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JohnB

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Joined August 2010

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Roar Rookie
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England just as good as the 1984 West Indies

In the hand-wringing that has (quite appropriately) followed the Ashes series, one snippet is worth noting – discounting the Perth match (which starts to look such an aberration now that if Pakistan had been involved an awful lot of questions would be being asked), England went through the series losing precisely one second innings wicket.

Roar Rookie
Roar Rookie

It's time for a little haka history

There have been a couple of articles recently on The Roar regarding the haka. It’s been a popular bone of contention – how do you react to it while it’s going on and should there be some orchestrated response to it when it’s finished?

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Roar Rookie

An Australian "what might have been" XI

Posts on The Roar in recent weeks have discussed selecting all-time World, West Indies, India v Australia and West Indies regional teams. Some of them have then devolved into picking Australian state teams, a Queensland all-time imports team and “favourites” teams.

Larkham’s Brumbies sides didn’t always exactly scintillate.

Sliding doors: Wallaby lessons from the 2001 Lions tour

Mind you, the next Lions tour to Australia after that was just as much one that got away!

I remember the hordes of fans in Lions jerseys everywhere in Brisbane before that test.

Sliding doors: Wallaby lessons from the 2001 Lions tour

No-one’s blaming the pitches. India were the better team and won fair and square. However, it would be disingenuous in writing an article on the real reasons India won the series not to acknowledge that the low and slow nothings served up in Melbourne and Sydney, and not playing in Brisbane, played into the hands of India and were factors in the series win.

The real reasons India won

To be fair, Adelaide wasn’t that bad. Melbourne and Sydney certainly were. Not playing in Brisbane remains a heavily underrated factor.

The real reasons India won

Plus the Oakland As in using sabermetrics weren’t looking for the best players, as national selectors unencumbered by salary caps or budgets are, but for undervalued players who they could afford. All the hype about moneyball also glosses over the fact that a lot of Oakland’s success that year was down to its pitching staff – who for the most part were picked and developed the old fashioned way.

Selections supported by analysis, not opinion

Collective failure of irony detectors going on here.

Three changes confirmed in new-look Australian squad to play Sri Lanka

Intrigued to see if the author now withdraws and completely re-writes this article, with that howling error in one of his basic premises having been pointed out.

Who really belongs in the next Test XI?

And Lawrie Sawle played zero tests, had a moderate at best FC career, came from WA and was one of the selectors who picked guess who for every one of his 50 tests. And yet he’s regarded as having been an outstanding selector and chairman of selectors.

The wizards of Aus: Why the selectors must go

Joe Burns this year 472 at 47.2, with 4x50s (HS 96), a 49, a 38 and a 24* from 12 innings. Last season 725 at 55.76 (7 games only – admittedly helped by a 200 on the always flat Cairns pitch). Pretty handy.

Langer a busy man, but not nearly as busy as his assistants should be…

Henriques’ season bowling figures – 6 games, 13 overs, 0-47. Respectable batting figures, helped by a big hundred on a road, but still had to score them. One fifty in 9 other innings.

Another Test selection embarrassment after Australia's Melbourne meltdown

Joe Burns is entitled to think he’s being screwed over. Glenn Maxwell has been entitled to think that from time to time. Matt Renshaw has made 199 Shield runs at 19.9 with one fifty this season. Not being selected in the test team in those circumstances is not being screwed over.

Another Test selection embarrassment after Australia's Melbourne meltdown

Without wanting to be seen as bagging the bloke, you’ll be doing well to come up with a riposte re John Watkins.

Another Test selection embarrassment after Australia's Melbourne meltdown

77/78 playing against an Australian side without any of the WSC signatories was a pretty fair opportunity too. Actually a brilliant series, with Bob Simpson’s Australian side winning 3-2.

If not now, will India ever secure a series victory in Australia?

It certainly produced a better game than those seen on the very bland pitches produced for too many tests in Australia in recent years and I’d certainly rather watch a game played on that pitch than a day/night lottery or a game on, for example, last year’s Melbourne pitch. Whether that makes this a good pitch is another matter. There were on my count 5 wickets from balls that wildly misbehaved off the pitch, and the scoring rate overall was about 2.7 – doesn’t scream good to me.

Five-day Tests are alive and well

First class stats comparisons need to take into account that modern players play a lot more of their FC games as tests – for Lyon, it is 82 out of 141 (for 334 of his 501 wickets). Ashley Mallett played 38 tests in his 183 FC games (for 132 of his 693 wickets) and Ian Johnson 45 tests in 189 FC games total (109 wickets out of 689). While the longer length of tests compared to other FC games gives more opportunity to bowl, you’re typically playing against better batsmen and have better bowlers around you competing for the available wickets. If you’re good enough you can take more wickets per game at test level than at FC level as Lyon has done, but Mallett and Johnson couldn’t.

At Test level Lyon will always be measured against Hugh Trumble’s 141 wickets from 32 tests (he took a handy 929 from 231 FC games total by the way). With Lyon now at over 4 wickets per test, not as silly a comparison as it once was.

Nathan Lyon is a priceless asset

Not totally unlike Benaud himself, who took a few years to really come good.

All hail Nathan the Lyonheart

Given both sides have decent to good pace attacks, the real question is will the Indian batting or the Australian batting handle the conditions better.

Perth pitch no guaranteed perk for Aussies

While Watson never produced what he looked capable of, his overall figures weren’t horrible (batting 35.19, 24 fifties and 4 hundreds in 107 innings over 59 games, bowling 1.25 wickets per test at 33.68). The number of hundreds was low for someone who batted a lot in the top order. Symons’ figures were also ok, although he never looked more than a change bowler at test level (26 tests, 41 innings av 40.61, 2 hundreds and 10 fifties; 24 wickets at 37.33). That’s not Keith Miller, but there haven’t been many Millers.

Mitch Marsh dropped for first Test as Peter Handscomb gets the nod

Have to say, the “Manhattan” of his test batting Cricinfo includes in its player profiles isn’t pretty – a burst of 5 innings including his 2 tons, a not out and the 96 v SA really looked like a new dawn – but before and after that what with the best will in the world can only be described as mediocrity. You have to ask, looking at that, which bits are aberrations and which are the norm.

Mitch Marsh dropped for first Test as Peter Handscomb gets the nod

Fair enough MM – make it 10 from 47.

Mitch Marsh dropped for first Test as Peter Handscomb gets the nod

A not out isn’t necessarily a decent innings. I’d say 6* v India, 1* & 18* v WI were neither good nor bad; 27* (Lords) & 29* (Melb) v England were ok (if you have a low bar for decent, they might just scrape in).

More realistic to say, on the raw numbers, that’s he’s had 9 decent innings in 46 completed innings.

Of course, it’s perfectly possible to have an innings of 20 that’s decent if, for example, you take 2 hours making it when your team needs you to bat time, or the wicket is very difficult, or you make it off 10 balls when your team needs quick runs, and that’s where just looking at the numbers falls down.

Mitch Marsh dropped for first Test as Peter Handscomb gets the nod

Marcus Harris’ 71.57 doesn’t count? Khawaja and Finch have only had one game (on a pitch with something in it) so you’re distorting things to mention them (although I’d agree with anyone scratching their head as to how Finch gets near a test side with his FC record). Handscomb has an average a clear 1.3 lower than Mitch’s so technically you’re right with him – but trying to say that difference makes for a “no brainer” is a little more difficult to justify. Head has been moderate only and Paine isn’t there for his batting. Regardless of what anyone thinks of him and his record, Shaun has made enough Shield runs this year to warrant another chance.

When it comes to his bowling, Mitch has been bowling a reasonable amount, although 5-271 over 3 games doesn’t appear excellent, noting that 2 of the games weren’t particularly high scoring (and remembering that the game he’s played which was a high scoring draw and blew his bowling figures out a little, by a total of 1-99, was also the one in which he’s made about 2/3 of his runs).

Langer's extraordinary prediction in the Adelaide nets may derail the summer

Ed Cowan on ABC Radio yesterday, when asked about who’d open said he’d have solved the problem by picking Burns and batting Finch down the list. So there’s one (maybe Ed had read this piece!).

On the other hand I heard a few weeks ago, also on the radio, Jim Maxwell when asked how come Burns (and others) weren’t being talking about, saying that maybe Burns didn’t fit in with the character over cover drives mantra. I thought at the time it was probably just Maxwell being typically ignorant, and casting a throwaway and completely unsupported slur at a non-NSW player – but maybe someone really doesn’t like him.

Poor Joe Burns

Pretty much my point!

Clarke's triple: When Australia's captain walked where cricketing mortals fear to tread

While I get what you’re saying about Hayden’s 375, it’s fair to say his isn’t the only one over the years made against a relative newcomer to test cricket, or against a weak attack, so if we’re discounting on that basis his wouldn’t be the only innings affected. You perhaps then also would have to query 300s on very flat pitches or in timeless tests (which wouldn’t leave too many)! Plus to perhaps carry fairness to extremes, Hayden’s is one of I think only 2 for Australia that came in a win (Clarke’s being the other). Overall about 2/3 300s have been in draws.

Clarke's triple: When Australia's captain walked where cricketing mortals fear to tread