Sunday, May 26, 2013

5 Reasons Why Australia has NO Chance in the Ashes

The recently concluded first Test between England and New Zealand at Lords was a bit like watching a fortune teller reveal Australia's future in the Ashes. A future that will see their excellent fast bowling poke and prod at England's batting throughout with them enjoying an occasional demolition job on it. Only to have their smiles turned around by the equally competent and in fact more complete English attack demolishing the tourist abject batting at will.

Australian fans will be outraged by this with them viewing the current English team as being over rated in many regards and a shadow of the Team that reached Test Crickets pinnacle a few years back. There is merit in this, but even if you were to concede it as a fact and downgrade England from the A Grade side they were a few years ago to a solid B Grade Team now it still does not redeem Australia's current Test standing. Which after an embarrassing whitewash against an average Indian Team struggling in the midst of rebuilding made you think they would find it tough against Minnows like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Let alone have a chance against an England Team that revels in Home Conditions.

Here are a few more factors to cement my belief that Australia has no chance in the Ashes

1.The Teams lack of Continuity

Think of any successful Team in any Sport and one thing will be consistent in regards to a continuity of personnel which imbibes a familiarity and understanding amongst the players allowing a consistency of performance

As we sit on the eve of the Ashes, the very make up of the Team is a cause of constant discussion in particular the top 6 in the batting where none of the positions are settled. The farcical nature of this is seen in the fact that aside from Michael Clarke the only other batsman that seems assured of a place is the one Test veteran Chris Rogers at the top of the order. After a 5 year absence from the Test Team. The rest including the masterful Clarke has no idea where he will be expected to bat either.

Adding to this musical chairs type farce is that of the 7 specialist batsmen chosen, 6 could be deemed as openers with very little experience in the middle order. This uncertainty very much fosters instability, and hardly does anything to support the Teams greatest weakness.

away from the batting, the bowling is expected to be excellent in conditions that will suit, but yet again has been stricken by the same curse. The retarded rotation thery to keep the bowlers 'fresh' during the Aussie Summer was almost criminal in its big picture approach with the Ashes in mind. Where the excellency of the bowling will not only be determined by its skill, but by their cohesiveness as a unit.

The same is apparent in the Spin corps, and even more so with the post Warne era showing an impatience in the spinner entrusted in the role. Meaning they are always looking over their shoulder rather than being entrusted with faith from the Selectors that they will be persisted with. Nathan Lyon, who is in the role now is in no way a World beater, but will rarely let you down.

But as seen in India with his shameful treatment culminating in a dropping and even now with talk about Pakistani leggie Fawad Ahmed being rushed into the Team how can he feel any confidence when he feels such little support?

2, Hope versus Belief

When you run the rule over the Teams going into the Ashes you come to the conclusion that Australia is a team clinging to hope whereas England is a team sleeping soundly at night comforted by belief

On the Australian viewpoint every hope of success is about what might be, such as as their under performing batting finally finding its feet and being a factor, rather than an anchor around the teams neck.

Or hope that a bowling line up that is notoriously frail from an injury point of view will suddenly not only remain fit but will be decisive.

Little if any certainty surrounds the teams personnel outside of Michael Clarke

Which hardly inspires faith in Ashes success when you consider 'hope' is the domicile of the damned.

A quality that is so easily broken down when pressured by opposition and is accentuated in this Aussie line up because of its lack of real leadership in its ranks. The team might have an excellent leader in Clarke, but no on field leaders that can keep up the Team morale underlined when the team has had Mr Identity crisis Shane Watson in a leadership role recently and is touting the Man child David Warner in the future.....OUCH!

The butt end of this is not only is the Team easy to break down but then dominated for it is so probe to inexplicably give up.

Compare this to the English Team, that even when they are under the pump and threatened by defeat- their belief is so strong that they are nigh on impossible to beat

3, The Conditions 

As I watched the Indian debacle with an eye on the Ashes the first thing that entered my mind was that if Aussie fans think their batsmen are weak against spin, then they are much worse against the swinging ball........

If opposition teams are doing their homework, they will find one common theme. If you were coaching against Australia you would load up your team with bowlers who can bend it in the air, because our record recently against swing bowling is poor. When the missile swings or if the wicket offers anything off the straight and narrow the Australians invariably crash. ( Darren Berry )

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

When you take into account that English conditions will in a large way support swing but also facilitate the other form of Kryptonite for Aussie batsmen in spin. Things do not look too good for them when you see them experiencing a high quality cocktail of both

4- That 'Evil' Duke Ball 

The Aussies are banking on their pace corps to make the Ashes competitive with an outside chance of a miraculous win.

But history is not on their side with them struggling mightily with the Duke ball in their past two tours to England where it stood out that they could not get it to go off the straight while the English bent it like Beckham.

Outside of Craig McDermott's exceptional and all too brief tenure as bowling Coach, education and learning from their mistakes has not been one of Australia's fortitudes of late meaning these struggles are likely to continue eliminating any chance Australia might have

5, The English Can Counter Australia's Main Strength

It is a Captain Obvious that Australia's best hope of Ashes success is their bowling being that decisive that it can cover the rest of the Teams weaknesses.

There is little doubt that Australia's pace bowling is potentially exceptional but then so is England's batting. Which not only has quality through its top six, but then depth with Matt Prior batting at 7 with a 3 year average of over 50 and the existence of a resilient and dangerous tail.

When looking at this decisive contest it is hard to see anything but a score draw where both will trade blows but eventually council each other out.

I say this for against a similar pace dominated South African attack of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, which for pedigree and all round excellence is better than the current Aussie attack. They  rarely dismantled the English batting with their lowest score being 240 for the series and highest being 425

The only time the English batsmen truly struggled in a series causing defeat was against a Pakistan attack that had excellent pace coupled with high quality and unorthodox spin.

Sadly for Australia they only have the big hearted Nathan Lyon as their spinner. A bowler who will rarely let you down but by the same token never commandeer a victory charge either.

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