Forget Khawaja, it’s Faulkner who’s been shafted

92 Have your say

    Usman Khawaja really has not been that hard done by, regardless of the outcry from hordes of fans. It’s James Faulkner who’s been truly stiffed, first left out of the Champions Trophy and then denied a Cricket Australia contract.

    Ever since Khawaja was dropped from the Test line-up in India as part of a horses-for-courses selection strategy there has been a nonstop stream of outrage from fans online. That Test call was tough, no doubt, but many of those same fans also have been angered by his non-selection for the Champions Trophy, despite Khawaja’s poor ODI record.

    While I would have picked Khawaja for the tournament, that is only because of the lack of experienced alternatives, not because he had truly earned his spot.

    Khawaja at least managed to keep his Cricket Australia central contract when the latest list was announced yesterday. Faulkner, meanwhile, was dealt an incredibly harsh blow, losing his contract despite being a key member of the ODI and Twenty20 line-ups for the past four years.

    What makes his omission from the contract list so shocking is that some of the players handed contracts have barely ever played for Australia and look unlikely to play central roles in any of the three formats over the next 12 months. I’m referring to Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright and Billy Stanlake.

    Billy Stanlake? Are you kidding me? This is a man who has a total of 26 wickets in professional cricket across all three formats, who has figures of 1-110 across his three matches for Australia. Yet Stanlake somehow is considered more worthy of a prized Cricket Australia contract than Faulkner, who has averaged 26 with the ball and 28 with the bat across his 92 matches for Australia.

    Faulkner was man of the match in the 2015 World Cup final and since then has been one of Australia’s best ODI performers, taking 38 wickets from 24 matches at an average of 28. In T20Is, meanwhile, Faulkner has been in Australia’s top five players since he debuted five years ago.

    He was Australia’s best player at last year’s World T20 and has a sensational record of 36 wickets at 19 from his 24 T20Is. Faulkner has been limited to those two white ball formats despite taking 6-98 and making 45 runs in his only Test match and owning comfortably better first-class averages than Mitch Marsh – 25 with the ball and 31 with the bat.

    While Faulkner’s current first-class form does not justify a Test berth, he would certainly be in my Australian XI in ODIs or T20Is. The same cannot be said of Stanlake, Agar or Cartwright, who combined have played just nine matches for Australia.

    Stanlake is not even on the radar for Test selection and should have at least 6-7 pacemen ahead of him in the limited overs pecking order. Agar, meanwhile, has not played for Australia in more than 12 months. Cartwright’s international experience extends to a solitary Test match.

    Cartwright, Stanlake and Agar all have the potential to be fine cricketers for Australia. But they haven’t achieved anything of note for their country yet, while Faulkner has been a valuable contributor for four years now.

    To be dumped from the ODI squad and denied a Cricket Australia contract is a hefty blow for the 26-year-old all-rounder, who is one of the fiercest competitors in Australian cricket, a man who always appears to be giving his all.

    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 (92)

    • April 25th 2017 @ 5:39am
      Chris Love said | April 25th 2017 @ 5:39am | ! Report

      Well said Ronan. A whole-sale cleaning of house at Cricket Australia is required. Are these people even watching cricket these days or are they too busy checking their bank accounts?

      • April 25th 2017 @ 12:19pm
        Ron said | April 25th 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

        Sure Faulkner deserved a CA contract ahead of Mitch marsh but preference for the marsh brothers is nothing new. Khawaja Averaged almost 48 in Test cricket but he was bizarrely dropped for ‘subcontinent specialist’ Shaun Marsh, who averages 36 in Test cricket. Then Khawaja doesn’t get picked for the champions Squad for finch who had done nothing since his drop and why was Khawaja asked to miss the nz one day series for India preparation when they were never going to play him

        • April 25th 2017 @ 1:00pm
          Amith said | April 25th 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

          +1 Ron, can’t remember any player getting treated worse then Khawaja. For the contract list some players on the list must have friends in the right places. Mitch Marsh has to earn his chance. He has always been picked on perceived potential and rarely delivered. Aaron Finch is a hitter on flat tracks who is prone to fail against the moving ball and spinning ball. Stanlake is young so i will hold my judgement. One can only assume that they are planning to give Agar and Cartwright another chance.

          • Columnist

            April 25th 2017 @ 2:28pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | April 25th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

            “Can’t remember any player getting treated worse then Khawaja.”

            Mitchell Starc.

            • April 25th 2017 @ 5:02pm
              Ross said | April 25th 2017 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

              Cummon Ronan no one matches Khawaja in mis treatment , his whole career has had repeats of this specially during the Arthur era but to make him miss the nz tour and then champions trophy for a Indian tour where he didn’t play was a joke , at least Faulkner got to play the nz tour

              • Columnist

                April 25th 2017 @ 5:38pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | April 25th 2017 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

                No, Starc was treated way worse than Khawaja, it’s not even close.

                Starc’s first 15 Tests were split up across 12, yes twelve, separate stints in the Test team.

                Starc was dropped from the Test team 8 times in the space of his first 15 Tests.

              • April 25th 2017 @ 6:04pm
                Ross said | April 25th 2017 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

                Ok fair points but it still doesn’t compare to Khawaja who was dropped after 2 games for Shaun marsh in Sri Lanka and then taken for a Indian tour where he didn’t play under Arthur due to the homework joke and then again taken to India and didn’t play even though he was among our best batsman, he was also rested from the final odi against Pakistan in Adelaide where he would have batted first on a great batting deck and then again rested for the NZ series where he could have made his mark, the guy averages 53 in domestic state cricket so all this smells of a deliberate attempt at not letting him succeed in tbr shorter format

              • April 25th 2017 @ 9:06pm
                Ron said | April 25th 2017 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

                Khawaja had worse treatment as you missed a few other incidents, compare to Khawaja Faulkner has it good as he still got to play more then a 100 games for the ODI team, whereas Khawaja was rested after just 2 low scores

              • Columnist

                April 25th 2017 @ 9:18pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | April 25th 2017 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

                The difference is that Khawaja has been ordinary in his 18 ODIs, whereas Faulkner made an outstanding start to his ODI career which ensured he quickly became a fixture of the team.

                But it’s not easy to become a fixture of an elite ODI team when you’ve averaged 31 with the bat like Khawaja has.

                By comparison, Faulkner averaged 36 with the bat and 30 with the ball in his first 18 matches.

              • April 25th 2017 @ 10:07pm
                Ron said | April 25th 2017 @ 10:07pm | ! Report

                Disagree with you Ronan, as opener Khawaja is nearly averaging 50 and he got a 98 just before the Pakistan series. For the Pakistan series just as he got a chance to bat after 2 low scores in Adelaide we bought in head to open which looked very dodgy given it was Khawaja’s last chance to impress before the champions trophy, Starc never got such blatant discrimination

              • Columnist

                April 25th 2017 @ 10:35pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | April 25th 2017 @ 10:35pm | ! Report

                What about the discrimination between the “Ron” and “Ross” accounts? How do you decide which to use?

              • April 25th 2017 @ 11:40pm
                Amith said | April 25th 2017 @ 11:40pm | ! Report

                I have to go with Ron. You can write a book on the discrimination khawaja has suffered and we can’t just shut them down anymore. See this is what i didn’t get, why was khawaja only given 2 ODIs against pakistan and then rested for the adelaide ODI and we gave Travis Head the chance to open who is not our long term ODI opener. Then when we could have send khawaja to New Zealand ODIs we decide to send him to dubai to get ready for India but then dont’ even play him in the tour game there so again denying him the chance to show his class. So the selectors denied him the chance to show his class in the ODIs and test and this to me is blatantly wrong and we need to fix this as its very frustrating to his fants

              • April 26th 2017 @ 8:43am
                Ron said | April 26th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

                Exactly my point Amith

              • April 26th 2017 @ 7:26pm
                Amith said | April 26th 2017 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

                Bottomline is that Khawaja averaged 66.75 in the preceding Test series against Pakistan after topping the runs list in a losing cause against South Africa.Rubbing salt into the wounds, Khawaja was left to carry the drinks during the four-Test series in India and watch his replacement Shaun Marsh manage only 151 runs at an average of 18.87 from his eight innings. You tell me in what country do you drop a player who was averaging 66.75 and topped the series against the mighty bowling attack of South Africa.

            • Roar Rookie

              April 25th 2017 @ 9:15pm
              Bunney said | April 25th 2017 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

              Andy Bichel

              • April 26th 2017 @ 9:38am
                qwetzen said | April 26th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

                Ahhh yes. Who can forget him not getting a game in Perth when McGrath broke down and Bic was 12th man for the preceding Tests. One of the most disgraceful selections of my time.

            • April 26th 2017 @ 10:53am
              qwetzen said | April 26th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

              lol. I just had a rebuttal to ROCs absurd claim about Starc moderated out. Looks like it’s not acceptable to describe his opinion as “memorably 1d10tic”.

            • April 27th 2017 @ 8:18pm
              danno said | April 27th 2017 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

              Jamie Siddons.

              • April 28th 2017 @ 6:16am
                qwetzen said | April 28th 2017 @ 6:16am | ! Report

                About 20 players. And that’s just from Qld.

                Trivia question:

                Q. Who was the first Oz player to be given a non-playing, os tour as “a development opportunity”?

        • Roar Rookie

          May 2nd 2017 @ 3:48am
          Kashmir said | May 2nd 2017 @ 3:48am | ! Report

          I can see a big connection between words “NZ Odis” “Dubai” “champions trophy” “tour game” “khawaja”.
          1.Khawaja was sent to Dubai = he can’t play well in nz Odis = CT trophy place can’t be confirmed /claimed !
          2.Khawaja missed the tour game = he can’t prove he can hold a cricket bat on Indian soil = he can’t earn his test spot.

          Note: khawaja has been benched for first 10 games so far in Ipl for rps captained by Steven Smith!

          • May 6th 2017 @ 3:51pm
            Ross said | May 6th 2017 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

            Khawaja has been benched because Pune has Smith, Stokes, Du plesis and Imran Tahir as their international players, no Aussie batsmanexcept for smith and Warner would get a game for Pune

            • Roar Rookie

              May 7th 2017 @ 12:43am
              Kashmir said | May 7th 2017 @ 12:43am | ! Report

              Okay Fair enough, we can understand him not playing in pune xi, but the way he has been treated by the selectors this year is absolutely unjustifiable.

    • Roar Guru

      April 25th 2017 @ 6:54am
      Michael Keeffe said | April 25th 2017 @ 6:54am | ! Report

      It’s a joke and particularly that Mitch Marsh was also given a contract ahead of him. Of the three you mentioned Cartwright is the only one who I think will and should play for Australia regularly over the next 12 months. Stanlake and Agar aren’t even close to Australia selection in my view. Faulkner has been shafted.

      • April 25th 2017 @ 12:24pm
        Ron said | April 25th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

        Luckiest person to get on the list is Finch, he has done very little in the ODI format and was very lucky given some of the names that have missed out. SOK, Neville, Siddle all deserve a contract more then Finch based on recent form domestic or international.

        • April 25th 2017 @ 1:02pm
          Amith said | April 25th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

          Finch has averaged in the 30s in the last year but somehow made the champions trophy and also the CA list

          • Columnist

            April 25th 2017 @ 2:30pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | April 25th 2017 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

            Yep Finch has been very lucky in making the Champions Trophy squad and also getting a CA contract.

            • April 25th 2017 @ 5:07pm
              Ross said | April 25th 2017 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

              Funny thinrg is finch hasn’t done anything for the last 18 months, he is failing in tbr IPL too and the bowling standard there is lower

              • April 25th 2017 @ 10:09pm
                Ron said | April 25th 2017 @ 10:09pm | ! Report

                Some people wrongly believe that Khawaja can’t play spin, and they use his innings in Sri Lanka last year. But a player cannot be that classy and not be able to adapt. Seriously, such a cricketer does not exist. There is nobody, ever, who can average nearly 50 in Test cricket and not be good enough to bat in India. India is not Mars. Good batsmen of all types prosper there.Sadly, he left his baggy green in his baggage the whole tour.
                How many times did Australia’s innings stutter to 3-50 or thereabouts and you just found yourself thinking gee, if only Steve Smith had an experienced, proven hand with him at the other end. Sadly, that guy was watching from the stands and it was Khawaja, his treatment is far worse then that if Faulkner

              • April 26th 2017 @ 12:35pm
                zatoo77 said | April 26th 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                ponting was terriable in india. he could not play spin to help himself. he is our best bat since bradman and he never got 100 in india in 18 yeara of test cricket

              • April 25th 2017 @ 10:37pm
                Amith said | April 25th 2017 @ 10:37pm | ! Report

                Exactly Ron, classy batsman adapt to all conditions

              • April 25th 2017 @ 11:41pm
                Amith said | April 25th 2017 @ 11:41pm | ! Report

                Ron this is perhaps the best comment i have read on Khawaja, hats off to you mate

              • April 26th 2017 @ 10:32am
                George said | April 26th 2017 @ 10:32am | ! Report

                +1 Ron

                Boof would rather appease his ocker buddies than select the best team available.

              • April 30th 2017 @ 10:46am
                Don Freo said | April 30th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

                You know Shaun has no longer got a CA contract? The whinge is no longer valid. When a player is dropped, I don’t think anyone would call that preferential treatment.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 26th 2017 @ 1:37pm
                Bunney said | April 26th 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                zatoo77, Ponting was ordinary in India, averaging 26.5 from 14 matches, but his highest score in India is 123, so not quite correct

              • April 26th 2017 @ 3:03pm
                Ross said | April 26th 2017 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

                Zatoo still makes a great point, Ponting adapted to India but we haven’t let Khawaja play one test there, not even one, thus is worst then what Faulkner has coped

              • April 26th 2017 @ 3:13pm
                qwetzen said | April 26th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

                Ron said some incorrect things:

                “Some people wrongly believe that Khawaja can’t play spin, and they use his innings in Sri Lanka last year.”
                Half-right. They also use his dismal record against England spinners. 6/8 including Swann 5 times. UK averaged 21.5 in Tests where Swann played.

                “There is nobody, ever, who can average nearly 50 in Test cricket and not be good enough to bat in India.”

                Ponting 26.5 (25 inn)
                Warner 24.2 (16 inn)
                Gilchrist 27.5 (18 inn)

                I didn’t check any other countries.

              • April 26th 2017 @ 3:37pm
                Rana said | April 26th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

                But quetzen you can’t deny Khawaja averages nearly 50 in test cricket and Shaun marsh who replaced him averaged 18 against India, a batsman who averaged 50 would have found a way through and done better then marsh. Also the figures you use for Swann were when Khawaja wasn’t settled in tbr team but now he is our second best test batsman after smith and was our best this summer, I repeat again that a man who nearly averages 50 will find a way but we have given him 0 tests in India

              • April 26th 2017 @ 3:59pm
                qwetzen said | April 26th 2017 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                Rana/ron said:

                “I repeat again that a man who nearly averages 50 will find a way”

                And it’s entirely your right to keep repeating a proven fallacy.

              • April 26th 2017 @ 4:16pm
                Amith said | April 26th 2017 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                quetzen you are not answering any of ron’s questions. Look at his points, khawaja averages 47 in test cricket. And both marsh brothers who were bought for him failed. Mitchell, who was mystifyingly recalled to Australian colours for the first two Tests of this series despite having been dumped at home over summer. And also Shaun, who despite making two fifties in eight knocks ended up averaging a lowly 18.85 for the series. Thats 6 below warner who we have been bagging. Thats right, average Warner had an absolute shocker of a series by his or anyone’s standards, yet he still averaged 24 — six runs better than Shaun Marsh. Khawaja was just the guy we needed but the point remains he has played no tests in my former homeland of India, at least give the man a full seris and if he fails then judge him but out of 2 series he was given 0 tests match even though khawaja flogged pakistans best leg spinner yasir shah all over this test summer. This is well beyond the unfair treatment that Faulkner ever got.

              • April 29th 2017 @ 10:58am
                Don Freo said | April 29th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

                You know Shaun has no longer got a CA contract? The whinge is no longer valid. When a player is dropped, I don’t think anyone would call that preferential treatment.

              • April 26th 2017 @ 6:03pm
                qwetzen said | April 26th 2017 @ 6:03pm | ! Report

                Amyth (well if “quetzen” is used…) said:

                “quetzen you are not answering any of ron’s questions.”

                Correct! What I was doing was refuting two of ron’s assertions which were transparently wrong.

              • April 26th 2017 @ 7:25pm
                Amith said | April 26th 2017 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

                qwetzen you still didn’t answer any of our questions. Khawaja averaged 66.75 in the preceding Test series against Pakistan after topping the runs list in a losing cause against South Africa.Rubbing salt into the wounds, Khawaja was left to carry the drinks during the four-Test series in India and watch his replacement Shaun Marsh manage only 151 runs at an average of 18.87 from his eight innings. You tell me in what country do you drop a player who was averaging 66.75 and topped the series against the mighty bowling attack of South Africa. If Marsh did well it would be ok but marsh averaged 18.87, your thoughts on this.

              • April 27th 2017 @ 6:08am
                qwetzen said | April 27th 2017 @ 6:08am | ! Report

                Amith, please read my last post.

              • April 27th 2017 @ 10:04am
                Ross said | April 27th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

                Qwetzen interesting to note that Ponting was given 25 innings in India, Gilchrist 18 and Khawaja has been given 0, thanks for the valuable information and just shows how unfairly Khawaja has been treated given he averages almost 50 in test cricket

              • April 27th 2017 @ 12:22pm
                qwetzen said | April 27th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

                To be fair, 13 of Ponting’s innings in India were as captain so he wasn’t likely to be dropped (He averaged a respectable 39.5), and Gilchrist was the wicket-keeper, ie also unlikely to be dropped. The one you should be hollering about is the one you strangely omitted, the hapless Warner.

                Btw, I have no interest in the Kwajaha saga.

              • April 27th 2017 @ 1:36pm
                Stephen said | April 27th 2017 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

                The most frustrating thing for me was for khawaja not to play those three ODIs in New Zealand along with being rested in the Adelaide ODI when that was clearly a dead rubber, don’t the selectors realise that the public can see through these calls and they are not fair on this talented south paw

    • April 25th 2017 @ 6:59am
      qwetzen said | April 25th 2017 @ 6:59am | ! Report

      Yep, the punting of Faulkner doesn’t appear to be one of the greatest decisions ever made, but at least he has the lucrative option of becoming a T20 pro.

      And the only reason I can think of for Stanlake getting a gig is that CA is keen on getting a basketball team together.

    • April 25th 2017 @ 7:32am
      Nudge said | April 25th 2017 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      Stanlake is going to be something special though in my opinion. 205cm who bowls accurately at 150 plus is pretty impressive.It was mentioned by Hohns that they were keen to give him a contract so they could be in control of his cricket programme. He has had 2 back stress fractures already.

    • April 25th 2017 @ 8:02am
      BurgyGreen said | April 25th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      Agree Ronan. Faulkner has been and should continue to be an international regular. Stanlake and Agar are very strange contracts. Neither has impressed me at international level since Agar’s debut. Agar has gone on to build a very underwhelming record, averaging 26 with the bat and 40 with the ball in first class cricket. I can’t see him playing Tests over the next couple of seasons.

      • April 25th 2017 @ 10:29am
        JoM said | April 25th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

        Do you think Agar got the contract that might have been O’Keefe’s?

        • April 25th 2017 @ 12:47pm
          BurgyGreen said | April 25th 2017 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

          Strong possibility – although if that’s the case I think they should’ve just signed Faulkner anyway as there aren’t really any spinners at the moment other than Lyon or O’Keefe who have been proven to be good enough for a contract.

      • Columnist

        April 25th 2017 @ 2:35pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | April 25th 2017 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

        I’m a really big fan of Agar Burgy and think he can become a very good international player.

        I think his first-class bowling record doesn’t reflect his true ability because the WACA is a nightmare for spinners (from memory he averages like 60 there and 33-34 elsewhere in FC cricket).

        But he’s still another year or two away from really pushing for a Test berth I think.

        • Roar Guru

          April 26th 2017 @ 9:40am
          Joey Johns said | April 26th 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

          Perhaps Agar’s contract is merely a result of SOK’s transgressions?

    • April 25th 2017 @ 8:33am
      Swampy said | April 25th 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      At this point you could tell me Steve Smith has been dropped off the contract list and it wouldn’t surprise me one little bit.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the list was constructed in a manner to give CA more leverage in the contract negotiations with regards to revenue sharing. More new fringe guys means less resistance to what CA wants perhaps

      • April 25th 2017 @ 8:57am
        qwetzen said | April 25th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        As CA will be negotiating with the ACA I don’t see how that follows.

        Speaking of the ACA, this is their SS team of the season, as voted by the players.
        Joe Burns
        Ed Cowan
        Hilton Cartwright
        George Bailey (c)
        Moises Henriques
        Ashton Turner
        Chris Hartley (WK)
        Chris Tremain
        Chad Sayers
        Jon Holland
        Jason Behrendorff

        Simon Mackin (12th)

        • April 25th 2017 @ 9:14am
          jameswm said | April 25th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          Hard to argue with any of that

        • April 25th 2017 @ 9:31am
          Matth said | April 25th 2017 @ 9:31am | ! Report

          Good team

        • Roar Rookie

          April 25th 2017 @ 9:28pm
          Bunney said | April 25th 2017 @ 9:28pm | ! Report

          Very hard to argue.

          Milenko had a great year, but not good enough to usurp anyone in this team.

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