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

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk