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The Roar

Peter Farrar

Roar Pro

Joined April 2020







Peter's obsession with test match cricket is well known amongst his friends, often leading them to avoid him or quickly change the subject when he begins his analysis. Since 1980 the only Boxing Day test he has missed was when South Africa's return from their ban was washed out at the MCG. His daughters regularly accompany him to the test, retreating to the bar when he begins recalling matches he attended as a younger man.



I gather England have a similar (in some ways) idea, bringing their lions team to play warm up games and boost preparation. It’d be interesting to see the test bowlers pitted against the bats. Takes me back to contests I used to see in Shield games, such as Warne bowling to Hayden. If only the depth of talent back then was available to us now.

Australia badly need some games for their fringe Test players

Thanks for your reply Paul. What you say makes me recall those parents on the sidelines during a Saturday morning, muttering (sometimes shouting) at umpires, many of those umpires being young themselves. That shows the extent of our anti umpire culture. They are flesh, blood and feelings like the rest of us.

To err is human: Umpire bashing needs to be called out

Thanks for the article Paul, it’s an important perspective but one that is frequently forgotten I feel. There’s something in our culture that is almost anti umpire or referee. It’s particularly observed in AFL where umpires are insulted and for example referred to as maggots. I don’t think it’s gone to that extent in cricket but when a mistake (or what appears to be a mistake) is made, the crowd and some players will let the umpire know, often bluntly. I’ve had my head in my hands a few times, especially when the decision was crucial. But I’ve also had the time to think, watch replays and I haven’t had 70,000 people on their feet about the decision. In life I’ve made a few howlers of my own (a few is understating it) and have been grateful for the understanding of others when it’s happened.

To err is human: Umpire bashing needs to be called out

Such a disappointment for Will, especially at a time when he would have believed his test career was about to build momentum. I worry for his longer term future in that we are now seeing links between concussions and other health issues. We’d all be holding our breath if we were watching him struck in a test match. I really hope he is able to take his place in the team but not if it comes at a cost of his wellbeing in the decades ahead.

'Devastated to hear it': Paine's update on Pucovski's latest 'shattering' concussion

Is there a super strong England team? Maybe it is the one that lost to New Zealand? Or what about the side that lost to India, admittedly the series not being completed. How about the team unable to win the ashes the last time Australia visited? The words ‘super strong’ sound like an expression one of the marketers at Cricket Australia told Starc to use.

Starc expecting ‘super-strong’ England team for Ashes

It would be unwise to bring Stokes back to the team before he was ready. It would only make his difficulties worse. It’s at least a time where there is understanding and support for players in this situation. It’s not that long ago where they wouldn’t have been able to speak up. And if they did, they’d be mocked.

Fresh setback puts Stokes in doubt for the Ashes

Great topic and as can be seen from the comments, one that many take an interest in. I can say something about the kind of pitch we don’t want. The MCG which had a surface like we’d broken off a lane from a freeway and dropped it in during 2017. This was the year Alistar Cook captained the England team and (respect to him) made a double century on it. But the pitch was virtually over prepared, being predictable and offering bowlers little more than the chance of exhaustion and a pulled calf muscle. As a result, it offered the crowd little either.

What is the ideal cricket pitch?

There’s been a few fast bowlers that I’ve felt have been a joy to watch. Dennis Lillee and Ryan Harris spring to mind. It was their smooth and poised run in that I enjoyed. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to describe it as graceful. Steyn is certainly part of that list.

Dale Steyn was sheer fast-bowling beauty

It certainly sets up an absorbing next test. India displayed such ability to come back from their test loss in Australia to then win the series. Will India be able to dig deep again? England too made their way back from a series loss to New Zealand and prior test loss to India. Don’t think anyone will be saying test match cricket is dying for awhile yet.

Innings defeat at Headingley: Time for some changes in the Indian team

Very pleased to read this. It’s a good news article and will all that is going on with Covid and climate change, it’s brilliant to read an article about England’s batting woes. If anyone has it in them to put together an article that is critical of England’s bowling (much more difficult I know) I’d just about be putting a chardonnay on the ice to celebrate. I meanwhile still have nasty flashbacks to Andrew Strauss winning the ashes here in 2010.

England’s batting woes go well beyond 1-2-3

I admit my memory has faded on this but I seem to have a faint recollection that many Australians quite liked Botham. The reason? They thought he was more like us. In other words, they saw him as having the traits of an Australian rather than an Englishman.

Beefy's back: Brawled with Chappelli, brutally sledged Merv, so do we 'love' new trade envoy?

Of course Langer should be intense and stern where needed. He’s also compassionate and values driven when the situation calls for it. Our batting is ordinary and Langer isn’t always going to respond to that with telling everyone to relax and not worry. At times he needs to demonstrate we need to be better. It’s what a coach does.

'Incredible job': CA backs Langer as coach faces accusations that he's causing player unrest

I add that the Indian tail enders demonstrated what could be done batting wise, yet England showed few signs of batting with that same application and self belief. India certainly know how to come from behind, as they did in the series against Australia and now this test. Very intrigued as to what the England response will be. Not a great summer for them, lost series to New Zealand, outplayed in much of the first test against India and now this loss.

'Cock up': Root takes blame, English media reacts to 'harrowing humiliation' against India

Nice to see this important part of history acknowledged. I recall him during England’s tour to Australia in 1970/71, great talent and a tough wicket to get.

53 years on: Remembering the D’Oliveira affair

Mark Wood has developed nicely. Will be interested as to whether he finds the hard pitches in Australia to his liking.

Kohli out for 20 as England close in on victory

Thanks for this article Paul, an insightful one. Especially like your reference to batting ugly. I recall 2010 when a successful English team toured here led by Andrew Strauss. They were thought to have won largely due to a somewhat lengthy and thorough preparation in tour matches prior to the first test, with a 3 dayer against Victoria before the second test. Having watched some of England against NZ recently and then taking on India in the first test, I had the impression England weren’t terribly inspired and considerably below their best. In the end it will quite possibly be a tale of two (ordinary) batting sides and two mainly excellent bowling teams. Which batting list will grind out more tenacity and ultimately runs in the series? Given the contributions made at times by the Australian tail enders, perhaps that will ultimately be the defining difference. Still, as one of your earlier articles suggested, in these Covid times we will have to get the tourists here first.

England can win the Ashes. Maybe

Oh no, say it isn’t so. Given the news that Cricket Australia’s finances aren’t in great shape (administrators went overboard on the chardonnay budget) there could be some flow on problems. What are we all going to do? Cut the grass an extra time or in my case put the walking stick aside and head down to the nets and see if I can trundle in an occasional off spinner? Well, I live in hope, bought tickets to the first and second day of the Boxing Day test last month and if worse comes to worse, those will just be a couple of extra days to finish Christmas leftovers. A summer without test matches is like a day without sunshine.

A summer without international cricket is on the cards in Australia

It certainly wasn’t a great series for the Aussies. I’m changing the subject slightly but I recall a great triumph for the Sri Lankan team a few years ago. They’d toured Australia at a time following the Aussies loss to India for the first time on our soil. Sri Lanka lost that series but then went on to
South Africa and toured there. I seem to recall a 2-0 series win to the tourists, tremendous effort to turn around the result in Australia to win in South Africa. Always stuck in my mind as one of the high water marks for Sri Lanka cricket.

Five years on from Australia's loss in the unlosable series

Hi Ely, I think you’ve raised a good discussion to have. Maybe there is a way around it but scheduling matches for Hobart and Melbourne may be tricky if we go earlier. At that time of year Melbourne is capable of washing out everything, including hanging out the washing. Then again, quite possibly the grade season is underway early anyway. To help ready players I’d also like to see the Australia A format used again this season.

Could an early Sheffield Shield start be Australia's Ashes saviour?

Thank you for that response Paul, as always insightful and constructive. I’d so be on board with those superstar coaches you mention. Greg Shipperd always comes to mind. Perhaps coaches in other countries could have a role, although we’d have to pay well. For myself it would certainly be exciting to go along to a Shield match and see a former test player from another country out there, but having said that, have my doubts whether this direction would really boost crowd size. And I remain with that doubt that their presence just holds back someone else. Hope things are well with you.

The overseas recruits who can improve Australian domestic cricket this season

Thanks for your thougts The Good The Bad, they are valuable. About all I can add is maybe trialling what you describe for a couple of seasons and see what results. I can see that the presence of an overseas player of this calibre would be inspiring to others in the side and possibly that player could have a role in mentoring. I continue to worry about our lack of depth as seen by some ordinary Australia A performances and would hope this initiative didn’t block the path of a good prospect. Would be interesting how the Australian Cricket Association might respond to your ideas.

The overseas recruits who can improve Australian domestic cricket this season

I’m glad this was raised in an article. It’s been discussed and debated now and then since Ian Botham played for the Queensland Shield team decades ago. My hesitation is that the Shield competition exists largely for the development of players for a national team. This means placing an international player into our system potentially takes the place that could be occupied by a potential player coming through. This is a significant issue in netball at the moment. There’s many international players in the national league which is slowing local player development. The result of this is likely to be seen in the approaching series against New Zealand. (Admittedly there’s more internationals than I’d expect us to see in the Shield competition). Even if attendances to Shield matches increased (and it’d probably only be marginal), I think the impacts wouldn’t be beneficial at a time when we aren’t seeing a depth of talent coming through.

The overseas recruits who can improve Australian domestic cricket this season

What a time for New Zealand cricket. Series win over England and now this. They played tight test match cricket, applying themselves under calm leadership all the way through. If they happen to tour Australia in the years ahead, next time they should play a couple of tour matches to settle in and be more prepared for our conditions. I’m sure this must be their best side since the Hadlee and Crowe days.

New Zealand crowned World Test Champions after shocking collapse by India

It just won’t be the same Daniel. I’m not sure if there is anything that entirely matches sport with highs, lows, exposing human vulnerabilities, excitement, despair and achievement. I appreciated your replies especially in the early stages of my submissions and it sticks in my mind your comment about there can never be enough cricket. Thanks for being a big part of the hearbeat at The Roar.

Four incredible years of sport: My farewell to The Roar

Thanks for the article Paul, it picked up on many interesting points. New Zealand certainly played with a determination that I would liked to have seen more of in our side last summer. I feel it is to NZ’s advantage that they played those two tests before the world championship. They most likely have a head start with understanding the swinging ball over there and the overall conditions. If anyone can topple India, it must be them. I suppose we will know more about how well England can come back when they play 5 tests against India beginning August. I recall our media doubting whether India could make their way back from that collapse early in the series while touring here. History of course shows they did, although I’m not convinced England has their talent, or spirit. Thanks again.

If England can't improve, the Ashes will be a one-sided contest