49 questions: Ashes 2015 conclusion

1.     Have we all a clear idea of what Test cricket is?

2.     Is this helter-skelter cricket an abberration or the new normal?

3.     Why are so many support staff employed by each team?

4.     Why are bowlers allowed drinks outside of drinks breaks?

5.     Why are bowling coaches allowed to talk to bowlers during play?

6.     What colour is SK Warne’s face?

7.     Why was BJ Haddin selected for the West Indies and England tours?

8.     Has anyone demanded a commander?

9.     Why was PM Siddle not selected for meaningful Test cricket in either West Indies or England?

10.     Why is “km/h” used as a surrogate for the ability to construct spells of swing and seam bowling?

11.     Why do quantitative data have more cache than qualitative data?

12.     Why are batsmen seemingly incapable of defending?

13.    Why are the few batsmen capable of defending, systematically shuffled out of the squad?

14.     Why is “entertaining cricket” assumed to be fast, attacking cricket?

15.     How attacking is too attacking?

16.     How many more unexplained chances will SE Marsh be given?

17.     Has anyone considered that “entertaining cricket” can also be resilient, tough, spirited cricket?

18.     Given that IA Healy advocated to TM Moody (on air) that commentary should forsake accuracy for hyperbole, why is he still in a job?

19.     Why are players (bowlers in particular) allowed to wear coloured shoes?

20.     What is the best way to play a moving ball? (All responses: send to Cricket Australia; your new job awaits)

21.     Is T20 cricket to blame for the appalling lack of application shown variously by both teams during this series?

22.     Is 50 over cricket to blame?

23.     Is resilience perhaps a more general failing of this generation?

24.     How many times need SK Warne repeat himself before his opinion becomes fact in Australian cricket circles?

25.     If you pay peanuts, do you always get monkeys?

26.     If you marginalise First class cricket in your domestic schedule, for the preference of a colourful T20 league, are you doing your best job of preparing future Test cricketers?

27.     What’s the best food/ drink to have alongside you during an Ashes winter?

28.     Have the MCC heard of what is called the female population?

29.     What did JA Burns do wrong?

30.     Is batting technique, temperament and ability more strongly explained by nature or nurture?

31.     What of bowling?

32.     If the answer is “nature,” how do we justify the presence of a flotilla of support staff.

33.     If the answer is “nuture,” why are we preferentially nuturing behaviour geared towards T20 cricket over that most prized in Test cricket.

34.     Who will be the next captain of England?

35.     Why is mainstream media inadequately reporting the activities of BCCI, ECB and Cricket Australia in ICC matters?

36.     Has any group of TV commentators so miserably failed to live up the standards of those who went before (David Lloyd aside)?

37.     Will the #changecricket movement change cricket?

38.     Why are replacement fielders not always the selected 12th man of the fielding side?

39.     Are we complacent in our appreciation of MJ Clarke’s on-field captaincy?

40.    Should so-called dead-rubbers go ahead? Why (not)?

41.     What is the job description of a “high performance manager”?

42.     Why are Decision Reviews allowed?

43.     Have we played too much Ashes cricket in the past two years?

44.     Who will open the batting with DA Warner in Bangladesh?

45.     As Shield winners, why are more Victorians not in the Australian squad?

46.     Can all nations agree to schedule several well-contested first class matches as lead in to a Test series?

47.     Is the spirit of cricket an anachronism?

48.     Despite some obvious exceptions, why is the Australian on the world stage usually cast as the unsophisticated bore?

49.     What will MJ Clarke do next?


Almanac Ashes 2015 pieces

Almanac Cricket pieces

Footy Almanac home

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and a dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. I very good list of questions, I enjoyed the read and find it hard to argue with any of them.

  2. Andrew Weiss says

    My question to you Dave is why did you only have 49 questions and not 50. After all if you had 50 you could have raised the bat to the crowd, kissed the emblem on your helmet and walked off satisfied that you dug in and did not throw your wicket away like it happened about 50 times in the ashes series.

  3. 7. because selectors are dumb

    9. because he is old and past it. should not have toured IMHO.

    12. who cares. bowlers are sex gods!

    16. hopefully about minus 10

    24. Warne should be banned except for 30 seconds of edited special comments. a year.

    26. no. but i think it starts with grade. too much limited overs piffle

    27. Jameson’s

    29. yes, that really is an interesting question. should move to WA if he wants to get picked : P

    34. Ross Barkley

    36. the same applies to AFL. dribblers and bumblers, bacslappers the lot of them. vomit

    39. nah. I reckon he was great. also one of the best fielders I’ve sever seen.

    40. yeah good question. maybe go ahead but only live games are classed as “tests” for stats reasons?

    42. left wing infantile communism

    43. no. I haven’t played any. and am certainly available, having never formally retired

    44. Jordi Cruyff Silk. I hope.

    45. I think vic win the Shield because they have nobody in the squad? (speaking as an ex-Tasmanian WA fan who lives in Sydney but loves Melbourne)

    48. no smoke, no fire

    49. hopefully not commentary, not until he has reflected for a couple of years. write a book, learn to cook, travel the country, play with your kids, get a job. coach fielding. run for parliament,. anything but commentary with that bunch of boofheads.

  4. Dave Brown says

    Again, good questions. 3. Helps to spread the blame. 4. Why is anyone? 8. A Commander is safe in the ad break… 11. Too often qualitative data sounds like unreliable opinion 16. Right up until he moves into a “lifestyle village” 20. From the couch (grass and furniture) 21. Possibly – everyone now seems to bat like Michael Slater – tie them down for two overs and they’ll show themselves the door 22. Is it still a thing? 23. It has been since the dawn of time 25. When you’ve got monkeys should you be paying peanuts? 26. Not necessarily but should that be the most important goal for cricket administrators? 27. Two minute noodles – can be prepared and consumed within an Australian innings 28. Has test cricket in general? 34. Joe Root 35. Because they like it when their journalists can get accreditation in India 36. Level pegging with Saturday night AFL 37. I hope so, otherwise I’m not sure I’ll want to watch international cricket anymore 38. Because the laws of the game do not have an operational definition of “sharp practice” 40. Yes, because people like to go to the cricket – sometimes to watch 43. Absolutely, although they have been balancing it out by only playing three days at a time 45. Because test cricketers don’t play much shield cricket 47. It appears so 48. Have you seen Warnie’s mural? They have 49. He can’t get into the commentary box quickly enough. After the last test they returned from a break and there he was, mic in hand

  5. SJ Williams says

    1. Test Cricket played over 5 days where Batsmen value their wicket & bat in partnerships. Bowlers aim to collect 20wtks & bowl in partnerships. The 2 Captains uphold the spirit of the game.

    2. T20 Cricket is exciting & the best thing since Greg Matthews stopped his face being re-arranged by a Viv Richards straight drive! Why T20? Because batters have to create, bowlers have to think, catching & throwing goes to a whole new level.

    3. Coach, Assistant Coach & Physio. Batting/Bowling/Fielding Specialists called on when require.

    4. As long as it doesn’t effect it’s fine!

    5. Bowlers aren’t the smartest lot!

    6. Oompla-Loompish

    7. Captain’s call!

    8. If only she did 6sec Abs Ads!

    9. We played the West Indies in the Ashes Lead-Up?



    12. Takeaway their front pad!

  6. How did we lose to the Poms? They’re no fu***** good!

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Fantastic OBP a bitterly disappointing series of v average standard cricket,Siddle how dare play a bowler who bowls line and length and builds pressure a massively under rated skill and Haddin should have been told thank you good career after the world cup and good bye

  8. I still believe that had Haddin held that catch off Root on the first morning at Cardiff…..

  9. “11. Why do quantitative data have more cache than qualitative data?”

    It’s not just cricket. All sport would benefit from analysis of how runs, goals, tries, etc are scores. If only to sort out the true guns from the flat track bullies.

  10. Smokey, the instant Haddin dropped that sitter (which he had somehow managed to make look difficult, as he often does) I yelled “Haddin, you so and so, you just dropped the Ashes.”

  11. Cricket commentary is as bad as I can remember. Nine has a lot of blame to wear, what with their oaf demographic targeting, but it’s pretty dire all over the orb.

  12. 25. Should be “If you pay monkeys, they give you peanuts.”
    West Indies and Bangla Desh? Were Kazakhstan already commited? What if they gave cricket a funeral, and only Indians and Channel 9 commentators came?

  13. Patrick Skene says

    6. Guido Orange.

  14. PB – I’d go.
    There’s a film showing by Jarrod Kimber (cricinfo) and Sam Collins called “Death of a Gentleman” about the death of cricket.
    There’s a link to a BBC podcast of Aggers chatting to those two in the last comment here:

  15. Luke Reynolds says

    49 excellent questions. All deserving answers.

    1. The fans and most players do. Not so most administrators.

    2. Sadly probably the latter. If we want to win in England and India again it needs to be the former.

    3. The same reason they are in most other professional sports. But has it improved teams & the sports? No

    4. I’d rather see waterboys run on between overs and cut out drinks breaks altogether.

    5. They shouldn’t be allowed, it’s wrong.

    6. Bondi Bronze.

    7. After the World Cup final was the perfect time to retire. Or be retired. Selectors not strong enough.

    8. Surely not.

    9. Could understand the reasons behind his non selection earlier. But had to play at Trent Bridge.

    10. Style over substance.

    11. See above

    12. T20, BBL, IPL, Flat pitches in Australia

    13. Refer anwers to 10, 11

    14. Short form cricket, modern lifestyles. Also see answers for 10,11,12,13.

    15. When you become reckless or careless.

    16. Surely none given where we are now in the World Cup and Ashes cycle

    17. There’s still a few of us left

    18. It’s an absolute mystery

    19. See answer for 18.

    20. The opposite of the way it was mainly played this series

    21. In part. But not totally. They all still play 4 and 5 day cricket.

    22. No.

    23. Yes.

    24. Once

    25. Mostly. But not always. C.Rogers on peanuts compared to some highly paid monkeys.

    26. Absolutely not. Disgraceful.

    27. Prickly Moses Otway Stout

    28. Don’t they get them to iron their egg and bacon ties?

    29. Not much, though maybe resembled BJ Hodge outside off stump in his 1st Test? Has to play in

    30. Nature being nutured

    31. Definitely nature

    32. Modern professional sport doesn’t think players can think for themselves

    33. See answers 10, 11, 13

    34. Joe Root for sure.

    35. Most of the revenue comes from BCCI, ECB & CA

    36. Never. Ever. They are so cringeworthy and awful.

    37. No.

    38. Big flaw in the rules that should have been changed years ago.

    39. No, think he has got deserved accolades in that regard.

    40. Absolutely. A Test match is and should always be an important annual event for the venue, and
    each single one a huge event for players. Not many get to play even 50. What if a series here was
    decided before Boxing Day?

    41. Can’t work that one out.

    42. Apart from run-outs and stumpings, they shouldn’t be.

    43. Totally. The break will be good.

    44. JA Burns or CT Bancroft. The latter has some CJL Rogers qualities about him.

    45. Older squad. Watch out for PSP Handscomb though. Soon.

    46. They all should. In place of some shorter form games. I wish.

    47. No, still think it mostly stands up well in a professional era.

    48. Stereotype. We’re not that bad.

    49. Fully embrace becoming Australia’s ‘Beck’s’.

  16. Mick Jeffrey says

    (1) A number of Gen Y people probably struggle to grasp the concept as well as others, and the administrators are trying things that on the balance of probabilities won’t work, but many people have a broad knowledge of the test caper.

    (2) A little bit of both, it really only became an obsession to score 300 in a day once the teams under S.R.Waugh challenged themselves to do it.

    (3) You could ask the same question in any sport, and still get a similar answer of “I Don’t know”.

    (4) The drinks breaks should really be abolished given they get enough drinks as it is. Personally I train to not need hydration until about 8-10km into runs but it’s different for everyone.

    (5) It’s actually a pretty smart move in so many ways, but in the end it’s not that necessary.

    (6) Refer “Max Walker” in Wired World of Sports 2 by the 12th man….Smoky Silver and changes every week

    (7) The need for a reliable back up on an Ashes tour is essential given it’s the longest tour anyone undertakes. Plus nobody could have envisaged the family issues regardless of his form.

    (8) The only thing I’ve demanded is for assistance when I’ve needed it, not when I don’t need it. It’s not Star Trek after all.

    (9) Obsession with pace, pure and simple.

    (10) It’s what the coaching staff are obsessed with given Plan A & B was probably blast them out or bounce them out.

    (11) Easier to rapidly interpret data for the common folk

    (12) At the cricket academy, I’ve heard they have faced a simulation (of sorts) where for every ball they have to manufacture a way of scoring. Not saying there’s no place for that but in test cricket you can be patient and a dot ball isn’t a crime against humanity.

    (13) Obsession with scoring 300 in a day’s play when 4 an over can easily do that.

    (14) They think the younger viewers on TV and at the ground are more engaged when the scoreboard is ticking over, much like any other sport.

    (15) Ask Steve Smith in the 3rd and 4th tests.

    (16) Hopefully none but probably too many given he’s the new S.R.Watson minus the dud LBW reviews

    (17) The right people certainly haven’t considered it

    (18) He’s paid as part of the 9 NEWS department (he reads sport on Brisbane’s weekend bulletins when Wally Lewis is commentating), so his wages don’t come under WWOS which employs the cricket commentators. Same as Michael Slater and James Brayshaw doing the cricket when they got paid by the entertainment budget which the Footy Shows come under.

    (19) Ask the same question about why footballers are allowed to wear boots that aren’t black

    (20) Keeping the eyes on it would be a start, and not playing at it when it’s not threatening the stumps or it isn’t a legitimate scoring opportunity.

    (21) Partially, some of the other lack of application can be put down to the good players being rested in between tests and series when they could be playing first class cricket.

    (22) Partially

    (23) In so many ways it is

    (24) He hasn’t reached T.Abbott/J.Hockey/B.Shorten levels yet…..

    (25) No, you get nothing these days for that.

    (26) Certainly not. I’d have the BB at the start of the season to give cricket a good foothold against the start of the A-League (not that they should be competing) and have the Shield from November onwards with the 50 Over comp spread between.

    (27) Always an advocate of a Macca’s run, but I lay off the foods this series given I hate training for marathons on a full stomach

    (28) I hope so

    (29) Not play for NSW like just about everyone else???

    (30) Nature

    (31) Seems fine to me in this country, the depth is almost the envy of a lot of test nations.

    (32) The same reason as why football teams require 26 other people on the teamsheet that get ground access apart from the 22 players.

    (33) Answer is according to ABBA “Money Money Money, Must be funny, In the rich man’s world”

    (34) Who Cares

    (35) They’re scared of the backlash they’ll receive, much like if they badmouth anything about any other sport that may seem negative.

    (36) The Channel 10 team for the 2007 Rugby World Cup goes close, although inadequate preparation can be to blame (poor old Rupert McCall), as does some of the callers for the ChampCar World Series in 2004 (RIP Justin Wilson, who drove that year).

    (37) Despite the good intentions, those who need to listen won’t.

    (38) Blame the West Indies of the 1980’s. To be honest it needs to be a genuine injury for a sub to be allowed if I was making the rules. Sure if you have to go then go but a team can be 1 short for a couple of overs if need be.

    (39) Probably given the concentration on his non-captaincy attributes.

    (40) To quote ABBA again “Money Money Money, Must be funny, In the rich man’s world”. In all seriousness though if dead rubbers didn’t go ahead in the Ashes, then many Boxing Day tests would never have been played which would have been a death knell for the game.

    (41) See what S.Dank did to Essendon and Cronulla, and do the complete opposite!

    (42) They aren’t in a series involving India. Plus it actually tells us that when it comes to decision making the umpires actually do get it right most of the time (even if they only do half their job and don’t look for the front foot no-ball). Plus it’s another cash grab…..why do I crave a 21 piece bucket of the Colonel’s finest after every NRL game for instance?

    (43) Maybe but there’s not another series for a few years. Seems like forever since we’ve played Pakistan in a home test series too, that’s a good series generally if their good team turns up.

    (44) Jason Gillespie? (I mean, the last time he batted there he did score 201!) Seriously I think Burns should open but S.Marsh probably will get the nod

    (45) A lot of them are seen as inferior players as individuals as opposed to being a superior team unit. Plus they aren’t NSW.

    (46) Doubtful, how else would they squeeze in another meaningless 5 game 50 over series in India?

    (47) Given up on trying to understand it

    (48) We’re seen as different to what’s classed as the normal champion. People don’t like different.

    (49) Get a tattoo of Phillip Hughes above his heart.

  17. Luke Reynolds says

    Mick J, huge advocate for your reply to question 26.

  18. Re Question 1, to paraphrase Pauline Hansen; please explain ?


  19. Peter Flynn says

    Swamp Gum,

    Not sure if you have asked this one.

    Why isn’t the Australian Women’s Cricket Team called Australia?

  20. Raise your bat, PJF.
    That’s the half century.

  21. Peter isn’t the Australian Women’s Cricket Team called Australia ?


  22. ER, a fine set of questions, all deserving the kind of answers they’ve received, but I confine myself to No. 25. It might be true about monkeys, to an extent, but I’m sure that if you pay a motza, you get gorillas.

  23. PJF / Glen / e.r

    One of Gideon H’s big bugbears is that the Australian women’s team
    is called the Southern stars rather than Australia.

Leave a Comment