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Carrot

I think he's slightly air-brushing his air-brushes there - he did take match figures of 6/101 at Leeds, including 5/69 in the second dig.

The thing with Johnson is that he always contributes, anyway. Even when he's shit - and there were definitely a fair amount of that around last year - he still takes wickets. He'll never go for 0/130 like Jimmy Anderson does on occasion - it'll be more like 2/100 then he'll take 3-fer in the second innings and all-in-all it won't be a bad return.

There is the small matter of him being the leading wicket-taker in tests in 2009 as well - in fewer matches than his nearest rivals, and at a lower average, too (just tried to find the link on cricinfo but it's not leaping out at me so I'll let someone else do it). Lies, damned lies and statistics, but you can't ignore it all.

Wish he'd score some runs again, though - that backfoot drive of his is something to behold.

Russ

Carrot, fyi: 2009 wicket takers list.

I think this is a better list though: since September 2007 (ie. the last three home summers).

Short analysis: Steyn, daylight, then Johnson. Studs is erratic, unreliable, lucky, prone to horrid spells that still pick up the odd scalp, and magic spells that win the game in a session (or should... f**king Perth test). The attack lacks teeth without him, and control with him. I think we have to pick him, but we also have to pick two bowlers who can put the clamps on and bowl long controlling spells so the match doesn't run away from us. Which, actually, is what we had in South Africa, with Siddle and McDonald. If Studs has to do play the role of workhorse we are in a world of trouble.

m0nty

There are two things that springs out at me from those lists, Russ. First, Johnson has played more Tests than anyone else in the last three years. Second, only Steyn's average is anywhere near cooee of a great fast bowler.

Okay I lied, there was a third thing: After the start to his career, you would have expected Snake Sharma to be much higher on those lists.

Tony

Instant was always going to find it tough following up his amazing spells to Pointing in January 2008. Chuck in the fact that he is now a rock star in India and output and expectation are out of whack.

Hangover Black

That Malcolm Knox article is well worth a look just as Roebuck's articles are wel worth a look. Seduced by a 20 year old. The selectors are doing the right thing playing him in a few T20s and taking him on tour but Australian Test spots are for proven professionals - we have more depth than the other nations and don't need to blood teenagers every second tour.

Guys with all-round ability get into the team as either one of the best 6 batsmen in the country, or one of the best 4 bowlers. Watson has done it. Wait until Smith does it.

Bob

Yeah the "headbutt" episode was pretty poor though he did partially redeem himself by sending another for xrays. Needs to work on an evil grin.

Yobbo

Some other things about that list I noticed....

Steyn concedes more runs per over than Johnson
Swann is the best spinner in the world over the last 3 years

Lou

Problem is, who exactly do we have who is better than Johnson at regularly taking wickets? Sids isn't. Hilfy is I think conditions dependent though we don't really know that yet.

Dougie is having a lovely time, but he is yet to come up against more than one decent batsmen in a line-up.

MJ is probably the luckiest bowler going, but he does take wickets. Sure he hasn't in the last two matches, but he's never in his career gone without taking any in a test match as far as I am aware. Considering the last two years, he'll have to play another two, three, possibly even four matches for very poor returns before they even consider dropping him. Look at Sids, I really think it was only because he got injured that he isn't in the team.

Lou

Well, he can't ferking well bat anymore. That'a clear, so he better bloody well bowl a bit better now.

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