Sunday, January 21, 2007

Events Take a Turner the Worst for Blair

Ruth Turner's arrest by the police has been criticised by Labour MP's Tessa Jowell and David Blunkett, although I am not exactly sure what there grounds are other than she is close to Tony Blair and so should be untouchable. This is outrageous. They did not have much to say when an innocent man was shot in the head eight times as a result of incompetent policing, nor did they worry much about David Kelly's death. Does New Labour's arrogance never end? It is a real pity Ruth Turner was not charged; what would really have been great is to see these two idiots charged with contempt of court.

After a 90-day detention under suspicion, of course.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Whitewash Christmas

Glenn McGrath has been predicting it for years, but even the most pessimistic England fan could not have believed the current crop of England players would go down 5-0 to the Convicts. Even when we had the worst team in the world, and they had the best which ever played Test cricket (captained by the almighty Steve Waugh) we managed to win one (usually the last one - and I am beginning to think perhaps they let us).

After winning the Ashes back 14 months ago, they have been relinquished in the worst defeat ever. We may have lost 5-0 86 years ago but we should remember that England team had been decimated by the Great War. And I bet they did not get any MBE's either...

Looking towards the future, things do look brighter. Young England players like Alastair Cook and Ian Bell have learnt a lot from this Test and are both younger than 25, as is Kevin Pietersen who looks like he could become one of the best batsmen in the world, in the vein of Lara and Tendulkar. The bowling attack was lightweight this time, but at 21 and 24 there is a lot more cricket ahead for Mahmood and Panesar. And I have not even mentioned Plunkett (21), Broad (19), Simon Davies (that elusive wicket-keeper batsman from Worcesteshire, 19) who will surely break through into the team in the next two-and-a-half years. Hopefully Simon Jones will also shake of his injuries and we will have a crop of players who will gain confidence because they will not play a team anywhere near as good as this Australian team until the next Ashes, when Australia probably will not be as good.

It was a fitting way for the remnants of the greatest Test side ever to go, winning 5-0 against the old enemy (the b*stards put us in prison!). They have got some great players coming through, but like England after the 2005 Ashes they should not rest on their laurels as things could turn round very quickly. The Australian four-man bowling attack will no longer have two world class bowlers to turn to when they are in trouble. Who will replace Warne and McGrath? Maybe Stuart Clark can step up for the latter, but the former is irreplaceable (it would have been 4-0 this series, and England would have won more comfortably in 2005 without him). Phil Jacques will be a more than able replacement for Langer but surely Symonds is still not Test standard. Hayden and Gilchrist can not be far from retirement, and finding a Wicketkeeper-batsman as good as the latter could be a problem, changing the whole balance of the team. The replacements for these old guys will take a few years, with some players being tried and not working and they themselves being replaced. Fielding positions that have been the preserve of certain players for the best part of a decade will suddenly be up for grabs and with all due respect, Ricky Ponting's (lack of) captaincy skills have been covered up by a great set of players.
Who is the first team they will test out the new generation against? India, away in November. Not exactly your ideal starter tour, given they beat the greatest Test side ever a few years back. After this series however, the Aussies will believe they are ready to take on the world.

Here's hoping they lose.