Here's his blog.
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Feel free to leave comments on it. For those who CBF and would rather just wait til he gets home to throw things at him, here's what he's written:
I must admit to looking forward to writing this post with a little urn tucked nicely away, however the turn of events over the last week leave me thinking of opportunity lost and what could have been rather celebrating a winning Ashes series!
There is no doubt we had our chances over the last week, and many people will have an opinion as to why it didn’t work out as we would have liked. I have tried to put my thoughts on the Test and the Series below for you to consider:
Selection: There has been much talk about the selection of our team for the Test at the Oval. I think most important from my perspective is, as Andrew Hilditch said in Adelaide during his media conference, that we did misread the wicket, and certainly didn’t see it being as dry and inconsistent as early in the game as it was. Having said that, not having a spinner in our team was in no way the difference between winning and losing! Losing 10/87 in the second session of day two was the costly period and we couldn’t fight back from there.
Team Balance: Our balance of four fast bowlers and a part time spinner has been successful in the past in all sorts of conditions. We won two Tests in Sth Africa in contrasting conditions (Jo’burg quite green and assisting fast bowling early and then Durban more of a traditional Test wicket) as well as coming off an excellent Test win in Leeds with the same balance. I can guarantee the balance of the bowling did not lose us this Test – in fact to bowl England out for 332 after losing the toss was an excellent effort and a ringing endorsement of the bowlers selected. We did not bat well enough in our first innings, and from that period on we were under pressure!
Aren’t five Test matches great? The ebb and flow over the seventy-odd days that we have been here has been something to experience and in the end the greatest test for any player in the game. The difference between three Tests over a four-week period, and the challenge of travelling, training and playing for close to ten weeks is huge. We saw players come in and out of form for both teams and the challenge of maintaining quality performance over this extended period is a real good challenge!
The selection of Shane Watson at the top of the order worked well and has given us another option at the top of the order in all forms of the game. The unfortunate spin off was that a very talented young player in Phillip Hughes isn’t playing Test cricket currently. I’m sure in their own ways both Watson and Hughes will benefit from the way this tour has panned out.
The success of Michael Clarke in this series. After not achieving anywhere near what he would have aimed for in 2005, Pup returned as determined as ever and the results speak for themselves. He quite conceivably could have scored centuries in each of the first four Tests (83 in Cardiff, 136 at Lords,103 no at Edgbaston, 93 in Leeds) and he showed his continued development into a top line Test Match batsman.
The tour of Ben Hilfenhaus has been a revelation. The unfortunate injury to Brett Lee early in the tour meant Ben became the opening bowler, and didn’t he grab his opportunity! 22 wickets at an average of 27.45 reads well, however his ability to bowl long spells, swing the new and old ball and take important wickets for throughout the series added up to a breakthrough series for him.
The leadership of Ricky under pressure has been outstanding! You all see the public side of things but the work he has done behind the scenes ensured that were as good as we could be throughout the tour. His cricketing ability has never been questioned, and his decision making under pressure and grace under fire in this series has been excellent. He is a pleasure to work with and I have the utmost respect for the cricketer and the man!
The most frustrating thing in my mind is the fact that two sessions – evening session day two at Lords and afternoon of day 2 at The Oval – cost us the Ashes. In those two sessions we lost 16 for 136, (6/49 at Lords and 10/87 at The Oval) and in both games they we decisive periods that allowed England to gain positions of strength and ultimately win the Tests. There were obviously other periods that we didn’t play as well as we would have liked, however these two periods are easily identifiable as series changing!
It’s been an exciting and eventful ten weeks since we began our preparation for the Tests in Hove. The complete group has worked tirelessly to achieve success, and unfortunately we were tripped at the last hurdle! I certainly appreciate the support and friendship of all the staff, helping us to do our best to prepare the team as well as possible. Over the next week we will go over the Test series and work out where we as a group can improve and what we can do better, but for now its looking ahead to the T20’s and the ODI series, hoping that will take away some of the pain of the Ashes series loss has resulted in!
P.S Brute has been distraught at not being mentioned in my blog to date so a special mention for our manager Steve Bernard and I hope that ensures there are no noses out of joint about who has or hasn’t been mentioned in the blog!
Great stuff! Good to see you acknoweldge the mistake of misreading the pitch in the last test! Thought your comments on five test series' are spot on too!
Love that we've lost our biggest series, but we can still have an inside joke about Steve Bernard not getting a mention on your blog! Tee ****ing hee!
Just stop with all the exclamation marks please, you stupid ****!