Perth Scorchers Preview BBL|03

IN

Mitch Marsh (injury)

This time last year Marsh the younger was recuperating from detaching a hamstring from the bone. Fortunately this year he is at the moment injury free so expect to see some lusty hitting in the middle order and some distinctly heavy balls being delivered.

Dwayne Smith (West Indies)

The West Indies opener will bring plenty of firepower at the top of the order – a like for like replacement for Herschelle Gibbs. ‘Pipe’ is pretty much a freelance T20 player working in the IPL , Sussex in England and now about to add a second Australian team , the Scorchers, to his resume alongside NSW from the bad old days of the state based Bad News Bash. Unfortunatley Smith has not travelled to Australia due to personal reasons and has been replaced temporarily, if not permanently, by Pakistan all rounder Yasir Arafat. Thankfully Arafat also fits the journey man role perfectly having played T20 in Pakistan, England , Bangladesh, New Zealand and Scotland.

Sam Whiteman (Western Australia)

State keeper who ousted Tom Triffit from the WA job after last season’s Big Bash. Whiteman has been making runs at No 6 & 7 in the Shield campaign.

Joel Paris (Western Australia)

Young left arm medium pacer who is not expected to play. Paris was known at Under 19 level to bowl a very heavy ball.

Liam Davis (Western Australia)

Treacle like Shield opening batsmen who is one of the replacement batsmen for the Scorchers  losing Marcus North & Mike Hussey. Unfortunately Davis is not of the same calibre as either on one of their bad days.

Ryan Duffield (Western Australia)

Nippy pacemen who bowls an incredibly heavy ball alongside players of similar ilk in the WA 2nd XI.

Ashton Turner (Western Australia)

Completely unknown quantity, I’m not even sure if he bats, bowls or keeps.

Rookies

OUT

Mike Hussey (Sydney Thunder)

Marcus North (Sydney Sixers)

Marcus Stoinis (Melbourne Stars)

Joe Mennie (Hobart Hurricanes)

Delisted

Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa)

Ben Edmondson

Tim Armstrong

 

THE SUMMARY

Despite the loss of their two openers from BBL|01 & 02, Marcus North and Herschelle Gibbs, plus Mike Hussey the Scorchers  don’t seem to have replaced theses three batsmen with anyone of any particular note, save for international no show Dwayne Smith whose place is to be taken by Yasir Arafat. More responsibility will fall on the older heads of Shaun Marsh and The King of Northbridge, Adam Voges. Mitch Marsh’s return does give them added middle orcer firepower but the batting depth which was a strength that got the Scorchers into the Big Final in BBL|01 and BBL|02 is no longer present. The five man bowling line up has remained constant with Brad Hogg, 43 years old at tournaments end, and Michael Beer being the spin twins to support the three pronged pace of journeyman South African pro Alfonso Thomas, Nathan Coluter Nile and Jason Behrendorff.

THE XI

  1. Shaun Marsh
  2. Simon Katich*
  3. Yasir Arafat
  4. Adam Voges
  5. Mitch Marsh
  6. Sam Whiteman+
  7. Nathan Coulter Nile
  8. Jason Behrendorff
  9. Alfonso Thomas
  10. Michael Beer
  11. Brad Hogg

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH IF BIG BASH WERE A BAND…

Simon & Garfunkel Katich

Skipper Simon Katich looks to have abandoned the ‘sinker’ role – dropping down the order so he didn’t have to bat – in favour of opening. A little known fact is Katich didn’t quit Australian cricket because of a falling out with Michael Clarke it was actually so he could focus on songwriting and penning acoustic guitar ballads to perform as cricket anthems. Katich is hoping to become the Mike Brady of cricket songs.

 

Simon & Garfunkel Katich: As cool as Mike Brady
Simon & Garfunkel Katich: As cool as Mike Brady

Ashton Turner Overdrive

‘You Aint Seen Nothing Yet’ is one of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s many great hits. Strangely enough the same could be said of Ashton Turner who is yet to do anything of note in any form of the game. Turner made a very rock and roll first class debut, going straight to playing for the Australian XI in a tour match v Sussex on the recent Ashes tour of England without bothering with any of those pesky shield matches first.  Like any good rock and roll band he loves touring with his second first class appearance being a tour match against the touring Englishmen at the start of their current Ashes tour. I’m not sure I could have worked the word tour into that sentence any more.

 

Joel Paris Turner and the Modern Day Poets

The Human Beatbox, Joel Turner, had his fifteen minutes of fame as a contestant on the inaugural Australian Idol. He then when on to have many, many great hits (the names of which escape right at the moment) with a rag tag bunch of cousins and mates who formed a group called the Modern Day Poets.  Two years later the dream was over, the  group had disbanded sighting artistic differences ie none of them had any artistic ability and Joel Turner returned to his mother maiden name, Paris, and took up bowling Modern Day Off Spin, it features subtle variations in flight, bounce and speed but very little actual spinning of the ball.

 

Pat ‘Benatar’ Cummins

Pat Cummins is trying to get batsmen to ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ when he eventually returns to actually  playing a cricket again. After 2 years of injuries following his test debut, Cummins along with fast bowling mates Mitch Starc and James Pattinson has formed a trio called ‘The Great Pretenders’ who are they constantly get injured and rarely make it onto the park. To fulfil their contractual obligations to Cricket Australia instead of playing cricket the trio appear on Cricket Australia sponsor adds like KFC.

 

Pat Cummins in case you forgot what he looks like
Pat Cummins in case you forgot what he looks like

Dwayne ‘Will’ Smith

If Dwayne Smith had made it over to the Scorchers word around Northbridge was that it would have been ‘Dwaynenium’ and the whole team , led by Smith and the King of Northbridge, Adam Voges, was ‘Going to party like it’s 2013…. Yo, hang on, it is.’

The Last Five MCG Ashes Tests

2010

One of the worst Australian performances ever witnessed at the MCG. Batting first Australia were humiliated, bowled out for 98 before tea on Day 1 with James Anderson and Chris Tremlett taking 4 wickets each. England replied with a magnificent 513 with Johnathan Trott the star making 168 not out batting at number 3. He was ably supported by half centuries to Strauss, Cook and Prior. Peter Siddle was tireless for Australia taking 6/75, whilst Ryan Harris limped from the ground on Day 3 with a broken ankle and Mitchell Johnson was at his profligate worst going for 134 off 29 overs.

Australia showed a modicum of spine in their second innings struggling along to 258 before succumbing before lunch on Day 4. England had won the Ashes in Australia for the first time since 1986/87 and the players celebrated by performing a sprinkler dance in front of Bay 13 led by Graeme Swann. An unusual sight on that fourth morning was England fans complaining about having to pay to get in to the MCG to see England take the final 3 wickets to win the Ashes. Outrageous! It cost $28 which was about 18GPD. Try going to a day of test cricket for that in England!

Celebratory sprinkler dance lead by Graeme Swann
Celebratory sprinkler dance led by Graeme Swann

2006

How things change in just a few years. In 2006 England were a rudderless broken down, leaky old tub ready to be scuttled. By the time the 4th test of the series rolled around at the MCG, Andrew Flintoff (what an inspired choice of captain he was – Note: Andrew Strauss was in the same team but was overlooked) and his men were 3-0 down and staring at 5-0 series whitewash. For the purpose of shuffling the deckchairs on the titanic England brought in a new keeper, Chris Reed, and gave Saj Mahmood another run just for the hell of it. Shane Warne was pretty much writing his own script by this stage and he bowled Andrew Strauss thorough the gate to take his 700th test wicket in front of a monstrous home town Boxing Day crowd of 84,000. England were rolled for 159 thanks to Warne’s 5/39 and in reply Australia were in trouble at 5/84 before Andrew Symonds joined Matthew Hayden at the crease. The two Queenslanders put on a partnership of 289 with both batsmen scoring 150s and Australia had managed 419 despite only two other batsmen making double figures, 27 to Langer and Warne who biffed a 54 ball 40.

England rolled over like a playful puppy dog in their second innings managing just 161. Australia had won in 3 days and now led the Ashes 4-0. Of course in front of his home crowd at the MCG for the final time, Shane Warne was Man of the Match.

331365-shane-warne

2002

Australia batted first and Hayden and Langer began proceedings with a 195 opening stand. Hayden made 102 but Langer decided to fill his boots making 250 in a Man of the Match performance. Martin Love, on test debut replacing the omitted Darren Lehmann, made an assured 62 not out batting at number 6. Australia declared at 6/551 and in reply England could only muster 270 with Craig White top scoring with 85. Forced to follow on England did fare better in their second innings making 387 thanks to 145 to Michael Vaughan, leaving  Australia needing 107 for victory. Despite a very strong team chasing small 4th innings totals had been Australia’s kryptonite in this era. Australia struggled along to the target losing 5 wickets along the way but secured victory none the less. It could have been very different – Steve Waugh smashed one through to the keeper but there was only a stiffled appeal, at best, from behind the stumps. Waugh stood his ground, waiting for the umpires verdict and accepted the not out decision despite the protest of England’s captain Nasser Hussain. And to think Stuart Broad is now the ultimate pantomime villain for having done the same. Australia now led the Ashes 4-0.

1998

On Boxing Day 1998 play was completely washed out meaning an extra hour was added at the start of each of the subsequent days play. On Day 2 Australia won the toss and Mark Taylor elected to field. For England skipper Alec Stewart elected to hand over the gloves to debutant Warren Hegg so he could focus on the dual roles of opening batsmen and captain. It worked with Stewart making 107 to provide the spine to England total of 270 all out. In reply Australia were in trouble at 5/151before Steve Waugh performed another rearguard manoeuvre, his signature during the1990s, not just shepherding the tail but giving them confidence and building partnerships with an unlikely allie in Stuart MacGill who made 43. Waugh even retrieved the long forgotten hook shot from his kit bag awkwardly swatting away a couple of boundaries as he remained 122 not out in Australia’s total of 340 with Darren Gough taking 5/96. In their second innings England managed just 244 thanks to half centuries to Hick, Hussain and Stewart with Australian fast bowler Matthew Nicholson playing his one and only test taking 3 wickets. Australia had been set a 4th innings target of 175 for victory and they were travelling along nicely at 2/102 with Justin Langer and Mark Waugh having combined for a 61 run partnership. Mark Ramprakash pulled off a stunning one handed catch at square leg to dismiss Langer and Australia began to crumble. Australia lost 8/62 to lose by 12 runs with Steve Waugh left high and dry on 30 not out. Australia had lost 3/0 at one point and 4 of the last 5 batsmen made ducks. It was another 4th innings chased blown by Australia and a case of what could have been. At the end of England’s second innings a fired up Glenn McGrath lost his cool and tried to bounce out England Number 11 bunny Alan Mullally. Mullally, who had managed 4 consecutive ducks prior to this innings managed to swat away four boundaries to reach 16 before being dismissed. Australia’s final margin of defeat was just 12 runs.

England’s attack was spearheaded by Dean Headley who took Man of the Match honours with 6/60 but also included the tediously painful to watch Angus Fraser. After a slower than walking pace return to the top of his bowling mark, which for reasons best known to Fraser was further back than Brett Lee’s, Fraser would then start a slow, ponderous and elongated jaunt of his uniquely slow ‘running’ gaite up to the wicket before delivering a harmless 120 km/h nothing ball. And repeat five times, all the while huffing and puffing like he was baking under desert like heat when in fact it was 20 degrees at the MCG. Fraser’s overs took an eternity to bowl, eliciting slow hand claps from the crowd, and were a major factor in the last days play being one of the longest in Test history. The first ball was at 10:00am and England secured victory shortly before 7pm. The Ashes was now 2-1 Australia’s way after 4 tests.

1994

Day 1 of this MCG test was not on Boxing Day, it was on Christmas Eve, Saturday December 24 with Christmas Day a rest day before play resumed on Boxing Day. It was also only the second test of the 1994/95 Ashes. Australia batting first managed 279 thanks to Steve Waugh’s 94 not out and England replied with 212 taken apart Shane Warne’s 6/64. In Australia’s second innings David Boon scored 131 with Australia declaring at 7/320 to set England a victory target of 368. They didn’t get close with Craig McDermott taking 5/42 and Shane Warne claiming a hatrick on the 5th morning to clean up the tail and roll England for just 92.

Shane Warne's hatrick in 1994
Shane Warne’s hatrick in 1994

The Steve Rixon Ashes Diary 2013 – Chapter 12

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Middle of the back row – who could that be?

Chapter 12

Third Test, WACA

Hundreds, Celebrations and Winning Back The Ashes

Me: Steve, how are you after those Ashes winning celebrations in Perth?

Steve: Mate, I am stuffed. I’m not sure what took it out of me more, doing fielding drills, coaching and sitting around watching five days of intense cricket in stifling 40 degree heat or the celebrations after we had won. Look every good Ashes Diary needs a  photo montague. I’ve sent you through the photo’s I took at the WACA let me talk you through them.

Clarkey lost the coin down a crack in the pitch when he went out for the toss
Clarkey lost the coin down a crack in the pitch when he went out for the toss

After the toss  the Test started pretty shit actually with Chris Rogers running himself out.Steve Smith held the team together on Day 1 with a great hundred but the guys who were the happiest were the fast bowlers who didn’t have to venture out into the heat.

Ryan+Harris+Australia+v+England+Third+Test+S4E9mcqdzrCl
End of Day 1: The fast bowlers were ecstatic that they hadn’t had to do anything

England batted like rubbish again which we have come to expect really. So by the end of Day 2 we were starting to get a pretty good feeling and esky time dragged on a little bit that evening.

End of Day 2: Esky time got a little bit willing
End of Day 2: Esky time got a little bit willing

On Day 3 England continued to stink it up, capitulating like a bunch of Poms. Then Dave Warner blitzed the bowling to register a century and we were in control. Esky time at the end of the days play was pretty racous, even the coaches got involved.

End of Day 3: One of the better Esky times
End of Day 3: One of the better Esky times with the coaches involved

Day 4 really was just party day. We all wanted to get things over with by then so Watto was given the green light to treat the opening session like a one dayer – we must use this psychology on him more often, it worked. And amazingly he managed to make it to a century before finding a new and bizarre way to get out – run out after watching Ian Bell drop a catch. To add to the festive spirit of the occasion George Bailey made Jimmy Anderson look like a village trundler carting him for 28 runs off a single over.

I can't remember if I took this photo after Watto got his ton or after he was bizarrely run out
I can’t remember if I took this photo after Watto got his ton or after he was bizarrely run out

Unfortunately the bowlers couldn’t blow England away on Day 4 so as punishment we had to do some fielding drills out on the ground. This was where my revolutionary fielding drill was born as we had a bit of esky time out on the ground. Instead of throwing a cricket ball to Rogers I grabbed hold of the nearest thing to me and threw it at him. It just so happened to be the Crownie I had just finished and Chris caught it no problem at all, that’s when we both knew he was ready for a big day of fielding on Day 5. It proved to be true as he pulled off a magnificent catch of Big Timmy Bresnan to his favourite shot – the lofted off drive.

Chris Rogers demonstrates the revolutionary new fielding drill
Chris Rogers demonstrates the revolutionary new fielding drill

Hadds also fully embraced this revolutionary fielding drill,  I grabbed a half full bottle of champers out of Boof’s esky and threw it at him. Hadds had a Crownie in his hand at the time but he still managed to snaffle the bottle of champers. It was impressive, almost as impressive as his catch of Joe Root. All the credit for the Root catch should go to the revolutionary fielding drill.

Brad Haddin demonstrates the revolutionary fielding drill
Brad Haddin demonstrates the revolutionary fielding drill
Haddin dismisses Joe Root. You decide which is the more impressive grab.
Haddin dismisses Joe Root. You decide which is the more impressive grab.

Day 5 was a bit of a pain to be honest. We’d had the beers on ice for so long I was afraid they were going to freeze. Thankfully we finally got Ben Stokes out after lunch and then it was  the procession we’d expected. We were very keen to wrap up the win and get out fo the heat, but not as keen as Billy Bowden who triggered Graeme Swann before George Bailey had even taken the catch to dismiss him!

Our celebrations after the match were highlighted by Nath Lyon leading the song out on the ground, he’s become quite good at it and all the boys know the words now after three consecutive wins so it’s a little bit easier now. Best on ground for the celebrations was Dougy Bollinger actually. I was a little surprised seeing as he hadn’t played a single test, but I was more surprised he had any energy left after 5 days of running water out to the boys in 40 degree heat. I thought he might have ‘hit the wall’ like he did in Adelaide during the last Ashes. Anyway he was best, followed by Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers.

Nathan Lyon leads the song while Doug Bollinger is prominent
Nathan Lyon leads the song while Doug Bollinger is prominent

Righto mate I’ve got some Christmas shopping to do, talk to you after Boxing Day. I’ve heard a bit of a whisper Graeame Swann is going to be dropped, can you put a sneaky $50 on him not playing in Melbourne?

Me: Can do mate, see you later.

Melbourne Renegades Preview BBL|03

IN

Jos Butler (England)

Batsmen and wicket keeper who has been a dynamo in the middle order for England in recent times setting up huge totals or chasing down tall targets by scoring at a furious rate. Renegades appearances will be restricted by England ODI commitments

Mohammed Hafeez (Pakistan)

Opening batsmen and off spin bowler who has played with distinction for Pakistan for many years and frequently opens the bowling for his country – a  rich man’s Glenn Maxwell if you will.

James Pattinson (Melbourne Stars)

Patto has crossed over from the Stars but seems unlikely to see much game time as he recovers from yet another injury. While he continues his recuperation he has been replaced by bowler Jake Reed.

Michael Gale (Brisbane Heat)

Melbourne Premier cricket fast bowler who was picked up by Queensland a couple of season ago but now returns to Melbourne for Christmas to sit on the extended bench at the Renegades. Very experienced at running water and a change of gloves out to batsmen. Injury means Gale has temporarily been replaced in the squad by Tasmanian fast bowler Andrew Fekete. The Renegades can only hope hope he brings the same level of professionalism to 12th man duties

Peter Siddle (new)

Siddle didn’t front for BBL|02 preferring to play only red ball cricket in 2012/13. It remains to be seen if he will front for a cameo appearance or two  for the Renegades as I expect him to have a rest after the Ashes.

Jake Haberfield (new)

Fromer South Australian fast bwoler who journeyed to Melbourne this summer to play premier cicket. He’s excellent led him toi being called up to the Bushrangers last couple of Shiled matches and swung him a last minute Big Bash deal.

Rookies:  Solomon Myre and Matt Short

Solomon Mire, after belting the Renegades all over the park for the Darren Lehmann Academy in their practice match at Ballarat, has been elevated to the Reneagades main squad as replacement for Daniel Harris who broke his hand at training. The 24 year old ‘King’ Solomon is a former Zimbabwe Under 19 representative and holds the record for the highest one-day score in the Darwin and District Cricket Competition when he blasted 260 from 157 balls (including 21 sixes and 13 fours) in July. On the weekend Mire blasted 101 not out from 53 balls to guide the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy to victory against a full strength Renegades attack sans Murali. ‘King’ Solomon was particularly harsh on Jake Haberfield launching him for three consecutive sixes in the penultimate over to all but win the game.

OUT

Alex Hales (Adelaide Strikers)

Darren Pattinson (retired)

32 year old Darren Pattinson didn’t retire because he was old, slow, not particularly good  and could no longer stand up to the rigours of bowling 4 overs every second day. No he retired from cricket to breed and train greyhounds.

Big Bash: No thanks I'm busy with my dishlickers
Big Bash? No thanks, I’m busy with my dishlickers

Delisted

Brendan Drew

James Muirhead

Faf du Plessis (South Africa)

Marlon Samuels (West Indies)

Michael Buchanan

 

THE SUMMARY

The Renegades have kept the core of their table topping squad from last season and added a couple of handy job-share internationals in Jos Butler and Mohammed Hafeez to compensate for the loss of Marlon Samuels and Alex Hales. The batting looks in good shape with Doolan, Rhorer and Cooper all in solid Shield form but the loss of Finch to Australian ODI duties may hurt. Murali returns for a second season but it’s hard to see how both he and Fawad Ahmed can be fitted into the same team, with Aaron O’Brien a more likely spinning partner for Murali. The fast bowling attack looks solid with Western Australia’s Nathan Rimmington returning and left arm all rounder Will Sheridan adding variety. Jake Haberfield, Jayde Herrick and Andrew Fekete will provide the pace bowling support to varying degrees.

Aaron Finch: What in the world of people dressed as cricket playing crows is this?
Aaron Finch: What in the world of people dressed as cricket playing horned birds is this?

THE XI

1. Aaron Finch (C)

2. Alex Doolan

3. Tom Cooper

4. Ben Rhorer

5. Jos Butler

6. Peter Nevill +

7. Will Sheridan

8. Aaron O’Brien

9. Nathan Rimmington

10. Jayde Herrick

11. Muttiah Murailitharan

 

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH IF THE BIG BASH WAS A BAND…

Jayde Herrick and the Half Volleys

Herrick seemed to be a marketing idea gone horribly wrong after he was the Renegades poster boy last year but missed the entire season with injury. People say don’t do things by halves but it must have fallen on deaf ears with Herrick as he does everything in halves. If he’s not sending down half volleys, he’s serving up half trackers plus the odd beam ball – a real split personality: Dr Jayde and Mr Herrick stuff.

The Herrick and the Half Volleys latest album cover celebrated the extensive ink work of Jayde Herrick.
The Herrick and the Half Volleys latest album cover celebrated the extensive ink work of Jayde Herrick.

 

 

 

Jos Butler Trio

Jos Butler has formed a roots and folk band with his Big Bash brothers at the Renegades. He held a ‘Renegades Got Talent’ team building exercise with all his new team mates when the Renegades joined together on Saturday night before their first practice at Ballarat on Sunday. Besides getting heroically drunk and losing their first two practice matches to the Darren Lehmann academy the next day, the evening sucessfully determined the reaminder of the Jos Butler Trio –  Ben Rhorer (bass) and Peter Nevill (drums/percusion)
Michael Hill Top Hoods
Ponderously slow and not particularly good batsmen who will likely be banished from the Renegades ground level bench to sit and watch the game with the fans in the ‘Nose Bleed Section.’ Thankyou, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal, I hear it’s great.
Nathan ‘Urban Rhythms’ Rimmington

When he has time away from bowling a very heavy ball, Rimmo puts together the sets of music to be blasted at spectators at every available opportunity inside the Docklands stadium. Nothing says cricket like the sets of  Urban Rhythms that Rimmo has patented – a lot of American artists like Kanye West and Alicia Keys et al . Rimmo has done such a good job setting up his Urban Rhythm play lists, all the stadium DJ has to do is turn the volume up and down as appropriate on the speaker system ie down as the bowler starts to run in, up after the ball has gone dead.

Tom ‘Alice’ Cooper

Long black hair, black eye make up, occasionally a top hat maybe even a snake draped around him – this is the prefferred after five wear of the Renegades South Australian based Dutch international middle order batsmen.

Sydney Thunder Preview BBL|03

IN 

Mike Hussey (Perth Scorchers)

Literally flown in to fix a sinking ship. Hussey was helicoptored in to the Olympic Stadium in July to announce he’d come to skipper the Titanic I mean the Thunder. Good luck.

Eoin Morgan (England)

Brilliantly inventive T20 batsmen and recently Englands ODI captain. Will only be available for the first half of the tournament as England ODI duties will beckon. In the grand tradition of English cricket, Morgan is Irish. Not sure if the name Eoin (Owen) gave it away.

Chris Woakes (England)

Over rated England all rounder. Early nomination for the Jade Dernbach Award for the Worst International Sigining of BBL|03.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka)

Patented the over the keeper flick the Dil-scoop and plays it with aplomb. One of the leading T20 batsmen in the world Dilshan is a great pick up by the Thunder as he also offers dynamic fielding and some occasional spin.

Ajantha Mendis (Sydney Sixers)

Sri Lankan mystery spinner who garnered a truck load of wickets with his unpickable ‘carrom ball’ flicked out of the front of his fingers. Unpickable that was until the Kiwis spotted he changed his action when he bowled the ‘carrom ball’ and since then he has been spectacularly less successful.

Dave Warner (Sydney Sixers)

After playing BBL|01 at Thunder Warner moved to the Sixers  for BBL|02 despite having a personal sponsorship deal at the Homebush Stadium. He now returns to the Thunder for BBL|03 and I’d suggest Cricket Australia directed him to do it. Regardless it’s unlikely he’ll play a whole lot particularly if he is recalled to the Australian one day team.

Kurtis Patterson (Sydney Sixers) & Luke Feldman (Sydney Sixers) & Daniel Hughes (Sydney Sixers)

Young batsmen Patterson and Hughes and fast bowler Feldman were part of a eight man package deal that the Thunder and Sixers were able to manufacture. In an incredibly complicated deal, that also included the movement of Warner and Sri Lankan international Mendis from the Sixers to Thunder and landed the Sixers Mark Cosgrove, Trent Copeland and Sean Abbott, the Thunder bought the Sixers a pad at Bondi for their interstate players and even managed to reroute Lance Franklin from GWS to the Sydney Swans to get the deal over the line.

Rookies:  Jake Doran and Jeremy Maher

OUT

Mark Cosgrove (Sydney Sixers)

Sean Abbott (Sydney Sixers)

Adam Zampa (Adelaide Strikers)

Delisted

Chris Gayle (West Indies)

Chris Rogers

Martin Guptil (New Zealand)

Matt Prior (England)

Azhar Mahmood (Pakistan)

Adam Coyte

Rhett Lockyer

Simon Keen

THE SUMMARY

The Thunder reacted savagely to not winning a game last season by cutting 8 players, including some poorly performed internationals in Chris Gayle and Matt Prior. In their place the Thunder have, in my opinion, been “handed” a few quality performers by Cricket Australia, namely Dave Warner and Mike Hussey. Hussey comes in as captain with Michael Clarke likely to only be available for token appearances if at all.  The batting has been further strengthened with the signing of internationals Dilshan and Morgan and vastly improved form of wicket keeper batsmen Ryan Carters. The pace bowling is headed by T20 free lancer Dirk Nannes plus solid state performers Luke Feldman and Gurinda Sandhu and looks to be fairly strong. The areas of weakness look to be allrounders and spinners of which the only options appear to be the low profile pairing of Jason Floros and Luke Doran plus Chris Woakes. With limited inputs expected from Warner, Clarke and Morgan expect the Thunder to continue to struggle to make enough runs – another tough season is likely.

Mike Hussey: Flown in to fix the Thunder
Mike Hussey: Flown in to fix the Thunder

THE XI

1. Tilakaratne Dilshan

2. Usman Khawaja

3. Eoin Morgan

4. Mike Hussey

5. Kurtis Patterson

6. Ryan Carters

7. Jason Floros

8. Luke Doran

9. Luke Feldman

10. Gurinder Sandhu

11. Dirk Nannes

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH IF THE BIG BASH WAS A BAND….

The Sydney Thunder have won 2 games in 2 seasons and a lot of their play has been of “village” standard so what better band to represent them than “The Village People”

Luke Feldman – cop

The Queensland fast bowler was actually a cop before throwing in a career chasing crooks to a career chasing boundary balls to the fence.

Dave Warner – bikie

Warner was not adverse to a bit of bikie like behaviour ie throwing punches at opposition players in bars. He also has the mandatory bikie moustache.

Mike Hussey – construction worker

Hussey has been flown in to do the heavy lifting on the underperforming building site. He was initially site foreman in charge of a bunch of work experience kids but has now been given some quality local and international qualified tradesmen to get the job done.

Scott Coyte – army

Coyte is a loyal foot soldier who has proudly worn the green since the Thunder first started. He follows orders and is good for team morale but unfortunately isn’t particularly good at cricket.

Dirk Nannes – cowboy

Nannes is liked a hired gun slinger: he has a lethal left arm and will travel world wide for a well paying, short term T20 contract.

THE PREDICTION: 8th

Sydney Sixers Preview BBL|03

IN

Marcus North (Perth Scorchers)

A handy pick up as an experienced batsmen who has been in excellent Shield form. May not play due to the recent passing of his brother.

Ben Dwarshus (new)

Rookie NSW fast bowler, not expected to play, but is known in Futures Leagues circles to bowl a very, very, very heavy ball.

Mark Cosgrove (Sydney Thunder)

In the off season Cossie shed 16 kilograms and moved onto his 3rd BBL franchise in just the third season of BBL: Hobart Huricanes, Sydney Thunder and now the Sixers.

Nathan Lyon (Adelaide Strikers)

Moved to NSW and the Sixers in the off season from RAdelaide. Look for him to be involved post the Ashes conclusion in Sydney.  Most likely candidate to be the next cricketer to go do the well  trodden “Advanced Hair Yeah Yeah” path

Sean Abbott (Sydney Thunder)

Up and coming NSW all rounder who has impressed in both the Ryobi Cup and the Shield this season. Transferred to the cross town rivals as he hates commuting cross town from his Biondi Beach pad which he now shares with Lance Franklin.

Ravi Bopara (England)

English batting all rounder whose involvement may or may not be curtailed by England ODI selection.

Chris Tremlett (England)

Wears his cricket shirts one size too small and has a very impressive rig. Also bowls a bit of medium dross from a great height and looks like an early contender for the Jade Dernbach Award for worst international signing of BBL|03.

Jordan Silk (Tasmania)

First BBL contract for the ponderous opening batsmen better suited to 4/5 day format. A somewhat surprising inclusion but may show another string to his bow after a reasonable Ryobi Cup.

Trent Copeland (Sydney Thunder)

Parsimonious Glen Mcgrath–esque medium fast to fast medium bowler who sends down a very heavy ball. Known for batting a good couple of metres out of his crease by being married to Australian netballer Kim Green.

Rookies: Shane Cassel and Charles Amini

OUT

Dave Warner (Sydney Thunder)

Ajantha Mendis (Sydney Thunder)

Daniel Hughes (Sydney Thunder)

Kurtis Patterson (Sydney Thunder)

Luke Feldman (Sydney Thunder)

Delisted

Dom Thornley (retired)

An allrounder who made a cricket career out of being a good bloke but the curtain has finally been brought down for good on what was a stop-start retirement.

Ian Moran

Josh Lalor

Sachithra Senanayake (Sri Lanka)

THE SUMMARY

Sydney’s SCG based team have brought in half a team but focussed on strengthening the batting which had previously been a weakness. Marcus North, if he plays, Mark Cosgrove and Jordan Silk all provide solid batting options even if they are not the most dynamic or inventive of strokemakers. The Sixers have a very handy group of all rounders headed by likely skipper Moises Henriques, Ravi Bopara and Sean Abbott which should compensate for the loss of internationals Brad Haddin and Steve Smith who are very unlikely to fit in to many games. In the bowling department the Sixers look a little light on as they are carrying a few injured fast bowlers – Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood  –  and Chris ‘The Rig’ Tremlett looks like a dud buy. Only time will tell if Trent Copeland and old man Brett Lee are able to hold the fort.

Highbrow fast bowler conversation at Sixers training: Just pitch it up mate
Highbrow fast bowler conversation at Sixers training: Just pitch it up mate

THE XI

  1. Michael Lumb
  2. Moises Henriques
  3. Nic Maddinson
  4. Mark Cosgrove
  5. Ravi Bopara
  6. Daniel Smith
  7. Sean Abbott
  8. Steve O’Keefe
  9. Trent Copeland
  10. Brett Lee
  11. Josh Hazlewood

 

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH IF BIG BASH WERE A BAND…

Moises Henriques Iglesias

One is the greatest selling Spanish language musician the other is the greatest ever Portuguese born Test cricketer. The Iberian Peninsula connection is not the only similarity, Enrique is an all rounder of the music industry being an artist producer and hsving his own recording label whilst Moises is a fine all rounder being strong in all 3 facets of the game batting, bowling and fielding and will probably get to show off his captaincy skills as well. Ok I am done.

Steve ‘Johnny’ O’Keefe.

Shout! Despite being the best performed spinner in first class cricket spinner in the past 2 seasons SOK hasn’t received a ‘Shout’ out to join the Aussie squad. During the recent Indian tour Aussie fans were ‘Shout’ ing for his inclusion a little bit louder then but those calls for his inclusion are getting a little bit softer now that Nathan Lyon is being given an extended run. Known to celebrate wickets by shouting, ‘Hey yeah yeah yeah’

Ravi ‘Boom Crash’ Bopara. 

Ravi B is his rapping/DJ name as he puts down block rocking beats and fat urban rhythms in his famous garage sessions in Brixton. Bopara’s nick name is eerily similar to ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi excep that Bopara usually goes ‘Boom’ with a big hit and then ‘Crash’ gets out the next ball. Also partial to Australian music royalty, Boom Crash Opera.

Brett Lee

Back in the late 90’s Lee was in the band “Six and Out” back with some of his old New South Wales cricket buddies like Richard Chee Quee and Gavin Rboertson. Devotees of bad muzak everywhere are hoping Lee will form a new band, “Sixers and Out” with his BBL team mates. Mark Cosgrove (bass guitar), Daniel Smith (drums and back up vocals), Michael Lumb (keyboard and turntables) are rumoured to be pushing Lee to make ‘Sixers and Out’ happen.

Sean Abbott & Costello

Does a great solo stand up routine based on the work of Laurel and Hardy where he plays both characters. Abbott also includes a mean song and dance routine that is expected to be seen on next year’s “Australia’s Got Talent” and “X Factor” Keep watching your TV for this.

THE PREDICTION: 5th

Sheffield Shield Round Up 6

The last round of the Sheffield Shield before the Big Bash has just completed.

The results

Western Australia defeated Tasmania in 3 days at Bellerive Oval. Batting first the Warriors managed 258 thanks to 93 to opener Cameron Bancroft with Tasmanian all rounders Luke Butterworth and Evan Gulbis both claiming 3 wickets. In reply Tasmania’s first innings was held by together by the aforementioned allrounders Butterworth (72 off 87 balls)and Gulbis (80 off 73 balls), batting at No 9, who rescued the team from  7/41 with a 145 run partnership. Allrounder Mitch Marsh was the pick of the WA bowlers with 4 wickets and then held their second innings together with a patient 70, the only score above 30, in a total of 187. Set 250 to win the Tigers fell 84 runs short losing their last 7 wickets for 35 runs while Alex Doolan made 75 out of the team total of 165. First innings heroes Butterworth and Gulbis were both  bowled by Michael Hogan who cleaned up the tail to finish with 5/37.

South Australia took outright points New South Wales at the SCG. New South Wales batted first and managed 373 thanks to 127 to Moises Henriques , his second first class century, and 97 to Ben Rhorer with Joe Mennie the pick of the bowlers with 4/60. South Australia’s reply was built around 118 from Phil Hughes and 80 to Callum Ferguson plus a pair of  lower order 40’s to Joe Mennie and Kane Richardson which gave the Redbacks first innings points. New South Wales stumbled in their second innings, reduced to 3/11, before battling their way to 148 all out. The main wicket taker was Gary Putland with 4/35 . Left with a target of 96 to secure outright points, South Australia collapsed to be 3/6  before Callum Ferguson steadied the side with 45 not out  and South Australia reached the target in unusual circumstances. Very occasional bowler, Ben Rhorer, bowled the last over; his first ball was hit for four, his second ball hit the helmet behind the wicket keeper conceding 5 penalty runs and handing South Australia victory.

At the Gabba, Queensland batted first and thanks to a spate of half centuries managed 382. First innings points were going down to the wire with Victoria edging closer despite being 7 wickets down thanks to John Hastings who was 47. However just 10 runs short of first innings points James Hopes took two wickets in two balls and followed up with a wicket in his next over to secure Queensland first innings points. In their second innings the Bulls declared at 6 for 313  with Joe Burns making a century to set Victoria the target of 325 runs off 79 overs. The Vics were never in the hunt and 4 wickets to Luke Feldman delivered Queensland a 181 run win.

Joe Burns returned to the Queensland team with a century.
Joe Burns returned to the Queensland team with a century.

Points table

South Australia 22
New South Wales 18
Western Australia 14
Queensland 10
Tasmania 10
Victoria 8

Selection

Rob Quiney missed with a calf strain and was replaced with perennial 12th man Dave Hussey making his way into the starting XI. Rather than replace Quiney with an opener the Vics pushed regular number 3 Peter Handscomb up to open and Glen Maxwell was promoted to number 3 in the first innings but managed only 14. Matthew Wade then decided to promote himself to number 3 in the second innings and managed 20. Dave Hussey showed his worth by top scoring in both innings.Victoria also omitted both of it’s spinners, Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland, for it’s trip to the Gabba preferring an all pace attack. Former South Australian pacemen Jake Haberfield made his Victorian debut after notable performances in Melbourne Premier cricket.

Australia watch

Phil Hughes compiled another century, number 24 just 10 days after his 25th birthday, which must put his name at the forefront of any thoughts or discussions about replacing batsmen in the Test line up.

Nathan Coulter Nile and  Doug Bollinger were rested from Shield duties and placed on standby for the Perth Test whilst Test 12th man James Faulkner once again didn’t play in the Shield. He has missed the last 2 rounds due to 12th man duties and hasn’t played a first class match since November 22.

Top order collapses and low totals

There were some significant top order collapses and sub 200 totals in this round of the Shield:

Top order stutters:

SA 3/6

NSW 3/11

WA 4/32

Tas 7/41

Low totals:

Victoria: 143

New South Wales: 148

Tasmania: 196 & 165

Western Australia: 187

Wicket keeping firsts:

Tim Paine collected 10 dismissals in a match for the first time including a stumping off the medium pace of Mark Cosgrove. If Paine is to push for national team honours his batting would need to improve. He managed 12 & 4 in this match and his lone first class hundred remains the 215 he made as a specialist batsmen in his second Shield season.

Matthew Wade, as skipper of Victoria, has used 8 bowlers in an innings in the last 2 Sheffield Shield matches. Against Queensland he employed 8 bowlers in the first innings and took it a step further in the second innings using 9 bowlers including bringing himself on to bowl the last over of Day 3 with Queensland 1/208. It worked with Wade dismissing Joe Burns caught and bowled off his second ball for 102. It was Wade’s first first-class wicket.

Somewhat surprisingly Wade continued to bowl at the start of the next day sending down another 3 overs. For the Vics only Peter Handscombe didn’t bowl in the match, however he did affect the stumping of Ben Cutting off Dave Hussey’s bowling. As Wade had already taken a catch with the gloves off Scott Boland to dismiss Luke Pomersbach it meant two different wicket keepers for Victoria collected dismissals in Queensland’s second innings. This might be a wicket keeping first too.

Matthew Wade at the bowling crease - a sign of muddled thinking at the Vics
Matthew Wade at the bowling crease – a sign of muddled thinking at the Vics

To me the use of two wicket keepers in an innings reflects the muddled thinking afflicting Victoria at the moment:  strange team selection, with Dave Hussey often omitted, an overabundance of all rounders selected- Glen Maxwell, Dan Christian and John Hastings, unwillingness to select the two spinners Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland in all but one game and neither at the Gabba, plus 8 bowlers or more regularly used in an innings. Victorian coach Greg Shippherd’s assertion before the first game of the season, that the 12th man should be allowed to bowl, stripping Shield games of first class status so Victoria could pick both of it’s spinners exemplified this confused outlook. Unsurprisingly the Bushrangers are on the bottom of the Sheffield Shield points table.

The XI

Phil Hughes (South Australia)

Scored 118 in South Australia’s first innings setting up a match winning advantage over New South Wales.

Joe Burns (Queensland)

Returned to the Shield team to open and delivered a century in Queensland second innings to go with a first innings 75.

Luke Pomersbach (Queensland)

Scored 73 and 85 opening for Queensland. Pomersbach has been in fine form after a delayed start to the first class season.

Ben Rhorer (New South Wales)

Rhorer made a first innings 97 and  followed up by top scoring in the second innings with 40. Bizarrely gifted South Australia victory by hitting the helmet behind the keeper in a rare visit to the bowling crease.

Moises Henriques (New South Wales)

Hit 127 in the first innings, his second first class hundred, and also chipped in with two wickets

Mitch Marsh (Western Australia)

The younger Marsh brother contributed 70 out of 187 in Western Australia’s second innings batting at Number 6. His medium pacers also delivered 4/19 off 7 overs.

Tim Paine (Tasmania)

Collected 10 dismissals including a stumpings off the medium pace of Mark Cosgrove. His batting remains a stumbling block however with just 12 & 4 in this game against WA.

Trent Copeland (New South Wales)

The parsimonious Copeland managed a typically frugal 4/92 from 38 overs against South Australia.

Alistair McDermott (Queensland)

McDermott  proved a thorn in the Victorians side with 4/78 and 2/29

Andrew Fekete (Tasmania)

Fekete imnpressed on his return tot he Tasmanian line up with 4/54 and  2/44 against WA.

Michael Hogan (Western Australia)

Hogan took 5/37 in Tasmania’s second innings ,including a devastating late spell bowling three of the lower order, to secure the outright win for Western Australia.

Coming up…

The Sheffield Shield season takes a two month break for the Big Bash. The final four rounds commence on February 12.