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Posts Tagged ‘Ashes

Disapointed Aussie captain after losing the Ashes for the second time in England

Disapointed Aussie captain after losing the Ashes for the second time in England

England won the Ashes and Australia was pushed down the rankings from the first time since 2003. Australia has been such a dominant team for the past 15 years or so that this loss would have hurt their pride in more than one way. First thing is that Ponting losses both his English Ashes assignments in 2005 and 2009 and second thing is that the Aussies drop to number 4 in the rankings. But like the cricket Australia said all cannot be blamed on the captain. This situation was already predicted by few pundits earlier last year.

Australia had lost to India and South Africa last year and scraped through to victories against SL and WI. Australia is still quite a decent team but no way as intimidating or dominant as they used to be couple of years ago. To be frank both the teams in this series were pretty ordinary. Australia’s demise in the rankings was expected. No team can recover quickly when you lose players of the caliber of Warne, McGrath, Hayden, Gilchrist, Langer etc, in such a short span of time. The biggest loss for Australia has been for sure Shane Warne. Australia since his retirement has struggled to find a decent spinner to replace him.

The Problem for the Aussies was that Stuart McGill who was supposed to walk into the squad announced his retirement immediately after Shane did his. This put a great dampener on the Aussie plans. Since then they have tried Hogg, McGain, Hauritz and Krezja all with limited success. Their batting has been okay and has held its own most of the time in the recently concluded series but the bowling did struggle a bit. Even though the Aussie bowlers finished with better stats at the end of the series they came short at the crucial moments in the series.

The Aussie problems were compounded with the failures from their main batsmen namely Hussey and Hughes. Phil Hughes was immediately replaced by Shane Watson who even though did a good job, never kicked on to a big score. Hussey though was the biggest disappointment for the Aussies. He did score a hundred in the lost cause in the final innings of the series but it came a little bit too late for his team. The other major disappointment was the injury to their premier bowler Lee who could not play in a single game. In spite of him being in good form and fit the selectors resisted playing him in the final test.

They can’t be faulted as Clarke, Johnson, Hilfenhaus and Siddle combination did a great job at Headingly. Not playing Hauritz on a turning Oval pitch shows the complete lack of confidence of the skipper on his premier spinner on this tour. The way Marcus North was turning the ball square only made everyone think what would have happened if Warne was still playing for Australia. Even though the Aussies lost lots of great names in the last 2 years the biggest of them was Shane Warne. I guess the Aussies will do reasonably well with their pace attack in the coming few years but not having a decent spinner might work against them.

Well anyways the top three teams currently are South Africa, Sri Lanka and India (In the same order) followed by Australia and England forming the top 5. The Aussies will be disappointed by their showing in the Ashes and the English will be elated on regaining the urn. There will be lots for the Aussie captain to ponder about in coming days but he does not have too much time as the Champions Trophy begins in less than a month’s time. There are rumors of Ponting being replaced as the captain of Australian team by Clarke but that might not happen.

Anyways congrats to Strauss and England on regaining the Ashes and to the South African team who have reached the top of the test rankings with consistent performances over the past couple of years. The rankings are going to be interesting as I expect musical chairs at the top spot for the next couple of years as no team looks as dominant as the Aussies were couple of years back.

The Ashes Urn

The Ashes Urn

The Ashes 2009 is currently going on and the first test at Cardiff just ended last weekend. The series is just 1 test old and the hype surrounding this one is unbelievable. I can’t believe that this is a follow up to the 2006/07 series where England lost 5-0. I guess the English have selective amnesia as they have completely bypassed that series in between almost making everyone feel that this series is right after the 2005 one. I have been following this series for the last 15 years or so, not because I have a favorite team but just for the love of the sport. Since the time I started seeing the Ashes it’s always been a one sided contest. Yes there was one great series in 2005 but that’s about it. I did not watch the 1986-87 series and the one before that when England had won the Ashes back to back. But since then it has been just a one-way traffic.

While the British media blows this series up out of proportion, one can’t stop thinking, is it really this big? Yes probably for the English and the Australians but to call this as a series for which the entire world is waiting for is bit of a stretch. To be frank for the last 2 decades England have been a mediocre team except for the one which played in the 2005 Ashes. The English media is generating all this hype for the current series from England’s 2005 ashes win, meanwhile completely ignoring the 5-0 bashing which they received in 2006/07.

I recently saw few of the SKY commentators calling the Ashes as the definition of test cricket, yes I agree but for only England and Australian supporters and not for the entire cricketing world. For the others, it’s just another cricketing series between two teams. As far as I am concerned the Ashes has been too one-sided over the years to be called a great competition. Australians have been too strong for the English teams of the past with the likes of McGrath’s and Warne’s in their team.

The current Ashes series though can be called as a series between two even sides. The contest becomes even only because England are playing at home. The over hype for the series is sometimes hard to take. Yeah I agree that this is one of the oldest series in the history of the game but that doesn’t automatically make it a great series, does it? Since 1989 until 2005 both these teams have played 43 times and England has just won 7 and the Australians 28 with 8 drawn games.

The 2005 series was great and England played brilliantly to win a close series to claim the ashes almost after 2 decades. In spite of that it still remains 34-9 to the Aussies since 1989. The series was great prior to 1989 as the teams were close, the games were even, the head to head more close 87-86 to the Aussies but since then it has been one-sided. Even though this will remain as one of the oldest and historic series in the cricketing circles, it is hardly a great contest anymore. The English probably would like to believe that the entire world is waiting with bated breath for this contest but that’s not true.

Yes I agree that we do watch it and enjoy the series but same as any other contest. I think that the English always want to hold on to their history and would want to believe some things are more important to others than it actually is but that’s not the case with the ashes. The Ashes is equally important to the Australians but you will see that once the series is over they will start concentrating on their next assignment and you will not see any Aussie talking about the Ashes until they meet again for the trophy. The English though live for the series, so it seems. Once the series is over they keep thinking about the next one, meanwhile ignoring the series in between.

English media by talking all the time about the 2005 series is trying to make this current series bigger than it actually is. This series will be good but will never attain the greatness of the 2005 series as the Aussies are a young team and no matter what people say England an ordinary team. I will be following this series for sure but I don’t think that this particular series deserves the hype it has got.

Accepting having a problem is the first step towards improvement. This is what the Australians have done in the past one year. When they defeated WI 2-0 in a closely fought series the Australian captain said that his side is no longer going to roll over sides as they used to, few month before. This was a good assessment from the captain on the team which was finding it hard to replace few retired players. Australia beat New Zealand and then had the worst few months in the last decade when they were beaten both by India away and SA at home in tests.
South Africa also defeated them in the ODI’s to claim the top spot in the rankings. Australia though started experimenting with new players and quickly accepted that they have to do some serious rebuilding if they have to return to their dominating best. They did it admirably. The brought in Phil Hughes who is just 20 and Peter Siddle an unknown material in International cricket and then Hilfenhaus who played in few ODI’s before. They added Marcus North in the middle order who can bowl some useful off spinners and look where they are now.
Australia defeated the South Africans away 2-0 without the experience of Brett lee and Stuart Clarke. Ponting is now hailed as the genius who turned it around for the team from a guy who was bashed all around in the media last year and was also asked to step down. Australia back to No 1 spot in test cricket and looking impressive and I have no doubts in my mind that they will regain the Ashes.
The English though have gone the other way and currently are on a slippery slope. They are living in denial and don’t seem to be accepting the fact that they are at best No 5 in the ranking. They currently had a poor test series against a team who has not won a series in the last 5 years. The English team and the supporters though are full of excuses, blaming everything else except for themselves for the losses. England though hasn’t won against the top sides in tests since beating Australia in the Ashes in 2005.
That’s a long time ago considering the fact that they have been beaten by India, Australia and South Africa in tests both home and away. Their one day form is even worse. The problem with English cricket is that they always think they are better than what they are. They fail to give credit to the opponents and were so happy about the Australian slump last year that they forgot that they are in a bigger one. The Ashes is to start in a few months time and when we look at the progress of both the teams and we know who is clearly on top.
England fired Kevin Pieterson from captaincy after he had some sort of rift with the team members and coach. Considering that KP is only English player who is slightly different in approach from the other captains, it was a big blow for the team. They left to WI saying that it will be almost a walkover and it will be a good practice for the Ashes but what transpired in the last couple of months surely was not in Andrew Strauss’s script.
England lost the test series 1-0 and now has lost the Twenty20 badly. England has blamed everything after the test series loss and has currently lost on excuses for the Twenty20. They are currently tied in the one-day series 1-1 after they were beaten in the second game by 23 runs by the WI. They won the first game after a blunder from the WI coach who messed up the Duck-worth and Lewis calculation which handed England the game. I guess unless they accept their failure and do something drastic in the coming months, I don’t see them posing any challenge to the Aussies. Two separate approaches from two separate team managements and the difference is there to be seen.
I am thinking another bashing for the English team as they still live in constant denial. Anything other than an Australian win in the Ashes will be surprising and looks highly impossible.
England captain Andre Strauss has a tough season ahead

England captain Andrew Strauss has a tough season ahead

Accepting having a problem is the first step towards improvement. This is what the Australians have done in the past one year. When they defeated WI 2-0 in a closely fought series the Australian captain said that his side is no longer going to roll over sides as they used to, few month before. This was a good assessment from the captain on the team which was finding it hard to replace few retired players. Australia beat New Zealand and then had the worst few months in the last decade when they were beaten both by India away and SA at home in tests.

South Africa also defeated them in the ODI’s to claim the top spot in the rankings. Australia though started experimenting with new players and quickly accepted that they have to do some serious rebuilding if they have to return to their dominating best. They did it admirably. The brought in Phil Hughes who is just 20 and Peter Siddle an unknown material in International cricket and then Hilfenhaus who played in few ODI’s before. They added Marcus North in the middle order who can bowl some useful off spinners and look where they are now.

Australia defeated the South Africans away 2-0 without the experience of Brett lee and Stuart Clarke. Ponting is now hailed as the genius who turned it around for the team from a guy who was bashed all around in the media last year and was also asked to step down. Australia back to No 1 spot in test cricket and looking impressive and I have no doubts in my mind that they will regain the Ashes.

The English though have gone the other way and currently are on a slippery slope. They are living in denial and don’t seem to be accepting the fact that they are at best No 5 in the ranking. They currently had a poor test series against a team who has not won a series in the last 5 years. The English team and the supporters though are full of excuses, blaming everything else except for themselves for the losses. England though hasn’t won against the top sides in tests since beating Australia in the Ashes in 2005.

That’s a long time ago considering the fact that they have been beaten by India, Australia and South Africa in tests both home and away. Their one day form is even worse. The problem with English cricket is that they always think they are better than what they are. They fail to give credit to the opponents and were so happy about the Australian slump last year that they forgot that they are in a bigger one. The Ashes is to start in a few months time and when we look at the progress of both the teams and we know who is clearly on top.

England fired Kevin Pieterson from captaincy after he had some sort of rift with the team members and coach. Considering that KP is only English player who is slightly different in approach from the other captains, it was a big blow for the team. They left to WI saying that it will be almost a walkover and it will be a good practice for the Ashes but what transpired in the last couple of months surely was not in Andrew Strauss’s script.

England lost the test series 1-0 and now has lost the Twenty20 badly. England has blamed everything after the test series loss and has currently lost on excuses for the Twenty20. They are currently tied in the one-day series 1-1 after they were beaten in the second game by 23 runs by the WI. They won the first game after a blunder from the WI coach who messed up the Duck-worth and Lewis calculation which handed England the game. I guess unless they accept their failure and do something drastic in the coming months, I don’t see them posing any challenge to the Aussies. Two separate approaches from two separate team managements and the difference is there to be seen.

I am thinking another bashing for the English team as they still live in constant denial. Anything other than an Australian win in the Ashes will be surprising and looks highly impossible.

I am kind of baffled by the articles floating around in the British media, blaming IPL for England’s poor performance against WI in the first test. It was like the media had already an excuse made up well before the start of the series “If something goes wrong blame the IPL”.

England had one poor session in the test match, eventhough humiliating, it can happen with any team. The England performance in the last year or so have been poor and their batting had been a suspect even before the series started.
I know that winning the Ashes is the pinnacle for the English players but just doing that will not make them No 1 in test cricket. England has to do a serious scrutiny at the reasons for their capitulation on the fourth morning rather than taking a easy way out by blaming the IPL for their loss.

I dont see any of the other teams complaining about IPL who have more players signed up in this years competition in comparison to 4 or 5 English players. This is the attitude which will make sure that the English team never becomes the best side in the world in any form of cricket. Beating the No 1 side in one series does not guarantee top spot in the rankings. England needs to realize the same pretty fast otherwise they will be left way behind.

Struass walks back after being dismised in the second innings

Struass walks back after being dismised in the second innings

I am kind of baffled by the articles floating around in the British media, blaming IPL for England’s poor performance against WI in the first test. It was like the media had already an excuse made up well before the start of the series “If something goes wrong blame the IPL”.

England had one poor session in the test match, eventhough humiliating, it can happen with any team. The England performance in the last year or so have been poor and their batting had been a suspect even before the series started.

I know that winning the Ashes is the pinnacle for the English players but just doing that will not make them No 1 in test cricket. England has to do a serious scrutiny at the reasons for their capitulation on the fourth morning rather than taking a easy way out by blaming the IPL for their loss.

I dont see any of the other teams complaining about IPL who have more players signed up in this years competition in comparison to 4 or 5 English players. This is the attitude which will make sure that the English team never becomes the best side in the world in any form of cricket. Beating the No 1 side in one series does not guarantee top spot in the rankings. England needs to realize the same pretty fast otherwise they will be left way behind.


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