December 5, 2010

North's form has gone south

As has Clarke's. But there's still hope for Australia, thanks to Haddin, Hussey and Watson. If only their bowling attack had a leader
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The Australian selectors reacted aggressively to the mauling the bowlers received at the Gabba. They might face a similar overhaul of the batting after a dismal display at the revamped Adelaide Oval.

Marcus North is fast entering Mitchell Johnson territory with another unconvincing display in the middle order. North has taken on the role Michael Hussey previously played, batting as though his survival depends on a good score. Just imagine where Australia would be if the selectors had acted rashly prior to the series and omitted Hussey.

While North's woes have been well documented and ongoing, Michael Clarke has snuck up on the rails like a fast-finishing thoroughbred. Normally a good player of spin bowling, his failures in India were a surprise, but two wild and woolly shots in the Ashes series have set tongues wagging. Clarke needs to rectify this situation or he'll quickly be reclassified as future captain of New South Wales.

The other factor highlighting Australia's poor batting performance was the placid nature of the pitch. The stands at the Adelaide Oval may be new but it's the same old pitch, still very good for batting.

If it hadn't been for the two gallant Gabba heroes, Hussey and Brad Haddin, Australia's reputation would be in tatters. Their two innings-saving partnerships in this series have been built on a critical awareness of what is required and the ability to both defend and attack when the need has arisen.

With his new-found approach to batting, Hussey is playing as well as at any time in his career. He looks more solid as his defence has moved from survival to defiant mode, and his attacking play now contains an element of belligerence. There has never been any hint of survival about Haddin's batting. He enters the arena like a punter with a wad of notes in his pocket and begins to play as though he has devised an infallible system. He has proved beyond doubt that he's capable of handling the No. 6 spot in the Test side, and this could be a godsend as the selectors struggle to find the right combination.

The other shining light was Shane Watson. His technique stood out like a beacon when Jimmy Anderson was swinging the ball dangerously, and surely he has dispelled any further doubts over the wisdom of retaining him as an opener. It doesn't make sense to weaken a strength in order to strengthen a weakness.

Adding to Australia's woes, England have plotted and planned well. To make matters worse, they're showing Australia up in the field. Good slip-catching and bustling infield work has reaped its rewards, and the Australians, with a few exceptions, are struggling to break the shackles.

The problem is the Australian attack doesn't have an outstanding leader; opponents must look at the bowling line-up and see a series of efficient No. 3s but not a No. 1

There is though, some light at the end of the tunnel for Australia. The England pace attack doesn't look anywhere near as formidable when Anderson is resting, and if they can resist the late-swinging Lancastrian, life will be easier.

However, there are also distinct signs that Graeme Swann is coming to grips with Australian conditions. His role is to churn out overs both economically and in a probing manner and he played it to perfection, especially when bowling to North. Unless North can reverse this situation, he's doomed.

The ineptitude of the batting left Australia's chances of staying in the contest in Adelaide resting heavily on the reinforcements the selectors introduced following the Gabba mauling. The problem is the Australian attack doesn't have an outstanding leader; opponents must look at the bowling line-up and see a series of efficient No. 3s but not a No. 1.

As England built on the momentum they'd taken from their resurgence in Brisbane, it appeared as though the Australian selectors were in for another session of burning the midnight oil. Their trick will be to make any further changes not look like panic.

It's a far cry from the days when the team selected itself and when a mistake didn't become a glaring error because two champion bowlers in Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath covered cracks quicker than putty. Their job now is to not only select with the Ashes in mind but also for the future; not an easy task when losing to England is considered a hanging offence in Australia.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • madscientist001 on December 5, 2010, 23:33 GMT

    Is Stuart Clark retired? David Hussey and Cameron White can serve the same purpose as North and Clarke, my error they may score more runs. Siddle is a one day bowler, he would have a good bowl one day for a test series! Johnson needs to spend some of his contract money and hire Wasim Akram as a personal trainer. Johnson is one of the most frustrating cricketers to watch, perform a lobotomy and program him to do the simple things like bowl fast and forget about swing. Also what di the selectors have against Brad Hodge? I am sure Mcgrath, Warne, Gillespie and Lee can outbowl this lot without having trained for a long time. It now seems like a good time for Zimbabwe to reenter test cricket as long as they schedule their first series against Australia. To take a page out of Boycott, these Aussie bowlers can't dismiss a team if 11 clones of my grandma made up the team

  • Ryteo on December 5, 2010, 23:18 GMT

    being saying it for a while but as a test team the Aussies would have to be the oldest team on average by many years, we never blood a youngster and when we do...Hughes was the last one, we banish him back to state cricket, pretty sure A.Cook had plenty of flaws in his batting yet look where he is now because they recognised talent and nurtured it. Quite simply we need to take some medicine and employ a youth strategy for a few years don't care who they are but they need to be performing in state cricket and be under 25....30 at most...Hughes, Warner, Watson, Khwaja, Ferguson, Haddin, Smith, O'Keefe, Siddle, Copeland, George and hope to god that Mitch Marsh and some young guns come along in the next year or two....

  • Fareen on December 5, 2010, 22:32 GMT

    I partially agree with ravichakra...Ian chappell said before the start of the Ashes to drop Alastair Cook And just see what he has done now...He said picking dravid against newzealand was a wrong decision...Then again,he scored 2 centuries...he also said hussey will struggle...and he's the highest aussie scorer so far...anyway...i really think dropping north is a MUST...bring in cameron white...and not sure about doherty too...he experienced 2 rough days and his confidence is very low....Australia needs a fast bowler like tait or lee...what they don't play test cricket any more...what a shame..

  • Alexk400 on December 5, 2010, 22:26 GMT

    Bring in Andrew Symmonds and Brad hodge. Drop michale clarke and north

  • radhegee on December 5, 2010, 21:03 GMT

    Well it is now proved that North is a waste but i dont know why everybody is talking about fegureson and Usman as his replacement .May be because of thier younger age . Instead Cameron White is the man who should be in team in palce of North , by the way he is also just 27 . White is one of our leading run scorrer in onedayers , we all know how capable he is in T20 and we have seen how he hammered the English bowlers in the 4 day tour game and scored a ton where all other Australians Batsman failed including Fegureson and Usman .White had led victoria from a very young age of 20 and he is definately a future captain of australia .We need an aggressive batsman at no. 6 and White's attacking skill could be a great help to reclaim Ashes . Its high time now and selectors should replace Western Australia's captain with Victoria's skipper in Austrilan National team .

  • gerardpereira20 on December 5, 2010, 20:29 GMT

    Australia are a spent force and have been a spent force for a long time now. Things are only going to get worse with both Ponting and Hussey the wrong side of thrity.It is quite possible Australia could end up like the West Indies. as there is no one coming through the ranks in other words the Aussie cupboard is bare

  • Scgboy on December 5, 2010, 19:47 GMT

    symo will not return to the test or one dayers sad to say still think,that despite his faults he would have shored up the middle order but i cant blame him for leaving.his interview on this site explains it all.

  • BillyCC on December 5, 2010, 19:37 GMT

    My solution is to drop North and bring in either Callum Ferguson or Usman Khawadj.

  • smudgeon on December 5, 2010, 19:32 GMT

    Okay, for the last time, Brad Hodge is RETIRED - he had a run a few years ago but unfortunately this coincided with a strong period for Australia. As for Andrew Symonds, he has said he DOES NOT WANT TO PLAY for Australia, and when he did play test cricket he had major discipline and confidence issues.

  • on December 5, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    In typical Aussie annoying style, both Clarke and North will no doubt have a resurgence of form in their second innings, leaving Aussie fans to wonder why the hell they didn't do that initially. I've got a feeling Clarke and North will score at least 50 each and then commentators and fans alike will announce "they're back". I hope they both get out for a duck because for too long they've ridden on the back of former Aussie greatness. Now that Australia isn't the team they used to be they are crumbling under the pressure! Go England!!!

  • madscientist001 on December 5, 2010, 23:33 GMT

    Is Stuart Clark retired? David Hussey and Cameron White can serve the same purpose as North and Clarke, my error they may score more runs. Siddle is a one day bowler, he would have a good bowl one day for a test series! Johnson needs to spend some of his contract money and hire Wasim Akram as a personal trainer. Johnson is one of the most frustrating cricketers to watch, perform a lobotomy and program him to do the simple things like bowl fast and forget about swing. Also what di the selectors have against Brad Hodge? I am sure Mcgrath, Warne, Gillespie and Lee can outbowl this lot without having trained for a long time. It now seems like a good time for Zimbabwe to reenter test cricket as long as they schedule their first series against Australia. To take a page out of Boycott, these Aussie bowlers can't dismiss a team if 11 clones of my grandma made up the team

  • Ryteo on December 5, 2010, 23:18 GMT

    being saying it for a while but as a test team the Aussies would have to be the oldest team on average by many years, we never blood a youngster and when we do...Hughes was the last one, we banish him back to state cricket, pretty sure A.Cook had plenty of flaws in his batting yet look where he is now because they recognised talent and nurtured it. Quite simply we need to take some medicine and employ a youth strategy for a few years don't care who they are but they need to be performing in state cricket and be under 25....30 at most...Hughes, Warner, Watson, Khwaja, Ferguson, Haddin, Smith, O'Keefe, Siddle, Copeland, George and hope to god that Mitch Marsh and some young guns come along in the next year or two....

  • Fareen on December 5, 2010, 22:32 GMT

    I partially agree with ravichakra...Ian chappell said before the start of the Ashes to drop Alastair Cook And just see what he has done now...He said picking dravid against newzealand was a wrong decision...Then again,he scored 2 centuries...he also said hussey will struggle...and he's the highest aussie scorer so far...anyway...i really think dropping north is a MUST...bring in cameron white...and not sure about doherty too...he experienced 2 rough days and his confidence is very low....Australia needs a fast bowler like tait or lee...what they don't play test cricket any more...what a shame..

  • Alexk400 on December 5, 2010, 22:26 GMT

    Bring in Andrew Symmonds and Brad hodge. Drop michale clarke and north

  • radhegee on December 5, 2010, 21:03 GMT

    Well it is now proved that North is a waste but i dont know why everybody is talking about fegureson and Usman as his replacement .May be because of thier younger age . Instead Cameron White is the man who should be in team in palce of North , by the way he is also just 27 . White is one of our leading run scorrer in onedayers , we all know how capable he is in T20 and we have seen how he hammered the English bowlers in the 4 day tour game and scored a ton where all other Australians Batsman failed including Fegureson and Usman .White had led victoria from a very young age of 20 and he is definately a future captain of australia .We need an aggressive batsman at no. 6 and White's attacking skill could be a great help to reclaim Ashes . Its high time now and selectors should replace Western Australia's captain with Victoria's skipper in Austrilan National team .

  • gerardpereira20 on December 5, 2010, 20:29 GMT

    Australia are a spent force and have been a spent force for a long time now. Things are only going to get worse with both Ponting and Hussey the wrong side of thrity.It is quite possible Australia could end up like the West Indies. as there is no one coming through the ranks in other words the Aussie cupboard is bare

  • Scgboy on December 5, 2010, 19:47 GMT

    symo will not return to the test or one dayers sad to say still think,that despite his faults he would have shored up the middle order but i cant blame him for leaving.his interview on this site explains it all.

  • BillyCC on December 5, 2010, 19:37 GMT

    My solution is to drop North and bring in either Callum Ferguson or Usman Khawadj.

  • smudgeon on December 5, 2010, 19:32 GMT

    Okay, for the last time, Brad Hodge is RETIRED - he had a run a few years ago but unfortunately this coincided with a strong period for Australia. As for Andrew Symonds, he has said he DOES NOT WANT TO PLAY for Australia, and when he did play test cricket he had major discipline and confidence issues.

  • on December 5, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    In typical Aussie annoying style, both Clarke and North will no doubt have a resurgence of form in their second innings, leaving Aussie fans to wonder why the hell they didn't do that initially. I've got a feeling Clarke and North will score at least 50 each and then commentators and fans alike will announce "they're back". I hope they both get out for a duck because for too long they've ridden on the back of former Aussie greatness. Now that Australia isn't the team they used to be they are crumbling under the pressure! Go England!!!

  • cricbuff11 on December 5, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    Well well well. Not even empires could come to rescue of this Australian team.

  • on December 5, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    where is brad hodge instead of north!!!!!!!!!!he was dropped with an average of 55 above!!!!!ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Vasi-Koosi on December 5, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    The aussies selectors pressed the panic button a tad too early; Australia has started following a trend started by India & Sri Lanka with Viru & Dilshan in choosing a middle order batsman as an opener. They have forgotten the basic rationale; these 2 are quality middle order batsman who could not find a place in the middle order and they style of batting took the battle to the opposition. Watson is far from that; If you see successful team are built around a very strong opening combination. Whenever, they get that right the teams build the platform to post a huge total. Watson can be good @ #7 but then he cannot handle more than 12-15 overs a day. Even that is a huge workload. We are just masking some of the problems... Watson is a good player, but not at the test level either as a opener or as a bowler who can bowl 20 overs a day. I would any day settle for Bret Lee bowling 15 overs which will be a huge impact than someone like Watson. They need to scout for REAL OPENERS

  • Vasi-Koosi on December 5, 2010, 15:52 GMT

    I do not agree with Ian's comments and his assessment of Watson. Watson is not an opener, he is just a makeshift guy. Yes, he has been the most consistent of the top 4 in Australia, that does not warrant his place in the side as an opener. I would have agreed with Ian, if Watson had gone to get a 100 after making 50+ in Adelaide. Yes, he scores a consistent 50+, that is fine when Katich scores heavily. But, in situations like the 2nd innings @ Gabba & here @ Adelaide, he needs to carry on after getting himself in. That is the hallmark of an opener. Punter is having too many challenges. Most of the problems start from the head and are in the head.

  • on December 5, 2010, 12:56 GMT

    iIthink they should give chance to someone like .....gerorge bailey ..or..Khawaja probably in the middle order...and the fast bowling spot can be gien to either ...Trent Copeland..or Peter George...or possibly Mark cameron

  • smjr on December 5, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    Australia can draw this test if they bat very well i.e for 5 sessions. They can do it,and if they do then things are back to square one before third test. The team need some inspiration from any one like some good catching, some wicket taking spells from bowler or some aggressive batting display (like Sehwag or Gayle) to provide the balancing act from now onwards. The Aussies team right now is just going through the motions they have no clue, no plan whatsoever. They must bring some real pace bowler like Tait and leg spinner for the next test. The only thing that can trouble England batsman is some hostile bowling or good leg spin as history has proven. There should be no place or North and Clark in the team instead White and some in form batsman should play. Ponting leadership is very poor he has to think out of box and bring some new ideas and strategy to take 20 England wickets.

  • ravichakra on December 5, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    And also, please comment about your so called great no.3's performances so far as compared to India's no.3 - Dravid.

  • ravichakra on December 5, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    So Mr. Chappell, if Dravid was hanging with his finger nails, what are North and Clarke hanging with - their hair strands? It would have been the same story with Hussey as well had it not been for the largesse of the umpires in the first match and Anderson in the 2nd match. Can you comment on that?

  • Willowarriers on December 5, 2010, 11:56 GMT

    find it hard to believe hussey, haddin are being pitched as beacons of "hope" for australia... mr chappel in that oh so aussie way is trying to squeeze something out of nothing.

    england are simply a better side this time and australia should and hopefully will lose.

  • Something_Witty on December 5, 2010, 11:48 GMT

    Well said Ian. 25 char limit

  • rko_rules on December 5, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    Hahahah, what a fantastic title! Well as far as M North is concerned, he dont have and he never had the class and the charisma and the ability to create fear in the mind of the opposition, that the previous Australian middle order batsmen had. I dont know why they dont pick Andrew Symonds, he still have good 2-3 years of cricket left in him. And also I believe the position where North bats, that no. 6 position is more suited to flamboyant batsman like Andrew Symonds rather than innings constructor like North.

  • on December 5, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    The bowling is obviously a problem, but the batting also needs a revamp Bowling: Doherty should never have been selected, as his success was only ever at the 50 over form of the game....and his return of 2/200+ confirms he is not a Test bowler. Siddle is just a trier, and 6/54 was a fluke..at best he is a 2/80 bowler. Bollinger is a little underdone and I would persist with him. Harris is also in the Siddle category...a trier and again 2/80 are his most likely figures. Therefore with pace, we have 1 frontliner Bollinger and 2 backups where we need 1 only. If Johnson can have another decent shield match he must come in as he is a 4 or 5 wkt bowler...amidst all the rubbish he bowls. Spinner - anyone else even Hauritz. Batting: North out...Haddin to #6...D Hussey in at #7...Clarke out if fails again...either Klinger or Khuwaja in. The trouble is that the selectors will not want to make too many changes as it will signal desperation - but thats where we are at...just do it!!!

  • Balajipost on December 5, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    Given the state of the Australian Middle order performances (or the lack of it), it is really surprising that somebody like Brad Hodge is not even in the squad.

  • Sunrays on December 5, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    The real reason for Australia's downfall is too many people of the ilk of Ian Chappell holding too much responsibility in Australian cricket. These guys just don't, and do not want to, understand that at least part of the reason that made Australia tick is Waugh's captaincy (and yes, Taylor's captaincy and Border's). When Waugh started leading Warne was returning from an injury and in fact had to be dropped. He stood by him and Ricky Ponting (on the 2001 India tour) when the "best" short term decision was to drop both. Champions are made by such backing. Ponting threw away Australia's jewels (Lee,Gillespie, and later Clark) at the first hint of trouble for either. They were natural successors as attack leaders. Those things worked in the short-term. In the long run, the results are there for all to see. The anointing of the anti-Waugh (i.e. anti mental toughness) type players as leaders - Clarke, Johnson - is another cause.

  • Scgboy on December 5, 2010, 9:04 GMT

    yepppers ian you got that one right.

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 5, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    I said my XI before the start of the series and I will repeat it again now:

    Watson, Katich, Ponting, White, M Hussey, S Smith, Wade, Johnson, R Harris, Doherty, Bollinger with McKay and Hastings as bowling reserves and Jaques and Hughes as batting reserves and O'Keefe and McDonald as all-rounder reserves. Now, I am glad that they picked Doherty. I am also glad that they finally changed bowlers for the 2nd test, but they are still yet to make the most obvious chop of all - the chop of Marcus North. It also should be noted that Clarke is injured!

    The problem is that they really needed to have got these selections sorted out before the Ashes started, not halfway through it. Just the same, they shouldn't be afraid of rash changes. These were changes that should have been made before the series began, but that doesn't stop the fact that they need to be made now.

  • tfjones1978 on December 5, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    Theres a few changes that Australia need to make: (1) Captain. Ponting's lost form as Aust Test Captain and should be replaced now by Hussey with White as VC. (2) Ponting. He should be retired from Test cricket at the end of this series and from ODI after WC. (3) Clarke & North. Both are out of form and should be dropped now. (4) Bring in White & 2 batsmen (from top 5 Shield batsmen). (5) Doherty should be replaced by Smith. (6) Johnson should stay out until proven in Shield. (7) Drop all 3 pace bowlers. (8) Stuart Clark should come in with 2 bowlers performing in Shield.

    Players should have to perform in Shield cricket for at least 6 months prior to getting selecting, and selection should be from the top of the performers, not the mid to lower sections just because their action "looks good". After all, Bradman had unorthodox actions for the time!

  • boris6491 on December 5, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    I am an Australian supporter, but I will be honest in saying the whole batting line up worries me. I do take the time to read the comments under Cricinfo articles to understand what the majority of people believe. People can be very spontaneous and unexpected in saying 'drop X and drop Y and bring in A and B' and so on for any team. But I cant help feel that Australia needs exactly this.Watson is good but inconsistent, whilst Katich never seems to be able to convert starts into scores which positively impact the team's fortunes. Ricky is looking like a mere mortal and I would say would fear for his place in the side let alone the captaincy. Clarke, a player who has always struck me as being overrated, is responding pretty poorly to criticism that he never scores when the team needs it. North, as has been obvious, is doing next to nothing. Hussey and Haddin have done well in the last two tests but have not been able to turn Australia's fortunes.Perhaps wholesale change is the solution

  • popcorn on December 5, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    I think Michael Clarke should go back to batting at Number 5 where he has scored excellet denturies.Like Steve Waugh stuck to Number 5. Mike Hussey is comfortable both at Number 4 or 5. So he should come back to Number 4, or, Number 6, if Khwaja takes North's place and bats at Number 4. The rest of the batting lineup upto Haddin at Number 7 is ok. Depending on the mix of bowlers, Number 8 could be tweaked around.I still feel feel Marcus North is solid at Number 6. No hurry. It is an important position. Everybody doesn't score every Test match.

  • rohanbala on December 5, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    By the end of the current test at Adelaide, the Australian selectors will have to make sweeping changes to their batting and bowling line ups in order to stay in contention in the ashes series. One only hopes the selectors are sane enough to drop both North and Clarke for the next test.

  • on December 5, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    obviously watson needs to move to number six, you need openers scoring 100's not 50's.

  • jithoosin on December 5, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    I like reading your columns and some time reloads the home page to see if they have arrived. But your predictions ( especially on who wins series or players to watch out for or absolutely any thing on cricket ) - they always sound logical and excellent when i read it - But they always go wrong !!

  • Percy_Fender on December 5, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    Australia's decline was on expected lines. If the West Indies could fall so precipitously, after nearly a decade and a half at the top, Australia's present phase should not come as a surprise to anyone. You do not get the likes of Marshall,Holding,M'grath and Warne every day.They happen once in a lifetime. It is probably now the turn of some other country to get the feel of champions. Whatever they do, it does seem to me -- I am writing on the third day of the Adelaide test --- that Australia can do little to reverse the falling trend no matter who they select. It seems like England has finally made it to the the top three world teams. They did well in South Africa too the last time. Much as the Australians may dislike it, I feel they should concede that it is now England's turn to be in the harsh Australian sun.Ricky Ponting great as is, is probably better off playing purely as a batsman without the pressures of being the Captain.

  • imetpkd on December 5, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    Please use your trademark Anecdotes in your every article related to the team you are writing about

  • on December 5, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    Australia cant pick a worlc class attak at the moment, but then again, im not sure anyone can. Englands strength is that they have the most balanced attack. Great swing bowler, 2 tall seamers and a great spinner. Austrlia could have the same, and i cant help but feel that the selectors are Australias real problem here. Bollingers had a bad game here, but hes a class act and should be retained. I love Harris as well. If he can get 2 for 80 (current figures) on this track (and lets be honest the track has evened out since andersons 5 for) he can get a bagful anywhere else. Id back them up with O Keefe (great batting at 8 and also the best striking spinner in Aus at the moment) Id also go with Copeland as 3rd seamer. (Takes 7 wickets per game for NSW) and Katich rates him highly.Australia have plenty of talented cricketers coming through, but i dont know if the selectors can identify it.

  • on December 5, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    Frankly the decline in batting since last two years compounded by the departure of Hayden & Langer , Aussies have been managing with make shift openers . No.3/4 in the batting line up always be on the edge in this situation and a few failures inevitably pile up the mental pressure. Bowling concerns of the last 15 years were always hidden by the outstanding performance of Mcgrath & Warne . One will loose count of the no of bowlers who have come and gone during this period around Mcgrath and Warne. Twice india had the oppurtunity to play test series without Mcgrath & Warne and even then , with their famed batsmen around , Australia struggled in Australia. Is the cricket academy Ready to meet the challenge of the future?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on December 5, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    Frankly the decline in batting since last two years compounded by the departure of Hayden & Langer , Aussies have been managing with make shift openers . No.3/4 in the batting line up always be on the edge in this situation and a few failures inevitably pile up the mental pressure. Bowling concerns of the last 15 years were always hidden by the outstanding performance of Mcgrath & Warne . One will loose count of the no of bowlers who have come and gone during this period around Mcgrath and Warne. Twice india had the oppurtunity to play test series without Mcgrath & Warne and even then , with their famed batsmen around , Australia struggled in Australia. Is the cricket academy Ready to meet the challenge of the future?

  • on December 5, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    Australia cant pick a worlc class attak at the moment, but then again, im not sure anyone can. Englands strength is that they have the most balanced attack. Great swing bowler, 2 tall seamers and a great spinner. Austrlia could have the same, and i cant help but feel that the selectors are Australias real problem here. Bollingers had a bad game here, but hes a class act and should be retained. I love Harris as well. If he can get 2 for 80 (current figures) on this track (and lets be honest the track has evened out since andersons 5 for) he can get a bagful anywhere else. Id back them up with O Keefe (great batting at 8 and also the best striking spinner in Aus at the moment) Id also go with Copeland as 3rd seamer. (Takes 7 wickets per game for NSW) and Katich rates him highly.Australia have plenty of talented cricketers coming through, but i dont know if the selectors can identify it.

  • imetpkd on December 5, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    Please use your trademark Anecdotes in your every article related to the team you are writing about

  • Percy_Fender on December 5, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    Australia's decline was on expected lines. If the West Indies could fall so precipitously, after nearly a decade and a half at the top, Australia's present phase should not come as a surprise to anyone. You do not get the likes of Marshall,Holding,M'grath and Warne every day.They happen once in a lifetime. It is probably now the turn of some other country to get the feel of champions. Whatever they do, it does seem to me -- I am writing on the third day of the Adelaide test --- that Australia can do little to reverse the falling trend no matter who they select. It seems like England has finally made it to the the top three world teams. They did well in South Africa too the last time. Much as the Australians may dislike it, I feel they should concede that it is now England's turn to be in the harsh Australian sun.Ricky Ponting great as is, is probably better off playing purely as a batsman without the pressures of being the Captain.

  • jithoosin on December 5, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    I like reading your columns and some time reloads the home page to see if they have arrived. But your predictions ( especially on who wins series or players to watch out for or absolutely any thing on cricket ) - they always sound logical and excellent when i read it - But they always go wrong !!

  • on December 5, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    obviously watson needs to move to number six, you need openers scoring 100's not 50's.

  • rohanbala on December 5, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    By the end of the current test at Adelaide, the Australian selectors will have to make sweeping changes to their batting and bowling line ups in order to stay in contention in the ashes series. One only hopes the selectors are sane enough to drop both North and Clarke for the next test.

  • popcorn on December 5, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    I think Michael Clarke should go back to batting at Number 5 where he has scored excellet denturies.Like Steve Waugh stuck to Number 5. Mike Hussey is comfortable both at Number 4 or 5. So he should come back to Number 4, or, Number 6, if Khwaja takes North's place and bats at Number 4. The rest of the batting lineup upto Haddin at Number 7 is ok. Depending on the mix of bowlers, Number 8 could be tweaked around.I still feel feel Marcus North is solid at Number 6. No hurry. It is an important position. Everybody doesn't score every Test match.

  • boris6491 on December 5, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    I am an Australian supporter, but I will be honest in saying the whole batting line up worries me. I do take the time to read the comments under Cricinfo articles to understand what the majority of people believe. People can be very spontaneous and unexpected in saying 'drop X and drop Y and bring in A and B' and so on for any team. But I cant help feel that Australia needs exactly this.Watson is good but inconsistent, whilst Katich never seems to be able to convert starts into scores which positively impact the team's fortunes. Ricky is looking like a mere mortal and I would say would fear for his place in the side let alone the captaincy. Clarke, a player who has always struck me as being overrated, is responding pretty poorly to criticism that he never scores when the team needs it. North, as has been obvious, is doing next to nothing. Hussey and Haddin have done well in the last two tests but have not been able to turn Australia's fortunes.Perhaps wholesale change is the solution

  • tfjones1978 on December 5, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    Theres a few changes that Australia need to make: (1) Captain. Ponting's lost form as Aust Test Captain and should be replaced now by Hussey with White as VC. (2) Ponting. He should be retired from Test cricket at the end of this series and from ODI after WC. (3) Clarke & North. Both are out of form and should be dropped now. (4) Bring in White & 2 batsmen (from top 5 Shield batsmen). (5) Doherty should be replaced by Smith. (6) Johnson should stay out until proven in Shield. (7) Drop all 3 pace bowlers. (8) Stuart Clark should come in with 2 bowlers performing in Shield.

    Players should have to perform in Shield cricket for at least 6 months prior to getting selecting, and selection should be from the top of the performers, not the mid to lower sections just because their action "looks good". After all, Bradman had unorthodox actions for the time!