Saturday, 29 August 2009

Worlds best spinner to play for Victoria!

I have to be honest, when I heard this news a little bit of wee came out, so excited!
Murali, the worlds best spinner, bamboozler of batsmen, cadustra of the doosra is coming to town to showcase his talents to the Australian public first hand!
So obviously the greatest spinner of all time, its great to see the Vic's will finally have a decent spinner after decades of trundlers!
A fantastic move by Victorian selectors in a decision that can only grow the spinning talent base that we have in this country, it is a shame that he will only be playing in the T20's.
Cant wait!!!

Friday, 28 August 2009

The Hodge Interview on Radio SEN

Follow this link for the Hodge interview.

Interesting interview. I've heard smarter cricketers and much of what he says is pretty much hearsay and conjecture but that doesn't mean he's not a good bloke and certainly doesn't mean he's not a fine cricketer. Sorry but that Victorian chip on the shoulder just rubs me up the wrong way.

The part of the interview I found most disturbing was the manner in which Shaun Tait was treated in the West Indies. It would seem that the cricket world is behind the rest of Australia in its treatment of players with mental health issues but then several examples in the recent past underline this all to clearly.

Tait ... Symonds ... Pomersbatch

As the home of Beyond Blue, you fellas must be on board with that statement, surely.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Some news

The second tier comp is starting to get more interesting these days; with Afghanistan beating an experienced Netherlands side by one wicket.

And more topically to our readership, Ireland take on England in Belfast next and England are wary after the Paddy's performance on the same ground a few years.

Haddin will most likely miss out on the Champions Trophy due to required finger surgery.

Moves are underway within CA to review A.Hilditch's position as Chairman of selectors with the position becoming a full time one; about time! How can you attend all training/games and review up and coming games for new players when you run a law firm?

Ponting open to splitting the captaincy- how gracious! He has also said being captain is not critical to him remaining in the side... BOMBS AWAY!

The truth according to Hodge

Finally someone has shown the balls to come out and challenge the inner sanctum of Australian cricket. Hodge has realised his international career is over and has unleashed the truth about the difficulties of forcing your way into an Australian side dominated by NSW cricketers. Perhaps only Jamie Siddons could claim to be unluckier than Hodge in the last generation. At least Hodge got some opportunities. I loved what he had to say about having to take someone elses place and how hard that is when it is Katich, a man who had the support of Clarke, Lee and McGrath.
This year’s CA contract awarded to Hodge makes the least sense of all. Why give a man a contract then leave him out of the T20 World Cup, the Ashes tour and the one day competition in England? Was it to just give him hope, and then snuff that hope out? Maybe it was for the same reason they took Ronald on the tour, and then left him out when Hussey was struggling and we needed another bowler? Who took his spot in the last three tests? What state does he play for?

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The barriers of age

So, we are in a transition phase, then it's over and then we're in it again. Seems like Australia's progression is dependent on results.

I've gone over contracted and other players in Australia and put this against the ages of players generally around the selected 11. I want to point out that I don't think a player's longevity should be primarily judged by their age for two reasons. Firstly, performances count. They do need to be balanced with moving forward, however. Secondly, batsmen can be just as effective later in life as they are when young. Older batsmen know their game well and bring solidity and consistency - ideally! Bowlers will always struggle to maintain pace and be injury free as the tolls on the body are magnified.

To ages:

Stuart Clark - 33 years and 332 days
Ricky Ponting - 34 years and 250 days
Michael Hussey - 34 years and 91 days
Simon Katich - 34 years and 5 days
Brett Lee - 32 years and 291 days
Brad Haddin - 31 years and 307 days

As has been said previously a repeat of the Chappel/Lillee/Marsh debacle could be devastating to Australian cricket. The problem always is, however, that at some point a player has to be thrown in the deep end and you never can be completely sure how they will go. It has become more popular to give established shield players a call-up and retain them - eg Hussey and North. There is great merit in this as younger players can find the transition exceedingly difficult - ala Hughes. Trott likewise showed great maturity when he debuted for England. This also gives young players ear-marked for the baggy green time to develop their game so when their time comes they are better prepared. Perhaps Aus should give Hughes at least two more seasons of shield cricket before putting him up against Steyn, Harmison and co. Although, he didn't too badly in South Africa - did he!

My list of those worth looking at closely this summer and beyond are:

Callum Ferguson
Shaun Marsh
Phil Hughes
Brett Geeves
Doug Bollinger
Cullen Bailey
Dan Cullen

My big two here are Bollinger and Ferguson. Both know their games well and have proven themselves in international cricket. I have little faith in the spin options in Australia overall but as I am in Adelaide I've seen alot more of the Cullen's than anyone else. Both have promise but a lot of development to go. Marsh was disappointing last summer and has had a bad run with injuries but he's worth looking at this summer to see what he's learned. Geeves is still improving but can rip through a batting lineup.

So, the next point is how to 'phase out' players while introducing new ones. I hope that ODI cricket is NOT used as a test bleeding ground but I'll concede it is an opportunity for players to experience facing or bowling to the best in the world. 20/20 contributes nothing at all in my view. Bowling 4 overs to sloggers or reverse sweeping your first ball is bollocks - plain and simple.


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

and why wouldn't i show it?

SCORE: 5789
Team: somepunkscrunts
Test 5 Score: 1382
League Ranking: 1

it's hard to be modest when you are this good!
thanks for playing guys.

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Monday, 24 August 2009

Lazy, but i couldn't resist putting this in complete!

sorry to be so slack, but this attitude just blew me away! i don't know why, its not like we haven't seen this sort of arrogance before.

on ninemsn:

i'll tell you where to look for them, and it aint in the CA cabinet!

Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch on Monday refused to blame his panel for Australia's shattering loss of the Ashes to England.

Australia's 197-run loss in the fifth Test at The Oval on Sunday, which delivered England a 2-1 series victory, led all the news bulletins in sports-obsessed Australia on Monday as the ramifications sank in.

Ricky Ponting's captaincy and the selectors' decision-making came under fire for the series loss but they appeared likely to hold on to their positions with Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland fully supportive of their performances.

Hilditch admitted his panel erred by not choosing specialist spinner Nathan Hauritz for the final Test, but he refused to blame the selection of an unbalanced side on a spin-friendly pitch for Australia's humiliating defeat.

Ponting became only the second Australian skipper in more than a century to have twice lost an Ashes series in England, and Hilditch said he was gutted and in a state of disbelief over the final Test defeat inside four days.

"We would've changed the side (from the fourth Headingley Test) if we'd read the wicket right, and we would've played Nathan Hauritz," Hilditch told a news conference in Adelaide on Monday.

"But it would be an over-simplification to say that meant we lost the Test match, that'd be incorrect. We lost the Test match because we got 160 in the first innings.

"Jamie Cox was the selector on duty, but everybody misread the wicket, from our entire playing group, captain and coach included, and that just happens.

"To see the hard work that all those players put in, a very important series for everybody, to see it fall apart at The Oval was hard for everybody."

Hilditch, who has been a frequent target of critics during his controversial tenure as chairman, said he was shocked by the Ashes outcome.

"I'm feeling gutted and in some disbelief over the last couple of days," he said.

"The traditional signs of who's going to win a Test series are all there and it should have been Australia.

"We had six of the top seven batsmen, 10 centuries, eight of them Australian, the three leading bowlers in the series were all Australian.

"Everything indicates that we dominated the Test series."

But he said that "we lost the Test series through five hours of cricket. We lost the Test series in the last hour in Cardiff (first Test) when we should have won. I thought at the time it was going to hurt us, which it did.

Other key phases were "two hours of batting at Lord's in the second Test and maybe even an hour's batting at The Oval in the first innings, when we really needed to get 400-500 runs and get into a good position.

"The Test series really came down to us losing key moments and England winning key moments. It didn't come down to individuals, it came down to England winning the critical moments and (us) losing them."

Hilditch said Australian cricket was in a rebuilding phase following the keenly felt retirements of Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Glenn McGrath.

"The reality check is we're a young side, a rebuilding side, we've lost a lot of great players but had no time to reflect on that, we've got to reflect on the future," he said.

"We're going to have ups and downs in performance over the next couple of years while we continue a rebuilding process.

"The process is far from over. We've still got players we're going to lose in the next couple of years."

Lefty's wash-up

Well, after several weeks of speculation, adulation, exhilaration and perspiration The Ashes is over and Australia's campaign with them. Noone realistically could have imagined England would so comprehensively rebound from an innings defeat - perhaps if the 4th and 5th tests were back-to-back they wouldn't have. But of course it all means little now.

Well done, England: you performed at the key moments while Australia did not. Australia will forever rue Cardiff where they should have been 1 nil up going to Lords. There is no doubt the series would have been shaped differently had Aus' bowlers worked out how to dismiss numbers 10 and 11. Funny when you consider that is their job and they had little trouble rolling Eng for 100 at Headingly. Of course the bowling unit became stronger and more reliable through the series but you must have something to bowl to and the batsmen failed at Lords when it counted. Similarly at the Oval first innings runs were paramount and again Aus could not deliver.

While tight finishes like 2005 were largely absent, this was a great test cricket series. Clarke, North and Hilfenhaus have written themselves contracts til retirement - what a pity none of them could achieve the ethereal heights at the final post. Hussey should still be held accountable for appalling decisions and Watson should NOT open this coming summer. Siddle demonstrated his heart again and will still improve. Undoubtedly there is positive elements to this series that Ponting will reflect on but it won't be too long before some tough questions will be asked. Maybe we can ask some of them right now.

1. Why the hell was Hauritz not picked for the worst pitch of the Ashes? Is it not the job of touring selection to examine the pitch before naming your 11?

2. Why would you give a young player two tests to make a big score yet give an older player 20 tests to make anything at all?

3. When will Australia take a balanced and comprehensive squad on overseas tours?

4. Is it Ponting's fault for being reactionary when this mode begins at the selection table? (Well, yes in part but you get the gist)

5. Will someone please tell Ponting he will not be needed in 2013?

Note no reference to the umpiring this series, until now. Both teams can feel harshly done by at times but it always evens out. This should not, however, relieve the umpires from scrutiny.

When test cricket needs a boost we only ever need to look at series such as this. The most heartening element for this humble writer is that India, South Africa, England, Australia - and perhaps Sri Lanka - will produce exciting series whenever they play each other. The only down side is that the best batsmen of the series, Michael Clarke, now has to put coloured clothing on and lead Aus in an exercise in futility. What a terrible way to reflect on the Ashes!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

A Good Sample But A Bad Result

Can Australia win?

In any two team contest, both sides can always win but as a match ebbs and flows, fortunes and that history I have referred to all change the possibilities. At the moment, a snowballs chance in hell would be my colourful yet accurate assessment of Australia scoring the squillions of runs required.

125 years is a long time. Statistics gathered over such a long time, apart from causing a bout of extreme salivation in statisticians, it also provides what is known as and extremely good sample. Variations caused by changes in wickets, the ability of players, developments in wickets etc etc etc are negated by a good sample. In that 125 years, no team has scored this many runs in the 4th innings to win, not even in first class cricket. No Test team has got within 150 of the total Stauss has challenged Australia to make. Worse, at The Oval, the highest 4th innings winning total is 263 so to win. Australia has to more than double that stat. Over long periods of time - lets say 125 years - changes in stats tend to be incremental not great leaps and changes that are demanded here.

Then there's a deteriorating wicket, a confident group of bowlers against team of increasing doubt as shown my the constant suggestion that even the umpires are against them.

Can they win? Yes they can. Will they win. Not likely.

To score 546, three of them have to score hundreds and one of those has to score large. Three others in the top eight have score 30-50. That leaves the last three somewhere between 50 and 80 to make between them. The English bowlers have to lose the plot. Strauss has to forget everything he has learned and desired against Australia. These last two have to happen together and for five or six sessions.

Not likely.

A slight glimmer perhaps...?

And so we move onto day five of the final test with barely a glimmer of hope.
The urn seems destined to be relinquished as another spectacular batting collapse spells our demise. They are becoming all too regular and all too spectacular.
Yet with a new day comes a new hope and six sessions on a crumbling pitch will define us. Will we go meekly as the second day or show some fight and make them win it?

For us to survive will surely mean victory with two whole days to play. Nothing short will suffice with Ponting staring down the barrel of becoming Australia's worst Ashes captain. In this test it has been the batting that has failed which he can take part of the blame but 700 in two innings from England is hardly mammoth and had we made even 100 more in the first innings we would be in with a shot.

And so to hope.
My patriotism has me believing but my mind tells me it will be curtains somewhere around tea time. While it has not been as enthralling as the 2005 series it certainly has been an eye opener.