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