25 February 2013

Embarking on a new innings

We've been given a serious work over in the 1st Test of the Border-Gavaskar series.

MS Dhoni played an outstanding knock and their spinners have the edge to attack, attack, attack. The performance shouldn't reflect too negatively against us, rather India have played an excellent game of counter-attacking cricket in their home conditions.

Most of our players have not experienced the brutality of Test cricket in India. Now they have and it's just another line in the history books that Test cricket in India is bloody difficult. Just a pity they're on the verge to go up 1-0, but there are still three Tests to go and we saw Michael Clarke score his 23rd Test century, James Pattinson claim a 5fer on a spinners deck and Moises Henriques really impress with the bat on debut.

Day 5 will be about survival between Henriques and Nathan Lyon. Can they do something magical and push that lead into that tricky zone of "low scoring chases are often the most exciting"?

With the tough cricket that lies ahead for The Baggy Greens, I feel the timing is right to share a bit of my journey as the site may slow down for a few weeks. 

On 01 March 2013 I will set foot on Australian soil for the first time in my life.
That moment will serve as something that has been a big breath of life into what The Baggy Green Blog has been about, well for me personally at least. I am heading over to start a new chapter in my life over in Adelaide, South Australia and am eagerly awaiting the journey to begin.

The opportunity to not only go to a different country, but mostly to a country that has inspired me so much through it's great people and values - and given it's provided my family and mates a good life and culture to embrace - makes it exciting to finally have the chance to adapt and embrace it all.
Cricket has played a significant role in that ethos and my life long desire to live in Australia, not massive but definitely significant.  Its only taken me 9 years to get to this point.

Despite the epic cricket that will be going on, given the magnitude of the move and all I will be focused on, my writing may not be as regular as it has been in the past.
This has happened in any case, as you can see from starting the site in 2007/08, when I was a student to the last four years of my life post-studies, the articles became mostly feature article orientated than the day-in, day-out writing I used to do.

I guess I am writing this article as it is a fresh page and I'm acknowledging this site has played a special part in my life. I've never felt the need to share my personal life for that matter, but sport is an emotional thing and you have to have some personal connection to an interest that keeps you tuning in every day or week to connect with other fanatics.

The reason I think I started the site was simply because I could write about Australian Cricket through Blogger with a good interface. I noticed Social Networking was on the rise, which meant I could connect with Australian supporters around the world whilst writing about a game and team that inspired me. I also messed my back up really badly in 2008 which affected my ability to play the game quite severely, so my writing and viewing expanded.

I also started writing during the controversial Border-Gavaskar series of 2007/08 where our team came under heavy criticism. I wanted to defend the side but found myself more connected to the positivity of the game, the challenges and writing in an analytical manner about all on-going matters both on and off the field.

I'm also grateful for the people I have met through the Baggy Green Blog.

I met one of my best mates, Matt McCracken, in a beer line at a Twenty20 game between Australia and England when I was starting up the site. We had a beer, chatted about cricket and Matt, having moved to South Africa from Australia, found a local personality to talk to about his cricket team. He's had quite a big role in the discussions behind the scenes, which I often write about.

I've made many other good mates, many of whom I have yet to meet in person. I have been fortunate though to have shared a beer with some both at and away from the cricket, or enjoyed an afternoon walk-about in London, England, notably with Kirby at Thoughts From The Dustbin.

It's been epic to support this team and I think the day it came together with what Australian Cricket meant to me - which words can't really describe - was when I was at a training session after the boys got rolled for 47 runs against The Proteas. Even after that it was still normal to go and support the boys more than ever.

My fellow die-hard Baggy Green fanatic Dan Stapleton flew out from Sydney to join me for that Test and, courtesy of Stapo and Justin Langer, the two of us got to sit in at the training session and chat to a few of the players. Seeing the boys get out there after a humiliating loss and truly grafting hard in order to condition their mindset for the second and last Test of the series (which we won) was inspiring to watch.

I will always remember one thing, Ricky Ponting...first in the nets, last out of the nets.

From Supporters Graphics to feature articles it's always been good to read any feedback or positive fan mail from supporters like you.

I don't have the greatest sense of humor in writing, I do write A LOT in some articles and get deep into analysis which may result in a "bookmark, read later" attitude from readers, I have not had a story of blogger turned media frenzy writer, nor have I truly recognised why I have continued to run this site with fresh content for 5 years and not earned one cent for it.

What I do know is I love the game of cricket, really enjoy writing (nearing the completion of a Diploma in Sports Writing and Journalism), have a clear pride in the Baggy Greens and have enjoyed seeing a side go from being the greatest team of the 1990s to mid-2000s, to a side in a struggle, attempting their rebuild with consistency. I continue to support the boys and enjoy their challenges.

A lot has happened in that time; retirements, debutants, player career highlights, moments of brilliance and moments of sadness. It shows how much happens in the great game over a relatively short period which has such a long, rich history.

I hate to lose, I don't like it that we don't have the Ashes Urn, or that we don't have the number 1 Test rank, but win or lose I will keep rooting for the boys and back them wherever possible as the challenge is still alive.
It's so easy to criticise, to hate and write off a team when they're not winning, but trust me, when they get it together and the victories come (e.g. 4-0 against India in Australia in 2011/12) it's an unbeatable feeling.

On a note of positives, of course the site will carry on but perhaps the content may differ and the manner in which I present my articles may change being directly within the Australian landscape and environment.

For all I know that culture may take it to a whole different level and this is exciting, but three major factors won't change. That is my passion for writing, enjoyment in meeting fellow cricket fanatics around the globe and most of all the inspiration and pride I get following the Australian Cricket Team, as I have done so since I was a youngster and decided to follow my heart - not been the easiest thing to do, believe you me!

Anyways, that's enough for now.
Enjoy the Border-Gavaskar series, get into the struggles and the moments of glory and keep an eye open for the next article...hopefully only a few weeks away.

Can't wait to get down to the Adelaide Oval next summer and hope to see you there for a drink.

Long live cricket!

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Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.
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22 February 2013

Century no.23 for Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke's form has been sublime the last two seasons and he's opened up his first tour of India as Captain with a century, while also building an innings saving partnership with debutant Moises Henriques (Baggy Green #432). Their stand brought 151 runs, matching Clarkey's individual score on debut back in 2004, Bangalore.

When I did the statistics wrap-up for the summer a few weeks back I made a note that Clarkey was just a few runs away from equaling Sir Donald Bradman's career runs scored.

He managed to surpass this milestone of The Don's, but no comparison should ever be drawn to the legend.
Those runs were scored during a different era, with tougher conditions, basic equipment, as well as achieving his 6,996 runs in only 80 innings.

However, the achievement placed Clarkey in the Top 10 all time run-scorers for Australia in Test cricket. He also went past 7,000 Test runs.

To top it off his century is number 23 (his ODI shirt number) and his 3rd Test century in India, against India. This century puts him level with Justin Langer in terms of most centuries scored for Australia in Test cricket, placing him 7th on the list.

© BCCI. Clarke reaches his century (Chennai)
Massive congrats to the skipper, very proud of him!
Always a pleasure to watch him battle against spin bowling. The foot work and bat speed is always a treat. No exception with this innings, especially being played under pressure.

It was a challenging day for our batsmen as India sent down 95 overs. 73 of these overs were delivered by India's three spin bowlers. Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 6 wickets for the days play, quite a stack.
This will raise Nathan Lyon's eyebrows and give him some confidence, but will also mean the pressure is on come our dig at the Indians in the first innings. He likely has a huge job to do.

Michael Clarke and Peter Siddle will resume tomorrow with the score currently 7/316, with James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon to follow.

After being in a worrying position at 4/131, after the opening stand between David Warner (59) and Ed Cowan brought 68 runs, we have recovered excellently to ensure it's an even sort of day come the stumps.
First session tomorrow is a massive one for us as we target 350 runs and India eye those last three wickets.

Michael Clarke's individual innings list since taking on the Captaincy against Sri Lanka (2011/12):

Summary: 21 matches, 35 innings, 2,350 runs, HS 329*, Average 75.80, x9 centuries, x4 fifties.

Versus Sri Lanka: 23, 60, 13, 6, 112,
Versus South Africa:
151, 2, 11, 2,
Versus New Zealand:
139, 22, 0,
Versus India:
31, 1, 329*, 18, 210, 37,
Versus West Indies:
73, 6, 45, 15, 24, 25,
Versus South Africa:
259*, 230, 38, 5, 44,
Versus Sri Lanka:
74, 57*, 106, 50, 29,
Versus India:
103* (currently in progress)

Welcome to The Baggy Green Blog!
Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.
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20 February 2013

Moises Henriques to debut in Chennai

The Australian Squad for the 1st Test has been announced and it includes one debutant.

David Warner, 
Ed Cowan, 
Phillip Hughes, 
Shane Watson, 
Michael Clarke (captain), 
Matthew Wade (wk), 
*Moises Henriques (debutant), 
Peter Siddle, 
Mitchell Starc, 
James Pattinson, 
Nathan Lyon.

Moises Henriques (New South Wales) will become Baggy Green number 432 and the warm-up games were enough to boost his case as the called to duty all-rounder.

Moises batted with aggression and freedom during the warm-up matches and it is reported that he found reverse swing during the warm-up matches with the ball in hand, backed by a tight line and length.
Furthermore he maintained economical figures which, if achieved against India, will build some serious pressure allowing some brutal partnerships from the bowling department. The last all-rounder to do this with good effectiveness was Andrew McDonald, who assisted Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle against The Proteas in this regard.

Moises has the benefit as an aggressive middle order batsman but his bowling should not be underestimated, as his figures of 4-12 in the first warm-up game gave massive credibility to warrant his selection.
Warm-up games are there either for experienced players to show form and adapt to conditions, or for new comers to impress and make an impression. In Moises' case it was the latter.

If the pitch happens to turn into a bit of a landmine then both him and Nathan Lyon will prove to be a handful. Some satisfactory depth in our batting line-up will help a stack if this benefits India, even with a top three of left handed batsmen. Always a talking point for the Indian spin department.

On the topic of spinners, Nathan Lyon has been retained as the front-line spinner of choice, which is a wise move by Michael Clarke and the selectors given the number of spinners whose confidence has been shattered through inconsistent selection policies and lack of belief shown in their skills.

Nathan should head into the game with better self-belief based on this decision and he'll remember the aspects of the summer that resulted in some criticism. Lack of wickets to ease the workload of the fast bowlers or find ways to menace the middle order and get vital breakthroughs was a worry. This was notable in Adelaide against The Proteas. He also dropped dynamics of his bowling that had been strongly attributed to his success.

Fortunately Nathan is a bloke who is aware of the word on the street and has continued to defend himself, which is an admirable quality. Also counts for something when Shane Warne still tips you as the best spinner in Australia.

Batting wise Ed Cowan impressed with some credible performances in the warm-up games, alongside Shane Watson who will play as a middle order batsman with David Warner, having been declared fit to play.
It allows the Cowan/David Warner partnership to continue and Watto shouldn't be too stressed out in the middle order after making a good return to the ODI circuit and being the leading batsman in the warm-up games.

All in all I am happy with the squad and the fast bowling unit was always going to be a bit of a tricky one to decide upon given every guy deserves a place in the starting XI. One spinner is also fine in my eyes.
Michael Clarke is there for part-time spin and the inclusion of Henriques will ensure it's not a rhythm of all out pace.

All fixtures can be found here or by clicking the graphic at the top of the page.

*Read the last article at The Baggy Green Blog:
The enhanced value and importance of women's cricket'

Welcome to The Baggy Green Blog!
Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.
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18 February 2013

The enhanced value and importance of Women's Cricket

Firstly, a quick but important line of thanks is due to all of you who voted for The Baggy Green Blog to win the Sportskeeda award for 'Best Team Specific Blog'.

I honestly had no idea I'd even been nominated so it was a welcome surprise. I am proud that the site continues to connect with so many cricket fanatics around the globe and even in the tough times Australian Cricket faces the site still has perceived value and purpose.

The other winners can be found here, following Football, Cricket and other sports.

While our boys are slogging it out to try find the right recipe to battle India in Chennai for the 1st Test of the Border-Gavaskar series, the Australian Women's Cricket Team - The Southern Stars - have lifted the trophy as winners of the ICC Women's ODI World Cup after beating the West Indian Women's Team. This is our sixth title.

© AFP The Southern Stars celebrate their win.
It's not only a win for Australian Cricket but the game in general, especially with the spread of cricket to women around the globe. You'd have to be daft to dismiss the quality of the cricket witnessed and the professionalism shown by the players who took part in the competition to battle it out for the world's best ODI side.

A surprising number of people I have spoken to who watched a few of the games that were broadcast live on the television were mighty impressed with the TV coverage and more so with the skill that was on display.

It was amusing how many blokes I know admitted, with complete surprise, that they never knew female cricketers were so good, those who'd never watched a game before.
I have often said that if I were to bat against some of these fast bowlers, I'd be focusing on quite a bit more than simply trying to not get bowled out by a woman!
Sharp swing, menacing pace and yorkers, as well as a few short balls sailing by the grill certainly ensures one is alert and has their batting skills ready for execution.

It's not casual anymore, it's competitive and it's about time women were given a bigger launch pad for awareness of the teams and level of skill they produce.

The fielding was a drastic improvement since the 2009 World Cup and largely due to the injection of interest Women's Cricket was given through the introduction of the ICC Women's World T20 Trophy.

Teams have had to up their standards - as have the men's teams - in regards to the fielding aspect with the speed at which Twenty20 cricket is played and I noted several observations of the Southern Stars higher standards. There is more aggressive intensity and athleticism now, which helps adds to the speed of a game which is notably slower in match speed and hype than the Men's game.

Twenty20 has clearly helped the batting as statistics show 67 sixes and 1066 fours were struck, the most ever in the tournament. If you didn't catch any of the games trust me when I say some of the sixes were crisp and mean! The run-rate has also seen an increase as the tournament had a collective rate of 4.27 per over, the highest ever. To combat this heightened level of attack bowlers have had to sharpen up on their skills.

Another notable aspect is with the actual players profiles. Many of the cricketer's have been at the game a while now, numerous ones new to the international game.

England's Charlotte Edwards has been featured on numerous cricket programs over the years and is well recognised in the English cricket community with a career now well over a decade, but only in recent times through better broadcasting reach and media awareness has her cricketing profile been given greater notoriety to the general cricketing public, along with the top class achievements in her career.

It's not just a sideline thing to these players. It's a very serious, highly competitive personal environment they compete within and the acknowledgement only helps to feed the hunger for higher standards and personal achievements.

When a new bowler would come on or a new batsman/woman would walk out to the crease to take guard, the commentators had more of a story to tell, more performances to recall and supporters had better familiarity with the players.

When newcomers Holly Ferling and Megan Schutt (who claimed the most wickets in the tournament with 15 at 16.53) came onto bowl this tournament their stories as emerging players were told and this only added to the reputation both of these young women now have at the closure of the tournament. Come the next event they will be watched with great interest and their input in this tournament clearly recalled.

Along with the better recognition of player statistics and profile stories there was the main factor: Performance.

Watching Megan Lanning and Rachael Haynes (273 at 45.50) open the batting you sense a genuine top order relationship as two cricketers who get each others game and find ways to complement one another. They stroke play and skills they show is a joy to watch and really refreshing.

Following the end of a batting partnership between the two of them sees Jess Cameron walk out to bat who is fast becoming the ODI equivalent to that of Ricky Ponting for the Southern Stars in the number 3 spot. After winning the Women's Cricketer of the Year award at The Allan Border Medal Awards she totally justified it with 225 runs at 37.50 in the tournament, highlighted by 75 runs in the final at a ferocious strike-rate of 98.68.

I dug out some statistics regarding Australia's top 3 and came out with the following, as seen on my Twitter page:

- In 11 innings Meg Lanning & Rachael Haynes have scored 452 runs at 41.09. Highest of 131 runs.
- In 11 innings Rachael Haynes & Jess Cameron have scored 510 runs at 51.00. Highest of 77*.

That's an indication of a cracking top order in ODI cricket.

Ellyse Perry, a favourite amongst many cricket followers, set things up brilliantly to snuff the Windies run chase as she displayed a wonderful rhythm and shined with confidence to walk away with figures of 3-19, just 1.90 runs per over. Injury scares were there but she braved it. As young as she is she is portrayed as a senior bowler and I am sure the entire crop of bowlers would have soaked up as much from her as possible.

Despite the praise and the awesome victory by The Southern Stars, the day of women reaping the rewards that men's teams receive is highly unlikely, at least for the foreseeable future.
It's not pessimistic nor is it degrading to women's cricket when I write this. It's simply the game has a greater demand come Men's Professional Cricket, which does produce the highest standard of cricket, has greater intensity and a richer history.

However, if Women's Cricket needed a push in the right direction for greater credibility, awareness and a sign that they're becoming better and better with each tournament showcased, then watch this space because we're going to be seeing far more of it!

Hopefully we will see more women of all relevant ages wanting to get involved in this great game of ours, especially with a new generation of female cricketing heroines.
Cricket has never had a shortage of female following or passionate interest in the game but the more involvement we see (not just on the playing field) the better cricket will benefit in the long run.

These mentioned factors and the overall result of the 2013 ICC Women's World Cup should relay the importance of women in cricket.

So, on that positive note well done to skipper Jodie Fields and her Southern Stars team-mates and support staff, as well as every other side that took part in the event. The ICC did a great job on their part as did the host-country India. After hosting the men's 2011 World Cup they managed to pull off a pretty successful tournament.

Aussie all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar also announced her retirement from international cricket following the win. Sad but it's a deserved decision given her achievements.

As per The Baggy Green Blog Facebook page:

"...the Southern Stars won the ICC Women's World Cup in India. Jess Cameron showcased why she won the Women's Player of the Year award at the Allan Border Medal Awards night with a cracking innings at number 3. 

All in all just splendid to see the quality of cricket on display throughout the tournament. Notable batting from the top order duo of Haynes and Lanning, as well as our bowlers which unleashed some new talent onto the scene. 

Excellent for cricket, great for Australian cricket, even better for spreading the game to connect with both men and women around the globe. 

Also, Lisa Sthalekar has announced her retirement. 
Kudos to her on a well profiled career as a leading all-rounder. 


8 matches, 15 innings, 416 runs, HS 120*, Avg 32.00.
8 matches, 482 runs with 23 wickets, BBI 5/30, BBM 6/114, Avg 20.95, ER 1.65.


125 matches, 111 innings, 2728 runs, HS 104*, Avg 30.65.
125 matches, 3646 runs with 146 wickets, BBI 5/35, Avg 24.97, ER 3.66.


54 matches, 50 innings, 769 runs, HS 52, Avg 21.36.
54 matches, 1161 runs with 60 wickets, BBI 4/18, Avg 19.35, ER 5.82."

Welcome to The Baggy Green Blog!
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13 February 2013

The statistics wrap for the Australian summer

With the end of the summer for the Australian Cricket Team it is time for the statistics wrap across the formats.
However, State Cricket continues for a little while with the Ryobi Cup and Sheffield Shield Trophies needing to be claimed, as well as The Southern Stars who have secured a place in the ICC Women's World Cup Final. Unfortunately the ladies lost their final Super Six game to the West Indian Women's Team by 8 runs, however they are still very close to the trophy!

Our Test players are currently in India ahead of the Border-Gavaskar series and the two-day warm-up game ended with fair results.

Ed Cowan scored 58 runs and it appears as a stand out performance against the rest of the batsmen.
A high chance this will ensure the Warner/Cowan duo continues and Shane Watson may find himself in the middle order, with Phillip Hughes and Michael Clarke nestled at three and four. This then leaves room for the "all-rounder" position or an additional spinner.

The bowling front was the area of confidence as our front-line spinner Nathan Lyon took 3-69, while Moises Henriques took a cracking 4-12. The contest for that all-rounder spot - if available based upon condition analysis prior to the 1st Test in Chennai - is definitely on and Moises pushed his case with the ball in hand.

As mentioned on Facebook, at the conclusion of the ODI series against the West Indies, it has been a mixed summer.

We lost our stronghold in a 3-match Test series against The Proteas who ended up taking their opportunity at the WACA to beat us 1-0. It was an unfortunate case of an emerging side being unable to grab their chances at the Gabba and more specifically Adelaide, where our bowlers just couldn't get those wickets needed on the final days play.

The Test series against Sri Lanka was a case of redemption for the team and the supporters as we convincingly knocked them over. It put a lot into perspective ahead of the soon to be contested Border-Gavaskar series.

The Sri Lankan's fought back in the ODI series but we were able to claw our way back in but they never looked to be too dominant, as was the case in the T20s which they were able to keep that step ahead of us.

The West Indies suffered another 5-0 defeat against us as it was a few summers ago, which was disappointing after the good clash we had against them during our last tour to the Caribbean in the ODIs.

As written before I do believe that the days of the 5 match ODI series should be put to rest and audiences should be treated to odd number encounters of 3 ODIs and 3 T20s, or 3 ODIs and 2 T20s.

All in all, although there was heavy tension regarding Player Rotation and frustration with supporters being unable to find a connection to the changing side and understand what the selection motives were, the results reflect that of a side that is taking shape in a decent enough manner given the playing pool is not overflowing with talented players as it was a few years back. There is still healthy competition though for places, better than nothing.

The Ashes is getting closer day by day and the Border-Gavaskar series should not be overlooked.
As every player will state who has been to India, it is a tough place to play competitive Test cricket and if the crop of players we have needed to test their mental and physical game this is it!

Great preparations for a side to toughen up ahead of our quest to get back that urn!

Please don't forget that fresh content will lessen right here at The Baggy Green Blog due to personal circumstances, but the good news is that the Facebook and Twitter pages will always get regular content and opinions delivered, as well as discussion via my Twitter account.

Australia's format summary:

- Test matches: Played 6, Won 3, Lost 1, Drew 2.
- ODI matches: Played 10, Won 7, Lost 2, No result 1.
- T20 matches: Played 3, Won , Lost .

Test Match Batting Statistics (Top stats only for all categories):

- Michael Clarke: 6 matches, 10 innings, HS 259*, 892 runs, 111.50 average, x3 50s, x3 100s.
- Michael Hussey: 6 matches, 10 innings, HS 115*, 527 runs, 75.28 average, x1 50s, x3 100s.
- David Warner: 6 matches, 10 innings,  HS 119, 478 runs, 47.80 average, x4 50s, x1 100s.
- Ed Cowan: 6 matches, 10 innings, HS 136, 364 runs, 36.40 average, x2 50s, x1 100s.
- Matthew Wade: 6 matches, 10 innings, HS 102*, 312 runs, 44.57 average, x2 50s, x1 100s.
- Phillip Hughes: 3 matches, 5 innings, HS 87, 233 runs, 46.60 average, x2 50s, x0 100s.
- Shane Watson: 3 matches, 5 innings, HS 83, 153 runs, 30.60 average, x1 50s, x0 100s.
- Mitchell Johnson: 3 matches, 5 innings, HS 92*, 116 runs, 38.66 average, x1 50s, x0 100s.
- Mitchell Starc: 3 matches, 4 innings, HS 68*, 75 runs, 37.50 average, x1 50s, x0 100s.
- James Pattinson: 2 matches, 2 innings, HS 42, 71 runs, 71.00 average, x0 50s, x0 100s.

Test Match Bowling Statistics:

- Peter Siddle: 5 matches, 24 wickets, 596 runs, 5/54 BBI, 9/104 BBM, 24.83 Average, x1 5WI.
- Nathan Lyon: 6 matches, 19 wickets, 793 runs, 3/41 BBI, 5/140 BBM, 41.73 Average.
- Mitchell Starc: 3 matches, 18 wickets, 496 runs, 6/154 BBI, 8/209 BBM, 27.55 Average, x2 5WI.
- Mitchell Johnson: 3 matches, 15 wickets, 335 runs, 4/63 BBI, 6/79 BBM, 22.33 Average.
- Jackson Bird: 2 matches, 11 wickets, 178 runs, 4/41 BBI, 7/117 BBM, 16.18 Average.
- Ben Hilfenhaus: 3 matches, 7 wickets, 243 runs, 3/49 BBI, 4/114 BBM, 34.71 Average.
- James Pattinson: 2 matches, 5 wickets, 192 runs, 3/93 BBI, 5/151 BBM, 38.40 Average.

ODI Batting Statistics:

- Phillip Hughes: 10 matches, 9 innings, 416 runs, HS 138*, 52.00 average, x2 100s, x1 50.
- George Bailey: 8 matches, 7 innings, 323 runs, HS 125*, 53.83 average, x1 100, x1 50.
- Shane Watson: 3 matches, 3 innings, 198 runs, HS 122, 66.00 average, x1 100, x1 50.
- Adam Voges: 2 matches, 2 innings, 140 runs, HS 112*, 140.00 average, x1 100.
- David Hussey: 5 matches, 5 innings, 128 runs, HS 60*, 32.00 average, x1 50.
- Aaron Finch: 7 matches, 7 innings, 105 runs, HS 38, 15.00 average.
- Brad Haddin: 3 matches, 3 innings, 103 runs, HS 50, 51.50 average, x1 50.
- Michael Clarke: 6 matches, 5 innings, 97 runs, HS 37, 19.40 average.
- Matthew Wade: 7 matches, 6 innings, 95 runs, HS 31, 23.75 average.
- Glenn Maxwell: 7 matches, 7 innings, 78 runs, HS 51*, 15.60 average, x1 50.
- Mitchell Starc: 7 matches, 2 innings, 74 runs, HS 52*, --.-- average, x1 50.

ODI Bowling Statistics:

- Clint McKay:  10 matches,  17 wickets, 368 runs, 4/33 BBI, 21.64 Average.
- Mitchell Starc: 7 matches,  14 wickets, 201 runs, 5/20 BBI, 14.35 Average.
- Mitchell Johnson: 9 matches, 14 wickets, 291 runs, 3/11 BBI, 20.78 Average.
- James Faulkner: 5 matches, 8 wickets, 211 runs, 4/48 BBI, 26.37 Average.
- Glenn Maxwell:  7 matches, 6 wickets, 194 runs, 4/63 BBI, 32.33 Average.
- Ben Cutting: 3 matches, 5 wickets, 140 runs, 3/45 BBI, 28.00 Average.
- Xavier Doherty: 6 matches, 4 wickets, 142 runs, 3/21 BBI, 35.50 Average.
- Moises Henriques: 3 matches, 3 wickets, 39 runs, 3/32 BBI, 13.00 Average.

T20 Batting Statistics: View statistics via Cricinfo.com.

T20 Bowling Statistics: View statistics via Cricinfo.com.

Fun statistic as posted to The Baggy Green Blog's Social Media sites:

"Been reading some statistics and noticed Michael Clarke (6,989) is just 7 runs behind what Donald Bradman scored in his career (6,996). 

The amount of cricket shows and also highlights the excellence of Bradman as a run-scoring machine. 

Clarkey has had 148 innings and counting, while The Don had 80 when his career came to an end with that ever-awesome average of 99.94.

When Clarkey gets those 7 runs it will put him in the Top 10 Run Scorers of all time for The Baggy Greens."

Welcome to The Baggy Green Blog!
Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.
To comment on this article, click on the 'Comments' tag at the end of the article.


09 February 2013

The Australian squad to battle India in India

With the ODI series claimed against the West Indies, which will help our ODI ranking, the Indian Test series is now just around the corner and trying to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will be no easy task in Indian conditions with a side that very few can wholeheartedly identify with.

Sachin Tendulkar recently scored 140* runs for Mumbai - at a ground we will not be playing at - and India's bowling stocks seem to be on track for the series, so they're gearing up for the clash with varied results.
The batting averages for India's Ranji Trophy saw a majority of batsmen boasting mighty high batting averages, while a vast majority of the wicket takers were fast/medium pace bowlers, a big contrast to the lack of balance in bowler type wicket takings between India and England.

A whole bunch of our boys have already made the trip over to settle in and of our side only a handful of players have experienced Test cricket in India, specifically four players; Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle (2008) and Shane Watson.

Three of the above mentioned players have tasted individual success in India but not victory as a team in recent times. The last time we won a series in India was 2004 and you cannot bring up the carnage we brought about with a 4-0 win in Australia last summer. This is India in India and it always proves to be a whole different dynamic.

Interestingly enough I had a look back at the last series which we lost 2-0, a series that should have been shelved with the shortage of games.

The 1st Test at Mohali was a game were the fast bowlers performed with spin providing assistance, something Peter Siddle sees as a legitimate strategy.

Zaheer Khan and Mitchell Johnson both claimed 5fors and in the second innings for both sides India had Zaheer and Ishant Sharma claim a collective 6 wickets with Douggie Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus claiming a collective 7 wickets for Australia. The seam bowlers dominated the proceedings with the ball.

On the batting front Shane Watson scored his second Test century (126 runs followed by 56) and with his return to cricket being highlighted with a century and a half-century against the Windies it ought to put a hop in his step as he recalls that innings and steps up as vice-captain.

In the 2nd Test our boys struggled to pick themselves up due to a sense of being deflated having thrown away a golden opportunity to take the 1st Test after being kept at bay by the determination of VVS Laxman (now retired) and support from his lower order companions.

Despite the track of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, proving to be a good batting track for both sides in the 1st innings we saw the value of spin being well executed and an all-round effort from the support bowlers.

Nathan Hauritz did not share as much fortune as the Indian spinners and Shane Warne slammed Ricky Ponting for his lack of creativity with the field settings for Ritz. India found the target of 207 all too easy.

It was another case of lessons learned and the harsh reality of the challenges in India.

It's a tough game there, as soon as you let your guard down and give them an opening in any passage of play they usually have the utmost confidence to play you out of the game and it is usually a slow manner in which they do it.
It is a quality they lack outside of India but within their own borders it's brutal and we saw a prime example in the 2nd Test that one below par batting performance was all it took to turn an evenly matched contest into a walk in the park for MS Dhoni's men.

We may lack experience and players of past experience but therefore the scars of the past will be minimal in the minds of the newcomers and a fresh attitude is the first step to take heading into India, especially with all the drama over the rotation-policy which caused a bitter-sweet summer.

Our squad is not one to boast about or has massive talking rights for that manner but a squad that has a light at the end of the tunnel, which will hopefully be reached come the Ashes series!

It's an obvious reason why Peter Siddle spoke highly about our fast bowling attack in front of the media, stating that is our strength and should be used with full assault. Simply put it is validly our strength and the most proven stronghold of this side.

We do not have a duo of dynamite, high quality spin - a monstrous advantage in the sub-continent - nor do we have a settled batting line-up, so the fast bowling unit is one area the boys can make mention of. Talking up your fast bowling outfit in India isn't exactly fashionable but is clearly due to our emerging squads minimal track record.

This strategic outlook has value and Peter Siddle's statement highlighted this line of thinking. Attack with an all out pace attack with the back up from the spin department, as well as the part-timers in Clarke, Maxwell, Warner and Smith.

"The best way of attacking India is with whatever your best line-up is," Siddle told reporters at Melbourne airport on Thursday. "The way we've won Test matches for years now has been with our pace and I think that is going to play a big role. But Nathan [Lyon] is going to play a big role at the other end, and his game is going to flourish even more with the pressure we build at our end.
"Combined, we'll do well and definitely be able to take 20 wickets. We're strong, we've got a good set of quicks going over and we've got good back-up for Nathan over there with spin."

It certainly isn't doom and gloom for the Baggy Greens, far from it. If anything the concerned undertones are most likely as a result of a side that has many players of perceived "potential and skill" and a relatively unknown sense of unity.

The good news is Watto and Clarkey have sound experience in India and while Watto makes his return to Test cricket with a wave of self-confidence, we know the sublime excellence of our skipper with the bat.

Phillip Hughes has done something no player has done in years and that is to work towards a goal, grab the opportunity and stamp it with everything he had to offer to fight his way into our side with pride. He is fast becoming a competent number 3 batsman and his Test return will call on valuable input and determination with his first tour to India.

Ed Cowan and David Warner have started to find a connection, slowly but surely.
Both have recognisable skill sets that will hopefully prove to be enough to protect our middle order in the majority of the contests. Both batsmen will be targeted by spin possibly early on and this would raise the alarm!

A fast bowling outfit of Johnson, Pattinson, Starc, Siddle and Bird leaves me with few worries but their bodies will be put on the line with the heat, humidity and concerns of past frailties.

The key will be how well Nathan Lyon and/or Xavier Doherty will compliment them and find ways to plug out wickets should our fast bowlers keel over at any stage. It was something well noted that Lyon struggled to do against South Africa but taking him to India is wonderful for his continued development. This is the time to make it count!

We have new blood in Khawaja, Smith, Maxwell and Henriques who can hold their own at State level but the head to head against India will be a matter of combat that only time will tell. Most would say they're walking wickets but until they've lived the battle in the middle we won't know enough.

All in all, while we collectively have good batsmen, the majority have been identified as men who struggle against spin within Australia. This is a warning sound for what is to come and recent history indicates spin has remained as important as ever in India, despite the findings of how many top wicket takers in India's Ranji Trophy have not been spin bowlers.

In the Test series against England, of the 110 wickets that fell 82 of these were to spinners (full and part-time) with the top takings going to Graeme Swann (20), Pragyan Ojha (20), Monty Panesar (17) and Ravichandran Aswin (14). Just a small indicator of the role that spin played.

With an eye on the most recent Test series completed in India, Nathan Lyon is opting for two spinners to play at once if the opportunity is present based on what he watched during the India versus England series. His outlook may be a slight variation to that of Siddle's but either way it makes for an exciting prospect as to whether it will be a front line fast bowling attack with one spinner or two spinners complemented by the best fast bowlers for the job.

What are your thoughts ahead of the Test series?

Australian Test Squad for the Border-Gavaskar series:

David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (captain), Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, Matthew Wade (wicket keeper), James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Jackson Bird, Xavier Doherty, Nathan Lyon,
Ashton Agar. 

*Indian Squad for the 1st Test:

MS Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Ashok Dinda

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