Selector Inverarity hints at no spinner for the Gabba Test
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Australian Cricket selector John Inverarity speaks with spin bowler Nathan Lyon. AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Although selection for the first Test in Brisbane is a fortnight away, chief selector John Inverarity hinted that the Australian team will have three to four fast bowlers and no specialist spinner.
“Skipper Michael Clarke will do the spinning”, he said at the ‘Cricket’s Back Week’ in Sydney on Monday. He was full of praise for Clarke’s enthusiasm even when playing grade cricket in Sydney.
But the cricketer in maximum spotlight was Shane Watson. He has been recalled from South Africa where he is playing Champions League T20 for Sydney Sixers. Cricket Australia strongly feels that he should be playing more with red balls than with white in preparation for the Australian summer of cricket, and the Ashes.
Pat Howard, Executive General Manager of Team Performance, said, “Shane’s unique. He’s an all-rounder. [To recall him from South Africa] was in the best interests (of) Australian cricket and for him. The dialogue between Shane and Cricket Australia has been cordial and he understands it.”
When asked about who would be keeping wickets for Australia in the Brisbane Test, Inverarity appeared in two minds. To recall Brad Haddin or stick with Matthew Wade poses a problem, he felt and indicated a final decision will be made on the 30th or 31st October.
Inverarity was pleased with the fast bowling stocks: Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Johnson plus the medium-fast Shane Watson would be ideal for the bouncy Gabba pitch.
Head coach Mickey Arthur stated that he wants to bring Australia back to number one position. He was asked whether he felt uncomfortable coaching Australia after coaching South Africa in the past.
“At personal level, it adds an extra spice”, he said with a smile, but added that to bring Australia to top position is his current goal.
Will the staging of Tests against South Africa on pace friendly pitches in Brisbane and Perth be an advantage for the tourists? After all they have a speed battery of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.
Arthur replied that there will be little advantage as venues have been decided well into the past and traditionally the Melbourne Test starts on Boxing Day and the Sydney Test on the second or third of January.
Besides Australia also have fast bowlers to take advantage of the bouncy pitches in Gabba and WACA.
What about the spin department in the Australian line-up?
Inverarity replied that off-spinner Nathan Lyon and slow left-arm orthodox Jon Holland will play in subsequent Tests in Melbourne and Sydney.
He added that rotation policy is not a dirty word but a reality with so much cricket being played around the calendar.
Here is my Australian XI for the first Test in Brisbane (in batting order):
Ed Cowan, David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade (wk), James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon or Ben Hilfenhaus.
What do you think, Roarers?
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.
Watch Glenn Mitchell's wrap of the second Test, where Australia were victorious early on the final day, winning by 218 runs and taking a 2-0 series lead into the third Test in Perth.
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