Aussies have made me question my beliefs

Alec Swann Columnist

By Alec Swann, Alec Swann is a Roar Expert

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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.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • March 6th 2013 @ 12:13pm
      Bearfax said | March 6th 2013 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

      We all make mistakes Alec. But those with good character are prepared to admit it. Unlike the present selectors who make ongoing mistakes and then rationalise, pretend they were doing something for a purpose, having some master plan and make another one. Balderdash to them. Maybe you should be a selector Alec. You’d do a better job by far.

    • Columnist

      March 6th 2013 @ 12:37pm
      Brett McKay said | March 6th 2013 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

      Rough news overnight about Greame’s elbow Alec. Much as it might help our chances, I think I’d much rather he played. You always want the best players playing in Ashes series..

    • March 6th 2013 @ 1:12pm
      Jonny Boy Jnr said | March 6th 2013 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

      Bearfax, love your sycophantic gushing old boy*

      I agree the selectors got it with their changes after the first test but the real problem was the squad they selected. How the hell was Steve Smith ever going to be anything but fodder on the Sub C yet they took him (is he one of Clarke’s mates like Hughesy?)

      If Cummins, Pattinson & Harris are fit and They get rid of sub the likes of Doolan, D Hussey for Cowan & Hughes then this Ashes is going to go right down to the wire

      • March 6th 2013 @ 1:50pm
        Bearfax said | March 6th 2013 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

        We’ll see Jonny Boy Jnr. We’ll see. I’ll remind you in a year or so about your assessment.

        Remember Hughes just came off two brilliant centuries and an 80 odd recently.

        None of the young crowd are handling the spin in India, except maybe Henriques. Spin bowling this good on these types of wickets is new to these guys. They have to learn, to adapt.

        I wasnt being flattering. I honestly believe this group is the core of a good side in a few years. I’ve seen this so often before with Indian tours and the same criticisms. Cowan survives because his style is very simple and compact, and he has worked hard on the art of defence so he manages to cope. But he doesnt have the shots to get beyond a 30-35 average. Mind you I wish he could and then we’d have a good opener.

        Doolan has done well recently but still has a FC average less than Cowan’s. I think you’d find he would be in more trouble than most of the present lot here in India. David Hussey is an enigma to me. Has the averages and could have been a top batsman, But like Rogers he’s 35 and despite Clarke’s mantra that age doesnt matter, I’m convinced with these selectors it does. Hussey and Rogers have FC averages over 50. Mind you Hussey has not done well this season.

        • March 7th 2013 @ 12:44am
          Ben said | March 7th 2013 @ 12:44am | ! Report

          Clearly age does count against Rogers and Hussey, how else can it be explained?? Just pick the best players and we would be more formidable. I don’t get it, it’s the same with the bowling averages, statistically Doherty shouldnt even be in the frame and the same can be said of Starc and Johnson who both average over thirty when their is quite a few guys in the low twenties getting overlooked. I know you can’t pick a side purely on stats and you have to allow for improvements, but you could pick a second eleven right now that in my opinion would beat this current team quite comfortably.

    • March 6th 2013 @ 8:26pm
      Jonny Boy Jnr said | March 6th 2013 @ 8:26pm | ! Report

      Haha – was just stirring you.

      Cowan irks me because he puts so much pressure on the rest of the line-up with his awkward starts. I commend him for his application but I think he lacks the talent to succeed in awkward conditions.

      Quiney was thrown to the wolves while Hughes was protected and eased in against an ordinary attack on flat decks. I think this guy has the talent but perhaps lacks the confidence under pressure

    • March 7th 2013 @ 1:08pm
      George Hill said | March 7th 2013 @ 1:08pm | ! Report


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