Lutters’ Ashes Lines part 10

THE limited overs section of the tour has got underway with a couple of very good Twenty20 games.

It ended up at one each somehow, with both games being won by the side that really should have lost.

That’s the beauty of Twenty20 cricket, it really is a lottery, where any side could beat any other side on any given day.

With the Cricket World Cup starting in February, the teams have opted to play seven ODIs. Seven! How much 50-over cricket can the paying public deal with. Tickets aren’t cheap in this country, and apparently aren’t in Australia, so are the grounds going to be half empty?

The interest in 50-over cricket outside of the sub-continent is on the wane, so do they really expect tickets to sell like hot cakes? Cricket authorities have tried to make the game more exciting with powerplays for both batting and bowling teams, but ultimately the game lacks the pure technique or psychology of the game for the Test Match fans, and is too slow for the Twenty20 fans.

The ODI series between Australia and England should be a good contest, however, or at least far more exciting for the neutral than the Test series was. Australia actually have some decent bowlers in limited overs cricket, with the likes of Brett Lee and Shaun Tait hurling the ball at the opposition at over 90mph on a regular basis, compared to Siddle and Hilfenhaus blowing it down at around 84mph.

It doesn’t sound a lot, but when you’re facing it that extra split second could be crucial to your success.

So why don’t these better bowlers play in the Australian Test team? They physically can’t is the simple answer, although that didn’t stop Ryan “The Biscuit” Harris I suppose.

Brett Lee is 34, which may not sound that old but he has been steaming in and bowling at 90-plus mph for over 10 years, and that takes its toll on the body. He has had quite a few injuries in recent times so in order to prolong his career has retired from Test cricket.

Tait, although only 28, is also made out of “tea dunkers”. His elbow has been heavily strapped after a recent operation and he has had emotional problems with regards his cricketing career. He has bowled the quickest ball ever at 99.7mph (it rounds to 100mph – check YouTube) and is a very useful asset, but has too retired from Test cricket.

So you can see that Australia really do struggle to pick effective bowlers for the long form of the game. Their best seamers are unavailable, and they won’t pick their best spinner, Nathan Hauritz, but it is interesting that he is in the squad for the limited overs series. Maybe they’ve forgiven him for whatever he did to fall out of favour so dramatically.

Still, seven games is a lot, but it should mean that both sides know what their best 11 should be for the upcoming World Cup. Luke Wright needs to perform in my view – his bowling isn’t indispensible and he needs some runs, but other than that I think the England team is pretty settled, with plenty more very adequate reserves awaiting their opportunity.

I have to admit that I may watch the highlights of the games, but I certainly won’t be staying up to watch them live. If I did I’d be in need of a power nap, let alone a powerplay. Age not only comes to Aussie fast bowlers.

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