Thursday, 23 July 2009

Hold The Phone

The news overnight that Kevin Pietersen has had surgery on his injured Achillies tendon and will miss the remainder of the Ashes series changes the balance yet again. Pietersen, Collingwood and Strauss form the nucleus of players the Australians most fear with the bat - the ones who could bat a Test away from you. With the most dynmic of the trio sidelined and likely to be replaced by Ian Bell, Flintoff's knee now goes under even more pressure.

Bell is an interesting character, a man with talent at the crease but often a self-destructor against the sternest opposition, especially Australia. He played with moderate success last time out in Australia with 300+ at 33, including four half centuries and it is his failure to convert fifties to hundreds that has been his constant boggey. He was recently dropped after failures in India and the West Indies but he can have greater hope if given another start in the 3rd Test because in his twenty Ashes innings, he has been out fifteen times to the missing trio of McGrath, Warne and Lee. Like others before him, Cullinan included, his natural ability has not yet overcome the confidence and mind dominance of his Australian or Indian opponents.

Lee is unlikely to play in the 3rd and must be a liability whenever.

England now have some problems and the balance has swung more towards the centre than it was twenty four hours ago.

Interesting game cricket!

By the way, a lovely anecdote I had never heard before from Alderman's bunny, Graham Gooch. Apparently after the 1989 series, he had a message on his answering machine, "sorry you missed me. I'm out ... probably lbw Alderman". Apologies if you've heard it before.


  1. I also heard Watson declaring himself "fit". For how long. He cannot be trusted for five days. MUST not be trusted for five days.

  2. I love the Gooch comment - was watching an ABC dvd series of cricket in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. I was 10 when I watched Aus get the Ashes in '89 and still remember Boonie hitting the runs that got them. Alderman was amazing on that tour - don't really remember a spinner doing much though.

    There was no way Pietersen was going to get through this series. I love the fact Bell is mentioned as I think we'll kill him, again.
    What would Watson's role be if he was selected? We don't need a replacement batsman and he couldn't lead the attack. There's no way Siddle or Hilf should be dropped.

    Lango - what do you think is the big difference between Swann and Hauritz? I'm not saying Swann is a chump but Hauritz gets dip and bounce too. He has out-thought batsmen on this tour and legitimately got their wickets with good bowling.

  3. The one that got Clarke dipped and swung away, top nut. Other than that he hasn't looked much. Hauritz has taken some key wickets.

  4. You know what I did in Fantasy Cricket after the last test?
    Swapped Ian Bell for Peitersen!!

    Now I will have to swap them back!!

  5. Confidence appears the main difference. Both were raised on a diet of one day cricket which means they have had to learn things like drift and flight later.

    Hauritz can be undone by batsmen that attack him but with Pietersen on the boundary, much of that threat will be gone. Swann doesn't seem to worry to much if players come after him, if the evidence of Clarke's dismissal is any guide. Besides, he has a hide as thick as a rhino ... did you see him taking as much credit as possible in the interview straight after the last day of the 2nd?

    That confidence will also mean he'll try more variations that Horrie is game to and will know he has the skipper's confidence.

    Swann has over half his Test dismissals from bowled and lbw decisions, so his line must be consistently off and middle, where as Horrie tends to be outside and on off stump. "You miss, I hit" has always been a fair approach.

    A glance at the averages for the sries so far and Horrie is leading the averages. Must be a dry summer, with eight or nine batsmen above 40 (six of them Aussies) and only one bowler below 30.

    Hauritz has bowled well - one of those blokes fighting well above his weight I suspect - and he has a high percentage of top order wickets, including Strauss twice. I just think Swann has more to offer. The difference isn't as big, but the nearest equivalent is the difference between Warnie and Nancy MacGill.

  6. another Alderman classic, when M.Thatcher was finally voted out of office, a newspaper billboard had the headline, "THATCHER OUT." And a clever vandal had painted underneath, "BOWLED ALDERMAN!"

  7. Yeah, we may be seeing the best from Hauritz but I'll still eat humble pie as I thought he may have got 'McGain-ed'. I haven't seen enough of Swann as I didn't see him bowl much in the second test.

  8. i reckon a big difference between the 2 is that Strauss shows faith in Swann... he must have as he put him up against Clarke on day 4 when Pup had his eye in; THAT is showing faith in a spinner!

    Ponting on the other hand sometimes has a tendency to put Hauritz in to take wickets, when the bowler at the other end is also getting carted; he just isn't THAT sort of bowler.