6 things we learnt from the Matador BBQs One Day Cup 2014

Record Scores

Tasmania managed 1/398 against Queensland at North Sydney Oval thanks to 229 not out to Ben Dunk breaking all sorts of individual and team records along the way with Peter George carted for 101 of his 10 overs.

Not to be outdone Queensland created records of their own successfully chasing down the victory target with 16 balls to spare reaching 3/402 thanks to 166 to Usman Khawaja and 142 to his opening partner Chris Hartley.

Queensland had been in tremendous form as a batting unit managing three consecutive scores over 350 in a week.

Remarkably just a week earlier Tasmania had been bundled out for 62 against Western Australia at the Gabba.

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Ben Dunk celebrates during his 229

South Australia and Victoria are terrible

South Australia were derailed by  injuries to Johan Botha, keeper Tim Ludeman and the un-retired Shaun Tait who managed just 3 games before succumbing to a groin strain. Mark Cosgrove moved back to South Australia during the offseason but was dropped after a string of low scores. The only shining lights for South Australia were the form of leg spinner Adam Zampa, who grabbed the opportunity to shine in Botha’s absence, and Callum Ferguson.

Victoria fared little better than South Australia managing two wins – one against South Australia and a last over win over NSW. Some questionable team selections and batting order decisions continue to affect Victoria. Captain Matthew Wade was suspended for the second time in 12 months for throwing a water bottle in the change rooms and breaking a window. The game he missed Victoria won against NSW with Aaron Finch stepping in as skipper and Peter Handscomb taking the gloves. It makes you wonder if Wade should be relieved of both duties.

On the other hand Western Australia were a model of consistency as they secured their first one day title since 2003 losing just one game – to Queensland by 1 run when their spot in the final was secured. New recruit, Michael Klinger the former SA and Victorian player, slotted in perfectly at number 3 in the batting order for WA and was the man of the final with 96.

 WA v NSW - Matador BBQs One Day Cup: Final

Rotation but no Spin

Due to the compressed nature of the tournament with 7 games in 20 days for most teams a lot of fast bowlers were rotated – the dirty word of Australian cricket. Western Australia led the way with none of their fast bowlers playing more than 6 games despite the team playing 8 games. Among the pace bowling rotations were the left arm duo of Jason Behrendorf and Joel Paris plus the Nathan’s Rimmington and Coulter-Nile.

In Australian cricket rotations were meant to be out and playing spinners was meant to be in. But of the 1689 overs bowled in the tournament only 269 were delivered by frontline spinners and only 44 of the 289 wickets to fall were to spin. The leading spinner was Adam Zampa with 10 wickets which put him in tenth place on the wicket takers list.

New South Wales, minus Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon on national duty, played no spinner in either the elimination final or the final. Queensland opted for their battery of right arm medium pace in the elimination final bowling Cameron Boyce, the leg spinner, for only 4 overs. Victorian leg spinners James Muirhead (not in squad) and Fawad Ahmed (2 games) saw very limited action.

Changes

GEM offered no spin as to why they twice stopped broadcasting midweek day night games at the end of the first innings. The evening session was streamed on the Cricket Australia website only.

Rumours are circulating that next year may see the tournament played in Western Australia and South Australia next year. Wait and see if that happens but the two city structure of Brisbane and then Sydney worked well this year so it would seem logical to rotate the tournament around the states. Obviously potential wet weather in southern states like Victoria and Tasmania is a concern but it would be unfortunate to deny cricket lovers in those states the opportunity to see domestic one day cricket.

There has also been speculation from Cricket Australia that the  National Performance Squad may have a team in the Matador Cup as soon as next season. The idea has some merit.

Johan Botha lead calls for the tournament to be scrapped and for one day games to be played throughout the season. No thanks.

The XI

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1. Usman Khawaja (Queensland)

523 runs at an average of 74 mean he was unlucky to miss out on Man of the Tournament.

2. Ben Dunk (Tasmania)

A record 229 and 403 runs secured Dunk his spot and a position in the Australian T20 team.

3. Chris Hartley (Queensland)

The keeper formed a formidable opening partnership with Usman Khawaja scoring 403 runs.

4. Cameron White (Victoria)

Named Man of the Tournament ahead of Khawaja for 354 runs with 2 centuries and 2 half centuries.

5. Jonathan Wells (Tasmania)

Made a century to sink Victoria and then belted 6 fours in an over off Gary Putlandin a futile run chase against South Australia.

6. Ryan Carters (New South Wales)

Reprised the Micahel Bevan role of guiding the team home in 4 successful run chases to start the tournament.

7. Nathan Coulter Nile (Western Australia)

Given the surprising lack of all-rounders performing well, Coulter-Nile steps in at number 7 due to his 14 wickets at an average of 10 in just 5 matches.

8. Joel Paris (Western Australia)

The left arm pacemen managed 13 wickets at 13 before injuring a thigh in the final against NSW.

9. Adam Zampa (South Australia)

The South Australian leg spinner was the best performed spinner with 10 wickets in a tournament lacking in notable spin performances.

10. Josh Hazlewood (New South Wales)

Recorded the bowling performance of the tournament with 7/36 against Queensland in the first game on his way to 14 wickets.

11. Gurinder Sandhu (New South Wales)

Despite his gentle approach to the crease Sandhu showed himself to be an intelligent pace bowler taking 15 wickets to be the competition’s leading wicket taker.

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The Sydney Swans 22 From Other Clubs 1996-2014

Since 1996 the Sydney Swans have been remarkably consistent, making the finals in 16 out of 19 seasons, playing in five grand finals and winning two premierships.

Part of the Swans success has been their recruiting of players from other clubs. Whether it be bit part players flourishing with more opportunities, bad boys looking for a fresh start or high profile recruits lured by big money offers, the Swans have had them all and plenty in between.

The Backline

B: Andrew Shauble (Collingwood, 1994-1999 79 games, Sydney 2000-2005 88 games)

A reliable defender Shauble won the Swan’s best and fairest in 2000, his first year at the club. Schauble replaced Andrew Dunkley at full back following his retirement but couldn’t break into the line up for the 2005 premiership.

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FB: Ted Richards (Essendon 2002-2005 33 games, Sydney 2006-  198 games)

Richards was swapped for pick 19 by Essendon, and turned into one of the competitions premier defenders with All-Australian selection and a premiership medal in 2012, marking Buddy Frnaklin in the grand final despite carrying an ankle injury. He is on the cusp of 200 games for the Swans.

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B: Carig Bolton (Brisbane 2000-2002 29 games, Sydney 2003-2010 170 games)

Bolton couldn’t command a regular spot in the Brisbane Lions all conquering team and was drafted by the Swans with pick 3 of the pre-season draft. He went on to be a dual All-Australian defender (2006, 2009) a premiership player in 2005 and co-captain from 2008-2010. Achilles and ankle injuries prematurely ended his career.

1999 AFL Ansett Cup

HB: Marty Mattner (Adelaide 2002-2007 98 games, Sydney 2008-2013, 124 games)

Mattner was a solid wingman/defender at Adelaide and became a valuable rebounding defender at Sydeny and played in the 2012 premeirship. Mattner had amazing durability at the Swans missing just one game in his time at the club before a hip injured forced him into retirement after seven rounds in 2013.

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CHB: Paul Roos (Fitzroy 1982 – 1994 269 games, Sydney 1995-1998 87 games)

After 14 years at Fitzroy and with the club on its last legs, Roos moved to Sydney at the age of 31 on a 3 year contract. He played 4 seasons at the Swans gaining All-Australian selection in 1996 and 1997 and playing in the 1996 grand final. Roos later career was characterised by being an early adopter of gloves, a late ditcher of the mullet and his cricket-like thigh guard. Roos took over from Rodney Eade as coach in mid 2002 and led Sydney to the 2005 premiership.

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HB: Rhys Shaw (Collingwood 2000-2008 94 games, Sydney 2009 –  124 games)

Shaw meandered his way through nine seasons at Collingwood but never really seemed to hit his straps. He was traded to Sydney in exchange for pick 61 and the Swans were able to mould him into a consistent and reliable defender who provided plenty of rebound out of defence. He twice finished second in the Swan’s Best and Fairest (2009 & 2011) and was a premiership player in 2012.

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The Midfield

W: Stuart Maxfield (Richmond 1990-95 89, games, Sydney 1996-2005 200 games)

Sydney swapped defender Darren Gasper for wingman Stuart Maxfield from Richmond. Maxfield played in the losing 1996 grand final side and went on to captian the club but missed the 2005 premiership due to injury .

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C: Paul Williams (Collingwood 1991-2000 189 games, Sydney 2001-2006 117 games)

Williams was always in the shadow of Nathan Buckley at Collingwood, but he stepped out of that shadow with his move to Sydney and won back to back best and fairest awards in his first two seasons at the Swans. He was also All-Australian in 2003 and was an integral part of the 2005 premiership team.

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W: Ben McGlynn (Hawthorn 2006-2009 44 games, Sydney 2010- 66 games)

McGlynn was a elevated off the rookie list at Hawthorn but really took his game to another level in his time at the Swans. He missed the 2012 premiership due to a hamstring injury suffered in the qualifying final against Adelaide.

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Ruck: Jason Ball (West Coast 1992-1999 103 games, Sydney 2000-2005 90 games)

A premiership player at West Coast in 1994, Ball was central to the Swans 2005 premiership putting in a herculean effort late in the game urging his team mates on with his head swathed in bandages. He was the first in a long line of ruckmen the Swans have recruited from other clubs since 2000.

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RR: Josh Kennedy (Hawthorn 2008-2009 14 games, Sydney 2010- 121 games)

Josh Kennedy is third generation Hawthorn royalty. Grandson of legendary premiership coach John Kennedy and son of 200 game, four time premiership player John Kennedy Jr, Kennedy was recurited to Hawthorn aunder the Father-Son rule. He managed 14 games in two season before the Swans swooped with one of the great AFL trades swapping Josh Kennedy and Ben McGlynn for picks 39, 46 and 70. Kennedy has since developed into a midfield general, with All Australian honours in 2012 and 2014, plus a best and fairest and a premiership medal in 2012.


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R: Wayne Schwass (North Melbourne 1988-1997 194 games, Sydney 1998-2002 98 games)

After 10 years at North Melbourne, Wayne Schwass fell out with coach Dennis Pagan after being suspended in the 1997 finals. In a midfielder exchange, the Swans swapped the younger Shannon Grant for the experienced Schwass, in a mutually beneficial trade. Schwass won the Swans Best and Fairest in 1999.

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The Forwards

HF: Nick Davis (Collingwood 1999-2002 71 games, Sydney 2003-2008 97 games)

The Swans would not have won the 2005 premiership if if hadn’t been for Davis’ four last quarter goals against Geelong delivered a dramatic victory in the semi final. Davis in now the Swans runner and goalkicking mentor to Lance Franklin.

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CHF: Barry Hall (St Kilda 1996-2001 88 games, Sydney 2002-2009 162 games)

Big Bad Bustling Barry Hall arrived in Sydney with a tattoo on his right shoulder that looked like a pair of boxing gloves. Hall soon transformed this image into a fearsome redback spider and was on his way to 7 consecutive leading goal kicker awards (2002-2008) as he booted 467 goals for the Swans, three All Australian selections (2004,2005,2006) , co captaincy (2006-2008) and the 2005 premiership. Hall also won the 2004 best and fairest but his time at Sydney unravelled after he punched Brent Staker in the jaw in 2008  and he called time on his Sydney career mid way through the 2009 season.

A year into his AFL odyssey.

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HF: Lance Franklin (Hawthorn 2002-2012 189 games, Sydney 2014- 22 games)

Dollars talk. Sydney prised Lance Franklin away from a successful Hawthorn team with the lure of $10 million dollars over 9 years. It was a Godfather offer – too good to refuse.For his part Franklin has already started to repay the investment, generating increased media interest, boosting crowds at the SCG , winning the Coleman medal and gaining All Australian selection in 2014. Franklin was one of Sydney’s best players in their grand final defeat.

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FP: Mitch Morton (West Coast 2005-2007 12 games, Richmond 2008-2011 59 games, Sydney 2012-2013 12 games)

Cameo stories don’t come much better than Mitch Morton. After three seasons at West Coast and a four year stint at Richmond, in 2011 Morton fell out of favour with the Tigers and was traded to Sydney for pick 79. He struggled to meet the exacting standards demanded by the Swans but finally made his debut in Round 21, 2012. Morton went on to play the last five games of the season and kicked two vital goals in the Grand Final. He retired due to persistent injuries at the end of 2013 at just 26 years of age.

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FF: Tony Lockett (St Kilda 1983-1994 183 games, Sydney 1995-1999, 2002 98 games)

After 12 seasons and 898 goals for StKilda, Plugger skipped  away from the media spotlight in Melbourne to call Sydney home. In his first year at the Swans he kicked 110 goals and won the best and fairest award (the year Paul Kelly won the Brownlow). Locket also managed  a century of goals in 1996 and 1998, years in which he won the Coleman medal and All-Australian honours. In 1999 Plugger broke the long standing all time goal kicking record of 1299 goals. He is in the Swans team of the century.

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FP: Craig O’Brien (Essendon 1989-1991 21 games, St Kilda 1992-1995 52 games, Sydney 1996-2000 41 games)

Craig O”Brien was the small forward foil to Tony Lockett at both StKilda and Sydney. His best effort for the Swans was six goals in the narrow victory over Hawthorn in the 1996 Qualifying Final – a game Lockett missed through injury.
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Interchange

Peter Everitt (St Kilda 1993-2002 180 games, Hawthorn 2003-2006 72 games, Sydney 2007-2008 39 games) 

The colourful career of ruckman Peter Spider Everitt concluded at the Sydney Swans. Everitt fell out of favour with Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson in 2006, and with the offer of a 2 year deal, arrived at the Swans at the age of  32.

His younger brother of 15 years, Andrejs, is also a three club player and had a few seasons at the Swans (2011-2013, 43 games) in between stints at the Western Bulldogs and his current club, Carlton.

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Shane Mumford (Geelong 2008-2009 21 games, Sydney 2010-2013 79 games)

Geelong took on Mumford as a project player in their VFL team in 2007  but after he progressed to the AFL side in 2009 the Swans came in with a big money offer – rumoured to be $1million over 3 years –  that the Cats couldn’t hope to match. Mumford finished second in the Swnas best and fairest in his first season at the club and developed into one of the premier ruckmen in the competition. He was a premiership player in 2012.

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Darren Jolly (Melbourne 2001-2004 48 games, Sydney 2005-2009 118 games)

After being rookie listed in 2001, Jolly was third choice ruckman at the demons battling with Jeff White and Mark Jamar to get a game. The Swans saw something they liked though and gave up pick 15 to Melbourne in return for Jolly. He repaid the faith, missing just two games in his five years in Sydney and playing in the 2005 premiership sharing ruck duties with Jason Ball.

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Derek Kickett (North Melbourne 1989 12 games, Essendon 1990-1993 77 games, Sydney 1994-1996 63 games)

It is well known that Derek Kickett walked out of Essendon after being dropped for the 1993 grand final. He left the premiers and headed to the back to back wooden spoon winners, Sydney. Kickett endured a tough first season, winning the wooden spoon in 1994, before things began to turn around in 1995 with the arrival of Lockett, Roos and Ron Barassi as coach. Kickett’s final game was the 1996 grand final.

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Emergencies

Kurt Tippett (Adelaide 2007-2012 104 games, Sydney 2013- 26 games)

Just as it appeared Tippet would return ‘home’ to Queensland, the Swans pounced with a massive cash offer and suddenly Tippet recalled he was born in Sydney and grew up on the Gold Coast so either destination was ‘home’. A 12 match suspension for salary cap cheating at Adelaide didn’t stop Tippet winning the Swans goalkicking in 2013 but knee injuries restricted his output in 2014.

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Kevin Dyson (Melbourne 1991-1995 70 games, Sydney 1996-1997 35 games)

Dyson is one of the lesser known players in this list but he was an important cog in the Swans midfield playing as a centreman in 1996.

His route to the Swans started with stints at Fitzroy and Carlton without playing a senior game followed by Oakleigh in the VFA before being picked up by Melbourne and then lured north to Sydney.

Dyson’s career was prematurely ended due to the travel demands of his job (that the club had helped him find) prevented him from fulfilling football training commitments. How times have changed since 1997!

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Robbie AhMat (Collingwood 1995-1997 25 games, Sydney 1998-2001 42 games)

AhMat was a goalkicking small forward for both Collingwood and Sydney. His career highlight was winning goal of the year in 2000 for a five bounce run from the half back flank at the SCG.

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Of course there are always those player recruited from other clubs who’s time at Sydney didn’t work out quite as well:

Scott Russell (Collingwood)  1999, 16 games

Ryan O’Connor (Essendon) 1999-2000, 24 games

Brett Allison (North Melbourne) 2000, 9 games

Stephen Tingay (Melbourne) 2001, 0 games

Nick Daffy (Richmond) 2002, 1 game

David Spriggs (Geelong) 2005-06, 5 games

Paul Chambers (Geelong) 2006, 12 games

Henry Playfair (Geelong) 2008-2010, 16 games

Daniel Bradshaw (Brisbane) 2010, 9 games

Mark Seaby (West Coast) 2010-2012, 18 games

Tommy Walsh (St Kilda) 2012-2014, 5 games

 Have I missed anyone?

Let me know by leaving a comment below

Franchise before Country and low scores in the Matador – this week in Australian Cricket

Champions League T20

The tournament that got no TV coverage in Australia, either Free-to-air or on Pay TV, concluded last Saturday with the Chennai Super Kings defeating the Kolkata Knight Riders, featuring forgotten Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins, in the all-IPL final.

The Hobart Hurricanes and Perth Scorchers, last years Big Bash finalists represented Australia and as per the last two years the Scorchers were underwhelming. The Hurricanes, however made the semi finals thanks to some fine batting efforts notably the domestic journeyman and T20 specialist Aiden Blizzard.

The timing of the CLT20 tournament – seven months after the previous Big Bash, but only three months until the next – makes from some interesting player appearances. Players who have moved franchises in the BBL trade window, still represent their ‘old’ BBL team. For instance, Craig Simmons, the big hitting opener who moved from the Perth Scorchers to the Adelaide Strikers after BBL|03 was representing the Scorchers at the CLT20.

The timing of Australia’s only T20 International against Pakistan was also interesting, being the day after  the final of the CLT20. Cricket Australia directed Australian players whose teams progressed to the CLT20 final to play for their franchises and forego the opportunity to represent their country as was the case with Pat Cummins.

Famously Mike Hussey and Doug Bollinger were put through a brutal schedule by Cricket Australia in 2010; forced to play in the Champions League in South Africa with their team the Chennai Super Kings making the final on September 26 and then a Test match in India on October 1  where Bollinger broke down.

It is interesting to see how this dilution of resources for the national team fits in to Australia’s plan to be number one in all three formats. It could be argued that playing in the IPL, and to a lesser extent the CLT20, is the best preparation for T20 players given the paucity of T20 internationals that are played. However most would probably see it as Cricket Australia putting commercial interests, it is a 30% stakeholder in the Champions League, ahead of the best performance of the national team.

Matador Cup

The opening week of the Matador Cup has been characterised by some incredibly low scores and teams not getting close to batting out their overs. The opening day of the tournament saw Victoria bowled out for 111 in 38 overs handing Queensland a 9 wicket win in just 22 overs, whilst NSW’s Josh Hazlewood destroyed South Australia with the third best figures in domestic one day history with 7/36.

Two days later New South Wales defeated Queensland after bowling the Bulls out for 190 and cashing down the target with four wickets in hand. Ryan Carters has shown the ability to guide home a run chase with two undefeated innings at No 7 delivering victories to the Blues.

The exception to this low scoring was the first game televised on GEM for the tournament – the Victoria v South Australia day night game at the Gabba on Monday. South Australia made 299 thanks to some intelligent late hitting by wicketkeeper Tim Ludeman and Victoria chased down the target of 300 with nine balls to spare due to a century to Cameron White, who managed three figures despite severe cramp, a blitz from Dave Hussey (65 off 41)and  some lusty blows from John Hastings in the final overs.

Two days later both teams were back in action.

The Vics were rolled for 155 in 30 overs cahsing Tasmania’s 287. Tasmanian paceman Sam Rainbird did the dmamge with while Jon Wells hit his first one day century scoring 106 batting at No 6 to rescue Tasmania from a precarious 5/75.

South Australia and Western Australia were in a low scoring scrap with the Redbacks bowled out for 147 in 29 overs and the Warriors then crawled to victory with seven wickets down in the 37th over.

South Australia is having a tough tournament with no wins from three games and face an uphil battle to make the top three.They have also been hit with injury with Ludeman and skipper Johan Botha both missing the WA game due to hamstring complaints.

Shaun Tait’s comeback could not be considered an outrageous success so far with figures of 0/68 and 2/39 plus eight wides. He was rested from the game against Victoria and it looks like he will be playing one game on/one game off through the competition.

The earlier competition pace setters are NSW with two victories from two games but delayed starts to the tournament for Tasmania and Western Australia due to their Champions League commitments mean they have only played one game each.

The tournament continues in Brisbane until Sunday when it moves onto Sydney. With all six teams now playing their are televised games on most days.

World Cup Preparation

Ireland’s Australian leg of it’s tour down under completed this week with two games against the ACT comets at Manuka Oval. Two victories including a chase of over 300 with 9 wickets down in the last game showed Ireland had improved form it’s two disappointing performances against Queensland the week before. Ireland had strategically used this tour to become accustomed to the venues they will play at in the World Cup – they play South Africa at Manuka Oval and the UAE at the Gabba. Ireland now depart for more ground familiarisation in New Zealand.

Scotland on the other hand suffered two defeats against the Queensland Academy of Sport after splitting their two matches against a Tasmania 2nd XI the week before. A notable name playing for Queensland was former South Australian paceman and one-Test wonder Peter George – he took 5/28.

I’ll say it again Ireland, Scotland and any other Associate countries should be playing in this season’s Matador Cup. There could be no better preparation for a World Cup in Australia and New Zealand than playing in a four week 50 over tournament in Australia against, hardened Australian state sides. Both Ireland and Scotland have previously played in ECB run 50 over competitions against County teams so this concept is not without precedent.

Australia Watch

Australia cruised to victory in the T20 against Pakistan with Aaron Finches captaincy debut going smoothly and Dave Warner back to his switch hitting best. The Australian team included four debutants – all rounder Sean Abbott, pace bowler Kane Richardson, leg spinner Cameron Boyce and Phil Hughes who batted at number five.

Steve Smith made a century in Australia’s One Day International victory over Pakistan in Dubai on Tuesday evening/Wednesday. It is interesting to note it was his maiden ODI hundred batting at No 3 as a stand in for skipper Michael Clark. Just over 24 hours earlier Cameron White was making a match winning century for Victoria in the Matador Cup, and there are some interesting career parallels between the two batsmen.

Both were initially selected in the Test team as front line leg spinners. Smith’s century brought back memories of White’s maiden ODI century against England at Southampton in 2009, batting at No 3 as a stand in for rested skipper Ricky Ponting. From there it looked to be up and up for White but things haven’t panned out that way, and 5 years on White finds himself outside the national team set up. However he should be a strong contender for the World Cup squad.

Talk of Glenn Maxwell returning to the Test team seem to be strengthened every time he gets wickets, rumours are circulating that he may well be in contention for the Pakistan Tests after injuries to Shane Watson and now Mitch Marsh, who strained a hamstring representing Perth Scorchers in the Champions League, reduced the options for the all rounders position which is now considered essential to the Test XI.

Leg-spinner Cameron Boyce was rewarded for a strong showing in BBL|03 with a T20 international debut  for Australia. Curiously with Mitch Marsh withdrawn from ODI squad, Xavier Doherty was flown over to the UAE  as cover – replacing a pace bowling allrounder with a spinner. If a spinner was wanted why not keep on Boyce who flew to the UAE just for the solitary T20 match?

New South Wales allrounder Sean Abbott made his ODI debut and is correcting the imbalance of right armers in the One Day team with the attack featuring plenty of left armers – Mitch Starc, Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner.

Big Bash Update

Only  10 weeks to go unitl BBL|04 and the Cricket Australia marketing machine is just about to hit the over drive button.

The first tit-bit of scandal was the story this week that Kevin Peterson may no t get the ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the ECB he requires to play in the BBL, up to 2 years after he has last played for England.

With KP’s biography causing more conflict between him and the ECB, I guess it could happen that the ECB would not grant a No Objection Certificate but it would seem to be a highly inflammatory move. Petersen is scheduled to land in Melbourne in time to prepare fro the Big Bash with a game

Muttiah Muralitharan has called time on his playing career after reducing his playing commitments  in several T20 leagues over the past 12 months. He won’t be returning to play for the Renegades in BBL|04.

Matador BBQs One Day Cup 2014 Preview

The name

Well as per previous incarnations, the Mercantile Mutual Cup, the ING Cup, the Ford Ranger Cup and the Rypbi Cup, the sponsors name is key to having a domestic one day cricket competition in Australia.

Somewhat confusingly the competition is being referred to as the Matador Cup which conjures a different image in my mind to the Matador BBQs Cup.

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The matador was very impressed with Queensland’s performance

And it’s not just the competition name that is out their have a look at some of the sponsored team names:

myFootDr Queensland Bulls – what?

Alcohol. Think Again Western Warriors – nice use of punctuation

Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers – well that is what Bushrangers did, rob banks. This is Victoria

West End Redbacks – geographically challenging, it’s South Australia

The format

The format is the similar to last season with the competition condensed into a four week tournament to begin the domestic cricket season. This year there has been an increase from 6 to 7 games per team.

The competition starts in Brisbane with games at the Gabba and Alan Border Field before moving to Sydney with games at North Sydney Oval, Bankstown Oval and Drummoyne Oval.

It begins on Saturday October 4 and concludes with a preliminary final between 2nd and 3rd at Drummoyne Oval on Friday October 24 before the winner takes on 1st in the final at the SCG on Sunday October 26.

The rules

No rule variations or experimentation this year with standard One Day International Rules applying ahead of the World Cup in February-March. There will however be no DRS.

The coverage

It’s on FTA TV in glorious HD on GEM. 15 of the 23 games will be broadcast on Channel Nine’s digital channel GEM which is very good coverage considering a lot of the games are on simultaneously. However disappointingly neither of the opening games on October 4 will be broadcast – is Nine using all it’s HD cameras at the NRL grand final the next day? Not sure.

Last year all games were day games but this year there are day/night games scheduled for the Gabba and Drummoyne Oval which should make for more convenient TV viewing, particularly for the weekday games.

The Southern Stars’ Meg Lanning will be commentating and is likely to be joined by the usual Channel Nine boneheads of Michael Slater, Brad McNamara and Tim Gilbert. Hopefully Tom Moody returns as the articulate and considered voice of reason in the commentary box.

Ian Helay takes break from commentary duties to cook for the skippers
Ian Helay takes break from commentary duties to cook for the skippers

The winner

Queensland have won the past two one-day competitions and should secure their third straight title.

What they should do….

Recently Associate nations Afganistan, UAE, Scotland and Ireland have been touring Australia in preparation for the World Cup.

In the Matador Cup the six states are playing seven games each so are playing two opponents twice. Why not sub in Ireland and Scotland to replace those double up games and have eight teams playing seven games each then semi finals and a final? Admittedly Scotland’s and Ireland’s performances have generally been disappointing on this tour but what better preparation for a World Cup in Australia than playing in a four week one day tournament?

The seven games per team is still short of  the 10 games played in the one day cup from from 2001/02 to 2010/11.  Given there is a 50 over World Cup later this season and in England in 2019, this reduction in matches seems counter productive to Cricket Australia’s stated aim to be the number one ranked country in all three formats of the game.

To get the one day cup back up to 10 matches would require the tournament to start one week earlier which could not have happened this year because the Hobart Hurricanes and Perth Scorchers were competing in the Champions League T20 during this week. Once again the CLT20 is causing fixturing difficulties for Australian cricket.

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The players to watch

Given the Australian one day team is playing Pakistan in Dubai for the first part of this competition it is chance for some lesser known players to impress ahead of the World Cup.

Western Australia

Michael Klinger makes his debut for his new state after leaving South Australia in the off season. He will be keen to impress with runs at the top of the order.

Sam Whiteman was the top Shield keeper last season and impressed for Australia A in four day cricket over the winter. Brad Haddin looks to be the first choice keeper for the World Cup but with Matthew Wade seemingly in and out of favour with selectors the 2nd keeper position in the World Cup squad might be up for grabs and strong performances here could see Whiteman take that spot.

Michael Beer and Ashton Agar are the forgotten spinners of Australian cricket and it will be interesting to see how Western Australia mange both of them as they haven’t often played in the same XI. Perhaps more spin friendly pitches in Sydney may allow both to ply their trade in the same side.

South Australia

Shaun Tait, The Wild Thing, hasn’t played one day cricket since retiring from the format after the 2011 World Cup to globetrot for T20 cash. Tait has stated he wants to help SA win silverware but it looks like he will only be playing 4 games in this competition, using it more as preparation for the Big Bash.

Jake Lehmann is a batsmen and the son of Australian coach, Darren. He made some runs in the Futures League last season and impressed in pre-season matches so gets his opportuinity –  no pressure!

Johan Botha, the SA skipper, was reported in last years tournament for a suspect bowling action. Given the world wide crack down on illegal bowling actions (it seems any spinner who bowls in a long sleeve shirt is in trouble) Botha may look to play as a batsmen, giving leg spinner Adam Zampa more games, or start wearing short sleeve shirts.

Mark Cosgrove returns to South Australia after three seasons in Tasmania and his class a the top of the order will be invaluable.

Victoria

Chris Tremain is the New South Wales fast bowler who transferred to Victoria in the off season and will be looking to start his career with the Bushrangers on a positive note.

Pace bowler Jake Haberfield has the best bowling statistics in domestic one day cricket and will look for more of the same in his Victorian one day debut after moving from SA to Victoria last season and playing some Shield cricket only for the Bushrangers.

Dave Hussey is the hardened veteran of the Victorian team and needs just 1 more game to reach 100 one day game for the Bushrangers.

Alex Keath has been a promising all-rounder for a number of season but has failed to secure a regular game let alone deliver on the expectation. Hopefully this tournament he can cement a spot in the Bushrangers line up and produce some performances of note.

New South Wales

Ryan Carters had a break out season in four day cricket last season making the Shield team of the year as an opener. It will be interested to see if he can transform that rich vein form into the 50 over format.

Nic Maddison is the likely opening partner for Ryan Carters. The 22 years old left hander has been talked about for higher honours and has played one T20 international for Australia.

Kurtis Patterson career began with a century on Shield debut for NSW at the age of 18. His one day game is still a work in progress but the now 21 year old will look to convert starts into more meaningful contributions – not always easy to do batting at number 6 in limited overs cricket.

Tasmania

Ben Dunk was the player of the Big Bash last year with his top order batting and it will be crucial for the Tiger’s success that he brings his 20 over form to the 50 over game.

Jordan Silk is a class young batsmen who has shown he is adept in all three formats of the game. He missed the second half of last season due to injury but it is ameasure of how highly he is rated in Tasmania that he has been made vice-captain for this tournament.

Sam Rainbird is a fast bowler with the best name in domestic cricket.

Queensland

Usman Khawaja, the mystery man of Australian cricket, was instrumental in delivering Queensland the title last season with a century in the final. Look for more of the same from the composed left hander.

James Hopes, the veteran Bulls skipper just keeps getting the job done more so with the ball than with the bat these days but is still a genuine all round threat in 50 over cricket.

Joe Burns, smashed a century against Ireland in a warm up match prior to the tournament and looks to be in good form.