Footy news week – 02

Well some people said this day would never come, much like they said Moises Henriques would never play Test cricket for Australia, it’s the day of the second instalment of Footy news week. Apologies for this not actually coming out weekly but its pre-season so I have scaled back to fortnightly editions but I will upscale to weekly for the season proper.

Footy is… best in threes.

The AFL pre-season competition has had a fortnight of 3 way games to kick it off. A couple of years a go I went to one of these three cornered hat games and they were a good idea when they had some purpose. Back when the NAB cup was a proper cup competition the three way games served a purpose – to reduce 18 teams to 8 teams – a group stage before the knockout phase if you will. The 6 group winners and the two best second placed teams advanced to the knockout phase culminating in the NAB cup grand final. It made sense then but now that the NAB cup doesn’t have a knock out phase they are pointless.  Keep them I say as I enjoy the novelty but bring back a proper cup competition to give them some meaning.

 

 

The highlight

A trial match. Yes Adeliade played Fremantle yesterday in a trial match at Footy Park at 9am WST, 11:30am CDST. Not a Wizard regional challenge or NAB practice match just a trial match.

I was surprised this occurred because I thought the ALF Players Association had rules governing how many matches a player could play – 1 intra-club, 4 practice matches, 22 H&A games plus finals.

I can only guess that both Adelaide and Fremantle forgoed their respective intra-club matches for this trial match to occur. It also highlights the crapness of the AFL’s scheduling of the NAB cup –  play all six of the ‘triple headers’ on one weekend and get on with it!

 

The lowlight

The lowlight is the fiasco surrounding Melbourne and tanking and the AFL’s investigation. Somehow Melbourne were found not guilty of tanking even though it was clear to Blind Freddy, his seeing eye dog and his dead grandmother that Melbourne tried their hardest to lose games in 2009. After being found not guilty of tanking Melbourne was then fined half a million bucks for not tanking just for being a really, really shit football team in 2009 with shit people in charge. The coach of the time, and that’s a generous term given he appeared to have been directed by those above to lose not win games, Dean Bailey and a bloke’s whose job it seemed to be to master mind not winning and who had secret meetings in ‘The Vault’ where he swore at everyone who didn’t understand the importance of and how not to win, a man I have nicknamed  ‘The Architect’ , Chris Connolly, have both been handed suspensions for “acting in a manner prejudicial to the integrity of the game.” The reality is they have been put on ‘gardening leave’ on full pay by their respective AFL clubs – lucky them. And to think John Burke got 10 years for pushing an umpire!

The AFL took only partial responsibility for putting in place a system (the priority pick for teams that won less than 5 games in each of two consecutive season) that encouraged shit teams to just bottom out, give up trying to win and instead to deliberately try to lose. This was not celebrating mediocrity it was rewarding abject failure.

All I can say is if Brock McLean can tell that something is not right then the efforts by the coaches and ‘The Architect’ to lose games must have pretty damn blatant. However McLean will not be known to me as the player who lifted the lid on Melbourne NOT tanking (according to the AFL anyway) instead I will remember him for this insight on why he left Melbourne for Carlton at the end of the 2009 AFL season:

“I will say that driving distance from my home in Maribyrnong to Casey was a consideration. It took me an hour to get there and on a bad day two hours along the Monash to get back.

“It isn’t ideal being in a car for an hour before you are going to run around for a couple of hours. Your back seizes up, your hammies get tight.

“I now live 10 minutes from Carlton. The 2-3 hours extra I was spending in a car can now be re-invested into recovery sessions, extra weights, fitness.

“I think I can get 15-20 per cent extra out of my body and football.”

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/between-a-brock-mclean-and-a-hard-place/story-e6frf9if-1225783103525

But no mention of wanting to leave Melbourne because they were tanking? Surprising.

The unbelievable

Sharrod Wellingham injured his ankle on a trampoline and will miss games because of it. Is Wellngham in primary school? Isn’t that when most people suffer trampoline injuries? What exactly happened – did he get double bounced? Details need to be more forthcoming.  And what is it with West Coast and freak injuries – first Josh Kennedy missed a game with an eye injury after Dean Cox threw a tennis ball to him and he wore it in the eye and now Wellingham and the trampoline. However it can’t beat my favourite freak injury story. Trevor Barsby, a former Queensland batsmen, missed a shield match due to a back injury. The injury occurred when the team bus he was sitting on went over a speed hump in the MCG carpark.

Lance Franklin is believed to have sent Wellingham a pair of glasses without lenses and a Nina & Pasadena t-shirt to help ease the pain. The pain of these tough early days of their separation that is. He also wished him a speedy recovery from his ankle injury.

The boring

Fantasy football competitions like Dreamteam and Supercoach are the height of tedium with their massive squads consisting of the same key players for most people and complicated scoring systems. If you don’t have a draft meaning only one person in your league can draft Gary Ablett not everyone can have him I don’t see the point of the competition.

Thankfully there is a draft based fantasy football alternative that I was introduced to a few years ago.  https://thebench.com.au/  where you only have 9 players to select each week from your squad of 15 and the scoring system is simple.

VFL Watch

VFL Practice matches kick off this Friday with Williamstown playing Werribee at the Whitten Oval.

In case you weren’t aware some VFL-AFL club alignments are ceasing at the end of the 2013 season.

It will be the end of a 13 year alignment between Coburg and Richmond with ‘Burgers determined to stand alone. Coburg will drop the Tiger moniker they adopted when they aligned with Richmond and revert to their traditional Lions nickname next season. While this all sounds just dandy in theory Coburg have no money and no source of the sort of regular income required to fund a VFL club. Most VFL clubs have pokies as their main revenue stream but Coburg has none. Stories circulate of delayed payer payments and if you believe  Caroline Wilson the Coburg  players were booked into a caravan park when they played a game in Warrnambool last season to save coin  – oh the humanity!

After appointing an independent Senior coach, Adam Potter, in 2012 (ie not a Richmond Development coach as they have done for much the alignment) Coburg took a backward step this year when they demoted the Senior coach to Development League coach (that’s VFL speak for Reserves in case you were wondering) to allow a Richmond Development Coach, ex Hawks ‘star’ Tim Clarke, to take the reins in the final year of the alignment. Not surprisingly Adam Potter then walked – not an ideal way to prepare for life post alignment I wouldn’t have thought.

Richmond will play VFL games at the reconfigured and re-grassed Punt Rd Oval from 2014. They kicked off the cricket club and now have a playing surface with the same dimensions as Etihad.

The Question

If Melbourne didn’t tank what did they do?

Membership slogan watch

I’ve been COTCHED! – The Cotch Crew

One of the dangers of living in Richmond is seeing cars with Richmond membership stickers but what the hell does ‘COTCHED’ mean? Oh well it sounds marginally better than being ‘FEVOLAD’

The Quote

Roughead is a major supporter of the US National Basketball Association, and has more than 40 player singlets, not to mention naming his young golden retriever ”Melo” after New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony.

John Pierik, The Age, 10/2.

I love how this has been reported so earnestly to give it gravitas, as if it is really important. The phrase  “major supporter”  makes it sound like Roughead is a sponsor of the competition not merely a fan and using “US National Basketball Association” instead of NBA make the opening line (in bold) read like a sponsors press release – just replace with Roughead with McDonalds for example.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/buddy-to-stay-says-roughead-20130209-2e5ch.html#ixzz2KS8XDKuo

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Squads, rotation policy & informed player management (2)

My phone tap got shut down but I wanted to get to the bottom of this whole squad selection/revolving door/rotation policy debacle so I picked up the phone and rang that crusty old blighter, Steve Rixon.

Steve Rixon: Hello Steve Rixon speaking

Me: Steve mate how are ya? How is everything going?

Steve Rixon: Great. What do you want?

Me: Look I’m hearing a lot of complaints about the Indian test squad leaving early, the chopping and changing with the one day squad – the restings, the rotations, the whole lot really.

Rixon: Yeah I hear you. A couple of days ago I was in the changerooms having a chat with John Inverarity…

Me: Gee I’m setting myself for a long winded story now

Rixon: Hear me out you little runt, do you want this information or not?

Me: Yeah ok.

Rixon: I was chatting with Invers when  Brad McNamara burst into the sheds.

He went ballistic. “What the bloody hell are you bunch of burger flippers doing? You’re sending a football team’s worth of our best cricketers to India before the home season has even finished! Have you forgotten there’s a T20 international against the West Indies next week? Which rag tag bunch of supermarket shelf stackers and coal miners are you going to scrounge together for that game, huh? And don’t tell me you’re going to wheel out Cameron White again!”

Inverarity said, “Cameron White – now that name sounds vaguely familiar…..”

I said, “Calm down Buzz, don’t any of your channel 9 mates tell you anything? I’m taking over the reigns as batting, bowling and fielding coach, I’m also scorer and I’ll be mixing the gatorade and driving the team bus – everyone else is in India.”

Invers and I had a ring around, well I had a ring around really, Invers  was taking…..  I mean he… um he isn’t really up to speed with iPhones. Anyway I sorted the team for the T20 on Wednesday. Here it is:

  1. S Marsh
  2. Finch
  3. The Governor – George Bailey (C)
  4. Brayshaw
  5. Slater
  6. Taylor
  7. Healy
  8. Sean Abbott
  9. Hogg (Rodney not Brad)
  10. Scott Muller
  11. Greg Mathews

12th man: Andy Bichel

 

McNamara wasn’t impressed, “What is this? The XI for Boony’s testimonial match? And who the fuck is Sean Abbott?”

Inverarity replied, “ Young man, I don’t care for your language. Sean Abbot is a young, up and coming all rounder. He’s the next Moises Henriques – he had an excellent Big Bash season for the Sydney Thunderclaps I’ll have you know. He won the Ronne Irani award at the Tom Moody medal.”

I said, “How did you not know about this Buzz? You know Mark Nicholas is calling the whole match by himself. He’s just going to talk non-stop for 3 hours – that’s the way he prefers it. What exactly is it you do for channel 9?”

McNamara looked a bit annoyed and said,” Well I’m the technical cricket advisor. I advise the commentators and technical people on technical matters about cricket in an advisory type role. It’s a very important position.

I said, “Sure it is. Sounds like bullshit to me. All the commentators have played Test cricket except Nico and JB, what could you advise them about cricket? What do you really do?”

McNamara said, “Well I also facilitate the replenishment of sustenance, both liquid and solid, for the entire commentary team and all the technical staff.”

I said, “You mean you’re the lunch boy.”

Inverarity said, “Ah so you’re the tea lady.”

McNamara went sheepish, “Um… ah… yeah… so. .. whatever.”

I said “You’re a glorified burger flipper with a media pass lanyard!! No wonder the commentary boys don’t tell you anything!!”

McNamara had enough, “Right I’m not standing for this rot, I was Steve Waugh’s best man I’ll have you know. I’m going where I’m appreciated – I’m off to make Chappelli a sandwich and Richie a cup of tea.”

Me: Hmm, interesting stuff about McNamara. It still seems a bit odd to me that one Australian team are playing a T20 international and at the same time another Australian team are playing a tour match in India.

Rixon: Yeah well that’s the way cricket is these days. Some series are more equal than others and it’s a very crowded calendar when you have to fit in making a motza for 6 weeks at the IPL. Speaking of that can you put a motza on the Windies to win the T20 on Wednesday?

Me: Can do, see ya.

 

 

 

Squads, rotation policy and informed player management (1)

People keep asking me, “What’s going on with Australian cricket?”

They want to know what the deal is with the squads being picked, the players being rested, the rotation policy and what the hell “Informed Player Management” means.

I couldn’t be bothered finding out but as a wise man once said to me “We are all busier than a Beruit bricklayer but people need to be informed” so I put down my pen and, as all good journo’s do, I tapped Steve Rixon’s phone as I’d grown tired of talking to him and I already knew his number.

This is the conversation I heard between Steve Rixon and John Inverarity.

Rixon: John I need some information on a couple of squads. Firstly, how’s the Australia A squad I’m coaching for those 5 one dayers against the England Lions looking?

Inverarity: Australia A squads. Aagh!! Don’t get me started. First I picked 7 allrounders to play South Africa then I thought the Sri Lanka one dayers were a warm up series against Australia A now that damn England Lions series….nightmare, I tell you, nightmare!

Rixon: Hang on, you thought the first two one dayers were Australia A v Sri Lanka?

Inverarity: Yes, why else would I have named George Bailey as skipper? That’s why I had to invent that “Informed Player Management” nonsense, it was to cover the blunder I made.

Rixon: Any other mistakes you’ve made?

Inverarity: Well that Test squad to India and the Australia A squad for the one dayers v England Lions – they both caused me some problems. I had both squads worked out and I thought I’d put them in two separate emails to James Sutherland but I got all confused. I ended up with both squads in the one email and I just couldn’t work out how to cut and paste the last few names. In the end I just gave up and sent what I had. I was getting very weary – I’d missed my afternoon nap.

Rixon: So let me guess Moises Henriques, Steve Smith, Doherty and Maxwell were meant to be in the Australia A one day squad not the Test Squad?

Inverarity: Yeah, do you think anyone noticed?

Rixon: Well … um …. nah, I think you got away with that one. Everyone thought the Test squad was fine. Did you also make a mistake booking the flights to India? The whole squad is leaving before Australia plays its last match of the summer.

Inverarity: Don’t be silly I didn’t book those flights – my wife did. She’s a cricket Australia employee too you know. She works in admin and travel. She saved Cricket Australia a fortune by booking with Air Asia – the only problem was the squad was so big she couldn’t get all of them on one flight so she had to spread them out across a few days but she got some really good deals.

Rixon: Right. Now that you’ve flown the whole squad to India early who are we going to play in the T20 against the Windies on Wednesday? We can’t front up with Australia A – you’ve sent most of them to India too.

Rixon: Hello? Invers? Are you still there?

Inverarity: Ah sorry Stephen I must have nodded off. What was the question?

Rixon: What’s the squad for the T20 international?

Inverarity: Aha, good trick question Stephen. We played the T20 internationals on the Australia day weekend! You have to get up pretty early in the mroning to trick me, young fellow.

Rixon: Yeah they were against Sri Lanka, there’s one this Wednesday against the Windies.

Inverarity: Are you sure? I’m getting confused now….. it’s almost my nap time you know. Then I’m plaiyng bridge this evening down at the bowls club… I’m not sure if i’ll have time….

Rixon: Invers its Ok you go for your nap, I’ll have a ring around some of my contacts and see what I can do. Leave it with me.

Inverarity: Thanks young fellow, Goodnight.

Rixon: Goodnight I guess, it’s only 1:30pm.

Footy news week – 01

As the title suggest this will be my musings- some light hearted, some serious, some rant like – on the week in football and unlike Women’s Weekly they will in fact be coming out weekly (or thereabouts). This is the first instalment for season 2013 and it was just about ready to go midweek until certain events at Essendon meant a redraft was needed.

The format may change as the season progresses and I’m not sold on the name so feel free to comment/bag/tell me to get stuffed/rant back – all feedback is welcome.

 

Footy is… back

Yes AFL football is back. Richmond took on the Indigenous All Stars in Alice Springs, last night – Friday, February 8, and duly got flogged – somethings don’t change. In a world of billion dollar TV rights one might have thought this game would have been broadcast on TV, perhaps even on the dedicated AFL channel Fox Footy, yet it was not. A live YouTube stream was the only medium available which is better than nothing I guess but disappointing when you consider the NRL Indigenous v All stars game is live on Channel 9 tonight.

But back to my main point – Football in February – not soon enough in my book. Why can’t the NAB cup start in January? Why not even earlier with a NAB cup blockbuster game on New Year’s Eve at the MCG – it worked so well on Millennium eve. Why stop at December, why not have NAB cup games in October in London with players wearing sneakers? Why is no one listening to Kevin Sheedy?

 

Super Rugby and NRL are also back with trial games going on around the country. I won’t pretend to know or care about what happens in either. A-league continues too – my thoughts on that below.

 

The highlight

I‘m not sure why AFL cannot be played in metropolitan Melbourne on Good Friday. The conspiracy theorist in me still says the Royal Children’s Hospital pays Andrew Demetriou NOT to let it happen – they contribute roughly 6% of his $7.8bn salary or whatever it is he now gets paid.

 

Melbourne Storm have played in Melbourne on Good Friday in the past, numerous country football leagues play games on Good Friday but you cross the Metropolitan Ring Road and you are just not allowed to kick a Sherrin in anger on the day before Easter Saturday. Until now…

 

Friday March 29

VFL practice match

Essendon VFL v Sandringham

11am at Windy Hill

 

OK so it’s semi anger as its only a practice match and watch this space as last season Bendigo Gold were fixtured to play Port Melbourne in Bendigo on Good Friday in the VFL season proper but as the date drew closer the game was shifted to the Saturday. Also wait and see if Essendon have enough players for a VFL side

 

The lowlight

Every sportsman in Australia is on drugs. OK not quite but every football player in every code is on drugs. Well maybe not quite but every Essendon player is definitely on drugs. Drugs that may or may not be legal. One thing is for sure: the key players in this have sh1t self imposed nicknames: The Weapon, The Pharmacist, Dr Ageless, Dr Peptide. Dean Robinson, clearly your nickname is Robbo not The Weapon.

 

Consequently the AFL announced its going to  tough on anyone using drugs. A good start might be to catch some players testing positive to drugs first – something they don’t seem capable of doing!!. The AFL drug testers can’t catch anyone using recreational drugs – including Ben Cousin’s who admitted to having been off his trolley most of the last 8 AFL seasons he played  – and now they can’t catch anyone using performance enhancing drugs – ie allegedly all the Essendon players on PED’s last season.

 

Also every A-league game is fixed by betting syndicates of Asian gangs who run unhygienic restaurants and do dodgy washing machine repairs that are making our kids fat.

 

 

The unbelievable

Ricky Nixon is going to do stand up comedy. At least he won’t be short of material.

 

Slightly less high on the unbelievable Reicter scale is the following.  I was watching Fox Sports News last weekend and stumbled across a preview of the Victory v Heart A-league clash at Etihad Stadium. It had the usual two pundits discussing key players and match ups and then footage of the Heart players arriving on the team bus. Hang on what? The Heart arrived at Etihad Stadium on a bus. Yep. Why? Do none of them know how to drive? Is it too taxing to navigate yourself the 3km from AAMI Park, Heart’s home ground, to the other side of the CBD, so they had to catch a bus. I know everyone loves a bus trip but this seemed a bit much. If the players did make their own way to AAMI Park and then get a bus all of 3km to Docklands I will go he.

 

And finally the amount of media coverage given to the Carlton intraclub game during the week was unbelievable. There was a live audio broadcast online including player interviews, the Herald Sun had highlighted it as one of the sporting events of the week on Monday and then had a live blog on game day giving update. It was a scratch match – let’s all chill out. Nowhere near as much coverage was given to the Essendon & Collingwood intra-clubs or the Port Adelaide Power (AFL) v Port Adelaide Magpies (SANFL) game. The Power proved they aren’t as bad as a state level side winning by nearly 100 points.

 

The boring

Lance Franklin has put off contract talks with Hawthorn until the end of the season. This will be another season long, Travis Cloke style, will he sign, won’t he sign saga. It will be longer and more boring than the federal election campaign. This is an oxygen thief of a topic – I won’t be discussing it again.

 

 

VFL watch

The announcement of a VFL practice match on Good Friday was enough to get me red hot in the jocks about the VFL season ahead. Also VFL scores are now part of the updated Footy Live app. Stay tuned for team previews as the season draws closer.

 

 

What they should do

Fox Footy should buy the rights to the NTFL and show a couple of games a week live. ABC TV seems incapable of providing a live footy fix for those in the southern states despite broadcasting a game a week on delay into  NT and now having 4 digital channels. For Fox Footy it would be a break from endless replays of the AFL season past and provide live football from October through to March or whenever the NAB cup starts, which in a couple of years will be October if Sheedy gets his way….

 

 

The Question

If ‘The Weapon’ was the answer, what was the question?

 

 

Membership Slogan Watch

“Whatever it takes”

Essendon’s membership slogan for 2013. As a mate suggested, a more appropriate slogan would have been “Whatever we take”

 

 

The Quote

The new breed of fitness gurus with designer tracksuits, Donny Osmond teeth and wraparound sunglasses will be back in the gym and out of the front office.

From now on, old-style doctors in tweed jackets who prefer stethoscopes around their necks to oriental snake tattoos will be calling and injecting the shots.

John Sylvester on drugs and crime in Australian sport

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/crooked-bounce-into-arms-of-crims-20130208-2e3ju.html#ixzz2KN5VwPD7

 

 

 

 

P.S. next week will have less Essendon content hopefully.

The scourge of summer

What is with those KFC – Good Times – Madden Brothers – Cricket – Summer ads polluting my idiot box non-stop over the past 3 months? They raise so many questions. Why Michael Slater would agree to be dressed in the most ludicrous combination seen on an Australian TV in a long time is anyone’s guess. T-shirt and suit jacket screams douchebag when paired with jeans but it screams ‘I’m a f*cking dickhead’ when paired with boardies and thongs to go lawn bowling. WTF??  Clearly Michael Slater has no self respect left.

 

Why are these pair of tattooed dicks ruining our commercials? One of the Brothers Madden was out here for ‘The Voice’ which was a Channel 9 hit and then they provided the pre-match entertainment to the NRL grand final (also on 9) Now they are polluting us with KFC adds featuring ex-cricketers (Slater), current cricketers (George Bailey et al playing street cricket) and bucket heads – people who wear KFC buckets on their heads while at the cricket (smart people – I think not). Then they played a set at the T20 International at Stadium Australia on Australia Day. To borrow a line from a mate ”How about some Australian music?”

 

What do two rock brothers from the US have to do with Australia or Cricket? Cue tumbleweeds because the answer is nothing. And now I’ve seen their latest ad – one of them is moving to Australia sponsored by Vodafone. That’s the final straw – I’m changing carriers in protest!!

 

And I’ve know learnt that the Madden brothers are part of a band called Good Charlotte. Good riddance I say. Zing-er!

 

When they are not playing cricket one presumes that the Australian players get around in their Cricket Australia issued training clobber. See Michael Clarke’s cameos in those damn KFC – Madden brothers adverts. Which segways nicely to my next point:  What do you think the Australian cricket team wear when travelling around Australia? Those grey-ish coloured team tracksuits & t-shirts as modelled by Clarke for The Colonel and you see on news footage of the team at airports?

No, you are wrong – they wear their whites and their baggy greens. Michael Clarke even wears a blazer and Matthew Wade and Peter Siddle wear long sleeve jumpers. Ricky Ponting doesn’t bother with the long sleeves – his arms are hairy enough. How would I know this? Well it’s simple – I’ve watched the Qantas in flight safety instruction video this summer.

Highlights of the video include Clarke and the pilot both greeting each other with “Morning Captain” and the hairiness of Ricky Ponting’s forearms. If Peter Siddle does speak during the video I can’t remember because I was mesmerised by the whiteness of his teeth and one of the all time great pieces of body language. An unfunny dad joke by Pup has Sids pull off a move that had me searching the TV week Logie awards voting sheet for the ”Best Original Eye Roll in an Instructional Video” category.

If you do one thing this summer book a Qantas flight and pay attention to the safety instructions or don’t bother just watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ_ucd3uvpw (Siddle features at 3:30)

 

At least it’s marginally less painful to watch than those damn KFC – Good times – Madden Brothers ads.

BBL|02 Season review

The dust has well and truly settled on  Big Bash Season 2, so it’s time to reflect on what went right, what went wrong and would should happen in the future.

 

The hits

Lighting up the bails & stumps

Flashing stumps and bails when the stumps were broken was a great innovation for spectators at the ground to more clearly see run outs and stumpings and even if a player was bowled. Next year perhaps a device could be fitted to the stumps so that when they are hit a sub woofer excursion test style low  “Boom”  would be played across the PA hurting people’s ears and agitating their bowels – now that’s BBL cricket.

 

Cameras

It was a brilliant idea to put cameras on the umpire’s hats and the batsmen’s helmets. Next year I would like to see boot cam – a camera in the toe of a fast bowler’s boot so you can see just how hard they pound through the crease. Fox-coptor, a camera on a remote controlled helicopter, I can take or leave.

 

Sunday double headers

The Sunday twilight/Sunday evening double that occurred twice during the BBL season was a winner in my book. Six hours of cricket to while away a Sunday is great but 9 hours would be even better. Let’s see some Sunday triple headers:  1pm, 4pm, 7pm – back to back to back.

 

 

The misses

Sydney Thunder

Eight losses, no wins. No good players and the star signing, Chris Gayle, looked completely disinterested. Forgot to extend Luke Butterworth’s contract and crap crowds to boot.

Move the Thunder, at least partly, to Canberra –  Manuka Oval now has lights and wants to host Big Bash games.

 

Shane Warne

Behaved like a dill. Bowled crap too. Time to retire.

 

The scheduling

Running the BBL from December 7 to January 19 was a bad idea. The crowds pre Christmas were very disappointing and the home and away season finished far too early in the school holiday period, January 13.

 

 

What they should do

 

In 2013/14 start the BBL season on Friday December 20th between the 3rd and 4th Ashes Tests. The home and away season would then run for 5 weeks through to through to January 23 or 24. The semi finals would be on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 and then the final on Saturday February 1.

 

After the Sydney Test give all the national team a break for a few weeks and start the 5 game one day series on Australia Day followed by the 3 T20 internationals.

 

The benefits would be

–          more BBL games post Christmas which should lead to better crowds.

–          more ‘red ball’ cricket for domestic cricketers during the Ashes – Shield cricket would continue up until the start of the 3rd Ashes test.

–          opportunity for the national team players to play the Big Bash in January (if the informed player management allows).

–          With a break of 19 days between the Sydney Test and the first ODI, Australia wouldn’t have to rotate/informed player manage its players and should be able to field its strongest possible line up in the ODIs

 

Keep the current finals format of knock out semi finals. Complaints about the finals structure (ie Renegades finishing on top and then missing out on the CLT20 by losing their semi final) are weak – harden up, win the cut throat games and there will be no issues.

 

 

 

Australian Test squad v India

I can’t claim this fine work as my own – it’s the musings of the first ever guest blogger, Davey Smalls.

Enjoy.

******************************************************************************************

Sorry to break up the previous email fellas, but I am in disgust.

I’m not sure if you blokes have seen the Test squad, so allow me to share.

Michael Clarke (capt.)

First class career:

9,768 runs @ 49.58, 32 100’s

39 wickets @ 35.79

Undoubtedly the crown jewel of Australian cricket at the moment. Gone from pretty boy flog to world beater and did it as simply as dumping his two timing ho bag of a missus (I think a new fitness campaign has been given the official credit though). Will almost be certainly wild about the rest of this squad.

Ed Cowan

First class career:

4,240 @ 37.19, 11 100’s

Not a record that screams “Matthew Hayden” but should be serviceable as an opening foil to David Warner. Might struggle in India as spin doesn’t appear to be his strongest suit. Cuts like a butchers knife and has a handy pull shot…. Both won’t be needed on the low lying surfaces of the sub-continent. Picked purely because no other opener is bashing down the door.

David Warner

First class career:

1,516 @ 43.31, 5 100’s

Will attack the Indian fast men and won’t cop any stick from the tall rat Ishant Sharma. Is surprisingly patient for a hitter, as his innings against New Zealand showed. Is probably the best batsman behind Clarke in this team, which is saying a few things. Not a bad first class average for a bloke who has a crack.

Phil Hughes

First class career:

4,980 @ 47.43, 14 100’s

A phenomenal record given the mans age and time in the wilderness. Have heard all about his “technique adjustments” but it just looks like he is picking the right ball to play. Not sure how he will go in the Indian conditions but he needs to be given time to nail a number 3 spot. 14 hundreds at 24 years of age in first class cricket is unreal.

Shane Watson

First class career:

6,060 @ 39.61, 11 100’s

167 @ 27.45

Good old Watson. Can always depend on him right? Wrong! When he is not getting out in the 60’s in Test cricket he is not getting out at all. Not even from bed. The walking injury is back for his umpteenth crack at Test cricket. The only problem is he wants to play as a bat (which his record suggests he isn’t good enough to do) and doesn’t want to bowl (when his record suggest he should). This bloke is the biggest waste of time in the Australian test team. Including Steve Smith.

Matthew Wade

First class career:

2,990@ 42.11, 5 100’s

208 dismissals

My personal opinion is Wade has proved himself to be a decent batsmen-wicket keeper…. In that order. Glove work has been particularly sloppy against the slow men at the stumps. Nathan Lyon can probably feel aggrieved at the lack of wickets he has been taken due to Wades errors. Should still be picked for this series, but the low pitches in India are really going to Test his glove work and to see how far he has improved. A good, early catch in the series may be the shot in the arm he needs.

Glenn Maxwell

First class career:

860 @ 40.95, 1 100.

25 @ 33.68

There is understandable uproar at this selection. 14 First class games in and is in line for a Test cap. Unlike Warnie, hasn’t really shown anything to justify a selection. No fizz in the Zimbabwe Australia A tour, no getting kicked out of the Academy for trying to push his naked body on backpackers. No telling the Academy coach to “get fu**ed” Nothing! Won’t play a game unless Lyon AND Watson fall over.

Mitchell Johnson

First class career:

2,094 @ 23.80, 2 100’s

296 @ 29.97

Old Mitch “Finger Breaker” Johnson. When he is not getting punched up by his missus he is out breaking fingers of the worlds batsmen. Won’t be getting much purchase from the Indian conditions one would feel, but has been serviceable without starring since his return.

Peter Siddle

 

First class career:

1,241 @ 17.73, 0 100’s

247 @ 25.88

The best bowler of the current Australian team. Has been carrying the attack and, along with Clarke, is the only one who can keep his head held high due to his efforts as of late. Most people wouldn’t know but P-Siddy is a vegetarian. Although no one ever speaks about it, he also used to be a wood chopping champion.

Mitchell Starc

First class career:

329 @ 19.35, 0 100’s

75 @ 31.31

Mitch or “Crats” as he is known to his mates has been a good addition to the team as of late. Bowls some junk but bowls some fairly good balls also. Will be a toss up between him and his namesake as we shouldn’t take two erratic bowlers into an Indian summer. Serviceable accuracy is what is needed in India (as 2004 showed) Handy with the stick down the order, and has given some respectability to the teams totals since his inclusion in the Test team.

Nathan Lyon

First class career:

324 @ 10.45, 0 100’s

85 @ 38.12

“Gaz” has been a handy contributer to the Australian outfit. His record could be a lot better if people could some catches for him, or if he was bowled when it is suitable to be bowled. Aside from the whole Adelaide debacle where he couldn’t buy a decent ball, I think he has been good. Will be the first picked spinner as the only other option is Steve Smith. *shudders*

Moises Henriques

First class career:

1,350 @ 32.14, 1 100

53 @ 28.98

Finally. After all the love Mark “Junior” Waugh has been throwing onto this oxygen thief, he is a chance for a baggy green. A poor mans Shane Watson, who is a poor mans Andrew Flintoff, should never ever be given a chance like this. Should he be selected, he’d want to buy a tattslotto ticket as he will be using all his luck at once. His bowling numbers aren’t THAT horrible, but he is not a Test cricketer. Almost the worst selection of the squad, but unfortunately, there is more to come.

James Pattinson

First class career:

385 @ 19.25, 0 100’s

79 @ 23.33

His bowling numbers are unfathomable for a young man, and if he could stay on the park for an extended period of time, could turn into a world beater. Not the biggest mug with the bat and when fully fit will be first picked behind Clarke.

Xavier Doherty

 

First class career:

875 @ 13.46, 0 100’s

119 @ 44.78

A laughable selection. Move on.

Jackson Bird

 

First class career:

72 @ 8.00, 0 100’s

91 @ 17.37

Finally a player picked on form. Tore the Sheffield Shield competition apart for two years prior to earning his chance (remember when that used to happen?) Should get a nod if Pattinson or Siddle break down. Might even play ahead of Starc or Johnson depending on conditions at the time. “Squid” has similar attributes as Stuart Clark did.

Usman Khawaja

First class career:

2,894 @ 45.22, 8 100’s

Will play every Test in India. Has been in superb form as of late and has basically kept the Sydney Thunder (in the format he is least suited to) alive. Chris Gayle having been unavailable due to partying commitments and all. Born in Pakistan, hopefully some sort of ingrained sub-continent knowledge is there so he can be a big player in the Indian series.

Steve Smith

First class career:

2,116 @ 41.49, 5 100’s

41 @ 52.12

He is back! Everyones favourite man boy couldn’t be kept down for too long. He is being touted for the all rounders spot and the selectors were obviously impressed with the 0 100’s and the 90 balls he has bowled in this Sheffield Shield season. Another New South Welshman.

Gentlemen, gone are the days where you earned your cap and it wasn’t handed to you. Hopefully the sh!t trucks will not be selected but this actual “squad” is the weakest it has been in years.

If one of the frontline selected batsman gets injured, we may be clapping Moises onto the ground for his first game. Unbelievable.