Tuesday, July 16, 2013

And in overnight news...

I was slightly late out of the cot this morning, and a combination of a late rise, bin day and a deposit left by an incontinent cat meant I didn’t manage to get to Cricinfo before it was time to head out on the morning walk.

That’s not a problem, because a glance at the ABC News website and The Australian gave me plenty to ponder on the hour-long lap around the Catalina memorial, the Bowen Jetty and the Yacht Club.

The first of them, unsurprisingly, was the unsurprising news of Mickey Arthur’s unsurprising claim that Michael Clarke believes Shane Watson's faction is a "cancer" within the side (here and here, and undoubtedly in a myriad of other locations). The only thing that was surprising was the suggestion the news was leaked, and it’s a suggestion I’m inclined to give a bit of credence to since it will possibly have a detrimental effect on the sales of Mickey’s autobiography when it eventually appears.

Old news and all that...

What one hopes has happened is that these issues have been raised behind closed doors in the team environment, with the message delivered heavy on the words then, now, continuation and contract terminated.

I’ve no doubt the rift happened, but hopefully the law has been laid down, team procedures and protocols set in place, and anyone not happy with the new regime has been offered an airfare home and N.T.T.A. (Never To Tour Again) status.

Took me all of five minutes to sort that one out, though I did spend a bit more time considering team protocols and such, which was rehashing old ground, since I’ve banged on about the need for a social committee and suggested that there needs to be some sort of sergeant-at-arms fine system put in place.

After the law had been laid down, I’d have liked to see a suggested list of offences and penalties tabled, with suggestions about additions welcomed from the floor. Infringements would involve a certain number of points, with some additional penalty being imposed on whoever’s managed to accumulate the most, and a reduction in your tally if you come up with a really good sledge, chirp or whatever you want to call it.

I’d have Haddin as the sergeant-at-arms, with misdirected throws from the outfield being 10, 20 or 30 point infringements and penalties in place for a variety of serious and non-serious offences, all the way down to dressing room flatulence.

In any case, the Arthur allegations are hardly news.

More interesting, at least from where I’m sitting, is the report (here) that: The International Cricket Council has admitted there were three uncorrected umpiring errors during the Trent Bridge Test but, no doubt to the chagrin of many England commentators, the alleged Ashton Agar "stumping" wasn't one of them.

Two of the three involved Stuart Broad’s innings, and the suggestion that Broad should have been out LBW while not offering a shot underlines the need for us to get our use of the DRS sorted out. The third involved the Trott first ball LBW.

Interestingly, none of those involved our batting, which suggests additional proof the English approach to the DRS while they’re in the field is working.

The most interesting snippet came with Haddin’s suggestion (here) that a war of attrition might be the key to reducing the effectiveness of England's Ashes pace bowling spearhead James Anderson.

Anderson, of course, is their key bowler, and it makes sense to do whatever you can to force Cook to keep turning to him because the rest of the attack is being mauled. He’s the go to man, but if they go to him often enough eventually the wear and tear will wear him down. Stands to reason, doesn’t it?

Actually, the interesting part will come if and when he does break down, because at that point we might have confirmation of the fifty overs in a Test makes you more likely to break down in the next one argument that was used to justify the old rotation policy and the dropping of Pattinson and Siddle in Perth.

The over counts from Trent Bridge make for interesting reading.

Running down the order they bowled Pattinson had 51 overs (5 wickets), Starc 49 (5 wickets), Siddle 47.5 (8 wickets), Agar 42 overs for 2 and Watson 19, wicketless, but at a rather economical rate. On the England side the story is Anderson 55.5 for 10 scalps, Finn 25 overs (2 wickets), Swann 63 overs (4 wickets) and Broad 29.5 for 3. Root also bowled a couple, taking 1 for 6.

On that basis, lining up the attacks, the Australian workload looks to have been shared evenly among the quicks, thoughWatson could have bowled more, while it’s obvious England are going to lean on Anderson and Swan, which doesn’t come as a surprise.

The surprise comes with the suggestion that Swann, tipped to be a major factor on pitches apparently made to order for offies, doesn’t seem to have come through and trouble an Australian lineup that is supposed to be vulnerable to spin. Match figures of 63 overs, 14 maidens, 4 for 164 are reasonably economical, bit that strike rate of a wicket per 94.5 balls suggests that while he might take wickets he may well have to do plenty of bowling to do so.

I have a suspicion that a subpar performance on Indian decks a few months ago might say as much about what was happening in the dressing room and behind the scenes as it does about what was going on in the middle.

See Point 1 above...

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