ASHES: Dumping Khawaja would be farcical

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Usman Khawaja is one of the few Aussie cricketers that should be guaranteed selection for the rest of the summer. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

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    The Australian selectors will disgrace themselves if they jettison Usman Khawaja in favour of recalling Phillip Hughes or Matthew Wade for the fifth Ashes Test.

    How is it possible to identify whether Khawaja is cut out for Test cricket if he is never afforded more than three matches before being dropped?

    The elegant left hander has played only nine Tests but rumours suggest he is on the verge of being dumped from the side for a third time.

    Admittedly, Khawaja has had a poor series with 114 runs at an average of 23 (discounting his comical dismissal in the first innings at Manchester).

    But his failures should be kept in context. Only three batsmen, Aussies Michael Clarke and Shane Watson, and England’s Ian Bell, have averaged more than 37 this series.

    The highly-credentialed English trio of Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior have combined for 498 runs at the paltry average of 22.

    That is not an excuse for underperformance, and Khawaja should be disappointed with his inability to exploit the opportunities offered to him the past month.

    His efforts hardly demand demotion though, particularly when his potential replacements are a batsman with woeful recent Test form and a wicketkeeper bizarrely being considered for a specialist role with the blade.

    Hughes has been exposed as possessing significant technical flaws both against pace and spin.

    His 81 not out in the first Test at Trent Bridge proved to be yet another false dawn as he scored just two runs from his following three innings.

    Since the Australia summer he has averaged 21 in Tests and been dismissed for single-figure scores in eight of 12 innings.

    The 24-year-old should not be written off as a Test player, but he should not be selected again until he proves he can prosper against pace bowling on lively pitches and that he has manufactured a reliable method of scoring from spin bowlers.

    Whether he learns to use his feet to the tweakers, develops the ability to play the sweep shot, or trains himself to use the full depth of the crease to cut and pull length deliveries, Hughes must identify a means of rotating the strike.

    Wade, meanwhile, ought not to be considered for a role as a specialist batsman without displaying at first-class level that he can effectively discharge such duties.

    If the selectors are so dismayed by the level of batting talent in Australia that they wish to convert Wade into a batsman, surely such an experiment should be conducted at State, not international, level.

    There are six rounds of Shield matches prior to the first Ashes Test at Brisbane from November 21.

    The Victorian could be asked to give up the gloves and churn out runs in the middle order to earn the right to wear the baggy green.

    Similar to Hughes, Khawaja has battled against spin in recent times. This series he has scored just 48 runs from Graeme Swann for three legitimate dismissals, while also falling to part-timer Joe Root at Lords.

    Khawaja undoubtedly needs to augment his countering of slow bowlers. It should be kept in mind, however, that Swann is unlikely to have close to the same impact in the return Ashes contest down under, where he will not be afforded the luxury of the dry surfaces offered up by the English curators this series.

    The 26-year-old Aussie is known for his skilful handling of pace bowling and has confirmed that the past three Tests, scoring 60 runs off England’s quicks while falling prey to them just once.

    The most dominant batsman of this series, England’s Ian Bell, is an interesting case study when considering Khawaja’s struggle to find his feet at Test level.

    The Englishman was similarly inexperienced when he floundered in the 2005 Ashes series, scoring just 171 runs at 17.

    Bell’s final four innings in that series included two ducks and yielded just six runs.

    Yet the English selectors, having decided Bell was the best young batsman in the country, did not panic and retained the 23-year-old in the starting XI for the Test tour of Pakistan two months later.

    They were rewarded for their faith as Bell blossomed, making 221 runs at 44 over the three-Test series.

    The Australia selectors cannot continue to shunt young batsmen in and out of the team. They must back Khawaja, who has shown glimpses of his talent at Test level.

    In 10 of his 15 completed innings he has passed 20, braving the difficult times early on only to fall once set at the crease.

    This suggests not a player who lacks the ability for Test cricket, but rather one who does not yet possess the mental strength to capitalise on a solid foundation.

    Perhaps Khawaja is mentally fragile and, like his maddening teammate Shane Watson, will forever be unable to convert his starts at Test level.

    Or perhaps he is simply a young man bereft of confidence and burdened by a mind clouded with uncertainty.

    This would be a perfectly understandable state of mind for a budding batsman who has had the selectors’ axe hovering above his head throughout his infantile career.

    Batting at first drop in a fragile line-up, Khawaja must be given more than three-Test blocks to prove himself.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (277)

    • August 20th 2013 @ 4:16am
      Silver_Sovereign said | August 20th 2013 @ 4:16am | ! Report

      I fully agree with you Ronan. He should get the 18 matches that Cowan got. and Hughes has played nearly 30 matches. People in this rapid 24 hour news cycle have to remember that young cricketers need a lot of time. Steve Waugh didn’t get a test century till about his 30th match. Khawaja’s problems are all in his head. He rarely seems relaxed or smiles. Seems to have a constant worried look on his face and who can blame him after the way he was treated by selectors. I think Usman could be very successful in the return series

      • August 20th 2013 @ 7:35am
        Sideline Comm. said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:35am | ! Report

        Definitely agreed. If Khawaja gets this test and then some runs in the shield before the summer with a test spot waiting he should be in a much better place mentally then he is now. This should result in runs coming his way. However, if he is still averaging in the twenties by the end of the next series he should be dropped back to shield level to get more experience. He’s certainly not too old for a cricketer, he could be back if this does indeed become the case.

        • August 20th 2013 @ 12:17pm
          Praveen said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

          Good article Ronan, dropping khawaja would be a joke

          • Columnist

            August 20th 2013 @ 12:20pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

            Sideline Comm you are spot on. He cannot continue to average 25 at Test level but needs more games on the trot. We’ve seen so often how a batsman blossoms once they make that big breakthrough innings.

            • August 21st 2013 @ 12:14pm
              Rob Barrow said | August 21st 2013 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

              I didn’t think we would drop Khawaja, now that we have i think its a joke treating one of our best young talents like this.

      • August 20th 2013 @ 8:54am
        Disco said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        +1

      • August 20th 2013 @ 12:08pm
        Chris said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

        Hughes may have had nearly 30 matches in total, but never too many in a row before an axing. He’s been stuffed around by the selectors too. He should never have been dropped that first time, on the back of a great series in South Africa, he has one bad test in England and gets instantly dropped. But things got in his head and he hasn’t been the same player since then.

        The selectors have been too quick to both get him back and drop him. If they dropped him and he went back to first class cricket for 2-3 years before getting picked again that would be reasonable. Or if they’d stuck with him for another 10-15 tests at least when they first picked him, that would have been reasonable. But instead he plays a couple of good matches at first class level and gets brought back, then he plays a couple of bad matches at test level and gets dropped and the cycle continues.

        • Columnist

          August 20th 2013 @ 12:13pm
          Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

          Silver Sovereign I don’t think Khawaja definitely deserved his first 18 Tests on the trot like Cowan. But if he’d at least be given his 9 Tests all in a row instead of in 3 small blocks we would have a better idea of his capacity for Test cricket.

        • August 20th 2013 @ 12:15pm
          Red Kev said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

          I was going to say, Hughes had 9 in a row before being dropped this time. Khawaja is getting three at at time.

          • August 20th 2013 @ 12:18pm
            Praveen said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

            Khawaja always gets half the chances other batsman get

            • Columnist

              August 20th 2013 @ 12:28pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

              And Red Kev, apart from soft runs made at home against a woefully impotent SL pace attack, Hughes averaged 21 during that run of Tests.

            • August 21st 2013 @ 12:15pm
              Rob Barrow said | August 21st 2013 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

              Well said Praveen, Khawaja’s treatment is a joke, nothing more to be said.

      • August 20th 2013 @ 12:52pm
        Hookin' YT said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

        Wel said Ronan. He deserves the same treatment afforded Chappell etc when they started. The Oval and all 5 home tests.

        • August 20th 2013 @ 6:56pm
          ChrisB said | August 20th 2013 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

          Greg Chappell got a century in his first test and didn’t struggle for 10 years. Don’t see the comparison
          Trevor, maybe?

          • Columnist

            August 20th 2013 @ 8:15pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:15pm | ! Report

            Ian Chappell…he averaged 20 in his first 8 Tests without even making a half century.

    • August 20th 2013 @ 5:29am
      Frankie Hughes said | August 20th 2013 @ 5:29am | ! Report

      Khawaja can’t play spin, soon as he walks out there, the Poms get Swann into the attack an it’s goodnight nurse.

      • August 20th 2013 @ 5:56am
        cruyff turn said | August 20th 2013 @ 5:56am | ! Report

        Correct.

        It’s unacceptable that a supposed international batsman has no strategy for playing spin. Have to do more than just playing from the crease. I can now see why the selectors didn’t use him in India, he would’ve really struggled.

        I want Khawaja, or any young Australian batsman, to do well, but I don’t know. There’s something missing with this guy.

        • August 20th 2013 @ 6:42am
          A Mans Not A Camel said | August 20th 2013 @ 6:42am | ! Report

          playing spin is not an issue with the individual – it’s an issue with all our upcoming batsmen. why? because CA has spent the last number of years making sure Aus pitches had greentops. As a result, our spinning stocks are low, and, our batsmen’s ability to play spin is near non existant. We have only the guys over 30 that probably recall playing on Aus pitches with any regularity that turned. my understanding is that CA are going to be rectifying that this year, but it may be too late for Hughes, Khawaja, Warner. Smith seems to have found a way to push through spin with sheer determination, possibly assisted by being RHB against Swann. Warner probably has the best chance of himself, Hughes and Khawaja simply because he actually tries attacking. Hughes and Khawaja, it’s like they are trying to bat with their eye’s closed, no clue. It’s been said before, but i’ll repeat – Hughes and Khawaja should be sent to India for a year to learn that part of the trade.

          • August 20th 2013 @ 12:16pm
            Chris said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            Agreed. Most spinners in Australia struggle to get a bowl in Shield matches, because the pitches are made very pace-bowler friendly. This leads to both the weakness of Australian spin stocks and the weakness of batsmen against spin.

            But it’s all the way down. Not just at the top level. Personally, I love facing spin bowlers, trying to read the deliveries out of the hand, use my feet to get to the ball and try to hit them around just little enough so they aren’t yanked out of the attack. But I’ve played with so many batsmen who are really competent batsmen, but the moment a spinner comes on it’s like they are bowling hand-grenades.

            Unfortunately, too many of the Aussie batsmen are in this category. Ashton Agar is the only Australian left-hander who’s played Swann well in this series. Though, Warner, when set and playing well at the time Swann comes in, seems to be able to handle him pretty well. Would be almost tempted to open the bowling with Swann if Warner is opening because he struggles against spin early, but once set handles it okay.

            • August 20th 2013 @ 3:03pm
              James said | August 20th 2013 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

              it also leads to worse fast bowlers. being brought up to bowl on green tops which are great for their trade means that when they go places that are not the waca or the gabba they are very very ordinary.

          • Columnist

            August 20th 2013 @ 12:18pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

            Absolutely Khawaja needs to really develop his play against spin. But Swann does eat left handers for brekkie. AMNAC I totally agree with you…Shield players no longer get any kind of experience in turning conditions.

            All the tracks suit the quicks and even the SCG doesn’t break up anywhere near the way it used to. Hence spinners are an afterthought for most sides and batsman develop at Shield level without ever being tested by spin.

            • August 20th 2013 @ 12:44pm
              Nick Inatey said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

              Well, that’s when players need to take some initiative and go play some county cricket.

              • August 20th 2013 @ 12:53pm
                Red Kev said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                Which both Hughes and Khawaja did.

              • Columnist

                August 20th 2013 @ 1:05pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

                But even in county cricket Nick they won’t get a great amount of experience playing on turning decks. Like I said above CA should prepare turning practice wickets and get an army of tweakers to ball at the batsmen for days on end.

              • August 20th 2013 @ 4:21pm
                Nick Inatey said | August 20th 2013 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

                Ronan,

                Australia hardly has an army of tweakers to call at its disposal.

                It has slow bowlers, but not spinners.

              • Columnist

                August 20th 2013 @ 8:13pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:13pm | ! Report

                Nick I’d love to see them get a gang of State squad spinners to bowl at them on a dusty practice deck for several days at some point over the coming months to make them develop tactics against spin in favourable conditions. And that should happen several times a year, giving practice to any international or potential international batsmen with weaknesses against spin.

              • August 21st 2013 @ 12:17pm
                Rob Barrow said | August 21st 2013 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                Bottomline is that Khawaja should be playing at the oval

        • August 20th 2013 @ 12:19pm
          Praveen said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

          Frankie your man Hughes does worse against spin then khawaja, remember Ashwin, bit somehow Hughes always gets more
          Chance

          • August 20th 2013 @ 7:00pm
            ChrisB said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

            Christ I’m sick to death of people taking sides over one of these guys or the other. They’re both struggling young players, support them both and stop this ridiculous tit for tat.

      • Roar Guru

        August 20th 2013 @ 6:33am
        Red Kev said | August 20th 2013 @ 6:33am | ! Report

        Khawaja plays spin better than Hughes though.

        • August 20th 2013 @ 6:43am
          A Mans Not A Camel said | August 20th 2013 @ 6:43am | ! Report

          Agreed

          • Roar Guru

            August 20th 2013 @ 7:25am
            Tim Holt said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:25am | ! Report

            Blind Freddy plays spin better than Hughes

            • August 20th 2013 @ 8:54am
              Disco said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:54am | ! Report

              This is we’re Blinkered Frankie we’re dealing with.

              • Columnist

                August 20th 2013 @ 12:30pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

                Hughes is perhaps the worst player of spin I’ve seen among Test batsmen.

              • Editor

                August 20th 2013 @ 2:59pm
                Patrick Effeney said | August 20th 2013 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

                You can’t deny, though, that he improved can you? His last three innings in India were dramatic improvements (not saying much I know). It looks to me like Hughes has actually learned, and put together a plan, albeit a very ugly plan, for dealing with spin at present.

              • Columnist

                August 20th 2013 @ 3:18pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

                Paddy I thought Hughes largely just threw the bat at the end of that Indian series. If you go back and look at the footage many of his scoring strokes were from just risking his hand. I thought he did that because the series was over and he had nothing to lose figuring he was going to get dropped anyway.

                Then at the start of this Ashes series when he had surprisingly retained his spot he went back to his previous way of playing spin and scored 9 runs from 70-odd deliveries against Swann for two dimissals.

        • August 20th 2013 @ 7:49am
          Frankie Hughes said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:49am | ! Report

          Hughes scored a hundred in SL, must’ve played spin well there…

          Don’t worry you can watch Khawaja carry the drinks again

          • August 20th 2013 @ 7:57am
            Red Kev said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:57am | ! Report

            He sure showed his talent against India. How many consecutive dot balls was it to spinners? 48 including 3 wickets?

            • August 20th 2013 @ 8:19am
              jamesb said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:19am | ! Report

              I think the problem for Ussie, Phillip Joel, and many of our young batsman, is they don’t face any quality spin bowling at shield level.

            • August 20th 2013 @ 9:26am
              jameswm said | August 20th 2013 @ 9:26am | ! Report

              How many this series Kev?

              Hughes is a catastrophe against right arm offies. There is just no point picking him against India or England. It’s like Cullinan v Warne.

              It’s a shame, because I still see him as part of our future. He scores big and has a good temperament, and a fantastic eye. I can handle his ungainly technique against the quicks.

              But FFS, someone sort him out against the offies.

              • August 20th 2013 @ 12:21pm
                Chris said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

                Agreed. I think part of the problem is actually the constant in and out of the team has paralysed him a bit. I think he was better against spin earlier, but at the moment he gets paralysed by fear of getting out, so he goes ultra-defensive. He actually has a good defense against spin, just no attacking options. In the partnership with Agar he looked comfortable against Swann as far as Swann didn’t look like getting him out, but you couldn’t see where he could score against Swann at all, even pushing singles required a really bad ball.

                The in and out needs to stop. Either pick him and give him 15-20 matches straight, or drop him and don’t consider him for at least 2 years. He’s only 24 still. They could leave him in Shield cricket for 4-5 years and he’ll still only be 28-29. He’ll definitely be back. He’s too good not to be.

              • Columnist

                August 20th 2013 @ 12:38pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

                Chris I really think Hughes needs two seasons back at Shield level. He has so many technical issues to overcome that one summer is not enough, particularly when he plays so many of his matches on the featherbed at Adelaide Oval.

                CA should be preparing a bunsen burner pitch somewhere and getting a team of varied spinners to bowl for days against the likes of Hughes and Khawaja to give them practice.

          • August 20th 2013 @ 12:47pm
            Nick Inatey said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

            Frankie,

            Hughes scored a 100 on a Sri Lankan runway. If you look very closely, you would have seen the jumbo jets landing during the lunch and tea breaks. It was a very similar runway to the one that Shaun Marsh got a hundred on too.

            • August 20th 2013 @ 7:03pm
              ChrisB said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

              Yep, if they stuff up its all their fault, never quality bowling, but if they do ok the opposition or pitch or both must be favourable

        • August 20th 2013 @ 8:56am
          davros said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          yep agree ..hughes to spin is diabolical…I didn’t realize he was so bad …apparently he copped a couple of bad decisions in india then he ground out a reasonable score but I wasn’t able to watch it ….then when I got a look at him against swan I thought my God !…I don’t remember ever seeing an international batsman being so inept…he was scoring his runs on sheer grit and determination ….never ever trying to use his feet…he just was completely bereft of a strategy …a couple of posts above saying exactly what I have been saying for ages about Khawaja…mentally week ( I was pilloried for that he is a pilot etc etc etc et ) and someone else saying there is “something missing ” …my sentiments exactly …doesn’t mean he cant go back to shield and become much better ….I believe we are picking young guys way too early …they need to learn there own game make a mountain of runs…and when they get there op ….know how to take it …maybe we should have stuck with/tried experienced type players …klingers Quineys D husseys baileys etc

          • August 20th 2013 @ 12:30pm
            Chris said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

            Going with experienced players has merit, if they are any good. The thing is, if someone has been playing first class cricket for a decade and still only averages mid-30s, it’s hard to see how they will suddenly be better at test cricket level. The older guys consistently averaging over 50 simply aren’t there anymore.

            David Hussey is past it. A few years ago he might have been a good pick, but he’s well past his prime now, and scored hardly any runs last Shield season.

            Quiney is 31 now, with a first class average of 35. Klinger is 33 with a first class average of 37. Bailey is nearly 31 with a first class average of 38. I’m all for picking more experienced players with the runs on the board, but if you haven’t been able to work your game out enough to have a significantly better average than that by your 30’s then I can’t see how you could be considered for test cricket.

            • Columnist

              August 20th 2013 @ 12:42pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

              And I would argue that if we’re going to bring in another veteran batsmen straight away it should be at the expense of Watson in an experience-for-experience replacement. I think having three young batsmen in Smith, Warner and Khawaja surrounded by four veterans in the top 7 is a good mix.

            • August 20th 2013 @ 1:10pm
              davros said | August 20th 2013 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

              look how many runs guys like Klinger and katich have scored in english county this season…I am starting to form the view we are definitely selecting batsman showing promise way to to early ….Rogers shows that in spades ….this triumvirate of hughes khawaja and smith should have been left in shield till they were scoring 1000 runs a season and knew there game inside out …we have got serious problems with our batting depth …maybe we just picked the wrong blokes or picked em too early

              • August 20th 2013 @ 2:32pm
                Red Kev said | August 20th 2013 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

                A 1000 run shield season means (a) playing all 10 games and (b) averaging between 50 and 60 for the season (accounting for a couple of DNBs or a not out). Hughes and Khawaja have both posted back to back seasons at this level but neither have ever played all 10 games in a season because CA keep yanking them out of the side as “cover” or for tour games or meaningless limited overs matches.
                Chris’ comment below about leaving them in the side longer before axing them and then leaving them out of the side longer before recalling them has serious merit.

              • Columnist

                August 20th 2013 @ 4:15pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

                I think Hughes’ international future should lie with the ODI side for the next year or two.

            • August 20th 2013 @ 7:07pm
              ChrisB said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

              Great post. Rogers was an exception. Can’t see the point in continually picking veterans, sometimes you just have to take your medicine and rebuild.
              Afraid those guts time has probably passed. Voges may have a season or two for a look in if those get worse (god forbid) but I’d rather look at Maddison or Doolan

        • August 20th 2013 @ 9:16am
          Mark T said | August 20th 2013 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          Khawaja looks better than Hughes. Hughes scores more runs than Khawaja (that’s what the statistics clearly show). Elegance is not a substitute for lack of runs. Look at Chris Rogers who’s scoring runs but one the face of it one would say that Khawaja plays better than him.

        • August 28th 2013 @ 4:26pm
          Ken Hambling said | August 28th 2013 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

          Bit tough on Khawaja given he top scored in Lords, got a howler in Manchester and had one more test match after that compared to other batsman who had 19 tests in a row(i.e Cowan), i am sure with a strong shield start he will come back stonger in the home ashes. Also tough on Bird who deserves an extended run which wasn’t given to him in this series.

      • August 20th 2013 @ 9:21am
        jameswm said | August 20th 2013 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        ROFL – Frankie, this comment comes from a Phil Hughes fan? Hughes makes Khawaja look like the best player of spin in history. Hughes this series is something like 80 balls, 9 runs, 3 outs against Swann. It’s an absolute catastrophe. Anyone have the exact stats?

        Khawaja looks like he’ll score, but Hughes looks like he could get out every ball.

        • Columnist

          August 20th 2013 @ 12:48pm
          Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

          jameswm in this series Hughes has scored just nine runs from 77 balls against Swann while also being dismissed twice.

    • Roar Guru

      August 20th 2013 @ 6:33am
      Red Kev said | August 20th 2013 @ 6:33am | ! Report

      Get ready for the farce Ronan, it is going to happen.
      The Australian selectors clearly have no clue of the pressure they are putting on new test players by sacrificing them at first drop.

      • August 20th 2013 @ 8:55am
        Disco said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        Numpties the lot of them – even The Saviour based on the selections during this series.

        • August 20th 2013 @ 7:11pm
          ChrisB said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

          Yeah Rod Marsh with 90 odd tests, plus a successful coaching career is a numpty, as is Lehmann with 27 tests and 2 World Cup wins, Bichel a fine text bowler and Invers one of the all time great Shield captains.
          You must assume they fave some idea

          • Columnist

            August 20th 2013 @ 8:19pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

            They’re all very accomplished individuals Chris but they have made some fairly significant selection mistakes in recent times (think Maxwell and Doherty in India) as well as some good decisions (Rogers ).

      • August 20th 2013 @ 9:19am
        Elis said | August 20th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        And replacing him with Wade? Wade? He’s a fair enough batsman if he’s keeping as well (although I’m more of a fan of picking someone who is reliable behind the stumps first, and can bat well second), but a specialist batsman? Someone save us from ourselves.

        • August 20th 2013 @ 9:27am
          jameswm said | August 20th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          Yeah, that would the worst part of the decision. I could handle Hughes replacing him at 3, but I would lose it if they even contemplated putting Wade in ahead of either Hughes or Khawaja. Wade is no long term batting solution.

          • August 20th 2013 @ 12:36pm
            Chris said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

            Agreed. If they have been thinking that the batsmen they have on tour aren’t good enough and they need to pick outside of that group, that should have flown over whoever they consider next in line from the Australia A tour to join the squad here. The idea of picking Wade as a specialist batsman is stupid. He’s not that good. (He’s pretty technically flawed as a keeper too!)

            Unfortunately, the only guys outside this current squad that I see as having any real future in test cricket are other really young guys who probably need a couple more years in first class cricket. Guys like Ferguson and Marsh are simply not good enough and never will be. Depite being around for years they still only average mid-30s in FC cricket. There are some really raw young players who could make it. I think Maddinson is probably next in line at the moment, but I’d probably prefer he have another 2 seasons in FC cricket first. That may not be possible though. He may also be called in too early. But if he is, he really needs to be given the chance to develop, the chance to fail and learn from it, rather than just discarding him the moment he fails a couple of times.

            • Columnist

              August 20th 2013 @ 12:52pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

              Picking Wade as a batsman would outstrip even the selections in India of Maxwell and Doherty in terms of idiocy. Although his keeping is so poor maybe he should give up the gloves and concentrate solely on his batting longer term.

              • August 20th 2013 @ 12:54pm
                Nick Inatey said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

                Ooh, I don’t think anything will really be worse than picking Maxwell.

          • August 28th 2013 @ 4:26pm
            Ken Hambling said | August 28th 2013 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

            Amith in complete agreement with you, Khawaja will come back strong in the home ashes hopefully with a good start to the shield season, also place Hughes in this boat as well. And as this article points out we must stop the batting bingo and give these young batsman the time needed to develop into world class batsman and i think with boof in charge that will happen.

      • August 20th 2013 @ 2:27pm
        Hookin' YT said | August 20th 2013 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

        They have no sense of history. WTF is Ian Chappell in the media describing his woeful start to test cricket in the middle order and the fact the selectors persevered?

        Oh wait. Chappelli is a WASP from Prince Alfred and Khawaja is one of ‘them’.

        • August 20th 2013 @ 4:53pm
          Peter said | August 20th 2013 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

          You may be interested to know that in recent times Ian Chappell has campaigned for refugees in detention (http://www.ajustaustralia.com/who/patrons.php). He has also campaigned for recognition of the first Australian cricket team to tour England, an Aboriginal team by the way.

          • August 20th 2013 @ 5:19pm
            Pope Paul VII said | August 20th 2013 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

            Ian also rocked the Nehru suit

            • Columnist

              August 20th 2013 @ 8:22pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

              One of Chappelli’s greatest accomplishments!

          • Roar Guru

            August 20th 2013 @ 11:47pm
            peeeko said | August 20th 2013 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

            thanks for that Peter, it is ridiculous that people continue to say that UTK is unfairly treated because of his background. Seems its very easy to call someone a racist these days with no evidence. Hookin – thats a pretty weak personal attack calling someone bias against Usman because he is a silver spooner

    • August 20th 2013 @ 7:44am
      jamesb said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      Australia fails= drop Khawaja

      It;s a proven formula that has sooooooooo enriched this Australian side

      Cowan gets 18 tests in a row, while Usman gets 3.

      Makes sense!

      • August 20th 2013 @ 8:56am
        Disco said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        Oh, yes, indeed, it’s worked so well in the past.

      • August 20th 2013 @ 9:12am
        Nudge said | August 20th 2013 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        The difference between khawaja and smith Hughes and Cowan is that the latter show fight. They may not score that many more runs than khawaja at this stage but if you don’t have mental strength at this level you will never make it. Khawaja is mentally weak no one can say he is not. Love to see him stride to the crease with an air of confidence about himself but he looks like a school boy facing up to the big boys and its just a matter of time. I’m still very hopeful he will come good at some stage but I think he needs a year in rugby to learn how to toughen up

        • August 20th 2013 @ 9:43am
          Pope Paul VII said | August 20th 2013 @ 9:43am | ! Report

          While wanting them all to succeed, if Smithy is so fighty, Why isn’t he No.3?

          • August 20th 2013 @ 10:31am
            Nudge said | August 20th 2013 @ 10:31am | ! Report

            Because he’s not good enough

            • August 20th 2013 @ 11:57am
              matt h said | August 20th 2013 @ 11:57am | ! Report

              I think the Smith fighting thing is a bit of a myth. He started the series well but has dropped right away and has done no better than the others. His balls faced is not that high either, so it’s not loike he’s sticking around anymore than anyone else.

              The comments above on Khawaja’s demeanour at the crease remind me a lot of a certain Iain Bell circa 2005. That turned out ok.

              The thing that is frustrating about Hughes is that he has far and away the best first class record. He has churned out over 20 hundreds. He should be the main man from these younger guys. Maybe he’ll be ready for another go when Rogers retires or Watson breaks in half.

              For now Khawaja vs Hughes at 3. not much difference to be honest.

              • Columnist

                August 20th 2013 @ 1:18pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

                Nudge I can’t agree with you…I’d argue that if Khawaja had no fight in him he would regularly fold for single-digit scores and wouldn’t have passed 20 in 66% of his Test innings.

                He has the fight to get through those tough early periods, he just needs to prove he can capitalise on those. Hughes’ fight in recent times has typically amounted to single figure scores made from 50 balls. As I said in the article, 8 of Hughes’ last 12 innings are scores of less than 10.

              • August 20th 2013 @ 3:09pm
                James said | August 20th 2013 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

                i dont know id argue that someone who gets to 20 and then gets out soon after is much more mentally weak than those that get out before 20. getting out before 20 just means you are not good enough, getting out after, as usman does shows you are good enough to score the runs but after the initial ‘woots im out in the middle’ adrenalin has gone, you have yourself set and are even or maybe winning the battle with the bowlers and then you get out shows lack of mental fortitude. im not saying drop usman, honestly i think most of the squad is the the squad australia needs, they are the best of a generation of average but to me usmans big fault is that he is weak mentally. either you slap him and tell him to harden up or you hug him and tell him hes special.

        • August 20th 2013 @ 12:43pm
          Disco said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

          “Khawaja is mentally weak no one can say he is not.”

          Yes they can. Just as you’ve claimed he *is*… based on no factual evidence.

          • August 20th 2013 @ 1:55pm
            Nudge said | August 20th 2013 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

            Yeah fair enough I shouldn’t have said “no one can say he’s not’. Just my personal opinion. Just would love to see an air of confidence in him. Maybe 1 ton will provide that

            • Columnist

              August 20th 2013 @ 2:13pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

              Nudge it’s very hard to be confident as a rookie Test batsmen when you constantly feel like you’re about to be dumped once again.

              • August 20th 2013 @ 2:47pm
                Nudge said | August 20th 2013 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

                Yep fair enough Ronan I agree. Hopefully they stick with him for this test and he comes good.

      • August 20th 2013 @ 12:22pm
        Praveen said | August 20th 2013 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        Well said jamesw, Khawaja’s treatment is becoming a joke, he deserves better

    • August 20th 2013 @ 7:57am
      Behind enemy lines said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      The Durham prod was a huge black mark, it was his chance to stand up and be counted and he failed miserably.

      Having said that Wade would be an awful decision for number 3, and there is so much more to gain by keeping faith with Khawaja until the end of the return series. If he is still failing then its time to move on unless someone is demanding selection, until they are then pick and stick selectors.

      • Columnist

        August 20th 2013 @ 1:21pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | August 20th 2013 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

        But he wasn’t the only one that failed in that last innings…Clarke, Watto and Haddin did too and they’re veterans not rookies like Uzzy.

    • August 20th 2013 @ 8:12am
      MadMonk said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      Defies all logic. Neither Wade or Hughes deserve a spot. the series is lost. They need to give Khawaja this game.

      If he fials again then the batting spots for the home test needs to be picked based on shield form (and the contenders should not be sent to India for the meaningless ODI tour).

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