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Ashes Series 2013-14: General Discussions

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Post by Pal Joey Tue 17 Dec 2013, 7:25 am

The Ashes Urn has returned to Australia after a long period away.... 4 years 3 months and 25 days to be exact.

Between now and Boxing Day - feel free to discuss the build-up to the 4th Test at Melbourne here.

What changes will England make do you think? Should they keep the core players who have done so well in recent years or is it time to consider a couple of changes for the MCG Test? What team line up would best deliver a balance of experience, form and potential capability?

England played a lot better in Perth with young Ben Stokes scoring his maiden century under very difficult circumstances. Watching the press conferences; Alistair Cook is doing his best to remain calm and although the Ashes are gone; we all know that England will always fight back. Australia will want to keep going forward on their pathway back towards the No.1 spot, no doubt.

To all England fans:
I know how you feel right now but you probably should be proud of the improvement shown in Perth. One small positive can lead to a series of better performances from other players. Perhaps, as some people have suggested - they have been slow starters in this series but I can sense some momentum and confidence is kicking in after Perth despite the loss of Trott early on and the injury to Broad at the WACA.

We all know England are a very good side and you have some potential rising stars waiting in the wings... eager to have a crack at Australia. It's a tough sport and it's played under very testing conditions in Australia especially. I have a strong feeling the last 2 matches will give players opportunities to shine and fingers crossed the weather will behave and they can do what they do best.

Thank you everyone for your contributions on the other Ashes Test threads. Let's continue to keep things civil.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue 17 Dec 2013, 7:52 am

I feel like a bit of an oddball on these threads. First up congratulations again linebreaker to you and your resurgent team.

As for the oddball comment I am a Scotsman who loves his cricket (test cricket in particular though). No Scottish test side so do get behind England as they are nearest to a home side for me. The Barmy Army are a great bunch and so unlike the football supporters of England which is why I have no problem wishing them and their team all the best.

Right enough about my cricketing background and onto Australia's success.

Australia can point to a few things I think for their success and massive turnaround of fortunes. Appointing Darren Lehmann was a great move as he has backed the team amd the pkayers through a dark period. He has got them believing in themselves again and shown trust and belief in them. The team spirit as well seems superb. It may be that they have been through so many hardships together such as the troubled 'Homework Affair' the Joe Root incident and the Broad cheat affair snd seems like they have bonded and used these incidents to inspire them. They have out-performed England in all departments in this series and thoroughly deserve the glory. It is great to see players like Harris, Johnson, Siddle and Watson savour the regaining the Ashes after so many past disappointments.

Well done Australia and soak up those celebrations.
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Post by Pal Joey Tue 17 Dec 2013, 8:29 am

Cheers mate.

It feels great to see them continue their winning ways. Even though the end result for this last Test was never seriously in doubt (due to the huge 500 run target set for England) it was compelling viewing with England mounting a brave final charge led by Stokes in the main.

As you said in the match thread - it was great to see Mitch so emotional there at the end. I didn't expect to see him like that... but it just shows how much it meant to him.  It was also nice to see a few Aussie players string a few kind words together without sounding too OTT and at the same time praising the young kid who played so well for England. That must be some new world record for us!

I think it was Mysti who mentioned the change room atmosphere. That was hilarious! So much beer everywhere. Boof getting the Gatorade bucket treatment and Tubby Taylor's new suit & shirt (sans coat) getting drenched with cheap beer.

Did anyone hear Warner say he'll "get a little bit more emotional later on" after randomly emptying his bottle over everyone?

I beg your pardon? Did I hear that correctly? Laugh Well I never....

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when he reaches that state! I just hope I don't wake up tomorrow to some new shocking controversy. Nothing would surprise me with this lot but I'm praying they have turned the corner and that they are granted some form of temporary immunity by our Security Forces over the next 12 hours or so.

 Those "bloody baastards" deserve it.... Cool
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Post by msp83 Tue 17 Dec 2013, 8:34 am

Best thing Michael Clarke did as skipper was to resign from the selection panel. The best thing the Australian selectors did was to do away with the likes of Phillip Hughes who are not really international class.
It was a massive mistake the way they pushed Simon Katich out, but after failing with a few, they brought in the seriously experienced Chris Rogers. While Rogers hvaven't took test cricket by strom, he has been a calming presence at the top and has chipped in with a few good contributions. Clarke has done well to promote himself to 4 at last and young Steven Smith does look a very promising and a very likable cricketer. And George Bailey hasn't disgraced himself either.

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Post by Mike Selig Tue 17 Dec 2013, 8:40 am

Morning all,

Managed to watch most of it, so can give my usual boring mishmash of thoughts on the day's play first.

Australia looked understandably nervous in the first session. For once, a few things didn't go their way (quite a few edges or miscues not going to hand). I also thought they bowled probably the worse they have all series - a bit straight to Stokes (fine to go for the LBW but you first need to draw him across by bowling outside off; also I don't think he's as comfortable driving through cover as he is down the ground, so I would have tried to get him nicking off as per the first innings) and probably overused the short stuff, which he seems to play pretty well.

Their (relative) struggles were exemplified by a 5 minute passage of play immediately after the Prior dismissal. With Bresnan looking not too comfortable against Mitch, Harris bowled a decent over to Stokes until the last ball, where with Stokes desperate to keep the strike he strangely bowled a back of a length ball down leg which Stokes duly shoveled around the corner for a single. Johnson then bowled Stokes to his first century with 3 short balls and a straight half-volley (which kindly the umpire stopped) instead of keeping him waiting and being patient outside off. The final ball of the Johnson over was at last in the right spot, duly found the edge but it flew into a gap and went for 4.

I'm not trying to be overly critical. Australia were superb in the first innings, and I fully understand the nerves and also the fatigue which would have played a part.

Under those circumstances Prior's shot was poor I'm afraid. Nothing wrong with Prior going for his shots outside off, but not off that length, ideally not against Johnson and the new ball, and certainly not with that (lack of) conviction. It was a bit of a gift of a wicket.

Australia's fielding has again been head and shoulders above England's. Rogers's catch may take some plaudits as it was spectacular, but Haddin's grab off Stokes's bottom edge is the catch of the series so far for me. I cannot stress how hard that is: fullish ball, near the footmarks, flurry of bat as he plays the big sweep, and a decent deflection. Sensational catch, and typical of Haddin's series so far, he has been outstanding (and has made Prior's failings all the more obvious).

I was disgusted that England sent Broad out to bat. By all means if there was any hope of a win or draw, but with more than 150 still needed, 2 wickets left and no more recognised batsmen? This is cricket, not war, and Broad risked severe structural damage to his injured foot for absolutely no reason. Injury prevention for everyone working with young kids just got that bit harder (it is hard enough to tell an injured kid he can't play/bat/bowl without the pros doing it on TV); whilst I appreciate that isn't necessarily of England's concern, Broad's health should have been.

I was pleased to see Lyon get a couple of wickets - he has been one of the unsung heroes for Australia so far: kept things quiet allowing the pace bowlers to have a rest, chipped in with vital wickets and a few runs, and fielded very well as well.

Stokes deserves all the praise he is getting. I thought his technique looked a lot tighter and he was playing a lot straighter than he had done previously. He left the ball well outside off (particularly off Lyon, not risking playing out of the footmarks) and a bit like Smith waited for the Aussies to bowl at him (and a bit like the England bowlers to Smith, Australia were probably not patient enough). I like his character also. He could do a job at 6 for England (I would still rather he bat 7 for the time being), and his bowling obviously makes him a major attribute. I was impressed with him in the ODIs in the summer, and he seems to be improving which is a sign of hard work.

Beyond that, there is not much to say. It has been good to see England showing more fight, but in truth they were again outclassed, in particular Australia bowled much better, and seem to have enough players who can get them out of holes. Smith rightfully MotM for his first innings knock which set the game up (and remains the best innings of the series if you ask me).

Australia have thus regained the ashes, and made a few people (including those who spun the rather puerile line that Mitch Johnson playing was good news for England) a bit silly in the process. I am surprised at the speed of the change in fortunes, but not surprised to see Australia playing good cricket - that has been on the cards for a while now. It doesn't feel like a 5-0 series necessarily and it will be interesting to see if Australia can keep the same intensity now the job is done; I suspect the MCG is England's best chance of avoiding a whitewash.

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler Tue 17 Dec 2013, 9:05 am

Linebreaker wrote:Cheers mate.

It feels great to see them continue their winning ways. Even though the end result for this last Test was never seriously in doubt (due to the huge 500 run target set for England) it was compelling viewing with England mounting a brave final charge led by Stokes in the main.

As you said in the match thread - it was great to see Mitch so emotional there at the end. I didn't expect to see him like that... but it just shows how much it meant to him.  It was also nice to see a few Aussie players string a few kind words together without sounding too OTT and at the same time praising the young kid who played so well for England. That must be some new world record for us!

I think it was Mysti who mentioned the change room atmosphere. That was hilarious! So much beer everywhere. Boof getting the Gatorade bucket treatment and Tubby Taylor's new suit & shirt (sans coat) getting drenched with cheap beer.

Did anyone hear Warner say he'll "get a little bit more emotional later on" after randomly emptying his bottle over everyone?

I beg your pardon? Did I hear that correctly? Laugh Well I never....

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when he reaches that state! I just hope I don't wake up tomorrow to some new shocking controversy. Nothing would surprise me with this lot but I'm praying they have turned the corner and that they are granted some form of temporary immunity by our Security Forces over the next 12 hours or so.

 Those "bloody baastards" deserve it.... Cool



I think the reactions of the players really sum up the reality of how theyve all been feeling despite all the bravado and guff in the press prior to the series. Thier pride has taken a hammering over the last few years and a lot of these guys knew this was their last chance to stake a claim in test cricket. Also the release after a turbulent period with a divided dressing room and a lot of finger pointing. When you add to that guys they respect and look up to chriping in from the edges telling them how much better as men the squads were 10 years ago blah blah you can only imagine the pressure they were under.
To come and out perform England by this much despite losing the "golden generation" of young fast bowlers that previously we had been told were going to blow England away and having to rely on a bunch of aging crocks is quite something.
Its a real redemption for some of these guys who have been busting a gut through the bad times, and in some cases had some very dry spells of form, been in and out of the side and had to drag their game and heads back up to even get selected.

Any great surprise it matters to a guy like Johnson who knows damn well hes never really fulfilled his potential as a player? Or a guy like Clarke whos carried injuries and dragged along a bunch of no hopers for the last few years whilst having his character questioned by his former team mates?

In a way it also shows what Australia always said they wanted a decade ago, a competitive England which made it mean something to actually beat them again. The Ashes does mean something to the players, no question about that.

Also no great surprise to see the Aussies bathed in booze Wink


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Post by 21st Century Schizoid Man Tue 17 Dec 2013, 9:08 am

Australia have beaten England on everything - batting, bowling, fielding, captaincy, coaching, thinking, selection, application and professionalism. IMHO the biggest English disappointment has been the bowling - Anderson and Swann have been utterly abysmal. At least the batsmen have all chipped in at some stage in the 6 innings but exactly what have Anderson and Swann contributed apart from their own personal humiliations?

Very well played Australia and Lehmann and Clarke  clap 
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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue 17 Dec 2013, 9:35 am

Anderson and Swann have contributed with 11 wickets between them but nowhere near as to what was expected of them. The Aussies targeted their weakish form in the series in England and went out to dismantle them and achieved that comprehensively. The batting for England (for me and most pundits and Flowers incidentally) has been the more abject aspect of England's game.
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Post by subhranshu.kumar.5 Tue 17 Dec 2013, 9:40 am

First of all, CONGRATS!!! to all my Aussies friends.
It was pleasing to see Aussies domination after a long time, defeating a world class team in three consecutive sets. 4 years 3 months and 25 days, quite a long period, many things goes here and there. They lost Katich, Ricky and Hussey retired, three Ashes lost, loss to SA and India, but again they are back like the long lost warriors. Aussies team was surely my favorite from the day I start watching cricket and had always witnessed them harnessing other sides but now I am cherishing my old memories with present success of Aussies team. Hope you people will win 5-0.
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Post by msp83 Tue 17 Dec 2013, 9:48 am

Kumar, they didn't lose Katich, he was pushed and kicked out.......!

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Post by subhranshu.kumar.5 Tue 17 Dec 2013, 10:06 am

msp83 wrote:Kumar, they didn't lose Katich, he was pushed and kicked out.......!

I remember, I just don't want to mention that, that's why wrote "lost".
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Post by Dorothy_Mantooth Tue 17 Dec 2013, 10:10 am

21st Century Schizoid Man wrote:Australia have beaten England on everything - batting, bowling, fielding, captaincy, coaching, thinking, selection, application and professionalism.  IMHO the biggest English disappointment has been the bowling - Anderson and Swann have been utterly abysmal.  At least the batsmen have all chipped in at some stage in the 6 innings but exactly what have Anderson and Swann contributed apart from their own personal humiliations?

Very well played Australia and Lehmann and Clarke  clap 

England's bowling has not been at its best and Swann and Anderson in particular do deserve to come in for criticism.  However the series has been lost by the English batsman (or won by the Aussie bowlers).  To average only 186 in the First Innings over the three Tests is totally unacceptable.  

On pitches where around 400 was around par the kind of efforts England have delivered with the bat first time around, has left the bowlers more or less with nowhere to go in the Second Innings.  Yes, England could and should have bowled better second time around, but when the game is basically lost by half-time it’s often difficult to stop the momentum of the opposition, especially when they are batting in the second innings with little pressure against an already tiring attack.

England as a bowling unit have not fired as they would like and should not escape criticism, however the fact is in Test One and Three they kept the Australians down to a manageable first Innings score.    In the Second Test things got away from them, but they bowled well on Day 1 and had Haddin been taken with that simple chance, I doubt the Aussies get 500+.  

Most of England’s batsmen have padded their stats (even then they are mostly poor) with Second Innings runs, sadly in most cases those runs have been relatively pointless.


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Post by Stella Tue 17 Dec 2013, 10:16 am

3-3 with two to play. C'mon England, we can do it. Seriously though, we need to make a couple of changes, just to give some a kick up the bum, if nothing else. The batting has been in the most, terrible, and the bowling, ok at times, but lacking in real pace, and menace. Having a team six down cheaply, and see them make over 300 twice is poor.

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Post by kingraf Tue 17 Dec 2013, 10:20 am

Well saved Guildford... Although I'm not sure if losing a series 5-0 is worse than throwing away a 3-0 lead to lose 5-3 in a super series
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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Tue 17 Dec 2013, 10:29 am

Stokes showed the likes of KP what they should have been doing instead of taking the innings as a chance to show off individually. It's all very well to take the contest to the bowlers and force changes to the field but for KP to hole out the way he did just as England were screaming out for a big score from their top batsman shows that when England have to fight their way out of a losing battle, KP is not your man.

Much like when Cook is in charge of a dominant England, the captaincy runs itself. But when things aren't going your way, he doesn't strike me as the man who is willing to take risks. Look at the second innings of Australia. They didn't have to bat the way they did near the end. But psychologically how did that set up the England second innings. It screamed to England that we are taking the contest to you and we will skittle you. Where was the pressure from Cook in the beginning of Australia's second innings. He sat back and allowed Australia to dictate terms. You can't hope for breakthroughs to come or for Australia to make mistakes. You have to force those mistakes.

England have a siege mentality at the moment. Their confidence has been knocked and they're not putting their heads down to fight their way out of their lull. Johnson has pace on his side but he doesn't have swing or movement as a weapon. The England footwork has been shoddy and shots that haven't had to be played have brought about unnecessary dismissals. Stoke showed that if you concentrate and fight for your wicket, you can graft out a significant score. Too many of the top order have failed to show that fight.

Test cricket is all about applying pressure. England have failed to score enough runs and that is their biggest problem. They have gone in to their second innings buried under the weight of pressure that Australia have all too easily been allowed to apply. When you score runs, you make life easier for your bowlers. The England attack are in trouble without Broad so it needs one of the pacemen to step up and fill the void.

The frustrating thing for England is that they will look back on this series and know they could have performed better. Now with the Ashes lost, it's important they think about the future and make a statement that this was just a temporary blip and that the Aussies won't have it so easy the next time. That starts with building a decent first innings score and everything is built on that.

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Post by guildfordbat Tue 17 Dec 2013, 10:31 am

Mike Selig wrote:Morning all,

Managed to watch most of it, so can give my usual boring mishmash of thoughts on the day's play first.

Australia looked understandably nervous in the first session. For once, a few things didn't go their way (quite a few edges or miscues not going to hand). I also thought they bowled probably the worse they have all series - a bit straight to Stokes (fine to go for the LBW but you first need to draw him across by bowling outside off; also I don't think he's as comfortable driving through cover as he is down the ground, so I would have tried to get him nicking off as per the first innings) and probably overused the short stuff, which he seems to play pretty well.

Their (relative) struggles were exemplified by a 5 minute passage of play immediately after the Prior dismissal. With Bresnan looking not too comfortable against Mitch, Harris bowled a decent over to Stokes until the last ball, where with Stokes desperate to keep the strike he strangely bowled a back of a length ball down leg which Stokes duly shoveled around the corner for a single. Johnson then bowled Stokes to his first century with 3 short balls and a straight half-volley (which kindly the umpire stopped) instead of keeping him waiting and being patient outside off. The final ball of the Johnson over was at last in the right spot, duly found the edge but it flew into a gap and went for 4.

I'm not trying to be overly critical. Australia were superb in the first innings, and I fully understand the nerves and also the fatigue which would have played a part.

Under those circumstances Prior's shot was poor I'm afraid. Nothing wrong with Prior going for his shots outside off, but not off that length, ideally not against Johnson and the new ball, and certainly not with that (lack of) conviction. It was a bit of a gift of a wicket.

Australia's fielding has again been head and shoulders above England's. Rogers's catch may take some plaudits as it was spectacular, but Haddin's grab off Stokes's bottom edge is the catch of the series so far for me. I cannot stress how hard that is: fullish ball, near the footmarks, flurry of bat as he plays the big sweep, and a decent deflection. Sensational catch, and typical of Haddin's series so far, he has been outstanding (and has made Prior's failings all the more obvious).

I was disgusted that England sent Broad out to bat. By all means if there was any hope of a win or draw, but with more than 150 still needed, 2 wickets left and no more recognised batsmen? This is cricket, not war, and Broad risked severe structural damage to his injured foot for absolutely no reason. Injury prevention for everyone working with young kids just got that bit harder (it is hard enough to tell an injured kid he can't play/bat/bowl without the pros doing it on TV); whilst I appreciate that isn't necessarily of England's concern, Broad's health should have been.

I was pleased to see Lyon get a couple of wickets - he has been one of the unsung heroes for Australia so far: kept things quiet allowing the pace bowlers to have a rest, chipped in with vital wickets and a few runs, and fielded very well as well.

Stokes deserves all the praise he is getting. I thought his technique looked a lot tighter and he was playing a lot straighter than he had done previously. He left the ball well outside off (particularly off Lyon, not risking playing out of the footmarks) and a bit like Smith waited for the Aussies to bowl at him (and a bit like the England bowlers to Smith, Australia were probably not patient enough). I like his character also. He could do a job at 6 for England (I would still rather he bat 7 for the time being), and his bowling obviously makes him a major attribute. I was impressed with him in the ODIs in the summer, and he seems to be improving which is a sign of hard work.

Beyond that, there is not much to say. It has been good to see England showing more fight, but in truth they were again outclassed, in particular Australia bowled much better, and seem to have enough players who can get them out of holes. Smith rightfully MotM for his first innings knock which set the game up (and remains the best innings of the series if you ask me).

Australia have thus regained the ashes, and made a few people (including those who spun the rather puerile line that Mitch Johnson playing was good news for England) a bit silly in the process. I am surprised at the speed of the change in fortunes, but not surprised to see Australia playing good cricket - that has been on the cards for a while now. It doesn't feel like a 5-0 series necessarily and it will be interesting to see if Australia can keep the same intensity now the job is done; I suspect the MCG is England's best chance of avoiding a whitewash.

Morning Mike - a very fair and astute post.

Australia were not at their very best over the last two days but still had more than enough in the locker.

You are right to laud Australia's fielding and, yes, Haddin's catch was the best of the lot. The one thing I would say though about Rogers' catch is that it was made by a decent but far from outstanding fielder. I've never seen him come close to pulling off something like that when playing for Derbys or Middlesex. I noted Atherton's comment at the time, ''You get lifted when there are other good fielders around you.'' Australia's brilliant fielding seems to have spread throughout their whole team during this series whilst the opposite applies to England with mistakes rubbing off from one to another.

I also agree with your quiet praise for Lyon. He's not taken things by storm but has never let things slip, taking some key wickets. He's definitely outshone his opposite number Swann which I never expected.

A word of caution about Stokes. Please don't get me wrong - it was a splendid innings. Furthermore, I had him in ''my team'' for this Test at number 6 (albeit with some reservation) and have been flagging that County Champions Durham clearly rate his batting. I trust that all shows I haven't got an automatic downer on him. I just feel that circumstances weren't quite as difficult for him as some posters and professional pundits on SKY have suggested. In my view there was a lot less pressure on him with a total of more than 500 needed to win (which to my mind was never going to be possible - sorry, Duty) than if, say, the last 6 wickets needed to put on 140 for victory when he walked to the crease. Let him - and us - enjoy his success but don't assume too much just yet. Remember that some posters wanted Prior moved up to number 6 for this Test after his 60 odd when the last rites were being given in the second Test - misguided or what?!

I didn't know Smith was man of the match. Seems fair enough although, as throughout the series, an excellent performance from the whole team being extremely well led by Clarke.

Btw, if you haven't seen it, there's a boring mishmash of my own thoughts on page 20 of the first thread as to who might or might not be in the England picture going forwards.


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Post by Stella Tue 17 Dec 2013, 10:35 am

kingraf wrote:Well saved Guildford... Although I'm not sure if losing a series 5-0 is worse than throwing away a 3-0 lead to lose 5-3 in a super series

Me Stella  Very Happy 
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Post by kingraf Tue 17 Dec 2013, 10:55 am

My apologies Stella I've been in at the office since 6 a.m... my mind seems have had a brain fade period from 11-30 to 12-30
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Post by Stella Tue 17 Dec 2013, 11:12 am

kingraf wrote:My apologies Stella I've been in at the office since 6 a.m... my mind seems have had a brain fade period from 11-30 to 12-30

 OK 

Guildford makes more sense than me to  thumbsup 
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Post by Mike Selig Tue 17 Dec 2013, 11:35 am

Morning again guildford et al (I cheekily caught up on a couple of hours of sleep after my last post - the joys of self-study...),

guildfordbat wrote:
A word of caution about Stokes. Please don't get me wrong - it was a splendid innings. Furthermore, I had him in ''my team'' for this Test at number 6 (albeit with some reservation) and have been flagging that County Champions Durham clearly rate his batting. I trust that all shows I haven't got an automatic downer on him. I just feel that circumstances weren't quite as difficult for him as some posters and professional pundits on SKY have suggested. In my view there was a lot less pressure on him with a total of more than 500 needed to win (which to my mind was never going to be possible - sorry, Duty) than if, say, the last 6 wickets needed to put on 140 for victory when he walked to the crease. Let him - and us - enjoy his success but don't assume too much just yet. Remember that some posters wanted Prior moved up to number 6 for this Test after his 60 odd when the last rites were being given in the second Test - misguided or what?!

I agree that we should be somewhat wary to overhype him (I was faintly disgusted with some of the over the top praise lavished on him after his first innings - I can't remember who but someone called it a "cracking little knock" for scoring, what, 16 or so??). I also agree that his runs came when the pressure was to some extent off (indeed if you are being very harsh, just when it looked like England might be maneuvering themselves into a position from which the unthinkable became if not possible then dreamable, he got out).

However, there is understandably a wish to take some positives from the tour, and Stokes is undoubtedly a positive so far. His innings was technically competent, which is the first time I've seen that with him (from a top 6 perspective), and well constructed. Whilst in an ideal world he would IMO bat 7, this world is not ideal from England's perspective, so investing in him at 6 (surrounded by Bell and hopefully Prior) for a couple of years seems worthwhile. Fans will do well to remember how much they thought of him when he goes through his obligatory bad patch...


guildfordbat wrote:Btw, if you haven't seen it, there's a boring mishmash of my own thoughts on page 20 of the first thread as to who might or might not be in the England picture going forwards.

I did see it. I didn't think people could put up with 2 of my posts in quick succession, so I thought I would leave my "where do England go next?" post for a bit. There are a few principles which I think England should adopt:

1) Resist the urge for a complete workover. There has been some talk of "groundhog day", "fresh start" etc. That IMO is nonsense - if Australia's recent struggles have taught anybody anything it is surely that experienced players are needed to help a smooth transition. Simply starting with an entirely new side will lead to failure in the short run, and mental scarring hence more failure in the long run. For some reason conventional wisdom is that it is better for a youngster to fail than a more experienced player, when in fact the opposite is true - the more experienced player will recover better from his failures, whereas the youngster will need more time.

2) Identify key areas for improvement. This isn't purely an issue of selection of course: England have to go away and wonder why all the areas of their game have let them down. From a selection PoV, it is a case of identifying which are the problem positions, or the shortly to become problem positions (due to impending retirements): it is fairly clear that these are 2nd opener, number 3 (assuming Trott doesn't make a comeback), wicket-keeper, spinner and attack leader.

3) Invest in youth (possibly whilst using stop-gaps) to fill in these positions. Investing in youth doesn't mean suddenly picking James Vince at 3 say (although he may do well there), or dropping Swann and replacing him with Kerrigan. What it means is giving your better youngsters the backing and support they need so that when those positions need filling they are ready to take on the mantle. For that reason I wouldn't have Root at 3 yet - it is too difficult when Cook is out of form, and Carberry is a stop-gap; I would put KP there as a stop-gap, and invest in Root at 4, with the understanding he moves up when ready (similarly Ponting spent his early career at 6...). If Robson is pencilled in for the opener's slot, then play him with the Lions, have him working with the England coaches, give him the support he needs whilst Carberry (previously Compo) fills the gap. Similarly with whoever you feel will take over the spinner's slot - if Swann is really busted (I don't believe he is) then Panesar probably has to fill the gap for now. Make sure these youngsters have experienced players around to guide them - I believe Rogers has been another unsung hero of this Australian side, not through the runs necessarily, but I think his experience and calm head rubs off very well on the younger and more impetuous Warner (and Smith).

4) If you make changes, replace players by players you think will perform better. This may sound obvious, but it is a plea against the idea of "change for change's sake" which can sometimes be tempting when a side is underperforming. I don't believe you drop players to teach them a lesson (unless for disciplinary issues off the field, which is separate); I have done this (once, after a crushing defeat, a while ago now), and it is something I regret wholly: it doesn't work, the players recognise it for what it is and resent it, and the player coming in knows you don't really believe in his ability, and is unlikely to perform; above all, it is dishonest, and that is never a path to go down. So if you are going to make changes, make sure they are justified for cricketing reasons, and that you honestly think the player you are bringing into the side will bring something new: replacing KP by say Bopara, well we know that won't work. Poorly though KP has played recently, his average of 33 this year is about as good as Bopara could hope to be.

As to the youngsters waiting in the wings, I thought guildford's point about the diminishing standard of county cricket (and that therefore selecting players nowadays seems like more guesswork than in the past) an excellent one well worth repeating.

I have seen a bit more of Robson than guildford, and he strikes me as a good young player. Seems mature beyond his age, and has a good temperament. Leaves the ball well (crucial for an opener) and is good at waiting for the bowlers to bowl in his area. A little bit limited in his strokeplay, and that is something he will have to work on eventually. I think he is qualified for both England and Australia, and either side could conceivably pick him as an opener in the next couple of years or so.

Taylor I rate highly, but the England management seem not to. I don't know why, I know this time last year they felt he didn't hit the ball hard enough (to oversimplify) but he seems to have worked on that and is now hitting the ball much more crisply. He is vulnerable to the good length ball on or just outside off-stump, but so is everyone. Brilliant fielder also.

A couple who guildford didn't mention in the batting stakes:
James Vince looks a tremendously classy player, and has had the year to back up his talent and push himself into the selectors' minds. He seems like a natural number 3 to me, and strikes me like someone who could make the transition fairly well.
Dawid Malan is another, but he had a catastrophic year for Middlesex. He looks classy, plays spin very well, but has this tendency to get out, which is not ideal for a batsman. Whether he would thrive in the more competitive environment of test cricket (his best innings always seem to come in very difficult circumstances) but for now I think it's fair to say he is a long way from people's thoughts.

Wicket-keeper is a problem. Not sure England see Davies as a long-term option there (which is a shame, cos I rate the guy as a cricketer) - comments last time were that he didn't do enough as a motivator, which is a key role in their view. I reckon Buttler has been earmarked as the successor to Prior, but England will be desperate that doesn't happen for another few years, as he clearly isn't ready just yet. There are no obvious stop-gaps, which is a problem - Read and Foster aren't good enough at batting, so that even a desperately out of form Prior will probably score as many runs. John Simpson (again of Middlesex) may be another to look out for in the future, should Buttler not make the grade. Bairstow's keeping is not good enough, and test cricket is not the place to learn (even if one accepts the argument that you can teach someone to keep wicket adequately) so if he wants the keeper slot he will probably have to battle it out with Buttler down the line.

Spinner is just as much of a problem, because I see no good options there. I had hopes for Borthwick, but he is playing at the wrong county and they have turned him into a batting all-rounder, because his bowling is not all that worth it there. Rashid has gone off the boil. Kerrigan doesn't strike me as good enough (yet?). Who else is there? Panesar as a stop-gap OK, but England need to identify someone to replace Swann in the long run, and fast. I'm sure they're working on it...

I don't rate Woakes's bowling (not enough zip), but I do rate his batting. He could be a batting all-rounder at number 6, filling in the Watson role with the ball. At the moment though Stokes is rightly in front of him.

Barker I haven't seen any of, so will leave it to guildford and Fists.

Meaker I like, but he needs to improve his batting attitude a bit as well, and obviously bulk up and gain more consistency. But there is something there.

Mills is fast, but not very good. I don't rate him highly at all I'm afraid, and would have half-a-dozen names in front of him for consideration. Hopefully since the days of Saj Mahmood England do know that picking a bowler just cos he's a bit nippish is not an immediate recipe for success.

A couple of other names would be Roland-Jones (tall, strong action, probably needs to gain a yard of pace), the Topley guy from Essex, or one of the Overton brothers (can't remember which one). But realistically none of these guys are close to ready yet, and none of them would perform better than the likes of Anderson, Bresnan and co (see point 4).

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Post by Fists of Fury Tue 17 Dec 2013, 11:42 am

Mike, no time to post a proper response just now, but Barker I'd say would be terrific in English conditions. Not so sure elsewhere due to lack of evidence - tough to say how his bowling would fare in the absence of lateral movement.

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Post by guildfordbat Tue 17 Dec 2013, 11:53 am

Mike Selig wrote:

I was disgusted that England sent Broad out to bat. By all means if there was any hope of a win or draw, but with more than 150 still needed, 2 wickets left and no more recognised batsmen? This is cricket, not war, and Broad risked severe structural damage to his injured foot for absolutely no reason. Injury prevention for everyone working with young kids just got that bit harder (it is hard enough to tell an injured kid he can't play/bat/bowl without the pros doing it on TV); whilst I appreciate that isn't necessarily of England's concern, Broad's health should have been.

.

Meant to comment on this aspect before. I was surprised to hear yesterday some of the SKY pundits - particularly Stewart- commenting along the lines, ''unquestionably, Broad has to bat''.

All seemed to be geared towards a message of ''no surrender'' and displaying that we remain up for the fight. I can get that but it always seemed totally unrealistic that Broad would last half a day (nothing like Cowdrey with a broken arm going out to bat in the final over and being prepared to face one or two balls if necessary) and far more likely he would make his injury worse. He certainly looked in pain. No one (in the tv studio) actually knew how bad Broad was which made the certainty about him batting again all the more puzzling.

I also take your point about the example being set to young kids.

Generally, I'm somewhat cynical about Health & Safety issues - feeling they are often over egged - but believe we were too old school in this case.

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Post by kingraf Tue 17 Dec 2013, 12:13 pm

I don't know about the Broad issue. A foot injury is potentially very serious, but it isn't quite letting him bat with a snapped neck, or a grade 1 concussion. If he felt he absolutely had to bat, then there is no reason, imo for him not to go bat. Also, just as know one in the TV crew knew exactly how bad Broad was, neither do we. To be disgusted at letting him bat without all the facts present is premature imo. He may well have been told he probably isn't going to play for the remainder of the series, in which case trying to leave your teammates with something to play for once your gone is a justifiable goal. Similarly he may have been told it's a minor strain/sprain and going out to play is not likely to make it worse. In the end it was Broads decision (hopefully) and I don't think its one he had to make while thinking of the children.
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Post by jimbohammers Tue 17 Dec 2013, 12:46 pm

Only real positives have been Carberry, Root and Stokes

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Post by Pal Joey Tue 17 Dec 2013, 12:47 pm

Yes, he looked in considerable pain and I also thought it was a touch unfair to say: "if he doesn't front up then the Barmy Army will never forgive him" I forget who said that... may have been MV (but don't quote me on it!)

I suppose the only 'positive' for us Aussies was that with all those bandages wrapped around his right foot there was no chance of him causing time delays every few overs unlacing then re-lacing his boots.

A great Inside Cricket show on right now. They had a chat with Ryan Harris (it must have been pre-recorded a few hours ago) and are now talking with Gladstone Small. Hosted by Brendan Julian - AB, Junior and Magilla on the panel. They are obviously thrilled with the outcome today. They are going through each player and identifying strengths and weaknesses. For both sides.

You make some excellent points above Mike. As per usual. I am totally with you on points 1) to 4). I'm not so familiar with the County scene but you seem to have your finger on the pulse. I heard somewhere (in the last few days) that this potential loss (said a week or so ago... I forget by whom now... it's all a blur) "may have a negative affect on the youngsters playing the game in England... and conversely; lead to a mini-resurgence of young kiddies in Oz." I certainly hope that doesn't happen in England. I'm hopeful it won't.

I've seen reports of your good work in France and England (congrats on the Awards, btw) and your country(ies?) certainly need more people like you. The thing I really noticed at the start of England's reign in world cricket was that there also seemed to be a massive uptake of youngsters in all sports in the UK... especially cricket. I felt at the time that this coincided with the build-up to the London Olympics. I seemed so obvious to an outsider like me. When England were doing very well I could imagine the impact that would have on people getting more involved in cricket... as soon as the sun came out. And you did have some brilliantly warm summers from memory?

I'm probably shooting myself (or my country) in the foot here but it's imperative that this mentality of sporting participation continues in both countries. For our own enjoyment.

In Australia, I've also noticed how many a cricket ground on weekends seems to be full of young & competitive blokes of south Asian extraction playing the game. It's very noticeable. There are obviously some wily Aussies too in amongst it. I bumped into a nice Indian lady in a car repair shop about 6 weeks ago (believe it or not) and it didn't take long until she gave me the current rundown of the Sydney Grade Cricket scene. She couldn't stop talking! It turns out her son played for a particular team which is doing very well and she quickly rated the various Districts. In the space of about 15 minutes I felt as though I had learned a lot about the current state of play here. Cricket seems to be in a very healthy & competitive condition here. It sort of made me feel all warm and fuzzy.
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Post by 21st Century Schizoid Man Tue 17 Dec 2013, 12:57 pm

Dorothy_Mantooth wrote:
21st Century Schizoid Man wrote:Australia have beaten England on everything - batting, bowling, fielding, captaincy, coaching, thinking, selection, application and professionalism.  IMHO the biggest English disappointment has been the bowling - Anderson and Swann have been utterly abysmal.  At least the batsmen have all chipped in at some stage in the 6 innings but exactly what have Anderson and Swann contributed apart from their own personal humiliations?

Very well played Australia and Lehmann and Clarke  clap 

England's bowling has not been at its best and Swann and Anderson in particular do deserve to come in for criticism.  However the series has been lost by the English batsman (or won by the Aussie bowlers).  To average only 186 in the First Innings over the three Tests is totally unacceptable.  

On pitches where around 400 was around par the kind of efforts England have delivered with the bat first time around, has left the bowlers more or less with nowhere to go in the Second Innings.  Yes, England could and should have bowled better second time around, but when the game is basically lost by half-time it’s often difficult to stop the momentum of the opposition, especially when they are batting in the second innings with little pressure against an already tiring attack.

England as a bowling unit have not fired as they would like and should not escape criticism, however the fact is in Test One and Three they kept the Australians down to a manageable first Innings score.    In the Second Test things got away from them, but they bowled well on Day 1 and had Haddin been taken with that simple chance, I doubt the Aussies get 500+.  

Most of England’s batsmen have padded their stats (even then they are mostly poor) with Second Innings runs, sadly in most cases those runs have been relatively pointless.

England did beat Australiia on arrogance, conceit and self delusion right enough !  Rolling Eyes 
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Post by Steffan Tue 17 Dec 2013, 1:56 pm

Well done Australia

Ian Botham, Geoffrey Boycott, Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen...your boys took one hell of a beating  Very Happy

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Post by Duty281 Tue 17 Dec 2013, 1:59 pm

Steffan wrote:Well done Australia

Ian Botham, Geoffrey Boycott, Simon Jones, Robert Croft, Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen...your boys took one hell of a beating  Very Happy

Fixed that for you.  thumbsup 

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Post by Steffan Tue 17 Dec 2013, 2:02 pm

Why the hell would I care about Robert Croft for?

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue 17 Dec 2013, 2:07 pm

Stokes's batting was very good although I guess we shouldn't be so surprised, he bats 5 for the county champions at Durham (renowned bowlers wicket), so he must be able to bat a bit.

I wonder does the line if we could see Stokes and Woakes in the same side? I think both have great potential
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Post by Duty281 Tue 17 Dec 2013, 2:34 pm

Steffan wrote:Why the hell would I care about Robert Croft for?

He's Welsh, Steffan, and that is the point I'm lightly trying to make.

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Post by kingraf Tue 17 Dec 2013, 3:04 pm

interesting questions about Woakes and Stokes, Olly. In the late 90s and through the 2000s, S.A. had Pollock and Kallis in the same team, but that's because they absolutely deserved their spots in the team in their primary roles. Kallis, with an average of 50+ is a shoo-in with the bat, and his (at the time) average sub-30 with the ball was a fantastic bonus. Similarly, Pollock with his average of 22-ish was a shoo-in, and his average of 33 with the bat is fantastic. Are Woakes and Stokes good enough to make it with their primary skills? An allrounder is a godsend in cricket, but I don't think any team can afford to carry two bit-part players (acknowledging Stokes ton)
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Post by Steffan Tue 17 Dec 2013, 3:06 pm

Duty281 wrote:
Steffan wrote:Why the hell would I care about Robert Croft for?

He's Welsh, Steffan, and that is the point I'm lightly trying to make.
Yes I know he is Welsh. I was talking to him in the Lydstep races earlier this year as it goes. Plus I used to cheer him on when he played for Glamorgan ofcourse

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Post by guildfordbat Tue 17 Dec 2013, 3:32 pm

kingraf wrote:

... An allrounder is a godsend in cricket, but I don't think any team can afford to carry two bit-part players (acknowledging Stokes ton)

Raf - yes, that's a point I've been trying to make for a while.

Tony Greig was worth almost two players. However, his later short-time replacement and brother Ian Greig was worth considerably less than one.

That's been the case with too many other rank and file county all rounders that England have tried with a staggering lack of success over the years.

The above isn't a dig at Stokes who certainly has something but at the assumption too often made that an all rounder will strengthen the team. He will but only if he is a very good one - if he's not, the opposite applies.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue 17 Dec 2013, 3:42 pm

kingraf wrote:interesting questions about Woakes and Stokes, Olly. In the late 90s and through the 2000s, S.A. had Pollock and Kallis in the same team, but that's  because they absolutely deserved their spots in the team in their primary roles. Kallis, with an average of 50+ is a shoo-in with the bat, and his (at the time) average sub-30 with the ball was a fantastic bonus. Similarly, Pollock with his average of 22-ish was a shoo-in, and his average of 33 with the bat is fantastic. Are Woakes and  Stokes good enough to make it with their primary skills? An allrounder is a godsend in cricket, but I don't think any team can afford to carry two bit-part players (acknowledging Stokes ton)

I'd say Stokes could be good enough to make it with the bat at 6 (he's done better than the others we've tried at 6 tbf), and he could certainly chip in with the ball.

Woakes I'm not so sure about, his first class record is very good. On a wicket that's not doing much he needs to be a bit quicker or bowl a heavier ball to be more threatening though. If it's nipping around I think he could be a 3rd seamer...

I'd say if Stokes became good enough to bat 6, and Woakes to be the 3rd seamer, you could fit them both in. I'm going down the lines of a Broad, Finn, Woakes, Stokes seam attack in the future (in my mind...)
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Post by taguey Tue 17 Dec 2013, 3:48 pm

guildfordbat wrote:
Mike Selig wrote:Morning all,


Btw, if you haven't seen it, there's a boring mishmash of my own thoughts on page 20 of the first thread as to who might or might not be in the England picture going forwards.

Luis Reece from Lancashire looks a prospect. Averaged over 55 (i think) last year. Took a couple of wickets too if I remember rightly

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Post by taguey Tue 17 Dec 2013, 3:49 pm

hmm, that didnt work - thats me saying that, not guildford

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Post by JDizzle Tue 17 Dec 2013, 4:06 pm

I'd have side, pre this Test, that Woakes would be more likely to make the side as a batting all rounder and Stokes as a bowling all rounder. This is the first time I've seen Stokes deliver with the bat, saw him a few times in the flesh in 2012 and he didn't impress too much, but he did look good. An in form Woakes-Prior/Next WK-Stokes combination at 6-7-8 might be interesting in the future at some point in time, not yet though.

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Post by guildfordbat Tue 17 Dec 2013, 4:47 pm

taguey wrote:hmm, that didnt work - thats me saying that, not guildford

No problem, taguey. Thanks for the post.

I haven't seen Luis Reece and can't claim any knowledge of him other than what I've just cribbed from cricinfo. However, that is impressive - 14 fc games, just over 1,000 runs with an average a tad above 50. Admittedly a tough demand at an early stage of his career but it does look like he needs to concentrate on getting 'that big score' and upping his conversion rate - 9 fifties but only 1 century; still a darned good start though. It'll be interesting to see how he gets on with Lancs in Division One of the Championship next season. I'll look out for him - although it won't be against Surrey  Wink .

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue 17 Dec 2013, 4:51 pm

JDizzle wrote:I'd have side, pre this Test, that Woakes would be more likely to make the side as a batting all rounder and Stokes as a bowling all rounder. This is the first time I've seen Stokes deliver with the bat, saw him a few times in the flesh in 2012 and he didn't impress too much, but he did look good. An in form Woakes-Prior/Next WK-Stokes combination at 6-7-8 might be interesting in the future at some point in time, not yet though.

Oh not yet no, but if they could both develop, with Broad as well, we'd bat down to 9 with 4 seamers and a spinner (whoever the heck that might be when Swann retires).

Ideally be like

Stokes/Woakes-Wicket Keeper-Woakes/Stokes-Broad-Spinner-Finn would be quite handy if they'd all just kindly develop... Wink 
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Post by JDizzle Tue 17 Dec 2013, 6:05 pm

Olly wrote:
JDizzle wrote:I'd have side, pre this Test, that Woakes would be more likely to make the side as a batting all rounder and Stokes as a bowling all rounder. This is the first time I've seen Stokes deliver with the bat, saw him a few times in the flesh in 2012 and he didn't impress too much, but he did look good. An in form Woakes-Prior/Next WK-Stokes combination at 6-7-8 might be interesting in the future at some point in time, not yet though.

Oh not yet no, but if they could both develop, with Broad as well, we'd bat down to 9 with 4 seamers and a spinner (whoever the heck that might be when Swann retires).

Ideally be like

Stokes/Woakes-Wicket Keeper-Woakes/Stokes-Broad-Spinner-Finn would be quite handy if they'd all just kindly develop... Wink 

Exactly. What a side that is! The situation isn't as barren as it appears at the moment, we do have a lot of talent coming through that might be able to make the step up. Should be an exciting few years ahead for England still.

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Post by Guest Tue 17 Dec 2013, 6:26 pm

Buttler i think will be given a go this summer...the selectors clearly rate him and is a good batsman in the longer form of the game, hopefully he gets a go this summer.

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Post by 21st Century Schizoid Man Tue 17 Dec 2013, 7:02 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:Anderson and Swann have contributed with 11 wickets between them but nowhere near as to what was expected of them. The Aussies targeted their weakish form in the series in England and went out to dismantle them and achieved that comprehensively. The batting for England (for me and most pundits and Flowers incidentally) has been the more abject aspect of England's game.

Yes but was Swann not the Oval Urinator and Anderson sledger in chief in the summer ? Add to that Broad's disgraceful behaviour and the English press doing there usual boost to galvanise Ozzie opinion. These people have no respect for anyone not least themselves, never mind the opposition. Nice motivational tactics guys !
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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue 17 Dec 2013, 8:09 pm

Oh please Schizoid Man do me a favour. Sledging is part and parcel of the game - all teams are at it. As long as Swann wasn't urinating on another person what is your beef? Not ideal behaviour agreed but it was at a moment of high spirits and celebrations - a time when we have all done silly things we later regretted. As for Broad's disgraceful behaviour - can you enlighten me? Do you mean him supposedly being a cheat for not walking? Well can we call Steve Smith (Australia) the same as he did the same in this test. He hit the ball but was given not out and didn't walk. It was reviewed and he was shown to have hit the ball. Only difference with Broad's instance was that Australia had wasted their reviews so could do nothing about it.
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Post by ShankyCricket Tue 17 Dec 2013, 8:23 pm

Drastic steps after one (admittedly horrendous) series. The side needs rebuilding but i'd first try and fix the areas that haven't been sorted yet before touching the established players. The 2nd opener and the 3rd seamer. You could say Number 6 too but I'd like to see Stokes given a run there. Carberry has done okay at the top in fairness but I'm not sure sticking with an unproven 33 year old who doesn't look like getting past the 60s is a good idea. I'd be thinking of blooding a young opener (not Root, he belongs in the middle order IMO, in fact, I won't even have him at 3, I'd much rather have Bell there and Root at 5 with a view to moving him up to 4 when KP calls it a day). And I'd look to blood a fresh 3rd seamer. Not Finn who needs county time, not Rankin, who should have played on this tour but isn't that long term an option, certainly not Tremlett or Bresnan. I'd be looking at a new face there. Maybe go for whoever performs the best on the Lions tour to SL.

KP, Prior and Anderson all deserve the upcoming summer against considerably weaker opposition in Sri Lanka and India to redeem themselves. I'm not sure how much Swann has got left in his tank but the replacements don't look all that alluring either. I guess he may retire anyway. We'll have to wait and see. If he does retire or if the England team management feel he is past it, they have no choice but to go with Panesar as a stop gap option. I don't rate him very highly but he does have 150+ test wickets and outbowled Swann (in my opinion) in the Adelaide test. He is far from old for a spinner and doesn't seem to have the chronic injury worries that seem to have plagued Swanny in recent times, so England could still get another 4-5 years out of Monty when Swann goes, as no other viable alternative is in sight. Having said that, I'd still to see Swann get a chance to recapture his form in a home series before a call is taken on his future. Australia has always been a graveyard for overseas offspinners, especially of the orthodox variety and Swann has performed well at home recently. If he does struggle against SL at home, it may be time for him to go and bring Monty in for the India series. But he "deserves" the "chance to fail" in a home series before being dropped. Having said that, as I said earlier, there were reports after England's Ashes win at home last summer that Swann is contemplating retirement at the end of the winter Ashes and that may well happen anyway.

With all that in mind, my England XI next summer. Something along the lines of :

Cook
Robson
Bell
KP
Root
Stokes
Prior (wk)
Broad
Swann/Panesar
Anderson
Young Seamer, who can be a potential attack leader (Jordan? Overton? Meaker? Not Mills for sure. Maybe Finn if he can find some early season county form)

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Post by alfie Tue 17 Dec 2013, 11:31 pm

 thumbsup Some very thoughtful posts above...(and a couple of silly ones !) . Too busy to give my thoughts in detail yet , but I particularly commend Shank's post immediately above as very sound reasoning.

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Post by msp83 Wed 18 Dec 2013, 7:36 am

Has this Robson guy fully committed himself to England? Or is he waiting for whosoever picks him first? Has he played any A team cricket? His first class record doesn't seem all that impressive overall, an average under 40 after playing 59 matches. But he has had a couple of good county seasons.
What about Varun Chopra? He has come through the age group system in England, and he too has had a couple of solid county seasons. There is not a lot of difference in their overall First Class stats either.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed 18 Dec 2013, 8:14 am

Ok this is a worrying stat

Pavilion Opinions ‏@pavilionopinion
England's record in the first three Ashes Tests of away series since 1990:

LLD...LLD...DLL...LLL...LLL...DWL...LLL

That's one win in 21.
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Post by sodhat Wed 18 Dec 2013, 10:04 am

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/sport/sport-headlines/ashes-loss-happened-too-far-away-to-count-2013121882133

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Post by Mike Selig Wed 18 Dec 2013, 10:24 am

Can't disagree with too much of Shanky's post above, although personally I'm not a fan of Bell at 3. It seems to me that he has found his place in the order at 5/6 and is able to express himself a lot more there. I fear by moving him up to 3 we would see the kind of stuff we are seeing from Root - go into his shell, not dare play his shots (especially if England lose an early wicket). Perhaps I am wrong and perhaps he has matured a lot more than I give him credit for; and perhaps it is time for him to take on more responsibility.
My personnal preference would be for Pietersen to move up a spot. I know this may sound daft, but his technique is no worse than someone like Ponting (or even Viv Richards) who were amongst the best number 3s of all time. And we know he would try to impose himself on the bowling. Is there that much difference between 3 and 4? Having Pietersen and Bell at 3 and 5 surrounding Root at 4 could work IMO, and help the youngster free himself up a bit. I've been a bit critical of Root in this series, but it can't be easy, even for a cracking young player, to almost always be coming in after an early wicket, often with Carberry at the other end (and whatever Carberry is good at, taking singles, which is a major part of Root's game, is not one of them), and feel you just have to survive.

msp83 wrote:Has this Robson guy fully committed himself to England? Or is he waiting for whosoever picks him first? Has he played any A team cricket? His first class record doesn't seem all that impressive overall, an average under 40 after playing 59 matches. But he has had a couple of good county seasons.
What about Varun Chopra? He has come through the age group system in England, and he too has had a couple of solid county seasons. There is not a lot of difference in their overall First Class stats either.

I don't know about commitment. I think he's been picked for the performance squad this winter, but I also know Australia changed their eligibility rules with half an eye on him, and that Rogers spent a lot of the summer in his ear...
Having seen both play he is clearly a better player than Chopra. I also think he is a better player than his average. The main thing for me with Robson is how well he leaves the ball, and his composure.


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