The Roar
The Roar

Chris Kettlewell

Roar Guru

Joined August 2013









Actually, it didn’t cost them millions in sponsorship. Sure, one sponsor left, but they would have quickly replaced them, and very soon after this incident they signed an absolutely massive broadcast deal. So it doesn’t seem to have hurt them too much.

The problem is that no matter what you think, everything involves really grey lines. You can’t ban teams doing things to alter the condition of the ball, enough it in the batsman’s favour as it is, so you try to work out what is and isn’t okay. And players will continually search for ways to get one side rough and one side shiney. Whether thats getting your spinners on early to bowl darts into the rough and having all the fielders throw the ball into the pitch as much as possible, or trying to rub it on a bit of dirt, smothering on way more sunscreen than is needed so when you wipe up “sweat” to shine it you get more sunscreen than sweat…

It’s tough to know where to draw the line without drawing it in a place that just makes things even more in batsman’s favour than it already is.

Ball tampering - a legal analysis and a call for reform

That’s a problem for one of them. They aren’t both going to get the chance in WA with only one keeping spot. If Whiteman can get back to the form he was showing a few years back when many (myself included) touted him as the likely next Australian keeper, that would be great. Inglis has shown some good signs, but is still a bit raw, he’s realistically a fair way off consideration for higher honours, and if Whiteman is back keeping for WA, he’s not going to get the chance either.

The five teenagers lighting up Australian cricket

Ashton Turner is 25, Sam Whiteman 26, as is Marcus Harris, so while still young in cricket terms, they are really passed being included in such a really young talent group as described here.

Harris has a first class average of 33. Even his supposedly great year last year he still only average 41, which is okay, but not screaming out “pick me, pick me”. In recent years, Finch has managed to turn his previously appalling first class record into an okay one. And couple that with him being someone with lots of international experience, even if that’s in short form, and has shown himself as someone who can “rise to the occasion” in international cricket, they probably decided it was worth giving him a go.

I might go for others over Finch, but Harris wouldn’t be one of those. He’s finally had a season where he has been better than poor, and has done enough to feel like he has a reasonably secure place in the state team, but that’s a long way from being ready for test cricket.

The five teenagers lighting up Australian cricket

I’m happy for Smith to just slot straight back in as soon as the ban is lifted with no particular need to “prove himself” as he’s just a class player. However, as some have pointed out, while, to me, he should absolutely be straight back into the test side as he’s the best test batsman in the world at the moment with really only one other player even close, he has certainly had his struggles in the shorter forms of the game. As such, there is a change he might not be the automatic selection in the World Cup that we might otherwise think, though he should already be the first name on the selection sheet for the Ashes tour that follows.

Who will be in Australia’s world cup squad?

It’s easy to be critical about India failing to wrap up the “tail”, but one thing England have been doing is picking “allrounders” in their tail. Effectively, only the last two could count as genuine tail-enders, and in his earlier days Broad was considered decent with the bat too, though that’s dropped off in recent years. So you can’t just assume because you have them 6 or 7 down that the rest will just crumble.

England have needed that too, their top-order and middle-order have both been crumbling like a house of cards on way too many occasions for their liking.

England also had much of the luck really go their way. That second-test win was more down to England just lucking into the perfect conditions. They got to bowl to India when it was insanely tough to bat, then bowled them out right at the end of the day and got to come out the next day and bat in nice sunshine. Outside of that one test, much of the rest of the tests just came down to England holding up just slightly better in the big moments than India did.

Still, they will go back and whitewash the West Indies in India and all will be good again…

Another wasted series for India

Of course, there is one other option. If the pitch really looks to be something that has nothing at all for the quicks but would really favour the spinners, then play 3 spinners with Mitch Marsh as the second seamer with Starc. I don’t expect they will do that. But it becomes a possibility. But to be left with that as the best option simply because you didn’t pick any other attacking fast bowlers in the squad is just mind-boggling.

Siddle should have been saved for the Ashes

Yeah, definitely middle order for Finch. Given the squad picked, I think that lineup looks likely. The thing with the Siddle selection that really makes zero sense is, in these sorts of conditions you generally will be having spinners bowling lots of overs, and fast bowlers coming on to bowl short, sharp, attacking spells, trying to get, initially, the new ball to swing, and later to get reverse swing. You don’t have quicks in the side to bowl long, economical spells, but to fully attack.

Playing Siddle to me looks like a tactic of playing for the draw from before the coin toss! It’s a very negative selection. One a green top in England, picking Siddle is a very positive selection. He can run through a team in those conditions. He’s not going to do that in the UAE.

Siddle should have been saved for the Ashes

Not getting much of a chance to play Shield cricket because of clashes with international white ball cricket has been a struggle for Maxwell for many years. There were a few years there where he barely played a first class match because he was constantly away playing white ball cricket for Australia.

If he’s picked to play the Pakistan T20’s and then the SA ODI’s then there is a possibility of playing the first Shield game, but that would be the only one before the first test if he was retained in the squad for all those matches. But even that first shield game depends how far out from the first T20 they send the players over. It would still be cutting it close.

Glenn Maxwell betrayed by mixed messages

The problem is that all those deflections are complete tripe when you consider who they’ve picked instead. Because the players they’ve picked are worse, not better, at scoring hundreds than Maxwell, and he’s also proven as one of Australia’s better performers in sub-continental conditions. So pretty much every statement there is just bollox. They clearly have other reasons for not selecting Maxwell that they refuse to say, so that come out with clearly incorrect statements and try to deflect questions!

Glenn Maxwell betrayed by mixed messages

I’m not saying Maxwell is necessarily going to be a great test player. But even at first class level, he has significantly better returns than both Head and Labuschagne who have been picked ahead of him.

I can understand Finch to an extent. While his overall FC record isn’t great, that’s because it was so incredibly horrible for ages. In the last 2-3 years he’s actually done reasonably well at FC level, and he’s a proven international performer who’s shown he can step up when it counts in the other formats, so they are hoping he will do it here.

But any argument you make against Maxwell can be applied to Head, Finch and Labuschagne even more than it can be applied to Maxwell.

Glenn Maxwell betrayed by mixed messages

I’m not entirely sold on Maxwell as a test player yet, but you can hardly say he’s been given lots of goes. He’s had 7 tests total. That’s over like 3 different stints. Never played a home test. And in those 14 innings he’s played, he has incredibly batted in 7 different places in the batting order, from opening through to batting at 8. (I’m guessing nightwatchman might have been involved in that one).

So I’d hardly call that getting a good go. Hard to really have more than a few good innings in that lot anyway.

But either way, he’s still been dealt with appallingly in this situation. You have to pretty much think that players not sent on the Australia A tour had to already be considered a lock for the test squad (Starc, Paine, Lyon etc) or already ruled out. Any player with a question mark should have been on that squad to have a chance to push their case.

To give him no chance to do that, talk to him like he’s done all he needs to do, and then overlook him for players who’ve done less in the areas they criticise Maxwell for than he has, is really poor.

Glenn Maxwell betrayed by mixed messages

Especially when they selected Head, who has exactly the same number of first class hundreds as Maxwell, but from more matches, and a significantly worse fifty to hundred conversion rate (30 fifties to 7 hundreds for head, 20 fifties to 7 hundreds for Maxwell).

And Labuschagne’s conversion rate is similar to Head’s. Both are worse than Maxwell when it comes to scoring hundreds. So using that as an excuse to pick these other players over him is crazy. One of the reasons Maxwell hasn’t scored better in first class cricket is he hasn’t played enough of it. Many Shield seasons have been significantly interrupted for him playing white-ball cricket for Australia. In the last Shield season he averaged 50 with a couple of hundreds, including a double.

I’m not entirely sold on Maxwell, but based on stats, performances and ability, he should definitely be ahead of both Head and Labuschagne.

Glenn Maxwell betrayed by mixed messages

I do wonder if his Dad no longer being Australian Coach (and one of the selectors) could almost make things a bit easier in his head. There’s always that confusion there thinking about higher honours when one of the people in charge of picking those players is his dad. Now that’s taken out of the equation, he can almost feel just like any other player, doesn’t matter who his dad is any more than anyone else, and he can just let his performances do the talking.

Doran is still a really young player. He had a bit of a breakout year last-year, with a lot more consistency, but still needs to learn to turn those scores into big ones. I think it’s probably just good for him to focus on his batting. Bailey is probably the perfect captain for him. Someone like Bailey who seems a good leader, and is now likely past any chance of an international recall, meaning he should be a constant all season, should be good for the young Tassie players.

Nic Maddinson named in Victoria's JLT Cup squad, Chris Lynn to captain Queensland

While BBL is separate, the “state contracts” generally cover the shield and ODI stuff, rather than having separate contracts for them like they have with the BBL. NSW decided not to offer Maddinson a contract, by which state Vic had already put out their state contract list for the year. But they offered him an olive branch. Without a full contract he can still be selected to play games, just like someone outside the CA central contracts list can still be picked to represent Australia.

He was always likely to get a game in the 50-over format. While he’s gone missing too much and NSW just decided it was time to give some youth a go and rejuvinate the team rather than keep waiting for the liked of Maddinson to come good, he’s been a pretty consistent 50-over batsman for the last few seasons. So I’m sure he will be a good pickup there for Vic.

I suspect if Vic hadn’t approached him he would still have had a good chance of playing 50-over cricket for NSW even without a state contract. But I think Vic basically told him that while they can’t offer him a state contract, as they are already set, he can join their set up and have every chance of breaking into the Shield team if he’s able to perform.

Nic Maddinson named in Victoria's JLT Cup squad, Chris Lynn to captain Queensland

I don’t know the ins and outs of what these players do all day, but the reality is that even “full-time” training that professional players do, doesn’t fill up their day all the time, because there’s actually a limit to how much you can train before it becomes less helpful. So in recent years, after having had so many issues of young players with lots of money and lots of time on their hands compared to most working people, the clubs have included doing all sorts of community service effectively as part of their jobs.

If my work decided that instead of spending 40+ hours a week doing what I currently do, decided I only needed to spend 20 hours a week doing that and the other 20 should go into doing some community service, would that allow me to brag about all the hours of community service I was then putting in? Really, no, it wouldn’t because I’m just doing my job.

While some of these players probably do lots of good things among the community, in reality, most of these hours of “community service” that players talk about are simply part of their jobs as football players.

So the league and the clubs deserve some credit for deciding that they should take up some of the “spare time” that football players have by including things like this as part of their jobs. But I wouldn’t automatically give a football player credit for being this wonderful person who does all this community service when really it’s all just part of their work contract and they are simply fulfilling their work obligations.

Josh, you want a fair go? Start by saying sorry

He is just the man to hold up an end and bowl 40 overs 0/100 in the UAE. If that’s what they want then I guess he’s a good selection. Playing Siddle seems to be a move aimed at pushing for the draw from the very start.

Peter Siddle, the perennial understudy, thrown the ball again

Hard working is a term you give to someone who really doesn’t bring much else to the table other than being hard working. If you are happy to have a bowler holding an end up without any real likelihood of taking any wickets, then he can do that.

It’s ridiculous to think that, despite averaging 40 in the last shield season, a handful of matches on English County greentops suddenly gets him in the frame for a test series in a place where the conditions will be about as opposite to that as they could get.

Peter Siddle, the perennial understudy, thrown the ball again

Also, the “more hundreds” comment could be fine if he picked someone instead who had made a habit of compiling lots of hundreds, but both Head and Labuschagne have worse conversion rates than Maxwell.

And in a way, that’s also irrelevent to his treatment. He’s been told he didn’t need to be on the Australia A tour as if they’d seen enough for him to get into the test squad, thus leaving him nothing more he could do to prove himself since the last Shield season, where he did well. If players aren’t going to be picked on the “A” tour then you have to think it’s either because they are already on the list of definites for the test squad, or were never in with a chance. So to string along Maxwell when you were never going to pick him is just appalling behaviour.

Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting are poles apart over Glenn Maxwell

Such a load of rubbish. How can they select Head and Labuschagne over Maxwell and cite that Maxwell needs to score more hundreds, when Maxwell’s conversion rate (both in innings per hundred, and rate of 50s to 100s), while not amazing, is actually better than both those two. If you are going to give reasons for non-selection of one player, don’t make that reason by one that applies even more to the players you selected instead of them!!!

Siddle back, as Langer outlines why Maxwell was left out of Test squad

Nothing about this makes sense. Langers explanation in the attached video doesn’t either. He suggests Maxwell needs to score more hundreds, and a conversion rate of 20 fifties and 7 hundreds isn’t the best, but Head, who was selected, has the same number of centuries compared to 30 times past 50 from significantly more first class matches, and Maxwell has a better average too. Labuschagne has a similar conversion rate, 4 hundreds, 13 fities, again, only averaging 34 overall, and while he scored 800 runs in the Shield this year, he still only averaged 39 in doing so.

As for Siddle, yes he did nicely bowling on greentops in England, where we all know he can be effective, but averaged 40 with the ball in the last Sheffield Shield season and is likely to be as penetrative as a marshmallow trying to push through a brick wall if he plays in the UAE.

It’s just insane.

And the treatment of the likes of Maxwell has been just appalling. If a player wasn’t selected for the Australia A tour then it should have meant they were either guaranteed already in or out, that decision had already been made, so no need to have them on the tour. To then have discussions with the likes of Maxwell that keep him thinking he’s in with a good chance of being on that tour when you’ve clearly already rejected him, is really not on.

Maxwell, Burns and Tremain were robbed by Aussie selectors

Yes, it’s unreasonable, it’s ego, selfishness, costing his team, lots of things like that, but cheating, no, not unless he’s got a mate in the van who can control the footage that gets sent to the third umpire and doctor it to make it look like he didn’t hit it.

Is Virat Kohli a cheat?

I get that some people have this opinion. But many don’t agree with it. Knowing that, as a batsman you are going to get given out when you aren’t out plenty of times, the only hope for it to even out is for you to get given not-out when you should have been out sometimes. If you walk in all those situations, then it has no chance of evening out. I don’t see the issue with just leaving it to the umpire, knowing he will sometimes be right and sometimes wrong and hope that over time the wrongs even out between wrongly given out and wrongly given not out.

Taking that to reviewing is just dumb because you know the chances of being given out correctly and having it incorrectly overturned is really a million to one shot that you are hoping for at the expense of costing your team a review that could potentially be used to save someone else against a poor decision. It’s not cheating, it’s just selfishness that can potentially cost your team.

Is Virat Kohli a cheat?

I think that’s a bit naive to suggest that there’s ever been a batting lineup that means runs from the tail are irrelevant. Certainly don’t pick a player who’s there to be relied on as a bowler and really is little more than a part-timer, just so you can have the extra batting. But if there’s not really that much between them in the bowling department, then picking the second-best spinner because they happen to be dramatically superior in the batting department is an entirely reasonable selection.

Plus, while I might agree that Holland would be a bit ahead of Agar with the ball at the moment, I don’t think it’s as big a gap as some people make out. Agar plays for WA in the Shield, and so gets less games on spin-friendly surfaces than some of the other spinners around. But on a few occasions where he’s had a chance to play in good spinning conditions he’s shown he can run through a team. So picking a second spinner for spin-friendly conditions could actually suit his style of bowling well.

Head, Patterson and Labuschagne vying to steal Handscomb's Test spot

Yeah, I think if he gets back to cricket at all he’ll likely be restricted to short form cricket. It’s hard to see him ever getting his body conditioned for the rigours of test cricket.

Head, Patterson and Labuschagne vying to steal Handscomb's Test spot

It’s that “marginal” nature of Holland being better than Agar that to me gives it to Agar every time as a second spinner. If you only have one spinner in the team I think you throw out every other consideration and get the guy you think is best with the ball, even marginally, but for the second spinner, if the guy who’s marginally not as good is a dramatically better batsman, then I would go for him every time.

Head, Patterson and Labuschagne vying to steal Handscomb's Test spot