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

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During the 1990s and early-2000s a strong top-order, champion wicketkeeper-batsman, capable lower-order batsmen and the penetration of Warne and McGrath lessened the need for a fifth bowler who could bat. But the search for that elusive all-rounder did continue.

Tom Moody (two World Cup wins twelve years apart, eight Tests and 300 first-class matches) was in and out of the team. Others made cameos, some progressing from the ODI team to the Test side but never cementing a place. They included Dodemaide, Julian, Shane Lee, Sean Young, Harvey, Hopes, Henriques, Hastings, Christian, Cutting and Stoinis.

And the dominant NSW teams of 1992/93 and 1993/94 often played three fast-bowling all-rounders simultaneously, in the absence on Australian duty of specialist batsmen Taylor, Slater, M Waugh, S Waugh and Bevan. Shane Lee was good enough to play for Australia, and Neil Maxwell for Australia A, while Brad McNamara was very successful at domestic level.

For me, Gilmour and Johnson stand out, as players worth carrying for the occasional match-winning performances with either bat or ball. Preceded in the order by wicketkeeper-batsmen, so never needed to bat higher than 8, or bat for so long that their bowling was compromised.

The next Keith Miller: The history of Australia’s search for an all-rounder (Part 2)

Thanks Pat, the Golden Age of Cricket was such an interesting era. Like the 21st century in some ways, but unlike it in many others.

3-day Tests in England, but 20-25 overs per hour- on this match’s first day, England received 129 overs to score 9-351.

Express bowlers abounded but couldn’t be used if an uncovered pitch prevented them from running in to bowl following rain- in this match, neither Lockwood nor Jessop delivered a single ball.

Tours were long, and squads were small- a six-week voyage before and after; 10 of the 39 matches took place after the fifth and final Test; and only 14 players, as any extras would have watered down each player’s profit share.

The Australian team was very strong- it won four consecutive Ashes series, and pre-1948 only the 1921 team had as successful a record as the 1902 one.

When Australia was bowled out for 36

Shane Watson. Batting average higher than bowling average, 4 centuries, and 75 wickets from 59 matches.

Since 1970 and most definitely since 1999, we’ve had a genuine all-rounder at 7- a wicketkeeper-batsman. A big development from Blackham, Oldfield, Taber etc batting at 9, 10 or 11.

Plus we’ve had very useful lower-order batsmen filling 8, 9 and 10. Johnson, Warne, Gillespie, Lee, Reiffel, Harris, Cummins, Starc, Pattinson, Lyon etc. All averaging between 15 and 25, and capable of keeping a top-order batsman company for an hour or two. Few other countries have had that. Better three 20s scores, than a 30 and two 10s.

The next Keith Miller: The history of Australia’s search for an all-rounder (Part 1)

Hi Max,

Archer was 4 years younger than Davidson, and 14 years younger than Miller.

If not for his career-ending injury at only 23 years of age, he might have played until the late 1960s, and captained the team as well.

The next Keith Miller: The history of Australia’s search for an all-rounder (Part 1)

Hi Max,

Ron Archer is worth a mention. Debuted in 1953 aged 19, but retired in 1956 aged 23 following a devastating knee injury on the matting in Karachi. Scored 84, 98 and 128 in the West Indies in 1955, batting 6 and 7. Opened the bowling in 12 separate innings. Bowled well against England in 1954-55 and 1956. Had been suggested as Ian Johnson’s successor as captain, which then went to Ian Craig instead.

And was it easier to perform as an all-rounder before 1978, when Tests had rest days ? And when tours had long gaps between Tests, with opportunities to rest, and hone skills against County teams under less pressure and out of the spotlight ?

The next Keith Miller: The history of Australia’s search for an all-rounder (Part 1)

Thanks again, matth. And timely, given that in a fortnight the format will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Is this the strongest-possible team, or a team with the best 6 specialist batsmen and 4 specialist bowlers ? It could be argued that the team’s bowling, fielding and overall balance would be strengthened by replacing Michael Hussey with a genuine all-rounder such as Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson or Greg Chappell. Especially if its depth is forcing Gilchrist to bat at 7, rather than open.

Finally, a worthy opponent-

After 50 years of ODIs, here’s a pre-1971 Australian team to beat its best

Analysing Australia’s most successful ODI bowlers

ODI averages, by the decade-

1971-1980—103 matches—3.97 runs/over—26.19 runs/wicket.
1981-1990—558 matches—4.40 runs/over—28.79 runs/wicket.
1991-2000—1003 matches—4.60 runs/over—29.40 runs/wicket.
2001-2010—1414 matches—4.92 runs/over—29.99 runs/wicket.
2011-2020—1183 matches—5.27 runs/over—31.65 runs/wicket.

So everything trending upwards, except number of ODI matches in the T20I era. Poor bowlers.

Analysing Australia’s most successful ODI cricketers

Thanks matth,

But difficult to be consistently successful late-70s and early-80s against the West Indies !

Analysing Australia’s most successful ODI cricketers

Arnab, you’ve nailed the Australian XI.

And for a touring party you could add Glenn Maxwell, Andy Bichel, Michael Kasprowicz, Stephen O’Keefe and Nathan Hauritz.

95 Australian Test cricketers since 1 Jan 2001, many of them much lesser players than these 16.

Australia and India’s unlucky Test XI of the 21st century

In the men’s game since 1 Jan 2011, across all 3 formats-

Kohli is leading run-scorer with 20,618 runs (next best is only 14,678) from 379 matches, and also leading fieldsman with 237 catches.

de Kock has the most wicketkeeping dismissals with 427 from 215 matches, just ahead of Dhoni (422).

Ashwin (551) has the most wickets, narrowly ahead of Broad (499) and Anderson (485).

Who should be named the cricketer of the decade?

Thanks Bernie,

Just checked. In that Ashes series ending Jan 1999 the line-up was Taylor (5 Tests), Slater (5), Langer (5), M Waugh (5) and S Waugh (5), with the last spot shared between Lehmann (2) and Ponting (3), and Blewett not selected at all.

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

Entire match closed to public. I have been told that around 100 spectators watched today from either the footpath, or the park overlooking the ground.

But apparently SCG Members can attend next week’s game there.

Intense tour game awaits India Test stars

Go for it, JGK ! I’m cooked.

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

Healy played his last Test in Oct 1999 in Zimbabwe, after a home Ashes series in 1998-99.

1999-2000 was the start of a new era. Mark Taylor retired at the end of that Ashes series, Adam Gilchrist was already the ODI team’s established keeper and opening batsman, and Australia won the 1999 World Cup.

That summer saw the Test debuts of Gilchrist, Brett Lee and also Scott Muller. Greg Blewett and Justin Langer returned, replacing Taylor and Darren Lehmann. And Steve Waugh commenced his captaincy stint.

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

As well as a chronic back condition

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

Apparently as a regular golfer, shot his age until well into his 80s.

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

You can only score runs against the bowlers you face.

Highest averages v Australia, 1961-1971 (min 750 runs)
69.19—Graeme Pollock
63.96—Ken Barrington
59.85—Denis Lindsay
57.93—John Edrich
56.40—Geoff Boycott
50.20—Conrad Hunte
47.87—Eddie Barlow
44.96—Gary Sobers
44.53—Rohan Kanhai
43.63—Nawab of Pataudi jnr

Highest averages v England, 1961-1971 (min 750 runs)
66.88—Gary Sobers
62.38—Vijay Manjrekar
61.28—Colin Bland
53.57—Graeme Pollock
52.15—Rohan Kanhai
52.03—Bob Simpson
51.94—Seymour Nurse
48.54—Bill Lawry
46.83—ML Jaisimha
46.27—Basil Butcher

Was Graeme Pollock a great batsman?

Sid Barnes, 61
Chris Rogers, 43
Bob Simpson, 46
David Boon, 43 and 35
Brad Hodge, 67 and 27
Steve Waugh, 40 and 80

Andy Bichel, 4-118 and 1-35
Ernie Jones, 3-78 and 1-22
Ted McDonald, 3-53 and 1-35

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

The shortlisted but unsuccessful batsmen were-

Phil Hughes, 1 and 1 at Lord’s (tragically no opportunity for redemption)
Mark Taylor, 2 and 2 at the SCG (but 2 catches, and captained Ashes win on home ground)
Syd Gregory, 1 and 1 at The Oval (captain of a weak team that was thrashed)
George Giffen, 0 and 1 at The Oval (but also took 2 wickets)
Tom Moody, 0 and 2 in Sri Lanka (opening the batting in 1992, pre-Slater and Hayden)
Ken “Slasher” Mackay, 1 and 3 (but took 4 wickets)

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

If Bradman’s not an athlete, then neither is a marathon runner. Simply puts one foot in front of the other 42,000 times.

And don’t get me started on rhythmic gymnastics, synchronised swimming, dancesport and walking. Or anything requiring an animal or machine.

I most admire triathletes and big-wave surfers.

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

I doubt it’s like being any Australian swimmer at an Olympic Games !

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

Good observation Kalva, and it took until 1987 (World Cup) and 1989 (Ashes) for Australia to be successful again, then almost defeating the WI in 1992-93 before triumphing over it in 1994-95. A tough decade post-1983, especially taking into account rebel tours to South Africa.

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

Thanks Barry, and quite a few Australian spinners with short careers also experienced tough last matches-

Nathan Hauritz (3-229), Jason Krejza (1-204), Brad Hogg (2-172), Greg Matthews (2-169), Lindsay Kline (0-157), George Tribe (0-153), Bryce McGain (0-149 in his only match), Frank Ward (0-142).

Baggy green swansongs, Part 2: Going out not with a bang, but a whimper

Will it exclude everybody pre-1900s (England team not selected on merit), pre-1950s (few opponents, locations), post-1950s (no uncovered or matting pitches), post-1960s (luxury of air travel), 1970-1991 (no South Africa to play), South Africa pre-1991 (few opponents, locations), post-1970s (luxury of protective batting equipment) and/or post-2000 (power bats) ? 😁 😁 😁

Was Graeme Pollock a great batsman?

The term “great” is over-used. By definition, any list of great players must be a short one. “When everyone is special, no-one’s special,” to quote a recent kid’s movie.

I look forward to reading soon who has made the cut. A shame Neville Cardus isn’t around to challenge your criteria, and your “truth” ! That would make for some good dialogue.

Was Graeme Pollock a great batsman?