Planning December 31, 2006

Some New Year resolutions

Got your New Year resolutions sorted
34

Got your New Year resolutions sorted? Me too (must spend less time blogging). But I wonder if the players have… Here are some friendly suggestions.

AUSTRALIA Must remember to give opponents a chance. Declining to bring any bowlers out of retirement should do the trick.

Must stop John Buchanan giving press conferences. It’s one area where he and Duncan Fletcher are as bad as each other – one defensive, the other passive-aggressive.

Must see if they can collapse even more dramatically than at Melbourne and still win. Maybe let things go to 84 for 9 this time.

ENGLAND Must play an extra batsman. Kevin Pietersen hasn’t been a place too low at number five – the four men after him have been a place too high. Picking Jamie Dalrymple at seven will help, but Andrew Flintoff, in his present lack of form, will still be too high at six. There’s no point playing five bowlers if the captain doesn’t have faith in them.

Must reach 100 with just one wicket down, something they have managed only in the second innings at Perth.

Must be aggressive with the bat and patient with the ball. Just bowl at the top of off stump: as Matthew Hayden helpfully pointed out, that’s all a Test-match bowling plan needs to say.

Must remember how to play overseas. Since the successful tour of South Africa two years ago, their home record reads won 8 (7 if you disregard the Pakistan forfeit), lost 2, while their away record is won 1, lost 7.

Must not publish any more autobiographies until they have the Ashes back.

SHANE WARNE Must announce his retirement from international hair-replacement ads with immediate effect.

Must agree not to take any more tail-end wickets in this match – they’re beneath him, aren’t they?

ANDREW FLINTOFF Must bat as if he’s no longer captain.

Must keep smiling, even in defeat – Brett Lee showed the way last year.

Must give Monty Panesar an early bowl and a reasonable field.

GLENN McGRATH Must allow himself to have a tear in his eye, so that he can’t see where he is landing the ball.

Must do something about his batting average. In an age of multi-dimensional cricketers, 7.36 is rubbish. Should aim to finish in double figures, which will mean scoring 237 for once out. If Jason Gillespie can do it …

STEVE HARMISON Must stand up and think of Durham, grab the new ball and repay all the faith that has been placed in him.

DUNCAN FLETCHER Mustn’t play the blame game, unless he is prepared to take some of it himself.

Must take the players to a bar afterwards and have a drink with the travelling fans, whose support has been beyond barmy and well into the realms of certifiable.

THE COUNTIES Must not offer a contract to Shaun Tait, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus or anyone called Cullen until at least 2010. Exceptions may be made if the state the player represents offers a contract to a young Englishman in return.

JUSTIN LANGER Must come clean about whether he is retiring. His dad has hinted as much, but that may be just a New Year tradition – an old Langer sign.

Happy New Year.

Tim de Lisle is the editor of Intelligent Life magazine and a former editor of Wisden

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ian Vigar on January 4, 2007, 20:51 GMT

    Winners make it happen...losers let it happen

  • Chris Moody on January 4, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    Think about ODI squad on day 3 of Final Test, Hang on!! its picked already and retirements won't make any difference!!

    Not quite true martyn will not play.

  • Don on January 4, 2007, 10:50 GMT

    Happy New Years Everybody (even if it is somewhat belated on my behalf)

    Hey Tim, I thought this was quite a humourous blog, and the best one of yours I've read I have to admit (my oppinion)

    As there seems to have been a few misunderstandings between bloggers when sarcasm has been used may I give you all warning...the following contains tongue in cheek... :P

    Here goes....

    Bring back Rudi!!! He wouldn't have given Gilly out like Bentfinger Billy did, it's all Bentfinger Billy's fault that Warne didn't get his first century in his last test because if Gilly wasn't given out by Billy then Warne wouldn't have had to "throw his bat" and get out for 71 :) Just a thought...

    Have a good one everybody and remember, watch the ball (maybe a NY Resolution for Strauss??)

  • Aussie Patriot on January 3, 2007, 22:56 GMT

    G’day Aussie Patriot 2 – glad you’ve come on board to help me take on these whinging Poms. You’re dead right, England were rubbish in 2005. I don’t know for sure, but I think they probably played worse than any other team in the entire history of test cricket ever. Australia, on the other hand, were immense. It was just that they didn’t quite play up to their potential in certain crucial passages of play. Result: we lost the Ashes. Still, that’s past history now, and as I say if the ECB had any decency after the current drubbing they’d do us all a favour and ask for their previous results to be wiped from the record so as to avoid giving the (mistaken) impression to later generations that England were in fact ever good enough to beat Australia. These facts are obvious to impartial observers like you and me, but these Poms just don’t seem to get it!

  • Odie on January 3, 2007, 8:31 GMT

    Gee, Justin? Even I could tell that Aussie Patriot was being sarcastic.

    As for your comments on my comments (do try to keep up, Justin), I heartily agree with you...she remains our sovereign. Of course, this means that Queenie is probably just a closet cricket fan who rather enjoys holding onto those of her subjects who have decided to play the game with some heart.

    Oh, and Justin, a tip; I don't think Aussie Patriot is really an Australian (but don't tell anyone else, okay?)

    PS: My Dad is the biggest Dad in the whole world. So there!

  • aussie patriot 2 on January 3, 2007, 4:05 GMT

    the comments are valid as Aussie patriot has already stated. England were very lucky to win the ashes in 2005. In fact it's not that england won the ashes but rather australia lost them. england never played spectacularly well that they actually won the series definatively but rather asutralia never played to its full potential throu various poor decisions and lack of form. Over the past 18 months england have supposedly been the number 1 side in the world despite rankings and frankly looking at their decision making, team selections and determination to retain the ashes and beat the number 1 team in this series shows they never deserved to have the ashes in the first place. you think Buchanan's bad, the England coach is a selector, biased a little perhaps, and won't accept any responsibiltiy for quite frankly stupid team selections, Read should have always played and don't get me started on giles, monty should have played all 5 tests.

  • Justin on January 2, 2007, 22:25 GMT

    My apologies aussie patriot, I did not spot the irony. I've been in the land of oz to long, I've heard people say stuff like this and mean it too often.

  • Aussie Patriot on January 2, 2007, 16:15 GMT

    Justin my friend, you say you're not English so I'll excuse you your inability to detect a tinge of English irony in my compendium of ludicrous Aussie whinges culled from amongst these pages. Oh and since you mention it, I reckon my Dad probably IS bigger than your Dad...

    Aussie Patriot

  • Ross on January 2, 2007, 13:24 GMT

    Another English resolution should be: Have more than one plan - Let's see.... Hoggard's injured, we're playing on a spin friendly pitch, our lower order batting has been non-existant and the Aussie's have been pouring milk and sugar over Anderson's bowling all summer, who are we going to pick - Anderson or Dalrymple? Anderson, of course!

    Regarding the overseas players in English counties thing, I thought that this had been put to rest years ago with the consensis being that English cricket has benefitted from exposure to the best international players rather than been harmed.

    Australian state sides do occaisionally have overseas players but there are only six sides after all & the minimum standard is thus a bit too high to allow any of the current England players to get a game - Queensland did field Botham a couple of decades ago though and also Graham Thorpe came close to getting a game with NSW 2nd XI so I wouldn't give up hope. Club cricket tends to have a fair sprinkling of English players & I would credit this experience for the fact that many of them have now learnt to hold the bat by the thin end & to point the flat face of it at the bowler. To be fair, Australians playing in county cricket have found that to be a valuable learning experience as well - many of them having never seen a long hop before or knowing what the term 'military medium' meant in practice. So, really, the whole English county/Australian club exchange thing has been a refreshing example of international skill sharing & you do not do yourself credit by poo-pooing.

    Cheers

  • Justin on January 2, 2007, 11:35 GMT

    Well some people get three wise men at Christmas, we get KD, Odie and someone calling himself 'Aussie patriot'.

    Unlike KD I didn't see Tim's tips as excuses, more harmless fun and self-depreciating humour, something I don't see a lot of in Australia. If there is the implication that England could have played better then he's certainly right, they could have. Whether England could have won playing their best is another question.

    Odie - The MBEs were awarded for what the Australian team described as a great performance by England in 2005. Ponting et al didn't seem to think their victory owed much to fortune and immediately set about making plans to recover the ashes, which to their great credit they did. England’s achievement of 2005 is not diminished by Australia’s achievement in 2006. If you wish to write to your sovereign that is your right, keep voting for her to!

    Aussie Patriot – You say that England won through pure luck in 2005, and then you inform us that Aussies never whinge. Interesting suggestion about England erasing all it’s records and going into exile based on defeat in one test series, what moment of mature reflection brought you to this conclusion? I actually thought you were going to follow up your prediction of victory in 2009 and your assertion “We are smarter than you” with my “Dad’s bigger than your Dad”.

    My suggested NY resolution for you three was simply to grow up, but I will ask you to try for something harder. Peter made the comment that the English get obsessed with winning and he’s right, they love to win (I’m not English) but they can laugh at defeat as well, as the Barmy army sung at the MCG, “4 nil down, we’re having a laugh”. For your NY resolution think of the words of another son of the Empire “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposter just the same”

  • Ian Vigar on January 4, 2007, 20:51 GMT

    Winners make it happen...losers let it happen

  • Chris Moody on January 4, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    Think about ODI squad on day 3 of Final Test, Hang on!! its picked already and retirements won't make any difference!!

    Not quite true martyn will not play.

  • Don on January 4, 2007, 10:50 GMT

    Happy New Years Everybody (even if it is somewhat belated on my behalf)

    Hey Tim, I thought this was quite a humourous blog, and the best one of yours I've read I have to admit (my oppinion)

    As there seems to have been a few misunderstandings between bloggers when sarcasm has been used may I give you all warning...the following contains tongue in cheek... :P

    Here goes....

    Bring back Rudi!!! He wouldn't have given Gilly out like Bentfinger Billy did, it's all Bentfinger Billy's fault that Warne didn't get his first century in his last test because if Gilly wasn't given out by Billy then Warne wouldn't have had to "throw his bat" and get out for 71 :) Just a thought...

    Have a good one everybody and remember, watch the ball (maybe a NY Resolution for Strauss??)

  • Aussie Patriot on January 3, 2007, 22:56 GMT

    G’day Aussie Patriot 2 – glad you’ve come on board to help me take on these whinging Poms. You’re dead right, England were rubbish in 2005. I don’t know for sure, but I think they probably played worse than any other team in the entire history of test cricket ever. Australia, on the other hand, were immense. It was just that they didn’t quite play up to their potential in certain crucial passages of play. Result: we lost the Ashes. Still, that’s past history now, and as I say if the ECB had any decency after the current drubbing they’d do us all a favour and ask for their previous results to be wiped from the record so as to avoid giving the (mistaken) impression to later generations that England were in fact ever good enough to beat Australia. These facts are obvious to impartial observers like you and me, but these Poms just don’t seem to get it!

  • Odie on January 3, 2007, 8:31 GMT

    Gee, Justin? Even I could tell that Aussie Patriot was being sarcastic.

    As for your comments on my comments (do try to keep up, Justin), I heartily agree with you...she remains our sovereign. Of course, this means that Queenie is probably just a closet cricket fan who rather enjoys holding onto those of her subjects who have decided to play the game with some heart.

    Oh, and Justin, a tip; I don't think Aussie Patriot is really an Australian (but don't tell anyone else, okay?)

    PS: My Dad is the biggest Dad in the whole world. So there!

  • aussie patriot 2 on January 3, 2007, 4:05 GMT

    the comments are valid as Aussie patriot has already stated. England were very lucky to win the ashes in 2005. In fact it's not that england won the ashes but rather australia lost them. england never played spectacularly well that they actually won the series definatively but rather asutralia never played to its full potential throu various poor decisions and lack of form. Over the past 18 months england have supposedly been the number 1 side in the world despite rankings and frankly looking at their decision making, team selections and determination to retain the ashes and beat the number 1 team in this series shows they never deserved to have the ashes in the first place. you think Buchanan's bad, the England coach is a selector, biased a little perhaps, and won't accept any responsibiltiy for quite frankly stupid team selections, Read should have always played and don't get me started on giles, monty should have played all 5 tests.

  • Justin on January 2, 2007, 22:25 GMT

    My apologies aussie patriot, I did not spot the irony. I've been in the land of oz to long, I've heard people say stuff like this and mean it too often.

  • Aussie Patriot on January 2, 2007, 16:15 GMT

    Justin my friend, you say you're not English so I'll excuse you your inability to detect a tinge of English irony in my compendium of ludicrous Aussie whinges culled from amongst these pages. Oh and since you mention it, I reckon my Dad probably IS bigger than your Dad...

    Aussie Patriot

  • Ross on January 2, 2007, 13:24 GMT

    Another English resolution should be: Have more than one plan - Let's see.... Hoggard's injured, we're playing on a spin friendly pitch, our lower order batting has been non-existant and the Aussie's have been pouring milk and sugar over Anderson's bowling all summer, who are we going to pick - Anderson or Dalrymple? Anderson, of course!

    Regarding the overseas players in English counties thing, I thought that this had been put to rest years ago with the consensis being that English cricket has benefitted from exposure to the best international players rather than been harmed.

    Australian state sides do occaisionally have overseas players but there are only six sides after all & the minimum standard is thus a bit too high to allow any of the current England players to get a game - Queensland did field Botham a couple of decades ago though and also Graham Thorpe came close to getting a game with NSW 2nd XI so I wouldn't give up hope. Club cricket tends to have a fair sprinkling of English players & I would credit this experience for the fact that many of them have now learnt to hold the bat by the thin end & to point the flat face of it at the bowler. To be fair, Australians playing in county cricket have found that to be a valuable learning experience as well - many of them having never seen a long hop before or knowing what the term 'military medium' meant in practice. So, really, the whole English county/Australian club exchange thing has been a refreshing example of international skill sharing & you do not do yourself credit by poo-pooing.

    Cheers

  • Justin on January 2, 2007, 11:35 GMT

    Well some people get three wise men at Christmas, we get KD, Odie and someone calling himself 'Aussie patriot'.

    Unlike KD I didn't see Tim's tips as excuses, more harmless fun and self-depreciating humour, something I don't see a lot of in Australia. If there is the implication that England could have played better then he's certainly right, they could have. Whether England could have won playing their best is another question.

    Odie - The MBEs were awarded for what the Australian team described as a great performance by England in 2005. Ponting et al didn't seem to think their victory owed much to fortune and immediately set about making plans to recover the ashes, which to their great credit they did. England’s achievement of 2005 is not diminished by Australia’s achievement in 2006. If you wish to write to your sovereign that is your right, keep voting for her to!

    Aussie Patriot – You say that England won through pure luck in 2005, and then you inform us that Aussies never whinge. Interesting suggestion about England erasing all it’s records and going into exile based on defeat in one test series, what moment of mature reflection brought you to this conclusion? I actually thought you were going to follow up your prediction of victory in 2009 and your assertion “We are smarter than you” with my “Dad’s bigger than your Dad”.

    My suggested NY resolution for you three was simply to grow up, but I will ask you to try for something harder. Peter made the comment that the English get obsessed with winning and he’s right, they love to win (I’m not English) but they can laugh at defeat as well, as the Barmy army sung at the MCG, “4 nil down, we’re having a laugh”. For your NY resolution think of the words of another son of the Empire “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposter just the same”

  • stu d'apples on January 2, 2007, 10:52 GMT

    Instead of saying Australia should give everyone else a chance it should be the resolution of all test sides to up their game to give Australia some competition.

  • Rich on January 2, 2007, 2:01 GMT

    Hilfenhaus is better than Alderman?

    Bull**** is he.

  • Gus on January 1, 2007, 23:49 GMT

    Old Langer Sign? - that is painful. I hope that didn't keep you awake Tim. I can't think of a better one though. Now I won't be able to sleep. Happy New Year and thanks for the blog - great stuff.

  • Matt on January 1, 2007, 22:46 GMT

    New Year's resolutions are easy:

    England: Be more like Australia

    Australia: Be less like England.

    See! Easy.

  • Flash Ash on January 1, 2007, 22:23 GMT

    Tim

    England New Years Resolutions:

    1) Win last test in Oz (no longer care how or who with!!) 2) Win some ODI's in Oz (Lewis & Monty better play every one or DF should be neutered!!) 3) Strauss should be Captain for ODI Squad (Should have been for Tests, but better late than never!!) 4) Counties should insist upon reciprocal agreements so Talent (and Revenue!!) can be shared with other Countries NOT just Oz, why can't Broad and VR Singh "Job Swap" or Read get a "Winter" job in Oz or NZ?? 5) Change selection procedure, selectors choose the final XI, not the coach and his horses!! 6) Form Guard of Honour to McG, Warnie and Langer, who have earned it, especially against England!! and make their final Test a memorable one (For the right reasons!!

    Oz New Years Resolutions:

    1) Win Final Test 2) Win Final Test 3) Win Final Test 4) Win Final Test 5) Win Final Test 6) Think about ODI squad on day 3 of Final Test, Hang on!! its picked already and retirements won't make any difference!!

    Notice the difference!!

    Oz, even with their "retirements!!" have only one objective. The next series will be another selection problem, but lets deal with that when we need to, not focus our entire 12 - 18 months on one "Test" series and then completely undercook it!!

    Lets hope ECB can read the signs and have already made their wishes, but I suspect they'll only revolve around:

    A) Michael Vaughan being Captain B) Simon Jones being able to bowl for next 5 - 6 years without injury. C) Harmy recovering Radar D) Freddie recovering!! E) Tresco recovering!!

    But enough of cricket, let us also hope that Gilo's wifes cancer is treatable and that she makes a full recovery and that McG's wifes cancer is also finally in full remission and that he is able to enjoy his retirement with her!!

    After all,cricket is "JUST A GAME!!"

  • fredfillis on January 1, 2007, 18:12 GMT

    England to be reminded that this is not 1995!

    Some of the field settings when Australia have been batting have been the equivalent of abject surrender! Let's make our own luck seems not to be a part of the game plan.

    Need to play six batsmen plus Flintoff. Having 5 bowlers is a luxury you can afford IF your batting is going to stand up. Freddie, Hoggard, Harmison and Panesar is a useful attack supported by Pietersen and Bell (when is he going to get a roll?)

    Got to give Panesar a chance earlier and also give Harmison more of a bowl!

  • Aussie Patriot on January 1, 2007, 16:55 GMT

    Totally agree with the posts saying they should return their MBEs. In fact, if they were made to walk home naked from Sydney on their hands and knees it would be too good for them. As my fellow Australians have pointed out, the 2005 series has now been shown to be a one-off based on pure luck which we don’t need to take into account any more – 2006/7 is obviously a fairer reflection of the two sides’ real standing. In fact, if the ECB had a shred of decency it would request the ICC to erase all England’s previous results and go into voluntary exile like Zimbabwe until it can compete at test level. In 2006/7 we beat you with only one player under 30 good enough to get in the side. In 2009 we’ll beat you with only one player under 40. And before you Poms start on at me, just remember that a scientific study conducted in the summer of 2005 proved conclusively that while Poms are always whinging (form, injuries, umpires, preparation etc etc), we proud Aussies NEVER do. We’re smarter than you too – like Sash’s prediction of a 5-0 whitewash. That’s just brilliant, Sash. I doubt anyone else has thought of that.

    Thank you and good night.

    Aussie Patriot

  • Peter on January 1, 2007, 12:33 GMT

    "Maybe the English simply aren't as obsessed with winning sporting events as Australians, and maybe that isn't a completely bad thing - other more worthwhile priorities?"

    We aren't falling for that Stephen - England not obsessed with winning sporting events? Yeah, right... MBEs, OBEs, and knighthoods for winning the 2003 World Cup & 2005 Ashes seems obsessive to me. Poor Tim Henman has to bear the brunt of England's obsession each year when Wimbledon comes around - as does the English football team every 4 years. It's easy to claim that winning isn't everything when you lose...

  • Sash on January 1, 2007, 12:29 GMT

    4 the dude that said england realized how well they played in '05 ,they didnt play well in 06 at all the thing that got em over the line was the fact that aussies underestimated them ,which after winning the ashes back they kame here 2 australia and made the same mistake that aussies made in '05...soo it looks like a flogging 4 england ..my prediction 5:0.....i hope they havent forgotten how 2 play one day cricket aswell...just need an opinion , do u guys reckon its badd 4 aus that 3 of their best playaz ar retiring???

  • Dan on January 1, 2007, 10:40 GMT

    I wouldn't be wanting a cricketer like Hilfenhaus to be playing county cricket either. I'd want him as our surprise for the English in the 2009 Ashes series. You may remember one Terry Alderman who created carnage in England some years ago. Hilfenhaus is better!!!

  • siddharth on January 1, 2007, 10:27 GMT

    great blog........... another one would be to force lara to promise that he'd be a litle kinder to the wrist spinners as there are very few of them(with referance to his attck on kaneria).........its not helping the windies though

  • Jag on January 1, 2007, 8:15 GMT

    Thanks Tim for an entertaining read. It would have been much easier for you to just roll of some dribble about the Team of 2005 XI or maybe it should now be Rest of the World Team of 2005!

  • Don on January 1, 2007, 6:41 GMT

    Regarding the counties - if English players prove themselves good enough, I'm all for giving them a fair shake in Aus state teams. However - remember England still cling to a system with 958 counties playing "first class" cricket, while Australia restrict themselves to 6 - so a ratio of 3 Aussies in England to 1 Pom in Australia is reasonable.

    Also - why just Australia? Start sending out your guys to play in NZ (at least one I know of is doing that) and South africa. Take advantage of year-round cricket and get more rounded and experienced players in return, who don't get in a tangle in different conditions.

  • Colin Campbell on January 1, 2007, 6:41 GMT

    Couldn't agree more on reciprocal contracts. Why should the Aussies get an advantage here.

  • Mel_Gilly on January 1, 2007, 5:59 GMT

    Brilliantly written!! hmm, furthermore, I would have added something like Gilchrist shouldn't be playing around with English players' careers!!

  • Odie on January 1, 2007, 3:21 GMT

    "THE COUNTIES Must not offer a contract to Shaun Tait, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus or anyone called Cullen until at least 2010. Exceptions may be made if the state the player represents offers a contract to a young Englishman in return."

    Problem with this one, Tim, is that the counties have no talent of their own to offer contracts to. Whereas, ALL Australian state teams have an abundance of talent and can quite comfortably get by without having to consider imports (should they so chose).

    I have an additional friendly suggested new years resolution which I'm considering passing on to the relevant authorities:

    QUEEN LIZ THE SECOND

    1. Take back the MBEs awarded to English players after last year's fortunate series win - they don't deserve them. (Note: Use force if necessary. Maybe bowl a cricket ball at them...it seems to unsettle them so much).

    2. Re-open the Tower of London and place English cricket squad in it - they deserve this. (Note: Offer clemency to Monty and Read. Allow KP to go free ONLY IF he can recite the English team song and/or name two English tail end batsmen).

    3. Behead team coach.

    Tim, should I write to her, or just forward the email?

  • marty on January 1, 2007, 3:16 GMT

    PONTING Must crush any remnant of hope, self-belief, and struggle from the English. Although, I reckon England should take one thing out of this series - that it shows just how extremely well they really played in 05.

  • Russell Palmer on January 1, 2007, 0:51 GMT

    On England playing 5 bowlers and Flintoff having no faith in them... If England want to save the 5th test, their only hope is to play 11 batsmen - if they can find them...

  • Andrew Deacon on December 31, 2006, 22:34 GMT

    England's reluctance to play that extra sixth batsman is becoming more and more questionable as this series goes on. Five specialist bowling options is something any test captain would like, but to have that luxury you need an outstanding all-rounder in outstanding form at all times. England have an outstanding all-rounder of course, but in the current cluttered international schedule the prospects of such a talent remaining fit and in form with both bat and ball are slim. But as the pre-requisite for a test attack is that it can deliver 90 overs in a day this only actually requires four genuine wicket-taking bowlers with some useful input from the batsmen for 10 overs or so. So with that in mind perhaps it would be an idea to tell Collingwood and Bell that they were both guaranteed a place in the starting XI providing they can supply the necessary quality of bowling support required between them. Then tell Pietersen he can bat in between them at 5 if he keeps working on his doosra, and hey presto!

  • Peter on December 31, 2006, 22:16 GMT

    Tim, another one for you - do not finish another blog with a pun as bad as that... :-)

  • K.D on December 31, 2006, 22:02 GMT

    RE New Years Resolutions

    Was the individual writing these drunk?

    Quote: "Here are some friendly suggestions" (yeah real friendly) AUSTRALIA Must remember to give opponents a chance. Declining to bring any bowlers out of retirement should do the trick. (lets hope the replacements to come aren't any good or some more egg on face for this comment actually perhaps if any of these bowlers read this may take to heart lack of respect & use it for the power of good against future English efforts) Must stop John Buchanan giving press conferences. It’s one area where he and Duncan Fletcher are as bad as each other(yeah right) – one defensive, the other passive-aggressive.( I was a little surprised to see J.Buchanan get involved as he has but is first time to mind I don't think he should have made comments he has but really how can he be compared to the efforts from 2005 etc of D.Fletch?!) All the tips for England poorly disguised whinging, excuses & attempts to make England sound better than they are with the tiresome if only's, you were never going to keep the ashes build a bridge & get over it) Shane Warne: Must agree not to take any more tail-end wickets in this match – they’re beneath him, aren’t they? (really try focussing attention where is deserved on embaressing poor effort of the English players not an all-time champion of the game. If England had half the bowler he is in their team they may have even put up at least a reputable fight)

    Sorry but these comments really deserve the scrap heap pretty much same as Englands efforts this series

  • James wills on December 31, 2006, 21:26 GMT

    Happy new year!

    Look forward to hopefully agreeing with you more in the future.

  • Stephen on December 31, 2006, 19:51 GMT

    Happy New Year to you and yours too, Tim. Thanks for your blog, it's a little beauty. Some great resolutions, though I don't think you've gone far enough with the counties. NO overseas players at all is what you need. I don't know but I imagine there'd be between 50 and 60 overseas players in the counties denying first class experience to potential England players. That's rubbish thinking; and if the reason is that crowds won't go to county cricket unless there are foreign stars to watch, well, perhaps there isn't a great future for the English game. I get the impression from listening to Angus Fraser that there's not a lot of intensity in the English camp. Maybe the English simply aren't as obsessed with winning sporting events as Australians, and maybe that isn't a completely bad thing - other more worthwhile priorities?

  • TYU on December 31, 2006, 17:39 GMT

    Andrew Flintof- Must stop saying "the spirit is still there. There are some real characters in that dressing room, a lot of heart and pride" after every defeat.

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  • TYU on December 31, 2006, 17:39 GMT

    Andrew Flintof- Must stop saying "the spirit is still there. There are some real characters in that dressing room, a lot of heart and pride" after every defeat.

  • Stephen on December 31, 2006, 19:51 GMT

    Happy New Year to you and yours too, Tim. Thanks for your blog, it's a little beauty. Some great resolutions, though I don't think you've gone far enough with the counties. NO overseas players at all is what you need. I don't know but I imagine there'd be between 50 and 60 overseas players in the counties denying first class experience to potential England players. That's rubbish thinking; and if the reason is that crowds won't go to county cricket unless there are foreign stars to watch, well, perhaps there isn't a great future for the English game. I get the impression from listening to Angus Fraser that there's not a lot of intensity in the English camp. Maybe the English simply aren't as obsessed with winning sporting events as Australians, and maybe that isn't a completely bad thing - other more worthwhile priorities?

  • James wills on December 31, 2006, 21:26 GMT

    Happy new year!

    Look forward to hopefully agreeing with you more in the future.

  • K.D on December 31, 2006, 22:02 GMT

    RE New Years Resolutions

    Was the individual writing these drunk?

    Quote: "Here are some friendly suggestions" (yeah real friendly) AUSTRALIA Must remember to give opponents a chance. Declining to bring any bowlers out of retirement should do the trick. (lets hope the replacements to come aren't any good or some more egg on face for this comment actually perhaps if any of these bowlers read this may take to heart lack of respect & use it for the power of good against future English efforts) Must stop John Buchanan giving press conferences. It’s one area where he and Duncan Fletcher are as bad as each other(yeah right) – one defensive, the other passive-aggressive.( I was a little surprised to see J.Buchanan get involved as he has but is first time to mind I don't think he should have made comments he has but really how can he be compared to the efforts from 2005 etc of D.Fletch?!) All the tips for England poorly disguised whinging, excuses & attempts to make England sound better than they are with the tiresome if only's, you were never going to keep the ashes build a bridge & get over it) Shane Warne: Must agree not to take any more tail-end wickets in this match – they’re beneath him, aren’t they? (really try focussing attention where is deserved on embaressing poor effort of the English players not an all-time champion of the game. If England had half the bowler he is in their team they may have even put up at least a reputable fight)

    Sorry but these comments really deserve the scrap heap pretty much same as Englands efforts this series

  • Peter on December 31, 2006, 22:16 GMT

    Tim, another one for you - do not finish another blog with a pun as bad as that... :-)

  • Andrew Deacon on December 31, 2006, 22:34 GMT

    England's reluctance to play that extra sixth batsman is becoming more and more questionable as this series goes on. Five specialist bowling options is something any test captain would like, but to have that luxury you need an outstanding all-rounder in outstanding form at all times. England have an outstanding all-rounder of course, but in the current cluttered international schedule the prospects of such a talent remaining fit and in form with both bat and ball are slim. But as the pre-requisite for a test attack is that it can deliver 90 overs in a day this only actually requires four genuine wicket-taking bowlers with some useful input from the batsmen for 10 overs or so. So with that in mind perhaps it would be an idea to tell Collingwood and Bell that they were both guaranteed a place in the starting XI providing they can supply the necessary quality of bowling support required between them. Then tell Pietersen he can bat in between them at 5 if he keeps working on his doosra, and hey presto!

  • Russell Palmer on January 1, 2007, 0:51 GMT

    On England playing 5 bowlers and Flintoff having no faith in them... If England want to save the 5th test, their only hope is to play 11 batsmen - if they can find them...

  • marty on January 1, 2007, 3:16 GMT

    PONTING Must crush any remnant of hope, self-belief, and struggle from the English. Although, I reckon England should take one thing out of this series - that it shows just how extremely well they really played in 05.

  • Odie on January 1, 2007, 3:21 GMT

    "THE COUNTIES Must not offer a contract to Shaun Tait, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus or anyone called Cullen until at least 2010. Exceptions may be made if the state the player represents offers a contract to a young Englishman in return."

    Problem with this one, Tim, is that the counties have no talent of their own to offer contracts to. Whereas, ALL Australian state teams have an abundance of talent and can quite comfortably get by without having to consider imports (should they so chose).

    I have an additional friendly suggested new years resolution which I'm considering passing on to the relevant authorities:

    QUEEN LIZ THE SECOND

    1. Take back the MBEs awarded to English players after last year's fortunate series win - they don't deserve them. (Note: Use force if necessary. Maybe bowl a cricket ball at them...it seems to unsettle them so much).

    2. Re-open the Tower of London and place English cricket squad in it - they deserve this. (Note: Offer clemency to Monty and Read. Allow KP to go free ONLY IF he can recite the English team song and/or name two English tail end batsmen).

    3. Behead team coach.

    Tim, should I write to her, or just forward the email?

  • Mel_Gilly on January 1, 2007, 5:59 GMT

    Brilliantly written!! hmm, furthermore, I would have added something like Gilchrist shouldn't be playing around with English players' careers!!