Turner or Maxwell must tour India

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

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

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    Australia’s cricketing summer has been marked by a raft of unexpected selections. If that trend continues, we could see more shock picks for the tour of India.

    My biggest smokey for that tour is WA all-rounder Ashton Turner.

    I think Australia will bring to India a batting all-rounder who bowls passable spin, to give them the option of playing three frontline quicks at some point.

    The leading contenders for that spot would be Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head. My preference would be for Maxwell, but he seems to be on the nose with the Australian selectors and didn’t have a great start to the Sheffield Shield season.

    The selectors clearly rate Head very highly and his off spin is improving thanks to bowling a lot of overs in the Shield for South Australia. Turner, however, is clearly a better offie than Head and is third on the Shield run-scoring list this season with 429 runs at 71, including two tons.

    What makes that haul even more impressive is that both of his tons were played under huge pressure. Against Tasmania, WA were essentially 5-59 when Adam Voges retired hurt and Turner then peeled off 110 to guide them to a competitive score of 262.

    His second ton helped WA pull off a miracle win. In their first innings WA were in tatters at 6-93, in response to Queensland’s 353, when Turner turned the match with a sparkling knock of 100. Most cricket fans are by now well aware of Turner’s talent with the blade.

    What many of them don’t know, however, is that the 23-year-old was an off-spinner, first and foremost, when he entered the domestic scene four years ago.

    Turner was a bowling all-rounder at that stage and was in competition with Ashton Agar to be the frontline spinner for WA in the Sheffield Shield.

    A few months after he earned his WA senior squad selection, Turner was Australia’s leading wicket-taker at the 2012 under-19 World Cup, with 11 wickets at an average of 16.

    Last winter Turner did a lot of bowling in the Lancashire Cricket League, a competition which is not far off the standard of Australian first grade district cricket.

    Cricketer Ashton Turner

    He snared 31 wickets at an average of 16 in that competition, which also hosted players like recent South African Test batsman Alviro Petersen, former Pakistani Test batsman Faisal Iqbal, Victorian opener Travis Dean and promising WA batsman Will Bosisto.

    In first-class cricket, however, Turner has rarely bowled, sending down just five overs per match, on average, while snaring five wickets at an average of 59, with a good economy rate of 2.94rpo.

    There is a good reason why Turner has had so few opportunities with the ball for WA.

    He has played two-thirds of his Shield matches at the WACA, which is arguably the worst venue in world cricket for spin bowlers, who routinely get slaughtered in Perth and so are sparingly used at the ground.

    Nathan Lyon averages almost 50 in first-class cricket at the WACA, while Steve O’Keefe (66) and Ashton Agar (59) also have horrendous career records there.

    Even though the WACA pitch is not as quick as it once was pace still rules the roost at the ground in Shield cricket. The only value of Shield spin bowlers in Perth is to keep up with the required over rate.

    That’s why Turner has barely bowled in Shield cricket not because he isn’t up to scratch with the ball.

    During his Shield career, WA have always had at least four pace options – three frontline quicks plus one of Mitch Marsh or Hilton Cartwright. When the Warriors do consider using spin they go to Agar. A second spinner is surplus to requirements.

    Turner should, in fact, consider moving states to further his Test ambitions. If he played for NSW or South Australia he’d get to do a lot more bowling on their more spin-friendly home decks.

    Unlike Turner, who has a long background as a frontline spinner, Head has recently made himself into a slow bowling option for SA, and that undoubtedly has made him a more attractive prospect to the Test selectors. But Head is more suited to bowling in limited overs due to his style of darting the ball in flat at the stumps.

    Turner, by comparison, is a more rounded spinner, capable of bowling with enticing loop and drift, or upping his pace and targeting the stumps.

    If the selectors want a batting all-rounder who bowls decent spin for the tour of India, and they refuse to pick the dynamic Maxwell, Turner is a better option than Head.

    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 (111)

    • January 7th 2017 @ 6:30am
      qwetzen said | January 7th 2017 @ 6:30am | ! Report

      And he’s currently getting a boost for his Indian tour chances from an unexpected quarter. Is there a chance that SOK could actually bowl himself out of that tour if he doesn’t improve today?

      • January 7th 2017 @ 7:27am
        Graeme Davy said | January 7th 2017 @ 7:27am | ! Report

        Are you suggesting he actually spin the ball a few centimetres?
        Makes you wonder how he dismisses so many Shield batsmen doesnt it?
        Smith doesnt seem to have confidence in either spinner

        • January 7th 2017 @ 9:18am
          James Jackson said | January 7th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

          You cannot deny a sub-25 average over a decent career, spinning it miles or not.

          Smith perhaps needs a bit of captain-coaching from MJ Clarke in regards to using spinners to attack. I would love to see Lyon bowl today as a weapon in lieu of being a last resort.

          • January 7th 2017 @ 11:47am
            Sideline said | January 7th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

            He opened the bowling, and got a wicket. I think Smith is learning.

        • January 7th 2017 @ 10:43am
          George said | January 7th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

          Here we go again. Lyon gets carted Test after Test, but the guy with a far-better career record is criticised on his rare appearance?

          • January 7th 2017 @ 12:20pm
            jameswm said | January 7th 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

            Criticised for what? SOK bowled well from what I saw.

            • January 7th 2017 @ 1:18pm
              George said | January 7th 2017 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

              I agree. See comments above.

          • January 7th 2017 @ 5:26pm
            Tonyg said | January 7th 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

            What! Lyon gets carted Test after test.. .how many Test wickets has he compared to all the other current Aussies spinners. Get real.

            • January 7th 2017 @ 6:21pm
              Mal said | January 7th 2017 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

              Who can we compare his wickets taken to when no-one else has the chances he gets?

              What we know is that Lyon struggled in losing series to Pakistan, England, Sri Lanka and South Africa. And India’s batsmen will lick their lips ahead of facing him.

              • Columnist

                January 7th 2017 @ 6:25pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | January 7th 2017 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

                Lyon didn’t struggle at all in the last Ashes, he was actually superb – the second best bowler in the series after Broad.

      • January 7th 2017 @ 7:39am
        James Jackson said | January 7th 2017 @ 7:39am | ! Report

        I think the answer is no, but interesting that he’s seemingly missing his chance to impress while Lyon is looking really threatening.

        • January 7th 2017 @ 10:50am
          George said | January 7th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

          Ooh wow. Well even Lyon will bowl a threatening spell if he’s a protected species in terms of selection. India’s batsmen will have everyone lamenting Lyon’s place in the team again. Given a proper run I suspect SOK would be far more effective than the team mascot.

          • January 7th 2017 @ 11:49am
            Sideline said | January 7th 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

            You may suspect that, but it doesn’t make it true. O’Keefe doesn’t turn the ball enough. I don’t listen to Shane Warne on many things, but he’s not hiding his thought’s about O’keefe and I trust him when talking about spinners.

            • January 7th 2017 @ 11:56am
              George said | January 7th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

              Yeah because Warne is so objective. Remember Michael Beer?

              How much turn is enough? Do you mean suffiently to get batsmen out?

            • January 7th 2017 @ 3:13pm
              armchair expert said | January 7th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

              Warne’s all about petty, personal politics Sideline, it appears to cloud his cricket judgement.

          • Columnist

            January 7th 2017 @ 12:00pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | January 7th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

            O’Keefe’s taken 2-59 while conceding a miserly 2.2 runs per over this Test on a run-filled track on which Yasir’s gone for 6rpo and Lyon’s gone for 3.2rpo.

            He’s dried things up nicely.

            • January 7th 2017 @ 1:20pm
              George said | January 7th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

              Un under-appreciated skill, a bit like seeing in the new ball, or digging in when conditions don’t suit fast scoring.

              • January 7th 2017 @ 5:34pm
                Tonyg said | January 7th 2017 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

                George do you ever watch the cricket?

              • January 8th 2017 @ 7:19pm
                Dexter The Hamster said | January 8th 2017 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

                George, wouldn’t mind watching a days cricket with you, you seem to understand Test cricket.

      • January 7th 2017 @ 8:22am
        Basil said | January 7th 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        I haven’t seen it that way. I think they work well together. SOK bowling so tight has allowed Lyon to attack more. The ball he got one of his two tailend wickets with was a beauty but his other 2 have come from the batsman trying to hit him over the fence. OKeefe will rely on LBW’s and hitting the stumps with it skidding on an variable bounce in the 2nd dig pretty much like Jadeja in India. They are two different spinners but I do feel they’ll combine well in India.

        • January 7th 2017 @ 9:15am
          James Jackson said | January 7th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

          Sorry Basil I’m more making the point that many were saying SOK would comfortably out-bowl Lyon – which did not happen in the first innings. Let’s hope he looks threatening on this 5th day extravaganza!

          • January 7th 2017 @ 10:21am
            Basil said | January 7th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

            I like to view them as a bowling team rather than 4 individual bowlers. I think as a team these 4 are our best chance in India. If we’re to replace SOK with a young leggie Lyons role would change, and I don’t feel he would be as effective as he he wouldn’t have the miserly OKeefe at the other end and as such as would have the pressure to bowl tighter and less attacking.

            • January 7th 2017 @ 11:53am
              Sideline said | January 7th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

              You’re not wrong Basil. O’Keefe dries up runs, and Lyon attacks. It’s probably out most effective duo.

              Whether that’s enough? I dunno.

              • January 7th 2017 @ 12:02pm
                jameswm said | January 7th 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                They do really well as a combination in Shield cricket.

            • January 7th 2017 @ 12:46pm
              Bob Sims said | January 7th 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

              First sensible thoughts I’ve seen put to paper in this whole diatribe. It simply isn’t Lyon or O’Keeffe, it’s both. They work well as a team, just like Starc and Hazlewood. All four should be locks for India.

              • January 7th 2017 @ 4:48pm
                Basil said | January 7th 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                Tell that to Mr Warne.

          • January 7th 2017 @ 2:01pm
            jameswm said | January 7th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

            Lyon improved this test, otherwise SOK WOULD have outbowled him.

            As a pair, they’ve done well. But they haven’t bowled together a lot.

      • January 7th 2017 @ 12:01pm
        jameswm said | January 7th 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

        When I watched SOK yesterday he was threatening all the time. Ditto today.

        • January 7th 2017 @ 3:54pm
          qwetzen said | January 7th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

          SOK has been the most threatening spinner in Aust since MacGill retired. The stats tell us that last time it cost him $10k…

      • January 7th 2017 @ 3:22pm
        armchair expert said | January 7th 2017 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

        O’Keefe 4 wickets@25.75, Lyon 5 wickets@43, I think SOK will be right for India

    • January 7th 2017 @ 7:37am
      James Jackson said | January 7th 2017 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      I didn’t realise he was in such fine fettle, if we are picking players in form he will be a good choice.

      However, if the selectors fail to pick Maxwell then they are bonkers. He knows this Indian team and has played in Indian conditions, also how does Turner fair against spin? Honest question, but I do doubt it would be better than Maxi.

      • January 7th 2017 @ 8:04am
        Rob JM said | January 7th 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

        Maxwell averages 60 at the SCG, turner 50 and head 20. All a small sample size of course.
        I think they will play six batmsen for at least the first test with S Marsh in for Cartwright. If the spinners or batsmen struggle then the likes of Maxwell, Turner or Agar will get a look in.

        • January 7th 2017 @ 9:19am
          James Jackson said | January 7th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          Outside of guessing what the selectors will do, what would you like to see happen Rob?

          • January 7th 2017 @ 10:08am
            Rob JM said | January 7th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

            I think we should go into the india series with the current four bowlers, If they perform they can take 20 wickets in a match. As for batsmen we need to fit S Marsh in and the only player you could possible drop is Cartwright.
            I would go with Whiteman as keeper as he is a decent player of spin and a better keeper. Nevill is 31 so would be unlikely to play in india again.

            Reserves Maxwell, Bailey/White, Turner, Agar, Sayers/Bird.
            If the batsmen fail but bowlers do job you swap in Bailey/White.
            If bowlers ok but overworked and batsmen struggle go Maxwell
            If the bowlers struggle but batsmen mostly ok then go Turner.
            If a spinner fails and you want more batting depth go agar.

            I suspect they will only take one of Maxwell and Turner since they do a similar role.

    • January 7th 2017 @ 7:59am
      Rob JM said | January 7th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      He is an exciting talent that’s for sure. What is his batting technique like in red ball cricket? He certainly has scored quickly in his innings this year.
      Not sure why he wasn’t bowled against Lynn the other night, finished the game with one over for 3 runs amongst the slaughter.
      Has an economy rate of 6.5 in Twenty20 which shows how good his is.

      I think the Selectors have missed a trick by not looking for a spinning all rounder at 6, it gives us the option of playing 4 quicks without loosing the spin option.

      Has there many players that who were genuine no 6 batsmen and genuine spin bowler? Other than Greg Mathews I cant think of many.

      • January 7th 2017 @ 8:19am
        qwetzen said | January 7th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        GRJ Matthews a “genuine spin bowler”? Nice one centurion. Like it, like it.
        If he was a “genuine spin bowler” then Hilton Cartwright is a genuine fast bowler.

        GRJM Test bowling: 33 Tests, 61w @ 48.2

        • January 7th 2017 @ 8:28am
          Rob JM said | January 7th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

          Fair enough, although his first class average of 31 was a little better. Won the odd game off his bowling in the final innings.
          The whole point was that I struggle to come up with anyone!

          • January 7th 2017 @ 9:32am
            qwetzen said | January 7th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

            Ashley, if we get the bunsens in India apu then a Latter Day Matthews would be the first bowler picked. Being totally unable to spin it on anything except a bunsen, Matthews was lethal on these as he’d be bowling flat & turning it the classic ‘half a bat width’ while everyone else was turning it pointlessly square.

            His SS average was a perfectly respectable 29.9, but this was heavily weighted by the SCG sandpit of the Eighties. Excluding the SCG it was 35.5. (SCG 203 @ 23.9)

            And you’re right about it being a struggle, I don’t think we’ve even had a standout finger-spinner, let alone one that could bat #6. And we probably won’t while the prevailing local view is that any doosra-genre delivery is a chuck.

            • January 7th 2017 @ 10:47am
              jamesb said | January 7th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

              If you look at Matthews statistics, he was a better bowler in the second innings of a test match. Back then, Matthews should have been used as a fifth bowling option rather then an allrounder.

              Also had a decent batting average of 41. If he was playing today, he would walk into this side.

        • Roar Pro

          January 7th 2017 @ 12:12pm
          The lazy Phoenix said | January 7th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

          Matthews was always selected incorrectly as a front line spinner. He should have been the number six batsman and backup spinner. His record was vastly better when he had another spinner selected.

          In Shield he had Murray Bennett at the other end.

        • January 8th 2017 @ 7:28pm
          Dexter The Hamster said | January 8th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

          qwetzen, how many of his tests were played against the might of the West Indies?? Have a feeling that contributed to his stats with the ball. Not an excuse, but its a logical reason. He was a very good day 3/4 bowler in his day, could bowl his team to victory, which is what we want from a spinner surely. He also knocked up 3 Test hundreds (from memory, don’t double check me…) , and in the days before Gilly, that was awesome from a batsman batting 6 or 7. Lets not throw darts at players from the past without considering all elements.

          Plus he bowled with his cap on. That adds something…. 🙂

    • January 7th 2017 @ 8:28am
      tommyh said | January 7th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      LCC is certainly not anywhere near the standard of Australian grade cricket!

      • January 8th 2017 @ 5:35am
        Armchair Expert said | January 8th 2017 @ 5:35am | ! Report

        Not sure Tommy, some LCC teams would be stronger than some teams in Australian grade cricket.

      • January 8th 2017 @ 7:31pm
        Dexter The Hamster said | January 8th 2017 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

        Have you batted on some of the pitches in the Lancashire League? Esp early in the summer, plenty of movement. And plenty of cold brittle fingers in the slips. A real test.

    • January 7th 2017 @ 8:56am
      Linphoma said | January 7th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      Love Turner’s stats this year but what is he really like? Oh for the full tours where we could send a few youngsters along to play them in tour games in country. Which is why I suppose they have these A tours now. Still, just when the candidates were hotting up in the Shield we have this stupid break for the BBL. The guys will go back to their states and try and pick up their red ball game for the second half of the Shield.
      No wonder I’m posting on forums like these. My mates have all lost interest or more like cannot see the relevance of cricket anymore so I have nowhere to chew a cricket conversation.
      Discuss..

      • January 7th 2017 @ 9:12am
        Morsie said | January 7th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        yep.

      • January 7th 2017 @ 9:39am
        qwetzen said | January 7th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        “Test cricket has primacy.” CA, 2012.
        “… we do think it’s a mere formality at this stage that we will expand the [BBL] competition.”. Sutherland, 2016

        • January 7th 2017 @ 10:45am
          Don Freo said | January 7th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

          Try watching some Shield cricket. You’ll awaken, not only to the joy of cricket, but you’ll know what players like Turner are like. Your friends probably don’t understand cricket. That’s usually the type that disengage. Nothing wrong with the product.

          Turner has captained a number of CA youth teams. Very much on selection radar.

          • January 8th 2017 @ 7:37pm
            Dexter The Hamster said | January 8th 2017 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

            Sorry Don, but there is something wrong with the product, as pointed out above, it stops for 6 weeks to cater for some big bash cricket. Meaning those interested in players who could play Tests for Australia have to wait (until the Test season is over) to view them. I think that’s a problem.

            • January 9th 2017 @ 12:57am
              Don Freo said | January 9th 2017 @ 12:57am | ! Report

              Nothing wrong with the product. The programming is terrible.

    • January 7th 2017 @ 10:08am
      Craig Swanson said | January 7th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

      Turner? You are not serious. Up til this year he has done nothing with both bat and ball. He scored as many runs as bowler Joe Mennie last year. He is not even listed in the bowling column. Maxwell is averaging @28 with the bat this year. Can not find his bowling figures. On the other hand Travis Head, a potentially better bowler, has had two solid shield seasons before a breakthru start to this year in which he is averaging @66. He has also taken 7 wickets.

      • January 7th 2017 @ 10:25am
        Rob JM said | January 7th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        Head has never averaged 40 over a season of sheild either. His bowling is expensive. He is not a good player of spin. He is left handed.
        Turner has a better batting average, is in better form, is a quality bowling prospect rather than a part timer.

        I would pick head for australian conditions but not for india where ashwin would redifine the definition of bunny that currently belongs to Cullinin vs Warne.

      • January 7th 2017 @ 4:01pm
        qwetzen said | January 7th 2017 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

        “Maxwell is averaging @28 with the bat this year. Can not find his bowling figures.”

        35 overs, 1/86.

      • January 8th 2017 @ 7:34pm
        Dexter The Hamster said | January 8th 2017 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

        Cannot find bowling figures??? In the age of the internet.

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