July 2009
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Peter Siddle: Bell for KP? We're happy with that

July 23rd, 2009 by peter siddle in England, Test cricket, The Ashes


So KP has had his operation and is out for the rest of the series. It’s always a relief when a player of his quality is not going to be available. It’s very handy for us, he’s a great player and is going to leave a big hole in their side. You could see even in Cardiff that his niggles were playing on his mind and that was even more obvious at Lord’s. I got him out twice there, it’s always good to get a class player like that, and it was a pleasing personal moment in a disappointing match.

It looks like Ian Bell is going to replace him. He played against us for the Lions and we assumed that if anything went wrong batting-wise he would be the man to come in. He hasn’t had a lot of success against us in the past, and it was pleasing that we were able to continue that by getting him out first-ball at Worcester. When you take out a bloke that averages 50 in Test cricket for a bloke that struggles against you it always makes you happier.

Defeat at Lord’s was disappointing, especially given our rich history there but we just have to regroup and get ready for the next Test. I don’t think much went wrong there, we just had a couple of sessions where we were off the boil and giving them a 200-run head-start on the first morning without taking a wicket cost us.

I felt crook during that first spell on Friday morning and was almost sick on the outfield but when it’s the last couple of wickets you always want to be out there and get a few more. I tried my best to get the last couple but in the end it got the better of me. I did manage to get Graeme Swann, I fired a short one at him and he nicked the next. I felt in much better rhythm at Lord’s than at Cardiff and although there were a couple of spells where I was a bit loose I was pleased with how I bowled.

Andrew Flintoff had a great game at Lord’s. He’s a great competitor, and that spell in the second innings was tremendous. He does a lot for the team – it seems to make them a lot happier and compete better when he’s out there. He’s performing somewhere near his best at the moment, he knows that he only has three more matches so he can afford to give it everything throughout the rest of the series.

I was his fifth wicket on Monday but he’d already nearly cleaned me up with a yorker that I ended up knocking for four. When I got to his end he was joking about saying “that was a good shot”. I told him I was just worried about it breaking my foot so I had to get the bat down as quickly as possible. We had a little giggle, he seems like a nice character out on the pitch. As a player you always enjoy playing against the best and performing well against them, and he is definitely one of them. Enjoy might be the wrong word because it’s tough facing someone like that but that is what Test cricket is about. He’s definitely the quickest bowler I’ve faced. Dale Steyn and I had a little duel in South Africa but the way Flintoff bowls with the ‘heavy ball’ makes him quicker.

Mitchell Johnson is obviously disappointed with how he went at Lord’s but he’s got a few more overs under his belt and there were some good signs – he bowled some quality deliveries. There were some overs where he felt back to his best and it’s a matter of pushing on and seeing what happens in Northants. Players are going to go through some bad times so it’s just a question of the boys sticking with them and showing faith to help them through. We’re still unsure over Brett Lee’s fitness, it’s the sort of injury that you don’t want to rush back from, so again we’ll know more after Northants. I don’t know if I’m playing, I feel 100% at the moment so I’m happy to get some more overs under my belt or rest up before the third Test.

We also met the Queen and Prince Phillip at Lord’s. Speaking to my grandparents about it, in their generation that sort of thing was a big deal but these days back in Australia it’s not as big as it was. It was a nice opportunity and something not a lot of people get to do. Prince Philip asked me what state I played for and when I told him Victoria he said, “Oooh, it would be very cold there at the moment.” I had to agree with him, it would be.

Peter Siddle is blogging for thewisdencricketer.com throughout the Ashes

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes | 4 Comments »

Alan Tyers: Analysing Mitchell Johnson

July 23rd, 2009 by Alan Tyers in Alan Tyers, England, Test cricket, The Ashes


I take a deep breath. I go to knock on the door of the hotel room. Miss, hit the doorframe. I try it again, focusing on keeping my arm high and straight this time. Got it, Troy! Right in the middle. It opens, I go in.

“Aw, g’day Mitchell,” says a man. He is about 60. He has a clipboard, like Mr Marsh and Mr Lillee. But he is not them. He has a white coat, and he is not drinking beer or making anybody cry by questioning their competitiveness in front of the leadership group.

“I’m Dr Bruce,” says the man. “I am the Australian team psychologist.”

“Hello,” I say. “I am Mitchell. I did not know we had a team psychologist.”

“It’s a new position,” says Dr Bruce. “There was never any need before, you see. The team wasn’t full of bloody poofters back in the good old days.”

“Oh,” I say. “I am not a poofter. My name is Mitchell and I am a bowling all-rounder.”

“Well, Mitchell,” says Dr Bruce. “I am here to reassure you and help you synergise the optimum possible environment for facilitating success.”

“My name is Mitchell and I am a bowling all-rounder,” I say. Perhaps this will make long words go away?

“Look mate,” says Dr Bruce. “Have a bit of a lie-down on this couch here. Shane Watson’s made it all lovely and warm.”

I lie down. Couch is a safe place? Couch is warm. Close eyes now. Drifting.

“Now then,” says Dr Bruce. “Tell me about your mother.”

Eyes open.

“I’m psychoanalysing you mate,” says Doctor Bruce. “Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. That Mike Brearley does it all the time, and he’s as clever as a dingo with two babies.”

“Not talking about mother,” I say. “Not talking to mother either. Not even texting. Mr Lillee cannot make me text.”

“Alright, alright calm down,” he says. “Save some of that anger for the Poms. Let’s try a bit of word association instead. I say a word, you say the first thing that comes into your head. There’s no need to be afraid.”


“Sorry?” says Doctor.

“Wides,” I say.

“Look we haven’t even started yet,” says Doctor. He is shouting. “For Christ’s sake try and concentrate.”


Doctor Bruce is quiet now. He writes on clipboard. For a long time. I think about girlfriend. She beat up Doctor? Beat Doctor! Everyone cheer, we are Australian Posh and Becks except with karate ninja skills and awesome big-hitting down the order.

“Look, Mitchell.”

Doctor is speaking again.

“Look, Mitchell,” says Doctor. “I’ve reviewed your case, and in this instance I believe the only possible remedy is a course of cranial percussive therapy. I am referring you to a specialist.”

I nod. Hungry now. Cheese sandwich?

“Just relax on the couch, and my colleague will be in to see you very shortly.”

Bye Doctor. Close eyes.

Open eyes.


Voice speak.

“Hello Mitchell,” says voice. “I am Doctor Mervyn Hughes and I will be treating you for your mental difficulties. The course of treatment will focus on me hitting you around the head with a cricket bat. Let’s get started, shall we?”

Treatment begins. I want mother now.

By Alan Tyers

Posted in Alan Tyers, England, Test cricket, The Ashes | 1 Comment »

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