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JamesH

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Joined February 2016

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Essendon fan, cricket fan. Not necessarily in that order.

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The Carey conundrum

Just over four months remain before the first ball of the 2019 World Cup and it is difficult to recall the Australian One Day International cricket team ever having so many question marks hanging over it leading into a major tournament.

They did that as a ‘horses for courses’ approach though. It’s not really the same this time around, since the Gabba is one of Starc’s better venues. He averages under 28 with the ball in tests there, as opposed to 42 at the SCG.

This is a question of form, and I think the selectors will point to his match figures of 4/60 and 4/98 in the last two tests and conclude that he’s not actually out of form. Like a few others, he had a bad game.

Sorry Mitch, it’s Neser’s time to shine

I don’t think calling someone a d-head is considered acceptable anywhere these days – just look at the backlash Paine is getting. There’s clearly a happy middle ground where players can engage in a bit of banter without getting abusive or personal. It’s not f-bombs or nothing.

Paine’s own comments last time India toured – around Pant babysitting his kids and whether or not the Indian players actually like Kohli (in response to Kohli relentlessly chirping at Paine) – were harmless fun. Whether or not you personally approve of that sort of thing is another matter.

Are the bad-boy Aussies making an unwelcome return?

Paine reaches 20 more often than any Australian test keeper in history, including Gilchrist. I’d say he’s the very definition of reliable. He just doesn’t get the big scores that would elevate him to another level.

Are the bad-boy Aussies making an unwelcome return?

You could probably convey the same response with just a ‘ 👎 ‘. Ultimate efficiency.

Mitchell Starc should be dropped for Brisbane

No idea what you mean by ‘unfair and diversionary tactics’ (are you suggesting that players are not allowed to say anything at all to batsmen?) but I’ve heard no allegation from anyone else that this was going on throughout the whole test. And as for your ‘gradual regression’ claim, I refer you to the last line of my previous comment.

Paine has been in charge of this side for almost three years now. One bad game doesn’t suddenly mean we need to push the red button. All of this condemnation reeks of a bunch of people who have been waiting since Cape Town for Australia to slip up again, and are now gleefully sinking the boot in. The stupid behaviour was rightly called out – let’s see how they actually respond.

Paine probably won’t make it till the end of the Ashes next summer like he’s aiming to, but that will have more to do with the fact that he’s a 36 year old keeper who is not a strong tactician. If his glovework doesn’t pick up and we don’t win at the Gabba then the selectors will have to look at fast-tracking Cummins and bringing a younger keeper in.

Are the bad-boy Aussies making an unwelcome return?

“Paine has made a public apology after reflecting on his actions but this attitude, to get personal and attack the opposition, is reflective of one of Australia’s darkest days in South Africa.”

Can I humbly suggest that there is a vast gulf between snapping at a batsman once out of frustration, and conspiring to sandpaper a ball?

“The culture of the team is changing, with players crossing the boundary and losing all meaning of the word sportsmanship.”

I reckon you might need a sample size of more than one match (or even one day) before you start making claims about a culture shift.

Are the bad-boy Aussies making an unwelcome return?

Paine had a stinker, no doubt, but Starc bowled badly for most of the test. And that late wicket was unlikely to get us over the line. The drops of Pant on 3 and 50-odd were the costly ones.

Starc’s bowling has been mostly poor for two tests now. He’s great at the tail but the current Indian top 4 doesn’t seem troubled by him in the least, after his first few overs with the new ball.

Mitchell Starc should be dropped for Brisbane

Finch is a specialist white ball opener. He is a specialist middle-order batsman in red ball cricket.

Mitchell Starc should be dropped for Brisbane

While what you say is true (and well written), I think we need to keep a bit of perspective.

Yes, Paine had an absolute stinker of a day. It was cringeworthy trifecta of dropped catches, muddled tactics and trashy chat, and it’s easy to imagine that each of those issues worsened the others. This was the sort of day that The Grade Cricketer memes are made of.

But it was one day.

Paine has made mistakes before and he’ll make them again, regardless of how long he has left. He’s no master tactician and, at 36, his best cricket probably isn’t ahead of him. But he has never had a day like this since he took the reins back in 2018. Even on day 5 at Headingley, when plans went awry and he was watching his side lose the unlosable test in front of a hostile crowd, he held it together.

One day shouldn’t undo three years of hard work. Paine deserves a chance to reset for the Gabba and show that this was an aberration. There’s a series to be won.

Why Tim Paine's sledging leaves such a bitter taste

I don’t disagree, I was just responding to your specific point. He’s made a couple of poor choices that have hurt his side. I think he has the ability to score runs in Brisbane.

Don't dare drop them – Cameron Green and Will Pucovski deserve long Test stints

Mate I’ve been waiting for him to emerge! Love watching him bat.

Why Ben McDermott is the player the selectors want to pick

I’m a big fan of McDermott (it helps that he plays for my club) and I think he has the attributes to make it. But jeez, he hasn’t hit a Shield ton in 2.5 seasons. His average in 18/19 was 30 and his average last season was 33. That’s not because he can’t bat; it’s because he has the same problem that half our test side seems to have at the moment – he gets 20-60 and then gets himself out.

His start to this season has been promising, as was his warm-up match century, but a handful of matches is too small a sample size to say he’s turned the corner. If he can do it for the rest of this season and then again early in the next, I’d be happy for the selectors to look at him for the Ashes. For the time being I’d just be persisting with either Head or Wade.

Why Ben McDermott is the player the selectors want to pick

Wade’s head is in the wrong space because he’s played two awful shots (basically the same shot twice) over three innings to get out, in each case right after he had just hit a boundary by playing a much lower-risk shot. On the first occasion (MCG), he sparked a batting collapse that left us miles behind in the game. On the second (SCG), he exposed Green to the new ball right before the lunch break. Both dismissals were completely thoughtless, evidenced not only by when he played them but also by the fact in each instance he had the opportunity to abort the shot when he realised he wasn’t to the pitch of the ball, yet didn’t.

I respect that he put his hand up to open (although in all likelihood he would have been dropped for Green if he hadn’t) and I thought he deserved to retain his spot over Head for this test. He’d looked as comfortable as anyone against the Indian bowling to that point. However, those dismissals say to me that he isn’t thinking enough about the situation when he’s batting. I suspect that he’ll get another chance in Brisbane but he’d want to show more cricket smarts.

Don't dare drop them – Cameron Green and Will Pucovski deserve long Test stints

They don’t even need to be overly attacking, just some positive footwork like Pujara’s would help. Get out and smother the ball. Make the bowler change something.

It's not just Steve Smith - India are dominating Nathan Lyon too

My thoughts exactly. He’s averaging 36 in this series (26 in the last match), with no luck at all. Hardly a domination.

I also think the success of Ashwin and Jadeja this series and last is partly (and significantly) down to the way each team’s batsmen have approached spin. India has had plans to unsettle Lyon’s length and neutralise his bounce, while Australia’s batsmen have been timid and sat in their crease. The exception is Green, who has been happy to come down the wicket to Ashwin.

It's not just Steve Smith - India are dominating Nathan Lyon too

lol Lyon didn’t even appeal. If Paine had reviewed that and there was no glove you’d have been the first to jump down his throat about wasting a review.

This Paine-bashing is getting old.

Forget Test tons: Tim Paine is Australia's 'Cameo King'

True. Part of that might be to do with his side being so ordinary for years, too.

Five key questions ahead of the Boxing Day Test

They drew their only one in England and they didn’t all play together in India. So technically this group hasn’t lost a series in those countries either.

Five key questions ahead of the Boxing Day Test

He saved each of those matches when his side was staring down the barrel of a massive loss. In my book that’s still impressive, even in a second innings. His team basically couldn’t win those games from day 1 anyway. One of them was when Puc and Harris put on over 400 for the first wicket.

I agree he’s not completely safe, but IMO he should be the least likely if the three to make way. He would have to go pretty badly at the G to justify being dropped.

Five key questions ahead of the Boxing Day Test

Head was recently playing Shield and hit two 150+ knocks in four games. He also hit a test ton about three innings ago.

Also, there is no Shield to go back to.

Five key questions ahead of the Boxing Day Test

On the contrary, he is tactically very astute. He would have been a poor man manager though, and the problem that gets routinely exposed whenever he weighs in on a player is that he plays favourites. He either likes you or he doesn’t, and if he doesn’t then no amount of good performances will change that.

Forget Test tons: Tim Paine is Australia's 'Cameo King'

As skipper you can’t challenge an umpiring decision unless you genuinely think it’s incorrect. And no one on the ground (except maybe Kohli) thought it was incorrect. DRS is for howlers, not hindsight.

I don’t want Smith to captain again unless we’re desperate. He showed zero leadership in SA when it mattered most.

Forget Test tons: Tim Paine is Australia's 'Cameo King'

Pre his 2010 injury he averaged 31 with a strike rate of 69. Not amazing but not bad either, given that he was still relatively young and this was in the post-Gilchrist/Hayden lull when we lacked star power.

The most surprising stat, though, is that only two of his 24 ODIs in that period were at home. He played most of his games in the UK.

Forget Test tons: Tim Paine is Australia's 'Cameo King'

Not quite 27, in fact.

Forget Test tons: Tim Paine is Australia's 'Cameo King'

Because the Cape Town debacle was one of the worst displays of leadership (or lack thereof) that our test side has ever seen? And he only came back into the fold about 18 months ago. If he’d been a stellar captain before that then maaaaaaybe, but it’s not as if he set the world on fire – batting aside, of course.

And I strongly disagree on your assessment of Head. He only turns 27 at the end of December and he’s already averaging over 40 in test cricket. His weakness is getting himself out after good starts, which is very fixable.

Forget Test tons: Tim Paine is Australia's 'Cameo King'