Australia’s Ashes team can sort themselves out

Australia's Ashes team standing around looking a bit glum, like usual

We’ve spent the morning reading obituaries of Australian cricket. An England innings victory in Australia is a monumental thing, but it’s not suddenly become the norm.

Australia do tend to pick themselves back up again. It’s generally just a matter of how soon. One of the wisest things Special Correspondent Dad ever said to us was the following:

“Never write off the Aussies. They’re never down for long.”

He’s right. The Australian selectors are doing everything in their power to make life difficult for their players, but for how long can they keep this up? There are still enough good players in Australia to make a Test team.

Batsmen

In terms of openers, Simon Katich is a more reliable batsman than Phillip Hughes, but if Hughes starts scoring at a decent lick, England’s bowlers could get a bit wobbly and it might all start feeling a bit 1990s.

We said that Phillip Hughes might turn out to be a massive disappointment before the last Ashes, but despite that being the case, we don’t think much of the black and white argument that he was ‘found out’. Let’s see, eh?

Australia’s middle order actually looks okay bar Marcus North, so drop him. All the talk is of Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson, but as an Englishman the player we’d least like to see would be David Hussey (first-class average 55.18). Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Hussey, Haddin on a flat Aussie pitch with the sun out? No thanks.

Bowlers

This is Australia’s biggest weakness at the minute, but it’s also true that there’s enormous room for improvement. They’re picking the wrong players and the right players who do get picked are playing badly. England might never again see a bowling attack as chock-full of shod as the one from the second Test.

Doug Bollinger took a wicket, but being as he created cracking footholes for Graeme Swann, he was probably responsible for more Australian wickets and therefore represented a net loss. Drop him and replace him with no-one and Australia have already improved their team.

Xavier Doherty enjoyed his raffle prize of two Test match appearances. Nathan Hauritz would improve the bowling. Steve Smith would improve the batting without affecting the bowling. Again, Australia can’t help but improve their team.

Peter Siddle’s taken no wickets since his hat trick, but let’s be fair to Peter Siddle – he did take a hat trick. If someone else in the side bothered taking the odd wicket, then maybe he wouldn’t spend his whole time bowling to well-set batsmen.

There is no way Ben Hilfenhaus isn’t coming back. He didn’t bowl all that well in the first Test when every player was crapping themselves with nerves. He’ll be better in Perth.

Conclusion

One way or another, Australia could be quite a lot better in the third Test. Everyone should stop talking balls about England being ‘unstoppable’.

Australia aren’t the team they were, but if they accept that themselves, stop looking for players who manifestly don’t exist and start working with what they do have, they’re still potentially an excellent Test cricket team.

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29 Appeals

  1. This is experience speaking…..experience of years of being battered.

    I hope Flower, Strauss and company don’t read this. They need to go for the kill….Australia are shit at the moment

  2. King Cricket

    December 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Damn straight. Make the most of them being shit, cause it doesn’t happen too often.

  3. This may be the right time to mention that as a neutral observer, I am enjoying this ashes series far more than the previous two. Sure the cricket is of pretty poor quality (except two great spells from Anderson and one each from Siddle and Swann), but this is the first series since the late 80s (when I started watching test cricket) where Australia are the underdogs.

    It will be great to see them improve a little bit so the rest of the series is interesting, but not so much that they actually win anything.

    Bottom line: Australia being shit is fun.

  4. I’ve said as much to my Australian pals, who have still refused to respond. In 2005 and 2009 England took a battering in the first test, then dished out a battering in the second test (Edgbaston 2005 was a battering, wasn’t it?). Cricket is like that. It is the nature of test cricket to multiply differences – England might only have been 5% better than Australia, but played out over five days that 5% gets applied exponentially. Small differences end up seeming huge. At the core though, it might still be true that there is not as much between these teams as people think.

    There is one thing that you have not mentioned, which completes the comparison with England c.1992, and might end up being the crucial factor. That is that for the first time in living memory, the Australian media, public and (importantly) players have started to believe that this team is shit. We have the unbelievable sight of an Australian cricket captain acknowledging his own team’s deficiencies. What madness is this? Can you imagine Alan Border, or even less Steve Waugh, meekly nodding at journalists who say that the bowling is rubbish? No, they’d have laughed in a sinisterly Australian way, then said something about the Poms being a flash-in-the-pan who will be unable to repeat that performance, and will therefore be annihilated. This lot all do that “positive thoughts” and “good atmosphere in the dressing room” and “need to play better at Perth” bollocks, but none of them believe it. You can see it in their eyes – they truly think they are shit at test cricket.

    People think that sportsmen struggle with the weight of expectations, but that’s nothing compared to the crushing weight of no expectations. Australia will lose this Ashes because they understand this already. They have been, to borrow a phrase, mentally disintegrated, and as was always the case with mental disintegration, they’ve done it to themselves.

  5. In spite of all that’s been written and said about the man, I predict Mitchell Johnson will come good in the next game.

  6. Bert: England might only have been 5% better than Australia, but played out over five days that 5% gets applied exponentially. Small differences end up seeming huge.

    Chaos theory! The mathematics/physics standard of this website just keeps going up!

  7. King Cricket

    December 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    It could hardly go down. We once got stuck on question 2b for 18 months at primary school and were terrified that someone would find out. They never did.

    We later got a maths A-level. Make of that what you will.

  8. 2b

    English Literature question, surely.

  9. Perhaps that’s why KC got stuck on that question for so long, Bert.

  10. It could’ve be a combined mathematics/literature question, which would explain why KC was stumped. Something like “How many men and women did Oscar Wilde sleep with?”

    The standard of primary school students is generally poor.

  11. oh my god

    i’ve got some fucking jaffa cakes in my coat pocket

  12. King Cricket

    December 8, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    It was something like 345+126, but you had to show your workings out.

    We knew the answer, we just didn’t know the stupid pen and paper method.

    Here’s why Jaffa Cakes are significant for those of you who don’t know.

  13. King Cricket

    December 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    How many reasons do you need to mention Jaffa Cakes?

    Two.

  14. My dad likes Jaffa Cakes. My girlfriend hates them. Knowing their tastes I would have thought it would be the other way round. But it just goes to show – you never can tell. A lesson for all of us there I think.

  15. King Cricket

    December 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    [Nods solemnly]

  16. Bert, I don’t see any workings. See me afterwards.

  17. Three. Jaffa Cakes and Hob nobs have been my bicuity/cakey fuel for the TTNTs. That and lager, red wine, coffee etc.

    But let’s hear it for the humble jaffa cake, particularly the cadbury ones that were 30p a box in the shop the other day.

  18. Adelaide result – explanatory Venn:

    http://v4admin.sportnetwork.net/upload/66/66_0_1291833380.jpg

    Basically, it’s all about Jaffa Cakes.

  19. Ged,

    Pies > Cakes.

    Your argument is invalid.

  20. String, you should have been a teacher.

    Then, you’d leave work at 2pm like Mrs String did today

  21. Pies are not a greater set than cakes, Howe_zat. But if they were, the Venn would certainly be valid.

    Actually some but not all pies are cakes. Also some but not all cakes are pies.

    The question here is whether Jaffa Cakes might be described as pies and I would argue they might, given the enclosure of the orange-like substances within the product. Jaffa cakes are most certainly not biscuits, that has been determined by the High Court.

    Also, please note that, in any case, I hedged my bets on this one by adding the word buffet after the word pie. Are you seriously suggesting that Jaffa Cakes couldn’t ever appear on a buffet? I think not, Howe_zat, I think not. (Laughter).

    Still, many thanks for the opportunity to show all my workings on this one. KC will no doubt approve.

  22. 345 + 146 = (159 x sqrt9) -3! = 471

  23. Those of you who haven’t got Adblock Plus installed on your browser, will see that the second advert under the wise words of the King is:

    Australia Wants You!
    Expert Visa advice & information!
    Allpy now to emigrate today!

    They really are desperate for a new batting line up.

  24. Sorry – Apply, not allpy

  25. There seem to be a lot of articles on your site about the Vodaphone cricket and the Vodaphone cricketers, KC. What’s going on? I always enjoyed your dissection of the PR and media guff surrounding Vodaphone international cricket. I also would like more recognition of the great support that Vodaphone is giving to the game at the moment.

    I can’t do Venn diagrams on a computer. If you’re going to do T shirts, they should have Venn diagrams.

    Vodaphone.

  26. weird thread

  27. I GIVE UP !!!

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