Category: Australia cricket news (page 1 of 61)

When is the Ashes not a Test series?

Anya Shrubsole (via ICC)

When it’s the Women’s Ashes.

Starting on Sunday, Australia and England will embark upon one series comprising three T20 internationals, three one-day internationals and a Test match.

It is a cricket series.

The teams will get two points for victory in each of the one-innings-a-side matches and four if they win the Test.

We’d have liked to have seen two Tests, but being as England are world champions in the 50-over format, we’re not too upset by the balance.

The cricketers from both nations will be tested in more diverse ways than their Ashes-contesting male counterparts and afterwards we’ll have a pretty clear idea which is the better cricket team.


It’s a fine line between love and hate for David Warner

Photo by Sarah Ansell

You’ll of course remember when David Warner took a swing at Joe Root after becoming inexplicably incensed by the Yorkshireman’s inappropriate use of a wig.

Halcyon days. There was at least something comical about this particular confrontation; a certain Scrappy Doo quality borne of Warner’s diminutive stature and the sheer ludicrousness of the supposedly inflammatory act. It’s not quite like that this time around.

Fortunately, Warner’s still around to bring a note of levity to proceedings.

The Guardian reports that he’s been pondering how to get “up” and also how to get on top of England’s players. Counterintuitively, he says the mechanism for achieving these ends is to muster hatred.

“How can I dislike this player? How can I get on top of him?” he said. “You have to delve and dig deep into yourself to actually get some hatred about them to actually get up when you’re out there.”

Thank you David for another puzzling window into your psyche.


The campaign to get Paul Collingwood into England’s Ashes squad

Photo by Sarah Ansell

What else does nostalgia prove, if not that everything was better in the past?

Let’s do the who, the what and the why.

Who?

Paul Collingwood.

Paul is 41 and hasn’t played Test cricket for England since 2011, so the first thing to say in favour of his selection is that it would be heart-warmingly, life-affirmingly optimistic.

What?

Selection for the Ashes. We want Paul Collingwood in England’s Ashes squad. We want him to play in the Ashes.

It looks like there might be an opening for an all-rounder, but frankly he’s a far better bat than most of the lads they’re taking anyway, so we feel he should be included in the squad as a specialist.

That really is the nub of it: there’s no-one else better.

Why?

Collingwood hit three hundreds and averaged 60 in the County Championship this year. James Vince averaged 30 and he’s in the squad.

Also, he’s just ace.

They wouldn’t even need to book another flight as he’s going anyway as part of the coaching staff. His selection would therefore be cost effective.

There is, quite simply, no way that this is a bad idea.

In summary

Paul Collingwood MUST be added to England’s Ashes squad because…

  1. His selection would be heart-warmingly, life-affirmingly optimistic
  2. It would also be cost effective
  3. There’s no-one else better

Update

There’s now a petition. You can sign it here.


Did you know that it’s the Magellan Ashes this time around?

Sponsorship is a wonderful thing. It keeps fun stuff profitable and it allows sports players to sound institutionalised and cut off from reality.

Midway through the British summer, we saw Alastair Cook being interviewed on breakfast TV. Consummate professional that he is, Cook never once said “Test” when he could instead say “Investec Test match,” which gave rise to some spectacularly clunky sentences.

Cook isn’t one of life’s great orators, but he was England captain long enough that he can now autopilot his way through these jarring phrases without screaming at the skies, demanding that Odin get a grip on things because the modern world’s really gone too far.

Despite repeatedly reading it, we’ve only been dimly aware that the upcoming Ashes is also prominently sponsored. It’s going to be the Magellan Ashes. It’s being sponsored by Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese lad who would have been the first to circumnavigate the world except for the small matter of getting himself killed halfway round.

Now we know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that travelling halfway round the world to get killed sounds about right for this Ashes, because you’re either a pessimistic Brit or an Australian.

We jest of course. The Ashes sponsor is in fact Magellan’s Expedition, one of the Wonders from the all-time classic computer game Civilization.

Now it may seem odd to you that a cricket series is going to be sponsored by a major achievement from a very old computer game. All we can say to that is set your disbelief aside, because this is a fact, and you’re just going to have to go along with it.

You’re probably wondering about the extraordinary benefits bequeathed to the player’s civilisation by the Magellan’s Expedition, which will surely be pertinent to the upcoming Test series. Well that is a question answered at the climax of this video. Trust us when we say you must watch this in full.


Will Peter Siddle play in the Ashes?

Peter Siddle (Sarah Ansell)

We’re having one of those bizarre moments of doubt. Do cricketers play in the Ashes? It sounds wrong to say they ‘play the Ashes’ but ‘play in the Ashes’ suddenly sounds like the person’s a gleeful pyromaniac dancing in the aftermath of their latest deed.

We’ve started a new feature in this week’s Cricket Badger (sign up here). It’s called Australia Pace Attack Injury Watch (catchy, we know) and it’s based on the high likelihood that Australia will suffer at least a couple more fast bowling injuries in the coming months.

Australia’s fearsome four-pronged pace attack

The joke is not at the players’ expense. It’s shitty for them to pursue something wholeheartedly only to repeatedly find themselves sitting on the sidelines for extended periods. It’s more about the Ashes build-up and excited media coverage of “Australia’s four-pronged pace attack”.

There was, in theory, a possibility that the home team might field Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Josh Hazlewood in the same side. It is also possible that all the world’s ducks might start clambering onto each other to form giant megaducks, each comprising thousands of individuals. Possible, but highly unlikely.

James Pattinson was this week diagnosed with a stress fracture, so Australia have already lost one prong. The first Test is, what, six weeks away, so further prongs could yet disappear (or fail to sufficiently recover, because they’re not all exactly fit and firing as it is). Oh for the certainty of the good old days of Ryan Harris, eh?

The truth of the matter is that Australia will field ‘some sort of attack’ in the Ashes and it will probably feature one or two of those names or maybe none of them. Who will fill the gaps? Who will actually play?

Who will step into the breach come side strain or knee knack?

Well not John Hastings, that’s for sure. While he only has one Test cap, we can’t be too sure how far down the list Australia will get. But he’s off it altogether though, having retired from the format today due to a back injury.

That leaves us with names like Nathan Coulter-Nile, Hilton Cartwright, Trent Copeland and Jackson Bird. We haven’t bothered checking whether any of these players are currently fit.

Maybe also Peter Siddle. The actually-not-particularly-old-timer’s taken five wickets in Victoria’s first two one-day games this season.

If you feel like you haven’t heard from Siddle in a while, you haven’t – he hasn’t played since last November due to injury.

Feels like we’ve been here before.


I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It – the upcoming Ashes tour edition

Photo by Sarah Ansell

A semi-regular feature in which we ask a fella going by the name of Prince Prefab about cricket – even though he hates cricket. We are in bold. Prince Prefab is not.

It strikes us that a looming Ashes tour is one of the few times when the sport might force itself into the wider public’s awareness, so we’re interested to hear the current view from ‘outside cricket’. Before that though, there’s some related cricket news that we’ll have to touch upon…

I was in a town in Yorkshire once – Cleckeaton, Pudsey, Batley, Shipley, I don’t know – and I was driving along with a mate and we saw a dog being pushed along in a pram, all tucked up nicely. And he nodded and went ‘Dog in a pram’ and we carried on. And it was quite a thing to see, but it was still just a dog in a pram. So I’m sure there are many column inches being written about what you alluded to but there’s no more to say than ‘dog in a pram’ about it really is there?

Yeah, we don’t want to go down the route of dissecting the incident. We were just wondering what perception you’d had of Ben Stokes before this week (if any)?

None at all. Honestly couldn’t have picked him out of a police line up including him, Prince and Alan Partridge. Although I would know he wasn’t Prince or Partridge, obviously.

So basically, you knew nothing of England’s most high profile Test cricketer before this week and now you think… well, we should probably let you put it in your own words.

I’ve seen a video of him fighting for a minute. I’ve never seen him play, heard him speak, read an interview. I don’t even know what he’s said after this incident. From what I know he could be anything from a decent fella who acted daft on a night out to a raging psychopath.

By the way, watch that video. Are they all wearing white trainers cos they’re cricketers and they think that they have to wear white trainers all the time? Or is that the fashion? For lads who go to shit clubs and don’t know that they should be wearing proper footwear by their mid twenties?

We bought some Hi-Tec Silver Shadow the other day – but they’re silver (they’re grey).

Mate, you’re too old to be wearing trainers for anything other than sport. Come on. You know that. You’ll look like a leisure dad.

Should Stokes play for England again?

Oh yeah. But a big fine and a good telling off. A proper telling off, like when Mr Carter made us cry for having a water fight with the fire extinguishers in the huts.

Next question: did you know it was the Ashes this winter?

Yes, I did. But maybe because of the Stokes stuff. The will-he-won’t-he be selected fuss I’ve heard on the radio. I’m not certain I would have known otherwise.

Any knowledge of the squad? Any opinion at all about how England might do?

I presume that guy who was shouting ‘Stokes! Leave it!’ might be in there. Can’t remember his name. Someone called Ali? I just googled two I thought might be playing. One is 40 and retired. The other is 45 and Australian. I have the idea that it is not thought we will do very well in these Ashes but I do not know why.

“Stokes! Leave it!” isn’t in there, we’re afraid – although many people thought he might have been. Moeen Ali will be going. You can have half a point for that.

Who were the two you googled? You can tell us. We won’t publish your ignorance on the internet or anything.

Jesus this is embarrassing. Strauss and Hayden. I mean, Hayden even sounds so obviously Australian but I didn’t know…

Odd that. A couple of years ago we asked another friend to name current England players. He said “there are loads” and then struggled to come up with a single name. He eventually went with Botham and Gilchrist.

Strauss is actually going, incidentally. Not as a player. He’s director of cricket or some such title.

Just looked at the team and I recognise a good six or seven of the names.

To be fair, there’s cricket fans who might be struggling with a couple of them.


England to win the Ashes via airy off-side drives

James Vince (via YouTube)

Is that a dripping tap way off in the distance? No, it’s actually James Vince gently knocking on the door to politely request selection, if that wouldn’t be too much trouble.

Quite how the selectors heard him is beyond us. Vince wasn’t thought to be good enough at the start of summer, but three fifty-plus scores in 17 County Championship innings have seen him force his way into the Test side.

We feared for Vince’s chances before he played Test cricket. On his debut, he hit two fours and then edged to slip trying to hit a third. The rest of last summer followed a similar template (basically a “worst of Gower” montage viewed in a mirror).

Now Vince is back on the strength of no-one else being much good. The theory is that the ball doesn’t swing as much Down Under so he’ll have to find a new way to get out.

The rest of the Ashes squad

Well it’s undeniably a weak squad. The selectors haven’t managed to pick a player who’s stuck since Moeen Ali in 2014. This has led to more and more gaps needing to be filled.

Here are a few more of the Antipodean crossed-fingers punts presented in opinionated bullet point format:

  • Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan aren’t yet dropped, although Tom Westley is
  • Gary Ballance did at least do slightly better than James Vince this season (three hundreds, four fifties, average of 77)
  • Ben Foakes is a worthy wicketkeeping understudy
  • Mason Crane is the second spinner who’ll only play if England pick two spinners (which will never happen)
  • Jake Ball gets the nod through being physically intact
  • Craig Overton hasn’t yet played international cricket

Savour this moment. We still have the luxury of optimism at this point – and there is much to try and be optimistic about.


With the Ashes decided, England and Australia will look to determine which has the better ODI second XI

England v Australia ODI at the Riverside (CC licensed by Steve Parkinson via Flickr)

England and Australia fans who enjoy answering the question “so why isn’t this the Ashes then?” will be delighted to hear that the two sides are going to do that thing where they follow the Test series with five don’t-give-a-toss one-day matches six months later in the other country.

The news comes as part of the ECB’s announcement of England’s 2018 summer fixtures.

Pakistan will turn up first in a somewhat forlorn bid to try and breathe a bit of life into the springtime two-Test non-series.

After that, it’s a one-dayer against Scotland and then five against Australia, during which both sides will doubtless make an attempt to ‘blood some exciting new talent’.

Then it’s India for the main event. After three T20 internationals and three one-day internationals, the tourists will play five Tests: three in the South-East and two in the Midlands.


British Weather through to semi-finals of Champions Trophy

rainy-3

After a dominant performance against Australia/New Zealand and a narrow victory over Australia/Bangladesh, the British Weather has booked itself a place in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.

After displaying dreadful, relentlessly sunny form throughout May, UK meteorologists were left fearing that their side would be knocked out during the group stages. But there’s a reason why bookies fear the UK climate and it has pulled two magnificent performances out of the bag to move through to the last four with games to spare.

As so often, the hero in the match against Australia/Bangladesh was Regular Outbreaks of Rain. As the required run-rate dropped, it steadily imposed itself on the game until the result was in no doubt.

With Heavy Cloud Cover and Bad Light set to perform alongside each other in the semi-final after being unavailable for this day-night game, the British Weather will have high hopes of making the final, no matter who it comes up against.


The India v Australia sitcom

This series has finally bucked its ideas up. We’re not sure at precisely what moment things turned – possibly when Steve Smith played on – but at some point somebody pressed the lever on the View-Master, the slide wheel clicked round and the picture changed.

The new view was a normal one, where Australia collapse and India (probably) win. It’s taken a while. Seems like we’ve been waiting for this to happen for pretty much the entire series. There’ve been glimpses before now, but then the wheel’s clicked round again and we’ve been back in some other dimension where Australia are actually worth playing in a country other than Australia.

It’s a bit like a sitcom where no matter what zany escapades take place during the episode, you can rely on everything being pretty much back to normal by the time the credits roll.


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