What I’ve Learned This Summer: Subash Jayaraman
The 2011/2012 summer of cricket is quickly drawing to a close, and in years to come, we’ll look back with sepia-tinged goggles and reminisce fondly about Pup’s three-hundred, KP’s return to form, and Doug Bracewell’s spell at Hobart. At The Sledge, we get nostalgic about things very quickly; as such, we’ve asked some of the brightest cricket writers from around the world to put together pieces on What They’ve Learned This Summer.
For someone that had never seen a Test Match live, at the venue, I saw 5 test matches from July 2011 – January 2012, across three continents. From Lord’s to Wankhede to the G, still no hundredth hundred. Wait, that’s a ridiculous made up stat anyway. Why are we obsessing over it? Let’s move on already!
There ain’t no place like home.
England beat Sri Lanka and India, back to back, at home. Australia get bowled out for 47 in South Africa. India gets wiped out in England and Australia. England stumble against Pakistan. Somewhere in all this wreckage are New Zealand and the West Indies. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe… well, they are just there – Zimbabwe a little more creditably than Bangladesh.
Non-Asian batsmen can’t handle spin. Asian batsmen can’t handle seam and bounce. No one can play swing. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where Test Cricket is.
When India drops a donut, English fans rub it in. When England gets blanked in Asia, sub-continent fans are over the moon.
But there is no shame in being able to protect the home turf. The great teams of the past built their dominance and dynasty on a solid foundation of being unbeatable at home, and then, spread their wings away. In the past decade, after the dominant Aussies were disbanded due to retirements, South Africa, and to an extent, India, bucked the trend of teams being completely overwhelmed in conditions alien to them, but now it does look like we are back to the good old ways.
Now we have players in the midst of a torrid tour saying, “Come over to place, you bastards! We will show you.” Good times.
Fast Bowling Resources.
It wasn’t too long ago I remember reading articles on a big name cricket website, “Is fast bowling at its nadir?” and I laughed then, as I do now. It is convenient to throw up such topics when there are deadlines. It is as easy as a column asking the question: “Who is better, Tendulkar or Lara?”
The top of the test tree is going to be determined by the strength and the depth of fast bowling resources of teams that also have a very good spinner. Looking at the fast bowling roster of the various teams, England, South Africa and Australia jump out at you as the ones that will be contending for the top spot in tests in the next 3-5 years.
England usurped India from numero uno on the back of an able and disciplined bowling attack comprising of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett, with Gareme Swann chipping in sufficiently from the spinner spot. Steve Finn looks like will become a permanent fixture as well, taking up Tremlett’s position.
South Africa have the superlative Steyn, backed by Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and recently, the man mountain Marchant de Lange. It is yet to be seen how Imran Tahir will fair against sub-continental teams in Asia.
The arrival of Patrick Cummins and James Pattinson, and the rejuvenation of Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle, along with the fragile Ryan Harris and serviceable Nathan Lyon, Australian bowling attack looks quite competent.
The West Indies, when their players are both fit and in the mood, can list an attack that can rival any of the above with Jerome Taylor, Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach and the young but wily Devendra Bishoo.
India, Pakistan and New Zealand have pretty decent pacers but not of the collective quality of the others. It is shocking to see Pakistan’s name in the “pretty decent pacers” group but with their losing two world class bowlers in Amir and Asif, their fast bowling stock is in the rebuilding mode while the attack is carried by Rehman and the effervescent Ajmal. Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe have a couple of young up and coming pacers as well.
All in all, it looks quite rosy, doesn’t it? I am waiting for articles on cricket sites to change tack and start churning out pieces that ask, “Is this the golden generation of fast bowlers?” any time now!
The ICC is as fucked up as ever.
When presented with an opportunity to hold a test championship, the member boards wiggled out of it, as they had to pony up money to the tune of $3 million and instead went the route of another meaningless Champions trophy. The DRS debate still rages on. There was a time when ball tracking, Hotspot and Snicko were part of the decision review process but ball tracking was made non-mandatory. Snicko has been replaced by stump audio feed. After three and half years of running riot, now (and only now) has the ball tracking technology been scheduled to undergo independent tests! The ICC made a statement explaining that they do not want national boards to be overtly influenced by the respective national governments but make exceptions, anyway! They call for an independent review of their own governance but make all the recommendations non-binding. Most of the cricket boards are insolvent due to incompetent administrators. ICC self-proclaim they want to promote test cricket and all that jazz only to turn around and do everything in their power to ruin it.
Yep. Everything is great at the ICC.
Nothing to see here.
Move along people.
For more “Things We’ve Learned This Summer”, click here.