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.


  1. Awesome summation Lefty. Accurate and forthright.

    My team for Sydney

    M Hussey (Capt)
    S. Watson
    R. Ponting (farewell)
    U. Khawaja
    C. White
    C. Ferguson
    B. Haddin
    N. Hauritz
    M. Johnson
    P. Siddle
    R. Harris

    Hussey has the technique to open and the pressure of captain I think would bring out the best in him. At least until White is ready.

    Ponting deserves a farewell test. Clarke is in woeful form and doesn't seserve a game unitl he makes some runs. He must learn that a test cap and even more the captaincy is not just a case of whose next.

    White for me is the best leader in the country which is what Australia need. One who woll make decisions to win test matches, not just kill time.

    Hauritz deserves a chance to show everyone he can take wickets when spinners are supposed to take wickets.

    Johnson is up and down but I think a man with his record will find form no matter what comp he plays in and I would like his next 7 for to be for Australia rather than his state.

    Finally I think England have plenty to play for. The have the urn so going for their first series win here in more than 20 years will be a huge carrot. They will be relaxed having secured the urn so could be vulnerable for a few young guys to make an impact and really set up their careers.

  2. You'll have to pick another quick Nos - Harris has a stress fracture in his foot and is out for 4 months!
    You're probably right about England's ambitions. A drawn series won't have the same feel as pulling down the pants of Aus in our backyard. Another guy to watch is Dan Christian. I'm not sure he's a test player but we'll see him in the world cup. Warne said he, Kawahja and O'Keefe have to come in for Sydney.
    A dead rubber has never been more interesting!

  3. It's not a true dead rubber seeing as we can still draw the series. If they were 3-1 up then it would be truly dead.

  4. You're right Nos and if it were the Frank Worrell or Border/Gavaskar trophy I'd be more inclined to say go for a win at all costs but it just has such little significance for me now. Aus doesn't play test cricket again til August so I'd actually go wholesale changes and screw the result. Give guys their first taste of test cricket at a lovely ground to bat and bowl on and then send some to England for County cricket.

  5. Awesome write up Lefty...can't realy add to it- maybe give Watto an extra 0.5 for consistancey, and then take off 0.5 for poor communication skill- status quo!

    Maybe Jono needs to play every 2nd test and spend the time in between getting 10 on 1 training and help.

    Can't see White getting another run Nos.

    Kawahja WILL play Sydaney.

    Maybe an extra 1/2 point to Siddle (i'm not being parochial) because his big improvement was his length, and it made an enormous difference to his effectiveness and shows he is thinking about his game and what he needs to do to step up.