The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

Post by R Bharat Ra » Thu, 01 Jan 2009 00:00:19


The last 3 decades have seen 2 teams dominate Test cricket.  WI were
unquestioned champions for nigh 20 years, and barring a mis-step in
NZ, didn't lose any Test series along the way.  Australia then took
over the mantle and they too won games with a ruthlessness that
surpassed WI.  Not only did they hardly lose a series, losing a single
Test was newsworthy -- their only 2 series losses hithertoo (Ind 01
and England 05) were due to extraordinary individual performances in
one case and to an inspired side where every player contributed to his
maximum (not to mention the loss of their spearhead for part of the
series).

Still, barring those mis-steps, no one appeared to challenge their
***.  Until this year, when they lost to both India and now
South Africa -- not beaten in enthralling gripping encounters as was
in the two previous losses, but tamely, surrendering positions of
strength (Bangalore, WACA, MCG) and cravenly falling apart when the
pressure was on (all their 4 losses).

So who will be the new King?

I'm not sure there will be one.  Oh sure, there will be a #1 in Test
cricket -- South Africa seem the most likely contenders, and Australia
and possibly India (if they actually play Tests) will be contending
for #1 -- and it is possible that whoever gets to the ICC #1, actually
holds on to it for a long time.

But, in terms of a new KING -- unquestioned *** where a side
wins all (as was the case with the past 2 champions), I'm not sure
that will happen for a while.  So Aus may stay #1 or SA may take that
spot for a few years, but winning everything everywhere is not likely
to be the hallmark for the next #1.

The WI *** was built on a seemingly never-ending supply of
speedsters supported by some magnificent bats, but when they lost the
depth in squad (after Richards & Richardson retired), even the
brilliance of a fading Ambrose & Walsh and the magnificence of a Lara
saw them not only give up the throne, but fall all the way to the
nadir of Test cricket.

Australia's hegemony was built on the backs of two of the greatest
bowlers ever, and a line of magnificent batsmen, morphing from the
backs to the wall fighter approach exemplified by SWaugh, to a
destructive attacking force that ripped bowlers to shreds.  Australia
turned Test cricket from a dour struggle into a blitzkrieg.  Ponting's
lack of tactical nous was covered up by the ***s of Hayden &
Ponting himself, and Gilchrist at #7 rescued many a lost position.
But eventually McWarne retired and Gilchrist faded away, but Australia
seemed not to lose a step.  Stuart Clark had stats to rival McGrath,
and so what if there was no spinner -- Ponting's own bat seemed to
have no holes, Hussey appeared to be the second coming of Bradman for
a far longer time than anyone else, and Symonds turned into a top
class bat.  But this year, the lack of firepower in both batting and
bowling have taken their toll.  Hayden simply can't bat the way he
used to (and hasn't been able to for some time), Ponting is having an
off year (though for most batsman, 1000 runs at 45+  with 4 tons would
be a career year -- just reflects how good he has been) and Hussey has
either been found out, is going through a bad patch, or was never that
good to begin with (only time will tell), and Symonds has burned the
candle at both ends for too long, and needs to vanquish his own demons
before he can battle the opposition effectively (and may be well
served by picking the best batsman around, rather than a batting
allrounder).  Katich has been brilliant, and Clarke is exactly what he
was -- a good but not great bat (he has time to get better) -- and
Haddin is decent, but no Gilchrist -- at least not the Gilchrist.

So in summary, who can take over.  The nub is not just the lack of
great bowlers, but the lack of bowling depth.  McGrath was really good
for a long time, with few injuries before the problems that plagued
him for the last 2-3 years of his career and Warne was simply amazing
over his career, and when needed he could just bowl and bowl.  WI had
a never ending supply of attacking fast bowlers to step in when one
had a niggle.

My guess is that of all the contenders, RSA has the best chance of
developing such an attack, but it will require a lot of luck.

Steyn is fantastic, but if he has to bowl as much as he did going flat
out, he will spend more time off the field than own.  If Morkel
actually develops as he could -- whats not to like, tall, capable of
being genuinely quick, and steepling bounce (hey, that sounds like
Ishant, without the swing) -- then RSA could have the 1-2 punch that
they need.  (The incomparable Kallis is not to be underestimated --
having a top-class bat who can be a good bowler adds so much to an
attack.)

India too seems to have the goods on paper -- Zaheer & Ishant are a
formidable opening pair (quite possibly the best opening attack in
Test cricket at the moment), and backed up by Harbhajan India could
very easily boast the top bowling attack in the world.  But depth is
alarmingly lacking.  The pace duo has an alarming history of injuries,
and we have had pacers show extreme promise before (Pathan & Balaji in
Pakistan, Sreesanth in RSA, RP Singh in England) only to disappear
completely.  The 4th bowler's slot is also an open question and unlike
RSA they have no Kallis to add depth & variety.  And India's openers
are in devastating form, and many promising youngsters are fighting to
step into the hithertoo locked-down middle order.

Aus seems to lack the bowling resources -- though if Clark comes back
to form, Johnson continues to develop and the batting re-clicks, they
could carry on as well.  In fact, I expect Poting & Hussey to have
*** 2009's, so they could easily take out their angst on poor
England.

Game on -- should be an interesting 2-3 years (or would be to me, if
India actually scheduled some Tests.)

Bharat [whew]

 
 
 

The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

Post by BV Swagat » Thu, 01 Jan 2009 02:48:26

I am just wondering how the former west Indian speedsters would have
performed in this era where the batsmen have the best protective
equipment....I dont understand as to why you think that there is a
lack of bowling resources for India. we got Zaheer, ishant, rp singh,
sreesanth, munaf (i dunt agree that rp, sreesanth have disapeared,
they will comeback for the talent that they have) for tests (there is
some pace potential in Manpreet gony and Vikram Singh but they need to
move the ball a lot more) and a lot of medium pacers who shud be more
than ok for odis. my worry is about harbhajan who is looking very
flat, watching him bowl can be very tiring as even lesser known
bowlers like swann, sehwag, krejza have done better than him, perhaps
he needs to get his basics right, that is getting his off break to
turn.

i guess there wouldnt be one team that can say that it is No.1 as
India lost in lanka and so would any team which wud find it tough in
tackin mendis and murali. south africa havent done well in lanka too
and at the same time we all know that sri lanka is not good enough
when their tour. england is probably no.3 with India as long as
freddie flintoff is available:) and SA and India sharing No.1 as their
contests have  been 50-50.


Quote:
> The last 3 decades have seen 2 teams dominate Test cricket. ?WI were
> unquestioned champions for nigh 20 years, and barring a mis-step in
> NZ, didn't lose any Test series along the way. ?Australia then took
> over the mantle and they too won games with a ruthlessness that
> surpassed WI. ?Not only did they hardly lose a series, losing a single
> Test was newsworthy -- their only 2 series losses hithertoo (Ind 01
> and England 05) were due to extraordinary individual performances in
> one case and to an inspired side where every player contributed to his
> maximum (not to mention the loss of their spearhead for part of the
> series).

> Still, barring those mis-steps, no one appeared to challenge their
> ***. ?Until this year, when they lost to both India and now
> South Africa -- not beaten in enthralling gripping encounters as was
> in the two previous losses, but tamely, surrendering positions of
> strength (Bangalore, WACA, MCG) and cravenly falling apart when the
> pressure was on (all their 4 losses).

> So who will be the new King?

> I'm not sure there will be one. ?Oh sure, there will be a #1 in Test
> cricket -- South Africa seem the most likely contenders, and Australia
> and possibly India (if they actually play Tests) will be contending
> for #1 -- and it is possible that whoever gets to the ICC #1, actually
> holds on to it for a long time.

> But, in terms of a new KING -- unquestioned *** where a side
> wins all (as was the case with the past 2 champions), I'm not sure
> that will happen for a while. ?So Aus may stay #1 or SA may take that
> spot for a few years, but winning everything everywhere is not likely
> to be the hallmark for the next #1.

> The WI *** was built on a seemingly never-ending supply of
> speedsters supported by some magnificent bats, but when they lost the
> depth in squad (after Richards & Richardson retired), even the
> brilliance of a fading Ambrose & Walsh and the magnificence of a Lara
> saw them not only give up the throne, but fall all the way to the
> nadir of Test cricket.

> Australia's hegemony was built on the backs of two of the greatest
> bowlers ever, and a line of magnificent batsmen, morphing from the
> backs to the wall fighter approach exemplified by SWaugh, to a
> destructive attacking force that ripped bowlers to shreds. ?Australia
> turned Test cricket from a dour struggle into a blitzkrieg. ?Ponting's
> lack of tactical nous was covered up by the ***s of Hayden &
> Ponting himself, and Gilchrist at #7 rescued many a lost position.
> But eventually McWarne retired and Gilchrist faded away, but Australia
> seemed not to lose a step. ?Stuart Clark had stats to rival McGrath,
> and so what if there was no spinner -- Ponting's own bat seemed to
> have no holes, Hussey appeared to be the second coming of Bradman for
> a far longer time than anyone else, and Symonds turned into a top
> class bat. ?But this year, the lack of firepower in both batting and
> bowling have taken their toll. ?Hayden simply can't bat the way he
> used to (and hasn't been able to for some time), Ponting is having an
> off year (though for most batsman, 1000 runs at 45+ ?with 4 tons would
> be a career year -- just reflects how good he has been) and Hussey has
> either been found out, is going through a bad patch, or was never that
> good to begin with (only time will tell), and Symonds has burned the
> candle at both ends for too long, and needs to vanquish his own demons
> before he can battle the opposition effectively (and may be well
> served by picking the best batsman around, rather than a batting
> allrounder). ?Katich has been brilliant, and Clarke is exactly what he
> was -- a good but not great bat (he has time to get better) -- and
> Haddin is decent, but no Gilchrist -- at least not the Gilchrist.

> So in summary, who can take over. ?The nub is not just the lack of
> great bowlers, but the lack of bowling depth. ?McGrath was really good
> for a long time, with few injuries before the problems that plagued
> him for the last 2-3 years of his career and Warne was simply amazing
> over his career, and when needed he could just bowl and bowl. ?WI had
> a never ending supply of attacking fast bowlers to step in when one
> had a niggle.

> My guess is that of all the contenders, RSA has the best chance of
> developing such an attack, but it will require a lot of luck.

> Steyn is fantastic, but if he has to bowl as much as he did going flat
> out, he will spend more time off the field than own. ?If Morkel
> actually develops as he could -- whats not to like, tall, capable of
> being genuinely quick, and steepling bounce (hey, that sounds like
> Ishant, without the swing) -- then RSA could have the 1-2 punch that
> they need. ?(The incomparable Kallis is not to be underestimated --
> having a top-class bat who can be a good bowler adds so much to an
> attack.)

> India too seems to have the goods on paper -- Zaheer & Ishant are a
> formidable opening pair (quite possibly the best opening attack in
> Test cricket at the moment), and backed up by Harbhajan India could
> very easily boast the top bowling attack in the world. ?But depth is
> alarmingly lacking. ?The pace duo has an alarming history of injuries,
> and we have had pacers show extreme promise before (Pathan & Balaji in
> Pakistan, Sreesanth in RSA, RP Singh in England) only to disappear
> completely. ?The 4th bowler's slot is also an open question and unlike
> RSA they have no Kallis to add depth & variety. ?And India's openers
> are in devastating form, and many promising youngsters are fighting to
> step into the hithertoo locked-down middle order.

> Aus seems to lack the bowling resources -- though if Clark comes back
> to form, Johnson continues to develop and the batting re-clicks, they
> could carry on as well. ?In fact, I expect Poting & Hussey to have
> *** 2009's, so they could easily take out their angst on poor
> England.

> Game on -- should be an interesting 2-3 years (or would be to me, if
> India actually scheduled some Tests.)

> Bharat [whew]


 
 
 

The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

Post by Mike Holman » Thu, 01 Jan 2009 02:57:06

On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 07:00:19 -0800 (PST), R Bharat Rao

Quote:
>The last 3 decades have seen 2 teams dominate Test cricket.  WI were
>unquestioned champions for nigh 20 years, and barring a mis-step in
>NZ, didn't lose any Test series along the way.  Australia then took
>over the mantle and they too won games with a ruthlessness that
>surpassed WI.  Not only did they hardly lose a series, losing a single
>Test was newsworthy -- their only 2 series losses hithertoo (Ind 01
>and England 05) were due to extraordinary individual performances in
>one case and to an inspired side where every player contributed to his
>maximum (not to mention the loss of their spearhead for part of the
>series).

>Still, barring those mis-steps, no one appeared to challenge their
>***.  Until this year, when they lost to both India and now
>South Africa -- not beaten in enthralling gripping encounters as was
>in the two previous losses, but tamely, surrendering positions of
>strength (Bangalore, WACA, MCG) and cravenly falling apart when the
>pressure was on (all their 4 losses).

>So who will be the new King?

>I'm not sure there will be one.  

As you say, it depends on what you mean by king.

Even if SA don't win at the SCG, they ought to win their home series
against Aus, which will put them firmly in place as #1. I don't see
anyone actually toppling them for a couple of years: when Kallis goes,
it simply resolves the question about whether to leave out Amla,
Prince, Duminy, de Villiers or McKenzie. Admittedly it leaves them a
backup bowler short, replacements have to be found for Ntini and
Boucher, and it would be nice if Morkel could do something more than
be tall, but Harris is as credible as Vettori as a spinner and Steyn
looks like the best fast bowler to emerge anywhere for some time.

India ought to beat NZ, which should put them into the #2 spot ahead
of Aus, but then they are giving up Test cricket for the rest of the
year, or something like it. Whether India will remain in that position
for any length of time, though, depends on whether they can find a new
middle order. They have the best opening batsmen around (see my latest
CI piece for my views on that in more detail), but in a couple of
years time there will be gaping holes where once sat Dravid, Laxman
and Tendulkar - unless the next generation step up. This is the great
unanswered question, similar to the one currently posed by Australia's
lack of a bowling attack following the McWarne retirements. As with
Australia, the permanence of the Fab Four means that there is no
meaningful intelligence to be had about the next lot, since they
haven't played much beyond the Indian domestic arena so far.

Sri Lanka's pace bowling is still pretty weak. Mendis may or may not
(remember Hirwani, Sivaramakrishnan, Iverson and a few other spinners
who started sensationally but faded) replace Murali in the medium term
(in the short-term they can devastate together, of course, but that
can't last long), but relying on a *** spinner won't make them
credible as #3 in the pack unless both England and Australia are
terrible.

Which makes this summer's Ashes the battle for the #3 spot. If
Australia cannot put together a better bowling attack than the one
that has just lost to SA, I can't see how they win the series. Johnson
cannot win it on his own, surely.

As time goes on, Australia also have to fill up their top order.
Hayden is 37, Ponting 34,  Krapich and Mr Wicket 33. We've heard
plenty of talk about their bench strength, but we heard very similar
stuff about their next generation of bowlers and that has so far
turned out to be empty posturing. Shield success is not translating
into international credibility very well at present.

England, on the other hand, are a fairly young team. If Vaughan comes
back, he is Ponting's age but would be the grandpappy of the team and
his dodgy knees mean he won't last past 2010 at the outside. But
Collingwood is 32, Flintoff and Strauss 31, Shah, Harmison and
Sidebottom 30, Swann 29, KP 28, and the rest are under 27 with Broad
22 and Cook 24. In India, they performed pretty creditably against a
better side: though they lost, only Bell, Harmison and Panesar were
actually disappointing. There is a small bunch of U25s who have
already done something useful in Tests (Plunkett) or odos (Patel,
Bopara), and another bunch, slightly younger, who look as though they
could be pretty good - opener Joe Denly, middle-order Eoin Morgan,
keeper-batsman Steven Davies, spinning all-rounder Adil Rashid. The
nucleus of the 2013 team is already playing international cricket -
assuming they get better as they mature, it could be a very good team
indeed.

Pakistan seem unlikely to get to play much cricket while Western
security establishments regard the country as a terrorist hotbed, so
they don't really come into the reckoning, sadly. I like the looks of
the emerging NZ batting line-up though their bowling looks like being
workaday for the foreseeable, whereas the West Indies have the
opposite problem, possessing a good-looking bowling attack but a
horrible batting order given that Ol' Man Chanders can't kepp rolling
along forever.

My estimate is that SA will be the leading team for the next three or
four years, slightly ahead of a chasing pack comprising Ind, Eng and
Aus, and possiby also SL if they can win away from home at all. We
don't yet know who will fill the imminent gaps in the Aus and Ind
line-ups, but it looks to me as though the next Eng v SA series in
England could be for the #1 spot. (And if you think that's ridiculous,
remember that I said England would win either the 2005 or 2006/7 Ashes
back in 2001 and got laughed at by all and sundry until it came to
pass.)

Cheers,

Mike
--

 
 
 

The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

Post by raghu.saklesh.. » Thu, 01 Jan 2009 03:13:38


Quote:
> On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 07:00:19 -0800 (PST), R Bharat Rao

> >The last 3 decades have seen 2 teams dominate Test cricket. ?WI were
> >unquestioned champions for nigh 20 years, and barring a mis-step in
> >NZ, didn't lose any Test series along the way. ?Australia then took
> >over the mantle and they too won games with a ruthlessness that
> >surpassed WI. ?Not only did they hardly lose a series, losing a single
> >Test was newsworthy -- their only 2 series losses hithertoo (Ind 01
> >and England 05) were due to extraordinary individual performances in
> >one case and to an inspired side where every player contributed to his
> >maximum (not to mention the loss of their spearhead for part of the
> >series).

> >Still, barring those mis-steps, no one appeared to challenge their
> >***. ?Until this year, when they lost to both India and now
> >South Africa -- not beaten in enthralling gripping encounters as was
> >in the two previous losses, but tamely, surrendering positions of
> >strength (Bangalore, WACA, MCG) and cravenly falling apart when the
> >pressure was on (all their 4 losses).

> >So who will be the new King?

> >I'm not sure there will be one. ?

> As you say, it depends on what you mean by king.

<SNIP><SNIP>

Quote:
> India ought to beat NZ, which should put them into the #2 spot ahead
> of Aus, but then they are giving up Test cricket for the rest of the
> year, or something like it. Whether India will remain in that position
> for any length of time, though, depends on whether they can find a new
> middle order. They have the best opening batsmen around (see my latest
> CI piece for my views on that in more detail),

As a few others have already commented on your blog, Gambhir is yet to
be tested outside of the sub-continent and it is too early to herald
the "Sunny days".

Quote:
> but in a couple of
> years time there will be gaping holes where once sat Dravid, Laxman
> and Tendulkar - unless the next generation step up.

But the next gen is stepping up! Ganguly' was hardly missed against
the English. I also believe there should be less doubt about the
future of MO than that of the openers. If there is an abundance of
talented cricket players in India it is in the middle order. In fact
the Indian MO is looking vulnerable right now because of the aging
players.

Quote:
>This is the great
> unanswered question, similar to the one currently posed by Australia's
> lack of a bowling attack following the McWarne retirements. As with
> Australia, the permanence of the Fab Four means that there is no
> meaningful intelligence to be had about the next lot, since they
> haven't played much beyond the Indian domestic arena so far.

Yes, the Indian promising MO bench players may have had little
international exposure, but the Indian selectors need to get their act
in place and not wait for the seniors to retire on their own but start
to rotate in the newer players to give them the right breaks at the
right time. This is where I fear India will falter. The selection,
media and fans alike get sold on "names" and individuals and not the
team as a whole!

<SNIP><SNIP>

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
> Cheers,

> Mike
> --

 
 
 

The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

Post by johnwesleyharding2.. » Thu, 01 Jan 2009 03:49:34

WI and NZ don't count. Pak and SL are hardly getting to play any test
cricket.

That leaves four teams - India, Aus, SA and Eng.

It has be the most insignificant and the most paper King in history
who has a sum total of 3 subjects.

Somebody even talked above of the "battle" of the number 3 spot.
Hmmm....to be third in a group of 4. Some battle....

 
 
 

The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

Post by raghu.saklesh.. » Thu, 01 Jan 2009 04:11:20


Quote:
> WI and NZ don't count. Pak and SL are hardly getting to play any test
> cricket.

> That leaves four teams - India, Aus, SA and Eng.

> It has be the most insignificant and the most paper King in history
> who has a sum total of 3 subjects.

> Somebody even talked above of the "battle" of the number 3 spot.
> Hmmm....to be third in a group of 4. Some battle....

Oh come, thats not fair. WI, NZ, Pak, SL, Bangles all count except
that you eliminated them like in a play off (semi final) scenario. So
no wonder only 4 were left!

-Raghu

 
 
 

The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

Post by Asif Zaid » Thu, 01 Jan 2009 04:16:21


Quote:
> On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 07:00:19 -0800 (PST), R Bharat Rao

> >The last 3 decades have seen 2 teams dominate Test cricket. ?WI were
> >unquestioned champions for nigh 20 years, and barring a mis-step in
> >NZ, didn't lose any Test series along the way. ?Australia then took
> >over the mantle and they too won games with a ruthlessness that
> >surpassed WI. ?Not only did they hardly lose a series, losing a single
> >Test was newsworthy -- their only 2 series losses hithertoo (Ind 01
> >and England 05) were due to extraordinary individual performances in
> >one case and to an inspired side where every player contributed to his
> >maximum (not to mention the loss of their spearhead for part of the
> >series).

> >Still, barring those mis-steps, no one appeared to challenge their
> >***. ?Until this year, when they lost to both India and now
> >South Africa -- not beaten in enthralling gripping encounters as was
> >in the two previous losses, but tamely, surrendering positions of
> >strength (Bangalore, WACA, MCG) and cravenly falling apart when the
> >pressure was on (all their 4 losses).

> >So who will be the new King?

> >I'm not sure there will be one. ?

> As you say, it depends on what you mean by king.

> Even if SA don't win at the SCG, they ought to win their home series
> against Aus, which will put them firmly in place as #1. I don't see
> anyone actually toppling them for a couple of years: when Kallis goes,
> it simply resolves the question about whether to leave out Amla,
> Prince, Duminy, de Villiers or McKenzie. Admittedly it leaves them a

If Kallis goes, why would they take out Amla. He has been probably one
of the MIP (most improved player) of 2008.
I can't see SA dropping Duminy or deVilliers for the next tour.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
> backup bowler short, replacements have to be found for Ntini and
> Boucher, and it would be nice if Morkel could do something more than
> be tall, but Harris is as credible as Vettori as a spinner and Steyn
> looks like the best fast bowler to emerge anywhere for some time.

 
 
 

The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

Post by Mike Holman » Thu, 01 Jan 2009 05:25:22

On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 11:16:21 -0800 (PST), Asif Zaidi

Quote:

>> Even if SA don't win at the SCG, they ought to win their home series
>> against Aus, which will put them firmly in place as #1. I don't see
>> anyone actually toppling them for a couple of years: when Kallis goes,
>> it simply resolves the question about whether to leave out Amla,
>> Prince, Duminy, de Villiers or McKenzie. Admittedly it leaves them a

>If Kallis goes, why would they take out Amla. He has been probably one
>of the MIP (most improved player) of 2008.

You appear to have misunderstood. At the moment, McKenzie, Amla,
Kallis, Prince, de Villiers and Duminy have to fit into five places.
They all have strong cases for selection, but one of them has to miss
out. Once Kallis retires, that's no longer a problem.

Cheers,

Mike
--

 
 
 

The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

Post by johnwesleyharding2.. » Thu, 01 Jan 2009 06:41:18


Quote:

> > WI and NZ don't count. Pak and SL are hardly getting to play any test
> > cricket.

> > That leaves four teams - India, Aus, SA and Eng.

> > It has be the most insignificant and the most paper King in history
> > who has a sum total of 3 subjects.

> > Somebody even talked above of the "battle" of the number 3 spot.
> > Hmmm....to be third in a group of 4. Some battle....

> Oh come, thats not fair. WI, NZ, Pak, SL, Bangles all count except
> that you eliminated them like in a play off (semi final) scenario. So
> no wonder only 4 were left!

> -Raghu

A play off would actually be a lot more sensible and fairer than the
current (non) system of international cricket. In that case, they
would get eliminated based on their sporting ability or proceed based
on the same. In the current (non) system, some of them don't even get
to play. Cricket's unique ways :-)

In any case, WI and NZ are there only to make up the numbers. I am
sure they would get beaten by a fair few domestic sides. I mean if you
count NZ as a cricket side, then Aus actually won a series recently,
and that too quite comprehensively!

 
 
 

The King is Dead. Will there be a new King??

Post by arahi » Thu, 01 Jan 2009 08:50:53


Quote:
> On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 07:00:19 -0800 (PST), R Bharat Rao

> >The last 3 decades have seen 2 teams dominate Test cricket. ?WI were
> >unquestioned champions for nigh 20 years, and barring a mis-step in
> >NZ, didn't lose any Test series along the way. ?Australia then took
> >over the mantle and they too won games with a ruthlessness that
> >surpassed WI. ?Not only did they hardly lose a series, losing a single
> >Test was newsworthy -- their only 2 series losses hithertoo (Ind 01
> >and England 05) were due to extraordinary individual performances in
> >one case and to an inspired side where every player contributed to his
> >maximum (not to mention the loss of their spearhead for part of the
> >series).

> >Still, barring those mis-steps, no one appeared to challenge their
> >***. ?Until this year, when they lost to both India and now
> >South Africa -- not beaten in enthralling gripping encounters as was
> >in the two previous losses, but tamely, surrendering positions of
> >strength (Bangalore, WACA, MCG) and cravenly falling apart when the
> >pressure was on (all their 4 losses).

> >So who will be the new King?

> >I'm not sure there will be one. ?

> As you say, it depends on what you mean by king.

> Even if SA don't win at the SCG, they ought to win their home series
> against Aus, which will put them firmly in place as #1. I don't see
> anyone actually toppling them for a couple of years: when Kallis goes,
> it simply resolves the question about whether to leave out Amla,
> Prince, Duminy, de Villiers or McKenzie. Admittedly it leaves them a
> backup bowler short, replacements have to be found for Ntini and
> Boucher, and it would be nice if Morkel could do something more than
> be tall, but Harris is as credible as Vettori as a spinner and Steyn
> looks like the best fast bowler to emerge anywhere for some time.

> India ought to beat NZ, which should put them into the #2 spot ahead
> of Aus, but then they are giving up Test cricket for the rest of the
> year, or something like it. Whether India will remain in that position
> for any length of time, though, depends on whether they can find a new
> middle order. They have the best opening batsmen around (see my latest
> CI piece for my views on that in more detail), but in a couple of

Ch ch ch Mike ... that is not the MCC way:)

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Quote:
> years time there will be gaping holes where once sat Dravid, Laxman
> and Tendulkar - unless the next generation step up. This is the great
> unanswered question, similar to the one currently posed by Australia's
> lack of a bowling attack following the McWarne retirements. As with
> Australia, the permanence of the Fab Four means that there is no
> meaningful intelligence to be had about the next lot, since they
> haven't played much beyond the Indian domestic arena so far.

> Sri Lanka's pace bowling is still pretty weak. Mendis may or may not
> (remember Hirwani, Sivaramakrishnan, Iverson and a few other spinners
> who started sensationally but faded) replace Murali in the medium term
> (in the short-term they can devastate together, of course, but that
> can't last long), but relying on a *** spinner won't make them
> credible as #3 in the pack unless both England and Australia are
> terrible.

> Which makes this summer's Ashes the battle for the #3 spot. If
> Australia cannot put together a better bowling attack than the one
> that has just lost to SA, I can't see how they win the series. Johnson
> cannot win it on his own, surely.

Without the FTP being followed the rankings are much less meaningful.
It relies on that.

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Quote:
> As time goes on, Australia also have to fill up their top order.
> Hayden is 37, Ponting 34, ?Krapich and Mr Wicket 33. We've heard
> plenty of talk about their bench strength, but we heard very similar
> stuff about their next generation of bowlers and that has so far
> turned out to be empty posturing. Shield success is not translating
> into international credibility very well at present.

> England, on the other hand, are a fairly young team. If Vaughan comes
> back, he is Ponting's age but would be the grandpappy of the team and
> his dodgy knees mean he won't last past 2010 at the outside. But
> Collingwood is 32, Flintoff and Strauss 31, Shah, Harmison and
> Sidebottom 30, Swann 29, KP 28, and the rest are under 27 with Broad
> 22 and Cook 24. In India, they performed pretty creditably against a
> better side: though they lost, only Bell, Harmison and Panesar were
> actually disappointing. There is a small bunch of U25s who have
> already done something useful in Tests (Plunkett) or odos (Patel,
> Bopara), and another bunch, slightly younger, who look as though they
> could be pretty good - opener Joe Denly, middle-order Eoin Morgan,
> keeper-batsman Steven Davies, spinning all-rounder Adil Rashid. The
> nucleus of the 2013 team is already playing international cricket -
> assuming they get better as they mature, it could be a very good team
> indeed.

> Pakistan seem unlikely to get to play much cricket while Western
> security establishments regard the country as a terrorist hotbed, so
> they don't really come into the reckoning, sadly. I like the looks of
> the emerging NZ batting line-up though their bowling looks like being
> workaday for the foreseeable, whereas the West Indies have the
> opposite problem, possessing a good-looking bowling attack but a
> horrible batting order given that Ol' Man Chanders can't kepp rolling
> along forever.

> My estimate is that SA will be the leading team for the next three or
> four years, slightly ahead of a chasing pack comprising Ind, Eng and
> Aus, and possiby also SL if they can win away from home at all. We
> don't yet know who will fill the imminent gaps in the Aus and Ind
> line-ups, but it looks to me as though the next Eng v SA series in
> England could be for the #1 spot. (And if you think that's ridiculous,
> remember that I said England would win either the 2005 or 2006/7 Ashes
> back in 2001 and got laughed at by all and sundry until it came to
> pass.)

> Cheers,

> Mike
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