The Light Roller: There is no easy way back for these Aussies

The captain does his best to stay positive but the coach seems to forget that the state of Australian cricket has changed dramatically since his playing days

Crush them, grind them, sink them, finish them

There is nothing sad, for this Englishman, about Australia’s cricketing disarray. Having seen numerous English shambles and a few false dawns, it was frankly a great pleasure to see Alistair Cook and his team crush the old foe in the second Test.  Not everyone agrees of course.

But what is truly startling about the state of Australian cricket is that there really seems to be very little prospect of any immediate improvement – and that is a concern. The on-field performances are one thing, yet it is the shenanigans behind the scenes which show quite how bad things have become.  From Twitter scandals to courtroom wrangles, the Aussies are currently incapable of keeping their dirty laundry to themselves.

It is only two years since the Argus review into Australia’s team performance and, given that things have only worsened in the interim, it may be safe to say that the response to that review (and, in fact, the Argus recommendations themselves) were nowhere near to being radical enough. 

 

Lehmann points the chubby finger of blame - again

Darren Lehmann’s appointment shortly before the Ashes began looked slightly desperate but – at least in the short-term – had the potential to re-focus and gel the team.  Two Tests on, there is little outward sign of togetherness in the ranks, however regularly Michael Clarke makes a point of chatting jauntily to Shane Watson (pictured above). And Lehmann himself isn’t doing much to imbue his players with confidence. 

After the first Test, he reported bluntly that Ed Cowan had failed to play in the way he had been told to. Now, the chunky Lehmann finger of blame has been pointed at Chris Rogers, who apparently told Shane Watson to review his first innings stone-bonker of an LBW. Never mind that Watson is by far the more senior player and ought to have some idea where his stumps are. 

Captain Clarke does his best to remain positive but the coach gives the impression that picking out individuals for a few gruff words will suddenly turn this team into the kind that he himself was a part of less than ten years ago. The change since that world-beating line-up took the field has been dramatic and, if there is to be any sort of reverse, Lehmann cannot live in the past.

 

Aussie bowlers came to the party…and now they’re leaving

The announcement that James Pattinson will miss the rest of the series because of injury is a shame because he has at times been exciting to watch. But his fitness record is poor and so his departure is about as surprising as a Shane Watson LBW. If Ryan Harris doesn’t join Pattinson on the sidelines at some stage it will be a miracle, such is the pressure exerted on his heavy frame by a somewhat clunky delivery stride. 

As for the spinners, goodness only knows who will be in the starting line-up at Old Trafford.  Ashton Agar is Australia’s leading run-scorer in the series but looks as likely to bag a major haul of wickets as Brad Haddin.  Nathan Lyon has a decent enough record (a better average than Daniel Vettori for instance) and ought to come back in.  But you get the sense that Australian selectors believe there is another Warne out there if only they look hard enough.  In short, there isn’t.

 

The domestic T20 still lacks sense and substance

While most eyes are on the Ashes, the domestic T20 season continues merrily on its way.  In the shortest format, the eighteen team structure of English county cricket becomes questionable in a way it hasn’t in relation to the Championship since the split into two divisions.  The scheduling of games does not help.  So far, T20 games have been played on twenty-one separate days since Hampshire and Surrey took guard on 26 June. 

I would be surprised if a majority of spectators arrive at a T20 game knowing where in the league table the two teams on show actually stand. While there will be more tweaks to the competition next season, it remains as much about a fun evening out as a going concern in terms of genuine, widespread interest in the final position of the counties. Notts to win this year, by the way.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat