Ashes 2010: Marcus North’s Century Cements Ashes Spot

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Every cricketing nation seemingly has a player in the current Marcus North situation. I’m talking about batters who are hanging onto their spot in the side by the skin of their teeth. A constant stream of 20s, 30s, and good starts that look good but never get built on mean they are likely to be consigned to the perils of domestic cricket sooner rather than later. Yet with their final throw of the dice they come up trumps with that previously elusive century. Marcus North’s century and highest score (128) in the opening innings of the second test in Bangalore looks to have cemented his place in the first test at The Gabba on November 25th. You can see the highlights below:

Watch India vs Australia 2nd Test Highlights Day 1

Watch India vs Australia 2nd Test Highlights Day 2

Many cricket fans are frustrated that Marcus North is still in the side and are calling for his head. Prior to the 2nd test Marcus North boasted an extremely modest average for an Australia middle order batsman at 35. And 18 tests is a fair amount of cricket. If you take a look through the dominant Waugh era and into the Punter era you can see how below par an average that is. In the current side you have Katich at 46; Watson at 40 (~53 over the last 1.5 yrs since moving to opener); Ponting at 55; Clarke at 50; and Hussey at 50.

The calls for North’s demise get stronger when you consider the two primary candidates – Philip Hughes and Callum Ferguson – knocking at the door. Ferguson would be like for like. Meanwhile Philip Hughes would mean Shane Watson has to move down the order despite his phenomenal form ever since that Edgbaston test. For the time being however, yesterday’s knock has quelled any such talk. It seems Ricky Ponting is a big fan of North and has considerable faith in his part time off-spin. And a five wicket test haul is no mean feat against anyone.

Furthermore, North shouldn’t be disheartened but should in fact be empowered by knowing that his situation isn’t unique. Not so long ago  Ian Bell was just like him. England fans were frustrated at Bell looking elegant but not being able to hit it off the square. Calls for his head were around every corner and yet today Bell has won the fans over in a big way. Who knows? Maybe Marcus North can do the same in the upcoming Ashes series.

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  1. Allan R says

    Hmm I’ve been calling for norths head, and now I know it won’t be forthcoming. Your description of someone making 20′ and 30’s though just isn’t the case with North, and he’s already 30, how much time do you give a 30 yo to “find their feet” in the Austalian test side? None as far as I’m conserned. Here’s a break down of Noths 32 Innings
    Ducks: 6
    1-10: 11
    11-20: 4
    20-49 (Starts):2
    50-99 : 4
    100 +: 5
    So the ducks column is second only to the 1-10 scores. and it’s just plain not good enough. I will say he has an exelent conversion rate have more 100’s then 50’s but i’m sorry you still havn’t earnt a place in the side North. The other issue is this 1 century in his last 7 inning (next best 20) Will cement his spot, for the entire ashes series, so he can make diddley squat and theoretically cost us the ashes at home before being considered for replacement. The other point you touched on, Ricky Pontings faith, the selection system when touring, out of the 17 odd man squad is still pretty much ricky’s choice, although there is now 1 touring selector I don’t think punter would be too chuffed all of a sudden being told who his 11 is instead of him picking it himself (which has been our system) and this needs to change, I challenge anyone to name any profesional sport where the skipper is also the head selector when on tour. This is a massive floor in Australian cricket and for us to have any chance of regaining the number 1 spot, we have to change it even at the cost of punters career he’s not too far off retiring now anyway and we’ll miss that number 3. But it’s a long term gain if we have the selctors making all the calls on tour, A less load on the skipper

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