It is not my intention to reiterate the views which have been sounding out around the country, nor to dwell too heavily upon the play with the Adelaide test only half done. I would however like to make known my views and disgust on several of the more heinous decisions that have been made just recently.
Foremost is the treatment of Nathan Hauritz. Poor benighted chap. His career has been such an unaided struggle and his sacking is not merely a mistake but an insult. Making his surprise debut in place for the injured Warne in India in 2003, the off-spinner gathered the very respectable first innings figures of 3/16 including the scalps of Tendulkar and Laxman. His reward however was to be cast out into the wilderness, shunned by his native Queensland and forced to forge a way into New South Wales. Half a decade later, once his nation had dogged its way through half a dozen other fellows and made a joke of the profession, they returned to the outcast. And goodness wasn't he jeered! For it became a national pastime to point out the man's limitations and inadequacies, particularly after he failed to remove the English tail at Cardiff. Steadily though Hauritz improved and rewarded that faith shown in him. Without making a spectacle of the matter, he modestly but constantly took wickets making his desertion for the Oval a mild national outrage.
Last summer Hauritz went so far as to even endear himself to the country. He played a solid supporting role to Hilfenhaus at the Gabba and made an invaluable half-century against the West Indies. While in the next match he again failed to dislodge a stubborn tail, his later heroics in the season included consecutive fifers against Pakistan, both match winning performances. In this manner Hauritz established himself as no great practitioner of his art, but a steady performer and reliable option for Australia's immediate future until Smith or otherwise should take the mantle. This was followed by a somewhat disappointing tour of New Zealand before a lengthy injury kept him out of those fiery matches against Pakistan in England. Unfortunately though his reputation has been gauged on that recent performance in India. He had a rotten series but if that is reason for dismissal most of the team should be out on the street. Additionally in his defence, just about every touring spinner in India has been trounced and the man wasn't even allowed to play his natural game for his inept captain wheedled at him distracting nonsense about lines and ignored him at his due moments. To then be abandoned on the eve of the Ashes for a comparative novice is a slap in the face. Australia's oversight in this matter has been ably displayed. It is for Hauritz's benefit though that he is apart from the team at this hellish time. Once Australia manage to regroup themselves, he will be recalled and hopefully justify his place till the selectors grow skittish once again. I am shocked by the short-sightedness of their actions. I cannot believe that they considered Doherty a long term prospect. The only reasoning that exonerates is they wanted some fool to bear the brunt of the present situation so as to bring Smith at some later time without any pressure upon him. This is such a negative strategy though it seems highly foreign to Australian cricket.
The reason I take such umbrage over Hauritz is that he defies that brand of ostentatious, bandying, overbearing Australian spirit which I find so offensive and fill these pages railing against. Rather he is quiet and unassuming, incredibly polite and with a warm friendly manner. Unlike the rest of the pompous, post-metrosexual twits who make up the team, he is sweet, artless and even a bit weird. When researching on his figures I came upon this odd piece in an article,
During a month spent with his foot in a moon boot, waiting for the cuboid bone to heal, he was restricted to upper-body fitness work, television, Xbox and a bit of reading. One of the non-cricket books was The Wolf of Wall Street, about Jordan Belfort, a former millionaire stockbroker who ended up in prison for shares fraud.Hauritz then is something of a class hero even though he has mild, middle-class manners, remniscent of the Australian of yester-year in distinction from his contemporaries. While we can admire his homely candour, what is this preponderance with money? What an odd characteristic for a cricketer and how interesting for the journalist to pick up on it.
"I only read that book because it was about money," he said. "I love money. I love anything about that. It was an interesting read."
Already during the camp Clarke had teased Hauritz about no longer needing to lay-by his shopping. Hauritz responded by saying his flat is as big as Clarke's ensuite...
He grew up in the coastal town of Hervey Bay and retains the honest, relaxed characteristics of a country Queensland kid. "I'm very simple," he said. "My wife and family keep me pretty grounded, and I've got some really good mates.
I am finding this ploy of the selectors of a horses for courses policy somewhat confusing. Perhaps there are some merits to the scheme given the diversity of Australia's contracted players and the increasing evidence that few are capable of versatility and consistency in varying conditions. So far though it must be owned that their experiments in the field have been abject failures. Rather than exploiting the strengths of the greater group its has put undue stress upon individuals, dismembering team unity as hopefuls expend themselves to prove their worth. What irks me is that while this scheme may have been effective were it given substantial prior trial, it has been thrust upon all at this pivotal time disrupting what little sense of stability remained within the fragile team.
I would like to go on to speak of the excellence of the English team but will keep it brief for now. Where has this atmosphere come from though? For even that most surly of individuals, Mr. Pietersen, to be gushing ecstatically of the joy of the dressing room means some new spirit dwells therein. I intend to research this and write a fuller piece shortly but for the moment I think we must just marvel at Andy Flower and his achievement.
This will be a marvelous series, even should it slump into an epic disaster for Australia. So long as I am able to maintain this fantastic schedule of unlimited cricket time I will be writing my observations as often as I think them worth sharing. Please maintain your interest with Trumper this summer then and I will deliver all that I am able to.