Sunday, June 12, 2011

Katich's axing and and the backing of Phil Hughes

Few months back, a cricketer by the name Simon Katich or more popularly known as Krab was winning the best Australian test player award, but fast forward to the present world, he now isn't even worthy of being one of the 25 centrally contracted players. Here was a cricketer, who had comeback into the side  after he was dropped from the test team in 05 by working hard on his game with the help of Bob Simpson and did well over the last few years. Suddenly though, from nowhere the Australian selectors have decided that he isn't good enough by not giving him a contract. It seems like age factor and injuries were considered as the reasons for the dropping of Katich, yet poor Katich must be feeling that the Australian selectors have stabbed him on the back.

Let me make it crystal clear that I am all for youth policy, but at present, Australian selectors in a bid to select young players are picking cricketers, who don't seem to be good enough to play test cricket.

Yes, I realise that selecting an national side is a thankless job as whatever list a selection panel comes up with, some sections in the media or the fans won't be happy with it. The fact though is, Australian selectors seem to be confused and are gambling by picking players, who just aren't  ready to play test cricket. There was no way a player like the X man or whatever he was, would have been selected before. The same can be said about Smith as at present, he isn't good enough to bat at 6 or bowl about 15-20 overs of leg spin. I also see that they have not dropped the blind man against spin David Hussey as well as someone, who never seems to use his brains Hilfenhaus from the contract list but Katich gets dropped!

 Katich was never going to be a batsman fans would pay to watch as with his exaggerated shuffle across the stumps and him being a batsman, who  seemed to belong more to the bygone Tavare, Boycott era, he would likely drive away fans from the ground, but there is no doubt that with his hard-work, he has earned the respect of other cricketers as well as fans. Anyway, Katich may feel happy now that he doesn't have to keep playing for a side that seems to be in a decline, but rather spend some time with his children on some beach in Gold Coast of Australia.

It was also interesting to note that Australian selectors have backed Hughes to the hilt and it looks likely he is going to be given a good run in the side. Actually, it is good to see that Aussie selectors have decided to give Hughes a run in the side, but there are serious question marks regarding whether Hugues's technique to succeed in test cricket is good enough. To succeed in the highest form of the game, which is test cricket, a batsman needs to have a decent defence, but unfortunately Hughes doesn't have a decent defence. Just like what I said when I saw him for the first time in South Africa in 08/09, I would continue to say that he has loads of talent but lacks a defence.

The general consensus is, Hughes is troubled by the bouncer, but in my opinion, more than a bouncer, it is back of a length bowling which troubles Hughes. Hughes's inability to cover the line of the ball and as he gets squared up means that if a bowler consistently bowls back of a length and shapes it slightly away from Hughes, he would likely nick it to the slip cordon. A bowler can also look at bowling from around the wicket and tuck him up for room and get his wicket. Even a decent spinner would fancy his chances of getting him out as he goes very hard at the ball, but unfortunately the spinners tribe haven't been able to get much of a chance to bowl at him as in test cricket, he has consistently got out cheaply to seamers! At present, he is an one dimensional player, as he looks good only when a bowler bowls short and wide. Hughes needs to look at scoring more runs through the on-side otherwise his scoring options would be limited. Having said that Hughes to his credit did well in the Sheffield Shield final and is still young, so he can improve.

I just end this rant of mine by saying that this is the time when we would come to know about whether the depth in Australian cricket is as great as what is made out to be or is just a myth. When you see youngsters like Hughes, Smith, Warner and to a lesser extant even Khawaja not knowing where their off-stump is, it doesn't seem so.

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