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Cricket XXII - A Cook's Tour


Stubby

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After 10 matches, Rogers now has an average of 37.84 with five half centuries and two centuries, including now a century successfully leading a fourth innings run chase. Selectors couldn't have asked for much more than that, He may well hang around for another couple fo years and provide some valuable experience and solidity to the top of the order. I know he's 36, but plenty of players have gone into their late 30s and still been reasonably effective, and it's not as if he's had a long career to fatigue him.



Also a shout out to Lyon, for getting five wickets in that second innings. England were leading by 116 with 10 wickets in hand when they were setting up that run chase, but Lyon's wickets really tore into them (mind you it was their careless batting too). All of the Australian bowlers have now bowled significant spells, all of the batsmen including the wicketkeeper have now scored centuries - well, except for one. The only real performance hole in this Australian team is George Bailey at No. 6, but when you consider everyone else in the team has been playing well it hasn't really mattered.


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After 10 matches, Rogers now has an average of 37.84 with five half centuries and two centuries, including now a century successfully leading a fourth innings run chase. Selectors couldn't have asked for much more than that, He may well hang around for another couple fo years and provide some valuable experience and solidity to the top of the order. I know he's 36, but plenty of players have gone into their late 30s and still been reasonably effective, and it's not as if he's had a long career to fatigue him.

Also a shout out to Lyon, for getting five wickets in that second innings. England were leading by 116 with 10 wickets in hand when they were setting up that run chase, but Lyon's wickets really tore into them (mind you it was their careless batting too). All of the Australian bowlers have now bowled significant spells, all of the batsmen including the wicketkeeper have now scored centuries - well, except for one. The only real performance hole in this Australian team is George Bailey at No. 6, but when you consider everyone else in the team has been playing well it hasn't really mattered.

Whilst Rogers is doing the job, CA need to seriously look at preparing the next generation of opening batsmen for test cricket.

Lyon must be the third best spinner (behind Warne and Macgill obviously) Australia has produced since the days of Richie Benaud. This is despite the selectors dropping him on a whim at various times in his career, for apparently no other reason than that he is not Warne.

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Whilst Rogers is doing the job, CA need to seriously look at preparing the next generation of opening batsmen for test cricket.

Sort of - Warner will be staying around for a while, and if something happened to Rogers in the near-term they always have the option of moving Watson back up. I agree it wouldn't be a bad thing to have someone else to push them for their spots, though.

And agree with you on Lyon. The selectors have treated him very badly in the past few years (dropping him for Agar at the start of the English Ashes was completely ridiculous) but he has always hung in there and done the job. He may not tear through lineups like a Warne, but no one will. Lyon still gets a very respectable amount of wickets, he's no holding bowler. And he's still in his mid 20s. Spinners tend to age well, so I really think he will be a vital part of Australian cricket for many years to come.

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Sort of - Warner will be staying around for a while, and if something happened to Rogers in the near-term they always have the option of moving Watson back up. I agree it wouldn't be a bad thing to have someone else to push them for their spots, though.

And agree with you on Lyon. The selectors have treated him very badly in the past few years (dropping him for Agar at the start of the English Ashes was completely ridiculous) but he has always hung in there and done the job. He may not tear through lineups like a Warne, but no one will. Lyon still gets a very respectable amount of wickets, he's no holding bowler. And he's still in his mid 20s. Spinners tend to age well, so I really think he will be a vital part of Australian cricket for many years to come.

Rogers Hmmm... Though are other only decent test opener is Katich. Sorry Chris isn't that good of a test player he had more lives today then a cat. Your 100% right about Lyon he always does something a catch a wicket he is honselty a great and that Ashton he scored what 98 and never heard from again

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For England to progress I feel that it's time for the hugely overrated Flower to depart and Cook to have the burden of captaincy taken away from him. Let him focus purely on batting. It's pretty clear that his captaincy style is not positive or ruthless enough. Build a team around Cook, Root, Stokes and Finn. Retain the likes of Trott, KP, Broad and Anderson, have a serious think about Bell, and get shot of Bresnan and Panesar.


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have a serious think about Bell, and get shot of Bresnan and Panesar.

England should hang on to Bell. He may not be the most imposing batsman and has had a quiet series so far, but I think most teams in world cricket would be able to find a use for him. He's a solid middle-order batsman who (up until this series) has scored heavily in the past couple of years. And I think Panesar is going to have to keep on going; the first-class options for England are pretty dire.

Borthwick, who's been called up, has had 110 wickets in 59 matches at an economy rate of 3.70. He has a decent (but not world-beating) average of 31. He has bowled 5580 balls in 86 innings, an average of 64 balls per innings, ie less than 11 overs per innings in county cricket. He's not even a frontline bowler for his county and yet England called him to be a backup Test spinner? I think Monty's going to have to bowl at least another couple of years before the next generation of spinners is ready.

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After 10 matches, Rogers now has an average of 37.84 with five half centuries and two centuries, including now a century successfully leading a fourth innings run chase. Selectors couldn't have asked for much more than that, He may well hang around for another couple fo years and provide some valuable experience and solidity to the top of the order. I know he's 36, but plenty of players have gone into their late 30s and still been reasonably effective, and it's not as if he's had a long career to fatigue him.

The Australian selectors have made some odd decisions over the past year, but I think this was one of the better ones, he was exactly the sort of player Australia needed to provide some solidity at the top of the order.

Farewell a great of the game

Jacques Kallis - 166* Tests

13,289 runs @ 55.37

292 wickets @ 32.65 (as of December 29)

Truly a great

Agreed. It's good to see that while other great players have had damp squibs in their final match he managed to mark it with a century (and moved one run past Dravid to take third place on the all-time run-scorers list).

England should hang on to Bell. He may not be the most imposing batsman and has had a quiet series so far, but I think most teams in world cricket would be able to find a use for him. He's a solid middle-order batsman who (up until this series) has scored heavily in the past couple of years. And I think Panesar is going to have to keep on going; the first-class options for England are pretty dire.

I agree, Bell has had a poor series but a great year (one of the only two players to score over 1000 runs in Tests in 2013 and at a decent average).

I'm trying to predict who should be in the team for the first Test vs Sri Lanka next Summer. I'd probably say something like:

Alastair Cook - still the best opening option even if he might not be the best captaincy option

Joe Root - still a work in progress, but worth persisting with and his long-term future is probably opening so he might as well get some practice.

Nick Compton - no idea if Trott will be available, if he isn't then Compton could fill a similar role boring the opposition into submission.

Kevin Pietersen - continues to frustrate at times, but showed more fight in Melbourne than most of his colleagues

Ian Bell - see above

Ben Stokes - has impressed with both bat and ball, lots of potential

Steven Davies - long-time reserve to Prior although yet to make his Test debut. He seems to have the best 2013 batting average of any of the contenders (867 runs @ 45). A more left-field option might be a recall for James Foster who was an excellent keeper and decent batsman (762 runs @ 36 in 2013), even if it has been 11 years since his last Test he's not necessarily too old at 33 and I thought he was unlucky to never get another chance.

Stuart Broad - I'm not particularly happy about it, but he might end up captain due to the lack of alternatives

Danny Briggs - this is the hardest pick, none of the options seem great and maybe Monty will be bowling a bit better after a few First Class matches. Maybe we should just see who bowls best at the start of the season.

James Anderson - not at his best in Australia, should be better at home

Graeme Onions - should have toured, should be very effective in English conditions

What do other people think the team should be?

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From England's point of view, I think their strategy should revolve around getting the best out of their top players. Leaving aside Hobbs, Hutton and Hammond, the current crop of batsmen including Cook, Bell and Pietersen would have to rank as the best England have ever produced alongside Dexter, Compton, Boycott and Gooch. They're still reasonably young and should be able to provide 4-5 years of service and allow rebuilding around them.



I think relieving Cook of the captaincy is paramount. He is too good a batsman to sacrifice on the captaincy altar. There are relatively few batsmen whose batting has greatly benefited from captaincy (mostly Australians like Waugh and Clarke). Some, like Graeme Smith and Strauss maintained their efficacy as captains, whilst others have struggled with the burden. Cook, unfortunately, looks like he might belong to the latter group. England is not good enough as a team to be able to carry Cook at the moment, nor is his style of captaincy worth it. Even if it means picking a short term bridging option like Prior as captain, it would be worthwhile if Cook's batting improves.



Compton got dropped it would seem, not because of any cricketing reason, but due to unfavourable media reports regarding his strike rate. He could provide the sort of security that will help Cook regain his best form.



Bell and Pietersen remain England's best middle order batsmen, and that cannot be undone by a single bad series. Of course, if there were repeat performances in the next 12 months, then they should be told to back to domestic cricket and build up some form. There are a couple of young batsmen with excellent county statistics- Ballance and Taylor. I haven't seen either of them bat but Taylor has played a couple of tests and Ballance is pretty close to being selected as well. I don't know if there are more of these guys on the county circuit, but it's probably time to start bringing some of these guys in. I still believe that the best predictor of success at test cricket is success at domestic cricket. The big advantage England has over other countries is the sheer amount of cricket their domestic players get to play. There is no way that anyone in Australia, India or South Africa could play 99 first class matches by the age of 23 like Taylor has managed.



Stokes looks good, and should be persisted with. Root is not convincing to me, but lots of experienced heads are expecting big things from him. Maybe he needs more time as well.



On paper, England seem to have lots of bowling options but only Broad looks like taking a wicket. Anderson is over the hill and ready to be put out to pasture I think. The signs were there from the Lords test earlier this year. He'll probably remain effective against subcontinent teams in home conditions for some time to come, but it looks like he will struggle in most other situations. There are heaps of alternatives like Finn, Rankin, Onions and Tremlett who have been on the fringes for some time now. I rate Finn highly because he bowls lots of wicket taking deliveries. He's been dropped several times because of a perceived lack of control. You only have to look at Mitchell Johnson to realise the worth of such bowlers. Finn's biggest advantage is his age. England can afford to give him a few years on the county circuit developing his bowling skills to suit test cricket.


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I think in general the batting is pretty set. Plenty of core members that will still be around a few more years, plus there seems to be a decent crop of second-tier players available that have got themselves into the conversation with some regularity (Compton, Ballance, Taylor, Bairstow, etc). The main problem appears to be the bowling, particularly spin, and the wicketkeeper.



Re: wicketkeeper, there doesn't seem to be a slam dunk replacement for Prior. He's been on an extended run of poor form for the last year or so. They have to decide whether they want some batting out of the position (e.g. giving Bairstow or some other batsman the gloves) or whether they're going to go back to a pure wicketkeeper first, with batting as a bonus. That would then seem to dictate their selection policy. Personally I wouldn't mind seeing them go to a pure wicketkeeper again. I know the batting has not done well of late and needs strengthening (plus if you play Stokes as a 6 that leaves a pretty weak lineup) but maybe it will motivate the current crop of star batsmen to take more responsibility. Plus having Broad at 8 gives some sense of fight, if he can get some batting form again.



Re: bowling, the spin bowling is the main dodgy department, as I've previously said I think they're going to have to stick with Monty for a bit longer as no one else seems ready, unless they want to give Kerrigan a go again. Pace bowling stocks are a little better, but with Anderson's decline and continued questions about Bresnan's effectiveness, they really only have Broad with Test-level experience who will be around for the foreseeable future. I think they will need Finn back in, and the third seamer will have to be a steadier county seamer/swing bowler with Stokes as the backup fourth option.


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South Africa have put in a consummate performance to put themselves on the verge of victory against India today. India started the series strongly, but when their batsmen put them into a winning position in the first test, their bowlers failed them and almost lost an unloseable test. In the current test, as soon as their batsmen capitalised on a easy-paced wicket and put them ahead, their bowlers have strangled the life out of the Indian batsmen. If you adjust for the quality of the bowling they've had to face, I think the batting from both sides has been of a similar high quality. But the vast gulf between the bowlers is making itself evident.



There should be a well deserved win for South Africa and a fitting farewell for the peerless Kallis coming up in the next hour one feels.


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Lee's conduct was disgraceful. He should've bowled him out 6 times. If in the process of hurling down yorkers, he broke a couple of toes, well tough luck. Deliberately attacking a defenseless person's body is pretty low, and not becoming of Brett Lee. I completely agree with Sir Richard Hadlee on this one.


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Lee's conduct was disgraceful. He should've bowled him out 6 times. If in the process of hurling down yorkers, he broke a couple of toes, well tough luck. Deliberately attacking a defenseless person's body is pretty low, and not becoming of Brett Lee. I completely agree with Sir Richard Hadlee on this one.

I think 5 balls at the body and only 1 at the stumps was not a good ratio, but I think some body shots were warranted. I think he should have stopped following him when it was clear that Morgan was backing away but in principle I don't have a problem with sending at least one or two short balls his way.

After all, Piers Morgan's beef with the England batsmen was their lack of courage and not facing up. If he were to face all full-pitched balls he wouldn't have been able to demonstrate his point. Playing full-pitched bowling is easy; Lee's own batting style is an example of that. There's virtually no physical danger and it's much easier to watch the ball when it's arriving below your waistline, and where you are fully protected.

Maybe if Lee tried to bowl him out four times and gave him a couple of short balls that would have been a better ratio, but I think at least a couple of balls of short stuff was justifiable.

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