Saturday, 31 December 2011

Friday, 30 December 2011

Boxing day Test , this punters perspective.

Well done Aussies!

I didn't know if we had the ticker to deal with a batting line up that deep, particularly given our inability to take 20 last summer, but as it turns out at least that element of the team is working well.

Clearly it was a challenge for all batsmen over the 4 days- only 7 half centuries and no tons, although 17 scores 20 or over shows that a start could be made.

I still find the 'traditional' 2nd dig collapse a concern and hope more 'batting camp' time can be found, although i doubt it is lack of ability and hinges a little more on playing themselves in.

What is left to be said about the Australian bowlers? Not only did they execute their plans perfectly, they improved their length so much so that it gave little respite to the Indian batsman.
I think this "new length" and the ability to hunt in packs, along with Clarke's astute changes has been the big difference. We are still a seamer short though as that workload WILL take its toll, but at least Clarke feels confident to rotate them before they tire and lose their attack or composure.

A bit is being said of Patto being a little too aggressive, but i don't buy into this; a young fast bowler should have a bit of mongrel about them. As long as he knows when and where it is appropriate more power to him! If he cops a few around the ears or into the ribs in Sydney and he acknowledges it with a smile and a nod then it is carte blanche for mine. Of course if he gets upset copping it from bowlers then he shouldn't do it to bowlers in the first place. On the TV Binga said you didn't walk down and stare/get lippy with Sachin because he'd make you pay, well as long as Jimmy P knows this and picks his target he can go for his life for mine.

Unless an injury happens i predict no change to the team; but we all know one that should happen. For all of Haddin's getting out in front of the media as vice captain and speaking well enough, he is still failing on the field. If he isn't dropped going in to this Test (and fails again) a Mickey needs to put his hand on Haddin's shoulder on day 4 and tell him to make the retirement announcement in front of the home crowd.

Lyon must be hoping for a tradition SCG pitch given his meagre returns, and the expectation that he will be more in the match should also hold Christian out of the side a while longer. But if he fails to get a bag, he may see himself left out for Perth and replaced by Christian or a fit Cummins or Watson. Personally i'd love to see in Perth: Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Pattinson, Cummins- that would have some sting to it!

But that thought is for another day- onwards to Sydaney!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Free advice at a great price!

How often do you hear on the radio or tv a call from the commentators to "Come down to the ground after work..."?

They'll say it because the cricket is interesting or it is a beautiful day. Yesterday it was both so i thought i'd do just that. Now living 19 stops away it is a fair commitment of time and travel to get to the G for just one session but i was captivated listening to the days play and was also under directions to get the youngest out of the house as the boss had an assignment.

Due to the travel time in and out and the game time remaining i needed an 'all day' train ticket for both of us, no biggie, i'll do the right thing. So we got to the ground just after 4pm hoping, but not expecting, the gates to be open- they weren't.
I went to the ticket booth and was told that because it was family day the grommet would get in for free- great! Still with less than a session to play i was expected to cough up for a full days ticket. Realistically, with the gates opening in less than an hour i was being asked to pay $31 for less than an hour!

Now i know the Boxing day Test is CA's and the MCC's big cash cow, 40k yesterday, 50k the day before and 70k on Boxing day, but full price for less than a session is just greedy...and stupid on their behalf! If they want people to "come in after work" how hard would it be to structure the ticketing to allow for a last session reduced cost ticket?

I wouldn't have baulked if it was even half price for 1/3 of the day, but on principle i couldn't wear full price. So i politely told the ticket seller something to that effect and went for a walk around the ground to find a gate away from the direct bee-line to Richmond station open. Does any one else find that practice peculiar?

So, CA, MCC, whoever is in charge of pricing, if you want to maximise potential crowd numbers right through the day, make it reasonable and set a ticket price for the last session, I'd go every day if that was the case!

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Sorry i'm not sorry India, we aren't obliged to give Sachin his 100!

so after a title such as that i want to say, i love watching S.Tendulkar- and it was great to see him step over the rope late on day 3 to sign as much stuff as he could,, but after reading the papers and the web it appears we (Australia) are just expected to be the receivers of swollen goods and cop a ton from the little master just for the sake of good sport...Well BUGGER THAT!

Tendulkar after signing a LOT of autographs

Well done P.Siddle for raining on the Swami army's (and more so the BCCI)parade and seeing that your home side was in the mix.

I for one am SICK TO FUGGIN DEATH of BCCI (note- i didn't say Indian; i don't care about nationality/race/religion/what-the-funk-ever) they think and act like they own cricket. And the biggest piss off is that if you disagree with them and you are white YOU are called a racist! Well you can't have it both ways BCCI- Racism is a two way street, you don't have to be white.

You bully the ICC to ensure the most favourable conditions for your team. If you so distrust DRS, play without it EVERY time or DON'T play Internationally. You got away with the Symonds thing by bullying and threatening to go home and legal action tour expenses- bizarre, WE (CA) should have threatened to sue for breach of tour commitments- what is going on?

Both teams play under the same rules so i don't care about DRS- even though i believe it is imperative it becomes mandatory; the call that it takes it out of the umpires hands is RUBBISH! It is the accredited umpires that make the final call in the stands so that is one of the stupidest reasons ever.

Anyway, i went to the last session of day 3 this arvo with my youngest- stand by for my tirade against both the MCC and CA regarding tickets!- what an awesome day day 3 has been, as day 3 more than often is! Seeing Hussey hold his own is a Test highlight for mine. Will the first innings lead be the difference? I don't know. The Indian collapse was well counter-pointed by Australia's own, Melbourne can get results, but i would have lost money on a day 4 finish....hope i'm wrong!

more to come from Stoph Verismo!

good start

WELL, a session can be a long time in Test cricket, and while the start of todays play is how any Aussie would script it, with India's depth it is still a case of needing to continue the grind into this batting line up.

With Sachin, Dravid and VVS all going within less than a 2 hand fulls of runs, hope springs eternal. But with the chase now under a 100...


Tuesday, 27 December 2011

That Was The Day That Was - Boxing Day 2011


The day began badly with a cancelled train due to the hail storms the night before. A potential wait for a bus and a late arrival was saved by the champions Andrew and Daniel (strangers) whom offered me a lift to the next station. Some great conversation later and I was saying goodbye and good luck with the baby and I was off to greet my friends at the Captain Blood statue.

Hunger struck on the way and I coughed up nine bucks for the worst potato cakes and chips ever. The chips remained on the steps of Richmond FC but I downed the cakes and awaited my pals with a couple of Coopers' finest.

Stoph and family arrived soon after and it was hellos and laughs until Outey finally lobbed at around ten o'clock.

More beers and laughs and it was off to the G for the real stuff. It had been a long year of waiting. Entry went off without a hitch and we were safe and sound in the standing room awaiting the first ball of what would be a great day of test cricket.

Warner and Cowan displayed the two opposite poles of batting, Warner going nuts and lifting the crowd with a rare six and some pure stroke play, Cowan the dead bat of Boycott at the other end. Bill Lawry would have been proud. Stoph's bro decided to pull the pin, which was a shame. Hope the back's a bit better today mate. Stoph alluded to some sly beverage he might have snuck in and uncertainty about it's true nature, or what I might have referred to it as provided yet more laughs.

Some light rain before lunch provided the opportunity to duck off to the bottle O and get some more of Coopers' finest. This time a drop of '62 which I had yet to sample. Not too bad indeed. We ambled through Richmond's back streets and eyed some pretty decent street art on the way back to Sir Jack.

Beers were downed, and wasted on drunken old teachers with even drunker tales that I won't dignify with an airing here. Apologies are in order however, Port Melbourne were never in the old VFL... A couple more beers and we were back to the G for some more of the real stuff.

Another batting collapse seemed a certainty and eventuated, but little did we to know at the ground how much the DRS would have been appreciated by the Aussies rather than the Indians. Two howlers truly ruined what would have been a good day for us.

Attention turned to our current seating arrangements and the possibility of better ones. It was acknowledged that possibly the less fortunate than us may have better seating opportunities. Needless to say it was decided we would be more than looked after next year. Outey's reaction to the plan provided yet more laughs. It will be interesting next year to say the least.

And so the cricket rolled on, Outey left and Stoph and I were treated to an up shorts view that will be remembered for a while. Quite a few heirs suffered because of that sight and will continue to do so. Not long later and we were saying goodbye and looking forward to Sydney.

And so my friends I say thank you for another great Boxing Day. It doesn't matter if we stay till the last ball, or get booted before lunch. It's the company and it was OUTSTANDING once again.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Bashing a way in to the Test team

ok, so i accept that i'm pretty much in a club of one here at DTW regarding T20. That is fine and a reason why i don't moderate- diversity of opinion is one of the best ways to learn new stuff that a person may not have considered before due to only seeing things from their own perspective.

I've said all along since taking NOS (number one son) to our first Big Bash game 3 seasons ago that i know it to be "junk food cricket" and it best serves a market of kids and adults with ADHA... or those that would rather any form than nothing at all.

I am though, totally on board with the suggestions that the timing of this BBL and the postponing of all (state) multi day cricket is detrimental to that which must always be considered the first priority- the Test team.

Now it seems that while the mainly print (and online print) media have been quick to point out that the crowds have been below expectation at BBL games, this has always been supplimented with the additional statment that TV audiences have been solid. I can't help but wonder what international players would feel playing in a venue as amazing as the G in front of 1,000 ground staff should it come to pass that the format ends up only serving a TV audience?

Anyway, back to the media. What i have noted has been an escalating amount of media refering to the BBL as players opportunities to find form/prove fit/get eperience to ensure a test team berth. Clarke mentioned it several weeks ago regarding Hughes finding form. But he clarified that that was the only opportunity for Hughes due to the lack of Sheild games, it was apparent he felt this to be an unsatisfactory situation.

I think 4 years ago we all would have pencilled in one M.Clarke with his bling, car, model girlfiend, hair and youthful 'i can have the world and all of its rewards' as the leading cadidate to accept a cash v career in the IPL. He has matured into a player that has upheld the value of Test and has not failed to support his stance with actions and words. While he may be considering a spell next IPL season, i am confident he would only do it after much consideration as to how it may affect his other responsibilities- and not to their detriment.

I challenge you readers, check online, papers etc -even on air- every sport section is carrying at least one reference to this disturbing occurance of refering to BBL as a Test entry point. At the moment it is in reference to Marsh and his big knock last night for the Scorchers. Warner was mentioned earlier in the week, but he had cemented his spot anyway. We all know he is going to get out now and agin due to playing big-bash type shots in Test, but if he can regularly show enough capacity to settle and carve out an innings i'll accept that.


On a completely different subject, i'd like to mention one 300kg S.K.Warne!

I think it proper that on Boxing day after meeting at the Captain, those of us going pilgrimage to gate 2 to pay homage. Although i imagine it will be busy!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

how peculiar is this? The origin of page views to DTW this week.

Australia 103
Russia 50
United States 43
Germany 32
France 10
Estonia 9
Romania 9
Ukraine 9
Thailand 5
Netherlands 4

and origin for the life (so far) of DTW

Australia 5,112
United States 2,038
United Kingdom 925
Russia 923
Germany 862
Iran 511
Ukraine 395
Netherlands 394
France 381
Slovenia 338

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Team announcement Boxing day 2011

A couple of hours to go now befor the announcement of the Boxing day team. A few things have come to pass in the last 48 hours, most notable that Watson hammy looks unlikely to be ready, cap number 427 AND 428 look likely.

any takers on:


Cowan just keeps offering up reasons why he must be in contention; how long can he be overlooked?

26-12-11 Forecast
min 19 max 25

Melbourne area Cloudy. Areas of rain and the chance of thunderstorms during the morning. Winds northwest to southwesterly averaging up to 25 km/h becoming southwesterly up to 30 km/h during the afternoon.

Of interest was the odds at one of the larger online agencies:
Australia favourites at $2.35, India at $2.50 I trust this is just a reflection of the local punters hopes more than anything else; a draw at $4 looks ok!

Gentleman, start your engines!

Monday, 19 December 2011

T shirts

no luck with finding suitable T shirts on the weekend gentlemen. Sorry. I made a pest of myself all over Southland but to no avail. i meant to check out the G shop but it was getting late for the young 'uns.

Boxing Day forecast

Well gentlemen, for the 2nd year running it looks like Melbourne is going to serve up another turd weather wise on this most venerable day.

with temps predicted to be in the low to mid 20's and thunderstorms the ball could arc around all over the place... or not!

I was at the G on Saturday and a week out the pitch to be used was still greener than the tops worn by victorious Sydney Thunder.

talking of which, watching the back to back 100's from Warner in the polar opposite forms of the game it must be said he has a rare talent. Sure his Hobart knock wasn't perfect, but he kept his head and control when all those around him failed.

Watching him belt everybody to all parts on Saturday all i could think was that if he then showed in 9 days time that he could settle back into a Test cricket frame of mind, the cricket world is his oyster!

I'm not going to go into the big step back and swing shots- we know what they are and represent, but many of his orthodox shots looked like he had half an hour to play them. He just looks to have either a great ability to see it out of the hand and project the balls pitch, length, trajectory, or great self belief that he can still get his bat on it if he guesses wrong!
make up your own minds on that one.

that tat aside- 7 days to go, C'MON Huey! clean up ya act!

Monday, 12 December 2011

because if i don't say it, you don't know it!

watching the cricket show i found the Ricky Ponting interview interesting. I've been going for his throat a bit over the last 18 months- although i do recall asking why he can't step down as captain but remain in the team if he is making runs, what is overall a very unAustralian thing given captains retire or are 'not selected' sorry Bill!

in the interview he was very candid about his place in the side, what it meant to step down and his belief in himself to continue contributing. Most interesting were his thoughts regarding players 'knowing' when it was time to retire...and that he hasn't felt that yet, so he continues to train harder than ever.

Much is made about converting good scores into tonnes but i just don't buy into that. I didn't when Watson was making consistent scores over 50 and everyone said he NEEDS to go on. Why? i'll take a batsman that you can pencil in 60 runs -but no more- every innings over an uncertainty. And i feel the same about Ricky. He is nearly always good for 70 odd runs, well THAT is good enough! If the whole top order did that every time without a century you'd win every match! it is THAT simple. the "value" of 3 figures is purely a construct of the imagination and statistician.

so for mine Ponting can stay on in his current form, the bigger question is what we do about being a bowler short?
Clarkes bowling changes have been good, but his options are limited, and i believe will be shown up more against the batting quality of India. Obviously Watsons return is critical, but will that be enough? 3 seamers, and all rounder and Lyon?
Watsons return and the need for him to be able to send down 20 overs an innings MUST see Usi open and Watto in the lower middle order. Otherwise he will continue to spend more time on the physio table than the field and we can't afford that when we need his 60 odd runs an innings too.

so there you go, stoph verismo has spoken, so you are now better edjumacated!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Bellerive, the belle of the 6 stitch ball

Ah, Bellerive, how i loved it when i was there last January. How i longed to go to a Test there, and how i hope we (my family)can live there in the not to distant future.

With the 2nd Test starting today all of those thoughts are once again in the forefront of my mind, but so is the cricket!

We (DTW) all seem to be agreeing that Pup is showing considerable cricket acumen and nouse, and this bodes well against the serious test that is India... Pup himself must feel a sense of place and personal importance within that coming series given his critical roll in the last session of the last series. So will he use that as leverage to get under the skins of the Indians? I hope so. With the success of the last Test, i am buoyed by the selectors choice of not changing the line up and allowing those players injured extra time to iron out their niggles.

But that has to wait another 17 days; now is NZ and what of it?
How much can we take from the last Test win? Was it an issue that big D and the Brown-sound stopped the rot and built an innings in the first and for a while our bowlers looked unable to break it? What about if NZ didn't blow soo many chances (i know it goes both ways with dropped catches- i bet Clarke has refused to look at THAT replay!), could the tale of the tape been radically different and the Australias more seriously tested or found wanting? And what about Siddle? He bowled so well for little reward; i won't say "without luck" because i don't feel he was threatening to take wickets, but his pressure from an end was very good. But will that be viewed as enough from him? It clearly is at the moment, but in the future?

great signs that our bowling stocks are building and i tips me hat to Lefty who predicted ALL of the new bowlers a good while ago. Seeing the Dandenong opening bowlers work so well together brought a lump to this parochial Vics throat! As did seeing a greenskeeper show so much faith in his ability to bowl on the spot and to a plan- faith from above does wonders for self belief!

The batting? Well, we all have our thoughts on each key position and i think they don't need me adding to them much more than: Ponting will stay for the summer while he keeps getting scores- regardless of whether they are 3 figured. Hughes: your technique is flawed, give thanks to the location of your residence! If Warner is the run machine, Hughes would do well to realise that he doesn't need to hang his bat out for anything! While the scoreboard rolls over he just needs to stay there; having Warner as a smasher should facilitate Hughes in just this...perhaps he is too stupid to see this opportunity he has.

While the scopes are focussed on targets, Haddin is still doing enough to side step a direct hit and the critics here and across this wide brown land sans NSW will just have

************ *************** **************

Once again the talk is of a 'green top' and the critical choice at the toss, Sth East Aus is hot at the moment but thunderstorms are coming through all weekend- i'd certainly want to bowl first in those conditions, and Clarke has said he is definitely considering it.

Much is made of fortress Gabba and the Gabbatoir, but little has been said that Aus are yet to lose a Test at Hobart- Battlement Bellerive... nah, it is just the best venue in the world for beach cricket; and i long for the day i walk out at Lunch i walk out the gets at the southern end across the foreshore for a swim in the Derwent...BLISS!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Boxing Day 2011

Well lads, it's approaching one of the greatest days in our sporting calendar.

As many of you know, our outing last year was cut short by extraordinary circumstances and we were forced to watch the carnage from a pub in Richmond.

Perhaps it was a merciful outcome but the question begs, what if any penalty should apply to anyone brave enough to put their hand up and take some amount of responsibility for the shenanigans of the morning?

Some suggestions I can think of are.

1. Remaining sober until the time of the alleged offense.
2. Shouting drinks until the time of the offense.
3. Face down dragging.
4. Some form of sexual release for the DTW crew.

As an aside I think it would be amusing to develop some general rules of decorum and relevant penalties as they apply to each occasion.

1. First spew
2. First piss on a road trip
3. Spilling a beer

etc, etc.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

First session- day 1

Well even though NZ have sold them selves short, i'm liking this effort from our bowling line-up.

Starc/Warner combo works- though Ryder shows that training to flail means training to fail in 5 days.

Lyon is impressing me a lot today (and well done Clarke for mixing it up), good flight and turn. Seeing Vettori v Lyon is cricketing gold, but i have a man crush on big Dan so what can i say!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Let the games begin

What a big few weeks for Australian cricket!

The 2nd RSA Test showed that we have some ticker and that the 1st Test was an aberration with the result heavily influenced by conditions; not to say that some critical analysis isn't called for when we get routed, but it is fair to assume that 3 innings played in a sauna will be negated by 1 innings played in primo conditions!

As i've said in other posts i was delighted that Cummins had a run, more so that he took his opportunity and capitalised on it. Noted from other posts too is the sad reality that those who played with ? marks over their head have made selectors jobs harder and will ultimately damage the big picture with their just adequate performances. Except maybe Jono- he can not be in the squad to make 80 odd runs with the bat, particularly if his conversion rate is the occasional wicket for a trade off of more runs than he scores.

Neil Harvey has said what everyone knows to be true and called him the most over rated fast bowler around:

and called for Ponting to call it it stumps. Is he too old to become a selector?

And what of the appointment of Mickey Arthur? What do you esteemed cricket connoisseurs think of that? We (Australia) have been the last bastion of home grown coaches for so long, what of this change? Does anyone care? Does it make any difference in an age of professional sportspeople? Has Arthur had enough success to merit his appointment?
So many questions!

As we enter the Austral summer with so many changes implemented since the last- a few still needed- Let the games begin!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

When it's time to panic

Start panicking. Australia's test team is littered with seemingly self-entitled egos unwilling to look themselves in the mirror.

Upon reading Haddin's comments about his shot selection and claiming he'll 'continue to play my natural game' I was struck by the lack of contrition. I doubt what 'got him there' in the first place was swiping wildly at 5 for not many. If you can't assess that batting time is demanded then you should not be there.

To those who claim 'this is no time to panic, don't make major changes' I ask 'how can it get any worse?'

47 all out does not demonstrate a new low but it does reflect the unbalanced nature of the team. You have one opener that cannot justify his place in the team and the other batting out of position. The number 4 refuses to retire until his wheelchair prevents his taking guard. The strike bowler actually bowls first change and bowls rubbish at a ratio of 50 to 1 to his good balls. The keeper's skills behind the stumps are deteriorating so who cares how he bats?

Just like the retirements of Chappell, Lillee and Marsh together left gaping wholes in the 3 facets of the game (plus captaincy), we can expect letting Ponting, Hughes, Haddin and Johnson to require some adjustment. Of course, not all 4 of these players have been 'greats' of the game and in that way are more easily replaced.

Watson filled the opener's gap in England in 2009 but his remaining there has been an avoidance of a problem rather than a solution to one. He has two hundreds to his name and several 50s; openers go on from these positions. He bats like a middle-order player and is currently required to find a wicket because Johnson doesn't know where they are. Admittedly dropping Johnson and getting a consistent bowler may ease Watson's load but it's difficult to see him not being required with the ball.

As much as I'd like Hughes to make the opening spot his own the work he's done on his technique is not enough to secure a place. Perhaps this work will translate into big shield scores and weight of runs will get him back in. This is what should have been the case to begin with. With 3 out of the top 6 shield scorers this season being openers it's not like there's few choices as replacements.

Ponting has been an incredible batsman but his stubbornness is only hurting his legacy, not enhancing it. It's difficult to understand what exactly he's trying to prove by hanging around ungainly. While Dravid peels off runs on different surfaces Ponting looks ill-equipped on every surface. Now his exit will be a sad one but this was always likely with Aus in a far from dominant position. Not every player can have the send off Waugh had.

Johnson is the most infuriating bowler I've seen for a long time. One quote from a punter sums it up 'if Johnson could bowl he'd be an allrounder'. Too true for too long. Match-winners at worst win you matches once in a while. Between the Ashes in 2009 and now he's done it once in Perth. With so many young quicks (and old - think Bollinger) available how can CA seriously keep giving this guy a game? If he goes back to shield cricket and takes bags on Adelaide Oval then fine, pick him. But the fact is others already are so in the mean time pick them!

Of course Marsh's (recurrent) injury is terrible timing but my ideal 11 would be as follows:

Liam Davis/Rob Quiney/Chris Rogers

An esteemed writer commented that Voges is as unlucky as anybody not to have featured in the test set up. I scoffed at this at the time. Voges is 2nd on the runs list in this season's sheffield shield. Perhaps Khawaja is occupying his spot?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Peter & Me

With apologies for not reproducing the article here but perhaps the intense personal nature of it make it inappropriate on a site which is not my own. The link provides you with my reflections on Peter Roebuck's death and in providing it, I'm giving you a choice of whether you wish to read it.

Peter & Me - thecricketragics

Monday, 7 November 2011


Wednesday, 6 April 2011DTW Sydney Tour 2012
Alright guys, with the demise of the Australian World Cup bid and the lull in any real cricket for quite a while I thought it pertinent that we begin to discuss the possibility of a DTW Sydney Tour.
I have already secured accommodation in Sydney with another cricket nut so we are sorted there. What we should aim for is to better the outstanding Adelaide weekend, which I know will be a tall order but I think we can get there.
What we need now is dedication to the task. We need able bodies to make the trek, drink the drink and walk the walk to the SCG. This is no trip for nancies. Sydney is no drinkwater town halfway to the Indian Ocean and will chew you up and spit you out in a second.
Who among you will volunteer. It will be tough. Beer and steak don't drink and eat themselves.

Well i was inclined to review this post from Nos in April after a txt msg from him. Well, are we away? i have ticket of leave from the Leader of the opposition, so i'd like to get the tix organised... the SCG isn't very big! I'm happy to put my hands up to buy the tix so i just need confirmation. Let's get this sorted now.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Lessons Learnt From A Good Man

We buried a mate yesterday.

I got to thinking how some of us have lost sight of the real purpose of the game and allowed ourselves to be sucked along by the maelstrom of result oriented, keep the punters happy forms of the game and how that has provided the opportunity for the bastards of the world to corrupt the great game.

This is the piece I wrote on thecricketragics about that Lessons Learnt From A Good Man

Grab that new ball Tills before Lillee gets up there.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The mini-series awaits

I've lamented enough that the upcoming test series between South Africa and Australia is only two fixtures. What I will say, though, is that in a few months time noone will bother to recall the ODIs or 20/20s; this illustrates the real importance and lasting impact of limited overs cricket outside World Cups and Champions trophies. In this way the scheduling (and maintaining of) was only ever about money.

Like Ashes series, battles against South Africa have been weighted as incredibly important ever since South Africa's readmission to sport. In more recent times series against India have risen in importance too (perhaps due in part to acrimony between the teams) but there is something else to the cricket between these two sides. The last two test series produced phenomenal cricket and an overall scoreline of 3 apiece accurately reflected the closeness of the two teams. This time around Australia is more of an unknown quantity. The bowling spots are not certain (well, one of them) and there is an air of confidence back after comprehensively beating Sri Lanka away. Looking at how Sri Lanka are going against Pakistan, however, should be a reminder that they are far from world beaters at the moment.

If De Villiers plays South Africa have their best batting lineup and even without him it is very strong. Steyn and Morkel are the best opening bowling team at present and Lotsobe is no shrinking violet. Watch out for Tahir, too, who should feature. This team on paper should beat Aus comprehensively. Duminy, who arrived in test cricket when SA toured last, is battling to make the first 11 and while he has been inconsistent of late he is obviously talented. His absence shows SA is now picking a side rather than filling it out which, in my view, they were doing with guys like McKenzie.

Aus will play Hughes, Watson, Marsh, Ponting, Clarke and Hussey. I'd love Ponting to 'do a Lehmann' and allow Khawaja to prove his worth but selfishness is part of his character. He better make runs on this tour. Haddin is on borrowed time and if Paine were 100% fit he'd be lucky to keep his place. Runs from him might hide his declining keeping but not for long.

The bowling is a little more complicated. Harris is the best bowler in the country at the moment. He's also a little Bruce Reid like in that injury dogs him but he's that good that you pick him whenever you can. Lyon will be severely tested; maybe not to the extent McGain was (or, more appropriately speaking 'thrown to the wolves') but he deserves it now and it should be his spot to lose. Beer couldn't get numbers 10 and 11 out on a 4th day Adelaide Oval wicket last week so he's not exactly knocking the door down.

Johnson, the perenial problem, will get picked. So there's Harris, Johnson and Lyon. Siddle, Cummins and Copeland vie for the third spot. I'll leave it there people.....

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Australia's Best 25 Cricketers

Its easy to go bonkers on such a task but in a new book, Australia: Story of a Cricket Country, editor Christian Ryan has provided what he calls a once in a life time poll to determine Australia's top five cricketers. In compiling the top five, he has ended up with a list of the 25 best, now being serialised in the Sydney Morning Herald.

There are many who dismiss such lists as being impossible to formulate with any degree of accuracy because choosing the criteria for selection becomes more important than the eventual list itself. There is the old chestnut of comparing players across generations and that inevitably, the longer the selection period, the more likely the players at the earlier stages of the period are not considered as favourably because those choosing are unlikely to have seen the players perform. Those who pooh-pooh the exercise are generally those too timid to engage in the task. In the end, there are no wrong answers, although my list will be better than yours but only because in completing the task, I have been filled with a warm flood of memories of hot Saturdays at the SCG and towelling hats and my heroes acting heroically. Debating our selections is part of that same thrill. We get off the fence and onto the playing arena with every quoted stat, every retold anecdote. What a gift these men have left with us. 

All that taken into account, Ryan has at least chosen a selection panel which has some credibility, inviting returns from 121 former Test players as the sole voting sample. The result is as interesting as it is likely to be controversial - all such lists are.

It will undoubtedly rake up discussion and argument among workmates, travelling companions in the rush hour, overs beers at BBQ's and certainly between overs on suburban and country grounds for the next few Saturdays. The greatest of all discussion grounds of the game, that between grandfather, father and sons is likely to be where this list will most hotly be debated and if the youngest of the generations watches quietly from the bowlers end, they'll learn more than they can offer to the discussion and be the richer for it. Cricket has always only been as strong as the next generation taking it forward but that strength depends on carrying with them the best of the past to be cherished and remembered.

This list will help that process.

The SMH has rather cheekily held back the final five, although revealed almost by accident or teaser that Keith Miller will be the first of the final five. If we pencil in Bradman, Warne and Lillee as safe bets, that leaves only one spot. Who? So far, no Grimmett, no Armstrong, no Morris, no Hill, no Taylor, all of whom are Hall of Fame members and only one keeper in the first 20 named. I'll give my final guess to Adam Gilchrist.

As a custodian myself, such events brighten my day: there can never be too much cricket talk.

For more details and a look at players 6 to 25, go to Australia's Best Cricketers or the SMH video presentation Australia's Top 25 Cricketers 

Friday, 14 October 2011

New NEWS, Names & Nathan

I'm a bit perplexed by Nathan Bracken's actions against CA
For those not in the know, Bracken is suing CA $1m for lost earnings and medical expenses for, 'allowing him to play with a knee injury'.

Now i know places in the squad are always at a premium, but surely it was Nathan's call ultimately as to whether he felt he should play- i highly doubt he was told, "You better play no matter what!"

I for one hope that the residing judge throws this out of court and tells Bracken, "Stop wasting Cricket Australia and tax payers money, and get a bloody haircut!"


PCB are to get Pepsi sponsorship for Umpire DRS on the UAE tour against Eng and SLa- does anyone know how this will work, or have any more TLA's?


Pat Howard for the new GM of CA... i don't have an opinion on this as i didn't know who he is, nor do i know what administrative skills he brings to the position. I know he has been 'High Performance manager' for Rugby Union Australia as well as a successful coach of Leicester in Union- i didn't know he was 12th man for a county game! Is that enough for the new position?


Glen McGrath has come out and publicly praised new quick Pat Cummins, and with last nights T20 debut against RSA confirming his talent, Pidge seems to have called it well. Watto likes what he saw too and announced (earlier) that he thought Cummins is 'equal to any talent seen in the last decade.' Big call! Let's hope he is groomed correctly so that his T20 international debut is just a small stepping stone to the real stuff.

For what it's worth, Australia's 5 wicket win in the last over of the T20 last night (13/10/11) will probably only go further to reinforcing the "crowd pleaser" mentality of the format. Like it or not, non-traditionalists want 3 hours and a result down to the wire.

With that, i read too that White is calling for more games and better scheduling for the T20 format; well, he would given he won't be playing for his country in creams again! But i'm inclined to agree with him on one level: with the format becoming more entrenched into season fixtures and another T20 World cup looming the opportunities for teams to see themselves gel as a unit are very ad hoc. If this World cup is a success, it may be time for the ICC and all national boards to structure their fixtures better than just a game tacked on here and there before the commencement of a series.


stoph verismo
Down the Wicket

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The BIG Fix

So Australians were the biggest match fixers! Well, according to Mazhar Majeed the agent and former journalist in the hot seat of the bribery proceedings in a London court.

Well, it wouldn't be the first time Australian players have blotted their coffee book associating with dodgy sub-continental bookies, so if these allegations prove true, when will our blokes learn?

Of course coming from a Pakistani agent it sounds a little suss to start with... not implausible, just dubious for mine. Certainly affecting a game in "brackets" is less glaringly obvious than by other means; any batsman could declare they were "taking their time to get their eye in." And any bowler could claim, "I was bowling to a plan to draw a batsman into a false shot." So as long as no wager has been placed it all sounds a bit hollow; but if one has...

I would hope (call me naive), that in this age where the upper echelon of players CAN make a substantial living and so donn't need to 'chase the big bucks' fixing a game to earn a bit on the side with a bet. It has been touted that Pakistan players are more susceptible to this blight due to lower earnings and this is obviously an issue for the PCB, not me to sort out. More so because i don't see a lot of companies queuing up to get Pakistani cricketers endorsing their products- so there is no coin there for the players!

If this has happened, it is imperative that CA show they have ZERO tolerance and rip up players contracts and suspend them from every level of the game for LIFE!

With all and sundry speaking up about this in the media this morning- AB flatly denying its possibility, proof is now required from Majeed if he is to stand by his statement.

And THAT is what i think!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The future of Australian cricket

More than just a wrap of the first test this is comment on what will be the next 10 years of Australian cricket. It's tempting to generalise from one test - especially when on the winning side - but perhaps more informative is posing questions which need to be answered along the line.

Clarke commenced his captaincy with a comprehensive win but more importantly is how he went about it. Clarke has demonstrated a desire to attack reflected by his field settings. As a batsman he was aggressive but sensible but time will tell to what extent captaincy affects his other role. In his vice-captain he has a partnership breaker with the ball and a flaying opening bat. You can't help admire how Watson has found his place and continues to impress. Can Watson remain an opener? Should he? It appears the middle order is not in anyone's mind for Watto in the foreseeable future.

This author is critical of Ponting playing at all. If he doesn't make runs in this or the next series, why on Earth would you wait for him to get through a lean patch? His runs could be being made by Marsh or Ferguson and for that reason in this author's view he is being selfish and should get the shoulder tap.

Harris has returned with aplomb and the pace attack seems to be the least of Aus' worries. Copeland is the new Clark and Pattison, Starc and others wait with Bollinger in the wings. The big question is spin and Lyon grabbed a Michelle on debut; on the best day to bowl at Galle. His 2nd innings figures are nothing to write home about but he hopefully has 2 more tests against some quality batsmen to show his diversity and application. Johnson will just always mix brilliance with crap; although he looked to be a bit more consistent in the first test.

Hughes has clearly worked hard and looks to be determined to prove people wrong. Some believe he is simply not test level but few people fluke tons against quality bowling attacks. He and Khawaja deserve time to solidify their spots now they have been given the opportunity. The indicator of change in selection policy will be there for all to see during this and the next 3 series (vs South Africa away - 2 tests - and then the summer at home against NZ and India). If the baggy green door revolves as frequently as it has previously noone has learned a thing and we can expect more hesitant and defensive cricket from players unsure of themselves and their place in the team.

The one guy who should be looking over his shoulder is Haddin. Paine is a better keeper and a polished batsman; also likely to take over captaincy from Clarke in time. I wouldn't be surprised if Paine is behind the stumps this summer. Hussey, enough said. He is the man.

At the end of the day it's just great to have test cricket back.

Down the Wicket

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Big Shout Out

A big shout out for our good mate Lefty.

I can't pretend to know what you are going through mate but you should know you have some outstanding mates you can lean on.

Sometimes life throws one up that turns a little more than you expect.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Australia vs Sri Lanka - a tale of two sides

With hit and giggle over the real stuff commences and this author is somewhat buoyed ahead of an important series between Sri Lanka and Australia. Obviously the 20/20s tell little if anything but perhaps the ODIs provide a little information. With regard to batting the top order have significant time to build an innings; with this in mind it appears Watson has carried on and Ponting has found some touch. Clarke has also batted well which bodes well as those who have played in the subcontinent will be pivotal in providing advice on how to handle slow and low pitches. Of course, a factor to consider is the different fields set in ODIs and so gleanings from such games must be made with caution.

In terms of bowling two chief pacers in Bollinger and Lee aren't in the test squad anyway but for mine the most important bowler will be the spinner. If the spinner gets whacked and can't bowl 1/3 of the innings' overs then the quicks will tire and Aus will be in the field for two days at a time chasing leather hit by Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan. I'm picking Lyon as the man Clarke goes to; if for no other reason than because Aus have a habit now of picking the last guy you'd expect.

Aus will no doubt be happy Malinga doesn't play tests anymore but it was always going to be Herath/Mendis who held the key. Samaraweera is a quality batsman and could surprise many by scoring shed loads from 5 or 6. Pattison should have played more than just the 1 ODI but we can expect him to play in the 3 day warm-up game (yes, only one!). Copeland is likely to get a guernesy too with Johnson rested so the pace attack for the first test will be Johnson, Harris and either Pattison or Copeland with Siddle an outsider (of course I could be wrong). Not fair on Sids but he may well be the journey man for his whole career. The problem with having such a different bowling lineup between the ODIs and test squads - coupled with only 1 practice game - is few opportunities for bowlers to get used to conditions. How they bowl is more important than how many wickets they get and Copeland, Siddle, Pattison and Harris have precious little time to understand where you bowl in the subcontinent. India has just learnt the hard way the cost of not acclimatising appropriately. Noone has an excuse after England's preparation leading into the last summer's Ashes and the results were there for all to see.

Sri Lanka are always hard to beat at home and will look forward to putting their tour of England behind them. Aus have many young players starting their career in Kahawaja and the bowlers already mentioned. We can expect at least one draw so gaining the ascendancy is all-important and then driving the advantage home paramount. I'm tipping 1 all with Sri Lanka winning the 2nd and Aus the third. I've barely touched on Hughes/Marsh/Kahwaja but this can be done by others. Hussey? I've stopped talking about him nowadays. He just responds with tons and I don't believe this tour will be any different.

Down the Wicket

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

SL squad

Test squad Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (capt), Michael Hussey, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Trent Copeland, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Michael Beer.

i for one am ok with this line up; Beer i'm not sure, but why not? With Lyon in as well maybe we'll see a shoot-out for the spin spot... dare they play two on a bunsen?

Obviously i'm chuffed with the inclusion of Pattinson.
Hughes, well... he can't say he isn't getting a fair crack at it now. Ponting at 3 would worry me, but respect to him for having the character to do the right thing stepping down and hopefully re-align his stats and bat without the burden of least Lyon won't have him setting a field!

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

DTW Open letter to CA

Guys, we have begrudged CA's inability to hear the common man/fan/player and stated that they will do what they want regardless, as they will not be told by anyone.

I've sooked but i didn't offer an alternative... so here it is.
We at DTW TELL CA what is wrong with their system and plans and we publish it here and endeavour to get further support via a facebook page.

I propose we compose the letter by consensus. Of course with consensus comes concession, so we need to be able to work out our grievances before publishing.

Who's in for having their say?

stoph verismo

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Bashing the Big Bash

I appreciate that the format is of ZERO interest to my very discerning friends here, but, will anyone pay any attention to the new Big Bash format commencing this summer?

I for one will be if for no other reason then continuing the interest of my offspring in cricket, as this fast food version suits the attention span of single digit aged boys.

With Melbourne having to choose between two teams it will be of interest to me to see how much support the Docklands based Renegades get against the G based Stars. It was a no brainer choice for my eldest as i proposed his options... he loves the big stage that the G offers.

For mine it was a big mistake dividing the city when Geelong was a far better option that would have likely got support from regional (western at least) Victoria, more so with Ballarat not too far up the road.

If the format last longer than 5 years i'd be surprised if the Renegades were still there at that point; more so with the Stars having G. Shipperd as coach.

Still, several months out who knows what this heralds for the game and how it will be taken up by the public, i noted that the days the teams were announced the comments on FB were scalding not just because of the T20 format, but more at the structure of the competition, recruitment and the fragmentation of the Bushrangers.

But i'm sure you blokes don't give a rodents rectum for any part of the whole grotty thing, and this i understand.

Stoph Verismo has spoken!

Friday, 10 June 2011

tell it like it is

well done Kat for your down to earth press con.
I for one thought you might pull the pin, but as a a true champ you are, you have decided to go on... appropriate because we know you have more!

i appreciate that CA are on a "youth mission", but YOU DO NOT DROP AN IN FORM PLAYER!!!!!!

as i've said efore, Simon, i hope you make a bog load this season, and as hard as it is for a Vic to say.... i hope you lead your side to victory. FUCK CA jamie ssiddons and andrew hilditch!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

What does 2011 and 2012 hold?

So, Australia has a new test captain (with the last still playing in the team), young bowling stocks abound and some promising batsmen are kicking around. Looks like Australia will have a bumper season kicking off with a test series in Sri Lanka, then to South Africa and the summer hosting India and New Zealand.
Wait, didn't we just lose an Ashes series? How did we lose that again? That's right, we had no spinner (well, noone that could bowl spin), our quicks couldn't penetrate a cardboard box and our batsmen couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag; save Watson, Hussey and Haddin. England played exceptionally well and no doubt fully deserved the series win and the margin by which they won. So is there any reason to be hopeful?
Yes there is. There are some great quicks doing the rounds in Starc, Copeland and Pattinson with some promising batsmen in Ferguson, Khawaja with Shaun Marsh injury free. Hughes looks to have worked on his technique and developed more patience so he'll be considered a chance for an opening spot before the summer finishes. I think Marsh is a key as he also opens and can be incredible damaging. Unfortunately his summer was ordinary which limited the options CA had. Tim Paine is obviously in the selectors sights as both the national wicket-keeper and a future captain. I fear Haddin may well get a nudge well before he's ready to call it a day. The quick trio are vital to Aus starting the long road back to the top of the test tree. It will be a long time before Aus invokes the fear it did from 1993 to 2004 (perhaps it never will) but you get busy trying or.....
We learnt last summer that Hilfenhaus is indeed mortal, Bollinger has a weaker ticker than we thought, Siddle could excel but rarely will (although he is a good stock bowler), Harris will forever be plagued with injury, Johnson is not 'back' and Aus has no single spinner worth picking. 'What about Hauritz?' I hear you (yes you) ask. If he's fit, I'd concede it's worth giving him a chance; perhaps Clarke will better manage him than Ponting. But if we're brutally honest who would disagree that Beer, Doherty, McGain - the list goes on - just are not up to the standard required for test cricket? A grounds keeper who quietly asked if he could bowl to the redbacks since he had nothing to do may well find himself in a baggy green before too long. Nathan Lyon has impressed all with his control and flight and with the revolving door policy for Aus spinners who knows?
The future may not be sparklingly bright admittedly but hell it looks interesting. The funny thing is that if Aus' middle order can develop more spine; in particularly Ponting and Clarke, some pressure can be taken off the bowlers and they may be able to attack more. When you've got 230 on the board and bowling day 1 it's pretty hard to keep slips in and men around the bat once some runs start to flow. The thing that Clarke can bring to the table is a plan B. When you think about where Cook got his runs in the Ashes, how many shots between cover and mid-off do you remember? Not bloody many I bet because his weakness is supposed to be full on/outside off and that's where Aus thought we'd get him out - but he'd tightened his technique - leaving the ball alone unless it was short enough to cut or straight enough to drive. We had no other idea of how we'd see the back of him and about 25,000 runs later still don't.
While finding a spinner that can at least keep things tight will aid the attack immenesley, our quicks have to be more consistent. The reason greats like Warne and McGrath got results was because they were always at the batsmen. Never giving a batsmen width, half-volleys or long hops builds pressure by limiting the scoring options they have. Even in test cricket batsmen will sooner or later try to release the shackles, thereby taking a risk and potentially offering an opportunity. However, when a batsman knows that he'll 'get at least one every over' all he has to so is wait. Siddle improved greatly over the summer by reducing his bad balls but with Johnson at the other end all this good work is entirely undone. Batsmen get their eye in, build condfidence and before you know it you're getting hit too. Hilfenhaus became too predictable and with no swing he was far less dangerous. Bollinger may well come back but at the same time may not be forgiven for Adelaide. Let's hope Harris can find the form he burst onto the scene with because someone has to mentor the Starcs of this world.
My friends, the outlook is not entirely bleak, but it's bloody far form being bright.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

DTW Sydney Tour 2012

Alright guys, with the demise of the Australian World Cup bid and the lull in any real cricket for quite a while I thought it pertinent that we begin to discuss the possibility of a DTW Sydney Tour.
I have already secured accommodation in Sydney with another cricket nut so we are sorted there. What we should aim for is to better the outstanding Adelaide weekend, which I know will be a tall order but I think we can get there.
What we need now is dedication to the task. We need able bodies to make the trek, drink the drink and walk the walk to the SCG. This is no trip for nancies. Sydney is no drinkwater town halfway to the Indian Ocean and will chew you up and spit you out in a second.
Who among you will volunteer. It will be tough. Beer and steak don't drink and eat themselves.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Australia's 43rd Captain

And so it is that Michael Clarke is appointed our 43rd captain. The media make a deal of naming him as the new captain when the truth is they named him captain almost ten years ago.
His form of late has been barely good enough to keep him in the side yet is expected to improve with the added weight of the captaincy.
The question now has to be "How long will we accept poor performances from him with the bat now he has the excuse of captaincy to put up every time he fails?"
The organisation needed a Golden Boy to attract female followers and shimmy through the social pages and now he holds the second most esteemed position in the country.
Why ask current cricketers if they support him when they must tow the company line?
Once again a decision that is not better for Australian cricket but better for Cricket Australia.
Shouldn't they be the same thing?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Tragics Have Moved - Slightly

For those Down The Wicket readers who occasionally flip over to The Cricketragics, please note the change of addy

Stoph, you might also be so kind as to remove City United Cricket Club emblem from DTW. I'm no longer associated with them.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Batting Woes?

As Australia's constant batting woes continue at the World Cup, a fact hidden by victories over minnows such as Canada and Kenya, perhaps it is time for Ponting to fall on his sword, go home and send over one of the best one day batsmen in the world.

I refer to one B. Hodge. Surely the ridiculous decision to leave him out of the squad while in such devastating form for the Vics is now becoming downright retarded?

Ponting is G.A.W.N. Clarke is lucky to be getting a game much less next in line for the top spot. When will he step up WHEN WE NEED HIM? Last night he committed the cardinal sin of calling when the ball was hit behind square. Under 12 stuff. White should have stood his ground like Clarke surely would, the selfish git. "My next big score is just around the corner". Yeh so is your stylist and media manager Pup!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

World Cup

Guys, with the World Cup coming up I am leaning towards the prospect of a DTW BBQ at the Nospmas residence on Saturday 5th March as a precursor to watching at least the first innings or perhaps the whole game Australia v Sri Lanka.
Food and drink would be provided by the house and by drink I mean beer and perhaps red wine.

Please indicate your interest in such an endeavour. All members welcome. Interstate guests can be accommodated.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Some Runs For The "L" Man

Boys it's time to recognise the only one of us that plays competitive cricket amongst us and his breakthrough score on the weekend. As an opener myself who has struggled at times it is nice to finally get into the runs if only 30 odd. But 30 odd becomes 50 odd and so on until you are raising your bat for a triple.

Lukey you looked good at 1 for 90ish and you certainly did your job. As a captain it must have been frustrating to watch the good start slip away.

Anyway mate, well done on putting some in the book. May your next one be a big one!!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

2 A's and a B gives Watto 2nd AB

Surely Shane Watson was an unbackable favourite for last nights AB medal.
The Glams, glitterati and paparazzi were in effect turning up only to honour his terrific consistency, and to see who came 2nd.

Taking top votes in Test and ODI and runner up to D.Hussey in T20 it was too easy for Watto to back up last years win.

I suppose an advantage of being so favored is being able to prepare your acceptance speech. Watson certainly showed he had his achievements in perspective with his acknowledgment that, "...being able to stay on the field was its own reward."

Well done Watto, you were a light in the dark days of the Test summer, and fully deserve this accolade.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Murphy's Law

Under 11 cricket SEMI FINAL

and its off to the MCG we go...!

DVCA logo

My Nephew Blake Murphy is the captain of his U/11 Rep team and they have won their way into the State finals played on the centre wicket of the MCG this Sunday.
Diamond/Plenty Valley play Oakleigh at 10am.
All are welcome, entry is free and at gate 1. All seating is in the members reserve.

Blake has starred in all of his games especially with the ball, being told by the coach to bat if they won the toss in his first rep game he did what most bowling captains do when they look at the matting on the pitch, won the toss and decided to bowl....then took 3/5.
If you are free on Sunday it would be great to see you there!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The new tactician!

Sending Johnson in is a very good example as to why Ponting is limited in his ability to be anything other than a reactionary captain; Clarke knows his man and his ability and has created a situation where the game is ON.

Johnson with his head down is a fine batsman with nearly every shot. Coming in at 3 has allowed him to do this, play strokes, keep the run rate up and club the sh!te.
Pup, great tactic!

Bellerive pt4

Bellerive gates

Part of the D.Boon Sculpture

More time needed here

Bellerive pt3

How close is this to the beach!

Player shenanigans!

Bellerive pt2

Out the back of the commentators booth towards the river

View from commentators booth towards the hill

TV commentators view from the seat

Photo's of Bellerive tour

The weather vane

The view from the hill; square of the wicket with Mt Wellington in the background

This glass is right behind the goal square!

Monday, 31 January 2011

Return of the living dead!

As SS (or M&M, if you like) said, "I'm back!"
Sorry about my absence in the middle of 'cricket' season, the Apple Isle called and it was grand. Did a tour of Bellerive oval and museum, was able to keep Watto's fast ball out on the bowling speed simulator, and was planning to go to the ODI on the Friday but was informed there were only 1,000 tickets left and just for the hill and could see my boys terrorising the other patrons there worse than me and my animal undies did for Japanese tourists!

We all know Bellerive is right on the river, but what i didn't know was that there is a nice beach just outside the door (i'm talking only meters!); note to self, "Go to a Hobart Test, if it is hot take the opportunity to go for a swim at lunch!" Next test there, look out for interviews from Nicho with the river in the window behind him, it is a spectacular location and i believe the most scenic stadium in the country; not that i'd want to play there, as i'd be caught out daydreaming and looking up at the mountain and river WHILE in the field!

I will post a few pictures of the tour tonight.

Anyway, time for cricket.
So with all of my, "ODI is redundant and should be binned like 80 over old ball," it would seem that many in the cricket world think the sins of the summer can be forgiven with Australia's series win in the ODI and the close nature of most of the games so far. I must admit, i have been sucked into watching a couple of games (2nd innings) and eagerly checking the results when i've missed the matches.

To get result within the last couple of overs certainly makes for better competition so maybe i'm wrong about the 50 over format. What stands out to me is the effect t20 has had on the batting here too, as it has to the batting in Tests. Players stepping back and going WOOSH! Paddles around the corner to fine leg and more swats back over the bowlers head with a horizontal bat than you could...flash a bat at!
If this more gung ho style reinvigorates ODI, then maybe it IS a good thing, but i wonder if the lines across the 3 formats are then getting too blurred... at the detriment of technique.

A tight comp in the world cup could revitalise the format like a zombie on a feast of brains, but for how long? As a 40 something cricket fan, i grew up as the ODI version found its feet and attracted a fun loving following that was accessible for people that wanted a result in a day, but with an ADHD version filling this prescription even more succinctly, it still looks like time to accept the diagnosis.

Rule revamps are a sign of ongoing development and commitment to improvement, or are just another swing of the crop to try and get a few more miles from a flagging nag! Certainly the 'free hit' rule fits this bill; an irony not lost on Binga last night as he set his traps only to get the desired result (a skied catch)on the free hit.

While on Lee, i'd like to add how impressed i've been with him over this series. As the senior bowler he has really led by example and shown he still has most facets of his craft in place... including his consistently blistering pace. Not bad for an 'old bloke', more so because he is obviously a lot more thoughtful about his bowling now instead of forceful. Someone please remind me who is leading the bowling squad in the Test team again please?

stoph verismo
back at the crease

down the wicket

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Common Sense

With the likely unavailability of Mike Hussey for the World Cup the question raises it's head if CA can forget past stupidity, wipe their chin, bow to common sense and select one Bradley Hodge for the 15 man squad to tour India.

Overlooking him now should involve a media release from them that they have no intention of ever picking him for any form of Australian cricket and end the torment of all supporters once and for all. Surely if he is omitted it confirms that he has indeed performed sex acts on one or more spouses of selectors that are illegal in some countries and frowned upon by most.

If I might regress into pointless rhetoric, how many runs must a man score and at what average to force his way into the side?

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Twenty 20 Luckfest

I forced myself to watch some of the T20 game last night in the hope I might find something about the format I could embrace as cricket.

What I saw made me no more in love with the game I can tell you. I watched in abject horror as Ian Bell chanced his arm time after time with shots that although middled flew to nowhere in particular whilst just evading luckless fielders. French cuts and top edges to short boundaries, which had been shortened even further may I add, soon followed.

Kevin Peiterson stepped up and teed of to every single ball he faced until his luck ran out. It was then I decided I had tortured myself enough and I wandered off to masturbate with razor blades.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Is it too radical...

Is it too radical to pay out and wipe ALL CA test contracts and say to the players: "we are picking the Test team V Sri Lanka on performances in Shield cricket between now and then"?

Is it too radical to insist that all Shield teams field at least 3 players under 21?

Is it too radical to insist that all shield teams can field at maximum 3 31 year olds?

Is it too radical to say to teams that no matter how well they do in the big bash and how much money they make in India in the Champions league that the winnings will be pooled between the competition?

Is it too radical to ask players to pledge allegiance to Shield (and possible) Test cricket in front of T20?

Methinks not.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Couldn't Be Said Better

Robert Craddock in Herald Sun today.

I think this article highlights EXACTLY what is wrong with not just Australian cricket, but cricket in general.

Forget number one nations and who is where, this article makes me wonder if the standard of test cricket throughout the world is falling. Not just batting but bowling too.

Tendulkar is feasting on bowling that is not fashioned around the line and length that undid Australia in this series but exactly the opposite in the hope a terrible shot will result in a wicket.

T20, as repugnant as it is to the game of cricket that I love is now also eroding the skills of once great cricketers and limiting the skills of emerging players that need the money and exposure to survive. The saddening prospect of test cricket fading into obscurity is now becoming a genuine reality, not through lack of support but lack of suitably skilled players.

The lopsided nature of the tests in this series should be recognised as a warning to the powers that be that this great game is being torn apart by petulance and impatience from young players that are not being educated properly.

England exploited it this series and as you read this article it becomes clear that it will be much worse by the next series in August.

Six months of T20 and one dayers will erode the memory of what happened here this summer. Sins will be forgiven and mistakes forgotten. How do you pick a test side based on short game form?

Friday, 7 January 2011

From the abyss to the..................

You could always go for 11 new faces for the next series but that's not realistic. When Clarke has dug in he's looked good but every time he loses concentration he gets out. Trott and Cook never lost concentration and therefore got huge tons.

I haven't heard Skull talk about Hughes but I think the guy can do it, whether his temperament can improve enough I'm not sure. He's worked on his technique but shot selection has brought his downfall - like most of our batsmen - and therefore I don't think you can be harder on him than anyone else. Watson is infuriating; more often than not gets Aus off to a great start but throws it away either by edging or running himself/others out.

My 15 going forward for the next 2 years:

Shaun Marsh
Mike Hussey
David Hussey
Peter George
Mark Cameron
James Pattinson

Hughes is obviously a contentious issue but in my view there isn't many opening options around the country at present. Cosgrove could be one of few others.

I think Haddin is important and Paine has time to make his mark. Keeping some senior players is vital which is why I've included Mike Hussey but fear he'll retire before 2 years is up. David Hussey is 32 and could well do what his brother did upon entering the Aus set up.

Quicks are around - who knows who will stand up and grab some poles? If Johnson wants back in he has to find consistency. Noone is expecting him to bowl like McGrath but bloody hell he can't keep bowling like an uncoordinated under 10!

Spin is a major issue and I fear the main role for a spinner for the next 2 years will be a container rather than a strike bowler. I guess Swann didn't take the game apart during the Ashes but still bowled well as the series wore on and played a part keeping pressure on.

Watson, Khawaja and the Husseys form a group you can plan your batting around. If Marsh can open you can have Watson, Marsh, Khawaja, Hussey and Hussey as your top 5. Not bad in my view. Obviously Clarke would not bat at 6 but if he's not in form anyway...........

As Border did, time to draw a line in the sand and move forward. Honest appraisals and determination to do better. If the bowling is good it may get you out but you just cannot gift it to them. Too often Aus' batsmen have succumbed to the pressure by England's bowlers by fishing outside off when there was no need to play a shot. Our bowlers lacked pressure and innovation, getting into modes of just putting it up there without any consistency. You may not win many test matches against a team like England with the personnel Aus has got but you can fight and 3 innings losses in a 5 test series smacks of folding when it gets hard.

Well done England who deserve the rewards for excellent planning and execution.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

new day new post

no point talking about the England batting, that has been covered.

Ok, the run out. Clearly Australia need a LOT of work in the skill of calling and communication.
Last season i played with guys i'd never met and had barely spoke to prior to the middle, but it is a basic skill, call loud, be decisive. Never involved in a run out, It isn't that hard.

Hughes... I like the idea of giving him a run at it, but to be honest, i doubt he has the temperament. I'm not saying that as a negative thing, but just maybe, Test isn't his thing if he always wants to go after it but can't keep his head down for longer than 15 overs.

Now i'm watching Tremlett (liking his style a lot, aggressive with the ball, the odd look, but no histrionics) just working hard for his teams cause. And Clarke and Khawaja (future cap?) batting. They are looking good and business like, doing what needs to be done. Nothing wrong with Swann's bowling, just good sensible batting from heads that KNOW they must be there at stumps. For once i'm seeing good leaves.

As a final point, i want to say something that is not related to the play on field.
We all acknowledge the atmosphere and sense of fun the Barmy Army add to the game, but it shouldn't be under rated how much their voice adds to the players confidence. What is one of the first things players do when getting a 1/2 or tonne or a match victory...thank the Barmy Army.
The Fanatics have been remiss in their developing a counter punch to the pervasive chants of the Army.
I know Aussie collaboration is harder than herding cats, but the desire is there, the direction is NOT.

stoph verismo
down the wicket

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

SCG day 2

Lunch day 2- 8/230

Jono batting well, but you can bet it will be over soon after lunch. But if he can get Australia to 270+ at least Beer can be used for attacking.

With the track flattening out England could still be batting late on day 4!
Here's what HAS to happen.
Smith must get some wickets to justify his inclussion, he has not kept his head down while batting so i hope he can hit the spot.

Jono and Hilf must get wickets too otherwise they'll just have to wear the label of "conditions" bowlers.

I hope the players have a bit of self belief because i think this next session is the one where Australia either lose the Ashes or square the series.

a dry one from me, but that was
stoph verismo
down the wicket

Sunday, 2 January 2011


There is drizzle outside and 85% humidity. Its 7:30 on any other Sydney Sunday night and in Bondi Junction my wife is doing a quick shop for food for our first three days - a quick shop which started a bit after six. She waved encouragement from behind the checkouts about ten minutes ago and then disappeared and I'm wondering if aliens perform abductions in Coles and if so, where will I find find a pizza joint. Not my real hunger anyway.

Its not just any Sydney Sunday night because five minutes down Oxford St into Moore Park Road my digs at the Paddington Barracks are waiting to try and console me into sleep because tomorrow isn't just any Sydney Monday morning. Tomorrow, Australia has its last chance to recover pride and respect lost completely to a rampant mob from England. Even their spectators have outperformed us.

Where I'll sleep tonight, British soldiers once marched and polished and paraded and "yes sirred" and earned only two rewards - a small quoter of rum each day and some time off to wander down to the cricket which was being played at their recreation ground only 300m away. They would sit around the Paddington end of the ground and would yell loud encouragement to the cricketers there and often offered disparaging comments to the "colonials" who were attempting to play their game. They became known as the barrackers and so a term was born which has found its way to sporting events world wide.

Its raining slowly and might do so through offs and ons for the next twelve hours but I'll not provide the weather with the satisfaction of altering my anticipation.

For the Australian captain, Michael Clarke, the pup becomes the Big Dog from the toss, with a head full of allegiance to old man Ponting and little desire expressed to make the job his own. Given the rise and rise of the powere of the coach, any chance of Clarke expressing his thoughts or personality in the decision making processes on or off the field seem less than the role of dice, an activity which his selectors have fared poorly at. Then, if you play with marked cards and loaded dice, outcomes are devoid of chance.

Australia enter their fifth encounter with England this summer, with their hands not just behind their backs by tired firmly there like convicts rounded up Red Caps. There is still no Hauritz and the chosen interloper, will be a Beer opened on the ground for the first time. Australia's leading spinner before the series and the second most successful spinner in terms of first class wickets in Australia this season (Swann has only 3 more) was not invited because the selectors are never wrong. Bollinger is back. Do you think they are picking players solely to amuse sub-editors ... "Australia starts with Bollinger before a Beer chaser" ...

Still, a new face is good thing when the old ones have lost their smile, lost the sparkle from their eyes and issue only tired old men's oaths in the heat of the battle. Another is Khawaja, the brightest star to graduate to the Baggy Green heavens in many an evening wondering if the Southern Cross would sparkle like nights of old. He is as Bill O'Reilly would have described, a good 'un and the confidence being invested in him is clear in his immediateelevation to the most important point in a batting order which has moved like it was fresh from a soaking in liquid nitrogen.

England need no introduction with no changes to the side which blew Australia away in Melbourne. Bresnan and Tremlett were superb and along will Anderson will swing the ball far too dangerously for the Australian and talk of a like fear to be felt from Mitchell Johnson has been without foundation, baring on spell in Perth. Such things are not likely to cause tremors to an English batting line up which has pounded everyone who has stared them down from 20 metres. Hilfenhaus has been unlucky and deserves more English wickets than 4 at plenty+ but the truth is, his swing starts from the hand is easily managed by men well used to such red ball tricks.

England's only weakness is Collingwood, who will swap with Bell in Sydney. It says a lot about their domination that his constant craving for runs has gone on unsated and yet it hasn't hurt England. His brilliant catching has played its part in match turning moments and his loyal service through darker years gains its reward this summer as loyalty returned from a grateful Captain Strauss, when Morgan, a better player, could have taken his place after Perth.

Despite new blood, a new captain and new expectations from a result starved Australian public, nothing but an English victory seems likely.

Now, if I can only get to sleep. After all, I have that long 300m trek to make in the morning among the ghosts of the barackers and then the Barmy Army to great me on the concourse.

No, not just another Sydney Monday.