But it has struck me that MoneyBall the book (and film) that rubbished traditional stats in sports, hasn’t inspired stats on when the great players should call it quits.
Clarke, Ponting, S Waugh, Border, Taylor – Australian captains all – each left the scene in steep decline. The mind says keep going, the heart just isn’t there.
For most the last season is a step too far.
“Dad’s Army”, was how our last Ashes tour to England was dubbed – and so it proved. Clarke, Johnson, Harris, Haddin – 2014 white-wash heroes in Aus – all called it quits at the end – with Ashes lost.
And now it’s the turn of England’s Broad, Anderson and Cook. They are a bit unlucky as none of the younger guys has stood up. But all three either open the bowling or the batting so they are the front-line troops.
The poms were nowhere
And when you look hard enough, the evidence is there – albeit in hindsight. In the two Australian wins in England on the last Ashes tour – on flat wickets – all three poms were nowhere. An aberration you might say, but the reality is that all three now do wondrous things only sporadically.
In a sense it is about hunger. Michael Clarke was gone at 32, yet Chris Rogers was doing well at 37. But Clarke had played a hundred tests and was an acknowledged hero- while Chris was hell-bent on proving he could compete at that level.
This series, Australia’s leading players are younger and playing with hunger – while England’s are older and slower, and their troops less bolder.
The drive of Warner and Smith is great to see. How long can it last?
Maybe in five years’ time, a ‘hunger’ stat will be exercised on them!
Back to my predictions
I’m predicting that the side which bats second will win at the MCG. Root has won all 3 tosses so far, so will lose this one, Smith will bat, and England will win!