|Posted on 4 September, 2019 at 21:15|
The 4th Test at Manchester’s Old Trafford gets underway tonight and it is a must win situation for England.
The toss and the weather will determine the result here... this time of year in Lancashire; the cricket seasons in the various leagues around Lanc’s are drawing to a close.
A drawn Test is not what England want either.
There are are so many variables that could effect this result and must fall into place for England to win, otherwise they’ll go to the Oval, desperate for victory on a venue the Australian’s enjoy and this might be the reason for resting Pattinson; because I can’t remember Starc taking a wicket at Kennington; whereas Siddle and Hazlewood have. Let’s hope Cummins can stay on his feet for the remainder of the series.
So what to do?
With the Oval coming up... I’d play Siddle this Test; on the basis he’ll hit consistent lines and having been rested at Headingley a reasonable gallop before heading to London might be needed. I think Sids needs work to maintain rhythm and confidence and we’ll sure need him working away in partnership for the 5th and final Test. So keep this in mind.
With Starc coming into the 12 and the unreliable Khawaja, making way for Smith. I can’t see the selectors going with 5 bowlers so Siddle or Starc must miss out.
England on the other hand have chosen a quick who bowls good lines and hits the deck. Overton can also handle a bat which makes him an obvious replacement for a jaded Woakes. In my mind, this gives us a pretty good idea as to the type of pitch we can expect at the home of Lancashire Cricket.
During the first two County Championship game’s early this season all but two wickets taken by Lanc’s fell to seamers. This gets back to importance of bowling sustained lines... something the Australian’s have struggled to achieve.
England with a five pronged attacked of Archer, Broad, Overton, Stokes and Leach in support... will attack with Archer using with his great lines and pace. This will allow them to work over the fragile Australian batting with patience whilst exerting the utmost pressure.
Add all this to the ever changing conditions the “surrounding moors” will provide and we will have one very intriguing Test.
|Posted on 2 September, 2019 at 8:20|
England's new fast bowling sensation Jofra Archer has played all of 2 Tests and I might add; on wickets that have done plenty. He won’t find these condition everywhere he plays but this hasn’t stopped him from sledging opponents.
The question I ask is; has he experienced enough of the game to be in a position to make such bold statements? In other words, has he earned his stripes? There is no longevity here... that’s for certain!
Most new arrivals to Test match cricket go about their task quietly and with humility... but not “Jofra” and a lack of cofidence will never be his downfall and he desn't hold back when making judgement either. He claims the Aussies panicked under pressure; in other words they choked and let's face it... it is what many have said, but is this true?
Anyway it has raised some questions in particular; about Australia’s ability to overcome what ended up being a very humiliating 3rd Test defeat at Headingley and do they have tthe ability to bounce back?
Let’s take a look at the pressure situations that Australia overcame during at Headingley: firstly Australia were on the back foot after a disappointing Ist innings and fought back to blast England out; no choking under pressure there. Then from a disastrous start to the snd innings, they fought back to post England a sizeable second innings task; no choking under pressure there either; And
Just when England had put themselves back into the contest, on a wicket that was flattening out... Australia rose to the challenge again.
When James Pattinson had taken the wicket of Broad; he had gone for a miserly 4 runs in three overs and I for one, was certain the Aussies had done enough to retained the Ashes and I headed for bed.
Our arch enermy were 9/286, had lost 2 wickets in three deliveries and with a run rate sitting at 2.48, tail end Charlie "Leach" would need to hold our boys out for more than 30 overs or more.
I can say I was dumbstruck to wake up to the news England had won and to learn of Stokes, had done a "Botham 1981". Just think of it... had this been Pakistan who'd lost from this position; the corruption Police and Media would have been all over them.... and calling it a scandal!
With this in mind; I went straight to the cricinfo “commentary page” to check the ball by ball coverage (a terrific way to get a clear perspective of the game, if you ignore the comments). I did some quick calculations and worked out that Stokes had faced just 45 deliveries, (7.3 overs); I realised that he had flayed our attack at just above 11 runs per over.
I dug deeper trying to find the reason; Pattinson I discovered, had gone on to complete his spell, 3 of which were maidens, costing hime 1 wicket for 8 runs. An overall performance of 25 overs 9 maidens 1/47.
Lyon, when I had turned in for the night, had bowled 35 overs, he went on to bowl another 4 overs; finishing with 39 overs for the inning. His last overs consisting of 17 dot balls and 7 scoring shots. This including 4 sixes (3 hit straight and the other an extraordinary reverse sweep over third man) It meant Cummins and Hazlewood had gone for 43 in only 3.4 overs. Hazlewood, in his defence, had already bowled 30 overs; he was spent!
Josh would have been feeling extremely sore having worked hard for his 4 wickets. Trying to get his big frame into gear again, was going to be a big ask. It's not surprising he went for 19 (4, 6, 6, 2 & 1).
Cummins on the other hand... had bowled considerably less, 22 overs and in his next spell of 2.4... conceded 24 runs, the fourth and last ball, being a wide short pitcher, that was smashed through covers for 4 to bring England a remarkable and memorable victory.
In all; from that 115.2 over mark, when I hit the sack, 8 sixes were hit. Of those runs need for victory, 44 were scored between mid wicket and fine leg... I guess we might say the lines were poor! 27 runs were scored straight with only 1 solitary single... this might suggest some baited deliveries (a term we use is shopping for wickets). it will not be the last time this idea fails and finally 22 runs were scored between 3rd man and cover... ok! you don't mind that.
In summing up; we can ask questions like; did we provided Stokes with too many opportunities to play power shots square of the wicket? Or could it be said that we tried to buy wickets. It could; Or that Hazlewood had been bowled into the ground... but he deserved the opportunity to take another 5 for.
As for Pattinson and Cummins... were they under used? I am sure James would have been happy to bowl a few more, especially after taking his first wicket of the innings.
But the truth is... Australia have been playing a bowler short all series and given our batting display; as it turns out, we might as well have played the extra quick all along.
So is Archer correct?
No, Australia had already fought off a number of clutch situations during the game and put themselves in a match winning position. To say the boys choked is an insult to Stokes and Leach.
Archer is full of confidence and is showing a touch of arrogance that comes with inexperience; he will learn the hard way... perhaps as soon as Old Trafford Test.
|Posted on 20 August, 2019 at 0:55|
Yesterday I said the concussion rule cost England Victory at Lords because Australia were allowed a replacement batsmen. This prompted immediate response in defence of the rule and the severity of concussion.
Still, I am not convinced a replacement player should be allowed. Just as we accept an umpires decision when we are dismissed... why is it that we cannot accept a medical decision on the matter?
Concussion after all, is an injury and if sustain during the course of the match; I think it should be treated as such?
Concussion can occur many ways and not necessarily from a blow to the head (the helmet does not prevent it), it can come from a whiplash effect and only rest can repair the damage (just like many injuries). So if we are concerned for a players wellbeing, then the player needs to be taken from the game if the injury is deemed serious.
In the case of being concussed a players judgement, balance, reflexes memory and vision can be affected but it is an “injury” and as a result of this the player could be hit again. So what about the damage next time?
Any other blow to the head region may not need to be so severe from what I have read... this raises another issue. The player will be taking this injury into any future game of cricket... so should he continue to get replacement batsman?
|Posted on 20 August, 2019 at 0:45|
The “Concussion Rule” denied England a series levelling win at Lords last night.
In the course of any sporting event, injuries happen. Jim Anderson if you remember suffered a recurrence of a calf strain in the first innings of the Edgbaston Test; having completed just 4 overs he was unable to contribute for the remainder of the match. England played on with a substitute fielder but were a bowler down for the most of the Test Match.
On the other hand at Lords, Australia were allowed to replace Smith who during a enthralling battle with England’s fast man Jofra Archer misplayed a rising ball and was felled from a severe blow that hit Steve behind the left ear. Steve was forced to retired hurt even though he was wearing all the injury prevention equipment he could find (helmet, leg guards thigh pad gloves etc).
He then returns to crease moments later, but is unable to take the field for the second innings.
Now it is fair for England to play a bowler short, but it is for Australia to play a batsmen short because they were allowed to replace Smith with another top order replacement rather than suffer the inconvenience of playing on with one short; I find this rule absurd.
No athlete wants to suffer injury or loss of form particularly in a team sport environment. In almost all team sport scenarios; sitting on the sidelines are reserve players (replacements) ready to take the field to reduce workload or replace non contributors.
So why are we allowed to replace an injured batsman but an injured bowler?
In all circumstances a bowlers is just as important to a teams chances of victory as any batsmen.
|Posted on 12 August, 2019 at 20:20|
There are serious problems facing the game of cricket: such as
Grass Roots Cricket where participation numbers have been fraudulently portrayed in order to achieve performance bonus’s.
Poor development programs implemented throughout the country; forget that they don’t address the future needs of the game or its sustainability; and
Forget about those being attracted to the game... it’s natural resource.
These are issues that remain unresolved as a result of those occupying CA’s Board Room; the game no longer represent our cricket communities and worse... it seems they can never be replaced. They select from an exclusive club denying those from within the game to advance through natural progression. Please tell me if I am wrong.
How this happened we’ll never know, I’d like to see the information the game’s delegates received to vote themselves out of the game’s decision making process.
A process that has allowed “CA” to release their gender policy without consultation with the game at grassroots where the majority of players have a mother and father and where children are conceived naturally and might become future cricketers.
And so it was no wonder this policy was condemned; prompting a defensive “Tweet” promoting an opinion piece written by its CEO; Kevin Roberts.
Roberts, asks us to imagine being from a marginalised group in society. A society, denied access to sport that will provide a connection to communities where men who want to be women have a place of normality, belonging and inclusiveness, such as women’s cricket.
I don’t know this bloke but having read his self appraising article. To me he’s a “snowflake” pushing an agenda introduced by Alex Blackwell (Cricket NSW Board Member and a gay Women’s Test Cricketer). An agenda she claims is “inclusive” and yet; Blackwell says anyone with concerns for their children playing with or against transgender cricketers, should find another sport.
That’s rather exclusive; don’t you think Alex?
I would love to know how many of the 1200 or so who identify as transgender in our country have actually played cricket? Playing backyard or beach criket does not qualify you as a cricketer. To be a Cricketer, you work your way through the competitive grades to reach a reasonable standard “A Grade Cricket”.
Anyway, apparently it is a human right for males who believe they are female; that they should be treated as natural born women and reap the rewards on offer from that sport. Rubbish! In what world could anyone justify this?
I wonder! how many are using human rights in the reverse; women transitioning to men and wanting to play men’s sport?
I can see someone’s daughter, perhaps 158cm tall, weighing in at 62kg (ringing wet) playing the game, enjoying the thrill of competition against her peers; Yes, her peers! Natural born Women!
Under this CA gender policy this same girl might finds herself facing up to a 195cm 100kilo hairy back who thinks he’s a she with a 142kgram 2pce in hand. Think about that extra strength, muscle memory, lung capacity and larger hands off the long run, delivering that small ball at a pace no normal woman could deliver.
This is absurd, unhealthy, in fact sickeningly and frighteningly so!
Of course Roberts, like all “feel good” globalists claims the issue has been looked into seriously, even the science he says (not the science I have read) and so CA have come up a way to ensure fair and balanced participation.
Roberts claims CA are following Olympic guidelines. A sport in the courts because natural women are complaining the competition is unfair.
Show us the science Roberts. Let us judge the information that has been put forward by your CA latte’ sipping administrators. Show us that you have not been wasting time and energy on minority’s; using valuable funds generated by men’s cricket to devalue the biological values of the majority.
Explain why taking drugs or having surgery to alter your appearance is not just a disguise and why that isn’t cheating the sporting code.
I don’t think supporters want to see athletes born as men accepting the accolades of a sport that was created for natural born women.
|Posted on 10 August, 2019 at 1:20|
To Cricket Australia (CA) if Shane Warne was banned for 12 months for taking a diuretic to reduce weight; and Smith, Warner & Bancroft banned for 12 months for attempting to alter the condition of the ball, also deemed bring the game into disrepute.
You CA are now saying it is fine to take drugs? (To reduce testosterone but not weight); and that it’s ok to tamper with the ball, the balls you're naturally born with / or not, just to pretend your female so you can play Women’s Cricket? ( or even Women’s Test Cricket); and by the way, this is a oneway street, it's not women looking to play mens cricket.
Give Lance Armstrong back his Tour de France wins along with an apology and ignore the Science that tells us male to female transgender athletes do hold an advantage over natural born female athletes; at least the science I’ve read... muscle density, lung capacity and muscle memory and no matter the amount of drugs taken to reduce testosterone; and is that drug any good for anyone, I wouldn't think so.
If that’s not considered performance enhancing; what is it? When an athlete cannot compete against his natural sex, but is able to win against women demoting them from their own sport... this is shammeful and especially when impersonators can take the rewards real women have worked so hard to achieve.
Life dishes out misfortune everywhere; it is difficult to accept, but it is life, as is inclement weather; we all have to accept it. I bet we’d all like to be something we’re not; smarter, thinner, taller and so on; it’s called getting over ourselves.
CA has just created a situation to disadvantage naturally born women; this is not inclusiveness and it’s not within the spirt of the game, Kevin Roberts!
There is no reason why a competition cannot be set up to cater for those who feel disadvantaged just as the over 50 or Over 60, under age or All Abilities?
RIP Women’s Cricket!
CA has used the Money earned by the Men’s game to fund the development of Women’s Cricket and then it does this to it?
The CA Board need to be sacked and the rightful owners of the game reinstated after this statement (below)which I doubt very much, was made on behalf of the game?
This is my opinion and if you don’t like it; I don’t care! Things are getting out of hand!
|Posted on 7 August, 2019 at 20:00|
At the “Fortress”, Edgbaston, Australia and as my wife said to me this morning, “Gee Australia really thumped England”. And Yes! They did in the end, but it wasn’t all one way, it was a real battle.
Having won the toss and choosing to bat the Aussies came from behind after their top order capitulated. It took a heroic effort from Steve Smith and Peter Siddle to add respectability; and not wanting to take anything away from Smith and Siddle, England were and would be a bowler down for the remainder of the Test.
It should also be remembered that England had taken the advantage by the end of day two; Australia had chosen to use some very ordinary around the wicket tactics; and the deficit had been reduced to a hand full of runs with six wickets in hand.
There is nothing I need to say about Steve Smith, it’s all been said; except for something from former England player and Coach David Lloyd; “Bumbles” in reference to Steve’s second century of the match... If you were viewing at the time you might remember the camera focusing in on a game of cricket being played near bye; And to the two or three spectators watching on Bumbles yelled in jest, “Steve Smith’s still batting”. ����
Yes! England were gone; with Wade and Smith still at the crease, Australia’s total was going to be beyond anything ever chased down at the venue.
What a pleasure it was to watch our bowlers in the second innings; Pattinson and Siddle were wicketless but were magnificent nevertheless; Cummins with three in the first finished with seven for the match but all the quicks beat the bat, with terrific lines, seam position and use of crease. If they maintain these tactics throughout, they will be a formidable combination and be rewarded accordingly. In particular Cummins peppered the corridor with subtle angle changes; And Lyon! Well he took full advantage of the deteriorating pitch to mesmerise his combatants with a nine wicket haul.
I still get a kick from the memory of that former English Offie with such high opinions himself “Graeme Swann” who claimed Lyon would be the weakest link in the Aussie bowling attack. What a sledge to make about one of his peers; he must now, chew on his words each time Lyon has the ball in hand.
This was a win Australia would not have expected and we should not get carried away; the series is far from over.
Former Tasmanian Fast Bowler Mark Ridgway mentioned just the other day in celebrating Matthew Wades “back to the wall”, Test 100; and I agree Bancroft and Khawaja are now under pressure with Warner not far behind.
Fortunately we have youngsters in the wing who are proven contributors.
|Posted on 7 August, 2019 at 19:55|
In my post on Thursday morning I mentioned that I had doubts re: the bowling tactics the Australian’s might use; then again on Friday, I raised the issue when Cummins had opened around the wicket to Rory Burns; Burns is now 120 odd not out.
When I first saw this approach being employed; I thought why didn’t the Australia’s select the left arm pace of Starc?
Was the concern, batting depth? Because it couldn’t have been balance... not with only 4 bowlers.
As a discussion point, I would argue the stats suggest we could have played both Starc and Siddle; I would be making the claim that our tail has contributed; grandly to our overall innings tally for seasons now. Just think about this; how many times over recent years have we been let down by the top order? (And if we’re looking to the future; surely Carey must better prospect than Wade? )
From Paine down the attack of Cummings, Starc, Pattison, Siddle and Lyon have all proven they can bat and their batting has helped win Tests or save us time and again.
I would be confident (if I were in charge) to have Paine higher. He looks as sound as any of those rated above him or more accomplished albeit he was dismissed poorly 1st innings. This still hasn’t altered my thinking.
And something else to chew on; To me Carey looks confident and reeks of match winning brilliance.
|Posted on 7 August, 2019 at 19:50|
With the 2019 ICC World Cup out of the way, it is time to sit back and enjoy the truest form of cricket.
A game of intrigue that encapsulates 5 fluctuating days, whether it be a wearing pitch or the physical demands on its participants; we watch on with anticipation and uncertainty as events unfold under overcast skies; or perhaps with expectations bought about by the magnificence of another English summer afternoon that invariably inspires so many a heroic performances. It makes no matter, we absorb and appreciate the mastery of bat over ball or visa versa. This is England v Australia and it is “Ashes Cricket" as it has been, since the very first ball at Melbourne, 15th of March 1877.
Yes! England and Australia have introduced Test Match Cricket to the world; a game that brings people together no matter Race, Politics or Religion and tomorrow the first of another 5 Test series gets underway at Edgbaston.
Over the past months whilst I have been wondering who the Australian selectors might choose to defend that little urn; I was reminded of the former Australian and Lancashire League Professional (Haslingden Cricket Club), Mick Malone; Or if you prefer, “Solo” as his mates call him. Solo played only one Test for Australia against England which was the drawn 5th Oval Test of 1977. Mick bowled a marathon 47 overs in Englands first innings (20 of them maidens) to deserve every one of his 5 wickets (5/63 in fact).
I reference him because he had a talent synonymous to all great cricket teams and in particular to the style of game in England facilitated by the Dukes cricket ball.
Mick was a tall man who bowled with tantalising control with movement and always down that corridor of uncertainty as Damian Fleming would say; drawing batsmen forward to deliveries that might or might not move through the air or off the seam. He had perfected the discipline and with his height, he often found extra bounce. The principle was that if he hit the wicket hard and often enough in the right areas the unsuspecting bounce or movement would bring him reward.
This is a theory that has worked so well for the best in the game, but remarkably, it is a tactic that has been missing from the Australian bowling attack for a few years now. It was definately missing last Ashes series in England; Watson and Marsh cerainly had the ability but seemed to lack the fitness or desire.
So like many Victorians, I was praying the selectors would consider James Pattinson. An intimidating on field personality, with a huge heart and pace. He’s also a proven Duke ball specialist with the skills to take it away late. He worries all batsmen and if he can remain fit for the duration; I feel Australia will be very competitive.
I must admit that prior to learning of his selection and as a Global Warming sceptic, I was about to hang my hat on this theory as the only hope the Aussies had of success. The pace attack of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins would surely need cloudless blue skies and extreme temperatures throughout the entire series for us to have had any chance of holding onto the Urn.
With Patto’s selection I have found some hope but now find myself holding my breath as to the type of tactical instructions given to the bowling group and of course to the question surrounding the Australian batting; will it be able to combat the moving ball especially now that England have Jofra Archer to compliment any combination England might put forward.
I have no doubt his stump to stump lines and subtle use of the crease will create angles to test the best of the Australian batting.
Oh how I wish I could be there in England right now!
|Posted on 18 June, 2019 at 19:20|
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