What can we take from the JLT One-Day Cup

David Holden Roar Pro

By , David Holden is a Roar Pro

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    The upcoming first three rounds of the Sheffield Shield will likely finally determine who bats at number six and who keeps wicket for Australia in the Ashes series.

    It’s therefore hard to place too much credence on a domestic one-day series, especially one in which Doug Bollinger has averaged 34 with the bat; however, some hopefuls have started the domestic season well and some need to find form quickly.

    It’s been commented previously that the Marsh brothers have already been given too many chances for Australia, but the JLT One Day Cup statistics speak for themselves. Mitchell Marsh has scored 258 runs at an average of 129, albeit with some not outs, whereas Shaun Marsh has scored 380 runs at an average of 95. If the Australian selectors elect to go with a specialist batsman at number six and Shaun Marsh stays fit and keeps scoring during the four-day games, he will be close to selection.

    He was dropped after three Tests last summer, but Nic Maddinson has also started the season well, scoring 398 runs at an average of 66. Cameron Bancroft, so close to Test selection a couple of years ago, has scored 189 runs at an average of 47.

    From the other specialist batsmen who are considered a chance of playing at the Gabba Travis Head, Kurtis Patterson and Joe Burns have work to do. Travis Head has had one hit out for 29 runs, albeit with an impressive strike rate, while Patterson and Burns have averaged 41 and 31 respectively. These are not poor results at all, but when compared to Shaun Marsh’s 95 some big scores in the Sheffield Shield games become a necessity.

    It’s difficult to get a good read on the all-rounders as most have had limited opportunities. Other than Mitchell Marsh, Moises Henriques scored 72 from his only innings, Glenn Maxwell made 12 in his only knock, while Hilton Cartwright has scored 39 from his two innings, including one not out. If the selectors do decide they want an all-rounder at number six in Australian conditions, Henriques would likely be the favourite at this stage. A solid start to the Sheffield Shield may just be enough.

    Of the wicketkeepers with a chance Matthew Wade and Alex Carey are probably jostling for the lead at this stage. Wade is averaging mid 40s with the bat while Carey’s 92 in the semi-final was a match-winning knock while also boosting his average into the 30s. Peter Nevill has had a very modest start in his less preferred 50-over format; however, if he can repeat his Sheffield Shield form of last year, he will be close to a recall.

    As I said at the start, the four-day games coming up will determine these two key positions for Australia in their quest to take back the Ashes. However, after the JLT series, some players definitely have the advantage. Whether they can keep that advantage all the way through to selection remains to be seen. It promises to be some of the more tense Sheffield Shield games played for a long time.

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