Australian cricketers are generally ready for international cricket

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Australia have managed a cracking one-day series victory over India, particularly considering they’re down to Clint McKay and the likes. There’s a core of first-choice players, but if you were in the vicinity of the Australia side at some point recently and happened to be wearing a yellow T-shirt, chances are you’d have got a game.

This backs up our thoughts about Australian domestic cricket versus English domestic cricket. Newly capped Australian cricketers are more capable of coping with big matches. They’re brought up playing more competitive cricket, but more importantly, when they arrive in international cricket they’re more likely to play close to their best.

Consider one of England’s newcomers. Ravi Bopara’s easily one of the best batsmen in England. He’s not a third or fourth choice who’s forced to play when there’s a bout of injuries, he’s right up there.

Bopara’s actually played 50 one-day internationals already, but he’s only hit four fifties. He’ll be a good international cricketer – maybe even a great one – but England will have had to ease him through 60 or 70 one-day internationals to get him to that point. By the time Bopara can be relied upon, someone else will need to acclimatise to internationals. The Aussies always have 11 men who are good to go.

Ravi Bopara is an example. The same applies, more or less, to all of England’s young players. They’re rarely ready for international cricket and it’s not the fault of the selectors.


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  1. Bopara is never going to be a great international cricketer. Sorry England.

    And King I tried to make this point a few months agao but got lost in the translation, so I found a simpler way of saying it: English cricketers don’t flounder at international level because they play in a soft domestic competition, they flounder because they are from a soft society.

    I tried to make the point before that when you are a kid playing cricket in Australia you always play as hard as you can because the hard men around you (ie on your own team) will be unforgiving if you don’t. Now delete cricket from that sentence. In Australia, if you are a boy, you play it hard (sport, school, drinking at the pub, it doesn’t matter what) because the hard old bastards won’t let you walk out upright if you can’t prove that you can. Get it? It’s not about the cricket, it’s about being an asshole, a hard bastard, a self-sufficient prick. All the time. It’s not fun – but it does make us good at sport.

  2. Aussies are dog-shite in the pub. They’re used to those half-pints of weak-toss. Give them more than three healthy, English ales and you end up with what happens in Shepherds Bush every evening.

    For the English to get in that state, we have to go binge drinking on cheap but potent cocktails alongside the ale. And we’re very good at that.

    Maybe it’s those sugary alcopops that makes us such a soft nation.

  3. I think you’ve got a point King but I’m not sure the players, media and selectors are as short-sighted as you’re implying. I’d say there are 2 main reasons English players don’t adapt as well to internationals.

    First, the number of teams on the county circuit means that the quality isn’t as consistently high as in Australia. You can guarantee batting against the worst Sheffield Shield sides is harder than against the Derbyshires and Glamorgans of the English game, so the jump to international level is a little higher than in other countries.

    Second, our players get a lot of experience in 40 and 20 over formats, which don’t reflect the ODI experience, and for most of them, their 50 over season is finished by mid-June. Next year, of course, they won’t get any 50 over games at all…

  4. Generalist, we don’t blame the players or the selectors. We actually state that explicitly at the end of the article.

    Read the article linked in the main text and you’ll see that we basically agree with you. Aussie cricket is of a higher standard and there are fewer opportunities to perform well.

  5. Michael Vaughan shares your view KC. Another very valid point he makes is that in general the wickets youngsters play on are not testing enough so in general kids don’t learn how to adapt to difficult situations and really hone their technique!

  6. But Bobby, another criticism leveled at cricket development in England is that the pitches are not good enough – meaning bowlers find it easier to get people out, batsmen can’t express themselves as freely, leading to hesitant batting and toothless bowling when faced with a Test quality wicket.

    I’ve heard Stuart Broad say batting in a Test is easier than a county game because the wickets are so much better. And Vaughan was rubbish at county cricket – it took playing on consistently good decks for him to flourish.

    Vaughan, basically, is talking shite. You develop good technique on good wickets. You develop weird, unorthodox and fallible technique on weird, unorthodox and fallible wickets – whether batting or bowling.

  7. Crikey KC, this post is a serious debate about an actual cricket issue. I’m not sure if I feel I belong in it.

    Can’t you include a silly picture of Bopara so i’ve got something I can relate to?

  8. BINKH, that is the kind of trash I hear pedalled by other Aussies all the time. Sounds like fantasy back-patting to me. It isn’t about a soft society, I don’t think England is soft, as I live in London.

    It’s about the County Circuit and too much cricket against not enough good quality players. It’s really about too many teams in the divisions of the Country Championships at all, but how you sort that out without a civil war breaking out in the game is beyond me.

  9. Sam, England scraped the Ashes. Prior to that, Australia won by a mile. England scraped the one before that and before that, Australia again won by a mile.

    There’s variation, but Australia inhabit a higher range and only occasionally do England inch above them.

    This victory over India by the Aussie second team illustrates the strength of Australian cricket far better than anything their first XI do.

  10. KC – see your point.

    but firstly, form in one-day cricket is really no indication of form in test cricket.

    and secondly, australia are definitely on the slide. warne, mcgrath, s waugh, gilchrist etc were among the greatest players of their generation.

    no-one could touch them. now they simply have very good players who can be beaten and someone called bollinger.

    i almost used the word ‘aura’ somewhere in that. but i managed to resist.

  11. Australia’s test match performance in last two years:

    Vs India at home 2007/8 – Won 2-1
    Vs India away 2008 – Lost 2-0
    Vs New Zealand at home 2008 – Won 2-0
    Vs South Africa at home 2008/9 – Lost 2-1
    Vs South Africa away 2009 – Won 2-1
    Vs England away 2009 – Lost 2-1

    Total won 8
    Total lost 8

    The thing is, Australia just isn’t the dominating force in world cricket that both Australians and Englishmen seem to think they are. I know that this is not a bad set of results, and that England has nowhere near that kind of performance, but I don’t think that this backs up the statement that Aussies come pret-a-porter for test cricket. What they have is a set of players, some great, some decent, some out of form, some not up to it, just like everybody else. Some of their better players have had a shocking time recently – Hussey has about eight runs in this two year period; Johnson, the current Cricketer of the Year, hasn’t put together a winning performance since before the English summer.

    What seems to happen is that they play other inconsistent teams (like India), get a good win (like they just have, possibly because India is quite inconsistent), and suddenly we all start crapping ourselves that they’ve found the new McGrath, or the new Gilchrist, or the new Steve Waugh. They haven’t. We can all relax.

  12. We’re saying that the Australian team is currently at its lowest ebb and still – STILL – it’s a match for England.

    They’ve lost 500 Tests worth of experience, went into an Ashes series with a bowling attack of virtual debutants and still weren’t far off winning.

    Don’t kid yourselves. Australia are no longer on the slide and the notion that all those many great players just happened to appear at the same time is only about 20 per cent right.

    The fact is that they are more likely to produce great players and are likely to prove that. It’s not some magic cycle where good cricket teams come and go. The Australians have been on top (or thereabouts) for a long, long time.

  13. This is a rather tedious post, and if it wasn’t 5am here and I can’t sleep, I wouldn’t bother but….


    You’ve picked on tests only. If you add in the various World Cups, and Champion’s Trophies, even the latest champions something or other, that the NSW Blues won, we’re still the dominating force, even without an aura, because we are still occupying so much of your mental space!

    What else explains why you go on about us so much?

  14. Cricket Australia is like the biggest argument in favour of Communism since Marx. Simultaneous retirements hurt, but the dive seems to have leveled off and begun to head back up.

    CA is doing something right.

  15. I agree, Steve, we do go on about you too much. It’s what I would prefer to stop. Australian international cricket has always been of a high standard, but the last fifteen years has been the exception, not the rule. I see nothing in the set up, the people, the players, or even the toughness of Aussie society, that says that Australia WILL return to dominance, no more so than South Africa or India. This period now is not a blip – until you find Shane Warne 2 it is the reality. It is not a bad reality. It’s just not as good as those unbelievable years.

    England on the other hand will definitely not meet Australia’s general standard. We have a set of almost insurmountable problems (starting with the county system) that actively prevents England from ever doing what Australia did. That is not the point. My comments are not that Australia has reverted to England-like performance. My point is that there is nothing special about either Australia or Australians. We (the English) need to stop worrying about getting anihilated by Australia, and start worrying about getting anihiliated by South Africa, which is what is about to happen.

  16. It’s only natural to look at what Australia are doing, being as they’ve been the most successful side for so many years.

    Maybe in a few years time, we’ll be looking at South Africa and what they’re doing right.

    It’s probably not worth looking at India though.

    (1) Have a billion inhabitants…

  17. Perhaps England could obtain world dominance by going back another generation to start emulating what the West Indies were doing when they had twenty years of dominance…or maybe not…

    It seems pretty obvious to me that Australia has an absolutely exceptional group of players from around 1990 to 2007 and this was down, mainly, to luck in the same way as it probably was for the West Indies in the 70s and 80s.

    Australia will never slide like the WI have: they’ve got too much money and expertise pumped into their system, but I can’t see any of their current XI, except the one player remaining from it, getting close to challenging any of their first XI from around 2000. This says a lot I think.

  18. It’s not luck. It really isn’t. Why does everyone think it’s luck?

    Australia can leave batsmen like Phil Jacques, David Hussey, Brad Hodge and Chris Rogers out of their batting line-up.

    They’re not bothering with the likes of Stuart Clark and Nathan Bracken in Tests because they’re planning ahead.

    We’d all like to think it’s luck. To an extent it is, but you all know the famous Gary Player quote, right?

  19. When South Africa last played a test, they did so without Smith, Gibbs, Morne Morkel, and Paul Harris. They won (dead rubber, though). India meanwhile are doing without Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, VVS Laxman and Zahir Khan, and not forgetting that they have just lost Dravid, Kumble and Ganguly. And for all that these great Aussie players can’t get a game, the team that the selectors actually pick is not bad at losing a good proportion.

    I’m not saying that Australia isn’t a good team, or that they don’t have a good state system. I’m not saying either that England are anywhere near this group of teams in any respect, especially with regard to ready-made replacements. What I am saying is that right now Australia is not unique in being able to field a decent set of replacements when they have to. And I am especially saying, with extra passion and a side of vehemence, that there is nothing whatsoever in the nature of Australian-ness that accounts for their cricket team’s success. Never has been.

    In fact, if the argument is that the Aussie state system turns out the world’s best players, the results would suggest that there must be something about Australian-ness that then turns them into relative mediocrity.

  20. They have fewer (and therefore better) domestic teams. That’s all we’re saying, really.

    We certainly don’t think that simply being Australian has any impact beyond the above.

  21. What an expert you are, Bert, on Australians!

    I must book a session with you next time I want to understand my mediocrity-inducing psyche. Perhaps you could come and give lectures?

    Being Australian may have nothing to do with being a good team, but this hot gaseous stuff you emit has everything to with being a Bert .

  22. Thanks for getting personal, Steve, in a debate about some people who aren’t us. If you disagree, make your point. If you have no point to make, don’t say anything.

    I think you have missed the point of what I said. The bit about creating mediocrity was a sort-of joke, a debating point designed to show the ridiculousness of one argument by putting forward an equally plausible and equally ridiculous alternative. I might have said (more sensibly) that recent results would suggest that there must be something about the Australian international cricket set-up that turns the stars of Sheffield Shield into relative mediocrity. If you argue that Sheffield Shield inevitably produces world-beating players, at least it is clear that something must have gone wrong after that.

    (Actually, just to be clear, I think that Sheffield Shield DOES NOT automatically produce world-beating players, no more so than some other nations’ domestic competitions.)

    Obviously there is nothing in the Australian psyche that creates mediocrity in cricketers. It’s just about as obvious as the fact that there is nothing in the Australian psyche that creates genius in cricketers either. If I have offended your entire nation’s sense of being, I apologise.

    I was responding to two things. Firstly, BINKH’s bizarre statement that Australian success is down to Australian society being somehow “hard”. I have rarely heard such self-delusion. Secondly, that we are obsessed with benchmarking ourselves against the Aussies. This was a good thing to do when you were top cricketing nation – why would we now want to benchmark ourselves against #3?

    If there is one thing that is unique about Australian sports fans, it is that alone in the world they actually attribute their team’s success to some aspect of themselves. No-one else does this.

    If there is one thing that is unique about English sports fans, it is that we are obsessed with where we stand against Australia. No-one else does this.

    Can I go back to just writing poems?

  23. Bert,

    You write a nice poem.

    As for getting personal, I find your constant definitive sweeping statements about what all Australians are and are not, no less absurd or self-delusional than BNKH’s one about Aussie hardness. But at least he’s talking about his own nation, from some personal experience (there’s a personal narrative there in what he’s saying, you know).

    But back to your sweeping statements – like this example –

    “If there is one thing that is unique about Australian sports fans, it is that alone in the world they actually attribute their team’s success to some aspect of themselves”


    Get over yourself ! Better still. learn to take things a bit more lightly.

    As for offending my entire nation’s sense of being – I wouldn’t know. I”m not a collective entity.

  24. Do you know what, Steve, I was going to respond like last time, but I can’t be arsed. This site is far too good for the drivel we’ve been trading.

  25. Agreed,

    I wouldn’t be bothering if I wasn’t stuck at the computer avoiding doing something else

  26. Chennai Super Kings fans think they’re better than everyone else, while Kolkata Knight Rider fans are living in the past.

  27. “If there is one thing that is unique about Australian sports fans, it is that alone in the world they actually attribute their team’s success to some aspect of themselves. No-one else does this.”

    I like the ‘alone in the world’ bit. There’s exaggeration, then there’s EXAGGERATION.

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