One of contributors, Dan 'Stapo' (@Dan_Stapo), who has his inside sources for Australian cricket, has given us some news regarding Australia's training ahead of the final test of the Ashes at the SCG.
Michael Clarke spent a very long net session working on his batting technique with Ricky Ponting. The focus was predominantly on his defensive game, particularly the forward defensive, while also ensuring a long look was taken at his stance and the affect of that on his overall technique.
This is interesting as I remember when Pup was younger he had an incredibly low stance and when the bowler was delivering the ball he'd almost use this crouch technqiue on the crease to almost giving him some 'spring' in his step to get his feet going as quickly as possible. It seemed to be messing with his game a bit in recent months (possibly due to his backs spasm), but I do remember the Channel9 team mentioning that an effort had been made for him to appear more upright in his stance. I only saw this in one test against New Zealand. So maybe that was the focus?
Stapo mentioned both Punter and Pup work extremely well together. Their communication is good and their encouragement is refreshing, however it is a pity this isn't highlighted on the playing field.
He had a chat with them and said that you can see Pup has a really tough time with the flack he cops (which I do believe from a supporters perspective is self-inflicted) but his team genuinely are 100% behind him. So it's not just a nice public statement justifying it.
Interestingly, Stapo said he spent a fair bit of time analysing Steven Smith's session.
He said he also endured a lengthy session with focus on his cover drives, on-drives and off-drives, which indicated he's working hard on his straight bat game.
He was undone by a misjudged pull shot in a particularly good innings at the MCG, but his straight bat shots are clouded with aggression, more suited to a limited overs game. He'll just have to work on his temperament.
After The Sherminator two's net session, Stapo had a good chat with him.
He said the bloke just loves batting and for such a young guy with a reasonably high profile public figure, especially in New South Wales, he is very down to earth guy.
He's got a big job to do this test, as even though those of us at the Blogsite do our best to show our support to each and every guy in the side, even if we detest the NSP, we still hope Stevo can get the job done on his home turf.
Stapo will also be catching up with Justin Langer (Batting Coach and legendary Australian test match opening batsman) at some stage during the test.
The batting is where the majority of the work is being done, which is an obvious weakness in our side. I maintain that our bowlers have been thrown into the crapper due to poor batting performances that has just made their job very difficult. Notably, how the heck do you go out with confidence in an effort to defend 98 runs when the batting collapse was due to poor discipline rather than a bowler friendly wicket.
Let's hope for a batting turnaround. As I have stated many times, if our batsmen get the runs on the board, it eases the pressure off our bowlers, they have more runs to work with and I strongly believe they will be able to perform better with less pressure or expectations.
Here's the probable side for tomorrow:
Usman Khawaja (debutant)
Michael Clarke (Captain)
Brad Haddin (Vice-Captain)
Michael Beer (debutant)
Ben Hilfenhaus/ Doug Bollinger
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