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The second of 10 postcards from Postcards from the Sledge
I’m not the only one bored with the VB series going this long. I listened to the radio for most of the day while watching the play, as I was getting close to an act of violence if I had to listen to any more of Tony Greig’s insufferable inanities. Peter Roebuck was clearly even more bored then I was since he was more keen on discussing his charitable foundation’s activities in Africa then the game, and he follows my lead in calling for the format to be scrapped.
The game itself was actually good, and Adam Gilchrist was back to his sparkling best, scoring 88 off just 66 balls, with 14 glorious boundaries. His innings was theoretically terminated by a mis-played pull shot, but the actual thing that got him out was the commentator’s curse; as he passed 80, they started talking about double-centuries. He admits he was thinking about it himself, so obviously he got out.
Ponting, Martyn and Hussey all tucked in as well against a very weak South African pace attack, and settled on 344. Chasing that monster of a total, South Africa were just on the edge of possibility until Mark Boucher got out after scoring an excellent 76. They ended up with 287 for 6, which is a huge score in itself.
So a pretty meaningless game in the great scheme of things, but an entertaining fixture, at least compared to what happened in Melbourne on Friday. The difference was that the pitch here was good.
Statistical oddity- Australia scored 344 for 7 in 50 overs, with only one 6 for the innings. And that didn’t come up till the 46th over. Australia scored 300 in 45 overs, without going over the rope once. Bizzare.
How to win friends and influence people:
IT’S ABOUT time the Indian cricket community grew up. Inflammatory remarks, burning effigies, blocking roads and messages of hatred are not the sort of conduct expected from mature adults committed to their country and versed in the ways of life.
Seasoned observers understand that the world is a complicated place.
Obviously, the dropping of a beloved son from the Test team has been the hot topic of conversation. At least the fury confirms that cricket still matters in this country. Unfortunately, it also confirms that it’s at the mercy of the mob. Worse, recently elected officials have fanned the flames.
Roebuck is of course talking about the fuss being made about the dropping of Ganguly. While he is actually right in what he is saying, I do not agree with the condescending way in which he has said it. People in India are sensitive to being talked down by Oxford-educated white people. No doubt, Roebuck would consider himself to be a ‘seasoned observer’, and should know better.
Will asked for my thoughts on Peter Roebuck’s article on Adam Gilchrist, where Roebuck suggested that Gilchrist might wish to retire from the ODI game.
It is true that too much of a workload can be put on even the mightiest cricketer. Injury to Ricky Ponting required Adam Gilchrist to captain Australia for the first three Tests of Australia’s tour to India in 2004, and although he lead the side superbly, there is no doubt that it did have a negative effect on his batting and his wicketkeeping.
However, once Gilchrist returned to Australia, and reduced to his normal duties of keeper, vice-captain, and star batsman, he played like a man liberated, and had perhaps his best season since he started. He starred as a batsman in 2004/05. The highlight for me was his century against Pakistan in Sydney, an innings so exhilirating to watch that it overshadowed a Ricky Ponting double-century. But not only was his bat blazing, but his glovework also was of the highest standard.
For reasons that remain unknown, Gilchrist disappointed in England. Congratulations are due to England and Andrew Flintoff for working out a plan to reduce the threat that Gilchrist posed, but I was disappointed in that it seemed to me that Adam Gilchrist was not getting the support he needed to counter England’s tactics. And yes, his glovework was not quite so sharp.
Given his moderate performances since then, it is perhaps legitimate for Roebuck to pose the question that he did. Adam Gilchrist works under a heavy workload that can not be any easier for him to bear. It is known that he is a devoted family man, as well, and the constant absences and the life of a long-distance cricketer is not healthy for any young family.
I do not think, however, that Gilchrist will retire just yet. Although Australia have a busy summer ahead, with a tour to South Africa and then Bangladesh in April, there is nevertheless a nice gap in the winter where Adam Gilchrist can recover in the bosum of his family in Perth, recharge the batteries, and then have one final fling- first, a campaign to recover the Ashes, and then to the West Indies to retain the World Cup.
I would not be surprised if he retired from all forms of the game after that, but I would equally be very surprised if he retired from one day cricket before then.
Should’ve left this for Scott, so perhaps he can elaborate on it if he can be bothered. Roebuck wrote about Adam Gilchrist who, he feels, ought to retire from one-dayers. Thoughts?
Peter Roebuck reminds us that “…it is worth bearing in mind that Australia were two runs away from taking a 2-0 lead [at Edgbaston].”
Very true. It really was that close. I remember having to get away and get out of the house. Went for a drive, at granny-like speed, with TMS on the radio. Wound the windows down and turned the radio off, trying in vain to think of something else…but after what felt like half an hour, but which was 2 minutes, I kept turning it back on to get the score! The crazy things we do.
(Review of the Edgbaston Test here)
I don’t find it easy reading Peter Roebuck’s articles. They are often aggressive, disrespectful and unnecessarily unfair to whoever he hates that week, but this doesn’t stop me reading them, so I must even respect him in some way. Mumblings aside, his latest musings in the SMH provided interest, with the following:
Suddenly this team [Australia] is looking its age. Sometimes, when the end comes, it is quick. Regardless of the outcome of this series – and it is worth remembering that England stand second in the rankings and are playing at home, and that Australia lost by only two runs in Birmingham and that the score is level (in other words, it has not been a debacle) – the selectors will need to take stock.
Rejuvenation is needed, the sort of vitality Hussey can bring to the top of the order, and others elsewhere. Not that Australian cricket has an abundance of emerging talent. It’s been a wonderful run. Harder days lie ahead.
Mike Hussey’s marvellous form, and plentiful skill, was one of few highlights for Australia in the one-day series earlier in the summer. Apart from his innings-salvaging batting (he was the leading run scorer for Australia), his fielding was sharp, dynamic and youthful which are three aspects clearly lacking from Ponting’s Test side at the moment. Only an ageless Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne have demonstrated keeness, focus and finely-honed skill – indeed, the latter has done more to embarass his own side with his batting. Roebuck puts this down to the quality of England’s bowling more than anything else, and so he should.
Before this series started, Australia’s reaction to this “new England” was that they had heard it all before. This arrogance, especially by their batsmen, has cost them, and their fervent fans, dearly. Even in the dying overs of today, with Michael Vaughan and Ashley Giles bowling, chances were being created, and Hayden should have been given out leg-before to M.P. Vaughan. He’s more than useful, and ought to bowl himself more often – but, come on…
Roebuck has for so long, so often lambasted England as a cricketing nation. I suppose the point of this post was the revelation that England has conquered the most ardent Australian cricket fan, and won the respect of one Peter Roebuck. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, that’s no mean feat.
Looks fine to me. A flick of the wrist is not a problem, and the arm looks straight enough. He’s certainly not a [quick fast bowler for Australia] or a [slow Sri Lankan bowler] or even a [fast-medium pacer for Sussex].
A load of chucking nonsense if you ask me…