November 12, 2011

Australia

Justin Langer for coach

Andrew Hughes
Ricky Ponting on his haunches as Australia slump to a loss, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Cape Town, 3rd day, November 11, 2011
And here Ricky Ponting shows us why the creased look is coming back into fashion  © Getty Images
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Wednesday, 9th November We all tend to put off household repairs, and cricket boards are no different. In the 1990s, the TCCB had long chats about what needed to be done around the place, but invariably concluded that rising damp, woodworm and peeling wallpaper were probably cyclical and wasn’t it time for another cup of tea? In India, the BCCI have dealt with the nasty stain on their reputation that appeared last summer by covering it with that portrait of MS Dhoni lifting the World Cup that was hanging in the foyer.

But Australia have set about their renovation with gusto. Having thrown out much of the old furniture, including a rickety old Nielsen that was starting to look a little last decade, they are just waiting on delivery of a new coach. Steve Rixon is the favourite, mainly it seems because he has a strong relationship with Michael Clarke and bonding with the captain is now an essential skill for aspiring national coaches, right up there with looking good in a baseball cap and glaring menacingly at press conferences.

It seems Michael likes Steve’s sense of humour and Steve loves the way Michael says “Obviously, I’m disappointed…” and no doubt they’ll make a fine couple. But I’d give it to Justin Langer. I think he’d bring a wild unblinking, “Are you looking at me?” intensity to the role, as well as extreme martial arts (I’m picturing Mitchell Johnson head-butting planks of wood painted with Andrew Strauss’s likeness) and rose cultivation. Tending to these delicate blooms will help players to develop patience and attention to detail, whilst the thorns will fine-tune their swear reflexes.

Thursday, November 10th Now that’s proper cricket. Twenty-three dismissals, two umpires with strained forefingers and a blown fuse in the electronic scoreboard. All kinds of records were broken, or at the very least, made to wobble precariously on their stands above a marble floor as these old rivals went all 18th century on us. It was a throwback to the days when a chap with a curved bat drank an ale or two, then went out to have a swipe and was lucky if he managed double-figure nicks.

For the connoisseur of the extravagant collapse, it was a treasure trove of witless batting. South Africa’s innings was more cavalier and reckless than the pink silk hat with ermine trim and peacock feathers that Prince Rupert wore on the morning of the Battle of Naseby, whilst Australia seemed to be trying to re-enact England’s 1994 amnesia-induced Trinidad collapse in which one player after another completely forgot what it was they had gone out to the wicket for or why they were holding a bit of wood in their hands.

There was so much traipsing to the wicket and back that it began to resemble a fashion show, showcasing this summer’s must-have combination of white shirts, extensive tattoos and grumpy expressions (“Ricky is modelling the latest in thigh enhancing body wear with 9lb willow accessory and a scowl”). But it was all jolly entertaining and somehow highly appropriate. What better way to start a frivolously short two-Test series than with an extremely silly two-and-a-half day Test match.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Iqra on (June 30, 2012, 3:47 GMT)

When Ned flanders took over as coach of Australia, he worekd out that fast bowlers expend alot of energy and cover more ground going down to fine leg at the end of every over. He spent all this money tracking them and working out better field positions. But the fast bowlers liked to go down to fine leg at the end of the over, they liked to switch off. The computers and analysis didnt show that.

Posted by danoz on (November 14, 2011, 15:12 GMT)

i think some of australias best test cricketers are playing state cricket,marcus north,simon katich,ben hilfenhaus and doug bollinger should be playing.i would open with katich and north and bat watson at 6.im sure if katich and north were opening with ponting at 3,clarke at 4 and hussey at 5,watson at 6 australia would have faired alot better.hughes could replace katich who might of had another year or 2 of test cricket,marcus north may of had another 3-4 years of test cricket.

most of australias champion team of the 2000's debut in the early 1990's to name a few hayden,langer,martyn,lehman,bevan,kasperwisch, ,gillespie,brett lee spent 2 years as 12th man.

others like ponting,macgrath and warne debut early and never left the team.

steve waugh was dropped twice and took 20 matches to score a century.

langer would make a great coach because with his own career it gives hope to any domestic cricket who performs,anyone who scores 1000 runs or takes 30 wickets has hope

Posted by danoz on (November 14, 2011, 14:36 GMT)

the new 20/20 should expand to 9 teams with canberra being the 9th team,that way people from wagga wagga the murray basin cooma,goulbourn,nowra,cootamunda and cowra can watch 20/20 live.

i would also start up a top end league in winter(dry season) for australian cricketers who carnt get ipl contracts or county cricket contracts.the teams would be broome,cairns,darwin and alice springs.give kids free entry to take cricket to mostly aboriginal areas.

i would have 35 over cricket(half way between a 50/50 cricket and 20/20 cricket) and 100/100 over cricket played over 2 days(half way between 50/50 and 4 day cricket.play the 35 over cricket on fri and the 100 over 2 day game on sat and sun.

every couple of years australia can host a winter test series in the top end.

if you look at the australian team in the 2000,s most of them made thier debuts in the 1990,s at the age 25.

this is my plan to get australian cricket back on track,i think coaching australia to win will taketime

Posted by danoz on (November 14, 2011, 14:20 GMT)

i think australia shouldnt panic it took steve waugh 20 test before he scored his first test 100,look at ian bell he average under 30 for the first 3 years of his test career and now averagea over 50.i would give the young players 10-15 test to prove themselves.

if you look at the one day team haddin, mike hussey,david hussey,lee,pointing are all around 35 years old and wont play in the next world cup i would blood the likes of tim payne,callum fergusson,usman kawaja dave warner,moses heriques,peter forrest,mitchell marsh,pat cummings,mitchell starc and give them 50-60 matches of one day cricket before the next would cup and give 3 years of playing international cricket before entering the test team.

in the 20/20 comp i would pick the biggest hitters,the likes of dan

i would also pick the biggest hitters for 20/20 cricket like blizzard,quiney,cameron white dan christian, and daniel smith rather than pick the likes of brad haddin who get bad habits from playing 20/20 cricket

Posted by Anonymous on (November 13, 2011, 0:48 GMT)

I believe more than 'getting along with the Coach' (or the other way round), time has now come for Clarke to make those tough calls again (like he did when he 'let go' Aston with the Bingle): -- Phil Hughes, although a great talent, needs to go back and get strong mentally (a treat to watch, when he gets going); -- Push Watson into middle order; -- Khawaja doesn't need to be kept outside the door for too long now; -- Haddin has to make way for Wade/ Paine (sooner the better); -- Young Cummins has to get the next game (Johnson should make way & not the 'fighter' Siddle);

Posted by Criticalmanny on (November 12, 2011, 13:18 GMT)

Nice article, hey i am not an aussie but i have been an aussie fan ever since i started watching cricket seriously. The thing you guys should keep in mind is that SA just got lucky. It was pure luck that they dismissed aus for 47. Because it wont happen again in the next test. People who are criticising aus and their domestic system etc should have a chill pill. Every team has a rebuilding phase. So what if ponting is still playing. Keep him play, he still has got it. Its just a matter of time when australia will be back to its Game.

Within one or two years aus will be back. Have faith aussies. Just look at other teams, srilanka is back to rebuilding, india will soon be into rebuilding when their gr8s retire(who will or will force to retire) Nz is have always been kinda you know in between type team. So australia is well placed, and I hope that patrick cummins will be given a chance to play. Come on guys just because he is 18 doesnt mean he cant play.

Best Regards

Posted by A Harrison on (November 12, 2011, 11:17 GMT)

Interesting idea. Here's other useful skills Justin Langer could bring to the Australian camp: -If you are fielding, adopt inventive new techniques for trying to get batsmen out, e.g., upsetting the stumps and appealing for "hit wicket" in the hope that noone was paying attention (patented by Justin v. Sri Lanka 2004) - If your batsmen are doing well, especially in a match you need to win to square a series, accept an offer for bad light when your batsmen are well set (patented v. England @ Oval 2005) - If your batsmen are doing badly, declare at a ridiculously low score, influenced by the theory that your own batting failures clearly demonstrate that batting conditions are "difficult", so that it is better to be bowling (patented by Justin while captaining Somerset v. Middlesex, 2007). If Australia keep batting like they have done this week, Justin will have plenty of opportunity to put this one into practice.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (November 12, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

21-9, reminds me of Pakistan vs Australia in the 80's and indeed of a few years ago when Shoaib Akhtar played.. 52 and 51 all out; obviously Australia spent so much time 'working' and 'working' they forgot how to play. 88 all out, 98 all out and now 47 all out. How anyone can dispute the existence of God I will never know. Now one can only hope that Smith wins the toss in the next and FINAL test and he and Amla in the procees put on 300 and SA declare at 680 for 6. Surely that is not too much to ask is it?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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