Appreciating cricket's greatest legend ever - HD Bird...............Funniest post (intentionally) ever.....Runner-up.....Third.....Fourthcricket player"; "Bob"), 1/11/1990-15/4/2006
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Roy & HG summed it up last night at the AB Medal ceremony in their tribute to AB, which basically went something like this:
In the 80s, the team was crap. He scored all the runs, took all the wickets, held all the catches, carried the drinks onto the field, put out the boundary markers, knocked the stumps in, tossed the coin, mowed the ground, peeled the oranges and sometimes acted as team physio, just to name a few.
Also, when would Waugh or Ponting assert their authoritah like AB did on the 93 tour? They showed that footage last night from a tour match where he's talking to McDermott, McDermott said somethign back. AB's like "What did you say mate? Try that sh*t with me again mate, and you'll be on the next ****ing plane home!"
Gold. These days the aggrieved bowler would probably curl up in a ball and start sucking his thumb.
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Which '93 tour? To New Zealand?
in batting ----> Ponting, Waugh & Border
in captaincy ----> i guess, it's much easier to captain an OZ team given its professionalism and talent than some of the other sides but if i had to rank them then it would be Waugh, Border [I heard that he rebuild the OZ team in the 80s] and Ponting
from the OZ skippers, Mark Taylor was probably one of the best captains that I hv ever seen along with Imran Khan and Martin Crowe
Fastest gun in town
In all honesty, I know it's a bit OT, but the best bloke I ever saw captain the Aussies, tactically-speaking, was Shane Warne. I remember watching a ODI in about 1998 where the Saffies were absolutely cruising when Steve Waugh went off the field for a bit because he was injured and Warnie took over. For the next 10 or so overs, the whole complexion of the game changed and if you ignored the score (SA were 2/plenty chasing a low score with two batsmen in and set), they suddenly looked in all sorts of trouble. Two things;
- Warnie's fields were interesting. He not only dried up all scoring options but retained enough attacking fielders to make the SA batsmen seriously look average. It was quite weird to see the game get turned on its head like that purely by fields which were very unusual.
- The rest of the team to a man got behind him. Suddenly the listless Aussie team were putting in, diving desperately for everything, the bowling was tighter, etc. A couple of wickets fell and SA, from a position of total dominance, looked as if they could lose the match.
Then Steve Waugh came back on the field, the game returned to business and usual and an easy win for SA resulted.
I know Ian Chappell was a fan of Warnie as captain instead of Waugh and there were plenty of others. Once the team started winning regularly, those criticisms faded but yeah Warnie as captain was something else. Whenever he took over, even for short periods, he looked the part. One of those things we'll never know for sure, unfortunately.
But I quite see what you mean - the exact same thing happened the following year against England and Sri Lanka when Warne again deputised for Waugh. Warne was a terrific one-day captain on big grounds with high-calibre seam-bowlers - he almost always kept the field up, which is exactly what you need to do - too many people for the last 10-15 years have dropped the field back too quickly.
Over here, for Hants, whenever I've seen him captain in a one-day game I've always been roundly unimpressed; he's repeatedly kept bowlers on for one over too long and a decent spell (say, 5-19-1) has turned into a wholly average one (say, 6-30-1); he's never putting enough defence on the shorter boundaries which you sometimes get on grounds over here; and he has an inflated opinion of the capabilities of spin, often bowling it in the Powerplay and slog overs, something which simply doesn't work over here, often even for a bowler of the calibre of himself. Spin is a middle-overs-only thing in England and nothing has ever changed that.
I love AB. And usually I hate cricketers like him - all dour with no style but there's just something about him - he's so iconic in Australian cricket. Loved, loved the Roy and HG 'tribute' at the AB medal. Ponting's the best batsman though, easily.
'It is hard to recall a batsman quite so serene, so unrushed, so unflappable.' Chris Ryan on ... look to the left. Ahhhh.
Australia has produced some fine captains over the past recent years from I.Chappell, G.Chappell, A.Border, M.Taylor, S.Waugh, R.Ponting. Most of these have succeeded to different extents. Only exceptions have been K.Hughes and G.Yallop perhaps.
Overall, taking all into consideration, batting, bowling, fielding, captaincy, Alan Border stands out from the rest. Thats probably why we have a medal in his honor
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