Friday, 23 October 2009

Player mis-management

The state of Michael Clarke's back has raised an interesting point in player management. Many players are singing the praises of CA for rotating or resting players with heavy loads; most notably Ponting, Johnson, Haddin and Hussey. Interestingly only one of these guys has had any known injury issues (Haddin with a broken finger). Even more interestingly Clarke has been withdrawn from various series - but unlike Johnson, Ponting or Hussey - as a direct result of an injury.

With addition of cricket to Australia's calendar through 20/20 'cricket' players experience more pysical demands than ever before. With all and sundry in the test mix in this country declaring Test cricket as the pinnacle it is bewildering that anyone would even consider Clarke going over to India to compete in a meaningless exercise of revenue generating. Perhaps Clarke didn't read his coach's comments about the need to ensure he is right for the upcoming summer of real cricket. Then again, why would CA annoint Clarke as 20/20 captain so that he plays in all 3 formats when he has know back troubles?

Personally I believe that 20/20 is just a bit of fun and for those that disagree, you can have state players who will likely do just as well. I am not saying this in reference to the Champion's Trophy, which I realise is club based and so not representative of a nation's ability to play the game. But I believe it's likely that NSW, Vic or Cape Cobras would give more than just a shake to India or South Africa in any case. Freeing up the core test players from playing 20/20 for Aus allows more recovery time, family time - and even representation of their state if some preparation is required. The last thing CA needs is more egg on its face when Clarke or another highly valuable test player can't get himself right for 5 days of cricket because they've been playing hit and giggle.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Haury, stay where you are!

What a crushing and resounding win to the NSW team last night... w-w-w-well, d-d-d-done; sorry hard to say for someone that lives in the state that last (aus) season had the best cricket team in the country. i say best not because we only one the format that counts, but because the Vics were in everything at the end, and so should be considered the best team over-all. But that was last year, and counts for diddly now!
And last night, it counted for less as they were out played at every level.

Stand out point for mine last night was N. Hauritz, and Kats faith in having him bowl at the other end of the opening bowling pair.
Others finished with better figures, but Haury had done the job in his first 2 overs by taking out the opening batsmen for ducks. You could almost hear Kat thinking, "thank you Nathan, you've crushed their spirit, the others will take it from here mate!" We all know Haury is very effective at slowing things right down and creating excellent pressure for his bowling partner, will he finally get the chance to work through a series without fear of drinks carrying- unlikely as it is he would bowl in Perth! Let's hope he continues and gives a bit to the Indians for the up coming ODI series.

Bret Lee must have thought he was staring in 'A Christmas Carol', because he was tighter than Scrooges purse strings! (4-O, 1-M, 2/15). Although Moises Henriques might like that title too- 3-O, 0-O, 3/11! If in the future Watson is kept as an opener- on performance i see no reason why not- we may be looking at the new national all-rounder.

finally, with the NSW openers (Hughes and Werner) taking on everything- and coming up trumps- the selection process for other formats retains its intrigue with the youngsters getting up some momentum, and showing their desire for representation.

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Happy Hooker

On the basis of showing I'm not totally absorbed by local cricket ...

That Adelaide via Sutherland via Adelaide boy Andrew Hilditch, has had his cricket visa restamped by Cricket Australia and will be free to continue the splendid job he has been doing for our cricket reputation as Chairman of Shysters. If there is one thing to be learned from being a Cricket Tragic, it's that in Australia, we look after our own. Once that membership badge to the exclusive Australian Cricket Club is stamped, you have to die to be rejected and even then, they'll prop you up for months until the smell gets too bad.

It's interesting to parallel the fates of Sutherland's opening bats of the early to mid seventies. Hilditch was a Baggy Green vice-captain who kept playing the hook shot as though it was a short Roman sword in a Botham-assisted honourable death. He spoke well, even when handling his balls with foreign gentleman from the sub continent who Neverwaz. All this and hours of paying 12 year olds to bowl at him at all hours between dawn and dusk at Carringbah Oval proved his mettle ... apparently. It meant he was determined ... a thinker ... success oriented ... a man of grit, true grit ... or was that Rooster Cogburn?

Then he married Bob Simpson's daughter. Beyond death, the greatest career move is marrying the boss's daughter.

Appointed a selector in the second half of the '90's , when it was summertime and the livin' was easy and Chairman in 2006, his grim determination to prove the rest of the nation wrong is no different from his days as a hooker, when cheap shots, long hours for lousy pay and arrogant johns like Botham and Hadlee used him for their own means. Now, despite a growing concern among what the SMH describes as the "other 20 million selectors", fiascoes including Andrew Symonds and losing the Ashes this year have not been enough to stop Cricket Australia giving him a new contract. With twenty million to choose from, is he the best we can do?

John Dyson, on the other hand, although sharing a similar mediocre Test batting record, has always made his work memorable. He was a prolific run scorer for Sutherland and NSW and his two Test centuries both made a mark - a fine 127 not out as Australia saved the second Test against the Windies in 81/82 and but for the impossible freak Ian Botham, a match winning 102 and top score 34 in the debacle at Headingley in 1981.

Dyson seldom dropped the ball, even when caught out of position as anyone who remembers "that catch" at the SCG will attest. A chalkie, he learned his own lessons but has never been frightened to step out in faith and walk in the opposite direction from the "pink gin set" who generally run the game. Hence, he was a rebel tourist to Sarth Efrika and lost his job with the NSW Dept of Education.

Taking up coaching, he was Sri Lankan coach earlier this century and did some excellent work to point the Lankans back in the direction of international success. He was doing much the same job for the West Indies but by refusing to play the game the way the inept Carribean administrators wanted it played, he was sacked. He sided with and advised senior playes and joined them in refusing to sign contracts which locked them into poor returns for their effort.

John Dyson will find more work because he's too good a man manager but it won't be in Australia, where we grasp egalitarianism and rebellion as links to our national heritage but prefer not to employ people who demonstrate it in the every day. We prefer nice people with round faces who's membership badges clearly show on their double breasted lapels. We trust solicitors more than school teachers. We'd rather the safety of earnest failure than the sweet smell of risky success.

We prefer Andrew.

By we, I'm excluding myself and the other 19,999,999. We, here, refers to Andrew and Cricket Australia. After all, when you're in the poo, it's best to use the royal wee.

Mt Lofty B grade stumble at the last post

Stoph, if you'd rather local cricket isn't canvassed in this format please let me know.

Mt Lofty B grade commenced the day's play at 0/4 chasing 156 on what had become the wettest oval in history. The school on whose oval we played had brightly left automatic sprinklers operating when we received almost continual rain all week. This left the oval as a quagmire and so 156 felt like 206.

Your truly was at the crease on an overnight score of 2 not out. The purpose for us openers was to be there an hour later at drinks and we were looking good for the first 45 minutes until a change of bowling got me unstuck. The ball came on much slower than I anticipated and an attempted back-foot puch into cover came off the bat much straighter and into the mits of a lunging fielder at a short mid-off. I was gutted. After feeling so comfortable at the crease and waiting for those bad balls I had thrown it all away. The next man in pulled a ball after being in for 20 seconds and put it down the throat of a deep square leg. Wickets continued to fall until a 6th wicket partnership which went through an entire session (1 hour). We needed 30 runs off 15 overs with 3 wickets in hand and fell 12 runs short. There was roughly 5 fours for both innings which gives an indication of the slowness of the oval. We know that had we been batting the previous week many shots would have resulted in more runs but that's the way it goes.

Personally I am disappointed in myself for listening to my batting partner advising me of the quickness of a bowler. Who knows whether I actually adjusted my shot to accommodate this but the lesson I learned was to never again listen to advice on what a bowler will or might do. Just bloody play each ball on its merits. One of the blokes remarked how Greg Chappell never wanted to know whether a bloke was bowling outswingers or legcutters as it promoted pre-meditating rather than just watching the ball and playing it appropriately. I agree. After seeing off the opening bowlers and feeling bloody good at the crease I missed a great opportunity to just bat time with the run rate not being an issue and accumulating runs. Oh well.

I hope you fellas had more success!

My New Club

Not sure if this is kosher or not fellas but I'd love to show off my new cricket club. Based in Tamworth, City United has been a club in the doldrums but a new executive, some positive thinking, chasing juniors and bolstering the First Grade side with three NSW U/17's has led to a bright start to the season.

No longer able to play our great game, this is what I do when I'm not takin' the piss or signing up members to the Ricky Ponting Fan Club.

Check out our website.