How will Australia’s three Ws fare in the land of the three Ws?
From the 1960s to 1995, the tour of the Caribbean was the holy grail, the litmus paper to test a country’s cricketing greatness.
Australia and the West Indies fought many thrilling Test encounters home and away, the most famous being the 1960-61 Test series which included the first tied Test in Brisbane.
This inaugurated the Frank Worrell Trophy, which Australia has held since 1995, winning four times in Australia and four times in the West Indies.
Will Michael Clarke’s men return home from the Caribbean on the 28th of April holding the Frank Worrell Trophy again?
Different Australian squads have been chosen for the Windies tour; for the five one-day internationals starting in Kingstown on Friday, two Twenty20s starting on March 27, and three Tests commencing on April 7.
Only seven players have been selected in all three squads: vice-captain and top order bat Shane Watson, openers David Warner and Matthew Wade, middle order batsmen Michael Hussey and Peter Forrest, fast bowler James Pattinson and off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
How will the Aussie trio of Ws — Warner, Wade and Watson – go in the land of the three fabulous Windies Ws – Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes and Clyde Walcott? Like Worrell, Watson is an all-rounder, and Wade keeps wickets as Walcott did.
They have a long way to go before they could be considered in the same bracket as the Windies wonders, but it’s an interesting coincidence to discuss at the water cooler during morning tea breaks.
Will Clarke be fit enough to lead Australia in the first ODI? Watson showed promise as captain in Clarke’s absence in the recently concluded tri-nations series in Australia, beating India in Sydney on the 26th of February and Sri Lanka in the third final in Adelaide to lift the trophy.
My XI for the first ODI, in batting order, would be Warner, Watson, Clarke (all-rounder Daniel Christian to bat at No. 6 if Clarke is unfit), Forrest, Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Brad Haddin, Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Clint McKay and Lyon.
12th man would be top-order batsman George Bailey. Reserves would be Wade, Brett Lee, and slow left-arm orthodox Xavier Doherty.
To me, Wade’s wicket-keeping was disappointing in the finals of the recent series. Lee gives away too many runs in ODIs.
I would have picked Peter Siddle above Hilfenhaus in my XI, but he is not in the ODI squad.
Pattinson and Hilfenhaus will start the attack in the ODI opener at Kingstown with in-form McKay coming at first change. Then run-saver Watson and offie Lyon.
My prediction is that Australia will win the ODI series 3-0.
They are the top-ranked ODI team with 127 points, leading second-ranked South Africa by nine points. The West Indians rank eighth, with 79 points.
Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.