From the Blog
Will the BBL hijack the summer of cricket?
Date: November 18, 2016 / Posted by control
So far this summer Test crowds in Australia have been poor. Just 12,000 turned out for the opening day of the first Test at the WACA Ground, while the match attendance over the five days was under 50,000. Day one at Hobart saw just over 7,000 in attendance. The third day was bolstered by the standard practice of bussing in hundreds of school kids to Bellerive Oval. With an Ashes series slated for next summer it was Hobartians last chance for two years to see their national team in the flesh. As we know, both Tests ended in landslide losses with the Hobart match producing one of Australia’s most humiliating defeats on home soil. Thankfully, for Cricket Australia, the final Test of the South Africa series will be played under lights at Adelaide Oval. That should provide a healthy turn-out. But beyond that it will be interesting to see how the remainder of the summer pans out. Currently the Australian Test team is on the nose. Following the 3-nil loss in Sri Lanka it was expected the side would be a different unit back on home soil. Things certainly started well. Day one at the WACA produced an exemplary display – penetrative and decisive bowling; brilliant fielding; and swashbuckling batting. By day’s end it was a return to normal transmission. Sadly, the picture soon went fuzzy as the team descended to a modern-day nadir. Five consecutive Test losses have been incurred around a 5-nil one-day series loss in South Africa. Very quickly the public has shown its discontent. Social media is awash with recriminations. The resignation of Rod Marsh yesterday as chairman of selectors was met mostly with glee. Come Sunday he will not be the only one on the outer as players will also be jettisoned ahead of the third Test. In its long and storied history, an Australian Test team has never suffered a clean sweep on home soil. The threat looms large heading to Adelaide. In fact, many would view it as a formality. And if it does come to pass there will be a further disconnect by the cricketing public. As results have gotten worse the patience of the fans has been sorely tested and a 3-nil loss will see a gnashing of teeth that will dental waiting rooms. Once Adelaide is done and dusted there will be a Test hiatus until 15 December when a three-match series kicks off against Pakistan, currently the second ranked team in the world. Before the Pakistan series gets underway there will be a three-game ODI series against New Zealand between 4-9 December. Traditionally, Chappell-Hadlee ODI series have not been big ticket items However, a day after the first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba concludes BBL6 blasts into action and that will get bums on seats. And, should Australia’s next two Tests go poorly the fan focus on the BBL will further escalate. With its glitz and glamour, the T20 game has captured the hearts and minds of many. If the national team continues to plumb the depths it currently is those that consider themselves catholic cricket fans may drift more toward the sport’s most abbreviated form with T20 becoming their principal place of worship. The BBL is far more reasonably priced and it is over in half the time taken for a day’s Test cricket. Plus, importantly, given its very nature there is not the deep emotional connection to your team as exists with Test cricket. And, if you are paying big money simply to watch your beloved team capitulate, the temptation to go elsewhere is magnified. Test cricket is still reasonably buoyant in this country when it comes to crowds, especially in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. In recent times, Australia has been at the vanguard when it comes to spectator attendance. It needs to remain so for the health of the longer form of the game. Crowds in the West Indies are largely non-existent. Often, Sri Lanka is not much better. While some cities in India attract healthy crowds there are many – such as Nagpur, Mohali and Delhi – that struggle to half-fill their stadia. New Zealand has had a steady decline; Pakistan plays its ‘home’ Tests in empty stadia in the UAE; and South Africa on Boxing Day has struggled to fill the 25,000-seat Kingsmead ground in Durban and will this year play at the 19,000-seat St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth. Along with Australia and India, England remains the only country to have a healthy spectator base. Australia would be kidding itself if it believed that trend will always continue unhindered. In recent times, fans of the national side have become disillusioned by the decisions of the administrators – the rotation policy of resting players; eyebrow raising selections; and an increasingly muddled schedule. Early next year Australia will field two international XIs in two days when a T20 versus Sri Lanka at Adelaide will be followed a day later by a Test against India at Mumbai. On top of all that is a currently dysfunctional national team. Last season, 80,000 turned out at the MCG to watch the BBL Melbourne derby. Simon Katich, a deep thinker on the game, said on ABC Grandstand during the Hobart Test the Big Bash was “hijacking the summer”. This season it may take it captive if the national team cannot win back the public by dint of on-field success. First published on The Roar - theroar.com.au - on 17 November 2016, soliciting 25 commentsRead More →
What has happened to Australia’s batting stocks?
Date: November 12, 2016 / Posted by control
Sadly, Australia’s batting stocks are continuing their steady decline. In recent years, we have stopped seeing batsmen produce the big seasons that they used to. As a result, there is little pressure being brought to bear on Test incumbents. In the past seven Sheffield Shield seasons, only twice have we seen a batsman score over 1000 runs – teammates Adam Voges (1358) and Michael Klinger (1046) achieved the feat for Western Australia in 2014-15. Contrast that with the seven seasons from 1999-00. Over that period, batsmen score over 1000 Sheffield Shield runs on 13 occasions – Matthew Elliott (twice), Greg Blewett, Simon Katich, Jamie Cox, Martin Love, Jimmy Maher, Murray Goodwin, Stuart Law, Michael Bevan, Phil Jaques, Dominic Thornely and Darren Lehmann. There was only one season in that seven-year period that failed to produce a 1000-runs performance. Many of those men put up big numbers season after season. Nowadays, we simply do not see that consistency. In recent times we have seen batsmen promoted to Test ranks with modest first-class records. Over the past five years eight specialist batsmen have made their Test debut. Only two boasted a first-class average over 42 at the time they were awarded their baggy green – David Warner (57.3) and Adam Voges (46.1). The other six were Joe Burns (41.7), Ed Cowan (39.9), Shaun Marsh (38.8), Alex Doolan (38.4), George Bailey (37.9) and Rob Quiney (37.4). Batsmen pop up and have a solid season and on many occasions they fail to back up again the following year. Batsmen like Lehmann, Bevan, Love and Matthew Hayden were prolific season after season. Hayden at one point reeled off four successive 1000-run plus seasons in the Sheffield Shield. In recent times that kind of consistency just doesn’t exist. We do not have batsmen around in the system nowadays like Michael Hussey and Brad Hodge who both scored well in excess of than 10,000 first-class runs before they were called up. In years past the likes of Jamie Siddons and Jamie Cox scored well more than 10,000 Sheffield Shield runs but could still not manage a baggy green. In recent times, numerous players who played considerable Test cricket also compiled big runs across their Sheffield Shield careers – Matthew Hayden (8831), Justin Langer (9406) and Simon Katich (8807) to name just three. Darren Lehmann scored a record 13,635 runs and compiled 45 centuries in the Sheffield Shield while also managing to play 27 Test matches. Some will argue that the advent of T20 is at the heart of the problem with batsmen nowadays lacking the ability to build large innings. For some that may be the case but it has not prevented Warner and Steve Smith from outstanding first-class and Test careers. Batsmen also have the luxury nowadays of batting on drop-in pitches at the MCG and Adelaide Oval. The dearth of second rung batsmen in Australia is currently the biggest issue facing the national selectors. Presently they are too often having to select players on speculation rather than a proven first-class grounding as was the case 15-25 years ago. It is an area that must improve if Australia is to continue to challenge the other major nations. First published on The Roar - theroar.com.au - on 11 November 2016, soliciting 81 commentsRead More →
David Warner is the key for Australia
Date: November 04, 2016 / Posted by control
Australia is set to face Test cricket’s best current day fast bowling arsenal. South Africa boasts a depth in its pace attack that is presently unmatched. It is led by a man who could well end his career as the greatest quick of all time. Dale Steyn has terrorised batsmen around the world over the past 12 years. At 33, and with 84 Tests behind him, he is entering the twilight of a glittering career which has produced 416 wickets at the miserly average of 22.2. His strike rate of 41.3 is the best of any bowler to have taken over 120 Test wickets. While his pace may have diminished from his pomp he still bowls at a healthy clip and retains his ever threatening out-swinger. He will be backed-up in this series by Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada. Philander made his debut against Australia at Cape Town in 2011 where his 5-15 in the second innings was the main driver in the visitors’ being bowled out for just 47. Since then his medium fast bowling and ability to bowl long and relentless spells has netted 130 wickets at 22.1 from 34 matches. Morkel, at 1.96m, combines pace with steepling bounce. His 71 Tests have produced 242 wickets at 29.3. During the last series between the two sides in 2013-14, Morkel produced one of the most hostile spells in recent times when he peppered Michael Clarke with short balls at Cape Town. Rabada is easily the youngest of the Proteas’ pace quartet but he has already shown he is a potential leader of the attack in the coming years. At just 21, he has already claimed 29 wickets at 24.4 from eight Tests. Collectively, South Africa’s pace arsenal will be a handful. Dulling it, let alone overcoming it, will prove a major challenge for Australia’s top order. In the pre-series phony war, Steyn has already singled out the scalps of skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner as the main focus of the Proteas’ attack. Since assuming the captaincy Smith has been prolific with seven centuries and an average of 74.2 – 13 of his 24 innings have resulted in scores of 50 or more. It is not surprising that Steyn has identified him as a major threat. In doing so he invoked the old West Indian theory that if you remove the head the snake will die. But for mine, it is Warner who is the key to Australia’s prospects. South Africa has suffered at his hands more than any other side in the world. In the last of his six Tests against the Proteas – at Cape Town in March 2014 – he peeled off a century in each innings with knocks of 135 and 145. In the two preceding matches he scored 12, 115, 70 and 66 for a man-of-the-series winning 543 runs at 90.5. Australia won the series 2-1 with Warner’s tons coming in both the Tests that the side won. Warner has a fourth century against South Africa – 119 in his first Test against them at Adelaide Oval in November 2012. He and his team will be keen to see him replicate his past heroics against the Proteas. When he faced the media two days ago and was asked to respond to Steyn’s comments he played a very straight bat, refusing to return fire. It was a sign of the more mature player that Warner has become. Whilst it can never be argued that he has morphed into a choir boy, the one-time team provocateur has mellowed. A father of two who turned 30 last week, Warner has been more inclined in recent times to let his willow do the talking, and when on song, his bat speaks in a loud voice. His swashbuckling style can unsettle opposition bowlers and have them collectively on the back foot. He needs to bring that approach to the table during this series. He remains one of the game’s purest hitters and he needs to back himself in that regard throughout the summer. Warner will be licking his lips with a return today to the WACA Ground as the venue has played host to his two best Test scores – 253 last season against New Zealand and a 159-ball innings of 180 against India in January 2012. When Warner goes big he does it a rapid rate. His career strike rate is 77.3. The collective strike rate in the 16 innings in which he has scored a century is 86.2, indicative of how he can wrest the initiative from the bowlers. At his energetic best Warner can cause despair for opposing skippers with his ability to access most areas of the ground. A rapid-fire, well-executed innings from Warner will set the tone for the Aussies against a classy attack. If he flourishes the entire team will walk taller. First published on The Roar - theroar.com.au - on 3 November 2016, soliciting 48 commentsRead More →
Mitch Marsh needs to go
Date: October 28, 2016 / Posted by control
Mitch Marsh’s position is currently the most problematic in the Australia team. All the other contenders for a place in the top-six have made a case to be considered. David Warner and Steve Smith are the two definites who demand selection. Even still, they have shown form in the current round of Sheffield Shield fixtures for NSW with Warner going to stumps on day two 41 not out and Smith making a first innings 117. Of the others, Joe Burns (129) and Usman Khawaja (79) have starred with the bat for Queensland and Shaun Marsh (73) has dispelled concerns over his recent hamstring strain. While Adam Voges made just 20 in Western Australia’s first innings against South Australia he is coming off a stellar Matador Cup in which he compiled four half-centuries amongst his 301 runs at an average of 75.2. A smoky in the shape of South Australia’s Callum Ferguson has also been amongst the runs with 154 in the Matador Cup against the CA XI and 101 in the Shield match against Western Australia. And then there is Mitch Marsh. Since returning from the one-day tour of South Africa he has played two Matador Cup innings for scores of three and one. In the first innings of the Shield match at the WACA Ground he made just 12 and had figures of 2-84 off 18 overs come the end of the second day. Marsh has been a project player for quite some time having been identified early on as the next all-rounder in the Australian Test side. Ever since Andrew Flintoff dismembered Australia during the 2005 Ashes series the selectors have been desperate to find an all-rounder. Both Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson filled that desire for a period and recently Marsh has been the anointed one. To date he has played 18 Tests, during which time he has scored 600 runs at 24.0 with two half-centuries. They are hardly the sort of numbers expected from a Test number six. Since the start of last summer, Marsh has played 11 Tests for a batting average of 20.7. Additionally, his bowling has lacked real penetration in that time with 18 wickets at 37.1. The three-Test series against South Africa will be a tremendous test for Australia’s batsmen with the Proteas currently boasting the best pace attack in world cricket. Headed up by Dale Steyn (416 wickets at 22.2), it also includes Vernon Philander (130 at 22.1), Morne Morkel (242 at 29.3) and exciting 21-year-old firebrand Kagiso Rabada (29 at 24.4). The Australian batting has shown a propensity for significant collapses in recent times. The sight of Mitch Marsh striding out to the middle looking to shore things up will likely cause the Proteas little concern. Ian Chappell has long espoused the philosophy that if four bowlers cannot get the job done it is unlikely that five will. In Marsh’s case, on face value, he would not have a big impact with the ball. At times Smith seems very reticent to use him, as if he is worried that a larger bowling workload will disturb his batting. In the recent Test series against Sri Lanka, Marsh was called upon to bowl just 35 overs in Australia’s series total of 501. When both Burns and Khawaja were dropped for the last Test in Sri Lanka they were replaced by Shaun Marsh and Moises Henriques. Like Mitch Marsh, Henriques is not currently at a true Test all-rounder level. Given the potent South African attack there is a very strong case for a specialist batsman at number six in the upcoming series. If it were me, I would consider having Burns and Warner open the batting with either Khawaja or Shaun Marsh at three with the other at five. Smith would bat at four with Voges dropping to number six. Currently, the Mitch Marsh experiment is not bearing the fruit it needs to. Having turned 25 a week ago there is still plenty of time for him to mature into a true Test quality all-rounder. However, at present, it is not working and this summer the team needs a different dynamic. First published on The Roar - theroar.com.au - on 27 October 2016, soliciting 77 commentsRead More →
Khawaja and Burns must play in the first Test
Date: October 21, 2016 / Posted by control
Two weeks from today Australia will embark on what shapes as a very tough summer of Test cricket. South Africa has arrived in the country on the back of a 5-nil sweep of Australia in the recent ODI series. The Proteas, somewhat bizarrely, are ranked number five in the world. They are a better side than that indicates and they have a proven recent record in Australia. They will be provide a massive challenge for Australia – even without skipper A B De Villiers – as will Pakistan for the three-Test series that will follow. Despite having been unable to play at home for over a decade the team climbed to number one in the world a short time ago before being overtaken by India last week. Australia’s last Test series was a humbling experience – a 3-0 away loss to Sri Lanka. It was a series, given Australia’s record there, it was expected to win. Is was principally the batting that proved to be the Achilles heel. Two of the main culprits, Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja, after dismal showings in the opening two Tests, were both dropped ahead of the final game. It was a rapid fall from grace for both men as they failed to come to terms with a trio of spin bowlers who collectively dominated the Australian batsmen. In four innings Burns scored 34 runs at 8.5, while Khawaja made 55 at 13.7. The pair forfeited their places to Shaun Marsh and Moises Henriques. The latter fared just as poorly with scores of four in each innings. Marsh, on the other hand, cashed in at the top of the order with innings of 130 and 23 in the last Test. There is very little chance of Henriques being retained for the opening Test against South Africa at the WACA Ground. Marsh would have been very strongly in the frame had he not suffered a hamstring injury while compiling 70 against Tasmania in the Matador Cup over the weekend. That leaves two holes in the top five. For mine, Burns and Khawaja should slot straight back into side. They both showed last summer that they have the ability – mentally and technically – to succeed at Test level on Australian pitches. Khawaja was one of the undoubted stars of the summer. His 174 at number three in the opening Test against New Zealand at the Gabba oozed class. It also signalled his arrival as a Test batsman. Next start at the WACA Ground he fluently stroked his away to 121. Injury kept him out of the last Test against the Black Caps and the opening encounter versus West Indies. When he returned to the side at Melbourne he made 144 and 56 before an innings of 140 in Wellington in February. That knock at the Basin Reserve was Khawaja’s fourth century in six innings while sis six Tests last summer on either side of the Tasman produced 693 runs at 77.0. While the raw numbers were impressive it was the manner in which he compiled his runs that really told the story. He was fluent, assured and stylish. He looked to have nailed down the number three spot for quite some time to come. Burns, while not as productive as Khawaja, nonetheless had a breakthrough summer. Centuries in each of the three series last summer were the cornerstone of his eight Test aggregate of 692 runs at 53.2. He formed a formidable opening partnership with David Warner. In the opening Test of the summer at Brisbane they had opening stands of 161 and 237. In the second innings Burns’ strike rate of 105 bettered Warner (103). The pair shared two other 100-run stands during the summer. Like Khawaja, Burns appeared to have secured a place for the foreseeable future. However, two Tests into Australia’s next series they were both axed. The turning pitches and the abundance of spin brought them undone. But that was then and this is now. In six matches in the Matador Cup this season Burns has averaged 40 while Khawaja, having returned from South Africa, scored 38 in his only innings against Victoria over the weekend. South Africa boasts the best pace attack currently in the world. Headed up by talisman Dale Steyn (416 wickets at 22.2), it also includes Vernon Philander (130 at 22.1), Morne Morkel (242 at 29.3) and exciting 21-year-old firebrand Kagiso Rabada (29 at 24.4). It is an attack that demands respect. Australia would best show that by recalling two men who showed last summer they are well equipped for the fight. First published on The Roar - theroar.com.au - on 20 October 2016, soliciting 30 commentsRead More →
The Phillip Hughes inquest became something it shouldn’t have
Date: October 15, 2016 / Posted by control
Sadly, the Phillip Hughes coronial inquest has become something it was never meant to be. It should have been simply about safety levels in cricket. Unfortunately, it descended into an inquest about Phillip Hughes. As a result, there has been angst, anger and unnecessary comments aired. Hughes’ death resulted from a freak accident. That was confirmed yesterday when long-time Australian team physio Alex Kountouris was called to give evidence. Kountouris, who based his PhD on injuries in cricket, stated there has only been one other known case of a batsman being killed by a vertebral artery being severed – the injury that Hughes suffered. It occurred in Melbourne in 1993. Unfortunately, the questioning than deviated into other areas. Kountouris was asked whether in the preparation of his report he had been made aware of concerns that were raised by the Hughes family in regard to the period of play leading to the fateful delivery. His response was an emphatic, “no”. That drew an audible response from Hughes’ father, Greg who said, “lying, lying”. It was not the first time that the concerns of the Hughes family with the way the game was being played were aired in the Coroner’s Court. They were first raised earlier in the hearing when New South Wales paceman Doug Bollinger was quizzed about his comments on the field that day. Hughes’ brother, Jason had informed investigators that he had been told, that Bollinger had sledged Hughes and his South Australian batting partner, Tom Cooper, saying “I’m going to kill you”. None of the players called to provide evidence – including Cooper – nor the umpires could substantiate the allegation. Bollinger himself said, “I know in my own heart I didn’t say that”. Hughes’ father tabled a written submission to the inquiry. He said that after the lunch break on the day in question there was a significant increase in the number of short balls that were delivered, most notably at his son. “The umpires did not call them ‘no balls’ under the Sheffield Shield cricket laws. Those laws are different to the MCC rules. By those balls not getting pulled up, of course this kept the bowlers continuing to target my son in an ungentlemanly way.” Former international umpire Simon Taufel, now a consultant for umpiring to Cricket Australia appearing as an expert witness, explained that under the playing conditions for the Sheffield Shield, the basic rule for a batsman of Hughes’s ability was a limit of two bouncers an over. These deliveries are assessed as to whether or not they go above the batsman’s shoulder. The Hughes’ legal counsel alleged that Hughes faced nine consecutive short balls from Sean Abbott, including three that could have been considered bouncers in the over prior to the one in which he struck Hughes. The umpire ruled only one of the short balls to be a bouncer and Taufel supported the umpire’s assessment. Taufel stated that of the 23 bouncers bowled that day, 20 were directed at Hughes, but not all of them were over the shoulder and the cluster in any particular over did not warrant sanction from the umpires. Taufel testified he thought the bowling on the day was fair and didn’t breach regulations with respect to “dangerous or unfair bowling”. Greg Hughes said in his submission, “Sledging is part of the game,” but “(the alleged comments) were more abusive and intimidating than sledging … and the use of illegal deliveries in my eyes lead to a very unsafe workplace.” Sadly, the nature of the inquiry has focused very much on the way play unfolded that day. It is understandable that the family is still grieving and at pains with Phillip’s death but nothing that unfolded that day can be seen as something that precipitated his death. NSW Coroner Michael Barnes said as much at the outset of proceedings. He said the purpose of the hearing was “not to lay blame. (Hughes) death was a terrible accident, but it does not mean cricket cannot be made safer”. The game could perhaps be made safer but universally that could only occur if a tried and tested new form of helmet could be developed that would alleviate the injury Hughes sustained. Presently, tests carried out on modified helmets have not proven them to be conclusively safer. Aside from that, the game itself cannot be made safer without the banning of short-pitched bowling which is something no cricketer or administrator would ever wish to see happen. Phillip Hughes, as a professional cricketer, was operating in a workplace. However, thousands of cricketers play the game on suburban grounds each week during the summer months without the presence of doctors or physios, people that are present at all first-class grounds in Australia. Since the Hughes incident defibrillators have been installed at all first-class grounds. They are not in place at minor venues around the country. At grade cricket grounds down through the years young and inexperienced batsmen have been forced to endure the wrath of fast bowlers of the ilk of Ray Lindwall, Jeff Thomson, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson. At any time, a serious injury could occur. Bruises are commonplace. Broken bones less so. Fatalities, however, are extremely rare. On 25 November 2014, one such tragedy occurred. It was a freak accident where a young man, playing the game he loved, was struck by a delivery that on other occasions he would have either hit or avoided. Hughes, as an international opening batsman, was better equipped than most cricketers to have survived that delivery. He had done so thousands of times before in matches and in practice. There is no blame to be apportioned towards anyone. Phillip Hughes’ death was a tragic accident. It will always remain so. First published on The Roar - theroar.com.au - on 14 October 2016, soliciting 104 commentsRead More →
Jobe, about the Brownlow …
Date: October 14, 2016 / Posted by control
Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell is in the news at present. He will back in the headlines again next month. His footballing life is about to go through a massive change with a proposed move to West Coast and the likely being awarded a Brownlow Medal. Along with Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin, the pair are likely to be the recipients of the 2012 Brownlow Medal won by former Essendon captain, Jobe Watson. The duo polled 26 votes, four shy of Watson’s winning tally. The Swiss Federal Court’s decision not to uphold an appeal by the ‘Essendon 34’ means the legal avenues to have their back-dated, 24-month suspensions overturned have expired. There are no other options available to them. It is the end of the road. The AFL Commission will sit on 15 November to consider whether Watson keeps the most coveted individual honour in the sport. Surely it is a fait accompli. Watson has to be stripped of his Brownlow. The only thing to be decided is whether runners-up Mitchell and Cotchin are elevated or an asterisk is added to the history books. Some will argue that the fact Watson did not return a positive test casts doubt over whether he used performance enhancing drugs. That is irrelevant as it was the Russian athletes who were banned from competing at the Rio Olympics. Some may never have used PEDs yet they were denied the chance to compete at an Olympic Games. In the end, despite appeals through the Federal Courts in both Australia and Switzerland, the fact remains the ‘Essendon 34’ were handed suspensions. Those suspensions related to the 2012 season, the season in which Watson won the Brownlow. No rational argument can be mounted for Watson retaining the medal. Mitchell and Cotchin deserve to have the medal awarded retrospectively. Yes, Watson and his 2012 teammates all polled votes that season and it could be argued that had they not been on the field other players would have benefited and received votes. In essence, however, Essendon would not realistically have been able to field a team with 34 players on the sidelines. The Brownlow Medal is the only individual award in the league for overall brilliance that goes to the “fairest and best” player. Only players who have not been suspended during the home-and-away season can win the it. Yet, even if a player receives a suspension after the first round he can continue to poll votes even though he cannot be declared the winner. He continues to poll votes even though he has forfeited the right to win by virtue of ‘unfair’ behaviour on the field. If that distortion is allowed to colour the overall voting for a season I see no reason why the runners-up should not be the beneficiaries of the transgressions that Watson was found guilty of. He does have the right to plead his case before the AFL Commission. The thought of a player beseeching the sports governors to retain its most coveted award does not sit well. Now that the legal avenues have been exhausted and exoneration is no longer possible, Watson may decide to relinquish the medal himself. He would likely win respect in many quarters for doing so. That act would not be an admission of guilt but merely an admission that the facts as they are show he is not eligible to retain it. And that is the bottom line. One thing remains undeniable – the ‘Essendon 34’ were found to be in breach of the WADA Code, to which the AFL is a signatory, by the Court of Arbitration of Sport. All legal arguments and avenues to have that decision overturned were moot. As such, the medal must be removed should Watson not relinquish it of his own volition. Failure to do so would fly in the face of AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan’s comments when announcing the date of the Commission’s hearing on the matter. “The AFL is fully committed to clean sport, for the sake of the players from all clubs in the competition.” Essendon were found to be in breach of that ethos. As a result, Jobe Watson does not deserve to remain a Brownlow medallist. First published on The Roar - theroar.com.au - on 13 October 2016, soliciting 53 commentsRead More →
Maxwell, not Head, should have been selected for South Africa
Date: October 08, 2016 / Posted by control
A month ago Glenn Maxwell scored 145no off 65 balls in a T20 match against Sri Lanka. That innings at Pallekele has been surpassed by only one Australian player – Aaron Finch’s 156 versus England at Southampton in August 2013. In the second and final T20 last month against Sri Lanka at Colombo, Maxwell made 66 off just 24 balls. In that innings, he equalled the record he jointly held with David Warner for the fastest 50 by an Australian in a T20 – 18 balls. Roll on a month and Maxwell is not in South Africa with the Australian ODI team. The role of the spinning all-rounder is being filled by Travis Head. At just 22, the selectors have identified Head as being a long term prospect at international level. The South Australian selectors had already taken the remarkable step of appointing him Redbacks captain at 21, the youngest of all-time. His meteoric rise to international limited-overs ranks came on the back of consistent performances for the Adelaide Strikers and Redbacks. However, those performances have primarily been with the bat. Like Maxwell, that is the strength of his game. To date, in his 32 career T20 games he has bowled just 18 overs, claiming 6 wickets at an economy rate of 8.8. In his 42 career List A games he has bowled just 70 overs for seven wickets at 64 with an economy rate of 6.3. In the current ODI series against South Africa, Australia’s bowling has been its Achilles heel. With Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood being left at home to rest-up ahead of the forthcoming twin Test series against the Proteas and Pakistan and with the likes of James Faulkner, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson and Kane Richardson either injured or coming back from injury, Australia’s bowling stocks were always going to be thin. Three debutants – Chris Tremain, Daniel Worrall and Jon Mennie – have all been thrown into the furnace against a quality batting line-up. The trio had less than 60 List A wickets between them when they boarded the plane for South Africa. Skipper Steve Smith’s task was always going to be a tough one with such an inexperienced attack. It was not helped with the selection of Head. Australia faces the very real prospect of a humbling 5-0 series loss having dropped the first three games with the most recent loss on the back of South Africa posting the second highest successful second innings run chase in ODI history. Smith has been hamstrung as to who he can throw the ball to and when it comes to Head, he has thrown it in his direction very seldom. Through the first three games he has bowled a mere seven overs, picking up one wicket while conceding 68 runs. With the bat, he has scored 104 runs in his three innings at a strike rate of 128, a number greatly aided by 35 off 18 balls at Durban. Even with that fillip to his strike rate, his overall mark is 85 from his ten matches. By contrast Maxwell’s strike rate from his 67 ODIs is a whopping 125. Maxwell has continuously copped criticism for inconsistency with the bat through his career to date. Much of it is warranted. He lost his place in the ODI team on the back of a horror run with the bat in New Zealand and the West Indies earlier this year. But he showed in Sri Lanka what he is capable of and he would have hit South Africa in arguably the best form of his career. However, it his experience with the ball would have provided Smith with a far better option than Head’s part-time tweakers. Maxwell has claimed 45 wickets in his 67 ODIs with an economy rate of 5.5, on a par with specialist leg-spinner, Adam Zampa and not far from Nathan Lyon’s ODI economy rate of 4.9. It may not have made a great deal in the final outcome of the series but the inclusion of Maxwell would have provided a better balanced side. First published on The Roar - theroar.com.au - on 7 October 2016, soliciting 14 commentsRead More →
In the media
Reliving Eden Gardens 2001 through the voice of Australian radio
By Sandeep Dwivedi, ‘The Indian Express’, 14 March 2015 – Sitting on a wooden bench at King’s Park at Perth, you are at a height, the vantage point providing an enchanting view of the serene city and the sparkling river Swan. Sitting on that same wooden chair, facing Glenn Mitchell, sipping coffee and feeding on […]read more →
FIFO induction must contain mental health advice: Mitchell
By Michael Washbourne, December 2014 edition of Australia’s Paydirt – Renowned broadcaster and mental health advocate Glenn Mitchell has called for a greater emphasis on suicide prevention and mental wellbeing during the induction process for FIFO workers. Mitchell’s plea comes in the wake of a parliamentary inquiry into the mental health impacts of FIFO work […]read more →
Back from the brink
As part of Mental Health Week in 2014 I did a video interview with Marnie McKimmie from ‘The West Australian’. In the interview, I discussed the journey that I have been on and what I have learned as a result of being sufferer of mental illness. Click on the link below to view it. http://bcove.me/acr130arread more →
"Many thanks for the fantastic job you did as MC for our Jumper Presentation Evening. The success of the night can be largely attributed to the insightful and informative style of your presentation, and we thank you for making our event a night to remember for all involved."
Scott Ballem, W.A. Football Development Trust.
"Excellent presentation which provided our audience with an entertaining and informative insight into the world of elite sport. We've had much positive comment and feedback from our members and guests."
CPA Australia State Congress
"Excellent speaker. Glenn was exactly what we wanted and participated really well."
Clare Thompson, IWIRC Network (W.A.Branch)
"Glenn had our audience captivated. His presentation 'What We Can All Learn from Sport' was excellent."
Stacey Martin, 2006 Ausnet Real Estate Services Conference
"Glenn was the perfect guest speaker for our Sports Star of the Year Awards. His speech was engaging and most appropriate for the intergenerational audience in attendance. Overall excellent presentation."
Chris Thompson, Manager Great Southern, Department of Sport & Recreation. Albany
"Glenn Mitchell is a man with a powerful personal story to tell. He is an accomplished sports broadcaster who has walked the path from despair and illness to hopefulness and well-being.
As a story-teller, Glenn's ability to openly "speak his truth" is inspiring many people who are in a dark place to reach out to find and accept the support they need and deserve.
As a host and presenter, Glenn's professional approach and capacity to engage an audience with his unique blend of humour and whit, are exceptional.
Amanda Wheeler. CEO Lifeline WA
"We appreciated Glenn's professional approach as MC for our Emerging Leaders Program Launch, and his prior preparation. We were very pleased with the outcome of the launch. Excellent MC".
Kim Ellwood, Department of Sport & Recreation
"Glenn spoke superbly about the relationship between Australian society and cricket. The audience was hugely impressed by his knowledge and humor"
Cricket Club of India
"Glenn's presentation was great using his experience and knowledge of sport mixed with humour. Importantly he was able to engage the whole audience from all parts of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Rating: Excellent"
Lisa Lynch. Capricorn Society Limited.
"Glenn is a thoroughly entertaining speaker who can highlight the serious side of sport whilst simultaneously having the audience in stitches. A most enjoyable speaker who can clearly tailor a speech to suit a variety of audiences. Excellent presentation."
Ben Williams. Ravensdown 2009 Agents Conference