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Thursday, October 14, 2010

To Be or Not to Be Happy

By on 3:05 PM

Recently on twitter former Australian cricketer Damien Martyn posed a question (via @InsideCricketOz):

Should India be happy? Well, maybe, but on the whole I think not.

Ponting's ODI average v India in India is quite impressive: his overall career ODI average is 42.85; for all his matches v India in India it is 44.86. His v India in India over last 3 years: 49.00, but his overall average for the last 12 months has dropped to 39.53; since New Year, it's dropped to 38.05. Not that these figures should come as much as a surprise to anyone: Ponting is not the batsman he once was. And that has been especially noticeable the over the last 12 months or so, not only in the number of runs he no longer scores, but in the ways he has been getting out. That pull shots of his — few people played a pull shot better — well, now, often as not, it is likely to end up straight in the hands of an eagerly awaiting opposition fielder. Also, if Ishant Sharma is playing in these ODI matches, I think India should not be happy at all: he has become quite the Sharma bunny, Punter, hasn't he?! Further, I will be very interested to see how Michael Clarke does as Captain (I assume he will fill this role). I've seen Clarke captain both Australia A as well as Australia's Twenty20i XI. He has been very good at it: upbeat, decisive, and imaginative, which is, perhaps, particularly interesting in the Twenty20i setting, since Clarke isn't much of a T20 player/batsman. He's got winning ways as well. As an Australian, I'd appreciate some of that at the moment.

Maybe India should be a little happier to see Shane Watson go: his batting average v India in India is 43.71, which is higher than his career average of 40.29; and so is his bowling average: 24.36 versus 27.93, although with the worse economy rate of 5.54 versus the career one of 4.88. The reason why India might not be totally happy with seeing the back of Watson is if Australia opts to select David Warner for the open opener's spot. Warner is not only the kind of opener that can rip a match away from an opposing XI with his take-no-prisoners, explosive kind of batting, but he also, of course, plays for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL ... which means that he should be quite used to Indian wickets and conditions. It would have been quite fun if the Australian selectors would go for a Warner-Hughes opening combination. I have seen them opening together for the NSW BabyBlues and it can be a quite spectacular show. (They do on occasion open also in T20 matches, which works surprisingly well, considering that Phil Hughes is not, perhaps, the first name that springs to mind for a T20 game. But together with Warner at least, he can be very efficient indeed.) Seeing that Australia will lose a bowling option in Watson, however, I assume that our sometimes unimaginative selectors will choose to replace him with a bowler. (One of those bowlers who gets effusively praised for being 'handy with the bat', no doubt.)

So: to be or not to be happy with these changes to the Australian ODI line-up. Perhaps that's the wrong question? Perhaps with the way India looks at the moment, it does not really matter.


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Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted but to weigh and consider.
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