Australia has once again lost the Ashes. This post may seem like sour grapes but I believe that England did not lose the Ashes; we lost it, through poor selections, bad captaincy and inconsistent performances. Now it seems that the formerly invincible Australian cricket team will be demoted to fourth place in the rankings of test playing nations.
I believe that the Australian selectors did the team no favours at all throughout the series. They stuck with Mitchell Johnson throughout the series even though he was hopelessly out of form. It seemed as though Johnson was the batsmen who the Poms most looked forward to facing, as they plundered his bowling with abandon. I think that Stuart Clark should have been playing in the team from the start. Even though he is not a spectacularly fast bowler like Johnson, Clark is a lot more accurate and can tie down their scoring, enabling the bowler coming from the other end more of a chance to take wickets when the batters try to lash out against the looser stuff. I also cannot understand why Hauritz was dropped for the final test on what turned out to be a very spin friendly wicket. It is especially condemning of the selectors that Hauritz had shown reasonable form in the series prior to the deciding test at the Oval and that the part time spin of Marcus North was able to take wickets in that match. I also do not understand why the selectors did not call for a replacement bowler when Brett Lee became injured. He did not play a single test during the series and it always looked unlikely that he would recover in time from his injury to play at all.
Whilst a lot of blame has been leveled at our bowlers during this Ashes series I don’t think that our batsmen can hold their heads up high either. For much too long have we relied on Ponting to make runs with the other batsmen just putting in cameo performances. Katich, Michael Clark, Shane Watson and Marcus North all showed the odd moment of brilliance but were perhaps not consistent enough. I feel that Phil Hughes should have been given more chances and was dropped too early, whilst I do not understand why the selectors persisted with the out of form Mike Hussey, whose form was even worse than Hughes’ and who seemed to remain in the team more because of his reputation than his form line. Still, I do not understand why Brad Hodge was dropped from the team a few years ago just after making a double century at the MCG and why he was not chosen for this tour. Perhaps it is just that the selectors do not like Victorian batsmen, something which Dean Jones and Matthew Elliott can both empathize with.