Cricket: The Australian shine of disappointment

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – MARCH 24: Cameron Bancroft and Steven Smith (capt) of Australia having a chat with the umpires during day 3 of the 3rd Sunfoil Test match between South Africa and Australia at PPC Newlands on March 24, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Newlands has been a very telling centre point for one of Australia’s darkest days of cricket; if not the most.  It stems back to before the Ashes of the summer just gone; heck, probably goes further back with the culture and “bully attitude” some talk about in world cricket.  Australians are rightfully disappointed at their national cricket team doing something woefully silly.

Then it came and bit captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft where it hurts the most.  The light has finally been shed on what was – as Smith put it – a “premeditated action by the leadership group” – then exposed all the scraps and crumbs behind it, which had already begun to surface in recent months. Continue reading

BBL|07: Scorchers flame burns well as Stars fall in Perth

Andrew Tye snares 5/23 at the WACA against the Melbourne Stars (Credit: ©CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images/ESPN Cricinfo)

Fresh from any Christmas shenanigans, the Perth Scorchers welcomed the Melbourne Stars over to the WACA on a warm Boxing Day afternoon, where a well-drilled Adam Voges led side took away the bragging rights. Continue reading

Australia still lacks T20 depth and power

Adam Zampa could be Australia's spin weapon, along with Ashton Agar (Picture: IDI/Getty Images)

Adam Zampa could be Australia’s spin weapon, along with Ashton Agar (Picture: IDI/Getty Images)

After two games at the 2016 World Twenty20 in India, Australia still does not look assured in the format – even after a blistering innings against South Africa in a three-match warm-up series.

Usman Khawaja’s purple patch continued with 58 in the win against Bangladesh, but Australia’s next highest score was 26 (15 balls) from Glenn Maxwell.

Adam Zampa’s 3/23 was also noteworthy, but there is still an overarching problem: the Aussies haven’t played to the conditions, and need to sort out a few more batting woes. Continue reading

IND v SA: South Africa broken like a stump in thumping series defeat

Indian skipper Virat Kohli celebrates the win during day five of the 4th Paytm Freedom Trophy Series Test match between India and South Africa held at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi. Photo by Ron Gaunt / BCCI / SPORTZPICS

Indian skipper Virat Kohli celebrates the win during day five of the 4th Paytm Freedom Trophy Series Test match between India and South Africa held at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi.
Photo by Ron Gaunt / BCCI / SPORTZPICS

An utterly enthralling yet inevitable 337-run defeat for South Africa at the hands of the India unfolded at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Monday, giving the hosts a 3-0 series win and the Proteas a serious dignity dent. Continue reading

WNCL: The sting finally gets its reward

2015 WNCL victors South Australia Scorpions. Source: Cricket Australia

2015 WNCL victors South Australia Scorpions. Source: Cricket Australia

Women’s cricket has a new national champion and some very ecstatic players.

The South Australia Scorpions have been building for the last two years, and the time finally came to hoist the WNCL trophy on Sunday over arch-rivals New South Wales. Continue reading

Day one of the Matador Cup, thank you very much

Travis Head acknowledges his double century (picture: Getty Images)

Travis Head acknowledges his double century (picture: Getty Images)

Domestic cricket is exciting.

With the condensed competition format, the Matador Cup started in blistering fashion on Monday – and it was mainly all thanks to willow on leather; although Mitchell Starc wanted to also have a say.

Putting aside the fact the opening three games were played on suburban grounds that are tiny compared to the likes of the MCG and SCG, the efforts of the batsmen cannot be understated.

The tournament itself was bolstered by the unexpected addition of the Australian test players due to the cancellation of the Bangladesh tour – but it was Travis Head who stole the show.

South Australian captain and now double centurion Head is not 22 until the end of this year.

However, his composure and eye for the ball resulted in a score of 202 off 119 balls, including 12 sixes.

For South Australia, it is only one game on a ground more akin to a postage stamp, but it’s the confidence boost the entire side will get at reeling in a 350+ target with several overs to spare that will get the Redbacks up and running.

He did it so clinically the Redbacks had Western Australian on the backfoot, and the Warriors bowling figures hardly look flattering against the powerful performance the left-hander displayed.

It is hard to go past the partnership he carved out with Callum Ferguson (112 from 118 balls); the 278 runs scored in a little over 32 overs – ticking along close to nine runs an over – was the catalyst for such a commanding victory.

Not that Western Australia didn’t crush the South Australians a few hours prior, with Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh posting enormous centuries.

Bancroft and Head present themselves as part of generation next for Australia as the national side looks to rebuild.

Like any good performer, the key to both of these players is a strong season and a good conversion rate.

For Head, it is all about going on with starts and playing the captain’s role with a level persona.  He must do it now with the red ball, and confidently.

Bancroft finished with 896 Sheffield Shield runs in 2014-2015, and a huge 176 is a surefire statement to the selectors ahead of the first day of international cricket on November 5.

Elsewhere, seeing Mitchell Starc rip any side to shreds and shatter the stumps is always entertaining.

This time, seeing a CA XI put together from all the six state sides crumble so easily – to the tune of more than 270 runs – is concerning.

However, the side is the youngest in the competition and after one game in any sporting competition, trying to draw conclusions doesn’t work.  The side will get better with time but came up against a New South Wales side packed with test experience.

What has been proven today, regardless of ground size and bowling attack, is there are batsmen at state level who can step up and hit a groove to excite cricket fans – but must do it consistently.

The likes of Jimmy Peirson and Marcus Harris are still developing, and will take a lot from watching the likes of Steve Smith and Starc go about their business.

It won’t all be a batsmen’s show – expect the bowlers to come back in the later stages.  The likes of Jason Behrendorff and Gary Putland, perhaps the two best left-armers going around at the moment, can give it a red hot crack

Australia’s rampant rabbit isn’t losing the Ashes

(Picture: IB Times)

(Picture: IB Times)

For all the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the Trent Bridge debacle, the Ashes wasn’t really the catalyst, crux or anything in between.

It’s the regeneration.  Since the retirement of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and co, there’s been a rebuild.  The 2013-2014 Ashes was combed over by England’s dreadful performances.  Many of these have already been talked about, dissected and torn apart. Continue reading

Clarke’s career beats everything else

Clarke acknowledges the crowd (photo: from

Clarke acknowledges the crowd (photo: from

For all the rubbishing of Australia over their disastrous defeat at the hands of England at Trent Bridge, Michael Clarke has been at the centre of it in many ways.

The on-field leader, Clarke demands and takes responsibility for his now former charges, as of the end of the Ashes seriesContinue reading

The Women’s Ashes are stronger than ever

Meg Lanning during the 3rd ODI (Getty Images)

Meg Lanning during the 3rd ODI (Getty Images)

A revitalised format may just be the kicker of one of the most important women’s series outside of the World Cup.

The Women’s Ashes are well underway over in England, with Australia’s two point lead after the one-day internationals a crucial advantage heading into the only test match that starts on August the 11th.

Critically, that test match was once the first match in the series, and whoever took the win from that almost guaranteed themselves a series win with the shorter form to play.  Having watched the likes of Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry make the England women stand up and take notice, putting the ODIs first does two good things: Continue reading

Resurgent England still potentially rely on too few for too much

Joe Root plays through the off side in England's ODI win (photo: Getty Images)

Joe Root plays through the off side in England’s ODI win (photo: Getty Images)

As a feature of comparison, here are England’s test and ODI squads from the recent series against New Zealand: Continue reading