The Ashes – 4th v 5th … it certainly is

There’s not a lot I can add to what has already been written about this Ashes test series, which although only 7 playing days old, has been mostly dominated by England.  For a great day-by-day (and even session by session) analysis check out Jarrod Kimber’s “Cricket with balls” http://www.cricketwithballs.com/ or Sam Collins’ “Chasing Australia” http://sampsoncollins.wordpress.com/.  These two guys also post a hilarious and informative video at the end of each day which is well worth watching – in fact is essential viewing for anyone with any interest whatsoever in this series.

My two cents on the series so far is one of disappointment.  It’s not the constant ribbing I am taking as an Aussie living in the UK, it’s more that I just don’t recognise this team as an Australian team for the first time in as long as I can remember.  Even when we were constantly being thrashed by the amazing West Indian team of the late 80s and early 90s, there was plenty of guts and spirit on show.  This is not the case at the moment.  Mostly I blame Shane Watson for this.  Watson is an absolute tosser twat who I can’t stand, but that is not the (main) problem – it is the metrosexual, mirror loving, hair dying, pouting, complaining bullshit attitude that he infects the team with.  Give me a team of brick wall smashing, VB skulling, bouncer punching, Siddle’s, Bollinger’s or Ponting’s every single time.  Or a grumpy, angry, uncompromising S Waugh, A Border, D Boon – you get my point.  There is too much pretty boy action in this team, plus we are just not that good (which is very hard for an Australian to take in any sport, let alone cricket).

Specific comments I have about this series so far:

  • Doherty seems like a decent bloke, but he isn’t a test match spinner – in fact there is a pretty good argument that he isn’t even a first class spinner, but that is for another day.
  • Clarke, if he is not fit then bloody well leave him out and get him right – his batting in the first game has been covered ad nausea, so I won’t bother other than to say it was embarrassing.  The fact that he couldn’t field in slip or at point is a disgrace.  He faced 6 balls this game, and could quite easily have been out from 5 of them.  And the shot to actually go out on, particularly at 2/2 … well – there’s nothing positive that can be said about that
  • North – got to go, unless he is played at 8 as the spinner (not a great option – but is there anyone else now that we have dumped Hauritz?).  I don’t care that he scored a ton two tests ago … he is the only player who can score a ton in a two test series, and still have his overall test average drop over the series.
  • The Gabba curator – enough said.
  • The selectors – the fact that Cam White and Andrew “Ronald” McDonald haven’t been considered is a disgrace – I know that Ronald is out injured at the moment, but when the expanded “squad” was announced  before the first test, the fact that the premier player of the shield competition was not named was a disgrace.  Cam White should be in at 6 and being primed to replace Ponting in a couple of years – Clarke is NOT the answer.   Also, what did Smith do to be in the smaller squad at the Gabba, but not for Adelaide? 
  • Hadden  – batting extremely well, keeping not so much. Could possibly bat at 6 with Tim Paine wearing the gloves.  Paine was arguably unlucky to have been dropped for the Gabba test, and is a much better keeper than Hads – however, he is cactus now thanks to that ridiculous sponsors T20 match at the Gabba the other week.
  • Watson – the bloke makes me want to throw things at the TV and swear a lot.  Unfortunately he can bat, but he just can’t concentrate after breaks and can’t turn fifties into hundreds, 12 fifties and 2 hundreds is simply not good enough for a test batsman.  His “ooohing”, “arrghing” and constant looks of disbelief when he is bowling makes me want to cause pain to something – preferably him.  When he got Trott in Brisbane I almost cried.  There is so much more that can be, and has been written about him, so I just stop now before I get mad.
  • Fielding – when you are struggling in other areas, fielding is where you catch up a little.  Australia in the late 80s, Bangladesh now, but not this side.  Eight dropped catches, some absolute sitters, is just not good enough … ’nuff said.

 And what about the English side?  Well a couple of things …

  • Jimmy Anderson – when did he get so good?  A real kick in the guts to the “real men” of English cricket, proves that metrosexual yuppie types can actually play – WS Grace is turning in his grave
  • Finn – not yet good enough to consistently play in a top test side, but definitely going to be a long term quality player over time –and the boy can do a mean sprinkler dance.
  • Cook – I always thought Katich had the trademark on scoring runs ugly, but Cook has out “krabbed” the Krab!  I have never seen 400-odd runs in 3 innings look so awkward and ugly – but at the end of the day, for blokes like Kattich and Cook, it’s the number next to your name, not how you made them.
  • Trott – doesn’t look great, but is scoring a lot of runs. Fantastic throw to get Kattich, although I wonder what would have been said if he missed by an inch when he could have tossed it to Prior and still got him.
  • Peterson/Bell/Collingwood – not really seen enough of them to say anything.  Peterson looked pretty ok last night.  Bell is posing well in the field – probably getting confidence from fellow metro Jimmy A.  MBE has looked stoic as always, shame he put Watson down in Brisbane though.
  • Prior – needs to work a little on his beard.
  • Broad – he is Watson of the English team – a complete twat, but is bowling reasonably well.
  • Strauss – I would love to know what Ponting and Clarke were yelling at him about at the end of Day 1.  Also seems to whinge and moan a hell of a lot on the field for a guy leading a team that is all over Australia.  Good knock in Brisbane.
  • General – I thought it was pretty bad that the entire team had dropped their heads and were looking rather glum by lunch on day 1 – they had Australia 3/2 and a little partnership by Watson and Hussey had them worried, pretty poor mental effort.
  • Sky commentary team – I always thought the boys on Channel 9 were pretty bad and rather biased, but these guys make them look absolutely neutral (even Bill Lawry!) … I get that they are all former English skippers, but a little bit of neutrality would be decent.  I was also sick of hearing about how terrible the crowd was at the Gabba.  The second highest attendance at a Gabba test ever, for a test that was absolutely below par from an attendee point of view.  I’m not entirely sure how 130-odd thousand can be considered a poor effort by a city with only 1 million people – plus it would take a test match to go for 7 days at any of the stadiums in England to even come close to that number.  And finally, why would a team waste a review for tactical reasons, I just can’t grasp why a team would use up a review if they didn’t think it would result in a wicket, there is no fathomably reason – but according o the Sky boys, that’s exactly what England did early doors on day 1.  Apparently it was because the Aussies were 3 down for nothing, and it would put the pressure on.  Bollocks to that – they did it because they thought it would make it 4 down for nothing – there is simple no pressure on the batsman in using up a review … in fact it probably saved Mike Hussey in Brisbane when he was 80-odd, if England had a review available, Anderson would almost certainly have had him then and there.  Anyway, these guys are so grating, that either the radio or “Test match sofa” online are the only answer!

Oh, and I am a little sick of staying up until 4 each morning, and then heading off to work a couple of hours later – I can take the lack of sleep, the annoyance of having to purchase Sky on a short term contract, trudging through the snow (and I am talking real snow, not that garbage they are complaining about in London), and everything else that comes about from trying to live off 3 hours sleep a night IF THE EFFORT IS WORTH IT … right now it is not.  Stop bowling half-volleys on leg stump, stop picking people who are not good enough (we should be rebuilding properly a la 1986 and getting younger promising players, the current generation of S Waugh, D Boon, G Marsh types, into the side and learning from one of the greats of Australian cricket while he is still playing rather than sticking with older blokes who are wither past it, or fast approaching the end – show some proper Aussie ruthlessness please, my whole cricket life we have laughed at the English way of selecting players and appointing skippers – we are now the laughing stock), stop wafting the bat outside off-stump, and show some dam Aussie spirit!  Obviously I would prefer to see an Aussie series win, but if we have a 2005 or 2009 type loss I can live with that – I can’t live with us imitating the English teams of the 1990s.

Anyway, that’s enough for now – what do you think?

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