Category: Australia cricket news (page 1 of 57)

Either India or Australia will be/have been knocked out – but who could have predicted the outcome (and when)

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We changed what time this site’s daily email went out recently. We can’t be bothered checking what time range we set it to and we also can’t be bothered working out what impact British Summer Time will have. As such, this post is a preview of the India v Australia match written in the knowledge that you may well be reading when the result is already known.

We wouldn’t be making any predictions anyway. Predictions can quickly look foolish. They have a thing that constantly tries to predict which team’s going to win running throughout each match of this World T20. It’s called The Win Predictor. The Win Predictor is making a good case for being rebranded The Momentum Disprover.

At one point quite early on in England’s match against Sri Lanka, The Win Predictor indicated 100 per cent likelihood of an England victory. England did win, but not before it had later had Sri Lanka’s likelihood of a win up around 70 per cent.

We made a comment about The Win Predictor effectively taking the piss out of its own earlier predictions during that game and one of the founders of the website behind it (CricViz) got in touch. We felt bad, because it’s not really the Win Predictor that’s at fault, it’s the game it’s trying to model.

T20 matches tend to progress in surges. Get a partnership and the run-rate can skyrocket. A wicket or two and it can come to a standstill. The swings can be so swift and dramatic that it can make earlier predictions look preposterous. Your general feeling as a viewer is: ‘Why should I pay heed to this prediction now when the one five minutes ago was so wildly different?’

Like we say, it’s not the predictor that’s the issue here, it’s the format. At the same time, that uncertainty is what keeps us watching. One thing’s for sure though. As far as India v Australia goes, the big story is already known: New Zealand knocked one of them out.


Matthew Hayden still loves the word ‘process’

We’ve tried to give up writing about Matthew Hayden’s habit of talking a load of incomprehensible bollocks, but as the man himself says in a recent interview on Cricinfo: “Sometimes things are just meant to be, aren’t they? You just have to give in to the higher forces and say, ‘You know what, this is forever, and I don’t understand it. But so be it.'”

At the heart of the Hayden idiolect is the word ‘process’. For him, it means pretty much anything.

It can mean one shot.

“One of the things that I miss the most about cricket and batting in particular is that meditation of cricket, that involvement of myself – mind, body and spirit – to delivering that one specific process, which is to execute a cricket shot.”

Or it can mean all of the shots.

“That was very much in my overall psychology of trying to execute the base process of batting so that I was on the front foot rather than being on the back foot and reacting to conditions.”

And apparently it is also something you ‘live out’.

“Some of my best innings have been those that were less than 50 balls in duration because of the conditions. You won’t get the glory of 50 or 100 or 150 or 200, but you will get the inner peace of knowing that you committed to what the process was on the day, and that you were part of the process and you were living out that process.”

We’re slightly concerned that he’s becoming self aware though. At one point he asked whether ‘bowlsmanship’ was a word. Then again, in the very same sentence he referred to Bishan Bedi’s “thought process of tossing the ball in the air.”


Mop-up of the day – Hello and goodbye and are you leaving?

Buoyed by a first innings display in which he took six for a million, Neil Wagner persisted with his innovative attritional shock tactics in the second. He took 1-60.

It’s worth noting that Wagner produced this display despite a broken hand. More accurately, he produced this display despite a broken bowling hand.

Neil Wagner.

Hello

To the new top-ranked Test side, Australia. It was a hugely impressive performance from them in New Zealand. The only reason we didn’t write about it was because we didn’t want to because we were supporting New Zealand.

Goodbye

We’ve just noticed that we started an article about Brendon McCullum at some point recently and it’s saved as a draft. Rather than writing anything about him here and now, we’ll investigate what we’ve already written and maybe try and get something up tomorrow (if we get time).

Odds are the draft article’s just a heading and nothing beyond that, but we live in hope.

Goodbye?

Some classic Pakistan retirement talk from Shahid Afridi this week. Our man’s previously said that he’s retiring after the World T20, but now he’s admitting to being under pressure from friends and family to stick around a while longer.

His reasoning’s magnificent.

“I am saying there is a lot of pressure on me that I shouldn’t retire from T20; that I can play on – and as there is no real talent coming through in Pakistan whose place I am taking?”


While Neil Wagner might occasionally let you down, he does frequently pick up a few wickets from a long and determined spell when no-one else is really making any inroads

As Australia’s batsmen dominated New Zealand’s bowlers, there was only one thing left to do: call for Neil Wagner and ask him to bowl 25 overs of short-pitched bowling.

Neil Wagner isn’t perfect, but if you’re looking for donkey work strike bowling (can that be a thing?) then he’s your man. It’s-going-to-take-a-while-to-strike bowling maybe – that’s his niche.

Unlike Brendon McCullum, Wagner’s best isn’t perhaps all that exceptional, but he will keep striving for it. If he’s been banging it in and finds himself with 0-58 off 16 overs, he tends to think: “Right, I’m going to really bang this one in.”

At this point, he’ll be hit for four. Wagner’s response to that will be: “Right, I’m going to really, really bang this one in,” and when he then takes a wicket, he’ll take this is as confirmation of his method.


Brendon McCullum remains very much himself

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Believe it or not, batting with positive intent isn’t actually a new invention. In the hundred-and-odd years of Test cricket, people did actually try it from time to time before now. Mostly they got out.

New Zealand were heavily beaten in the first Test against Australia and when Brendon McCullum arrived at the crease in the second they had lost three wickets for 32 runs. It was doing a bit.

At this point, McCullum had three possible options:

  • Get out immediately
  • Deadbat for a bit and then get out
  • Try and counterattack but get out

Saint Brendon yawned, stretched, rubbed the sleep from his scarred eye and instead walloped the fastest ever Test hundred. Like most of its creator’s best works, the innings was brilliant with unmistakeably rough edges. It was jousey, spawny, flukey genius.

McCullum has never been the best batsman in the world – he may never even have been the best batsman in the New Zealand team. However, in the last few years, he has unquestionably been the most exciting; the man who makes you think something is happening.

McCullum is a guy who sears his innings into people’s minds. His worst is atrocious, his middle ground pretty pathetic, but his best is quite simply better than anyone else’s best. His best leaves you not quite able to assess what’s just happened because you’ve never visited this place before.

Most batsmen would never even attempt to do what he does. A select few try and fail. Only McCullum has the gall to both try and succeed.

Shortly afterwards, New Zealand’s captain completed his final three-pronged lesson. An aggressive approach to batting has nothing to do with any other form of hostility; self confidence can be combined with self deprecation; humility is not a sign of weakness.

When did you think it might be your day, Brendon?

“Probably second ball when I had an almighty, filthy slog and it went over the slips cordon for four.”

And how do you feel about breaking Viv Richards’ record?

“I’m almost a bit embarrassed to go past him, to be honest. Hopefully he enjoyed a bit of the ‘stroke-making’, we’ll call it.”

This is McCullum’s final Test match. He wants the win. There can’t be many cricket fans who aren’t of a similar mind.


Shane Warne says we were created by aliens – but which ones?

The frustrating thing about reality TV programmes is that when someone says something interesting, there’s no-one there to ask the obvious follow-up questions.

While appearing on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Shane Warne said that humans “couldn’t do” the pyramids. “You couldn’t pull those ropes, huge bits of brick and make it perfectly symmetrical. Couldn’t do it. So who did it?”

Aliens, according to Warne. And he doesn’t stop there. He also believes that humans “started from aliens.”

The plasticated ex-legspinner has little time for the theory of evolution – so little time, in fact, that he hasn’t even bothered finding out any of the details.

“If we’ve evolved from monkeys, then why haven’t those ones evolved?” he asked.

So rather than reading a book or googling ‘evolution’ at some point during his 46 years on this earth, Warne instead invested his time devising his own Chariots of the Gods type theory of origin.

Well here at King Cricket, we’re not Shane Warne. When we hear a theory, we want to scrutinise it. If humans were ‘started’ by aliens, Shane, then which aliens?

Was it the dude from Alien Infiltration?

Alien Infiltration dude (via YouTube)

Because if so, we’d question that. Alien Infiltration dude is massively homicidal. And not in a ‘righting the wrongs of my species’ kind of way. He just seems to kill on a whim.

Was it Ree Yees from Star Wars?

Ree Yees (via YouTube)

Again, we doubt it. Ree Yees comes across as little more than a thug; a sniggering yes-man who hangs around with Jabba the Hutt, laughing at his jokes. He just doesn’t seem to have the wherewithal to create life.

Also, if Ree Yees were the creator of humanity, would he have allowed us to lose an idol in his likeness when we catapulted it using the branch of a conifer tree back when we were 10?

Probably not.

Was it Lord Buckethead?

Lord Buckethead (via YouTube)

Come on Shane, think! In Gremloids, Lord Buckethead only found his way to earth by accident. You’d think he’d have known where he was if he’d created a species here.

Was it the Engineers from Prometheus?

Engineers from Prometheus (via YouTube)

This is what you’re thinking of, isn’t it, Shane? You watched Prometheus and thought it was a documentary.

It’s an odd species that routinely describes Shane Warne as a genius.


Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s take on specific training

David Warner said that back in 2012, he saw Shivnarine Chanderpaul put in a six-hour shift against the bowling machine.

“I said ‘This is ridiculous, how can you do this?’ and he said: ‘If you’re going to bat for six hours in a game you might as well practise it.’”

Shivnarine Chanderpaul.


Better wicketkeeping is one of the components rattling around in Australia’s World Cup bag o’ bits

Australia have gone a bit England with their T20 World Cup preparations. Their long-term planning has climaxed with a 15-man squad where a third of the players haven’t even played a T20 international.

Impressive stuff. They’re clearly of a mind that having the right components is of more importance than testing whether they actually fit together. They’ve got a polythene bag full of bits, a blueprint in biro and a positive mental attitude. Perhaps that’ll be enough.

One of the most interesting selections is in the wicketkeeping department. We don’t really know all that much about the incoming Peter Nevill, but from what we’ve seen of the outgoing Matthew Wade, he’s a man who’s heard the Smiths’ Hand In Glove but much prefers plain old cymbals.

Australia’s chief selector, Rod Marsh, backed up that view by saying: “We feel our batting depth in this squad is sufficient enough that we can have a specialist wicket-keeper in the squad.”

This reminds us of our thoughts from long, long ago that Twenty20 might prove to be a format that brings wicketkeeping skills back to the fore.

 


Analysis of ICC’s decision to review 2014 restructuring

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The ICC has realised that the ‘Big Three’ changes pushed through in 2014 were…

(a) taking the piss a bit; and

(b) liable to lead to the complete implosion of the sport in the long-term

They have therefore resolved to do something different instead; something a bit less shit.


When should we start thinking about the World T20?

Apparently things don’t ‘hove into view’. They actually heave into view – it’s just that no-one says that. One thing’s for certain though, things that demand this verb are large and cumbersome. A cat never heaves into a view, for example (although it may well heave while in view, if it’s eaten something disagreeable).

The World T20 is currently heaving/hoving/heave-hoing into view. It will be played in India, but if you’re looking for signs of how it might pan out, all you currently have to go off are one-day internationals in New Zealand and South Africa.

Wrong format, wrong place, but some of the right teams. There are probably too many variables to draw any meaningful conclusions.

Nevertheless, it was striking that Australia have instantly reverted to losing after spending their entire home summer winning. This one-day series against the Kiwis also serves as their warm-up for the Tests, which seems like the kind of scheduling which demands punishment in a shrill, hectoring voice.

England are of course playing South Africa at this very moment. At the time of writing, a Jason Roy cameo had removed the slips, allowing Alex Hales to spank outside off with impunity. It’s possible that a sizeable total is heaving into view.


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