3rd Ashes test preview.  Thursday 1st August 2013.  Old Trafford Manchester. Ashes

The 3rd test is nearly upon us and England have the chance to wrap up the Ashes before the Premier League season starts.  Incredible stuff.  The pitch at Old Trafford will supposedly help the bowlers and there’s a chance Australia may play 2 spinners.  Their chances or already being written off by everyone in this test and the series and as much as I hate them, I thought I’d offer some helpful tips on how they can get better.  I’ve called this guide:

3 Ways the Aussies can Stop Being so Shit**:

  1. Stop doing a really good impression of 1990’s England.

You play badly.  You lose heavily.  You blame certain members of the team and replace them at the first opportunity. Then bring back the castigated player with his confidence is shot when his replacement fails. Repeat until things get so bad that you need to commission a ‘report’ into why you’re so crap.

My advice to Austrlia is not to do this.  Just stop it.  Now.  If Steve Smith was no good as a bowler when you selected him 4 years ago why would he be any good as a batsmen?  There must be loads of shit Australian cricketers who can bowl filth and pick up the odd wicket.  Don’t let a poor batsmen mask his deficiencies by trying to claim he’s an all-rounder.  Phil Hughes has been dropped THREE TIMES as a test batsmen and he’s 24.  Most players don’t survive one dropping in international cricket.  Usman Kawaja is 27.  I know you can bloom late in cricket, but he was tipped as the next big thing three years ago and has done very little since.   Yet you keep picking these players Australia.

Chopping and changing the line-up DOESN’T WORK.  As the best paid group of coaches and players on the world YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS.  Stick with the blokes you have for the series and maybe they will come good.  If they don’t then you’ll know they’re not up to it and move on.  That way you don’t give several chances to players who keep letting you down!

  1. Admit that not all your players get along ‘great’ – you’re fooling no one.

When Mickey Arthur was Australia coach earlier this year he said that there were no divisions in the Aussies dressing room and everything was fine after ‘homework gate’.  Mickey Arthur last week then said that was all a big pack of fibs and there were serious divisions between Shane Watson and Michael Clarke and that players had formed cliques within the dressing room.  Mickey Arthur didn’t actually say that he was lying.  Actually he didn’t say anything at all as his court case documents against Cricket Australia were leaked to the press.  But he was lying.  Lying to everybody.  Probably himself.

The Aussie response was to come out and say ‘all the players get along great.’  NO THEY DON’T.  I’ve never even met them and I know they don’t.  But that’s okay.  People at work and in sport don’t have to get on to be successful.  They can play well on the field and call each other names off it.  Just stop pretending everything’s fine when it isn’t and maybe there’ll be a bit of team unity which will help the performance on the pitch.  Pretending everything’s okay solves nothing and pretending there isn’t a massive fuck off elephant in the room might help you behave like a team in the match.

  1. Bat time.

I know and I’m sorry.  Obviously this is not news to you and no I don’t think you’re stupid. Lehman has consistently spouted this.  So why am I being as friendly and helpful as I am by trying to remind the Aussies?  Because it needs rammed down their throats and tattooed on Steve Smith’s massive face.

If you bat 100 overs, you have a fighting chance of posting a competitive score.  In the first Test, baring ten wicket partnerships, Australia batted 124 overs for the loss of 18 wickets.  ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FOUR OVERS IN A TEST MATCH THEY NEARLY WON.  That’s a day and bit’s play.  England were skittled on the first day and batted 210 overs in a match they needed a god like performance from Anderson to nick.  In the second Test it wasn’t much better as the Aussies batted a total of 140 overs in total.  England managed 240.

Why are so many Aussie batsmen out to playing rash shots when they need to bat time.  I’m aware that your players are terrified of being dropped at the first opportunity Australia, but surely you have to ask Hughes, Haddin, Smith and Kawaja what the fuck they were playing at.  Players get out in daft ways all the time, when the tail enders  are out caught behind and LBW, you know that there’s something wrong in the dressing room.  See point two on how to address this.

Bat 200 overs in the game and you won’t get embarrassed!  Bat 250 overs + and you have a really good chance of not losing!

There you have it.  I’m too kind.  I think England will win inside three days.  Last time as I was as confident about anything we lost 3 0 at home to some team whose name I can’t remember, so maybe that’s Australia’s best chance..  I’m going to Manchester for days 2 &

3.  It better not rain.

Alex Hurst 

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