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Sight Screen

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Urn -- July 6 edition

A compilation of Ashes-related stories:
1. The Aussie coach has been conspicuosly silent on the question of supersubs -- and when he finally decides to sound off, he typically wants more. Why not, he asks, permit five substitutes, instead of just one?
"At the moment all touring teams tour with 15 players, so there is a prospect that in the future all teams might be allowed to play 15," he theorised.
"After all, why not utilise the squad? There is no need for them to sit on the sidelines if they are here. But first we have to go through the initial phase and understand the pros and cons of substitutes. Yes, there is a skill in balancing an 11-man side but then maybe there is a skill in doing that anyway in a squad situation."

David Hopps, who spoke to Buchanan, sounds an indirect warning bell against such radical thinking:
His suggestion will disturb those who fear that increasing use of substitutes will lead to the Americanisation of international cricket, with teams relying on specialist batting and bowling teams, and the age when non-batsmen made the best of a bad job at No11 will be lost for ever.

2. Brett Lee believes Andy Strauss is due a big one. More to the personal point, he talks of what he hopes to gain out of the Natwest Challenge, starting tomorrow:
Lee views the three-match series, pigeon-holed in between the triangular tournament and the Ashes, as his last chance to break back into the Australian Test side after a 15-month absence.
"This is almost like a dress rehearsal. I want to take every opportunity to try and play in the Test matches."

3. Simon Briggs, in the Telegraph, on the battle of the coaches, and what Buchanan's response to Fletcher really means.
So the fact that Buchanan has been drawn into such a full and frank exchange can be taken as the latest indication that the Australians are feeling rattled on this tour. Thus far, they have been unable to show they are any better than England on the field. Now Buchanan has been reduced to making his case in the press.

4. Chloe Sattlau, in the Age, finds Gilchrist fretting for an end to the ODIs, and the start of the real thing.
"I can understand England wanting to cash in on having the world champs here, so we'll just have to make sure we get up for these games and then get into the stuff that everyone is waiting for."

Gilchrist is not the only one who's wondering about the pointlessness of the Natwest Challenge.
5. Shoaib Akthar believes Steve Harmison is a Malcolm Marshall in the making -- and that he holds the key to the Ashes contest.
"The England batting is very strong but to win they have to bowl Australia out. They have to get 20 wickets. They have to bowl really hard and Harmison has a major part to play.
"I told him a couple of years ago that, if he gets his line right, he can be a most lethal and dangerous bowler like Malcolm Marshall.
"Because of his height and higher action, if he can get the ball of a fuller length, and because he gets extra bounce, he can be really lethal."

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