The Steve Rixon Ashes Diary 2013 – Chapter 6

Cars on the boundary edge at Durham - headlights at the ready
Cars on the boundary edge at Durham – headlights at the ready

Chapter 6

Batting collapses, beach trips and Tim May

The Fourth Test: Riverside,Chester-Le-Street, Durham

Me: How was the trip up north?

Steve Rixon: Thank goodness we got out of Durham. I mean Chester Lee Riverside or wherever the hell we were. None of us had ever heard of the place before and never want to go back there again after that final day batting performance. Divvers played at Durham for a few years mainly because it reminded him of a small version of er Launceston. It’s a pity then that the  only ground condition secrets he could pass onto the batsmen was that during county games they park cars around the boundary edge and at night games get the drivers to turn on their headlights. Imagine if there was a Test match in Shepparton that’s about the equivalent.

Anyway it was onto Northamptonshire for a two day game against the England Lions (that’s England A rebranded in case you were wondering) Some people were questioning why we didn’t play a proper four day first class match between the tests to get in more batting practice. It was a fair point I suppose but I guess those people don’t have awareness that you need down time in a long tour and the two day game freed up the squad to visit Blackpool for a couple of days and hone their skills at beach cricket. There’s a real lack of awareness that beach cricket is excellent preparation for a test match.

Hadds, Harris & Sidds at the beach. Sidds couldn’t resist showing off his constelation
Hadds, Harris & Sidds at the beach. Sidds couldn’t resist showing off his constelation

Me: I hear Warney has been around the squad a bit. Are you concerned he might take your spin coaching job?

No Warney and I get along great he has the awareness that  I’m the spin coach and he’s the bowling mentor spin focus. We have an awareness of our clearly defined roles and responsibilities as outlined by Pat Howard and his high performance gurus. Yep an awareness that those guideline documents are blank!

Warne showed Lyon & Agar how to do the blowfish. I was surpirsed he could stretch that far given all the procedures.
Warne showed Lyon & Agar how to do the blowfish. I was surpirsed he could stretch that far given all the procedures.

Nathan Lyon has been judged a bit harshly of late, and was pretty stiff to be dropped for Agar to be brutally honest. Lyon’s been working hard on his awareness and is really developing in to a good bowler. I got the IT bloke to jump on the internet and look up some stats for me to do a comparison  now that Nath’s played the same number of Tests as my old buddie and offspinner Tim May.

Matches Wickets Average Economy Strike Rate 5 wickets
Nathan Lyon 24 84 32.4 3.06 63.3 3
Tim May 24 75 34.7 2.37 87.6 3

So he’s better than Tim May and I don’t remember people saying he was crap when he was partnering Shane Warne – maybe that’s got something to do with it! Lyon has been partnered by Doherty & Maxwell! Poor bastard.

Phil Hughes, well what can I say. I heard this the other day,

“the first four years of my Test career, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t know what it was about… you find that your fitness is not right, your technique is pretty wayward and inconsistent and you are getting poor results, then you start taking an analytical approach.”

I thought, you beauty, Hughesy is thinking know, he’s gained an awareness of how to analyse hisgame an awareness of how he’s going to improve. Yeah it all seemed great unitl I realised that quote was from Richard Hadlee not Hughesy. Oh well maybe the penny will drop one day.

It was  good to see Rogers get his first Test century at Durham after missing out in Manchester because of that bloke up on the Old Trafford balcony waving about distracting Rogers. The bloke was Dan Salpietro a bit part Victorian player who plays at the same club in Melbourne as Rogers, Prahran. Well he did, Rogers made a couple of phone calls and Salpietro has been cleared to North Melbourne-Greenvale. Anyone who knows Melbourne premier cricket will know that’s an incredibly harsh punishment. No trophies for you Salpietro!

photo
Salpietro: Off to North Melbourne-Greenvale

The crowd at Durham was good except for a couple of things. How old is too old to signal a four at the cricket? I mean seriously those grey nomads in the green t-shirts and yellow hats were up waving their hats about signalling fours and they’re as old as me! Also that flog with the trumpet! He syas he’s a classically trained trumpeter who plays for the London orchestra or something so I was expecting Baroque period: Bach, Purcell or Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks. Instead we were fed a steady stream of show tunes, one hit wonders and movie themes: Yellow Submarine, Star Wars theme and The Final Countdown! It was like a teenager who had just discovered sheet music. And  fuck me if his seat wasn’t in front of the dressing room balcony for the first 3 days. I fixed him with a bit of the spare silicon tape we had lying around.

I guess I couldn’t comment on a test with talking about he umpires. Unfortunately not much is going to change. On the ICC elite panel 8 of the 12 umpires are Australian or English so can’t umpire in the Ashes. We are stuck with the same four umpires every test: Hill, Dharmasena Erasmus and Aleem Dar. The four of them  just do a dice do to see who stands in the middle, who gets to royally misuse the technology as 3rd umpire and who sits on their backside holding the box of spare balls for 5 days as the 4th umpire. Some are saying that India should supply some umpires, they currently supply zero. Maybe it’s their way of trying to hold the ICC to ransom over the DRS system? You can’t play without umpires. There have even been calls to bring back Billy Bowden! Please don’t inflict that on us again!

Me: Yeah no one wants that. Any tips for the line up in the 5th test?

Steve Rixon: Well I think Jackson Bird is going to have a rest because he was just so intense up at Durham that he’s worn out. He couldn’t even join in with the boys at beach cricket in Blackpool, so he’ll sit this one out.

Jackson Bird: Intensity burn out from staring down the Baggy Green
Jackson Bird: Intensity burn out from staring down the Baggy Green

We’re are going to give everyone in the squad who hasn’t played  a run out in the last Test except Wadey. He’s not quite ready yet or something, anything to make him keep practicing his keeping with me 4 hours a day. Anyway can you put $50 on … umm … ah … I’ve got no idea. Ah stuff it put $10 on Watto to make a ton! Haha, should get some good odds on that!

Me: Can do mate, see ya.

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Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

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