The Ashes 2013-14 October 29, 2013

Ashes captains back to back

  shares 37

About the same time as Australia's captain Michael Clarke put his fragile back through a final training session before his expected Sheffield Shield return with New South Wales, his opposite number Alastair Cook was jogging gingerly around the fringes of England's training session in Perth with a back problem of his own.

Cook's apparent lack of mobility can be attributed, at least partly, to the rigours of a long-haul flight - the same problem that caused Clarke's more serious back ailment to flare up before the Ashes series in England.

It is not thought to be serious, but Cook was unable to bat and it remains to be seen whether he will take his place in the England XI for the tour opener against a Western Australia XI at the WACA ground from Thursday.

Stuart Broad trained with similar conservatism, but it was the sight of Cook struggling to get limber that provided a reminder that problems of Clarke's ilk are common to many batsmen, and that a freeze-up can occur at any time.

The degenerative discs that had Clarke sounding unusually downbeat about his Gabba prospects earlier in the month are now cause for greater optimism. Clarke's assiduous training and fitness habits have allowed him to regain his former flexibility, though it remains to be seen how his back responds this time to a steady diet of cricket.

"I've been able to manage it with a lot of help from my physio and doctors since I've been 17 years of age and I've only missed one Test to date so hopefully that's a real positive sign for me going forward," Clarke said. "I certainly don't believe my back will play a part in regards to shortening my career. It will be more a case of if I'm not performing the selectors will drop me, and hopefully I can get to a day where a few years on from now I'll have the opportunity to retire."

Clarke offered a little more insight into his plans to be ready for what is likely to be a tall and bounce-extracting English pace attack, devised, at least partly, to stiffen the Australia captain's back through constant ducking and weaving. Clarke had his throwdowns and bowling machine offerings delivered from a greater height before facing up to Morne Morkel last summer, and will do so again over the next three weeks.

"Little things like getting throwdowns or using the bowling machine, put up on a platform to give it more height, we can do a lot of stuff like that," Clarke said "I've probably done that over the past couple of years before we played South Africa and Morne Morkel and also before the Ashes. We'll get an opportunity when we get to Brisbane to prepare as well as we can, but the guys will be preparing in their own individual ways to combat our opposition."

The other combat Clarke spoke of at the SCG nets was not of the kind that he will want to perpetuate - the history wars currently being fought around the release of his predecessor Ricky Ponting's autobiography. Some of its most pungent passages are reserved for Clarke, who is portrayed less as a loyal vice-captain than a leader-in-training who also possessed a little too much eagerness to get away from the dressing room.

Ponting has said he hopes Clarke reads the book himself before discussing the issues he raised, maintaining his account is truthful and balanced, if not always airbrushed to his successor's liking. Clarke was privately angered by his portrayal, but at the SCG nets was not prepared to diverge from his current narrative of rejuventation in time to prepare for the first Test against England at the Gabba.

"Ricky has my number. We've spoken for the last 15 years so I don't think anything will change," Clarke said. "I'm very focused on what's in front of me and making sure I'm as well prepared as I can be for this first Sheffield Shield game. I've said what I had to say on that issue. For me it's about looking forward and preparing for tomorrow's game and looking forward to a huge summer. I'm very focused on cricket and I certainly won't let anything take my mind off that."

What Clarke had said over the weekend was that he wished Ponting had spoken to him privately about his concerns before publishing them. Ponting, though, has written that there had been plenty of opportunities for Clarke to pay heed to the counsel of both his then captain and also the coach at the time, Tim Nielsen.

It is an issue Clarke does not need nor want to deal with on the outskirts of an Ashes series in which he will be under pressure both to perform and also to emerge victorious. But like the back ailment he has carried since his teenage years, and the gingerness which may be causing a momentary hiccup for Cook, Ponting's words cannot be easily ignored.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY MarkTaffin on | October 30, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 on (October 30, 2013, 10:15 GMT). You are quite right. I have said before and I'll say again, Carberry was only picked by Flower-Miller because he's the "anybody but Compton or Taylor" pick. Childish method for selection.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | October 30, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    We will have a serious problem if we lose just one batsmen for the tests, as we have no proper reserve batsmen. Assuming cook rout Trott KP bell balance prior is the top six, one injury means either playing our reserve keeper (Bairstow) as a batsmen, picking the dreadful Carberry to play international cricket, which he is nowhere near competent enough to do, or playing five bowlers with prior at six and stokes at seven. Picking an ancient county circuit journeyman close to retirement who has looked dreadful at this level instead of a proper batsmen like Taylor, Compton or the like could come back to haunt us!

  • POSTED BY Jagger on | October 30, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    @ Shaggy076 - I think it's pretty clear that it was just an example of the great sides we could've fielded had the so-called 'experts' handled things better and that the Argus reviews, 15 degree bends, 'player management' and DRS's effect on the game for the better has left a lot to be desired.

    Maybe Katich would have proven to be useless. Maybe Patto could still have broken down. But one thing is for sure, we wouldn't have had the Cowan/ spinner/ Arthur/ Khawaja/ Hughes/ Watson/ Warner/ revolving door/team song handover debacles and a little bit better knowledge of who the best players are. At one stage one scribe had Luke Pommersbach opening for the Ashes as the miracle cure! Why would they pick a rookie left arm paceman on a hunch when they knew the opposition's trump card is an offspinner?

    Now have a look at the team I listed on the 29th again, and see what such a rock-hard team we might've had now, and together ask the board to fix it or find someone who will. PLEASE!

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | October 30, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Well, well, well - look what the bandicoot dragged in: @RandyOZ on (October 29, 2013, 21:55 GMT). While you've been away..... not much has happened really. Things have continued pretty much as they did before. But good to see you back pretty much as you were before; "Old man Anderson....." roflmao.... By the way @Randy - this article does not mention Bailey, Anderson or Broad, so we're wondering why you are? Just askin'.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | October 30, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    Ah welcome back RandyOz, haven't seen you here since....England hammered Australia in the Ashes yet again, this time 4-0. The thing about Bailey is that he's got a batting average whic is very very average, is certainly past his age peak and we've heard all of this all before. Before the last Ashes, and the one before that. And the one before that. And when

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | October 30, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    Jagger you picked three blokes retired from first class cricket and another 2 injured.

  • POSTED BY simon_w on | October 29, 2013, 23:38 GMT

    Australia's injury problems have been highlighted because they've been losing. England's injury problems have seemed comparatively inconsequential in hindsight because they've been winning anyway. It comes to something when the darkest cloud for England is the fact that Anderson has rarely been injured in recent years! Obviously you never want to wish anyone ill, but part of me would like to see him rested or unable to play for a game or two, and then this myth that the England attack would be impotent without him could be laid to rest.

  • POSTED BY TheBigBoodha on | October 29, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    I think you'll see our young guys continuing to improve with the bat this series. They will relish playing in Australian conditions, and Swann won't be as dangerous here. I wouldn't be surprised to see guys like Warner and Hughes make a lot of runs, perhaps even Khawaja, depending on who plays. These guys are slowly gaining in experience, and that will pay off if we persist with them - as long as they are making at least some healthy scores. They have the talent, and technique can be improved. If you look at England's batting mainstays - Cook, Trott and Bell, they are not super-talented players. They are guys who are methodical and technically adept.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | October 29, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    @First Drop - Not sure if you read my other message in response to your other post. But , yes Jimmy has avoided injuries over the years. There was a comment on one of these threads saying that Jimmy and Siddle have actions which are less likely to bring on injuries. I'm not sure what Siddle's injury record is like or whether there is truth in this. But re our guys - in addition to what I've already posted. Broad and Bres have been constantly on the treatment table and many of us think that both have been hampered when playing for much of the time in between the injuries and if Starc , Cummings and Pattinson are key losses to Australia (one of those names constantly dropped and one is unproven and the other IMO eratic) then Broad,Tremlett,Bres and to a lesser degree Finn are at least as important to us. Yes Jimmy would be a huge loss but in the last series Eng won 1 of the tests with Jimmy totally out of form so maybe Eng aren't just a 1 paceman attack

  • POSTED BY vrn59 on | October 29, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    My AUS XI (not the ideal one, but the one I think CA will pick): Warner, Rogers, Watson, Clarke (C), Smith, Hughes/Bailey, Haddin (wk), Johnson, Harris, Siddle, Lyon.

    My ENG XI: Cook (C), Root, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Ballance, Prior (wk), Broad, Swann, Anderson, Finn/Tremlett. Bresnan might come in later on in the series depending on how fit he is.

    The England team looks better on the whole, but Australia has an excellent bowling attack and batsmen like Warner, Watson and Clarke playing at home. This series will be way more interesting than the one in England: the teams look better matched, and the pitches won't be low, slow and boring, but will aid the fast bowlers and also the batsmen from both sides to make for some quality competitive cricket.

  • POSTED BY MarkTaffin on | October 30, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 on (October 30, 2013, 10:15 GMT). You are quite right. I have said before and I'll say again, Carberry was only picked by Flower-Miller because he's the "anybody but Compton or Taylor" pick. Childish method for selection.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | October 30, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    We will have a serious problem if we lose just one batsmen for the tests, as we have no proper reserve batsmen. Assuming cook rout Trott KP bell balance prior is the top six, one injury means either playing our reserve keeper (Bairstow) as a batsmen, picking the dreadful Carberry to play international cricket, which he is nowhere near competent enough to do, or playing five bowlers with prior at six and stokes at seven. Picking an ancient county circuit journeyman close to retirement who has looked dreadful at this level instead of a proper batsmen like Taylor, Compton or the like could come back to haunt us!

  • POSTED BY Jagger on | October 30, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    @ Shaggy076 - I think it's pretty clear that it was just an example of the great sides we could've fielded had the so-called 'experts' handled things better and that the Argus reviews, 15 degree bends, 'player management' and DRS's effect on the game for the better has left a lot to be desired.

    Maybe Katich would have proven to be useless. Maybe Patto could still have broken down. But one thing is for sure, we wouldn't have had the Cowan/ spinner/ Arthur/ Khawaja/ Hughes/ Watson/ Warner/ revolving door/team song handover debacles and a little bit better knowledge of who the best players are. At one stage one scribe had Luke Pommersbach opening for the Ashes as the miracle cure! Why would they pick a rookie left arm paceman on a hunch when they knew the opposition's trump card is an offspinner?

    Now have a look at the team I listed on the 29th again, and see what such a rock-hard team we might've had now, and together ask the board to fix it or find someone who will. PLEASE!

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | October 30, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Well, well, well - look what the bandicoot dragged in: @RandyOZ on (October 29, 2013, 21:55 GMT). While you've been away..... not much has happened really. Things have continued pretty much as they did before. But good to see you back pretty much as you were before; "Old man Anderson....." roflmao.... By the way @Randy - this article does not mention Bailey, Anderson or Broad, so we're wondering why you are? Just askin'.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | October 30, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    Ah welcome back RandyOz, haven't seen you here since....England hammered Australia in the Ashes yet again, this time 4-0. The thing about Bailey is that he's got a batting average whic is very very average, is certainly past his age peak and we've heard all of this all before. Before the last Ashes, and the one before that. And the one before that. And when

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | October 30, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    Jagger you picked three blokes retired from first class cricket and another 2 injured.

  • POSTED BY simon_w on | October 29, 2013, 23:38 GMT

    Australia's injury problems have been highlighted because they've been losing. England's injury problems have seemed comparatively inconsequential in hindsight because they've been winning anyway. It comes to something when the darkest cloud for England is the fact that Anderson has rarely been injured in recent years! Obviously you never want to wish anyone ill, but part of me would like to see him rested or unable to play for a game or two, and then this myth that the England attack would be impotent without him could be laid to rest.

  • POSTED BY TheBigBoodha on | October 29, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    I think you'll see our young guys continuing to improve with the bat this series. They will relish playing in Australian conditions, and Swann won't be as dangerous here. I wouldn't be surprised to see guys like Warner and Hughes make a lot of runs, perhaps even Khawaja, depending on who plays. These guys are slowly gaining in experience, and that will pay off if we persist with them - as long as they are making at least some healthy scores. They have the talent, and technique can be improved. If you look at England's batting mainstays - Cook, Trott and Bell, they are not super-talented players. They are guys who are methodical and technically adept.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | October 29, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    @First Drop - Not sure if you read my other message in response to your other post. But , yes Jimmy has avoided injuries over the years. There was a comment on one of these threads saying that Jimmy and Siddle have actions which are less likely to bring on injuries. I'm not sure what Siddle's injury record is like or whether there is truth in this. But re our guys - in addition to what I've already posted. Broad and Bres have been constantly on the treatment table and many of us think that both have been hampered when playing for much of the time in between the injuries and if Starc , Cummings and Pattinson are key losses to Australia (one of those names constantly dropped and one is unproven and the other IMO eratic) then Broad,Tremlett,Bres and to a lesser degree Finn are at least as important to us. Yes Jimmy would be a huge loss but in the last series Eng won 1 of the tests with Jimmy totally out of form so maybe Eng aren't just a 1 paceman attack

  • POSTED BY vrn59 on | October 29, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    My AUS XI (not the ideal one, but the one I think CA will pick): Warner, Rogers, Watson, Clarke (C), Smith, Hughes/Bailey, Haddin (wk), Johnson, Harris, Siddle, Lyon.

    My ENG XI: Cook (C), Root, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Ballance, Prior (wk), Broad, Swann, Anderson, Finn/Tremlett. Bresnan might come in later on in the series depending on how fit he is.

    The England team looks better on the whole, but Australia has an excellent bowling attack and batsmen like Warner, Watson and Clarke playing at home. This series will be way more interesting than the one in England: the teams look better matched, and the pitches won't be low, slow and boring, but will aid the fast bowlers and also the batsmen from both sides to make for some quality competitive cricket.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | October 29, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    Bailey is a gun and will crush the old man Anderson and mamma's boy broad!

  • POSTED BY jb633 on | October 29, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    @First_Drop, can't really say I agree with you re the injuries because Broad was at the time a huge loss for us in 2010 and it was only in hindsight that we say we didn't need him. Similarly Tremlett was pretty much a loss for England in this Ashes as the long term injury prevented him from having any real prospect of playing this year. I do agree with your second point though and would not be surprised to see a very average England side in 5 years time. More than anywhere we have little talent in the spin bowling cupboard and nobody I have watched in county cricket has impressed me. We don't seem to ever produce spinners with mystery, personally I think this is related to over coaching at a young age. Similarly there doesn't seem to me to be any young guns with an X factor with the bat. There are plenty of guys who look solid enough and Butler comes off every so often but I haven't seen much that would lead me to believe we will have anything close to a replacement for KP.

  • POSTED BY Jagger on | October 29, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    Rogers, Katich, Clarke, Hodge, M Hussey, Smith, Hartley, Pattinson, Harris, Sayers, Bird. Time for Watson's whites to be confiscated. Offer all bats 1/2 a $ mil. for each Ashes 100 they score. No left armers so no rough for swann to bowl into... = 5-nil Australia.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | October 29, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    Don't sportsmen realise that their backs can be sorted out by a couple of sessions with an osteopath or even an acupuncturist? Why wait for other 'remedies' to work if at all?

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    @hhillbumper - I think the Aussie bats have the talent, but are currently lacking the mental side of it. e.g. Philip Hughes - laugh, but he scored two hundreds against a world leading South African attack in South Africa. Then he came to England, struggled a little - and what was a small problem bloomed into a huge one when he was dropped by the Aussie selectors after only 2 tests in England. (The ausie selectors of the past have a hell of a lot to answer for - including dropping Hughes, Simon Katich and Stuart Clark). There are also a number of very good young Aussies developing including Nic Maddinson and Jordan Silk, amongst others.

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 16:58 GMT

    @jb633 - the difference is that Australia HAS been effected by Harris AND Pattinson AND Starc AND Cummins being injured during the Ashes, whereas I cant recall jimmyor Swann ever being unavailable for an Ashes test due to injury. (sorry for the blocks - not shouting - just emphasising). Bad luck or bad prerparation? Not sure, but I suspect there is very little inf any difference in the health and conditioning advice they are getting - so I suspect its bad luck. Surely the time is coming when the pendulum will swing the other way...but perhaps that wishful thinking...? It'll be interesting to see what happens in a few years time - significant change on the cards for England (Battng and bowling as many of the current team are in their 30s).

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | October 29, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    @ First drop. The trouble is your first choice bowling attack can not stay fit.Cheer up though all being well in the next few years we could have Overton,Mills and Topley for retaliation.We might struggle for a spinner but people once would have said the same of Swann.Thing is of course we have some young batting talent

  • POSTED BY jb633 on | October 29, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    @FirstDrop, In terms of Ashes related injuries we had Broad fly home after the first test of 2010, KP missed three tests in the 09 series, Bresnan missed the oval test in 13, Tremlett is still recovering from his injury in 2011. All sides in world cricket face great injury concerns. Saying that what happens if Anderson gets injured is the same as us saying that no bowler in the Australian game can replace a fully fit Ryan Harris or nobody from SA can replace Steyn. Taking the best players our from any side is always going to cause problems for sides, it's common sense. Personally I would like to see all players from both sides at 100 % but unfortunately this will rarely happen.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | October 29, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    Cook has never missed a test since his debut in 2006 as a 21-year old. I don't expect the first test of an Ashes series in which he is captain to break that particular duck.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Sponge on | October 29, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    Cook will be alright. Clarke however I think will struggle to make 5 tests. I could write some silly prediction here but the cricket starts in 3 weeks so what's the point?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | October 29, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    It may not be too much of a concern. A bad back can come from just sitting/lying in a strange position and recovery can be a few days. If Cook is still a little dodgy in a day or 2 then he should rest up the 1st warm up match. I don't like the idea of Root and Carberry opening

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | October 29, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    @First_Drop on (October 29, 2013, 10:12 GMT) In the last series Eng had few injuries but Bresnan,Broad and Finn (esp the former 2) seem to have been on the treatment table for about half the last 3 years and Broad I believe has a permanent problem with his heel. Swann too has been rested for what seems like most of the shorter formats in recent years. Then you look at Tremlett who has only recently come back from injury and acc to many , looks half the bowler he was pre injury. Jimmy seems to have got away few injury scares but maybe that's partly to do with his experience - ie he knows his limits etc. Also he doesn't do T20 and rarely seems to play ODIs , but yes it is a worry if Jimmy/Swann get injured

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    @Milsy24 - couldn't agree more and long suspected that was the case. In a few years, all being well, Australia will be able to reliably call on from a selection of; Cummins, Pattinson, Starc, Faulkner, Siddle, Bird and Sayers, the first 3 of whom I suspect will be leading Australia's bowling within 4 years and will do so for the next 5-7.

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    @GeoffreysMother - none of those injuries have been of significance to an Ashes, whereas Australia's injuires have been. e.g. Harris not being ready for the 1st test in the last series, Pattinson being injured for the last 3 tests, Cummins being permanently injured. Now Starc as well. Re: Swann - you don't need a turning pitch for his loss to effect England. I think the depleted Aussie attack in the last series were brilliant and are hugely underestimated. England were saved several times by Bell. Michael Vaughan called them world class late in the series, despite a much depleted attack. We have strength and depth in bowling I can't recall at any other time - far greater than the Poms. My point is that the Poms lack this depth and you've pointed out the great example of that- Onions is no replacement for Jimmy. If Andersen cant play, england are in big trouble.

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    Would be a real shame if Cook or Clarke missed the first test (or any of them). You always want to watch the best.

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | October 29, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    ponting has a v poor ashes captaincy record, soon to be outdone by clarko... trouble with ponting is he has never done a days work outside of cricket, it is totally everything for him... perhaps clarko has a small bit of life outside cricket and ponting cannot seem to grasp or understand the possibility of such a thing... as you hopefully will discover ponting, there is a lot more to life...

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    @mitty agree with u. lol. To be honest usi has made starts in majority of his test innings - intact in most of his innings he has batted over 50 balls - but has only 2 50's with a highest score less than 70. His only role I can think of is being a sacrificial lamb as an opener to see off the new ball and most of first session, and then make way for likes of WATSON,smith and clarke to dominate second and third sessions.But u already have rogers who is a very good opener, and cowan, although has a similar problem to usi, occupies the crease better than him and has a better overall average.So he is opener. Can't drop watson after he just made more than 170. So he is at no 3. no 4 is smith, no5 clarke, no6 wade (haddin is ordinary but wade is still young and has lots to learn), faulkener (accurate, with good pace with very good change of pace useful with old ball, also a decent bat), siddle, johnson, pattinson, lyon.Harris if fit will play over pattinson, stark over MJ if MJ loses control.

  • POSTED BY millsy24 on | October 29, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    There was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald today where Siddle said in that particular age group (early 20's) pace bowlers are always going to be injured and apparently he was as well, because their bodies are still getting used to the rigours of playing more games and still being young. I reckon he was spot on.

  • POSTED BY millsy24 on | October 29, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    So Hammond, you want the only International standard test batsman we have to retire so you can barrack for Australia again? Seriously? See ya in a couple of years then.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | October 29, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Why not Pup be spared of the constant criticism ? I am convinced he as a captain tries his best on the field given the relatively limited resources. Wish Pup silences his critics with an Ashes series victory!! Go Pup !!

  • POSTED BY Mitty2 on | October 29, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    @hammond, how does it work for you...? Barracking for Australia here and then England there, does it work like which team's performing better will have your support?

    @first_drop, Tremlett's always injured and according to reports his last back injury caused a serious drop in pace. Anderson has a durable action and his body's used to it, much like Siddle... They all get injuries early but they will come back and eventually be durable. Or at least for Cummings' and Australia's sake I hope that's the case.

  • POSTED BY GeoffreysMother on | October 29, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    First_Drop - you forget that Bresnan, Swann, Tremlett, Broad and Pietersen have all been out injured in the last year. Perhaps we just whinge about it as an excuse a bit less! If Anderson is injured then England will just call in Onions for cover and I can't see Australia producing turning tracks on the off chance Swann is injured. Australia just have to worry about what they can control - and buy a bit of extra padding if Tremlett is fully fit and plays.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | October 29, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    I won't be too concerned if Cook misses the first warmup game but if this back complaint turns into something more serious than that then it will be of grave concern indeed. With Root yet to prove that he can transfer his excellent performance in the middle order to the role of opener, the last thing England need is for his experienced partner and captain to be under a cloud. It would be interesting to see who would open and who would captain if Cook ever is forced to miss a game, which is likely to happen at some stage, even if not in this series. Hopefully both captains a fit and ready for the entirety of the series.

  • POSTED BY GeoffreysMother on | October 29, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Terrible these long haul first class seats for men in their late 20's!

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | October 29, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    On a lighter note, from the photo above, looks like Cook has his sight firmly set on the Ashes while Clarke seems to have his attention elsewhere ?? Jokes aside, would love to see Pup reclaiming the coveted prize. Will he ?

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    I've been wondernig for a while how it is that the English seem to have been getting by with few injuries effdcting their side. Is luck now changing? Though Cook is injured, not sure how long that will last. The fast bowling department however, have some very tall wood - Tremlettt, Finn and Broad each standing around 6ft 7inch - I would've thought it likely that at least one of them will experience an injury during the tour. The big qesution, though, is Jimmy A....now 31 and injury free (if I'm not mistaken) for some years. The English attack looks a completely different prospect without him. Mr Swann is another example of where the Poms have a 'single point of failure' - though monty is a very capable slow bowler, he is not the same character and brings less to the team. Injuries to either of those 2 could have a massive impact on the series.

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | October 29, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    I won't be barracking for Australia again until all the stain of Pontings captaincy is removed from the national team. That includes the retirement of his erstwhile deputy Michael Clarke.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | October 29, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    I won't be barracking for Australia again until all the stain of Pontings captaincy is removed from the national team. That includes the retirement of his erstwhile deputy Michael Clarke.

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    I've been wondernig for a while how it is that the English seem to have been getting by with few injuries effdcting their side. Is luck now changing? Though Cook is injured, not sure how long that will last. The fast bowling department however, have some very tall wood - Tremlettt, Finn and Broad each standing around 6ft 7inch - I would've thought it likely that at least one of them will experience an injury during the tour. The big qesution, though, is Jimmy A....now 31 and injury free (if I'm not mistaken) for some years. The English attack looks a completely different prospect without him. Mr Swann is another example of where the Poms have a 'single point of failure' - though monty is a very capable slow bowler, he is not the same character and brings less to the team. Injuries to either of those 2 could have a massive impact on the series.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | October 29, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    On a lighter note, from the photo above, looks like Cook has his sight firmly set on the Ashes while Clarke seems to have his attention elsewhere ?? Jokes aside, would love to see Pup reclaiming the coveted prize. Will he ?

  • POSTED BY GeoffreysMother on | October 29, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Terrible these long haul first class seats for men in their late 20's!

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | October 29, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    I won't be too concerned if Cook misses the first warmup game but if this back complaint turns into something more serious than that then it will be of grave concern indeed. With Root yet to prove that he can transfer his excellent performance in the middle order to the role of opener, the last thing England need is for his experienced partner and captain to be under a cloud. It would be interesting to see who would open and who would captain if Cook ever is forced to miss a game, which is likely to happen at some stage, even if not in this series. Hopefully both captains a fit and ready for the entirety of the series.

  • POSTED BY GeoffreysMother on | October 29, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    First_Drop - you forget that Bresnan, Swann, Tremlett, Broad and Pietersen have all been out injured in the last year. Perhaps we just whinge about it as an excuse a bit less! If Anderson is injured then England will just call in Onions for cover and I can't see Australia producing turning tracks on the off chance Swann is injured. Australia just have to worry about what they can control - and buy a bit of extra padding if Tremlett is fully fit and plays.

  • POSTED BY Mitty2 on | October 29, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    @hammond, how does it work for you...? Barracking for Australia here and then England there, does it work like which team's performing better will have your support?

    @first_drop, Tremlett's always injured and according to reports his last back injury caused a serious drop in pace. Anderson has a durable action and his body's used to it, much like Siddle... They all get injuries early but they will come back and eventually be durable. Or at least for Cummings' and Australia's sake I hope that's the case.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | October 29, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Why not Pup be spared of the constant criticism ? I am convinced he as a captain tries his best on the field given the relatively limited resources. Wish Pup silences his critics with an Ashes series victory!! Go Pup !!

  • POSTED BY millsy24 on | October 29, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    So Hammond, you want the only International standard test batsman we have to retire so you can barrack for Australia again? Seriously? See ya in a couple of years then.

  • POSTED BY millsy24 on | October 29, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    There was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald today where Siddle said in that particular age group (early 20's) pace bowlers are always going to be injured and apparently he was as well, because their bodies are still getting used to the rigours of playing more games and still being young. I reckon he was spot on.