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nick

Let the goats be scaped.

Ponting - his captaincy is not up to the measure of his batting. He'll still retire on his own terms.
Hussey - no Tests in the next couple of months - he can find form or failure in the one dayers, no-one gives a shit about those.
Hughes - get him into the one day side.
Clark - retirement?
Lee - Do a Flintoff, retire from Tests.
Spinners - Does anyone seriously think Krezja or Hauritz are any worse than Swann or Harris? Get them in a room with Warne and teach them to be winners.

The selectors....

These are the guys who hold the teams fate in their hands.
It's a big job.
It's a full time job.
It's not a hobby you undertake when you're not doing this :
http://www.griffins.com.au/subsites/commercial/pdf/Andrew%20Hilditch.pdf
or this :
http://www.astsports.com.au/cricket/ashes_2009?gclid=CKyTl5-0u5wCFU8wpAodOxvStQ
or thinking this :
http://www.cricinfo.com/australia/content/story/395256.html

Tony

Cardiff.

Don't you love how every pundit and their dog is suddenly aware of the significance of the draw in the first Test. Why weren't they reading here weeks ago?

Waste not, Wantage not: When I turned on the radio on the Monday morning after the Cardiff Test and heard "... ran out of time as Monty Panesar and James Anderson hung on for a dramatic draw", the sick feeling that washed over me was as acute as any I have experienced in a long time.

The fact I collapsed into a foetal position, unsure whether to faint or throw up, when I saw with blinding clarity that we'd just blown the Ashes, is my very salient memory from the campaign. Flashbacks from that rancid Welsh hovel are burned into my psyche with every bit as much savagery as Edgbaston 2005.

Vindicate

Punter will be around to have his revenge in 2011, but won't be to lose them again in 2013 - a fact for which we should be eternally grateful.

Tony

Punter might not even be around for 2010/11. His batting form line has been on the down slope for quite some time now. There is every chance a Hussey-esque slump will see him out of the team by the start of the next Ashes.

Tony

Just looking at the current team:

Watson
Katich
Ponting
Hussey
Clarke
North
Haddin
Johnson
Siddle
Clark
Hilfenhaus

It's hard to see who will go out, but more importantly: who will come in.

Possible demotions:

Watson
Ponting
Hussey
Haddin
Clark

But who's there as a replacement?

Jaques
Ferguson
McGain
Hughes
Katich

Hungry needs to get fit and back into it. Ferguson's first class average is, well, average despite batting on the SACA road. McGain is a chance to come in for the next Ashes (despite being 45 years old) if he shows reasonable form this summer. How quickly can Hughes get back into the side? How long does it take such a batsmen to refine his technique to deal with the rigours of Test cricket? How old is the Kat? He would need a very solid 2009/2010 twelve months to still be in the frame at the end of next year. Unless... hello, skipper.

Possible XI in 2010:

Hughes
Jaques
Ponting (Still skipper... by the skin of his fingernails)
Clarke
North
Watson
Haddin
Johnson
Siddle
Hilfenhaus
McGain

Tony

And what about the selectors? Are they really that bad? After all, they're skint for great players and, since the 2006/07 Ashes, have been desperately scrambling for talent. The butcher's bill has been horrendous, too. Injuries to, among others, McGain, Lee, Clark, Siddle, even Stuey MacGill have thrown a spanner into the gears of the so-called transition plan.

Still, maybe it's time for Hilditch to do the right thing and fall on him pen. I don't know much at all about the work of Cox and Boon. Merv has been embarrassing as both a commentator and a luncheon pundit. It looks very much as if he got the gig because he is a good bloke, not because he's a good judge of cricket ability. The phrase "just happy to be there" keeps bouncing around inside my scone every time I see him on the telly.

RT

Tim Nielsen another goat to scape. He would've been hanged if in charge of the Pakis. 3 losses the last 4 series. Who would replace him? Too Tall Tommy Moody perhaps?

Fvck this Cooley joker off. Waste of time and $$$. Stud a major series dud.

Haddin has to be looked at. Poor keeping, byes aplenty. Can't keep happening. But seems to.

Katich has had his revival. At 34 is there any point on him knocking up 100's against Pakis, Windies? Then creaking out again in '10 with his crabby style.

Watson in the twilight zone if his bowling is next to useless.

Everyone who plays Oz district cricket and above should prepare for next season with extra anticipation because there are spots there if performance is out of the ordinary.

Tony

Too Tall Tom Moods is definitely a chance to come into calculations. I wonder if he knocked back the England gig because he is eyeing the Aussie job.

Not sure about Troy. I think the fast bowling is on the right track.

Due to the requirements of New Cricket in the Gilchrist Era, Haddin will keep the gloves until such time we can find a keeper who is a better batsman.

Tony

Why does Ian Chappell hate Steve Waugh? I've heard that it's because Waugh batted for red ink.

"There is no doubt Ponting is still the best man to captain the Test side and that's not just because a demotion would risk robbing the side of its best batsman," Chappell said.

"Despite results suggesting otherwise, Ponting is a superior captain to his predecessor, Steve Waugh. Ponting never runs out of ideas in the field, whereas Waugh, even with a more experienced and varied attack, was often devoid of inspiration."

Vindicate

I think Punter will be around for 2011 purely on his length of tenure as captain, chances are he'll make a gazillion runs against the Windies and probably the Pakis and ensure his term until Ashes time comes around again.
I guess the only other candidate for the job would be Pup, but the selectors are probably squeamish to give him the gig so early.

Tony

Can I ask a question? What is it with the media's obsession with Ponting being the first captain to lose the Ashes twice in England since Gladstone had a bag? So what? Tubby 1/0. Steve Waugh 1/0. AB 2/1. Hughes 0/1. Greg Chappell 0/1. Ian Chappell 1/0 and a draw. If it was 0/55, then I might cock an eyebrow.

Adsy

I love meself the occasional what-if...

How would have things turned out if Prince didn't get hold of McGain in South Africa?

1. Would have toured England.
2. Would have played at Cardiff.
3. Would have surely knocked over the tail at that game and been much harder to handle than Hauritz and our other part timers were. Aus 1-0.
4. Would have kept his spot for Lords, possibly with Johnson getting the chop (well probably not but its my what-if)
5. Johnson doesn't bowl tripe first morning at Lords, pressure on Poms, game back on. Who knows what would have happened if they were one down and we had the screws on them first morning at the home of cricket with 80 years of history bearing down on them.

The series could have been over within 2 Tests, just like 2005 given two more runs. But alas...

sid smith

Thanks for your hospitality, Tone. Good fun listening to all you Down Under-ers.

I leave you with an exclusive video from an alternate universe where Flintoff decided, "Bollocks to that gym work." Click on my sig, or else:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEC4-kuEksM

(Actually it's my nephew; same age and height as Freddie, and same accent - because he and I and all my family are from Preston. In fact, Eddie claims he once took 50 runs off Flintoff in an inter-schools game.)

murph

<>

Not I, sire.

We were at the game and in a state of shock at what unfolded. It was unanimous that this would haunt Ponting.

Ponting is simply not up to it.

Nielsen is not up to it.

Get rid of Cooley. Bring in Lillee.

Nick

McGain will and should never play for Australia. Too old, too undisciplined, too scarred. Australian spin is Hauritz and Krezja for the next few years. What if Warne had come down from the box to play in the 5th Test as captain? I see Klutz is going home. Is Ronchi that out of form and favour? Can Paine bat?

Nick

That should be will not above.

Btw, note on Hilditch's resume, 'specialises in errors and omissions'.

Nick

'ponting never runs out of ideas in the field'
10 wrong ideas are not a sign of genius and fielders moving to where the ball has just been hit is not either.

murph

"ponting never runs out of ideas in the field"

WTF?

What a complete load of horseshit.

He apparently never runs out of ideas but it doesn't occur to him that Ben Hilfenhaus has been stading in the field for fifty overs growing moss whilst the England tail put on 200+.

FFS. I give up.

The Don has risen

I have only seen two decent captains in the last four decades. Chappelli and Tubby. The others were ordinary, some were helped by great bowlers others struggled.

Bill O'Reilly had it correct when he said his collie could captain Australia given the quality of bowlers in the side.

We do not have them.
We fluked a win against South Africa where people forgot about all our weaknesses.

We have an aging team and such a turnover implies further weakening.

Haddin has been poor as W/K and I am not sure his batting has made up for it.
Prior clearly looked a better player.

We also need to think about the batsmen however I think I will wait until I see how we go against the Pakis

Hangover Black

Kat is 35 in January. Will be lucky to be around for the 10/11 Ashes. But he should play until his form says otherwise. Then it's a matter of which shield openers are making runs.

Can't see Watson holding down the opening spot. He seems as susceptible to LBW as Hughes is to short stuff. If he's a non-event as a bowler, then I'm not sure he's any better option than Huss as a middle order bat.

With someone else's hamstring Shaun Marsh should come under consideration somewhere along the line. Wouldn't mind knowing where he's at with his health.

Does anyone really care about the upcoming one-dayers or Champions Trophy? Yawn.

The Don has risen

actually Hughes was a very puller and hooker before meeting his 'coach'

nick

Australian cricket 'needs ethnic stars'

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2009/08/24/1251001857688.html

They must be talking about Saffas, right?

But, no...

The absence of players from the subcontinent is "more culturally complex", according to Indian-born Australian women's team representative, Lisa Sthalekar. "Lots of Indians, Sri Lankans and Pakistanis play in the early stages of cricket but many of them drop out when it gets serious to focus more on their work. It's also the case, certainly in women's cricket, that a lot of Indians don't want to get any darker, and so they don't want to spend any more time in the sun than they have to."

os

Hmm,though a loyal Sandgroper and admirer of Tom's playing achievements, I'd still say his record at the Warriors doesn't recommend him for the top job.

RT

Interesting comment by Craddock on his blog:

"McGain had a bad tour off the field in South Africa. HIs lack of discipline didn’t impress people."

I know he missed a connecting plane to start with but seems more to it than that.

Lurker

Australia doesn't need any 'ethnic' stars.

Australia just needs stars. It doesn't matter what background they are. If you pick players on ethnic grounds, you end up with... Ravi Bopara?

nick

Some people just do not gel with the Australian set up - Noffke and Rogers come to mind. Has McGain joined them? Who cares. The guy is too old. Want an old spinner - pick Warne as captain. Want an old player - get laughed at by all the Poms who knocked back Ramps, Law et al.

Yobbo

"Australian cricket 'needs ethnic stars'"

I don't think the author realises what a tiny minority of Australian citizens are actually Indian.

It's not like we are England, where they have been emigrating for 100 years. Most Indians in Australia are students, who come here at the age of 20 or older, way too late to be inducted into the grade cricket system. They typically end up playing park cricket.

Our biggest ethnic minority are the Chinese. Not many cricketers among them, Chee Quee excepted.

Yobbo

In fact according to Wikipedia less than 0.75% of Australian permanent residents are of Indian descent.

Vindicate

"a lot of Indians don't want to get any darker,"

Interesting. Who can tell me why?

delhi belly pat

I was in India a couple of weeks ago and it appeared to me that their caste system seems to correlate to skin colour. The darker you are the lower down you are and vice versa.

As a white man one must appear at the apex of the pyramid of perfection which bore out in the manner in which I was treated. Being the only white in my group I was able to gain us entry to places and given treatment reserved for the better Indian people.

Just my observations.

Russ

pat has it right. If you watch cricket via an Indian tv stream about every second ad seems to be for skin whitening cream.

I think we need to get over this thing about "gelling with the system". Yes, it can make a difference, but we don't have the reserve talent to reject every player who is a bit disliked.

On the future. Let's start with the positives:
As badly as they bowled at times, Hilf, Sizz and Studs all averaged around 30, and all are young enough and talented enough to stick around. For inexperienced bowlers, they actually did pretty well. They are a solid core, not Warne/Mcgrath great, but certainly McDermott/Hughes good enough.

North batted well, Clarke came into his own, Watson showed a bit in difficult conditions, Manou is a nice looking keeper (though not young), Ritz actually did a decent job (who'd have thought anyone would say we lost the Ashes by not selecting him!).

Now the downsides:
There hasn't been a big hundred in years. We need to find players who can bat and bat (Jaques can actually, even if he looks downright horrid doing it). Paper Cut is the worst offender, but Hughes, Kat, Clarke and North get out too early too (Ponting hasn't been scoring big in a while either). It leads to middling totals and middle order collapses.

We still don't know what we want from our fourth bowler, match-winner? container? spinner? dibbly-dobbly? Would McDonald have helped (something tell me he would have but I'm not sure how)?

We are still an old side, Huss can't stay on for long, nor can Ponting whose decline seems to quicken (what would motivate to stay on, is perhaps the question?), Krab is also old, and perhaps fortunately, given his keeping, is Klutz. Even if they lasted until 2010/11 they won't be there long after. West Indies and Pakistan are the sort of low key, low quality series players should be blooded in.

Who that should be is hard to tell. I suspect we'll only learn from trying players to see.

delhi belly pat

On the Indian note, cricket is an excellent ice breaker. They are even more fanatical than the zealots that they seem on TV. And they also know all about the bashings in Oz but no need to worry, I set them straight that Melbournians aren't really Australian ever since they were invaded by feral band of genetic freaks from a place known as Geeeloaawwwng, that such things don't happen in the nation's capital Sydney, as a matter of fact no one really goes to Melbourne and everyone wishes we could swap it for Tasmania. This seemed to make the Indians fall in love again with Sydn...er Australia all over again.

Vindicate

Thanks for confirming that pat, it's one of the reasons their "racism" fuelled sit-in last year was amusing in a tragic sort of way.

Re: "Australia needs ethnic stars", as previously stated, no - we need stars regardless of where they're from. It's worth remembering that even Warnie got belted around the park in his career, moreso in his younger days - stars aren't born overnight, they have to be nurtured and persisted with. Chopping and changing the team every couple of matches does no player any good unless it's for a persistent problem (ala Our Phil and the short ball).

Speaking of Our Phil, he'll be back - probably sooner than we think.

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