Member Interview: therealAB

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    Oct 2004
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    Member Interview: therealAB

    Many thanks to @therealAB for his time to answer our member questions.

    == As an Australian, what made you join Pakpassion?

    The primary Australian cricket forum, despite having significant discussion regarding international and domestic Australian cricket, lacks a huge amount of discussion regarding international cricket, hence posting on Pakpassion where discussion occurs regarding all the nations. You will notice that I tend to stay away from Pakistan domestic cricket discussion and stay to discussion regarding international cricket. What's the thinking behind your username?

    I feel that Allan Border is underappreciated in his role in forming the conditions required for the 1993-2007 side to be so successful. I was growing up during this time and Borders performances, most notably his 98* and 100* away vs the West Indies, were just incredible. I see a large contrast between De Villiers and Border as while Border rose to the challenge of captaining his country through tough times, De Villiers seemed selfish in comparison; as batsmen De Villiers is almost as good as Border but as cricketers there is no comparison. Border for me is up there with Worrell and Imran as a captain in the way he led, apart from just the usual tactical aspects. What sparked your interest in cricket - Have you played any competitive cricket?

    When I grew up in Australia everyone played Cricket + Footy, so it wasn’t a particular event, just the normal thing. I managed to play 1st grade in the 90’s, but was clearly not good enough to play anything higher; turns out mediocre finger spin isn’t too successful in Australia. Who's the best batsman and best bowler you have seen till date?

    This answer concerns purely Test cricket.

    Marshall is the best bowler I’ve had the privilege to see. He did it everywhere and had everything a fast bowler could ever need

    In terms of batsmen, it has to be Smith. If you had asked me 5 years ago, I would have had a hard time splitting Lara and Tendulkar, as Lara lacked the consistency of Tendulkar but Tendulkar struggled to dominate series. For me, Smith has managed to do both of those, having some of the all-time great series and at times has looked harder to dismiss that any batsmen I have ever seen. Note that I was unable to see Viv in his prime; after 1980 he was merely very good and not the legend that he had once been. What do you think of the new stadium in Perth? Do you miss the WACA?

    I like the new stadium, and I feel that the pitch has been quite good – better than the WACA had been in its final years with that Test against New Zealand coming to mind as just a terrible cricket pitch. It is much more accessible to me than the WACA, and as a venue for watching sport is excellent. I have been fortunate enough to see a lot of sport at the MCG, SCG, Lords etc. and Optus has one of the better viewing experiences of all of them. Why do Australians tune in with so much gusto to what is usually a drab England tour of Australia most times?

    Purely the history I’d say and the relationship between our two countries; Australians tend to share a lot of banter with the English. Australians also generally happy with smashing visiting opposition teams. Personally however, I find India coming here much more interesting so I can’t really speak for the rest of my countrymen. What interests you most about modern-day cricket and what do you dislike?

    I do find the aggressive batting more interesting – not to say that players like Viv didn’t exist back in the day but nowadays run rates are generally higher which can make the game more watchable. I dislike the saturation of the calendar with ODIs and T20 league games, and I found the old days when players had the ability to play overseas First-class cricket and copious amounts of tour games more conducive to competitive high-quality cricket. Earliest or best memories of watching live cricket?

    Viv Richards vs Dennis Lillee at the WACA in 1976; still an iconic moment. Also, the Roy Fredericks innings vs Australia around that time was just brilliant. How has the mindset of Australia cricket changed so much towards Pakistan & Sri Lanka that they chose to tour in such troubled times?

    Australia has had a reputation of being disinterested in touring less established nations (i.e., nations other than India, England and South Africa) which has been unfortunately well earned. I feel that the ICC program regarding touring has been beneficial in this regard, but I am no expert. Part of this desire to tour can definitely be attributed to the lack of cricket due to COVID-19 as well. Your views on Nick Kyrgios? How does the Australian public perceive him?

    I personally don’t like him, but the media do, and I definitely don’t speak for the Australia public. I have played and watched tennis for the past 40 years, so I am probably less inclined to like someone who’s focus is clearly not on the tennis. What do you make of the present Australian cricket side across formats, do they have all the bases covered to be the best Test side of this generation again?

    I think that the current Australian team can just be a ‘normal’ very good team as opposed to the 2000’s team and 80’s West Indies team which were ATG teams and were clearly the best in the world.

    Those teams had basically no weak links, while the present Australian team has 6 very good players:

    Usman Khawaja, although he may not be around for much longer

    Steve Smith, while not in his prime yet but still very good

    Marnus Labuschagne

    Cam Green is already a good all-rounder and I think in 2 years he will be our 2nd best player after Cummins

    Pat Cummins

    Mitch Starc/Josj Hazlewood/Nathan Lyon, all of who are very good but not great by any means

    So yes, I can see this team, if everything goes well, getting to the level of Kohli’s India, Graeme Smith’s South Africa and other similar teams. And if there are some shortcomings, what are they and does Australia have the domestic talent coming in who can cover up those shortcomings?

    Street/Hunt/Renshaw are the opening candidates, none of which have dominated yet, but I feel all of them could become solid players, especially given the Australian tradition of debuting solid, experienced players at a later age. The situation regarding Pucovski is too uncertain to seriously discuss at this time. I feel that there is no easy Head replacement, although a horses for courses approach of playing him at home and playing guys like Maxwell in Asia could work. Carey is solid and will continue to improve - although being fairly old he has greatly improved over the last few years. For fast bowlers, I really rate Richardson but the replacement for Lyon remains uncertain, with the hope being that Sangha develops into a proper option. Did you see the great Australia team of 2000s? If yes, who were your favourites from that team and why?

    I’d say Warne and Gilchrist were my favourites. Gilchrist was just exciting and Warne, more than any other player I’ve ever seen, gave me the hope that something would happen in tough situations, with the 1999 World Cup being the obvious example. I also had a huge amount of respect for his performance in the ‘05 Ashes, especially considering all the stuff that was going on in his life at that time. I also loved Waugh for similar reasons to Smith – he was incredibly reliable in crunch moments. This again was best shown for me in the 99 WC; for a guy who was not an outstanding ODI player his performances vs SA in both matches were as clutch as it comes.
    Last edited by MenInG; 20th July 2022 at 23:41.

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