Roebuck: the end is nigh

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.

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