The Roar
The Roar

Peter Hunt

Roar Guru

Joined September 2018

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Like so many other Australian Cricket fans, I was mortified by the ball tampering scandal in Cape Town in March 2018. It made me question my life-long passion for Cricket and my steadfast support for the national team. And so, combining my passions for cricket, the law and writing, I embarked on a search for `The Spirit of Cricket'; one cricket tragic's attempt to define `the line'. Does Cricket have a distinct spirit? Can we define 'the line'? How are the values Cricket holds dear different from any other sport?

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Yet we still remember Border and Thompson almost 40 years down the track!

How T20 cricket has enhanced Test cricket

All valid points LiM. In your example, I’d take Mike Hussey every time. Although, I think I remember him saying he was nervous, to the point of incontinence, in this first Test because he wasn’t used to so many people watching.
That said, I’ve been hearing since I was 9 years old (ie: when WSC started) that short form cricket would kill Test cricket….and look at the marvellous Test series which have taken place over the 40 plus years since then; right up until the gripping series against India last summer the current series taking place in India.
If ODI / T20 / IPL etc subsidise the cost of Test cricket and bring new fans to the game, then I’m all for that.
I do, however, take your point regarding the relegation for Shield and County cricket to after-thoughts. That said (again), there’s natural selection at play too. The Test specialist who devotes his time to County cricket will have an advantage when it comes to Test selection, right?

How T20 cricket has enhanced Test cricket

I agree that only a class batsman can flick the switch, John. I think the Stokes innings in Headingley is a contender for the best innings I have seen in my lifetime.
(I didn’t see any of Lara’s 153 in Barbados in 1999.)
There is a risk that some batsman can not transition from T20 (or ODI) to Tests because they develop the kind of bad habits I described in my article.
But to echo your own point; the class batsman can. David Warner is a great example. He emerged from nowhere to play T20 for Australia and progressed to become a dynamic opener in the Test arena.
Doubtless there are other examples.

How T20 cricket has enhanced Test cricket

Thanks Paul. I take your point that Stokes had nothing to lose once Leach joined him at the crease at Headingley.
But there is still a difference between batting with gay abandon, because you have nothing to lose, and actually executing the strokes which Stokes played. Reverse sweeping Lyon for six and backing yourself to long drive a six without any regard for the fielder stationed to catch the mishit…they are features of T20 cricket. They may have happened in other formats, before the introduction of T20, but they have become prevalent since that time.
I think controlled hitting, without the fear of getting out, is a skill which has been supercharged by the T20 experience.
I’d also draw a distinction between the legendary innings by Graham (1893) and McCabe (1932) because my understanding – nothing having seen those innings live (!) – is they they took on the bowling from the first ball. By contrast, Stokes literally flicked a switch. He stonewalled for a day before going berserk in the last wicket stand.

How T20 cricket has enhanced Test cricket

I agree, JGK, that my title should have been how “T20 cricket has enhanced Test cricket batting“.
Others may have a different perspective, but I’m struggling to see the positive impact of T20 on bowling tactics or skills.
T20 has, however, supercharged fielding skills; particularly relay and/or juggle catches on the boundary.

How T20 cricket has enhanced Test cricket

I reckon he brought a T20 mindset to both matches, JGK; controlled power hitting, without the fear of getting out.

How T20 cricket has enhanced Test cricket

Y’know, I reckon I may have under-appreciated Lyon’s contribution over his 100 tests.
A good measure of a bowler’s impact is the number of wickets he takes per Test because you have to take 20 of ’em to win a Test match.
Given he’s sitting on 399 wickets after 100 Tests, I don’t need a calculator to work out that he’s taken 3.99 wickets per Test.
That compares reasonably well to other Australian bowlers.
Even Lillee (5.07 per Test). Warne (4.88 per Test) and McGrath (4.54) are not miles ahead.
And Lyon compares well to Johnson (4.20), McDermott (4.09), Brett Lee (4.07) and Big Merv (4.00). He’s in the same ball-park.
And who were Australia’s off-spinners before Nathan? Bruce Yardley (3.8) and Greg Matthews (1.8).
Hats off Nathan. You’ve done okay, ol’ boy.

Why Nathan Lyon is Test cricket personified

Nice article, Lockdown. I am never sure what to make of Nathan Lyon. He frustrates me because he rarely delivers in one of the key roles of a spinner – bowling the team to victory on the last day.
But he’s taken almost 400 Test wickets, many of them a valuable times, contributing significantly to the team results.
And there’s obviously a reason Mike Hussey handed him the role of leading the team song. Lyon is clearly, as you say, a fighter and embodies the spirit of the team.
I like the way Mark Howard described him during their TV / Podcast interview: he looks like the kind of weather-beaten old guy who just hangs around the nets bowling off-breaks all day.
Well, that weather-beaten old guy has a Test record which many would envy.

Why Nathan Lyon is Test cricket personified

That brought back a lot of memories Tiger. Thank you!
I was 9 years old that summer and it was wall-to-wall cricket with the Indian series and WSC competing for my family’s attention. Looking back, it was that summer which tattooed my love for cricket on my brain.

India's missed opportunity at the Gabba 43 years ago

Hysteria is a good word Marty!

What should Australia’s Test cricket plan be for 2021?

I like the way you limit the answers I’m permitted to give, Paul! Good thing you added a smiley face!
Jokes aside, I agree that Smith should not return to the captaincy. I would like to see him unleashed (if that is required) to play more of a senior statesman role in the decision making, but I agree he should not return to the top role.
My comment above was limited to the point that if we are going to change the captaincy, we should do it before SA so that the new captain is established before the Ashes. Like it or not, the Ashes is still the pinnacle when it comes to judging a captain’s legacy. Witness how there is always an asterix next to Ponting’s name because he lost the Ashes thrice.
Now, the all important response to your question. Who?
My answer is that I don’t know. The problem is, I’m still unlikely to know when Paine’s age / form precludes ongoing selection, which is likely to be only a season or two away (even if he survives the current debate).
So, we’re in a bit of a pickle aren’t we!?!?!
Ultimately, if pressed, my gut feeling is to give Cummins a shot; on the understanding that there’s nothing wrong with forming an advisory committee of senior players he can lean on.
Another solution is to bring Carey in as a batsman to replace Wade, make him a genuine vice-captain now. Then he can take over from Paine as both keeper and captain when Paine’s time is up (whenever that might be).

What should Australia’s Test cricket plan be for 2021?

It’s worth pointing out that Paine and the team selected got Australia into winning positions at Headingley, SCG and the Gabba against good opposition.
Sure, they should have finished off each Test!
But it would be a different conversation if we weren’t even getting into a position to win. This isn’t the mid-1980s.

What should Australia’s Test cricket plan be for 2021?

I’ve been thinking about the timing, too.
If Paine captains in SA, he has to captain in the next Ashes summer too.
No way can we introduce a new captain in the first Test of an Ashes series. Think Yallop!
If we are going to change jockeys we have to do it now…as much as I’m a Paine supporter because of what he achieved from a cultural perspective.

What should Australia’s Test cricket plan be for 2021?

I get your point Pedro, but is Paine the sole source of ideas? Are the bowlers not coming to him and saying can I try this or that? If they aren’t, why not? If they are, is Paine ignoring them?
Are senior players like Smith and Warner not weighing in with ideas which don’t involve sandpaper?
And are Langer and the rest of the coaching staff not also providing some input?
I accept that the buck stops with the Captain. But if we all accept he’s a good cultural leader but not an intuitive tactician…why isn’t he being helped?

What should Australia’s Test cricket plan be for 2021?

Terrific article, Paul.
In management circles, the mantra is to focus on processes, rather than results. Get the processes right and the results will come.
The broad processes in Test cricket are things like; (1) bowl in the right areas and build pressure; (2) bat in partnerships. Obviously there’s more to it than that.
Given what happened in Sydney and Brisbane, the brains trust of the Australian cricket team might think about what processes are required to drive home an advantage.
Let’s face it, after winning the toss, achieving a first innings lead and then (by historical yardsticks) batting India out of the game, we should have won both Tests.
So what went wrong with our processes on the final day at the SCG and the Gabba?

What should Australia’s Test cricket plan be for 2021?

True, but when Pujara was finally LBW to Cummins, there was actually far less of the ball hitting the stumps…yet because the on-field umpire gave him out…

The sliding doors of Test cricket

Thanks Just Nuisance. I certainly reject any notion that Australia was humiliated when – like you say – they still had a genuine shot at winning the Test and the series deep into the last session. It was a great contest.
Yes, that WC semi-final was epic, although I suspect I have happier memories than you! Remarkably, there was a sliding doors moment the ball before when Donald backed up too far and should have been run out by Darren Lehman, running in from mid-on.

The sliding doors of Test cricket

I was scrolling down to see whether anybody else made this point, Deepoz.
I agree! Ajinkya for man of the series for mine…for the same reasons you give; a decisive century and great leadership.
That said, I’m not sure I have every seen a Captain handed an award based, even in part, on the quality of their decision-making. Unlike runs and wickets, it’s hard to measure.

Pat Cummins did not deserve the player of the series award

It shouldn’t surprise you, Liquorbox, that I totally agree. After the let down in Sydney, I was tense for pretty much the whole of the Gabba Test. It was a terrific match and a great series!

The sliding doors of Test cricket

DaveJ, I’m glad that you made that point. I was hoping somebody would, so that I could respond in the comments. I’ve watched the replay of the Pant missed-stumping a few times and Paine would have had to be damn quick to get the bails off in time. Pant took an almighty swing at the ball and when he missed he just continued the momentum so that his bat was grounded in super-quick time. Even if Paine gloved the ball, I doubt he would have had time to execute the stumping; particularly given that Tim would have had to stop the moment of his gloves moving to his left and then change direction back to the stumps on his right.
The other sliding door moment on that last day in Brisbane was an early LBW shout for Lyon which was not given. The DRS review showed an awful lot of the ball hitting the stumps, but not quite enough to reverse the decision. Had the Umpire given it out, who knows what would have happened next…we might be celebrating Nathan’s 402nd Test wicket and an Australian win over a dogged, but unlucky, Indian side.

The sliding doors of Test cricket

Thanks Paul. I agree that avid viewers do get a sense of where a game is heading. By mid-way through the middle session on the last day in Sydney, I had a sense that we’d missed our chance. And in Brisbane, on day 5, I always felt – after the first hour to ninety minutes – that the most likely result was an Indian win.
That said, we’ve all seen the momentum in a Test match turn on a dime. There was a Test in 90’s at the MCG when England seemed to be progressing to a safe position, before they lost 6 wickets for 1 run and Australia collected the modest target they were ultimately set on the final day.
And I don’t want to keep on harping on about the Adelaide Test in this most recent series – because it was extraordinary and unlikely to happen again soon – but the inertia of that Test, until the 3rd morning, was towards an India win…until, incredibly, India were bowled out for 36.
Those are, but two, examples. There are many more where a team in a strong position has just folded; sometimes with little warning and for no apparent reason.
That’s what makes Test cricket so compelling.

The sliding doors of Test cricket

Good one Micko! Definitely a sliding doors moment. But without Waugh’s decision, we wouldn’t have one of the greatest Test matches of all time. It’s tough when you’re on the losing side though.

The sliding doors of Test cricket

Thanks Badmanners! I felt empty after the loss in Brisbane; particularly given the uncertainty over whether our next Test series will start. So I’m coping by writing!

The sliding doors of Test cricket

CSKERD, if that means cricket thrives across the globe, then that makes me very happy!

Does India's triumph herald a decade of dominance?

Nice! That’s a really well-balanced and thoughtful message.

Does India's triumph herald a decade of dominance?