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!