Australian and International Cricket

The current Australian side currently has alot of ‘aging’ players with Katich, Ponting, Hussey and even North are reaching that difficult age for batsmen. They start to lose their eye of the ball and their timing. A perfect example of a player being too old is Mark Waugh, he was a brilliant batsman who based alot of his technique on timing. As he grew older he lost this timing and so lost his skill with the bat.

My view on: Shane Warne.  One of The best test bowler of all time, and is legally the highest wicket taker in test match cricket. (I’ll talk about that later) He announced his retirement at the end of the 06/07 Ashes Series against England no durr here in Australia. After this series he went over to captain/coach the Indian Premier League team the Rajisthan Royals. I have always believed that Wanrey had enough time left, and of course the skill, to continue playing international test match cricket until the end of the current Ashes series in England (09).

Another great bowler we lost in that short period was Glenn McGrath, one of the most consistent pace bowlers of the modern era, and now founder of the McGrath Foundation doing great work with nurses and the treatment of breast cancer. Both McGrath and Warne together in the attack at opposite ends was one of the most feared bowling combinations in world cricket and it was very rare that this combination did not result in one, if not more, wickets falling in the space of only a few overs.

The Australian team was faced with a difficult position when the retirement of explosive batsman and great gloveman, Adam Gilchrist. Gilly, who was robbed of the fastest century in test match history (Hoggard you dog, bowling a friggin wide) struck with the bat in an explosive fashion with the ability to take bowling attacks apart in the matter of a few overs.

Losing one of our most successful and steady opening partnerships, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer, were also a huge loos to what was once a world class side. Any team’s opening batsmen are the rock to a good innings and these two were reliable at the top of the order, on numerous occasions making century partnerships and even a few double century opening stands.

Allan Border took over the captaincy from Kim Hughes, the notorious cry-baby in 1984 during a test series against the West Indies. He ‘adopted a team of relative no-names including David Boon in his second test. After the team’s continual failures against other international test playing nations under Hughes, Border took on such names as Craig McDermott, Simon O;Donnell, Merv Hughes, Rod Marsh and a very young Steve Waugh. He took this team of young unknowns and developed their games to take Australia to the top of world cricket in the late 80’s and 90’s, being seen as the father of Australia’s dominance of world cricket in the past 20 years.

Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor and Ricky Ponting can not be compared to Allan Border as a captain. They all inherited a class test team, who already knew what they had to do to win matches. With this team they successfully injected young talent to give them a taste of international cricket at the highest level (or against England).

As you most probably skipped read before, alot of great players from Australia’s recent test team have retired in a short time span. The team had NOT bred young players though during their reign at the top, keeping with the same team under the assumption…if we change, we may not keep winning.

I forsee the same position Border faced when he first took over the captaincy happening when Michael Clarke relieves Ricky Ponting of his duties. I think that Ponting’s side has lacked the blooding of young players.

It doesnt help when they bring in a young player into the squad for a tour, Phillip Hghes, and drop him after two test matches due to “poor form”. Aside from the fact the Hughes was NOT OUT when Strauss “caught” the ball which clearly bounced before him. And who do they replace him with? Shane Watson. Mr Breaks-a-lot. Australia should have kept Hughes in the side, they have no back-up specialist batsmen.

You may have heard the Brad Haddin broke his index finger on his left hand just before play in the third test. They took Graham Manou over, luckily, as a replacement… but who would keep if Manou were to also be injured? Hussey, who is losing sight of the ball? The perfect replacement as a third keeper would have been Phillip Hughes, who kept for his Under 19’s representative side.

Personally, i’m a huge fan of Phillip Huges and Michael Clarke. The latter of which is the major influence behind my online display name. I have also met their batting coach, Neil D’Costa, whilst completing my level 1 coaching certificate as approved by Cricket Australia.

That’s enough of Australia-centric stuff so i’ll move onto a few other issues which really tick me off.

India.

The BCCI have constantly tried to show their dominance over the ICC, claiming they should have the power over world cricket and all financial benefits as well. The also try their best to ‘intimidate’ the ICC into making decisions in their favour. This is one reason why i hate the IPL.

The IPL was at first a great money-maker for international superstars with contracts worth millions of dollars on offer. The main premice of the inaugral season of the IPL was its abundance of world talent. When the second season came around, the Indians complained, saying there were too many foreign players in the IPL and that it should be an Indian based competition. This contradicts any reasons why the first season was so successful. You can probably see why the second season was not as suce$$ful as the first.

Murali.

The recently retired, contravercial spin bowler, who holds very little in my books. He has been proven to have an illegal bowling action, during studies in Perth. Firstly, you shouldn’t test someone for a dodgy action in a lab. He is obviously not going to chuck while he is being tested. Secondly, after he was proven to be a chucker the ICC CHANGED THE RULE so his action was legal. Now, i don’t care what problems he may have with his arm, if he has a disorder with his arm, maybe HE SHOULD’T BE A BOWLER/CRICKET PLAYER! What pissed me off even more was that even after they proved he was a chucker and changed the rule, they let all his statistics from before he was proven illegal to stand. The least they could have done was wipe ALL his wickets from his career. Harsh but, i believe, fair.

This brings me to the Murali vs Warne debate. Warne will ALWAYS come out on top in this battle. Warne produced alot more quality wickets against quality opponents. He also had to cope with having McGrath bowling in the same innings, giving Warne less opportunities. People say that Murali takes more higher order batsmen…. SO WHAT? all that says is that Sri Lanka’s opening bowlers are shit. Murali took the majority of his wickets against teams such as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Warne only played bangladesh on a few occasions.

Warne will always be better than the chucker, Murali. That fact cannot be denied.

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Coaching, Training, it’s just cricket.

Writing this immediately after sending an email in regards to a coaching training course i wish to attend.

To give a little background….

I play cricket, and have for 11 seasons now. Throught his time i have been involved in three (yes three) different clubs. The latest of these, Kings Langley Cricket Club, has been by far the best in terms of administration and my overall enjoyment of the game.

I joined KLCC four seasons ago for the Under 15’s competition, after my father wished not to coach my junior team. The club we were at did not like this idea as they wanted him to stay as coach as they had no replacement. In this season, my team proceeded to make the grand final, losing by only a few runs (i actually dont remember the margin, all i remember is that we got the guy who got 200 in the semi out for 0). The next season, my junior team did not perform as well as the previous season, but i had been given the opportunity to “fill in” for one of our senior teams, B15 a low grade. I then proceeded to participate in every game of the season for the B15’s, and halfway through the season, the captain decided that i should be opening the bowling, which i was quite excited about. This B15 team were minor premiers (i.e. first place). Our first semi final was a very exciting game, one which i will not forget in a long time. The week before we had played the same team, who chalked up 298 in the first innings and we chased it down with one wicket spare. In  the semi final, we were batting first and we were toppled over for a miserable 70-something. We needed a big effort in the field if we were to make it to the grand final. Our openers (by this stage, we had brought up anohter player from my junior team who is alot better [he now plays A grade]) had taken a few wickets and we were excited as they were only in the 30’s. The oppositions last recognised batsman had came to the crease and the weight of his team was on his shoulders. Our opening bowlers had finished their spell and i was due to come on at the northern end of the ground. There was one over at the southern end before i was up to bowl. Our keeper missed one delivery and the batsmen took off for a run, I at fine leg, promptly ran towards the racing ball as the batsmen turned for a second. I reached the ball and fired it in, with the recognised batsman running towards the keepers end. A beautiful throw, right above the bails, and he was run out. Oh the celebrations that went on at that very moment. From there the current bowler and myself cleaned up the tail, ending their innigs at an embarrasing 44 runs.

The grand final loomed upon us all, to be played at our home ground, the smallest in the district. We had beaten this team oonce during the season, but they had the wood against us in our last bout. The day arrived, we lost the toss and were sent in to the field. The opposition had the best opening batting partnership of all the teams in our grade. We opened with the same bowlers as the semi, neither taking a wicket. I was told to warm up and bowl the next over at the northern end.

This is where i talk it up.

My first over was tight, little runs scored. The second over is where our teams first breakthrough occured. One of the openers popped it up to a player in short (who’s name, no joke, is Chris Brown) They were 1-30something. The next over, third delivery and with the other opener on stike, i came in to bowl, pushed it a bit wide to allow for the inswing. The batsman positioned himself to leave, which he did. The ball swung back in, hitting the seam and cutting back towards the batsman. (At this point the scorers [one bieng my father] had marked a dot ball on the score sheet) BUT the ball hit the top of the off (outer most) stump, and the batsman was dissmissed. I was cheering, our team was cheering, the batsman was absolutely dumbfounded. We continued our roll dissmissing the opposition for 130 something, a reasonable total but in a final, anything is possible.

I cant recall too much about our batting innings, as i rarely paid attention when we were batting, most of the guys had some great stories some of which ill tell in another blog.

We ended up passing their total and won the competition, enough about thatm it was too long already.

Anyway, the next season, my father had decided to assist in our clubs minicircket program, training for 150 under 8 year olds on a friday night, to help him get away from the stress of his work. I have no idea how putting up with 250 screaming kids can be less stressful, but anyway.

He asked me if i would like to join him in the second week, which i did and have now done for two whole seasons only missing one week since my first appearance.

The first year, the club had employed a man, Brad, to organise numerous activities for the kids, for the second season, he had moved to queensland and had got married (and last week we got news that his wife had given birth to their first child) so two of the other helpers had taken over, with my father and i as assistants. This coming season, they are looking toput someone on permanently in the same role as Brad hadand they have suggested the two who have done it.

Now my father and i have both partaken in many cricket related workshops, we are both qualified district umpires and both level one cricket australia accredited coaches.

Over the past month, my mother (who works in child care) was sent an email regarding a Community Coach Training Program, which she suggested to me. I am now printing off the enrollment package for this couse, to be held in the olympic stadium [OMG], and will be sending it this afternoon.

If i am to complete this course and through this find employment in related industry, i will be paid and a small payment will be put to my nominated club or organisation.

I am hoping that by completing this course, i am looked at by the club as a suitable heir to Brad’s position.