stoking the ashes

Our trans-Tasman cousies need help. The Australian cricket team is in the midst of embarassing themselves. If they lose the Test starting tonight, it will be their longest losing streak since 1888. Let's face it - they are playing Test cricket like New Zealanders. But maybe two negatives can make a positive (?!). I thought we might create a combined Antipodean team to take on the English for the final three Tests of the series.

Here are my selection guidelines:
1. We need experience. So all those to be selected must have played at least 15 Tests.
2. Test averages (the higher the better for batting; the lower the better for bowling) will be the sole guide.
3. To be eligible for selection a player must be either in the current Australian Ashes squad or a current NZ player.
4. I am allowed one wildcard selection among the batsmen and one among the bowlers - choosing any current player in either country.

David Warner - A (bat ave 39)
Shane Watson - A (bat ave 35; bowl ave 31)
Ross Taylor - NZ (bat ave 42)
Michael Clarke - A (bat ave 52)
Jesse Ryder - NZ (bat ave 41)
Brendon McCullum - NZ (bat ave 35)
Brad Haddin - A (bat ave 35)
Tim Southee - NZ (bowl ave 34)
Peter Siddle - A (bowl ave 29)
Nathan Lyon - A (bowl ave 33)
Trent Boult - NZ (bowl ave 29)
12th Man: Jackson Bird - A (bowl ave 16)

Seven Aussies. Five Kiwis. That is about right.
Wildcards:  Jesse Ryder and Jackson Bird (unused Ashes weapon - I'd have played him in Test #1).
Cumulative batting score? (add up batting averages, the higher the better: 279)
Cumulative bowling score? (add up bowling averages, the lower the better: 172)

Sadly, this team is still not good enough. Not even close. The opening batsmen are fragile. The bowling unit is not strong enough. And look at the comparisons with the likely English side. Their top seven batsmen outscore the Antipodeans by 313:279 per innings - and their cumulative bowling average is 164 in stead of 172.

Alistair Cook (bat ave 48)
Joe Root (bat ave 46; bowl ave 17)
Jonathan Trott (bat ave 49)
Kevin Pieterson (bat ave 48)
Ian Bell (bat ave 47)
Johnny Bairstow (bat ave 32)
Matt Prior (bat ave 43)
Tim Bresnan (bat ave 30; bowl ave 31)
Stuart Broad (bowl ave 31)
Graeme Swann (bowl ave 28)
Jimmy Anderson (bowl ave 30)
12th Man: Chris Tremlett (bowl ave 27)

Look carefully for the most amazing statistic of all...
No single Australian batsmen has an average in the 40s
(because Clarke's is in the 50s)

The English can field a top six, ALL with averages in the 40s
(if Bairstow batted at 7).

But you never know - the Aussies may surprise without the help of their trans-Tasman cousies...

nice chatting



An anonymous but highly passionate Aussie cricket supporter whose identity you will never guess!!! said…
Hi Paul,

So ... I seem to recall a post where you listed off all the teams in order from most want to see win to most want to see lose, and Australia came dead last.

And now, you seem to want / hope the Aussies will win (or at the very least put up a decent showing), or is that reading between the lines too much? Certainly this is not the post of a person who is revelling in their least favourite team finally getting their come-uppance.

So I think you should come clean, who would you rather see win the Ashes? Hmmmm! :-)
Fred said…
I'm sorry - but this Philistine can't resist poking in a quote he chuckled at the other day...
"I continued along the path and stopped in the shade of some trees to watch the unfathomable mystery of a game of cricket. For several minutes I thought I was witnessing the preparatory stages before the game, or else a series of failed attempts to start. But then I heard enthusiastic applause from some women in large hats sitting drinking punch at one end of the field. I'd obviously missed a wonderful piece of play."
Guillermo Martinez
Tim & Lizzy said…

Whilst I recognise you're a man of grace, willing the Aussies to do well in cricket is a step too far. I grew up in the UK with England being pummeled by firstly West Indies, then Australia. I will West Indies to win today but doubt I will ever do so for Australia, given the attitudes of their victories.
Having said all that, well done to Aussie on first day's play in Manchester - the very ground I first saw test cricket, 19 years ago. Missed a Dominic Cork hat-trick (no big screen replay then) and now, when at the cricket, make a point of watching every ball!
Still hoping Aussie lose this test to make it their worst string of results since 1888 :)
Paul said…
There are two surprises here. One is that there can be an Aussie cricket supporter who remains anonymous and, two, that this post can be construed as me cheering for the Aussies in the Ashes. I am most certainly not. I simply had a moment of compassion in which I tried to offer guidance on a way forward.

And Fred, your quote only adds to the allure of the great game. I'm sure Philistines have played it in the Gaza Oval for years.

After Day One I think the records of 1888 will remain, Mothy.

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