With the conclusion of the ODI series against Pakistan, the congratulations isn’t just to our players and the support staff for the series win but more so to the fact that they survived the intense heat and humidity.
The conditions are without question not ideal for cricket and the time at which the matches were played is enough indication that the UAE is not the place that teams will be too eager to head off to. The Twenty20s will be far better suited for both sides. You can click here to check out the upcoming fixtures.
We walk away from the ODIs with a well needed series win but it was far from a victory to be smug about. Pakistan had their chances and found a way to blow it. They wasted a review which pinned Michael Hussey on the back foot which looked plumb in live time and then there was the drop catch when Glenn Maxwell hauled one to deep square leg before he finished his rescue mission for the night, or should I say morning.
However, our boys took their fortunes and ran with them.
Michael Hussey showed us yet again that you can never, ever doubt our team when he is at the crease, Michael Clarke displayed his liking for the number 3 role along with some mesmerizing footwork and flashy bat speed, while Glenn Maxwell made his mark this series to likely edge ahead of Steven Smith in the limited overs all-rounder pickings. “Healthy competition” as I call it.
There was a far better blend of experience and caution along with youth and no fear with this side and it’s that mix with a strong minded leader that will shape this team for the future. Our team isn’t what you’d call overly exciting or competitively daunting but it’s a step in the right direction and a reasonable step forward after the UK tour.
There’s clearly a lot of work to still be done with preps for the summer and the medium term vision of the 2015 Cricket World Cup but there will always be positives to take away. So well done to the boys for really sticking together as a group and managing to maintain their energy in the hot, humid conditions of the UAE. It required something special in terms of commitment.
Here’s a quick recap of how our players went this series.
The Pitbull did not look himself this series with the bat in hand. The conditions may have affected his focus but it was still far from easy going for him. In the second ODI he looked terribly out of place and the Pakistan bowlers had him chained down until his dismissal came about.
It was a forgettable series for him in terms of his batting output. Even in the field when he made small slip ups – keep the dew in mind – he would get really hard on himself and took a while to shrug it off which is so unusual for him.
He has a chance to free his mind and approach the T20s with Shane Watson to partner him and hopefully it will come together for him. He’s too classy a player to stay down for too long and in the 3rd ODI he had a sniff of this freedom as he started to hit the ball cleanly until mishitting a delivery from Abdur Rehman.
Played 4, 4 Innings, 74 runs, HS 24, Average 18.50, SR 56.92.
Matt did a good job behind the stumps and he has logged some decent travel hours the last few months. From South Africa to Australia, Australia to the Caribbean and then England. Now the UAE and he’s been thrown in the deep end with plenty shuffling in the batting order.
In terms of his batting the partnership with David Warner didn’t take off and neither of them fired this series but like the Pitbull, Wadey will have a good hit out soon. His gloves work was consistent and that was vital.
He was easily hassled by spin bowling and we saw this in the Caribbean as well, so this is definitely an area of his game he’ll have to work on but given the state of Australian spin bowling a lot of the improvement will have to be “on the job”.
Played 4, 4 Innings, 114 runs, HS 75, Average 28.50, SR 59.68
Clarkey has done a splendid job since becoming full time captain and he took it to the next level this series by taking on the number 3 role. He adapted better than any other batsman and his strong leadership and responsibility shown is both inspiring and admirable. In my opinion he really went the extra mile this series.
His collection of runs for the series was good and this continues a good run for him in ODI cricket. If some opening partnerships had been formed it may have made his job slightly easier but he handled the pressure well and it was a good series for Clarkey as he lead from the front as a leader and with the run tally collected.
He’s got some massive battles ahead and his experience will be vital for our side. Brilliant stuff and if you didn’t catch any of his performances, you’ll kick yourself! He was so classy when taking on Pakistan’s top quality spin bowling unit. He has been hitting the ball exceptionally well.
Played 4, 4 innings, 210 runs, HS 75, Average 52.50, SR 75.53, x2 50s /
1 wicket, 29 runs, Average 29.00, Econ 2.85
Dussey had a dull series and appeared to be an easy pick for the Pakistan bowlers. A bold move to promote him to the opening spot with David Warner was a wise move from the leadership side of the team which boasted some squad confidence in Dussey’s abilities. He adapted well and managed a well composed 43 before throwing away his wicket trying to maintain the momentum he’d built.
That innings will help him hit the ground running with the T20s and then the ICC World T20 around the corner. It was a poor series in terms of what he’s capable of as he just managed 59 runs from 4 innings but he’s still got something special to offer Australia in limited overs cricket with the experience, even though the competition for places is starting to heat up.
Played 4, 4 innings, 59 runs, HS 43, Average 14.75, SR80.82
As mentioned earlier, you can never rule us out when he is in the middle wielding his bat and thrashing out innovative shots against any bowling attack. He had a fairly good series and his composure was yet again a joy to watch as he guided us to a series win. He had some luck but this is a given at the elite level. Not like he’s had no shortage of it against Pakistan as well!
We seriously missed him in the ODI series against England so seeing him in the side this series made me realise how much he still offers us and how damn good a cricketer and team bloke he is. We’re going to miss him when he calls it quits but for now it’s great to have him performing in the side.
Callum Ferguson didn’t get a game but I still strongly believe he is the right man to step in for Huss and hopefully he took a lot in from the sidelines looking on.
Played 4, 4 innings, 180 runs, HS 65, Average 45, SR 93.26, x2 50s
If there’s one thing I admire about Bails it’s the way he always finds a moment to smile. He makes it look as if he is just having the time of his life (he’s playing cricket for Australia, so duh) and even in sticky situations he manages a grin. Even when Saeed Ajmal was foxing him with his doosras, Bails just smiled, shrugged it off and plugged away.
He worked hard for his runs and it’s important to acknowledge this. He feeds well when batting with Michael Hussey and slowly but surely Bails is coming into his own at the elite level. Now to see how he goes leading the side in T20 cricket.
Played 4, 4 innings, 120 runs, HS 57*, Average 40.00, SR 76.92, x1 50
When Glenn Maxwell was fielding like a dog for the Bushrangers a little while ago I had a gut feeling we’d be seeing plenty more of him. Sure enough he is in the Australian cricket team, sooner than expected, and if first impressions were needed he made them count!
All I could think about when he was smashing the ball around in the first ODI was how much I missed Andrew “Roy” Symonds’ power hitting and then I just took in the youthful confidence that Maxi displayed when he came in to bat. He was dropped in the deep during his match winning innings for the final ODI but he made Pakistan pay dearly and this is the sign of a ferocious cricketer in it to win it.
Still seeking that first wicket but he’s certainly made an exciting impression with his batting and fielding. Confident it is the start of good things to come and with experience and quality players around him it is a golden chance for him to soak it all up.
Played 4, 4 innings, 124 runs, HS 56*, Average 41.33, SR 113.76, x1 50
DC had a quiet series getting just a couple of wickets and adding 23 runs to the team. He is a team man and while his contributions were plain he is still a player for consideration in limited overs cricket, especially the T20 scene where he has made a name for himself.
I still liken his role to that of James Hopes but some more impact will be needed with our all-rounders starting to stack up again. Keep in mind that Shane Watson was also rested this series.
Played 3, 3 innings, 23 runs, HS 18, Average 11.50 / 2 wickets, 132 runs, Average 66.00, Econ 5.07
Mitchy went under the radar this series but I paid close attention to his bowling. He had better rhythm, was confident and he had very good control. He just managed 6 wickets but it was a series that he needed after his terrible return against England.
This was the environment he needed. Little media hype, a crowd not too focused on his X factor abilities and working with a young group of bowlers who needed his support. He’ll be working away at State cricket until the next ODI series comes around which is another good move as he marks a full return. Well done Mitchy.
Played 4, 4 innings, 6 wickets, 161 runs, BBI 2/33, Average 26.83, Econ 4.47
I have been writing for quite some time that a bowler with Starc’s attributes simply needs to channel his focus into his line. His height allows him flexibility with his length but if he gets it wrong with the line then it can be a bit of a mess but this series he was superb! Even with a chest injury he fought his way through the 3rd ODI. That’s dedication.
His stats are outstanding and his 5fer was a sign of exciting things to come. His one delivery in the third ODI to dismiss Kamran Akmal will be branded into my mind for a long time. Angled in and the ball held the line, a mighty fine line at that too. Kamran expected it to angle in more and he was tricked. Bowled and a delivery that Wasim Akram could send down effortlessly.
We urgently require our young guns to step it up in limited overs cricket after Ryan Harris’ injuries started to hold him back while Ben Hilfenhaus has been rested and Peter Siddle is deemed more of a Test specialist. These three hold the fort in Test cricket so there’s an opportunity for the young bowlers in limited overs cricket, an opportunity they’re grabbing.
Played 4, 4 innings, 13 wickets, 183 runs, BBI 5/42, Average 14.07, Econ 4.96, x1 5fer, x2 4fer
With Brett Lee retired, JP has chance to mirror his presence. As mentioned above, the young guns have a massive opportunity to seal permanent spots in the limited overs side and they’d be sleeping if they didn’t see it. I have always likened JP’s attitude to Brett Lee’s and even in the intense conditions he still stormed in with an attitude and tried his best to bang the ball in hard and fast.
His 7 wickets at 23.00 are not a true reflection of the work he put in and I think he’s going to develop into a vital component of our limited overs side. The attitude and ambition is what he needs to keep feeding. The pace and technique will be improved over time. I rate this kid so much.
Played 4, 4 innings, 7 wickets, 161 runs, BBI 3/19, Average 23.00, Econ 4.45
Xavier hasn’t had an easy going time since the summer against India and Sri Lanka. This series he was overlooked for the Pakistan ODIs which is slightly concerning how good these conditions were for spin bowling.
He’s not the type of bowler who’ll open peoples eyes or have people on the edge of their seats but with little competition at State level he is right up there as one of the men for the job.