Friday, 27 November 2009

FWT: A start of 480

The Australians have declared at 8/480. I would have thought they would push on towards 600, or at least be looking to have a crack at the Windies' batsmen half an hour before stumps, rather than tea. This seemed possible, with Hauritz batting well. Of course, his 50 not out was only ahead of Michael Clarke and two other players picked for their bowling, making it all the more noteworthy that noone went on to make a hundred. Roebuck reports that Katich looked the most likely to stay in long enough, with his explanation strongly at odds with thoughts recently expressed by Hilditch.

I'm not that keen on Watson opening the batting. I've mentioned this several times, and tried to explain that it's not about Phil Hughes, but about the general approach to the batting line-up. Those who are still not convinced should read Jrod. Of course, there is also the issue of the dream of "the next all-rounder" clouding any assessment of individual players. For these reasons, when I ran into my brother at the railway station yesterday, I suggested it would be best for Australia if Watson made some ducks and was dropped. He disagreed, thinking it would be better if Watson simply broke down again, preferably before being given the ball.

As it happens, Watson did quack, out yet again LBW, but unfortunately it is Jerome Taylor who has been missing at the bowler's end. It is always a pity to see a game affected by the loss of a frontline bowler. Perhaps Ricky should bowl Watson just to level things up.

In any case, right now it's up to Hilfy, Siddle and Johnson. Meanwhile, Bollinger didn't make the cut and was released to fly across the continent, where he and fellow cornstalk pacemen SR and JR have each taken a wicket, and Henriques two to leave the Sandgropers at 5/56 at lunch!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Rolling duties

I've previously discussed the fact that, compared with the UK, the electoral enrolment system in Australia relies much more on voters to take the initiative to enrol. While the resulting expection that the rolls be kept up-to-date from month-to-month has advantages over relying on a yearly update, the system leaves plenty of room for enrolments (or changes) to simply never happen.

The NSW government has announced plans to improve the accuracy of the rolls by automatically using information held by government agencies (such as the current sponsor of the state cricket team). From the point of view of reducing the burden on voters, and removing disenfranchisement caused by simply neglecting to enrol, although would be worth paying some attention to who might not be covered by any of the information sources.

Criticism of the plan describes it as an invasion of privacy - using personal information for purposes other than for which it was supplied. In a country where voting is compulsory, there are people who are deliberately not on the roll. Will this sort of enforced enrolment cause these people to be more reluctant with their information in other circumstances?

The question of compulsory voting itself is an interesting one, often phrased in terms of whether voting is a responsibility or simply a right. I thought of this recently when events caused me to remember discussing the fact that Australians are required to update their enrolment within a month of changing address, not simply wait until an election is imminent.

My point then, which also helps explain why enrolling is compulsory even in places where voting is not, was simply that voting in elections are not the only use of the electoral roll. Appearing in a jury is not something we tend to see as a right. It is certainly treated as a responsibility, or as the Sheriff's material and court officers repeatedly describe it, a "civic duty".

Thursday, 12 November 2009

What's on first?

This kind of storing has been popping up a fair bit recently. I don't really see how it's news.

Watson made the Test team because he was in the squad for his versatility - as a player who could fill any position that needed filling. It just happened that he was chosen to replace an opener. I will admit that his batting performance since then was better than I expected. I am still not convinced he should be called an "all-rounder", but leaving that aside, he has easily confirmed his ability as a fill-in Test batsman, and earned consideration for an ongoing place in the lineup.

However, the idea that he is one of the two best choices for opener is a bit weird. Apart from all the hoopla about Hughes, there are at least two other openers who should be consdered at number 1 before Watson, and that's only considering those with Test experience. The most obvious response to Watson's recent performance is to compare him with other middle-order contenders.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Unexpected events

Last year, Nathan Hauritz was called up from club cricket to the Test team, over once NSW and Australian spinner Beau Casson. This week, the ongoing string of injuries to Australian cricketers led to a tour call-up for Hauritz and Katich's club-mate Burt Cockley, despite the fact that not quite all of the NSW Champions League pace attack has been called up in this series. While this trend may seem inexplicable, it is enough to wonder how soon will Usman Khawaja be seen in the national green and gold.

I'm pretty sure noone expected Burt to be plucked from the middle of the Shield game against the Sandgropers. While Hauritz has been known to open the batting for the Randy-Petes and play for the state on the same day, Cricket Australia rules mean that NSW were given the opportunity to replace Cockley with an all-rounder at a point in the match where their bowling attack was no longer important. Apparently WA weren't too impressed with this unpredicted result, but in any case Lambert was kept to number 11 and the Cornstalks fell well short of first innings points on the final day.

The much more unexpected result of the exploits of the strange (and large) collection representing Australia is of course the fact that they somehow managed to win the series. Several players, veterans and call-ups, have put in some impressive performances, but not enough to change the impression on paper that they shouldn't have been able to beat India. What is going on?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Injuries and Hilditch decimate state attacks

After taking a decent first innings lead, Victoria were hampered in their attempts to put away South Australia by the loss of an opening bowler to the (still) current ICC ODI Champions the Hilditch XI. This may be disputed - it is possible that one-Test wonder Pattinson could be considered a suitable mid-match replacement, but more to the point the Gumsuckers could have been in more trouble if Hilditch & Co. had called up their other opening bowler.

Cricinfo points out that McKay was his team's top wicket-taker in the Champions League with 10 scalps, but the same could be said for his partner Dutch Daredevil Dirk, who had one took one less wicket in one fewer games with better average, strike and economy rates. Maybe they only take into account the Australian teams - after al Henriques was called up. He took the most wickets for NSW while in India, but was included in the squad after teammates Lee, who promptly broke, and Bollinger, who has certainly not looked out of place (although Doug in canary yellow rather than Cornstalk blue still seems strange).

More surprising is the omission of Clark, the miser who also notched up 9 Champions League wickets at a better average and economy rate than Clint. His 8 overs for 15 runs also anchored the demolition of the disappointing Sandgropers on the North Shore last Sunday. Perhaps the selectors are simply being kind to the Blues, who would otherwise be left with a fairly inexperienced pace attack.