West Indies series raises more questions for Australia
Australia has beaten the West Indies 2-0 on a series of dust bowls. I’m not sure what it proves, other than that Michael Clarke is the right leader.
Let’s take that point.
He was certainly not regarded as the promised child when selected as captain.
But he has made the role his own, even if his batting in this series has been less than salubrious.
His catching, bowling, field settings and understanding of the game and the opposition have been first class.
While he goes about leading, the others go about their individual tasks with apparent relish.
They understand the impact Clarke has had and they respect his judgement.
There are issues… but the intent is just about perfect.
The bowling coaches have the most work to do.
Why can’t Nathan Lyon or Michael Beer, or any other spinner from Australia, bowl a doosra? Why can’t they have the variety of a Shane Shillingford, a Graeme Swann or Daniel Vettori?
Why is it that only Shane Watson, and occasionally Ryan Harris, can shape the ball both ways?
How is it that Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Starc have not managed to be able to do it consistently like the English seamers?
I am not sure about Mickey Arthur or the selectors and their understanding of what is needed just yet. But they will have plenty to work with in the next few months.
In Matthew Wade, Australia now has a wicketkeeper who has more energy and raw spirit than anyone else running for the job. The onus is now on everyone else to try to steal his job.
The jury is out on Ed Cowan and Dave Warner as an opening pairing, but the experiment is worth perseverance. Blooding a Liam Davis or Rob Quiney can be part of the equation at limited-overs level.
Peter Forrest, Travis Birt, Shaun Marsh, George Bailey and one or two others have Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey firmly in their sights.
The fast-bowling stocks will likewise be chock-a-block full, with Patrick Cummins, James Pattinson and hopefully Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson set to challenge for roles at all three levels.
Meanwhile, one gets the feeling that if the batting can put together 300-400 in the first innings of every Test, Australia will be tough to beat everywhere and at every form of the game.