31 December 2012

Australia look shakey for 2013 and massively reliant on Michael Clarke

It sounds strange to say Australia are looking shakey for next year when they've just thrashed Sri Lanka inside two and a half days and when they're captain has scored more runs than any other Australian in one calendar year in 2012.   Particularly as they were very unlucky to lose their three match series against the number 1 Test team South Africa too.

But it's difficult to see how a side stripped of Ponting, Hussey and Haddin is going to go into the Ashes next year as favourites, despite the advances being made by in the seam bowling department.   Jackson Bird looks a great find and I think he'll be very dangerous on English wickets in swinging conditions, along with any of Siddle, Starc, Johnson and Pattinson.

But imagine if Michael Clarke was to go down injured...there's literally no-one that it's possible to pick out as a natural leader at this stage.   Clarke seems to get through without missing many games but the Aussies still have to consider what they would do in that circumstance - there's no other Test team so reliant on one player as Australia in 2013.   It's getting bad when you see that people like Warner and Cowan are being suggested as leaders - both are inexperienced at Test level and Warner's shot selection issues will make it hard for him to guide others, while Cowan averages less than 35 at the stage.

I can't believe that Australia would have wanted it this way.   If they'd known that Hussey was going to retire, I wonder whether Ponting might have continued, or whether Haddin might have been the better choice over Wade (who is now being touted as a number 6 despite averaging 36 to date)....Wade's certainly not set the world alight and Haddin's been in superb form in Australian domestic cricket.   Perhaps Wade was selected for his bowling - Haddin certainly doesn't proclaim to be able to bowl!

It'll be interesting to see how Australia shape up over the next 12 months and whether Michael Clarke can stay fit.   Without him they'll really be struggling....

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14 December 2012

Just like real cricket and nothing changes


Just found on my book shelves Pelham Warner's report of the 1912 Ashes tour, so obviously I've got to read it by the end of the year - 101 years ago is not as memorable as 100 years.
It's a lot similar to running real cricket ( i.e. the kind we play). Availability was poor - C.B. Fry, then the best batsman on the planet, Reg Spooner and Gilbert Jessop all had prior engagements ( probably not as important as a hair appointment - whatever that is - that had been booked by one of my players once 4 months in advance!). Makes the little business of Pietersen look small beer.
Then towards the end of the selection process they realised they'd got no close fielders so had to rethink a bit ( luxury! ).
Then the skipper ( Warner himself ) was ill and missed the whole series - they said he was mad to have played in Colombo and then Adelaide with only a ten day sea voyage to recover in between.
They had an all-rounder J W H T Douglas ( they called him " John won't hit today" as he was very defensive) who batted up and down the order and the amount he bowled seemed to depend on where he'd batted - to give everyone a game perhaps.  Wonder whether he ever got a TFC?
Haven't finished the book but I know it has a good ending!
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