Stat-Tastic: Australian Cricket Team

Stat-Tastic will be a quasi-regular segment, looking at the stats behind an event in sport. This week, the demise of the Australian cricket team. The three of the past four series Australia has been involved in, they have lost (only beating New Zealand) and the number one ranking in ODI cricket has already been lost, with the test match ranking likely to soon follow. Certainly the opposition has been tough these past few series (beaten by South Africa and India, the other teams in the top 3 of each ranking) but Australia seems ot have lost its aura, shown by the poor result against New Zealand on Friday. Can the Stats tell us how this may be fixed?

The players used by Australia in the past few series will be listed in their positions:
Simon Katich (Test Matches):
Despite doubts over whether he had enough ability to play test cricket, Katich has gritted out an average of 47 in 19 innings for Australia. Should remain an option for ODI cricket if Marsh and/or Warner fail as with an average of 37 he will provide a stable option (despite a low strike rate of 69).
Matthew Hayden (Test Matches):
In the past year he has averaged 24 in his 17 test match innings, well shy of his career average. Whether he retired too early is a matter for purely academic debate now, but he did manage an ODI average of 37 across 8 innings in this period.
Shaun Marsh (ODI):
Shaun had an exceptional debut series in the West Indies and has faded slightly in recent games. Still maintains an average of 43 and a decent strike rate of 76 in 14 ODI innings. However, his domestic figures question whether this can last as he averages only 34 in first class cricket and 36 in ODD matches. Will be considered to replace Hayden in Tests and will maintain his ODI position unless his form slumps further.
David Warner (ODI):
A revelation in the 20/20 format, Warner consistantly loses his wicket early in ODI matches, averaging only 21 with a strike rate of 86. You have to question whether he is ready for international cricket with such a difference between his domestic ODI average of 40 and strike rate of 109 and his international figures. David would seem to require more time at the domestic level to hone his game but with the injury to Marsh he will retain his place, almost by default as the others in line for an opening position (Jaques,Rogers,Hughes,Klinger) are all pigeon-holed as test match only players.
Phil Jaques (Indian Tour Squad Member before being sidelined by injury):
A test match average of 47 from 19 innings and 54 at domestic first class level underline the ability of Jaques. However, he has been sidelined by injury since the start of the Indian tour and is yet to hit form in his few comeback games. His ODD average of 43 and strike rate of 90 show he can play well in the shorter form of the game but in 6 ODI innings he only averages 21. Will be in the touring party for South Africa but may be bypassed for a place in the first 11 by Hughes or Marsh.

Ricky Ponting(C):
Has been below his best in the past year, both with the bat and in captaincy. Averages 44 and 26 in Test and ODI matches in the past year, compared with 57 and 43 for his career. Ricky has also made mistakes with his captaincy at critical moments in Test matches, with "Overrategate" issues occuring. Also appears too defensive in his field settings, especially in Test matches. Ricky has a tendency to back players he likes to the hilt (such as Symonds) but can also lose confidence in players very quickly (Krejza). His place as a batsman is not under question but could he be removed as captain and remain in the team?
Michael Clarke:
Has been missed when recently absent due to injury. Is fast becoming a key player in this team, averaging 49 and 42 in Tests and ODI matches and chipping in with handy wickets at 37 and 34 respectively. May be force to carry the spin burden in test matches if a suitable spinner cannot be found.
Mike Hussey:
Still an excellent player and stats say that his recent bad form has been overreported. Has still averaged 34 and 48 in the past 12 months. Not quite as Bradmanesque figures as before this period but has recently started to pick his form back up and will be a key player for the next few years.
David Hussey (ODI):
Has filled a difficult middle-lower order position fairly well, averaging 31 and striking at 89 in a finishing role. His bowling however, has been less than stellar, recording only 1 wicket at 172 and an economy rate of 5.6 during his ODI matches. However, it is probable that his bowling ability has been overrated by Ponting and the selectors as he only averages 61 and 46 at domestic first class and one day levels. Needs to improve his results to be considered for a test match position on the upcoming tour but this should be possible with a first class average of 55.
Andrew Symonds :
Has been troubled by injury and personal problems in the past year which have prevented him from bowling and often even playing. Will cut back on his bowling duties for the rest of his career to prevent injuries (and hopefully his drinking duties). Averages 40 with the bat in both Test and ODI matches so should be capable of fighting his way back into the Australian side but will need to prove he can stay calamity free for a period with Queensland first.
Brad Haddin(WK):
Has been servicable without the batting performance many expected from a player who averages 41 in first class cricket. Has averaged 39 in Tests but only 28 at a strike rate of 80 in ODI matches. His position will be secure for several years unless his form dips significantly as Ronchi is an inferior batsman and keeper.
Adam Voges(Called up to current ODI squad):
Will get another chance for Australia, mostly on the strength of his career record. Recent form has been poor by all reports but a career ODD average of 46 with the bat and handy spin averaging 37 at first class level are figures worthy of a chance.
Callum Ferguson(Called up to current ODI squad):
Surprise call up from SA. Has been in good recent form but career records are below par. A career ODD average of 28 with a good-but-not-spectacular strike rate of 85 should not be enough to gain a position in the australian ODI side. However, with injuries and pigeon-holing thinning out the options Callum will get a chance to prove me wrong.

Shane Watson:
The injury prone Queenslander is an automatic pick if he is fit. But he is not fit. Ever. A test match batting average of only 20 with the bat belies the talent Watson has, better illustrated by a batting averge of 35 and strike rate of 82 in 54 innings for the ODI side. He also averages 36 and 32 in test match and ODI matches respectively with the ball. His first class figures also show the genuine all-round nature of his abiliies, averaging 45 with the bat and 29 with the ball. Should be an excellent player but if he can't get his body right his may be a career of opportunity lost.
Cameron White:
Is not a Test player. Period. Has averaged 29 with the bat and 68 with the ball so far. Is an option in the lower order of an ODI side but his bowling lets him down badly. In ODIs he averages 24 and strikes at 96 with the bat. Not bad if he can bowl right? His career economy rate in ODIs is 6.3. 6.3!
Andrew McDonald (Test):
Has only played the one test, averaging 15 with the bat and taking 3 wickets at 24 with the ball. Showed enough promise to be worth experimenting with, particularly considering the first class averages of 38 and 29 show he has real ability with both the bat and the ball.
James Hopes (ODI):
Needs to improve his batting to secure his position in the ODI side, averaging only 22 in 30 innings. Bowling has been handy, taking 33 wickets at 34 and an economy rate of 4.2. Will never be a test player but is a handy ODI option.

Nathan Hauritz:
Does not turn the ball but somehow has managed to average 32 and 33 in Test and ODI matches. However, his career first class average of 47 shows that this cannot remain the case. Needs to quit while he's ahead or learn how to bowl spin instead of simply slow bowling.
Jason Krejza(Test):
A surprise call-up to the test squad, Krejza impressed on debut but performed poorly in his second match, losing the confidence of Ponting and hence his position. Averaged 43 in his test matches and also averages 43 in first class cricket. Leaks runs badly and must improve his control to be given more matches while Ponting is cpatain.
Bryce McGain(Test squad for India before injured):
Has recently recovered from an injury which prevented his debut in India. The pre-eminent spinner in Aussie first class cricket, averages 34 in first calss games and 27 in ODD matches. Should be given a chance, either on the South African tour or against New Zealand in ODI matches.

Pace Bowlers:
Stuart Clark:
Has been below his best, even when fit and time may be catching up with Stuart, who averages 23 in Tests and 29 in ODI matches. Should still come back to the Aussie side when fit, but may not last long.
Brett Lee:
The past year has seen his slightly below his best, averaging 37 with the ball in Tests (compared with a career average of 31) but Lee is still the spearhead of the attack when fit. However, his body may be catching up with him and he has probably only a few years left.
Mitchell Johnson:
Has taken over the reins from Lee and done well as the main bowler. Is still not used as an opening bowler for some reason despite being able to swing the ball. Averages 29 and 26 with the ball in Test and ODI matches. Could become a handy lower order batsman too but cannot make a score in one day matches. Averages 26 and 25 in Test and first class games but 9 and 12 in ODI and ODD matches.
Nathan Bracken (ODI):
Is one of the best bowlers in the world in the ODI format, averaging 23 with an economy rate of 4.3. However, has been pidgeon-holed in this role after several tests a few years ago where he took 12 wickets at 42. Should be given a chance to show he can play Tests also (he has a first class average of 26) but will have to be satisfied with being an ODI specialist.
Peter Siddle (Test):
Showed promise by taking 17 wickets at 31 but has not been considered for the ODI side. Could be a long-term fixture in the Aussie side once Clark and Lee retire.
Ben Hilfenhaus (ODI):
Has played most of the ODI matches and averaged 29 but had a higher than required economy rate of 5.2. Has promise if atmospheric conditions are right for him but if the ball is not swinging he will struggle.
Shaun Tait (ODI):
Was the revelation of the '07 World Cup but has struggled with personal and injury problems since. Averages 25 in ODIs with the ball but recently has been worse than these figures indicate. Cannot maintain his pace for more than a couple of overs and once his pace slips he has few weapons. Still an option for the 20/20 side but should be left to play in SA for a while and get some match fitness up.
Doug Bollinger (Test):
2 wickets at 66. Bowled better than these figures suggest but will now be behind Lee,Johnson,Clark,Bracken,Siddle and Hilfenhaus for a position in either side.

Wow, that was much much much longer than I expected.

So basically, the problems with the Aussie side are many. The openers should be fixed by adding Phil Hughes (first class average of 60) to Katich in the test side and Marsh in the ODI side. The spinners are a serious problem in the long term as Bryce McGain will not be able to play for more than a few years at his age. The riot act must be read to the states to pick their spinners and develop them for the good of Australian cricket. The test match middle order batting is looking shaky with Haddin and an all-rounder at 6 and 7 so a genuine batsman or Watson (who averages like a genuine batsman at first class level) must fill the slot at 6. Brad Hodge should fill this spot. Michael Clarke will improve the side, coming back from injury but the ODI side appears too stacked with hitters rather than batsmen. If Dave Hussey doesn't improve then Hodge could be brought into this role as well. But above all, Australia must play a spinner in their ODI side. Unfortunately, the spin stocks are very thin at the moment in domestic ranks, with McGain the only real option regardless of age or form. Once Lee and Clark come back from injury, the bowling unit should look much more imposing and fast bowling should take care of itself.

Come In Spinner!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your a fuc*kwit

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