For those that haven’t yet seen it, it’s worth taking a look at England’s plans to get the Aussies out.
It’s interesting to see their plan to get the Aussies to “knick” [sic] the ball.
This blog is all but dead. But I had to come out of retirement to pay tribute to the one man, if any, who can be credited for transforming a very good Australian unit to the best outfit the world has ever seen.
While the cricket world goes ga-ga over Warne, the genial (off-field) McGrath will quietly play second-fiddle. This post is not meant to take anything away from Warne, every bit a champion as there was any, but to put McGrath’s contributions with the ball in perspective. McGrath’s stats are far superior than Warne’s, slice them however you want. His average is nearly 4 points better; his strike rate nearly 6 balls better. If that doesn’t convince you, consider how Australia has fared in his absence. Or the percentage of wickets that included the one of the top six batsmen. The only reason Warne has more wickets than McGrath is because, being a spinner, he can bowl many more deliveries. Most importantly, McGrath has been outstanding against all opposition in all conditions all over the world. Apart from taking those crucial early wickets, he’s gotten vital breakthroughs virtually everytime his captain has turned to him. No batsman can claim to have had the better of him. He has kept the best batsmen of his time on a leash (Tendulkar), if not completely dominated them (Lara). Warne, of course, has a huge blemish on his record against the Indian batsmen. While McGrath may not be as entertaining or flamboyant as Warne, he was certainly more effective.
Remember McGrath not by what you see in the on-going Ashes series. The fast bowlers’ banes — age and injury — have rendered him to be merely good for quite some time now. Instead, for all the non-Australians out there, recall the time and again that he’s dashed your hopes. It still hurts.
It’s a testament to his fitness and commitment that he has lasted this long in international cricket. The time is right for him to bow out, and he will be sorely missed. Stuart Clark has huge boots to fill (although the initial signs are good from Australia’s perspective). The greatest cricketer I’ve seen, bar none, will be playing his last Test next week, and I’ll be watching.
Sri Lankan fans must have been hoping for a Red Sox-like comeback from their national cricket team. It was not to be, and now both South Africa and India have clean-swept their higher-ranked opponents. South Africa, in fact, has won their last 12 ODIs. The two teams meet next in a 5-ODI series and it should be exciting.
I wonder what was the thinking behind having Virender Sehwag as Dravid’s deputy? Sehwag is a wonderful cricketer and not one phased by opponents’ reputations. However, he doesn’t come across as a thinker or a particularly good strategist. He can’t be termed disciplined, nor is he a good media person. Was he appointed vice-captain simply because of the lack of a better option?
In one of my recent posts, I spoke about the English media panning BCCI for picking relatively unknown venues. Mike Selvey now joins the castigation with some more accusations. What stands out for me from his piece is that England had agreed to 4 tests and 5 ODIs and the Indian board dropped a test in favour of 2 more ODIs. Grrr. This board is doing a disservice to Indian cricket in so many ways (this case just being one of them) that it ought to be torn apart and rebuilt from scratch.
Duncan Fletcher makes an asinine excuse for dropping Thorpe from the Ashes in this article. If he felt Pietersen was indisposable, Bell should have made way for Thorpe; but he dismisses that option saying he wasn’t comfortable with him playing at number four. Thorpe had the most stand-out performance the previous season, has contributed so much to English cricket and he was meted out such shoddy treatment from the board and the team management (he complained, not of being dropped, but of no communication from the management to that end). I know that’s in the past and England managed to win the Ashes despite Bell’s inexperience and incompetency, but I just had to vent my anger at the decision that was made. Thorpe deserved a better farewell.
I apologize for not having posted anything in the last few days, but time constraints prevent me from blogging often. I have a post coming soon. Meanwhile, to appease those who’re looking for more reading material, here’s a link to an article that I came across during the recently-concluded Ashes series.
I don’t agree with everything David says, but it makes for interesting reading nonetheless. Particularly comical is his comparison of Ricky Ponting to George Dubya.