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The Chappell-Hadlee whitewash

The Chappell-Hadlee Trophy one day international series finished yesterday with another Australia loss stretching Australia's losing streak to five straight matches. Ironically the last win was against New Zealand.

I thought Australia were completely outplayed in the first match when they could only score 148 runs which New Zealand had no problems chasing. As for the second and third matches I actually thought that Australia played quite well and the losses were due to New Zealand just being a lot better on the day.

However, this series has shown that Australia really struggle without Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds. Although Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee were also missing, the later through injury, it is Ponting and Symonds who were actually missed. Gilchrist has been struggling for form anyway and it was better that he be rested.

Looking at the series now, it looks like a lost opportunity for Australia to actually prepare for the Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean. I think at the time decisions were made to leave out Ponting and Gilchrist, it was possibly seen as a walkover series but with the whitewash the real work now is to lift up the players for the World Cup.

It was unfair for Matthew Hayden to score a fantastic 181 and end up on the losing side and this brings another point. For two consecutive matches Australia has failed to defend high scores of 336 and 346 respectively. That may mean that the bowlers in the team are not doing a good job and for this reason I don't see why Stuart Clarke is not going to the World Cup.

In the first match Australia failed to take a single wicket in 27 overs. In the second match Nathan Bracken and Shaun Watson together took five wickets when New Zealand were chasing 336 to win. It was a much improved performance in the last match and it worth noting that Glenn McGrath did not play in the last match and he and Brad Hogg came back wicket-less for the bowlers who bowled at least 10 overs in the series.

I hope the team will re-group and be able the defend the World Cup crown won in South Africa.

Ponting, Lee and Symonds are definitely key players in the Australian team. Ponting's leadership skills and his ability to consistently make runs most matches he plays, Lee's experience and accurate bowling as well as Symonds' all-round ability - fantastic strike rate and economy bowling - particularly when bowling towards the end of innings are key inclusions. I think when the World Cup starts Australia will be on the ball with hopefully most of its injured players back in the side - and Symonds to be included in the latter stages of the Cup.

Thanks Trevor for the comment. You have brought up some very good points and yes the three missing players plus also Michael Clarke would literally make team unbeatable.

I think what is without doubt at the moment is that when Australia is at full strength it can easily beat anybody and retain the World Cup. But the Chappell-Hadlee series also showed the other side that without Brett Lee the pace attack is virtually non-existent and I hope Lee will be okay in time for the World Cup.

I can't imagine the possibility of carrying two injured players (Symonds and Lee) to the World Cup.

Trevor, unfortunately Lee has now been ruled out of the World Cup and Stuart Clarke will take his place.

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