Ever since the Australian cricket team lost its captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft to suspension for ball-tampering, the organisation running the game, Cricket Australia, has been fighting to make the spectre of losses disappear.
The three players were found to have been the prime movers behind the use of sandpaper to change the surface of the ball during a series in South Africa in March 2018; Bancroft, the actual person caught on TV while stuffing a piece of sandpaper down the front of his pants, was suspended for nine months, while Smith and Warner were banned for a year. Warner, in addition, will never be able to hold a leadership position in the team.
After these shocks to the system, Australia has been losing one series after the other, no matter whether it be Tests or the shorter forms of the game. Thus the arrival of the Sri Lankan team to play two Tests has come as a great relief. Sri Lanka is without its skipper Angelo Matthews, a talented all-rounder, who often rescues the team when it is in trouble.
Continue reading “Cricket Australia: anyone will do, as long as we stem the losses”
Australia’s Test series against India has ended in a 1-2 series defeat thanks to rain — else the Sydney Test may also have ended in defeat, making it 1-3 — but though many questions have been asked about the home team, the elephant in the room still remains.
Nobody has told the public how a team which managed to extract prodigious reverse swing during the 2017-18 Ashes series against England — played in the Australian summer — was unable to get even a fraction of that kind of swing in the series against India.
Continue reading “How long has Australia been cheating to obtain reverse swing?”
Australian cricket authorities are short-charging fans of the national Twenty20 competition, the Big Bash League, through their policies on releasing players from national duty when needed by their BBL sides for crucial encounters.
The Adelaide Strikers and the Hobart Hurricanes, who contested Sunday’s final, were both affected by this policy.
Adelaide won, but had they failed to do so, no doubt there would have been attention drawn to the fact that their main fast bowler, Billy Stanlake, did not play as he was on national duty to play in a tri-nation tournament involving New Zealand and England.
Continue reading “Cricket Australia needs to get player availability policies sorted”
Last year, Australia’s national Twenty20 competition, the Big Bash League, had 32 league games plus three finals. It was deemed a great success.
But the organiser, Cricket Australia, is not content with that. This year, there will be 40 games followed by the two semi-finals and the final. And the tournament will drag on into February.
This means many of the same cricketers will be forced to play those eight extra games, putting that much more strain on their bodies and minds. How much cricket can people play before they become jaded and reduced to going through the motions?
Continue reading “Too much of anything is good for nothing”
Referees or umpires can often put paid to an excellent game of any sport by making stupid decisions. When this happens — and it does so increasingly these days — the reaction of the sporting body concerned is to try and paper over the whole thing.
Additionally, teams and their coaches/managers are told not to criticise referees or umpires and to respect them. Hence a lot tends to be covered up.
But the fact is that referees and umpires are employees who are being paid well, especially when the sports they are officiating are high-profile. Do they not need to be competent in what they do?
Continue reading “French farce spoils great Test series in New Zealand”
The Australian cricket season has just started flourishing with its Twenty20 tournament getting underway. Crowds are there, so too television audiences.
This year the Big Bash League is the main story, not the Test cricket that has traditionally been the centrepiece.
Continue reading “T20 takes pride of place in Australian summer”
World cricket is in a parlous state, not in terms of the money it makes, but in terms of the contests it provides. The games are one-sided to the extent that patrons at the grounds are few and far-between.
There is no better illustration of this than in the ongoing Australian games, where the home team is playing New Zealand and the West Indies in three Tests apiece. The first Test against New Zealand was won convincingly, and the second looks like going the same route. As to the West Indies, they are not expected to last beyond four days in each of the three Tests.
The man who is responsible for this farcical outcome, where Tests are mostly one-sided, died recently. Jagmohan Dalmiya was the one who set in motion these unending Test matches, where cricket goes on round the year, and the same bunch of players have to play, and play and play.
Continue reading “One-sided cricket matches are here to stay. Why would you attend?”
No doubt, all New Zealand rugby supporters are over the moon with the way their team entered the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup, transforming themselves at one stroke from favourites to red-hot raging favourites.
Many people are, however, forgetting ahead of the semi-final clash against South Africa that this is not the first time New Zealand have been in this position. Hark back to 2003 and an eerily similar situation presents itself.
That year, after a long hiatus, New Zealand regained the Bledisloe Cup from Australia. The team had a new coach, John Mitchell, who, after seeing the success of the Auckland Blues in the Super Rugby competition, decided to structure the national team around four players who won the title for the Blues.
Continue reading “All Blacks fans, don’t forget what happened in 2003”
HAVING just come off a 5-0 win over England in the Ashes series Down Under, Australia must be on a high. But, no matter the margin of victory, there are several serious issues to be considered in the run-up to the tour of South Africa that begins in February.
There have been writers who have started comparing the Australian pace attack — only one man has genuine pace — to the West Indies attacks of the 1980s. This is a fanciful comparison and if anyone among those who are involved in selection swallow this myth, then they will be stripped of the illusion in South Africa. While Mitchell Johnson bowled fast and with hostility for most of the series, the other two pacemen, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, are medium-pacers who looked very good against a team that was itself suffering under some big illusions.
When England defeated Australia 3-0 in England in 2013, it began to believe that it was that much superior to Australia. In truth, the actual series outcome should have been 3-2. In the third Test, where much of the final day was lost to rain, England was 3 for 37, chasing 332 for a win. Only 20.3 overs were possible on the final day and it is highly likely that Australia would have won this Test. That would have made the margin 2-1 in favour of England at that stage and could well have meant a different outcome after the next two Tests were played.
Continue reading “South Africa will be the real test for Australia”
THROUGHOUT Geoff Boycott’s cricket career, he was known as a player who was bothered only about himself. He did not care a fig for the team, nor for his teammates.
In fact, he was even suspected of running out his teammates in order to save his own wicket.
Now this man, in his 70s, is criticising Kevin Pietersen and accusing him of playing the game the way he (Pietersen) wants, and not in the interests of the team.
Continue reading “Why Geoff Boycott should stop lecturing the England team”