Itís almost time again. The sound of leather on willow, the hot sun beating down on us, the long days and mind games of Tests, the One Day Internationals, and the thrilling Twenty20ís. Itís time for the Australian summer of cricket.
West Indies in Australia - Tests
To kick start the Australiaís 2009/10 season, the West Indians will be heading over. Hopefully the West Indies board can sort out the contract issues before the series begins, so the West Indies can play their strongest team. The thought of Edwards on a quick and bouncy WACA pitch against the likes of Ponting is mind blowing.
Australia are a team in transition, and undecided on a few positions in the team. The openers, middle order batsmen and bowlers arenít sorted, as much as we would like them to be.
We start the summer at the Gabba, as per the usual, on the 26th of November, after the West Indies play their warm up game against Queensland at the Allan Border field, then they head to Adelaide and Perth to wrap up the 3 Test series.
Chanderpaul will be the key for the West Indies. If he fires with the bat, heís almost unstoppable. He needs some decent support, and he can almost single handedly win games. For Australia, they need the bowling to perform. Once you get Gayle and Chanderpaul, Sarwan and co can still come and make you pay. If Johnson, Lee, Siddle and co can dismiss the West Indies top order quickly, then they will find it hard to recover. However, Taylor has a Test century, so the tail isnít all that bad.
If the West Indies are playing a significantly weakened team, Australia should and probably will roll them 3-0. If the West Indies are full strength, I think they will steal one Test from Australia, but Australia will get victories in the other two games. 2-1 to Australia.
West Indies in Australia Ė One Day Internationals
After the Test series, the focus turns to the One Dayers. The first at the MCG at Melbourne, then we head to Adelaide for the second, SCG at Sydney for the third, the Gabba in Brisbane at the fourth before heading back to the MCG for the fifth and last ODI.
The West Indies, on their day, are as good as any in the shorter forms. Edwards has the potential to get 0/60 or 5/20, and the West Indian fans and players will be hoping that he achieves the latter against Australia. Gayle can get going easily, and destroy Australiaís line up. Chanderpaul is a solid One Day player, and the rest of the team are good at playing their supporting roles.
Seeing Australiaís poor form recently in the shorter form, I wouldnít be surprised at all if we went down to the West Indies full strength team at least once. They have a powerful one day team at their best, and will certainly give Australia a run for their money. 4-1, Australiaís way, I reckon.
West Indies in Australia Ė Twenty20s
The excitement of the tour. The thrills of Twenty20 are taking the world by storm, and despite not being new, itís still the baby form of cricket. Many Australian fans have shown a particular disliking for Twenty20 cricket, seeing it as a joke, much like the Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, who recently retired from Twenty20 to become a Test and One Day specialist.
Australiaís captain is still undetermined. My tip is it will be Clarke, as the selectors will use it as an excuse to give him more international captaincy experience before he eventually takes the reins from Ponting in the Tests and One Dayers, assuming he does. The problem with this is, his position shouldnít, and hopefully isnít, safe in the team at the moment. Being captain, it makes him undroppable, which is a bad thing for Australian cricket, as he struggles to play the big shots and actually get going, rather just bumps the ball around and strikes at about 70-100, barely enough, unless your team is having a collapse.
For Australia, I think the fast bowlers need to control their bowling, or the West Indian batsmen will be able to take control, even if they arenít the best quality batsmen they can still use the pace of the ball for runs. The West Indians defeated Australia at the Twenty20 World Cup, so Australia need to be keen for revenge. For the West Indians, again Gayle is the key. He has a Twenty20 century, the first man to do so, and is a dangerman all the time. Edwards on his day is a great bowler, and his toe crushing yorkers are almost impossible to play.
Assuming itís the West Indies strongest outfit, I think they will lose the first game, before seeking, successfully, levelling the series up making it a draw. 1-1, I think.
This is part 1 of 3 in the preview of Australia's home summer. Find more at my blog, AussieCricketFix.