Tag Archives: ben hilfenhaus

The amazing story of the first ball of the Ashes

For a long time music and talking filled the ground, then it all stopped.

The pitch was empty as the umpires strolled out there and Andrew Strauss would face the first ball of the Ashes from a man wearing comedy moustache to try and bring a bit of history to the moment.

The crowd swelled, because as we all know, the first ball of the Ashes always tells the whole story.

Once you see it, watching the rest of the series is completely useless.

So when Hilfenhaus came into Strauss, it wasn’t just a normal delivery, it was a story, a fable, epic and far reaching. Steeped in history, mystery and folklore, you’ll tell your kids where you were when Hilfenhaus bowled it.

Because they will want to know about the ball that was outside off stump and left alone by Strauss.

They won’t even care about the rest of the over in a few hundred years, just that first gentle dot ball.

What a story it tells.

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balls profile: Ben Hilfenhaus

Part Clydesdale, part man.  Before trying to bring the art of out swing back to the people of Australia, he was a bricklayer.  He uses his brickie hands, his brickie shoulder and his brickie mentality to bowl many overs for Australia until he gets injured and Australia call someone else in.  It shows how tough test cricket is, because when he was a brickie he would get the rest of the brickies to throw bricks at him and he’d let them hit him for hours on end.  Would look better with a mullet.

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too easy

I was going to make a snappy little post about this, but I felt it was too easy. 

 “It’s interesting to see each other’s balls. Mine’s, one side is a little bit rougher than Ben Hilfenhaus.”

That is Mitchell Johnson talking about, well, I could never really say it on a family site like this. 

Thanks to Q for the tip. 

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Trev Barry wash up

Sorry about the pun.

I don’t usually wrap up one day series, and I wont do this one.

I will say sucks to be you New Zealand, 2 zip up, work their way back to 2 all, and then rain fucks up their finish.

That must smart.

This has been an interesting time for the players though, there has been some fresh faces, some character arcs, and forced rests.

Martin Guptil may have a stupid name (it’s not funny or cool to say, yet still odd enough to mention) but he showed on debut he can bat, well last night he showed he can smack, slap, and carry his team.  The rest of the series he struggled a bit, but there is class and dash in him.

Callum Ferguson jumped the queue by finding form at the exact right time, and then kept his spot by getting some of the best luck of any debutante ever. Hard to say whether he made more runs, or got more dodgy LB decisions, but once he was let go at the Gabba, he was a force of furious destruction.

Ben Hilfenhaus has been talked up for a long time, but when he finally gets in he is very up and down. His good is unplayable, his bad is anal fodder, and no one is any surer about him now than they were before.

Tim Southee came into the series with a decent effort against Australia in the test series behind him, but in the one dayers he has been easier to score from than Tara Reid. He also has only 3 wickets in the series, and without the new ball he looks like a change bowler.

Brad Haddin took his chance at the top of the order, the one that most people thought he would have had by now. He really isn’t, and has never been, a good middle or lower middle order white ball batsman. At the top of the order he took over, and Warner might have to wait a while for a recall now.

Iain O’Brien needs a swab. In England he was a medium slow bowler who filled up an end. Now he is almost genuinely quick, and he took 10 wickets in this series, the Australian’s seemed to score off him easily, but if he can keep taking 2 wickets a match the kiwis will keep him around.

James Hopes has gone from a bits and pieces all rounder to the man Ponting throws the ball to during a drama. He has also batted in the top order, and his forehead is still awesome.

The greatest story has to be Grant Elliott, who has managed to turn himself from Jacob Oram’s hamstring replacement, into an international all rounder. No one is sure how, but he has.

One day you might say, “as kiwi as Grant Elliott”.

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the ball bagger

The Oldest Young Man in Australian cricket, Doug Bollinger, is going to the West Indies.

Finally Ben Hilfenhaus has been ruled out with injury.

This is the same injury I have been harping on about all year, his back.

I have mentioned this before, but I’ll do it one more time just for kicks, at the G before a game against the Vics, Hilfenhaus looked like a car in pit lane, there were so many people working on him, and i think they replaced a limb.

On form Bollinger should have been going ahead of him anyway.

Sure he is from NSWales, but unlike the other duds they pick from no where, he actually has performed better than any other young quick in the country.

Peter Sizzle is the only other player anywhere near him, but his arm is in a sling, and therefore Douggie had to get a go.

For those of you unaware of Bollinger’s particulars, he is a tall, bald, left armer of reasonable pace, who seems to get wickets by the bag full.

He does look a little dopey, and it took him a while to shave his whole head even though he was fooling no one.

The selectors have been saved by this injury to Hilfenhaus.

Because as good as bowler as he is, and oh how he is, he shouldn’t be trying to break his way into the Australian team coming off the worst season of his life.

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The other ozzie newbies

OK so I have already ranted about Beau Casson’s NSWales quota selection and beamed about Future Pm’s selection, but surprisingly I still have more to say about a tour that is going to be a non event.

Now I can move on to the rest of the new selections.

Ashley “matrix” Noffke, not quite sure where he fits in to the scheme of things for actual selection. But for me he simply had to be picked. This season he had the second best all round results in the history of State cricket.

I am just glad he is now playing awesome against all states like he has always done against Victoria, cause frankly I was sick of being picked on. It will be interesting to see what the plans for this man are, but the way he is playing now, Haddin at 7 and him at 8 is a nice new combination.

Simon “the krab” Katich, was a man I could do without ever seeing play for Australia again. He has had so many chances, he has never consistently performed, and I don’t like the way he bats. This year he has made a kabillion runs beating the record of another man who just could not make it at test level, Michael Bevan.

Bevan could not make it at this level because of technique. The krab is in the same caravan. I do believes he deserves his selection into the squad, but I hope like hell he never gets picked.

Ben Hilfenhaus, don’t let the fact I’m about to bag him confuse you, this guy can bowl. But this year he played half fit, under done, before a one day game at the G, I saw him go under medical procedures that I had only previously seen Mr Burns go through.

Last year the man was the best first class bowler in Australia, this year he is made of liquid cheese.

Shaun Marsh (one day sqaud), is the son of the grinding Geoffrey Marsh. And was earmarked for Australian duties as an infant. His selection in this squad seems a little odd, but it may have been as a potnianl replacement for Gilly as opener if the rest fail.

This boy is a serious batsman type batsman, and he is a ten year player but just not sure if he is ready right at the moment.

Cameron White (one day squad), is here to replace the tongue. I have long argued that when all is said and done he is a better cricketer than the tongue, lets see if he can prove me right.

Oh and Michael Clark was named Vice Captain, because well, I have no idea why, but he was.

I’m sure I have something to say about that.

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The PM Vs. The King

The K-Rudd XI played a match against the Sri Lankans today at that place that isn’t quite Melbourne and isn’t quite Sydney, but has porn and fireworks.

Lets get the important bits out of the way first, the king kumar failed, got a very pretty nut from Hilfenhaus.

Now the game.

Cameron White was given the role of winning the toss and batting on a green top, and the cream of Australia’s one day crop folded like a foldable object.

The ended up at 152 all out.

A lot of ugly shots.

Noffke top scored with 30, so for him it was just like another game for Queensland.

Future PM David Hussey, SOS Marsh and the kiwi Ronchi all made dashing 20 odd’s, but the rest of their team mates couldn’t even provide that.

Malinga got 3 important wickets, those of the two Victorians and Animatrix Noffke.

The Lankans got to the score 6 wickets down, proving the pitch wasn’t a belter.

Dilshan and Sanath made the majority of the runs. If it wasn’t for Dilshan’s not out the Lankans may have lost, with everyone else going out without much of whimper.

Hilfenhaus and Noffke both impressed in their bowl off for Taits spot, and Cameron White did something we all assumed he had taken a solemn vow never to do again, he took wickets.

Perhaps Manuka oval is the only ground left in Australia that favours bowlers, no wonder it never gets minnow tests there.

Sime was heard to remark after the game, that under John Howard the PM’s XI were much stoic, dignified and conservitive.

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Is swing bowling Australia’s kryptonite?

Swing bowling has been around for a long time.

The Demon Fred Spofforth used it.

And I’m sure the English had an opening bowler who perfected it before Rasputin was a boy.

My point is this is not a new phenomenon.

Australia has even had bowlers that practice the art, Bob Massie, Terry Alderman, Alan Davidson and Rick(y) Ponting among them.

However when a ball is delivered towards them, and it swings, in either direction, in either fashion, they tend to miss, nick or slice it.

It is a worrying thing.

I even have evidence. Mind you its evidence from my memory, it’s not based on facts or anything.

Case 1, Ashes in 2005.

You could blame McGrath’s Ankle, Ponting’s odd decisions, Warne’s dropped catch, Rauf’s hatred of Martyn, but to me the real reason was Australia’s absolute capitulation to the swinging ball, reverse mostly, but occasionally traditional as well.

Case 2, Ben Hilfenhaus.

Tasmania won the Sheffield pura Shield cup last year. Sure they had some handy batsmen and an allrounder who played an amazing final, but simply put Hilfenhaus averaged over 6 wickets a game bowling outswing. It was almost as if no one in Australia could play him.

Case 3, Agit Agarkar once took wickets in Australia.

I thought the reason we switched from Platypus balls to Kookaburra balls, was to stop international teams from swinging the ball.

Perhaps we need a new ball, the echidna?

Emu?

Wombat?

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spin this

With Stuey MacGill off filming Wolf Blass ads and forgetting to return calls, coupled with the fact India are coming out, the talk in Australia turns to a four pronged pace attack.

It does make some sense, which is odd for a selector. Australia is bathing in the glory of a golden age of quicks. McGrath may have left the building, but I have never seen so many options in state ranks.

Tasmania has Ben Hilfenhaus, the working class boy who seems stoked just to be thought of. He could single-handedly re invent the art of outswing bowling, and he seems like a pretty good bloke.

Western Australia has a stable of adopted fast bowlers. The one that is shining the brightest at the moment is Matthew Inness, the former Victorian left armer. His first class average is 25, and yet he has never been close to Australian selection. Perhaps its bias against carrot tops.

South Australia has the hitman, Shaun Tait. The man who is the pin up for what a fast bowler should be. Bowls so damn fast be practically rips his arm from its socket. Plus this other guy who at one stage was the go to guy for the Australia team, but now releases books about how Ponting was mean to him.

Victoria has never had problems finding quick bowlers, they just can’t keep any of them on the park. Harwood, Wise, and Denton are all top class quicks, and any of them on their day can rip apart a top class batting line up. And they have Dirk Nannes (say it out loud).

Queensland has a team of geriatric quicks, but they also have Ashley “Animatrix” Noffke. Who is in better form than Will Smith. Although calling him a fast bowler is a bit much, in fact calling him fast medium is a bit much, he is Greg Blewett paced, which makes him Mcgrathish.

Then there is New South Wales, who technically have a test match attack at the moment. Lee, Clark, and Bracken are all international players with either red or white balls. Just behind them is the oldest young dude ever, Doug Bollinger. Who recently destroyed Tasmania like nothing since they realised Princess Mary was from there.

So if Australia was ever to pick 4 quicks it should be now.

I think it would be a mistake, I was at the G the other night, the ball spun and bounced. Victoria used 3 spinners. The Mcg, Scg, Adelaide and the Waca are all venues that spin.

4 quicks is something that countries with no spinners do, Australia have 2 old stagers to pic from, or 2 young spinners from South Australia.

We are not ready to play one dimensional cricket like South Africa just yet.

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state season from s to t

I thought I better write about the other state teams now, before Tasmania dismember Queensland and I look like I’m jumping on the band wagon.

So heres my follow up on the next two teams in aussie domestic cricket.

South Australia-

Very youthful squad. But they’ve been youthful for a long time now. The word promising is only used before your name for so long. They have the three old boys Lehmann, Elliott (traitor) and Dizzy Gillespie. And then a truckload of hopefuls that are either too fat, or not ready yet to make the next level.

Batsmen are their biggest concern, Cosgrove can bat, but he’s out of shape. Adcock, Ferguson and Borgas have had wraps on them for quite a while. They look like cricketers, but no real results. Manou is a battler who plays above himself probably the least talented keeper in the country, but he fights on regardless. Lehman and Elliott will provide the backbone, and Elliott is essentially playing as an assistant coach.

In the Bowling the have the two most exciting spinners in the country. Problem is for South Australia Bailey and Cullen haven’t won them many games. This is the year, I’d play them both, play an all rounder, probably Cleary, and Gillespie. Add another decent quick and that’s a more than useful make up. Their bowling has been their strength of recent times, but when Tait is fit he won’t be playing for them.

The rub is that they could be anything, but probably wont be. The minute Cullen or Bailey takes wickets they’ll be in the Australian side. If Elliot plays all year, that means their young batsmen still haven’t stepped up and they won’t finish anywhere. Likely finish 4-6.

Tasmania-

For years the shit kickers of state cricket, but all of a sudden look like they could win everything. Hilfenhaus, Butterworth and Paine are all good enough to be10 year players for Australia. They are the reigning champions, they are young, they are hungry, and this may be the last year they all get to play together before their big three depart.

Their batting looks average on paper. But on the ground looks fierce. Di Venuto is one of those dudes that could have had an long international career for most other countries. Dighton, Birt and Bailey are unknowns, but they are all very talented at waving their bats around. Paine is the man, if the Australian selectors could find the balls they had when they selected McGrath, Warne, Steve Waugh and Ponting, he will be Australians next wicket keeper. He bats well enough to be a number 3 in the pura cup winning team, his keeping is better than Gilchrist. What’s not to love?

Bowling wise it’s all about Hilfenhaus at this stage. This boy could single-handedly revive the lost art of out swing bowling. If Lee or Johnson don’t get wickets against Sri Lanka this boy simply must be picked. Butterworth is still too raw to know whether he is a first change bowler or a third change bowler, but he can play and this year they expect big things from him. Damian Wright is still a classy bowler, and gets more wickets than higher profile players. Xavier Doherty is a good spinner, I’ve liked him since I first saw him. Left arm orthodox is not taken seriously in Australia, hopefully X man (it would have to be his nick name, wouldn’t it) can revive it and put some pressure on those South Australian spinners.

The rub is that if this team stays healthy, even without Hilfenhaus they should win the title, only the Victorians or the Queenslanders have the lists to stretch them. Likely finish 1-2.

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