Susie Robinson previews Macquarie Radio’s summer of cricket
A couple of weeks ago, Greg Matthews said to me on the phone, ‘this is the most inexperienced Australian team since we played NZ at Basin Reserve in ’86.’
A beautifully planted seed knowing I would venture immediately to refresh my memory. More on that later.
It feels like the beginning of a rebuild. It happens.
As a generation have come to know, Australian cricketers whether through injury, age and motivation eventually relent.
No matter how good they are, time catches up.
Where does this sit historically?
Macquarie Radio’s stats guru, Ric Finlay, delivers the numbers.
The team that took to the field in Wellington, February 1986, totalled Test match experience of 171 matches.
Lead by Border, players included Boon 13 Tests, McDermott 12, GR Marsh 3, SR Waugh, 2 and of course Matthews 11.
Similarly, Ian Chappell captained the 1972 Ashes tour.
Old Trafford featured fresh faces abroad, GS Chappell 5 Tests, RW Marsh 6, DK Lillee 3.
It was a team that totalled just 151 in Test match experience.
In ’72 the inexperienced line up didn’t worry Chappell.
‘The Shield competition was so strong you knew these guys were up for the task,’ he said.
‘We had seen them compete against Test players in state games, or in the backyard in Greg’s case.
‘They were good players.’
Chappell feels the anticipation of a renewed line up.
‘It energises the team, it’s important for the fans to see new players coming through and as a commentator it’s great to see them from the start. It’s an exciting time,’ he explained.
They did not lose a series in the next 10.
Incidentally, the highest number belongs to a mighty team. The second Ashes Test in Adelaide, 2006-7, peaks at 811.
Unsurprisingly, Langer 101 Tests, Hayden 99, Ponting 106, Warne 141, McGrath 120, dominated all that lay before them. Australia defeated England 5-0.
So back to Basin Reserve, the first Test in a three-match series, rain affected it ultimately ended in a draw.
Greg Matthews made 130.
Made me look.