Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Should The Australian Cricket Team Pick Rain Dancers For The Ashes?

Watching the Australian batting be the driving force behind the humiliating whitewash felt at the hands of India made me as a fan think of probably the biggest 'Oh Shit' moment in the history of mankind.....

Referring to the moment when the SS Titanic hit the ice burg with both instances being governed by misplaced ego, incompetence in the extreme and denial to very obvious realities meaning sooner rather than later both are going to sink without a trace

2013 will see The Australian Cricket Team give a good re-enactment of the Titanic with India representing that Iceberg followed by two Ashes campaigns of certain carnage

The Indian debacle was largely because of India's fine play, but their ability to dominate was set up be the Aussie choices before and during the Tour. A cricketing challenge in gruelling and ultra foreign confines that dictated men of substance and real mental fibre to be chosen only to see the Aussie powers that be insist on the 'sexy', speculative and vastly unproven. This despite the writing being on the wall about a top 4 that was bone china in its fragility and with a resume that had more collapses in it than a decade old set of Dominos. Damning still was Blind Freddy could see that the batting line up was only given credibility by the duo of Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey continuously having to be the Superhero and able offsider. The two represented 68% of the Teams runs in 2012, and when Hussey unexpectedly decided to call an end to his career the hole left in the line up was one only a sincere fool would think he could wall paper over....

Enter that fool in Mickey Arthurs, who in the wake of Husseys retirement talked up his exceptional leadership and experience which had such meaning in the Team in the Team. As well as his batting excellence that was still regarded as being in the top echelon of Test Cricket. The batting excellence was impossible to replace, but the leadership and experience gulf could have been mimicked in the Team by selecting a more seasoned pros for the Tour. The likes of Adam Voges, George Bailey, Brad Haddin would have been very able or even the swallowing of pride and recalling a vindicated junk yard dog who would have been perfect for the Tours demands in Simon Katich.

Instead, Arthurs insisted on T20 specialists in Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith and a host of green rookies as Husseys possible replacements.

The adding of these coloured clothing specialist to a line up that already had a Team with too many already meant failure was imminent with the batting know how for Tests being in short supply and 'temperament' being something found in the mystery section of the library. The tours aftermath saw excuses such as the conditions given, but the truth of the matter was that it was the application of the batting that was so lacking with attention to basics always greeted with disdain. Always the ego fuelled decision to try to be sexy followed up by excuses and denial to try to escape responsibility for their actions.

One shot exemplified the Tour long batting malaise

With Shane Watson being inexplicably made Captain for the 4th Test and coming in with plenty of time left in the game and with the chance of setting up a very real chance of an unexpected victory with a partnership supported by a responsible Captains knock. He instead chose to underline his inability to read the needs of the situation coupled with him going against one of the unwritten rules of batsmanship by amateurishly choosing to try to pull on a pitch with variable bounce.

His Stumps invariably are rearranged and he is applauded for Leadership of the highest calibre that was right out of the Blind leading the Blind hand book.

The Ashes 

The biggest worry of the upcoming Ashes campaign in England is the fact that if you think Australia is bad batting against spin, then they are worse playing against swing

They smelt the idle blood of Australian batsmen whose weaknesses against a swinging rock are starting to resemble a cricketing form of kryptonite. ( ROAR )

"Every time the ball has swung or done something we've found ourselves in a little bit of trouble. ( Mickey Arthurs )

Quotes to fill fans with hope considering swing will be the main meal served in England with a decent spicing of Spin.

So with a setting that very much relates back to the Titanic like impending doom for the Aussies what are the answers to avoid further humiliation?

Well tough decisions need to be made now in the knowledge that if the batting can at least be break even, Australia has a pace attack that could be very damaging in supporting conditions.

The first decision means the sexy batsmen like Shane Watson, Dave Warner and Matthew Wade need to go. Watson is the one that should never have been let back in the Team for he is not only a cause of constant aggravation, but to be frank a toilet of a Test batsman. When he wears Australia's highest honour, the Baggy Green and refuses to bowl in Hyderabad like he did it shows he has not got the passion to be part of the Team. Warner is a potential weapon, but only in a Team that has a strong middle order allowing him to go hell for leather to set up Sehwag type carnages with the support of that padding if he fails. Then, Wade is a hap hazard keeper whose batting is not note noteworthy enough to cover that fact.

Finding replacements is fraught with further potential failure because to be frank the cupboard is very much bare in Australia at present meaning all selections would be on speculation alone.

But this would be my top 7 for the Ashes with the explanations

Ed Cowan
- He might not have struck gold at present with career defining scores but he is one of the few with a vindicated technique and Test temperament

Phil Hughes
- The thing that gets him on the plane to England is the fight he showed amidst getting made to look silly by the spinners in India. Fight in a line up that was matched by no other

Michael Clarke
( C ) Needs to bat three, not only for he is far and away the teams best batsman, but because he can have a greater impact on the batting in this position

Usman Khawaja
- It astounded many that on a tour where the batting failed so miserably that this youngster was not given a go. He deserves one on the Ashes

Joe Burns- Arguably Australia's most talented batsman and plays in conditions similar to England with swing and seam on a bowling friendly pitch

Tim Paine ( VC )
- Paine, if not for injury would have been Captain by now. He is a natural leader and a strong character in a Team that bar Clarke has been mostly filled with irresponsible nufties. Plays as a specialist batsmen in this team, but could act as the 2nd keeper if needed.

Brad Haddin
- The Team missed a beat by not picking Haddin for India with him being the 'warrior' that the Team so lacked

As for the rest of the Squad, this would be my choices

Bowlers- Ryan Harris, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Starc

Spinners- Steven O'Keefe, Nathan Lyon

Batsmen/ All Rounders- Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Luke Butterworth


  1. Australia's failure lay in not preparing the way poms did for the India tour. And selection errors. Nathan Lyon shd hv been persisted with in Hyderabad and Usman Khawaja shd hv been picked ahead of Phil Hughes (the need for late recovery cd hv been avoided. Warner is turning out to be a gamble and Oz reasoning seems to shadow BCCI's regarding Sehwag - he can win a match on his own on his day.

    For Ashes selection I think Cowan and Lyon shd be automatic choices because they showed the willingness to fight. As for teh rest it shd be based on who did well/ can do well against swing and off spin in the English clime.