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Roar Guru
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When is an Aussie really an Aussie?

Ben Ryan, the English coach of the Fijian rugby sevens gold medal winning team at the Rio Olympics, caused quite a stir recently with his caustic observations of how the Pacific Islands were being effectively ‘stripped’ by the major rugby union powers.

Barry Beath,

There are so many bogans & similar varieties, including less savoury types, who have become knights, that Sir Shane Warne would not be out of place at all among fellow comical & even sinister knights.

Three Australian cricketers who deserved a knighthood

Mark,

Are you serious? Knighthoods are part of royalty, & royalty is a completely nonsense concept.

The sooner we become a republic the better. We’re big boys & girls now, time to cut the apron strings, & remove the union jack from the flag.

Three Australian cricketers who deserved a knighthood

Don Freo,
Head has never looked like a long-term investment. Neither has Wade, for that matter.
But we require patience in these things. Head is 26, so he has plenty of time to find his feet, & become a better test player.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Rowdy – that’s quite alright.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Rowdy,

That’s not correct. Mark played some gutsy innings, especially earlier in his career.

I don’t know what happened in the latter part of his career. He lost interest, & only did enough to keep his place. So, I agree with that part of your statement.

But it’s a broad & incorrect statement to say he didn’t try at all, which is your inference. Sometimes, he did care, but just not often enough.

The world cup is a different beast, but headlines at the time proclaimed Mark ‘Waugh of India’ back at the 1996 world cup.

He hit 484 at almost 86 with 3 centuries in 7 innings. He was Australia’s outstanding batsman in that series.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Jameswm,
I’m thinking the policy in England was a failure. Siddle played 3 tests for 7 wickets, I think, but I think the idea was more to rotate the burden than ‘horses for courses’.
Anyway, I think you best your best XI every time, barring injury/illness, although there was an argument to give a Neser a run to see how he went.
But as we know, selection is an imprecise science.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

fr4d,

Based on India’s inexperienced pace attack for the 4th test, Australia’s batsmen are never going to get a better opportunity to cash in.

One thing the Aussies can’t escape is they went to sleep after their unexpectedly easy win in the opening test. They thought India would just roll over for the series.

However, India have demonstrated a much tougher streak than the Aussies anticipated. The surprise of India’s mental toughness should really be put to bed now.

If the Aussies want to win this test & series, they must bring their A game. Their B/C game in tests 2 & 3 hasn’t been good enough.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Fred – excellent observations.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Joe Biden (yeah, sure),

For me, the discussion around Starc is less about him, & more about Neser.

No man is an island, & no squad is an island. None of us operate in total isolation, even in these challenging covid times.

Neser has been on the fringe for an awfully long time. The selectors need to give him a go to keep him interested.

It’s not only for Neser’s benefit, but also the squad’s benefit.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Ronan,

No other example immediately came to mind. But I went back to 1932/33, Bodyline, & skipper Bill Woodfull had 3 different opening partners – Bill Ponsford, Jack Fingelton & Vic Richardson.

So nothing exceptional there.

However, more recently, back in 1971/72 against the Rest of the World XI, Keith Stackpole (5 internationals) had 4 different opening partners – Bruce Francis (2), Graeme Watson (1), John Inverarity (1) & Ashley Woodcock (1).

Then on the 1972 Ashes tour, Francis (3) & Watson (1) again shared the opening with Stackpole (5), along with Ross Edwards in one test & plus one innings (for injured Francis).

Then back in Australia in 1972/73 against Pakistan, Ian Redpath & Paul Sheahan were further co-opted as openers while Stackpole was injured, only playing the 3rd test.

So in 13 successive internationals, of which Stackpole appeared in 11, he was also supported by or separately with Francis (5), Watson (2), Inverarity (1), Woodcock (1), Edwards (1), Redpath (3) & Sheahan (2).

That’s 8 openers in 13 internationals. I think that might be close to a record over a short period of time.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Jameswm,

Yeah, I think it’s a missed opportunity. The thing is, Neser’s been on the sideline an awfully long time now. It would not only be in his interest, but also the team’s, to give him a crack.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Rowdy,
This is another example of the disingenuous use of stats.
I could also point out Adam Voges is one of the 4 most successful batsman in our history, of those who have played more than 15 tests.
But no cricket aficionado worth his salt would pick Voges in any of the top 4 all-time Aussie XIs.
Voges’ role in the study of stats is to remind us not to always take stats literally. There are often anomalies to every scenario.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Rowdy,

There were 4 Waugh brothers, but only 2 played test cricket.

Steve & Mark both played over 100 tests; Dean played one Sheffield Shield game while Danny played only club cricket.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Pedro the Fisherman,
So toss Wade out? For who? Head? What has he done?
Burns & Head have been given their chance & found wanting. Wade is struggling, but fortunately the selectors don’t have the knee-jerk reactions of keyboard warriors.
Besides, I think they are rewarding him for volunteering to open in an unfamiliar position when both Warner & Pucovski were unavailable for various reasons.
That’s reward for risk in my view.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

No surprises here.

This would have been a good opportunity to give Neser a run. The guy must be going crazy waiting on the sideline. But I can also understand the selectors standing by Starc.

Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

Wheelbarrow,

Where there’s the sniff of money, there’s another impractical suggestion, ie, smashing square pegs into round holes.

Holding test cricket & BBL simultaneously might maximise CA’s revenue streams, but it doesn’t make any practical, long-term sense whatsoever…

Australia's fourth Test selection headaches

Wheelbarrow,

Just curious to know how BBL form relates to test form readiness.

This has been the CA business plan for about 6-7 years now. But it’s lost on me…

Australia's fourth Test selection headaches

Nardio – a test batting average of just 22.29 might have been an even bigger contributor to Nevill’s demise.

Wade was dropped before Nevill because his batting average as keeper was 28.58.

These days, right or wrong, the test keeper is expected to average above 30 as a minimum for his batsmanship.

Why Tim Paine's sledging leaves such a bitter taste

Plastered plasterer,

The Aussies’ beef about Pant is justified. If Pant was replaced by Saha, it should have been for the remainder of the match. However, the ICC rules as they stand, may have allowed for Pant to return.

This is unsatisfactory, & the ICC must clear this up. You can’t have players coming in & out of the team through a revolving door.

In any case, Pant outplayed the Aussie pacemen. Well, only because he was dropped by Paine at 3, then 56, finishing with 97. It happens.

But what happened after Pant’s dismissal was nonsensical. With Pant gone, India closed up shop, especially when Vihari sustained a pulled hamstring soon afterwards.

Yet the Aussie pacemen continued to deliver short stuff to Vihari & Ashwin as if they were still enticing Pant to play a brain explosion shot.

What they should have bene doing, is bowl to the stumps & force Vihari & Ashwin to play as many balls as possible.

The Aussies just lost the plot on the last day. It happens…..

Why Tim Paine's sledging leaves such a bitter taste

I want to clear up something. I don’t have problem with players sledging. But the sledging must be witty &/or humorous.

Paine was neither. His sledging was the worst clumsiness imaginable. If you can’t be witty or humorous, leave it to those who can.

Why Tim Paine's sledging leaves such a bitter taste

ozinsa,

I read that Pattinson pulled out of the Sydney squad through injury. So I expect he would still be unavailable. Thus Neser is next in line.

Australia's fourth Test selection headaches

If Pucovski is out, I would move Wade back to opener, & bring back Head. Wade has under-performed, but he is one of the grittiest & most spirited members of the team. A true team player, especially volunteering to open.

However, the mail seems to be that Pucovski will be okay. In any case, India will be fielding a B/C team with so many first choice players unavailable. Only as long as the Baggy greens don’t go in thinking it will be a picnic.

After the recent criticism that has been rightly directed at them, the BGs will/should be playing out for their skins.

Another possible change is to give Michael Neser (as mentioned by the author) his debut cap in place of the underperforming Mitchell Starc. My understanding is that first choice replacement James Pattinson is injured.

As for replacing Lyon, as far as I’m aware, we don’t have a quality spinner to replace him.

Australia's fourth Test selection headaches

Bernie,

Willis was an ordinary captain, which wasn’t his fault. He shouldn’t have been put in that position. I’m convinced it took the edge off his bowling.

Some people are saying make Cummins captain. This will be a terrific way to destroy his current effectiveness.

Paine's days as captain numbered: Gavaskar

Paul D,

It’s not because they’re not good enough. But for all the bowlers & wicket-keepers, they have tiring positions as it is.

That said, it’s easier for a spinner to be captain before pacemen & the keeper. But Lyon isn’t captaincy material.

Paine's days as captain numbered: Gavaskar

Brian,

Because, if you hadn’t noticed, fast bowling is a tiring business, as is wicket-keeping. While Cumminns is resting from a spell & still required to field at optimum, as captain, he would also be considering field placements & bowling changes.

It would simply be too much for him. Okay if he were a genuine all-rounder, but he’s an out & out fast bowler who can occasionally bat well.

Under normal circumstances, Paine would not be captain either. But he was elevated in extremely exceptional circumstances.

Paine's days as captain numbered: Gavaskar