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


  1. it will be interesting to see what Ponting's paternity kleave replacement will make of his chance. and if capitalised on, could that exclude re-entry into the team?

    i feel Haddin filled the clown sized shoes of the departing Gillie admirably, but if Clarke and CA are serious about youth and the long term than both Ponting and Haddin need to be given a gold watch now. Paine as the future...well it makes sense to have a captain standing behind every ball bowled, is he up to the mammoth task of such a work load?

    As for Watto, if it aint broke... he should continue to be allowed to write his own script- he must be an extrodinary athlete now that he no longer breaks down every 3rd step he runs, so i see no point in upsetting the cart there.

    i'm afraid i have to bite the bullet on 2 points with Hughes: i don't think he has the mental fortitude for the task, but if i'm to accept that we need to encourage a sense of stability and a chance to settle into the roll and that it is right that the person given that chance is young with a long term future, than stay he must...for now.

    once again though i'd like to wheel out my rants that it is not just the player that must establish themselves for a long term place, but, that CA MUST develope an attitude of long vision and structure to ensure a power vacuum doesn't occur for a 3rd time in 30 years... we'll see if they've finally learnt THAT lesson!

  2. Interesting observations gentlemen. By way of comment:
    * no, you don't fluke hundreds against a good attack BUT when your career has just started you can score hundreds until your game becomes known. That's the story with Phil Hughes. His weaknesses now discovered, he has to change/recover and much of that is in mental toughness which he has shown no signs of having
    * Ponting should have left with the applause of his last international innings hundred at Sardar Patel Stadium. He lingers to his and Australia's detriment. However, if he is to stay, he must bat at 6 and let Khawaja settle at 3
    * Clarke was impressive. His field placing were aggressive and his use of the bowlers clever. His second innings batting was leadership by example ... however, let's wait and see on the basis of that singular swallow and the extraordinary long summer ahead of it
    * I'd 'ditch Haddin gladly. By comparison, Healy was dumped when still playing only marginally below his best and what a great decision that was. Haddin, however, is sliding quickly away from his best form and his constant need to find any point of disagreement and then stir the possum shows that
    * Watson, tick ... would be the future captain if he wasn't the same age or there abouts as Clarke

    Here's hoping that Khawaja bats at 3 in Pallekele, scores runs and stays there. That's Australia's future. I've said all along, Marsh to open but perhaps we'll have to wait for South Africa.

  3. I'm prepared to give Hughes an extended chance; they gave North plenty before realising he didn't make tough runs. At least Hughes has years ahead of him. If he goes through the rest of this tour and the two tests against SA without significant runs then drop him while he's got plenty of shield games to prove himself. Let him bat with Katich for NSW who would be the best mentor possible.

    I still think Ferguson should be ahead of Marsh so my top 6 would be:


    I love the left, right, left, right nature of it too!

  4. I don't think Hughes has the technique or concentration to open at test level. He is a victim of trying to mimic Hayden's domination in that slot and forces his hand far too often. Loos strokes undo him far too often.

    Ponting should walk. He has done it all and just takes the spot of another. Normally being relieved of the captaincy is a suggestion to retire.

    I agree on Haddin too. He has never been the best keeper going around and can't bat as well as Gillie did. Mammoth runs can hide sins and he grasses too many.

  5. Marsh looks like becoming the new Swampy for Kandy! i can't believe with all of his international experience he is debuting at 27! Injury is unkind most times.

    And now with the Roos stealing the Tigers traditional 9th spot i expect to hear more from Sledgey. ;-D

  6. Looks like Harris will miss the 3rd test and it's a choice between two Victorians! I'm getting behind Pattison for his swing at pace. How good would it be to debut another bloke?

  7. Apologies to Clarke. I liked his creativity. He tried things Ponting never would. Hussey to bowl etc...

  8. Ian Chappell doesn't think Copeland should be in the first 11 as someone bowling that pace needs to be a swing bowler at least. I'm not convinced of that and would be happy to see him this summer. If at the end of the summer he doesn't keep pressure on (I don't think he'll run through a lineup but not all bowlers do or even need to to play their role well) then maybe send him back to the shield.
    Good start by Clarke and Aus had to fight at times with bat and ball so the signs are there that Aus is more competitive. What a pity the series in South Africa is only two tests.
    Unfortunately I don't think Lyon will be featuring consistently as he didn't seem to either build pressure or keep things tight after the first innings at Galle. If experts say it takes more time to develop a young spinner then what do you do? Selectors ran out of patience with Hauritz when he hadn't really done much wrong.
    I'm less concerned with the batting; Marsh stood up, Khawaja looks worth persisting with, Hussey is sublime, Clarke looked very good so if Watson and Ponting hit their straps then 500 is on the cards.
    It always seems to come back to spin doesn't it. All finger spinners at the moment; apart from Tim May and Ashley Mallet who has Aus produced that you'd put in your first 11 nearly every time? No matter how much I want Lyon to succeed it's hard to imagine a young spinner learning the trade at test level.