Mixed messages means picking an XI challenging

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    Australia have the talent in Twenty20 - but do they even want to do well at it? (Image: AFP)

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    Shane Watson’s troublesome body is providing the catalyst for a host of confusing comments by the Australian team management and selectors.

    Performance manager Pat Howard has made it clear that Watson must bowl if he is too be guaranteed selection in future Test matches, while half of the selection committee agrees with that, the other half seems to think he can be picked solely as a batsman.

    However, there seems to be some consensus that the Australian team would be better balanced with a four pronged front line attack and a genuine fifth bowling alternative at Adelaide, a role that Watson is typically charged with.

    If this is the case, why haven’t the selectors investigated in bringing in an all-rounder to cover for Watson, instead of Rob Quiney?

    With all due respect to Quiney, it does not seem to make much sense to advocate for a five-man bowling attack and yet fill Watson’s vacancy with a specialist batsman. Quiney’s (or Hussey’s) bowling at the Gabba was simply to fill overs.

    They both never really looked like genuine wickettaking bowlers. Why haven’t the selectors raised the possibility of blooding John Hastings or re-selecting Andrew McDonald to fill Watson’s absence, if they are indeed of a fifth wicket taking bowler?

    In regards to the other theory circulating that Watson is capable of being picked as a specialist batsman, it would be counterproductive to pick Watson in such a role in the Adelaide Test for two reasons.

    Firstly, Watson is unable to demonstrate that he is fit enough to play a long innings. Secondly, even if he was fit, Watson’s first-class form suggests that he doesn’t have the form to play a long innings, especially at first drop.

    Picking Watson as a batsman sends a message that the selectors believe he is one of the top six batsman in the country, which he is not.

    Furthermore, picking Watson at first drop, indicates that the selectors want to build an entire team innings around his contribution.

    Watson is a talented cricketer yes, but he is not a number three. Nor is Quiney for that matter. Michael Clarke should step up to that key position, but that is a debate for another day.

    Unfortunately, the mixed comments from the selectors make it difficult for the media and public to speculate over the best make-up for the test eleven. One certainty is that Watson should definitely be kept on ice until he is fully fit.

    The next question is whether the selectors want a four or five man attack? A four man attack keeps Quiney in the team, but a five-man attack should see the selection of an all-rounder.

    It’s just not cricket to pretend that a host of part-time bowlers can make a fifth bowler.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • November 21st 2012 @ 9:27am
      josh said | November 21st 2012 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      Why not go with,

      Warner
      Cowan
      Watson
      Clarke
      Quiney
      Hussey
      Wade
      Siddle
      Lyon
      Pattison
      Starc

      • November 22nd 2012 @ 10:37am
        Nick Inatey said | November 22nd 2012 @ 10:37am | ! Report

        I like that side, really balanced. But Watson can’t bat at 3. He is not a batsman you build an innings around which is the primary function of the number 3. Clarke needs to step up like Ponting did. Watson belongs at 6.

    • November 21st 2012 @ 11:41am
      Seano said | November 21st 2012 @ 11:41am | ! Report

      These issues will keep coming up unless they decide what a test side is. It’s 2 openers, 2 experienced middle order bats, 1 up an comming bat, an all rounder plus a keeper an 4 bowlers full stop. As Watson is the all rounder and was injured macdonald comes in no questions asked, opener injured quinney comes in, simple. If the selectors have this tactic there will never be a selection issue again.

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    • November 21st 2012 @ 12:16pm
      Lancey5times said | November 21st 2012 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

      Seano, since when has this been the make up of a test side. We have a domestic competition for our up and coming batsman not a junior position in the test team. Maybe I have misunderstood you and you in fact meant that this position should be for a ready made test cricket batsman who, in a perfect world, would be a young player with many seasons ahead of him. Is this more accurate? I hope so

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

    • November 21st 2012 @ 12:21pm
      Lancey5times said | November 21st 2012 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

      And a test side is never so cut and dried like you mentioned. SA have tremendous balance with AB taking the gloves. He conceded zero byes and is a world class number 5 or even 4. Your theory would also have Kallis batting at 6 for the Proteas. You would be a brave man to say SA have made mistakes with their team selection. Same goes for SL in regards to Sanga and further back to England with Alec Stewart

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