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The Bush

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Joined January 2010

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Australian Cricket Team, The Wallabies, Queensland Reds, Brisbane Roar FC, Manchester City FC, Bath RFC, Stade Toulousain, Green Bay Packers, Vancouver Canucks and Kolkata Knightriders.

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Hard to face a lot of balls when you bat below the top 3/4. Maxi has spent a bit of time batting anywhere as low as 6 and 7. His insane strike rate is actually the reason why he has frequently batted that low, because he’s able to go from the first ball – something that’s very rare for Australia.

I don’t mind your side, I’d just swap Green and Maxwell around, so that Green has potentially more time to bat than Maxwell (for the exact reason I just stated). I also like the use of Agar as enabling us to bat deeper.

It’d be great to see Marsh really make it in the top four, he’s shown glimpses in the ODI format.

I don’t agree that we need ten overs out of Green. Between Maxwell, Green and Marsh, we should none of the three of them should need to bowl ten overs. Having said that, his bowling is so good, that he might be capable of that, but no reason to rely on it, unless you’re suggesting that one of the front line bowlers won’t get through ten overs.

No Finch, but Australia will be very strong at the 2023 World Cup

Honestly, I’ve just assumed they’re going to lose to New Zealand in a few weeks time – they’re an absolute basket case. The question is whether they can turn it around in a short period of time (i.e. twelve months) and if so, does Anderson, and to a lesser degree Broad, fit into that equation? At this stage, I’d say they do.

Ben Stokes officially gets the nod as England captain

It depends what they’re trying to achieve. Considering they haven’t won the Ashes since 2015 (or ‘held’ them since 2017, when we won them back), they’re probably only focused on winning the Ashes next year. If that’s the case, then both Broad and Anderson seem like they’ll serve a purpose.

They also have a fast bowling problem. Woakes is no good away from home, Archer can’t get on the field, Wood can’t stay on it (and unlike Broad and Anderson, won’t be playing into his late 30s) and Robinson isn’t fit enough for test cricket.

Twelve months is a long time in cricket and England might get their act together by next year, but honestly, they’re a shambles. They’re searching for a spinner, still haven’t settled on a ‘keeper and I’ve already mentioned the fast bowling issues. They’re also lacking a top order. The only three guys you’d say are “sure” (could always get injured) to play every test this summer are Root, Stokes and Bairstow.

Ben Stokes officially gets the nod as England captain

Hard to see how we’ll win the cup. The likely squad looks like it’ll be identical to the 2019 squad, except half the batting line up will be four years older and potentially past it (Finch, 36, Warner, 36, Smith 34 and maybe even Maxi, 34).

I don’t rate Stoinis, so it’d be great to see Green become a real option at 5-7.

Something like Marsh, Maxwell and Green could be explosive at 4-6, but I have some doubts. Can’t see Labs and Smith both playing.

There’s also the ongoing concerns about not batting deep. Agar at 8 could improve this, but does he justify selection as a bowler?

What should Australia's squad look like at the 2023 World Cup?

Rogers would have been great had he been selected in 2009. His ‘modest’ record reflects the fact he wasn’t picked until 35 – an age when most retire.

Ten times Australia were torn over whether to sack the captain

Tony, not sure who edits for the editor, but the first paragraph especially, and a few bits after, need an edit ASAP.

On the cricket, what a great rout! The key now will be having enough runs AND time. The reality is that Pakistan still lasted four sessions, so the Aussie will want to declare around tea. But, unless they score at a rate almost unseen during this series, 4 an over or more, they’ll be lucky to have a 350 lead.

Could be very risky to set them 330 to win from four sessions…

Captain fantastic! Pakistan lose 7-20 as Cummins, Starc spark stunning collapse to put Aussies in command

Totally agree.

'Maybe Mitch Marsh', 'Swepson deserves chance': Calls for bowling revamp after stalemate

If you’re answer to a question is Mitch Marsh should be in the test team, then you either didn’t hear the question or you shouldn’t be allowed to comment on cricket. It’s mind boggling in the extreme how anyone thinks he’d assist this team. We have a fast bowling allrounder already in the set up, who’s shown far more to date than Marsh ever did. All you’d do by bringing in Marsh is weaken the batting, a risk we just can’t take.

Marsh’s bowling isn’t even that good. He averages 38 at test level and whilst he had a good one off test with the ball in 2019, he averaged over fifty in both 2016 and 2018 and didn’t even have a bowling average in 2017, because he didn’t take a test wicket in four tests… In fact, really, other than that one off test in 2019, his bowling career at test level to date consists of a great year in 2015 and nothing else. How much bowling does he even do at FC level these days?

'Maybe Mitch Marsh', 'Swepson deserves chance': Calls for bowling revamp after stalemate

Totally agree Once.

This was something I was considering as well, though can’t be bothered to check the stats. I have no doubt that Langer has played some great innings, the one with Gilly comes to mind. But Martyn played out of his skin in entire series. Even the much maligned ‘home town bully’ Hayden will always be able to hang his hat on his performances in India.

Yet when I rack my brain, I cannot think of a single, important series were Langer was the dominant batsman. For mine, it’s these series that make players like Waugh S, Hayden, Martyn, Ponting and Smith the modern greats.

'Not in their category': Ian Chappell takes brutal swipe at 'legend' Langer comments

When you say four quicks do you mean Green?

Unless the pitch is obviously one to favour spin, why wouldn’t we go with our usual attack like we do in Australia? It works on flat pitches here…

I’m keen to get Swepson some tests, but surely it’s better to introduce him on a conducive pitch, not a flat track that could seem him getting smashed all over the park.

FLEM'S VERDICT: Bat hit crazy - No doubt if you win toss but quick-heavy attack can still work

Their batting is pretty strong. Babar Azam is as good as any batter there is in the world. And then they’ve got Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan can play plenty of shots.

I dunno about this Flem.

Azam had a good few years in 2019 and 2020, but he had a pretty bog-average 2021 and he still only averages 43 at test level. That’s decent enough in the modern game, but there’s no way you could say he’s in the class of Root, Kohli (though perhaps might be past it), Sharma, Smith (unless he’s actually lost his touch too) and Williamson.

He’s still young and if he again produces more years like 2019 and 2020, he could well be one of the dominant batsmen of his generation, but he’s got someway to go yet.

Their openers are inexperienced too, and Ali seems past it in my opinion, meaning Azam could come in under pressure throughout the series. A lot could ride on Fawad and Rizwan, who are both talented but not necessarily world beaters.

FLEM'S VERDICT: Bat hit crazy - No doubt if you win toss but quick-heavy attack can still work

So he’s 32? Thought so

'Pride myself on it': Smith backs his away form to break slump after concussion setback

Who’s 34? Smith? Smith’s 32…

'Pride myself on it': Smith backs his away form to break slump after concussion setback

Only Smith could be called “pretty average” for averaging over 40 in certain countries. I do understand what you mean, but honestly, most batsmen would give their left pinkie to average 41.16 in Sri Lanka and 41.1 in South Africa, with centuries scored in both countries.

'Pride myself on it': Smith backs his away form to break slump after concussion setback

Hey mate,

I’m not usually a fan of taking out best scores, but to be fair to myself, I only took out one single score. For a player who played over 100 tests, that shouldn’t impact on their record much. Plus, as I said, even if you don’t do this, it really doesn’t change much. It still shows a bloke who burst onto the scene in 1989-90 with great success (averaging over 60) and then had, in my opinion, a pretty modest career for the next eight years – two good years (93 and 95) and one okay year (98, were his average was inflated by the 334*, but an average of 40 opening is still decent enough).

Funnily enough your summary of his competitors actually shows why Taylor’s career is well regarded for specific things (his performances in the ’98 Ashes, his catching, his captaincy), but shouldn’t be for his overall batting record. I don’t consider any of Stewart, Atherton, Slater (who almost could have been great) or Haynes to be anything other than average to ‘good’ batsmen, yet all of them have similar records. Perhaps ‘modest’ is a bit harsh on Tubby, though I really meant it as a reflection of his career from 1991-99 (which is still most of his career); I’m sure his average for those eight years would be far more “Kirsten/Atherton” than “Slater/Gooch”.

Also, whilst I agree with your comment on Haynes, the same must apply to Taylor who didn’t have to face any of McDermott, Aldermann, Reid, McGrath, Warne, Gillespie or Reiffel. In fact, whilst the ’90s was great for opening bowlers as you say (Ambrose/Walsh, Akram/Younis, Donald/Pollock), I doubt any line up (maybe Pakistan) had the complete and relentless set up of Australia thanks to Warne being their to finish the job the opening quicks start.

Time for some real perspective about Taylor's triple ton

Yeah what was looking like an exciting pace contest has become less exciting. Is Hasan likely to return at some point?

I’m not expecting that batting line up from Pakistan to produce too many huge scores, the question is whether or not Australia can outscore what they did get… I’m unconvinced at present.

COVID hits Pakistan-Australia Test series

Taylor’s overall career with the bat is interesting.

I’m not a huge fan of doing this, but for the purposes of this chat I think it’s warranted. If you remove his 334* from his 1998 runs, he scored 700-odd at 40.9. It also means that after exploding on the scene in 1989-90, averaging over 60 across his first 17 tests over those two years, he only averaged more than 45 in two other calendar years (1993 and 1995). In fact even if you don’t remove the 334*, it still means he only averaged above 45 in five calendar years out of 10 (ignore the one test he played in 1999), but he only did it three times in the eight years from 1991-1998.

In other words, his average of 44 probably flatters him and that after a great start to his career, he really was only a modest batsman, even if he was a great leader (and brilliant catcher).

Time for some real perspective about Taylor's triple ton

Is anyone familiar enough with Pakistan to try and pick their 11 now?

I presume it could be something like this:

1. Imam-ul-Haq
2. Abdullah Shafique
3. Azhar Ali
4. Babar Azam (c)
5. Fawad Alam
6. Mohammad Rizwan (w)
7. ?
Then the bowlers in no particular order:
8. ?
9. Naseem Shah?
10. Sajid Khan (if they play a spinner)
11. Shaheen Afridi

It’s actually not the world’s strongest side. Ali is good, but not grat and seems to be on a downward trajectory in his career, he’s averaged 35 over the last five calendar years, though his last two years have been modest enough. Azam has talent and until last year he looked like joining the elite batsmen, but he’s struggled in the last twelve months. Imam hasn’t ever taken off and Shafique in only just starting out in his career.

Rizwan and Fawad could do well, but could be under pressure when the top order fails. Should be mentioned that at Fawad’s age, there’s no guarantee that he’ll keep performing, let alone improving.

The bowling looks even more green. Afridi is a talent no doubt, but still very young. Losing Hasan Ali and Ashraf means he has less support. The spin options, if they go with any of them, are all very inexperienced.

If I was betting, I’d still be betting on Pakistan (and the bookies are too); we have concerns with our openers, Smith seems out of sorts and Green and Head are yet to prove themselves overseas (or even tour in Green’s case). But it should be close and there’s no reason Australia can’t win this series.

COVID hits Pakistan-Australia Test series

Yeah I was just thinking that probably no one on the 2017 tour of Bangladesh had been there in 2006, so that’d be the most recent example.

'A lot of mistruths': McDonald hits back at Vaughan over claims of plotting against Langer at pub

If you’ve ever heard the bloke talk, you’d know he’s the least flippant person goin’ round, meaning he usually talks in this sort of way. But take your point, he hardly shut the comments down categorically.

'A lot of mistruths': McDonald hits back at Vaughan over claims of plotting against Langer at pub

Absolutely, never a great idea to comment on “hearsay”, so unless they literally overhead McDonald bad mouthing Langer, there’s nothing to report.

'A lot of mistruths': McDonald hits back at Vaughan over claims of plotting against Langer at pub

At least 2006 for Bangladesh. Cricket had been played on and off in the UAE even before Pakistan made it their home base, so I’m not sure if that would have counted.

'A lot of mistruths': McDonald hits back at Vaughan over claims of plotting against Langer at pub

It depends how you want to view it I guess.

It seems that what McDonald is saying is that numerous players were there at different points and that, probably naturally, the topic was discussed, but it wasn’t the purpose of the meeting. In other words, the team were down the pub and were not there for a clandestine meeting, but as you can imagine, the topic did come up (probably a lot). Certainly not abnormal for co-workers to be talking shop at the pub…

The issue is whether or not McDonald himself was participating in the ‘scheming’. If so, not a great look in my opinion.

'A lot of mistruths': McDonald hits back at Vaughan over claims of plotting against Langer at pub

Paul, your examples are all around ‘great’ cricketers.

These sorts of stats should instead be used to assess whether “so and so” should be batting in the last ten overs of an ODI or whether “so and so” should be bowling in the middle of the inning or at the end.

They’re not going to suddenly show that Root is a poor batsman. Instead, they might show that a certain batsman, despite having a seemingly good strike rate, isn’t a good finisher, because they take a while to get going…

Of sabermetrics and sacred cows: The future of cricket statistics

For Anderson, surely being left out here is the end of the line. It seems unfair in the extreme to not give the same bowling group their chance in home conditions later this year. In other words, if he’s not touring, it’s hard to see him in the side again.

Usually I’d say the same thing about a 35-year old, but Broad may well get another chance. Statistically, some of his best years have been recently and his recent efforts in Australia suggest that he could still go on for a few more years a la Anderson.

However, if it was up to me, I’d move on from Broad, he doesn’t seem to be a good influence on the side and would/will make the task of building a new team difficult.

'Angrier each day': Stuart Broad's fiery response to England axing in explosive column

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