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Stephen Vagg

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Joined February 2014

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A Queenslander never forgets a selection slight.

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In fairness Kent was picked for a home test in 81-82 but his back collapsed for good and that was it. Greg Ritchie got a few chances. They never seemed to believe in Dirk Wellham.

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

Yes. He was picked against Pakistan, not England. V unfair on Clark.

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

Oh I agree on Invers in 1978. You look at the Oz team from that time it’s easy to see where to slot him in… play him instead of Laughlin. He’d scored a big Shield century at the start of the summer too so you could’ve picked him on form. If he’d played, with Hogg, Hurst and Higgs having the summer with the ball that they did… Oz could have won.

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

And the trialled Dav Whatmore in 79-80! I wrote about that crazy summer here https://www.theroar.com.au/2022/11/23/the-selections-of-the-summer-of-1979-80/

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

Ian Chappell always said he’d have loved to have taken Lawry to England in 72 – after Lawry retired Australia suffered chronic problems with openers until Marsh and Boon really.

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

He was called for throwing in the West Indies in 1978. It shocked the Aussies. The rumour was there was an unofficial agreement between Australia and England that players with suspect actions would not be picked to tour England. This may have been why Yardley was overlooked for English tours in 1979, 1980 (though his form was bad that summer), 1981 (when his form was great) and 1983.

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

I think Marsh was always going to go. They only gave Smith 2 ODIs, of which he only batted one – I think they considered him then banked on the experience of Wood and Wessels instead. Fair enough. Maguire bowled well. I think maybe they just went for Thommo’s experience and he’d done well in the Ashes. I’ve read newspaper reports from the time… journos mostly surprised by Trevor Chappell but also Jeff Thomson. I think Thommo selection was the one that, even at the time, people worried might be wrong. What they really needed to trial was batters capable of bowling ten overs IMHO.

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

I think I’d always pick Border over Hughes in ODIs bc of his bowling (occasionally useful) – also just steadier. Btw have you seen this footage of Hughes and Wessels for the Australian XI in South Africa in 1987? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTJ-swqPnHM Amazing game
Oz only twigged in ODis in mid 80s when it got the all rounders who could consistently bat and bowl ten (Waugh, O’Donnell) IMHO – also when they realised there was nothing wrong with specialist ODI bowlers eg Simon Davis

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

I think we went in napping. They did have some prep – there were warm up games against New Zealand. You can’t nap in an ODI the minnows have a chance of getting you! It was good for the game there at least.

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

To be fair he may have been terrible! But it was worth a shot. In particular that 4 match ODI series in Sri Lanka felt like a wasted opportunity to trial people for the World Cup.

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

Yes the good old days 🙂 Middle order accelerators were v hard to come by – I can’t remember who was good at it in Oz cricket in the early 80s until Steve Waugh came along. Maybe Wayne Phillips?

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

Respect the way you’ve argued this – appreciate the polite tone! But think Hughes had a fair bit of ODI experience – he played the ODIs at home 79-80, 80-81, 81-82 and 82-83… that’s a fair sample size. He could be great. I remember how incredible he could be. But he also had lows. It was weird but one day cricket was never his thing. Border found a way to thrive. Hughes never quite did (Christian Ryan’s superb book talks about this). I think though the Board had so much invested in his success they were prepared to overlook it and hoping it would work out. And on captaincy issue, I do feel everyone had warnings he wasn’t up to it from the get-go but Marsh carried on so they were relucant to give it to him. I would agree with you on Hookes – he had that golden summer but he was never the next Ian Chappell which people pretended he was.

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

Oz cricket have always been v reluctant to drop a captain for batting form – they didn’t do it for Ian Craig, or Mark Taylor, or Ricky Ponting or Greg Chappell (generally all those recovered from slumps), or Hughes in 1984. Lawry was dropped for captaincy I believe not batting which was going okay. I was just posing the hypothetical. Sri Lanka trip only short – I can understand, though it was not helpful. Side bar – a Young Australian team toured Zimbabwe around this time – Dirk Wellham (c), Greg Shipperd (vc), Murray
Bennett, Phil Blizzard, David Boon, Mike Haysman, Dean Jones, Robbie Kerr, Ken MacLeay, Rod
McCurdy, Wayne Phillips, Greg Ritchie, Stuart Saunders, MichacI Whitney. That’s a good side!

Australia's 1983 World Cup disaster: How selection ruined our chances

Not that long actually… just going through the scorecards, really. I knew of the 82-83 innings of course and the 75 World Cup chase… I wondered if there were more and it turned out there was. Great competitor.

It's not all about the wickets: Celebrating Jeff Thomson's best batting performances

Are there any statistics to support any of these assertions? Honestly not having a go – just when people declare “team X” is popular and “team Y” is unpopular, on what grounds are such declarations made? Have any surveys been conducted? (Such things are routinely done by marketing departments of large organisations). A lot of people went to matches this summer. Ratings very good on television. Amazon are unlikely to have commissioned a second season of “The Test” for an unpopular team. Don’t deny everyone was furious when we lost against India but everyone was furious after the 2010-11 Ashes, after six test losses in a row in 2016, after homeworkgate in 2013, after sandpapergate in 2018, after (if you can believe it, we were that spoiled) the 2005 Ashes… and there was constant fury and anger from the years 1984-1987. From newspaper reports there was intense fury in 1978-79 Ashes and I’m guessing there was similar fury in 1970-71 Ashes and after 1954-55 Ashes. Australian cricket fans are notoriously terrible losers.

On the nose: Are Australia’s male cricketers the nation’s most unappealing national team?

great piece

The history of Australian domestic limited-overs cricket: Part 1

Think Kuhnemann is very good and for his own sake he might be better off moving to SA or Victoria to get more of a go. Swepson will block him in Queensland.

Australia's touring team analysed – and why the selectors have missed a trick

His constant omission through the 2010s never made any sense. Did us particular damage in 2010-11 Ashes, 2013 tour of India, 2013 Ashes, 2018 South Africa tour, 2018 UAE tour, I wrote a whole piece on it https://www.theroar.com.au/2020/04/16/the-missed-opportunities-of-steve-okeefe/

Australia's touring team analysed – and why the selectors have missed a trick

Steve O’Keefe – 88FC games, 301 wickets at 24.66 vs Agar, 64 games, 157 FC wickets at 42.21… And I think O’Keefe would’ve won us that first test in Sri Lanka in 2016 had he not broken down injured…
I do agree you never know with a spinner… but in the pst even when not-that-great Oz spinners go to India and have incredible fluky games and take bags of wickets we tend not to win the actual match, eg India 2004 when Hauritz and Clarke got all those wickets in the last test we still lost that test – ditto in 2008 when Krejza got all those wickets.
Having said all this Agar will now prob bowl Oz to a win with a ten-fer.

Australia's touring team analysed – and why the selectors have missed a trick

The 4IP contract came in 1975-76 – there’s a piece on that coming soon. Thanks for reading and commenting.

More silver! Queensland’s 1974-75 Sheffield Shield campaign

Botham/Ritchie was in 1987-88. NSW beat Qld in finals in 84-85, 85-86, 89-90, 02-03, 04-05.. but we beat them in 2020-21

The false dawn: Queensland’s Sheffield Shield campaign of 1973-74

PS Gideon Haigh’s The Summer Game is an excellent resource for the post-Bradman pre-Chappell period

Queensland's first heartbreak: The 1956-57 Sheffield Shield campaign

A black hole in my knowledge too! Then I saw on wikipedia in the entry for the Sheffield Shield that Queensland came second three times in the late 50s/early 60s so I did some digging.

Queensland's first heartbreak: The 1956-57 Sheffield Shield campaign

I think dropping Willie Watson three times constitutes a choke.

Queensland's first heartbreak: The 1956-57 Sheffield Shield campaign

Intentional! 🙂

Queensland's first heartbreak: The 1956-57 Sheffield Shield campaign

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