Andrew Starkie’s Ashes Diary

ASHES DIARY

Entry 1

Wednesday November 24, 2010

Welcome to my Ashes 2010/11 diary.  During this Test series, I will be posting regular entries on the almanac website, consisting of observations, opinions, queries and idle thoughts.  I love the Ashes as much as I love footy and the NMFC, so stay tuned and let me know what you think.

I’m not big on predictions – mainly because I’m usually wrong – however, I don’t fancy our chances this Summer.  I don’t think we have the middle order or bowlers to handle the Poms.  Their depth in both areas seems greater than ours.  Swann and Pietersen are their key players; if they play well, they’ll drag others with them and England may keep the urn for a few more years yet.  Our squad is unsettled with out of form players and others returning from injury and short of match practice.

If preparation means anything, England are best placed to begin with a win in Brisbane.  Their form in three warm up games has been solid with batsmen getting runs (even Bell scored a heap in Hobart) and bowlers in form, fit and settled.  Resting Anderson, Finn, Broad and Swann for the Hobart game showed poise and assurance. I know it’s been twenty odd years since they won in Brisbane, but they haven’t been this well prepared for a long while.

To be honest, I’m as confused as the Vatican City at the moment about our preparation. The following questions have been rattling around in my head, and I know some are rhetorical, but I can’t help but ask:

Why did we only play two Tests in India (NZ have just finished a three Test series there)?

How can a 20/20 game and three 50 over matches against Sri Lanka be considered good preparation for an Ashes series?

Why was a 17 man squad named the week before the final Shield games and the Australia A match against England and why was the squad then cut to 13 before these matches were over and before Cameron White had scored his century in Hobart on Saturday?

Why isn’t Cameron White in the Test team?

Why isn’t Andrew McDonald in the Test Team when he is the best cricketer in the country at the moment?  I know, he’s injured.

Why did Tim Paine play in that stupid 20/20 game on Sunday night and break his finger?

Why did Andrew Hilditch say Khawaja ‘didn’t take his chance’ in Hobart and the next day to fly him to Brisbane to be on standby for Michael Clarke?

Why do our selectors keep expecting our spinners to be the next Warnie and drop them when they aren’t?

What will they do if Doherty fails?  Bring back Hauritz?

Why does the Herald Sun quote Warnie every day?

Why does he have his own TV show?

So, I’m not overly confident heading into tomorrow’s Test.  So much so, I offered the following poem as prayer in morning briefing on Tuesday (I teach in the Catholic education system in Melbourne’s northern suburbs).  My colleagues thought I was joking.  I wasn’t.

The Cricket Field

Fortunate indeed this field;

It’s destiny is not to yield

A harvest made with wheat and corn

From rutting plough or harrow born,

But cleared of lump & stump & thicket

Is set aside for playing cricket.

In winter gentle sheep may graze

Preserving turf for summer days,

A picket fence thrown round the square

Should hoof or human trespass there.

Some say we should share – use the land-

Clearly, they don’t understand.

This field shall always take its name

Only from England’s noblest game.

Despite its level disposition

And most favourable condition

Hockey posts shall not be found,

This is no recreation ground.

Four generations, maybe more,

Since long before the first World War,

Cricketers long gone, & some

Who play today, & those to come,

All sow unmixed the seeds of cricket

And harvest only run & wicket.

By Arthur Salway

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    So many questions Andrew. So few satisfactory answers.

  2. Peter Flynn says:

    A Starkie,

    I’m in snowy Aberdeen waiting for a Harmy. Cars are sliding in the snow and the black ice. The council gritters are busy.

    Why did we only play two Tests in India (NZ have just finished a three Test series there)?

    BENDING OVER (AGAIN) TO THE ALL-MIGHTY BCCI. THE TOUR WAS ORIGINALLY 7 ODIs.

    How can a 20/20 game and three 50 over matches against Sri Lanka be considered good preparation for an Ashes series?

    INADEQUATE PREP.

    Why was a 17 man squad named the week before the final Shield games and the Australia A match against England and why was the squad then cut to 13 before these matches were over and before Cameron White had scored his century in Hobart on Saturday?

    ILL-CONCEIVED MARKETING. SPOOKED BY THE AFL DRAFT.

    Why isn’t Cameron White in the Test team?

    POSSIBLY NOT QUITE GOOD ENOUGH AT TEST LEVEL BUT I”M HAPPY FOR HIM TO BE TRIED AT 6. GOOD SLIPPER.

    Why isn’t Andrew McDonald in the Test Team when he is the best cricketer in the country at the moment? I know, he’s injured.

    WATSON IS THE GOLDEN BOY. WATSON IS ALSO PART OF THE CLUB.

    Why did Tim Paine play in that stupid 20/20 game on Sunday night and break his finger?

    SILLY BOY. SHOULD BE IN FOR HADDIN.

    Why did Andrew Hilditch say Khawaja ‘didn’t take his chance’ in Hobart and the next day to fly him to Brisbane to be on standby for Michael Clarke?

    ANYBODY WHO PLAYED A HOOK SHOT WITH A SHOVEL SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO PICK OUR TEST TEAM.

    Why do our selectors keep expecting our spinners to be the next Warnie and drop them when they aren’t?

    TERRIBLE THIS. KREYZA, McGAIN, CASSON ETC. THEY HAVE RUINED CRICKET CAREERS. NO PLANNING.

    What will they do if Doherty fails? Bring back Hauritz?

    PROBABLY. HAURITZ WAS AN ACCIDENTAL INCUMBENT WHO WAS ALWAYS GOING TO GET THE CHOP (WHATELEY, 2010)

    Why does the Herald Sun quote Warnie every day?

    HE IS THE TERRY MULDER OF MATTERS CRICKET.

    Why does he have his own TV show?

    BRAND

    Looking forward to your diary and the other contributions.

    Flynn

  3. Andrew Starkie says:

    Thanks for your feedback, sir. Enjoy sunny Scotland. The first ball is about to be bowled and I’m at my desk. Cmon Aussie

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