Well it is lucky the Australian cricket selectors do not pay any attention to my musings, with Glenn Maxwell bringing up a century batting at number six in the third test in India. I had thought that Ashton Agar was the better option as a spinner/batsman, but Maxwell has now grabbed his chance. Steve Smith has again been impressive and continues to push his case for the best batsman in the world at the moment. Peter Handscomb has been a little disappointing. After his four tests in Australia where he excelled he has now returned scores of 22, 19, 16, 24 & 19 so he has a got a start in each innings and failed to go on. I am not suggesting he should be dropped, but he needs to convert a start into something more substantial. Fingers crossed the Aussies can get the job done in this test and put the acid back on the Indians.
In the AFL a twilight grand final appears to be an inevitability. Now that Mike Fitzpatrick has stood down as AFL Chairman, I think Gillon McLachlan will be ensuring this goes through. I like the day grand final, but I am certainly not against a twilight match. I would not be in favour of a night grand final as I think it would detract from the functions and BBQs that people have based around the current fixture but that could transfer to a twilight time slot, but a later start would not be as conducive.
Australia’s richest race for 2yo, the Golden Slipper is on this weekend and it is a shame that a heavy track is likely. My tip is the Blue Diamond winner, Catchy, as long as she handles the track conditions.
Nick Kyrgios beat Novak Djokovic for the second time in a row and I think most Australians would like to see him turn around his “on court” behaviour and focus his attentions on playing as he obviously has a special talent. He just needs to harness it!
Have a great weekend!
Well Thursday night we saw Lleyton Hewitt bow out of the Australian Open for the last time. I have never been a particular fan, but you have to admire the guy. He made it to Number 1 in the world at 20, he won two Grand Slam titles and the most singles matches ever for Australia in the Davis Cup. You also have to admire that he has kept playing despite the many injuries he has endured and his falling ranking. A pretty good career and I think he will be good in his role with the Davis Cup.
Let us hope he can harness the potential of the likes of Tomic, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis.
I didn’t want to comment further on the Essendon Supplements Saga, however, some of the comments I have heard from some pundits suggesting that the case is similar to the Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones cases has angered me somewhat. In those cases there was a lot of people who provided sworn testimony that both had used banned substances, that is a significant difference to the Essendon case. I am also constantly angered with people saying they did not know what they took. The club has a spreadsheet on all the supplements that the players signed up to and the comment has always been if they were administered anything else, they were not aware of it and it was not sanctioned. This is a very important distinction.
What I would like to know is who advised the players not to complete the ASADA forms correctly. Clearly they were obligated to complete
those forms honestly and whoever told them not to cite the supplements they were being administered has a lot to answer for as this omission seems to have played a significant part in the penalty that has been applied.
I now pledge not to make any further comment on this sorry tale.
Have a great weekend!
It was with mixed emotions I received the news that Michael Clarke had decided to pull the pin and retire. In my time following cricket I don’t think there has been a better tactician, Mark Taylor and him may have been on a par, but I rate him better than the Chappells, Waugh or Ponting. You also have to remember that those other well regarded Australian captains had some formidable bowlers at their disposal. Waugh & Ponting essentially had the two best Australian bowlers in Warne & McGrath at their disposal through most of their stewardships. Clarke has had some good bowlers, but injury and form has meant that he has not had a consistent strike force while he has been in charge. Is it the right decision to retire? Yes, I think it is. His batting is clearly on the wane and even he said that he has become a passenger. Having said that, I do hope that the Australian team can do him proud at the Oval and send him out a winner which he thoroughly deserves.
The Nick Kyrgios sledge to Stan Wawrinka has attracted a lot of attention which to my mind seems to be somewhat of an over reaction. Yes what he said was wrong, but was it front page news? Would anyone have known if not for the very sensitive court side microphones? This type of sledging happens all the time in other sports and one of the best sledges of all time was of a similar theme. Glenn McGrath bowling to Zimbabwe’s Eddo Brandes asked him why he was so fat. Brandes’ response was along the lines of “because every time I make love to your wife she gives me a biscuit”. I certainly don’t condone what Kyrgios said, but lets not get carried away and lets not get too far up on that high horse.
Have a great weekend!
Sportzfan Radio has released another ‘A Sporting Chance‘ podcast. In this second episode, the Professor and John O’Callaghan discuss Bernard Tomic’s outburst, tanking, Nick Kyrgios and whether Dawn Fraser and Nick should sit down for afternoon tea and clear the air. Check it out on Soundcloud.
Having languished in the doldrums for more than enough years (for that read since the mid 1970’s), Australian men’s tennis seems to be on the long road back. That recovery is evidenced not only in the better results during the recent Australian Open, but by the weekend’s 3-2 away win against the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup. Remember the Davis Cup? That trophy Australia has won on 28 prior occasions since it was first competed for in 1900. Recently we have not featured at the top level and even when we have, have usually come away empty handed. This is reflected in the fact that this was Australia’s first win in a Davis Cup tie in the Championship division since 2006.
We at Sportzfan Radio have been rather critical of Bernard Tomic’s seeming inability to keep his mind on the job and play at a level expected with a person of his talent. In Ostrava, Tomic certainly led by example and won both his matches giving him an impressive 14-2 win/loss singles record in Davis Cup play. The tie also saw the emergence of Thanasi Kokkinakis who won his first match and confirmed Australia can now call on a number of talented young players to champion the cause. Although Lleyton Hewitt was used in the doubles match with Sam Groth, Australia’s fortunes no longer solely rest on the ageing Hewitt’s shoulders.
Sure, it can be argued that the Czech Republic were weakened by injuries to Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek but Australia also was unable to select talented Nick Kyrgios due to a back injury.
A review of the men’s ATP rankings sees Australia with five men in the top 100 being Kyrgios at #36, Tomic at #38, Groth at #69, Marinko Matosevic at #72 and Hewitt at #98. Contrast this with the fact that several years ago, we did not have one player in the top 100 and it is easy to see why results have improved.
Australia now hosts Kazakhstan in a mouth watering quarter final and given the team’s form look set for a long run in the 2015 tournament.
Well the World Cup continues to dominate the world sporting landscape with the quarter finals coming up this weekend. It is interesting to note that former winners in Germany, Brazil, Argentina and France comprise four of the eight places available and the Dutch are three time finalists, so there is a familiarity about the remaining participants. The real interest may come from those outside the usual suspects with Colombia given a real chance of knocking off the hosts, Costa Rica not without a chance against the Netherlands and Belgium were considered a good outsiders chance coming into the tournament. My tips for the quarter finals are Colombia, Germany, Netherlands and Argentina.
Turning to Wimbledon, I have said in the past that I am not a great fan of watching tennis, but I had to watch the abbreviated replay of Nick Kyrgios knocking off Rafael Nadal. I must say it was pretty exciting to see a young Aussie do that on the world stage and it was a bit of a shame that the scheduling meant he had to front up the next day to play again. After taking the first set he tired and fell away, but it would appear we finally have a junior star translating to the adult stage. It reminded me of Mark Philippoussis knocking off Pete Sampras at the Australian Open, but then losing the next round match. Philippoussis went on to produce some pretty good tennis, but probably did not go as far as his talent suggested he should.
I was bemused during the week to hear Eddie Maguire call for compensation for Collingwood due to the poor drawing fixture against Carlton last Sunday night. He has often trumpeted that Collingwood fans would turn up any time any place to see their team play, but in the space of three weeks they have had two poor drawing matches. The other game against the Bulldogs at Etihad stadium three weeks ago failed to get 28,000 spectators and that was an afternoon fixture under cover! Given Collingwood gets a lot of scheduling favours due to their supporter base, I do not think Eddie would have gleaned much sympathy from any of the other clubs.
Have a great weekend!