July 23, 2009

Ashes

Australia have more on their plate than England

Kanishkaa Balachandran

In the Times, Michael Atherton writes that Australia actually have more headaches than England. Two of their leading performers - Johnson and Hughes - are still struggling. He analyses Hughes' predicament.

His back foot splays to the leg side on delivery, an involuntary twitch that is fiendishly difficult to shake off, so that the angle of his hips, shoulders and body face mid-off, not the bowler. It means that he has a blind spot for anything on ribcage or armpit line. Nor does he find it easy to score on the leg side because his hips are “closed” and in the way, and his bat cannot get at the ball.

In the same paper, John Westerby wonders whether Cricket Australia's restrictions on sledging have made the Australians too nice for their own good.

The problem with asking a leopard to change its spots is that it will lose the camouflage that has enabled it to survive for centuries. In recent years, one of the prime reasons that Australia have become the most feared beast in the cricketing jungle has been their ultra-aggressive nature, a trait that has often revealed itself in sledging, the verbal intimidation of opponents.

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Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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