Monday, 1 April 2013

Batting woes and age old foes

After being able to claim few sessions as 'won' Australia have been soundly beaten by an Indian team deserving of a 4 nil scoreline. Even their two quicks did their job well in every test. Whereas in 2004 (and without Ponting for the bulk of it) Aus had clear plans and executed them well, in 2013 their batting could not withstand pressure for long enough periods often enough. Despite winning all tosses and thus getting first use of crumbling pitches, Aus could only mount one total over 400 in the first innings and collapsed in every second innings. The batsmen should be buying the bowlers (Starc beers and Siddle sherberts) drinks for life for salvaging some pride.

Counted as a learning experience it's hard to disagree with Ian Chappell that little learning was evident during the series. While Pujara and Vijay gave a free lesson on accumulating then cashing in, what were Aus' batsmen watching? Footwork is key against spin bowling on turning tracks yet time after time Aus' batsmen rushed from the crease, swept the wrong ball or even played across the line. While ignorance and stupidity can been different things, most of Aus' top 6 possessed both while in the middle. No amount of centre wicket practice on the playing surface seemed to do much for anyone except Cowan and perhaps Hughes. Cowan should go to England but he has to convert scores as Trott and Cook do. Part of me thinks Hughes got a bit lucky late in the tour but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for at least developing a plan.

Watson should be given an ultimatum; bowl or retire. I'd even be tempted to say 'we're getting lower order runs anyway so why would we pick you?' His modes of dismissal were unforgivable. Martyn was exiled for 6 years for one shot poorly thought through. Watson got given the captaincy. Go figure.

Nothing has happened to change my view that Lyon is Aus' best spinner and and is improving. He's far from the top 6 in the world but he'll do. Maxwell must be cracking jokes and the selectors are in on it if they all think he's a test cricketer. Picking guys like him devalues the baggy green. Whereas Henriques could be considered in hindsight to be an inspired choice as it worked out, we're unlikely to see much of him as his bowling just isn't up to a standard to be considered an allrounder. Starc continues to be inconsistent and so having a Hilfenhaus or Bird around will be important for the back-to-back Ashes. Pattinson maybe even surpassed already lofty expectations and one can become delirious contemplating him and Cummins in the same team. Siddle perhaps didn't sparkle but how can you stay angry at the guy?!?

Khawaja must feel like he is part of some quota policy carrying drinks all tour. Why he didn't get a run when almost everyone was failing is beyond comprehension. Taking him away from shield cricket to be permanent 12th man will have done little for his development. Warner is on borrowed time; he looks out of depth when required to dig in whereas Cowan looks at home. We've seen the great knocks like the one against NZ but occupying the crease must be learned to be a successful opener. Otherwise he may as well bat down the order where he can be more effective. There's plenty of openers after all.

So, my 15 for England - the first 11 being the playing 11.

Cowan
Warner
Hughes
Clarke
Khawaja
Doolan
Wade
Siddle
Pattinson
Cummins
Lyon

Starc
O'Keeffe
Sayers
Watson

No comments:

Post a Comment