April 26, 2013

A secret dossier on the state of Australian cricket

Alan Tyers
Brad Haddin reacts after dropping Gautam Gambhir, Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 3rd day, January 5, 2012
Brad Haddin: not a sheila, and hence the right man to vice-captain  © Getty Images
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Undercover report from Agent J (Invers, could you make sure you keep my name off this because I don't want to blow my cover for future espionage work. Thanks mate.)

Hi Mr Inverarity,

I've done a ripper little dossier for you on the state of Australian cricket. Basically the Poms are a bit ahead of us now, despite their high percentage of pussies but, as we all discussed in the last meeting, we can get to where we want to be if we learn from them. It took them 18 years to win back the Ashes and with hindsight, a lot of the groundwork for that 2005 win must have been laid in the 1990s. Maybe we should look at doing some of the things they were doing back in that era.

With that in mind, I reckon getting Graeme Hick to help the young blokes is a top move. Nobody has more experience of being unable to translate their domestic form to the international stage than Hicky. Of course, with most of our young blokes unsure of how to build an innings in Shield cricket (i.e. score any runs unless they're in their pyjamas and the stumps are lit up), you could say that we've got a headstart here. If our young batsmen can be taught not to carry their domestic form into the international stage then we could be onto something.

The selection of Chris Rogers also borrows a classic England trick and one that, although we didn't realise at the time, was setting a chain of events in motion that eventually lead to me our top order having to face an angry Steve Harmison at Lord's in 2005. Basically by selecting an old bloke out of the blue we are sending a clear message throughout the game at all levels: if you're good enough, you're old enough, or young enough, and basically nobody young enough is good enough. That's the sort of clear selection thinking we want to see.

Bringing in Brad Haddin as vice-skip could be a nice touch. The Poms showed how having a few different captains per series could really keep opponents on their toes back in the 1990s. If Pup's back goes, then Brad will be bloody proud to lead the Baggy Green. The fact he wasn't in the team until recently only shows what a bold move this is. Unlike a lot of these young fellers he looks like a proper fair-dinkum Aussie.

No way you're going to catch Brad "grooming" his "hairdo". He'll be too busy talking footy or eating a big bite of meat, like a proper Aussie competitor. We could be bold by trying a few other captains out as we go. Obviously if you've got any relatives who could give it a crack we could go for the full Cowdrey but bear in mind that the English had more experience of nepotism that we do. A more Aussie way might be to select the side based on who our mates are.

The inclusion of Watto is also a classic English move. A lot of people reckon that you can never have too many fake allrounders, but I for one reckon that Watto can shoulder the burden of not scoring any runs and chipping in with a few unremarkable overs here and there on his own. Once you add in our selection of breakable quick bowlers, we're partying like it's 1999 and we're the Poms getting stuffed by every nation on earth.

The playing staff may be in place but if we're really going to copy the 1990s Poms, we're going to need some confused, muddled and downright daft decisions from management. The homework thing was a brilliant start. If we can now just make a big deal of players wearing the right blazers, calling them by the wrong names and blaming defeats on their star signs, then we too could be looking at Ashes glory in only 18 short years' time.

More undercover Aussies in CrickiLeaks - the Secret Ashes Diaries, here

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Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (April 28, 2013, 3:17 GMT)

some very painful memories there for sure ... thankfully arthur seems to be doing a great impression of lloyd, just waiting for arthur's ''we murdered'em'' equivalent, it cannot be far away!

Posted by Mitty2 on (April 26, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

This hurts, but i have to say very funny article.

"basically nobody young enough is good enough" - sums up the issue, whilst batsman unable to "score any runs unless they're in their pyjamas and the stumps are lit up" - sums up the cause!

Although alan, the recently selected squad (in which is soooooooo much better than the indian selected squad) does something to somewhat redeem the mistakes of the ACB and the NSP (at least i hope so)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alan Tyers
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.

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