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Sight Screen

Saturday, November 19, 2005

When's the right time?(-worma)

Aus have the strong upper hand in the test. But, alarmingly, the Ashes after-shocks continue to rumble under the surface. Their middle order again collapsed, and guess who had a horrid brief spell in the middle again? The calls for dropping Michael Clarke would now surely intensify. But an important point, amidst all these worries, is that not even a single of these calls have been for permanent axing. Even his fiercest critics is sure he's the future of Aus batting.Craddock, in the report linked above, has this to say
Our prediction stands that Clarke will captain Australia and play 100-plus Tests, but - like Mark and Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor and most others - he may need to be axed from the team before he fulfils his potential - even though he has set himself a goal of never being dropped from an Australia side.
And is very similar to what Waugh had to say about him last week. Which is why the angry retort from Clarke himself was surprising and uncalled for. Wonder if he's even acknowledging he has a problem?

And Craddock also feels that it may help Clarke
Those who fight back almost always return better players. Ask Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn, Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer and Steve Waugh.
Although Slater, who's been in this situation himself, feels otherwise.
"At the moment, the selectors are persevering with him and I hope they keep the faith because dropping him would not teach him a lesson.
and this
"Why can't you learn about your game while playing for Australia?"
Which is fine, as long as the team is winning, as it is now. But when they weren't, these failure were hurting them, as they can again soon when they come across their next challenge which is a bit more..umm..challenging. Which is as soon as the SA visit early next year.

The interesting aspect of this innings was that both Hussey and Hodge, debutants resulting from the post Ashes shake-up, were amongst runs. And so was Hayden. Which is why when Langer returns for the final test, the only way to accomodate Hodge and Hussey would mean using Clarke's spot. If Aus do get a second innings in this match, chances of which are rather dim at the moment, it can be one final test of Clarke. Another loose innings and he may be out for a while.


  • worma
    i dont think south africa will pose much of a challenge to australia. i foresee a 3-0 drubbing despite the weak middle order

    By Blogger GK, at 12:47  

  • gk...you never know. SA is surely below Aus...but the tour is still away by some time...things change...what if McGrath misses out a match...or Warne. My point is, as in the post, that SA would pose a stronger challenge to Aus. And the margin of error for them, unlike here, would be less. Probably SA wont let them as easily off the hook as WI is.

    By Blogger worma, at 12:54  

  • yes worma, will definitely be closer but 3-0 still is my prediction. you ?

    By Blogger GK, at 12:56  

  • worma

    Thanks for the aussie cricket fix. Even though I'm primarily a Indian cricket fan I follow Aussie cricket closely because they are the best team for a reason and I like to learn as much about it.

    I was listening to the commentary yesterday when Hodge was sccoring and the commentators were gushing over how good he looked. He seemed to be a test batsman from the first ball he faced was the comment. With Hussey also producing albeit against the Windies it seems they have found good replacements for Martyn, Lehmann etc. I agree with you and others that Clarke will probably get a timeout from the aussie team for a while and it will probably be good for him, atleast the selectors will get a chance to assess whether he is really a contender or just a pretender, especially now that they have some good 30 yr olds who seem to have it in them to play for 2-3 years.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 12:58  

  • yup.
    as i see it if langer comes back, hussey goes in the middle order. or will they axe symonds to accomodate clarke and scrap the idea of all-rounder for the time being ?

    By Blogger GK, at 13:01  

  • gk

    My guess is Clarke will be dropped to accomodate Hussey in the middle order. Just because Clarke is part of the future plans and having him in the team and failing (and getting the accompanying criticism) may not be a good thing for his development.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 13:06  

  • If we give SA a 4 - 1 drubbing (not that it is a cake walk ) but if we do then SA will be a bit low on caonfidence. Actually I think that GS needs a jolt to come out of his over confidence. He is good, has a good team ,but I think he just started believing the Press and their accolades a bit too much. He just needs to be on the ground and I am sure he can upset the Aussies. It will surely be an interesting series.

    By Blogger @mit, at 13:07  

  • gk: I haven't followed SA test matches recently...so can't predict too much....but one thing which I have been saying since the revamp started in Aus lineup...that they would, sometime soon, pay the price for dropping a specialist batsman like Martyn to play a fifth allrounder bowler like Watson (or Symonds!). SA do have the bowling lineup to make them pay for this....but not sure how much of batting guts they have to seize the opportunity when they get it. Often when Aus messes up its batting, its bowling comes to the rescue. And with Warne and McGrath still going strong, it looks likely to continue.

    Ok...really sticking my neck out...a bit in the dark....but if Aus play their first choice bowling lineup in all matches...then yes 3-0 to them.

    gopal and gk: on the second point...yeah Clarke can be dropped..or maybe gently reminded (by selectors) of the wafer thin ice he's walking on...and given a deadline, say till last match of this series (with the selectors in good knowledge that they have already groomed an immediate replacement in Hussey and Hodge when they do have to drop Clarke for SA series). gk on the second point of playing allrounder...I anyway dont think they need an allrounder now...esp against WI...and playing at home. But they are probably looking at long term perspective...when the Ashes like situations arise when they dont have their two matchwinner bowlers...and the opposition is going strong. Then they dont want to rely on 4 bowler strategy..or bring in an allrounder who hasn't been established in the side yet

    By Blogger worma, at 13:10  

  • gopalblog,
    i think so too. i do feel however that somehow clarke has been treated exceedingly favorably by the aussie selectors and may continue to do so.

    I think SA are a fair team, not very good. At best they are on par with the rest (except Aus) as an ODI side. As a test team they are definitely inferior to both India and ENgland and Australia of course

    By Blogger GK, at 13:10  

  • worma
    to add to what u said about the aussie bowling, brett lee is looking good this series. much better than he did in the ashes. much more consistent and still with the same pace. of course the wickets might be a factor. but i think maybe we are finally seeing lee starting to make his first strides as a world-class bowler at test level

    By Blogger GK, at 13:13  

  • sorry Guys but TOI has lost it (as if you did not know)

    Look at this - Sush should sue them and maybe Dhoni should too


    By Blogger @mit, at 13:15  

  • gk: not seen much of this series..but maybe yes Lee is reaching there. Actually it started from the Ashes itself...he bowled quite well...except that he's not (or was not) a lone match-winner kind of bowler then.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:21  

  • When Langer comes back Hussey can move down the order and Hodge is good at #6. They can persist with Clarke given that Hayden, Ponting & Gilly are in good form but if they don't want to take a chance against SA then recalling Martyn may not be a bad idea. I don't think Symonds can cut it against quality Test match bowling...he might smash WI around in his next innings but to me he is pretty much an ODI specialist. Also he's not quite a long-term prospect...atleast with Watson you know he can develop for the long haul. (I still have reservations about his bowling)
    But then if Aus decide to drop Clarke they should make sure he doesn't fall by the wayside...although given their strong cricket structure thats unlikely to happen.

    By Blogger ClannZĂș, at 13:52  

  • Worma,

    clarke need to be sent to the academy. He was out of sorts yesterday. Hodge looks the part though. But it's too early.

    As for 3-0, against South Africa - I hope not! I recon 2-1, either way...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 14:05  

  • yeah saurabh...you and Waugh are right about his technical problems :-)...and I guess now is the right time to send him back...but that guy is not even acknowledging he has a problem!..did you read his retort to Waugh's accusation?

    Against SA..as I said...depends on Aus bowling attack

    By Blogger worma, at 14:10  

  • yes, I read it and commented it's a bit like Ganguly not acknowleding he has a problem with his batting...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 14:44  

  • umm...no comments ;-))...

    ...ahh..ok..have you actually read him say 'I don't have a problem' like Clarke is?

    By Blogger worma, at 14:46  

  • I think SG said that he has weakness but all batsmen have that or something on those lines

    By Blogger Rakesh, at 14:58  

  • @mit:

    About the Sushmita article, you must understand that, that article is published by Indiatimes.com. Indiatimes.com is connected to TOI only because they maintain TOI's web presence, meaning Indiatimes maintains the New website of TOI. Otherwise, TOI and Indiatimes are completely different entities. Not related to each other. Couple of years ago, TOI had its own website maintained by its own wbe group. Then Indiatimes purchased web sites of TOI, Filmfare, Business India, Economic Times etc. and maintains them and earns the revenue from the Ads posted on these sites. So, I guess the "People" section of Indiatimes maybe some other magazine whose website Indiatimes is maintaining.

    This is not to say that TOI does not publish bullshit. I have said it before too that read TOI to vent out your anger and frustration whenever you want to. Or use it toilet paper... ;-)

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 15:46  

  • Worma, for many years Ganguly failed to acknowledge that he had a problem with the raising ball.

    And when he did, it was too late in his career.

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 15:46  

  • saurabh...thats what we believe, or rather like to believe. There's not much to support this belief in any of Saurav's comments or statements ever, is there?
    And yes, he must've said, in recent times, that despite the problem he has scored so many runs which means the problem is not as severe as blown up by various sections.

    Over the years...this statement has been true...since he has indeed made so many runs (even in test matches were bouncers were always allowed) and even played good ODI innings since the allowance of bouncer in ODIs. His case is very different from Clarke who is facing the problem in his formative years....and no-one knows how many runs he is finally going to make (by rectifying the problem, or by overcoming it...no-one should care as long as the results are coming).

    By Blogger worma, at 15:53  

  • and just to add to that...the poor form he is suffering now is not because of rising delivery...it is the same poor form which comes to all batsmen in the world at some point of time in their career. And it is obvious, to me atleast, that in such times of struggling form the weaker points would be accentuated further.

    By Blogger worma, at 16:07  

  • Worma,

    I do think that M. Clarke has a problem with the rising delivery. I followed the Aus- Pak series closely and then in the Ashes too...Clarke is not a very good player of the pull and the hook shot...well not as good say Hayden or Ponting. Like most NSW players bred on the SCG wicket, he plays with soft hand and deft touches. Like S . Waugh early on in his career, he is a very good through the offside. Though no batter likes the short ball outside off and is prone to get out to such a ball, the manner of Clarke's dismissal makes me believe that it might indeed be a technical problem.

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 18:08  

  • dark nights: rising delivery here was mentioned in SG's reference. Clarke, as far as I know, has a problem with inswing deliveries...and his balance. And probably the compactness of his approach, esp early on. For rising deliveries he may not be an expert player (like Hayden or Gilchrist) but almost half the worlds batmen aren't (and including some good ones)....as long as he doesnt get out on those...I think its enough.

    By Blogger worma, at 18:55  

  • Sg :) Oh ok. Well, I was referring to the kind of dismissals that Shoaib effected last year.

    If it was SG, then "And it is obvious, to me atleast, that in such times of struggling form the weaker points would be accentuated further. " is very true indeed.

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 20:24  

  • Almost everyone gets dropped at some stage - even Don Bradman and Allan Border.

    The last long-serving Australia batsman to go through his career without feeling the selectorial blade was Greg Chappell.

    By Blogger squarecut, at 20:49  

  • Ruchir:

    Indiatimes and Times of India are not completely independent entities.

    "Indiatimes is the flagship brand of Times Internet Ltd, the digital venture of India's largest media house - Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd."


    Who owns Times of India, Femina, Economic Times, Business India, etc.? Why Bennett Coleman, who else?

    By Blogger Ranjit Nair, at 21:26  

  • can anybody tell me where i can find free highlights of the Ind Vs SA ODI's? please

    By Blogger rahul_fan, at 22:44  

  • Guys,
    One guy the Aussie selectors seem to forget about, in parge part due to his age, is Andy Bichel. However, I feel he is better suited to filling the bowling allrounder's slot in the Test lineup compared to a rather green Watson. It wouldn't be a bad idea to give Watson a couple of years of consistent ODI cricket, before drafting him in with such large responsibilities into the Test side. Take a look at Bichel's recent first-class form-- simply outstanding. You almost get the feeling he is aware an allrounder's slot is available.
    Current match-- Queensland v. Victoria
    Scored 33 in the first inningd and 84 in the second
    First innings bowling figures-- 7/56

    By Blogger Sahir, at 09:05  

  • Bichel would allow Australia to consitently play their 2 leggies without sacrificing anything in the pace department

    7. Bichel
    8. Warne
    9. Lee
    10. McGrath
    11. MacGill

    By Blogger Sahir, at 09:07  

  • Bichel recorded his best match figures recently in domestic cricket. However, like kasper, I do not believe he has age at his side and therefore a re-entry into test cricket will be difficult. esp if shaun tait gets back from injury

    By Blogger galli_cricket, at 09:20  

  • Since there is no thread to discuss this, for those of you keen on the domestic scene in India, the Sunday edition of the Indian Express has these articles


    By Blogger galli_cricket, at 09:22  

  • galli_cricket
    Thanks for the links; domestic cricket certainly does have more meaning this year.
    Guys I'm really going to keep a close eye on, in no particular order:
    Piyush Chawla
    VRV Singh
    Parthiv Patel
    Robin Uthappa
    Sivaramakrishnan Vidyut
    Shahbaaz Nadeem
    Amit Mishra
    Ambati Rayudu
    Suresh Raina
    Yusuf Pathan
    Ashish Nehra
    Zaheer Khan
    Wasim Jaffer
    Sourav Ganguly
    Rahul Sharma
    Munaf Patel
    Dinesh Kaarthick

    Really a long list of players to keep track of-- augurs well for the future of Indian cricket!

    By Blogger Sahir, at 10:32  

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