Thursday, 30 December 2010

This Just In!!

Test side announcement to be delayed until 5.30pm.

Something big is brewing.

Ponting injured and won't play?

New captain to be named? That takes a board vote.

If it is Clarke I will lose my guts.

The Trouble With Ponting

For those who may not have seen it, reprinted here in full from The Cricket Tragics.

''I entered into discussion with the umpires about the detail of the decision, having viewed replays being shown on the big screen,'' Ponting said. ''I accept the discussion went for too long, and I understand the reasons for the dissent charge handed down by the ICC this evening.

''I was simply trying to seek clarification from the umpires regarding how the decision had been made after being referred to the third umpire. However, I would be unhappy if anyone thought I was being disrespectful towards the umpires as this wasn't my intention.''

Ponting's Full Defence on Sky News

The captaincy of Australia, it is said, is the second most important job in Australia. Perhaps it could also be said to be the second most privileged place in Australian society. It comes with expectations and responsibilities too but unfortunately, the incumbent has mostly just talked the talk in their regard.

Leadership is an odd thing. Their are many ways to lead ... by example, for instance. By standing out in harms way and beating one's breast and willing your comrades to stand with you. The examples by which one leads, however, are not chosen .. . yes I'll have that one, no I prefer not to do that ... leadership by example is a focus which never goes fuzzy at the edges and allows the leader to have time off. Perhaps this explains why Ricky Ponting so often fails as a leader and resorts to the ideas of others because he finds the glare in the spotlight too constant, too demanding?

The words and terms which Ponting uses to defend his actions on the second day of the annually most watched cricket match in Australia, are those of a man who refuses to accept failure, despite the obvious evidence that he has failed. Much of it is spin provided by the massagers of truth who know the Australian public wants to forgive their man - has to forgive their man - hence the references to the every man, club captains. It's enough to make those without an emotional sporting reference point dependant on the national team's success puke till bile rises and burns the honesty they hold to. My throat is still stinging.

There's deferral of blame too. So carefully inserted ... if he hadn't seen the replay on the big screen, he wouldn't have been so convinced ... therefore, its not Ponting's fault he went from short fuse to walking bomb. The cleverness here is that it's a claim that rings true.

In the end, Ponting says he's sorry, but he's still right about the Pietersen inside edge, because he saw it on the big screen. Cue The Beach Boys and "Won't Back Down" as fresh coats of Teflon are applied to his image by pleasant ladies and gents with wide smiles and so much to tell him about how wonderful he really is. The ultimate lie is to have the liar believe the new truth.

There is so much wrong with what he did but then so much more wrong with how his reaction was stage managed. It's all about us wanting to let this pass because our boys are under enough attack already from the Poms and its also about plausible deniability. If the media savages the skipper under such circumstance, they are unpatriotic.

Lets deal with a few facts. One player reacted to the ball passing by Pietersen's bat and it wasn't Ponting. Vision showed him being convinced into a referral by Haddin. The players watched replays shown ill advisedly on the big screen as the umpires were deciding Pietersen's fate. The replays showed a clear outcome and Aleem Dar communicated that to the players. The fact that Ponting couldn't allow it to end there is, as he has said, totally his responsibility. What followed was a petulant display which goes against a basic tenant of cricket which media and administrators have been breaking a lot lately, "the umpire is always right".

Why did he react with so little restraint?

The answer is only partly to do with the current state of play in a series in which his exalted position has finally failed to have evidence to support it - he has failed to make significant contributions with the bat in all but one innings and that was after the match was safe in Brisbane; he has dropped crucial catches at second slip where he once caught them as if shelling peas; his captaincy has been questioned as being bland and unimaginative as England have piled on runs.

To be truly derivative in seeking an explanation to to this brain explosion, a wander back over the last five years of Ponting's controversies give a truer reason for the refusal to accept the three umpires' opinion in Melbourne.

Ponting dislikes, even hates the use of technology in cricket and has spoken with passion about the shortfalls of its use. Again before this current series, he called on players to deliver an honest appraisal of catches that are a close call and to leave replays out of the decision making loop. He caused a storm in New Zealand when DRS equipment was unable to be used because of winds over 130k/h. In Bangladesh in 2006, Ponting hurled abuse at umpires Ian Howell and Aleem Dar over a referral involving Aftab Ahmed and lost 25% of his match fee when referee Jeff Crowe found him guilty.In the DLF one day series in 2006, he launched an attack on umpire Mark Benson when he reversed a decision to dismiss Sachin Tendulkar and match referee decided not to proceed to disciplinary action. Even in this series, Ponting became annoyed by a third umpire decision in Brisbane when he felt he had held a fair catch from Alastair Cook and it was overturned.

Technology and its proper application may be a sore point for Ponting but the problem isn't just that. In 2005, Ponting blew up with Dar when he was run out by England substitute Gary Pratt, claiming England had no right to have a fielding specialist acting in the role of "acting" 12th man. His tally of five convictions for dissent against umpires in his six years as Captain can't all be blamed on technology but may have some basis in the personnel involved. It was interesting that he chose to comment on how expert the umpires for this match are, as at least three of the five conduct violations have involved Aleem Dar as the other party.

Ponting has always lacked self-control and despite spin to cover his tracks, his short fuse was apparent well before his ascent to the captaincy. A black eye when his reputation was reduced to annoying pest by a jealous boyfriend at a notorious Sydney nightclub haunt and his penis flopping display in an Indian equivalent are just two of the less delightful examples of warnings which should have seen him confined to the ranks. Unfortunately, we entered an era when performance was everything and Ponting performances were better than any. In return, he has traded on his role as a means of supplying rocket fuel to his batting and becoming easily the most dominant batsman of his generation and likely its most dangerous.

Perhaps the worst example of his aggressive, in your face petulance which owes as much to his immaturity as to the willingness of Cricket Australia to tolerate it, was the home series again the Indians three summers ago. India came to Australia on equal footing with the confident Australians who had squashed England the summer before and were taking a bruising, winner take all approach to Test cricket. Perhaps, in some way, Ponting needed to adopt an approach that might compensate for the hole left by match winners Warne, McGrath and the influential Langer, who despite being the toughest cricketer of his generation, also knew where the line was and kept Ponting from crossing it.

India were crushed in the Boxing Day Test, Hayden making one of three hundreds against them that summer and the bowlers, including a young and inexperienced Mitchell Johnson, easily ran through them. In the second game in Sydney, Ponting two enforcer's, Hayden and Symonds, were a physical presence over the Indians but their off spinner, Harbhajan Singh refused to take a backward step and suddenly the two bully boys were screaming like eight year olds who were about to be found out by the teacher and the match exploded into alleged racial taunts and the sort of bad blood one would expect to find along the Indian/Pakistani border. Then when Michael Clarke took three wickets in an over, deep into the last hour's allotment, Ponting exploded in one of the crassest displays that misfortune would allow. Many observers, were appalled and some, such as Peter Roebuck, called for his head, rightly stating that this was conduct unbecoming.

Cricket Australia sat on its hands and changed its name.

How much is enough? Apparently no amount of regular poor conduct from the Australian Captain will move either the ICC or Cricket Australia or the selectors to make a move against him. Perhaps they should note the spontaneous booing which began after five minutes of the most recent bat-and-ball-go-home stuff in Melbourne and again directed at Aleem Dar. It was no longer just the Balmy Army singing jeers at a man they once admired and feared. Australians in the outer voiced their disapproval at being so poorly represented by the man with the biggest share of little man syndrome in Australian sport. Even Members hissed their contempt.

The ICC, having taken part and whole match payment from him repeatedly, continues to slap his wrist and provide no disincentive. Given the severity of this incident in Melbourne and its repeating nature, a suspension would have been more in order. In soccer, if you stack those yellow cards, it doesn't matter who you are, you watch from the sidelines. Cricket, with all its genteel pretensions can stomach no such thing, having to be forced to take action against obvious cheats only when the media applies pressure. Toothless tigers rarely worry the hunters.

The show is almost over but whilst you and I can hear the Fat Lady warming up, Ricky Ponting still thinks he'll smack England for 100 in Sydney and life will go on. He doesn't like losing but hasn't seemed to notice how often it is happening. His high performance Alzheimer's makes him forgetful of dropped catches and the regularity with which an opener stands, watching him leave for the sheds. He doesn't notice younger players who adore him rushing to his defence. The arbiter of "the line", Justin Langer, needs to move beyond his batting coach role and have a word.

For Ponting's sake and more broadly for Australian cricket, I hope this man whose batting genius has made us all gape at our own inadequacy, will think on the consequences and call it a day in Sydney. As much as I have disliked and critiqued his captaincy and his inability to lead, I'd still like the chance to wave him off at the SCG and reminisce on his behalf on great innings that belong, properly to the past. I hold no malice and would rather hold no regret.

The time is right Skipper. For once, step away from other's plans and suggestions, sniff the breeze and strut your stuff one last time and let us afford you the praise your sumptuous batting and wonderful fielding has well and truly earned.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Ashes Ratings - Australia

Goodbye (well, a maintained absence) to the urn. Well played England; two innings victories are not just fallen upon, they are earned with consistent pressure and there is no doubt England applied pressure with bat and ball in 3 of the 4 tests (so far) and got the results. Whereas in 2009 the series came down to a few key moments with both teams experiencing innings wins, this series has been won by the best team - who were the best by a stretch. Johnson and Harris gave real hope in Perth that our pace attack was indeed good enough to take 20 wickets. It was only good enough to do it the once. Sydney means nothing now. A level series is fine with England and I doubt they'll be as on task as they have been in Melbourne. I don't really believe much in any perceived importance of 'saving face' when the battle is lost so selectors may as well give youth a chance in my opinion.

With that here is Lefty's analysis of Australia's performance player by player with a view to the future.

His conversion rate illustrates his middle order style where his 50s will be more valuable. Put him at 6 and you may see some tons from him. I'm not convinced his bowling is really up to 15 overs when they're badly needed but as long as he's not relied on to be a main part of the attack then he'll be handy. He did make some important runs so, as always seems to be the case, it's hard to be, well, too hard on him. 7.5/10

Gritty and determined but his injury should spell the end for the crab man. Great servant upon his return to the test team but it will be hanging onto the past; which has been part of Aus' problem for 4 years, if he is brought back. Not all players get to go out on terms they'd like. 5/10

While everyone wants to see young fellas get a chance and succeed at the highest level his technique is too village. Having a good cut shot is more than helpful for an opener (or any batsman) but if the bowlers know they can bowl short at you or get you out by enticing the drive you have to compensate and he can't. More time for NSW and some big scores and he can be looked at again. 3/10

Great servant of the game. A liked captain, was a brilliant batsman and fielder. This is no longer the case. He may still be a very good batsman but at 76 or however old he is why would you move him to 5 or wait for him to regain form? The Ashes are gone and so should Ponting be. Thank you and goodbye. An unfortunate way to go out but if Healy got treated the way he did while still good enough to keep for his country then Ponting can't complain. 1/10

One of my favourite players who I've learned alot about batting from watching. This series he gave lessons in how not to bat in test cricket. Whether it's form, injury, shot selection or the lack of a girl friend he has looked undisciplined by feeling for the ball outside off. His 80 in Adelaide showed he's not a bad batsman but I'm unsure what the best course of action is with him. If he were to be given time in the seconds I wouldn't be upset. 3/10

My only 'right' call for the series. His style is so simple but effective. I was unsure whether he could bounce back and so thought 2 tests was fair for him to prove himself. I'd make him or Haddin captain and keep him for 2 years as a senior player for youth to learn from. He's always positive, obsessed with cricket and a leader of men I feel. If not for him this summer............ 9/10

Is shit. Is gone. Should stay that way. 0/10

Not a spinner but may become one. Not a number 6 but may become one. Worth a try but, like Hughes, technical problems are there for all to see and they are ones that get him out. Give enough outside off and he'll feather one. This is too easy to an international bowler. Back to shield sunshine and prove you're worth another chance. 3.5/10

Whatever selectors do please don't ask him to bat 6. It's a batsman's job and they get to field at point or slip; not be a direct part of 540 deliveries in a day. He may be good enough to bat higher but that shouldn't be how CA deal with the batting problems. England used to move guys around to problem areas and that just left a problem where the batman came from. He, with Hussey, can say 'I did my bit' but being a team game and the selfless nature he's demonstrated in the middle (unlike Trott who is out for team Trott only) this won't be much consolation. He came into a team on the down slide but has consistently delivered. He could captain and would do a good job. 9/10

One blinder of a test and two shite ones. In isolation perhaps not too bad but part of an 18 month pattern that shows he needs to work on consistency. In Perth I don't even think he was bowling to much of a plan as such. It's just that he was getting inswing and able to bowl in the right areas enough for 6 for. Too regularly he doesn't look like getting a wicket and goes for heaps. If he winds up getting 3 then you can say 'that's the way he bowls' but the prospect of getting those 3 is looking dimmer. 6.5/10

Workhorse extraordinaire who will not play again for Australia. Bloomed late and deserved a chance in the baggy green and got the most he could out of his bowling. Too little variation around his stock full bowling means he would always be a chance of having an average day against good opposition but rarely a poor one. Worst mistake SACA ever made was to deny him a 2 year contract. Unlucky bloke. 7/10

Well, unforeseen by me Bolly wasn't up to test cricket. Too much ODI and 20/20? Perhaps. On his day can be very serviceable but not likely to get bags. There's nothing worse to a captain than when a bowler says, 'I can't do it'. We may see him again but it will take some proving of his fitness and memories are short when it comes to being unable to stand up when you're needed. At least with bowlers! 2.5/10

The other enigma? Unluckiest bowler since Darren Gough? No. Honest outswing bowler with few tricks and not the bounce he needs off a good length to be more effective. He can do a job for you and get 2 poles but if noone else is striking he becomes too redundant. Very tough call but not the future me thinks. There's too many other quicks worth trying to persist with Hilf. Sorry mate, back to Tassie. 6/10

We love you cos you're Victorian. Most words to an Aussie chant which is deservedly directed to the Phar Lap of Australian cricket. Bowled fuller than the other quicks and got results. What a free lesson that others seemed too ignorant to observe. I didn't rate him before the Ashes (I mean ahead of some others) but he's improved - developing some later and also reverse swing and better control where he's asking more questions of the batsmen more often. If Johnson could take Siddle's free lessons Aus's pace attack would look far more damaging and the 3rd quick could then prove the difference. 8/10

Summation: isn't it funny how spin was thought to be a decisive factor ahead of the series and Swann really hasn't grabbed top order poles? One could say Aus badly missed a spinner but really the pace attack, as a group, couldn't do their job so what difference would a spinner have made in the first innings? The other main area where people thought the series would be won or lost was the top orders - England killed Australia here. The thing that could be most focused on though is the depth of the pace attacks. England used 5 out of their 6 quicks and every single one of them performed. In terms of English batting Collingwood is the only guy who didn't really perform his role well but even he took some great catches. England looked well drilled from the time they landed and it is right that they keep the urn. Australia should be looking at India next summer and spend the next 12 months looking at 5, 6 or 7 players they feel are the future of Australian cricket. I think some of these guys are Starc, Kawahja, Marsh (Shaun and Mitchell), Peter George and White (argggghhh, yes I concede - batting 5 for Vic now and undoubtedly the best captain in the country). You'll notice none of these guys open the batting for their state in 4 day cricket. I think this is where Aus will find the most problems for the next 12 months.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Is This Good for Australian Cricket?

With the impending retention of The Ashes in such devastating fashion in Melbourne we must address the issue of whether it will be good for Australian cricket. Will the selectors finally cede to a real rebuilding phase and make the changes that need to be made?

Will Ponting step down in the interests of his batting form? And if so will the selectors just give it to Clarke who is in worse form?

Will they swing the axe and make wholesale changes for Sydney or will they try to square the series?

The Australian public seem to be the more realistic of all. You only have to talk to the masses for a few minutes to realise they are more accepting of the harsh truth that we simply just don't have the cattle at the moment at any level to challenge the big boys.

The time for small changes in order to win a test here and there or pinch a series are over. We must plan for the medium to long term future and blood the players that can get us to where we need to be.

I am talking about the two main things on the horizon. The return bout against England away and the Test World Cup. Forget what is in between, especially the one day WC which should not involve our test squad at all.

Too many test batsmen are getting too many easy runs on one day decks and are fashioning their game at that level. When the time comes to actually tough out a session or longer the mindset is just not there.

Watson has done well this year but gets out too often when his team still needs him playing one day or T20 shots. Hughes does not have the technique or patience to handle the moving ball. Ponting is past his best and should probably be playing in his last series, as captain at the very least.

Clarke is not right and is guilty of loose shots either too early or to the wrong balls and has failed to deliver when his country has needed him too many times this series. I don't care what anyone says a T0 captain should not be the test captain. They are not even the same sport.

Hussey has been great this series and is no doubt having a purple patch, but for how long? Big scores give way to bad memories even when sustained under performing is involved. Surely everyone remembers he was one innings away from being dropped, probably forever.

Smith is not an allrounder at test level anyway and if the selectors wanted one that could bat they should have chosen White. If even to groom him for the top job if he makes runs.

Haddin I think is not the best gloveman in the country and has kept well this series but I can't help think he stays in the side for his batting more than anything. They are obviously hiding that fact by batting him below Smith but we all know he should be higher.

The bowlers are a whole different thing with pitches and such to take into account. I won't go there just yet.

So the real question is not if this is good for Australian cricket but "Will the selectors take that opportunity?"

Sunday, 26 December 2010

here we go!

What a show we are expecting!
Will it be a world record?
Did England "hiccup" last time?
Can we get that urn back?
Will it rain?
Punters finger? ...and can he get runs?

We're about to find out some of these answers on crickets blue chip day. so strap ya selves in Melbourne, DTW is at the G and the tartan is swinging free!

Saturday, 25 December 2010


But more importantly. Only one more sleep until the real thing I've been waiting for all year.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

WHAT DID YOU SAY!!!!!!!??????

A fair bit is being said about the revamped, tougher talking and walking Aussies at the moment, and why not? Self belief and attitude are such integral parts of a winning performance in sport.

Firstly i'll start that Hey-dids has spoken out in the media saying England should, "Get over it!"
I don't know if he is that correct in doing this. I have read both KP and Cook saying it ok, not out of control, part of the game and basically expected from Australia so they aren't upset. Maybe that is their return of serve, "Doesn't worry me!" to counter any benefit that it seems Australia get from being lippy. But i don't think so.

Many a commentator laments the lack of, 'going into the oppositions change rooms for a beer after the game'. Be that as it may, many were not professional or played the later parts of their careers in the very under-paid professional era. The Ashes is the closest thing to war for our countries and the media and public glare are intense- positive results are paramount and socialising can come after the series or careers.

If England expect Australia to go verbal out of habit, they must have been stunned at the timid attitudes they received in the first 2 Tests. CA's wrist slapping and finger-waving after the heated Indian summer brings into sharp focus how little they understand the needs of their own team.

India were bloody big sooks that tour, prepared to let their players mutter barbs but threatening to take their bat and ball and go home when said player should have been pulled into line. Instead, we have our players dragged over the coals and subsequently their standard MO of playing affected; NOT GOOD ENOUGH CA!

Sure we are renowned as verbally hard when it comes to 'gamesmanship', and i'm not saying stepping onto the turf permits carte blanche remarks, but even professionals normally have a pretty good idea of where the line is, and if India and CA don't like the way we play- TUFF_TITTY!
CA have done SFA of late and India can hold their top ranking (after RSA, do they still) another way, sans pissing and moaning.

To their credit, i have not heard Poms carry on about it in the media (maybe a bit on the field but that just looks like them trying to play the same game) -correct me if i'm wrong- and if it lifts our guys MORE I SAY!

We here so much about other longer established nations "cultures", well this is clearly part of ours. i have experienced it at every level and type of sport i've played, and quite frankly it has no effect on me. i don't dish it out only because i'm slower than a slug on rohypnol and would only embarrase myself and then loose my cool and concentration... but i don't care what anyone else says.

this has been another session of
stoph verismo
down the wicket

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

We have cricket

is it the right colour 4 days out?

Well after our dodgy and unsure start, we are in the gate!

My apologies to Lefty for causing him the stress of flying over to an uncertain outcome, but now the job is done.
Let's talk cricket.

I didn't do a wash up of the last test, but if i had to sum it up in as few words as possible, i'd say, "Thank you Cameron Sutherland!"
A great test track, that had everyone -including the Poms- say it.
Something for everyone.

Now the issue of the team selection for Melbourne- what a dilema!
With the ball, no one did anything that puts them in the, "please take a seat, mate" catagory.
Hey-Diddle didn't get wickets, but was tight and applied the torniquet, Hilf was much the same, and Jono and Rino were very very good.
So, does the G need a spinner? i like beer at the G, but would be prepared to give up Beer for the test.

Hauritz with another century must be... well, we all know what he thinks his chances are.

Pontings finger must be giving Kwahaja (must learn to spell that!)the drools. Will he, won't he? Punter has a habit of missing the od Boxing day, given i think it is his last chance, i doubt he will miss out this time.

Short and sweet today- there are many more things to be covered, but i need to do that which i'm paid for!

stoph verismo
Down the wicket

ps. who says you can't win a test with only 3 batsman... as long as you can get 20 wickets!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Boxing Day

Apparently it’s going to be a packed house at the G on Boxing Day. A look on Ticketek has yielded only single seats in the platinum area ($145) which in isolation is not too bad but if you add in the $300 I dropped on Adelaide and drinks it makes for a very unhappy wife.

Obviously standing room will be the option but the view at the G is nowhere near as good as Adelaide from those areas which raises the question. “How early would we need to get there to get the last of the general admission seats?”

I think in retrospect we should have anticipated the popularity of tickets and planned ahead….

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Out, Not Out

The umpire review system has been fully utilised in today's play and has highlighted an issue that will raise it's head more and more until it is addressed. Should technology be used in umpiring?

Run outs, unless by half the pitch are seldom adjudicated by the on field umpires. That transition was almost seamless. As soon as the technology was available it became almost common practise for the call to be made upstairs. The review system was brought into the game to eliminate the howlers but is more and more used to decide the close calls.

For me the decision must be taken away from the players altogether.

The umpire should be the only ones to ask for a review. If he is uncertain if the batsmen hit the ball or it pitched outside leg then he should be able to call upstairs for confirmation. The way it is at the moment is almost a joke. The umpires should not be proven wrong rather they should ask for assistance.

At the moment the umpires confidence is being shot with every wrong call. How difficult must it be to detect a faint edge that Hotspot shows up so glaringly? That is not a mistake. Don't even get me started on Eagle Eye.

The technology should only be there so the umpire can confirm that what he saw was correct. Not for reversals due to a technicality and definitely not so a batsmen can clutch at straws.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Apropos Whoa

Great 1st day of the Perth Test... for Pom spectators!
10 Aussie wickets and the Aussie bowlers wearing themselves out doing the work the upper order should have done; perfect!

I love the Perth Test, because it starts 1/2 hour before i gt home from work and goes into the evening, TOPS! But on the down side, i tend to watch more of it than listen on the radio so i am subjected to the "commentary" of the ex-caps and uber brats more than the excellent Grandstand call of the game.

So what did i see?
I saw the best "Perth" track I've seen in years. Lively but consist ant, who'd have thought that waving your bat at lifting balls outside of off was going to get you caught by those blokes standing way back there!
Maybe it is because of the mundane nature of our production line pitches that had batsman confused as to how to face up on a pitch that was wished for by our team, but in reality proved too much and just what the 6 foot 20 Poms wanted too!

I'll let you guys comment on Hughes, hmmmmffff!
Watson, good ball.
Ponting- more about you later, great catch- but you take them when you believe in yourself.
Hussey, thank you so much...again.
Smith- what did i say about outside off?
Haddin, as per Hussey.
Johnson, well done! i hope the self beliefs continues with your bowling- the 2 overs looked good, keep it up.
Harris, 3x better than your last 2 knocks!
Siddle, it's not your responsibility, but thank funk you did that.
Hilf, same goes to you.

A bit has been said about the need to get a wicket before the close of play, and about Australia's lack of penetration for not getting one, but over all i think that was a good display of tight and thoughtful bowling, apart from Harris going a bit dearly.

part 2

I've made no effort to watch Warnie, but due to it being straight after the days play i left the box on to see what it was all about and to see if the local lad had to say to Ponting.
Warne was adequate in the roll of interviewer; his 6 spinning questions was quite contrived, and it was obvious that Clarkson knew his craft better than Warne, but the real interest was the dynamic between Warne and Ponting.
For mine it was clear Warne was determined to come across as not just out and out ripping into Ponting, but someone that was prepared to ask the hard question, respectfully. Except it was clear that Punter was uncomfortable, and that Warne was toying with him as he did that hapless South African batsman.

To be fair, i liked several of Ponting answers, namely about nurturing people and being a mate to all- but i liked them only on humanitarian grounds. As a captain, he showed why he is going to lose this 3rd Ashes. You are not there to be a "friend of the people" Punter, you are there to be sporting but ruthless, and WIN!

While Warn stated at th start of the show that he was honoured to be considered viable to play in this series, but that he was bowling double bouncers and that he was not going to play, after his interview with Ponting, i wonder if he could be lured back if he was give the number one cap? It was easy to see who was the boss!

stoph verismo

down the wicket

Thursday, 16 December 2010


This just in.

SEN - Ponting says captaincy is out of his hands but does admit that he might not see this Ashes series out as skipper...

Lose this test and I tend to agree with you Ricky. Perhaps you should have fallen on your sword before the series?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Put Up, Or Shut Up.

The time has come gents to put your testes on the line and make a bold prediction for the third test in Perth. My prediction for Brisbane was spot on…..for the first three days then went Down Syndrome. Will Australia pull themselves out of the mire or will the Poms finish it all after three tests? Can Beer take wickets or will he crash and burn. Will Smith get some runs, or Ponting, or Hughes? Step right up and put your reputation on the line. I’m not just after a result, I mean a day by day account. A six pack to the man who is the closest…

Day 1 – England bat – 3/285
Day 2 – England 10/488, Australia 1/84
Day 3 – Australia 7/366
Day 4 – Australia 10/445, England 4/201
Day 5 – England 8/308dec, Australia 6/255

Bell 165, Hussey 155, Swann 2/85 & 4/66

Match drawn. Hopeful yes.

Monday, 13 December 2010

AB for PM!

There is nothing like a weekend of working on renos with the radio on Grandstand and hearing the around the grounds to get an appreciation of what is going on in this vast land we call home.

Firstly, a big congrats to Strauss and White for endeavouring to make the 3 day tour game a match. With 'sporting declarations' de rigour the stage was set for an exciting run chase on the last day for England... alas Melbourne, i love you, but your fickle weather can be a heart breaker. Hearing the stops due to the rain was all the more frustrating when 25km away i was sweating like a bushy in bright sunshine!

The few headlines i read on line about Victoria belting the Poms should be summarily ignored as Strauss bowled himself and Morgan to the in form McKay and Herrick and gave them a strike rate over 210 and a bowlers economy of over 12 each!

Of greater interest was Beer -obviously!
All eyes were on the new baggy green hat stand as WA bowled everyone else in the side -joking- before the ball was tossed over to Beer so he could tantalise the media for 2 overs before the heavens opened so violently hearing the broadcasters was nigh on impossible.

Beer had batted well enough the afternoon of his call up, and returned the next morning to be not out at the end of the innings, but that's not what he is about, is it. What we wanted to see was how well he kept his head with the ball; by all accounts he was landing it well and only went for one in each of the 2 overs he got.

Beers appointment has stunned many, but it was interesting to hear Mark Ridgeway talk him up after coaching him at St Kilda... still, good bloke or otherwise, to put in a debutant in such a critical test leaves many a hand going on auto-pilot to scratch the head. With the 'ditch admitting it is a gamble, and Chappell adding that due to a shallow talent pool Johnson had to be handled carefully to ensure he would slot straight back in, the greater focus is even more directed on the whole selection panel.

'Ditch's contract is up after the world cup, so with an Ashes loss looming it is now time to scout around and find a solution for the dysfunctional set-up we now have... and i know where to start!

AB for chairman of selectors! Captain Cranky on the field is the only viable choice to ensure the required ruthlessness and focus is applied to the task. We can throw anyone else into the mix to pad it out, but it is imperative that the head honcho be someone with the drive, understanding and respect of the game necessary to pull us up by the boots straps and have a genuine long view.

AB for CoS!

stoph verismo
down the wicket

ps. how much fun are the Sub Ed's going to have with Beer? Most likely heading for the Herald Sun should Beer get belted- "Beer Battered!"

Who said this:
"I don't play for them any more."

...and what was he doing when he said it?

Friday, 10 December 2010

R's holes and opinions

CD (career death) Day today!

every man with a keyboard and his dog with an iphone is writing about the impending Australian team selection today.
for mine the best comments are coming from those associated with the England team and the WA coach.

"If you're chopping and changing a lot, people can play for their individual spots instead of playing for the team," said England keeper Prior.

i have an opinion on this, IT IS ABSOLUTE CRAP! short of deliberately running out a team mate that may be in consideration over you- which is stupid, because you are already in the side- how does this statement even work?. if people are playing their best (for whatever reason) then we are getting what we need from them. So thanks for trying to be helpful Prior, helpful like a hangnail!

Former RSA coach Arthur added something too, "Right now is the time to calm everything down, it's not the time to start putting players under the microscope," said Arthur, now coach of Western Australia. I'd say he doesn't want North back!
What a stupid thing to say, now is EXACTLY the time to be getting the critical eye going.

Ponting too came up with a good one on a radio sound bite, claiming North should still be in the side. Ok Punter, if you really think so, he can have your spot!

As all eyes look towards the SA and NSW match it appears Smith, Ferguson and Hauritz are all doing enough there to go to the head of the class come next week... we'll see!

yeah! i'm PO'd at the moment!
stoph verismo
down the wicket

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Something Old...

I don't know if you guys have been listening to the radio today but there has been a LOT of talk about one S.K Warne making a comeback. Of course it is just conjecture but it does raise the questions....

If Warne did put his hand up could the selectors ignore him?

Should he be picked if he does put his hand up?

Would he perform better than the spinner that would be selected otherwise?

Should he put his hand up?

All interesting questions. Picking him is a very short term solution if it was successful but really who cares? The Poms go back empty handed and we have two more years to develop a team that can keep the urn on foreign soil. How much of a learning experience would it be for the likes of Doherty or Smith to be twelfth man to a side that has Warne. How valuable would he be to Ponting when he is out of ideas after the first hour?
I for one hate the man as a person but I think even retired he remains one of Australia's best bowlers.
The rest might just have energised him enough to go on for a few more years and if we have to throw the captaincy at him to do it I think it is worth it.

how it is.... and how it SHOULD be for CA

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

What A Weekend It Was

And so it is that such an anticipated event is over leaving more then just a tinge of regret and disappointment. Not at the weekend that was the Inaugural DTW Adelaide Pilgrimage but the fact that it had to end.
Friends were confirmed, food and beverages were consumed and legends were made. Not least of all Tony's steak on the second night. I still have some tingling in the toilet area when I think of it.
What began slowly with a somewhat late Stoph Verismo soon turned into a drunken dash for the border as my shift ended at the wheel and Outside Sledge took over the driving duties. We were treated to the hospitality of the lovely citizens of Beaufort and possibly the longest wait ever for a vegetable filo. Our collective parting wish was that Beaufort might wash away in the downpour that Outey was treated to no sooner had he started the engine. He perhaps might have experienced it less had he bothered to put the transmission into drive rather than third so we revved all the way to the border.
Another driving change was in order as we replenished our beer supplies and Stoph pulled on his driving gloves and prepared for what would be countless urination stops on some of South Australia's most mundane roads. I was treated to a tap on the shoulder every five minutes to pass a stubbie by Outey determined to make up for lost time spent sober behind the wheel.
The roads sped by and the hills appeared and we slowly wound our way down to the lovely village of Adelaide. Suburban streets gave way to oceanic views and we were finally greeted with the welcome "C.U.N.T welcomes DTW" and what would be awesome South Australian hospitality.
The beers ensued and the banter quickly flowed into the gutter. The early hours were soon upon us as we retired in readiness for the real stuff.
Dawn greeted us to yet more beer and foulness as we lubricated the psyche for what lay ahead. Donning the kiltage felt somewhat alien for about five seconds but I soon warmed to idea of a breeze between my legs. It was time for the cricket!
Never before have I experienced the willingness of so many to see so much as I did on that walk to the ground. It seemed everyone, old, young, male and female was keen to see what was under our kilts and it was hilarious.
The day panned out the same as the cricket took second row to the boys in kilts. The Barmy Army even delighted in our antics as the heat of the day and shoddy mid strength pus took it's toll. I couldn't have even told you the score as we left the ground and began the trek back to Henley Beach. A welcome swim and some eye candy at the local beach refreshed us for the evening to come.
What followed can only be described as culinary excellence as our senses were treated to the food of the gods...steak. And not just any steak. The juiciest, tenderest Angus you could ever wish for. I actually had some growth and Stoph, a devout vegetarian even had a crack but was not impressed. Red wine was poured and I am sad to say wasted as the day took it's toll on my drunk and ageing body. The last I remember was the comfort of the outdoor couch and a sip of a magnificent Shiraz before I was waking to a dark and lonely backyard. I sauntered inside and abruptly passed out on the bed.
Dawn and a swim and it was time for day two of the yawn fest that was the cricket. My solemn promise of no more XXXX Gold lasted all of five minutes as Stoph set about proving the theory "You can get trashed on the mid stuff?". The cricket followed a similar path but was set apart by the awesome performance of KP as he treated our bowlers with disdain.
Stumps saw a very drunken but very satisfied Stoph as he left the ground wet, but vindicated. We set about the task of getting back to the restaurant and the courtesy of Tony as he graciously gave us a lift home. Food and drinks flowed. It wasn't long before the talk turned to a net session and we trundled off to the nets.
What followed was a mixture of pure genius and hack ability. I won't elaborate except to say each of us added to the mix in both ways. My body is still sore.
Early night brought a sad goodbye to Lefty and Tony but solidified memories that would last until I say we do it all again next year.
Thank you all guys for a truly memorable weekend of all that I love. Good friends, good cricket, good food and drink.

It's A Great Start When You Have To Eat & Run

Tony Greig must now be considered an honourary Victorian after calling on the selectors to reinstate Brad Hodge to the Test team after Australia's thrashing in Adelaide. While he's at it, maybe he should check to see if Dennis Lillee is available!

The Hodge I admired as a cricketer would laugh in their two faces.

a great day for Australian cricket.

no, my title isn't sarcasm... it is hope.

i have been saying since first predictions on the Ashes results that we will be done by this confident and supremely organised England team, and while they only have one win on the board... well, you all saw what happened!

So why am i so optimistic? Well, actually at the moment i'm a little flat; maybe it is the result, or the demands i put on my liver over the last 3 days (can't be lack of sleep- sorry about being a full tummied couch kipper Lefty!), but i AM GLAD we have been comprehensively MUNTED!

Everyone can point a finger- and we all will (and should), but the reality is we can take little from the last 2 results and the last one really must force to the fore what the hell is going to change before we get change?

in simple terms it is glaringly obvious: we can't get wickets and the same "repeat offenders" keep offering too little with the bat.

for several seasons now we've asked for(and been told that we are getting) rebuilding of the side, so my positive spin on our shellacking is due to the fact that SOMETHING now must happen.

of course, with Katich's injury we will get an extra change that wasn't desired, but at least there can be no excuses as inepts squirm under the very magnified microscope.

So what would be worse: continuing shuffling around a few positions, or wholesale change as half the bums get kicked and my preferred option of blooding youth with the assurance, "we don't expect you to win, we expect you to learn, get experience and try to win. you won't be pilloried for trying, just show some grit. do you want that?"

Self belief is everything in sport, and some may say that my approach above could damage that in a young'un, maybe, maybe not, it is a bit of a blank card when told the only expectations is to develop from the experience.
And any of the "old guard" that lived through this Adelaide loss and pain will not be there to use it as fuel in the future much like Englands senior players have after Warne's mugging last time.

Roebuck made the point on the radio that he doesn't believe in the "cyclical nature" of sport, and i would partly agree with him on that; but i didn't agree on his explanation why. he said that you didn't win because it was "your turn", you won because you were organised, commit ed, believe and practice, and that part is right.

But i think he missed the point when people use the cyclical term; sides coalesce (which could be used against my performance contracts argument to a degree), as they gel their self belief grows and winning becomes easier, more so as everybody knows every other member better, and this DOES happen in cycles.

A few great players form the nucleus of a side and others find greatness in themselves while around them... but as we know, it can't last.

Obvious comparisons to the great West Indies side that held dominance for so long have been made, and now we compare the demise of the two. But i'm not so pessimistic as to believe we will be in the wilderness indefinitely as the WI side has been. The fact we are a country and they a confederated region makes ALL the difference. Despite state rivalry and state governing bodies jockeying for power/representation/whatever, we will still "Come together..." maybe not "Right now," as Australians.

Now i started this blog to rip into slack, narrow-minded, political and just plain stupid governing bodies and bureaucrats within the game, and i'm not pumping out this rosy message and letting them off the hook. CA must cop a rigorous bollocking over where our team sits (on its arse while CA sits on its hands) in world cricket at the moment, so i encourage everyone to email them and have a say.
But while it is dark days at the moment... you know the rest!

stoph verismo
down the wickt

Monday, 6 December 2010

...and some suss actions!

the first of many- Adelaide Test

DTW net session results

And the results are in from the Adelaide leg of DTW net sessions.

Outside Sledge - 6/215
Stoph - 2/76 (in quickly fading light)
Tony - absent
Nospmas - 4/546
Leftriteout - 9/342 (in 189 overs)

Thanks for making the pilgrimage to our fair village boys. Henley Beach will never be the same again!

20 days til Boxing Day, doo dah, doo dah

Thursday, 2 December 2010


In a show of acknowledgment and support of Down The Wicket and services to "HIll's" cricket and cricket in general, our very own Lefty has been asked to toss the coin for the 2nd Test. About time too!

BOM- Adelaide forecast! first 3 days of Test

Friday Mainly fine. Partly cloudy. Min 17 Max 30
Saturday Fine. Mostly sunny. Min 21 Max 35
Sunday Cloudy. Possible shower. Min 23 Max 33

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Which Finger Is That Nathan?

I don't know which finger he spins with but it would seem Nathan Hauritz's middle finger might be the one the Aussie selectors are noticing this evening. Follow the link for the story.
Nathan Hauritz Takes Five

sneak preview of T's back

and there is the front. the colour strip was not a funky design thing, it was put on because for some reason when i was doing the names they went through and so were backwards on the front...crazy! so it was a bit of a cover up.

just a few more lines to cut out of the front stencil and they will be done- here is a sneak preview of the back.

i'm not an expert, so they are not perfect with a few smudges and the like...but they are unique!

next year, i'm running a pole and only doing one back and one front- this was a CRAZY BIG job!!!
just as well i've been home sick this last week, or i wouldn't have got it done!

stoph verismo
down the wicket

ps. 2 more sleeps ntil the DTW crew hit Adelaide! TOPS!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

risk aversion and the end game. or, we don't need to win

in the wrap up of the first test, heaps of comment will be made about selection, selectors, the pitch and tactics... all valid.

i want to look at something else to be taken from the result- intent.

while i totally concede a captains goal must be to win the series, I'm putting it out that Strauss pea-hearted a chance (admittedly slim on the flattest of flat-tracks) to play for a result, only because England currently hold the Ashes.

Sure it is a captains prerogative to play as he sees fit, and as stated, i know a result was unlikely due to the track, but for mine Strauss turned yesterdays middle session into psychological warfare and an exercise in fatiguing Australia's bowlers before the quick turn-around to Adelaide.

If that is the case, i'm of the belief that Strauss may have done Australia a favour. Clearly Johnson is the weakest link in the bowling line-up, and now the selectors have virtually no option but take him out of the mix... something that may not have happened for Adelaide.

So, for that i thank you AA#2, but for your inability to declare a session earlier and put the onus and challenge back on the Aussie batsman, i award you the "Pisum Sativa Cardio" medal for the first test... if you continue to play out the series for draws just retain the Ashes, a bigger prize awaits!

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Monday, 29 November 2010

Oh Dear - What Can The Matter Be

One single camera shot from the morning's play sums up where this series is heading. It wasn't the sight of Alastair Cook celebrating his double century or Jonathon Trott his single. It wasn't the sight of Ricky Ponting in endlessly repeated conferences with his bowler and the sound of commentators and crowd alike demanding he stop wasting time. It wasn't even the vision of Michael Clarke flooring the easiest slips catch imaginable.

No, it was a picture of the players area in the stand. In the middle ground, the next two men in - Pietersen and Collingwood - were reclining in apparent ease and comfort in their chairs, grins firmly fixed. In the background, Andrew Strauss and batting coach, English legend and former captain Graham Gooch were laughing loudly over some point or other. In the foreground and to the bottom right of screen, a forlorn, well dressed gentleman sat with his head in his hands, his shaking head wagging an earpiece presumably feeding him commentary. For nearly sixty seconds between overs that scene remained the same until the distressed man sat up and dropped his hands.

Andrew Hilditch has never looked worse.

From The Cricket Tragics

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Batting Collapses

After yesterday's potentially match winning partership between Hussy and Haddin we totted off to bed all warm and safe in the notion that Australia would once again triumph in Brisbane. All manner of sins forgotten amid the elation of twin centuries and damn near a double. What is now becoming more apparent by the minute is how important the failure of most of our line up was as Strauss and Cook eat away at our lead. If only our top order or tail end could have offered some sort of resistance and maybe a hundred or so more runs our total and lead would have at the very least made sure that we could not lose this test. As it is we are faced with the very real possibility of a tricky run chase on the last day.
Let's face it Australia were a bad umpiring call away from being bowled out for two hundred going on the return from our tail end and would almost surely be staring defeat in the face by now. The pitch is still good and England have all their wickets in hand and only a deficit of less than a hundred to navigate. After that the test is square and it becomes a case of how many we chase and how long we have to get them, or hold on.
We need to win this test and take full advantage of the two H's partership otherwise England will take far more from Brisbane than we will. We really needed to bury them yesterday and should have made them bowl out the entire day. As it is we now rely on a catastrophic England batting collapse to regain the ascendancy which doesn't seem likely.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Disappointing to say the least

Yesterday, as plain as day we were shown why Michael Clarke should never be the captain of Australia. Not only did he let the team down by declaring himself fit to play in the most important test for a long time, he let himself down. Watching him bat on the replays showed me just how selfish a player he is. What sort of captain is he going to make when he will be expected to sacrifice his own game for the team when he can't do it now. It's not like he was carrying a soft tissue injury, the man looked almost like a pensioner trying to play at some of the balls. He must have know he was not right yet put his hand up anyway.
Disappointing Michael, the country expected so much more from you. You better not put your hand up next test.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Tea for (day) 2

anyone want odds on whether somebody will go into 3 figures this test?

Tea, day 2 and this is shapping up as a very interesting Test- and one that exemplifies everything that is great about Test cricket.

i missed North's dismissal (must have been only just as he was in when i went to school pick up; if he isn't R's before Adelaide i will boo him (but preferably anyone from CA) loudly- although if you are picked, you're obviously going to play! So what filth does he have on Hilditch?

Huss just hit his 50, looking very determined to remove the doubt over his name.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Hey Diddle Diddle!

How good is Siddle!
An enthralling day of cricket that both sides fought for ascendancy at the end of the day. Egland looked the better at lunch and at tea looked to be in the drivers seat....although without their belt on!
Enter The Woodchopper from Benalla! Siddle was the best bowler all day pitching it up to the batsmen inviting them to play shot all day....but he was far too good for them. I was in the car for the hattrick and had worried motorists all around me as I was leaning on the horn as he took the 2nd and 3rd wicket for his hattrick.
Doherty was fantastic, bowling efficiently and getting some reward at the end of the day.
Hilf did his job. Johnson was Johnson and would be hoping that that is enough for the second test.
Ponting's only mishap for the day was losing the toss, his bowling changes were exemplary and his fields supported well.
Bring on day 2 and a 400 run 1st innings for the Aussies!


It's ON, like Donkey Kong.

Go you Aussies!!! Flog the bejeesus out of those no tub, whinging, shirt lifting, pillow biting, tea drinking, yellow bellied soft as shite Poms!

as Gough said, "It's time."

the Ashes series has started (well, in 2 hours after this posting), but the war of words and tabloid BS is in full swing in Blighty and well, here too.

The centre for "quality" journalism is going flat chat tearing strips off Ponting, with headlines and copy such as: You're once, twice, three times a loser (and we love you for that, Ricky!). Bring on those saggy greens. Strauss invoked the jaw-jutting spirit of Douglas Jardine on the eve of the Ashes battle and welcomed Mitchell Johnson's threat of a bouncer war".

Under the headline "Sick Rick", The Sun said that Ponting heads into the opening Test "looking like a man about to be publicly executed".

"Out of form, ageing and with an unforgiving Australian public loading their bullets, Ponting knows he has a huge target strapped to his chest".

The Mirror was keen to keep the focus largely on the game, expecting the walls of Australia's Gabba fortress to "come crumbling down within a week".

anyway, who cares what they think- for opinion that really counts, here is mine - polemic or otherwise, but totally correct; because i am stoph verismo!

the toss of the coin is exactly that- a toss. so there is no point banging on about ifs and buts; it will be humid on a green top- win the toss BOWL! and get out for a bat in after tea.

Doherty- i don't know. He is there for KP and Trott, apart from that, he better be able to "shut down" runs. i agree with Rod Hogg and think the Rug as opener with Hilf was the way to go as Jono MUST NOT open bowl; he prefers not to, as does his record.

also while on Rodd Hogg- he and Jon Anderson gave Hilditch an honest spray in their column "Chin Music". They were good value last summer, and i predict they will be the biggest hit of the Ashes.

While mentioning Jono, i've got to say, his threats of a bouncer barrage -particularly against African Andy #2- seem pointless to me unless he can find a MUCH better line... and if ALL the quicks learn to bowl a sandshoe-crusher!

Anyway, this is the only ground i'm prepared to give Strauss after he hauled out the standard English shit stirrer response to the actual Ashes not coming here should we win, "It is too fragile and is at the home of cricket for a reason." Sorry AA, what was that reason? the home of TEST CRICKET is the MCG, and the Ashes represents Test cricket between Australia and England, not cricket on the whole! i know you are only saying this to get a rise out of us Andy, but it only makes a fool of you when you are getting the relevance wrong. Learn your history...son!

and to finish up:
my vote for the 2 best bits of media today: we've all heard of the Gabba referred to as Fortress Gabba- but Will Swanton's label of the "Gabbattoir" is the best i've heard in a while.
and as a leggie, i like Robert Craddock's: "In this country, leg spinners are the stars while offies are the road crew, harassed from all quarters, and seen as tradesman of last resort."

this has been brought to you by Stoph Verismo
down the wicket

ps. another ton to Hodge...hmmmmm

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tickets please

Should we be thinking of buying tickets for Day 2 & 3 in Adelaide?

I heard it could be sold out?



Ok, after all the media guff and speculation it's time to put on record how we think this Series will pan out.
1st Test result
Series result
Most runs
Most wickets
Man of the series
Best dressed fans

Here's mine.

1st Test: Australia wins by 5 wickets
Series result: Australia win 3-1
Most runs: Ponting
Most wickets: Johnson
Man of the Series: Ponting

Time is running out to get your team into the fantasy cricket comp. go to:
League code: 259481

Thursday, 18 November 2010

I'd like to Purge the people of Earth...

....I mean urge the people of Perth, and Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and so on to look in their cupboards, drawers, in the shed...anywhere for some form please. Anyone who finds some form please send it to the Australian XI....sorry I mean XVII.

Yesterdays batting efforts in Shield or tour matches:

P. Hughes: 11
Khawaja: 13
S. Smith: 59
C. Ferguson: 7
M Hussey: 0 (off 18)
M. North: 17
S. Watson: 6
S. Katich: 1
P. Jaques 28
B.Haddin: 10
R. Ponting 7

Hussey and North were the worst considering that WA made 320 runs on the MCG.
The Sydney pitch must be suspect (why did Kat choose to bat??????)
And Hobart was a good call by the Enlish on a bowler friendly day and pitch.

Monday, 15 November 2010

DTW Ashes player profiles in 5 words or less

A.Srtauss: Captain personality can win!
R.Ponting: just bat, that's all!
A.Cook: Average against Australia- a joke!
M.Clarke: not superman, what's most important?
S.Katich: hope he's fit!
J.Trott: NOT!
S.Watson: still not an opener!
I.Bell: a ring in? surprisingly not!
M.Hussey: hasn't checked the clock yet?
P.Collingwood: "..old Collingwood, forever."
M.North: knows something about someone!
E.Morgan: nick knack Paddy whack!
U.Khwaja: everyone knows it's his time!
K.P: D.O.A
C.Ferguson: what else must he do?
M.Prior: who won the toss?
B.Haddin: solid, but watching over shoulder!
S.Davies: please explain?
S.Smith: define roll please?
J.Anderson: can i bring my own?
M.Johnson: lucky people like his tatts!
T.Bresnan: Where's the tourist info office?
B.Hilfenhaus: keep it in the family!
S.Broad: tall man, short fuse!
P.Siddle: Latrobe valleys finest!
S.Finn: it's a 5 test series!
N.Hauritz: why have you forsaken me?
M.Panesar: staying in Bondi until required.
X.Doherty: Apple Isles forbidden fruit!
G.Swann: not too much pressure
R.Harris: try again!
C.Tremlett: to the glue factory please!


so here is our (expanded) choices with less than a fortnight to go according to the latest release from CA.

Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Clarke (vc), Doug Bollinger, Xavier Doherty, Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Usman Khawaja, Marcus North, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Shane Watson.

no huge surprises and typically we all at DTW pretty much had it covered!
with tour and SS games this week CA have basically put themselves in a position where if one of the new choices goes well, and if their in place player fails, it is remiss not to include that new player; and quite frankly, if that is the case, no excuse is good enough!

the main 2 "inform" players i see missing are: D. Hussey (maybe thought to be too old, or...)
and Ronnie Mac (maybe too... ok, i'll say it, "TOO VICTORIAN!" back to back tons and tight effective bowling just doesn't cut it anymore it seems!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Tribute to Stoph

As you all know, Stoph has undergone facial surgery and is bravely battling time to be beautiful in time for the Adelaide Test. Having the surgery after the start of the cricket season shows extra resilience as I am sure he will be donning the creams before his doctor allows.
For the courage of his convictions he should be applauded, having surgery to satisfy Collingwood's constitution and have half of his teeth removed so he can "breath easier" is testament to his dedication to a cause. I am sure that Collingwood will hold up their end of the bargain and continue to win 2 premierships every 50 odd years.

Get well soon Brother.

Friday, 12 November 2010

2 more undies options

a wombat- i can easily cut the carrot of.
a penguin

How does one give the finger to Selectors?

By making runs and taking wickets!

Shield cricket is always revealing but ever the more important when national selection is afoot. Victoria is showing why it is justified in bemoaning a lack of national representation by grabbing first innings points against NSW. Hussey (the good one) has made another ton against a team featuring Watson, Hughes, Clarke, Clark, Haddin and Jacques. While the big V relies more on a well-gelled side featuring one test player but several aspirants, NSW is a mish-mash of over-achievers out to prove themselves at all costs.

Meanwhile Qld is showing it may not have much to offer the test arena right now but it is still a formidable unit. Harris has booked his flight (well, bus ride as he'll be home) to Brisbane while Captain Superannuation Ponting has missed out on getting some time in the middle.

Eyes will be on state cricket like never before this season with unparalleled scrutiny of the national side. This can only be a good thing as whatever your opinion of the makeup of Australia's test team (really the only one that matters); there has to be players warranting selection and up to the task of international cricket - unless of course selectors' hands are forced. CA has one eye on the World Cup and as such is delaying addressing the test side which could prove costly when the surprise retirement of old age pensioners from its ranks occurs. Perhaps Dad's Army could bat in a wheelchair but it looks ugly when they're making their way around home in gophers.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

DTW dream team comp for Ashes anyone?

i've started a league:
WKMIKAS (women know men in kilts are sexy!)
for any one wanting to play

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

in the wake of the Tsunami

so, when the Ashes is done and dusted and we cement our place at #5 in the test rankings with a humiliating defeat on home soil to a better organised and structured England team that has played with a sense of purpose not just survival, what will need to happen to lift cricket in Australia and what shake up of Cricket Australia must eventuate to avoid further seasons in the abyss. (how was that for a run-on sentence!?)

All of us here at DTW have lamented the lack of foresight from first ACB (during the 80's retirements) and CA (during the 2000's retirements), so what can we suggest as a vision for the future and to change the culture of, "we're great, and always will be....D'oh! What just happened?

CA bow and grovel before St D.K and beg for his return as head bowling coach.
"......................" St S.K and beg him to come and be spin bowling coach and give tactical seminars to ALL state and national captains coaches and VC's.

Revamp the academy and tour it around the country- intensively. Including smaller scale grass roots visits to clubs on training nights. Yes there are a lot of clubs in the country, but this is where young people start so it should be for CA if they want to implement long term change.

organise genuine kids clinics that double as talent scouting ops. i say genuine because the one i took my boy to that was touted as such didn't even look at the little kids- even though it was stated they would, and only concentrated on the 15 and 16 year olds.

expand the CA contract system (much like SL have) to incorporate more and younger players... and guarantee that with performance, opportunities to represent will happen.
Performance based contracts for current squad; it removes doubt and speculation- if your numbers don't hold up, one of the other contracted young 'uns is ready.

What else?
How should batting be handled in the future?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Let's get serious.

OK Boys, instead of picking apart the selectors after they have announced the team I thought I would take the chance to get shouted down (or not) and name my 12 for Brisbane.
Katich is picked if his thumb is ok, if not Jaques comes in.
No specialist spinner on this deck for me, White can handle 10 - 15 overs a day if needed.
If Bollinger is unfit McKay comes in.

1. Katich
2. Hughes
3. Clarke
4. Khawaja
5. Ponting (C)
6. Watson
7. White
8. Haddin
9. Siddle
10. Hilfenhaus
11. Bollinger

12. Smith

Chappell Heralds New Era?

I was watching a morning news program today and saw the ticker quoting Chapelli as saying "Players for the Ashes team will be picked on form"
It's not the most reliable of sources and I have not been able to find the quote online anywhere other than Junior saying much the same thing.
It must have come from somewhere and it will be interesting to watch what happens over the summer and into the next year or two.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Kilts and Cricket

Outside Sledge proudly taking possession of his Heritage of Wales cilt

this is a message to all the "nay-saying" lovelies we happily live our lives with.
if you are not sure, please talk to my better half. we went out socially with me as above, and she thought it was tops!
go on, live a little! this is a cool cultural accomplishment, and you and your man will be the life of the party. LIVE IT, LOVE IT! life is better Kilted!

think about this too... how many times have you looked at the cricket, only to see complete nob-ends getting fame? how much better will that be when it is your man looking gle (gaelic) very proud?

you know you want him to be BOG, and in a kilt (with DTW) he will easily be!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Selectors or Sabatuers??

After the most recent humiliation in the ODI against Sri Lanka I am forced to ask the question. Are the selectors deliberately sabotaging our cause? How can a kid take 4 for plus a brilliant run out and then be replaced by Hauritz in the next game? If this is their ridiculous rotation policy I am horrified. Surely we don't have the depth of talent to be resting obviously in form players? Hauritz's form has hardly foced him into the side.
Apart from harming Australia's chances it also belittles a brilliant performance by Doherty. The best by an Aussie for quite a while which should have won us the game. Clarke's captaincy was woeful. The senior bowlers failed to step up when the game was there for the taking and the one that gets it in the ring gear is the BOG?
Congratulation Hilditch and Co. you have managed to top yourselves.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Kiltage, have left the building!

Sledgeys new Heritage of Wales cilt

heads up blokes:
the order of our cricket attire has been packaged and picked up by the freight company in Paisley (Glasgow).

estimated landing date this tuesday.(9/11)
as i said, this company are very good and have always been early- estimated date when order placed was the 15th (i think).

i will keep you informed as i know more, or you could track it yourselves:

FEDEX- TRACKING # 790729795016

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Lay down Aussie... or you smash my bouncer, here's another bouncer!

Who knows what i'm thinking?

Well, if it rhymes with, "Why would you constantly bowl short balls (many too slow or going down leg side or wide!) when they keep getting hit for boundaries?" you'd be spot on.

Now there are many fine deliveries that can be bowled in cricket and the bouncer is one of them. And, rubbish balls do get good batsmen out, but good balls are needed to get tailenders out. Malinga and Mathews last night proved that not enough thought is going into strategy within our bowling squad... and that clearly that part of the team will let their frustration override their focus on their task!

Siddle and Hastings just kept banging them in too short (it is bloody hard to slog a yorker to the boundary boys!) Jonno continued going too far across and away to the right handers- if you are going to negate the possibility of LBW, why not mix it up a little Mitch and come around the wicket?

Watson bowled a better line and length, but was still a tad short to allow the subtle movement he was getting to come into play, therefore, ineffective.

Smith was ridiculously under used particularly when the 2 right handers were taking a long handle to everyone else! If your back was sore too (like Marsh) what the hell is going on with our conditioning coaching?

Doherty... well, what a first few overs he had; he won us the game with his run out and 4/15... but wait a minute...

It is easy to be critical from the i will continue to be!
Pup, if Smith is landing them, bowl him (to r/h tailenders particularly!).

Hastings, what the hell are you even there for!??!!!??

We all know the score wasn't enough, so the batting squad needs to get a full length mirror too!

I said Doherty won us the game, and without a doubt he opened the double doors, not by getting Sangakarra out (he got himself out, even though it was a good ball), but by getting the other wickets that pushed Sangakarra into that mindset that produced such a shot. For mine, Kumar looks very complete (again) this season and will be difficult to contain- i doubt he'll throw it away like that in the next 2 games!

I thought the plan was to get a couple of wins under the belt to build momentum before the cricket season started... when you give away a game like that, i'd imagine Australia just put ALL of the pressure back on themselves for the rest of the season!
Does Australia need a repeat of the Montreal Olympics (no success) to revamp every facet of its cricketing structure? I hate losing, but if it takes a summer of no joy to shake things up, so be it, because last night SUCKED!

stoph verismo
down the wicket

p.s Congrats Malinga on your best ODI score. you had fun, took us on, and won...a good night out.

Monday, 1 November 2010

the shame!

double dose of shame today:
1) because i watched the Aus innings last night (my boy was very excited to have cricket back- that is the ONLY reason i watched).
2) the Aus innings itself last night!

My shame in watching will wane.
The team's shame should be very acute today! what a poor performance! Apart from some crisp hitting by Haddin and Smith we can take nothing from what i saw.

to their credit, Sri Lanka bowled realy good line and length allowing little to be put away, but if T-20 is a batsmans game, why did ours fail to make runs?

not having watched the SL innings i can't comment on how our bowlers looked more than just going by their scorecard...

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Selectors select to eject...

So, Chapelli is in as a full time selector and there isn't room for 5 so someone had to go.....
Hilditch is the boss so he is safe that leaves Merv, Cox and Boon.
Why oh why would you remove Merv Hughes...He is the only Bowler in the group, has paid his dues (rising from selecting for Footscray 2's then the 1st's then the Vic's. then 5 and a half years in the Aussie team.
Not taking anything away from Boon or Cox (although I will as Cox {correct me if I am wrong} never pulled on the Baggy Green) who have been incumbents for a while have at the very least shown a little faith in the team.
Hilditch should have been the one to have been retired....even if he stayed for the last six months of his contract, he is the obvious choice out of the 4 to have been given his marching orders.
To not have a Test Bowler in the ranks of the selection crew is a travesty.
'Nuff Said.

Outside Sledge

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

guess the boxing day crowd

given the last Ashes Boxing day test had the record crowd of 89,155- as well as Warne likely to get his 700th wicket and last home test. who wants a crack at this years crowd figure.

i'll have a dip at 83,985
but hopefully more!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

you have been informed! ...and, getting closer!


you know what that means?

2 months today until boxing day!

...and only 1 month to go until the first test!

so with that in mind i thought i should move away from high fashion and get back onto this blogs actual subject; CRICKET.

smarmy bastard Jimbo Anderson is reportedly 75% fit and bowling again after being beaten around the ring in the now not-so-secret training camp in Bavaria.
Sustaining a cracked rip in a boxing session, Anderson is still completely in the mix for the first test stated African Andy#1 (Flower). If the recovery process takes longer than expected, i would imagine that the undisclosed perp (Chris Tremlett) may not get a look in until his extra height and bounce is required in Perth. This by way of having his wrist slapped for what is clearly a bad judgement call for hitting Jimbo in the body when the obvious target is his smirky bonce!

African Andy#1 has also seen the need to side step KP's PP performance back at home (SA) in what was meant to be his get-back-to-form trip playing for Kwazulu Natal Dolphins. In 2 knocks KP made 36 in the first and in the second, only required the scorer to put a dot and then a 0.
Now i'm not going to join the queue of people saying KP is D.O.A- i like his exciting style, but if he fails to find form it is a BIG psych advantage given how well he played over here last time.

Pistol Pete hey-diddle-diddle is pushing hard for a test recall after banging up his back in January.
He has steadily increased his work load with the Bushrangers and is now lined up for the Sri Lankan short form games. For mine, it is also good to see Haddin back in this squad, one made up entirely of Vic's and NSW players... not a little retrograde ACB?... i mean CA.

The Redbacks must be wincing a bit at the moment with Cosgrove getting his considerable weight behind his good eye and belting 159 for Tasmania against Victoria. Called a chronic boombar last year and asked to leave Sth Oz, Cosgrove's innings has kept the Tigers in the mix against a Bushrangers side that appears well on the way to continuing last seasons successes.

Australia's batting Lazarus Matt Haydos Hayden has come out publicly saying he sees a lot of himself in Phil Hughes. Fair point, but for mine the only way Hughes can cement his place back in the side is to show that he has the technique and mental edge this summer against the Poms. Found suss against the mind games more than the lifting balls last time in Blighty, Hughes must dominate the touring quicks on tracks that he should be familiar with, but will also allow the ball to get big on him more if the England bowler continue on with their theory.

Pup is adamant he is up to the challenge of a full dance card for the summer and that is the best way for him to get back in the runs. So who should we blame if his back goes again? Or should Cosgrove get Pups spot if that situation arises?

you have been informed.
stoph verismo
down the wicket

Friday, 22 October 2010

once in a lifetime offer! ...or at least, this Ashes tour!

hi guys,
the stencils for the T-shirts are slowly taking form...what a task!
i have the t-s, sorry but the only mens ones i could get are like Sledgey's and my very pale yellow ones.

we all should look rather cool on that front...thanks for your contributions of copy

Now, the reason for this post; as you know, i will be honoring my scot/irish heritage this year at boxing day (and Adelaide) by wearing my T with a kilt.... looks so cool BTW, just wore it to main street and if i was single...

so the Q is, on monday i will be ordering another (spare- non clan) kilt from Scotland for myself, and a Welsh one for Blacky (Mr I'm soooo hungover lasts year), does anyone else want one? i have an account with this company and they are good, but if you want one you need to act now. a "Blackwatch" (military-non clan, party kilt) will cost you 25 pounds, the cheapest sporran is around !7 ponds, and you could use any belt you had...or buy at the store.

the place i'll be going is so if you see something you like, let me know, asap. ordeering on monday to ensure delivery, so you have the weekend.

i have created a soft toy kangaroo in the front undies to wear under mine at the cricket, so if you want to do it and see a stuffed toy (any animal) for your jocks, i will gladly tailor to suit.