Tag Archives: george bailey

George Who: The invisible Australian captain George Bailey

During Australia’s World T20 campaign in 2012, George Bailey dined in the crab restaurant owned by Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. More than other slightly overpriced crab restaurants, this is a place of cricket. They don’t hide who the owners are, and there are pictures of other cricketers around as well. The waiters also love cricket. They were very excited, as many famous current players and legendary ex-players had been in. They were keen on meeting more. The man who waited on George Bailey was a massive Cameron White fan. He spoke of how White used to be the Australian T20 captain. When asked who the current Australian captain was, he didn’t know.

Bailey just sat there uncomfortably. With a slight smile.

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The first ball of George Bailey’s Test career at the Gabba was eased through mid-on. It was from Stuart Broad. There are far worse ways of starting your career than with an on-drive for three. Interestingly, it was an empty mid-on. From the start it seemed that England didn’t rate him.

After that, every ball Bailey faced in that innings would be from James Anderson. He missed a bouncer, edged a length ball that didn’t carry, and played and missed at an outswinger. During all of this, Jimmy spoke to Bailey. His famous sledging style: through his fingers. Bailey spoke back, and smiled.

Until he nicked off to Cook at slip. His feet set in stone. His hands looking for the ball, and his edge completing the wicket. He had made 3 and was Anderson’s first wicket of the Ashes.

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Bailey made an impact almost immediately in domestic cricket. Not completely as a batsman, but for his smile. He smiles a lot. There was an ad one year promoting the one-day tournament and in it was Mick Lewis, the grizzled Victorian quick, saying how much he hated George Bailey smiling. But despite the smile, and the obvious talent, Bailey never really pushed for higher honours.

If you saw him bat, it was strange. With no real follow-through, he could smoke the ball to the fence. Pace and spin didn’t seem a problem. He could play on rough wickets. What he couldn’t do was produce the sort of season that you need to get picked. Almost all Australian cricketers do it. A 1000-run season that makes everyone shout your name.

Bailey never went past 778, which he made in his second season.

In 50-overs cricket he was always pretty good, but never “lock up your daughters this guy is burning your world down” good. In T20 he was the same. He played for Scotland when they were in the English domestic cricket set-up. But it was only in 50-over games, and he didn’t do enough to make a stir.

He also played in the IPL, for the best team, Chennai Super Kings. Many Australian players had made good reputations doing good things in the IPL. Bailey was there for four seasons. In that time Super Kings won two IPLs and were runners-up once. He played four games. His top score was 30.

There were no editorials written demanding his inclusion. He wasn’t signing multi-million dollar deals. He just played a bit of cricket, mostly at home, and occasionally abroad.

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After Mitchell Johnson’s first innings at the Gabba, batting got easier. And Bailey had only one over from Anderson. Australia were well in front, Anderson was soon taken out of the attack, and instead Bailey faced Joe Root, Chris Tremlett and an out-of-sorts Graeme Swann.

Bailey reacted to this like a good team man. He smashed Root and Swann for sixes. He had not yet hit a four in Tests, but he did have two more sixes than Jonathan Trott. He was keen to show how much he had listened to instructions to attack the spinners, and that he could forget about putting a price on his wicket and just get Australia the runs they needed to declare. It was not always smooth but it was a positive sign.

That was until he looked like a badly programmed robot, playing up a line that Swann had not bowled. He was out for 34.

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In Ed Cowan’s book, In the Firing Line (part diary, part bromance epic with Bailey), he wrote about a conversation that he and George had about the future after cricket. Both guys had got to around 30, felt a way away from playing for their country, and now had to think about the worst thing many professional cricketers fear – getting a real job.

There is good money in playing first-class cricket into your 30s, but you have to want it. You have to be prepared to get up early, train harder than the kids, prepare like a pro, knowing that your ultimate dream is gone. There are some players who play on without all this, but they are the obscenely talented. Bailey is good but not obscenely talented. A drop off in his work ethic could have meant he was no longer automatically picked, and even a career cashing in at the lower level may not have been available to him.

So when he chose to keep playing, it was because a part of him still believed. He was willing to keep working hard. He had won domestic titles. He had chased his dream professionally for over a decade, but when you are only one lucky phone call from playing for your country, it’s a big call to become a schoolteacher or batting coach.

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Neither of Bailey’s Gabba innings made anywhere near the impact that his stoush with Anderson did. England had been placed inside a brass bull, the fire had been lit beneath it, and all that was left was the last screams as they roasted to death.

Australia pushed for the last wicket, but Anderson wasn’t quite cooked. Just before the 80th over started – one where he faced up to Johnson from around the wicket in the “Imma gonna kill you” style – he was already on edge. While Johnson warmed up, it was clear that Anderson and Bailey were chatting, and that Anderson wasn’t kidding around. He walked over to Bailey, standing tall above him, and nothing he said seemed like a John Keats poem. Politeness wasn’t in evidence. Neither man even seemed to let the other finish a sentence.

Bailey smiled, Anderson scowled, the umpires walked in hurriedly, they used the international sign for calm down, and then everyone went back to their marks. Michael Clarke chatted within the stump mics’ hearing range.

“Face up”, said an aggressive Clarke.

“I’m quite happy to,” said a passive-aggressive Anderson.

“Get ready for a broken f****** arm,” said Clarke walking backwards knowing that one of the world’s most dangerous bowlers was on his side.

George Bailey continued to smile. Anderson survived seven more balls.

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If George Bailey wasn’t a good captain, he probably would have been even less known. Bailey had inherited a decent side from Dan (son of Rod, not Geoff) Marsh. But he made it even better. Partly through building a team ethic, partly by smart recruiting. George was well known and well liked within Australian cricket. Anyone he thought could be good for his team turned up. Ed Cowan, Jackson Bird and Mark Cosgrove turned up. Armed with these three, two good allrounders, and a bunch of other quality bowlers, he built an empire on green tracks that he and the other batsmen tried to survive on.

They made six finals under Bailey. They won three. For a state with no real record of prolonged success, and about 35 residents, it was a brilliant effort. And when Australian cricket changed under the reign of John Inverarity, George Bailey was their sort of man.

He knew about things other than cricket. He could bring people together. He was calm. He was cool. He was worldly. He was a winner. And he was bright. Then he was Australia’s first-ever captain who had not played for Australia before.

Even though it was the least important captaincy position, it painted a target on his back.

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The score was 174 for 4 when Bailey appeared in Adelaide. He was dropped. He brought up his first Test fifty with a six off Broad. And continued to hit sixes.

When he came in, Australia were very nearly in danger of throwing away a huge advantage on a flat track, with their in-form captain at the other end. Bailey batted like a batsman without a care in the world. When England bowled a bad ball, he went after it. When they didn’t, he just handled them fine. Bailey outscored his captain.

The ball made a good noise off his bat when he smacked it. He looked, for the first time, in complete control. He came down to the spinners on the odd occasion Monty Panesar wasn’t bowling short. Even the chance he offered was relatively safe. He went down the wicket and smashed the ball at Panesar, who dropped it. If you’re going to pick anyone, it should be Panesar.

His six off Broad to bring up his fifty wasn’t just a six off Broad to bring up a fifty. It was a six off Broad, who was using the second new ball, to bring up a fifty. After that, Bailey resumed his battle with Anderson. It was an over where very little happened. The only question was what score Bailey would be not out on at close.

Then he middled another pull shot off Broad. This one went lower and Graeme Swann at square leg pulled off the sort of catch that gets you a lot of Youtube hits. Australia had recovered but were not yet out of the danger zone.

Brad Haddin would change that, and Bailey wouldn’t bat in the second innings.

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In 2013, Bailey did something that had a higher-profile player done it, would have been praised on talkback radio and in opinion pieces. He turned his back on the IPL and made an attempt to prove himself as a Test player.

He could have sat on the bench for Chennai Super Kings again, and then played another T20 league or two, made a fair bit of money, and had a bit of off time. Instead he chose to be in England, playing mostly red-ball cricket, as the Australian team was there for the Ashes.

It was a two-fold attack. It started as a way to prove he was actually committed to playing Test cricket. And by being in the UK, and already being an Australian ODI and T20 player, at worst he might have made the Test side. Hell, with Michael Clarke’s back a shoelace tie away from breaking, Bailey could have even been a Test captain despite not even being in the original squad.

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At the WACA it was noticeable that Jimmy Anderson bowled quicker to Bailey than he had before. Now it could have just been the imagination of a sportswriter looking for narrative, or the rhythm that a bowler can get into during the day, but Anderson bowled as quick in one over to Bailey as he had at any time in the series. But he didn’t get him out.

It was Broad and the short ball that did it again. Bailey seemed intent on never taking a backward step, even when on the back foot. He wouldn’t be bullied or bombed by England. So he tried to hook a short ball and found Pietersen, who did everything he could to make the catch look awkward.

Australia were in another hole, but Haddin mopped up again.

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Clarke’s back didn’t work at all for the Champions Trophy. So Bailey took over. He batted well, Australia played horribly, and it was suddenly clear, while many still didn’t rate him, that he had somehow become Australia’s most consistent ODI batsman.

With Clarke in London, and David Warner in trouble, it was Bailey who had to front the press. He did it well, while making it very clear he couldn’t wait for Clarke to come back.

Clarke would come back, and would captain with no more real problems for his back, so Bailey was never needed as Test captain, or even Test squad member. Instead he came back for the ODIs at the end of the English summer, and made more runs. His batting average and ODI batting ranking were really high for someone whom no one ever seemed to talk up, or often even about.

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The second innings at the WACA was brutal on England. They walked out knowing the series was gone. They fielded poorly, Broad was injured, Anderson looked over it, Swann was fading, and it was really very hot. Australia skipped joyfully to a declaration.

Bailey rejoined the fun when Australia were over 400 runs ahead. He sat at the other end while Shane Watson head-butted the English corpse for a hundred. Bailey didn’t do much damage himself. After 24 balls he had hit one boundary (only a four) and was 11 not out.

Then he came back in touch with his old friend Anderson. What happened next seemed like it would break a few rules of the Geneva convention. Bailey tore up what was left of Anderson like he was made of tissue paper on a windy day.

When Bailey’s boundary-hitting massacre finished, there was a puddle of blood at the top of the mark where Anderson had once stood. For Bailey, that over could not have come from a more perfect opponent.

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George Bailey had some fun in India. 85, 92 not out, 43, 98, 156 and 4.

Flat pitches, an amazingly weak bowling attack, and small boundaries all helped Bailey average over 95 at a strike rate of 116. People had to write about it. They had to hype it. Well not even hype it, just report it accurately, and let people moan at the numbers.

This wasn’t another series, this was a coming-out party. Every six, and there were 15 of them, rang a bell, and with the next Ashes around the corner, and a batting spot available for anyone who wanted it, Bailey had made it very clear that he wanted it.

The press could have looked at it from a detailed and analytical standpoint. Bailey had played very well in ODIs in England and India, and he was clearly seeing the ball amazingly, but how was his red-ball form? Had he made any runs playing for Hampshire in county cricket, or any runs for Tasmania in last year’s Sheffield Shield?

Who cares? Look at his hitting in Mohali.

The selectors and fans seemed to do the same. Very few seemed to notice, worry or bother with the fact he hadn’t made a first-class hundred since February 2012.

Bailey was selected with as much fanfare as a six at a Big Bash game. He had been noticed, and embraced.

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Bailey faced 18 balls at the MCG. He was at the wicket with his team in trouble. The ball was reversing. This wasn’t the time to attempt to beat his world- record overs tally efforts of the WACA. This was the time for survival.

Straight dead bats. Grim determination. Last-minute adjustments. Small backlifts. Sure movements.

That was surely the plan. But Bailey was uneasy. One leave almost ended with him caught at slip, and then run out in the confusion. A huge leg-before shout from Broad was turned down because of a small inside edge. It was nervy, and nasty, and then Bailey found himself at Anderson’s end.

In the first over Anderson found a spot and just kept at it. The first four balls landed within six inches of each other. Three of them seemed to hit the exact same spot. The reverse was not deadly, it was just there. Even the smallest hint of reverse from a decent bowler can upset an Australian batsman more than most. But the second over at Bailey, now that was Anderson the chessmaster.

The seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth balls from Anderson to Bailey were all on or about the same line and length. He was keeping him on the crease, not letting him really come forward or back. None had big movement. None was meant to. They were about getting him used to the ball coming in at him from that line and length.

The 11th ball kept the same length. But it was six inches wider than the others. It was supposed to be wider, because it also went wider through reverse movement.

Had No. 11 kept its line, Bailey might have used the width to hit it for four. He certainly saw it as the weakest ball he faced. But it didn’t, it was a trap. And Bailey, who had not scored after being out there for several overs, didn’t see it and went for it.

England were convinced Bailey hit it. Aleem Dar wasn’t. The evidence was far from conclusive. But the dismissal had passed enough protocols for the third umpire to decide that it was out. It’s possible Bailey didn’t hit it. It’s not possible Anderson didn’t completely fox him.

Bailey was not needed for the second innings.

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In Sydney, Bailey wasn’t just fighting Anderson and England. Another foe joined in.

There had been history between Bailey and Channel Nine. When Bailey was filling in as captain of the Australian ODI team the previous summer, he had been involved in a weird media event. Channel Nine had been bemoaning Australia resting of key players (informed player management, they call it). When Bailey was asked about it, he put a spin on the fact that Channel Nine were currently in negotiations with Cricket Australia about paying for rights, and that it may be in their interests to downplay the worth of one-dayers.

That prompted a bizarre response from Brad McNamara, Channel Nine’s executive producer of cricket. “It’s rubbish and George should stick to playing cricket and leave rights to the people who know what they’re talking about. I reckon he’s got his hands full as it is. He needs to concentrate on staying in the side. And he needs to understand where his money’s coming from. Without the TV rights deal, George is probably working in a coal mine or flipping burgers at McDonald’s.”

McNamara was rightfully laughed at for his comments.

These comments were brought up a fair bit when Bailey failed to make a fifty in two attempts in Sydney. Mostly because it seemed that no one in the Channel Nine box could make a comment about him that wasn’t negative. His feet, hands, technique and temperament were questioned. His second-innings 46 was not enough. And they weren’t always wrong. It just seemed kind of mean. Especially when at the back of the press box some seemed happy when he was out.

But it went deeper than McNamara’s comments. Bailey had made mistakes in his career. He hadn’t made enough first-class runs. He hadn’t come into the team as a young man. He came into the captaincy without playing a game. He came into the Test team because of one-day runs. He was everything old-school cricket didn’t like. A thinking cricketer who had never demanded inclusion, but who had been included regardless.

For old-school types like Ian Chappell, he was pretty much everything he didn’t like. And Chappell wasn’t just turning on Bailey because of his stoush with Channel Nine. He had not liked Bailey for a long time.

To show how Bailey never fit in, there is no better article than the one by former good old boy larrikin Aussie cricketer (briefly) Brett Geeves for Inside Cricket. In it, Geeves listed the many reasons why Bailey was not a good captain. And the piece would have had more relevance had Bailey not captained the reigning winning Sheffield Shield team when the piece was published.

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Before his fourth Test, Bailey stood outside the MCG doing an interview. He stood there for a long time, and because of the cameras and the familiar Australia tracksuit, a crowd turned up. But it wasn’t until the interviewer said, “Thanks George” that most of the crowd realised who it was.

At that stage, he had been an Australian captain for two years. He had played three Ashes Tests, all won. He had fought with Anderson. But he was still not really known. Not embraced. Still invisible. After Sydney, he wasn’t really dropped, just not picked for the next series. Just sort of faded away.

At a press conference afterwards he didn’t complain, or rant. He just took the decision with a slight smile. And then left.

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David Hussey is not the one, but just one more

Shane Watson has been a visible giant beast in this tournament; everyone has seen what he can do. Everyone one was waiting for him to fail. When he did he managed to bring Australia crashing down with him.

Other than Watson, the Aussie that everyone has been talking about is David Hussey. The most prolific run scorer in domestic T20 history, which is not really much of a history, but still. He’s also 23rd on the list of international T20 run scorers. He can bowl right arm fast offspin, and is a demon in the field.

If you were to build the perfect T20 player, you’d build Watson or Chris Gayle. If you were mass marketing T20 players, you’d sell millions of David Hussey.

Australian fans and Ian Chappell have been saying David Hussey’s name like he is the missing link between Australia winning or losing this tournament. Hussey’s spot is being taken by either the captain they’d never heard of, George Bailey, the re-cycled Cameron White, or the new man with the big ego, Glenn Maxwell.

Even when Hussey was a member of the middle order, it’s been seen as susceptible to spin and weak. But for four glorious games, they were not required. Watson had punched, smashed and crashed through anyone in Australia’s way. The middle order was only brought on when the opposition had been mentally broken.

Shane Watson couldn’t save them forever.

Australia had secret camps, brought in spinners from across their country, ventured into the desert and took on the beast of Ajmal, all so that they could be ready for this tournament and the wily mystery spinners they would have to handle. They handled the 18 overs of Pakistan spin (it would have been 20 if not for Shoaib Malik getting Mike Hussey treatment) much the same way you would a chest bursting alien popping out.

Every fear that the Aussies had that their middle order wasn’t up to scratch was ripped open. Bailey started well, but missed two short balls from Ajmal in a row. White hit a big six, before holing out. And Maxwell didn’t last long at all.

Australia’s batsmen were so poor that if Mike Hussey had not played the innings he did, Australia had put themselves in a position to go out of the tournament. Now sure, it may say more about a tournament where you can lose only one game and not qualify, or win only two and qualify, but that is just how much the Pakistani spinners dominated the Australian batsmen.

Play it awkwardly or try and hit it really hard seemed to be their main game plan, and it came unstuck with ease. Watson, Warner and Hussey have looked decisive, powerful and dismissive of spinners in this tournament. The rest of the batsmen have looked confused, limp and scared as they poked around uncertainly.

There will be calls for David Hussey to come straight back in. He can’t replace Bailey, but Maxwell and White could easily slip out of the side.

Maxwell is, in theory, safe because of his bowling. But in five matches he’s bowled only seven overs, and it seems that one or two a night is his limit. White helps out with tactics, but in the subcontinent often bats a bit like a lumbering dinosaur trying to catch prey that is far quicker than him. When he catches it, he kills it, but he often goes hungry.

And all those calling for David Hussey’s imminent return should see his record from the UAE, but not if they have a full stomach. He made 13, 3, 0, 43, 3 and 1 on that tour, which is why the selectors went for White and Maxwell in the first place.

While David Hussey might not be the answer, if the selectors do want to bring him in to bolster the middle order, in case of Watson emergencies, they can without losing Maxwell or White.
Brad Hogg has taken two wickets in five matches, his economy rate is 7.55, but his fielding and batting are not the Brad Hogg of his teens, twenties or even thirties. Against Pakistan the man with Test batting average of 26 and first-class average of 35 watched Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins bat before him. Hogg has not been the success story that Australia would have hoped for.

Regardless of whether Hussey, Maxwell, White or Hogg play, it now looks like Australia can only win this tournament they don’t play Pakistan in the final or Watson continues to be the beast.

Watson is only one man, but as Australia scrambled around against spin, he felt like more than that.

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the timing of bailey

Cricket, like watches and clocks, is all about timing. When George Bailey came to the crease batting at No 7 in a rain-affected match in a series that Australia had already been smashed in, while most Aussies were tucked under their doonas, it was a largely pointless innings.

For Bailey, the uncontracted Australian T20 captain who has batted in five different positions in nine ODIs, it was the worst possible time to play what was perhaps his best innings yet for Australia. Australia had slipped to 5/77 off 19.1 overs. Their run rate was comically slow early on, compounded by a glut of middle over wickets, they were playing Duckworth Lewis cricket the exact opposite of how you should.

Australia ended up with a total of 145. After Bailey came in, Australia added 68 runs, Bailey added 46* of them. He did this while batting the last 10 overs with the tail. Waiting until the very end to hit out, he took 19 runs off 9 balls in the last two overs, including a monster six from James Anderson.

Unlike his previous innings in this series, Bailey looked in control of his game, and perhaps without Graeme Swann to hold him down, he found it far easier to score than almost all the Australian batsmen. The way he played with the tail was very clever, and when he decided he needed to hit boundaries, he hit or cleared them. It was exactly what you’d expect from a good quality ODI finisher in hard circumstances.

That the total was only 145 couldn’t be blamed on Bailey. And Australia did move the ball around a bit, but like at all times this tour, moving it around was not enough to get through England’s top order, and they got home quite easily.

On the social networks Bailey has copped a lot of flak for the way he has batted in this series. Far more flak than someone who averages 40 from nine ODIs probably should receive. In Bailey’s short career so far he’s been unlucky, not much on the field, but off it.

When he was the surprise selection as T20 captain, it was during a time when he wasn’t making runs, and became an easy target. After that he played two very important ODI innings in the Caribbean, but time zones and low scoring pitches didn’t truly drum home the importance of them.

The one innings that Bailey did play while Australians were awake and watching the TV was his scratchy 50 at the Oval. It was an innings where he fought back well, although he needed to after batting himself into a really deep hole early on.

This innings of 46* should repair his reputation, but I doubt it will. Those who don’t rate him won’t count this knock in a dead-rubber, sub-par total as anything special. Most will only see 46* on a scorecard and forget it minutes later. Hopefully the few who did see it will think of this innings as something worth getting off George Bailey’s back for.

At least for the time being.

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A debut on NDTV and talking bout t20

NDTV wanted the lighter side of cricket when talking about India, so they locked Sam and I into an ADL oval room. I talked to them about Sophie’s Choice, North Korea and horror films.

You can watch it here, if you feel the need.

I also wrote this.

Brad Hogg’s comeback and George Bailey’s rise don’t seem to have made people all that angry.

That’s odd, isn’t it?

Australia have picked an oldy and a dude to replace a dude with roughly the same record of the other dude who is slightly older. Where is the disdain, the outrage, the editorial’s sprouting anti-Victorian intent and how Australia are overlooking their future for some old dude the commentators all like?

Australia have picked a player who has been retired for years. I’m not even sure we knew that Justin Bieber was a thing when Brad Hogg last played, and Zach Galifianakis was a fat funny dude starring in such classics as Speed Freaks. Hogg isn’t exactly Bob Simpson, who was dragged from a retirement village to save Australian cricket.

I suppose if your lifestyle-hosting career is working well or you’re dating a famous model/actor/it girl, you don’t need to make a comeback at 40, but for Hogg it makes perfect sense. Statistically you can make an argument for Hogg. His economy rate is 5.4, he takes wickets, and no one has a better strike-rate on twitter abusing Mitchell Marsh. The only number not on his side is his age.

However, if you see Twenty20 as a way of easing young Australian cricketers into the team, then picking a guy who’s been retired four years who is only year younger than your selector is odd.

Then there is Bailey, who I am really glad is being given a chance to captain any Australian XI, but it’s not as if he’s hitting the captaincy with a stellar Twenty20 season behind him.

And age is also quite odd, as he’s a few months younger than Michael Clarke, and only a few months older than Cameron White. There’s no doubt Bailey can captain, he’s won more than his share of silverware, but so has White. Neither White nor Bailey made a cracker in a high class and low performance Melbourne Stars middle order this year.

You’d think that one of these decisions, if not both would be the catalyst for the first vicious attack on the John Inverarity reign as chief selector.

But it’s quite clear that virtually no one cares. Australians may casually enjoy the Big Bash League, and they may even make the trek down to see the odd match, but at the end of the day, you could have a man with a rubber chicken stuck to his head as captain and some bloke’s dog as the spinner and people would still spend more time discussing Shaun Marsh’s form or whether Punter (Ponting) should retire.

For all the hype and concern, Twenty20 is still just that thing people watch

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Pick Ed Cowan

With Ricky Ponting possibly missing the boxing day test, Australia need a replacement.

A few names have been chucked around.

George Bailey. Smiles alot, finally having his break out season.

Shaun Marsh. Used to drink alot, finally making regular runs this season.

Michael Klinger. Makes alot of runs, usually by putting attacks to sleep.

Phil Hughes. Made a hundred recently, against an attack with Andrew McDonald opening the bowling.

Any random NSWales player. Due a cap, Usman to debut against Pakistanis could be tough.

Mark Cosgrove. Is making lots of runs, is eating lots of pizzas.

Mitchell Marsh. Is the talk of the town, has made no FC hundreds.

Adam Voges.  Has no weddings planned, is missing a few runs.

David Hussey. Imagine that, no I can’t.

I am sure all of these players will get someone tooting their horn if Ponting’s arm doesn’t come good.

But fuck them all (sorry FPM).

I think Australia should go in a completely different direction altogether.

They need a cricketer who doesn’t take himself too seriously, one who has made over 500 runs in 6 games this year, one without corporate ambitions, and one who likes You Am I.

The choice is simple.

Smooth Eddie Cowan.

He is now officially sanctioned by cricket with balls.

Mr Hilditch, you may select him, smooth Eddie for Boxing day.

And he isn’t even Victorian.

The ashes book.

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The insignificant current Australian players of the IPL

Just to clarify, the word current means players who haven’t retired from national duty.

Moises Henriques – Kolkata
38 runs @ av 19 sr 95 hs 30*
2 wickets @ 53 econ 8.79 bb 1/32

No one could quite understand how he kept getting a game, or the new ball. Is a very talented young kid, but maybe, just maybe, he should perform at the level below before he is given an opportunity.

David Hussey – Kolkata
98 runs @ av 24 sr 166 hs 43
0 wickets econ 8.5

Came late onto a ship that had already sunk, and decided to swing away. Looked in top touch, but kept getting out after amazing starts. Had a way better strike rate than McCullum or Gayle.

Lee Carseldine – Rajasthan
81 runs @ av 20.25 sr 119 hs 39
1 wicket @ 6 econ 6 bb 1/6

Came in first game and just smacked the ball everywhere when no one else could get the ball off the square, sadly that was about all he did in the tournament. Interestingly only bowled one over.

Rob Quiney – Rajasthan
103 runs @ av 14.7 sr 100.98 hs 51

Hit his first ball in the IPL for 6, then went out. Only really got two starts, and showed glimpses of his talent, but good spinners slowed him down or got him out. Hopefully he has learnt some good lessons, and will be able to score more consistently for Victoria.

Shane Harwood – Rajasthan
9 runs (no outs) sr 62 hs 6*
3 wickets @ 24.3 econ 7.30 bb 2/25

Only played 3 games, but did look dangerous. Rajasthan were more worried with making runs so he and Morne spent most of their time on the bench.

Luke Ronchi – Mumbai Indians
0 runs from 1 game

Sachin went into panic mode about half way through the tournament and threw Luke one game. He was run out for a duck.

Simon Katich – Punjab
145 runs @ av 16 sr 123 hs 50

His 50 was sensational, as good as I have seen the krab time the ball, but struggled other than that. 2020 really wasn’t made for him, and had his coach not been Moody, I doubt he would played too often.

George Bailey – Chennai
45 runs @ av 22.5 sr 115 hs 30

In both of his innings he looked in top form, and in both of them he ran himself out. The good news was smilin’ George looked completely at home at this level of cricket.

Andrew McDonald – Delhi
3 runs @ av 3 sr 75 hs 3
0 wickets (3 overs) econ 7.33 bb 0/22

Only played the one game when Delhi were resting players, and got a sensational Yorker from Anil Kumble.

Luke Pomersbach – Punjab
41 runs @ av 10.25 sr 83 hs 26

Looked out of touch, and small. When Luke is at his best he looks like a Hayden type bully, here he looked like a mouse imitating a flea.

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the Sheffield Shield, brought to you by a soggy breakfast: TAS

Tassie, the butler’s men

Players that wont be available for large chunks of the season

Ponting, sorry he should have been in the NSWales side, and maybe Krezja and Geeves.

Krezja and Geeves won’t miss many games this year, so Tasmania should be at full strength for most of the year.

Tasmania are at that great point where they have a great team, but they haven’t lost many players to the national team.

Should be hard to beat in all forms of the game.

Leadership

Daniel Marsh is in charge again, this could be his last year, so he will want to go out on top.

Can captain this chubby man.

Bowling

Geeves, Drew and Hilfenhaus are three young quick bowlers. Throw in Denton, if he is fit and it’s a great fast bowling line up.

Their spin is more than handy too, Krezja, Doherty and Marsh are all wicket takers as well.

A very well balanced attack, 20 wickets should come often.

Batting

Dighton, Bailey, Birt, And Paine are the backbone of the DiVenutoless batting line up.

Very workmanlike, but the batting sets up the games for their bowlers.

Paine and Bailey will need to step up this year and become superstars to handle the better attacks.

Long in the tooth

Everyone loves Daniel Marsh, but this will be the rotund fellas last year, Bailey will take over mid season or next season.

Ready to shed the nappies

Luke Butterworth was one I talked up last year, and he hardly played. This year he will play and dominate, I hope.

Nostradamus

Shield

1st or 2nd.

One day

1st.

2020

1st or 2nd.

The rub

Should be at the top, but couldn’t take wickets last year.

The Phillip Seymour Hoffman team

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Australia A – the verdict

The “A” side is off to India, and with Australia looking as fragile as they have in a long time, this could be an “A” team that ends up in the test arena.

What I think the team will be.

Katich (NSW) captain & opening bat, Peter Roebuck would be happy. I would have preferred to see Marcus North get the job. But one decided to stay in Western Australia, the other decided to move to NSWales. The Krab is a test player, for any other country, even if I hate him.

Phillip Hughes (NSW), opening bat. Is only a foetus, but can play, Made a few runs this year, and being that opening batsman in Australia are hard to come by probably not a bad choice.

Adam Voges (WA), 3. Been around for a while now, seems to have missed out as the Australian team’s back up one day batsman to Future PM. Can bat, but would doubt he will ever play for Australia.

Marcus North (WA), 4. When he makes runs, he makes them by the truck load. Has a great cricket brain, but has been an ‘A” guy for a while now without ever really looking like playing for Australia.

George Bailey (Tas), 5. Has been picked on potential, and the season before this. Is the batsman all teams try and get through in Tasmania,

Luke Ronchi (WA) keeper & 6. Anyone who saw him in the Windies knows this kid has a little sumtin sumtin.

Ashley Noffke (QLD) opening bowler & 7. This may be his audition for the same spot a month later when the big boys tour.

Beau Casson (NSW) chinaman & 8/9. Him Vs Bryce for the first test.

Ryan Harris (QLD via SA) first change & 8/9. Nickname is rhino, and does play like that. Strong as a mofo on ice, and can bowl all day full, quick and pretty damn well. Also a more than handy number 9, could easily be a number 7 in a weaker batting line up.

Bryce McGain (VIC) leggie & tail. If he out bowls Casson he gets a baggy green.

Doug Bollinger (NSW) left arm opener & tail. Could be the face of Australian bowling for the next ten years, Doesn’t look like much, but picks up wickets waiting for a taxi.

Peter Siddle (VIC) back up quick & tail. If he could stay fit for a whole season we could tell if he is the real deal or a lucky boy. But every time he plays he gets wickets, hard to argue with that.

Peter Forrest (NSW) back up batsman. No idea why he is here, oh wait NSWales. Saw him face Dirty Dirk one day sucking his thumb and asking for mummy.

Jason Krezja (TAS) back up offie & 7/8. Has a modest record but a confident lad who can bat a bit, would be lucky to play ahead of anyone here, but if he gets a game and gets wickets he could maybe leap frog McGain or Casson, but I doubt it.

Overall a pretty good squad.

Can bat till 9, or till 10 if Krejza plays ahead of McGain.

Bowling looks a lot better than the batting, especially with Noffke at 7 giving you an extra bowler.

Like most Australian A sides there is at least 7 players who would get a game for most test nations right now.

If the top order can make runs, could be a good series for the lads.

Players who would be a little miffed at missing out.

Chris Rogers as opener, he played a test match this year, right?

Luke Pomersbach, just because you look, smell, and drink like a lumberjack doesn’t mean you don’t deserve an “A” spot if you have made as many runs as he has.

Dan Cullen, without looking I’d say he probably still took more wickets than Krezja, but, I think someone else should get a go anyway.

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select this

The Australian 30 man squad for the ICC show me the money Knockout cup is out.

30 man squads are a waste of column inches.

So let me waste a few inches.

After years of producing less Australian cricketers the certain grade clubs in Sydney and Melbourne, suddenly Tasmania is a force.

The smiling George Bailey, Brett Geeves and his terrific hair cut, the stutter stepping Xavier Doherty, and the entomologist Tim Paine.

If you count Ricky Ponting (which I don’t) that means 5 of the top 30 one day cricketers in the country are from Tasmania.

Quite an effort.

None of these 4 newcomers are anywhere near playing for Australia, but are all very good cricketers.

Even if they are Tasmanians.

So it got me thinking, if the squad for Pakistan (assuming Australia go) will end up being this, give or take.

Ponting, Clarke, Marsh, Watson, Hussey, Hayden, Symonds, Haddin, Hopes, Lee, Bracken, Clark, Johnson, White, Hussey.

So I thought I would pick a second 15 from those who will probably miss out.

Luke Ronchi, wicket keeper and gun opener. Ask the Windies and the Mumbai Indian net bowlers.

Tim Paine, back up wicket keeper, and excellent opening batsman. Ronchi brings the fire works and he brings the class.

Brad Hodge, occasionally I bag Brad Hodge, but he is the second best number batsman in Australia, which makes him one of the best batsmen in the world.

Adam Voges, Vice Captain, has played for Australia before and in England would be a very fine middle order batsman.

George Bailey
, smiles a lot, probably because he knows he can bat well, had an ordinary year, but I predict big things from his selection in my second XI.

Dan Marsh, best Tasmanian captain in Australia, still makes runs, still takes wickets, and still is a fat fucker.

Ashley Noffke, his one day form is generally ordinary, but if he can average 50 with the bat in shield cricket I am happy with him at 7, bowling first change, or whenever wickets are needed.

Ryan Harris, the big fella with shoulders made of granite, needed big shoulders from all his carrying of South Australia,

Brett Geeves, the quickie from Tasmania, not a bad guy to have coming in at 9 either.

Xavier Doherty
, I would pick stutter step over Cullen, and Hauritz, a wicket taker who can bowl left arm orthodox at the death, handy to have.

Shaun Tait, from memory, before his “exhaustion” took a few wickets in a world cup.

Brendan Drew, 12th dude, bowls quick, and doesn’t mind the odd long hard hit.

Squad members.

Bryce McGain, leading ford ranger wicket taker, and also another old head around the change room.

Dan Christian, project player, averaged 44 with the bat this year and bowls quicker than Stuart Clark, and about one millionth as straight or well.

Andrew McDonald, quiet year this year, but was in the 30 man squad for the world cup, and is one of those rare all rounders that takes wickets and makes runs regularly.

Would be interesting to see where it would come in the ICC knock out.

This team would never be picked though, way too many guys under 30 in it, and only two NSWelshman, who now play for other states.

Apologies to Dirty Dirk, Theo Doropolous, Mark Cosgrove, Aaron Heal and Douggie Bollinger.

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