Couch Talk Episode 65 (play)
Guest: Jarrod Kimber
Host: Subash Jayaraman
Subash Jayaraman– Hello and Welcome to Couch Talk. Today’s guest is Jarrod Kimber of Cricket with Balls, Two Chucks and Cricinfo. We will be talking about the over all performance of the Australian team in 2012, the big retirements and the promising debuts, the enigma that is Shane Watson and look ahead what seems to be quite a busy year in 2013.
Welcome to the show, Jarrod.
Jarrod Kimber– Thank you very much.
SJ– This is your 4th time on Couch Talk. I’ve asked Channel Nine to make a commemorative mug that Mark Taylor will be plugging during the Commonwealth Bank ODI series.
JK– The BullShitter. “Available in a special print of only 10844.” Every one of them will have a piece of my DNA, but you won’t know which piece.
SJ– I’m going to really miss Tony Greig for this. He was the best salesman there ever was.
JK– I’m not 100% sure how the system worked, but he was a big part of it. There was a time when they basically stopped selling them. I don’t know if you remember the old days, you used to get a proper ad. You come back from a drinks break and you would have a minute of it taking you through every detail of it. Now, they don’t even show it to you. It is just in the bottom corner while one of them talks you through that. Tony Greig would take you through that like he was selling you a time share in Poconos or something.
SJ– I think they still spend a decent amount of time for signed shirts and stuffs. It is just that you are in commercial, so I get the raw feed here. I get to hear the commentators talk about it.
JK– You still get that. It is nothing compared to what they used to do. I think what happened was that Channel 9 weren’t making enough from it because essentially Tony Greig and some others owned the company, and it was a deal that he had with Kerry Packer. A lot of it is very hard to look into. I have looked into it a lot, believe it or not. It used to be that you get to see a close-up of the image, they would take you through every single detail. In the last couple of years, you don’t get that. They just talk to you about what the product is, and then they give you the website and the phone number. There are a few good articles about it by few different people where they show that it is a collector’s item and an investment, which is something that they always pushed. I think there is only one thing that they sold which is worth more now than at the time you could buy it.
SJ– What was that?
JK– It was something to do with Steve Waugh. I’m not a 100% sure what it was. It was one of the Steve Waugh item that was much loved by the public. Most of the stuff is absolute nonsense. There was once a poster that said “Lee-thal”. It was a poster for Brett Lee. It was so bad. But, my old time favourite one would be the ceramic baggy green. It looked like someone had done a green shit.
SJ– I think it is perfect thing for Shane Watson, the ceramic baggy green. Looks strong, but extremely fragile.
JK– He wouldn’t be able to keep it without breaking it, would he?
SJ– Ha! Yes.
Let’s talk about Australia in 2012, and moving forward. The year started with Australia handing India their asses on a platter. You had a good set of bowlers, fast bowlers especially, in top form. Clarke had become Superman overnight, and no one knows to get him out, even in 2013. They have now ended the year with a 3-0 win over Sri Lanka. They came close to drawing the series 1-1 against South Africa, the no.1 side. So, in your opinion, do you think that since the India series, has the Australian Test team progressed, or is standing still or going backwards?
JK– I think they have progressed. It took a while that they moved on from Ponting and Hussey, at least from one of them. It is quite bad that they had lost both at the same time. When they had Katich, Ponting and Hussey, I thought they should have tried to keep Katich and Hussey and move Ponting on. But, it is hard even in Australian cricket, where team comes first, to move Ponting on. So, Katich was really unfair to lose out on. There is no doubt that Hussey leaves a big hole. I’m not sure that you can’t find another batsman or younger guy who can average roughly what Ponting did, that is just the strength in the team. Any player who can come into the team and get more time to develop should eventually become a better player. Yes, they lost Ponting, but I don’t think that is a big hole. I don’t know how they will overcome Hussey, because they aren’t many really good batsmen [like him].
The other side of it is that the bowling set-up is phenomenal. When we see Jackson Bird coming in, he is a ridiculously talented guy to be coming in at 5th or 6th guy in the queue. If Ryan Harris and Ben Hilfenhaus were playing, I don’t know if Jackson Bird would even be playing. We are not even counting Cummins, Hazlewood and Pattinson. Ben Cutting is another one, he can bowl as well. There just seems to be the amazing set of fast bowler factory. Whether any of them are as good as the English or South African fast bowlers, we are only going to be able to find in the next couple of years. I think that Pattinson is special. Siddle is one of the best seam bowlers in the world at the moment. And, I think Jackon Bird is going to be a really, really handy bowler. I think they are in a better position.
SJ– I think you have a huge man-crush on the Bird Man. We will get to the Australian bowlers in a bit.
JK– I have to like Jackson Bird. He follows me on Twitter. That doesn’t happen very often. Generally, once a player gets into international cricket he starts getting rid of bloggers, especially. He seems a good guy. I am more than happy to be Team-Bird.
SJ– Sweet. As an Aussie supporter…(JK- “As a Victorian, you mean?”) Are you happy with how Australia performed in 2012, irrespective of all the selection and the bowlers and batsmen available? You had a series win against India, Sri Lanka, in West Indies, and a loss to South Africa.
JK– It was a good year. they got to play the best team on earth. They got to play on dodgy West Indian wickets. They also got to trial with the Indians. Because India was so bad at that stage, they got to bring in new people like Eddie Cowan and Nathan Lyon had a good chance. A few guys may not have gotten a chance if that was against South Africa. It was a good start to the year because they basically got a training Test series.
They go to West Indies, where the pitches were dodgy. Which was brilliant. That really tested them. They worked out then why they needed someone like Eddie Cowan, and perhaps Ponting, even when he was on the downward slope.
Then, you go to the South Africa series, where they were put to the ultimate test. They held themselves up pretty well. They really should have drawn that series. There was a lot of talk in the end about Australia being smashed apart. But, they were probably the better side in the first two Tests- in the first one by a bit, but in the second one by a massive amount. And one of those should have come away with a win.
Sri Lanka played better than what I thought they would, after what happened against New Zealand. But they did quite well. What it has done is that it is has given Australia about 12-13 tests where they are changing around trying to see what they can do and trying to find the best line up before a massive year of Test cricket. Going to India and going to England is as big as it gets and then you have another Ashes at the end of that. I think they did fairly well. The one thing we are not mentioning is that they drew 1-1 against New Zealand before all that.
SJ– Yes, I was going to bring that up- losing at Hobart, and everything looked in a disarray. But, they came back. Still, you now have Phil Hughes at no.3. Is that a long term option, considering the struggles he had in England in 2009. You’ve had Shaun Marsh start the year and then you had Shane Watson in West Indies, and then Robbie Q. So, should Australia be sticking with Phil Hughes? Or, is there anyone else available? Maybe a Khawaja or even a Alex Doolan?
JK– Alex Doolan is the most obvious one. They have got a bit of a problem. The question with Hughes is that they might be having a huge problem going into the Ashes. I believe that Eddie will struggle in India and Hughes will struggle in England, but I think Hughes will make runs in India and Eddie will make runs in England. If that makes sense. They might end up with Hughes in England without Cowan, if he does struggle in India. That could be a massive problem. One of the main reason they have Cowan is for England, where he is going to be the most use to them. I don’t think Hughes under the ultimate test of pressure is going to be any good. He has never really been a particularly confident person in that way, he gets quite nervous. I don’t think he truly believes in his new technique. I don’t think he has ever believed in a technique since his original one. I think in ultimate pressure, he will struggle. He has made runs against Sri Lanka before. He should have made runs against New Zealand too last time, but there was a problem. But, if you have to hide him from South Africa you have to say he is not up to it. But, he is a good batsman in the sub-continent.
The problem with Doolan and Cowan is, and I would presume that the way selectors have worked it is, they really don’t know what to do of a batsman that is defensive. It is an interesting one. There was so much talk about how defensive Eddie was. He did actually end up with a decent strike rate. It was not like it was 12. He might have got it up to 30s and 40s or 50s before out. Without Eddie in that last test, I don’t think Australia would’ve won that test. I haven’t read too much of the press, but I don’t know how many of them would have written that. I sent a text about the same to my mate, and I received a similar text from my other mate. “God Eddie looked ugly, but God, that is why we need him.”
So, I am not sure if I would get both Eddie and Alex in the top order together. That is the right thing to do or not, I don’t know. But, there is not another person coming through now who is putting pressure on Hughes. Nic Maddinson is a phenomenal talent, but he hasn’t made enough runs. Chris Lynn is similar. Aaron Finch hasn’t made the runs he should have at the top of the order. Liam Davison and [Michael] Klinger have similar problem. They are not as good as Alex Doolan and have the same problem as Alex Doolan in that they are not as dynamic.
SJ– Australia will have to roll the dice with Hughes at 3 for both India tour and the Ashes. Yesterday, Hussey played his final innings for Australia. Dravid, when asked why he didn’t retire after England series, said that retiring when you are playing really well is actually selfish. Selfishness is not something that comes to your mind when you think of Hussey. So, you think Hussey retiring now, of course that’s his prerogative, he can retire whenever he wants, may have thrown a little monkey wrench in Australia’s plans for the 14 tests in India and in the Ashes?
JK– Dravid is the ultimate team player. You wouldn’t say Hussey isn’t. It is a very big year coming up, 14 tests in about 10 months. And a Champions Trophy. It is a bullshit tournament but it exists and people still have to play it. It is a big year. if you are a guy in your late 30s and you have young children, it is unfair to say that it is selfish, if that makes sense. Maybe it is selfish, but it is his career. He gave a lot to Australian cricket. There have been a lot of myths about him, but he did end up with a batting average above 50, considering that one stage he couldn’t make runs for 3 years in international level. I find it hard to call him selfish. He is not in the ODIs this series. There were some who were expecting him to be in there.
Some people in Australian cricket – Rod Marsh set of selectors, because I don’t think Inverarity is someone who’d take it personal with these things – may think that they should have been given some notice period. Maybe he could have played in India or England. They could have worked around the schedule, given him an all ODI off between now and then. It is an interesting call. I don’t know when we might hear the real story. There might be more to it. Perhaps, one of his kids is sick or needed special attention. Brad Hogg retired because his wife had an illness. Iain O’Brien retired because he wanted to have children and didn’t have time to impregnate his wife. People retire for many reasons. It is not the best thing for Australian cricket that he retired right now. I don’t think Australia are right now in a position to beat England consistently, or if they can beat South Africa. In an year or so, maybe. I have got no problem with them turning over all these old players. I thought it was time to bring in the new generation and move on.
I felt the same with Dravid. I spoke to him one night [during India’s tour of Australia], he did look a bit defeated in Australia because he went on for too long. It is all well and good to say “selfish”. But with Hussey, if he felt forced or thought even in his own mind he had to play on, perhaps he wouldn’t have played in the same level as he would’ve wanted to play. My idea with people retiring is the exact same thing with your sex life. I don’t really care who you do it with as long as it is legal. It is a bit the same with Mike Hussey.
Very few people ever wrote that Warne and McGrath retiring at the same time ruined Australian cricket. Let’s be honest, McGrath might have been past it, but Warne could’ve played in easily for another 2 or 3 years. The fact that they both went at the same time was selfish. Not selfish in a big picture thing, but they would have known that both leaving at the same time would put Australian cricket in a big black hole that Australia still haven’t recovered from. When that happens, do you blame them? Or, should one blame Mike Hussey? When you want to go, you should be able to go.
SJ– Sunny, from Adelaide has a question for you. This is about your favourite Aussie- Shane Watson. Question is- what does Cricket Australia want from Shane Watson? It isn’t clear to Sunny if he should be played just as a batsman or a utility all-rounder at 6/7 bowling a few overs now and then get a breakthrough here and there.
JK– With Hussey moving out of the no.6 spot, it makes more sense to play him at no.6 which probably suits his batting style at the moment. They definitely don’t want him as a batsman. The truth is that with the team, knowing some players better, it becomes this bubble. They have to have this bubble that insulates them from real life, otherwise they will become Ravi Jadeja and the sorts, tweeting abusive things at people. This bubble basically means that they see Eddie with the average of 32 and they tell him “Don’t worry, we are taking you to the Ashes. You are our guy, we have decided, and we believe in you.” And that is what generally happens with Team Australia. Ben Hilfenhaus. His action fell apart, and CA tells that they back him, and it came back. This is how that sort of thing works.
The problem with Shane Watson is that I am not sure he gets that support from the team. A part of that is because of the personality. He does rub people the wrong way at times.
SJ– Is it his face?
JK– It is his face, it is his hair. Occasionally, the way he talks. I honestly believe this, I don’t know him personally, but from the times I’ve been in press conferences, I always thought he is not a bad person. But I also thought of him as a person who in a situation would say the most dick-ish comment. Over time, he has not gone good. Ponting, Clarke, Micky Arthur, Pat Howard have all said things that “wait a minute, you wouldn’t say that if it was Warner or Cowan or Hussey or Wade…” They just say things that doesn’t seem 100% support for Shane Watson. He doesn’t have that. They don’t believe that he is a top level batsman. Some of it is his personality.
Also, some of it is because of his differences with someone like Eddie Cowan, who is being used as a defensive batsman. Everyone always compares Shane Watson with an attacking batsman. What happens is even when Eddie has a spot where he stops scoring, it happens to him all the time- he will stop scoring for a while, then start scoring and then stop again. He goes through cycles. Which works, a lot of them do it. A defensive batsman does it. It is not like he is a stone wall. He scores quite freely sometimes. Last night, he had a period where the quick bowlers came on and he looked like he could score at run-a-ball. Against the spinners, and even earlier against the quicks, he looked for a while that he just couldn’t score on.
Shane Watson would score his first 20-25 runs very quickly, and then he would get himself into a massive slump. His slumps have technical flaws. He pulls down the whole side in that slide, and he usually gets out after that. He is essentially another defensive batsman who averages 36, who has technical flaws that he can’t overcome. He has played 40 tests. There is a big difference between Eddie Cowan at 10 tests (and also maybe Hughes at around 15 tests) and Watson. Once you are in 40 tests and you are averaging in the mid-30s and you have had all the time in the world to be better that you have, and you go off after getting starts- he is not capitalising on the starts he gets. He quite often slows the momentum down. He barely scores for 30 balls. He is a defensive batsman with a few shots in Test cricket. He doesn’t make big scores. I think the Australian team know that, and I don’t think they support him 100%. That is why you would have hear them so many times. Some say he has to bowl. Every time he bowls, his body falls apart. He tried his heart out to bowl at Hobart to prove that he could bowl, and he killed his body. That is what has happened. Everyone wants him to be an all-rounder, and he can’t be. That is Test cricket. In ODI and T20, he is a naked God.
SJ– In your opinion, he is the one who is going to slot into Hussey’s spot? Especially because, if you look at the numbers- he is a slow batsman. If you have him in the middle/lower order and take him to India where the run rate is anyway going to be 2.5 runs an over, he is going to get more bogged down. Is that going to be helpful for Australia?
JK– Maybe that is one reason why he doesn’t end up in that spot. If he wants to be an all-rounder. He makes a different statement on this every day. If he has to be an all-rounder, he has to be at no.5 or 6. That has always been the case. There is a reason that there aren’t that many Kallis and Sobers around. Even someone like Jonathan Trott could’ve bowled more overs in his career, but top order batsmen generally don’t do it. It is harder, more punishing on your body to go from one thing to another. I think you are right. The other thing is, what he could do is that if he bats at no.6, he could bat like Shane Watson, which is not this prodding, front foot in the way type of batsman. He bats like it in one day and T20s. Like Freddie Flintoff, and he is a better batsman than Flintoff. He should be able to average 40 smashing the ball in Test cricket. He might not be making 100s, but him making a run a ball 70s would be far more useful than him making 70 in 180 balls at the moment. If he can do that, he can play. I don’t know, but this has been very much behind the scenes. There has been a talk that they just don’t really think he is one of them. He hasn’t quite bought into the new Michael Clarke style of things.
On the other side, this is the one thing he hasn’t got enough credit for. The last two years, his batting has fallen apart in Test cricket, but his bowling has been really good. Even longer. I remember when he took apart Pakistan. That must been 3 or 4 years ago. And now, he is bowling really good. If he can’t do it, though, he may not play.
It is the same thing with Hughes. Who comes in? It is not like there is an obvious someone who comes in there. Andrew McDonald’s is a guy probably who should have come in and done that job. Bat at no.6, average 40 and be a handy bowler. But, his body has completely fallen apart and he might not ever play again for Australia, who seem to want a fifth bowler.
SJ– There is a question from one of the listener, Rajiv- what is going on with the Aussie pacers- just falling off like flies. Will they be able to hold up, and who would they send to India? Will Australia think of playing 2 spinners, if available?
JK– No doubt, Glenn Maxwell being 12th man in the last Test, they thought of playing him. He might be a 2nd spinner in India. It is not just the fast bowlers who have gone. John Holland has shown the most promise among any finger spinner definitely. He looked, at the start of the summer like, even with Nathan Lyon doing ok, they thought Holland would be coming in. He looked a better bowler, but he was out for the whole summer. I’m not sure if he is going to be ready for India, but it will be a massive chance to take him. He is a really good bowler, but is a very cocky bowler for a spinner. Far cockier than Nathan Lyon. You need that. Jason Kreijza had that. When you are in India, and blokes are coming at you, it is hard to be someone like Nathan Hauritz or Lyon type of guy. You need to back yourself a little bit. John Holland seems to have that at the moment, maybe until Sehwag takes 15 off his first 4 balls.
I’d say John Holland should be the next spinner. But, I think they will probably go with Maxwell, who, to be fair, is not lacking in confidence. Whether he plays or not, I don’t know.
Lyon doesn’t do much wrong, but he doesn’t look like he will spin them to victory. He is basically a slightly shitter version of Graeme Swann. Swann is the guy I am talking about, the massively confident guy. You can come hard at Graeme Swann and even smash him in a Test and he still thinks in the next Test he will get you. I am not sure Lyon has that.
I am confident Maxwell will play Tests in India. The problem with him is that he is used to batting at no.8 for Victoria. He has a good average at no.8. There is a reason that he bats there- Victoria has an amazing amount of all-rounders like Andrew McDonald, and there is Wade batting ahead of him and batting at 5 or 6 or 7. So, Maxwell has to bat behind them. But the problem is, he will have to play at 7 or higher, but I am not sure he is good enough for that. Wade at 6, him at 7 is a very dodgy batting line up. They might have to do that because I don’t think they are not going to trust a 2nd spinner.
To be honest, I am not sure if you can’t win in India with seam bowlers. England and South Africa have proved that before. Australia won in Sri Lanka with one spinner once. Unfortunately for them, the best seam bowler for that condition is Ryan Harris and he is just back playing club cricket but he is definitely not going on the tour.
SJ– Coming back to the original point, about the Aussie pacers. Cummins hasn’t played since the Johannesburg Test – he did come back for the ODIs and promptly broke down again. Brett Lee has retired. Harris was injured. Hilfenhaus, Watson, Pattinson… They kept out Mitchell Starc for precautionary measures. What the hell is going on with Aussie pacers? Isn’t there a system in place that monitors it all and makes sure there is no breakdown?
JK– The efficient system that I spoke to you about is the one that is catching on to them with all these injuries. These bowlers are checked so often now that if there is any sort of irregularity, they are sometimes pulled out for months on a trot. If you find a hot-spot. I wonder if in the old days they didn’t have hot-spots and just moved through them. They sometimes broke down for life and sometimes, just recovered. The important thing in the resting argument is that the one thing that is going for us is that, scientifically, we have not worked out how to stop bowler from ever getting injured, or how to train them so. It wasn’t that long ago that England had Graham Onions and Chris Tremlett. Onions almost had to retire. Tremlett went from being one of the best bowler in the world to almost having to not playing consistently. Simon Jones. I forgot about him, too. If you think about that, at one stage they had three test quality bowlers who were not playing. They had 3 or 4 others who were usually fit, Stuart Broad less so, but generally Finn, Bresnan and Anderson were quite fit. I don’t know why Australia has not been able to do so.
Harris is too big for his body, same problem that Tremlett and Flintoff had. Cummins and Pattinson -bowlers still developing in their bodies and were bowling too fast. Hazlewood probably is in that case again. Starc looks like he is more built for fast bowling, but he has less muscles, quite a skinny guy. He is not pounding through the crease, though. It is also because there is so many of them that it seems a problem. At any one time you have 5 or 6 in Ranji Trophy injured, but they are not close enough to play for India, so no one cares about them. Ben Cutting was injured for a while. These guys are in and around the team. People are like “I want to see Pattinson, the 19 year old fast bowler.” But 19 year old fast bowlers also get injured a lot. There is not an obvious answer. A lot of these guys, Stack for example, they were just afraid he would get injured and he doesn’t play. That has happened with Hazlewood a lot of time. That kind of things happen. It is perhaps along those lines.
I would love to see Cummins play against India, in India, just because of the way India played him in the T20 World Cup. They were properly afraid of him. I was talking someone in Sri Lanka, may be,to an Indian commentator, or Dirk Nannes or Ian Chappell. It was like one of those things. It is the World T20, it is a world event and everyone is around. The Indians were properly afraid of Cummins. I’m sure the Australian selectors would have seen that and may have wanted to take him there. Mind you, the Indians looked afraid of Starc at times, at Perth. Maybe they can get the same thing out of Starc.
I was asked for my Ashes bowling line up the other day. It is one of those things where you can pick your five bowlers who can go to the Ashes and you hope that atleast 4 of them are still walking when the series starts.
SJ– There is a question from Homer, we will get to that in a little bit. I want to talk about the ODI squad. They dropped Hussey for the reasons that you spoke earlier. But, Brad Haddin is back. Cricket Australia could’ve moved to a younger and better gloveman in Tim Paine. What do you make of the squad? Deservedly, Wade, Warner and Clarke have gotten the rest, but what about the rest of them?
JK– I do trust this selection committee more than most, especially in my life time. I like the people around and I think there is a good mix of Australian common sense and actual intelligent human beings which we don’t find usually on the selection committee.
SJ: You have be burnt by Hilditch a lot, haven’t you?
JK: Hilditch. Even Trevor Hohns.Since the late 80s and early 90s, Australia have not had a better selection committee than this. But, what I will say is that it doesn’t necessarily make sense. I know they are rewarding Haddin for good domestic form. I like that. If Wade is injured tomorrow, I have no problem having Haddin come in and fill in for him. Even fighting for his spot, Wade is the better option. But what I don’t understand is that when ODI is less important that the piece of shit that I found on the ground, other than the fact that the actual format is dying.
It’s early 2013, you have 2 full years before the World Cup. You have Wade rested. Surely the best thing to do would be, “We know what a Hadidn can do. Maybe if he plays for two years like this, maybe he will play in the World Cup. We don’t know if Tim Paine is 100%. We think he is and take a chance with him. We also think Ludeman looks amazing. Really good gloveman, seems to smash the hell out of the ball. Peter Nevill might end up being a better batsman than many of the names I have mentioned before.”
Why not try Nevill or Ludeman, or go to Tim Paine. They know what Brad Haddin can do. To be honest, I never thought Haddin is a brilliant One Day cricketer. For all the hell I have been giving about never living up to his potential as a good test cricketer, Haddin is better as a Test cricketer. In domestic cricket, you won’t get a better One-Day batsman than Haddin. For whatever reason it didn’t transpire that he could do the same thing for Australia consistently. They know what he can do. I like them rewarding him for good form. But, surely you could’ve said that Paine should have been rewarded for good form too.
It is an odd thing. It is not what I would’ve done if I was the selector. I would’ve probably spoken to Haddin directly and said “Look, we like what you are doing. And if you are still doing this two years from now, and we don’t think Wade is our One Day keeper, you are going to be our One Day keeper.” I have got no problem in trying that. I don’t think he ever proved himself as a One Day cricketer. On top of that, there were three other options that all make more sense for the next World Cup.
SJ– Where does the Big Bash fit in all of this? There was this quarantine enforced during the Test series. The crowds in the 2nd season not as great as the first one, based on the reports I have read. Can it be in the calendar where it is basically in competition with the big ticket item, which is the home Tests?
JK– Big Bash? It is more important than life.
It is only really a two months cricket season in Australia. You can stretch it from early December, that is when the Australians start thinking about cricket. And then, by early February people stop being interested in cricket. That is not to say that an early season Test series against South Africa, or a really interesting ODI series, if that ever happens, can’t get their interest. But, basically that is the two months that you have and that is when the Tests are going to be played.
For Big Bash to be truly successful, they have to be capitalise on that spot. I feel that they got it wrong. I feel that they should have it in February and March. That would have led into the football season. And they could’ve cashed on to the end of the summer, expanding the Australian summer and given the people 4 months of cricket. But, I can see why they put it in December and January. It is the time the Australians are automatically thinking cricket.
SJ– But, you are not going to get the big name players. Clarke or Warner is not going to play. Warne can only lug this thing around for another year or so. After that, his wax statue will collapse.
JK– What you are saying is the big problem with this form of cricket. Daniel Harris, Tim Ludeman who have the odd good game, no one is going to the ground to see them play. The problem is that they are going to see Warne and Gayle, even Brad Hogg and players like such. Big name players are a big part of why they are going.
Gideon Haigh did the opening for the Renegades and Stars in the opener. This opening chat was Gideon Haigh, Shane Warne, Muralitharan and Sir Viv Richards sitting on a stage talking about cricket. Gideon is over 40. Viv is 50s or 60s. Murali and Warne are both over 40. And they are aiming this game at 13 year old boys. The best thing that can happen to the Big Bash is that every time someone like Ponting or Hussey retires, they want him to continue by playing in the Big Bash. That is not always going to happen. Some of these guys are going to think that they are just going to get a couple of hundred grands for playing in this, but half a million to a million for playing in the IPL.
Also, bigger sponsorship. There might be a hair gel manufacturer in India who just wants to hang out with you and give you an ad. There is so much more money in the IPL. I don’t know how much longer Ponting wants to play in the Big Bash. If those plays don’t want to play there or can’t, because of injury, it doesn’t seem to be making stars in its own right. The crowds are already down. If you play it in February. They don’t play Tests in February. It fits in perfectly. It leads on to the football season. Aussie rules and rugby don’t get big that early, or until early March, that is when you are really fighting for the newspaper space. So, that is when a full strength Big Bash with the full Australian team can play. February is not a massive month for international cricket. But, they took the safer option, and that is what Cricket Australia do. I am an progressive person and they are conservative people. I’m always going to say “Take the chance, do it.” They might have to do it, though. Because I am not 100% sure they are going to get what they want with unavailable players. The IPL works because you get to see Sachin and Dhoni play. Without them, will the IPL work? No. I was at Wankhede when Sachin was injured, and every time he came up on the screen, he got a standing ovation. I know that Sachin factor. But that is what it is, and that’s what you need.
The IPL is better than the Big Bash. The Big Bash has one advantage over IPL. It doesn’t go for so long that you lose interest in it. That is IPL’s problem that shows in ratings and crowd figures. There are two or three weeks where you go “Oh, I don’t give a shit.” And then, it is time for “Oh, we are nearing the finals, so I better get interested in it again.” In the Big Bash, it is a bit tighter than that. In every other way, IPL is better. Shane Watson and David Warner HAVE to play in the Big Bash for it to be successful.
You saw this year that it is basically not an independently run tournament. It is almost corrupt in a different way than the IPL is. There was a lot of nonsense going on around about which Sydney team David Warner will play for. He wanted to move to the Sixers, but they wanted to keep him with the Thunder because they know how rubbish the Thunder were. The Thunder needed a franchise player. But, he had no time to play for them anyway. Big Bash. We love it. It is the future of life.
SJ– Homer’s questions for you is- the Shield season, the domestic season in Australai will end in February. Then you have the Champions Trophy, the back-to-back Ashes. As Homer would be, he is interested in the Aussie team that would be going to India. We talked about it. Just give a collection of players who would be going to India, the starting 11.
JK– The starting 11, I don’t think it would be broadly different from the startling 12 we saw here. Starc and Bird have proved themselves. They will take Mitchell Johnson. To be fair to him, he had a bad test in Perth, but since then he has done well. I am not a big fan, and I don’t think he is mentally strong for Test cricket. But, he is a beast. There are few people in world cricket who can make a hundred and take a 7-wicket haul. He is one of them. They are going to take him. They are going to keep chancing their arm with him, while he is not stuffing up. Peter Siddle is their no.1 bowler. It will be interesting to see if they will just take these 4 seamers. That is the thing about the tours these days. It doesn’t matter if you can always bring someone over.
Pattinson, maybe. They will love to play him against India. He had the wood on them. As a proper swing bowler as well, he swings more than Bird or Starc consistently. That is important when you are in India, where the SG ball swings hoops around heaps early on and you can easily get two or three quick wickets to put pressure. That is about the fast bowlers.
As I mentioned earlier, Lyon will go, Maxwell will go. Can’t think of another spinner. I have seen a little bit of Zampa, but haven’t seen him enough and haven’t seen him in a Shield game. I’m not sure how many Shield games he has played. He might not even have played any. That is the thing about Big Bash. There are players you hear of who have not played any real cricket. I do like him though. I like that he is a fast paced leg spinner, something that you don’t see often in Australia, which is very handy in the subcontinent, something that was Warne’s problem- quite often he would bowl too slow. They will probably go with Lyon and Maxwell.
Batsmen- There is Khawaja. Watson and Khawaja are the two guys that did not play in the last SL Test. I would like to see Alex Doolan be given a fair chance. Having seen what has happened with Jackson Bird, I think the mid-20s really understand their game. i know Jackson Bird had amazing form. But also, Doolan has showed in enough innings that he is a class player. It is probably the time to take a punt on him.
So, my answer to Homer’s question is to take 25 players. [Laughs]
Lastly, I want to talk to you about your baby, not Zacharia, but about the ‘Death of a Gentleman’. When is the movie scheduled to be released?
JK– We are now hitting the editing work now. We have this really good guy working with us. we have this spacing in the city where we go into and we argue with each other, he moves things around. I would say, by end of February, we will have a rough cut. Once we have that rough cut, we will bring it out and sell it.
We had a meeting with John Battsek, the producer of ‘Fire In Babylon’. He also just produced a documentary called ‘Searching for the Sugarman’. That was cool. He did the documentary on the New York Cosmos. He is one of the best producers of documentaries in the world. And, he is very excited about the idea of the film. We have had two meetings with him and he has told us “Use my name and do what you can with it.” I think seeing someone like him, this really intelligent guy whose brain moves so quickly. In his office, he has his Oscar hidden away. To be able to talk through the film with someone like that and have him come out and go “I definitely want to be involved, but I definitely want to see a rough cut.”
I think we know that we have the right film. I think we have the film that not only attracts the cricket fans, but is actually interesting on multiple levels. That is also quite entertaining. it is me and Sam (Sampson Collins). It is not going to be a BBC documentary. It is going to be a bit more fun than that. We are getting things in place. The story is fitting in well quite nicely at the moment. We have a really good film. Probably, by early March, we will be able to tell when the release date is going to be. We know it has to come out after the Ashes, and we know that it will be finished by then. That is the good side of it. The bad aide is- we have to do all the hard work next.
The problem with the wide ranging in the documentary is that the BCCI suddenly decides that they want to own all the cricket photos. Is it something we want to get involved with? Do we mention it in the movie? Should we interview someone about that? Suddenly there are so many rabbit holes when something happens and you don’t know when to stop.
We have got an interesting ending which I would love to talk about, but I can’t. We have not filmed it yet, but are quite excited about. Also, Eddie is obviously a major part of our film. We have to work out how he fits in the overall story through the film, which is interesting. I want Eddie to succeed because he is my friend, but Geez, it would be so much better for me if he is opening up that first Test in the Ashes because he is a major part of the film.
Sam has taken over the role of the producer, I have taken over the director’s role. Our co-director had to get back to Australia unfortunately. So, I have taken over the co-directing role. Sam gets really focussed now and then. He tells time and again “We don’t have enough money for this. We have to buy this… We have to pay him for that…” And then, he says “ I am worried about the film” and I am like “in my head the film is amazing, we just have to put it together.”
It could come out and all your listeners will come out and say “Jarrod was talking nonsense. The end is bull shit. The film makes no sense. I don’t understand. Who the fuck is Eddie Cowan? Why do they keep showing him? Why does Srinivasan wear a weird coat?”
It has been an amazing experience. I don’t know if on this budget I would have taken on a film like this. I prefer to make smaller and easier documentaries, easier to contain documentaries in the future. This one has gotten massively out of control. Hopefully, what we will have in the end is what all cricket fans who want to see it, and people who are in general involved in sports will want to see, the people who are interested in business will want to see it. I may have told you before, that I don’t think there has ever been a good sports business documentary. I also don’t think there is a true behind-the-scenes documentary on what goes by with someone playing in Test cricket. Hopefully we have gotten those two things.
We don’t have Sachin, who has told us a hundred times that he will love to be on the documentary but hasn’t been in it. He is probably the only person in the world cricket that we really, really preferred having in the film and not be in it. Everyone else we asked are in it. The current and former CEO of the ICC, we have the chairmen of the Indian and the English cricket boards. We have got Rahul Dravid, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss, and some people who are really interested in the issues. We have a lot of those important people. We have been really lucky. A lot of it has hard work and a lot of it has been luck. I think we can make a really good film and I will be hoping to catch some sleep after completing that film.
SJ– Alright. On that note, all the best for the movie and thank you so much for coming on the show!
JK– No worries. I can’t wait for my fifth time. We’ll have to work out on what it is.
SJ– You can be Tom Hanks on Saturday Night Live. He has the record for it, 13 times or so.
JK– I think it is quite clear from my life that I am not Tom Hanks. I think Alec Baldwin has the record. And, if you look at my career, I am probably more like Baldwin.
SJ– Alright, thanks a lot, Jarrod.
Episode transcribed by: Bharathram Pattabiraman