Australia news July 23, 2013

Shield pitches hurting batsmen - Khawaja

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Usman Khawaja has pointed to a decline in the standard of Australian domestic pitches as one of the reasons behind the dire batting that has consigned the Test team to six consecutive defeats, most recently the 347-run humiliation at Lord's. While Khawaja showed signs of personal improvement, recovering from a poor first-innings shot to grind out 54 in the second, the collective failure of the team has led to many questions about why Australian batting has deteriorated.

In recent summers, Sheffield Shield pitches have tended towards favouring bowlers, and Khawaja said he had noticed the gradual loss of each ground's individual pitch characteristics. Where once Australian pitches were the envy of the rest of the world, now it is not uncommon to hear Australian batsman say how much they enjoy batting in England, where all disciplines of batting against pace, swing and spin are catered for.

"I think it's always nice to get a nice variety of wickets," Khawaja said. "I know when I started a few years back the SCG was a big turner, it broke up massively, it's not really the same anymore there. Adelaide used to be the same, then in WA [Western Australia] and Brisbane you'd get wickets that were fast.

"Tassie [Tasmania] used to be a road but it's not anymore, so things have changed a little bit in the last five years. The wickets have lost a bit of their characteristics over the last five years and it'd be really nice to see them come back."

Khawaja's career has reflected the wider theme of a batting decline, even if he has done enough relative to others to earn a Test recall. Lord's was his first match since playing against New Zealand in Hobart in late 2011, but since that summer he has only made another two centuries.

"I played five games last year of Shield cricket for Queensland. I scored a hundred and a couple of 80s. Probably missed a few hundreds," Khawaja said. "So I probably wasn't hard enough on myself personally, but ever since I got dropped from Australia a couple of years ago it's been up and down, trying to find my way back.

"I feel like I'm in a good place now. Hopefully I can make some of those starts into big scores. That's what I was trying to do, but you can't control that. As long as you have the intention in your head that you want to score big, that's all you can really do.

"We had some bad shots [at Lord's], myself included, a few other guys played some bad shots to get out, and you can't do that even in first-class cricket. One guy might be able to get away with it but you can't have three or four players playing bad shots and getting out, you let your whole team down. If you spend time in the middle things get easier, and that was probably the key for us in that first innings. It was a pretty good deck out there in the first innings."

When the matter of choppy scheduling was tossed up to him, Khawaja said he was not overly fussed by moving between first-class, limited-overs and Twenty20 fixtures, an increasingly common pattern for most Australian players due to the Big Bash League's presence as the summer's centrepiece. He also said the batsmen had to set a few simple goals and work towards them over the next three Tests, starting at Old Trafford next week.

"It's all in your head, how you want to play, how you want to go about it," he said. "If you want to play shots you play shots, if you don't you don't, if you want to play straight you play straight. Obviously you practice a few different things but in the end it's still watching the ball and hitting it. I think the schedule was all right last year and I think it's getting better this year. I've got no complaints about it.

"Obviously our batting hasn't been as consistent as our bowling. We seem to take the wickets but we seem to let ourselves down with the bat. We understand how important first innings runs are, especially if you're batting second in a game. That's where you win cricket games. We're not making any excuses. We're not saying it's good enough either. All we can do is go out there and apply our skills the best we can and try and take a bit of the onus on ourselves as batsmen in the top six to put our hands up.

"There hasn't been a hundred scored on tour and that's got to be our first goal going forward. Then go from there. And then, you know, what happens in the games beforehand we can't control. We can only control the next three Test matches."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • popcorn on July 24, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    Usman Khawaja has been one of my favourite cricketers for a long time - for his technique, his wrist work like VVS Laxman and Azharuddin,the calm he shows on his face when he is batting, his forward defence, the elegance with which he plays his strokes like Damien Martyn and Mark Waugh. The confidence with which he ran forward to take the catch from Jonathan Trott and pouched it cleanly shows he is a superb allround cricketer. HE IS THE RIGHT MAN FOR US at Number 3. Remember HE WAS SELECTED FOR THE SCG TEST WHEN RICKY PONTING BROKE HIS FINGER? He played a mature innings. Inexplicably, he was shuffled around to Number 6, and shown to be a failure. Not his fault at all. Now that he has his Test Recall by his diligence,hard work and composure, I hope the Selectors do not misuse him. His article on the deterioration of pitches in Sheffield Shield Cricket also displays that he is a THINKING CRICKETER. I hope CA and State Associations sit up and take notice and act on his wise comments.

  • on July 25, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    I do not believe him.Pitches change so the batsmen have to change as well.Get your eye in watch the ball consistantly the runs will come either faster or slower as long as you score runs

  • Batmanian on July 25, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    Khawaja didn't look great in his 54 (or rather, England's bowlers completely outclassed Australia's batsmen). But he should get another Test or two to come good or be dropped. Warner at three would be good, protecting Khawaja's tetchiness at six (although Smith looks like the long-term option), but it will be interesting to see whether the selectors will trust Warner there.

  • mondotv on July 25, 2013, 3:42 GMT

    @Meursault - what are you saying - you would rather have teams playing for a draw than an outright? I'm sorry but the pitches are not the result of a scoring system that hasn't changed in recent history. Brisbane-same. The MCG - no longer an ankle biter but that's a good thing. The WACA getting back to it's bouncy best. The SCG - still turning still producing lots of results will turn more in a drought. Adelaide oval - isn't offering the assistance to the spinners on the 4th and 5th days and it isn't quick enough on the first - but still produces results. So not sure I completely agree with Khawaja. My theory - we have lots of outstanding quick bowlers at the moment that are dominating our rather ordinary batsmen.

  • bumble23 on July 25, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    It hard to fathom the fact that many here back up the statement made by khwaja. Irrespective of the state of pitches it all comes down to the ability and skills of the batsmen to counter the moving or spinning ball. I am sure he would not have made this statement had australia won the last two test matches. Please make runs with your bat instead of making such ridiculous statements.

  • sportofpain on July 25, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    @Rexton87: Couldn't disagree more. Pitches should be made from the local soil with local characteristics. Players need to adapt to the different conditions. That is what makes the game interesting. Think Tennis - Clay, Grass and Hard Court challenge players differently. How boring it would be if they all played on the same surface all the time.

  • Insult_2_Injury on July 25, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    Khawaja is the guy playing regularly on our tracks, so is qualified to offer an opinion. Sadly CA has shown a recent history of ignoring those under contract. They seem to think anything said outside the 'company' line is bringing the game into disrepute. Even if they responded with facts to counter Khawaja, it would be preferable to ignoring his comment. Rexton87 has spent a lot of time fleshing out one of the most ridiculous plans I've ever heard. Cricket is enjoyable because of the diversity of each countries climate, wickets and ground sizes. It's about adapting like players have for 100 years. Khawaja just want a return to traditional Aussie pitch conditions which prevailed in each state.

  • Broken_Bail on July 25, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    What crap ! for far to long Australian wickets have been flat tracks from the late 90's and bowlers were copping a thrashing from day 1 of a game and it's only the last 5 years that now people in charge realised people want to see a contest between bat and ball ! perhaps less T20 crap and learn how to play defensively ! for more than 3 balls in a row !

  • Paul_Rampley on July 24, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    Its hard to disagree with Khawaja, one of the better spoken and intelligent players going around at the moment

  • Sunil_Batra on July 24, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    @Popcorn i echo your words on Khawaja mate, great talent and hopefully will now come through now that selectors are giving him his long awaited chance. As usual very intelligently spoken by Khawaja, and it makes sense, make pitches to give both bowlers and batsman a go, otherwise we end up with batsman who can't face spin.

  • popcorn on July 24, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    Usman Khawaja has been one of my favourite cricketers for a long time - for his technique, his wrist work like VVS Laxman and Azharuddin,the calm he shows on his face when he is batting, his forward defence, the elegance with which he plays his strokes like Damien Martyn and Mark Waugh. The confidence with which he ran forward to take the catch from Jonathan Trott and pouched it cleanly shows he is a superb allround cricketer. HE IS THE RIGHT MAN FOR US at Number 3. Remember HE WAS SELECTED FOR THE SCG TEST WHEN RICKY PONTING BROKE HIS FINGER? He played a mature innings. Inexplicably, he was shuffled around to Number 6, and shown to be a failure. Not his fault at all. Now that he has his Test Recall by his diligence,hard work and composure, I hope the Selectors do not misuse him. His article on the deterioration of pitches in Sheffield Shield Cricket also displays that he is a THINKING CRICKETER. I hope CA and State Associations sit up and take notice and act on his wise comments.

  • on July 25, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    I do not believe him.Pitches change so the batsmen have to change as well.Get your eye in watch the ball consistantly the runs will come either faster or slower as long as you score runs

  • Batmanian on July 25, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    Khawaja didn't look great in his 54 (or rather, England's bowlers completely outclassed Australia's batsmen). But he should get another Test or two to come good or be dropped. Warner at three would be good, protecting Khawaja's tetchiness at six (although Smith looks like the long-term option), but it will be interesting to see whether the selectors will trust Warner there.

  • mondotv on July 25, 2013, 3:42 GMT

    @Meursault - what are you saying - you would rather have teams playing for a draw than an outright? I'm sorry but the pitches are not the result of a scoring system that hasn't changed in recent history. Brisbane-same. The MCG - no longer an ankle biter but that's a good thing. The WACA getting back to it's bouncy best. The SCG - still turning still producing lots of results will turn more in a drought. Adelaide oval - isn't offering the assistance to the spinners on the 4th and 5th days and it isn't quick enough on the first - but still produces results. So not sure I completely agree with Khawaja. My theory - we have lots of outstanding quick bowlers at the moment that are dominating our rather ordinary batsmen.

  • bumble23 on July 25, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    It hard to fathom the fact that many here back up the statement made by khwaja. Irrespective of the state of pitches it all comes down to the ability and skills of the batsmen to counter the moving or spinning ball. I am sure he would not have made this statement had australia won the last two test matches. Please make runs with your bat instead of making such ridiculous statements.

  • sportofpain on July 25, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    @Rexton87: Couldn't disagree more. Pitches should be made from the local soil with local characteristics. Players need to adapt to the different conditions. That is what makes the game interesting. Think Tennis - Clay, Grass and Hard Court challenge players differently. How boring it would be if they all played on the same surface all the time.

  • Insult_2_Injury on July 25, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    Khawaja is the guy playing regularly on our tracks, so is qualified to offer an opinion. Sadly CA has shown a recent history of ignoring those under contract. They seem to think anything said outside the 'company' line is bringing the game into disrepute. Even if they responded with facts to counter Khawaja, it would be preferable to ignoring his comment. Rexton87 has spent a lot of time fleshing out one of the most ridiculous plans I've ever heard. Cricket is enjoyable because of the diversity of each countries climate, wickets and ground sizes. It's about adapting like players have for 100 years. Khawaja just want a return to traditional Aussie pitch conditions which prevailed in each state.

  • Broken_Bail on July 25, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    What crap ! for far to long Australian wickets have been flat tracks from the late 90's and bowlers were copping a thrashing from day 1 of a game and it's only the last 5 years that now people in charge realised people want to see a contest between bat and ball ! perhaps less T20 crap and learn how to play defensively ! for more than 3 balls in a row !

  • Paul_Rampley on July 24, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    Its hard to disagree with Khawaja, one of the better spoken and intelligent players going around at the moment

  • Sunil_Batra on July 24, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    @Popcorn i echo your words on Khawaja mate, great talent and hopefully will now come through now that selectors are giving him his long awaited chance. As usual very intelligently spoken by Khawaja, and it makes sense, make pitches to give both bowlers and batsman a go, otherwise we end up with batsman who can't face spin.

  • screamingeagle on July 24, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    @Rexton, astroturf made hockey less artistic and more of a power sport. Personally I feel that would be unfortunate if cricket went that way. The fun in cricket is the variety of conditions. Just because the new crop is not good enough does not warrant making pitches the same all over. As for the guys commenting on the Aussies bowling make up for the next few...it is not that, they need to learn how to bat. Simple. Was bad in India, and continuing in England.

  • Harmony111 on July 24, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    @JAH123:

    Tough FC Wickets are to be blamed and the flat wickets of T20 are also to be blamed. Former for lack of runs, latter for lack of application. Indicates the negative thinking that has eaten them all. An optimist would have said that he learnt how to focus hard from the tough FC wickets at home or that he learnt risk free shot making by playing plenty of T20s.

    In any case, we have hardly seen any big partnership by the major batsmen of Australia so far. So what do we see? Aus batsmen neither scored runs nor stayed for long on the 'flatter' Eng wickets. So what is Khawaja talking about? There seems to be no logic to what he says.

    Pls also read CarDroid's comment.

  • meursault on July 24, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    Can someone please mention the different scoring system for the Sheffield Shield compared to, say, County cricket. That's why the pitches have lost all their characteristics and become green, to favour the massive points bonus for the outright win. Amazing that the Argus review couldn't have done something so simple as change a points system favouring those teams who prepare green tops at home!

  • Edwards_Anderson on July 24, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    @Popcorn couldn't have said it bettter myself mate, also a big fan of Khawaja and i think he can be our long term number 3 but just needs a good hit at that role and not just 1-2 games. Make no misake that we won't find a Ponting anytime soon but i would take a solid test prospect in Khawaja anytime. He also looks fitter to me which means he is working hard off the field and his fielding is showing that, hopefully he fires for us in this series. As for his comments on the pitches, only suggestion i would make to CA is to let spinners come into the matches more as our batsman need more work against spin.

  • Rexton87 on July 24, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    I would suggest strongly that all pitches around the world should be standardised . One solution is to make pitches from the soil taken from all cricket playing nations and mixed with some standard stuff and should be produced industrially. The pitch can be lowered into its slot just before th match and used like an astro turf. In this way this endless heartache and squabbling over pitch doing this and that will end . Everyone will benefit including cricketers and spectators and contests would be fair and sqaure.I hope this will be a fatured comment.

  • on July 24, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    Its about IDENTITY and WINNING.Graeme Smith,in England last year initially was tentative against Swann,then positive and finally dominated him by doing what everyone thought was folly.He played him square on the leg side and no matter where the field was placed,Smith managed to bunt him into gaps everywhere there.It was a combination of playing to one's strengths,self belief,experience and a clear mind ie knowing one's self (IDENTITY) and dominating (WINNING).

  • sherishahmir on July 24, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    Well its probably a cycle when u have a simply good bunch of players who take the team on the highs and again when the cycle ends the team may come to low, examples r the great Windies, Pakistan and now Australia. The departure of Ponting and Mr.cricket (hussey) r also badly hurting the Ozzie's as we have seen their recent performances in India(4-0) and now in England with probable defeat of (5-0) since we have not see any spark of aggression in the current Ozzie's side which used to be the hallmark of Steve Waugh and Ponting era of Ozzie' team. Further, the dents of D.Warner quarrel, M Arthur sacking and Watson poor form aggravate the problems. I think time is v short for the ACB to think about that not only this leg of Ashes will bring humiliation but another leg (November-2013) can be more disgraceful when Ozzie's will face England in their backyards.

  • ozwriter on July 24, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    the point isn't whether the pitches are good or not. its about the recent CHANGE, which has affected the landscape of batting in Australia

  • on July 24, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    Confusing remarks,, he is not clear what he wants to say

  • Wefinishthis on July 24, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    Except the batting isn't the main problem. Collapses will happen from time to time - giving away 600+ runs/game can never happen if you want to win. To do that on an uneven pitch that was offering assistance is inexcusable. Had we skittled England on day 1 like Steyn/Philander would have, the pressure would have been off our Batsmen and they could play freely. Even IF our batsmen failed in the first innings, Australia still would have been in the game. Instead we had Pattinson bowling as erraticly as Starc/MJ and even worse, Agar giving up an enormous amount of runs without any contribution of wickets. Ryan Harris was the only good bowler on display. Australia's only hope is if Jackson Bird is able to reproduce the accuracy he's so far been able to do in Australia. If Bird and Harris can make early inroads, Australia will always be right in the game. I'd consider dropping the spinner when possible too. South Africa didn't need one to win in England and neither do Aus.

  • funkybluesman on July 24, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    People call out for other players to be in the team, but who?

    Looking at 1st Class Averages in Australia last summer the list looks like this: 1. Clarke, 2. Ponting, 3. Hussey (Clarke and Hussey mostly in tests and Ponting Retired). Then 4. Hughes - you can't say he didn't earn the recall over other players, 5. Doolan - had a stand-out season averaging 51, but a career 1st class average of under 40 hardly screams test quality, 6. Cosgrove - made 6 on list despite only averaging 39. And downhill from there.

    I've heard calls for Bailey to be in the team. Last season he scored 256 runs at 18.28 and has a career 1st class average of 38.

    The cupboard is pretty bare. The squad in England pretty much is the top of the crop of currently available batsmen. The big difficulty is that you would usually want to have one or two young players in a team with the experienced players, but Australia have one or two experienced players in the team with the youngsters.

  • DSPT on July 24, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    Players cannot claim that the pitches they are playing on are not good enough, reality is you need pitches that create results at shield level otherwise what little interest in the shield there is will be lost. It was not to long ago I recall the pitches were not producing results and bowlers were not being "developed" properly. You cannot have it both ways.

    Another thought, whilst a batting lineup won't win us test matches it will help us bat longer. Clarke to 4 to break up the succession of lefties. Otherwise Swann and Root are going to have a field day using the foot marks. It also seems that some of the batsmen do not have a plan, with Khawaja it was only a matter of time against the spin. Hughes also struggles with spin and both would benefit with spending time at the crease with Clarke learning how to use the feet to break up the length. The talent is there it just needs the best environment to thrive. Time at the crease creates runs and confidence and in turn consistency.

  • funkybluesman on July 24, 2013, 3:47 GMT

    With the shield pitches in Australia it makes sense that the Aussie batsmen struggle against spin and the spinners struggle to develop. There is rarely any conditions to encourage spinners, so they don't bowl a lot of overs and when they do there isn't much turn for them. Hence we've struggled to produce spinners and batsmen who can play spin.

    But you'd think in that case that we'd be producing batsmen who are good at countering good fast bowlers in good bowling conditions.

    So if we were dominating the pacemen but then being knocked over by Swann that might make sense. Although, Clarke, Smith and Agar aside, most of the batsmen haven't had a clue how to score against Swann. So maybe the threat of him there makes them think they've got to make hay against the fast bowlers and they then play stupid shots and get out.

  • on July 24, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    Australia needs to appoint Mr. Dravid or Mr. Ponting as the batting coach for their upcoming youngsters. Staying on the crease and putting a price on your wicket is not just a matter of 'having the intention' to do it. It requires an attitude best described by Mr. Ponting as 'Cricket for me when I was growing up meant batting until someone got me out, and if that took them a week then that's how long it took them'. That can come only by being brought up that way. The current crop of Australian batsmen seem to think just because they will, rather wish for something, it will happen. Not so easy. The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war. The foundations have to be set right, might take half a decade..

  • BigDataIsAHoax on July 24, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    If Matty Hayden was in the team, I'm sure he would have hit Swann out of the attack. Somebody has to put his hand up and take the role of an aggressor. Maybe that will be Watson provided he lasts 20 overs. Somebody needs to do to Swann what Sachin did to Warne all those years ago. ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK.

  • JAH123 on July 24, 2013, 1:39 GMT

    @Harmony111 - I think you're missing the point. When pitches favour bowlers and it's hard to bat, batsmen don't learn to concentrate and bat for long periods of time. Batting 2 hours for 50 runs suddenly becomes a standout performance which can win your team the match. Throw in the 20/20 mentality that is creeping in and you can see we are developing batsmen who have some ability but little application. While there are a few technical problems amongst the batting group, the bulk of the problem seems to be mental. I don't think there is anyone in Australia's squad - barring perhaps Rogers - who has the discipline to do what Bell and Root have done this series, regardless of talent. The tailenders are doing the same thing they have been doing a lot at domestic level - coming in to save the team because the batsmen have failed. It's not surprising that they've shown more determination than most of the batsmen have when they've practiced it at home.

  • V-Man_ on July 24, 2013, 1:30 GMT

    What a rubbish excuse. Don't blame the pitch. Its just that Australia has run out of talents. Australia had many talented player in one generation and some of them didn't even play more than handful of test matches. when I look at the current shield squads, there is not a single batsman who I would call the next ponting or Hussy or hayden to lesser extent Hodge or S. Law or Bevan. Almost most all the players in the English team are test standard players. In the Australian team may be four and 3 of them would are bowlers.

  • Leed1975 on July 24, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    Part of the problem is that Australia always encourages batsmen to play their natural game. Unfortunately, the current crop have interpreted that to mean 'Australia's natural game over the last 15 years'. Watson, Cowan, Khawaja, Smith etal do not have the same natural game of Hayden, Ponting, Hussy and Gilchrist. Nor are they facing the same quality of bowling that their predecessors did. And lastly, you have to go back a long way to find an Australian great who was forced to come in at number 3 in the early part of their career. Border, the Waughs, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey and even Lehman all had less pressure down the order to find their natural game.

  • landl47 on July 24, 2013, 0:43 GMT

    In the 2010/11 Ashes series England had scores of 513-1, 620-5, 517 and 644. The only game in which scores were moderate was in Perth, and the issue there was swing, not the condition of the pitch. There was clearly nothing bowler-friendly about the pitches.

    Therefore if the pitches are bowler-friendly now it's a very recent phenomenon and has hardly had time to affect the technique of any but extremely inexperienced batsmen, not the top 7 of the test side.

  • bharath74 on July 24, 2013, 0:43 GMT

    Quality of cricket played by Australians has definitely gone down. They are becoming WI of the yesteryears.

  • subbass on July 23, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    He is not exactly a quality player at Test level, but I was impressed with his effort in the 2nd innings. Conclusion ? I think he has the ability to avg 40 or so, but nothing more than that really and it could just as easily go the other way and stay at around 30-35 as it currently is. But credit where it's due, he did bat a lot better in the 2nd innings. In saying that it was still a pretty good pitch with only a bit in it for the bowlers.

  • Harmony111 on July 23, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    I have not read the whole article except the first 2 paras. What Khawaja says here is actually counter-intuitive. If Aussie batsmen have been playing on bowl-er friendly wickets all this while then surely they must find it easier to deal with the relatively 'flatter' wickets of Eng.

  • cricexpt on July 23, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    Whatever may be the pitch conditions in Australia , but I think today's Aussie batsmen are trying to copy the batsmen of the past like Hayden, Gilchrist, Hussey, Ponting etc. They were gifted players who had the ability to counter attack, and if you see the dismissal of aus batsmen in the first innings they were trying to do just that. But they should understand that they need to develop those skills and that can be developed only by spending time at the crease and grinding innings of longer duration. They don't have to look too far take Root innings for example, He took almost 3 sessions to score 97, but in the final session of the day he scored 70+ runs.

  • hycIass on July 23, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    States will prepare pitches that get them results which is a shame because current pitches favour fast bowlers and don't allow our batsman to face good spin bowling. Take Gabba or Hobart as an example which had most shield matches finish in 3 days. Khawaja did well in these tough pitches and which is why he is one of our better batsman in terms of facing swing bowling, but none of our young lefties face spin as confidently.

  • Amith_S on July 23, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    Khawaja is absolutely correct, those who watch shield matche in Australia will know the pitches have lost their character. This season almost all pitches favored the bowlers and Khawaja was one of the few batsman who scored in these tough conditions but only played 5 matches as he was picked for Australia. The other side of this is that tough batting pitches will prepare batsman and was probalby one of the reasons Khawaja scored on a tough Lords day 4 pitch. Hoping for some good things from the classy left hander.

  • devang_thakker on July 23, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    A whooping 347 run loss is surely gonna dent the confidence of the touring team...The batting order before the Ashes started was a worry...plus playing so many left handers in the team has given Swann an open chance to attack them...would like the Oz selectors give Callum Ferguson a chance in the middle order as he stated his career well in the ODI's but a year long injury has delayed his comeback...even Moises Henriques is a solid middle order batsmen...Oz should try David Warner at no. 6 or 7...Gilly was a great opener in ODI's and equally devastating lower down the order in tests...they shoulod bring in Ben Hilfenhous if possible...Jackson Bird was great in the warm-up match so he might get a look in.. But as of know, whatever resources they have they should make the best of it Watson, Rogers, Khwaja, Hughes, Clarke, Warner, Haddin, Siddle, Harris, Bird, Lyon.

  • indicricket on July 23, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    Earlier when Australia were on top, they were on top because they played shots. Even if they had a wobble, the incoming batsman kept up the scoring and kept the pressure on the opposition bowlers. But to play shots you need a lot of skill and application. I doubt the OZ batsmen on view have that. None of them seem to be a patch on the likes of Hayden, Martyn, Hussey, Langer,Gilchrist never mind Ponting..

  • gsingh7 on July 23, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    so true. bowlers feel like they are best in this world but on different conditions of india and england they look 3rd rated. pattinson had average under 20 before indian tests. within 4 tests his average risen to 26. at end of ashes he will average 30i..e jimmy's average. after next ashes he may average similar to swann. also australian batsmen except clarke are in t20 mode always. they havent adapted to foreign pitches this lead to their downfall. very soon aus will be in bottom 3 of test rankings.

  • on July 23, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    Australia need some new players in the ashes squad. 1.chadd sayers: he is a bowler who can bowl 135kph and swing the bowl both ways. he also can bowl long spells. he should be given the new bowl. 2.fawad ahmed: he is the best leg spinner in Australia since shane warne and stuart McGill. I think he can pick wickets as well as keep the scoring down. 3.alex doolan: he was the standout batsmen in 2012/13 domestic season. he bats for longer period of time and has fantastic technique against pace and also plays spin well. he will be ideal batsmen to bat at no 4. 4.david warner:he is one of the best fielders in the world. he can take the game away for the opposition. he has a very good record in test averaging 40. the only reason why he didn't play in ashes beacause he punched root and didn't had any match practice. 5.tim paine: he is definitely the second best keeper in Australia after haddin. haddin's keeping has been very poor in England. paine as a keeper is better than haddin.

  • on July 23, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    I certainly don't know all the facts about the state of the pitches in Oz, there might be some truth to it, but surely if that was the case, wouldn't the current crop of Aussie batsmen succeed a little more in batsmen-friendly conditions?...they don't get much flatter than India and some of them really struggled during that tour earlier this year. From what i've seen it looks down to lack of concentration, poor shot-selection and a complete failure to play to the situation of the game. The tail has put them to shame, Siddle scored half-centuries in India, Mitchell Starc nearly got a century and after two test matches during the Ashes, the brilliant debut of Ashton Agar and the injured Pattinson topping the batting averages. On a positive note, all of the middle-order (except Cowan) have scored half-centuries, now they just need to go on, instead of giving it away playing shots. And Watson has to break out of OneDay mode by pacing his innings and concentrating more.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 23, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    I have always believed that cricket should be played to the pitch/conditions given, and not the other way about. Surely the batsmen all know how the pitch is behaving from practice sessions and even previous innings in the same game? Why are the opening batsmen not explaining to the lower order what is happening out in the middle? Yes it's hard to play cricket on wearing pitches, but why is it appearing such a shock to 'supposedly experienced' batsmen and why aren't they playing more carefully to at least TRY and counteract difficult batting pitches?

    Sorry Khawaja, but reading between the lines all I see/hear are excuses. The Australian bowlers bat on the same pitches don't they, so how come they seem to contribute alright without any fuss?

  • 11MP on July 23, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    Here is how I put it with my humble opinion, Flat/Turning track OR fast track both is valid options in cricketing term. It's on batsman to identify how to react and play on particular track on given day/match. There is nothing wrong with flat track or vice a versa. Team needs to identify pitch behavior as quickly as possible and play accordingly and change game plan. The main reason why England is successful because they have good bowling lineup which can bowl on both the tracks and you can see what happen in India. England easily beat Team India without any fuss, why because Cook and other Top order batsmen were able to change their game in India. English bowlers were able to bowled out Indian team on turning track. Everyone is busy with playing T20 and losing out on skills like building innings and bowling 10-12 over of spells. Nothing against T20, I watch and enjoy cricket but its spoils attitude of the new generation of the cricketers.

  • sando31 on July 23, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    @JM_RSA- You are both wrong and right. Producing seam friendly wickets will not enhance batsmen's temperament's as you claimed. Imagine being a pro batsmen and being constantly subjected to green top wickets, your confidence will disintegrate and you will begin poking at balls you shouldn't be, thus being dismissed cheaply on a constant basis. If a batsmen constantly struggles on seamer friendly wickets-obviously-then they will not be able to formulate and compile a long innings for the good of the team, hence why Aus struggles

  • on July 23, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    unfortunately i have to agree with Usman. the game at shiekd level was losing spectators no one was showing up and therefore no money. the pitch and the gane had to change to attract spectators. More so the decline of the 1 day game and focus on 20/20 has made batsmen careless and over agressive. a lot of the decline in aust cricket coincided with the introduction of the IPL

  • balajik1968 on July 23, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    I think what Khawaja is trying to say is that playing in Aussie pitches has become something like Russian Roulette; you can't really work on building an innings. He may be right; the current Aussie team plays too many shots.

  • anupamraj114 on July 23, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    the problem with pitches favouring bowlers too much is that the batsmen forget how to play big innings and build a big score.This is what is happening with aus. A lot of first class matches have been low scoring. The other problem is that the bowlers get overconfident thet they are very good,but when they explore the other countries they are found wanting because they don't learn the techniques of how to take wickets when the pitches are not favouring you.

  • on July 23, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    Australian pitches have become very much bowler friendly. Tasmania, Brisbane, Sydney, perth, Adelaide and Melbourne all pitches have become difficult to score runs therefore the batsmen have not been able to make big scores. ponting and hussey both said that the pitches have become very difficlut to score runs so younger batsmen are struggling.

  • xtrafalgarx on July 23, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    People confused about why bowler friendly conditions are not ideal, two points:

    1) Because the bowlers get so much assistance it's much harder to grind out an innings, sanjay manjekar of india made a point during the indian tour that people blame india for having flat tracks - but they actually teach batsman how to bat for longer because it's harder to get out. Hence averages can go up to 50 or more. This might sound strange, but the thing about cricket if you do something once, you always feel like you can do it again, even if they face tougher challenges.

    2) too much assitance to the bowlers mean they can get complacent, their figures get bloated up and they don't learn how to toil and actually FIGURE out how to get batsmen out. THerefore some bowlers may look better than they actually are.

  • JM_RSA on July 23, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    I dont think the explanation about helpfull pitches distroying batsmen is logical. I would say if you play on difficult pitches to bat on, you will easily suceed when you play on batter friendly pitches. In SA and England, pitches are generally seam bowler friendly, therefore if what Khawaja says is logical , then surelly SA and Eng should have the same problem.

  • blink182alex on July 23, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    Many have been saying that the pitches have been poor for quite some time. They are far too seam bowler friendly, it's why every seam bowler has a bowling average of under 30 and why very few batters score more than one 100 or average over 45 in Shield cricket. It's also why there are a lack of spinners, teams play 4 quicks that they know will take 20 wickets so spinners don't get used to bowling long spells and bowling their sides to victory on Day 4 on turning pitches.

    It's also why our batsmen can't play spin anymore. Just make the pitches flatter and then the best players will rise to the top, a poor pitch evens out all the players.

  • hnlns on July 23, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    I think Khwaja's explanation for the flop shows is something which does not sound correct. Bowler-friendly pitches really test the batsmen with regard to their temperament, technique and ability. If batsmen look very good on flat pitches that have no hope for bowlers, they will surely be exposed when there is slightest life in the pitch, as had happened to Indian batsmen in England and Australia a couple of years ago. Many Indian batsmen who were made to look bigger than they actually were by a combination of rank dead pitches and playing against mediocre bowling at home were brutally exposed against test match standard bowling on pitches with some life. Looking at this, Khwaja really needs to think how valid is his explanation for the ineptness of Aussie batting.

  • 11MP on July 23, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    He has not even achieve anything in international cricket and he is chirping his mouth. Dude, play cricket and stop thinking about pitch, you are playing Ashes.

  • wibblewibble on July 23, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    @Sivakumar: His argument is that because the pitches offer so much to the bowler, the best approach in first class cricket is to be very aggressive and get as many as you can before you are 'got'. This obviously doesn't work in Test cricket, where the aggressive Aussie top 7 - thinking Watson, Smith, Hughes, Khawaja and Haddin here - try to almost play a shot a ball. This is so loose that all you have to do is bowl dry to them and they get themselves out. For Watson, this seems to be a terminal flaw, but at times Smith, Hughes and particularly Haddin have restrained themselves, and left the ball well - it's just too inconsistent.

  • on July 23, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Diifficult pitches (more difficult on average than before the war) in England in the 1950s and 1960s produced batsmen with better techniques. You could not survive as a specialist batsman then if you did not have a technique which could deal with greentops and vicious turners. The best batsmen coped. May averaged nearly 50 on the daunting Oval pitches on which Surrey won 7 consecutive Championships...

    Cricket is not a great game if it is played on perfect batting tracks

  • on July 23, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    There is a saying in India which translates to something like" doesn't know how to dance and blames the dance floor saying it is uneven."Aussies do not have batsmen who can bat against quality bowlers.Their bowlers have batted better.Just horrified where the heck fine stroke playing Aussies have gone.When would we get to see another Dougie walters,David Boon,Kim Hughes ,Dean Jones,Hayden ,Mark waugh or even a Damien Martin.Deliberately excluded Ricky & Gilly from the list as such players only comes once in a lifetime.Defensive tactic against the english will not work.

  • Someguy on July 23, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    @Sivakumar Ck - the problem is that the pitches are too far in favor of the bowlers. Yes, in theory it means they need to concentrate on their technique more, but the ball is moving all over the place... seaming, swinging and bouncing at pace. Even the best test batsmen struggle in those conditions. As a result they are not getting the opportunity to build a big innings on a regular basis, and often if they do manage to survive, they run out of partners at the other end.

    Last summer, only 6 batsman got more than 1 century. Of them, Rogers, Hughes and Haddin are in the squad. Ponting is retired. Burnes only averaged 32 for the season and Silk has only played 5 first class matches and was presumably deemed too inexperienced.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 23, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Excuses, whinging, and more excuses. This time it's the rubbish excuse about Australian shield pitches. There's always an excuse for Australia as to why they lost. England are just the far better team. 6 years too late it may be, but it would be nice to hear an Australian player admit that, just like England could when Mcgrath and Warne were playing. The only thing we hear from the Australian batsmen is whinging and pathetic excuses. Change the tune Khawaja.

  • stens on July 23, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    Why are these guys even commenting to the media - should be focusing on their jobs as batsmen or bowlers. The only people who should be doing the talking is the captain and guys who have proven themselves over time. So Clarke, Haddin and Siddle the rest should wind their necks in focus on the task at hand.

  • on July 23, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    What the team, selectors and the Aussie cricket public need is patience. This is all part of a normal sporting cycle. We had a good, long run and now we are in a trough. Those who remember the 80's will know to appreciate a good performance when it comes, and not to expect to win every game. England have been there, and are now on top. India are looking like they are sliding down from their peak.

    Remember that Hayden, Langer, Steve Waugh and Damien Martyn were all dropped for some time and people wondered if they had what it took to play at test level. They learned and achieved. That is not to say all of the current crop will.

    Last decade there was criticism of shield pitches for being roads, and our batsmen were being called flat track bullies. The pitches just need to be fair. At the moment they have gone too far the other way.

  • milepost on July 23, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    Khawaja looks the goods to me and I want him in the team. He's a proper number 3 and should play there. He scored a 50 odd at Lords on a wicket offerring turn and variable bounce in a terrible match situation. What's wrong with that? Watson either doesn't learn or doesn't care. Play him down the order or not at all. England bowlers lose their cool very easily so why give a chance with the opening pair to get stuck in. Kind of agree with sentiment here that bowlers pitches should be better for learning technique but I think Usman has a point that the character of pitches in Australia has been lost so they are one dimensional. We learn cricket in Australia on all kinds of wickets, with taped tennis balls that swing like crazy, in back yards, on the beach, on concrete wickets and more.

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    I can not explain Usman's point herw. If you can not last 100 deliveries in australia then you are not eligible to play test cricket. In that sitution who plays well should be automatic selection. First class average should not make or brwak batman.

  • wellrounded87 on July 23, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    @Jon Eastgate Not really. All the pitches are of the same nature, which means batsmen are only exposed to one set of conditions. Also considering the movement and pace the pitches offer it's very hard to get big scores so scores of 30-60 are considered big scores.

    It's not so much a lack of technique, our batsmen aren't far behind Englands in terms of technique, it's application and concentration. Watson is the prime example, he's one of the few batsmen in the world who makes a habit of putting perfect deliveries (line length and swing) away, but after he gets a start the bowler will dart the odd ball in at his pads and he'll inevitably get done leg before. It's not his technique that is lacking it's his concentration. He looks world class seeing off the new ball, then once the hard work is done he flops. Australian batsmen aren't getting practice at long innings in domestic cricket and therefore lack the application to turn starts into big scores.

  • SDHM on July 23, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    @Puranjay Singh - not sure it quite works like that, certainly not here in the UK anyway. An average of 40-45 can often go up for an English batsman stepping into Test cricket: because young England players play on pitches that offer a bit more to bowlers than ones in India for example, you can usually expect them to perform even better on flatter Test wickets. Trescothick, Vaughan, Strauss, Collingwood and Trott are a few example of batsmen whose Test averages spent a lot of time or are/were comfortably higher than their first class ones. That said, young batsmen do need to be thrown the occasional helping hand, just as a young spinner or seamer does: they also need to play on wickets that help them. Gain the confidence on better batting wickets, take that on to tougher ones.

  • ozwriter on July 23, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    @Puranjay Singh. thats the point. current batsmen are average 40 because the wickets are too bowler friendly. if they were like pitches in days gone by, these same players would average closer or beyond 50 and score more hundreds etc and in the process be better temperament test batsmen. in first class, they last 100 deliveries max, how are they going to last 200 deliveries in test matchs?

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    Sorry I am lost here. If the pitch is in favor of bowlers, then batsmen need to exhibit sound technique to survive and score runs. There is more chance to improve batting, so I don't under stand Kawaja point here.

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    Also, why all the hate on Khawaja? He's played 7 tests and is averaging 30, and is yet to score a single digit score (more than can be said of Steve Waugh in his first 7 games), and actually has some natural talent. Give him a run and he'll come good.

    And to those saying he can't play spin, he faced the best offspinner in the world on a deteriorating Lords pitch with craters outside his off-stump, and pretty much negated him. I think he'll be fine.

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    the comments re Steve Waugh are pertinent. He was a gritty batsman of limited talent but applied himself 100% using a technique which worked - it's not all about flashy strokeplay, some batters just need to knuckle down. All these excuses and reasons being proffered show that no one knows the real cause. There isn't one, the batsman simply aren't good enough at the moment and are incapable of adding value through attrition.

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    Aussies batsman do not use their feet while playing spin.The poms are cunning they saw aussies struggling in india so they have left the tracks dry.kwaja is right if u dont provide turners in australia how are u going to get good quality spinners and good batsman who can play spin.Cricket AAustrala has got no strategy of balance between seam and spin. Indians exposed them poms are taking advantage of it.

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    I would have thought poor pitches would improve batting technique, but what would I know. The people with a REAL right to complain about the pitches are our poor spin bowlers. With no turning wickets left in Austria all they get to do is restrict the scoring for a while. How many five wicket hauls have been taken by spinners in the Shield since McGill retired? No wonder the selectors have given up on picking spinners from the Shield teams and have resorted to picking them from the juniors instead.

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    If anything, the problems arises from way too many batsmen being picked for Test cricket on performances in ODI and T20, where the pitches are a batsmens paradise. True indiction of form? I think not.

  • PrasPunter on July 23, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    well, high time these guys are off the mike and do what they are paid for - score runs and win matches for your nation. There is a certain Pattinson who spoke about revenge , vengeance and what not before the start of the series and he is not going to be seen anywhere for some time. So guys, stop giving sound bytes and act - act fast - from a deeply hurt and frustrated Aussie follower.

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    It's very easy to understand why Aussie batsmen can't perform in tests: they can't perform in first-class cricket either. Most of Australia's new batsmen average between 40-45 in first-class. How are these people expected to get 50+ average in tests if they can't even get that in first-class?

    In contrasts, all of Australia's previous top batsmen (Hussey, Ponting, Hayden) averaged between 50-60 in first-class. Turn a 55 first class average to 50 test average is easy.

    Simply put, Australia doesn't have quality batsmen at home anymore, less alone abroad.

  • Chris_P on July 23, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    Ricky Ponting didn't seem to have any issues with the pitches. Nor did Chris Rogers or Doolan, all batsmen with solid techniques AND intense application & concentration levels. Nahhh, surely couldn't be that reason.

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    By making no place for spin bowling in the shield we are basically asking our spinners to move straight from club cricket to test cricket and if they do manage to get a run at state level they are spending the most of their time bowling very defensively and when they do find themselves on helpful surfaces they are unable to cash in on them. So frustrating! I know a lot of people will cite junior cricket as the seed of the problem, but the talent still comes through. It is just not getting developed properly from there on. Right now the problem lies in the area of bowling and playing spin bowling, little surprise then that the last 6 losses all came on dry tracks.

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    7 tests and averaging 30. Well that's more than Steve Waugh averaged after 7 tests. Some of the comments on here are stupid. How many people here averaged 30 in test cricket? As for proper techniques, Khawaja as looked the worst of the Aussie batsman early in his innings but gradually gained in confidence. Warner averages close to 40. Smith is seen as the thinker in the team and a future captain. Let them find their feet. A lot of players have struggled. Graham Gooch got two ducks in his first game and years later got a triple hundred at Lords. Give them time. England are a good side. One day we will be better than the. Australian have held the Ashes for close to 75% of the years since 1934......

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Khawaja is spot on. You would have to question, with his absence after christmas, if he actually played on a single turning wicket last season? And this guy is meant to be working on his all round game, improving himself to become a test batsman? How does that happen when you are not being exposed to all conditions. Does a clay courter kid go out and win Wimbledon? NO! Similarly a young batsman who has spent the vast majority of his FC career playing on seamers cannot be asked to go and master Ashwin, Ajmal or Swann on dry turning tracks, won't happen. But that's what we are asking of these blokes, Hughes, Khawaja, Warner, Wade. We need some flatter drier tracks in the shield, perhaps in Sydney and Adelaide and plenty of A tours to the subcontinent.

    Similarly of course we will not produce spinners in such a situation because why would anyone play a spinner at the Waca or the gabba for instance when it means leaving out a Faulkner or Coulter-Nile?

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    It took Steve Waugh something like 43 innings (26/12/85 to 8/6/89) to score a century and he averaged somewhere in the high 20's. It took Bob Simpson 52 innings (23/12/57 - 23/7/64). The problem with the current lot is they aren't even getting to 50, let alone past it.

  • trav29 on July 23, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    I never get this argument , surely if pitches are favouring bowlers it should be encouraging batsmen to improve their technique and learn to build innings not be an excuse for standards dropping ?

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    @Cardroid: That's what the misunderstanding of Australian pitches is, particularly by subcontinent people. There's a difference between having a fast and bouncy pitch and it being "bowler friendly". Australian pitches were traditionally never bowler-friendly. They were pretty much batsman friendly, and just used to have more pace/bounce than subcontinental wickets, giving good bowlers a chance to have an impact. But good batsmen could score big once they got used to the bounce. Perth is one of the best batting grounds in Australia -- and in the 2003/04 and 07/08 tours the Indian batsmen made some big scores in Aus. Now, I've heard that the Shield wickets being prepared are just greentops -- which hurt the confidence of batsmen and allow mediocre bowlers to get wickets. In fact the Ranji had some similar issues recently, which is why a lot of dobby medium pacers were getting wickets in the Ranji but spinners were taking the back seat. In general, greentops are bad wickets for cricket.

  • smudgeon on July 23, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Maybe I'm missing the point, but simply put, if the character of Australia pitches means that conditions have become more in favour of bowlers, then the quality batsmen should (!) be able to adapt. I know people aren't just blaming the pitches, because that would be a little simple. It's a major problem that has many factors, and I would think that the best cricketers are those that are able to exploit conditions that favour their natural game, and adapt to those that don't. I'm hopeful about the future of Australian test cricket - these things tend to run in cycles - but at the moment, I feel rather foolish for trying to maintain optimism. I really don't think the pitches are the better part of the problem...

  • wrenx on July 23, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Who else is there to look to? Rob Quiney only got a short run in the test side, or is it time to hand D Hussey his first test cap?

  • MartinC on July 23, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    David Lloyd watched Khawaja batting in the nets before the second Test. He said that all Khawaja did was try to smack every ball he faced and he made the point that given his role at number 3 when he might have to come in after a quick wicket and get his head down that was hardly proper preparation.

    The surfaces you play on and the forms of cricket (too much one day and 20/20 stuff) do have an impact - but so does a players mental approach to both practice and games. Practice how you want to play in the game and focus on your scoring areas and making the bowlers bowl at you in practice and it will be a lot easier in the middle when it counts.

  • Kapstif on July 23, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    Forget about Australian pitches, Usman wasn't making that many runs for Derbyshire last year, despite them being in the second division.

    An average of 41.50 in the second division of the championship doesn't scream to me a batsman ready for any test pitch, let alone green seamers.

    And for all the talk about how Phillip Hughes (c Guptil b Martin) went away and scored runs, he averged 36 for Worcester in the Championship last year.

    They don't make runs in England or Australia so you can't blame the pitches!

  • Gilliana on July 23, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Khawaja s not fit to be in the team. He has never played top class spin. If he is to be a complete batsman of test class, then he has got to be a permanent fixture on tours of India, and Pakistan where the class spinners are.

  • Rahul_78 on July 23, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    @CrankyofCroydon Marwan Attapattu started with 4 ducks and there are many good batsmen around who had modest starts to their careers. Among all the mediocrity at display by Australia in batting department this guy looks like a better deal. He is fluid and easy on eyes and seems to show full face of bat to the ball. Unlike some of the others who doesnt look the part. Especially I would like to point out Hughes, no offense but his stay were tortures in India against Ashwin and he looks equally uneasy against Swann. Dont know how he is going to score any runs out there. I am pretty sure if Aussies are routed in this series we will not see Rogers, Hughes, Cowan and may be Watto again for long time.

  • CarDroid on July 23, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    Its quite strange - when Indian batsmen failed in Australia in 2011-12, the Ranji Trophy pitches were blamed for being "batting-friendly flat roads" and there was a massive uproar demanding fast and bouncy wickets. Now, Australians are blaming the absence of batting-friendly wickets in Australia!

  • on July 23, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Spot on Usaman. At last soneone puts some thought into what they say rather than the mantra of 'we have to get better' or 'we have to play our natural game'.

  • gamespiritfirst on July 23, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    if even sydney and adelaide will not turn then why any kid will want to be spinner, at this rate they have to accept that oz will never produce a spinner after warnie

  • Mervo on July 23, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Win, lose or draw, stick with Kawaja. At least he has a proper technique and can think. Get rid of Hughes, Smith and Warner. They have nether capacity

  • CrankyofCroydon on July 23, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    7 tests and averaging 30. I'd take his advice for sure!

  • CrankyofCroydon on July 23, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    7 tests and averaging 30. I'd take his advice for sure!

  • Mervo on July 23, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Win, lose or draw, stick with Kawaja. At least he has a proper technique and can think. Get rid of Hughes, Smith and Warner. They have nether capacity

  • gamespiritfirst on July 23, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    if even sydney and adelaide will not turn then why any kid will want to be spinner, at this rate they have to accept that oz will never produce a spinner after warnie

  • on July 23, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Spot on Usaman. At last soneone puts some thought into what they say rather than the mantra of 'we have to get better' or 'we have to play our natural game'.

  • CarDroid on July 23, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    Its quite strange - when Indian batsmen failed in Australia in 2011-12, the Ranji Trophy pitches were blamed for being "batting-friendly flat roads" and there was a massive uproar demanding fast and bouncy wickets. Now, Australians are blaming the absence of batting-friendly wickets in Australia!

  • Rahul_78 on July 23, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    @CrankyofCroydon Marwan Attapattu started with 4 ducks and there are many good batsmen around who had modest starts to their careers. Among all the mediocrity at display by Australia in batting department this guy looks like a better deal. He is fluid and easy on eyes and seems to show full face of bat to the ball. Unlike some of the others who doesnt look the part. Especially I would like to point out Hughes, no offense but his stay were tortures in India against Ashwin and he looks equally uneasy against Swann. Dont know how he is going to score any runs out there. I am pretty sure if Aussies are routed in this series we will not see Rogers, Hughes, Cowan and may be Watto again for long time.

  • Gilliana on July 23, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Khawaja s not fit to be in the team. He has never played top class spin. If he is to be a complete batsman of test class, then he has got to be a permanent fixture on tours of India, and Pakistan where the class spinners are.

  • Kapstif on July 23, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    Forget about Australian pitches, Usman wasn't making that many runs for Derbyshire last year, despite them being in the second division.

    An average of 41.50 in the second division of the championship doesn't scream to me a batsman ready for any test pitch, let alone green seamers.

    And for all the talk about how Phillip Hughes (c Guptil b Martin) went away and scored runs, he averged 36 for Worcester in the Championship last year.

    They don't make runs in England or Australia so you can't blame the pitches!

  • MartinC on July 23, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    David Lloyd watched Khawaja batting in the nets before the second Test. He said that all Khawaja did was try to smack every ball he faced and he made the point that given his role at number 3 when he might have to come in after a quick wicket and get his head down that was hardly proper preparation.

    The surfaces you play on and the forms of cricket (too much one day and 20/20 stuff) do have an impact - but so does a players mental approach to both practice and games. Practice how you want to play in the game and focus on your scoring areas and making the bowlers bowl at you in practice and it will be a lot easier in the middle when it counts.

  • wrenx on July 23, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Who else is there to look to? Rob Quiney only got a short run in the test side, or is it time to hand D Hussey his first test cap?