Friday, 11 September 2009

(Cameron) White wash on the cards

I've had a bit of a ridiculous schedule of late, so there is no way i've been able to (or really wanted to) stay up for the ODI's against, but i have caught most of the replays; a better option at the moment. Watching last night some things became obvious.

The few things that have stood out are:
The different crowds at the ODI's compared to the tests. At the tests there is crowd applause for good cricket, regardless of the country. At these games you can hear the tumble weeds rolling down a road three blocks away when Aus get a wicket. While this is not particularly unusual anywhere in the world, i don't think i've ever heard such silence! It seems all of the Aussies in London left when the GEC kicked in!

England's fielding has been sub-par, and the replay last night highlighted this and made me think the result could have been somewhat different. Dropped catches -yeah, you Bresnan, what a sitter!- and Anderson's TWO failed run outs; not close calls- missed opportunities!

Of course there is the poor batting throughout the order too- apart from their imports (nice reverse sweep Morgan). Do Australia have any plan for Strauss?

On the flip side, Aus are looking solid. White should fight Punter for the #3 spot as it gives him even more time to create a big innings without having to belt it out of the park further down the line up. Can Ponting be persuaded to come in at 4? He must feel happy stepping back in at 3-0 up!

Talk on cricinfo is of the possibility of a 7-0 whitewash (or White-wash, if he stays at 3!). Who cares, one more, get the series, and then if we clean up, reflect further on what a waste 7 games is. It will be one more nail in the English 50 over game if Australia win the next game/series, no one turns up for the last three games and the ECB end up in deficit for the series!

Finally, i think most of us here -certainly myself- have had to eat a large slab of humble pie (with cockles and eel) in regard to Watson. Not only is he staying fit, but he is bowling efficiently, getting wickets and appears to be playing with a lot of heart: maybe too much as he looks totally gutted and on the verge of tears when hit for four! Maybe transferring his batting poker face (deals well with a bowlers lip and rot) over to his bowling.

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Ricky Won't Lose That Number

Australia skipper, Ricky Ponting, has stepped down from national Twenty20 commitments, siting the need to maintain his freshness if he is to have longevity in the game. In particular, he has his sights set on a third Ashes tour as Captain. Clearly, he wants the record he shares with Billy Murdoch to be his alone. Without jest, he wants to still be there in 2013 and not a burnt out husk sitting in the corner of an endless dressing room with the number 14 fading on the back of a collection of sponsors logos, occasionally separated by yellow.

Likewise, the decision to maintain playing status in one day cricket, where a rotation of players including the captain, has been happening for some time.

It's a sensible step and one that all players must eventually do and it highlights the broader issue which has been floating about ever since one day games started making money for the Packers. Players can serve two or now three masters in the games of cricket but they can't do it forever. Two types of player recognise that fact - the player to whom reputation is everything and the player to whom money is everything.

There is too much cricket being played at an international level and too little attention being given to tending the grass roots. There are also too many varieties , with the addition of Twenty 20 cricket in the last few years - a development which shows us we are so lazy as punters that we can't even be bothered to play our own backyard cricket anymore but would rather watch the stars doing it in our stead.

The big game - Test cricket - has survived and been made stronger by the money from one day cricket, true and the players remain committed to it being the form they would rather play, even if Chris Gayle finds it "a chore". Changes in over rates and a desire for results which started from Australia under Mark Taylor and soon spread to South Africa and India, has infected the world to the point that even England prefer to win than draw. That attitude brings a level of unpredictability to Test cricket that had died and makes it far more interesting to the consumer. Fielding is better, bowling lines are tighter and shot making improved all as a result of 50 over cricket.

What will Twenty20 bring us?

Money from and entertainment for the feeble minded whose attention span mostly carries them through an SMS but not always, which is why they sit with mates. This is a puerile waste of a cricket ball but at least Mum's roses will now have a chance to grow and that patch on the back lawn might get a covering of grass. It is the greatest possible confidence boost we could gain in Ponting that he would choose to no longer play this hit and giggle farce and concentrate on real and unreal cricket.

It's time for more separation. Different squads - completely different - for one day and Twenty20 games, not because some blokes can't play all but because they shouldn't play all. Some of the skills may be similar but the approach and mindset are totally different. We are supposed to be a great cricket nation - forget the No 4 thing - so we should have more than enough resources.

But we won't.


Marketing. We create a brand in one form of the game and spectators want to see that brand in all forms.

It lacks brains or long term planning but when did the pursuit of the holy dollar ever have much of either. Remember, they are appealing to a short term market both in terms of how long the consumer will be in the market to watch Twenty20 and how long they concentrate when they are there. They want to make their puppets dance.

Ricky Ponting has cut the strings. I say, well done!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Tony Cozier Article

Sorry to post and run, but here's the latest Tony cozier article of the problems facing the West Indies. I'm starting to think we'll only be getting a sham tour.

two serves, anyone?

Not that it is really our format, but it begs addressing that Aus are now 2-0 up in the ODI (only dolts interested) comp in Blighty at the moment.

I missed the first game and was too tired to get into the 2nd due to a few days in the hills, but after reading a few reports and listening to the radio this morning it is interesting to see a team that plays with a lot more self belief... do we think this is due to Clarke at the helm? Or the quite different make up of the squad?

Ferguson has settled into his role there. The bowling team were consistent amongst themselves, with Hopes the only one going for more than a run a ball- admittedly only bowling 3 overs. Lee was frugal with 2 wickets and Jonno, Watson and Bracken all getting 2 also.

In the batting it was contributions all around apart from the skip, Hopes, and Hussey showing he is consistent with his form across all formats! Either Hussey is just the nicest bloke to ever strap on pads (possible from all accounts) or he knows of every crime and indiscretion every selector and member of CA has done and has made a list and is checking it twice!

Two more positive results in the yawn fests and Australia can then prattle on senselessly about how they have "redeemed themselves".

Talking of ODI's in the pejorative, it seems to me that the 'Little Master' has come to the same conclusions: ODI's in their current format are a fait accompli at the toss and so should be given a new structure to make them more competitive and hopefully more interesting.
Sachin has proposed a 2 innings game of 25 overs to ensure both teams bat under lights. I must say, i don't know why this hasn't been openly and broadly suggested before. I think it has the potential for a much more interest contest as it will bridge the gap between T20 and Test. Teams can go the tonk twice! Now i accept what it is about T20 that many out there dislike- the thoughtless crunching of the ball every ball; but as a "batsman" that only opens the shoulders my self, and as a bowler that like being taken on i think this is a serviceable way to preserve 50 over cricket.

I know i said around this time last year that ODI was dead and buried- and without some effective change it is- so as someone who was a captivated kid during the "Packer v ACB" days, i can't help being enthusiastic about this idea to rejuvenate the format.
It makes sense, but i'd like to hear why it won't work, anyone?

And because i haven't voiced an opinion elsewhere on this issue, let me say the in regard to Nielsen having a break now after the Ashes while the rest of the squad plays ODI cricket: i wish i received a holiday every time i failed to live up to my KPI's at work! In world sport, the cricket coach is the least called upon when it comes to on field activity and is therefore not much more than a skills coach/manager; if Nielsen needs a break after the Ashes and feels he can't do anything with the team to lift our standing in the next stage of the tour, maybe it should be a "permanent vacation".

stoph verismo
down the wicket