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Joined April 2020

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Interested in stadium politics, competition programming, sporting administration, cricket history and trivia

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I’m a Mark Waugh fan, having watched maybe 70-80 of his innings live at the ground- for Australia, NSW or Bankstown. Highlights at the SCG include his Day 1 tons against SA in 1998 and Eng in 1999, against Allan Donald and Darren Gough respectively, sharing partnerships of 116 and 190 with his brother. But just like say Doug Walters or Stan McCabe, he was a match-winner while still being fallible.

In response to your question I quickly wrote down more than 40 criteria by which to differentiate seemingly-identical raw scores. Perhaps that’s worth an article on its own ! You and other Roarers regularly cite many of them, for example-

1. Status of the match at the time of the innings (eg big lead, following on, or inevitable defeat).
2. Status of the series at the time of the match (eg live match, or dead rubber).
3. Strength of opponent (eg West Indies attack, or Zimbabwe attack).
4. Ground conditions (eg wet pitch in 1902, or Chief Executive’s pitch in 2002).
5. Scoring rate (eg Victor Trumper, or Herbert Sutcliffe).

Those and the many others are valid measures worth applying as multiple, but weighted, criteria. Much like the 8 here were-

Baggy green opening pairs: The best, and why

Capping is not only legitimate but in fact absolutely imperative when comparing batsmen

Hi PR,

Clearly there’s general agreement that while every run ever scored has some meaning, some runs do have far less meaning than others.

However I can think of at least 25 criteria to value raw runs. Basing value retrospectively on match status is just 1 of them.

And in addition, there have been a number of matches where Mark Waugh scored very few runs in a very close loss. Therefore, his lack of runs in them was a major factor in Australia’s eventual defeat. For example-

1993 lost to WI by 1 run, with MW scoring just 26 runs across 2 innings
1994 lost to SA by 5 runs, with MW scoring just 18 runs across 2 innings
1997 lost to Eng by 19 runs, with MW scoring just 20 runs across 2 innings
1999 lost to WI by 1 wicket, with MW scoring just 3 runs across 2 innings
In 27 lost matches, he scored just 1 century, and averaged just 27

Bottom line, he was human. Sometimes he played a match-winning innings that few others could. But at other times, Australia lost a very winnable match after he failed.

Capping is not only legitimate but in fact absolutely imperative when comparing batsmen

Hey PR,

Maybe the fairest way to compare them, is by what they achieved at the same age ?

Comparing Mark and Steve Waugh against Pakistan

Cheers Tigerbill,

Ties in with England earlier cancelling its tour to India and Pakistan.

Fifty years on: Australia versus the Rest of the World, 1971-72

And during the 1970s Australia would have played multiple times against SA, both home and away. Perhaps an additional 4-5 series, each of 3-5 games ?

Especially as one-day tournaments didn’t start filling the calendar until 1979-80, and 3 of the summers featured only a 3-match series against either NZ or Pak.

Fifty years on: Australia versus the Rest of the World, 1971-72

You’re right about the fast bowling DaveJ,

John Snow, Mike Procter, Peter Lever or Bob Willis, even a young Imran Khan, would have come in handy.

Bedi and Intikhab were the team’s leading wicket-takers.
An uncapped Greig opened the bowling in all 5 games.
Sobers took just 9 wickets, and I imagine a lot of his overs were off a longer run.
Peter Pollock arrived only in time for the series’ third Test, and played only 2 games.
Cunis played only 2 games, and missed the last one to travel to the WI.
All-rounder Richard Hutton played 2 games, assume he wasn’t particularly fast.
Asif Masood played only 1 match.

Fifty years on: Australia versus the Rest of the World, 1971-72

Thanks Peter,

Not to mention the Pollocks arriving only in time for the third Test, due to provincial cricket commitments in SA. And Cunis leaving before the last Test, for NZ’s tour to the WI.

Fifty years on: Australia versus the Rest of the World, 1971-72

You’re welcome Your Eminence, and you’re on the right track-

https://www.cricketcountry.com/articles/garry-sobers-annihilates-australia-with-a-merciless-254-21568

“Ian Chappell trudged into the rival dressing room that evening. “I head over in his direction to congratulate him … just the two of us are in a quiet corner, and after I pour him a beer, he has a sip and then says, ‘Prue’s left me.’ Prue being his wife who lived in Melbourne in those days. I said: ‘Sobie, if that’s the bloody thing that’s annoying you so much, give me her phone number, and I’ll tell her to get bloody home straight away.’ You know, he just laughed. And it didn’t make any difference — he came out and belted us again.””

Fifty years on: Australia versus the Rest of the World, 1971-72

Thanks matth,

And Alan Jones (the Welsh cricketer) and the ECB would certainly like both series to be recognised.

Fifty years on: Australia versus the Rest of the World, 1971-72

The two photos of Sobers that The Roar used really do him justice.

Shame no article could be long enough to do the series justice.

However readers’ memories and on-line search engines fill in the gaps.

Fifty years on: Australia versus the Rest of the World, 1971-72

Cheers CAM, you’re welcome

Fifty years on: Australia versus the Rest of the World, 1971-72

Cheers ozinsa,

Nowadays a night (and morning) like that would be all over social media within hours.

Fifty years on: Australia versus the Rest of the World, 1971-72

Thanks Paul,

“The real key to these matches would be the pitches. These have to be genuine cricket wickets and a true test between bat and ball. In an ideal world, they’d give the quicks plenty of help on day 1, play truly for day 2 then start to spin late on day 3 and into day 4, but that’s expecting too much. As long as they’re not complete roads, that would be fine.”

For this level a groundsman’s rule-of-thumb is 1 week’s preparation for each day of match duration. So 4 weeks’ preparation for a first-class pitch.

Scheduling matches and picking venues at short notice makes it incredibly difficult to produce high-quality pitches. Especially early-season when pitches are coming off 6 months of winter ie without any rolling, heat, sunshine and humidity.

Drummoyne Oval will host a Shield match next week, with less than 2 weeks’ notice.

Australia badly need some games for their fringe Test players

3. Find room for Maxwell. please. just for me.

👍 👍 👍 👍 👍

Australia badly need some games for their fringe Test players

Hi PR,

Looking forward to reading your next article.

Good luck ensuring that any criteria proposed, is as objective as is humanly possible !

Sounds like a a huge job, modifying the raw statistics not just of one chosen player, but also of every one of his leading peers identically.

Comparing the Waugh twins against South Africa

What about Adam Voges ?

5 matches, 4 innings, 3 not out, 542 runs, hs 269, average 542.00, 3 tons

😁

Why Mark Waugh was the world's best against the West Indies

Thanks Paul,

A few generalisations from years of umpiring one’s batting team-mates, and decades of chats with umpires from all levels-

1) an umpire only needs to make a decision, whenever a player makes a mistake

2) a player is far more likely to forgive a big mistake by his team-mate, than a lesser one by an umpire

3) an umpire doesn’t make better decisions as a result of being sledged and disrespected

4) as clubs and players have a vested interest in there being more and better umpires, they should do far more to improve umpire recruitment and retention

5) it’s the height of hypocrisy to happily accept a decision in your favour that you know is wrong, then blow up when later one goes the other way

6) it’s not much better to humiliate an umpire in full view of players and spectators, then apologise later but only do so in private

7) players are far more inconsistent than umpires, especially when the match situation or competition table drives their views as to whether or not the pitch or weather is fit for play

8) a decision early in a game is rarely the reason why a team loses a match hours or even days later

9) an umpire has a far better view than any fieldsman of most situations, and of lbws in particular.

To err is human: Umpire bashing needs to be called out

That time in 1912 when Clem Hill fought with chairman of selectors Peter McAlister for 20 minutes and almost defenestrated* him.

And that incident in the SCG’s home changeroom when the then-Australian captain wanted to leave early but the team song hadn’t yet been sung…

*threw out of a window (and it was a third-floor one)

Cricket and baseball: Compare and contrast, Part 3 – quirks and controversies

Thanks DaveJ,

I’ve always been interested in the mercenary/employment nature of each sport’s elite levels.

Years ago I was involved in a review of sporting competition models by some leading consultants in that field. They struggled to reconcile that in cricket, an elite player would simultaneously have multiple “employers.” With risks to his fitness, technique, freshness, longevity etc.

In a sport like AFL or MLB, you have just one employer at any one time. They own you 24/7, and just one coach and medical/sports science team design and control your activities. And you play in only one format. Soccer similarly, but with limited international competition as well.

But in cricket you can have multiple employers. In any one year you could play for and practise with a Grade club (albeit now rarely), State side, BBL franchise and national team, and multiple overseas T20 franchises. All with different coaches and support staff, and in three formats.

It’s actually like that from a young age. Simultaneously school, junior club, open team in afternoon, junior reps, State junior squad, AW Green Shield (or equivalent away from Sydney) and some lower-grade matches during the school holidays. Again, each with different coaches and formats, often in the same week.

Cricket and baseball: Compare and contrast, Part 3 – quirks and controversies

When a player earns tens of millions of dollars per year, is an umpires’ relatively-low salary by comparison a corruption risk ? So much is riding on each game, yet the decision-makers don’t really share in the spoils ?

Cricket and baseball: Compare and contrast, Part 3 – quirks and controversies

CA overhauled its governance process 10 years ago, to make its board independent of the States as follows-

9 directors in total.

6 of the directors are one resident from each State. All 25 million Australians are eligible. However a State association director can’t also be a CA director, ruling out about 60 State cricket administrators. A State association can nominate its preferred director, but CA’s board and nominations sub-committee can then reject them as unsuitable. In theory, each State is still “represented,” but without a State association controlling their representative’s vote.

The 3 additional directors can be from anywhere. They are chosen by CA’s board to fill any skills gaps eg law, finance, media, politics, ex-player. Could be three lawyers, or three Tasmanians.

So all 9 directors are independent of the States. Nobody wears two hats to create conflicts of interest. 25 million eligible persons means in theory that the very best 9 can be appointed.

One downside can be the lack of direct connections with grassroots cricket. State boards are filled with Grade club presidents, ex-players etc. CA’s board seems to have a lot of businesspeople who lack those backgrounds, and also sit on many other companies’ boards. They don’t have “skin in the game.”

The States gave up their CA board control in return for financial and other benefits. However as owners/shareholders of Australian cricket, they retained some relatively-limited powers that they could exercise by voting together.

Hence the State associations rolling CA’s chairman even though CA’s independent directors unanimously supported him, and calling for a review of CA governance to claw back some powers given up in good faith 10 years ago.

'They played for Bankstown 4ths': Should cricket's power brokers have played at highest level?

It was a pretty good trick though, Micko

'They played for Bankstown 4ths': Should cricket's power brokers have played at highest level?

Until 10 years ago the votes were based on history. CA had 14 directors, each of them simultaneously also a State one. NSW, SA and Vic (the founders) each provided 3. Qld and WA each provided 2. Tas got 1.

Which created the potential for voting blocs and side-deals. Any two founders could combine for more than one-third of the 14 votes, to prevent constitutional change. Late-arrivals Qld got less say than SA, despite their relative sizes and importance.

So 14 State directors were replaced by 9 independent ones. But as a concession the States (as shareholders) retained important rights which they could exercise by combining.

Cricket Australia chair resigns after messy fallout

It’s a perceived or actual conflict of interest thing, when the interests of Australian cricket and your own State don’t always align. What if it’s best for Australian cricket that you vote one way, but for your State that you vote another ? If a current State director voted at CA level against their State’s instructions, their State would replace them with someone more obedient.

As a director, you must always act in your organisation’s best interest. The conflict is removed by not making a CA director beholden to their State- you can’t be both at the same time. But the States do remain shareholders, so have rights but they no longer include the direct appointment of all CA directors.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-14/cricket-australia-criticised-for-high-chair-salary-at-agm/100538974

Examples of potential perceived conflict of interest are each State’s grant levels, whether Sydney gets a New Year’s Test (it didn’t in 1995-96 and 1996-97, as its ACB directors were out-voted), and whether Shane Warne (Vic) or Steve Waugh (NSW) succeeds Mark Taylor as captain.

Cricket Australia chair resigns after messy fallout

Initially Taylor was a NSW board director, and simultaneously represented it on the then-ACB. So he didn’t owe any loyalty to an ACB chairman. Back then every single ACB director was also a State one. Those perceived conflicts of interest disappeared 10 years ago.

His later being both a Channel 9 employee, and a CA director, might have been difficult. He might have had to have left the room during a lot of agenda items eg media rights.

'They played for Bankstown 4ths': Should cricket's power brokers have played at highest level?

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