Monday, March 13, 2006

Australia's geriatric cricket squad

Michael Atherton in the Sport Telegraph yesterday bemoans the 'aged' selections made for the Australian team to tour South Africa and what he sees as their 'denial' of the past Ashes loss:

This week Australia's selectors announced their Test squad to tour South Africa and it amounted to little more than an old boys' reunion. The recalls of the 34-year-olds Damien Martyn and Michael Kasprowicz were particularly surprising.
....There is one of two conclusions to be drawn by Australia's theft of the 'Dad's Army' cloak worn by England for so long: either they are in denial about the Ashes, or the pool of talent has simply dried up. Either way, with the Australia tour just seven months away, it is good news for England.

Well Michael you might be right but our batting at least does not seem to be doing too badly as the following account from The Age this morning suggests:

Australia sped to a one-day international cricket record total of 4-434 in its bid to save the series against South Africa at the Wanderers ground here. Australian captain Ricky Ponting top-scored with a fine 164 off 151 balls. Australia eclipsed the previous mark of 398 by scoring 3-400 in the 48th over.

Ponting's 164 included 14 fours and 9 sixes. Did anyone video this? I'd like to see it.

Update: Teach me to be so smart-assed! I had not heard of South Africa's response to the Australian score and assumed they had no chance. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!They won with a single ball to spare re-breaking the world record Australia had set in their innings just hours before. Maybe we are geriatrics! What a game! The following from the ABC newspage:

South Africa hit a world record 9 for 438 in the highest-scoring one-day international in history to beat Australia by one wicket and win the series 3-2 in Johannesburg this morning. In the most extraordinary one-dayer ever, the home side's victory was achieved with one ball to spare and sparked wild celebrations on and off the Wanderers pitch. Before this match, no side had scored more than 400 in a one-day international and South Africa's total topped Australia's record 4 for 434 earlier in the day.

Does putting on a huge score mean the other team has nothing to lose by chasing the score and therefore has an improved chance of doing so?


Bring Back EP at LP said...

Selections can only be rational if they expect the pitches to be more spinner friendly and less useful for fast bowlers.

Otherwise one would expect Freddy, Harmison and Jones to make hay on faster bouncier pitches.

We don't fix pitches do we?

Mark U said...

I agree with Barry Richards who is reported as saying that all the rules and conditions in the one day game are slanted in favour of the batsmen (flat pitches and cricket balls that don't enable the bowlers to swing the ball or do much else with it, limits on how many overs a bowler can bowl, limits on bouncers and anything marginally wide of the stumps). As a result, totally ordinary bowlers like Lewis get picked for one day games.

Some suggestions to redress the imbalance and encourage selection of bowlers who take wickets are (a) a penalty of 10 runs for each wicket the batting side loses or (b) each wicket a bowler takes entitles them to an extra over above the limit of ten.

hc said...

Mark, Maybe people are overreacting to a freak event. I'd like to see both innings in full.

But your suggestions will reduce the role of batsmen. Won't (a) also make batsmen bat 'slower'. I kinda like a big slog - and not just nationalism - I liked the way the Sri Lankans used to slog in first 15 overs. (b) Seems good.

By the way Mark how come you never play for Monash's COPs when they challenge LTU annually? My excuse is that - even though I am Department Head - they won''t select me!

Mark U said...

Harry, I have not been at Monash for many years, which probably explains my non-selection. My career has been somewhat "non-linear" and am now in Queensland Treasury.