CRICKET @ footyalmanac

CRICKET: Good news for those disappointed by the loss of the PM’s XI to England on Monday. WestCoastDave is here to help us put it all into perspective.

CRICKET RANT (3): Responding to John Harms’ piece, Craig Little, who knows something of the world of spin, picks apart Cricket Australia’s current version of it. Chicken Little spins his trade on 774 ABC Melbourne at 4.30 on Wednesday afternoons with Lindy Burns. He was ruck-rover for the Deakin Uni Sharks in 1996, a season when his side failed to win a fixture. He invokes the theories of Aristotle (described here) in his medical role at Currie.

CRICKET RANT (cont): David Downer, like the rest of us, has suffered through the summer of commercials, and thinks our dissatisfaction with the Australian team is about more than just lost games. In this piece he shows he is more than a Spring Carnival form analyst.

CRICKET RANT: John Harms is going nuts wondering what has happened to the world in which we live.

SYDNEY TEST BLOG: It’s all over. Where to now for Australia? Your suggestions are welcome on our Ashes Blog.

ASHES – FIFTH TEST, Day 5: As England applied the finishing touches and began their celebrations, John Butler thinks Australia is left with a lot of hard questions about its cricket.

ASHES – FIFTH TEST, Day 4: Ignoring her Dad’s suggestion that a five-word report would be enough, Susie Giese recounts the lows and lows of the fourth day in Sydney.

ASHES DIARY: A morning stroll listening to the cricket earned Andrew Starkie a few apricots but Australia won’t be getting the chocolates.

ASHES – FIFTH TEST, Day 3: Another day of disappointment writes John Harms.

ASHES – FIFTH TEST, Day 3: Matt O’Connor saw Alastair Cook burst Australia’s bubble – again.

ASHES DIARY: For Andrew Starkie, watching the Sydney Test so far has been a very familiar experience.

ASHES – FIFTH TEST, Day 1: Andrew Gigacz dares the ponder the positive side of an Australian team without Ricky Ponting.

ASHES- FIFTH TEST: John Butler believes there’s much to gain for Australia in this final test, particularly for Michael Clarke. But England will be thinking in the same terms.

ASHES: Amidst all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, it’s good that Pamela Sherpa brings a little perspective to our current Ashes despondency.

RICKY: Ricky Ponting hasn’t had a great run lately, but the Ponting Dips O’Donnell would care to remember had a skip in his step, and is justifiably known as one of Australia’s greatest players.

ASHES DIARY: What is there left to say? Andrew Starkie painfully recaps recent events at the MCG.

ASHES – FOURTH TEST, Day 4: Darren “Smokie” Dawson looks at what can be salvaged for Australia from this train-wreck of a series.

THE ASHES: In response to Dave Goodwin’s analysis of the current series, Benn Dunn looks ahead to what the Australian team might look like four years hence.

ASHES BLOG: The Fourth Test is over. England retain the Ashes. With a “dead” rubber remaining in Sydney, what should the Australian approach be from here on? Let us know through our Boxing Day Blog.

ASHES – FOURTH TEST, Day 3: The Australians have been found wanting in almost every moment of contest this Test match has provided writes John Harms.

ASHES – FOURTH TEST, Day 2: Australia’s position, diabolical on day one, became hopeless on day two. John Butler thinks the harvest of poor decisions made by Australia’s brains trust is now being reaped.

ASHES FOURTH TEST, Day 2: Dave Goodwin has attended 12 days of this Ashes series. Can he see any hope for the future of Australian Test cricket?

ASHES DIARY: Meanwhile, Andrew Starkie reports that the Barmy Army have plenty to sing about.

ASHES – FOURTH TEST, Day 1: Surprised by Andrew Strauss’ decision to bowl first, West Coast Dave saw the Australians capitulate to help justify the choice.

FOURTH TEST PREVIEW: The resurrection of Mitch and Mike has Australia dramatically back in the Ashes contest. What caused the change? And what should we expect from here? John Butler ventures some speculative thoughts.

THIRD TEST PREVIEW: After the Curious Case of Beer, can we expect more from a desperate Australia in Perth? Pray for a Christmas miracle, says John Butler.

ASHES: Status Update- increasingly dire. How did it come to this? What to do now? In the wake of the Adelaide nightmare, it is more in hope than expectation that John Butler offers some suggestions for Perth.

ASHES: Owing to technical difficulties, Westcoastdave’s Ashes preview has been late to press. However, it’s worth noting both Dave’s prescient predictions, and how much more optimistic we were only a fortnight ago.

ASHES – SECOND TEST, Day 3: Although he doesn’t like the term,John Harms is reduced to say of Kevin Pietersen, “Whatever”.

ASHES DIARY: Andrew Starkie reviews the draw in Brisbane and looks ahead to tomorrow’s Second Test in Adelaide.

ASHES – FIRST TEST, Day 5: Andrew Gigacz has a more positive outlook than some might have after the First Test finished in a draw.

ASHES BLOG: Who were the “winners” in the drawn First Test? Give us your thoughts.

ASHES – FIRST TEST, Day 4: Having witnessed what Australia’s bowlers are (not) capable of, Hamish Townsend makes a bold call.

ASHES – FIRST TEST, Day 4: Andrew Starkie reflects on a shift in the balance of power from bowler to batsman.

ASHES – FIRST TEST, Day 3: In a cracking day of Test cricket, Dave Goodwin witnessed an Australian transformation from apprehension to measured domination.

ASHES – FIRST TEST, Day 2: Another absorbing day of test cricket writes John Harms.

ASHES – FIRST TEST, Day 1: John Butler reports on a day England would rather forget and a birthday that Peter Siddle will always remember.

ASHES DIARY: After a dramatic first day, Andrew Starkie asks the big question: How many North Melbourne supporters claim an Ashes hat-trick on their birthday?

ASHES PREVIEW: Despite starkly contrasting lead-in form, this Ashes summer offers a contest full of glorious uncertainty, according to John Butler.

OPINION: In Caught Behind edition 3, Steve Ingham mourns the lack of personality in the current test team, and makes a prediction for the Gabba test.

ASHES MEMORIES: Cambodia? The Amalfi coast? Twister? It must be a David Downer Ashes memoir. Dave revisits some of his most vivid Ashes recollections,  and invites you to share your own.

CRICKET: In the second edition of Caught BehindSteve Ingham muses on the sounds of summer, and proposes a potential Australia v Australia contest.

ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL- AUSTRALIA v SRI LANKA: Without detracting from Sri Lanka’s astounding MCG fight back, last night’s loss saw some increasingly disturbing Australian habits reinforced. John Butler reports.

NAME YOUR TEAM: In recognition of Cricinfo naming their all-time World XI, we invite you to submit a team of your own choosing. But we don’t want you to feel bound by notions of excellence, just pick whatever team takes your fancy.

THE ASHES: With less than a month to go to the first ball in Brisbane, John Butler takes a look at the state of the Australian team, and wonders if the selectors have used the period since the last Ashes series to best effect.

CRICKET: In the first instalment of a fortnightly opinion column on cricket, Steve Ingham worries about the abysmal attendances at state cricket, and offers some suggestions to help.

INDIA TOUR 2010: 1st Test, Mohali- With all the competing distractions, you may have missed the fact that Australia just lost an epic test match in Mohali, where a valiant late partnership stole the game for India. Dave Goodwin was left a little befuddled by Punter’s after match comments.

WEEKEND FEATURE: Bringing a photo from 1930 to life, Andrew Starkie recounts the story of perhaps Don Bradman’s finest hour at Headingley.

SECOND TEST- Australia v New Zealand: Patrick O’Keefe wraps up Australia’s test summe, and looks forward to The Ashes.

FIRST TEST- Australia v New Zealand: For those who can countenance matters other than the start of the footy season,Patrick O’Keefe shares his summary of Australia’s First Test victory in Wellington.

COMMENT: That idiosyncratic offy and occasional polly, John Winston Howard, was recently appointed to head the ICC. Dan O’Sullivan comes off the long run to share his views on the matter.

STATE ONE-DAY FINAL: What? Bill Walker happy with himself? Yes, Tasmania did beat Victoria in the one-day nonsense and, yes,  Bill thinks the Vics need to eat more spinach.

STATE OF THE GAME: A little twenty20 is harmless. Or is it? Dave Bruce offers the full face of the bat.

SEASON “SUMMERY”: Remember the hairy-chested ’70s? This summer seemed positively hairless by comparison, writes John Butler, who says it’s appropriate that the Border Medal was won by a manscaper.

CLUB CRICKET: It was supposed to be all about fun and fitness. But then that strange burning sensation returned. Andrew Gigacz explains.

CLUB CRICKET: Paul Daffey had never played a senior cricket match before taking the field with the East Coburg fourths. The day proved memorable for more reasons than one.

LINK: John Harms has alerted us to a brilliant article, Abbamania, on the Cricinfo website by Christian Ryan, recalling Abdul Qadir‘s 1998/99 Melbourne summer playing district cricket with Carlton.

COMMENT: The memories of the Test series are fading and we are half-way through a the Australia v Pakistan one day series. But do we really care? And perhaps more pertinently, should we care? Andrew Gigacz prepares the guillotine for the One Day International.

THIRD TEST- Australia v Pakistan, Day 5: On the last day of the Australian Test Summer, Pakistan displayed most of it’s multiple personalities, writes Paul Daffey.

THIRD TEST- Australia v Pakistan, Day 4: Dividing his day between soccer and cricket in Singapore, David Goodwin witnesses a minor miracle, something Pakistan will be hoping for on the last day of the Third Test.

THIRD TEST- Australia v Pakistan, Day 3: Pakistan did little to interrupt Australia’s progress to another likely victory, reports John Butler.

THIRD TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 2: A drive down the Newell Highway with a stopover in Goondiwindi provides more highlights for John Harms than the goings on at Bellerive Oval.

THIRD TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 1: Tony Roberts manages to escape the commentary of Channel 9 and the ABC by turning to Cricinfo. And Ricky Ponting manages to escape a stillborn innings and restore the Hobart Test to the formulaic script most had expected.

THIRD TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 1: The Third Test is underway in Hobart. Shane Watson has already not made 100 and Ricky Ponting has already hooked impulsively in the air, thereby stamping himself as a potential future Chairman of Selectors. Keep up to date with the scores HERE and watch out for Tony Roberts’ Day One report later tonight.

COMMENT/MEMOIR: With the Pakistani drama team heading to Bellerive Oval, the Kamran Akmal saga brings back some painful memories for Peter Lenaghan.

Cycling/Premier League: You city folks can have your big time government subsidised sporting events. But, for the real cognoscenti, the happening place this weekend was Ballarat and Buninyong. At least according to John Butler.

SECOND TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 4: For Australia, it was Mission Impossible. As Andrew Gigacz explains, they chose to accept that mission and Pakistan self-destructed in 10 second innings moments.

SECOND TEST- Australia v Pakistan, Day 4: An Australian miracle, a Pakistani debacleJohn Butler witnesses one of the more remarkable days of test cricket he ever expects to see.

SECOND TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 3: Forget about how far behind Pakistan the Australians are, history says Pakistan will LOSE this Test. Why? Find out by checking the latest entry in Gigs’ list of Ridiculous Facts. And while you’re there add your own thoughts about the game. You can keep up with the latest score here .

SECOND TEST– Australia v Pakistan, Day 3: Australia threatened to overcome their inner demons, but finally succumbed to some Pakistani mystery. John Butler reports (we couldn’t afford Roebuck).

SECOND TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 2: John Harms laments the latter day phenomenon of process-driven coaching in cricket. It certainly doesn’t appear to have helped Australia thus far in this Test.

SECOND TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 2: A return to work for Dips O’Donnell was made more interesting than it might have been by having the old second-hand radio tuned to the cricket on ABC. At least until the phone call came…

SECOND TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 1: “Australia all out for 127? A bag of wickets to Mohammad? As if…” Hard to believe but true. Steve Healy reports on a day that started with God and ended with Mohammad.

BIG BASH: Andrew Fithall took a tribe of kids to the MCG for the Vic v NSW New Year Big Bash match. The kids had fun, and despite some basketball deja vu, so did Dad.

SECOND TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 1: Despite the loss of Pakistan’s MCG bowling hero to injury, a big score for Australia on Day One not “Ameer” formality. See the latest score here and watch Gigs’ list of Ridiculous Facts grow as the game unfolds. And add your own thoughts about the game.

COMMENT: The nightwatchman: sensible cricket tactic or further proof that middle order batsmen are a protected species? Jill Scanlon ponders the relevance of this time worn tactic.

BOXING DAY TEST: There are a few lessons to be learned about the difference between a day at the MCG in summer and a day at the MCG in winter. For Steve “no relation to Ian” Healy, the main one was to remember the sunscreen.

FIRST TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 5: Nathan Hauritz‘s first five-wicket Test haul was enough to warm the cockles of the heart of Patrick O’Keeffe, an old non-spinning-offie bowler himself.

FIRST TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 4: Andrew Gigacz is happy to leave the merriment and festivities of Boxing Day to others. For him it’s Day Four of a good Test that provides the potential for drama and the moment on which the entire match pivots.

FIRST TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 3: It wasn’t quite “High Tea at the G”, but it was close. From the inner sanctum of the Harrison Room, Dave Goodwin reports on the cricket, a Liverpool kiss and the inaugural meeting of the Bryan Phelan Fan Club.

FIRST TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 2: While Cyclone Laurence continues to wreak havoc around the rest of the country, conditions in Melbourne for Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test were perfect, writes John Harms.

FIRST TEST – Australia v Pakistan, Day 1: Matthew “MOC” O’Connor busts a few myths, meets the Smoking Lady and catches a bit of cricket as he enjoys his main Christmas present: Boxing Day at the MCG.

FIRST TEST – Australia v Pakistan: Andrew Gigacz looks back on some of his earliest Boxing Day memories. See if they resonate with you and add some of your own.

And keep up to date with the scores here.

COMMENT: Craig Little comes out with a 20 point defence of the player who polarizes the cricketing fraternity: Shane Watson.

SHEFFIELD SHIELD: Resisting the temptation to offer Andrew Hilditch a few choice words, Patrick O’Keeffe takes in the ever-changing sights of the Adelaide Oval and the clash between the Croweaters and the Sandgropers.

COMMENT: Is it time for Ricky Ponting’s reign to end? And if not now, when will that time be, asks John Butler?

THIRD TEST, DAY 5, Australia v West Indies: It lasted only a few overs but, for Tim Ivins, Day 5 was long enough to bring back some painful memories.

THIRD TEST, DAY 4, Australia v West Indies: While the Aussies (and maybe even the Windies) have victory in their sights, Dave Goodwin takes aim at Australia’s chairman of selectors.

THIRD TEST, DAY 3, Australia v West Indies: An amazing third day at the WACA has inspired Chris Riordan to come up with a new type of bet: the Test Cricket Quaddy.

THIRD TEST, DAY 2, Australia v West Indies: It was supposed to be just another day at the office for Dips O’Donnell and Australia. But a call from the Tax Department and Chris Gayle changed all that.

THIRD TEST, DAY 1 Australia v West Indies: Despite the WACA Test reminding him of the West Indies whirlwinds of 1979, John Harms fears the current Perth encounter is heading down a path that’s far too pedestrian.

CLUB CRICKET: It’s not only on the big arenas that sporting legends are born. As Andrew “Chicken Man” Gigacz reveals, they can have their origins in the suburban back blocks too.

POETRY: At the end of the day, cricket is the game we know and love. Debbie Kairn beautifully illustrates how so few words can say so much.

SHEFFIELD SHIELD: Widely acknowledged as the best domestic cricket competition in the world, the Sheffield Shield can produce its fair share of classic climaxes. Friday’s finish at Bellerive between Tasmania and Western Australia was one of the best of all, and Patrick O’Keeffe was there, at his computer, to witness it – sort of.

ROAD TRIP: A drive from Melbourne to Adelaide, followed by a a great Almanac launch night and a day at the cricket, has, in the mind of John Harms, crystallized his sense of being Australian.

OPINION: As the madness of Summer pushes Spring aside, Dips O’Donnell worries that the quaint old game of cricket is being swept up in the Christmas rush.

SHEFFIELD SHIELD: What if they had a game and nobody came, writes John Butler, who was keen to bid Brad Hodge farewell in the Shield match at the MCG.

SECOND TEST, DAY 5 Australia v West Indies: When viewed via the pages of Wisden in future, the bare stats of the drawn Second Test won’t portray it as a great match. But, as Chris Riordan explains, it teased and tantalised until the very end, just like a good Test Match should.

SECOND TEST, DAY 5 Australia v West Indies: To see how the last day of the Second Test panned out via the comments of Gigs and other “experts”, click here.

SECOND TEST, DAY 4 Australia v West Indies: It was a challenging day. The Australians were challenged by the West Indians. And Tim Adam was challenged culturally, several times.

COMMENT: John Butler can maintain his silence no longer. After another frustrating morning of umpires decisions being challenged, he says it’s time to review the Review.

OPINION: Test Cricket administrators could do well to adopt innovations from possibly the toughest form of the game, backyard cricket, writes Patrick O’Keeffe.

SECOND TEST, DAY 3 Australia v West Indies: News of the death of Test Cricket – and the West Indies – has been greatly exaggerated, reports Chris Riordan.

SECOND TEST, DAY 2 – Australia v West Indies: Tony Roberts is unconvinced by the plaudits for Australia and, especially, Shane Watson, who changes states more than he changes his haircut. Anyway, did you hear what happened in Mumbai?

SECOND TEST, DAY 2 Australia v West Indies: There are some significant parallels between the current West Indies team and the Clifton Hill 5th XI. As hard as that is to believe, Andrew Gigacz explains what they are as he reports on Day Two of the Second Test.

SECOND TEST – Australia v West Indies: Steve Healy overcomes the triple hurdles of uniform shopping, grocery shopping and Channel 9 inflexibility to ponder the possibility of the Windies causing an upset.

SECOND TEST – Australia v West Indies: The Windies appear to be right in this Test Match. But as John Butler points out, that’s what most of us thought after the first day of the First Test. For the full story (and a Tommy update!) click here.

CLUB CRICKET: Darren “Smokie” Dawson, whose pride at his local footy club’s grand final victory made for stirring reading in September, delivers another classic from the grass roots. This time he describes how his love of cricket has developed into a family adventure.

CRICKET MEMORIES: Phil Dimitriadis remembers a summer when he and a neighbour played epic backyard test matches – and the Windies were kings, despite, or maybe because of, the ornate names of their wonderful cricketers.

CRICKET MEMORIES: Yes, there was a time when Australia and the West Indies played out Test series to match the most thrilling in our sporting history. Peter Schumacher was in Adelaide for the classic fourth Test in 1960/61, when Slasher Mackay played with the stoicism (and flair) of a brick wall.

FIRST TEST – Australia v West Indies: With the First Test going comprehensively Australia’s way within three days, Craig Little laments the lack of interest a West Indies tour of Australia generates compared to the heady days of his youth in the ’70s.

FIRST TEST – Australia v West Indies: Luckily for Test Cricket, there are still some youngsters out there who appreciate it as the greatest form of the game. Steve Healy is one of them, and here he gives us his take on a day when 15 West Indian wickets fell.

FIRST TEST – Australia v West Indies: Attending the Gabba Test has been a ritual for John Harms for years. So covering day 2 of this Test from Manning Clark House was a novel experience. And not one Mr Harms is entirely sure about.

FIRST TEST – Australia v West Indies: It was a day of frustration for many. For Australian batsmen, most whom failed to convert good starts. For the West Indies, via injury, occasionally indifferent bowling and a slow over rate. And especially for Tim Ivins, who had a hard time simply finding an audio-stream of the game on the net.

FIRST TEST – Australia v West Indies: The West Indies bowlers overstepped the crease 14 times on Day One. But, as John Butler reports, they weren’t the only ones having problems with no balls.

FIRST TEST – Australia v West Indies: Steve Healy knows that too many cricket reports are never enough (apologies to Roy and HG). For him, Day 1 meant juggling exams, the cricket and… Oprah?