I drafted this piece about two weeks ago but I’ve been so busy with other things, including my day job, that I just haven’t had time to finalise it. And now Australia has started it’s tour of India!!

I was going to make some comments about the squad – and Symonds. And I still will.

The spinners. It was a bit surprising to see the greyhound miss out. Perhaps a bit harsh. Here are some facts and stats about the two lucky applicants.

Neither spinner has played a Test.

Neither spinner has a contract with CA.

McGain, at 36, has played a whole 19 first class matches. I must admit that I had not heard of him until about 18 months ago.

I had not heard of Jason Krejza until threes ago. I glad I’m writing this because I don’t know how to say his name. He has played four more first class matches then McGain, even though he is just 25. He has taken 43 wickets at 45.46. He’s an off spinner for crying out loud. Need I remind you of Gavin Robertson? Tendulkar must be turning cartwheels. Surely this next series will see his flagging form turn around.

And now for Roy. There’s obviously more to all of this than a fishing trip. I had the feeling that everyone is a little bit fed up with Roy and the fishing trip was a nicely orchestrated operation to cut Roy out. If all the boys are his close friends, why are they all so happy to see him at home? This is the way I see it. Roy (and his team mates) were very annoyed about having to drop the charges against Harbhajan. Of course, Symonds was the primary prosecutor, so he had the most face to loose. Symonds was outspoken about IPL and not going to Pakistan and basically gave CA the bird. Not that I think Symonds is a great loss from the Test team. He’s a big loss from the one day team, but who cares about that?

It’s all up to the way Symond’s absence is handled. Which leads me to Watson.

Just when you thought we would never see him considered for Test duties again, hey presto, he’s back in contention. Please don’t misunderstand me – I don’t hate Watto. He’s a ripper bloke and a useful cricketer but he doesn’t deserve to be in the Test team.

The number six spot should go to Katich. To give it to Watson would be folly of the highest order. He has not proved himself as a Test batsman and even less so as a bowler. And he has never played for NSW. Watson will go for millions if he gets a bowl in India. And I’m not talking about his next IPL contract. If he has any sense, he’ll not devalue his stocks in India and IPL, and ask to be omitted from the Test squad. Or he could get injured.

Katich has earned his place in the team from the past Australian season and on the tour of the West Indies. I’m assuming Hayden will return as opener. In addition, Katich proved himself on the last tour of India and I still contend that his Chinamen will be useful – more useful than Watson. Remember too that Katich just toured India with Australia A. In these days of rushed tours with minimal warm ups, any extra experience counts. To support my point, Katich just scored 78 out of a paltry 218 made by the Aussies yesterday.

Commiserations to Noffke. He is unlucky.

Let’s all remember that Warne never conquered the Indians or India. It is true that he performed well in the victorious 2004 tour, taking 14 wickets in the series. However, it was Gillespie (20 @ 16.15) and McGrath (14 @ 25.42) who lead the way, with good support from Kasper (9 @ 28.33). Australia needs to pick their best bowlers. Australia has two good bowlers – Clark and Lee. The other two spots are open.

Prognosis: A hard tour followed by a rough time against South Africa and difficulties against the Poms. Australia can come through the next 12 months but only with astute team selection and good leadership. The sooner Pup replaces the Punter, the better. There you go – I said it.

Bugger the Garden – Gone Fishing

A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. I have two signs in my garden. One is “Bugger the Garden – Gone Fishing” and the other is “Bugger the Garden – Gone to the Cricket”. I suppose you could combine the two and say “Bugger the Cricket – Gone Fishing” and that is exactly what Andrew Symonds did in Darwin. Or was it? There are few things I love more than cricket but fishing is one of them, so it won’t surprise you to know I’m with Roy on this one but I’m on Roy’s side for good reason.

Andrew Symonds has been sent home from the Darwin tour for missing a team meeting. Please know this: From what I have read, Symonds did not knowingly miss the meeting. A Cricinfo article states, “When a compulsory team meeting was called later that morning, Symonds did not know about it as he was already wetting a line.” ( ) How is someone supposed to go to a meeting if they did not know it was on? To then punish someone, send them home in disgrace even, seems outrageous. I don’t blame Roy for reconsidering his position with Australian cricket.

In the same article, Tim Nielsen is quote as saying, “He wasn’t organised enough to understand what his commitments to the group were that day and therefore he missed it.” Organised? Understand? What is there to be organised about or understand? It’s a simple matter of knowing whether or not an event is on. Why was team management so disorganised that it called a meeting on the day of the meeting? Are players supposed to sit in their rooms all day, everyday in case a meeting is called? I can’t believe it but I’m with Warnie for once. The Australian team manager is a baseball pitching Yankee who is spouting forth more drivel than his predecessor.

For those of you who don’t know, Darwin is a fishing Mecca. You only need one word and that is “Barramundi”. But there is fingermark, queenfish, mangrove jack, black jewfish, saratoga, GT, mackerel, longtail tuna and dozens of other species to temp even the part time angler. For crying out loud, Symonds missed a meeting because he was doing something else worthwhile when the meeting was announced and held. It’s not like he partied until three the night of the match, came home at dawn and failed a breathalyser test before boarding the bus to go the match. If that had happened, and it has before, “off with his head” I say. But this sounds like a storm in a teacup. Petty administration run amok.

There is talk about how much Symonds earns and his responsibilities because of that. Isn’t all of that assuming that he deliberately neglected his responsibilities and wagged the meeting? If this is about match preparation, it is obvious that we are all different and that Symonds is an extremely gifted player and he might be better off having a fish than being bored to tears in a stuffy meeting room or in the nets (he opted to miss the OPTIONAL afternoon net session). Doug Walters famously warmed up by throwing a couple of darts.

I guess we could read between the lines that something is not well with Symonds and the administrators and leadership, but if that is the case, why don’t they just come out and say it? Silly question, I know. What I’d really like to know is if Roy caught anything? Then I could decide if it was worth it.