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Cameron Boyle

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Joined June 2019

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Thanks for the pickup Aus. Yeah, that one slipped through to the keeper. In my first draft of the team, I had Nathan Wilson in that position. After a fair bit of wavering, I ended up selecting Jetta but forgot to change the team he belonged to.

Who would play State of Origin in 2019? Part 3: Western Australia

Thanks for the comments Big Al. I did think about Naughton however there isn’t much difference in his and Kennedy’s performance right now and in a theoretical SOO game, I reckon the selectors would go for the bigger name. Even as Kennedy and Franklin decline, WA due have some good young key forwards coming through with Naughton and Oscar Allen.

Who would play State of Origin in 2019? Part 3: Western Australia

Naitanui was selected partly because there are few other high-level alternatives. Outside of him, you’re looking at Paddy Ryder or Tim English and I think Naitanui’s best is still better than those players.

I agree that Vic’s midfield is excellent, but I think you’re underselling WA’s mids. Fyfe, Cripps, Yeo, Kelly, Hill and Coniglio are more than a match for the names you mentioned.

Who would play State of Origin in 2019? Part 3: Western Australia

Rance would make it on quality, but I disqualified players who haven’t played games due to season ending injuries. I wanted to look at a team as it could be selected now.

Who would play State of Origin in 2019? Part 3: Western Australia

He does spend a lot of time around half-forward, but yes putting him in a forward pocket was a little bit of a dodge. There were just so many good Victorian midfielders I couldn’t put them all where I wanted. McCluggage is in the top 5 for goals scored by Vic midfielders, so I put him in as a forward.

Who would play State of Origin in 2019? Part 1: Victoria

Yeah, I think England must have hoarded a supply of four-leaf clovers this year because they’ve had some real lucky breaks go their way.

England's comeback had its roots in the World Cup

I agree that Teague is more likely to succeed, he does seem to have some solid coaching bonafides. My issue is less with the individual appointments, but more the process that went into selecting them. It may well have been that Teague and Shaw were the best people to lead their clubs, but by making that decision mid-season the clubs narrow the field of potential candidates. It can become a bit of a self-justifying selection.

Carlton and North Melbourne appointed their caretakers too soon

That’s a good comment 13th. I recognise that my arguments are an overly theoretical examination of the process that should occur when appointing a head coach, but there are important emotional aspects that go into it as well. You’re right, both Teague and Shaw have revitalised their teams and got them playing good footy and that hope they offer has a value. My only concern is that this emotional energy only lasts so long, hopefully they’ll have the coaching chops to continue that success once the energy wears off.

Carlton and North Melbourne appointed their caretakers too soon

I do think that experienced assistants deserve a go, but the issue with North and Carlton’s approach is that it makes it more difficult for experienced assistant’s outside the club to genuinely apply for the role. Even if other assistants are able to apply for the role (they sometimes aren’t), it is very unlikely that they’ll be able to dedicate much mental energy to the application as they are still in an ongoing coaching role.

Carlton and North Melbourne appointed their caretakers too soon

Thanks a lot for the kind words Jeff. Wholeheartedly agree with you about Harris, I would be really reluctant to bring him in now because I think he’ll suffer from the same issues faced by Warner. If it were Burns who was the backup opener in the squad I would be more inclined to agree with calls to drop Bancroft as Burns has shown the mindset to work through difficult situations and convert promising scores.

The case against dropping Warner or Bancroft

Thanks for the comments Paul. That’s a great point about the absence of Smith. The people who play in a test match line-up are prideful sorts and they’ll hate the idea that No Smith=No Australian batting. Hopefully that will spur them onto bigger and better things.

The case against dropping Warner or Bancroft

Thanks for the comments Tony. Both you and Jeff have hit upon a general issue with Australian top-order batting. As you stated, both Warner and Khawaja both play with relatively hard hands and like to feel bat on ball, and they are far from the only batters with that technique. As such, Australia don’t have too many players who are well adapted to playing in the top order in English conditions.

The case against dropping Warner or Bancroft

Dropping a spinner looks sexy but the problem with it is that it assumes that all those fast bowlers are going to get wickets quickly enough to skittle the opposition. But what if that doesn’t work? If England bat long, then you need bowlers capable of completing long spells to allow the quicks time to rest. Lyon is best placed to achieve that.

As much as I like Marnus’ leg-spinners as a rogue option, it’s not something to rely upon to any great degree.

Why Australia must drop Nathan Lyon for the third Test

The cupboard is pretty bare for quality English batsmen. The name I’ve seen most mentioned is Dominic Sibley who is having an excellent season for Warwickshire and could open the batting, thereby moving Roy down a couple of spots where I think he could do more damage. Other pure batting alternatives could be Dawid Malan or Gary Ballance, who are both having good county seasons but have been tried and discarded at test level. Ben Foakes is the obvious replacement for Bairstow. Foakes was very good in his brief stint in the test team.

The changes England shouldn't make – and the one change they should

Finch is an interesting case study El Loco. He initially started his test career quite strongly and looked one of Australia’s best batsman in the tour of the UAE against Pakistan. As such, I think he is a potentially capable test batsman, but unfortunately hit a dreadful run of form in all levels of cricket once he got back to Australia and was found out by an excellent Indian attack. What impressed me about Finch in the UAE was how he tailored his game to the conditions. It’ll be interesting to see whether Roy can do the same.

The changes England shouldn't make – and the one change they should

Agree, I definitely don’t think Smith can be compared with Bradman but I do think that he sits nicely in second place. Like all batsmen, Smith will decline at some point in his career, however I personally don’t believe he will decline as fast as others may have. Players like Hayden and Ponting were aggressive in the way they sought to step forward to the ball which means they had less time to react and were more susceptible to a degradation in reflexes. Smith plays the ball relatively late which may mean he is impacted slightly less by a slowing of reflexes.

Steve Smith is the best Australian batsman since Bradman

Thanks for the comments James. The analysis of Bradman was a fun one. As much as I love using statistics to illustrates a point, statistics can be a cold, impersonal way of presenting an argument. Sometimes, though, numbers can be so impressive that it tells a story. Bradman’s figures tell such a story, he was something special. I don’t like to say ‘never’, but I can’t imagine we’ll ever see dominance of his scale again.

Steve Smith is the best Australian batsman since Bradman

It’s interesting you mention the linkage between Bradman and Smith. In researching this article, I read a quote from a Bradman researcher, Tony Shillingshaw that compared their techniques. He said “He (Smith) does it differently, but the principles are the same. In other words, his body is completely free to react to the ball. He can score through 360 degrees where orthodox techniques don’t allow you to do that from the first place”
The takeaway of the comment was that Smith was the closest successor to Bradman in moving to a technique beyond orthodoxy and freeing up where a batsman could hit the ball. I think AB de Villiers had a similar ability but has not been quite as consistent in test cricket as Smith.

Steve Smith is the best Australian batsman since Bradman

That’s a great comment Paul. For me, the sensation I get when I watched those great batsmen play went beyond technique. It was a reflection of all they had achieved in the game and the comfort that they gave that they could do it again.
Steve Waugh also could look distinctly uncomfortable against short-pitched bowling and never played the hook or pull shots. Border had a slightly unusual backlift and approach to the ball. Despite those quirks in their techniques, each of these great batsman thrived. It would be interesting to explore what it is about their makeups that helps them succeed, but that is a subject for another day.

Steve Smith is the best Australian batsman since Bradman

I think this is a really good point. It’s easy to overlook structural weaknesses when a team is winning. Whilst there have been issues with NZ’s opening combo for much of the tournament, it has really only come to a head once they have started losing matches. The problem is that it is now too late to make significant changes to the team. They really have to hope that the current players can work through their poor form to give the Black Caps a better start.

New Zealand's batting order rots from the head down

You’re right about how form can change in an instant. And Guptill does have a strong overall record which suggests he can turn it around.

Considering he has been an ODI player for 10 years and over 170 matches, it is unlikely he will change his game dramatically. However if he can rein it in a little, it would be more beneficial to NZ as a whole.

New Zealand's batting order rots from the head down

I would agree that is probably New Zealand’s best team. My only concern is that it is a front line bowler short. Assuming Boult and Ferguson bowl most of the first ten overs, it would leave New Zealand with little wicket-taking alternatives through the middle overs. Most of the bowlers in that team above are better defensive than attacking bowlers which could be a problem if wickets aren’t taken early. Whilst Henry has his weaknesses as a bowler, he at least offers another aggressive bowler.

New Zealand's batting order rots from the head down

Blundell is an interesting case, I agree he is talented and a potential alternative. It would be a big call to select a player to make his debut in a WC semi. Also it may unsettle the balance of the team were Latham to have the gloves taken from him. A keeper is heavily responsible for the tone set by the fielding side.

New Zealand's batting order rots from the head down

That’s fair, probably slightly inelegant phrasing on my part. India are indeed a bloody good team. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, but I still had England slightly ahead going into the tournament because they were playing at home and I thought that England had a slightly more well balanced team from 1 to 11.
India have star power which is the envy of any team in the tournament (notably with Kohli and Bumrah), but I thought they had some weaker members of the team that could be exploited.
You also raise an interesting point about how easily the British media can transition from unbridled optimism to stark pessimism. Strong opinions sell papers.

The reports of England's demise are greatly exaggerated

Part of the reason I haven’t mentioned their bowling attack is that I don’t actually think it has been the problem. Across the World Cup, England have ranked 3rd in both net bowling average and runs per over. Only New Zealand and India have better figures in each of those stats.

Of the 60 bowlers at the World Cup who have played at least 3 games and bowled at least 15 overs, both Jofra Archer and Mark Wood are in the top 10 for both wickets taken and bowling average. All three of Archer, Wood and Ben Stokes are in the top 20 for bowling economy. I agree that England’s spinners have been disappointing, but their fast bowling attack has been really strong.

Lastly, England’s strong performances in the lead-up to the Cup were largely driven by their batting. Their bowlers have performed in a manner which is largely consistent with their past performance (if not better in some cases), but their batsmen have performed worse. That’s why I think their slightly substandard efforts so far have been driven by a dip in their batting.

I agree with you in saying that an inflexible mindset may also drive some poor performance. I’d thought about saving a discussion on that for another article, but I was going to look at what they do against India before writing.

The reports of England's demise are greatly exaggerated