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05-10-2018, 08:59 AM
So Australia has a new coach, Justin Langer. While he has done really good work at state level it seems an odd change considering CA are hoping to create a culture change in the Aussie team (or at least that is what they are saying in the meda). By all accounts Langer is a very humble, hard working and even spiritual guy, however he came into the national under the 'play hard' attitude of Bob Simpson and was a key member of the Steve Waugh team that really took sledging to a new level.

The new captain Tim Paine seems to be saying all the right things and certainly wasn't embedded in the culture of the old team so that is a big step forward.

The proof will come when we start losing matches and commentators back here inevitably say that the team isn't 'tough enough' or has 'gone soft'.

Prime Time
05-10-2018, 09:16 AM
I've already heard some stuff from Langer that makes me think he isn't going to be the counterbalance that Aussie cricket needs, and claims to want.

Might be a decent enough fella for all I know, but he hasn't made the right noises already from the bits I've seen. Plus, as a fairly committed John Howard fan I don't know how much he was ever going to be the right pick for that side of things.

On the other hand, can't fault him as a cricketer. Top pick in that regard.

The new ECB competition they've announced, the 100, is getting pilloried by pundits and players alike. The latest suggestion from them was that it didn't matter that the likes of Root and Stokes weren't going to be playing in it because this was for a new mass audience and 'they wouldn't know who these players are anyway'. You can imagine how that went down. There's now talk about the ECB are the only governing body to have nothing but contempt for the sport they govern. It's a real fucking mess.

Prime Time
05-15-2018, 07:10 AM
England team announcement soon, first of the Ed Smith era. Agnew is on twitter talking about maybe calling up Gubbins to open with Cook as one of the only real contentious areas in the side.

05-24-2018, 08:26 AM
AB de Villiers retired today.

I'm just going to put this here:


While some would say other are better I feel like of this current generation there has been no more all round destructive batsmen than this guy. He could do it across all formats and could defend just as well as he could attack.

Amazing batsmen, great servant of this country and good luck to him making millions on the Twenty20 circuit. I'm just glad Australia don't have to face him again.

Prime Time
05-27-2018, 04:26 PM
So, Pakistan smashed England. We're having real trouble finding half a dozen test class batsmen right now.

For the love of Terry Funk
06-01-2018, 07:14 PM
Keaton Jennings back in and all is right with the world.

I know they are doing well and it's all a weird time to ask the question, but is Joe Root really the right choice to be captain? Feeling like we were spoiled in the Strauss/Cook eras.

Prime Time
06-06-2018, 05:43 AM
I think that's a valid question but the way they dispatched Pakistan means that the question isn't likely to be asked again for a while.

The other question, of course - it not him, who? It's not like any other player is a guaranteed selection at the moment.

06-06-2018, 06:33 AM
Well the Cricket Australia CEO resigned. He is giving himself 12 months before he leaves. More upheval. We won the Ashes last year but at what cost.....

Prime Time
06-11-2018, 05:27 AM
Cricket Australia does look reasonably rotten to the core at the moment and from what I've heard from Langer he doesn't sound like a guy who'll fix it.

In other news, 'fair fucks' as the Irish say to Scotland for that win over England. Their cricket has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Yet more proof that the ICC decisions regarding reducing the number of teams is just bizarre. Must be one of the only governing bodies that is actively trying to prevent the growth of the game.

Prime Time
08-02-2018, 09:56 AM
I know that he is not the most popular player out there and maybe there is good cause for that but to be fair, Stokes dismissal of Karthik is something to see. Definitely worth tracking down.

Prime Time
08-12-2018, 07:14 PM
India need to get to grips with these conditions. They've been totally behind the eight ball.

Woakes and Curran making you think the future could be bright for England. Nice to see Pope get a debut, too.

Prime Time
08-25-2018, 09:52 AM
This next test looks intriguing after India roared back to demolish England.

08-27-2018, 04:34 AM
I just had a look on Cricinfo, really interesting series.

I love how English conditions balance bat and ball so well. In Australia things tend to be a little too flat and batsmen can sometimes get too much of an advantage and it is only a matter of getting your eye in and you are set. That rarely seems to be the case in England where there always seems to be a bit of something for the bowlers, particularly if they can swing it. Of course part of that comes down to the fact that there is just more moisture in the air in England that Australia however when even the once fearsome Wacca becomes a road it is sad indeed.

Prime Time
09-07-2018, 06:11 AM
You've got a point, Sam. Generally speaking tests at home are more entertaining than tests away. And not just because we win more of them, but for the reasons you outline in your post.

Alastair Cook's last test for England today. I'll miss him. Feels a bit like the end of an era, like the last of the old-style batsmen in our squad is calling it a day. Sad times for a fan like me. And bad news for England generally since they still haven't found someone to open the innings with him since Strauss quit. Now we need to find two of them!

09-10-2018, 09:29 AM
Cook with one final century for England. A tear to the eye for that one. Brilliant stuff.

Prime Time
09-12-2018, 09:15 AM
Yeah, that's great. Pleased for him, and for Anderson becoming the most prolific fast bowler of all-time, too.

Cook though in particular has a monumental feeling. I'll probably always be a test cricket fan so long as there is test cricket, but I think it's apparent that for some time the game has been changing, influenced by both it's decline in popularity in some key markets (such as the West Indies) and in the greater financial clout of the shorter forms of the game. It seems fewer and fewer people really understand the rhythms of test cricket anymore and how to play the game the way it was for centuries. In that, Cook's retirement feels like the end of an era, that certainly in English cricket the glory days of the cricket I grew up with is coming to an end. And that's a sad thing, though I guess the 'sweet' part of the 'bittersweet' is that I got to enjoy watching such a fine batsman for more than a decade. And we'll always have that away Ashes series....

09-24-2018, 03:26 AM
Cook was someone Australian fans held such immense respect for, probably because of how massively he proved us wrong with the way he put us to the sword in that 2010/11 ashes series. He never seemed to reach those heights again at least against Australia but because of that he was always a prized wicket.

On a different note. I just listened to a fantastic podcast with Justin Langer, one of the key members of the golden generation and new national coach. I was so inspired with the way he talked about cricket. His passion for cricket is infectious and I think we are in very good hands.

Here is a link if anyone is interested https://player.fm/series/the-howie-games-1511924/episode-53-justin-langer

Prime Time
09-24-2018, 04:16 AM
Cook was someone Australian fans held such immense respect for, probably because of how massively he proved us wrong with the way he put us to the sword in that 2010/11 ashes series. He never seemed to reach those heights again at least against Australia but because of that he was always a prized wicket.

I hope to listen to the Langer thing when I've got a bit more time (I still have my reservations that I expressed above but there's no doubt he was a fine, fine cricketer - what you'd give for him to be able to pad up now!), but just wanted to add another couple of words on Cook, quickly. He kinda kept that going when he first got the captaincy, and was pretty brilliant in that India series after the transition from Strauss. But in general, I think while he never hit the heights again, a big part of that is just how high the heights were. It's the best performance away from home by an English batsman since I've been following the team - and in pure records terms it's the best away performance in an Ashes series (by an English player, anyway) since Wally Hammond in the 1920s. So while he never quite that again, there was still plenty of good cricket even if it wasn't absolutely astonishing.

But the thing I liked about him is that even though his batting wasn't quite so strong, his captaincy improved as he went on. I don't think he was ever quite as natural at it as Strauss, who just seemed to have 'it', but Cook was a damn fine captain by the end and the contrast with Root - who I must admit I think is a tad overrated here in the UK both as a batsman and a captain - is something I feel quite strongly. And he's far from the first English batsman to see their average decline when they become the captain. That happened to Mike Atherton when I was a kid and I think it's happened to most people to take the job since. I'm consequently a bit philosophical about it - as long as you're contributing occasionally, and making up for it with good captaincy, then I don't worry too much.

For the love of Terry Funk
10-08-2018, 05:14 PM
Huge score for Pakistan in Dubai, anyone following the Aussies reply?

Also saw Hayden broke his neck while surfing.

10-18-2018, 12:11 PM
Seems there are fewer things as thankless and disappointing than being an Aussie cricket fan, after they put in an incredible performance to save a match and get you all excited the next match they smash your heart against the wall with yet another batting collapse.

Can we bring back Steve Waugh at 5 please? He may be 50 years old but at least he will sure up an end.

Also to your point above about batting and being captain, the same thing happened to Mark Taylor, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke all of them had a number of rough patches as captain and their averages took a nose dive toward the end of their tenure particularly.

Prime Time
11-01-2018, 05:00 PM
What on earth is going on with Cricket Australia now?! Seems like yet more turmoil.

11-01-2018, 08:26 PM
An independent review into the culture of the organisation was utterly damning. Some of the findings were that the international players were put on a pedestal and made to feel a law unto themselves, communication between the board and sporting aspects of the organisation had all but broken down and the corporate side had done nothing in response to the issues with the toxic playing culture that had developed despite claiming they held players to account.

Cricket Austrslia's response was to try to bury it and rush through their AGM, giving the state bodies litteraly 15min to read through it before the votes. Thankfully Cricket NSW held out and now the Chairman of CA has resigned. Mark Taylor is tipped to take over but from all reports he would be more of the same.

It is an utter mess.

Prime Time
11-05-2018, 06:26 AM
Sounds like a bad situation, all in all.

In other news, tomorrow is the start of England's first test of the post-Cook era. Think it must be the first time in about twelve years he hasn't played in an England test. Chance for someone to step up and be counted, but if they don't... oh boy, our batting could look very weak.

12-05-2018, 08:59 PM
Summer series against India starts today. Aussie cricket is at war with itself. Lots of former players are having their say about how we are playing, most of them are new commentators trying to get their name out there. Shane Warne in particular has been utterly odeous, every time he opens his mouth my childhood worship of him dies a little.

Of particular note was Ussie Khawaja standing up for the current lot telling the old timers they don’t understand the way the game has changed. Good on him. As great as the past generation were on the field, they make very poor media spokesmen.

All problems will be solved if we win of course.

Prime Time
01-01-2019, 12:35 PM
Here we are then, in Ashes year. Really unsettled England line-up and Australia in disarray, it seems. Anyone going to stick their neck out with an early prediction?

04-11-2019, 08:06 AM
Hey, outta nowhere we became the form ODI team in the world and may not even have room in our team for Smith and Warner. What a crazy game cricket is.

As to your prediction for the Ashes........ 2-1 Australia can't pick against my boys. I will say that if the bowlers adapt to the conditions we could have some very low scoring games on both sides.

Prime Time
04-12-2019, 07:18 AM
There's been more low-scoring games than otherwise in recent years, in England at least. Comes from us having longstanding batting issues and it being a generation since there have been many Aussies who can play English conditions with any consistency.

I'm not confident. Think it might end up being a drawn series actually. I'll still fancy our bowlers in our conditions but I'm not sure the batting is there to get us over the line.

As you've mentioned the shorter forms, our domestic game is in a bit of disarray over the plans for this new 100 ball competition that no one except the ECB seems to want.

04-12-2019, 07:30 AM
The ace in the hole for Australia I feel is James Pattinson, he hasn't played for the country for years but he is finally fit and he is a genuine strike bowler that can seam and swing it like Terry Alderman (the Aussie that took 50 wickets in an Ashes series). In the Shefield Shield final he was nearly unplayable at times and instead of going to the ODI matches he has gone to county cricket to get in with the conditions. He is so good I'd almost consider us adding him into the current four of Cummins, Starc, Hazelwood and Lyons and playing five bowlers to just go full on attack and trust Cummins and Starcs batting at 7 and 8 to help make up the difference if we can regularly get the English batting order out for sub-250.

It is high stakes but would really be leaning into our own biggest strength and targeting England's weakness.

Prime Time
04-12-2019, 07:36 AM
For a minute I was thinking of Ryan Harris then, speaking of bowlers who could have made a difference if they'd stayed fit.

Pattinson hasn't bowled a lot in England. Just two tests, I think, for maybe 5-6 wickets across the four innings? But I suppose that must have been a long time ago and he could have developed a lot since then.

That would have been... 2013 Ashes? I seem to remember him being very junior and Starc/Siddle/harris being the more feared options. Long time ago now.

Prime Time
05-30-2019, 06:23 AM
Cricket World Cup starts today. Probably a good way into the game if you don't really follow it. Shorter format, results guaranteed, and pretty much all the world's finest batsmen in one tournament. I think UK viewers need SKY to watch it.

England favourites for reasons I can't fully fathom and already started against S. Africa, and are already sorting themselves out after losing Bairstow cheaply. Currently in the 12th over.

As for the other favourites, Australia open with what should be a gimme against Afghanistan on Saturday, while we have to wait until the middle of next week for India to appear against South Africa.

05-30-2019, 06:12 PM
That India v South Africa game should be good.

I really enjoy the World Cups but it is a real shame they have got rid of some of the smaller nations. I loved seeing them go up against the big fish and trying to do something that will be remembered.

05-31-2019, 04:45 AM
That Stokes catch, though.

Prime Time
05-31-2019, 05:39 AM
Obscene really, wasn't it?

Decent enough start for England yesterday, though I'm not sure how much of a test South Africa are in this format right now.

Pakistan off to a slow one against the West Indies on what sounds like a bowler's pitch. I've been to Trent Bridge many times, if those conditions favour the bowlers it could be a very low scoring affair. Remember Broad taking 8/15 there in the 2015 Ashes?!

For the love of Terry Funk
05-31-2019, 02:19 PM
Quite a prediction there PT

Pakistan were shit today though.

Prime Time
06-03-2019, 10:51 AM
They haven't been today, though. Good bounce back, set England a very big target that they're struggling to get near at the moment.

06-04-2019, 08:16 AM
Wow, that is a fun result to shake things up. England have still got to be favs and still put in a pretty great performance but I certainly did not expect them to lose to Pakistan.

If they had chased the target down we'd be talking about how they were nearly invincible but they just didn't quite get there so now it throws things in the air.

Prime Time
06-25-2019, 05:46 AM
I don't normally go in for one-day cricket particularly, but you can feel there's a certain something in the air for this Australia vs England match in the CWC.

Australia with a decent start, nothing down, but unspectacular, currently chugging along at less than 4 an over.

06-25-2019, 07:28 AM
For me it goes Test >>>>>>>>>>> ODI > Twenty20

I just hate how in Twenty20 there is no way to turn things around, if you lose two wickets early for not much then there is no time to knuckle down and force your way back into the game. It just lacks any ebb and flow.

I will agree that ODI can be quite dull sometimes but at its peak it can combine the best elements of both other forms of the game.

As to the game Australia have got themselves into a good position to really kick on, a fair chunk of runs on the board already with wickets in hand.

England are such a good chasing team though so I think we'll really need to put some decent runs on the board.

I have to think that not bringing Archer back for an over or two after Warner got out was a mistake. Kawaja was very week to fast bowling early in the tournament and England really needed to turn that one wicket into a few.

06-25-2019, 07:56 AM
15 minutes later
3/185 with Finch now gone

Not quite so comfortable.

Prime Time
06-25-2019, 08:11 AM
Now 213 for 4.

The runs are still coming but the wickets are going a bit quickly for Australia right now. Of course, that might mean the conditions are there to make the run chase a bit tricky, too.

06-25-2019, 08:44 AM
Kind of shows my point about being able to fight back in ODI if you are in a tight spot. England have done very well.

Also shows the class of England, there was a similar kind of moment in Australia's last match against Bangladesh where Finch & Warner got off to a flyer. When Kawaja came in he was just able to easily kick on, Warner also hit the accelerator and then Maxwell came in to score 30 off like 10 balls. Australia ended up on 380 and the game was over, instead when Finch & Maxwell got so well in England were able to up the pressure and have now really dislodged Australia from that great position they were in.

Prime Time
06-25-2019, 09:19 AM
I do see the point about ODI but I also feel like it's so in the middle that it kind of pleases no one. There's none of the epic sweep of a test match that appeals to me, but similarly I can imagine it not being fast enough, or having the impetus to the big hits, for the T20 fan.... that said, I give both of the shorter forms about as much attention as each other.

Good score if you want to make a game of it from Australia. Not un-gettable, but certainly enough that England will have to play better than we've seen so far.

06-25-2019, 09:53 AM
The evolution of the 50 over game has been so remarkable. 286 used to be considered a pretty high score in the format, I feel - now I look at it and think it's probably below par.

Bit wary of saying that, given England have yet to bat...

Prime Time
06-25-2019, 10:00 AM
Root gone, I'd say that's probably that.

Haven't seen the dismissal yet, was thinking poor technique for Vince but if they're falling like skittles you wonder if it's the conditions and 280+ is actually pretty decent.

06-25-2019, 05:47 PM
Wow that was a nice surprise to wake to.

Australia’s biggest strength for a number of years has been its bowling and boy did that show this match.

I imagine warning bells are ringing in the England camp now. How are the local press taking it?

Prime Time
06-26-2019, 07:46 AM
I think there's some recognition that it's not an awful result because of the qualities of Australia, but that England were poor, and they've left themselves with everything to do. There's a feeling that they aren't incapable of winning both games and progressing, but at the same time.... there's big clamour to get Roy back into the side.

But yeah, we bowled poorly early on and then you bowled well, and we never looked like dealing with it. Worthy winners in the end, and it wasn't close.

Prime Time
06-30-2019, 01:38 PM
England have just kept their tournament alive with a huge win over India.

Prime Time
07-04-2019, 09:49 AM
.... and they make the semi-finals for the first time since 1992, with a big one over New Zealand.

Tournament saved, I guess.

For the love of Terry Funk
07-04-2019, 10:01 AM
Amazing catch by their guy to get rid of Eoin Morgan though.

Prime Time
07-11-2019, 06:23 AM
Bloody hell. New Zealand beat India. Australia three down quickly. What the hell is happening?

07-12-2019, 05:01 AM
That was perfect from England. So, naturally, they'll get hammered by NZ...

For the love of Terry Funk
07-15-2019, 03:47 AM

Huge slice of luck and a massive technicality but who the fuck cares.

Prime Time
07-16-2019, 06:48 AM
Interesting to hear that apparently there was a bit of a cock-up in the scoring, and that England probably shouldn't have got the draw. But not a lot you can do about it now, I suppose.

Prime Time
08-03-2019, 10:45 AM
First Ashes test is intriguingly set-up right now. Aussie collapse before they saved the test, then a debut century and batting through the day to give the bowlers enough of a rest and a lead of 90 to bowl at.

Glenn McGrath has said the first 40 overs are absolutely crucial for England and if they skittle a few wickets in the afternoon session today then they could win the whole thing quite quickly. Conversely, a big opportunity for Bancroft and Warner to bat Australia into pole position.

For the love of Terry Funk
08-05-2019, 04:29 AM
Fucking Smith. Best that is there is the draw now.

Prime Time
08-05-2019, 07:47 AM
The draw has probably gone now, too.

08-14-2019, 10:17 AM
Well first day of the second test looks like it is going to get washed out.

Gotta say that while we needed up winning the first test pretty comprehensively it did nothing for my overall confidence in the side. Our batting is just so damn fragile, if it wasn't for Smith and the bowlers we would havscored about 140 for our first innings and have been shot.

Prime Time
08-15-2019, 06:58 AM
You're problems are nothing compared with ours, though. We don't have the batsmen. Our bowlers are still good, but I don't think they are any better than yours unless you've got Anderson/Broad firing on all cylinders, which happens less and less as their ageing bodies break down. I don't think we've got much in the way of spin anymore either, and while I don't think Lyon is the best I've seen he's certainly a legit option in a way that Moeen isn't when off-form. It does beg the question of why so many of our players are either all or nothing.

That said, the big problem for me is the captain. Root's a fine batsman but he's such a step down on Cook, who was himself a step down on Strauss in that role. I just don't see us winning any close run games with him leading the side, and he hasn't known how to use the bowlers to deal with Smith, the one true obstacle in the Aussie team.

08-15-2019, 07:16 AM
I'm not sure if you are watching or not but the Aussie bowlers are all over the English batsmen this morning.

Root had a couple of good moments but got out plumb.

I must say that we are incredibly blessed with fast bowlers, being able to rest Josh Hazelwood and Mitch Starc in the first test and still have an incredible attack is a luxury not many teams would have.

Lyons is incredible really, picked while he was still working as a grounds keeper at the Adelaide Oval, was in and out of the team for the first half of his career but has now gone on to take over 300 wickets and will probably end his career as our second highest wicket taker ever behind Warne & McGrath, that is ahead of guys like Dennis Lillee, Brett Lee, Jason Gillsepie, Richie Benaud and Mitch Johnson which is pretty rare company. However he has rarely felt like the kind of bowler who could rip through a team like most of those guys I've listed did.

For the English team I get what you're saying about the batsmen, Root and Stokes are really the only ones that I worry about but if Archer can fire up he is a very exciting prospect.

Have you had a chance to watch the movie The Edge? It is a doco about the English team from 2010-2014 that got to the top of the world but fell apart in Australia. I'm really interested in seeing it when it comes to Australia because all reviews seem to say it is one of the best modern sports docos.

Prime Time
08-15-2019, 07:27 AM
I'm following but not watching, and yeah, you're all over us. Combination of good bowling and some weak, weak batting. What we lack is not shotmakers, because we've got dozens of them, but someone who can dig in and tough it out in test cricket. Could be because we've had a decade of our priority, behind the scenes, being the one day game. And y'know, they did win the world cup so you can't say it's a failure, but for those of us interested in tests it's not really worth it.

Lyon's good, no doubt, but I think I agree with the assessment that he isn't going to rip through a side the way the better bowlers that you've mentioned did. Those numbers are a combination of playing more games, and I'd wager taking more tail wickets. There's a reason Murali has more wickets than Warne, even though we all know that really, the latter was the better spinner.

I haven't seen that documentary, no. My understanding was that the Ashes just happened to be a series too far for 1-2 of the key players, and that made all the difference (along with the widely reported differences between Pietersen and the management team). I'd be interested to find out if there was more to it than that, because it always struck me as slightly odd that Trott/Swann etc could all be doing fine one minute, and then be passed it to the point of retirement almost overnight.

I suppose, though, it's not the first time that you've seen that happen in sports, so maybe I'm just sad because that was the end of such a great era for us.

England just passed 50, two down.

08-15-2019, 07:39 AM
These two seem to have got their eye in a little and have played some very nice drives.

As for World Cups, I would honestly prefer to win an away Ashes or Indian tour but then again we have World Cups coming out of our eyeballs at this point and I am a die hard who loves test cricket so of course I put a priority on that.

Prime Time
08-15-2019, 07:42 AM
I do as well. But as I say, that's been the ECB's priority for a long time. They put their resources into winning the world cup, and even though I don't much care and would much rather have been developing batsmen who can win test matches, it's hard to criticise them when they hit their goal.

Plus, outside of a couple of countries the shorter forms of the game are becoming dominant, so it's probably no surprise that they want to be competing at the versions that will be more lucrative down the line.

And yes, big improvement from these two. Been a vital intervention in the game, this.

08-16-2019, 07:57 AM
Interesting moment right now in the test. The England bowlers have done some great work early and got Australia to 4-80 but Smith is looking set and he has Wade next to him who is a player that is in form.

Seems the combination of two very good bowling teams and relatively fragile batting orders in English conditions mean that any score over 250 is competitive.

Prime Time
08-16-2019, 10:19 AM
And yet the bowler's mindset seemed to change the minute they had to deal with Smith. He's living rent-free in their heads.

This one is getting rained out, though. Without a monumental collapse there's no way we're getting a result. No more play likely today. Australia will have to bat through day 4 to get a lead at all, especially as the conditions tomorrow should continue to make batting tricky. England will just be coming in after lunch on Sunday with the goal of not losing and almost no chance of winning.

And we're heading to Headingly next, which has been like the WACA in England in terms of a happy hunting ground for Australia. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Ashes wrapped up there.

Prime Time
08-17-2019, 10:06 AM
Ouch. Steve Smith retires hurt after being struck with the ball by Archer.

08-18-2019, 03:23 AM
That was an incredible stretch of cricket. Archer was bowling proper express bowling against the best batsman in the world.

Will make things very interesting if he can't play the next match as he was the difference in the first match.

Prime Time
08-18-2019, 02:05 PM
Out of the rest of this one... and I may have spoken too soon about the result. It's unlikely but a wicket an over will do the job for England before the close of play.

Seen some interesting comments about Australia sending Smith back out there with a suspected concussion....

08-19-2019, 09:03 AM
From what I read he passed their initial tests and then pulled up with effects the next day. Certainly smells a little funny but based on my (pretty limited) knowledge of concussions that isn't completely abnormal.

It is a huge blow for us that he will miss the next test. May be a turning point of the series. Hopefully it is a catalyst for Warner & Khawaja to stand up as the leaders of the lineup not that I'm terribly confident in either, Warner is struggling to get past 10 and Khawaja seems to have regressed to his bad habbit of getting out in the 30s just when he should be kicking on.

England seems to be working their way into this series nicely though. Headingly is going to be huge.

Prime Time
08-19-2019, 09:05 AM
I think it's not abnormal, but that was part of the way it was getting reported here: knowing that people often have delayed reaction, what the hell were they doing putting him out there again when there was every chance that he'd still break down?

Difficult position to be in, I suppose, but this is why I think all sports need to take these decisions out of the teams' hands and have independent doctors.

08-19-2019, 05:01 PM
I'm feeling root and the England batsmen need a massive total in headlingley for the next test!

Prime Time
08-20-2019, 06:38 AM
They could do with one, but I'm not sure it's coming!

Smith ruled out of the third test. James Anderson still out but could be back for the fourth.

08-21-2019, 08:10 AM
I have to laugh at the English media's sudden concern for Steve Smith's health.

"Oh no, he can't possibly play, his health is too important to compromise for just a game of cricket.

So nice that they care about our best batsman that much. :rolleyes::D

Prime Time
08-22-2019, 07:45 AM
Haha, frankly I don't think anyone here really gives a damn about Steve Smith's health. It's not all self-interest though. Speaking personally, I don't really care if he lives or dies, but the principal at stake that you protect the health of athletes especially around head injuries is more important than who wins any game, or even really about him as an individual.

The way I see it is this. A British journalist might sound quite self-interested because what they are arguing for is the removal of your star batsman. But if it were anyone else, it wouldn't be an issue, because they'd have been taken out as a precaution anyway.

A late start at Headingley, and they are off again for rain, but the interim Archer snaffled the wicket of Marcus Harris.

08-22-2019, 08:47 AM
That was a really intense first little bit of play. Broad and Archer were so close to getting both men a number of times. Broad was almost too good for Warner who played and missed so many times as he seemed to be able to seam the ball at will. Just beautiful bowling.

It will be interesting to see if Smith leaving helps Warner & Khawaja stick their hands up as the two senior batsmen. Khawaja has always been best as an opener and he pretty much will be opening when they return to play.

Prime Time
08-22-2019, 09:47 AM
Khawaja gone, nicked one off Broad for 8. Currently 39-2 with Warner starting to look crucial.

Khawaja is a funny one because whenever I've seen him he's looked like has all the tools, but he doesn't deliver all that often and doesn't seem completely reliable.

Sounds like there could be more wickets. England vary the length slightly and they'll turn these beating the edge moments into fine edges. But the rain has intervened again, and they've just gone off as I'm typing.

Prime Time
08-22-2019, 01:05 PM
This test has more twists and turns than a helter skelter.

08-22-2019, 03:13 PM
That is as good of a description of Khawaja as you are going to get. He has had some moments of excellent form but most of his career has been frustrating to watch.

Ive inky just seen the score card but looks like after Warner fell we had a classic Aussie middle order batting collapse, I can't see Travis Head staying in the team when Smith comes back unless he scores big next innings.
Seems Archer must have been bowling with some venom as well, I hope the weather stays the same, will make for an interesting battle between the Aussie bowlers and England's batsmen.

Prime Time
08-22-2019, 04:01 PM
The moment I saw people trumpeting was when he started bowling slower, and people who follow the game far more closely than me were saying 'he's realised the ball is doing enough on this wicket and is moderating his pace for the conditions. He's the real deal'.

Australia are either in a hole or England will be bowled out cheaply tomorrow and we'll find this is actually a decent score on this wicket!

08-23-2019, 08:08 AM
Well turns out 160 may have been a good score, even without the weather that Broad & ARcher took advantage of the Australian bowlers have been utterly ruthless. I wouldn't call it a collapse because the wickets have been somewhat spread out but none of the English batsmen have been able to make convincing runs despite some being in for quite a while. Just goes to show what we both said early, both sides have incredibly good bowling lineups.

Prime Time
08-23-2019, 08:33 AM
Two good bowling line-up and two poor batting ones, for the most part. Tough viewing for an Englishman today.

08-23-2019, 09:10 AM
Ok, that was a collapse. Top scorer was 12, reminds me of some terrible Aussie innings of the last few years. Full credit to the bowlers though they were near flawless. The fact Mitchell Starc, the top wicket Taker in the World Cup is still yet to play is pretty incredible.

Now we'll see if the batsmen can take the game away. The weather looks nice, obviously the pitch is offering something but time is on Australia's side and the momentum is with them.

Prime Time
08-23-2019, 09:36 AM
I'll go one further, no real excuses if you don't retain the Ashes right here after that showing.

And I don't think Root is going to retain the captaincy long after this series ends. Decent enough start but got hammered in the 2017 Ashes, lost the subsequent series in New Zealand, could only split the two home tests with Pakistan, admittedly came back well against India and Sri Lanka but since then we've lost to the West Indies and are now going to be hammered in a home Ashes for the first time since 2001 when, let's face it, the Aussie team were more than a bit special.

Besides, he probably needs it to help his batting. The captaincy and coming in at #3 seems to have been too much for him. He's managed just three centuries in the last two years. It seems to me like he'll have it taken away and given to someone else, so he can concentrate on contributing with the bat again, and it'll also satisfy the public's demands for change after a really weak attempt at winning them back.

We also don't have the players to go away and win in Australia next time out, so we might as well start looking for the batting order that can put him more of a contest in four years time.

08-23-2019, 02:27 PM
The Aussie innings seems to have been nothing special but most have got 20 or 30. If we lose from here it would be a big problem.

To your comments about Root, who would replace him as captain? The most established player would be Ben Stokes from what I know but there is absolutely no way he will be captain given his off field history. Apart from him Bairstow or Woakes maybe? You probably know the team and their history better than me.

If we do win it will be a huge feather in the cap for Paine & Langer given that Ponting and Clarke were never able to get a win in England and except for maybe 2015 they had better sides.

Prime Time
08-23-2019, 03:02 PM
The sad thing is there's no good answer, but I suspect you may have to roll the dice just to give Root the chance to fix his batting.

So our most experienced player is Anderson, followed by Broad. I'll skip over the obvious problems with picking either of them. Next are Bairstow and Root, though I'm honestly not sure Bairstow solves our captaincy issues. Then there's a run of options... Woakes, Stokes, Moeen Ali, and Joss Buttler. You've hit on the problem with Stokes, Ali is taking a break from cricket. Buttler does have the advantage of being the Vice captain of the ODI side.

I think you might have to get creative, to be honest. Give it to Rory Burns even though he's new, because he's won the county championship and openers often make good captains? Promote Eoin Morgan back into the side because his captaincy with the ODI side has been good and he could probably get as many runs in the middle order as the current lot are managing? Go back to an established club captain like Dawid Malan or James Vince? Hell, even recalling someone like Ian Bell.

I'm not saying all of these are brilliant ideas but to be honest I think we're in a situation where they are going to have to get creative and if I were in the meeting I'd be asking for ideas on the premise that nothing is off-limits.

EDIT: Mentioning Eoin Morgan has brought home to me how much our batting has fallen. He was dropped for not being up to scratch as a test player in 2012. His record then had a lot of failures but he also hit a century in the Pakistan series, two halves against Sri Lanka, and then one century and another half against India. Up against someone like Buttler, Morgan's average was comparable and he was more likely to make a major contribution once he got himself in.

08-25-2019, 07:18 AM
What a difference 24 hours makes.

All statistics say England has only a tiny chance but my goodness am I nervous right now.

08-25-2019, 08:04 AM
other than the Root dismissal, this has been almost perfect, exactly what England needed. Patience is the key here. They are now favourites to win, but lose a couple of wickets and it all goes to hell.

08-25-2019, 08:24 AM
I would say that Australia are still more likely to win, we have one of the best bowling teams in the world, just one or two wickets with anything more than 20 runs to win and the pressure immediately swings right the other way.

It is going to be a bloody close one though, Test cricket is just so damn good.

08-25-2019, 08:55 AM
I will say this. If we do lose it is just about 95% a failure of our batsmen. In the first innings only two of them got over 10 and in the second there were a lot of them getting out still relatively cheaply.

Prime Time
08-25-2019, 10:19 AM
I would say that Australia are still more likely to win, we have one of the best bowling teams in the world, just one or two wickets with anything more than 20 runs to win and the pressure immediately swings right the other way.

It is going to be a bloody close one though, Test cricket is just so damn good.

Quoted for what is obviously now truth.

Prime Time
08-25-2019, 11:22 AM
And yet the reason we love test cricket, you can never rule out the FUCKING ABSURD.


08-25-2019, 11:26 AM
Absolutely embarrassing all round by the Australians on that field. Fielding, horrible. Bowling, atrocious. Captaincy absolutely horrendous and that is the reason why itís now 1-1. Paine dropped, gloves to Wade make Smith captain again. I have no faith in Paine going forward after that.

08-25-2019, 02:21 PM
Arise Sir Benjamin Stokes.

And an OBE for Leach while you're at it.

08-25-2019, 06:08 PM
Oh fucking hell what an ending.

I went to bed after the run out so obviously I wasn't watching live but when I read the cricinfo report I could believe it. That has to be one of the greatest innings in cricket history. I love that you quoted me PT because it just highlights how absurd of an accomplishment it was.

Australia so rarely seems to win the close matches, I normally say it is as penance put on us by the cricket gods for how insanely dominant the team was in the past.

Of course there are things that could have and should have been done better by the Aussies but from what it seems like no matter what they did there would have been no stopping Ben Stokes.

We are in for one hell of a final two matches.

Prime Time
08-26-2019, 09:50 AM
Given Sam's gentlemanly reaction here against the vast majority of what I've seen from Aussies on the 'net and in the press, I think it's safe to say we have the best Australian here at LoP.

Considered running for office?!

08-27-2019, 09:49 AM
Jack Leach and I share a hometown (pretty much). The greatest 1* in test history, made all the better for him having his glasses repeatedly wiped.

I was in a soft play with the kids following the Guardian's OBO report of it all, and I was just so damned tense. I'm going to have to go back to listen to the TMS stream of it, because I imagine that was superb.

Prime Time
08-27-2019, 10:17 AM
I generally resist this kind of hyberbole. There's a tendency to immediately default to what you've seen lately. But after a few days reflection... that's the most remarkable England test I've ever seen, and it probably does beat even the Botham efforts.

Yeah. I don't think people are going overboard. It's got to be the best. Going from a lowest score in the Ashes since 1948, Stokes winning it staying in there for hours, and hitting a ridiculous number of sixes when getting caught out would have ended it all there and then.

The rest of the series will determine whether or not this goes down in the annals of history the way Freddie Flintoff and Botham and others have done, but there's no doubt in my mind it's the best regardless of what happens in the final two tests.

Momentum with England. Smith expected to return in the warm-up later this week ahead of the fourth test. It's all set up now.

08-27-2019, 12:09 PM
Let's not forget also how long Stokes bowled the day before with Archer out of the attack. Just outstanding. A shoe-in for the SPOTY award surely...

08-28-2019, 07:39 AM
In regards to the Aussie press reaction I think while that last lbw call was a shocker and bundles in nicely with the shocker Kasprowicz got at Edgebaston in '05 Australia had othrer chances, notably the run out that they fumbled, the review they wasted before and generally played far too defensively against Stokes who had no catching pressure put on him which I found crazy given how good our bowlers are.

Prime Time
08-28-2019, 08:48 AM
I thought it'd been fairly well proven in the last few days that the DRS was wrong, the umpire was right, and it would have been a bad call if they'd have the review left.

It's led to a bit of soul-searching here in England (at least in some quarters, can't imagine it's too widespread) about whether or not we'd have taken it with any better grace had DRS given him out and been judged wrong after the fact. And I don't suspect we'd have taken in particularly well, in all honesty. You only have to look at the VAR debate in football to see how these things can get away with us.

The Kasparowicz one was a poor call though to be fair it was a long time after the fact that I heard anyone bring that up. I don't remember anyone thinking it was a shocker in real time, more that it was a tough thing to call that happened to go against Australia (not least because there was no DRS back then). It was only afterwards that it got elevated to some kind of miscarriage of justice, not really when England won that first series but when they won several Ashes on the bounce between 2009-2013. Then, as a way of symbolically undoing that turnaround, it seemed to enter Aussie lore for more strongly. 'Well of course it's all built on a lie', that sort of thing. At least, that's how it's come across.

I do think a lot of this comes down to cricket fans are spoiled. The umpires get so much right in comparison with other sports that when they are finally human enough to get something wrong they have a bit of a meltdown about it.

The truth is, Lyon should have run him out. All the stuff about poor captaincy, poor decisions, potential umpiring problems, saving a review and all these other things.... there's some truth to a lot of them, of course, but what it really comes down to is there was a golden chance, and it was butchered. The one rule is that when those things come up you never leave them in the hands of the umpires or of chances and percentages, you've got to be merciless. Frankly, I think the pressure got to him just as much as it got to some of the bowlers, and given the field settings, quite clearly the captain.

08-28-2019, 05:13 PM
Hard to argue with anything you've said although I haven't seen anything about the lbw decision that was given not out but seemed plumb on DRS being wrong.

Just for comparison, if you go back to the famous '99 tied ODI World Cup Semi-final it all hinged on a run out going correctly and while there was a lot that could go wrong, no players panicked, they just got it done as the best teams just do.

Prime Time
08-29-2019, 06:26 AM
Yeah, DRS had it as absolutely plumb. The reasoning I've seen given (and accepted by people who know way more about cricket than me, to be perfectly honest about it) is that the DRS couldn't tell the difference, or "missed the deflection off Stokes’s front pad and thus followed an incorrect trajectory from when the ball hit his back pad." The theory, then, is that the ball wasn't turning and would probably have slid down leg.

But this is why in certain circles there's been some real questions here. Had that been given out in those circumstances, and then the alternate explanation came out, how would we have handled it? Probably quite poorly, to be honest about it. And is there a fundamental question about using technology to overrule an umpire, when the umpire gets it right? The basic principle shouldn't be changed, but that feels worse somehow. And it's left a lot of questions out there.

So the leading theory here is that the decision was spot on, but it's not been in some kind of triumphalist way, and has led to more serious conversations about cricket and the way it operates than it has only showboating or Aussie-baiting.

Anyway - Lyon injured in the warm-up for the Derby game. Though he's not expected to miss any test time because of it. I guess we'll find out how he responds. The talk out of the Aussie camp and the ex-players attached to them is that the run-out attempt has left him 'scarred'.

Prime Time
09-04-2019, 06:48 AM
Broad got a couple quickly. Probably the trickiest pair to get out at the crease. Crucial moment in the innings.

09-05-2019, 07:42 AM
If anyone can stay in for a few hours alongside Smith then Australia are going to post a very large score. Best chance for getting Smith out at this point seems to be a run out which isn't great, still it is a shame seeing how most of the Australian middle order have been unable to support Smith. Matt Wade absolutely threw his wicket away when Australia were well in control which was a shame. He has a lot of promise and has been in fantastic form before the series so I was excited to see what he made of being a specialist batsmen but he doesn't seem to have the temperament of a proper test player after all.

Prime Time
09-05-2019, 07:45 AM
You seem to have two batsmen, based on this series. It's lucky for you that one of them is Smith because that'll probably still be good enough.

Archer putting down that catch when he was on sixty-something could be massive.

Prime Time
09-07-2019, 09:44 AM
England just avoid the follow on. Bowled out not long after. Warner gone for no loss, a pair of ducks now and Broad seems to have his number.

If the English bowlers can stay on top until at least tea, they might be able to bail the batsmen out a bit here - could end up being an all-or-nothing affair at The Oval. If Australia can get on top again, I'm not sure you'd fancy England to bat through a whole day to save the test.

EDIT: And the second Aussie opener gone cheaply. Like Deja Vu, this. Get the two rocks out quickly and England's prospects are OK, but if they bat and take the game away it's all too much.

09-09-2019, 07:07 AM
It's over but not without another scare.

Smith and Cummins were the difference I think, while he didn't get all the wickets it was Cummins who got rid of thrwe top two and pilled on the pressure more than any other bowler. Smith was Smith, the guy is in a league of his own, he has only had 5 innings and has nearly scored 700 runs.

I also can't say enough about Tim Paine's leadership. You can say what you want about his field placing at Headingly but off field I think he may go down as the most important captains we have had since Border. Since Border we have really had very 'establishment' captains, particularly in Ponting, Clarke and Smith you had three guys who were born, bred and raised in our high performance institutes and contracts. Having a guy who had some life experience outside cricket and had experienced some true hardship meant he could actually be a circuit breaker to the culture that had been built up in the Aussie team and institution that led Sandpaper Gate and the justified Ugly Aussies tag. There are rumors he could retire as soon as the end of the tour and if he does I hope his legacy lives on, he actually makes me proud of the team and not just because of how good they are but how they go about playing the game.

Prime Time
09-09-2019, 07:36 AM
Deserved winners in the end. Thought Nasser Hussain said it best, would have been an injustice if we'd got to the final test with a chance to win the game. Stokes' heroics were magnificent but to be honest they were just papering over the cracks. Australia outplayed us, fairly handily in fact. Can't see us putting up much resistance in Australia on this evidence, so I expect you'll have the urn for a while, Sam!

Many, many questions for England. A lot of them are about how we've prepared for the summer rather than the players, but there's still some obvious things to sort out with the batting.

I think the difference in the series overall was Smith. The bowling was decent by both sides, but aided by some pretty poor batting (though I would agree that Cummins was probably the pick of the bunch, mainly because England's best bowlers were often inconsistent, ranging from unplayable to ineffective). Paine probably did out-captain Root, but not by so much as to be decisive and crucially I think not when it really counted and that captaincy was what was going to win the series. Smith, on the other hand, rescued a flailing Aussie batting line-up time after time, and without his runs I think England would have won the series fairly comfortably. Take the first test, for example. Without Smith's back-to-back hundreds, I don't believe anyone can credibly see the Aussies winning that match. Imagine if he'd made, say, 30 in the first innings. Australia bowled out for less than 200, before England post nearly 400 in reply. Does anyone see Wade making his century if Smith isn't at the other end? Even if they do both make it, it's far less likely that England get rolled so cheaply without the scoreboard pressure that came from his making their first innings competitive. You can do similar things for practically every test.

So yeah, for me he's the difference - the one world class batsman on the field, and bowlers who are less and less good at getting those players out (because we encounter them so much less frequently than in the past). It's telling, I think, that Smith has waaaaay more runs than anyone else in the series despite missing a match, and it's equally telling that only two other Australians managed more than 200 runs in the series. Smith got 671. The 2nd and 3rd highest run scorers were both England players, and were coincidentally the only two other players to manage more than 300 in the series.

The question that's brewing for me is not whether Smith was the difference here, but whether or not he's getting into consideration for a Greatest Ever Australian XI. He's certainly got to be in the conversation, though there are some fine, fine players that he'd need to overcome because you've certainly produced some decent batsmen in your time.

My current thinking for England going forward is this. Burns was one of the few bright points with the bat. Swapping Roy and Denly around seemed to work quite well. So maybe try and Roy and three at Root at four, where he seems to be more comfortable, and have a batting line-up like this.


Question marks over Buttler after that series, after 5 failures in 8 innings and never going on to make even a 50. Average of 16.25 isn't anywhere near good enough. He's made just one century in 35 matches, too. I'd be looking long and hard for a replacement, judging by this form.

Right now, Dominic Sibley has to be making a strong case for England to take a look at him, and though he's not going to be the answer to making us world class I suspect the batting line-up might be a tad more convincing with someone like Gary Ballance in there to solidify things a bit. We've never really recovered from losing Trott and Collingwood, who were never the prettiest players of the ball or the best counter-attackers but they gave the side a durability that is sadly missing nowadays.

09-09-2019, 08:52 AM
You make a good point about how pivotal Smith was and I can't exactly argue with you given the stats I pulled up. Really the batting has been weak from both sides minus Stokes, Burns, Labuschange and Smith, certainly on the Australian side there are very few positives. Warner in particular has been horrible at a time when we needed him to step up. Even Wade who scored a century really got lucky doing it against a depleted attack that had already been broken by Smith and hasn't done anything else since. The averages tell the real story, only the top 2 Australian batsmen average over 30 and in the top 7 are two bowlers: Siddle & Pattinson and our wicket-keeper Tim Paine.

Crazily enough, even though I gave Cummins the wrap Hazelwood actually ended up with a better average. He is actually from where I was born and I used to play cricket against and then with his older brother Brendan who was the first person I ever saw get a double hat-rick. Can't imagine what the guy who actually ended up in the Test team must have done to the poor country high school players.

Things aren't much rosier on the English side average wise, most are 30 or below, only Burns & Stokes getting on the board with something substantial.

Do you think the changes will get rung in for the final match or will they stick with the troops that got them there. I'm also interested in the question of Root's captaincy, does he keep it and if so who can take it up? Given his form Burns seems the only guy that could take it on but that seems premature. Is there any chance they could bring Eoin Morgan into the team to lead for a year while someone else cements their place and learns on the job?

As for your question about the greatest ever Australian 11, that is a tough one. This would be my shortlist if I had to write it today.

Victor Trumper
Bill Ponsford
Arthur Morris
Matthew Hayden

Don Bradman (duh)

4 & 5
Ricky Ponting
Greg Chappell
Ian Chappell
Steve Waugh
Alan Border
Steve Smith
Michael Clarke

Keith Miller
Richie Benaud
Doug Walters

Adam Gilchrist
Ian Healy
Rod Marsh

Spin Bowlers
Shane Warne
Bill O'Riley

Fast Bowlers
Glen McGrath
Dennis Lillee
Fred Spofforth
Ray Lindwall
Mitchell Johnson
Brett Lee
Jeff Thompson
Craig McDermott

To your question of 'would Steve Smith make it?' I would say not yet. He has played 67 matches, the first 10 or so of which were as a spin bowler down the order so he has only really had 50 or so matches as a pure batsmen which for a modern player isn't that long. Guys like Ponting and Clarke has sustained runs of purple form as well where their average was pushing 60, hell even Michael Hussey had a time where he was in that kind of picture and I think Adam Voges average is still over 60 and neither of them are getting anywhere near the best XI of all time. Right now Smith is about as good as it gets but I'm interested in if he can sustain it for another few years before I rank him ahead of Ponting, Border, Greg Chappel & Steve Waugh who all had nearly 10 year runs at the very top. Just for the exercise here is my 11:

Matt Hayden
Victor Trumper
Don Bradman
Ricky Ponting
Steve Waugh (c)
Keith Miller
Adam Gilchrist
Shane Warne
Ray Lidwall
Dennis Lillee
Glen McGrath

In true Aussie fashion it is pretty much all out attack. I'm probably a bit blinded in my Steve Waugh love as most commentators seem to put Chappell in under Ponting in these sorts of lists but he was a little before my time, as The Grade Cricker podcast says he is 'your dad's favourite player'. Part of me would love to have a tearaway quick bowler in it: Spofforth, Lee, Johnson or Thompson but the case for Lilliee & McGrath is too strong to leave either of them out and Lindwall's batting squeezes him in. In his day Lillee was known to be fast as was Miller. If it was a spinning pitch I would probably sub Ponting or Waugh for Clarke who was amazing against spin and Miller for Beanaud but asside from that my team would be pretty set.

Out of curiosity who would you have in your English XI, any current or recent players?

Prime Time
09-09-2019, 09:44 AM
Of an all-time XI, you mean? God, that's a tough one. I don't tend to like picking players for these things that exist before my time, or before I got to see much of them on tape (which really begins with the late 1970s early 1980s). And a lot of our names tend to be before then. But here's the way the conversation tends to go.

Cook is one of the two openers for most people. Len Hutton might get the other berth and Jack Hobbs has to be in the conversation. Alec Stewart could potentially take the other berth if you're looking at him as a batsman/wicket-keeper combination. His average is a bit lower than the others but he was a reliable figure during a time when Pakistan had Younis/Akram/Khan, the West Indies had Walsh/Ambrose, Australia had Warne/McGrath... y'know, arguably better bowlers up against him than the other options. Some people might put Gooch or Boycott in the conversation, too.

The middle order gives you some combination of W.G. Grace, David Gower, Kevin Pietersen, Graham Thorpe, Wally Hammond, Ken Barrington, Denis Compton, with the likes of Bell, or Root, as more wildcard contemporary picks.

For your all rounder, Botham, Flintoff or Stokes. Hard to look anywhere else.

If you don't take Stewart as an opener, you probably have to have Alan Knott in the side as a wicket-keeper. The next best option is to lose a bit of solidity and go for a counter-attacking batsman in Matt Prior.

For your out-and-out bowlers, Anderson and Broad top the list and both have to be in the conversation. Bob Willis and Fred Trueman are the stand outs from the earlier period. A whole host of good bowlers being glossed over here of course, like Gough, Caddick, Fraser, Dilley.

The spin options are probably Derek Underwood or Swann, though Laker, Titmus and Ray Illingworth all probably have a place in the discussion too.

As for the players I've seen plenty of footage of, it'd be something like this:

Cook (c)

Choosing a wicket-keeper as an opener gets you another all-rounder in, which means we can bat a bit down to number 9. Swann has been our only world class spinner for a couple of generations, so he's an easy pick. I've just about seen enough of Gower and Botham in their pomp to get them into the XI. Root just about edges Bell and Pietersen, especially as I'm picking him as a genuine middle order man rather than as a number 3 or with the responsibility of captaincy, and he performed much better in that role. I've actually left out the best captains (Strauss would be my pick based on that criteria) so the armband passes to Cook (though Gower is also an option as his figures as captain are a bit skewed by some disastrous performances against the great West Indian side of that era). Harmison gets in purely because of the need for some genuine pace and the lack of real alternatives.

If I were picking an earlier team, I think you've got to get Hammond in there at the very least for one of the bowlers, and you maybe have to drop one of the all-rounders for a wicket-keeper as I think that a Jack Hobbs might just be too hard to leave out. I reckon Fred Trueman or Bob Willis would definitely get in ahead of Harmison to fill that fast bowler position, too. If you did pick Hutton, he's a real possibility for the captaincy.

09-15-2019, 05:18 PM
If I had to go players that I've seen footage of XI in their primes I would go for -

*** = was 2 when he retired, but have seen enough footage!

Cook (c)
Stewart (wk)

Stokes can play as specialist batsman and in addition, even tho Root can play much higher up, I wanted Pietersen in to balance up the order so I wanted him in. Vaughan was truly elegant and a leader at a time of epic fast bowlers being about! (Mind you, if I was more immersed with Gowers work, it'd be a flip of a coin but Vaughan I've seen much more of)

Botham and Flintoff at 8 and 9?! Epic stuff innit!

I challenge (if anyone wants to) a best XI in Test Cricket of World stars (the catch is you have to pick players that have played since 1990 to keep things modern!

Also yay we drew the series haha

Prime Time
09-16-2019, 06:18 AM
I challenge (if anyone wants to) a best XI in Test Cricket of World stars (the catch is you have to pick players that have played since 1990 to keep things modern!

I'll have a crack.

S Anwar (Pak)
M Hayden (Aus)
R Dravid (Ind)
J. Kallis (S. Afr)
S. Tendulkar (Ind)
BC Lara (W. Ind)
A. Gilchrist (Aus)
S. Warne (Aus)
W. Akram (Pak)
A. Donald (S. Afr)
G. McGrath (Aus)

So, you've got Saaed Anwar and Matthew Hayden to open the batting. Rahul Dravid of India is the number 3, and though he scored fewer total runs than Ponting I think the fact that you want someone super-dependable at 3 (in case an opener falls early) makes him the clear choice. Kallis coming in at four, but he's got a strong enough record there that I've got confidence in him and want him in the side. Then the two entertainers in Tendulkar and Lara at 4 and 5, who should have a platform to play after those four have been in and could potentially be even more destructive than they were playing higher up the order. Both are capable of batting it away from anyone. Gilchrist is the obvious choice for wicket keeper.

Akram edges in ahead of several other bowlers in with a shout because he was capable of doing it with the bat as well as being one of the best swing bowlers I've ever seen (which ultimately is what guarantees no English participation here). Only one spinner but when it's Shane Warne that's not a concern for me. The genuine pace option was a coin toss between two South Africans but in the end I've gone for Donald over Steyn. Glenn McGrath rounds out my XI.

No Englishmen, because we tend to produce very good teams rather than standout individuals. Alastair Cook getting in at opener or James Anderson nicking a bowling spot are probably the best bets, but I think in either case they weaken the side rather than improve it. Four Aussies, two each from Pakistan, India and South Africa, and then one from the West Indies.

Yeah, I'd back that side to win 99 times out of 100. Though I suppose a critic of the side might argue it's biased towards my youth, with a lot of those players plying their trade in the 1990s.

09-16-2019, 12:32 PM
Hayden (Aus)
Smith (SA)
Sangakkara (SL)
Tendulkar (Ind)
Kallis (SA)
Lara (WI)
Gilchrist (Aus)
Warne (Aus)
Steyn (SA)
Muralidaran (SL)
McGrath (Aus)

09-16-2019, 04:45 PM
M. Hayden
A. Cook
R. Ponting
S. Tendulkar
B. Lara
S. Waugh (c)
A. Gilchrist
S. Warne
D. Steyn
C. Ambrose
G. McGrath

Mine is probably a little Aussie heavy but that is the team I've seen the most of and since the 90s they have been the most consistently dominant team.

The different guys I've gone for are Aleister Cook who is my rock at the top of the order. He would be there to do a similar role to David in PTs team. I went with Steve Waugh at six for his ability to bring together and motivate a team of killers and also his dependability with the tail.

Bowlign wise I was surprised no one else picked Curtly Ambrose, he was one of the most deadly bowlers I've ever seen and to me easily makes the side.

If it was a subcontinent wicket I would pick Murli instead of Steyn.

Prime Time
09-16-2019, 05:00 PM
Ambrose definitely in my thinking. Back when I was a kid there were a lot of bowlers who operated in pairs, and him and Walsh, as well as Akram and Younis, were all highly feared when you played the West Indies or Pakistan respectively.

In the end I went for Akram solely because he's a better batsman than the other three. But they were all devastating bowlers.

09-18-2019, 09:38 AM
Somerset continuing to find new and exciting ways to throw away a chance of the title, first letting James Vince score an absurd number of runs and then probably letting Kyle 'The Monk' Abbott take the first ever 18-for in County Cricket. So frustrating.

Prime Time
09-18-2019, 09:53 AM
If we're talking county cricket, Dom Sibley is on the verge of a double century against relegated Notts. But yes, to everyone but me the battle at the top is of more significance. Am I right in thinking Somerset have never actually won (despite once fielding a team with Botham and Viv Richards in it?!) It'd be quite something if they conspired to throw it away from here.

I do like the look of Sam's side, the more I look at it. I'm coming around on maybe having Cook in there ahead of Anwar, even though the latter had a better average. It'd be interesting to see them compared if they'd played in the same era. Anwar faced more high quality bowlers regularly, but Cook played in an era where you play that much more cricket, and so some of his stats are so much higher as a result. Definitely an argument for Smith too, though the same factors come into play.

The one thing I will say is that you can't really have an opener doing the job Dravid is doing in my team, because it's a number three specific job, as in someone who can play like an opener at number three if necessary or can attack if the top two in the order have played you into that kind of position. I think no one really balanced both better than Dravid. He's less likely to get out for a duck than pretty much anyone else I can name in that role, though he doesn't have quite the same style as some of the other names listed. Think a better version of the role Trott played for the successful England team.

09-26-2019, 11:23 AM
Hope you're all watching Taunton. Somerset out for 203 in the first innings about three days ago, two days pretty much completely rained off, Essex get to 101-1. And now have collapsed to 141 all out. Somerset forfeit their second innings and probably have an hour or so to bowl at Essex - take ten wickets and Somerset finally, finally win the bloody Championship. The last 9 fell in 19 overs, so there's time - and the Taunton pitch is turning all over the shop.

10-05-2019, 05:03 AM
I am so unhappy with ecb with running The Hundred... So uneccessary

Prime Time
10-07-2019, 09:39 AM
Yeah, I'm with you there. I forget who it was that said it but the gist was basically 'cricket for people who don't like cricket'. That'll obviously work.

Prime Time
11-05-2019, 11:46 AM
Saw Australia won their T20 with Pakistan fairly handily. Sounds like Smith wasn't even troubled, really. Some player.