Summer of Cricket 2013/14

 
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me

And Cook sitting in the stands was on his phone to see if he could get an earlier flight out.....
"TheBlacksmith"

Or arranging his new employment?

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  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
A change for the ball to outdo the bat in a short form game.   And a much closer game in a low scoring affair.

Now for the T-20 slap & dash.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
"Shane Watson will miss the first Test in South Africa and taking his place in the side could be Shaun Marsh.
Cricket Australia hastily booked Marsh on a flight to Johannesburg on Saturday night (AEDT), when Watson was unable to run at full pace due to a calf injury.
Marsh was in Australia's original 15-man touring party for the three-Test series, but his own calf issue meant Phillip Hughes boarded the plane instead last week.
While Watson made limited progress after tweaking the muscle at training in Potchefstroom last week, Marsh's calf mended faster than first expected."

Deja vu, anyone ?

Why the selectors keep picking someone as under-performing and unreliable as Watson is one of life's great mysteries. My guess is that he has photos of Inverarity.Rolling Eyes
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
And what's worse than picking Watson is this obsession with picking an allrounder. Only pick them if they could hold their spot for batting, bowling or keeping in their own right. But someone that averages 35 with bat and ball is unlikely to be there on just batting or bowling.

So this discussion of Henriques coming in to the team is mystifying.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

And what's worse than picking Watson is this obsession with picking an allrounder. Only pick them if they could hold their spot for batting, bowling or keeping in their own right. But someone that averages 35 with bat and ball is unlikely to be there on just batting or bowling.
simont141

It's because of the injury risk to Harris and the waywardness risk of Johnson.  We need someone in the top 6 who can bowl some tight overs if needed.  

I think we were as close to right in having Watson at #3.  For all his faults, he was generally hard to dislodge at #3, which is important if Clarke is going to bat at #4.  #3 is the weakest spot in our batting line up, so we lose less putting Watson there.

It's a real shame we lost Faulkner for this series.  I think he looks an ideal candidate to be a long term #6.  His batting has a way to go, but the building blocks are there.

As for #3, well ultimately we're going to need Hughes to learn how to play at test level.  He's proved season after season he's the best young bat in the country, but he's been a victim of the endless selection churn.  At some point I think we need to select him and stick with him for a decent long period to allow him to learn to apply his unorthodox game to test cricket.  He's already done it at 1st class level.  Perhaps not now - wait till Smith has had another 6-12 months in the side I think.  The other long term possibility for #3 is David Warner.  As his long form game continues to develop and improve, I expect he'll be too valuable to leave to the mercy of the new ball.

Or we could pick Craig Simmons, so after we've knocked off the South Africans, got back the Gavascar trophy and retained the Ashes in England we could go on and belt the Cardinals to win the world series.

I hope Marsh turns out to be an inspired selection.  Like everyone I have my doubts, but I also see the sense in picking a WA batter for South Africa.  I still think half the reason he was picked was to keep him off the grog tillthe T20 world cup, and to contract him so CA can get a slice of his IPL earnings.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I think we were as close to right in having Watson at #3. For all his faults, he was generally hard to dislodge at #3, which is important if Clarke is going to bat at #4. #3 is the weakest spot in our batting line up, so we lose less putting Watson there.
djf01

I do not believe that negativity is the way to pick a Test team.

Watson is a farce at no 3.  Generally hard to dislodge?  Did you actually watch him in the recent series?  The two foolproof ways to get Watson were both amply demonstrated. (1) Bowl at middle and off, piched up. Watson plays across the line and goes lbw.  (2) Pitch up about a foot or so outside off stump and watch Watson play a firm-handed, footless push, to be caught by the keeper or slip.
Watson averages 36.3. Our best number 3's include Hassett (46.6), Harvey (48.4), I Chappell (42.4), Boon (43.6) and Ponting (51.8 )
If we must have Watson ( and I don't believe we should ) the only place for him is at 6. I would personally not pick him; he is perpetually unfit, and has let Australia down too many times with soft tissue injuries. Added to that, he is an absolute plodder in the field.

Clarke should be batting at 3. He is the best batsman, and that is traditionally where the best batsman goes in. By failing to bat there, Clarke is effectively saying, "No 3 is too hard for me. One of you other blokes go in there to protect me."

Then, if selectors are worried about against Harris breaking down, or Johnson spraying it around, don't pick them. You can only pick players who are demonstrably in form, and fit; Johnson and Harris are, so they're picked. Choosing an "insurance policy" only inhibits selectors.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Watson averages 36.3. Our best number 3's include Hassett (46.6), Harvey (48.4), I Chappell (42.4), Boon (43.6) and
Ponting (51.8 )
Valvegear


That's all well and good if we had another player averaging above 40 we could pick at #3, but we don't.

Sure, Watson has his technical issues and comes with quite a deal of baggage.  But at 3 - when he applies himself - he usual occupies the crease for quite a while even when he eventually does miss one and is fired out LBW for a low score.  And we know he's going to regularly contribute those 50s, hopefully without running too many others out.

But I don't think his contribution to the bowling attack can be under estimated.  Having Watson able to bowl 2 or 3 tight spells a day gives Clarke the flexibility he needs to use his other bowlers to the best of their abilities.  So for mine, a front foot plonker who can average 35 at #3 who can bowl those 3 tight spells is better than a specialist batter who *may* average 5 or 10 more.


Clarke should be batting at 3. He is the best batsman, and that is traditionally where the best batsman goes in. By failing to bat there, Clarke is effectively saying, "No 3 is too hard for me. One of you other blokes go in there to protect me."
Valvegear

I hear what you are saying, but for mine Clarke is just too loose in defence and with his footwork to properly combat the moving ball.  If he comes in before the 15th over he almost always fails.  Clarke's attacking strokeplay is the best of any of the batters in world cricket IMHO: because he plays with a vertical bland and his hands over the ball, with timing, on the up.  Good off his pads, great footwork against spin.  His only weaknesses are against good bouncers and the ball moving off the pitch outside off stump.  His best position is #5, but I think the teams interests are best served having him at #4 for now.  But #3 is too high.  

For Clarke at #4 to work there needs to be some starch in the top 3, which is tough given wonderboy Warner is up there.  Watson has shown he can provide that important role in the batting order.


Then, if selectors are worried about against Harris breaking down, or Johnson spraying it around, don't pick them. You can only pick players who are demonstrably in form, and fit; Johnson and Harris are, so they're picked. Choosing an "insurance policy" only inhibits selectors.
Valvegear


I think the attack we have - as good as it has been - still needs that 5th backup bowler to ensure no-one (important) is over-bowled.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
dfj01, there seems to be a recurring theme here about not wanting people to take more responsibility, and work at handling it. Clarke is a wuss by refusing to take the responsibility of number 3.  He should be there, and working on his game to make a success of it.
You don't start by looking for another player averaging  40 plus; you put someone up there from the ranks - in this case Clarke. All of the good number 3's I listed started batting at 6 and moved up. There is no excuse for Clarke not doing so. I repeat - he is sending an appalling message to his own team.

Watson should be working on his game, too, but he is obviously the slowest learner in recent Australian cricket history. . .  a good reason for getting rid of him.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

dfj01, there seems to be a recurring theme here about not wanting people to take more responsibility, and work at handling it. Clarke is a wuss by refusing to take the responsibility of number 3. He should be there, and working on his game to make a success of it.
Valvegear

Perhaps he's a wuss.  But be that as it may, I think it would be silly putting him at #3, and in the next few months when it's my turn in the team (and I'm obviously de-facto captain), I'll be at #3 and Clarke will be at 4 or 5.

Seriously, Alan Border never batted higher than 4, and no-one called him a wus.  I remember reading that in 1977 people were expecting Greg Chappell to open the innings.

My view is you should give your best players preference to their best positions.  Clarke's best position is #5, but I'm happy enough with #4 as a compromise, so long as the top 3 aren't Simmons, White and Finch.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
My view is you should give your best players preference to their best positions.
djf01

My view is they bat where they are most needed.
Giving preference is a sure fire way of creating the prima donna complex. I prefer team harmony where nobody chooses where he'll bat, and each player goes in where the captain tells him.
  SAR520SMBH Junior Train Controller

djf01, you said in one of your previous posts that we don't have a batsman that averages 40 or more to put in at #3.....Michael Clarke doesn't spring to mind?
Valvegear is correct in saying that the number 3 spot is for the best batsman in the team and our best batsman is M.C.
You also mentioned that A.B. never batted higher than #4, there's a good reason for that too, the calibre of the batsmen at #3 or #4 didn't require him to bat any higher, David Boon springs to mind. Just because they're the captain doesn't mean they have to bat at #3.
The whole argument of "they've batted there a handful of times in the past but not done so well" doesn't cut it for me. If M.C. doesn't think he's a #3 batsman he needs to pull his head out of his posterior and start working harder in the nets because he's our best batsman by a long way and should be in at first drop.
As for Watson, there's no way in hell he should even be looked at for the team at the moment. His recurring injuries and failures, bar a couple of innings, in the Ashes should be enough to keep him out until he's fit and playing more confidently. How many chances does a batsman need to get out fishing at deliveries? I personally thought it was a joke watching him lumber around in the field, chasing balls to the boundary at half pace during the Ashes.
I know I've harped on about Phil Hughes in this thread previously but, unorthodox or not, his past performances in South Africa and his domestic form over the last couple of years warrant a spot in the team before Marsh and Doolan.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
SAR520SMBH - I concur with every word you have written.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

djf01, you said in one of your previous posts that we don't have a batsman that averages 40 or more to put in at #3.....Michael Clarke doesn't spring to mind?
SAR520SMBH


I think you guys are misunderstanding what I meant to say a touch. I'm saying because we don't have a standout selection available for at #3 *and* we need Watson (or someone in the top 6) to bowl some overs, we lose least by having him bat at there instead of anywhere else in the top 6. It suits Watson (he's a poor starter against spin), it suits the team, and in my view it suits Clarke too. So on that basis I think Watson at 3 is a reasonable selection.

Sure, if Ian Chappell or David Boon in their prime were available today, then send Watson to #6 or better yet, #12.

[quote[
You also mentioned that A.B. never batted higher than #4, there's a good reason for that too, the calibre of the batsmen at #3 or #4 didn't require him to bat any higher, [/quote]
So, was that true from 1984 to 1989?

AB didn't (succesfully) go up to 4 until after we had a stable successful top 3.


The whole argument of "they've batted there a handful of times in the past but not done so well" doesn't cut it for me. If M.C. doesn't think he's a #3 batsman he needs to pull his head out of his posterior and start working harder in the nets because he's our best batsman by a long way and should be in at first drop.


Clarke is one - if not *the* - best batters in the world. So to say he should spend more time in the nets so he can be as good as Bradman and able to bat equally as well at #3 as he does at #5 is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

But to make a more technical point, I think if Clarke were to modify/tighten up his technique against the new ball, I think you'll find that would restrict his scoring. Clarke leaves a gate, but it allows him to free his arms outside off stump. He's always played that way, but in recent years he's mastered the skill of doing it with a vertical bat and wrists over the ball. It's a rare skill, and it's a high percentage technique ... in reasonably good batting conditions. If he started using his feet in a more orthodox manner (ie closer to the pitch/line of the ball) you'd find he'd have less ability to place the ball through the off side, less ability to strike the ball well on the up, and would need to hit across the line more to work into the on-side.

I think these stats speak for themselves:



  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
djf01 - your selection policy is still based on negativity. For example, you have a firm belief that Clarke cannot improve his game to bat at 3.  You believe Watson is a good choice at 3 because he can't play spin, and we need him to bowl. He's the only available player who can bat and then bowl a few overs?

Sorry; that's not the way I select teams, and it's not the way that Australia should.
  Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding
I think you guys are misunderstanding what I meant to say a touch. I'm saying because we don't have a standout selection available for at #3 *and* we need Watson (or someone in the top 6) to bowl some overs, we lose least by having him bat at there instead of anywhere else in the top 6. It suits Watson (he's a poor starter against spin), it suits the team, and in my view it suits Clarke too. So on that basis I think Watson at 3 is a reasonable selection.
"djf01"


You've got some interesting thoughts there. Watson WOULD be a good selection IF he was performing, but he's not. The Aussie side doesn't NEED an all rounder, but it's nice to have the option. Rather than selecting a number 3 because he can bowl a bit (hardly a good reason to pick a batter) a better solution (IMO) would be use what you have available, Clarke has on many occasions proved he can bowl (for example).
If I was a selector I'd leave Watson out and pick someone else in number 3 and leave Clarke where he is.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

If I was a selector I'd leave Watson out and pick someone else in number 3 and leave Clarke where he is.
Fireman Dave


That's a pretty common theme in this debate here: drop Watson, but rarely does anyone nominate the clearly superior replacement.

As for Sean Marsh, last nights results mean I'm very happy to be proved wrong!
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

You've got some interesting thoughts there. Watson WOULD be a good selection IF he was performing, but he's not. The Aussie side doesn't NEED an all rounder, but it's nice to have the option. Rather than selecting a number 3 because he can bowl a bit (hardly a good reason to pick a batter) a better solution (IMO) would be use what you have available, Clarke has on many occasions proved he can bowl (for example).
If I was a selector I'd leave Watson out and pick someone else in number 3 and leave Clarke where he is.
Fireman Dave

Let me have one more crack at defending the logic rather than the results of my philosophy here:

I'm a firm believer in playing to your strengths, and Australia's strength is it's bowling attack.  

My view is - and I'm sure others will disagree - that a 5th bowler who can bowl from tight - and ideally occasionally penetrating - overs is essential to allow Johnson to be used in short bursts and not a stock bowler.  The alternative is to expect Lyon to do that job all the time, which IMHO is an unrealistic expectation of any single spinner.  I think losing the 5th bowler weakens the effectiveness of the other's in the attack and leaves it vulnerable.  Even though he's not a big wicket taker, nor does he bowl a lot of overs, in the recent Ashes series he bowled important overs that allowed the rest of the attack to function optimally, and he chipped in with valuable occasional wickets.

As for Watson's batting, clearly he has a lot of ability, but he's demonstrated over a very long career that he can't translate that into the performances of a quality test class batter.  More importantly he's all but incapable of playing the big (potentially) match winning innings in long form (which S Marsh has done twice now).  But he still "only" averages 35 with the bat, and usually makes regular 50s and more often than not occupies the crease for a while even when he does fail.

Ditching Watson for a better credentialled batter is in my view weakening a strength to try and rectify a a weakness: the antithesis of playing to your strengths.

Also my view is - that perhaps for the first time in his career - Watson is complementing the current team rather than detracting from it.
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
Good day of cricket yesterday. Pitch looks a belter. Steyn, Philander and Morkel were dangerous early, but not enough given they elected to bowl first. The first over that Philander bowled to Rogers was just a cracker, as was Morkel's first two balls to him.

Marsh is lucky to be not out on 122, but at least he made the most of his luck. I'm not convinced that he'll perform consistently, but that will be revealed over the next month. Smith on the other hand played very well. He's doing much more right than he was when he started playing, and it's paying off.
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
Even though he's not a big wicket taker, nor does he bowl a lot of overs, in the recent Ashes series he bowled important overs that allowed the rest of the attack to function optimally, and he chipped in with valuable occasional wickets.

As for Watson's batting, clearly he has a lot of ability, but he's demonstrated over a very long career that he can't translate that into the performances of a quality test class batter. More importantly he's all but incapable of playing the big (potentially) match winning innings in long form (which S Marsh has done twice now). But he still "only" averages 35 with the bat, and usually makes regular 50s and more often than not occupies the crease for a while even when he does fail.
djf01

You have summed up the argument to keep Watson out of the team very well there.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
You have summed up the argument to keep Watson out of the team very well there.
simont141

Precisely. I would be interested to hear djf01's job description for a number 3 batsman.
  Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding
Picking a batter because they can bowl is a pretty poor reason to pick them if they aren't performing with the bat. It could be a reason to pick one inform batter over another, but that's not really the case with Watson.
  Jajb94 Deputy Commissioner

Location: In a BAM
What I think Australia have missed for several years now, almost 10 is it? Is someone like Steve Waugh, a mentally tough quality batsmen, who can bowl tidy spells.

Now to compare statistics, between the pair


Steve Waugh's Batting stats are; average of 51.06 from 260 innings with a strike rate of 48.64,
when compared to
Shane Watson's Batting stats are; average of 36.33 from 95 innings with a strike rate of 52.52

Granted a huge difference and not really a comparison.
But look at the bowling stats

Steve Waugh 92 wickets at an average of 37.44, economy rating of 2.64 and a strike rate of 84.8 having bowled 1300 overs. from 168 matches which equates to about 8 overs per game.
Compare that to
Shane Watson 68 wickets at an average of 31.83, economy rating of 2.76 and a strike rate of 69.1 having bowled 783 overs from 51 matches which equates to about 15 overs per game
That's a pretty close comparison.

Apart from Shane Watson having to bowl more, as he is playing in the post Warne, McGrath bowling unit era.

So overall we can see that Shane Watson is more or less, an equal bowler to Steve Waugh, and watching him play, it is clear he has the potential to be as good a batsmen as Steve Waugh, but has not capitalised on this potential, and the Australian Selectors, have been playing an All-Rounder more or less consistently in every test since Waugh's retirement.
In short, they are trying to make a Bowling All Rounder, into a Steve Waugh. Who is a once in a generation player.

Steve Waugh, in my opinion is the main reason that the selectors have an obsession with all-rounders.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Steve Waugh, in my opinion is the main reason that the selectors have an obsession with all-rounders.
Jajb

I think the obsession goes back further than Steve Waugh. Remember, Inverarity played alongside Doug Walters (The Man with the Golden Arm) who could also trundle down a few useful deliveries.
On one occasion, Chappell brought on Walters because a partnership was becomin irritating. Doug took a wicket in his first over, and was reported to have said, "Bloody beauty; 1 for none. What a great game this is. Did him with pace - lack of."
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
The Aussies have done well to amass 397 runs, even though (as usual) few batsmen contributed much! Marsh 148, Smith 100. Brad Haddin unusually failed to score. They now have the Proteas 140/6 with Johnson having taken 4 so far after having added a handy 33 with the bat to be the third highest scorer for the innings.

As for the Proteas, Steyn took 4 and De Villiers is currently not out on 52.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Johnson fired in some near unplayable balls that snared a couple of his wickets.   Obviously he has a dislike of the opposition captains!

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