Besides, in a moment the Australian team will be donning the panda suits and playing the less appealing version of T20 ... hence the scheduling later in the season. Cricket Australia knows their stuff. The Big Bash has already opened up the new opportunities it promised. First it gave Australian Test players the perfect format to retreat to and find form and now it has unearthed talent for the Aussie T20 side ... hence Brad Hogg's selection. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for selection being based on form and there is no doubting the Hoggster's work in the Big Bash League. It's just that ... well, isn't Nancy pissed off?
I just jest, mainly because I still can't take twenty over cricket seriously but then I haven't invested any money in it. To treat BBL as a serious selection trial for the Australian T20 team is like saying cows should run in the Melbourne Cup because they graze in the same paddock. If we were teenagers again, BBL would be to Test cricket like your best mates big sister is to marriage: every one tries it once or twice, gets all sweaty and excited but you wouldn't want to live with it for the rest of your life.
In reality, of course, T20 is here to stay and will replace 50 over cricket at international and the equivalent first class level and any talk of a danger to Test cricket belongs to Hanrahan and his fellow church yard pontificators.
Ponting resigned the captaincy after the World Cup but it took a four month enquiry to get rid of Andrew Hilditch and his selectors, Tim Neilsen and to set Greg Chappell back into his box.
So, Australia was gifted through panic a completely new structure from top to bottom - even the cleaning lady was restructured into a High Performance Sanitiser, the only job in Australian cricket Geoff Lawson hasn't applied for. Since thecricketragics previewed the 11 Tests programmed from that point until this, it seems circumspect to now review.
Of those four series, Australia won two and drew two, in the process winning seven of the eleven Tests, drawing two and losing only two (South Africa at Newlands and New Zealand at Hobart) and both through batting collapses. In fact, but for 45 overs, their 11 Tests might have been perfect.
The batting in that period is as follows:
|M J Clarke||18||1||1||5||*329||1167||68.65||20||0|
|D A Warner||10||2||0||2||180||419||52.38||9||0|
|R T Ponting||17||1||5||2||221||837||52.31||15||0|
|M E K Hussey||18||1||3||3||*150||839||49.35||14||0|
|E J M Cowan||6||0||2||0||74||206||34.33||8||0|
|J L Pattinson||5||2||0||0||*37||88||29.33||0||0|
|U T Khawaja||9||2||1||0||65||205||29.29||3||0|
|P J Hughes||13||0||1||1||126||360||27.69||3||0|
|S E Marsh||11||0||1||1||141||301||27.36||4||0|
|M A Starc||4||2||0||0||*32||51||25.50||1||0|
|B J Haddin||17||2||2||0||80||352||23.47||42||1|
|S R Watson||9||0||1||0||88||182||20.22||3||0|
|M G Johnson||9||2||0||0||*40||135||19.29||3||0|
|R J Harris||7||2||0||0||*35||85||17.00||1||0|
|P J Cummins||2||1||0||0||*13||15||15.00||1||0|
|P M Siddle||13||1||0||0||41||177||14.75||1||0|
|B W Hilfenhaus||3||0||0||0||19||39||13.00||1||0|
|T A Copeland||4||1||0||0||*23||39||13.00||2||0|
|N M Lyon||12||5||0||0||14||55||7.86||4||0|
The bowlers for the period:
|P J Cummins||44||8||117||7||1||0||6/79||16.71||37.71||2.66|
|S R Watson||93.5||32||218||13||1||0||5/17||16.77||43.31||2.33|
|B W Hilfenhaus||168||44||465||27||2||0||5/75||17.22||37.33||2.77|
|J L Pattinson||135.5||31||453||25||2||0||5/27||18.12||32.60||3.34|
|R J Harris||168.3||51||439||21||1||0||5/62||20.90||48.14||2.61|
|P M Siddle||295.2||77||934||40||1||0||5/49||23.35||44.30||3.16|
|M E K Hussey||46||5||110||4||0||0||1/0||27.50||69.00||2.39|
|N M Lyon||269.2||41||832||29||1||0||5/34||28.69||55.72||3.09|
|M J Clarke||32||3||94||3||0||0||2/6||31.33||64.00||2.94|
|M A Starc||80.2||18||270||8||0||0||2/30||33.75||60.25||3.37|
|T A Copeland||108||34||227||6||0||0||2/24||37.83||108.00||2.10|
|M G Johnson||163.5||27||568||9||0||0||2/48||63.11||109.22||3.47|
|R T Ponting||6||0||31||0||0||0||5.16|
|D A Warner||3||0||13||0||0||0||4.33|
Bowlers with Best Strike Rate (Min 50 Wickets)
|Lohmann, G A||England||1886-1896||18||801.0||364||1205||112||10.76||9/28||34.12|
|Ferris, J J||England||1887-1892||9||533.3||251||775||61||12.70||7/37||37.74|
|Bond, S E||New Zealand||2001-2009||18||562.0||113||1922||87||22.09||6/51||38.76|
|Steyn, D W *||South Africa||2004-||51||1755.3||333||6014||263||22.87||7/51||40.05|
|Finn, S T *||England||2010-||12||345.4||74||1346||50||26.92||6/125||41.48|
|Barnes, S F||England||1901-1914||27||1312.1||356||3106||189||16.43||9/103||41.66|
|Vogler, A E E||South Africa||1906-1911||15||460.4||96||1455||64||22.73||7/94||43.19|
|Spofforth, F R||Australia||1877-1887||18||1046.1||416||1731||94||18.41||7/44||44.52|
Its always seems to be forgotten that its batting we remember but bowlers who win Tests. For the first time since Shane Warne and Glen McGrath left (and a host of other support staff like Gillespie and Lee), Australia has a bowling group capable of regularly taking the 20 wickets needed before you can sing about your birthright under the southern stars and its not just confined to one or two players but an ensemble.
Its 44 years since I watched Dougie do the double and in all the ensuing years this last year has been the strongest and quickest recovery I have ever seen in Australian cricket and for it to be made under the duress of an administration fire sale, Clark's shaky relationship with the cricket public, doubts about the contribution older players could still make, recurring injuries to the spearheads of our attack, a change of selectors halfway through and a hostile media makes it all the more difficult to believe it has been achieved. Importantly, the skipper isn't happy yet. There is more work to be done, he says, if Australia is to be No 1 again.
Yes there is but I'm a fan as well as a critic and I applaud the start that's been made. Its an old fashioned word and therefore more surprising when its applied to a new age bloke but it dawned on me in Sydney when Clarke declared, probably forgoing Lara's Test highest score and told the media that night a simple message ... what's point of scoring a hundred if we don't win? The word was integrity. I think his kit bag's full of it. That's a bit of a surprise for most of us.
Maybe we're the ones who have been shallow?