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March 8, 2013

Australia

The worst Australians since the last lot

Matt Cleary
That's what they look like - choppers. Woodsman  © BCCI
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Well. That was bad. Back-to-back obliterations against India; a top-order more clueless than George Bush on Mastermind; spinners who don't. Chowed down upon in Chennai. The Horror Show of Hyderabad. It's been emotional. And even embarrassing.

But the worst Australian team ever? Please.

I can think of two others.

In '78-79, Kerry Packer had made off with Dennis Lillee, Len Pascoe, Rod Marsh, Doug Walters, David Hookes and three Chappells, and left a mob of clubbies and Shield players (Peter Toohey! Geoff Dymock!) to battle the Poms for the Ashes.

England went up 2-0 before Australia won the third Test, moving captain Graham Yallop to declare, "We will win!" We lost 5-1. Mike Brearley's Poms - Bob Willis, Geoff Boycott, Ian Botham, David Gower, Graham Gooch, crazy Derek Randall - were super cricketers, and we hated them like Dick Dastardly. (Well, except for Randall, he was a kook.)

The WSC guys came back and order was restored until 1985 when Kim Hughes retired in tears. When he and a dozen or so Test-quality players (John Dyson, Carl Rackemann, Terry Alderman, Rodney Hogg) took Ali Bacher's Krugerrand in South Africa, we were back into the abyss.

Greg Matthews (speaking of kooks) was the best player beside Allan Border, and the team lost 2-1 at home to New Zealand and scraped a draw against India (0-0). A couple of years later, Australia beat New Zealand 1-0* when last man Mike Whitney survived an over against Richard Hadlee. That's what we cheered about then: survival.

When the Poms came again in '86-87, Australia had one class batter (Border), some quality but injury-prone pacemen (Bruce Reid, Craig McDermott) and a batting order more brittle than sun-baked peanut brittle. It was a team that could not: catch; field; run between wickets; effect run-outs; play spin; play pace; play swing; play.

They were lacking in several other disciplines too.

Chris Broad, meanwhile, batted for the entire series - upright, bat raised, left-handed, ubiquitous. Graham Dilley bowled beautiful, hooping outswingers that Mike Gatting clapped overhead from the slips. We were hammered.

Players were drafted in and shafted out, and new blokes' kit bags were stuffed in toilets (true). Men were on tenterhooks, wondering should they have taken the Krugerrand rather than hang about, being abused in the streets by urchins (sorry Mr Ritchie).

They were dark days indeed. But there were excuses. Legends retired. The Test team was gutted.

Today? Today there are no excuses. But there are reasons. And there is hope.

Hope? What? Yes, there is hope. For despite being annihilated in two Tests by India, who were beaten 2-1 by England - and this before ten straight Ashes Tests - all is not lost. That's why they call it audacious, hope.

Paul Marsh, CEO of the Australian Players' Association, acknowledges the severity of two drubbings but he does make the point that no Australia team - apart from the ridiculously great side of 2004 - has won in India since 1968. And the pitches in India don't really compare to those the Ashes will be contested on.

There's also the question of how to replace Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey. Marsh counsels against the "hysteria" that comes with Australia not doing well and reckons the current group should be invested in.

"The keeper's batting at No. 6, there are bowling allrounders at No. 7 and No. 8. Then nine, ten, Jack. Good night, nurse. Remember six batters, keeper and four bowlers? That used to work, didn't it?"

The man can make a case, but it's the manner of these losses, the capitulations. The lack of … well, you wouldn't say an Australian team lacks grit. You don't come up through first-class cricket without bark.

But my - it's been ordinary.

Let's start with selections. I mean, I like Moises Henriques. But Moises Henriques? He played a couple of fine hands in the first Test, and took a couple of wickets. But he's scored one (1) first-class century. He's taken 79 first-class scalps at 28, which is okay. But how has it earned him the trip?

They call Glenn Maxwell "Big Show" and that's a cracking nickname. And he took four wickets when the deck was turning on the third day at Hyderabad. And good luck to him. But Maxwell a Test player? A slow-bowling allrounder batting at No. 8? This is Australia's other spinner? I hope he proves me wrong. But his apprenticeship has been short-form giggle cricket, not years of hard-boned sunstroke and slog.

Nathan Lyon has looked one-dimensional the last few months. And he took some tap from MS Dhoni. But everyone did. Now, fair enough you might replace him. But with Xavier Doherty? He has six wickets at 72, including three in Hyderabad. He was picked for this series on the back of two (2) Shield wickets at 80. He's 30-years-old. He's a good fellah, X-Man. But if he was gonna he'd have dunna.

And they took over Steven Smith. Where to start … I mean … why? For the love of dear sweet Mr Lillee why? Steven Smith? In the Test squad? You may want to give someone experience on Indian wickets but don't hand out Test caps to learn if they can cut it.

I don't get it. The keeper's batting at No. 6. There are bowling allrounders at No. 7 and No. 8. Then nine, ten, Jack. Good night, nurse. Remember six batters, keeper and four bowlers? That used to work, didn't it?

The top-order? Abominable. I had a yarn with Ed Cowan once about his success after moving to Tasmania, and one thing he said rings true today: "Playing for NSW, I personally felt I was always playing for my spot in the team. And when that happens you probably want to survive rather than score runs, which is a dangerous attitude as a top-order batsman."

Apart from Michael Clarke they're batting like choppers. That's what they look like - choppers. Woodsman. Calloused, hard hands; great thumping lumberjacks felling mighty redwoods. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have turned them into bad-dancing puppets.

The next in? Usman Khawaja appears the obvious one to replace Phil Hughes. Looks like a batsman, Usman, an important asset for a batsman. Back at home, West Australian opener Chris Rogers is averaging 50-odd and has done so every season since '98-99. Brad Haddin is averaging 58. I'd stick with Matthew Wade but bat Haddin at six. There's a thousand other combinations being debated as we speak, in every possible media. Several involve RT Ponting, ME Hussey and BJ Hodge. How handy would those three be batting four-five-six for Australia? Answer: handier than a man with 72 hands.

There's more chance of three Chappells.

Like Marsh, I don't advocate Sack Them All. These guys are talented. And you can't buy experience in a shop. There are no shops that sell experience, unless you walk into the shop and go down a slide, and they call it an experience. There is that.

But we have to sack some of them. So, X-Man? Hughesy? Moises? Thanks. Get on the plane, Hadds and Steve O'Keefe, and pad up, Usman.

Whether it'll make a difference, I don't know.

But I do know this: Hyderabad is not Headingley. And so while our Englander chums yuk it up, equating the brown gravel of Chennai with the green swinging seamers of Trent Bridge, The Oval and Lord's, they should know this: Australia doesn't have great spinners. And the batting order needs tweaking. And the capital of Mozambique is Maputo.

But there's a dozen-plus high-quality quicks spilling out like murderous white orcs fresh from the goop. And another Worst Ever Australian Team is on the way.

*March 8, 1300 GMT - This was changed to reflect the fact Australia beat New Zealand, rather than drew 0-0

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Matt Cleary writes for several Australian sports and travel magazines. He tweets here

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Posted by KhanMitch on (March 10, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

Matt is obviously a very knowledgable writer. For me the lack of planning from CA is a worry. It was obvious to most folks that Ponting was not going to make the Ashes series given that his only successful series was against the weaker Indian pace attack. We should have got a bloke such as Khawaja in earlier given he is one of the better number 3s around but we never planned properly. Hussey's retirement did throw me away alot. And for this tesw series we have picked guys to a bits and pieces role. Your top 6 in the order should be your top 6 batsmen in the country Your best wicketkeeper and your 4 best bowlers (who aren't bunnies which most Australian bowlers aren't these days) for the conditions. We have diluted the side with so many changes and rotations and last minutes 'gut feelings'.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (March 9, 2013, 23:27 GMT)

Very informative article; albeit excluding our savior, 'Captain Clark', the Australian side needs to improve. Too many rogue shots, no matter of consistancy. Besides Clark, the only inkling of hope in the first 2 tests was from Pattinson. I would bring in Khawaja not only for this series and for the ashes as well. Why don't we go back to the basics of selecting a cricket team. Pick the best six batsmen in the country, pick the best wicket-keeper in the country and pick the best four bowlers in the country (including one spinner). From this group you select the Captain. Now if any player falls into more than one selection category, then you have a genuine "all rounder" and you can add another player from one of those categories. Then you add your reserve or flexibility players to the squad to cater for fitness, weather, pitch or other conditions. It really is quite simple and served us well for many years.

Posted by mk49_van on (March 9, 2013, 16:13 GMT)

What makes the Aussies believe that they can bat better against a better bowling attack? Blaming defeats on 'dustbowls' is bogus talk - it was swing that reduced the Aussies to nothing for 3 on the first day in Hyderabad and they never recovered after that.... Aussies don't have the batting to cut it - whatever the conditions.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 9, 2013, 14:52 GMT)

@jonesy2: " i just think oh well this person literally has no clue what they are talking about and pretty much everything they say is the opposite to reality" ---

Don't be too hard on yourself jonesy. When one starts describing bowlers like Lyon and Maxwell as 'the best in the world', it was bound to come unstuck at some point.

Posted by Beertjie on (March 9, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

Great article. Yes Rogers needs a shot. When Hodge played the Saffers in '05 he got a double century he was that hungry. Will the NSP learn anything from this disaster - there's so much to learn, but will they? Can they see Swann dismissing LHBs? Can they see the need for a keeper who can keep standing up? Can they mix and match promising newbies with experienced old hands in the away conditions? Probably not, if their selections for India were a barometer! By all means give Hughes and Watson a go in England, but do they have to be in the first team? Same with Lyon and Wade. Give other players a shot. Trent Bridge will likely swing so my team there would be Rogers, Watson, Warner, Clarke, Khawaja, Doolan or Ferguson, Haddin, O'Keefe, Pattinson, Starc, Harris. SO'K is guaranteed KP as his first 2 wickets and he'll get a few runs too! The quicks will get the rest and then it'll be a batting competition. It won't be India but it will sure be competitive - that'll satisfy us all!

Posted by hycIass on (March 9, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

Finally a expert in the game saying the basics, go with 6 batsman, a keeper and 4 bowlers, not half baked allrounders in Maxwell and others who are good in the shorter format but not test cricket. Same goes for Smith sho is more suited to the shorter format and there are better options at home for test cricket. Khawaja should pad up as he is one of the few young batsman whose batting hasn't been ruined by T20 cricket and is tailored made for test cricket so lets get him in. The point Cowan made is a very good one, if you are simply trying to survive then all you will want to do is survive and Khawaja can write a book on that as he always gets 1-2 games at a time. I would either go for SOK or Haurtiz as our other and fly them in and play them with Lyon. And if you have bought Lyon as your main spinner then give him the remaining games, he got key top order wickets in the last game he played and should have played ahead of Maxwell. Lets hope one of the selectors reads this

Posted by Mary_786 on (March 9, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

Fantastic piece here by Cleary, haven't read too much of his work but this is good. A good point made was that Australia's pitches are being designed to a likeness and as Warne indicated, they are not encouraging spin on these wickets. Its not just a dearth of coaching, its also wickets that arent allowing spin bowlers to develop their skills and wickets not designed to make batsmen work hard against spin for their wickets thereby improving both. It seems obvious that Watson, Cowan and Hughes have serious problems against good spin. Cowan being more careful in his approach probably handles spin better, but lacks the range of batting skills to take advantage of it. Got no idea how Khawaja would go because he has had virtually no serious opportunities though in one of his three trial innings he looked as if he was handling spin well, but he ran out of time to exploit it ending with 30 not out. I suspect though that Khawaja may have the game to at least offer some resistance against spin.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (March 9, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

Good article. The stark reality is that our Test team has been mismanaged by incompetent selection, poor player motivation and performance seemingly without consequences, Typically, our national teams' results always head in a downwards spiral once the role of head coach is awarded to a non Australian. Border should be called to run the cricket team after the current crop finishes and Lehman should be our next coach. As for the current crop Khawaja deserves a real crack and should be given the same amount of games as Hughes has had and even half of what Cowan has had. He can be our long term test batsman. How many players are walk up starts? Clarke, Pattinson….I'm struggling after that. We wouldn't lose anything if Wade was replaced with Haddin, Paine or Nevill. Even Watson is not the guarantee he once was. This tour will make and break a few careers so alot to look forward to in the coming 2 tests.

Posted by geedubnz on (March 9, 2013, 10:24 GMT)

jonesy perhaps the point is its hard to tell which type maxwell is as he appears equally shite at both to the neutral observer. This article hit the nail on the head. Australia have been obsessed with picking second rate allrounders since 2007 under some misguided belief that a poor allrounder is better than no allrounder at all. Which is patently ridiculous and the rest of the cricket world knows this.

Posted by jonesy2 on (March 9, 2013, 9:45 GMT)

i have to laugh though when people state things about things they know absolutely nothing about so when someone says maxwell is a bowling allrounder (hes a batting allrounder) then i just think oh well this person literally has no clue what they are talking about and pretty much everything they say is the opposite to reality

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

I actually think this is a very ordinary Australian team, but I agree calling it the worst ever is a stretch.

If I can be indulged in a game of fantasy selector...

Warner, Voges, Clarke, Khawaja, Ferguson, Haddin, Wade, Starc, Bird, Siddle and Lyon are the best 11.

Posted by righthandbat on (March 9, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

One option would be to gut the team completely and play with something like this:

Rogers, Cosgrove, Clarke, Burns, Doolan, White, Ludeman, Johnson, O'Keefe, Bird, Ahmed.

Posted by handyandy on (March 9, 2013, 5:51 GMT)

I agree ... too many bits and pieces players. Going into the last test with only three specialist bowlers was ridiculous.

The best allrounder ... who is ironically not in the team at the moment ... is probably Johnson. That is because he can hold down a spot as a bowler and can make useful contributions with the bat. Compare this with Henriques or Maxwell.

Neither could make the side on the strength of their batting or bowling. In other words they are not good enough to be in the test team.

The selectors need to get back to what works. Pick the best batsmen and the best bowlers. If you get a batsman who can bowl a few useful overs or a bowler that can put together the odd useful innings then so much the better.

Posted by anuajm on (March 9, 2013, 4:16 GMT)

Great article Matt. I was equally surprised with the squad selection. There is always a talk of performance in first class cricket that matters and hunch is reserved for 1-2 folks only. But here they selected everybody on hunch it seems. Moises, Smith, Doherty, Maxwell should not have been in the squad. Moises though played well. I think Wade is a good player but i see his statistics and he does not seem to be contributing as much as he could. There were talks of Agar playing the first match but fortunately he was shown his place in the practice match. Hughes played well against SL so probably got through and Cowan needs to really score big now else i guess he will be out. Keefe, Harris, Haddin/Paine should have been in that plane notwithstanding the results. You don't select your best players, then you should not expect to win. Khwaja needs a long rope. Really 6 Ba, W,and 4B - don't know what happened to that strategy. Mind you, Indian team is not that strong as it's made out to be..

Posted by Looch on (March 9, 2013, 3:31 GMT)

Great article Matt, I agree that they are not the quite the worst but they are playing very well at all. We are still far away from being able to challenge for Number 1 and unless there is a dramatic turnaround, we aren't going to see the Ashes for a while. I stll can't believe that Maxwell and Doherty were picked!

@Stephen Dunn, I remember that match vividly and I'm afraid that Hadlee did not hit Whitney's pads ONCE during that over. It's up on youtube if you want to check it out!

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 3:03 GMT)

Nice article yes.

Agreed on many things, the obsession with all rounders who are really jack of no trades has been noted by a lot of commentators in comments sections but not so much by journalists. 6 batsmen, a wicketkeeper and 4 bowlers right? Not so hard.

And finally someone pointing out Chris Rogers continued good form and Brad Hodge's relevance. Those guys might not have ten years of test cricket ahead of them but they're both still hungry to play test cricket. Too bad David Hussey's fallen away a bit.

It could be a bit of a fairy tale if it happens, all those years where guys like Jamie Cox and Brad Hodge and Chris Rogers and Phil Jacques were just destroying in first class but never really got anywhere in test cricket. Wouldn't it be nice if Rogers and Hodge could come into the side at this stage of their career as the veterans of the side.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 1:16 GMT)

While the test team in Hyderabad may have been the worst team in the History of Australian Cricket, I think many would also agree that this team was far from the best team that Australia could have fielded. I think that Qld, Tas and Vic. Sh. Shield Teams could have readily beaten this team.

The team was intolerably weak and was justifiably thrashed. A worse result than Chennai is simply because Clarke was given not out when he was caught on 39 and a fantastic 10th Wicket Stand by Henriques and Lyon.

Lets blame the people responsible, the selectors + coaching staff who appear bent on breaking some of our best players, and the one that they broke on this tour has not been replaced by selectors.

As far as team selection goes, I believe that you are wrong. This is because Aust can retain the BG Trophy if they can tak 20-wickets quickly and cheaply. We have used 4-bowlers in the last two games and couldn't bowl India out for less than 500. A change is urgently needed to the strategy.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 1:06 GMT)

In my 43 years of following cricket across the globe, I have never heard so much criticism of Aussie cricket team by their own scribes as is going on right now. Love it. For all the newbies in this Aussie team this is a real eye opener. And, this is where the Aussie team is disappointing. They always fight to the last drop of blood. Not this bunch of Pups [pun intended]. Very disappointed. But I must congratulate Cricinfo for bringing in this writer. Keep up the good work Matt, hope to read more from you.

Posted by line.and.length on (March 9, 2013, 0:24 GMT)

Great article, almost nonsensical how spot on and obvious your points are.... Watson has talked enough, he has to walk the talk now, or just simply walk

Posted by Wefinishthis on (March 9, 2013, 0:23 GMT)

Great article! The FIRST thing that NEEDS to change is that the selectors need to stop consdering ODI performance over shield performance, this is THE biggest problem because Starc, Watson, Doherty and Maxwell should not be there whilst Chris Rogers, David Hussey, Steve O'Keefe, Ryan Harris and James Faulkner are all sitting at home watching this carnage. Australia DOES have spinners in O'Keefe (better than Swann IMO) and the possibility of Adam Zampa who has had a brilliant start to his career. The problem is that they're NOT BEING SELECTED!!! Our bowling is atrocious, you can't expect ANY batting lineup in the world to chase down 500+ every innings. Four bowlers for India: O'Keefe, Lyon, Harris, Pattinson (with Faulkner, Siddle and Zampa as backups). Four bowlers for the ashes: Bird, Pattinson, Harris, O'Keefe/Lyon (whichever performs better in India) with Faulkner and Siddle as a backups. Cummins can play in the Aus series if fit by then. I'd take this lineup over SA's every time.

Posted by mikespoff on (March 8, 2013, 23:13 GMT)

Fantastic article - funny and spot-on!

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (March 8, 2013, 23:10 GMT)

I have been watching cricket regularly since 1983 and have also gone back to watch some older series and let me say that this side is nowhere near as bad as the Australian side of 1985. One key difference is that while the batting is probably just as bad as it was in 1985, the bowling is significantly better. The spin bowling is just as bad (remember that between Richie Benaud in the 1960s to Shane Warne in the 1990s we had no decent spinner) but the fast bowling is much better. Back in 1985, we had Allan Border doing everything, much like Michael Clarke does today. But we had hope in Dean Jones, much like today we have hope in David Warner. We thought that Steve Waugh might come good eventually, much like we think of Shane Watson today. But it took 4 more years, until the 1989 Ashes, for them to come good. That is what we need - that one superb series. That one series where all of those with potential actually become greats.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (March 8, 2013, 23:10 GMT)

Australia will do fine in England so long as the bowlers stay fit. I would like to say though, lay off Steve Smith. Sure, he ain't a test player, but he is a fantastic fielder, and as someone who has been picked by his club side as a specialist fielder I feel the need to stick up for him. :P

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 22:09 GMT)

Let's just call a spade a spade and say it is the selectors who have left us up the creek without the proverbial paddle. I like Henriques but his selection was left-field and the first random one that has worked in year. Maxwell is a child, he needs time to grow and India is not the place for any Aussie cricketer to do that. Doherty got picked because of his economy rate.. In a test match. Get Lyon back in there and show some bloody faith. Hughes can't play spin, Smith can, get Smith in there and get Haddin keeping cause Wade has been atrocious. I just get so confused.. Wade has a terrible game behind the stumps and they persist, Lyon has a slightly poor one and they drop him.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

its time too australian side has been admit they nothing have spin talent like indian spinners this is the major problem in that australian side

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 16:10 GMT)

Great article!!! 1st Test first session, Australia went in trying to attack the bowlers. It worked briefly but since then India does what India does best. England beat India by being disciplined it was controlled aggression, milking the India spinners session by session. Bhaji looked ordinary and Ashwin, got frustrated. Right now Australia's batting line up is a mess. Ed, is lucky to be in the side. Warner, is gripping the bat to tight because of his aggressive nature, I always get the feeling he will throw it away. Clarke should always be 3. Watson, I feel is best suited up the order and asked to play his natural game. I don't think he can bat defensive for long periods. He should bat like how Hayden did when he made a come back. Haddin should have played ahead of Wade. All new top order batsmen should bat at 6 and work their way up like Ponting, Border and Steve Waugh did back in the day. Its tough act to follow after dominating for so many years, just like Windies it jus hurts ....

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 15:46 GMT)

" ... Mike Whitney survived an over against Richard Hadlee [meaning that Australia avoided defeat to New Zealand]." I believe it is more accurate to say 'he was not given out' - despite being LBW on just about every ball of that over. I can hear the DRS machine retrospectively laughing at the preposterousness of that over. Then again it took a great New Zealand team, in 1985, to sneak past a truly awful Australian team. As a New Zealander I have to remind myself that I can clearly remember all of New Zealand's wins against Auatralis since the early 1980s (as there are so few), whereas the reverses in that equation are so frequent that they fade into obscurity as part of a mass database of inevitable maulings. Then could it be that Australia's conveyor belt of freakishly good players since the early 90s has finally dried up for a while.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 14:39 GMT)

Every one talikng about selection blunders in bowling department, but no one talking about batting. The main reason for England series victory. Every time their top 6 batters puts run on the board for their Spinners to come into the pictures (Though they were fantastic). I am really surprised with the selections by Aussies selectors; none of top 6 batters apart from Caption Clarke and Watson were able to play Spin. What hapenned Shaun Marsh; Haddin; David Hussey; Ferguson etc. they should have been in the flight to India. You should pick horses for courses in these kind series. I still dont think so about Aussies comeback in the serires; looks like they are heading 4-0 whitewash.

Posted by oracle199 on (March 8, 2013, 14:01 GMT)

Great article Matt...many a giggle, very inciteful. Look forward to the next one! Thanks.

Posted by Webba84 on (March 8, 2013, 13:38 GMT)

Nice article, not sure why you want Henriques out while Maxwell is still around though. Id take his 150 runs while the game was in the balance over 4 wickets after the game is already lost anyday.

Posted by VJ_Cricket on (March 8, 2013, 12:16 GMT)

@Mr-M-Vaughan, in what sense was Hyderabad (2nd test) a manufactured track! Aust had a golden oppurtunity to post a big total in 1st inn, they blew it.

Aussies batted first in both tests and the result is in front of us. Clearly they are scared to chase any kind of total in the 4th innings.

Unlike the ind-eng series, thr has been no upiring errors (may be one one lbw call), and both the officials have been spot on.

Ausssies are getting scolded for playing badly, but how much credit are Indians getting for playing to thier strenghts.

Posted by Mr-M-Vaughan on (March 8, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

Good God! Two losses on the most manufactured tracks in cricket history - after more than two years of excellent cricket - and it's the worst team ever. England, of course are invincible after winning in India. Except in the next series in NZ... Why does everyone always think that what happened in the last game is going to be repeated over and over forever and ever? Things change. It's a radical new concept I'm pushing. Nobel prize stuff, for sure.

Posted by poms_have_short_memories on (March 8, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

I think you have the nail right on the head in the last two paragraphs. England will probably win in England 2-1 based on their superior batting, but I think it will be a fairly low scoring series and Australia's pace attack will certainly affect quite a few soft tissue injuries and broken fingers as well as dented helmets in the coming two ashes series. The issue is which 4 pace bowlers do Australia select? I think Pattinson, Starc, Harris and Johnson, depending on who is fit.Would love to see Cummins fit though.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 10:17 GMT)

Thanks Krishnan. And no mate, you wouldn't have read me in here before, I'm new to Cricinfo. Long-time reader, all that.

Vignesh - been a long-time admirer of Usman. He looks good. I think they should give him an extended go to match talent with runs. Like England did with Ian Bell.

Stormer - I'm willing to give Mickey more of a go. I reckon the coach's influence is often over-played anyway. These guys need a psychiatrist.

Fine legs. Excellent memories sir. I was too young for the Indian series in 78, though I remember the kerfuffle about Packer taking the Best Players. Like to see some old vision of it.

Cheers all. Thanks for the Comments.

Posted by stormer1980 on (March 8, 2013, 9:57 GMT)

Your first mistake was Mickey Aurthur ... that coming from a Saffa .. Second mistake , not getting people like Warne , Mgcrath and some of the older guys involved in the team .. Thirs mistake .. at one stage you had 4 openers in one team .. for what ? Khwaja should be in your squad .. and you telling me , in all the regions in Aus , there are no quality batsmen ? I really doubt that .. Aus is a proud cricketing nation and I'm sure there are players there and there about who could do better than this lot

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

Selection of Phil Hughes is a blunder. Every time he comes out to bat, he looks like getting out. And boy he never scored a run against spinners so far in the series. No. 3 is such a vital spot be it any format of the game. Aussies had great success with Ponting there for so long. They need to look for players who are comfortable with both spin and pace. Khawaja is a decent option. Why i say 'decent' is that, he is again a left hander and he had to face the likes of ashwin and harbhajan. But aussies have no other option, other than to play him. Hope he comes good.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2013, 8:01 GMT)

You, sir are a very talented writer. Welcome to Cricinfo (apologies if you're an old hat, never read your articles before, you see.). Keep churning them out!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Cleary
Matt Cleary reckons he watched more of the 1978-79 Ashes series than any eight-year-old. Despite this punishment - Geoff Boycott batting for days - Cleary was hooked. As a journalist he's written about sport, travel, beer, wine, swimming with stingrays in the Alice waters of Bora Bora, and touring Australia on a four-month lap, playing golf. Yet he counts doing ball-by-ball commentary for ESPNcricinfo as the most fun he's had with a keyboard. He writes for several of Australia's sports and travel magazines, notably Inside Sport, Inside Cricket, Golf Australia and Rugby League Week. @JournoMatCleary

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