Wednesday, 19 November 2008

What's wrong with this statement?

From Andrew Hilditch, Aussie chairman of selectors:

"For us, the simple formula is to pick our best six batters and our best four bowlers."

When in recent memory have the selectors actually stuck by this simple formula? Cameron White one of our best 4 bowlers? Shane Watson one of our best 6 bats?


Thursday, 13 November 2008

Let's lay off Ponting...

Poor old Ponting. He lets the over-rate slip, we get stuck into him. He tries to get it back on track, we get stuck in. He can't win.

Now, there is no doubt he is not our best ever captain (I like Tubby Taylor). But he's not too bad. His own batting has certainly picked up since becoming captain - he averages 59.78 as captain vs. 55.97 when not.

If Ponting lost the Test, he lost it at the toss. And let's remember that even if he had bowled his good bowlers instead of the part-timers, he would have bowled a completely out-of-form Brett Lee and the over-rated Shane Watson. It's not like he spurned McGrath and Warne. And he was bowling Jason Krezja, the bloke who took all the wickets anyway, from the other end. Also, in theory, he brought on our number one spinner in Cameron White.

Where Ponting did fail was letting us get behind in the over-rate in the first place. Dhoni did it, but they won so it didn't matter. Ponting may have to get used to not winning and work out a way to get the overs in - stop changing fields every 3 balls would probably be a good start.

Ponting was just doing what he had to - especially in these troubled times of neurotic worry about Twenty20. Gideon Haigh has a good take on this. I also suspect that this was a team decision - it certainly wasn't simply down to Ponting.

My questions are, why didn't he bowl Katich? And why haven't we sacked the selectors yet?


The [Insert Location Here] Royals

In an interesting development in the continued commercialisation of cricket, the reigning IPL Champions, the Rajasthan Royals are looking to "globalise" their franchise. They've stated their intent to sell shares in the franchise in an effort to raise some cash to take the Royals worldwide, and their focus appears to be on South Africa and Australia, presumably to get a piece of the Southern Hemisphere Twenty20 competition action.

Sounds like a reasonable idea to me, cricket is big money business these days, and as far as cricketing businesses go, the Royals have made a pretty good fist of it, they made a profit in their first year in the IPL, the only team outside of the insanely marketed Kolkata Knight Riders whose Bollywood star owner Shahruhk Khan pretty much whored himself out day and night to promote his team, and they were smart enough to get an IPL franchise at a bargain.

So, are we going to see the Royals setup shop in the Southern Hemisphere Comp? Will they setup Warnie with his own team, the Victorian Royals and just extend the contracts of his players to cover this comp - will we effectively see stars like Warne tour the world playing in all the lucrative Twenty20 comps under the Royals brand? I could see that working, and working well.

Of course, there would be all sorts of confusion when it comes time for the Champions League. What happens when the semi finals consist of the Rajasthan Royals versus Victorian Royals on one side, and the Middlesex Royals are taking on the KwaZulu-Natal Royals in the other? Could get awkward!

Finally, I wonder what other worldwide global franchise would like to diversify into cricket and cash in on this booming sporting frontier? Will we see the Sydney Galaxy or perhaps the Auckland Yankees in the near future?


Saturday, 8 November 2008

Absolutely Krazy

I am still in shock after day 2 of the fourth test. When I discovered that Jason Krejza was in the Australian side at the expense of Stuart Clark while Cameron White gets to fill space once more, I was pretty confident I knew how things would turn out.

India would score 400+ runs, and Krejza would conceed at least 200 runs in the process. I was spot on.

What left my jaw hanging on the floor was the fact that he took 8 wickets! In a performance that could be described as the best and worst debut ever, he's gone ahead and equalled the record for most wickets taken in a debut innings, and broken the record for the most runs ever conceded in a debut innings.

Krazy is the word. So my question is - does a massive amount of wickets make up for conceding a massive amount of runs?


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

What does the I in ICC actually stand for?

India seem pretty intent on being a big bully when it comes to world cricket. It feels like they're trying to project themselves as bigger than the game with their refusal to accept Gambhir's one match ban for elbowing Shane Watson. The situation seems pretty clear, under ICC regulations, the appeal verdict is final and cannot be questioned by a player or his board. Yet the BCCI has gone ahead and drafted a "strongly worded letter" protesting the verdict.  

Well boo-hoo India. I haven't seen the incident, so I'm not in a good position to comment. I must admit the notion of someone elbowing another player sounds like reasonable grounds for a ban, but that completely aside, an appeal process has been conducted and the verdict upheld - is this not end of story?

I wonder if India's credibility to appeal is all that strong, they come across oftentimes as being a powerful cricketing board that accepts nothing less than getting their way. It smacks of audacity for them to even take this step of publicly and officially rejecting an ICC decision, and it concerns me that a board that is as powerful as it is, and commands so much commercial strength should take this aggressive stance rather than be a stalwart for the game.

It seems clear that BCCI's interests are purely their own, and more specifically that of making money, and not for the good of cricket. International cricket is worse off for having them with that attitude.

Scarily enough, this is not the first time that the BCCI have been so belligerent that they would reject the banning of a player - back in 2001 the 3rd test against South Africa was declared unofficial after the Indian's "rejected" the ban imposed on Virender Sehwag for excessive appealing.

India need to learn to cop it sweet. When it comes to cricket, the only time they should have a cry is it they get slapped in the face - and even then they should learn to grow some balls.


Champion$ League

I guess it comes as no surprise really, but I was feeling a bit ambivalent about Michael Hussey deciding to play for Chennai rather than WA in the Champions League . To be fair I'm not sure how many games he actually played for either side on their way to qualifying for the tournament, but I feel it's a bit of a shame that he's siding with the money rather than his state. Seems a bit old fashion to think that state loyalties should supersede financial interests I suppose. It would be different matter if he ever chose IPL over playing for Australia, but I suppose when it comes to state cricket, who can blame him?

It could be an interesting situation when the Southern Hemisphere competition kicks off and a conflict like this arises? Will it turn into a bidding war at that point? How will the contracts be written up for the use of players at that point?