Home > Cricket, Sport > The Ashes – some thoughts

The Ashes – some thoughts

This may be counted sacrilegious in some quarters, but after the 2nd Test has wrapped up I find myself hoping the Aussies get thoroughly smashed for the rest of the series.

Now before you rip me a new one, let me explain my reasoning as to why this would be a good thing for Australian cricket.

As we all know, elite team sport goes in cycles and currently the Australian cricket team in on the downward reach.  How deep and long the nadir of that cycle is depends on the steps taken by the governing body of the sport, in this case Cricket Australia.

Frankly, CA has been driven by short-term profit making as opposed to the long term interest of the sport and as such I see them guiding cricket into a deep, deep trench in Australia.  Here are some of the more telling points:

  1. Captaincy.  Quite frankly, Ricky Ponting is not a captain’s arsehole.  He was doing OK when he had a team full of superstars to cover his weaknesses, but as soon as the likes of Gilchrist, Hayden and McGrath disappeared from the scene he was repeatedly exposed.  He has little tactical nous on the field, can’t manage his bowlers properly, couldn’t set an attacking field to save his life, and his body language when he’s under pressure shows him to be a sulky little girl.  As for his acolyte Clarke…the less said the better.  I wouldn’t put him in charge of the drinks cart.
  2. Selections.  CA has stuffed this really badly.  Apart from the unwritten rule of selecting from NSW first then everyone else, they have long gone by the policy of picking based on past glories and reputation over form and potential.  Unless of course you are a bowler when you are given precisely 1 game to get it all right.  Batsmen appear to be the protected species of the team.  How else do you explain North and Hussey getting no decent scores for two seasons and still retaining their place?  Is it because we have no other middle order batsmen of any calibre playing in the Sheffield Shield?  Then they suddenly put together a semi-decent knock in a Shield game and they are back in the good books.  Unfortunately with Hussey getting some runs on some absolute highways in Brisbane and Adelaide, you can guarantee he’ll be safe for at least another 3 years…though his scores tend to lose their gloss when compared with the Pommy batsmen.
  3. Twenty20.  This is the beginning of the end for the long form of the game.  Twenty20 has so debased the skillset for a cricketer that soon they’ll be unable to play the true form of the game and that will be the end.  All you have to do is look at two nuffies in particular, David Warner and Shaun Tait.  Warner was some clown who was plucked from grade cricket (NSW of course) without even a first class match to his name and suddenly anointed as the next big thing because he can slog a ball.  Where is he now you say?  Good question.  As for Tait, this is a guy who had the potential to be the next big fast bowling thing for Australia, but unfortunately he has a million dollar arm with a five cent head and a heart the size of a pea.  The less we hear of him the better.

Where do they go from here?

CA needs to take a good hard look at themselves and be prepared to wear some short term pain (i.e. losses) with a view to some long term gain, otherwise cricket in Australia will soon have the same sort of appeal that it does in the West Indies.

They need to have the balls to drop players who aren’t performing or who are too old and blood some new talent.  It also means having the guts to drop players even though they may be appearing in your sponsors’ commercials at the moment, regardless that it may cost you money.  Do you really think Clarke would still be playing if he didn’t have his gormless head all over the box?

Now is the time to do it.  Drop the underperformers like Clarke, Ponting, North, Haddin (got some runs but is a crap keeper), Bollinger, Doherty.  Bring in fresh talent like Khwaja (??), Ferguson, White as captain, and an attacking spinner like Krezja.  Persist with them for the rest of the series and give them a chance…don’t give them the Martin Love treatment.

Sigh…if only it would happen.

  1. December 7, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    Yes, yes, yessity, yes!

    I would probably keep Clarke. I know he’s as popular as a cloacka full of fireworks right now, but I think he is a quality batsman. I would also keep Haddin for the time being, but only as long as his keeping improves.

    Khwaja, yes, Ferguson, maybe. Your mate Swan from up north for the swing, a guy like Trent Copeland to keep it tight. Krezja for a while, but if he proves no good then the leggie Boyce or Steven O’keefe. If the odd old bloke like Swan gets in then the rest should be pretty young.

    Forget Shaun Marsh, but think about Mitchell Marsh. As for another Mitchell, only if he can assure us he has his head in the right place.

    And no more fucking adds until we’re number one again!

    • December 8, 2010 at 9:06 AM

      I’m still not convinced about Clarke, Chris.
      He’s had the usual number of chances that every Aussie batsmen gets, but he’s been seriously coddled becuase he’s on the leadership fast-track. I don’t know about you, but I can’t take anyone seriously as a leader if he’s never captained a team at the first class level in the longer forms of the game.
      And we’ve all seen how sucky he is in the job in the short form.
      Give Cameron White a shot.

  2. ozymandias
    December 10, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    What we need is more coaches. We have a fielding coach, a bowling coach and a batting coach, as well as a Coach, with a capital C. We need a captaincy coach or at least an advisory panel for Ponting, who has never had a clue. I always felt CA made a big mistake when they appointed Ponting over Gilchrist, who has a much better cricket brain.

    • December 13, 2010 at 9:11 AM

      I agree. It was pretty telling on the tour of India that Ponting missed out on that Gilchrist was the first captain to win there in ages, yet when Ponting went back again they got done.

  1. December 7, 2010 at 5:39 PM

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