17 March 2010

••• The Legsmith heads North

Steven Peter Devereux Smith
Born June 2, 2009, Sydney, New South Wales

Shield 2009/10:

8 Matches, 13 innings, 772 runs:

Batting pos. 7 (8), after half of the season promoted to 5 (4/6), which is nicely reflected in his figures:

90; 28*, 17*; 6; 102*, 24; 49, 15; 4, 124; 177, 36; 100

That's an average of  77.20, and even if adjusted for the not outs it's still an impressive 59.39

Also, he is The Legsmith.


Smith's competitor:

Marcus North

Shield 2009/10:

7 matches, 12 innings (comparable to Smith), 294 runs, avg. 24.50

Batting pos. 3 and 4

Has been trying hard to become the first batsman with negative figures:

107; 34; 31, 20, 29, 4, 23, 15; 20, 3; 8, 0


vs. Windies: 5 innings, 166 runs, 0 not outs, avg. 33.20 --- vs. Pakistan: 4 innings, 41 runs, 0 not outs, avg. 10.25

Batting pos. 6 (5)

The chronological innings order looks like this:

79; 16, 2; 68, 1 --- 8; 10, 2; 21  

North is the only one who reads a possible upward trend from these unambiguous figures. How can anybody know that he is clawing his way back up? The conditions in NZ are different, and he should not rely on the Kiwis throwing any matches. Plus, the pressure on his shoulders has not exactly been decreasing in the last weeks. It will take a tremendous effort of him to pull himself out of the swamp by his own hair. And to be honest, he didn't manage it against a weak unmotivated opposition, so why would he be able to do it against NZ?

Yes I know there exists the risk that Smith starts with a complete FAIL once lifted up to test level, and also he has not much experience on grounds outside Oz. But North imploded like a Russian television during the Australian summer, and all matches were played on Oz grounds, just where the next Ashes are gonna take place. Yes I am also aware of the possibility that he might recover over night and rise like Phoenix from the.. umm... ashes :P

But Oz shouldn't wait for that day, for it may not come in time, and then it will be too late to hastily draft someone in. Give a new batter time to adjust and settle in before the Ashes start. Yes North might indeed come back magically, and he is a nice bloke; he did so well in England and saved the last bit of Aussie pride at the Oval. If he gets another nod I reckon the first NZ test will be the make it or break it  moment for him.

Now there's something else to think about. What if North scores 100 and 8 in the first test. Give him another nod? And then, 5 and 35 in the second. What then? Another nod for the Pakistan tests because of the 100? The selectors will be running in circles, and these are four or more innings of which Smith, or any other replacement, is robbed. Basically North must bestow Christmas and Easter in one upon the Australians, all in the first NZ test, I guess a total of at least 150 runs might be enough to save his spot. Good luck Marcus, you will need it.


Rishabh said...

I think Michael Clarke was the last 'young' batsman to be selected...

North will just need a couple of fifties, I think, to keep his spot. Give the Legsmith some more time, so far he's been all aggression - he needs to show he can knuckle down like North can.

Wes said...

Well I think he can do it slow... 4 centuries, incl a 177, plus a 90 in the Shield (4-day-format) isn't that bad, although he didn't even play all matches of the season. You are right though saying I was a little bit impatient. It can only be a matter of years :/
But yes I think his SR and number of 4s have been quite remarkable hehe

Mark said...

North came in very much below the radar in England last summer, and managed to accumulate 350+ runs without anyone (except the English bowlers) really noticing!

Rishabh said...

There you go, North batted well today. Momentum-changing partnership, that.

Wes said...

Hello Mark, welcome and thank you for posting. I've acknowledged Marcus' Ashes achievements in the text. He also had his working class moments bowling at the Oval.

Rishabh, 100 more to go and he'll get my nod as well ;) It's impressive how he delivers under such pressure. One has to hope now that keeps up this form throughout both tests, to confirm that he is back. England will not grant him any gifts. If he fails in the followings inningses [?] we won't be any wiser afterwards.

Rishabh said...

Yep, I think he deserves your nod (for now) - unbeaten century! He's probably not going to get another innings in this match, so he's more than safe!

btw, this should complement your article on Pakistan's next captain - http://blog.dawn.com/2010/03/17/who-will-be-the-captain/

Wes said...

Well I am waiting for the second test, to see whether he shows consistency or not :P

They suggest Misbah :/

Rishabh said...

North can't go much further north from here, he probably won't have much to do in the second match as Oz's top order is more likely to fire the next time around!

Misbah wouldn't be a great choice, they'll need a new captain soon when he's too old - maybe use him for a transition period like India did with Kumble?

Wes said...

Especially as Hughesless gets dropped again har har

I think PCB only think in short terms here anyway. Just for the World Cup. I expect some movement thereafter, they made remarks like this.