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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

A year of reckoning awaits Australia

Series against South Africa, India and England will severely test their inconsistent batting line-up

Ian Chappell

May 6, 2012

Comments: 116 | Text size: A | A

Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting steadied Australia, Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 3rd day, December 28, 2011
Australia's batting is still too reliant on the ageing Ponting and Hussey © Getty Images
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After a dramatic slide in the rankings following two Ashes beatings and a lost series in India, Australia are once again on the rise. But while satisfying overseas wins against Sri Lanka and West Indies aren't ironclad proof that a revitalised Australian side has improved dramatically, the definitive answer about the extent of improvement will be known soon enough.

Australia have tough series looming against South Africa, India and England. What will give them hope in this daunting schedule is the emergence of a promising pace attack under the aggressive captaincy of Michael Clarke. Despite this vital ingredient to victory being in place, the key to Australia winning consistently will be the performance of the batsmen.

The challenges of playing India and England on their home turf are testing for the best batting sides. But before that, Australia's inconsistent batting line-up will be pitted against a strong South African pace attack on the bouncy Gabba and WACA pitches. Christmas could come early for Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and the thriving Vernon Philander when the series is concluded in Perth on December 4.

To ensure the batting examination is thorough, in February-March, Australia will face the torture test by spin in India. That will be followed by perhaps the most demanding scrutiny of all, against an England attack that is the most complete in world cricket in their home conditions. Jimmy Anderson and a raft of fellow pacemen are a handful in England, especially if the ball is swinging, and Australia will also be probed and prodded by the best spinner in the game, Graeme Swann.

Even if the offspin-challenged Australian line-up survives South Africa and India, Swann, who has a history of devouring left-hand batsmen, will face four of those in the top seven. In a series where the Australians have to win to regain the Ashes, the customary cricketer's farewell of "good luck" to a batsman departing the dressing room will have extra emphasis.

If the Australians take the positive outlook, and they generally do, they'll be thinking: "When we've overcome the Indian spinners we'll be perfectly prepared for anything Swann can deliver." Not necessarily true, as Swann is far better than any current Indian offspinner, but a worthy sentiment nonetheless.

The inference from India - though not from their players - following the 4-0 drubbing in Australia was that the Australians will be confronted by pitches that assist spinners. While I despise the sentiment that pitch preparation should be dictated by anyone other than ground staff, the Australian batsmen can't say they weren't warned.

The Australians shouldn't be too fearful of what they'll face in India because Harbhajan Singh is not at his peak and his successors are yet to strike fear into the heart of a player proficient against spin. However, the fact that part-time offspinner Narsingh Deonarine had success in the Caribbean should give the Australians cause for some concern.

There's no doubt that a fully stocked Australian pace attack should keep their team in the game against South Africa and England. Whether they can be effective under Indian conditions is a question still to be answered.

However, the failure to produce young batting talent has meant the line-up is still heavily reliant on ageing stars Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. Ponting is already at the point where, although he can still make runs in Test cricket, consistency and dominance are a thing of the past. Hussey has been a remarkable contributor, which suggests his entry into the international arena was delayed too long, but he's now entering the age bracket where decline can imitate an avalanche.

Australian cricket has shown over the years it has a remarkable ability to regenerate quickly. This attribute will be fully tested in the next 12 months as the batsmen will face a thorough examination and in all likelihood readymade replacements will be required.

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

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Posted by Mayan820 on (May 9, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

Hi Hammond . . . I am thinking only of the present and very near future. India will not only do this to the Ausies in India, but also to the English. For one or other reason that is still difficult for me to comprehend South Africa does better in India and Pakistan than just about anywhere else, so maybe the Saffers might escape with a 2-1 or a 3-2 series defeat in India. This new breed of Indian batsmen like Gambhir, Kohli, Rahane, Dahwan etc. mixed with one or two old guns like Sehwag and Tendulkar will be completely unbeatable in Indian conditions. Foreign teams can forget about a series victory there.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2012, 14:23 GMT)

Australia has got an edge against SA in australia . If yu see recent performance of SA against NZ & SL i think against africans they will win but if african played really well they ll draw the test series .Now comes India in india is tough to beat no doubt statistics show but recent test series against WI showed weaknesses of indians .I think winning in india is tough for current aussies camp but drawing tests will be easy as indians have forgotten to make rank turners . Now they make extremely flat tracks and they win by exhausting opposition by 2 days batting and compiling 600 runs .Most of the time they play safe and likes to draw than to win dangerously . The real challenge for aussies will be Eng in Eng as they have best bowling spin and fast and decent batsman if recovered from ajmal nighmarish slaughter ;) .

Posted by Hammond on (May 9, 2012, 13:00 GMT)

@Mayan820 What like India buried us in 2004? India have only won 5 test MATCHES in Australia since 1947. Australia have won 4 test SERIES in India in the same time. I agree that the current side is pretty average and doesn't stand much of a chance but overall there has been a tremendous Australian dominance in test cricket played overall in both countries.

Posted by   on (May 9, 2012, 12:44 GMT)

ENG IS A ORDINARY TEAM UNLESS THEY PLAY IN ENG WE HAVE SEEN THEM AGAINST PAK AND LANKA BOTH ARE AVERAGE ONLY TEAM THAT CAN BEAT INDIA IN INDIA IS SOUTH AFRICA REAL NO 1 BUT SSTIL NEW CROP OF INDIAN PLAYERS COMING ARE TREMENDOUS TALENT LIKE KOHLI ,SHARMA,RAHANE ,PUJARA ETC AND SOME REAL QUICK BOWLERS LIKE YADAV ,AARON,DINDA,AWANA WITH MEDIUM PACERS LIKE PANKAJ SING STILLL I THINK INDIA HAVE GOOD BENCH STRENGTH WITH SOUTH AFRICA ENG ARE ONLY GOOD TEAM IN ENG WITH SOME VERY ORDINARY GUYS OUTSIDE ENG LIKE BELL ANDERSON STRAUSS AND ENG WILL BE THRASHED BY INDIA LIKE INDIA DID IN ONE DAY SERIES SUCH A PATHETIC TEAM EVEN BANGLADESH CAN WIN ONE ODD ODI I CANT SEE THESE DAYS ANY TEAM WHITEWASHED IN ODI EVEN IRELAND CAN WIN ONE ODD ODI ....

Posted by Mayan820 on (May 9, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

The way in which India will most likely handle Australia in India is by amassing 500 - 700 runs in the first innings of the tests they play and in so doing dispelling any hope the Ausies might have to win the tests. Once the Indians achieve this, they will begin to feel in control and once the latter happens even the most mediocre among these Indian players will become unstoppable. I have seen it before. This is how I believe they will bury Australia in India, over and over and over again.

Posted by hyclass on (May 9, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

@Meety...County Cricket will always be a Test for the overseas professional,who in Rogers and Husseys case,played long seasons,endured the endless travel,foreign weather and pitch conditions and were involved in every aspect of the club.Im sure that there are others on short contracts,but the crux is that the 2 named players have performed due dilligence at the level stated.They are also excellent State players whose records demand their selection. As for the reversal of the operations at CA,it began in 2006 under this administration. No rational explanation exists for doing so,given Australias position of world dominance over a significant preceding time period using a system so well established for excellence,that it was emulated internationally with equivalent success.Selection policies were reversed.Rogers has one Test.David Hussey may remain as the best player never to have played Tests for any country. Hodge has a Test average of 55.Why wasnt he played?His form was peerless?

Posted by hyclass on (May 9, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

@Meety..when Australia lost the Ashes by 130 year historical margins,Geoff Clarke of CA stated publically that,'he thought people were overreacting & he didnt think Australia was that bad.'Hayden while a CA member stated at a press conference,that,'He wasnt invested in Test or State cricket,other than India and England,who just happen to be the 20/20 money powerhouses.As Australia sank into the mire,he stated his intention to seek ownership of a BBL side,an obvious conflict of interests. No rebuttal or retraction was issued by CA-clearly mandating their approach.Hilditch and then Chappell,supported by CA,dismantled the selection process,age group cricket and the use of our internationally feted and emulated institutions. Sutherland publically rebuked The Shield,its value as a selection tool,the players and the curators.Ultimately,noone was accountable or performance based,from the Physio to The Coach.BBL debuted a year ahead of schedule to evade adequate debate and Argus findings.1+1=2

Posted by hyclass on (May 9, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

@Meety...the idea that players of high calibre AND results can be dismissed for selection on a whim,such as that which you have described, while mediocre players are substituted using different criteria is farcical. It undermines every premise used for the last 100 years for selection. As Ponting pointed out when he was first selected,players needed to average close to 60 to get a game. That kind of approach encouraged performance,as it does in every sphere that it is applied. The alternative is the self promotion and excusing mediocrity that is the dish de jour of todays players in the media. Hussey,Hodge and Rogers have stellar records.They have 144 1st class hundreds between them. Marsh has 7. Khawaja 9. Cowan 13. All 3 average below 30 in Tests. Its all very well to hark back to Hayden and Langer,who struggled early, but they had distinguished 1st class records that encouraged perserverence. None of these contenders are in the same league and are demonstrating it in their results.

Posted by Vilander on (May 8, 2012, 23:52 GMT)

i think india in india would be easy for aus this time we are really struggling, sa in sa would be next, the real challenge would be eng in eng.

Posted by   on (May 8, 2012, 17:00 GMT)

Australia has got an edge against SA in australia . If yu see recent performance of SA against NZ & SL i think against africans they will win but if african played really well they ll draw the test series .Now comes India in india is tough to beat no doubt statistics show but recent test series against WI showed weaknesses of indians .I think winning in india is tough for current aussies camp but drawing tests will be easy as indians have forgotten to make rank turners . Now they make extremely flat tracks and they win by exhausting opposition by 2 days batting and compiling 600 runs .Most of the time they play safe and likes to draw than to win dangerously . The real challenge for aussies will be Eng in Eng as they have best bowling spin and fast and decent batsman if recovered from ajmal nighmarish slaughter ;) .

Posted by Shan156 on (May 8, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

@getsetgopk, Ajmal may have better statistics than Warne in the same number of tests but it is important to see the quality of the opposition and the conditions those tests were played. Ajmal had a great 2 years but mostly played in spin friendly conditions. A real test for an off-break bowler is Australia away and India anywhere. Swann did not set the world on fire but didn't embarass himself. Harbhajan averaged 80 or something in Aus, Swann 40 over 5 tests. Ajmal played a solitary test and averaged over 100. Against India, the best players of spin, Swann averages 40. Considering Warne averaged over 50 against them, Swann's numbers are not bad at all. Ajmal is yet to play them. As I mentioned earlier, Ajmal may do well in both places given more chances but till then, opinions will be polarized between him and Swann as to who the best spinner is.

Posted by Shan156 on (May 8, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

@getsetgopk, as Meety said, three tests are not sufficient to compare two bowlers. Even when you look only at the matches they played together - there isn't a huge difference; Monty may have taken a wicket more but he also has a higher S/R which means he bowled more overs than Swann in those matches. If looking at stats of the entire winter campaign doesn't make sense, then so would looking only at three tests.

Posted by   on (May 8, 2012, 13:14 GMT)

I really don't see the current cricket team surviving too much after Hussey and Ponting retire. MC was never a "great" batsman like Border or Waugh who could lead from the front, Cowan is a journeyman stopgap and the johnny come latelys like Khwaja and Hughes are as brittle as any English batsman from the late 80's. Maybe if we had a true successor to Warne we might feel a bit better but Lyon is only a pale imitation of Swann and doesn't have a kink in his arm so he can't bowl a doosra like Ajmal. I can really see this team (after receiving a hammering in the next 18 months) harking back to players like Rogers and (M) Hussey to bring some stability to a middle order as brittle as the world economy. It will be funny to see who gets the "Dad's army tag" then. Forrest is the only bright light I can actually hope for to kick on. The bowlers do, as an afterthought look sort of decent. Cummins will be the actual key to our attack.

Posted by Meety on (May 8, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

@getsetgopk - are you seriously trying to say that on the basis of 3 tests, you can work out that Panesar is a better spinner than Swann, & because Panesar took an extra wicket? I like Panesar (he of the longest fingers I've ever seen), however, over their 42 & 41 test careers, Swann's stats are far superior.

Posted by Meety on (May 8, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

@hyclass - you claim to have looked at every "...alternative explanation..." - what is your spin on the "Hodge was a square peg in a round hole" or "Hodge didn't grab his ODI opportunities" rumours that have done the rounds? The David Hussey weakness against the short ball, or the Rogers is a poor fieldsmen theories that have done the rounds. Could it also be that the selectors just don't value county runs as highly as Shield runs? Sorry I'd take any one of those scenarios before I'd have the selectors being part of a larger conspiracy to trash test cricket for the junkie (T20) form of the game. I am about 95% of the time of the belief that a players quality can only be measured by the standard set over long period of time (like you do). I however, wouldn't dismiss a player just because their career is short though, rather have more confidence, the longer the career. As I've said before I like your analysis/research, but I often don't agree with your conclusions.

Posted by Meety on (May 8, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

@hyclass - I dunno about "...It is a test of endurance & will power before any cricket is played..." as it depends on the type of contract the overseas player is filling. There are a lot of short term contracts (NOT talking about T20 stints), for example, I am fairly certain Starc is going to fly in play for Yorkshire with a few days of landing in England. I won't argue that the conditions for overseas players are at times quite tough, what I DID say was that the standard of opposition is quite variable. I've been scrolling thru the County matches for easily a decade now, & I am fairly confident in saying that County sides (particularly their bowling) can vary from about 2nd Grade Oz metropolitan to International standard from week to week. Despite all this I agree with you that there should of been more opportunities for Rogers & DHussey - however, your comment regarding deliberately sabotaging the Test team to make T20s is far fetched. TBC

Posted by hyclass on (May 8, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

@Meety.Im going to assume that you were tired when responding and abjured your usual high standards as a consequence.With respect to Cowan and all players chosen on fleeting runs of form,one summer does not a career make.Look at Cowans Test results.I have performed the due dillligence of researching not just the bare statistics over careers,but the grounds,the opponents and patterns of scoring,before forming any conclusions.You may be assured that when I conclude that the absence of players of the quality of David Hussey,Rogers,Hodge when he was available,Katich,were a deliberate reversal of selection process with the sole intention of undermining Test performance to make BBL T20 seem a better business and cricketing option,that I have investigated every alternative explanation.There were no ready replacements when these men were ignored.When integrity ruled at CA,up to 2006, youth,technique,theorising and excusing mediocrity were ignored.Those teams were great mentally before all else

Posted by hyclass on (May 8, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

@Meety...I strongly disagree on all counts with respect to the named players. My position on CC is that English conditions are testing for foreign players,long before the first ball is bowled. A County pro is required to be involved in all aspects of cricket & during any given season,plays constantly,involving him being on the road endlessly. It is a test of endurance & will power before any cricket is played. It is also the cradle for the English side & contains a significant number of overseas players & quality rising players.Rogers & Hussey have been consistently excellent.Their numbers far exceeded others that were given opportunities.They have 93 1st class centuries between the 2 of them and 50+ averages. Theorising is all very well but they have been deliberately starved of any opportunity to prove themselves in case they embarrass the establishment.Hussey was batting at 7 in ODI. No wonder his average was lower.Bat him at 4.Then make a case.Katich was the incumbent before injury

Posted by getsetgopk on (May 8, 2012, 6:51 GMT)

@Shan156: The three matches that both Monty and Swann played, two in UAE and one in SL, Monty took 16 wickets, Swann, for the same matches took 15 wickets, again figure it out who the better spinner was between the two. You are taking stats from matches that Monty didn't even play, that does not make any sense. For the Swann, Ajmal issue, I would say the greatest spinner ever, Shane Warne only had 96 from 22 test matches. The general feeling is that bowlers especially spinners improve as they play more and more unless your a Bhajji LOL but considering Ajmals age he won't even come close to Warne but so far the matches he's played his stats are even better than Warne's.

Posted by Hippiantor on (May 8, 2012, 4:52 GMT)

@hhillbumper Does Warner's 120 n.o. @ Hobart ring a bell? lol

Posted by Hammond on (May 8, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

I think once South Africa demolish Australia this summer there won't be much of an Aussie team left to get trounced in England next June.

Posted by duralsumo on (May 7, 2012, 23:58 GMT)

How does Ian Chappell know the dates for the Australian Summer when Cricket Australia are so protective when the dates are released? All the hints they give however no dates. Again Ian Chappell has given a very analytical view on how the Australian team are progressing. He is not underestimating the South Africans who I will beat England this northern summer. He is commenting on how they have a strong bowling attack and drawn on the quick wickets in Australia. Whilst Australia may not win the learning curve and experience they will gain from the next twelve months and ultimately make them a stronger team in the future.

Posted by Shan156 on (May 7, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

@getsetgopk, I see you are loling because I was off by one wicket when listing Monty's performance in SL. Considering that he took only two wickets, I was way off but the point is, Swann performed better than Monty in SL. Combine the two tours - Swann has 29 wickets in 5 tests at 23.48 each, Monty has 16 in 3 tests at 25.18. Please explain how Monty is better than Swann in both series combined? No, I am not going to lol:-)

Yeah, Ajmal has taken that many wickets in 20 tests but let's see who/where he played - the mighty Windies away, SA, SL, and England in UAE (home away from home), England away (where Swann did better), one test in Australia with an average over 100 and a few tests against the mighty Bangladesh. I am not saying he isn't better than Swann. I am simply saying that let him perform against all teams all over the world and come up with numbers better than or even as good as Swann. Not saying he won't be successful but till then judgment should be reserved

Posted by nzcricket174 on (May 7, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

Australia lost to NZ they are definitely not on the rise...

Posted by hhillbumper on (May 7, 2012, 19:06 GMT)

Isn't there more concern for the Aussies spinners.Lyon got some wickets on a dust bowl but apart from that he doesn't look like he can bowl.Hussey and Ponting are aging and what is the point of the Aussie top 3.Warner can hit on flat pitches but on wickets with some life he has no hope.maybe they should bring back Phil Hughes for comedy value.

Posted by champ1388 on (May 7, 2012, 18:45 GMT)

Autralia couldnt handle West Indian's club class spinners properrly in West Indies, Their batting is pathetic only Hussey and Clarke are consistent outside Australia. They will lose all three test series and will lose all the matches in India and might win 1 game against SA and England each.

Posted by Beertjie on (May 7, 2012, 18:43 GMT)

Much as I hate to admit it, in English conditions England may outbat Oz. However,games are not played on paper, so if a new dominating batter can take control of the next Ashes, as Ramanujam Sridhar hopes, things could be different. No one expected Bill, or Tubby and Tugga to have those great series, so who knows? For one, English bats are proven to be flaky (as Oz have become, too). So the Oz pace/swing battery can answer in kind. If it comes down to a shootout going into the final innings you need more than tailenders to bail you out - that's my worry. Oh to be a fly on the wall when the selectors sit down to pick their squads! Rogers v Cowan; D Hussey v Khawaja; Cooper v Forrest, etc. @trumpoz, I really hope you're wrong. However, whatever the results this is a pretty ordinary Oz team and until they get a good attacking leggie (I don't want to put the mockers on him, but Cam Boyce may be the guy in a couple of years) there's no way we'll stay #1 even if we get there in the future.

Posted by TaylorSwift on (May 7, 2012, 17:46 GMT)

Swann vs. Ajmal debate is getting tiresome. This debate should have been put to rest after Ajmal outbowled Swanny by a margin in UAE. Ajmal critics will always question his action and his short career. Swann was the better bowler in 2009 and 2010 but Ajmal has been the better bowler in 2011 and 2012. If I were to pick one offie on my team today, I would pick Ajmal. Just like I am entitled to my opinion, Ian is entitled to his. However, I would like to read about why he thinks Swann is currently the best spinner in the world.

Posted by TaylorSwift on (May 7, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

Pup has done well since taking over as captain, considering his resources. Australia's batting will be a real concern in these three upcoming tilts. If they decide to stick with Punter and Hussey till the Ashes in 2013, they can expect below par performances from #4 and #6. Watto looks more like a #6, than a #3. Cowan and Warner have also failed to impress as openers. Their younger generation of batsmen (Marsh, Khawaja, Hughes, Forrest et al) are not ready for international cricket for a variety of reasons. Their fast bowling attack ranks behind SA and England at the moment. By sticking with Punter, they have failed to provide an opportunity to a young batsman to gain valuable international experience. Despite all these short comings, Pup and Oz have enjoyed success recently, and it will be interesting to see how Pup manages to come away with victories against these three.

Posted by Mayan820 on (May 7, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

Yea, I like it very much that I Chappell keeps on underestimating the Proteas, deliberately mentioning them only after England and India. You know what Ian, it suits us Saffers just fine; nobody needs to talk the Proteas up on cricinfo or anywhere else. Our players will do their talking on the playing field when they will meet the so called "revitalized Australian side that has improved dramatically" We shall just see about that! As far as Pakistan (whom you have not even mentioned) is concerned, be very glad that your current squad of average Ausie batsmen (save M. Clarke and M. Hussey) will not face the current Pakistani test bowlers any time soon, because then even the 45 Australia achieved against SA at Newlands in their 2nd innings, last year, will seem a big total.

Posted by getsetgopk on (May 7, 2012, 16:47 GMT)

@Shan156: Monty took two wickets not one LOL he was dropped for that usual three seamers attack but over all Monty's figure were better than swanns for UAE and SL combined, as far as Ajmal and Swann, Ajmal took 107 wickets in 20 tests, Swann has 182 in 41, figure out who the best spinner is. @Meety: India has gone down for obvious reasons, I dont like Ian Chappel's opinions (as you like to call it) most of the time simply because the facts don't support it but I do think he was spot on when he was of the opinion that SRT should have retired while still ahead and make way for the up coming batsmen and prepare a better team for the future. I'd be surprised if Aus lose in India.

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (May 7, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

England will decimate Australia.

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (May 7, 2012, 14:49 GMT)

@Meety,come on man!,get realistic now,ur present aus team z jst a gd team nothng else,now wake up frm dream era of aus dominence in cric wrld,which hav finishd now,what's use of giving example of saqlain,murali when there steve waugh,martins,langr,hayden,gilchrist,in present aus team just husey n clarke of that category n pak's present spin attack can conquer ur team whenevr it plays in dubai,mark my words!

Posted by RandyOZ on (May 7, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

Funny to see a few poms mentioning spinners. Mind you, I suppose even their fans may have more of a clue about spin than the English/South African batsmen, who literally had no idea.

Posted by   on (May 7, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

I think all the signs are there that Australia is on revival mood.I really think the fast bowling attack is very good and Lyon is a competent spinner.The batting however has been and will continue to be a cause of worry.I think some of the people waiting like Forrest, Bailey could be the answer and hopefully Warner will play more consistently thanks to the increased exposure and experience that he has been receiving on different wickets. I feel that Shaun Marsh despite his horror series last summer will come back and make a difference. If you look at times when Australia has done well in the Ashes in England it has been new entrants like Bill Lawry in 61, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh over the years . Who knows who might be the player who will change Australia"s batting fortunes. In the answer to that question rests the key to the Ashes. But I think this Australian team will do much better in India than the last two tours Ramanujam Sridhar

Posted by   on (May 7, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

Are we talking about the same Swann who across ten tests against Australia averages over 40? Oh yeah, the Oz batsmen are shaking in their boots! Deonarine was no where near as effective as Shillingford, but that was more to do with the dust bowl pitches prepared in the West Indies rather than any percieved weakness against spin. Australia has to improve its middle order, but to suggest that Swann has some sort of a hold over Australia when he averages over 40 and has been manhandled at practically every opportunity, simply proves that Ian Chappell should give up on cricket commentary as he has lost the plot.

Posted by Simoc on (May 7, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

A good article from Ian Chappell who would rate as the premier cricket commentator along with Harsha Boglai. I'de like the selectors to move on from the Ponting era and do the hard yards. Cowan certainly hasn't entrenched himself but Warner looks a likely stayer. I think Forrest is the best bet at first drop, a very organised batsman. Then Watson who has excellent technique to bat anywhere. Just not the greatest brain to go with it. Clarke should be in first but he'll score heaps where-ever he bats. He is as good a bat as anyone in world cricket. And Hussey should be replaced inside a couple of years by Callum Ferguson if he can get his act together. Guys like Hughes, Marsh and Khawaja and Steve Smith may step up with the goods. Theres certainly room for a newcomer to blitz the scene with a mountain of runs eg Tom Cooper.

Posted by Meety on (May 7, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

@LewisEdwards - I agree that in comparison to Marsh specifically Khawaja was harshly dealt with. I also would imagine that is N Khan is trying to say - however HKool is spot on atm - Khawaja needed to go bacjk to Shield & score a mountain of runs. He is not doing it, there also appears to be a question mark over his commitment to improvement (real or unreal) the perception needs to be fixed. @Imran Khan - it's a pity your comment does no justice to the name. As has been said, you need to look at the prevailing East Coast weather patterns for the last 2 seasons, + the fact that the WACA is still a new pitch relaid in the last 10yrs - where they are slowly getting the old characteristics back. To label Oz pitches as flat tracks is laughable - did you watch any of the Hobart test v NZ, (or the Gabba for that matter)? The WACA (not as fierce as in the 70s & 80s) is returning to former glory. We also have the highest % of results per match than anywhere else.

Posted by Meety on (May 7, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

@jmcilhinney - don't be surprised if Ajmal & Rehman have zero impact on Oz in Oz, & minimal impact in UAE. IMHO - you need to wait & se how England go in the WIndies on the type of pitches Oz faced before you can make comparisons. Oz batsmen by & large pick the doosra pretty effectively - Murali & Saqlain got almost no wickets with that ball after their first encounters with Oz. Spinners do well against Oz only on pitches of variable bounce. The Paki duo are a class above SLs spinners, which is where you need to start the comparisons. Oz in SL did a lot better in SL than England did, & Oz will do well in the UAE when we next play Pakistan away.

Posted by dunger.bob on (May 7, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

It's funny how things work out isn't it. During the glory years we had high quality backup players who couldn't get a run due to the form and lack of injuries to the incumbents. Players like Magill, Hayden, Gilchrist and Martyn may all have had much longer careers in another era. .. these days there is more than enough opportunity for someone to grab himself a spot but we don't seem to have anyone capable of doing that in an emphatic way. .. feast or famine seems to be the way of it. .. anyway, back to the upcoming tours, I think we will struggle unless we can consistently have a couple of the top 6 in form. .. it's going to have to be a team effort which means everyone scoring a few to support a couple of decent scores (70+). Much like they have been doing lately, only a bit better. .. I haven't given up on Warner. He's still a toddler when it comes to first class cricket. It wouldn't surprise me if he has now played more Tests than first class games.

Posted by bobagorof on (May 7, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

The Australian Test-Only batsmen (who at this stage include Ponting and Cowan, but that may change by February) should take a leaf out of Matthew Hayden's book. When he was pushing to cement a Test place just before the India series in 2001, he asked a groundsman to prepare spin-friendly wickets and had spinners bowl at him, so that he could improve his game against spin. The result was 549 runs in 6 innings at an average of 109.8. As neither Cowan nor Ponting will be involved in the ODI series in Australia, they could use this time for similar preparation. (Incidentally, in that series Ponting scored 17 runs from 5 innings, average 3.4).

Posted by maddy20 on (May 7, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

@Ian Chappell You see , India is unlikely to field Harbhajan Singh anymore. So expect the likes of Ashwin, Amith Mishra and Rahul Sharma to be bowling at the Aussies in their tour of India. Also it would be a folly to write them off. The rookies, Ashwin and Sharma have bamboozled England in the ODI series in India. Ashwin has a lot of variations in his armory such as the doosra, carrom ball etc., and Amit Mishra is a resourceful leg spinner that any team would love to have in their ranks! It will be an intriguing contest @jmcilhinney Make no mistake the Pakistani side is pretty good when it comes to bowling resources in spin friendly condtitions. Saeed Ajmal is the best spinner in the game due to his variations. The Sri Lankan attack is about 40% as potent as Pakistan!

Posted by Shan156 on (May 7, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

@Chithsabesh Sivasankar Bharadwaj, England beat Australia by an innings 3 times in Australia. That is not whipping enough for you? Let Pakistan win a test, leave alone a series, in Australia, before we talk them up as world beaters. Well, that, and tests in SA and India too.

Posted by Shan156 on (May 7, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

@getsetgopk, please explain how Monty did better than Swanny in SL. In the only test that Monty played there, he took a grand total of 1 wicket, Swann took 6 in one innings. To all the people out there saying Ajmal is the best spinner out there, true if you consider only performances in the last 1 year. However, Swann has earned that reputation of best spinner over the last few years by playing on tracks that are not really spin-friendly and still coming out reasonably successful. For starters, Swann has played in Australia and India - two countries which are graveyards for opposition spinners, ask Warne and Murali - and has done reasonably well. He has also done OK in SA. Let Ajmal play in all countries against all oppositions and then we will determine his worth. If you go by one series, we could also claim that Swann was more successful than Ajmal in the 2010 series between the two sides in England.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (May 7, 2012, 4:50 GMT)

I am interested to see how Aust go against Pak too. I think Eng flattered Pak a little in that last series but they still did many things well. You look at the way Eng batted in the first innings in Galle compared to Columbo and you realise that, with a different approach in UAE, Eng could have at least got closer, almost certainly won the 2nd Test and maybe the series. I don't think that Pak is as good as Eng made them look in that series but they are still formidable. Aust had trouble with Narine and Deonarine in WI so Ajmal and Hafeez could also do some damage. Ind fans talking about whitewashes should remember the comments they made before the Eng and Aust tours and what happened there. Yes Ind will be a different proposition on home soil but they simply aren't the team they were so talk of whitewashes is at best premature, definitely arrogant and at worst stupid.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (May 7, 2012, 4:35 GMT)

@Harry_Kool, i believe the point NaveedKhan is trying to make on Khawaja is that it was unfair how he got dropped. Marsh had a full series to prove himself, Cowan has had 2 series yet Khawaja only got 2 games in a row at any one time and was always batting to save himself, he should never have been dropped after the NZ series as he top scored 2 games before against world class SA attack and got run out the game before in Brsibane when he was on 40. Hopefully he gets a good start to the shield season as we need him for some of the touger series coming against SA, India and England.

Posted by dezalenko on (May 7, 2012, 3:52 GMT)

@Sneh Pandey..... i don't think its fair to judge the aussie team on series that happened so long ago. Hilfy and Siddle are obiously better bowlers now than they were back then.... the same applys to jimmy anderson who for years couldn't swing a kookaburra to save himself and was cannon fodder for the aussies, now he's one of the best if not the best swing bowler in world cricket... while i agree that australia will struggle in india and england i think it will be their batting that lets them down rather than the bowling

Posted by   on (May 7, 2012, 3:17 GMT)

Interesting to me that Ian Chappell, probably the hardest player ever to captain Australia, is prepared to admit that this Aussie team is pretty bog average and prone to middle order collapse (probably because we don't have any decent openers). It doesn't matter if we have some decent (if inexperienced) pace bowlers if the batsman can't make decent runs. I'm sad to say that the days of Australia making 400 in a day (often due to a Gilchrist late middle order blitz) are completely over. For the next few years we will compete against the middle sides like Pakistan, dominate teams like the windies, and lose against the big guns like England and South Africa. India is all over the shop, I think they've prioritised IPL and couldn't care less about international test cricket. The real arm wrestle will be England v South Africa for the next 18 months.

Posted by   on (May 7, 2012, 2:48 GMT)

Australian selectors should do four things 1/ Stop the captain being a selector 2/Drop Ponting.Okay he scored runs against India but against Windies nothing 3/Keep M Johnson out of the team 4/Retain M Wade tell B Haddin to retire gracefully

Posted by Sanj747 on (May 7, 2012, 2:44 GMT)

Chappell is spot on with the batting. The future lies with the likes of Forrest and Bailey given the current selections in the ODI and 20/20 teams. Forrest I think has the right temprament and think it is a matter of time. Think the selectors are waiting on a few things and changes will be made in due course. Not entirely convinced we need Langer as the batting coach. Tours to India and England will surely sort many out. Having McDermott as the bowling is very good and he will definitely come up with plans for the bowlers unlike the batting coach.

Posted by Trapper439 on (May 7, 2012, 2:39 GMT)

@Naveed Khan: Khawaja was dropped because after six Tests he has a batting average of less than 30 with only one half-century. He has never looked comfortable as a Test player at all. And his fielding is absolutely woeful.

Posted by Meety on (May 7, 2012, 1:50 GMT)

@hyclass - regarding Katich, a bloke who I always respected, was selected by the panel, but has obviously been dropped for many non-quantifiable means. As for Rogers, there has been one or two persons who put it well that he would be a good short term option for the test team & should be given a crack, but it is only really been the last 18mths or so, that our opening positions have looked vulnerable, so I don't believe that Rogers can be put up as someone who has been systematically ignored his whole career. With regards to D Hussey, again, its only recent times that his career performance demands a place ahead of others, but he deserves a crask somewhere in the line up on FC returns. I would say that he didn't capitalise on his original ODI stints for any number of reasons, opportunities which other players grabbed & ran with, like Clarke, Martyn & Symonds. I'd look at Rogers & D Hussey as 2 yr options, but mindful of the need for succession planning.

Posted by Meety on (May 7, 2012, 1:42 GMT)

@hyclass - the only "problem" I have with the analysis of long term form (most of the time I am 100% on that bandwagon), is in regards D Hussey, Rogers & Katich, a lot of there runs have been scored in County cricket. Now I am unable (or willing) to quantify what "a lot" actually equals, & whilst I think County cricket is VERY important for the development of a cricketer, I get uneasy about the quality of bowling attacks that exist in that competition. You could play a county side that has 4 "first pick" International bowlers one week, & then play against of no-name hacks the next week. I am not putting this forward as a opposing arguement to your running theme, however more as a nagging gut feel that lining someone like Cowan in particular against Rogers in not a fair representation. I say that because Cowan has a much higher % of tests in his FC career v Rogers & I would argue that Cowan's runs in Shield cricket over the last couple of seasons are harder than County. TBC

Posted by Meety on (May 7, 2012, 1:34 GMT)

@Something_Witty - I rate Swann highly, but if he has any significant impact in this series, it will be because Oz have handled England's pace attack well. I agree, Oz historically play off & leg spin quite well particularly in Oz. We only come unstuck against spin on low & variable bouncing pitches - mainly in India. Spin bowling in general for visiting teams has been a graveyard for overseas bowlers, for most of the last 60yrs. Every where else Oz has performed well except in India. I am expecting a change of fortunes in India due to the number of times Oz have played their recently & the feeling that the Indian Test team is in decline.

Posted by hyclass on (May 7, 2012, 1:08 GMT)

@Imran Khan...pitches in Australia were not the consequence of instructions but of ten years of drought and then over the last two seasons,the commencement of ten years of rain. When asked to do so,the meteorology department was able to demonstrate that this had always been a facet of Australian weather and was in no way a consequence of the farcical attempt at blaming carbon dioxide wherever possible to promote politicised 'global warming'.Pitches have regained familiar bounce and movement and are as testing across the continent as ever. @naved khan..Khawaja has several trigger movements into position and remains inconsistent in their applicaton.He is often caught on the move and uses his hands to compensate.With a side on player,that can be accomplished,but he often walks himself round front on,opening up every dismissal possibility. Technique isnt the panacea. Many players,such as Chanderpaul,Ian Chappell,Lara and Hughes have their own styles.Technique is less relevent than purpose.

Posted by Harry_Kool on (May 6, 2012, 23:40 GMT)

@Naveed Khan. You are at a loss to understand why Khawaja isn't picked? Try looking up his stats since he was dropped and let me kow how someone averaging less than 30 can expect to get a start! Just because he was born in Pakistan doesn't mean an open ticket for the baggy green, some form would be appreciated! Chappell is spot on with Swan's call. I have a lot of time for Ajmal, but when he delivers over a period of time against a number of different teams then he can claim #1. Same as Pattinson & Cummins for us, when they deliver over a period of time against all opposition, then I will also rate them above bowlers who have so. Otherwise, pretty spot on assessment, nothing new though, batting is the biggest challenge for us.

Posted by ZiggyMarley on (May 6, 2012, 23:02 GMT)

South Africa are the most talented side in the world but have developed the strange tendency to fail together and fire together. I believe they will beat England and Australia away from home if Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir can average around 30 with the ball in both series, and Smith and Petersen can average above 40 with the bat in the series. Amla, Kallis, AB dV, Steyn and Philander would all walk into a World XI and will ensure that SA wins. Australia should beat India in India, because they have better balance and players who are still hungry to win. The Ashes will be very close. I don't rate England as highly as many people do and feel that the ridiculously good form of players like Cook, Bell and Trott in 2010 & 2011 will be reduced to mediocre by 2013. Also, Anderson is getting old.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 22:08 GMT)

Australian batting is fragile. Cowan, Warner, Ponting are week links in the Batting. I totally at loss to understand why UT Khawaja has been omitted? I thought he was the most solid of the new crop. Why was he not taken to West Indies?

Posted by Alexk400 on (May 6, 2012, 22:01 GMT)

For me australia and england can beat india in india. Why you may ask? No dravid to grind. Sehwag and Gambhir is still not happy with dhoni leadership. Gambhir also lost his Vice captaincy for speaking up against Dhoni. India is done. I think i am eager to see how england and australia and australia vs South africa matches. South africa has everything except self belief of number 1 side. England is more calculative and extreme planning and go with 5 tall bowlers. Bounce works anytime. Australia is always fight tooth and nail. That said I am not michael clarke fan as much ian chappell is. I like watson more than clarke as a leader. That said watson body is not reliable. What Australia need is few more young batsman to show up. Aus selectors are quick to trigger on some young batsman failures. I always prefer strong physical batsman more than short guy as batsman. Ponting was exceptional talent, not happen every time. Tall bowlers , Strong physical batsman never fail as much others

Posted by hhillbumper on (May 6, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

Cant wait to see England bowl against Aussies again.Finn will be quicker.Broad didn'tplay a full series yet and has improved vastly in last year. Frankly given the Aussie batting I would expect them to lose the Ashes. Maybe they should get just three tests so that it is not too bad for them.

Posted by Beazle on (May 6, 2012, 19:32 GMT)

Yes Hussey's debut was delayed far too long as was that of Gilchrist.

Posted by cric_fanatics on (May 6, 2012, 18:16 GMT)

@rahulcricket007 ...What has this article got to do with pakistan...Even bangladesh humiliated them by refusing to tour..How can u expect indians and aussies to remember them..

Posted by cric_fanatics on (May 6, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

@Manee94 He was talking about a spinner with a clean action.

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (May 6, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

@WRITER,I CAN ASSURE EACH N EVERY CRITIC IN CRIC WORLD,Pak cannot lose any test series against any opositn in d world at d moment(especially in sub.continental n asian conditns)whether it b aus,ind,sa etc.I THNK AUS Z GOING TO suffer as hard against pak as against eng in eng,so keep ur fingrs crossed mr.chappel!,@Vsid,i dn't know about other teams bt pak has commendable n enviable record against ind in any sort of cnditns even at indian grounds.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 17:43 GMT)

Chappell conveniently forgets that it was pretty much the same pace attack OZ had with Pattinson being the only addition that lost the Ashes at home in 2010 and to SA in 2008, the reason OZ had a vice like grip over SA and England all these years was because of Shane Warne, batting of the OZ has deteriorated considerably so it would not be surprising if they lose against SA and ENG, captaincy of Clarke though is very impressive. India was admittedly listless in away series but is a different beast at home, the same Sehwags and Gambhir and the new breed of Rahane Kohli and Rohit will be difficult to dislodge like as was the case in away series.

Posted by Mary_786 on (May 6, 2012, 16:56 GMT)

@hyclass, very good summary of player averages, completely agree with you on Cowan, he should not be in the team when he is averaging less then 30, plus he puts most people to sleep when he bats and is always talking himself up even if he scores 20 as seen in Windies.

Posted by Leggie on (May 6, 2012, 16:10 GMT)

Well summarized by Ian. Australia's batting seems to be of real concern. Their top order collapses have become common and for too long the Husseys (David in ODIs and Mike in Tests) have bailed them out. When evaluating batsmen's performance it's always a good idea to leave out their performance against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and India-away-from-home. Going by that yardstick, save for the captain Clarke and Mr.Cricket, there has not been much for Australia to take home: - Cowan is definitely not Test material, and Watson seems very injury prone. - David Warner needs some stability at the top to play his natural game. - Ponting despite looking good has not managed big scores recently!! -Wade is a good replacement for Haddin, but needs to be more consistent. It's almost the non-existent bench strength that must a major concern for Australia.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

Aus cant pluck anything in India, Even an Indian A team willl beat any team in their home let alone Australia, Even their most successful captain , ricky ponting didn't even win a single match as a captain, through out his captaincy career which is more of a decade, so let alone clarkeeee, By the way, when was the last time Australia won a match here in India????

Posted by Manee94 on (May 6, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

"Australia will also be probed and prodded by the best spinner in the game, Graeme Swann" ... Isn't Ajmal the best spinner in the game? :P

Posted by spence1324 on (May 6, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

@Meety not a clue who the leading wicket takers were in the 09 ashes series but i know one thing england won!

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (May 6, 2012, 15:40 GMT)

I ALSO THINK THAT CHAPEEL HAS FORGOTTEN PAKISTAN TEAM . PAK HAS MUCH MORE THREATNING SPINNERS THAN SWANN IN FORM OF AJMAL & REHMAN . IT WOULD BE INTERSTING TO SEE HOW WILL AUS PLAY AGAINST PAK ?

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (May 6, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

I DON'T CARE ABOUT SA SERIES & ASHES RESULT BUT I SERIOUSLY WANT AUS TO BEAT INDIA AT HOME . AFTER SEEING THE ARROGANT ATTITUDE OF SOME OF OUR PLAYERS LIKE SEHWAG , GAMBHIR , KOHLI IN AUS I WANT THEM TO REALISE THAT IF YOU PLAY BAD CRICKET THEN YOU CAN LOSE AT YOUR HOME TOO . GO AUSSIES THRASH INDIA BY 4-0 AT HOME TOO .

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

As a die hard OZ fan, I am still not convinced about the fragile battong line up the OZ's have. to be honest serious batting starts from No 4. David warner does not convince me as a test opener or for that matter a test player. his offside play looks clumsy and you take his agression out of the equation in test, then he is as good as a no 8 batsmen. Cowan is the future but needs to understand that he does not have time on his side and he needs to repose the faith the selectors and the captain has in him.Ponting is 75% of what he was but still can pose a threat to the english seamers. Clarke and hussey are the other 2 top batsmen whom you can trust. So the aussies should knock warner and watson out and should have guys like cosgrove,chris rogers included for this all important ashes series.watson should play asa bowler and bat no 6,one has to understand that when you play a no3 which is a vital spot you dont need some one to paly a long innings, which only a bat'men alone could do

Posted by Vsid on (May 6, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

No bowler no team stands a chance against Sehwag and co. in India.Australia won't win a single game.

Posted by Caveman. on (May 6, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

India would be a welcome breather between SA & England. The most players from most teams play in the IPL, do well and have enough experience of playing in Indian conditions. Add to that the fact that not only is the current Indian team sub-par, they also lack the stomach for a fight, and you get the picture. If anything, Pak-Aus would have been a tougher and balanced contest.

Posted by hyclass on (May 6, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

Unfortunately@jeauxx, Im extremely well read and a student of statistics,observation & inference who fully researches his opinions before forming any conclusions.Career stats and Last seasons 1st class numbers: David Hussey 160 matches 251 innings 41x100s ave 54.84-2011/12-5 matches 9 innings 436 runs ave 54.50 1x100, Katich 243 matches 416 innings 19301 runs 53x100 ave 52.59-2011/12-8 matches 12 innings 483 runs ave 43.90 2x100, Rogers 208 matches 369 innings 17270 runs 52x100s ave 50.20-2011/12-10 matches 19 innings,781 runs ave 41.10,3x100, Marsh 73 matches 132 innings,4284 runs 7x100,ave 36.93 -8 matches 13 innings 212 runs ave 16.30, Cowan-67 matches 120 innings 4551 runs 13x100s, ave 40.63 -2011/12-15 matches 26 innings 1299 runs 4x100s.As can be seen,Cowan played significantly more games and innings than any other player.More importantly,both his and Marshes Test averages are below 30 and indicative of the risk of choosing players with mediocre career records.Observe long term.

Posted by jazzaaaaaaaa on (May 6, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

@ Imran Khan. I can tell you as an Australian who keeps in touch with the Sheffield Shield matches. Australian pitches are by no means flat tracks. Particularly at Sheffield Shield level where generally scores of 300 are match winning scores. Over the last 3-4 years we have seen numerous green tops, particularly in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Hobart where there have been numerous scores under 100-150. It's safe to say the only flat track in Australia now is Adelaide, and even that gets low and uneven by the last day. You are right in that Australian pitches used to be very flat, but about 4-5 years ago, curators were encouraged to produce more results-orientated wickets. That, along with the fact that most of Australia have had some very wet Summer's recently has resulted in a lot of wickets with more grass then normal, as has been shown when India was here, in the Ashes before that and when Pakistan and the West Indies were here before that.

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (May 6, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

Just like this article. Endurence at the highest level will defenitely be tested. But, Ian has not made any potential, surprises Aus should carry on spinners frindly pitches, swinging conditions. This seems to be more obvious. I am sure, Aus will be grilled in Indian Conditions. I just hope Aus with their attack can break the opening combination of Sehwag/Gambhir who are in red hot form. Don't think so

Posted by trumpoz on (May 6, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

I wish I shared RandyOz's optimism. The South Africa Series will be close 2-1 to SA. I reckon Oz will beat India at home. I would love to see that shoved in the faces of those Indian players saying Australia will lose. The Ashes...... well I think we will lose 2-1 with a couple of tests ruined by rain, because the selectors don 't have the guts to drop one out of Ponting/Hussey and blood the next young player. THe next Ashes in Australia will be where the urn will come home, and be the beginning of a new era of dominance over the Old Enemy.

Posted by kickittome70 on (May 6, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

AS usual, Chappelli hits the nail on the head. WE played a dismally bad India in our last Australian summer of cricket. The INdians may have just had a bad prep for the tour but they were very poor opposition. The West INdians on the other hand were dynamic, playing above themselves but that's a very admirable trait and they did it because they worship their skipper Sammy - Sammy is a real surprsie packet -only a fool would underestimate him and his earnest 11. The fact is that, on the WI tour Australia would have in all likeihood lost both the ODI and Test series and certainly the T20 if Gayle and even Bravo Senior was there. Narine was a revelation in the ODI's before he packed his bags for the IPL and a $750K payout. Our junior players had no idea how to play him. He will be a major force in world cricket, make no mistake. Any spinner with his turn, drop and bounce can truoble any bat in the world and he has abilities in these areas in spades. Beware the WI - their future is bright

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (May 6, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

@Mat_Mcintosh and RahulN are right, we need to get youngsters such as Khawaja and Forrest into the team, its youngsters such as these who will help the Aussies get the number 1 spot as our bowling looks good. I am predicting big shield seasons from Khawaja and Forrest who should consolidate the number 3 and 4 spot after Punter and Hussey move on.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (May 6, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

Looking forward to this, especially the pace examination against SA at the WACA and the Ashes against South Africa B.

Posted by AB99 on (May 6, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

Lets analyze present Aussie team: Warner is good, Australia does not have a good second opener, good #3, Ponting is ageing and the fall is exponential, Clarke is good but fraglie, Hussey is good but nearing the end, wicket keeper Wade is new and needs to settle down, fast bowlers at the moment is a revolving door with the riches not properly harnessed, spin is an issue with Lyon .... Ian Chappel has a habit of shooting off his moutn. And BTW, Ajmal is a better spinner than Swann by a long distance ... Watson, Khwaja, Hughes, Marsh, etc need to step into big shoes of Ponting, Hussey and the like ...

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

I would be interested to see how Australias batting will play against Pakistan bowling.pakistan is the only team that can whip australia.Others can beat them but cant whip them.Randy oz you are by far the most funny Oz fan i have ever seen.I Think you have forgotten 47 all out.

Posted by jeauxx on (May 6, 2012, 11:56 GMT)

@hyclass - You raise some interesting points but it's pretty obvious you don't know what you're talking about. One of the defining points of the Argus Review was the performance reward system, yet you say Marsh and Cowan were doomed to fail and presumably didn't deserve a go. Marsh had a horrible run, but had a proven record of good recent international performance. Cowan was the Shield's highest run-scorer, with, what was it, five-or-so domestic centuries leading up to the India series? Do you know where Rogers, D. Hussey and Katich were on the least of run-scorers? 6, 18 and 22 respectively.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

Randy - I do hope you eat your words, You're taking far too much for granted...

Posted by RandyOZ on (May 6, 2012, 11:41 GMT)

The biggest challenge will be the South African tour for sure. They are on fire at the moment with the best batting lineup. I would expect the other 2 series mentioned there to be whitewashes to Australia.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (May 6, 2012, 11:41 GMT)

I like Ian Chappell's articles normally but here he is just telling us some pretty basic facts that i'm sure are well known and obvious. Australia's top order batting has been unconvincing, oldtimers like Ponting & Hussey continue on because noone has emerged to displace them, Australia have 3 very tough series coming up ...... we knew all that. Any solutions? Any strategies? Any names amongst Shield players who are worth bringing in or trying in the Aust A series in England in July/Aug?

Posted by RandyOZ on (May 6, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

i don't see the concern. We already have the best attack on earth, the second best spinner, and the best two batsmen Clarke and Hussey. With Khawaja and Hughes about to have big seasons, these 3 series amy as well be handed to us now.

Posted by hyclass on (May 6, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

Until I see an article that observes genuine cause at CA over the last 5 years & acknowledges that the response to The Argus Review has been little more than a tip of the hat,I will consider articles on the effects of CA policy to have little value.This article could have looked at how age is still being used to prevent players of the calibre of Rogers,David Hussey & Katich being selected for Tests.It could have asked why Hodge,our best performed domestic short form player was ignored. It could have observed the predictable failure of Marsh & Cowan. It could have asked why players are encouraged to defend failure & promote mediocrity in the media.It should have asked how the entire batting side,experienced or otherwise has been in decline under this administration. Finally Ian,privately interview Phil Hughes. Find out what happened before Ashes 09 that decimated his peerless game & prevented his resurrection.It wasnt Harmison or short bowling.The real story is something worth reading.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

There are far too many myths in cricket. You have to go back quite a few years to see a fast and bouncy track in Australia, they are now flat tracks which is why their batsmen struggle so much overseas. The reluctance to remove ponting is greater evidence of that. Picking quite an injury prone squad never helps either and I can't wait for them to come back to England so we can give them another stuffing. England vs south Africa in England is what everyone should be talking about, two work class teams with fantastic pace attacks in testing conditions.

Posted by hyclass on (May 6, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

I have a high regard for Ian Chappell,having been a regular at the MCG myself.I celebrated his priceless virtues,drawing disparate personalities together & creating formidable,obdurate & aggressive, 'never-say-day' units.I admit surprise that he of all men hasn't observed,that in the current system, a consequence of the change of management at CA in late 2006,that the values which he has always held so dear,representations of timeless intelligence & generations of success,have been abondoned.In the mindless & destructive pursuit of unproven theories,obtuse selection,undermining of institutions,Shield, curators & the 20/20 dollar, players who could always count on long term excellence in the Shield to be their ticket into the national side,now exist in a state of confusion. Haydens statement of 'non-investment'in traditional Shield & Test cricket,while a CA Board member & intention to acquire a BBL side,convened in opposition to States a year before time,highlighted the CA mindset.

Posted by Sulaimaan91 on (May 6, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

did he really say India? I think the WI were a tougher opponent.

Posted by Aussasinator on (May 6, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

Australia will not win any of the three series to come. The Ashes will be the worst humiliation and what's worse is they are carrying their Ashes 'lucky mascot' Ponting along. So we know what to expect. An entire year of grooming a middle order bat will also be lost. Watson is likely to collapse and those 50s and 60s may not come along too frequently. Only strong point is that they have about 5 quick bowlers who can be rotated as per their physical breakdown schedule. Peter Forrest and Shaun Marsh should both play against SA - that would be a good step.

Posted by Meety on (May 6, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

@ getsetgopk - nothing IC said about Swann is bias. He is entitled to an opinion. As far as India being a threat at home - mate have a look at Oz's record there. It is the hardest tour we have! @spence1324 - wow, ok yes I will "mark" your words - like they have any real meaning to me! LOL! I will remember when we give your boys a thrashing which as you know is inevitable! Just check out the leading wicket takers in the 2009 Ashes in England. The first 3 were who?????

Posted by popcorn on (May 6, 2012, 9:44 GMT)

This is an excellent and balanced article by Ian Chappell.However, the current South African line-up is not new to the current Australan line-up having played in similar conditions just recently.South Africa will be tested - make no mistake about that - don't expect Australia to fall over like nine pins - remember Australia won the second Test in South Africa creditably. And with the brilliant innovative, ever- ready- to- learn captain of Michael Clarke who has several series wins after the South African Tour,South Africa are hereby warned.

Posted by Something_Witty on (May 6, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

With all due respect to G. Swann, this supposed weakness Australian batsmen have against spin bowling is incredibly erroneous and simply not true. If anyone actually takes the time to look at the stats, they'd see Swann averages over 40 against Australia. The quicks will be the big challenge in the Ashes in 2013, just as they were in the 2 previous Ashes series. Contrary to widely held (but completely unfounded) opinion, Australian batsmen actually play spin very well for the most part. Warner and some of the young brigade have deficiencies against spin, but that is to be expected given their lack of experience. While overall, Aus' batting is very flaky and inconsistent, England's has been no better of late and as England proved in 2009, it only takes one or two bad batting performances from your opposition for you to snatch the series out of their grasp. I'm expecting the next few Ashes series (and the SA series) to be 2005-style thrillers. Should be good fun.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (May 6, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

@Mat_Mcintosh, wasn't Khawaja playing well in the Shield before he was picked last time, when he performed actually slightly worse than Cowan? Khawaja will indeed need to perform well in the next Shield to get back in the team, but he will also need to perform better once in the team than he did last time. The selectors dropped Khawaja for more than his stats. I seem to recall that they said that he didn't appear to be the sort of player who could take control of a game the way they wanted a #3 to do. Maybe they would expect something different from an opener and he would satisfy there with Watson or whoever else at #3.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (May 6, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

This is going to push Australian team to its limits , SA in Australia is too close to call , if India prepare rank turners its going to be advantage India otherwise Australia have pretty good chance , and as for England i would be very surprised if England lose next ashes , they are way too good at home condition

Posted by spence1324 on (May 6, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

@Meety mark my words Australia will lose big time in england your batsman are no better then indians at playing swing and seam,and trust me englands bowling attack will come at you again and again as for the Sa vs AUS series I back SA because Australian wickets live on past reputation they are now just flat tracks!

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

Chapel thinks saeed ajmal is mirage. But I think he is right about not many young batting coming through for Australia. Khwaja and hughes come to mind. Though India's batting looks secure for the future, with rahane, Kohli, rohit, pujara all superb talents. Hopefully umesh yadav can continue bowling fast. A little help from ishant would make them a fast and good bowling pair. Am looking forward to all the players mentioned to play in the playing 11 vs Sri Lanka in July.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 8:35 GMT)

Re; BSimon I agree with your thoughts on Chappell. He is a clown. However, he makes zero comments on his era in this particular column. Also, you obviously aren't old enough to know what you are talking about regarding his team. He had 6 very good batsmen (brilliant fielding). Mallett was a world class offie and Lillee & Thommo, not to mention Walker & Gilmour. I've been watching since the early 70s and Chappell's best team would give Taylor/Waugh's best team a good run for their money. And on a pacey pitch could well win. Warne would have the advantage on a turner. In fact, Lillee cancels out McGrath and Thommo at his quickest - No contest.

Posted by Auscricketfan on (May 6, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

I think that Australia will be more than capable to win all 3 of these series thought i admit that beating South africa will be a tall order but if Ponting Clarke and M hussey fire with the bat i can see Australia winning or drawing the series Sth Africa and as far as the Ashes go i would feel far better if i saw the legendary R.Ponting in our batting Line up

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

The Aussie attack has been anything but wayward & inconsistent this season. With the exception of one innings against the Windies (when Pattinson couldn't control the swing) they have been pretty much spot on so I can't understand comments like Haider Riza's. Even with the home ground advantage I'm also not too sure how India could be favourites against the Aussies after being comprehensively thrashed in England & Australia. I don't think the Aussies will be too terrified of that Indian spin bowling lineup especially with Lyon developing well. I agree that Saeed Ajmal deserves the crown as number one off-spinner in the world after he out-bowled Swann in their recent encounters.

I think the South African pacemen will be a real handful in Australia. I believe they have the best pace attack at the moment & when you add a batting lineup of their caliber it makes for a daunting task. The Aussie top order has a lot of work to do before that series. I'd back the South Africans at this point.

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (May 6, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

Yet another opinion from a hasbeen, who never lets facts get in the way of his need to see his words in print. For some reason clowns like Chappell see their own era through rose coloured glasses. He never had a spinner worth spit and a batting line up which relied on Walters & Greg Chappell, yet they won games. Can't remember the last time this dial a quote had a reasonable, positive thing to say about cricket. Time to put him out to pasture and bring in one of the hundreds of knowledgeable players to retire in the last10 years - let alone 30+ - since he was involved. By the way, England has the biggest problem in the next 12 months, they have to actually play cricket, to protect the ludicrously high ranking they achieved in a contrived ranking system. Only a bureaucrat could confuse a ranking system to the extent it is, especially when there are only four possible results in any match!

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (May 6, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

Hopefully Khawaja makes a good start to the shield season as he is too good of a batsman to keep out of the Aussie team and we need him for some of the stronger series coming up.

Posted by MohammedWasi on (May 6, 2012, 7:58 GMT)

@hyder..discussion is based on tours to India, Eng and SA. One cannot deny Ajmal's credentials. Pakistan is not playin, so Swann ofcourse is the best spinner.

Posted by Mary_786 on (May 6, 2012, 7:58 GMT)

Our bowling looks good, but our batting is a concern, Cowan is averaging less then 30 after 2 series and should not be playing in the team, hopefully the likes of Forrest, Khawaja make good start to the shield season as they will strengthen the batting attack.

Posted by getsetgopk on (May 6, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

Two points I would like to share, first, Grame Swann is not the best spinner, Ajmal is. Even monty did well in UAE and SL than swanny. For the love the game please try to be a little unbiased in your assessments for a change. Second, England and SA will test the Aussies but Indians? of late they have struggled to beat WI at home how can they be any threat to Aus? Not to mention the back to back whitewashes.

Posted by Meety on (May 6, 2012, 7:41 GMT)

Pretty confident we can win all 3 series, with India in India (IMO) the toughest. I think India may get a rude shock from Oz in that series. I think our batsmen can do the job so as the pacers can win it for us, (providing we can a decent run with injuries). Very interesting times ahead.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (May 6, 2012, 7:28 GMT)

How can Chappell(Australian) be biased by saying Swann(English) is the worlds best spinner? Best not to use words if one does not understand the true meaning.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

australia will loose all three future series comprehensively

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 6:04 GMT)

I am sorry to note the biased comments, "Australia will also be probed and prodded by the best spinner in the game, Graeme Swann." How he can exclude Saeed Ajmal from the best in current world cricket. And also the australian pace attack is still wayward enough to lose advantage at crucial times. They have yet to find their bite and penetration into opponents with consistency.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

just an unbiased correction Mr. Chappel, Saeed Ajmal is the best spinner in the game not Swan..

Posted by landl47 on (May 6, 2012, 5:47 GMT)

It's a year of reckoning for everybody, with South Africa playing in both England and Australia, Australia and England playing in India and then Australia and England playing each other. Any side that can win all the series it plays will surely be #1.

Posted by dsig3 on (May 6, 2012, 5:46 GMT)

Yes its going to be very tough. If we can come away from these series with our colours still up it will be a great achievement. It doesn't get any tougher than England and India at home but those sorts of challenges can really forge the next generation of cricketers. Its a great opportunity, we will be underdogs in all 3 series, the pressure of expectation will be on the opposition for a change.

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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