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'!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

anil kumble retires

Anil Kumble retiring... the end of a terrific career, of course others will step up, but Kumble was pretty much a complete cricketer. what a champ; what a cricketing brain; what a gentleman.

it is amazing that the 2 greatest wicket takers (with 2 of the best cricket brains) were leggies!

but wait! you say. Murali is not a leggie. to this i say "700+ wickets, everyone a no ball!"

Warne and Kumble are the 2 greatest wicket takers, and Murali will ALWAYS have an asterisk next to his name. the ICC should forever be ashamed at changing the rules to include him, and diluting the game due to unsporting pressures.

of course people will say, "Murali passed the bio-mechanical tests done in WA, (after the extra degrees of flex were allowed)." and yet i still cant believe few others in the cricketing community had the guts to say what was glaringly obvious; Murali changed his action to pass the tests! how the testers permitted that is mind boggling!

it was immediately apparent that Murali was more front-on in the tests and also bowled more with an arm action straight over the top- less twisted- and with less of his wrist bent back so that the palm is turned towards his face, than he does in competition.

sure his rubber wrist and permanently bent elbow do create a degree of optical illusion, so how is it that in the bio-mech test it (his action) failed to have this same trick of the eye? because he was bowling without a shirt?

the other thing that chomps is that everyone (in the game) makes a point of saying how nice a guy Murali is- maybe so, i don"t know him personally so will not comment, but why is that part of justifying his action?

what i do know, is that even after someone better comes along and takes more wickets, a truely brilliant player (bowling the hardest form in the game) only gets a bronze medal in the history books, and will after Murali gets knocked off go into the forgotten fourth place.

i wish Anil Kumble all the best in his years after international competition., and thank him for his contribution to game.