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”
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?”
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”
CONTRARY to all expectations, Australia has won the first two Tests of the ongoing Ashes cricket series against England. But it has done so in a way that leaves much to be desired.
The teams played a series in England during the northern summer too and England prevailed 3-0 with two Tests drawn. England has held the Ashes since 2009 when it won them back from Australia.
In the current series, the main factor behind Australia’s surge has been the fast bowler Mitchell Johnson. He has undergone a considerable change after being trained by a man who is probably one of the two best fast bowlers of all time – Dennis Lillee.
Continue reading “Johnson doesn’t need to behave like a thug”
How much taxpayers’ money does Australia spend on sport? It appears to be a huge amount and something the governments, both federal and state, would prefer stayed hidden.
Sport is an obsession in the country and politicians know that when the country is occupied with it, then the people won’t bother about the comings and going of those in power.
Hence, they encourage sport to the hilt. Wealthy associations receive big handouts for this and that even though they do not need the money and can manage on their own. This keeps the sport and the sportsmen on-side.
Continue reading “Why is so much taxpayer money wasted on sport?”
THE last time Australia lost six Tests in a row, it lost a captain with the fifth of those losses. That was Kim Hughes who wept openly at a press conference as he resigned.
He had led the team to three defeats in the Caribbean in 1984 and his team lost the first two Tests of the return series in Australia. The opposition was the mighty West Indies; Allan Border took over and suffered defeat in the third Test to complete the run of six losses. A draw broke that run of defeats, before Border led the team to victory in the final Test.
This time, after being brownwashed by India in a four-Test series and losing the first two Ashes Tests, Australia will not lose its captain. One must, however, question whether the players should shoulder all the blame for the hammerings they are taking.
Continue reading “Australia’s Test losses: six, and counting”
BACK in March, when Australia played India in a Test series, the Decision Review System, the use of technology to query on-field umpiring decisions, was not used because India had not agreed to it.
During the series there were often howls of protest in Australian circles.
Australia played four Tests and was roundly thrashed 4-0. Several decisions which were said to be critical to the result went against Australia. There was no way to cross-check these decisions and the lament always was “if only these Indians had agreed to use the DRS…”
In other words, four months back, DRS was A Good Thing.
Continue reading “Whinging Poms or whinging Aussies?”
SINCE when did cricketers — or any other sportsmen for that matter — become the moral compass of the people? Since when was it wrong to do anything that passed muster with the authorities in a sport in order to win?
The shrill chorus that has erupted over the action of England cricketer Stuart Broad, who did not walk after he was clearly caught at slip by the Australian captain Michael Clarke on day three of the first Ashes Test, is truly astonishing. Of course, the Australian media has a good reason to shout: this would be the ideal excuse for the defeat that is surely coming on day five.
All that happened was that the umpire, Aleem Dar, got slightly confused by the fact that the ball first hit the hands of Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and then went to Clarke. Haddin fumbled at it and missed it and Dar was unsighted by this. He gave it as not out. Each side has two chances to review decisions but by then Australia had no chances left; the second was wasted on a stupid review that Clarke called for.
Continue reading “Much ado about nothing: sportsmen are not the moral compass of any nation”
WHEN sport comes along, major sport that is, international contests, everything else is pushed to the background in Australia.
And you can’t get bigger than the Ashes, the contest for cricket supremacy between Australia and England. There is a lot of history which gives the contest its importance: for example, Australia is a former convict colony of Britain and that rankles a lot, even to this day.
This time around, it may not be the most even of contests, given that Australia is comparatively weak on paper and based on its most recent outings against other countries.
Continue reading “When the Ashes come around, everything else loses its importance”