Steven Smith’s Australian rebuild is Allan Border-esque

Long form debut - 7 Jan 2016Today marks my long-form feature article debut for The Roar, a piece in which I’ve likened the rebuild ahead of Steven Smith and the Australian cricket team as being very similar to what Allan Border undertook back in the mid-1980s.

It’s comfortably the most involved and longest sports feature article I’ve written; more than twice the length of a typical magazine feature. Even thinking back to University, it might be the longest essay or article I’ve written in my life!

So my sincere thanks go to Paddy Effeney and The Roar for giving me the opportunity to tackle the long-read format, and certainly to Paddy for his editorial assistance along the way. Once you take into account the layout and sourcing the images, he’s easily put as much time into the final product as I have..

Australian ODI squad: no Lyon, no Lynn. Yet…

Nathan Lyon (left) and Chris Lynn have missed the initial Australian ODI side, but are still very much in line, according to selector Trevor Hohns.

Nathan Lyon (left) and Chris Lynn have missed the initial Australian ODI side, but are still very much in line, according to selector Trevor Hohns.

The Roar: Like more than a few of you, I was rather surprised to hear Nathan Lyon and Chris Lynn had been left out when the first Australian one-day squad of the summer was named yesterday.

All the right noises were being made about Lyon being sighted in the coloured gear this summer, especially with the team heading to the World Twenty20 in India in March and April. And if there’s a batsman in Australia currently striking the ball better than Lynn, well they’re not playing at a televised level.

Rather staggeringly though, neither were named in the 13-man squad for the first three ODIs against India, starting next week in Perth, Brisbane, and Melbourne, but it would appear that there’s much more to it than that, and it’s not bad news at all…

Cricket Australia’s biggest takeaway from 2015

“Test Cricket needs to be the best value for money of the summer. Significantly more than double the price of attending a BBL game to watch a lowly-ranked team like the West Indies is not even remotely good value for money,” as witnessed by the paltry crowds for the two Tests so far this series. Image: ABC Grandstand

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A Cricket World Cup title, the Women’s Ashes, and the overwhelming success of the pink ball Test Cricket trial will all undoubtedly rank toward the top of Cricket Australia’s list of achievements in 2015, and with immense satisfaction derived from all three significant events.

But when the glow of the summer wears off there will be one glaring item requiring action and that, in hindsight, perhaps might have been identified well ahead of time.

Simply put, CA have massively buggered up with their ticket pricing for the West Indies Test Series, and it will and has already cost them a large percentage of last season’s Test crowds. In this, the first column for The Roar in 2016, I’ve highlighted why I think this has been the standout issue of the summer for Cricket Australia..

The Christmas Wish List for 2015

It definitely won't be Richie McCaw, but my wish is for the 2016 Bledisloe lifter to be wearing a gold jersey. And I'll trade another Eden Park loss if that's what it takes.. Image via All Blacks on Twitter

It definitely won’t be Richie McCaw, but my wish is for the 2016 Bledisloe lifter to be wearing a gold jersey. And I’ll sacrifice another Eden Park loss if that’s what it takes.. Image via All Blacks on Twitter

The Roar: If the decorations have been up in the shopping centres for three months since the footy Grand Finals, then it must the week to hand down the much-anticipated Christmas Wish List!

2015 has been the year of big events, which in turn has led to big sleep deprivation, big morning-after grumpiness, and big chances of a 2pm fadeout. Even the local event took a toll: the Asian Cup football, the Cricket World Cup, the Women’s (football) World Cup, the Ashes Tour, Netball World Cup, and the Rugby World Cup all have much to answer for themselves.

Nevertheless, the wish list can still deliver in 2016, and with no further ado, I present thee..