Feeling a sense of deja vu

THISis the second in a series of articles written by Australian fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz.

I AM not sure about you but I have had a real sense of deja vu with this series ? and we are only one Test into it.

I am sure that I have had this dream before, where Australia takes some time to find its feet in the early one-day series, even losing a couple of matches (1997), then through the build-up to the first Test England start trash talking Australia before finding themselves on the end of a proper thumping (every year since 1989).

While there are lots of newspapers in this country with plenty of copy to fill there is that feeling that we have heard all this before.

Before the first Test at Lords the papers were bursting with England players talking a load of 'malarky' centred entirely on external influences and rarely about that one thing that they could control ? their own game.

The England captain, Michael Vaughan, showed respect toward us with his pre-game media, unlike some of his team members.

Andrew Strauss wrote how they are no longer intimidated by the Aussies along with Kevin Pietersen, the South African-born Englishman in this his test debutthought the crowds have been too fair minded and urged the crowds to 'Help us Nail the Aussies and give them stick.'

He played club cricket in Sydney and claims that Australians don't like it.

Little does he know we love it.

Incidentally, Pietersen has an England tattoo on his shoulder.

I had a laugh when it was said somewhere in the Aussie section of the crowd that one of our fast bowlers should give him another, that of a kookaburra on his forehead.

I'm sure that even KP would have seen the lighter side of that call.

Other than the usual confident Glenn McGrath comments on which batsmen he would target for the series, the Australian team didn't rubbish the opposition but spoke about our game and our 'skills'.

We showed respect and spoke briefly about what a great challenge England would be and how if we concentrate on our preparation and execute these skills for the entire Test, the result will look after itself.

But in what could be described as possibly the worst pre-game gaffe of Ashes history, a comment was made by Matthew Hoggard in his own broadsheet column.

Hoggard stated that McGrath and Warne are past it and predicted that the aging Australian bowlers would 'struggle to bowl out England twice.'

I can only think it must have been a 'typo' and should have read 'Australia would struggle to bowl out England in only three days to win the test.'

It ended up being three and a half days with the interruption of rain ? Warne taking six wickets and McGrath, minus his walking stick, taking nine wickets and man-of-the-match honours.

Having played five seasons of county cricket I get asked, regularly in England but rarely in Australia, what the differences are between County cricket and our Pura Cup competition.

For me the love of an 'excuse' has always stood out.

County cricket is full of them.

It was due to the poor weather, the dodgy pitch, the lousy umpiring, the wrong bat, the poor ball ? even the ordinary lunches dished up ? are the most common reasons for things going wrong on the field.

I even know an out of form county player who had missed a game because he injured his shoulder brushing his hair.

I had a coach years ago whose favourite saying was 'there may be many reasons but there are no excuses' and today the Queensland Bulls live by the creed 'excuses are for losers'.

In other words accountability is the difference and dealing with only what you as a player can control.

It is pointless wasting energy concerning yourself with anything external and totally out of your hands.

Matthew Hoggard might have discovered this, along with a healthy respect for his elders.

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