With the announcement of the Australian squad for the Champions Trophy, there will be plenty of debate on the makeup and mistakes of the 15 men.
I want to delve into the controversial or interesting choices that the selection panel went for. Did they deserve their place? After all, these are supposedly our best 15 one-day players in the country.
Just quickly, here’s a snapshot of Australia’s group games.
June 2 – versus New Zealand at Edgbaston.
June 5 – versus Bangladesh at the Oval.
June 10 – versus England at Edgbaston.
Maybe the most controversial decision of the lot was to keep Aaron Finch in the side after his lean run of form in the most recent summer.
Finchy hasn’t made a century in ODIs since January 20, 2016, against India in Canberra. Since that day, he’s put together 501 runs in 21 innings at an average of 23.86. Certainly not outstanding, but not as terrible as many have led on. That time has included five 50s, with a highest being 72.
Perhaps the selectors were enticed by Finch’s record on English soil, which reads 209 runs at an average of 52.25. Pretty good. And we can’t forget his stunning Twenty20 record there either.
Finch will only play if he’s opening the batting with David Warner, but his preparation will be batting at number four or five for the Gujarat Lions in the IPL. It’s no fault of his own, because the Lions have Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum at the top. But it’s not a great lead-in for what shapes as a do or die series for Finch.
Should he have been picked? Yes, if only for the fact he top-scored in Australia’s most recent ODI.
Admittedly, I’ve never been a big Henriques fan, and I’ve been there to speak up whenever he’s failed at taking the step-up to international level.
However, since returning from the disastrous tour of Sri Lanka, his form has been nothing short of exceptional. Un-ignorable, even. Yeah, I make up words as well.
775 runs at 64.6 in the Sheffield Shield (fifth overall), 414 runs at 69 in the Matador Cup (second overall) and 263 runs at 29.2 in the BBL (ninth overall).
He’s doing pretty well in the IPL at the Sunrisers, too.
Whether you’re a much malinged player or not, those numbers deserve selection. Forget the bowling Moey, you’re a gun bat!
Should he have been picked? Yes, did you not read those stats?
Lynn is a much more interesting case.
We know that he can be sensational, and unstoppable. Some of his Twenty20 scores since December are: 85* against the Sydney Thunder, 84* against the Hobart Hurricanes, 98* against the Perth Scorchers and 93* against the Gujarat Lions in the IPL.
But he’s had shoulder troubles. Big shoulder troubles. He’s missed the last two Matador Cups and only played one Shield game last summer.
It ruined his debut international summer, limiting him to just one ODI, and has now ruined his IPL, which started so brightly.
Should he have been picked? Despite his power and ability to swing a match, we already have plenty in the squad who can do that. Usman Khawaja or George Bailey would be safer picks.
Many were crying foul over this selection, but I absolutely love it.
In 2016, only Adam Zampa took more wickets than John Hastings in all ODIs. But Hastings’ average, economy and strike rates were all superior to Zampa’s.
He didn’t play any Matador Cup, because he was with the Aussies, leading a very inexperienced attack in South Africa.
Then, he was dropped for the Australian summer and almost immediately afterwards, had to have surgery on his knee. He missed the entire BBL and almost all of the Sheffield Shield.
But he’s back in action, and refreshingly, not in the IPL. He’s resumed his cricket with Worcestershire in the County Championship, where he’s taking the new ball and getting acclimatised to the English conditions.
Should he have been picked? Yep. He’s back to full fitness, and if the extreme pace trio don’t work, Hastings is a reliable back-up.
So, what do you think? Should these guys have been picked?