ODI disaster means Aussie selectors must look to next wave
Australian Cricket selector John Inverarity speaks with spin bowler Nathan Lyon. AAP Image/Dave Hunt
In the light of Australia’s disastrous ODI tour, it’s time we revisited the Australia “A” squad to tour England for four games later this month, under the captaincy of Ed Cowan.
There’s the first selection blink – Cowan as skipper, and Peter Forrest as vice-captain ahead of George Bailey, captain of Tasmania and the Australian Twenty20 side.
Cowan is a shrewd cricket thinker, but has never captained a first-class side. Forrest has led Queensland a couple of times as a fill-in skipper, but Bailey is a tried and tested leader.
The second blink is the selection of erratic paceman Mitchell Johnson, to continue the charmed life he has with the panel. It seems as though he can do no wrong, when that’s exactly what he is doing.
And the third is the omission of the two very talented, if inconsistent, left-handed batsmen Usman Khawaja, and Phil Hughes.
There seems to be no pattern to what the selector’s are thinking.
The major plus is the meteoric rise of fast bowler Jackson Bird in his debut season with Tasmania, a late bloomer at 25. Another talent to slip through the NSW selectors hands.
In eight matches he headed the Sheffield Shield wicket-takers for the season with 53 at just 16 apiece that included two 10-wicket and five 5-wicket hauls to win the Sheffield Shield Player-of-the-Year award.
Other pluses – the return of keeper Tim Paine from a severe hand injury, the comeback of paceman Ben Cutting and the recognition of Tom Cooper, Joe Burns, Liam Davis, and Michael Klinger
* South Australia’s Cooper won the Ryobi Cup Player-of-the-Year award averaging 73.20.
* Burns topped Queensland’s first-class batting averages with 41.10.
* Opening batsman Davis was named Western Australia’s Player-of-the-Year after averaging 65.78, including an unbeaten 303 against NSW, the highest score in the Sheffield Shield since Simon Katich’s 306 five years ago.
* And long overdue recognition for Klinger who debut for Victoria in 1998 before switching to South Australia a decade later where he has blossomed. His latest coup was captaining the SACA’s to Ryobi Cup honours last season. He has been knocking on the door for what seems ages, and even though he’s 32, Klinger is still a very good cricketer.
This short tour will be an ideal opportunity for all these players to make an early impression with selectors, in English conditions, for next year’s Ashes campaign.
That’s if we can ever fathom what the selectors are looking for, and if it ever stops raining in the Old Dart.
A couple of big “ifs”.
Ed Cowan (29 – captain), Peter Forrest (26 – vice-captain), George Bailey (29), Jackson Bird (25), Joe Burns (22), Tom Cooper (25), Pat Cummins (19), Ben Cutting (25), Liam Davis (27), Jon Holland (24), Mitchell Johnson (30), Michael Klinger (32), Nathan Lyon (24), Tim Paine (27), James Pattinson (22), Steve Smith (22), and Mitchell Starc (22).
- Derbyshire, a three-dayer, starting July 26.
- Durham, a three-dayer, starting August 1.
- English Lions, the equivalent of Australia “A”, a four-dayer at Old Trafford, starting August 7.
- And the English Lions for a return bout, a four-dayer at Edgbaston, starting August 14.
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