Happy New Year!! I’m going to write this on a day when Australia is on top. I’d be surprised if South Africa can pull this one out of the fire and deny Australia a hollow consolation win. I’ve got a few words to say about the selectors and if I do it on a day like day 3 of the last Test, that will seem like whinging.
Congratulations to Siddle on a great spell and his first five-for. He’s got a big heart and was a good selection. However, some of the other selection seems a little muddled-headed to me. I don’t believe that the selectors are helping Australia’s current state of affairs. They can’t be conjurers – where is “the spinner” – but they do need to be more decisive.
Trevor Hohns knew when to stick with a guy and he knew when the game was up. Ian Healy wasn’t given the luxury of finishing with just one more Test – a finale at the Gabba. Mark Waugh was shafted even when the team was sweeping all aside – with no thought of being allowed to retire or finish at home. Steve Waugh was axed, it seemed at the time, viciously, from the One Day side. All these decisions, helped Australia change and keep ahead BEFORE they lost momentum.
I acknowledge that the situation now is far more serious. With mass retirements and an unending casualty list, it’s hard. But I have a few points:
1. Hauritz? Give me a break. Horrie is a trier but he’s about as inoccuous as lite milk. Warnie’s antithesis, if you like. I like the look of Krejza. I didn’t like his loose bowling but he’s had just two Tests and took 12 wickets in one of them. The other was in Perth and it’s not exactly a spinner’s paradise. Furthermore, he was over bowled and badly used – from the wrong end and with the wrong field settings. He was a scapegoat. What I like is that he looks a cricketer – he’s a good athlete, a good fielder and a more than useful tail ender. He batted with real purpose in the second innings in Perth. Hauritz, on the other hand, was virtually plucked from grade cricket – and he was there for a reason.
2. McDonald. I have to admit, I’d not heard of him, let alone seen him play. So in case you are like me, here are some details. Andrew McDonald is 27 years old and has had 44 first class matches for Victoria and has made two centuries. His highest score is 150 not out. His average is 38.11. Those are not the numbers of a Test number six batsman. In the bowling department, he has 94 wickets at 30.2. That’s not too bad – for a batting all rounder – which he may well be for Victoria. The commentators seemed quite positive with McDonald’s batting. I’m not so sure – I was at the match and he could no more than defend the pace bowling. He looked good against old Harris but he made just 4 runs from 37 balls from the seamers (see table below) – and three of those were an edge through slips. The selectors have lost the plot. There isn’t an all rounder good enough. We need our four best bowlers and six best batsmen. Here’s a name: David Hussey.
v Bowler 0s 1s 2s 3s 4s 5s 6s 7+ Dismissal Runs Balls SR
DW Steyn 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 6 50
M Ntini 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 caught 0 10 0
M Morkel 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 11.11
JH Kallis 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
Pace 4 37 10.811
PL Harris 12 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 11 17 64.7
3. Hayden. He has to go. We all love Matt (some say he is over rated) but his time has come. Australia does not have the luxury to let him make the terms. And the economics don’t add up. It’s not like he can be given time because we know he’s got potential and we’ll get another two years out of him if he comes good. It won’t happen. He should not be going to England. He should not be going to South Africa. He should not even be playing in Sydney. Unlike the spinners, it’s not as if there are not several fine candidates to replace him.
By the way, “the pressure of a name” is a quote from a movie. Which movie?