Sydney, Jan.1 (ANI): Before the Australian summer had begun, the national cricket team had three main worries-Shane Watson was not a proper opening batsman. Michael Hussey was at the end of his tether and spinner Nathan Hauritz was being projected as a pie-chucker. Now, the cricket community needs to find something else to fuss about, as these three have literally risen from the Ashes, says noted columnist Peter Roebuck.
Focussing on Hauritz, Roebuck says in an article for the Sydney Morning Herald that he "was in the trickiest position, whereas his embattled comrades(Hussey and Watson) knew they belonged and just needed to get the deed done."
"At some point this summer, though, he decided to stop dilly-dallying. Australians do not like to die wondering. As much could be told from his derring-do with the bat in Brisbane. It was like watching an accountant dance the can-can," says Roebuck.
"At the MCG, Hauritz was again released by his batting. If all went belly-up, he could hold his head up and cash his cheque without embarrassment. All-rounders are not under as much pressure as specialists. But he still felt like an intruder, sensed he owed his place to the incompetence of rivals not his own qualities. He craved respect. And he was right, he did look lightweight, lacked pivot, seemed to send down invitations and not demands," Roebuck adds.
"Much changed on the final morning in Melbourne. From the outset, he looked more aggressive in temper and technique. He bowled like he meant it, finished off his action, put a bit of buzz and bite on the ball. Previously he had seemed earnest, almost apologetic. Now he displayed conviction. And the batsmen succumbed," Roebuck says.
As far as Watson was concerned, the crisis was really a mere torment.
"His consistency has been amazing. But, then, he has a solid technique. Watson drives straight, cuts hard, pulls vividly and has excellent control of his bat. Slow-motion replays often show bats twisting at impact and the ball slicing away. Watson, Brad Haddin and Sachin Tendulkar seem to retain the blade especially well. Provided he can survive his partner's running between wickets, he can continue scoring heavily," says Roebuck.
"Hussey's pegs seem to be working well, and he does not appear quite so anxious these days. In both innings at the MCG, he was cut short by fair decisions that a luckier man might have survived. He is also catching screamers in the gully. Still, he needs to start scoring hundreds again - one in 36 Test innings is not enough," says Roebuck.
Roebuck also said that the umpire review system was the other success of the MCG Test.
"Gradually players and officials are getting used to it. Much controversy has been avoided, good umpires have been rewarded, mistakes have mostly been corrected, the appealing has become less agitated and justice has mostly been done," he concludes. (ANI)