Tuesday, 17 August 2010

optimism is nice- but i'm a realist!

with the absence of McGrath, it appears the responsibility of declaring the Ashes outcome has now fallen on the person most qualified (to announce in the media) but least capable of producing the result- captain punter.

stating that a 5-0 series is "absolutely possible", i wonder if in realistic terms he means he is prepared to go down by such a heady margin!

if he is talking about a repeat of the last Aus Ashes summer, can i assume- as a gambling man- he is willing to 'put his house on it'?

now, i'm all for a little bit of mind games in and with the media, but it is really only effective if it sews a seed of doubt when it is a possible outcome... this is not!
i think many an Englishman has just snuffled their breaky kippers straight up into their sinus while reading the morning papers and seeing punters remarks; i can only hope that 11 of Britain's best have done the same and are now in doubt for the tour to give the call half a chance of actually coming true!


  1. Ricky Ponting is nothing if not an optimist. That is the only possible conclusion one can reach following his astounding claim made before the media yesterday in the stage managed event to mark the 100th day before the Ashes series starts in Brisbane on November 25th.

    Asked whether it was possible to beat England 5-0 in the coming series - as happened when the Poms last toured Australia - he claimed it was "absolutely possible", which really translates as 'certain perhaps', but in Ponting's mind it was a statement of intention.

    Jesse Hogan, of the Sydney Morning Herald, believes Ponting was channeling Glen McGrath, who famously made the claim last time around. I don't think so. This was pure, brain not engaged, Ponting bravado. If you doubt it, look to his supporting evidence, Nathan Hauritz. By Ponting's estimation, ''I think what he's done in the last 12 to 18 months as our No.1 spinner has been of the highest quality.'' That's 43 wickets at 32. Yes, only Mitch Johnson has more wickets since England turned Ponting into Second Hand Rose but if averaging 32 is "the highest quality", one must question the standards we now attach to our national cricket side. In terms of Hauritz's career, these figures are only a marginal improvement over what went before. Our strike spinner is a run miser (less than three an over) but his balls per wicket strike rate is 64, or more than ten overs between wickets. That's "highest quality"?

    Ponting also named Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle as crucial to the effort. There can be no doubting all three are important men to have on deck as Australia faces a confident England, whose batting line up has previous Ashes experience in Australia and whose bowlers look like they might suit Australian conditions but the three are far from certainties. Haddin (broken finger) is easily the most likely of the three. Hauritz, with stress fractures of the crucial left foot, around which his entire weight pivots in delivery, is also fairly certain to be there, although Ponting calls him "a lock in". Siddle (back injury) is the most problematic, although he's the type to never discount as he loves that Baggy Green.

    Still, a wicket keeper with a hand injury, a spinner with a broken left foot and a fast bowler with a back injury are strange picks as your reasoning behind a 5-0 lion taming act. Apparently cricket followers think the Skipper's claims are wandering into fiction too, with comments on Cricinfo flowing strongly against him and a reader's poll in the Sydney Morning Herald running at 81% against Australia's chances of a straight sets victory.

    It's one thing to talk it up but quite another to boldly go where no one can follow. Mind you, Ponting has made a career from emulating Skyhooks claim that "ego, is not a dirty word" both on and off the field.

    Not this time Ricky. Not this time.

  2. While I certainly don’t support the idea of a 5-0 victory to Australia I would be interested to know what the odds of that were in 2006. As I have stated we were coming of the back of a similar result in England.
    I think we have been far too critical of any spinner’s figures since we were blessed with Warne and McGill. Containment was the key to a good finger spinner, especially on the first 3-4 days. I think an economy rate of under 3 an over in today’s game is very acceptable while not being sensational. It is unfair to compare Hauritz to Warne who was a once in a generation spinner. What standards do we want our spinners to maintain anyway?

  3. Hauritz can't win; he's done well (not great but more than serviceable) and in the Ashes he's up against Swann who is nearly brilliant. As with a year ago there's not much else on offer with regard to spin in Aus. Not even CA would be stupid enough to lump sole-spinning duties on Steve Smith (would they?!?). I just think he's a bit of a wuss.......

    Trash talk before a series is only ever that; talk. I never pay any attention to predictions or claims of white-washes. As soon as the first ball at the GABBA is bowled noone will be talking about pre-series talk.

    I agree with you Nospmas that Hauritz should not be compared figure-wise with Warne/Magill (or any wrist spinner for that matter) and I think he's economy is fine. If Ponting used him better and set better fields his figures could be very different.

    I think Aus are nervous about this summer and they should be. Eng are saying little about the Ashes; they know they've got a huge chance and are confident about coming out here.

    Last thing - about the wicket-keeping. I think this is one area Aus don't have to think about. I reckon Paine, Manou or Haddin could easily do as good a job as each other - with bat or gloves.

  4. Strauss' response ooooozzzzed a refined confidence: http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=7946625

    nothing like the "silly season in the antipodean sun!

    i feel we are a little too quick to sell Haddin out, i thought he was sterling last summer, and a certain catch off Jonno v-wide and behind him turned the tide of one test.

    in the absens of a strike spin bowler, i think Hauritz has held his own here, hasn't toured as well, but if he can tie down an end- and if punter EVER learns to set a field for him[!!!!!] i feel he deserves his place now, and is good for 30+ runs more often than not!

  5. i wonder if it time to give Krazja another run if we want a "strike" spinner?

    the thing with Smith is, for mine he hasn't developed his craft enough yet... he's another C. White [big hitter] in the making and unless he becomes single minded in his bowling focus, he will be just that, a hitter that can flick his ring finger... but without consistency.

  6. Have to agree there Stoph but CA have been fairly consistent in dismissing any notion of an 'attacking' spinner as opposed to any other kind - ie there's no such difference. Ponting has said the same but you could imagine a flip-flop in argument should someone like Krejza be picked! I still think Hauritz has done enough and deserves a chance.
    The beauty with Smith is that there is so much time with him. They can get 12-15 years out of him if he's managed well but you can bet they'll pick him in all 3 formats and risk burning him out. Amir for Pakistan is only 19 and he looked a little tired last night against Eng - even with a decent break between tests. You have to be careful with players these days - not just because of the amount of cricket but the emphasis on fitness training that players of a bygone era didn't do. Michael Holding has said for eons that players of his time bowled as much if not more than guys these days and didn't do the amount of fitness work - they just bowled alot and didn't get injured nearly as much as guys these days. To be fair, though, he could be referring mainly to the WI bowlers as Hadlee, Lillee, Thommo and others certainly had debilitating injuries at some point in their career.

  7. I would suggest that the WI bowlers of the 70's-90's did far less bowling than their counterparts. How often would they have had to bowl in a complete 2nd innings, or a 2nd innings at all?

  8. I think you may be thinking about test cricket only there mate. Those guys played year-round either domestically or in County cricket. Holding referred to guys just bowling through the year - either in some competition or in practice. The commentators were saying last night that the Pakistan debutant Wahab had hardly bowled on tour until that test and looked tired after 2 spells; and Broad (and others) had barely if at all played for their respective County. You're right about the context of individual tests as there were always 4 great pace bowlers who rarely had 3rd and 4th spells but it was in between that made the difference.
    It's always debatable in any case but there's no doubt bowlers are getting more injuries nowadays - both serious and minor.

  9. apropos spinner: i don't want to give up on Haury, and happily ate my words regarding his re-pick into the side after his big break and not even being a shield player -the beauty of having those labels on the side tab >>>>>>>>>>> (Hauritz [11])
    i think for his task, he is very suited, but as mentioned under supported by the boss!

    for mine Krazy is certainly the pick of a strike spinner in aus and fug what CA say. that doosra last summer against NSW [?] was a ripper. but unless he can find a better balance between strike and starve, well, he just can't go in the mix, and shouldn't depose Haury.

    i'm surprised CA can't tell the difference between spin types; maybe i can tell so easily because i now know own game- i bowl 3 types of balls: long/wide/short crap, balls that jag in hard from outside of leg and get big on a batsman and make them miss time and sky the ball, and on the spot and unplayable. i'm not big noting, because i do bowl too many bad balls, but it is all or nothing- therefore, i am a strike bowler. simple. but i did only play limited overs last season, so that may have had an input.

    I'm all for Smith becoming our next leggie, but he has to decide what he wants to be: leg spinner who can bash runs. batsman who can flick the ball- one can not have 2 masters when one of them is such a hard task master, me thinks.

    will address pace later.

  10. Feeling like rip van Winkle....waking up slowly. In a few weeks time i should be aroused.