Cricket

The cricket World Cup is on tonight. The finals, that is. India vs. Sri Lanka. I’ll be cheering Sri Lanka on. I will go for them as they are the underdogs, as well as not being the team that put Australia out.

In somewhat of a fairytale, the most successful batter (Tandulkar – India) will be playing his last World Cup agianst the most successful bowler (Muralitharan – Sri Lanka). Obviously only one will win.

As for news nearer to home, we have a very new leadership pairing within the team. Clarke and (to my surprise) Watson are the captain and vice captain respectively. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I was desperate to get the captaincy off Ponting. On the other, I wanted to give the captaincy to a player who is actually worth his spot. Clarke, while groomed, doesn’t deserve his spot on form right now. If being captain has ruined Ponting’s form of late, imagine what it will do to Clarke?

Katich was my choice initially, however I have (of late) reassessed my thoughts on this – as well as the structure of the whole team.

With a new leadership team, the selectors really needed to bite the bullet and usher in the new era that should have come in 4 years ago after the mass exodus of the cricketing ‘veterans’ that made our team so great.

However, once again, the selectors have proved to be a group of gutless wonders.

If you look at the team now, we have Ricky Ponting (36 years old), Simon Katich, Mike Hussey (both 35 years old), and Brad Haddin (33 years old). No matter which way you cut it, in the next 3 years they will all be retired or out of the team.

It’s going to take at the very least three years for Clarke to mould the team, shape it, and get it into world-beating form. Then, as/when all these guys are retiring, he is going to be left with the task of ‘training up’ even more players.

The selectors needed to make a tough choice and stick with it this time around.

Ponting, Hussey, Katich, and Haddin all needed to go.Not all at once though, to avoid that mass exodus again.

Ponting made the point to say that he wanted to avoid the mass retirements that killed his aspirations of maintaining the world dominating side he was used to. And, along with preventing that, we need to think about the future. The facts remain that:

  1. We are not a dominant team as it stands now
  2. The team is going to take some years to get back into shape
  3. The next Ashes series is in 2013, over in England. I can quite easily see that being the ‘retirement series’ for the aforementioned players, which leaves us vulnerable for …
  4. The next Ashes series (which is being called the ‘back-to-back series) which is being held in Australia over the 2013-14 Summer here. It has been brought forward a year because …
  5. The next cricket World Cup is in 2015 and it’s being held in Australia.

The selectors needed to be looking at 2013 as the date of recovery. In that tour over there, we could lose. In fact, we are likely to be favourites to lose. But that could be the date. Put in a competitive series, then when England came and toured here, that’s when the team starts its dream run, culminating in a World Cup victory on home soil in 2015.

There is little chance that those four players will still be in the team then. Because of that, they should be dropped from the squad progressively (from now) and moved into mentoring and coaching positions.

It’s quite obvious who should be replace them. Tim Paine for Brad Haddin. Usman Khawaja in for Katich (yes, I think he would work well as an opener). Shaun Marsh or Callum Ferguson in for Ponting. Moises Henriques in for Hussey.

I would start by (unfortunately) dropping Katich and Haddin first. I think that out of all of them, Ponting and Hussey have the most to teach. So keep them in  the team for a little while. Bring in Paine and Khawaja, and get them going. Then, at the right time (after the mid-2012) let the other two go and bring in Marsh and/or Ferguson and/or Henriques.

Alas, the selectors have failed to think ahead. It’s pathetic that they can’t see another spate of retirements ruining our chances of returning to the top.

Thomas.

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