Waugh baffled by ‘strange’ Aussie snub
As much as we never wanted it to end, the series of the decade has wrapped up in textbook cricketing fashion: a draw.
Granted, Australia reclaimed the urn ahead of the fifth Test, but the tourists weren’t able to make history and take a definitive series victory à la 2001.
The British Isles are known to break players on tour and Australia’s batsmen — bar rookie Marnus Labuschagne and stalwart Steve Smith — crumbled under the pressure. Bowlers were put to the test and for the most part they succeeded. Except for Mitchell Starc, who was barely given a look-in.
Questionable red ball form leading up to the Ashes kept the veteran seamer out of the attack with selectors opting for James Pattinson to fill out the XI. But with the urn returned and pressure simmering, one Aussie legend wasn’t too pleased with Justin Langer’s selection of workhorse Peter Siddle over Starc at The Oval.
Mark Waugh, a 124-Test batsman playing through Australia’s glory years, couldn’t believe Starc was only given one Test this series.
“He definitely should have played that last Test, I don’t understand why he didn’t play ahead of Peter Siddle,” he said.
“It seems kind of strange because they talked about keeping their bowlers fresh all the way through the series.”
Starc registered figures of 3/80 and 1/46 — including a handy 54 not-out — in Australia’s 185-run win in Manchester. The performance followed figures of 3/46 and 4/39 in the preceding tour match against Derbyshire. With the Down Under summer of cricket fast approaching, it’s anybody’s guess what an experienced seamer like Starc has to do to snag a spot.
‘He definitely should have played that last Test’.Source:AFP
Waugh said Australia’s batsmen and fielding in the deep once again let them down and forced the series to a disappointing 2-2 finish.
“Winning the toss and bowling first is always a danger, but if they held their catches they would have been OK,” Waugh said.
“Our DRS reviews were hopeless again, we batted poorly again, apart from Steve Smith and Matthew Wade.”
The rugby league world was quick to pounce on Brisbane this week after the embattled club’s exit from 2019 went from bad to worse following a damning report of players sneaking out to the pub before their record 58-0 elimination final loss to Parramatta.
Six Broncos reportedly left the team hotel to play the pokies without coach Anthony Seibold’s knowledge. The players were believed to be Matt Gillett, Anthony Milford, Corey Oates, Andrew McCullough, Payne Haas and David Fifita.
Brisbane legend Darren Lockyer jumped down the throats of the players at the centre of the embarrassing revelation.
“Very, very disappointing and I just don’t understand why,” Lockyer told Channel Nine this week.
“You’ve made the finals, you’re going to a stadium you know’s going to be packed full of the opposition fans. You’re in a hostile environment.
“If you’re any chance of winning that game you need to be as best prepared as you can.
“Regardless of there’s any drink involved, if you’re out until 11 o’clock the night before a game in an establishment like that it doesn’t set a good example of how much the game means to you. It’s disappointing.”
Matt Gillett is in the bad books.Source:News Corp Australia
But NSW great Bryan Fletcher — alongside former Boomers star Shane Heal — wasn’t so quick to judge.
“You know what? I’ve got no issue with it,” Fletcher said. “It was 11pm, they didn’t break their curfew.”
Heal agreed. “Who cares, what’s the difference? I’ve played with some guys who were playing PlayStation until three in the morning, and that’s okay is it?” he said.
Some Broncos may pay a huge price with club officials on Tuesday saying they would consider the players’ behaviour when they carry out an end of season review which will help determine their roster in the wake of the Eels’ rout.
The controversy is a particularly bad look for Gillett, who has been linked to the Broncos captaincy amid speculation Darius Boyd will step down.
“Given the players were about to play their biggest game of the year they should have been more professional in their actions,” a Broncos statement said. “The club will take this into consideration during the end of year review process currently underway.”