Khawaja fitness – and return – still not set in stone

67 Have your say

    Thought you’d solved the Australian batting order mystery for Boxing Day? You’d have done well, with all the quotes, updates and selection statements made in the aftermath of Australia’s big first Test win over the West Indies in Hobart over the weekend.

    All seemed to be heading towards a Joe Burns versus Shaun Marsh showdown for the last spot in the order, with the confirmation that Usman Khawaja had been recalled to the Australian side for the Melbourne Test.

    There was the mere detail of Khawaja needing to prove his fitness for a Test cricket return via the Big Bash League to gloss over, and for the most part, that glossing over came easily as reporting and opinion quickly jumped to the ‘if they’ve picked him, he must be right to go’ conclusion.

    Before being named for his potential return, Khawaja had made what I thought was a really sound argument about finding his fitness playing Twenty20.

    “It’s not so much the lower intensity stuff that’s going to get a hammy, it’s the higher intensity stuff – so actually pushing it in the BBL will probably be a bit harder in some respects,” he said in a News Limited interview before the Hobart Test.

    “It’s a bit more of a test than it would be coming back in the four-day game in some respects.”

    When he was named, the expectation – a spoken requirement, even – was that Khawaja would need to get through both Sydney Thunder games this week, the Sydney derby on Thursday night, and then back up on Sunday to face the Melbourne Stars at the MCG.

    If he got through those two games, the implication was, then and only then would the selectors get into the looming selection headache that Marsh’s emphatic 182 has brought upon them.

    One part of the puzzle has been resolved, with Darren Lehmann saying in Hobart on Sunday that all-rounder Mitchell Marsh will definitely not make way in any batting order reshuffle.

    “There has been talk about six batsmen and no all-rounder, but we saw in the day-night Test against New Zealand, when Mitchell Starc got injured, that you need the all-rounder,” Lehmann said.

    “So we will certainly play Mitchell Marsh [on Boxing Day].”

    That put opener Burns in the firing line, who after starting the Australian summer with a bang in Brisbane, with 71 and 129, has followed with 40 and 0 in Perth, 14 and 11 in Adelaide, and 33 in Hobart.

    Not helping Burns’ cause was Lehmann’s admission that he’d be happy with Khawaja opening in a Test match.

    “I would – but the captain might not want that. We have to work out the best six and the batting order from there,” Lehmann said.

    “If [Khawaja] comes back in, someone will miss out and we have to work out who that is.”

    But on Monday, the news filtered through, first from the Thunder themselves, but then Cricket Australia, that Khawaja wouldn’t be lining up in the BBL05 opener on Thursday night.

    “Cricket Australia have been working with Thunder medical staff on Usman’s return to play criteria following his hamstring injury. At this stage the plan is to have him return for the Thunder’s second match against the Melbourne Stars at the MCG on Sunday. His participation will be confirmed later in the week,” the Thunder statement said.

    CA confirmed the development, and though it would appear the decision was made on CA medical staff recommendation, the wording of their report seemed to put the decision back on the western Sydney outfit.

    “The Thunder medical staff, in conjunction with Cricket Australia, have instead identified the December 20 clash against the Melbourne Stars at the MCG as Khawaja’s likely return,” the www.cricket.com.au report read.

    Plot, meet thickening agent.

    Curiously, only hours after this was all reported, Khawaja was batting in a Thunder centre wicket session, was hitting the ball very well and moving reasonably well between wickets, too, albeit without a great deal of intensity and certainly without the pressure of a match situation.

    Regardless, he now has just three hours and change on Sunday night to prove that his hamstring will be right to go for probably not all five days of the Melbourne Test.

    Throughout this whole situation, I kept thinking about how Lehmann has responded to the inevitable questions of Khawaja’s return, and which batsman might make way for Melbourne.

    “Usman’s first got to be fit. If he’s not fit he won’t play,” Lehmann told Damien Fleming on Cricket Australia’s Stumps show at the conclusion of the Hobart Test.

    “We’ve got to make sure he’s playing BBL to get some sort of match fitness and see how the strain of the hamstring is.”

    “We certainly need him playing and with the hamstring we don’t want him playing Test match cricket if he’s not fully fit,” Lehmann said of Khawaja post-match in Hobart.

    “He will have to be sharp in those Big Bash League T20 games he’s playing and get through those – then we’ll make a decision from there.”

    It’s an obvious and valid point, one I’ve thrown up myself over the last few days when commentary has inevitably gotten ahead of itself.

    But why make the decision on Monday morning to rule Khawaja out of playing on Thursday night? If “playing BBL to get some sort of match fitness” is an important part of the equation for a Test recall, why not give him every opportunity to play?

    If there’s a known risk of re-injury, then why put those requirements for a return up at all? And if there was a risk that Khawaja wouldn’t be right to return via the BBL, then why name him in the Test squad in the first place?

    I can’t help but wonder if a medical overrule is how the selectors will avoid what would undoubtedly be a tough decision.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

    Be sure to head to the second ODI between Australia and England this Friday at the Gabba, and don't forget to be wearing your XXXX Goldie to be in with a chance to win $10k in XXXX GOLD’s crowd catch competition.

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    The Crowd Says (67)

    • Roar Guru

      December 15th 2015 @ 7:09am
      sheek said | December 15th 2015 @ 7:09am | ! Report

      Brett,

      Khawaja’s three innings against NZ before his hammy were: 174, 9no, 121.

      NZ presented far strong opposition than the pathetic Windies.

      Khawaja must/will come back in. Either Burns or Shaun Marsh will make way. Marsh’s 182 against the pop gun Windies attack, while personally gratifying for him, doesn’t cut with Khawaja’s twin centuries against NZ.

      Who makes way, Burns or Marsh, will depend on the preferred batting order.

      Historically, Ian Redpath scored 97 against South Africa in 1963/64, while Bobby Simpson dropped down the order, assisting Bill Lawry with a double century opening stand. But it was the only test he played that series.

      Lawrence Seeff, replaced the injured veteran legend Barry Richards, & scored 188 for the South Africans against the woeful rebel Sri Lankans in 1982/83. It was his only international innings.

      So scoring runs must always be seen in context.

      • December 15th 2015 @ 8:13am
        Andy said | December 15th 2015 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        Well said sheikh, Khawaja must come in and one game if BBL will be fine to show he is fit

      • Roar Guru

        December 15th 2015 @ 8:59am
        Will Sinclair said | December 15th 2015 @ 8:59am | ! Report

        I tend to agree, although I am also happy to acknowledge that Marsh’s big innings has made things very difficult for the Aussie selectors.

        Marsh came in when Khawaja was injured, and so he makes way when Khawaja is back. And with such an inexperienced and fragile batting line-up, I think the absolute worst move for selectors would be to shuffle the order too much.

        Marsh out for Khawaja, on the understanding that he is next in line should Burn’s form dip continue.

      • December 15th 2015 @ 11:54am
        Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 11:54am | ! Report

        The Kiwi attack had no Southee in Brissie after he was injured. On top of that they had the added handicap of Craig and Bracewell in their weak attack. It was worse than the Windies.

        In Perth, the attack was still very blunt and the batting conditions were easy.

        That argument is not valid.

        I think Ussie should play, if fit, but it is very concerning that he thinks there is less intensity required in a Test than in a T20 game…especially in the field. One wonders about his thought processes.

        • Columnist

          December 15th 2015 @ 1:15pm
          Brett McKay said | December 15th 2015 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

          I can’t accept that the NZ attack was worse that what the Windies showed in Hobart, Don, I think you’re clutching at straws there. Don’t forget, Australia’s bowlers were flayed to all corners in Perth too, and NZ were very much in the game in Adelaide..

          • December 15th 2015 @ 1:25pm
            Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

            I’m sure that Bravo, Holder, Brathwaite (Jim Maxwell w*ankingly calls him Brathitt) would have collectively scored over 800 runs in 2 innings at the WACA.

            • Columnist

              December 15th 2015 @ 2:00pm
              Brett McKay said | December 15th 2015 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

              You’re not sure Don, you’re clearly speculating to try and back up a flimsy point..

              • December 15th 2015 @ 3:12pm
                Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

                Oh…I’m sure. If Ross Taylor could do what he did in the form he has been in…the Windies boys would have.

              • Columnist

                December 15th 2015 @ 3:57pm
                Brett McKay said | December 15th 2015 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

                Don, it’s OK, some times you can just admit you’re guessing..

              • December 15th 2015 @ 5:17pm
                spruce moose said | December 15th 2015 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

                So, you weren’t diminishing khawajas equally excellent brisbane innings by rubbishing the nz attack then?

                If you are going to qualify innings, you have to apply it to all. Not some.

                A true treasure.

              • December 15th 2015 @ 5:50pm
                Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

                Not at all. Just pointing out that if you can’t accept the achievement of Marsh and Voges, you need to also consider the feeble opposition provided by NZ.

                If you read comments instead of gainsaying by reflex, you’d see that I think Khawaja comes in and Marsh misses if Ussie is fit.

                You typecast way too blindly.

              • December 15th 2015 @ 4:04pm
                spruce moose said | December 15th 2015 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

                There’s no guessing about it Brett.

                If it was any non WA player that scored 180 at Hobart against the Windies, he would never have said NZ’s bowling attack was weaker than the Windies.

                While Don pointed out the injury to Southee, his flimsy mind selected to ignore the fact that the West Indies best bowler – Shannon Gabriel – on day 1 pulled up injured before tea, and that Holder deliberately chose not to have his pace bowlers on both ends and instead keep one end open for part time spinners.

                He’s not guessing, he’s just selective with his memory when WA players are involved.

              • December 15th 2015 @ 4:29pm
                Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

                Never suggesting one was better than the other. Just pointing out that diminishing an outstanding piece of batting because you don’t like the bloke needs a more consistent argument.

                Other equally excellent Australian cricketers have also had favourable circumstances when they cashed in. Just apply the same standards.

                You seem to always demand that if you favour someone, you have to prove the other is sub-standard. Sporting excellence doesn’t work that way.

              • Roar Guru

                December 15th 2015 @ 4:31pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | December 15th 2015 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

                It’s pretty fair to say that the Kiwis served up a pop-gun attack in that first innings at the Gabba. As for the WACA, I think we should come to an agreement to never mention that pitch again for being a travesty on a competitive contest between bat and ball. So I’m not sure it’s that stark a difference.

                Nevertheless I do think Khawaja is the incumbent and if fit will get the nod.

        • Roar Guru

          December 15th 2015 @ 1:39pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | December 15th 2015 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

          I think most players accept that there is a much higher level of intensity in T20 cricket. It’s just go, go, go from ball one, both with the bat and in the field. When T20 cricket came in a lot of players admitted that despite it being short it was really hard work because it was just so intense throughout without any sort of break at all. So I don’t see any issue with him saying what many other players have said that T20 cricket has a really high intensity compared to other forms of the game.

          • Columnist

            December 15th 2015 @ 2:02pm
            Brett McKay said | December 15th 2015 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

            Certainly agree with this Chris. I found that myself, that a really close T20 game was every bit as exhausting as a OD game, or a full day of 2- or 3-day cricket, for exactly the reasons you’ve stated..

          • December 15th 2015 @ 3:04pm
            Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

            I’d suggest that he has identified an aspect of his game that has always held him back…intensity in the field…and probably at training.

            Give me the Warners, Maxi’s, NCNs and Agars that love the fielding work.

          • Roar Guru

            December 15th 2015 @ 9:25pm
            Dalgety Carrington said | December 15th 2015 @ 9:25pm | ! Report

            It’s a different fitness test though isn’t it? It’s a different thing fronting up the day after and putting your body through the same thing again.

        • December 15th 2015 @ 2:27pm
          JohnB said | December 15th 2015 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

          Khawaja came in with over 100 on the board in the first innings in each of Brisbane and Perth, on flat or very flat wickets, the ball doing nothing, Southee virtually out of the attack in Brisbane, and Boult a shadow of the bowler his reputation would suggest he was. Khawaja was good enough to fully take advantage of that platform, and regardless of the match situation meaning there was little pressure on, he was still under general pressure to succeed, so you certainly can’t just discount those innings. Nevertheless, I think it’s going too far the other way to say that Khawaja has now proved himself. I also think it’s not wrong to say the Kiwis in those games really weren’t any significant amount more threatening than the Windies were in Hobart. If you were a supporter of S Marsh you could argue that given Australia were 3 down at lunch when he came in, he actually batted under a bit more initial pressure than Khawaja ever has this season (and he certainly produced under more pressure in Adelaide than Khawaja has faced). However, I’d also point out that while Burns has been his own worst enemy by setting up platforms for others following him and then not cashing in himself, he’s performed the opener’s basic function of seeing off the new ball and the opening bowlers in 3 of the first innings this summer (and arguably, while not scoring many runs, did a decent job of that in very difficult circumstances in Adelaide also just by lasting for an hour). He’s certainly failed in 2 of the 3 second innings (although you could argue that in Perth that was after chasing 600 runs worth of leather – hardly the first opener to get out cheaply in those circumstances), and even to a supporter such as myself hasn’t always looked totally convincing – but would Marsh or Khawaja done as well opening? That’s by no means certain.

          Personally, I’d keep Burns, insist on Khawaja being completely fit and only make a very difficult decision once he was. By that time performance in the next game may have changed matters. If they haven’t, to me there’s simply no right answer – you can drop any one of the 3 and be able to justify keeping the others.

          • December 15th 2015 @ 5:29pm
            Kano said | December 15th 2015 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

            I agree, make sure Khawaja is 100% before a decision is made. I would hate to see Burns dropped as the points you make about him holding his spot are correct. He has failed in a couple of innings but has helped his teammates by blunting the new ball in most of the others. Im not sold on him completely but he has combined well with warner and hasn’t scored that badly this summer. Shaun Marsh got a whole series (ind) before he was dropped and he had some seriously bad scores. Voges got a whole ashes series on the back of a century in the previous series so i can’t see why Burns shouldn’t be given the same treatment. At least give him another test. To me dropping a player with 6 tests to his name, an average over 40 and 3 50’s and 1 100 seems strange.

    • Roar Guru

      December 15th 2015 @ 8:13am
      DingoGray said | December 15th 2015 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      Common sense would say as the Team’s best bat doesn’t like batting at 3, you have a new opening partnership that has had a tremendous start and you have a guy who’ s just come off 180 against a Grade Cricket Attack who’s overall Career 1st Average is in the mid to late 80’s having just come in as injury replacement, it is a no brainer.

      Shaun Marsh makes way for Usman Khawaja. Yes Marsh batted brilliantly last 2 Digs and will be unlucky to miss out however there is a reason why’s he wasn’t there in the 1st place. While ever the silly selectors insist on an all-rounder at 6, Shaun is unlucky and missing out.

    • Roar Guru

      December 15th 2015 @ 9:16am
      sheek said | December 15th 2015 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      The 9 am radio news says Khawaja is out of the Boxing Day test now. Which kinda makes a mockery of his selection in the first place.

      We trust, or want to believe we can trust the CA & national selectors that they know what they’re doing. Did they bother to fully assess Khawaja’s fitness prior to naming him in the original squad?

      • Columnist

        December 15th 2015 @ 9:28am
        Brett McKay said | December 15th 2015 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        This is precisely my point Sheek. If the return via the BBL wasn’t achievable, then why name him?

        • Columnist

          December 15th 2015 @ 1:16pm
          Brett McKay said | December 15th 2015 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

          Ignoring the obvious religious undertones that frankly play no part in selection, Don, Khawaja, as a cricketer, would still appreciate Boxing Day as the biggest day of cricket on the Australian calendar..

          • December 15th 2015 @ 1:26pm
            Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

            I’m not sure I’ll be able to put mustard on my Christmas ham. I just bit my tongue while planting it in my cheek.

        • December 15th 2015 @ 4:10pm
          spruce moose said | December 15th 2015 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

          Moderators: How did this comment pass your guidelines? That’s not on.

          • December 15th 2015 @ 5:07pm
            Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

            Of course it’s on. People make Christmas jokes, Jesus jokes…even from the pulpit…all the time.

            Perhaps you should look to your preciousness next time you denigrate a player.

            • December 15th 2015 @ 5:19pm
              spruce moose said | December 15th 2015 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

              It’s offensive.

              You’ve just used the eddie macguire “it’s a joke” defence.

              I don’t attack players personally, and i certainly make jokes based on religion or race

              I won’t allow myself to be put in your camp.

      • Roar Guru

        December 15th 2015 @ 10:20am
        The Bush said | December 15th 2015 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        Is this confirmed sheek? I can’t find anything online confirming this?

        If so it makes it all very simple.

        How many Shield games are there before the New Zealand Test Series next year?

        To be honest, Khawaja remaining out with injury simply makes the whole thing more complex. If S Marsh keeps getting runs for the rest of the series, then it’ll hardly be fair to drop him. If Burns scores well in the next two tests, then again, it’d be unfair to drop him. Khawaja misses out again…

        • Columnist

          December 15th 2015 @ 10:57am
          Brett McKay said | December 15th 2015 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          I can’t help but think the radio news got this wrong Sheek, there’s certainly been nothing reported and announced along those lines today..

        • December 15th 2015 @ 12:03pm
          Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

          Davy had better lift his rating. He missed triple figures last test.

          None of this is a problem, though. Isn’t it a good thing that we have over 20 players deserving of national selection? Probably 30 when they are all fit.

          • Roar Guru

            December 15th 2015 @ 12:14pm
            The Bush said | December 15th 2015 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

            No doubt it’s great to have players performing. Simply highlighting the difficulty of selecting players in certain situations.

            As others have said before, this is why you never want to be left out of the team for any reason, it has always been a lot harder to get into the Aussie team than out of it!

    • Roar Guru

      December 15th 2015 @ 9:32am
      Chris Kettlewell said | December 15th 2015 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      I know the selectors really want that fifth bowler, and I know Mitch Marsh hasn’t had a lot of good opportunities with the bat this summer, so it’s therefore reasonable to give him more time just based onj that, but one way or the other, Mitch Marsh needs to get runs soon. At the moment he’s basically in the team as a 5th bowler, not an allrounder. He has a batting average in test cricket of 23. In contrast, Mitchell Starc averages 26, James Pattinson 30 and Josh Hazlewood 25 and none of those 3 would be considered allrounders.

      Batting at #6, scoring runs needs to be his primary skill with the bowling a bonus, at the moment he’s basically in the purely as a fifth bowler, meaning the team are down a batsman.

      Against the West Indies it looks like the ability to bowl a few overs and make sure Steve Smith can make the Windies follow on without putting too much strain on his bowlers is his main use. But I suspect he will be well and truly required to make runs when Australia heads to NZ, and that’s where he’ll need to start stepping up and making runs or the selectors will need to look at other options.

      • Roar Guru

        December 15th 2015 @ 9:34am
        Train Without A Station said | December 15th 2015 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        Agree 100%. He’s playing like a number 8 or 9. Not an all-rounder.

        • December 15th 2015 @ 8:27pm
          Gav said | December 15th 2015 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

          He deserves, based on talent and age, to be given to the end of the WI Tests to get a good innings.
          If needs be Smith should throw him up the order, to give him a good shot, if we are dominating to the point of boredom.

          I do wonder if the ‘must have an allrounder’ selection policy is crueling our batsmens desire to improve their bowling.
          You go back to the Waugh, Taylor, Border, Chappell eras, and we always had a couple of batsmen that were very adequate part time bowlers.

      • Roar Guru

        December 15th 2015 @ 10:42am
        Will Sinclair said | December 15th 2015 @ 10:42am | ! Report

        Also agree 100%.

        I really want him to succeed too – there is a really useful player in there if he can get his batting together.

      • December 15th 2015 @ 12:05pm
        Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

        Tailender averages are constantly skewed because of the not outs at the end of an innings. Not a relevant comparison.

        • Roar Guru

          December 15th 2015 @ 1:48pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | December 15th 2015 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

          # 6 batsmen’s averages are often skewed because of the not outs at the end of the innings as they are the most likely batsman to run out of partners, and they are just as likely as Mitch is to be in a position where they are called upon to throw the blade for quick runs as Mitch Marsh is.

          Still, want another comparison. Mitchell Starc has 6 half centuries in 37 test innings, Mitchell Marsh has 1 half century in 19 test innings. That’s 6 times the 50’s in just under twice the innings. And that’s a stat that can be hurt by not-outs rather than benefited by them, because you could be left stranded short of 50 in those not outs.

          Don, I’m not saying we should just drop him now, he came into this season in the team and hasn’t had a lot of opportunities with the bat this season, so it’s not necessarily reasonable to drop him during a season where he hasn’t had much chance to bat. But people were constantly calling for Watson’s head with a batting average in the mid-30s, there’s no way M.Marsh can command a spot in the top 6 with a batting average in the low-20’s, no matter how good his bowling is. That means that sooner, rather than later, he needs to start scoring some runs.

          • Roar Guru

            December 15th 2015 @ 2:28pm
            Train Without A Station said | December 15th 2015 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

            Chris I think the real concern is that there is no alternative to Marsh.

            Henriques is probably the closest option but he is nowhere near a top 6 batsman and has a FC average not dissimilar to Marsh, whilst is an inferior bowler.

            Faulkner is no better with the blade either.

            We really lack any options that offered anything near Watson (FC average of 40 with a number of centuries and quality bowling) did. And even he failed to deliver on that at test level.

            We definitely need a decent 5th bowling option. There’s no bowlers who offer enough with the blade, and no batsmen that offer enough with the ball.

          • December 15th 2015 @ 3:08pm
            Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

            Give him 37 Test innings and there will be quite a few centuries to add to many 50s…if his team ever bats badly enough for him to be able to have time out there.

            MM has not been tested at #6 at all yet…apart from the Ashes when everyone failed…and even then he missed a few of the tests.

            • Roar Guru

              December 15th 2015 @ 3:30pm
              Train Without A Station said | December 15th 2015 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

              Marsh got out both innings in Perth and Adelaide. Australia declared 9 and 7 wickets down in Perth, both times after Marsh had been dismissed. In Adelaide Marsh was dismissed in both innings again. Australia batted out the first innings and declared the 2nd.

              He was tested 4 times there. Didn’t convert any to a 50, let alone century.

              • December 15th 2015 @ 4:06pm
                Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

                Well he got out in one innings in Perth. We all saw the no ball. That was a triple century waiting to happen.

                If you don’t rank that grafting 34 when it was required or that match saving innings in Adelaide, you are not worth engaging in conversations about cricket.

                “Centuries and 50s”??? Is that all you see? My goodness…trogladite warning!!

                When he has has a decent go at it, he has scored 4 centuries this past year…including a double in dire circumstances.

              • December 15th 2015 @ 4:13pm
                spruce moose said | December 15th 2015 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

                The irony of seeing someone accuse another person of being a troglodyte and yet be unable to spell the word correctly is delicious.

              • Columnist

                December 15th 2015 @ 4:16pm
                Brett McKay said | December 15th 2015 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                “That was a triple century waiting to happen.”

                There it is. I know I’d eventually get confirmation at some point that Don is a parody account. And then this gem,

                “..you are not worth engaging in conversations about cricket.”

                Quite…

              • Roar Guru

                December 15th 2015 @ 4:37pm
                Train Without A Station said | December 15th 2015 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

                He’s not being challenged. It’s me you are challenging Don.

                Brett is just highlighting how ludicrous your comments are.

                But yes Don, you must be right and it’s everybody else that’s crazy…

              • December 15th 2015 @ 4:57pm
                Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

                It’s not all about you. Many people get challenged here. I have challenged you, Brett, Bear, Spruce…any anti-Marsh fan.

                It’s actually to do that.

              • December 15th 2015 @ 5:03pm
                Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

                It’s not all about you. Many people get challenged here. I have challenged you, Brett, Bear, Spruce…any anti-Marsh fan.

                It’s actually OK to do that.

                Regarding your conclusion…I do have the Oz match committee seeing things my way. Maybe it’s the 7 or 8 of you Roarers who think you represent “everyone else” that might not have the consensus you think you have. You just post a lot. I just answer you…a lot.

                There…that’s better.

              • Roar Guru

                December 15th 2015 @ 5:16pm
                The Bush said | December 15th 2015 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

                Brett,

                He’s not a parody account, but he is usually just winding people up. Everyone now and again he’s on point and having a decent discussion.

    • Roar Guru

      December 15th 2015 @ 10:02am
      Train Without A Station said | December 15th 2015 @ 10:02am | ! Report

      But Brett should we consider that perhaps based on his rehabilitation timeline, he would have been available for the BBL game and ready for the test, but the injury hasn’t recovered in the time frame anticipated.

      You pick what’s going to be both your best and fit and available squad at the time of the game, not 2 weeks before.

      Things change and now they are likely going to change that well in advance because instead of being ready 10 days prior, he is cutting it fine for recovery.

      • Columnist

        December 15th 2015 @ 10:05am
        Brett McKay said | December 15th 2015 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        Definitely, Train. That certainly appears to be the case. But is it the injury so bad that a call could be made on Monday that there’s now chance of him being right for Thursday night?

        • Roar Guru

          December 15th 2015 @ 10:26am
          Train Without A Station said | December 15th 2015 @ 10:26am | ! Report

          I think that’s definitely possible. His progress would not have been where they would have liked by that stage so they made the call.

          It’s all hypothetical at the end of the day. Hypothetically a player should take “x” days to recover from “y” injury and that’s what time frames are based on.

          Progressive consultations determine if the player is meeting that time frame or not.

          Potentially they reviewed Khawaja on Monday and said he’s a week behind where he should be, so by Thursday he won’t be sufficiently healed.

          • Columnist

            December 15th 2015 @ 10:39am
            Brett McKay said | December 15th 2015 @ 10:39am | ! Report

            Which only adds to the risk for Boxing Day, doesn’t it..

    • December 15th 2015 @ 11:27am
      Bob Sims said | December 15th 2015 @ 11:27am | ! Report

      Medical opinion rules Khawaja out, thereby avoiding (probably postponing) a thorny selection problem? Fairly likely, I’d say!
      The facts are that none of Burns, Khawaja or Marsh senior deserve to be dropped. If they are all fit, they should all be in. Smith and Warner are givens. That leaves Marsh junior, who hasn’t performed. I have the greatest respect for Boof, who has done wonders with this Australian side since taking the reins, but his obsession with an all-rounder “in case of injury” is ridiculous. This is the West Indies we are talking about, not India, South Africa or England – if four bowlers can’t do it, then five won’t. And if there is an injury to one of the front-liners, or if they need a rest, there are always Smith and Voges, and even Warner. We saw what the obsession with Watson did to our results. This really does my head in. It’s time Mitch Marsh was sent back to BBL/ODIs/Shield and told to get runs and wickets – his time will come again.

      • December 15th 2015 @ 12:08pm
        Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

        There are no ODDs, or Shield games and T20 is not proper cricket. The Test arena, followed by the ODIs against India provides the ideal opportunity.

        Why drop him because the success of the top order is denying him a proper bat? He’s not going to get that chance elsewhere.

        • Roar Guru

          December 15th 2015 @ 1:01pm
          Train Without A Station said | December 15th 2015 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

          If he was dropped it would be because of how he scored in the games when the top order didn’t deny him a bat.

          If a player can only score runs at 6 when everybody else fills their boots, they aren’t much use to the team.

          • December 15th 2015 @ 1:17pm
            Don Freo said | December 15th 2015 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

            Are you talking about Burns or Smith here?

      • December 15th 2015 @ 2:39pm
        JohnB said | December 15th 2015 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

        But maybe Bob that’s the team structure they want to have when they do play the stronger teams, and the thinking is they don’t want to move away from that, and thereby not given the player they’ve identified for that spot the experience, just because they could get away with doing so against these opponents. While I think you need to have the best 5 batsmen and a 6th who is either next best or very close to it, and then get 10 overs per day out of them (and certainly don’t think you pick an extra bowler in case one of the main 4 picks up an injury) I can understand them sticking with Marsh against the WI if they think he will become the batting all-rounder they need. Until he does, he remains at risk of someone else – Maxwell or Faulkner being the obvious possibilities – batting well enough to overtake him

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