Friday, 11 November 2011

Something for the weekend

You'd have to say that if Usman Khawaja can't get into that Australian line up after yesterday's debacle, there is something more horribly wrong with Australian cricket than it appeared.

It is hard to conceive of this great nation's once-great cricket team making such an appalling fist of a day's cricket as they did yesterday. Their first innings lead should have been a springboard to victory, yet it went wrong with a couple of hours of madcap batting that owed less to technique than it did to Fred Karno. While I can accept the Saffer attack is a good one, they were helped by some very ordinary batting, worse than was ever seen in the bad old days at Derbyshire.

I mentioned Vernon Philander as a good bowler in helpful conditions the other day and he came up with the goods for the home side. Mind you, I'd fancy a few wickets bowling at the other end to Morkel and Steyn. At the same time, the depth of their cricket was emphasised by some impressive scores in the fifty-over Franchise Cup. Loots Bosman, erstwhile of this parish, scored a century as the Dolphins chased 317 to beat the Titans, for who the immensely talented Faf du Plessis scored a dazzling 120. He is one of a number of South Africans who will be interesting counties for 2012, though any recruitment will depend on the final squad selected to tour England. Put it another way - if my country was touring England and the chance arose to play county cricket, be on the spot and hopefully in form if an injury occurred, I'd be asking where to sign rather quickly. Breaking into that batting line-up is a thankless task and there might be a few interested parties once the final selection is known.

Another of our old players, Shahid Afridi, was man of the match as Pakistan easily beat Sri Lanka. Afridi, who makes more comebacks than Frank Sinatra ever did, is an enigmatic cricketer but a hughely influential bowler in one-day cricket.  Any resemblance to the erratic young tyro we saw at Derbyshire is coincidental, but I still wouldn't want him to bat for my life...

Finally tonight, and returning to the Aussies, their young fast bowling hope Pat Cummins is tipped to make his Test debut in the next match. Hopefully his selection is less contentious than that which saw his namesake, the former West Indian quickie Anderson, overlooked in favour of Kenny Benjamin in 1992. The local crowd were unimpressed and boycotted the match, two of them carrying the now legendary banner "No Cummins, No Going"...

Priceless stuff. Enjoy your weekend.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Always love to see the Aussies struggle (nearly as much as Yorkshire). The days of Warne,Langer,Hayden,McGrath etc seem a long time ago now. It,s a bit of a shame we hit the number 1 slot at a time when everyone else is crap.

I hope we can soon end this speculation as to who will occupy our overseas berth. I still can,t help thinking we missed a big trick not signing Marcus North or even Simon Katich.