Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Right Stuff - Nesta

With the World Cup back under southern skies the Australian cricket selectors have wasted no time in getting back to work. David Boon, Merv Hughes, Jamie Cox and Andrew Hilditch announced yesterday the list of contracted players that will represent the national side over the next 12 months. With the retirements of Damien Martyn, Justin Langer, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, and the omission of Simon Katich and Michael Kasprowicz several young players have been rewarded for excellence at first class level.

BATSMEN
Michael Clarke - NSW; Matthew Hayden - QLD; Brad Hodge - VIC; Michael Hussey - WA; Phil Jaques - NSW; Ricky Ponting - TAS; Chris Rogers - WA; Adam Voges - WA

KEEPERS
Adam Gilchrist - WA; Brad Haddin - NSW

ALLROUNDERS
James Hopes - QLD; Andrew Symonds - QLD; Shane Watson - QLD; Cameron White - VIC

BOWLERS
Cullen Bailey - SA; Nathan Bracken - NSW; Stuart Clark - NSW; Daniel Cullen - SA; Jason Gillespie - SA; Ben Hilfenhaus - TAS; Brad Hogg - WA; Mitchell Johnson - QLD
Brett Lee - NSW; Stuart Magill - NSW; Shaun Tait - SA

There are few surprises within the squad but two selections do stand out. Jason Gillespie, after being in the wilderness for 18 months has returned to provide more experience to the fast bowling ranks. And sensibly the fetished selection of four wrist spinners to try and cover the loss of Shane Warne. I’m afraid four may not be enough but the inclusion of 22 year old South Australian Cullen Bailey is the stand out.

A super fit, committed Christian with MENSA membership, the modest Bailey is a complete contrast in personality and manner to the great S.K.Warne. However, the crucial thing they do have in common is the mentorship of Terry Jenner. Bailey has been under Jenner’s tutelage since age 14 and Terry unsurprisingly speaks very highly of his young charge.

Jenner describes Bailey as a spinner similar in style to Richie Benaud and the most treasured Australian captain has been making regular trips to Adelaide in the last 18 months to offer advice and groom the young spinner.

Richie has praised the youngster's analysis of the game and points to Bailey’s insightful columns on the Redback’s website as evidence. He is most impressed with his insatiable curiosity and I suspect that Benaud sees a fair bit of himself in the young South Australian.

Whilst senior citizens around the country are rushing to have their cholesterol checked to ensure they are around to witness Benaud Mark II, Stuart Magill will be expected to fill the gap until Bailey is ready for international cricket. Jenner is of the opinion that the selectors mustn’t rush the erudite Bailey and insists that he needs more time to hone his craft.

"I think it would be devastating for a young player to follow Warne straight in, and the reputation and aura and records that come with that," Jenner said. "Stuey has a very important job now. I do believe that Bailey has the ability and the work ethic to be a successful Test bowler, but he needs to be given a chance to develop."

Magill, after more than a decade of playing second fiddle to Warne is now presented with a very important role to play for the successful future of Australian cricket. In the short term, as the spinning spearhead and in the longer term as the bridge to the next generation.

This was emphasised by Chairman of Selectors Andrew Hilditch at yesterday’s press conference, “Australian cricket is very lucky to have someone like Stuart," the solicitor said. "We obviously think he is a very valuable player for us and that is why we have placed a fair bit of faith in him."

He also added probably to Jenner’s horror and Bailey’s delight that the young Redback was well in the frame for international selection. "He has put together a couple of solid seasons now," Hilditch added. "Sometimes these things happen quickly."

With India touring later this year it will be tempting for the selectors to play Bailey in the Sydney Test as Magill’s spinning accomplice. This echoes of the Indian tour of 1991/92 when a young, tubby, inexperienced leggie with peroxided locks from Victoria was given his first baggygreen. That match was a baptism of fire for Warne and I expect the selectors will throw Bailey into the same inferno to see if he really is made of, the right stuff.

71 comments:

Zephirine said...

Thank you Nesta, an informed and well-written piece. I love the idea of the elderly Aussies flocking to the doctor to make sure they live long enough to see the new Benaud!

offside said...

Damn! Another misleading title. "The right stuff" by Nesta got me thinking it was a preview to tonight's game by the Milan center-back himself. What a scoop that would have been for Pseuds' Corner.

Ahem. Sorry. I'll get the door on my way out .

Lee said...

great piece Nesta. Is he really that good do you think? have you seen him up close or on telly much?

nesta said...

Thamks zeph. I thought Austalia's new leggie may be of interest. Generally Australians and Indians play wristspin better than most and I'm pretty sure that young Cullen Bailey will be thrown in the deep end and see if he can swim. The scars of the mauling Warne copped from Shastri and co. toughened him up significantly.

offside
Isn't it the idea of the headline to pull in the unwary? And have you seen any of the surfing in Tahiti at the moment? It's on every news bulletin in Australia.

Lee
Thanks for being kind. After reading it again - I really shouldn't be hasty - there are passages that I would rewrite.

Is he that good? He doesn't have Warne's control (who does?) and doesn't turn it as far as Magill. He is more of the Benaud or O'Rielly type of spinner. He is quick through the air and uses guile to set up the bats rather than bowling miracle deliveries.

He is a student of the game and apparently is the first at training and the last to leave. THe bloke just eats and sleeps cricket particually the art of legspin.

He has been Jenner's baby for his whole youth and few are going to argue with his or Benaud's opinion when it comes to judging wristies.

His domestic stats aren't super but either are Warne's or Magill's. Because wristies are an anomaly everywhere else on the planet - but they are very common Downunder - Australian wristie's international figures are often better than their Sheffield Shield ones.

All things considered he will be on English shores with about a dozen Tests under his belt for the 2009 Ashes.

gg said...

Nice one, Nesta!

Seeing as we've beaten you lot in both a Test series and a one-day series in the not-too-distant past, it is heartening to know that you might provide our funky bunch with a worthy challenge in the not-too-distant future.

Get the hours in on the pints and the pedalos, and we'll see you in 2009!

nesta said...

Grassy you are a cunning old fox trying to lure me with tales of the past. My appetite is satiated by the glow of upteen straight wins and a hatrick of World Championships.

To get ready for the difficult challenge of playing the fantastically skilled and athletic men of the MCC we have indeed invested in a fleet of pedal boats to get our boys ready.

After the rather modest display of the trophy at Martin Place tomorrow - no medals, greasy politicians or pissed twats, just 3 cheers and onya bike - all the lads will be tied to a pedalo - each inscribed with their name and number - and instructed to fish for their dinner. It's part of Buchanan's last bootcamp before he shoves off.

I'll be at the dock with a pocketful of change to purchase some seafood for the bistro and we can sit down with a plate and you and offy can fill me in on who this other Nesta is.

offside said...

(Offside walks into Nesta's lovely cricket thread, pulling a small cart laden with bottles, kegs, glasses and dishes of leftovers)

Hi lads, Paddy's done one and bolted the door to the taproom. Fecking crazy Irishman. He sounds suspiciously faux-scottish though, if you ask me. So I'm setting up shop here. Might as well since Nesta is cooking anyway. Rack of Sarko would be nice. Anyway, I have the emergency bottle of absinthe, greengrass will need a stiff one. Sorry gg, for once I got my prediction right, highly unusual, don't know what happened there. I suppose it's all Nesta's fault. No, the other one.

mimi said...

Offy: where have you been? I've been hammering on the door since the start of the match! Bloody ridiculous being locked out.

g fuckin g said...

Which silly bugger shut the pub, just when I need a drink more than ever?

Ah well, it's only a game - roll on Saturday!

mimi said...

Excellent: a bit of company here to relieve the tension of watching the Carter/Selby match. Anyone see what happened to Ronnie? I missed it all following the wash-out in Rome.

offside said...

Strange stuff going on at Pseuds' Corner. A thread being closed? That's a first. What next, post deletions? Bannings? English food and warm, flat beer in the next taproom?

gg said...

Who shut that bloody pub?

offside said...

gg,

yeah, just when I was planning to buy you a drink.

We have to do something.

Ebren said...

Please don't go on strike.

I'm sure there will be a new pub along in a minute, and that last one was getting very crowded.

Ingrid has to sleep sometime.

gg said...

In a minute?
We haven't written one yet!

Ebren said...

I didn't say which minute. . .

offside said...

Crowded? It was more or less the same 3 or 4 winos, as far as I could tell...

gg, it's your go.

offside said...

Wait a minute, who is this control freak? Where's the real Ebren? What have you done with andrew? Help!

Baron Greenback said...

Andrew was last seen in the company of some Scottish kittens. We are all scared.

Ebren's ego and paranoia has grown as the number of articles on pseuds dwindles.

I have him in an underground cellar and only let him online if he does the Haka in a tutu every fifteen minutes.

nesta said...

Hang on. What the hell is going on around here? Went out to check the pots and I come back and riff raff from the pub down the road have invaded the joint.

Well since you are here, I've bags and bags of Balmain bugs for sale. The shells are bit crunchy but the innards are juicy and tasty.

Get 'em at the bistro. They are a delicacy and an hallucinegenic that can make Japanese poodles bark, play fetch and rollover.

On SPECIAL tonight only $10 each.

(muttering whilst finding the keys to the shed)
Just wait till I get my hands on that bloody Irishman, it'll be Paddy Stew up on the baord tomorrow night...

Ebren said...

Are the Balmain bugs marinated in Bundy rum?

If so I'll have a bag of bundy balmain bugs with biltong to go please...

mimi said...

Aah, finally some company. I just popped in for a quick one to stiffen my resolve before going off to do my civic duty. Not only have we the national election today - which is a dilemma in itself although I believe in some of what the SNP says, I don't think separation will be a good thing for this area. But to vote for any other party here, is much like spoiling your paper. We also have council elections with an insanely complicated STV system anad about 300 candidates - obviously I exaggerate a bit - but it is ludicrous.
Oh well, I suppose I'll know what to do when I get there!

nesta said...

Bloody hell. First the drunks from down the road and now the bloody SNP is trying to drum up support in the bistro.

Hangs up sign over the bistro

NO SMOKING
NO GUNS
NO POLITICS
NO VIOLENCE

Offenders will be forcibly removed from the venue

nesta said...

(walking back in from the shed with a paling under arm, on it is written)

and deposited in the snooker room

(banging and cursing as the addition is nailed up)

(a voice can be heard above the cacophony)

"There's a snooker room? C'mon mate let's check it out. Maybe the drinks are cheaper".

mimi said...

Nesta: you missed my point. Not drumming up support one little bit, simply pointing out that in a region that has been securely in the hands of one party for more than a generation, to vote for anyone else, is meaningless to the the result. It does not imply that it is meaningless to vote for another party. One follows one's conscience. And I did.

Ebren said...

mimi - you get the whole PR thing, right?

nesta said...

mimi

Sit down and have a bug and a Bundy. I understand that these decisions of such importance can be difficult.
C'mon darling sit down and pat the Japanese poodle.

You'll feel better I promise.

Oi you Eb. Read the sign. I've got my eye on you sonny.

mimi said...

The japanese poodle just went baa at me when I tried to stroke it? Is this another pet destined for the (whisper it very quietly) Offside kitchen?

gg said...

Could I please have a glass of sarsaparilla and a bowl of pooch stew?

mimi said...

gg: you can have whatever you want. It seems that chef Offy has abandoned the kitchen, so goodness knows what'll come out of there if you order a stew.
And with no host in control, I guess the drinks are free!

mimi said...

Metro goldwyn meyer says it stinks,but with Bridget playing the part of the hypotyneuse - it is always going to be a winner

offside said...

Mimi,

the drinks are always free here(and they don't even give you a hangover).

I'll leave the cooking to Nesta, he's much better than me and more imaginative. I'm sure he'll know what to do with your poodle.

BlueinBetis said...

I have a cricket question for you Nesta,

Why do your lot produce better cricketers than we do?

I don't mean "fuck me" cricketers like Shane Warne, just good ones? like the rest of your team?

Is it the Sheffield shield trophy, play less games against better opposition? Less imports? I'm intrigued to get it straight from the Horse's mouth.

How does the minor league setup work, the bit below the elite teams? do they have 'B' teams, more regional, what? Young players?

Your lot seem to have it all sorted out very well.

I would say that apart from Warney, who was/will always be spectacular there seems to be a monotonous rumble of very, very good cricketers (still the most highly skilled sport in the world) coming from Oz, and I want to know why.

I'm not belittling any other players, but personally. Warne, Botham, Lara, Tendulkar. These are players that WILL win you a game, not MIGHT win you a game. You just seem to produce a lot of cricketers that MIGHT win you a game. Lee, Waugh (both), McGrath, Clarke, Ponting, Hayden, Lehmann.....I could really go on for hours, but you get the idea. And I might be convinced to re-evaluate McGrath, but not Ponting, yet.

BlueinBetis said...

I'm really glad we have no West Indies fans on, Cos they still have the benchmark for "FUCK ME" teams.

Every single bowler and four batsmen.

So this is just recently.

Okay?

nesta said...

Bluey,

THat is a good question that will require a long answer. So here is what I suggest. Over the next several days I will write and describe the Oz cricket culture and structure and I will present it as an article for all to read in about a week. If that's oK with Eb. Howzat.

In short I can tell you that the conveyer belt of very good players starts with 5 year olds. THere are steps and hurdles along the way to sort the wheat from the chaff. It is a ruthless system and only those of strong character and mind make it.

You are right that there are many players of international standard produced in Oz and that can be seen if you look at the last 3 World Cup winning teams. Only 3 players, Ponting, McGrath and Gilchrist played in all 3. Excluding them only 3 more played in 2. So half the side were playing in their first World Cup last month. You are right there is a constant turnover.

A major part of the success is embedded in the Australian pioneering philosophy. If you have read Frank Herbert's Dune and know the story of the Fremen you will understand.

I promise to send Eb a full answer next week. It will be a world exclusive for psuedscorner.

gg said...

Nesta -
"steps and hurdles"...

I understand.

Maybe that is what Ingrid was trying to climb over when the pub was brutally closed down.

Or perhaps she was just trying to dust the disco lights and shorted the electrics.

I hope she survived; if not, I'll be closely examining the contents of the meals.

The washing-up is piling up, so she'd better surface soon.

nesta said...

greenie

I passed that Ghengis bloke on the way in and he inquired about your health. He also muttered something about folk singers, guitars, a thousand horseman and revenge being a dish best refrigerated. I sent him on his way and told him I hadn't seen you or Ingrid since the last gig. He didn't look too happy.

offside said...

I saw Genghis too. It must have just after he left you, Nesta. He asked to borrow the shears we'd used on that horse. I didn't see any reason why not.

greengrass said...

Can anyone say where Gengh is? I khan't.

Shears? I thought you used two bricks!

BlueinBetis said...

Nesta,

YOU MEAN THEY'RE ON DRUGS!!!!!
Spice?

Or that they send all cricketers out to catch a big worm??

No, really, that's quite a good analagy, if that means that you are brutal and kick out the crap early.

I look forward to reading that article, it will be very interesting.

BlueinBetis said...

Oh, That explains something else too.

Warney never span the ball at all did he, he is actually a navigator from the CHOAM company, and just before the ball bounced, he froze time, walked down to where the ball was pitching, and changed the direction of the ball's flight.

Thats why he never ran anywhere, poor bugger was knackered, all that bending space and time.

That's true isn't it? You can let us know now?

nesta said...

You' re on to something there Bluey. I wrote this a while back. Most thought I was joking.

The leg spinning gene SKW708, identified by scientists during the Human Genome Project is poorly understood. Its recessive nature, in combination with its limited paternal expression have made it difficult to study. It occurs infrequently and for reasons umknown, predominately on the Australian continent. It affects behaviour, personality, ego and judgement. All sufferers are plagued with the spectre of alopecia. In some cases it can produce peculiar patterns of motor skills and enhanced awareness of spatial dynamics which have proved valuble in the ancient pursuit of cricket but worthless for industry, academia and society in general.

Evolutionary anthropologists have hypothesised that in ancient stone age society, where hitting rocks with sticks was a popular pastime SKW708 sufferers were feted as dieties. Thought to be direct descendents from God, they demanded huge prestige within their clans and never had to collect food or compete for mates.

Shaman were skilled in the ways of identification. One ritual, recorded in a cave painting, illustrates a boy with a cheeky grin holding a smooth stone. His wrist is cocked and he is being instructed by a taller balding figure. Coloured dots show the path of the projectile and upon hitting the Earth it deviates from its path from right to left and destroys a structure with three parallel vertical towers. It is obvious to experts that these towers have significant meaning, they just don't know what it is.

Some speculate that SKW708 sufferers are genetically programmed to attract each other and that is how the secrets of this ancient and mysterious order are passed from generation to generation in spite of geographical and cultural obstacles.

Much more will be revealed as research into SKW708 continues.

rubofthegreengrass said...

OK, Nesta -

SKW = Shane Keith Warne.

Either you're pulling our Pommie plonkers, or we should immediately start searching for an Englishman (?)
named, say, Short Krook Wanker.

Zeph said...

Nesta, glad to see you sharing the SKW genetic theory - and very much looking forward to the info on the Aus system.

Our big problem in the UK is football, of course. Lots of kids aren't even taught cricket, and think of it as obscure/snobby/uncool.

nesta said...

gg lord of the puns

Those rum soaked balmain bugs cause the strangest hallucinations. Have another. On the house.

zeph

Every boy and girl gets a cricket bat for their first Xmas down south. And Backyard cricket after lunch on Xmas Day is as much part and parcel of 25 Dec as tinsel, bon bons and family arguments. It's a tradition. Any idiot, some robots and many inferior species can kick a ball but only humans with their mental dexterity can hit a six onto the neighbours roof.

You here all the time that the sub continent is crazy about cricket. Well we are perfectly sane about it. And we love and treasure it. Ricky and the Rollers showed the World that last month.

Did you know that the men of the southern continent formed a cricket team 30 years before the nation of Australia even existed?

Cricket runs deep in our new and emerging culture. Despite all the foreign doomsayers cricket will always be the number 1 sport in Oz. It doesn't even have to try. It's embedded.

I like the romance in the fact that the youngest nation on Earth is the guardian of the oldest game.

And I know that the English have submitted to SKW's genius. But at home he is not even classed as our best. In fact we just see him as a normal bloke who is a bit stupid and completely daft. If he didn't play cricket he'd be emptying bins. Really, he has conned the lot of you. He's good but not as smart as the English think.

Zeph said...

Nesta, as Blue in B rightly observed above, there is freakish talent, eg Warne, which everybody loves, and there is outstanding, solid talent developed to its highest level, which is what we in England desperately need right now.

Stuart Clark seems to have done for Vaughan's Test hopes...

BlueinBetis said...

Nesta,

My first ever memory of Warne was the best. The ball he bowled against Gatting in 1985.

As far as I was concerned then, spinners were all shit. Emburey, Edmonds, or Batsmen that got a bit bored fielding and decided to give it a go.

And then, that.

My world changed! (I'd never seen a proper leggy before)

mimi said...

Any poodle stew left? It's alright offside, I won't burst into tears over this one. It wasn't my poodle and the cats need some dinner - poor littlest fierce hasn't had anything to eat since the fish you sent her.

Zeph said...

"Mike Gatting looked up, struck as dumb as a post
Then walked from the crease like he'd just seen a ghost"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ytgfKBZGdU

I never get tired of this little song!

nesta said...

zeph

Big Stu may have done England a big favour. Unless of course Mad Mick hangs around the dressing room like a foul odour as he did on the recent Ashes tour. You'd be best rid of him. It's time to move forward and not look back.

Gatting. Well he looked like he'd seen his own death. And in a way he had.

I was a bit harsh on our Shane. We love him and always will. He's just not the sharpest tool in the shed. Still outwits plenty of Engish bats though. However, your girls are a bit too clever for him.

peace and pleasure

nesta said...

mimi

when Ingrid and her not so secret lover do the washing up we'll have some poodle and herring gull sushi on the menu.

Anyone seen Ghengis? He borrowed the keys to the shed a while back and hasn't returned them. He wanted to borrow the chainsaw. He said he had some green grass to chop. I offered him the mower but he insisted on the Stihl. If anyone clocks him remind him to return the keys. Thanks.

PC Plod said...

Are you Nesta? You don't look like a footy player to me!

We've just arrested a man who was mutilating your local cricket pitch with a chainsaw which he says he borrowed from you - he claimed the grass had eloped with his missus.

Obviously a nutter - mumbling about poodle stew and foaming at the mouth, he was.

Pity about the pitch!

mimi said...

Littliest fierce is building her own herring gull. It's what the wee one does. Should anyone wish to make our life easier, great stuff and send us some feathers.
Meanwhile mine's a generous dram of whatever Offy's got on the cheap.
Cheers you all.

MotM said...

Christ - look a that! Lee Calvert!

Anyway, thanks to Nesta for the resume of the next bunch of six foot high supermen and the lowdown on Dan Cullen (I have got this right haven't I?)

Hayden
Jacques
Punter
Clarke
Hussey
Symonds
Gilly
Lee
Dizzy
Clarke
MacGill

That would be my pick as the next Aussie Test XI. And I think that would be the oldest XI ever fielded.

I hear lots of good things about Bailey and Hilfenhaus and others, but I do think there is a problem with succession planning - I hope so anyway.

Tutor GN said...

Further to my last post, reserve batter Hodge and reserve bowler Hogg.

Amazing really.

nesta said...

pc plod

Can I have my saw back please. I have to chop some wood for tonight's wood-fired pizza oven. Did you find Ingrid? I've run out of clean plates.

Gov. Mersey

Succession planning? What's that?
Boonie and Merv are the selectors and I doubt they would know what it means. The solicitor might but he doesn't pick the team he keeps the minutes and fronts the press.

Competition is fiercer WITHIN the squad than from anything the opposition has thrown up for a while. That is the secret to success. Pressure for places in the team. It's the same for all champion teams in every sport. It's been working and if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Your team is close to what it may be but the next Test is in November and a lot could happen by then.

My sources tell me that Hussey will open with Hayden to fit Hodge into the middle order. He deserves an extended run. Also Hussey would like a bat and is sick of playing as a specialist fielder!

The only bowlers assured of a run will be Magill and Clark. Lee now has stiff competition from Tait and the other fast bowler will depend on conditions and the opposition. I would think that Hilfenhaus and Johnson will spar over that one.

Symonds will also be under intense pressure from Watson. There is only room for one of them.

So the likely Test XI would be

Hayden
Hussey
Ponting
Clarke
Hodge
Symonds
Gilchrist
Lee
Clark
Hilfenhaus
Magill

As for the age issue, we pick them on ability and don't look at the birth certificates. Do I have to remind you that McGrath - the oldest member of the squad - was just awarded the very prestgious honour of being named Player of the Tournament at the WORLD cup. He broke about a dozen records.His opening spell against SAF was fast bowling at it's finest. And you know very well that Dad's Army beat the best your lot could muster 5-0. The too old jibe has been proven to be a forlorn hope for Australia's opponents.

Keep on dreaming Mouth. And brace yourself for an onslaught in 2009. As Ricky said at the AB medal night, 'The jobs only half done'.

nesta said...

Mouth

Your mentioning of succession planning got me thinking so I thought I'd have a look at the last player to debut and see how he has fared.

Stuart Clark made his Test debut at age 29 v SAF at Cape Town in March, 2006. He was player of the series.

In his 9 Tests to date (3 v SAF, 1 v BAN and 5 v ENG - incredibly his worst figures are against the Bangas), he has taken 47 wickets at 17.80.

Clark's figures are better than McGrath's, Lilee's and Warne's at the same stage of their Test careers.

Apparently ENG and SAF are the next best Test nations. Few doubt that Hilfy is a far superior bowler than Stuart Clark even though almost a decade younger.

WE all know that the team will be changing over the next few years and that is why the Rollers are playing 20 Tests - the most ever in a calendar year - in 2008.

You'd have to agree that that is a pretty good plan. For succession and for success.

What are England's plans apart from hoping that Mad Mick can stay fit long enough to play a match?

And since ouur next engagemant is the 20/20 comedy cup in SAF here is a stab at that team.

Hayden
Gilchrist
Ponting
Clarke
Symonds
Hussey
Watson
Hogg
Lee
Bracken
Tait

Not sure how we will go at that tournament but I think we will give it a good shake. Considering that the shorter the format the more concentrated the attacking skills I think the Aussies - if they take it seriously - will be hard to topple.

MotM said...

Nesta,

Perhaps it's all about the players.

I remember England selecting Gooch and Gatting and one or two others and being derided by the Aussie Press before they set foot Down Under. I may be wrong, but fast-tracking from Grade cricket to Test cricket was always seen as a strength of the Aussie way compared to the sclerotic English county system.

I'm also unconvinced by the "competition within the squad" argument - Pakistan have plenty of that but don't deliver often, whereas England's 2005 success was built on the confidence that comes from knowing that one bad spell or knock didn't send you through the revolving door - and it led the bowlers to develop and deliver reverse swing.

Selecting Dizzy - great bloke, fine bowler - I felt was a snub to Tait and Hilfenhaus. Lee should be doing the elder statesman job and Lee, Tait, Clark, Bracken and Hilfenhaus is enough solidity to allow a young flyer to join them?

McGrath is an all-time great who set his own rules (like SKW) - I would never have believed that he could have sustained his play from Brisbane to Barbados, but he did: an absolute champion. Does Clark have it? In rugby terms he has played behind a winning pack and player very well indeed: let's see from here.

nesta said...

MOTM

I provide a link to what I consider a very good article about the obstacles in front of Australian cricket and also what a magnificent job they are doing.

http://www.hindu.com/2007/05/02/stories/2007050209391800.htm

I urge you and every other English supporter to strive for excellence at every level of the game.

Cricket is moving forward at an incredible pace and I can assure you that we will not be waiting around for the rest to catch up.

Good judges in Australia are of the opinion that the next generation will be better than the last. Not many overseas pundits thought that Australia could improve on SWaugh's team at the turn of the century but we did. This team is the foundation for the next. As it should be.

And on a more personal note, I always enjoy your musings and I welcome your comments. Even if some, from an Australian perspective do seem a little quaint and old fashioned. Cheers.

MotM said...

We are quaint and old-fashioned here. I was at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday looking at a wooden roof which was built in 1399, standing on the step where Charles I stood for the trial that took his head.

We respect the Australia's will to win and the success of its sportsmen along with lots of other elements of the Aussie culture (except vegemite), but the wheel will turn, even if temporarily, and I feel it might in 2009.

Thanks for the kind words on the musings - we've two years to turn the heat up!!

gg said...

Mouth,
isn't hypothermia quite common back in Blighty?

nesta said...

You are right to hope Mouth, for without hope all is lost. What I'd like to see is that hope turned into action. England needs a cricket reformation (I was going to use the term restructure but reformation is quaint and historical) and people need to scream it from their wooden rooftops.

What's your opinion on Vaughan's injury. Good for the team or bad?

He hasn't played a full match in 15 months or more. Without being too disrespectful the term 'crock' comes to mind.

Let us know.

MotM said...

It's dull and a little chilly in Sarf Larnden as I look out of my office window.

I'm not convinced that English cricket needs a wholescale revolution. England will never produce wrist spinners consistently, but we've our best set of pacemen in living memory (when fit) and a decent set of batters. We're behind Australia but who isn't?

Vaughan has a finger injury and they happen to batsmen. If he were 36, I'd be grumbling, but he's 32. He's worth his place in Tests - get the finger sorted then play.

nesta said...

gg

I see you've returned now that genghis is in the lock-up. Can you give Ingrid a kiss and get her to do the washing up. The tables need a wipe too. It's going to be a big night at the bistro and we need all hands on deck.

The posters are posted, the PA has been set up and we are expecting some bawdy folk songs to entertain the crew and lure in the unwary. Are you up for it?

gg said...

(juggling keys and chainsaw)

Ingrid? Ah'd never give 'im a kiss - folk'd think ah were a shirt-lifter!

Out gigging with our steel pan band tonight. Back late, but a chorus or two of "Whisky in the Bar" might emerge.

nesta said...

Mouth

I guess that is the problem. That no-one on your island recognises one.

You just got your worst beating in 86 years. Did you enjoy that? That wasn't the aberration. The series before that one was and you failed to build on it.

You have way too many first class teams. Instead of concentrating talent and refining it you dilute it.

You may not recognise it but that is the crux of all that is wrong in the English game.

Until that is addressed you will continue to struggle to defeat Australia on a regular basis.

1986 to 2005 is a long time between drinks. Unless changes are implemented the next victory may take even longer.

Please look at it critically, without emotion and explain to me how 18 teams can produce sustained momentum at international level in the 21st century.

That should distract you from your work for a while on this rainy Saturday morning.

MotM said...

If you look at England's Test results since the 2002 / 2003 Ashes series win, the 5-0 was the abberation. Sure it wasn't much fun, but having the hope of winning was fun and we didn't have that for well over a decade.

As for the county game, I think you'll find that overseas players and Kolpak (foreign, but not counted as overseas players) are concentrating the talent.

Have you seen the Hampshire vs Yorkshire match cards? Here's a link http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/countycricket2007/engine/current/match/268055.html. That looks pretty concentrated to me.

nesta said...

Ok MOTM I concede,

I can see you're happy winning the Ashes once every twenty years.

I sincerely hope you live long enough to see the next one.

Cheers mate. Gotta run.

MotM said...

I gotta run too Nesta, but I think the 2009 and 2010-11 will be different (I'm going for 2-1 to England in England and 3-1 to Aus in Aus).

If England get rolled over twice, I'll concede!

MotM said...

Nesta - This is my view of Australia http://www.thegoogly.com/2007/04/the_australian_.html.

The Hindu piece was good and a fair summation of the scale of Punter and co's achievement.

greengrass said...

Sorry to miss the fun last night - I was cream-crackered after playing steel drums for 6 hours.

Anyway, here's a Sunday calypso instead. I posted it on Marcela's GU blog, but I'm not sure if it will survive there...

Down the way where the posters play
And enjoy a tussle on the GU blogs
I went to look for Marvin Gaye
But he'd been deleted by some rabid dogs.

So I'm sad to say, that's not fair play
From decency too far they stray
They can ban him, delete him, and put him down
But he will rise again, Hannibal of Liverpool town.

Verdant Lawn

Tweet it, digg it