David Cook (davidcook) wrote,
David Cook

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The cricket ...

Look away if you haven't seen the result, don't know which cricket match I'm talking about, or simply find it all terribly boring.

So, England finally wins the Ashes. Congratulations to them, and all that - they've played well all series, and taken advantage of their moments of luck.

Australia - they tried hard, but I'm not convinced they approached the series cleverly.
First, they had a very relaxed lead-up to this tour - something like 2-3 months off beforehand. The effects of this showed in the One Day series, with the humiliation of a loss to Bangladesh (then again, maybe it was scripted that way ? I've had my suspicions about the one day series for years), and a rusty start to the Tests, even with the initial win.
Along the way, they've had a fair bit of bad luck - Glenn McGrath's injury, of course, and Ponting lost most of the tosses, and made a poor decision when he did win one; there have been a few instances of unfortunate umpiring decisions along the way too. I feel sorry for Jason Gillespie, too - he's going to have to work very hard to get back in to the Test side, and may never play Tests again, and he's possibly the unluckiest player ever (I mean, he collided with his captain in a fielding incident, and where anyone else would have picked themselves up or been somewhat bruised, he broke his leg (and his captain's nose)). I don't know if anyone keeps statistics for "bowler who has had the most chances put down" or "bowler who has had the most near misses", but Gillespie must be at the top of the list.
Finally, they've sometimes played as if the mere fact of their past accomplishments should be enough to win them matches - but for all the 1200+ wickets that McGrath and Warne have taken, they and their fellow bowlers couldn't take all 100 that counted (although Warne should be considered for Man of the Series - nearly 250 runs and 40 wickets in the losing side). I think they must have become lazy in doing their fielding drills, as well, because they've missed far too many chances through the series to remain competitive[1].

On the positive side, most of the current team should still be playing in 18 months time for the next Ashes series, and it's in Australia. If they can work hard and bring back the neccessary discipline, under Australian conditions I'd still put them as favourites to regain the Ashes.

After that, though, more than half the team will be looking at retiring or being dropped (or retiring to avoid being dropped), and Australia will have to rebuild quickly and effectively - and they need to give players enough time to fully develop into Test players.
Let's hope the next Ashes series in England in 4 or so years is as entertaining and close as this one - but with the right result :-)

[1] I'm reminded of the One Day World Cup a few years back, where Australia were playing South Africa, an SA player dropped a potential catch, and the Aussies started taunting him saying "You've just dropped the World Cup" and similar lines. Apparently the Aussies dropped three chances from Pieterson today - and Warne was apparently one of the culprits. I'm not sure anyone would dare say "You dropped the Ashes" to him though, or at least not to his face :-)

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