Australian cricket’s future is now

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    Since the abysmal 3-1 loss in the most recent Ashes series, the Australian selectors have been selecting with an eye to the future.

    But how far into the future are we looking? If a player can perform until the end of the next Australian summer in 2014, surely they are a realistic option.

    With a series recently passed against the number one team in Test cricket, a tour of India approaching and back-to-back Ashes, the future is right now.

    So what needs to be done?

    Perhaps the biggest reason England has had such Ashes success since 2005 is not because they have simply been better.

    No team in Test cricket prepares and bowls to plans as well as England. Flaws in technique have been perfectly exploited, contributing to Ponting’s fall from grace, Hughes’ dropping and below par performances from Clarke.

    In Australia recently we have seen the selection of players who simply weren’t good enough, such as Rob Quiney, Steve Smith, Ed Cowan and nearly Glenn Maxwell.

    It’s time to select a team which has the experience and techniques to combat a well oiled England attack.

    Chris Rogers should be monitored closely. With an average of 49.6, 56 first-class hundreds and a wealth of county runs, he is more than capable of improving the opening partnership.

    Filling the hole left by Mr. Cricket poses a bigger issue.

    I normally would jump in to bat for Dave Hussey, but his first-class season has been less than impressive. He’s still capable of making runs, as he has shown in one-day competitions, and will get a chance to show what he is capable of in the ODIs to come.

    Usman Khawaja has the technique to handle the Ashes, but needs a string of high scores and runs on the board. Alex Doolan has the potential, but similarly to Khawaja, lacks the sustained run scoring.

    Shane Watson must remain an all-rounder. Averaging 24 as an opener in 2011 and 31.5 in 2012 does not justify a place as a specialist batsman.

    Without his bowling his place should be vulnerable to a recovering Andrew McDonald or Moises Henriques, or even a bowler given the fragile bodies of our current pacemen. If a bowler goes down in the first innings of a Test, our prospects to win that game will be slim.

    The luxury of picking five bowlers may be available given the handy abilities with the bat of Mitchell Johnson, John Hastings, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc.

    Michael Clarke must move to four to take greater responsibility in our middle order. To continue salvaging our innings from three wickets down, as commonly occurred against South Africa, is too precarious, and the loss of Mike Hussey may reduce the support he’ll receive in these situations.

    While our batting poses some big questions, our bowling looks strong. We have a group of seven or so very capable Test bowlers.

    The rotation policy, while not ideal, will get the players through demanding fixtures, with Siddle the ever-present backbone.

    Nathan Lyon clearly has the backing of the dressing room and can build pressure at the other end for a pace bowler to do the damage. Since the retirements of Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill, only Jason Krejza has looked dangerous, and it’s unrealistic to expect to find such a bowler at this point.

    My Ashes XI: Rogers, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, Khawaja, Watson, Wade, Siddle, Lyon, with two of Johnson/Bird/Pattinson/Starc, in order of preference. Bowling selections would be based on form and freshness.

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • January 9th 2013 @ 8:04am
      The no. Three said | January 9th 2013 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      C Rogers wont make it at 35 ish. D Hussey is a shot, to jag a spot at six, if he gets runs in the odi’s. Watto cant be in the test team bowling as well cause he keeps breaking down and the team is left disjointed usually, although, it would be good.

      • January 9th 2013 @ 6:38pm
        Mathias Datte said | January 9th 2013 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

        I don’t think it’s impossible for Chris Rogers to be selected in the test squad. For example, Brad Haddin is considered to be the second best wicketkeeper in the country and he is 35 years old. The NSP have stressed that if you’re making runs, then you’ll be considered for selection irrespective of your age.

        The idea of selecting a player such as Rogers is to add some experience to the test squad following the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. Of course, Rogers is a short-term option but if he’s in good form, then he’s certainly a better option than Ed Cowan, for example.

        David Hussey is a fine batsman in my opinion and deserved to play test cricket. A naturally aggressive player, his first class batting average is above 50 and his strike rate is in the 70’s, which is fantastic. However, he’s not been in great form recently and I think that any selection of a 35 year old is a short-term solution so the relevant player better be in form as far as the selectors are concerned. If Hussey can get back in form in the second leg of the Sheffield Shield competition, then he could replace Ed Cowan in the test squad.

        I would personally select Glenn Maxwell. Of course, it’s a gamble because he is young and inexperienced but he is a player who learns very quickly. If Ed Cowan doesn’t find form soon, then there aren’t really any other options. Usman Khawaja will likely replace Michael Hussey in the test squad.

    • January 9th 2013 @ 8:48am
      sledgeross said | January 9th 2013 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      Rogers should be opener, especially in the Ashes, where he has scored a sh*tload of runs in County cricket. Even if only for the next 2 tours.

      Im not too convinced about people saying Ussie has the technique to handle English conditions. He has real problems playing at the ball angled across him, and he doesnt have too much experince over there. Still, he has earned his shot, and I hope he does well.

    • January 9th 2013 @ 10:15am
      Paul said | January 9th 2013 @ 10:15am | ! Report

      Khawaja is a must for the ashes. Hussey is one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He will leave a massive hole in Aussie cricket. Nobody is even close to being good enough to fill his shoes. He is unique in that he got picked so late, if you look at all the top nations aroudn the world in SA, England and even India who are rebuilding their sides they are bringing in 24-27 year olds who have had good domestic cricket experience and are ready to step up or the next 8-10 years. That’s why Hughes selection made sense because he is 25 and scoring in shield. Same applies with Khawaja to replace Hussey, at 26 and as second best shield batsman this year he is ready to step up and not be used simply as a stand in batsman. He has done the improvements that were asked of him(i.e fielding, running and scoring more aggressively under Lehman’s guidance). My team – l batting line-up as Warner- Wats- Hughes- Khawaja- Clarke- Henriques- Wade-Johnson- Siddle- Patterson-

      Lyon with Cummins, Bird, Starc, Hilf, Harris, Beer as back-up bowlers.

    • January 9th 2013 @ 10:19am
      The Kebab Connoisseur said | January 9th 2013 @ 10:19am | ! Report

      Just really slim pickings for decent batsmen in Australian cricket at the moment. Not much there.

    • January 9th 2013 @ 10:54am
      Felix said | January 9th 2013 @ 10:54am | ! Report

      I’m not inclined to disagree with you David, and I particularly note this:
      “If a bowler goes down in the first innings of a Test, with only two pacemen our prospects to win that game will be slim.”

      It’s amazing that we now consider this isn’t it? 10 years ago we wouldn’t have dreamed about carrying an extra seamer just in case Mcgrath, Gillespie or Lee were injured in the game. What a changed landscape the 2010’s are proving to be.

    • January 9th 2013 @ 11:05am
      Luke said | January 9th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

      Anyone putting Moises Henriques anywhere near an Australian side just loses all credibility with me straight away. He is so far off being international standard it isn’t funny. Are we really struggling that much to come up with talent here in Australia?

      Something has seriously broken down in the production line of Australian Cricket (in regards to batting) we have a plethora of young talented kids with flawed techniques coming into Sheffield Shield who are just unable to make the step up to the next level. Its remarkable and a testament to Phil Hughes and Dave Warner’s ability that they are able to be consistently successful batsmen with such huge technical flaws, but I think they are the exception to the rule.

      There needs to be something done about it. Australia I think will always produce quality fast bowlers (as there is less coaching required and fast bowlers often develop naturally, especially in a country that values outdoor living such as Australia) but quality batsmen are often “manufactured” so to speak and a product of the coaching systems in place, which is what leads me to conclude that the system in Australia is breaking down atm.

      • January 9th 2013 @ 3:03pm
        David M said | January 9th 2013 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

        I’d tend to agree with you on Moises Henriques, yet I do believe a 5th bowler is pivotal to the team. I’d vastly prefer Watson or McDonald, or even the bowling alrounder option, but he has had a good start to the first class season and is an outside option, I’d give him a better shout of not being added to the list of cricketers that simply weren’t up to it than Maxwell.

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