The feed back from my last issue was that I was too hard on Matt the Bat and that the bowlers should take most of the blame for the losses in NZ. Also, in fact, the selectors should take most of the blame for the current state of Australian One Day cricket. I stand by what I said about Hayden. You can’t score at 80 runs per hundred balls for 40 overs. The most obvious reason is that if you get out when you try to accelerate, there is no redemption. It also seems I have been remiss. I forgot to congratulate the Kiwis on a fantastic series. Well done New Zealand, you beat us even with a second string bowling attack. Well done. It’s no disgrace for the World Champions to be beaten by such a formidable outfit, playing with the advantage of home soil.
Getting back to our pathetic bowlers, I’ve run some numbers on the bowlers for the last five matches (yes, the losing streak). Before I go on, consider this: This is the first time Australia has lost five one day internationals running since 1645 or 1997 or something. When was the last time a side was on a 12 match Test winning streak and simultaneously on a 5 match ODI losing streak? No, not 1997. That was the Tubby Taylor dead rubber loss era. The answer is: I don’t know but I’m guessing never. Back to the bowlers. The numbers are:
Watson: 40 overs (5 matches) conceded 271 runs at 6.77 rpo (hint, this is our biggest problem)
Bracken: 45 overs (5 matches) conceded 216 runs at 4.80 rpo (still needs to lose that girly hairdo and that ridiculous girly headband)
McGrath: 35.4 overs (4 matches) conceded 167 runs at 4.68 rpo (so, actually, not that bad).
Hogg: 36 overs (5 matches) conceded 213 runs at 5.92 rpo (another big problem, and a bit of a surprise to me).
My gun is out and it’s pointing at you, Watto. Our biggest problem is finding a batsman who can bowl some useful overs. Symonds is a huge loss in this department – we all know that. Michael Clarke seems to be overlooked in this area – for the whole CBA series he provided tidy spin with the odd wicket. His return will add to the team. Watson doesn’t deserve to be going to the World Cup. He hasn’t played all summer and he has not earned the right to demand selection simply because he is fit again. That right is reserved for the very select few. Shane Warne, I mean.
And let’s not forget this: The selectors were saved from themselves when Watson was injured on the eve of the Ashes. I announced the event of Watson’s injury with “There is a God” but those silly pudknockers were determined to put him in as soon as possible. Now Watson is off to the World Cup to be hit all over, and out of the Caribbean, without I suspect, returning the compliment. All Australians will be hoping that Symonds can make a speedy and complete comeback. I’ve already talked enough about tinkering with the team and how unhelpful that was. Ian Chappell (and his shadow writer) said it very well in Cricinfo a few days ago, so I won’t keep banging on about that.
I think the selectors have really outdone themselves now by ordering that the World Cup squad members who should be playing in the Ford Cup final (that’s the Australia domestic One Day final) be wrapped in cotton wool. Stronger language is probably warranted but for crying out loud. This isn’t soccer. The players being rested are Hodge, Watson and Johnson. Watson!! That man is in more need of match time than any cricketer that ever breathed. I know. Here’s an idea for the selectors: Perhaps Watson could be rested for the ENTIRE BLOODY WORLD CUP. Surely after taking such a hiding it would benefit the players to drop back to something a little less demanding so that confidence can be regained. What’s more, with the players representing both sides (Qld and Vic), somebody is bound to end their losing streak.
You will all know by now that Stuart Clark will be taking Brett Lee’s place. Lee is a great loss as he is the best batsman of the bowlers, not to mention our best strike bowler. I don’t know if he is the answer, but Clark will add something – at least the players know who will be playing rather than having to wait. Stability has been a very underrated word these past few weeks. Clark will also bring that winning feeling to the team. I would imagine he might be wanting to give the selectors a big “up yours” as well.
Come back Trevor. We miss you. Come back AB, we don’t mind what brand of beer you drink.