One Hand One Bounce 101: ODI madness, Ashes drama, and farewell to Sachin Tendulkar

virat-kohli-and-sachin-tendulkarListen to the Cricket Podcast that Plays by Backyard Rules

In this episode…

Audio, 4th November 2013: 57 minutes

Why has ODI cricket gone mental and what’s behind the run inflation we’ve seen in India? How are England and Australia shaping up for The Ashes? And what madness are India conjuring up for the farewell of their biggest idol? JONATHAN HOWCROFT and SUBASH JAYARAMAN are this week’s guests.

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Links from the podcast:

1) Follow Jonathan Howcroft on BackPageLead and Twitter.

2) Listen to some fantastic interview such as Rahul Dravid, Steve Waugh, Misbah Ul Haq, and more by Subash Jayaraman on Couch Talk.

3) Rohit Sharma’s double ton lights up Diwali.

4) Subash on 350+ batathons and sub-200 thrillers.



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Rohit Sharma’s double ton lights up Diwali


To make the Diwali celebrations even sweeter, even more exuberant,  India has smashed 383 in front of a packed stadium in Bangalore. Rohit Sharma’s savage pull shots and exquisite lofted extra cover drives have seen him become only the third man to score a double century in one day international cricket.

His 209 sees him surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s double ton and sit just behind Virender Sehwag’s record at 219. His total of 16 sixes is the highest ever in one day internationals, breaking Shane Watson’s record which stood at 15. He’s also brought up 1,000 runs for the calendar year.

India – who looked set to post around the 320 mark – produced a Usain Bolt like acceleration plundering 101 runs from the final 5 overs. Watching it felt more like stick cricket than actual cricket. Much of the destruction was down to MS Dhoni, who recorded his 49th ODI half century. And never to be outdone, he produced one of the biggest helicopter sixes you could ever imagine. It soared over the third tier of the stadium and out of the park, measuring a staggering 110m.

This writer would like to wish all Indians both home and abroad a happy Diwali!


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Cricket talk show The Sledge is back for a new season


Melbourne based cricket chat show The Sledge is back for a new season as they take a weekly look at all that’s going on in Australian cricket.

In this episode, Nicko Hancock is joined by Editor of Back Page Lead Jonathan Howcroft and author and freelance journalist Murray Middleton. They catch up on all that’s happened in Australia over the past 6 months, review the already-completed Ryobi Cup, and ponder who should be selected come The Ashes.

They also tackle viewers questions via Sledgemail.

If you know someone who obsesses over cricket and wants their toughest questions answered, be sure to share The Sledge with them. You can direct your questions to their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or email

Enjoy the show and make sure you subscribe.

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George Bailey smashes in the Australian selectors’ windows

george bailey

There is no doubt George Bailey has been knocking on the Australian selectors’ doors of late. Well now he’s got even further. He’s not only hammering on the doors, he’s smashing in the windows just for good measure. His 114 ball 156 brought with it an avalanche of records.

He recorded the most runs in a bilateral series by an Australian or a captain. He’s become the second-fastest man to 1,500 runs. This was highest ever score for an Australian vs India. He’s now the leading ODI runscorer this year surpassing Misbah.His ODI record now reads 1535 runs in 32 innings at an average of 57.

Bailey record1


Bailey record2

We are not really sure if Bailey’s innings will be remembered in years to come. He himself overshadowed Shane Watson’s much needed century. You have to wonder if Virat Kohli’s 17th ODI ton will overshadow Bailey’s.

The value of a 6 diminishes every year. With series where 350 is “par”, we’ll soon start forgetting more centuries than we actually remember.

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Australia Ashes selection: who would you gamble on?

Australia’s overall batting and ever changing order was culpable in the comprehensive 3-0 Ashes beating. With the opening Test at the Gabba just a little over three weeks away, the Australian selectors have some tough decisions to make. To make matters worse, they’ve seen next to nothing in the way of long form cricket since The Ashes.There are a few dilemmas that need settling.

Can they just persist with the status quo of jiggery pokery? Who could they pick based on the Argus report criteria of performance through making runs? What gambles might just work? We’ve written previously about the Australian batting cupboard being bare, but nevertheless some options do exist.

Is Mark Cosgrove worth the weight?


The man who used to make Samit Patel look like Kate Moss is the most equipped batsmen in the country yet to play Test cricket for Australia. Cosgrove has recognised an opportunity and lost 16kg in the off season through torturous fitness sessions in sand dunes near the Bellerive Oval.

The Tasmanian left-hander  was a huge factor in the state’s Shield winning sides of 2010-11 and 2012-13. He was top runscorer in 2010-11 and 2nd only behind Ricky Ponting in 2012-13. His track record of 22 first class centuries and average of 43 should make him a shoe-in. His batting is no doubt good enough. But you have to wonder if his running between the wickets and fielding is no longer a liability.

His relationship with the portly coach Lehmann could work in his favour. Cosgrove was coined “Baby Boof” during their time together at Queensland for some obvious similarities. The title of Lehmann’s autobiography “worth the wait” (great pun, I’m sure you’d agree), might suggest Cosgrove has a sympathiser to his weight problems and a rekindling of his international career. But should you be swayed by Cosgrove’s weight or weight of runs?

My verdict: pick him

Is Shaun Marsh really a bolter for selection in the first Test?

shaun marsh

Having recorded an impressive ton for WA in the Ryobi Cup, News Limited’s Malcolm Conn has labelled Shaun Marsh “the bolter to claim Australia’s last Test batting”. Respectfully Conn is paid to sell newspapers, but surely he’s living on another planet with this one. Marsh is one of the most aesthetically pleasing cricketers in the country but it’s fair to say he has to fall outside of the remit of the Argus Review’s selection criteria: amount of runs. It’s astonishing to think that Marsh can still be considered a prestigious talent at the age of 30. Perhaps it’s because he’s still only has registered 7 first class centuries in more than a decade.

Straight Bat’s SB Tang has written a brilliant piece on the Guardian Sport Network which takes up the Australian fascination with the selection of Marsh. It’s a fantastic read and insight on recent Australian selection.

My verdict: Marsh needs to score runs in the Sheffield Shield before he can be selected.

Should George Bailey be included on the back of ODI form?

george bailey

George Bailey’s ODI record is nothing short of staggering. He’s scored 1541 runs at an average of 53 at a strike rate approaching 90 in just 33 one day internationals. His batting in the India has been phenomenal with scores to date of 85, 92*, 43 and 98. He’s also proved a captain who seems to get genuine respect and guts out of his team.

Bailey has long proved himself a smart and resourceful cricketer, but can emphatic ODI form really translate into a starting berth in an Ashes series? If you were to select him, you’d be going with a guy who has only recorded 14 hundreds (granted more than Marsh) at an average of 38. You’d be going with a guy who only scored 256 runs and a solitary fifty in last year’s Shield at an average of 18.

Perhaps there is an argument to overlook this blip in Bailey’s first-class form. Consider what was asked of George Bailey throughout the 2012-13 season courtesy of Gideon Haigh:

From August 25 to September 3, four one-day internationals; from September 5 to October 5, nine T20 internationals; from October 14 to December 1, four Sheffield Shield four-dayers interspersed with five Ryobi Cup one-dayers; from December 9 to January 5, seven Big Bash League T20s; from January 11 to January 23, five ODIs; from January 26 to 28, two T20Is; from February 1 to 6, three ODIs; February 13, a T20I; February 19, a Ryobi Cup one-dayer; February 21 to today, four Sheffield Shield matches.

That represents no fewer than 18 different changes of cricketing format. That’s tough on anyone and a reflection on the problematic expectations placed on Australian cricketers as a whole.

If we take a brief look back before times got tough for Bailey, the signs look more promising. In the 2011-12 Shield season in which Tasmania were pipped to the title by Queensland, Bailey scored 697 runs at an average of 58 and recorded 3 centuries – proof that the credentials in the longer format are there.

It would obviously be a bold move to select Bailey. One that perhaps does not comply with the Argus Review. But in this instance, the Australian selectors can only make a decision of what they have witnessed since The Ashes. What more could Bailey have done?

My verdict: it’s time to select George Bailey.


In all honesty, your guess at the Australian top 6 is as good as anybody’s. Nevertheless, if I was to choose mine, it would look like this:

Chris Rogers
Shane Watson
Mark Cosgrove
George Bailey
Michale Clarke
Steve Smith

Who would you gamble on? What would your top 6 look like?

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Bouncing Back with Imran Tahir and South Africa

Bouncing BackTest cricket is a funny game. One minute you can be humiliated by a team who only a month prior suffered defeat at the hands of a minnow like Zimbabwe. The next minute you can give that same team one of the beatings of their life. South Africa look like bouncing back against Pakistan in the 2nd Test having registered a lead of more than 300 at the end of day 2.

Graeme Smith is no longer rusty with a double ton and AB De Villers has a ton too.

What makes this feat even more impressive, is they’ve done it all without the best batsman in the world Hashim Amla. He’s absent to support his wife who is about to give birth.

Speaking of bouncing back. Remember Imran Tahir. He was once the answer to South Africa’s spinning dilemmas. Then after recording figures of 37-1-260-0 in Adelaidehe, he look destined to never play a test again . Well, he’s bounced back too. South Africa bowled Pakistan out for 99 on day 1 and Tahir recorded his first ever five for in Test with figures of 5 for 32 off 13 overs.

You can see some footage below.

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There is so much going on in Australian cricket right now

While Australia find themselves competing in a 7 match ODI series in India and doing admirably against the World Champions, there is so much going on back at home. If you missed any of it (chances are you might have), here is a very quick run-down of all that’s going on.

1. Richie Benaud in stable condition after car crash in Sydney

richie benaud alpine sunbeam

There is very sad news that Richie Benaud has been involved in a car crash when his vintage 1963 Sunbeam Alpine collided with a wall.

He is ok and in true legendary fashion, Richie’s response was a classic.

“No-one was injured. I was more worried about the car than myself.”

According to his wife, “Richie is remarkable”. I think the entire cricketing world can say a collective amen to that.

2. Botha officially not a chucker


It’s official, Johan Botha’s “dodgy looking” action is not a chuck. The South African was called playing for South Australia and had to go under a biomechanical analysis to prove it was legit.

The analysis, conducted under the CA and International Cricket Council testing procedures, required Botha to bowl six balls from each of the deliveries in his repertoire; an off-spinner, quicker ball and flicker ball.

The testing found that Botha’s action for all deliveries is under, or equal to, the allowable elbow extension of 15 degrees, with an average extension of nine degrees.  Had any delivery in those 18 balls been deemed illegal, Botha would have failed the testing.

His action was captured by a 20 camera motion analysis system sampling at 250 frames per second, allowing for 3D measurement of human movement.

Commenting on the analysis, Cricket Australia Senior Manager Cricket Operations Sean Cary said:

“The process for dealing with these matters is an international standard testing procedure. The bowling action in question has been assessed and we accept the results from the testing. Johan is free to continue playing for South Australia and Adelaide Strikers,” Cary said.

3. Michael Clarke winning Ashes fitness battle

michael clarke bad back

It would appear that the Australian skipper is winning his fitness battle in the lead up to the Ashes. Whilst Clarke will never be completely rehabilitated from his back injury, noise from Alex Kountouris, the Australian physio, sound promising…

“Michael is progressing well and recently recommenced batting in the nets. At this stage we are aiming to have him fit to play the second round of the Bupa Sheffield Shield, but we have not ruled out the possibility of him playing the first round of the Shield season if he makes better than expected progress. We’ll continue to monitor him closely.”

4. David Warner smashes highest ever domestic one day score and earns NSW Ryobi Cup final place


David Warner hit a record-breaking 197 at the North Sydney Oval and booked NSW’s place in the Ryobi One Day Cup final against reigning champions Queensland taking place this Sunday, once more in Sydney.

Warner’s mammoth century demolished the record for the highest one-day domestic individual score, which was previously 187 runs held by Jimmy Maher.

Warner fell heart-breakingly short of the double-century but he’s in the midst of a massive purple patch having notched up three centuries in seven days. By the time he was caught in the deep off John Hastings’ bowling NSW’s chase was never in doubt, the Blues winning by four wickets with three balls remaining.

Warner’s destruction (from 141 balls, including 10 sixes) overshadowed Dan Christian’s quickfire 117 from 90 balls and Rob Quiney’s supporting 89 earlier in Victoria’s batting innings.

5. Cricket Australia is winning from a financial point of view

Cricket Australia just completed their AGM. Whilst their test team is in a massive lull, it would appear that from a financial point of view, they are kicking goals.

Revenue grew 63 per cent to $684m over cricket’s four-year reporting cycle (2009-2012), up from $418m (2004-2008) and is projected to grow to $1.083b for the next four-year cycle.

Cricket revenue is recorded over the four year period due to annual fluctuations in income derived from teams touring Australia with the adoption of financial policy that allows for the smoothing of member distributions and player payments. This ensures the consistent funding of game development programs and activities.

The AGM was told that CA is on track to record strong revenue growth over the next four year cycle, achieving its strategic goal of having $70m in cash reserves by 2016-17 to future-proof the game against any unforeseen event.

Cricket Australia gets a lot of criticism for putting money in front of cricket. But one encouraging stat to report is that cricket participation is up overall. It reached a record 952,000 people, a 5 per cent/year increase over the last decade. Nevertheless, not so much was made of the Argus review…

“While the Ashes results were disappointing for the men’s and women’s teams,  the implementation of recommendations from the Australian Team Performance Review were intended to create a performance-based culture and achieve the long-term goal of producing the best teams, players and officials in the world.”

6. England have landed

England touch down in Australia on Friday and will compete against a WA XI next Thursday in their first game. Meanwhile, Australia aren’t even home yet. It looks like their pointless ODI series is starting to prove valuable. Surely George Bailey has to be playing his way into the Test team.

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Should the high five be outlawed from the game?

Fresh from one of the worst high fives in the history of the game, there have been calls for the celebration to be banned from the game.

Should players be throwing high fives willy nilly? Is it just some Seppo bullshit that the West Indies have introduced into the game? When it comes to congratulating your teammates, is there any better way of doing it than the traditional Australian hug, kiss or a lick, grope on the arse, or a big of a dry rub? It’s still the most appropriate way of showing one’s exuberance and excitement, and certainly the most masculine and manly way of doing it…

Watch the video below and share which side of the fence you’re on.

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India vs Australia 3rd ODI Video Highlights

Watch video highlights of the 3rd ODI between India and Australia in Mohali

MS Dhoni continued his rich vein of form as he guided India from a mediocre score to above 300 in an inspired innings that featured more helicopters than a scene from Apocalypse Now. His 139 off 121 balls was in vain however, as the man making all the headlines – James Faulkner – unleashed a brutal assault on a hapless Ishant Sharma, finishing with 64 off 29 balls.

With 44 needed off 18 deliveries Sharma came on to bowl. His over went for 30 (no wides or no-balls incidentally) and in the blink of an eye, Australia were in the ascendancy.

That over: Half volley (4) – Long hop (6) – Half volley (6) – Short (2) – Long hop (6) – Length ball (6)

Australia continue to upset the Indians and lead the series 2-1. Meanwhile, MS Dhoni has admitted that India’s death bowling seems to be getting worse. Ishant Sharma is surely sweating on his place for the remainder of the series.

Enjoy the highlights:

Part 1

Part 2

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India vs Australia 2nd ODI Video Highlights: A 700 Hundred Run Thrashing?

Watch video highlights of the 2nd ODI between India and Australia in Jaipur.

It’s hard to imagine that you can post 359 runs in a one day international and still be on the end of a thrashing. But that’s what happened to Australia. They lost by nine wickets as India won an extraordinary match with 39 deliveries to spare.

Australia won the toss and choose to bat, putting on a sizable score of 359 with all of Australia’s top five batsman clocking up half centuries. George Bailey continued his sublime form hitting 92 of 50 balls and Phil Hughes anchored the innings with a solid 83 runs.

However, India came out firing in their chase with Rohit Sharma (145*) and Shikhar Dhawan (95) combining for an opening wicket partnership of 176. Virat Kohli, in a knock reminiscent of that MCG ton against Sri Lanka, took India’s innings to another level and in the process took the game away from Australia, knocking up his 16th ODI ton of just 52 balls.

Only one team in the world could have pulled this off.

Enjoy the highlights below:

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