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.
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!