Sunday 28 December 2008

There will be blood

Vic Marks and Peter Roebuck are former Somerset team-mates now operating as journos on opposite sides of the world. Both can claim to know a player when they see one - they only had to glance around their dressing room to encounter Viv Richards, Ian Botham and Joel Garner.

This weekend, each decided to to select their Test XIs of 2008 for their respective newspapers, the Observer and the Sydney Morning Herald. Total number of places available: 22. Total number of Australians included: 1.

When empires go, they go quickly and with blood. Marks's selection, which contained no Australians at all, was further constrained by his decision to consider only players from Australia, England, South Africa and India (in Vic's world, if no-one else's, England still rank above Sri Lanka).

All good, knockabout fun. But there is a wider point, and that is that the Australian air of invincibility has slipped away now that their bowlers can no longer control a game. No-one feels the need to defer to them any more.

Marks's XI
Graeme Smith
Virender Sehwag
AB de Villiers
Andrew Flintoff
MS Dhoni
Zaheer Khan
Ishant Sharma
Dale Steyn

Roebuck's XI
Graeme Smith
Gautam Gambhir
Hashim Amla
Shiv C
AB de Villiers
MS Dhoni
Ryan Sidebottom
Dale Steyn
Mitch Johnson
Ajantha Mendis

NB: I went into the bookies on Christmas Eve to put a bet on KP's brave boys to win the Ashes back as a speculative present for my dad. England were favourites


Anonymous said...

It comes as no surprise. Australia have had a miserable 2008 because they have failed miserably.

Johnson features in Roebuck's list because of his performances in Australia (especially his 11 wicket burst in Perth). His performances outside have not been the same. Though he managed to pick up four fers in India, most of them were caught down the leg side or caught at mid/long on. Those wickets were not really earned.

But if one Aussie deserves to be in anybody's world XI, it could only be Johnson.

Anonymous said...

It should have been 'failed collectively' instead of 'failed miserably'.

The Old Batsman said...

I have a soft spot for Katich, too, the man is made of sheer bloody-mindedness. But he's not in Gautam or Virender's league.