31 December 2010

A Happy New Year To My Readers...

... and all people who are following my silly rants on Facebook and Twitter! Almost exactly a year ago I started to write this blog and it's been great fun cheering and moaning away, knowing that at least at handful of people are interested and enjoying my confused thoughts.

Thank you so so much, people from the UK, India, the US, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Israel, Norway, Egypt, Indonesia, Romania, Germany, the Emirates, Russia,  Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, South Africa, the Netherlands, Ireland, Nepal, Sweden, Colombia, Iceland, Sri Lanka, Finland, Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, France, Singapore, Slovenia, Japan, China, and wherever you've come from in the last twelve months.


Cosgrove Cat
Cosgrove Cat and I wish you all a Happy New Year,
always a green tinge on the deck, an air-right slip cordon and a bucket of wickets. 

Hope to see you all again in 2011!


Cheers,
Wes

c&b Hauritz *g*

29 December 2010

Swann, Swann tore no one apart, not yet

Ashes Test 4 Day 4
[scorecard]

Hats off to Haddin and Siddle. Siddle will hopefully get the handful of runs he still needs to outscore Punter in this series. Congrats to the Poms, who chose the possibly worst and most disgusting song of all time for their Swann anthem...

Here's a video of England doing the sprinkler dance after the match. Contains potentially offending material, parental advisory recommended, if you are easily disturbed or under 18/21 respectively.



Now, onward to Sydney, my tattered steed. And then let's feed them 6:1 Part II, yes?
(don't even think of commenting on that!!!)

All I wish for Sydney..... (C) AFP

No I won't give up on the idea that Hauritz should get the chance to rip at his home ground. All the arguments that have been brought forth for Beer MUST apply to Ritz, and even more so as he has a bucket load of experience, has actually played plenty of matches at Sydney and is IN FORM, and he bloody deserves to play the dead rubber at least!!! Do you hear me. No probably not. They only hear the noise of the tap on the barrel and the swshshshshshsh of the cold yellow liquid gushing out....

Ahhh well.
*goes watches Kiwi highlights again*

Cheers,
Wes

28 December 2010

Kiwis save the day again

(c) Smithsonian's National Zoo
Thank you for that, my brown, soft-furred, potato-shaped, long-beaked, clumsy-footed friends from New Sheepland!

New Zealand v Pakistan T20 II
[scorecard]

While Oz are inevitably sinking down, the roundbutted little walking birds have just sealed the T20 series against "the greatest T20 team of all time and eternal T20 World Cup champions" Pakistan. I am not gloating or anything.

OK perhaps at Afridi's six-and-out contribution. HAHAHA.

Pardon.

However, the Pak batting was atrocious, except for Mohammad Hafeez, who is establishing himself at the top of the order and has turned out to be one of the most valuable pieces of the difficult post-noball-gate puzzle. I've also heard rumours that Afridi's captaincy is in question for the World Cup. Well if you thought Australia were having problems with the leading role, look at Pakistan, where the captaincy is more or less a ride in the ejection seat. 

On the bowling front this time it was Nathan McCullum who set Pakistan their limits; four scalps and the catches of both of the two Southee wickets probably earned him the MOTM. Batting-wise non of the Kiwis stuck out, almost all of them got some runs on the board, in particular with Martin Guptill and James Franklin keeping on blossoming, so perhaps dropping the three newbies and replacing them with old warhorses was not the worst idea. There is also a new guy called Woodcock in the line-up, he's a sla and bowled very tidily, so I will need to investigate this matter further.

I am being horribly distracted and will thusly conclude this post with the note that New Zealand have hereby won the T20 series against Pakistan, with one dead rubber left for the Pakistanis to save their faces. I think, though, as soon as Azhar Ali comes into play the cards will be reshuffled! :P 


Cheers and thank you for the bird,
Wes

26 December 2010

My brain is sore, but Southee soothes

Ashes Test 4 Day 1
[scorecard]

98 all out, 157-0. Thanks for nothing, I thoroughly enjoyed it. But Mitchell Johnson is one useful player. Watch this:



Too bloody tired, annoyed and disappointed to write a proper post... especially as in this place you should actually be reading a laudation on Tim Southee's phenomenal bowling figures in the first T20 between New Zealand and Pakistan!!!

The Spring Goddess goes wheeeeeeeeeee!   (c) Getty Images

New Zealand v Pakistan T20 I
[scorecard]

Don't you dare rant about the umpire. Well okay you can rant but nevertheless NZ won rightfully. I am also absolutely delighted to report Martin Guptill's recovery from total shitness to guptastic! He had picked up some motivation in India, let's hope he can keep up his good form somehow. Go Seventoes!


Chrrrrzzzzzzzzzzz *falls asnooze again*

Cheers,
Wes

24 December 2010

Hmm Pom Nom Nom Nom

Joking!!!!

But I feel strangely emotionless about them this year, especially compared to my mindless wrath during the summer of 2009.

Of course Graeme Swann proudly bears the kick-me flag, whether it's for his silly strut, or the fact that his whites always look like a strait jacket on him AND NOBODY ELSE REALISES IT. Symptomatically the best jokes in his video diaries are contributed by others; in Pt. 4 the remark that cracked me up came from Jimmy Anderson for instance. 

And England also feature Ian Bell (-Smell), the man who, in the parallel dimension in which the true reality takes place, is obviously enjoying a career as a filthy doped racing cyclist; look at his face and you will see it.

And then there is KP, who, whenever I stop caring about him, does or says something that makes me run up the palm tree again like bitten by a tarantula; he's always eager to remind me of why I disliked him in the first place; as if he was the head of England's anti-fraternisation unit.

Matching the occasion Kevin Pietersen made it into the German sports news... not the actual news -no cricket happening there-, but he earned an honourable mention in Der Spiegel's latest silly sports photos gallery*, the caption reads:

"Last weekend's most relaxed sportsman: Kevin Pietersen. The English [sic] cricketer rests on the turf at the Waca Ground in Perth during the Test match against Australia. Obviously he rested for too long, Australia won by 267 runs". 

Gnarrrr! Germs blissfully gloating at Poms! They couldn't miss out on this opportunity could they! ^^

But my Straussrage has significantly worn off in the last 12 months, perhaps it's because at some point you learn to live with a habitual offender, or because he never really jumps out of his skin and loses his dignity. What might also play a role is that I keep discovering more and more similarities between him and the Biffcow, mind you, without him matching the old Boofhead in any aspect.

Collingwood is generally tolerated, Prior... who gives a fork, and Trott, who I still a few months ago would not have been able to stand from a distance of 300 km, now seems like some crazy odd animal to me (I am sure the female Trott lays eggs); in fact I find his bizarre OCD rather curious and amusing.

Cookie simply doesn't reach me at all. When he is sitting in the press conference with his huge empty eyes like ponds and basically says nothing, he creates a void in your head, a big emptiness that spreads rapidly and will put you into a coma if you don't react quickly enough and switch him off. He's a little bit like Hypno-Toad, just heaps more boring.

Barbie is a strange phenomenon. Even after he sort of won the Ashes last year I could hardly get myself to hate him. He looked too much like one of these little angel figures you put on the Christmas tree, with golden hair, a tiny white shirt, no pants on, and a harp or trumpet in hand. For that reason his evolution into the Attila of English fast bowling is a real shocker. However, he's out of the series and getting pwnd by Geoffrey Boycott; hating him would be a plain waste of energy right now.

Stinky-Barbie got replaced by the nicest care bear England could ever come up with. It is absolutely and entirely impossible to hate Chris Tremlett. A couple of English journalists are wetting themselves over Trem's vastly improved death stare... so am I. His "evil face" evokes cheers of delight at my end of things. Go Chris, we all know your big teddy heart. Once a Hamps, always a Hamps. I would blindly entrust him a basket of little pups and kittens.

Jimmy "rubber hip" Anderson is a bit like Cook to me: not causing an emotional reaction of any sort. Mild annoyance when he's bowling well, but that's about it. He still looks a bit like a little monkey with his unkempt face, but that doesn't irk me a lot... you always have to keep in mind it could be Sidebottom!!!

Leaves Finny. Ah man. Whyyyyyyyy? His sensational beatlesesque British Upper Class boarding school hairdo was what got me interested in Middlesex, and he feeds it to a hungry rat family!?! Oh Steven Finn you silly little bugger! Yeah I guess that is the way you talk about someone you like. Go the Middle!

And then there are T Murtagh, JHK Adams, Linley, Schofield, Briggs, Yardy, W Beer, C Wood, Ravenscroft, Roland-Jones, Riazuddin, and minor Poms like Kies, Berg, Morgan, Dexter, Rayner and a million others... or maybe the Christmas spirit makes me all mushy in the head... But for now I have to proclaim: no major Pom rage till Boxing Day!

But what if England win the Ashes?

Easy: The Australian side will finally get completely overhauled and in 2.5 years play five blinders in a row with the following, then already legendary line-up: 
Watson, Cooper, Marsh, Khawaja, White (c), Paine, Smith/O'Keefe, Hauritz/George, Johnson, Butterworth, Hilfenhaus.

Remember where you read it first.

Cheers and Happy Holidays everyone,
Wes

*Dale Steyn can be admired on page 5 of the gallery. A sudden cricket rage must have broken out in the halls of Der Spiegel.

20 December 2010

RitzBlitz, SuperCooper, SOKRock, Bossgrove



Good ol' Shield...

Steve O'Keefe took 3 within four balls (c) Getty Images

NSW Blues v Queensland Bulls
I WANT RITZ!

The match is still not finished and it might peter out in a draw pitifully, as the NSW Blues still have to take 10 wickets tomorrow. However. Nathan Hauritz underlines his explosive current batting form with just another century, after he had made his maiden Shield ton in the previous match. WHOA, anyone? His bowling is coming along well, too. I neither can nor will understand why Beerboy is retained for the Boxing squad. They can't ignore Hauritz??? Not only could he provide some steady spin bowling, but I can also see him make at least 30, if not more, with the bat. Impossible in the case of Beer, who has also remained wicketless in the Shield. Before Perth, even before Adelaide, when it became apparent that Doherty  wouldn't cut it at Test level, there was comprehensive frowning upon the omission of Hauritz, and the further we progress into the series, the less I get why he is still being ignored. One can feel a nice little rage starting to emerge and slowly beginning to boil!

Last euronight Steve O'Keefe took three wickets in the space of four balls. Oh SOK you embodiment of the Christmas spirit! He later on got hit on the ankle and needed treatment, but kept on bowling afterwards, so I hope it's nothing too bad.

The kid Nic Maddinson produced an impressive ton in NSW's first innings, but even Trent Copeland made 53, so... haha no I am not belittling Nic's  and Ritz's fantastic efforts! ;)  Wishing the Blues good luck for tonight, finish it in style!


Redbacks v Bushrangers
Ah well.

But Dan Christian fielded like a demon, with four catches and a wicket in the first innings, among these also the odd ripper, and Tom Cooper is maturing into a great opener, fending the Victorian attack off for the duration of 53 runs each! Makes me proud, as I have always believed in him hehe. Tom Moffat is proof for the immeasurable dumbness of the decision to axe Mark Cosgrove. Ben Edmondson deserves the attribute "our good", 5-93 in the first innings highlights his class.

If anybody could tell me why Aaron Finch found it necessary to damage the ball, while his team was obviously on the best way to inflict a drubbing on the opponent, I would be very thankful. Not a smart move from the Victorian master blaster.


Mark Cosgrove bats for Tasmania  (c) Getty Images
Tasmanian Tigers v Western Warriors
Select Cosgrove. 

Without his ton in the first innings the match result could have looked entirely different. Hence he also deserved to rush his team home with an unbeaten 86 in the second innings, averaging around 56 now for Tassie in the Shield. Oh Cossy! Cricket Tasmania called him the "maestro" already.

Apart from that James Faulkner and Luke Butterworth (7-92 and a runout!!!) continue to slide towards the top of my urgent watch list. Butterworth was just absolutely lethal. Put that into your head!

As mentioned above Michael Beer couldn't take any wickets, and Xavier Doherty managed just one. It's not the spinniest wicket of all times there at the Bellerive Oval, though.


That's it folks. Fingers crossed for the Blues.

Cheers,
Wes

19 December 2010

Oh Yes, They Can!

.... but can they repeat it?

Ashes Test 3 Day 4
[scorecard]

Seems my lunch estimation was a bit generous, England's last five wickets fell within the space of one hour.  

The Yeti boy hadn't got any brekkie and was so hungry that he just boxed the Poms over and raced into the canteen, finishing with 6-47. Good job Ryano. I like how he took the responsibly onto himself for the second innings, after Mitch had done the work in the first.

Apologies to our dear Watto, who I completely forgot to mention yesterday. His 90 odd were essential in building Australia's match-winning total. Well I knew his time was up when he crossed the 80 runs mark, but ah well. He has served the interest of team exceptionally well (sorry for this awful Straussism).

Speaking of who: here's his post-match press conference, presented by CATV. I love that the Aussies provide the public with these extended presser videos. Check out their Youtube profile, there are also two Tremletts, and of course Punter, Watto, Siddle, Mitch and so on and so on.



You must listen to this!
A raging mad Geoffrey Boycott mauls Stuart Broad for his hollow platitudes in the TMS post-match discussion and bashes England's shitty bowling in the second innings and their weakness on bouncy pitches. Marvellous. The file will only be up for a few days so make sure you save it to your computer (right-click the link > save target as...)

~~~

Melbourne. I still think it is a bit too early to speak about it, but if Aus really retain the squad I see darkness all around. First of all we can't rely on Mitch firing in Melbourne as he did in Perth, although Sky was obviously asked to reposition the cameras viewing the pitch, so the English expect a few changes to the deck. 

I can't see how persisting with Hughes will help the batting cause. They should pick at least one local boy for the MCG, the Vics have enough guys who will make more runs than Hughes, although I am still hoping for a little wonder, but this hope has faded almost entirely. Punter is hampered by the finger injury, Clarke is shit, and Smithy won't make 300 on his own. 

Bowling-wise Siddle is in the discussion, but if they stick with Beer they might as well go in with the same team as at the WACA. We shall see. Interestingly, if Siddle gets dropped there won't be a single Victorian playing on home soil (not sure what to make of Beer's absolutely non-existing first-class experience there on which Punter keeps harping; I am against playing him at all).


Tomorrow I'll finally be able to make my Shield post (the NSWers obviously take a little longer... snails!) And by god it will include a rant of epic proportions and I do not mean the Redbacks result!!!


Cheers,
Wes

18 December 2010

WTF o_O

Mitchell Johnson  (c) Mandy Seyfang
Hahhahahahahahaah
Sorry
Hahahahahahahahah

Ashes Test 3 Day 3
[scorecard]

You go to bed for just three bloody hours and upon return you see that England have lost five wickets for 80 in their chase of 391.  I am overtired and silly in the head, the scorecard looks like a strawberry nectarine jelly cake to me. I want to eat it. So beautiful, so fruity and delicious. 

Except for these two Yeti wickets, but I'll take that. Mitch is of course still on fire. And mah boy Smithy made some runs and Mussey saved the Australian total AGAIN.

Well you would have expected that England pull the pants up and bat for their lives. Isn't happening. Alright, Bell could annoy the shit out of everyone tomorrow, i.e. tonight, and perhaps he can get a partnership going with Prior, but... if all goes right Oz will have wrapped this up by lunch.

A lot of things are being said about Strauss' captaincy, Finn's bowling and England's approach to their batting tasks, but I'll leave that to the Pom blogs.

What lies ahead of Australia is: find a replacement for Punter. He obviously has a suspected broken finger and could be out for Melbourne. It might be that he plays, though, even with a broken finger you can't score less than a duck, so it would probably not make a difference.

Hughes should get dropped, Smith will be retained.

So there have to be replacements found for Hughes and Punter. I see Khawaja and Yawn Marsh as possible candidates here, or Dussey and McDonald, if they go by experience, or White for that matter, who could also help the old mope Clarke out with the captaincy if it's not going well, although Cossy just made a ton (more on that in two days) and Coops keeps making these 50s at the top consistently, also versus the Vics ;)


Looking forward to a good night's rest

Cheers,
Wes

17 December 2010

You are a meerkat now, a meerkat!

Do you guys know the Asterix movie in which Asterix and Obelix have to accomplish some crazy labours? There were a few mental tasks among these, for instance withstanding the Egyptian hypno-priest, who made people believe they were animals. I think he was practising his sinister art last night, his name is Mitchell Johnson, and he hypnotised the English into thinking they were meerkats: they raced back into the burrow at the slightest hint of danger.

KP back in the hutch, visibly exhausted from his third-ball duck   (c) JapanDave

Ashes Test 3 Day 2

Well well. Of course I had been hoping that his batting would give him the confidence fix without which he can't  even walk straight. But nobody, and by that I literally mean nobody, had expected that the gamble to call him back into the team after his horrific outing in Brisbane would pay off like this, and yes it was a gamble, with a 85% risk of suicide. I can hear the selectors patting each other on the backs basking in the pride of being the Einsteins of Australian cricket selection.

Naturally, Hughes, Punter and Clarke gave their all to keep the English in the race. Thank god Watto seems to have the plan to win this match. If he and Hussey can dig themselves in and lay the foundation for a 350 or 400 run lead and the Poms decide to go after Smithy, which is the way he gets wickets... But only two days have been played so far. It is much too early to make any predictions.

However. I am a bit overchallenged with the Johnson miracle. Can't quite wrap my head around it. Need to let it sink in. Australia's chances in this series depend on him retaining this superb form. Go Mitch!

BTW I've heard that an Australian betting provider decided to prematurely pay out the punters who had bet on an English Ashes win, so that the money would be available for Christmas. ^^




Cheers,
Wes

PS.  Will talk about Redbacks-Vics / Tas-WA after the matches are finished. Very interesting results on the cards I think. Well. Depending on who you support.

16 December 2010

My team is doing well

... my fantasy Ashes team that is (Tremlett, Finn, Punter, Hussey*, Trott).

Ashes Test 3 Day 1


Source: Cricinfo


One can only grab one's head. Actually the scorecard speaks for itself. Can't have been a demon of a pitch simply because Mitch topscored and Siddle made 35. Shame (shame!!) on the top order. There might be a second innings but I don't care, Punter obviously has to take his hat. What Smith was doing ahead of Haddin.... Punter probably doesn't even know that himself. A disappointing first day, but a good Mitch. Saving Australia from total humiliation. Hope he can translate this confidence into wickets. Hussey and Haddin again stopping the flurry of wickets. Legsmith needs to make amends with the ball as well. Chris Tremlett is doing as expected, I will spare you any further comments on him, albeit at the risk of bursting. Swann is already annoying the bejesus out of me.

Smith, Hussey, Haddin in comparison: Legsmith a work in progress


Cheers,
Wes

15 December 2010

The order has been restored...

... I reckon. Vics won by 67 runs *sigh*

Redbacks v Bushrangers (Ryobi Cup)
[cricinfo scorecard] [CA scorecard]

After electing to bat first on a beautiful day at the Adelaide Oval, Victoria went into the break on 87-4, with Cam White on 4* and Rob Quiney fresh at the crease. The first two wickets (incl. a Hodge duck) had been taken by Dan frickn Christian. Would you believe that the two aforementioned batsmen could not be removed before they had reached 72 (White) and 103 (Quiney), both caught Coops bowled Edmondson? I  want to tear my hair out.

No further wickets fell after the destructive pair had gone, the third and fourth had been taken by debutant Tim Lang earlier, who played in place of the injured Putland. Boy George bowled 12 utterly tidy overs, "an excellent spell" as CA worded it, while the good Aaron had to be taken off after 2 overs for 12 apiece. Christ!

In particular Quiney's innings at a SR of nearly 154 was instrumental in amassing a total of 301, while Bear cruised along nicely at a run a ball. A late blitz from Maxwell for 33 probably took the Vics beyond the "chaseable" mark. One has to say here that all the bowlers, with no exception, got mauled at the end of the second Victorian innings.

Not sure how the chase itself went as I couldn't follow the match, but the Redbacks ended their first innings on 89-3, two runs and one wicket more than the Bushrangers. But they would have needed a Quiney /Maxwell rampage from DC and O'Brien to emulate the Victorian slogfest, alas, they didn't get one this time. Michael Klinger played another fine innings of 70odd, but the Victorians scythed through the line-up, especially John Hastings (4-55) and James Pattinson (3-56). Thirty-odds from Ferguson, Borgas and Ludeman would have had to be capitalised on. Perhaps next year...

Aiden Blizzard needs to pull up the pants quickly now, I have the feeling he might have got a bit complacent after his initial wonders. He is the Cosgrove replacement at the top of the order and he actually possesses the potential to fill Cossy's jumper. Pigeonholed as a T20 specialist he interestingly flourishes in the long format, while still having to get a foot in the door in the one-dayers. Ts ts...

Here is the highlights video, with Michael Klinger giving a post-match interview in the background. The video shows the two Dan Christian wickets as well, including that absolute ripper of a literal ROFL-catch by Ben Edmondson. Max also discusses the possibility of DC sliding up to No. 6, a fine, yet potentially utterly effective adjustment, and elaborates on Blizzard a bit! Watch it:


Youtube is currently being a real pain, so if you can't see it, here is the video URL.


Can you sense that I've been having a bit of an Edmondson thing going on *g* Seriously, the guy is pretty good for a Waussie! Gonna head over to the garage to check if there is enough space for another bandwagon. Edo (!!! *facepalm*) arrived in Adelaide on silent paws, he snuck into the line-up and has in a very subtle manner become an essential part of the SA attack. I'm fairly glad about that!

Well well. Ashes.

Cheers,
Wes

14 December 2010

The Coach Departs

It is really messing with my head that all coaches-formerly-wicketkeepers from South Australia do not only enjoy rather limited success with their teams but also look the same. Mark Sorell totally looks like Tim Nielsen, and once Graham Manou turns 40 and takes up coaching duties he will look like Mark Sorell. Is there a nest somewhere?

Alright this is not the problem I was going to talk about. Sorell has been told that his contract would not get extended, and has thus stepped down as coach with immediate effect. He will be replaced by his assistant Jeff Vaughan.

While Sorell may not have turned out to be the man that leads the Redbacks from triumph to triumph I would like to note that despite a couple of disappointing defeats the Redbacks have made their mark this season already, not only through their impressive performance at the Champions League but also at domestic level. They have celebrated some stunning victories against the best Australian teams, which is particularly remarkable if you consider their lack of national players, and it underlines their exemplary team work and fighting spirit, but also the smart acquisition policies of the board.

However, given the potential I see in the side (through my rose tinted glasses that is) perhaps a different coach could tickle just another bit of performance out of the guys, especially in terms of consistency, to help them thrive permanently.

Interestingly, Tim Nielsen's coaching activities have come under scrutiny as well, but the problems surrounding the Australian team reach far deeper into the web of conservationism (read: methatesiophobia), dodgy selections, Punterism and incomprehensible priorities.

One player who should definitely be a part of Australia's future has delivered a remarkable knock against the Redbacks in the recent Ryobi Cup match*, his name is Usman Khawaja  -you may have heard of him already^^ -  and he plays for the NSW Blues. Watch this video of his maiden One Day ton and enjoy some of his nifty shots:




*I promise this is the third and last time that I mention this match! Here's the first time, i.e. the match post, and here is some other irrelevant video about some other irrelevant player you totally shouldn't put on your watchlist ;)


Cheers,
Wes

13 December 2010

Australia's Most Dynamic Allrounder



Big shout Max :D
Michael Klinger returns to Adelaide from the Ryobi Cup clash
between the Redbacks and the NSW Blues,
takes all the blame for the defeat on himself,
and answers a few questions about Dan frickn Christian!
I feel inclined to type these words down
and make them the first chapter of the Dan Christian Bible.


And here's a Facebook video of
praising Dan Christian as well.
Too much of the love, ey?



Cheers,
Wes

12 December 2010

Three Runs Short!!!

NOOOOOOOOOOooooo.....

NSW Blues v Redbacks  (Ryobi Cup)

[cricinfo scorecard] [CA scorecard incl. commentary]

Dan Christian is a strange, merciless, brutal, unforgiving, vengeful, bloodthirsty, uncontrollable, archaic god from some weird ancient Lovecraftoid pantheon, and I am totally his victim. It is bad, really bad, I can hardly contain my, you know, joy, when looking at the scorecard: 85 from 40 with 9 fours and 6 sixes, i.e. 72 runs came from boundaries. He totally raped Brett Lee and Doug Bollinger in an attempt to chase a massive target of 318, and unleashed all the wrath he had dammed up earlier when the entirely unimpressed Usman Khawaja tore him apart.

Captain Klinger strung SA's chase together with a well-composed century, I can't say how glad I am to see this calm and friendly guy back reaping runs, he is never getting ahead of himself, always batting efficiently, serving the cause of the team and assuming the role of the lighthouse in the NSW bowling storm.

The eternally reliable Aaron O'Brien chipped in with 54, but due to the skipper's exit the whole responsibility to save the match rested on his solid shoulders, alas, he went out unluckily when he wanted to spare stand-in keeper Tim Ludeman the strike and shut the sack himself.

If you study the score carefully you will see that both batting sides evened each other out, Usman Khawaja played a beautiful match with 121 from 105, and put another huge exclamation mark behind his seductive name. I am sure his performance is messing with the selectors' heads massively again. Aided he was mainly by Nic Maddinson the U19 kid and his very fine 65; Warner made 40.

So why did SA fall short in both innings?

To harvest the first innings point they would have needed 9 runs from the 20th over... which was bowled by Brett Lee. To win the match they would have needed 8 runs from the last over... off Brett Lee. I think you can see a pattern emerging here! The grande olde dame still makes the difference with his death bowling and he might keep doing so for a fair while. I am sure he is dreaming of seeing his name listed in the World Cup squad. Well well.

Fantastic match, leaves you laughing, crying, raging... too bad the wrong team won, but the Redbacks have proven their competitiveness once again, nearly clinching victory against the star-studded Babyblues, next time you will cross that line again guys, won't you! :)


Cheers,
Wes

PS: Thank you again, Ben Edmondson, for putting your signature under the Redbacks contract!!!

11 December 2010

If you ever need a lawyer in Gibraltar

Chris Rocca fielding at silly mid-off
(C) ICC / CricketEurope
Only today I read that Christian Rocca, captain of the Gibraltar cricket team since 1986, had stepped down from the captaincy after the last match of the group stage at the WCL Div. 8 earlier this year, when it became clear that GIB would be relegated out of the World Cricket League; he had handed the reigns over to Iain Latin, and furthermore announced his retirement from the game after the tournament.

Although I suspected he would take steps of this kind at some point after Kuwait, the news has sort of hit me like a hammer. Rocca had still made 99 against Germany -the second best attack of the whole competition-, and thereby improved the highest ever score by a Gibraltarian in international cricket, so that I assumed he had a couple more years of cricket left in him as a player. He is certainly going to be missed badly. Alongside him wicketkeeper Richard Buzaglo retired as well.

With Chris Rocca's withdrawal from the team I must admit my connection to the Gibraltarians feels like cut off, as he was not only the face and the voice of the side itself, but at the same time a representative of the Gibraltar Cricket Association, so whenever he got interviewed as a captain he could speak on behalf of the administration and grassroots scene as well.

However, I am sure that Iain Latin will do a splendid job, while Rocca, always a driving force behind the development of the cricket structures in GIB, got appointed the new President of the GCA at the extraordinary general meeting a few days ago. From this position he will certainly steer the further development and evolution of Gibcricket in the next years successfully.

Should you ever be in need of a vastly experienced Gibraltarian lawyer who specialises in banking, finance and commercial litigation, please don't hesitate to entrust the matters of your bank to the proven safe hands of Christian M Rocca, who is described by his clients as "gregarious", "amiable, charming and very nice to work with".

But he hasn't always been a nice boy... ;)


Cheers,
Wes

10 December 2010

Unsung Heroics, Unbeerable Puns

12th man Steve O'Keefe, talent on legs, but bored to death
during the Sheffield Shield match between NSW and SA:
Hauritz and Smith being overlooked by the national selectors
and competition from Starc and selfpick Henriques essentially
means that SOK has to watch from the sidelines during most
of the NSW first-class action. I could imagine that other states
would lick their fingers, if they had him available even for
just one or two games...
Question:
What does Bob have to do to earn a call-up?!?

This desperate cry could be heard a million times in the last weeks, in particular in the context of Steve O'Keefe, Steven Smith, David Hussey, Andrew McDonald, Mark Cameron, Brad Hodge and, since last night, Nathan Hauritz.

Ritz, taking seven wickets in his latest Perth match [scorecard], and adding three more in an aggressive bowling performance, and a whopping 146 runs in the second innings of NSW's recent match against the Redbacks (more about that later), would certainly have been the prime target of the selectors' attention, or so everybody assumed, including me, only two days ago.

Instead they went for Michael Beer, who has even less experience than Steve O'Keefe, but a significantly higher average, no international appearances under his belt at all and especially not the sounding name of Kevin Pietersen on his list of victims.

Dan Christian bowling
legspin (different deliveries)
Don't get me wrong, I've had my eye on Beer, after all he is the No. 5 on my watch list of blond left arm finger spinners, after Danny Briggs, SOK, Liam Dawson and Xavier Doherty, but he was not supposed to get unearthed, dragged to light and thrown at the beasts by the selectors before I've approved of such action.

The rest of the selectorial decisions just make me shrug. Mitchell Johnson's magical improvement away from any field after taking one wicket or less in eight of his last ten Test innings led to his recall, while Bolly was put to the chopping block. But who knows, perhaps his new homeground can put the Magic back into Johnson... Phil Hughes had been considered the expectable replacement of Katich beforehand, so no surprises here. Would have rather liked Yawn Marsh instead of the still too inconsistent little Flap, but you can't have everything. Go Flap!

North got the boot a whole year after he was due, Legsmith comes in for him as a batsman, I think this is the only decision that will be welcomed with wise nods all around. So if Australia go in with four quicks, which is not that unlikely -not as unlikely as Warne's return- Smithy will then have to fill the boots of a frontline spinner. How practical that he grabbed eight scalps (four each) in the recent NSW-SA clash:

NSW Blues v Redbacks (Shield) Day 4
[scorecard]

The Redbacks lost but I don't really care about this defeat because we saw extremely important, outstanding performances by many players.

The above mentioned Ritz heroics, accompanied by a magnificent ton from Peter Nevill, and the adventures of the Legsmith stuck out on the light blue side (we shall spread the veil of silence over Moises); while the not so little red riding hoods savoured just another top 100odd knock from Dan frickn Christian (his maiden 1st class ton according to my calculations) and a mighty good century from Callum Ferguson as well.

The latter might have come too late for the selectors to really consider Fergs for the No. 6 spot, but reaching a ton against the excellent NSW attack won't have done his post-Hussey prospects any harm. It was an absolute treat to see these two guys build a strong partnership and smash the NSW bowlers across the park. Fantastic. I'm especially proud of DC, who seems to be striding from strength to strength.

Cherry on top of the cream: I saw Dan Christian bowl legspin. Yes. Legspin. I think everybody who says there is nothing beautiful about DC should get hit on the head with a stick :D


I'm finished.

Cheers,
Wes

8 December 2010

Hauritz in for North, North in for Hauritz



There, I said it :P


NSW Blues v Redbacks (Shield) Day 2

[scorecard]

Nathan Hauritz 126*


I will not imply that he scored his maiden century because he was


a) playing against the Redbacks, who were

b) two men down (leading wicket taker Ben Edmondson with a kaputt hamstring and keeper Manou with a broken toe) on a

c) sunny, perfect batting day,


but because...


Nathan Hauritz is God.


Amen.


Welcome back to the Test bunch, Ritz.



Cheers,
Wes

7 December 2010

Bad cricket all areas...

... as Mo Yousuf puts it (click the Mentor page at the top to listen to this particular interview).

Ashes Test 2 Day 4/5

[scorecard]

Well I won't lose many words about this disaster. Basically the scorecard sums it all up.

Katich out is the blow of blows, because I can't think of any guy who is steady enough to open the batting. While there is a reasonable choice of players to replace North, especially CAMERON WHITE, I share the fear uttered by others that North's place is safe once more due to Katich's injury.

It is WRONG.

Australia's man for all formats
The lineup has to be as follows:

Watto, magical opener No. 2 (preferably Uzzy but they will go for Hughes), Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Cameron White*, Brad Haddin, Steven Smith, Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle/Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Dougie Bollinger/Peter George

This week's Shield and England XI matches  (NSW v SA, Vic v Eng XI) will determine or at least influence the selection I hope. Gonna talk a bit more about them tomorrow or so. I am also totally clueless about the fast bowlers but I think Bolly might be a good pick.

Well basically the selectors have two choices. Stick with the old crap or try and win the series at the risk of the new players getting mauled. England will bounce their arses off and while Stuart Broad's absence will pain them for a bit it is not like they didn't have any proper replacements to pick from (Tremlett... sigh). 

Not sure if the Australians have such bowlers on offer, there are rumours about Trent Copeland, though, which is quite a fascinating idea, but I am not sure if he can live up to the hype; and the difference between the two batting line-ups is obvious.

So the big task is to prevent England from going to 500-1, and then to make it past 300 oneself or clinch a low-scoring thriller if it has to be. I still can't see Oz take 20 wickets, bounce or not. But the wise heads in the ivory towers are sure going to decide well. NO.

On the last two match days, well, if for a draw you rely on rain in the morning, in an area where it only rains after 3 pm on a sunny day, you can basically also shake hands with the opponent and agree on your defeat and give your players an additional day of rest. Clarke deserves to get spanked on the naked butt with stinging nettles. For many many hours.


Horribly distracted by the Kiwi match, therefore proclaiming stumps for today,

Cheers,
Wes

6 December 2010

Catastrobwe

Bangladesh v Zimbabwe ODI 3
(Ashes blog tomorrow, finding it hard to suppress the rage)

[scorecard]

Interesting line-up changes let me hope for a victory at first:

Lovely kit, lovely playa, lovely smile, P Utseya!
Dabengwa, Meth and Elton out! Elton due to injury but I didn't believe that. In came Graeme Cremer and both Masakadzas. Yippieh! Prosper took the reigns in hand and decided to field.

The plan went well, they've had them by the collar, 71-4 with both seamers (Shingi and Mpofu) taking one and Prosper two. But! When Tatenda Taibu missed out on a stumping chance in Cremy's first over I immediately knew this mistake would cost them dearly. And Mushfiqur, the unstumped one, didn't plan to fail twice and went on to build the matchwinning partnership with Shakib at the other end.

With a target of 247 and 10 overs of Razzak (unplayable, four wickets at 1.40/ov), Shuvo, Shafiul (four wickets) and Mashrafe each the pressure must have been mounting on the Zim batters and one by one they chucked their wickets away. Out of the nos. 1-6 only Taylor made it into double figures. Ahem. Does 15 already count as a double figure?

When the good Prosper came in he desperately tried to save the match and backed up his excellent four wickets with a captain's knock of 67, Cremer (24), Price and Shingi trying to hang around for as long as possible to help him through, but the game had been lost long ago.

It is hopeless sometimes, really. Just when you think yeah that's the dream line-up such an accident happens. I don't know what to say about that. I still see massive potential in this batting order. Taylor, Ham, Taibu, Ervine, Chakabva... not to mention Utseya. I frickn know they can do it. Guys please time to take heart and pull the pants up, two more matches -  two more chances! Although I think the match was lost on the bowling front actually, the inability to break the Mushi/Shakib partnership early lead to the inevitable.

Can't wait to see how ODI bullies like Oz and SAF deal with Razzak. I'm even a tiny wee hopeful that he can annoy India a little. So there is a tiny bit of a preemptive gloat in all this. But the Zimbies are currently twisting the knife in my heart!


Cheers,
Wes

5 December 2010

Stop The Madness!

Ashes Test 2 Day 3
[scorecard]

Stop throwing buckets of form after Pietersen!
Stop believing Nathan Hauritz will magically provide 400 runs/innings and take 20 wickets!
Stop piling the blame for the sorry state of Australian cricket on poor old Xavier Doherty!

Don't bash the X-Man   (c) Getty Images
At present Oz can neither bowl nor bat, barring Hussey, Haddin, Harris and Wat. And this condition was the reason for picking Doherty, not the effect of it. Doherty is certainly putting his all into his performance, his limits showing is not his fault, his first-class average was out there in the tables for everyone to see, in particular the responsibles. They weighed a respectable average (O'Keefe) against experience (Doherty) and decided, I must admit understandably, in favour of the latter. However, it would be wise to take him out of the firing line and send him on a five star holiday in the Caribbean, before he turns to alcohol.

So we're expecting more line-up changes for the third Test of course. A possible return of the Ritz? Because I seriously don't want another inexperienced spinner like O'Keefe to get mauled. Leave his inclusion for after the Ashes, try him out in the ODIs perhaps, give him a proper build-up before he gets thrown into the Ashes bone mill.

The grapevine murmurs of the Legsmith, because stubbornness may prevent a Ritz. The mere thought of trying to replace Doherty with Smithy makes me clench my face. This is only going to work if you push North down the order and use him as your frontline spinner, and play Steven in his place instead as a batsman. But I don't want the Smithkid to get torn to shreds by the Annunaki (rofl), or even Armpitface.

My plans for any line-up changes all concern the post-Ashes era, and I think some of the players will know that their time is up. My hope is that for exactly this reason we should be able to savour a couple of desperate lifesaver tons in the next say three or four Aus innings. I am especially taking North, Clarke, Katich and Punter into focus here. Yes four of the specialist batsmen. Out of who two are carrying more or less serious niggles around. There will be a week of rest until the next Test starts and we can only hope Harris is fit enough to keep playing. And then after the series... Chop(ped) Suey!


Cheers,
Wes

4 December 2010

God fork grrrgg arghhh WTH!!!!!!

Good news first? OK. So, for the Pom gloaters who want to roll around in my Ashes torment: please scroll down.

Bushrangers v Redbacks (Ryobi Cup)

Click to read the euphoric Cricinfo Bulletin

Dan Christian keeps on frickning
Post-match audio interview
Oh. My. God. Dan frickn Christian. Yes he changed his diet a few weeks ago. What we are witnessing here is his incredible tranformation from a stop-and-go cricketer with the odd outburst of clumsiness to a merciless, ice-cold, efficient killer machine. Because to his insane figures of 6-48 (he took all of the first five wickets) and the match best score of 86 you also have to add that he butchered Brad Hodge into hurt-induced retirement. The four wickets DC generously left for the other bowlers were taken by Ben Edmondson, the player who got labelled as dead meat by his homies, the Western Boriers, upon which he moved into the South Australian Orphanage For Abandoned Underrated Cricketers. Michael Klinger has cut the knot as well, back with 76 runs, well done Max :D

I am seriously running out of words and amazement. My pea-brain can't cope with it. What the hell is going on! Three stunning victories in a row, the Redbacks are on a killing spree, and two of these games, including this one, started with a batting collapse, from which the Spiderboys recovered in a remarkable fashion. I hope that the Australian national side has a very close look at these hungry SA blokes, who are currently trying to kick themselves in the arse and thereby out of the misery.

Oh yes... the misery......


Ashes Test 2 Day 1/2

God it sucks elephant arse!!! I agree with my Adelaide connection: Oz must lose this 4:0 to kick the shit out of the selectors. I would sack the whole damn team. Seriously. I would sack everyone except for Watto.

What the hell is going on. Punter has to go, Clarke as well. People are also sick of his looming failure as Australia's next super captain. Nobody wants to see that. Put White in the team, make Mussey the interim skipper and then give White the reigns. Something has to happen. North has to go as well.

In fact my new team would look like this:
Watto, Usman Khawaja, Mike Hussey, Cameron White, Brad Haddin, Steven Smith, Steve O'Keefe (O'Keeeeeeeefe...), Peter Siddle / Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Dougie Bollinger / Peter George (George for Tests in Hobart, England etc)

They will have more than two years to play Tests and grow together. Mussey is obviously not gonna play forever, why not put Tim Paine in. So the guys behind the stumps can be swapped after each over; while in the field they can think up new sledges, which they will then spew at the batsmen while keeping. HAR HAR. Khawaja will compete with Hughesless I think. My mind has changed on him, I want little Flap to make runs. Good times. Then in 2.5 years, when a new 17-man squad has to be named, I want to see Aiden Blizzard's name in it and perhaps even Dan Christian's. Is the number of Vics appropriate? I think two is ok. And God knows what great new fast bowlers will be available then as back-ups.

Alright perhaps the list was made with a winking eye but you see where I'm coming from. What surfaces here is a whole year of delayed necessary changes. But the second reason for my enormous anger is that they are stuffing up my Adelaide Test. This incapable, incompetent, impotent, cack-handed bunch of half-arses is seriously fricking up MY TEST. BOOOOOO!

I'm afraid I can't take another Cook double ton. While England's future skipper (really... I still don't get it) is making one hundred after another Clarke has a tonne strapped to his back.
Oh have I mentioned that KP is on 80odd*

Let's hope it rains. Let's hope they'll get past 200 in their second innings. Let's hope a plane dumps some form over the Adelaide Oval. Let's hope for something that lets us hope.

Yawning and zombiefied,
Wes

3 December 2010

Zimply not enough

Ashes blog tomorrow. Absolutely gutted, still want to drop several players -you know who-, too grumpy to write about it. And, mind you, it is not the only catastrophe that has happened last night:

Bangladesh v Zimbabwe ODI 2
[scorecard]
Related post: ODI 1

Red nose, bloodshot eye, top-score: no doubt, an Ervine.
1) Brendan Taylor. Needs to lift his game. Currently he is a bit like Umar Akmal, muscles a handful of very impressive ones, then gets out when he should capitalise. However. His name still makes me smile and gives me this fuzzy warm Brendan Taylor feeling, if you know what I mean (seeing that you are reading a Zim blog I bet you do).

2) Justice Chibhaba. Yeah after the previous match I still wanted to see more of him but I think I've seen enough now. Put Hamilton Masakadza back in. I understand that Zim want to probe the new players and expose them to World Cup conditions but please, do also spare a thought on winning! Chamu couldn't penetrate with the ball either.

3) Regis Chakabva. Hehe :) Yeah not a big score but I have very nice gut feeling about him.

4) Keith Dabengwa. Well he was in the runs this time and steadied the ship with Tatenda Taibu but at what cost! They got 48 runs from more than 17 overs. Bangladesh squeezed the air out of Zim's batting. Took a wicket at the match best econ. rate of 2.42.

5) Tatenda Taibu. See above, I also would like to see a few more runs from him.

6) Babyslug Craig Ervine. 42*. Awwwww. Beautiful addition to the squad. Bats at a very suitable position I think, but was under much pressure to lift the run rate. Did very well in the given circumstances.

7) Elton Chigumbura. God drop him already. Seriously. Either this or strip him of the captaincy. He is in god-awful form with bat and ball. My impression was already in South Africa that his confidence takes a massive blow when things aren't going well. Not sure if he was born for a leading role... sorry Elton :(

8) Prosper Utseya. Got knocked soft by the Bangladesh batsmen, but batted as if the hooved one was behind him. Great partnership with Babyslug, 8 overs at more than 7 runs/ov.

9) Keegan Meth. Tears my heart out but he forked it up again with both devices. Sigh.

10) Ray Price. Couldn't hang around with Ervine to drag Zim over the 200 run mark, but took two wickets, reliable force with the ball really.

11) Chris Mpofu. Clear signs (imho) that perhaps Meth should be exchanged for a different pacer (pick Shingi pick Shingi!! Or Butterworth... or.... Cremer^^... please please please. Cremy needs a ride out on these pitches and Butterworth/Shingirai deserve one). I am happy to see Mpofu recovering, after he had a time to forget in Saffaland.


Bangladesh, well what shall I say, commanding performance in all departments.
In particular the eternal Shakib Al Hasan and, let me dust this category on this occasion, the walking knife Abdur Razzak (fiver incl. a hattrick at the Zim death) tied Zimbabwe to the ground. Shakib took a wicket in the first over of each of his last three spells. And I bet the end of my back that he would also have made a ton, had the other Bang batters let him. But the selfish bastards Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique and Raqibul Hasan would not allow him to bask in batting glory again *g*


No clue how it goes on now, we shall see.


Cheers,
Wes

2 December 2010

Things you didn't know about Adelaide

1) There will be a result on day 5. I am not fantasising or anything. The new curator said it. Despite him working with Les Burdett for 14 years, promising a typical Adelaide pitch and being widely suspected of having paved a road. Interestingly, eight of the last ten Tests played there produced a result. Provided the weather agrees with this plan we could, perhaps, be in for an interesting match. No don't say anything... he didn't cover the nets deliberately. Just to annoy the shit out of KP.

2) Adelaide has a cricket bakery. It is called "On O'Connell" and supports the Redbacks. Check it out (and click the pics on the right...), go there, have bread, and show some love for Klinger & Co! They also offer internet acess. This quote is taken from their "About" section:

Bakery On O'Connell is a unique bakery cafe, 5 minutes from the city, in the heart of the food hub of North Adelaide on busy O’Connell Street.

We pride ourselves in more than 200 products on offer including a delicious range of cakes, pastries and breads which are all hand crafted by our young professional baking team on the premises. (...)

For the tourist, we offer the opportunity to experience some of Adelaide’s iconic food in the Pie Floater and Lamington, whilst having the opportunity to use our internet facilities to catch up with family and friends back home.

Being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can come in at any time and enjoy great coffee made by our friendly staff whilst indulging in one of our many cakes on offer, or after a night out, enjoy a hot pastry straight from our pie warmer.

Proud supporters of the SA Redbacks.

3) Rundle Mall, yeah the Malls Balls and stuff, but check out the Magic Cave! Go to Santa and tell him your wishes. And don't forget to admire the utterly cute Rundle Mall Pigs Horatio, Oliver, Truffles and Augusta. Also check out Hahndorf, the "German" town, with its restaurants, cafes and delicatessen. And once you are following the trail of noms you can as well pay a visit (or two) to the Central Market. OMG. Here's the interactive stall map, click around and plan your nomfest. And have a look at the traditionally slightly disturbing Christmas lights at the West End Brewery.



No they didn't pay me for that.

Cheers,
Wes

1 December 2010

This day is full of win, of Redbacks and of ZIM!

Just when I thought I had shown DC from all angles *g*
Tasmanian Tigers v Redbacks (Ryobi Cup)

After their amazing victory over Tassie in the Shield the Saussie Redbacks have now also thrashed them in the Ryobi Cup. Whooohooo. Callum Ferguson underlines his outstanding one-day qualities with an unbeaten century, Dan frickn Christian took 3-55 and made a very, very DC-ish 31 from 11, Jesus the guy is thriving at the moment, I can't believe it, when he scores like that he makes me laugh like a monkey, go DC!!!

And our dear Tom Coops Shnoops Cooper scored a half ton, too. Chris Duval took three as well and Two Metre Peter chipped in with a pair of wickets at the match best economy rate of 3.70. Generally Peter George is having a great time at the moment, hopefully he can retain his form when the Redbacks leave Tasmania.

Yes yes a thousand times yes!!! Go the Spideys!


Bangladesh v Zimbabwe ODI 1

Zimbabwe won! YAY! While New Zealand couldn't beat Bangladesh at home a single time in four or so matches, Zimbabwe pulled off an amazing 9-run victory. I like the fact that they were about 40 or 50 runs below a par total, but still defended it with their fabulous spinners (coughcoughnocremercoughcoughgrrrrrrrrrrrrrr), and it's great to look at the scorecard and see old Chris Mpofu taking three scalps, in particular that of Shakib bloody al Hasan, who keeps amazing me more with each match he plays. He is by far (and I mean by very far) the greatest player Bangladesh have in their ranks, and he nearly got them home with his fabulous innings, but fell to the aforementioned Mpofu eventually. He will be biting himself in the top of the back of the leg a million times.

Taylor, Cremer, Meth: proudly sporting
the Zimbabwean skunkdo! Apart from that
Meth looks like the lovechild of Taylor
and Cremer in this pic, but I am most
likely the only one who can see that.
The very valuable addition of Ray Price probably pushes Graeme Cremer into a mere back-up position, as Prosper Utseya naturally picks himself, but I could imagine that Keegan Meth makes way for The Cremy Man in the next match, as he went wicketless at a pretty high economy, while the spinners did very well. Dabengwa didn't look that good either, these were the two guys that leaked more than 6 per over.

But generally things are looking good, Regis Chakabva clawed himself into the crease, he and Babyslug Craig Ervine nearly touched the 50-run mark. The good Brendan Taylor and Justice Chibhaba got Zim off to a nice start, the criers are crying for the return of Hamilton Masakadza of course (understandably) but I am undecided here, would like to see more of Chibhaba, he's cool.  

Could we perhaps kick Elton out for Ham and give Ham the captaincy haha. Hey the idea is pretty good! Or crown Tatenda Taibu, for that matter.

Blablablubb... happy for today :D (Will talk about Mitch and Ashes and Adelaide and Poms tomorrow again... or maybe not, if it is too depressing.)


Cheers,
Wes

Some unrealistic Adelaide thoughts

Well let's face it, it was humbug to put a sla in just for KP. I've begun to like the Xman for his workhorse attitude and dedication. But earlier I wrote that Oz might have picked him in the Gabba squad as a token spinner, well he eventually made it into the team but couldn't prosper apart from playing for the sake of playing, which corresponds, imho, to the definition of a token. If he gets kicked now you will ask yourself what is more humiliating: playing no Tests at all, or just one?

The Adelaide Oval is suspected to provide spinnier conditions, but in the last Test Australia played there, in the first days of December as well, Hauritz took just two wickets in the first innings, one of which was a tailender, and didn't have any impact in the second round, while the cake was shared among the pacers: Mitch got eight & belted around, Bolly grabbed five, and on the Windie side of things it didn't look much different.

Well, Sulie got a fiver first up, but Sulie is Sulie; he went wicketless in his second turn, albeit at a great economy, particularly compared to the high economy rates of most of the fast bowlers.

At The Wisden Cricketer Jrod suggests to go in with four quicks, i.e. ditch Mitch and X and attack with Siddle, Harris, Bollinger and Hilfenhaus. Well Jrod has many ideas I approve of, especially if they don't involve any campaigns for Victorians, and again I find myself grinning like not quite right in the head, and not just my applause and wise nodding, but also common sense suggest that Oz should decide in favour of the all-pace route.

Well, there is still my man Steve O'Keefe waiting in the wings. He has a lot less first class experience under the belt than Xavier Doherty, but only half his average, and he removed KP. Besides, unlike X, he has already seen a bat from close range and could fill the not yet existing boots of an annoying, ankle-biting upper tail hang-arounder. Needless to say that many people agree with me;  although to be honest I've avoided checking their places of birth.

However, the four-pronged pace attack is Australia's best option at the moment, but you can bet your arse and that of your mother that the selectors will stick to X, because admitting and correcting a mistake is out of the question, they get paid for what in their opinion saves their faces, not for picking Australia's best bowlers. It's a bit of a Ricky Ponting behavioural pattern here. I remember him refusing to plug a gap in the field after he had just removed the fielder from there and the batsman hammered a few juicy ones through it.

Alright, back to topic, remains the North question. I am really undecided on this one, the reason could be a general state of resignation, campaigning-against-North-fatigue and having got used to him being around for shit and giggles. What a great opportunity to take another bend to Steve O'Keefe! SOK can and will take one wicket as well, and he will also make one run. Were there any other reasons for North playing in Adelaide?

Last but not least, in my previous post I said Clarke should get rested to sort his back out. I think his fielding was below standard and he also struggled with the bat. No use dragging a patient along, especially as he can't bowl either in these circumstances. I would suggest Aiden Blizzard here. His figures speak for themselves, a first class average of 56.33 (I can sing this even in my sleep) and the ability to drag his team out of the swamp by their collars could provide exactly the steamroll effect Oz would hope to see from one of their batsmen. Okay okay no need to yell me to death! Push the whole bunch up the order and slot Cameron White in.

Alright back to the harsh reality: Mitch stays because Nielsen is backing him and he took eight last time, North stays as well. Means that either Hilf might get axed but don't believe so, or Doherty (don't believe so either), means Oz could go in with the same line-up. And Mitch will take 50 wickets and North will make a triple ton.


Cheers,
Wes

29 November 2010

Redbacks wow, Aussies owww


Peter George of the Redbacks  (c) Getty Images
Tasmanian Tigers v South Australia Redbacks (Sheffield Shield)

Who'd have thunk it!  
They didn't only bounce back from 55 all out but on the last day they took the remaining 5 wickets for just 33 runs and won comfortably by 43 runs!! It is especially pleasing to see that Krejza didn't finish unbeaten.

Heroes of the match: Peter George with 4-65 and 5-28 (LOL), Vic Import No.1 Rob Cassell with 5 scalps, Vic Import No.2 Aiden Blizzard with 113, Dan frickn Christian with 93 incl. 11 fours and 5 sixes, Graham Manou with 77.  

"George finished with 5 for 28 and took nine wickets for the match, continuing his love affair with Bellerive Oval, where in the corresponding game last year he collected 11 for the match," writes Cricinfo.

I still can't believe they've won the match of shame this comfortably. Klinger must have spoken some very angry (or sweet) words after the first Redbacks innings. Something like "Dudes, seriously, WTF!!!" or "Frog cakes for every 50!" Well it helped!

Press conferences (audio):  Peter George (Day 1), Dan frickn Christian (Day 3), Michael Klinger (Day 4)

Yes and I also think the gap between Callum Ferguson and the Test team is widening...

Oh yes the Test team!!! Arghhhh!

Ashes Test 1 Day 5
[scorecard]

Les Poms Du Mal:

Trott, Cook, Strauss, Satan, Rat Plague, Cholera, Cat Poo, Old Fish (c) Getty Images


Click to watch Batty, Church,
Linley discuss the 1st Test
and preview Adelaide
Punter has already announced that Dougie Bollinger and Ryan Harris have been added to the squad. Surrey's Gareth Batty thinks Mitch shouldn't get chopped in a panic reaction. Gareth Batty is generally interesting to listen to. Tim Linley has a bit of a giggle fit and Mark Church should definitely be on TV very often.

The two additions to the squad also mean that North will play yet another Test. They probably bank on his spin (= undroppability), seeing that the Xman didn't have a lot of impact, but I hope he'll come good in Adelaide, Swann is expected to do better as well.

Personally I would rest Clarke, simply because the guy needs a break, his injury seems to hamper him to a large extent. But I reckon he will hobble across the field in Adelaide again.

I also see strong parallels between Andrew Strauss and Graeme Smith. Both are SAF-born, not overly imaginative cricket captains, who open the batting in a muscular fashion and are, more or less currently, thriving in foreign conditions. Ergo, Strauss is a bos tardis as well, q.e.d. and moo!

Quote of the day:
Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special about Mitchell Johnson: "I wouldn't let him hold a baby!"


Cheers,
Wes