Australia’s captain and spinners

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The more we think about it, the more these two things go hand-in-hand.

The situation was this. Nathan Hauritz got the boot because he got wellied in India like just about every other spinner who ever goes over there. Demented selections ensued.

Maybe Hauritz offended Ricky Ponting by suggesting that he stop setting fields that were complete dog toss – we may never know. What we do know is that Ponting is pretty damn certain he doesn’t want Hauritz in his team ever again, even if he has to pick a shit spinner or no spinner at all instead.

Xavier Doherty was the shit spinner. Michael Beer was no spinner at all. It couldn’t have gone worse.

So what went wrong, specifically?

Partly it was a ‘grass is greener’ mentality. Shane Warne isn’t playing any more, although some people (desperate idiots) think he should be. Australia don’t have a spin bowler who’s even half as good as Stuart MacGill, so they should stop looking for one.

If you’ve got a bowler that good, you know about him. He isn’t out there disguised as a Beer or a Doherty.

If you’ve got Nathan Hauritz, use him properly. Don’t undermine him. Don’t discard him. If you’ve got a Steve O’Keefe, encourage him; build him up.

You certainly don’t just pick any old spinner and then drop him almost immediately. You tell all your spinners they’re not good enough when you do that, not just the one who’s come and gone.

And the captain?

Ricky Ponting has to take a lot of the blame. 152 Test matches and he doesn’t know how to handle spinners either on or off the field. That’s just embarrassing.

But again, is the grass greener? Ponting might not seem like a great option as captain right now, but he has learnt something in those 152 Tests and if someone can persuade him to drop down the order, he’s almost certainly still worth his place in the Test team, unlike many of the alternatives.

Things aren’t perfect, but hunting for perfection when it doesn’t exist is counterproductive. This isn’t to say we don’t think Ponting should be asked to step down. It’s to say think about it. There were plenty of other things wrong with Australia’s Ashes teams.


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  1. And now they have Clarke as captain.

    The impression I get of his captaincy from Odi cricket is purest shite.

    Perhaps he is much better at Test captaincy.

    I doubt it. Perhaps australia would do well to remember that there is more to captaincy than batting.

  2. We’d disagree, Deep Cower, although we know where you’re coming from.

    There’s far more to captaincy than what you see on the field of play and Ponting’s man management when it comes to his bowlers might be his biggest weakness.

  3. Hauritz,despite his deficiencies should be playing in Sydney. He went back to domestic cricket and has performed admirably considering the manner he was shafted.

    The selectors treatment of Jason Krezja showed their true colours and he did very, very well in India (1 test,14 wickets)
    and was dropped immediately and forgotten after a tough match in Perth, the least friendly patch of turf for a spinner on the continent.

    Also, Warne gets a hefty cheque from CA to coach, nurture and identify spinners. He’s obviously not doing his job very well.

    It’s easy to blame Punter and although he is asked for opinion he doesn’t select the side and has made clear of late that he doesn’t always get the team he desires.

  4. We’ve read in a number of places that Ponting has made it clear that he doesn’t want Hauritz, but we could just be perpetuating hearsay with that, which is pretty shoddy of us.

  5. I have also heard that Ponting has some sort of problem with Hauritz.

    Although can’t remember where. Maybe it’s one of those urban myths that if it gets repeated enough it becomes true.

  6. I do hope the Aussies are enjoying the benefits of our superior knowledge of this game as much as we enjoyed their advice during the 20 years of hurt.

  7. Hmm, Nathan Hauritz probably has been a bit unfairly treated I agree, but is this absence making the heart grow fonder a bit? He wasn’t all that great you know.

    Still, the picking shit and or no spinners route wasn’t a masterstroke either.

  8. Oh I do hope so as well Ged. I really, really, really, really, really, really, really hope that they are enjoying it EXACTLY as much as we enjoyed their advice in those years. In fact, I would go farther than that and say that I hope they are enjoying it TWICE AS MUCH. I’ve got twenty years of advice to give them, so they’d better hope their team starts playing well soon.

    Coming back to the point, surely one key thing is that Strauss, Flower and the selectors seem to be acting with a single strategy, whereas Ponting and CA are not. So we have these bizarre situations where a bowler is pushed into the team only for Ponting to not give him a bowl. And that is reason enough for them all to be sacked. Unity of purpose is more important that who actually does the job.

  9. “Unity of purpose is more important that who actually does the job” is quite a sweeping statement. If Nick Griffin and Jean-Marie Le Pen took over the Passport Office at Heathrow, I dare say there’d be unity of purpose, but the job might not be done particularly well.

    Not to undermine your point though, Bert. I think Australia do need one or two of those cycles of contemplation, reinvention and inexplicable lack of progress that England used to have every two years or so.

  10. …and of course some recrimination. Let’s not forget the recrimination, that’s the best bit.

  11. As an Australian I want blood, however the little grub has taken the one option open to him to save his career denying me that blood. It’s like someone calling in sick when they know they’re going to be sacked to postpone the inevitable.
    I hope Hauritz does come back in Sydney – he is in fantastic form with bat an ball in the shield right now. Slot him straight in for Harris.
    Other potential selections to fix our batting are Khawaja, Cossie and Shaun Marsh (for Hughes, Smith and Ponting) all of whom are in excellent form in the Shield. Chris Lynn may be worth a look when the selectors decide that Clarke is done too.
    Sure we may not have the limitless conveyor belt of talent represented by 23 First class teams with another 20 queued behind them. We in fact have 6 first class teams. So if a few guys are standing out in the shield you would think their selection would be a no brainer.

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