30 April 2012

Australian ICC rankings update

Great news for Australian supporters. The Baggy Greens have edged ahead of India to the number 3 position in the ICC Test rankings. Outstanding achievement after being booted down the rankings in such a humiliating manner. The road to recovery is well on its way and although there is still a massive amount of work ahead, the boys can be proud.

Here's the usual update for you after each series.
Michael Clarke still remains in the top 10 rankings for both Test and ODI formats. Ed Cowan has moved to #60 as well. Matthew Wade also enters the rankings for the first time with the bat.
Ben Hilfenhaus has climbed to number #07 and Peter Siddle stays in the top 10 despite having played just 1 Test in the West Indies. Nathan Lyon is steadily making progress as well.
All rounders:
Impressively Shane Watson still remains in the top 50 for each and every player ranking.

Don't forget to check Sylvester's post from yesterday

Australian Test rankings:

Team: #3 (India in #4, South African in #2, England in #1)

Test Batting
08 - Michael Clarke (top 10) - dropped from 03
16 - Michael Hussey - dropped from 18
21 - Ricky Ponting - dropped from 16
30 - Shane Watson - dropped from 29
43 - David Warner - dropped from 37
44 - Brad Haddin - dropped from 40
54 - Phillip Hughes - dropped from 53
60 - Ed Cowan - climbed from 65
69 - Matthew Wade - first time in ICC Test batting rankings
78 - Steven Smith - dropped from 72
82 - Usman Khawaja
88 - Mitchell Johnson - dropped from 80
97 - Peter Siddle - dropped from 88

28 April 2012

The Technical Failings of the Younger Generation

There have been a number of young Australian batsmen that have come and gone from the Test scene well before their test tally hits double digits. Chris Rogers wrote an interesting piece regarding the technique of these batsmen.

Here is quick summary of the technical flaws he noted in some of the recently dropped batsmen.

Usman Khawaja - Points his back foot to the bowler rather than to point causing him to be squared up and prone to the away-swinging ball.

Phil Hughes - Swivelling into a front-on position which led him being b. Martin c. Guptil.

Shaun Marsh - Lack of trigger movements hence the reason why he has been labeled a confidence player. When he is down on confidence like he was against the Indians, the lack of footwork meant he was a walking wicket.

Callum Ferguson - Backswing heads towards gully meaning he struggles to play in the 'V' especially when forced to defend.

This is one of the better articles you will find floating around and very rarely do you find an article written by a current player regarding the flaws of their opposition. It does bring about one interesting question of whether opposition states should be sharing these flaws they have found to help the national team.

It is hard to comment on who is at fault for these flaws not being fixed, Khawaja for instance had this flaw during his County stint in 2011 which was carried on to his second tasting of Test cricket. If an opposition can spot these weaknesses, you would hope your batting coach could do likewise.

The final part of Chris Rogers' article talks about how difficult it is for batsmen to adapt between T20 and Test Cricket. This isn't a problem which only plagues the younger batsmen, the older batsmen have also shown a more aggressive streak. Jacques Kallis not known for his quick scoring, blitzed 54 runs from just 41 balls in the 2nd Test against Australia last year. As mentioned by Rogers, it certainly is worth considering finding a batting coach who can convert a batsmen technique from T20 back to Test cricket.

I did find it interesting that the guy whose technique is most like a T20 technique in Steven Smith was given glowing praise by Rogers. With 492 runs at 41 for the season including 86 of NSW total score of 208 against Chris' team, I can see why he gave him a good review. Smith also seems to be adapting well, he had a solid Big Bash series including leading his side to the title and currently is in career best form in the IPL with 220 runs at 37 with a strike rate of 157.

One worrying thing he mentioned was teams splashed out on bowling coaches but not so for batting coaches. I don't know what teams he is referring to but if he is talking about the State teams then that is a worrying sign.

Going by his article, Rogers may well have a future in coaching. I do hope our current coaches have already picked up on these flaws and are looking at rectifying them.

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Thanks for reading this article written by Sylvester.
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On this day: 2007 World Cup Final, Australia vs Sri Lanka

*For the write up and statistics for the 2012 Frank Worrell Trophy, please click here or scroll down to the article if you're on the Baggy Green Blog homepage.

If you were also a Glenn McGrath fan then in a way this would have been a sad day as it was Glenn’s last match for Australia, but there was plenty to celebrate and smile about as Australia won the World Cup for the fourth time. Most impressively it was the third title in a row.

It’s fitting to write this article not only because it was on this day 5 years ago that Ricky Ponting lifted the Trophy but also due to the fact we’ve just completed a tour of the Caribbean where the 2007 World Cup was held.

The 2007 final was overshadowed (literally) by bad light. We recently saw a thrilling Test match at the Kensington Oval where the Baggy Greens won in a tense final over before bad light would have resulted in the Umpires calling it a match. Fortunately the winning runs were scored but it certainly brought back memories of a chaotic, slightly embarrassing, conclusion to the 2007 World Cup.

The Umpire’s even had a shocker where confusion came about as to whether the required amount of over’s had been bowled to “make it a  match” so the teams didn’t have to come back the next day to complete it. It was an anti-climax.

Besides these factors, the tournament couldn’t be called an outright success. Many West Indian cricket fanatics were kept out of their own World Cup due to the greed and high pricing of the ICC for ticket prices and the atmosphere was very dark and gloomy after the shocking death of Bob Woolmer in his hotel room. Woolmer was coaching Pakistan at the time.

The final did have something special though. It was a scintillating innings of extraordinary power hitting, yet another entertaining innings by an Australian in a World Cup final. It was the Adam Gilchrist show as he smashed the Sri Lankan bowlers to a breathtaking individual total of 149 runs.

Matthew Hayden had dominated the tournament with brutal batting, absolutely brutal! However, Haydos had a quiet final scoring 38 runs - his overall tournament tally resulting in 659 runs at 73.27 - and gave his long-term batting partner Gilly a chance to explode having had a well under par series. His duck in the semi-final against South Africa was quickly forgotten and we all remember this final as Gilly’s 149, the fastest century in a World Cup final!

Haydos had a front row seat as Gilly stepped into the spotlight.

Gilly belted 8 sixes and carved 13 fours, scoring 100 runs in boundaries. The innings also sparked some amusing controversy after Gilly let it out that he had batted with a squash ball in his glove.

The Squash ball was a suggestion made by Gilly’s long term batting
Coach, Bob Meuleman. Given Gilly’s high grip on the bat and the way his bottom hand would sometimes unusually grip too far around the handle, the squash ball resulted in the bat not turning as much in his hand and gave him far better control.

Prior to the World Cup he had used the squash ball in a one day game versus Queensland where he scored a century, but it was left until the World Cup final for him to give it a go. Despite the daft controversy, it was simply a way to help him control his grip and tighten his technique. It was legal. Case closed.

When asked what he thought of the tournament upon receiving the Player of the match during the finals post-match presentation, I remember Gilly simply stating, “long”!

It was a long tournament but even though this particular World Cup would be discussed negatively amongst cricket enthusiasts, it was a special day for Australian supporters and an extra special day for Gilly. Today we can recall that classic century by Adam Craig Gilchrist in the 2007 World Cup Final played on the April 28th in Barbados. He was such an entertainer for Australia in every format.

Here’s a video highlights package for you of that innings from a legend of the game, a man who revolutionised the role of a wicket keeper in the modern day game. Take a bow!


Welcome to The Baggy Green Blog!
Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.
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