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Sunday, 24 May 2009





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Symonds dropping - a big blow to Aussies

The Australian cricket selectors have picked what they think is the best squad to defend the Ashes in the Five Test series against England which will begin in old blighty once the Twenty20 World Cup is over.When the Ashes series was previously played in Australia, the Englishmen led by Andrew Flintoff suffered their worst ever defeat when they were mauled 5-nil.

This time round the Englishmen will be led by another Andrew, South African born Andrew Strauss who with his success in the recently concluded series against West Indies must be confident of stuffing the Kangaroos.

In the Australian squad that was announced on Wednesday by the Australian selectors, it came as a surprise to note that Andrew Symonds that dashing allrounder was missing. He had been dropped.

Now Symonds is one batsman who can tear any threatening attack to shreds and win a game with his exciting and devastating batting. He can also bowl tight medium pace and if required tantalizing off spin.

True he had his problems and missed out. But in recent times against Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and then in the ongoing Indian Premier League Twenty20 in South Africa, it was apparent that he was quietly slipping into top gear.

When he looked as though he had booked his flight to England, his hopes went up in ashes and it sure would have disappointed him. Probably it would have worried the selectors too. But that is how selections go.

But it can be predicted that Australia skipper Ricky Ponting will miss the heroics of Symonds. Symonds in addition to his cricketing abilities, has the knack of getting under the skins of his opponents.

In this Ashes series where no quarter will be asked or given and which is going to be fiercely contested, Symonds upsetting influence would have been additional ammunition for the Aussies.

Symonds was always a favourite of skipper Ponting. How come Ponting could not convince the selectors this time? But the selectors would do well to have him stand by, so that they could summon him, if a player breaks down.

It is heartening to see the return of Brett "lethal" Lee to take his usual place in the Australian pace attack force. With the Aussies lacking a quality spinner who can run through a side, it is apparent that England will make wickets to suit spin considering that they have Graham Swann off spin and Monty Panessar left-arm spin.

Former Aussie master batsman Dean Jones did not seem to be a favourite of Lee and said he would not support Lee"s selection to England, because he was convinced that the paceman had still not fully recovered from surgery.

But the Aussie selectors cocked a snook at Jones and included Lee and along with Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenaus and Peter Siddle should fire life threatening pace and worry the England batting. Left-armer Doug Bollinger was unlucky to miss out.

The Aussie selectors know better and have plonked for the men who they are convinced would deliver again and retain the Ashes in convincing style, like they did the previous time round.England's cricket hit a new low when they were massacred 5-nil, must be determined to show the lion in them and have the Kangaroos hopping around for survival. Whether the Englishmen would succeed would be interesting to watch.The Ashes series evokes tremendous interest and it would not be any different this time round. Until the series begins and is played, the gladiators out in the centre and the supporters will keenly follow its outcome with the excitement being electric.

Shame on the Windies

True the Englishmen walloped the cricketers from the Caribbean 2-zero. But they must not be complacent and think that everything is well with their game and think they can do the Aussies in this time.

West Indies were completely outplayed. They did not seem a team capable of matching up to England and giving them a contest. The Windies won the series in the Caribbean 1-nil and if their form this time round is an indication, then that win was just a flash in the pan.

Sad when one thinks of what Windies cricket was in the past.

For a team to succeed it is paramount that they have a dynamic leader. Their present leader Chrys Gayle was no class. He was always seen parking himself in the slips, hands in pockets and doing sweet nothing to motivate his troops.

It was reported that he was contemplating quitting the captaincy. The quicker he does it would be for the good of the game in the Caribbean. Ramnaresh Sarwan who was unceremoniously deposed must be given back his rightful captaincy slot.

In favour of Gayle it must be said that he is a devastating hitter when he gets going and is a treat to watch. But then how many times does he get going? The hall mark of a great batsman is consistency. Gayle sadly lacks this essential.

Former Sri Lankan coach John Dyson now doing the same job with the Windies must be wondering what magic he should perform to get this highly talented set of cricketers into a set of terminators.


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