of overs bowled by Warne (the person who quite rightly should have been captain!), at best Ponting could say he shared the accolade of the 5 nil whitewash leadership.

What he does today, when Australia have absolutely nothing to lose and a trophy to hold onto will determine his worth as skipper in many peoples eyes. I don't think anyone would be critical if Ricky constantly changed the bowlers, their ends and field placements to try and unsettle the batsman; of course given Australia's abysmal over rates, it would only be appreciated if he showed that the fielding placements were pre-planned and quickly implemented; the players should be bolting into the new positions every time a change is called to really show that there is a plan behind the look of chaos. if you can't beat 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with...
Just do something Ricky!

*new ricky ponting poll below*

Thursday, 6 November 2008

the big crunch!

It's crunch time for the Australian cricket team, but more importantly, for Cricket Australia.
with a draw the best result for the (Australian) series and to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy, there is no better be time to address the many issues that plague the side.

First and foremost is the need to cease the stop-gap replacement attitude that has been an integral part of the team selection for the last 15 years. It is understandable and acceptable that this has been the method of player replacement; the Australian side has, for this time, been so successful and stable that many younger (and not so young) players have scrambled for selection when a position has come up... and a few very good players have fallen abruptly by the wayside when not having lived up to expectation.

The stop-gap attitude must stop now because of the obvious inability to fill the positions so dominated by some of the games greatest players: strike spin bowler, wicket keeper batsman, and to a lesser extent line-and-length strike bowler.
Stuart Clark holds his own as the line-and-length bowler, although i can't help but feel he is under used and must increase his wicket taking if given more overs.
As for the other two positions, surely some form of rotation policy would spark a little more enthusiasm for securing the positions. Sure, too much rotation creates an environment of uncertainty, but if contracted players knew they had two matches to impress before going to the back of the queue, maybe a little more thought would go into every ball.

Haddin has walked into the position anointed and has not impressed with gloves or bat.
The spin bowling has seen McGain's injury robbing him of a chance, White under performing due to lack of turn and variation, and Krejza left waiting... and waiting... and wondering.

It seems bizarre that at the height of Shane Warne's powers, every young bloke wanted to bowl leggies, and yet where are they now? Why hasn't CA followed up on the interest that flowed in Warnes wake? Shane Warne doing travelling clinics around the country would be good, but why hasn't he had whatever-it-takes thrown at him to reside back in Australia permanently to give ongoing training and mentor-ship? It is not too late, because he is still a prominent figure and the kids wouldn't feel like they were being taught by some old washed-up has been.

Another clear failing of this current side is the fielding. It is no over statement to say that fielding is completely sub par. Australia, once known as the sharpest fielding side, now looks... the same as everyone else. I wonder what CA plan on doing about this problem.

It appears that, once again, only defeat and embarrassment may affect change, lets hope for the better!

let's hear Gambhir

Although now with the 4th test imminent it is too late to go through the correct procedure for further appeal, for once i (partly) agree with the BCCI.

Whether it was going to change the outcome (unlikely), Gautam Gambhir should have been given the right to personally speak for himself in the appeals process before the one match penalty was imposed.

With that type of formal protocol adhered to, the BCCI would not have a leg to stand on regarding further action, and their normally belligerent actions could then(hopefully) be shunned by the rest of the cricketing world. As it stands, if they were to include Gambhir in their 12 an ICC non sanctioned match once again looks likely; not a good outcome for the two sides, or the supporters. Let's hope they decide to go with the decision, and follow up on it after the test.

Even though Gambhir: pleaded guilty, has committed another offence in the last 12 months, and the incident was well documented on video, it seems to me that the ICC missed an easy opportunity to make a statement to the world about undue physical contact in the game.

As undesirable as this type of contact is in cricket, the ridiculous notion of allowing this type of behaviour would- I'm sure- see many other countries coming off second best if the Australians (with their winter codes of rugby and Australian rules football so enjoyed by most) squared up for a big 'hip and shoulder'!