Friday, 2 January 2009

Trials, not tribulations!

Here we go...
It's not do or die; that's done and dusted!
This is about pride; about avoiding the whitewash; about starting off the new year with self respect.
Last SCG test is still a sour tasting memory for many; I'll take the win, but it was pretty grotty!
With no series on the line and a few fresh faces, we really have nothing to lose.

So the questions are:
Apart from the obvious inclusion, have the selectors got it right in the replacements for the injured? Sure there maybe players that might have been better picks, but is this a good start?

Does this test really mean anything to you/the rest of the Australian cricketing public/ the world opinion of Australia's cricketing position, now that the series is decided?

Will Hayden get dropped if he scores around or under his 22.35 average (since returning from India)?

What about Bollinger over Hilfenhaus? I know if i was a new fast bowler that can swing old and new balls, i'd be looking to extract some revenge for my nation! Not that the SA bowlers bowled in a fashion unsportsmanlike. Johnson spoke of "chin music" at the start of the series, but no one has got the short ones up underneath enough to be threatening (Siddle did get a beauty into Amla hands last match- not that that put him off too much!).

What about McDonald? Can another Vic add something or does it just reek of Victorian nepotism at the selection level?

Will there be any pressure on Ponting should we lose by an Innings?

As an Aussie cricket fan, this will certainly be an interesting dead rubber. And fodder for this site should it all go very ugly!

new poll below

stoph verismo

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