The Steve Rixon Ashes Diary 2013 – Chapter 5

The toss at Old Trafford. Not sure why Joe Root, far right, was out there?
The toss at Old Trafford. I’m not sure why Joe Root, far right, was out in the middle.

Chapter 5

Team changes, silicone tape & DRS

The Third Test: Old Trafford

Me: Well there were a few changes in the line up for the third Test

Steve Rixon: Yeah Tubby was dropped for Chappelli and Brett Lee  and the desk got the flick too. I wonder what it did wrong? No homework? Then Ian Healy replaced Chappelli half way through the test.

Me: I was more thinking of the Australian Cricket team than the GEM studio lineup. People were saying you shuffled the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Steve Rixon: Look here you little runt, we had an awareness that changes needed to be made to the team. Starcy came back in because of Patto’s injury. Agar was dropped mainly due to his lack of awareness but that’s not unusual for someone his age, I find cricketers are at the peak of their Awareness levels between the ages of 28-32 so there is plenty of time for Agar. Phil Hughes, well it’s tradition to drop Phil Hughes for the 3rd Ashes test and it’s character building for him to be dropped for someone less suited to the position again. In 2009 Phil was dropped for the 3rd test for Watto to open, which he’d never done previously and now he’s been dropped for the 3rd test for Warner to bat No 4 which he’s never done before. Phil has a strong awareness of the importance of maintaining this tradition and the value of character building and he’s handled it pretty well – he’s only smashed 1 bat this time. Well he tried to smash the bat but he couldn’t because it was so tightly wrapped up in silicon tape but that’s another story….

We changed the lineup but we definitely got some better results and I attribute that to a new thing Boof has introduced. He calls it a team meeting ,it happens 15 minutes before play each day and Boof gets all the boys together and outlines the goals for the day. It’s brilliant. Boof even uses a white board and marker to write down the goals so all the team can read them. Here’s a look at the whiteboard for the team meeting on Day 1 after Pup had won the toss and chose to bat

Day 1

Batting: First Innings

Goals

Team: Make 450 runs

Individual: Make a century.

It was like a revelation for the team – no one had told them that 250 was a shit first innings score The guys loved it, except Warner who I had to explain what the word ‘individual’ meant and Watto who thought the ‘individual’ line was directly solely at him as some sort of jib on his ability to turn a well crafted 30 into triple figures. I explained to him how each individual performing well was important to the overall team effort. I’m pretty sure he didn’t understand.

Me: Talking of Watson why didn’t he open in the second innings?

Steve Rixon: Watson is in the full body moisturising phase of his 6 week manscaping cycle. He can’t shower and dress in a ten minute turn around. After a shower he full body moisturisers and has to sit around naked for the next 30 minutes to let the moisturiser have full affect. That’s why he had to bat at Number 4 in the second innings and he’ll probably have to bat at Number 6 in the next Test.

Shane Watson doesn't have team mates just other cricketers he plays in the same team as. Here he pops out of the shower not to see how the other Australian cricketers are batting but to check if it’s his time to bowl & field yet.
Shane Watson doesn’t have team mates just other cricketers he plays in the same team as. Here he pops out of the shower not to see how the other Australian cricketers are batting but to check if it’s his time to bowl & field yet.

I tell you one thing I am more sick of than Divvers trying to get me to do more throw downs with the boys – bloody DRS.

I’m proposing some new simplified rules for DRS. If the ball is going to hit the stumps on an LBW then it’s out. No matter how little of the ball is going to hit the stumps it out.  It’s not >50% of the ball LBW it just LBW if the ball is going to hit the stumps. Just like if you hit it, it doesn’t matter if you smash it and are caught on the fence or just nick it to the slips out is out. So get rid of the umpires call.

Talking about nicking them, if there is no mark on Hot Spot then it should be not out. If Hot Spot is not up to scratch then get rid of it. Test cricket is not the trialing ground for technology. Either it’s right to use or it’s rubbish. With these rule changes just about every ball that hits you on the pad will be out and half the caught behinds from this series will be not out. It should balance out nicely.

As for KP using silicon tape well that was definitely true. I bumped into him the day before the test in the plumbing shop where I was buying the Aussie team’s supply. The only way to beat silicon tape is each batsmen will have to nominate a bat he’s going to use for the test on the morning of the match and the third umpire will inspect it to check for tape and the like. The bat will be taken by Armaguard security officers and stored in the back of one of their trucks parked next to the ground. When they go out to bat the third umpire can ferry the batsmen his bat.

Plumbing shop: Essential pre-test shopping destination
Plumbing shop: Essential pre-test shopping destination

Also the third umpire needs to be removed from the game more. Sit him in the back of the Armaguard truck with the bats and an iPad, when a DRS call is made his iPad flashes up the replays and asks for his verdict. He doesn’t know what the umpire has decided, the third umpy just has to make a call of out or not out based on what he can see on replay. Hell there’s no need for the third umpire to even be a the ground, he could be  out on the golf course and his phone goes off – its decision time he just watches the replay on his phone and gives his verdict, then back to the round of golf. The Khawaja decision in the first innings was a joke. It was like Dharmesena didn’t want to overrule the onfield umpire, he wanted to support his collegue. Every decision that was referred was upheld at Old Trafford! Including the KP one! Though I’m pretty sure that was a square up for Ussie.

It's OK the cricket bats are safe and secure in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
It’s OK the cricket bats are safe and secure in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

I don’t trust some of these umpires to make the right decision even if it was staring them in the face from 22 yards away…Every umpire on the elite panel gets a phone alert and has 2 minutes to watch the replay and give a verdict. Only the first 5 to give a verdict count and the majority decision is the verdict. That way even if Kumar Dharmesena and Tony Hill are on duty they could be overruled by umpires with more common sense. Hmmm on second thoughts that won’t work Marias Erasmus could also vote. I know we’ll get anyone but umpires to do it, people sitting in pubs around the country probably have more chance of getting the right decision than the elite panel! We’d be better off making 3rd umpire decision into a Vodafone Viewers Verdict for the Channel 9 boys & Madden brothers to promote. That would really bring in the audience participation like when they opened it up to the general public to decide on the man of the match award for the test v New Zealand in Hobart in 2011.

If there is one thing that’s ruining Test cricket it’s not T20 it’s the farking law makers and the umpires. Well that’s two things but you get my drift. At the end of the 4th day the umpires called bad light at 4:30pm when Pup wanted to keep batting. It rained a bit and the umpires abandoned play at 5:40pm though we usually play through to 6:30pm. I was still here with Wadey working on his glovework and it was fine and sunny from 7pm – 8pm. Fark! Plus the ground has lights. Why couldn’t play continue after 6:30pm?

The umpires trying to work out their arse end form their elbow. Bad light anyone?
The umpires trying to work out their arse end form their elbow. Bad light anyone?

 

Talking of weird stuff, what is it with these shitty grounds in England with their weird arse stands that don’t fit in: the press box at Lords, the straight cat claw stand at Trent Bridge, and the two red letter boxes at Old Trafford? The grounds aren’t quaint they’re just crap. They can’t seem to build a decent set of stand s around a cricket ground, build a stand on a curve, build them more than one tier high, put a roof on them, join up one stand with another  or construct a ground with a decent capacity. There’s three times as many people in England but their grounds are lucky to have half the capacity of the SCG or Gabba not to mention the MCG. It’s not as if they have preserved any grass areas or grass banks.

Old Trafford: It'll be good when it's finished. Just missing the second tier and the roof
Old Trafford: It’ll be good when it’s finished. Just missing the second tier and the roof

Oh yeah and England retained the Ashes in 14 days. That was a bit shit, anyway off to Durham. Can you put a sneaky $50 on Chris Rogers to top score?

Me: Can do, see you mate.

 

 

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Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

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