When I heard earlier today that England have risen in the Fifa football world rankings on the back of their pathetic World Cup performances, I thought I had heard it all.
That was before I heard the shocking news that Shane Watson has made it onto the Lord’s honours board, and, for his bowling!
How the hell could this be allowed to happen?
What kind of test team gets bowled out by Shane Watson? His 5/40 from 7.5 overs looks more like figures from an ODI game.
Apparently the officials at Lord’s have created a new honours board for neutral tests, I suggest they take it a step further and create a seperate one for bowlers like Watson and Paul Harris. Maybe naming it after Richard Illingworth.
What next? As it would now appear that anything is possible.
I’ll probably wake up tomorrow to learn that Fabio Capello has been named Manager of the Year.
Never in my 30 odd years of watching test cricket have I seen someone make such a shambles of getting accross the finishing line to his maiden test century.
That is exactly what happened to the stop gap opener, that is Shane Watson at the MCG on day 4 of the 1st test against Pakistan.
He spent a massive 64 minutes in the 90’s, either side of the lunch break as he spent that long messing around in the morning session, all this just increasing the pressure on himself.
He was starting to run singles that were not there, only to turn back. He chased wide balls with reckless shots and bad shot selections. Struggled to get the spinner away, getting stuck on the crease with the occasional inside edge as well.
When he did manage to cream one out of the middle he only managed to pick out a fielder, it was comedy all the way.
Pakistan played their part in the ‘Benny Hill Show’ as well, with some comical fielding and a succession of dropped catches. For some bizarre reason though, they kept fielding well, when Watson couldn’t pierce the infield for the boundary to bring up his maiden test century.
That was until Abdur Rauf appeared on the scene in the gully position. Mohammad Aamer was bowling wide to an 8-1 field, trying to temp Watson to chase wide ones, which Watson kindly obliged to do, and on many occasions he chased and missed.
Then on 99, he finally middled a wide one and hit it straight to Abdur Rauf at gully, it was written in the stars that he would only bring up his century with a dropped catch, and that is exactly what happened as Rauf spilt the catch, allowing Watson to run the single to bring up his hundred.
It wasn’t the easiest of catches, but a top class fielder would have snapped it up. Why they had that cart horse fielding in the gully, who knows. Then from what I’ve seen of this test, Pakistan have a lot of cart horse fielders, so maybe Rauf is one of the better ones.
If Pakistan could field, Watson would still be looking for his first test hundred, and no doubt be kicking anything in his path out of frustration today.
Brett Lee talked up his propects in a bid to convince all that he is ready for the 4th test starting on Friday, what he thinks of Shane Watson’s remarks on Wednesday is another thing. Who needs opposition enemy with a team mate who questions whether you are ready to retake your place in the side in the manner in which Watson did yesterday.
Brett Lee has stepped up his bowling in the nets and on Wednesday bowled a hostile spell for more than an hour after which he claimed was at full pace. He also said that he has now bowled for 8 days straight and when asked if he felt fit to play gave a firm positive answer “yes, 100%”.
He apparently seemed very bullish and confident in his ability to last five days and seemed to be trying to send a blunt and positive message to the Aussie tour management that he is now ready and expects to be selected.
Quite how happy he would have been with Shane Watson’s input at a press conference yesterday is debatable. When you are trying to convince the management you are fit and ready to go the last thing you want to hear is one of your team mates questioning this by telling anyone who will listen that in his opinion you probably aren’t ready to play.
Watson said “Obviously he’s still maybe a game away to get under his belt before he might be in calculation for selection, but it’s great to see him out there firing.” perhaps referring to the 2 day England Lions match at Canterbury on 15 & 16 August.
Maybe Watson is not the sharpest tool in the box – the wording of that particular sentence might back up that theory – and just got his words jumbled up, or maybe there is a more sinister approach and he feels the selectors might go with 5 bowlers and that if they do his position will be under pressure as they would have to leave a batsman out, going on Watson’s brief but entertaining bowl at Edgbaston you wouldn’t select him for his bowling.
Surely this could only be a prospect if they go to The Oval still 1-0 down. Either way Lee can’t have been too impressed.