Friday, 15 May 2009

Can a brother get a contract

Well, we have the contracted players for 2009/2010. Breakdown by state:

TAS - 2
NSW - 10
SA - 2
QLD - 2
WA - 4
VIC - 5

Thank you to selectors for allowing 15 out of 25 spots to come from outside NSW: very gracious indeed. With the size of Qld I'm amazed they could find 2 players worthy of contracts. Tassie gets two token players: one of which is the Aus captain who lives in Sydney and hasn't played for his state since the 1940s. Callum Ferguson gets a deserved gurnsey and Manou is rightly in as a back-up keeper who will no doubt get a go when Haddin is rested (maybe he'll captain at some stage).

Siddle is an obvious one from Vic as he has a heart bigger than Phar Lap and produces similar results. The biggest surprise to me is another Victorian: what was his name? That bloke who made heaps of runs for Aus and has continued to do so for his state. Ah - Brad Hodge. Excellent to see him back and selectors talking up his chances (in some media and downplaying chances in others) - which of course, through giving him a contract many people would not have expected, they are obliged to do. Let's hope they show courage and drop M. Hussey for Hodge so he can demonstrate what selection based on merit is all about.

Play some cricket, Tait, and you may earn back your contract.
Jacques, unfair as it may seem a bloke 10 years younger has got your dosh and I don't think he'll be surrendering it any time soon. Thanks for your efforts but goodbye.
White, contracts seem to be based on all forms of the game it appears. Never will we see you in whites but, you lucky bugger, you don't need to wear them to get a contract.

So, have we got a mix that covers all bases? We've seen before that selectors will get in non-contracted players to fill spots: Katich is a good example of a good decision. I'm pleased to see Marsh in the list as there's something about him that tells me he'll shine in years to come. One spinner: now that tells us something. North, Clarke, Katich and Symonds can expect to roll the arm over a fair bit. The problem I see there is, well, problems, is that I don't think any of them could be guaranteed of being able to. North hasn't proved his worth with the ball at international level, Clarke has back problems and is in the team predominantly to bat, Katich doesn't like bowling in tests, and Symonds likes fishing too much (and booze, swearing etc).


Monday, 11 May 2009

Ashes - bowling our way to victory

Great stuff by Nospmas to initiate the anticipation of the highly expected and long-awaited Ashes. See how excited I am - how many unnecessary words does it take to fill a sentence? In keeping with analytical tradition I thought we could run through the various aspects of competing in test series': starting with bowling.

Seamer friendly, slower and softer pitches in Eng with the Duke ball need to be considered in the same way that dusty turners in India are. My list of challengers for (let's say) 4 bowling spots are:

1. Mitchell Johnson
2. Doug (the rug) Bollinger
3. Peter (hey diddle) Siddle
4. Stuart (um....) Clark
5. Brett (I'm ready cos I say so and should get the new ball cos I'm Brett Lee) Lee
6. Ben (arrrrr) Hilfenhaus
7. Nathan (I'm an offie) Hauritz
8. Shane (ah my back) Watson - I realise this would occur in an allrounder capacity if selected and if it was one or the other he'd be picked as a batsman
9. Dirk (jaz) Nannes

Personally I'd go for Johnson, Hauritz, Siddle and Bollinger. I would say Katich, North and Clarke are good for 15 - 20 overs between them if necessary and Watson chiming in: what do you know - that's 8! Maybe give Haddin a bowl too as the selectors seem to feel he can do anything. I've probably let a cat out of the bag re batting but I'll leave a tempter out there. There are many discussion points that will influence selection: eg allrounder vs specialist number 6 batsman so over to you guys and gals.