Aussies have made me question my beliefs

Alec Swann Columnist

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    Nathan Lyon is unlikely to spin Australia to victory in India - thus, they are unlikely to win in India. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

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    I feel it’s time for an apology. Recent events on the sub-continent have exposed my previous beliefs and rendered them as inhabitants of a fantasy world in which reality is blatantly an unattainable concept.

    I’ll admit to not being much of a fan of having to demand forgiveness but needs must so here goes.

    Late last year, I wrote a piece stating that the $3.50 being offered for Australia to win the Ashes in England this summer looked exceptionally generous.

    I now appreciate that this was in fact very poor form from the bookmakers and that, should I want to invest my money on an Australian victory, I would expect a far more generous price.


    More recently, an offering was submitted along the lines of a traditional approach to the five-day game being the best way to reap rewards in India.

    That patience with the bat, six frontline batsmen, two spinners and a four-man attack could produce the kind of performances that win games, especially where attrition is a key and necessary skill.

    Again, sorry.

    And worse still on my part, faith was mistakenly placed in the opinion that a twin-spin assault was the only way to go if the Indians were to be beaten at their own game and the conditions were to be fully utilised.

    It’s probably getting tiresome I know but, sorry.

    But wait, no plea to be let off can be complete without a claim for mitigating factors so while this is a flimsy defence, it is all that can be dragged up.

    With regards to point one, how was I to know that the bookies are rarely wrong? That my generally hopeless attempts at gambling should have convinced me that it would be an act akin to burning money if I was to take a punt on such odds.

    Secondly, that the unfathomable thoughts of the Australian selectors would be so lacking in any kind of logic that a common sense approach was unlikely to occur?

    Six batsmen? No chance. Two spinners on a dusty surface? Pointless. Four-man attack? Pardon?

    That they took a touring party that contained, without being particularly unreasonable, one batsman (guess, who?) and one effective bowler (slightly more tricky, actually no it’s not) and others, who aren’t poor players I don’t think, but have made the game look ludicrously difficult.

    And that brings me to the third factor.

    Nathan Lyon is no world beater but no support in Chennai stuffed him out of sight and the less that is said about Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell the better. I knew the spin cupboard wasn’t stocked to the brim but I hadn’t realised just how bare it was.

    Does that all add up to qualify as a defence?

    I hope so and I really can’t think of what else to say, so one last time will have to suffice.


    Alec Swann
    Alec Swann

    Alec Swann is a former Northants and Lancashire opener turned cricket writer. Outside of the joys of a Test match, Newcastle United and golf generally occupy his other sporting interests with a soft spot for the Newcastle Knights.