After a brief period of acumen, Australian selectors have now returned to selecting the team by conscription.
Like me, had you foolishly begun to believe they were making decisions based on cricket?
One could be forgiven for crediting them with finally understanding their role, possibly studying statistics, maybe even watching a game or two.
But today’s line-up for the Sydney Test proves the panel is back to doing what they do best – punking us with at least one doozy every match.
Nobody is saying being a selector isn’t tough. All-rounder quotas, personal agendas and horses/courses are one thing, but evaluating objective numerical evidence in a sabermetric-enslaved sport is pretty tricky itself.
But if their judgements are not made with cricket, what is it? Surely there is reasoning, a process or a dart board involved?
Troubled by their twaddle, I’ve delved deep into the scouting reports for answers.
Wade is selected as a spark plug charged with the responsibility of willing his teammates in the small amount of spare time he has between leaking byes.
Selectors see him as Australian cricket’s version of Tony Robbins, only with a two-word vocab and a weaker forward defence.
Nicknamed ‘GOAT’ after former AFL star Billy Brownless, Lyon is selected purely as a cultural artefact who now propagates mass levels of meme content and social media engagement. Stunning cut-through on multiple platforms now ensures his average is no longer discussed at the selection table.
The rapid runs are a nice bonus, but Warner has been turning his life around for so long now, selectors persevere in the belief he is a chance of being Australian cricket’s first papal appointment. May already be teaching scripture in rain delays.
Originally overlooked because he couldn’t bat, was then preferred to Chadd Sayers because he wasn’t Chadd Sayers, before again being axed after taking wickets in Melbourne. Selectors don’t really like Bird, but for some reason getting rid of him is like trying to cancel a gym membership.
No secrets here. Smith has been continually picked for the same reason since day one: he’s the next Shane Warne.
The fact he can bat, catch and barely shave is all debatable. However, what is seen as entirely irrefutable by selectors is that he looks just like Matt Hayden. They are always looking to inject the team with more mango salad.
With Nic Maddinson’s demotion diluting the concentration of New South Welshmen in the side, selectors needed something shrewd to maintain anti-Blues antagonism. And there’s no better way to piss off the other states by replacing him with a Zimbabwean.
Khawaja’s long stays at the crease help contribute to his most important role in the squad: his advocacy for greater use of the top button.
Based on form, ability and inestimable worth, Starc’s continual selection is one of the more mystifying in Australian cricket. Naturally, this leaves nothing else to blame other than nepotism. You’re a lucky guy, Mr Alyssa Healy.
O’Keefe is tailor-made for conditions requiring a second spinner. Not only is he a spinner, he’s equally adept at playing first or second.
But more importantly, he is seen as tailor-made for the Sydney circuit. The 32-year-old is young, good-looking and can drink like a housewife before a school run. His doggedness and guile are invaluable when dealing with the city’s bouncers.
Revolting homespun techniques like Handscomb’s are what justifies the appointment of specialist coaches. The Victorian’s selection gives the opportunity to the 125-strong support staff to make themselves useful, sparing Cricket Australia the embarrassment of shelling out for the most expensive throwdowns in history.