Australia’s batting lineup for India (tour preview)

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    Here’s a quick look at our likely top seven, their statistics, how they play spin and how I think they will play in the upcoming Indian tour.

    1. Ed Cowan (30):
    Tests: 13, innings: 22, runs: 722, average: 32.81, 100s: one, 50s: five, highest score: 136

    How he plays spin:
    Cowan, on the few occasions I have seen him play spin, tends to play the ball with hard hands and is quite vulnerable to nicking well-flighted deliveries ripped into the footmarks. It was encouraging to see during the second Innings of the SCG Test he tried not to let Rangana Herath dictate the play, sweeping the Sri Lankan on a few occasions.

    However Cowan is not a natural sweeper of the ball, and he has a bad tendency to lunge forward to spinners but not get his pad outside the line of off stump.

    How he will go in India:
    Ed needs a big score. His 136 against South Africa, while on a road, was nonetheless impressive. That bought him extended time in the Test side, but I feel that time is already expired.

    If he makes it to India (and I believe he will play the first Test and be reassessed afterwards), he must show the selectors he is capable of scoring against a turning ball.

    Is he? I’m not so confident… but time will tell.

    2. David Warner (26):
    Tests: 15, innings: 26, runs: 1068, ave: 44.50, 100s: three, 50s: five, HS: 180

    How he plays spin:
    Is it actually possible to describe how Warner plays spin? He possesses a large array of shots – he is very good at the cut shot, but he is chance for bat pad if the ball is spinning a lot as he is sometimes caught on the crease being indecisive about his stroke play.

    He has shown he can use his feet to the spinners to hit over the top of the infield, however this often results in his ultimate downfall. He does sweep from time to time, although again you wouldn’t say he is a natural sweeper of the ball, but he plays the paddle and switch hit shots with incredible skill and strength.

    How he will go in India:
    With the shots and strength Warner has, he should make some runs in India. He generally plays better to spin when in an aggressive frame of mind, but playing his natural game can also be his downfall – as we all know.

    All in all I think he will do okay.

    3. Phil Hughes (24):
    Tests: 20, innings: 37, runs: 1305, ave: 36.25, 100s: three, 50s: five, HS: 160

    How he plays spin:
    Not great. A lot of the time Hughes is neither forward nor back, often caught in no man’s land and is a candidate for numerous lbw appeals. In saying that, he plays some of the most brutal cut shots you will ever see and jumps on anything that is short.

    Hughes rarely sweeps, if ever, so he will have to bide his time against the spinners and wait for the right ball to hit. It is pivotal for Hughes he works on his footwork as well.

    How he will go in India:
    Seeing as this is the first time Hughes will play on the sub-continent, as goes for most of the batting line-up, a big score for Hughes early in the series will be a huge confidence booster. He has had a good comeback to the Australian side and has many credits in the bank.

    Unfortunately I’m not sure whether Hughes has the technique or strength required to make a big score in India.

    4. Michael Clarke [c] (31):
    Tests: 89, innings: 148, runs: 6989, ave: 52.54, 100s: 22, 50s: 25, HS: 329*

    How he plays spin:
    Very well. Not much more can be said, Clarke is by far the best player of spin in the side, if not perhaps the world.

    He often dances down to the pitch of the ball and uses his placement to pick off ones and twos early in his innings, before getting in and looking to pounce on shorter deliveries and creating half volleys with his footwork.

    If one weakness can be said of Clarke’s game to spinners, it seems he has no real sweep shot in his arsenal, but I’m really just clutching at straws.

    How he will go in India:
    He’s proven himself in India before, and has played some magnificent innings over the past 18 months. While I am concerned that he is mentally tired from carrying our batting performances on his own bat, I still believe Clarke will be our most successful batsmen in the upcoming tour.

    5. Usman Khawaja (26):
    Tests: six, innings: 11, runs: 263, ave: 29.22, 100s: zero, 50s: one, HS: 65

    How he plays spin:
    I must confess that I have not seen much of Khawaja, let alone how he handles spin bowling. However he seems to me to have all the tools required to have a successful international career at number five. India will be the beginning of his rise towards becoming a very good player.

    How he will go in India:
    He uses his wrists well and likes whipping anything leg side down towards fine leg. He possesses a good square cut, and has swept quite often in the recent BBL. He has a good solid technique and likes to make a clear movement forward when batting.

    All in all he should improve on his current average.

    6. Glenn Maxwell (24):
    (First class stats): matches: 15, innings: 24, runs: 924, ave: 42.33, 100s: one, 50s: eight, HS: 103*

    How he plays spin:
    From what I’ve seen in the Ryobi cup, Maxwell seems like quite a dasher, and has no issue in taking the spinners on.

    He has good footwork and will dance down the wicket to get to the pitch of the delivery and send it back over the bowler’s head. Whether he has a sweep shot or not I’m not sure (does anyone know?) but he likes playing the paddle shot and can cut the ball well.

    How he will go in India:
    Maxwell could do anything on his given day, but if he was to make his Test debut in India, I would forecast more bust than boom at this point in time. That’s not to say he won’t play some brilliant rear-guard action cameos with Matthew Wade down the other end.

    7. Matthew Wade (25):
    Tests: nine, innings: 16, runs: 510, ave: 42.50, 100s: two, 50s: two, HS: 106

    How he plays spin:
    Wade, while no Clarke or Mike Hussey, can handle spin pretty well. His 106 against the West Indies came on a rank turner of a pitch, where no one bar Shivnarine Chanderpaul got a score.

    He likes to get on the front foot early to full pitched deliveries and looks to work them behind square for quick singles; he cuts and drives extremely well.

    Wade can also play the sweep shot, both the slog and paddle, however whether it will be successful in India or not is another matter – during his short career it has bought him quick runs but also cost him his wicket on a few occasions:

    How he will go in India:
    Wade will go okay, he will score runs and maybe even a big score is not unrealistic. His keeping to Lyon will be of more interest however, but playing a match saving innings in case of a top order collapse is not beyond him.

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    The Crowd Says (60)

    • January 10th 2013 @ 10:34am
      James said | January 10th 2013 @ 10:34am | ! Report

      Justin i like our batting lineup. I think having Khawaja inthe team is a good move and his wristy play and good usage of the feet and sweep shots will help in India and he is amust for the Ashes. I am not sure if i would have Cowan in there, i would drop him and get Watto in and if we keep Cowan then drop Maxwell for Watto as his off spinners won’t work against the Indians.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 10th 2013 @ 11:12am
        Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 11:12am | ! Report

        Yeah it’s a toss up for me between Cowan and Watson

      • January 10th 2013 @ 12:08pm
        saad said | January 10th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

        James! Hey James, I would drop both Khawaja and Cowan and get David Hussey and Chris Roger. Because the poor statistics does not allow to play Cowan and Khawaja. Average of David Hussey and Chris Roger is more than both Khawaja and Cowan. Both Khawaja and Cowan does not deserve a place in team. I like Khawaja due to his beautiful technique. He plays with beautiful style. But he has very low average. Runs are needed in cricket not technique.

        • January 10th 2013 @ 12:12pm
          Red Kev said | January 10th 2013 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

          Ian Chappell scored 243 runs in 8 tests (13 innings) at an average of 21.10 to start his test career … should he have been dropped from the side?
          Khawaja is doing better at this point of his test career than Ian Chappell, Boon, Lehmann, Martyn, Langer, Laxman and many others.

          • January 10th 2013 @ 1:02pm
            saad said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

            Red Kev! When india will defeat us then you will come understand. You will remember me and my comment.

            • January 10th 2013 @ 1:08pm
              Red Kev said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

              We’ve beaten India in India once in 30? years. England’s victory over there last year was a massive achievement for a reason. If we lose, it won’t be because of the omission of D.Hussey or C.Rogers (please note the ‘s’ at the end of his name).

              • January 10th 2013 @ 1:47pm
                saad said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

                David Hussey was a permanent part of ODI team. Selectors gave many chances to David Hussey. But they did not give any chance to Chris Roger. Something is wrong with Chris Roger from Selectors.

              • January 10th 2013 @ 3:28pm
                Rohit said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                Agree with Red Kev, how saad can justify having Rogers over Khawaja is beyond me. D Hussey has averaged 17 in shield this year and Rogers has looked terrible from what i saw in the big bash. Lets focus on the future and get the guys who are scoring in shield and tha includes getting Khawaja and Hughes in. Huges and Khawaja are the future prospects for Aussies. Aussies should include them in all test matches so that they could build themselves to be solid batsman for them. Both are highly talented young players if they keep playing for 2 year continuously then they could become more reliable players for Aussies. Khawaja in particular looks fantastic under boof.

        • January 10th 2013 @ 3:30pm
          Roger said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

          Saad you are kidding me mate, how can you remove the 2 best young batsman in the country in Hughes and Khawaja for 2 guys who are not scoring this seeason but will also be 36 by the time ashes rolls around. The fact is that both Rogers and D Hussey were very good about 5 years ago but their time is gone. Khawaja and Hughes will be key for us to win back the ashes.

          • Roar Rookie

            January 10th 2013 @ 7:38pm
            Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

            Read my mind Roger

          • January 11th 2013 @ 5:35am
            Sanjay said | January 11th 2013 @ 5:35am | ! Report

            Spot on Roget, Khawaja and Hughes are a must for our lineup and it’s about time khawaja got a go at test level for a full series to show what he can do

      • Roar Rookie

        January 10th 2013 @ 3:45pm
        Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

        thanks james and yes I think there should be a spot for Khawaja for a long time from now into the future

    • January 10th 2013 @ 10:42am
      gavjoshi said | January 10th 2013 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      The way Australia handle spin will depend largely on how well Indian off-spinner Ravi Ashwin bowls. Considering 5/7 are left handers the off spinners is likely to pose the biggest threat. I am still not convinced on Wade despite his 100 in the Carribiean and at the SCG, he might a 100 in India but his innings will produce either a big score or a low score. While you have focused on spin, reverse swing plays a significant role in India. England have won tests due to Jimmy Anderson. South Africa by Dale Steyn. So while all the thoughts are about spin our batsmen need to ensure they can handle reverse swing.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 10th 2013 @ 11:15am
        Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

        Very valid points and I suppose reverse swing does play a pivotal role in India but a lot of spin bowling takes place as well. Yes Ashwin is the key and he needs to be well backed by Ohja and Harbahjan Singh if he gets a run. Interesting opinion about Wade, it’s entirely your opinion as is my article so you can think whatever you like. But both his hundreds came on turning pitches where we needed runs so I think he will score runs, that’s not saying he won’t make low scores or struggle at times, as most batsmen, even Clarke, will struggle in India.

    • January 10th 2013 @ 11:27am
      jameswm said | January 10th 2013 @ 11:27am | ! Report

      Our “likely” top 7 has Watto in it, probably at 1.

      Also, Clarke and Khawaja will be other way round, not that I agree with that.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 12:04pm
        Red Kev said | January 10th 2013 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

        Considering the story doing the rounds is that Watson will miss tests 3 and 4 in India anyway for the birth of his child, I actually consider it more likely the selectors will say “play the shield, score runs, come back to open in the Ashes” and keep Cowan for India.

        • Roar Rookie

          January 10th 2013 @ 1:48pm
          Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

          You’ve probably hit it right on the head there Red Kev, but just to cause further controversy… what if Cowan and/or Khawaja get big scores?!

          • January 10th 2013 @ 1:54pm
            Red Kev said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

            Then Watson has to wait, as he should.

          • January 10th 2013 @ 2:02pm
            saad said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

            What do you think about unheralded Scott Henry if Selectors give a chance him. He made double hundred against Sri Lanka.

            • Roar Rookie

              January 10th 2013 @ 2:13pm
              Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

              Yes he did… I haven’t seen anything of Henry so I can’t perform my dissection on his game. Yet. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t it his first year in Sheffield shield? Although the NSP make amusing selections at time, I would find it hard to see Henry getting a run this year, but he could well be a part of our 2014 campaign.

              • Roar Rookie

                January 10th 2013 @ 7:36pm
                Behold said | January 10th 2013 @ 7:36pm | ! Report

                I would think of the young players Davies or Burns will be ahead of Henry with them being part of the Australia A set up, rather than the chairman’s XI that was made up of players not playing BBL. If Marsh scores runs in the two Shield Matches before the tour, he would have to be very close to being selected Marsh and Khawaja have the stand out techniques in the domestic competition both exude class. I think Marsh is someone who can carry his BBL form into the longer formats because he plays fairly normal strokes with power. Ferguson I think is the man who should replace Hussey across all formats, he plays with a similar intent when he gets to the crease likes to work the ball and put the pressure on the bowlers and fielders.

            • January 10th 2013 @ 2:20pm
              Red Kev said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

              Henry’s FC record is pretty thin (7 matches with an average in the 20s). It is his first year in the Shield, the three-day tour match against SL was not classed as an FC match meaning he hasn’t got a hundred yet. He does look like he might have something but he is at minimum two full shield seasons away (plus the rest of this one) from being ready. That makes him a prospect not for this Ashes series, or the return one, but the one after that.

              • Roar Rookie

                January 10th 2013 @ 2:25pm
                Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

                Thanks Red Kev, can always rely on you for stats. Yeah that’s what I thought too

              • January 11th 2013 @ 1:19am
                AndyMack said | January 11th 2013 @ 1:19am | ! Report

                Red Kev,

                I’m putting u on speed dial for when I get into arguments with my fellow cricket loving mate, love your stats and logic mate!!!!

              • January 11th 2013 @ 5:39am
                Sanjay said | January 11th 2013 @ 5:39am | ! Report

                I agree with red kev, Fergie has to do more to get a call up, he could be te backup batsman bug khawaja has to be the guy to get Husseys spot as he is next in line and deservingly so

          • January 10th 2013 @ 3:32pm
            Rohit said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

            This will be Khawaja’s best chance, he is a long term prospect for us and just needs a go similar to what Cowan has recieved from the selectors.

            • Roar Rookie

              January 10th 2013 @ 3:42pm
              Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

              If he had had as many as Cowan he’d be an established player already!

              • January 11th 2013 @ 1:20am
                AndyMack said | January 11th 2013 @ 1:20am | ! Report

                indeed. think if he batted ahead of S Marsh on that road in Sri Lanka he would already be a permanent fixture.

              • January 11th 2013 @ 5:41am
                Sanjay said | January 11th 2013 @ 5:41am | ! Report

                Agree guys,it’s a shame khawaja didn’t get half the chances Cowan had, but you can’t keep class out and selectors have him firmly on their radar, the ashes could be his defining moment

        • Roar Pro

          January 10th 2013 @ 1:50pm
          boes said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

          I also read that – will make it awkward if Cowan performs well in India.

          edit – looks like Justin beat me to it. It will probably give the selectors a reason to not select Khawaja….again

          • Roar Rookie

            January 10th 2013 @ 1:58pm
            Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

            beat you to it boes 😉 but well done for realising the potential can of worms it could open if Cowan does well, I mean what if he was to be the leading run scorer for Australia? It seems to me the selectors just can’t simply bite the bullet and say to Watson “you’re unproven as a batsmen in our top order, go to shield and perform.” They have said this to both khawaja and Hughes, they have done the hard yards! It must be tough on them having Watson in the past always selected before them on the basis of 2 centuries in 38 tests, especially for Usman this season, he gets the rotten end of the stick far too often.

            • January 10th 2013 @ 3:33pm
              Rohit said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

              Agree that Khawaja has got the raw deal, but selectors have rightly picked him in the ODI side and i am sure they will take him to India, selectors realise that most of Khawaja’s runs have come on tough decks this year and that’s what we need in the ashes

              • January 11th 2013 @ 7:40am
                Red Kev said | January 11th 2013 @ 7:40am | ! Report

                Let’s be philosophical though, if the dropping and form slump and move to Queensland and Boof’s tutelage makes him a quality test batsman then it’ll have been worth enduring Quiney and Marsh. After all if Khawaja hadn’t been dropped he may not have moved north to Queensland.

        • January 10th 2013 @ 2:41pm
          Pope Paul VII said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

          Really? Ussie might name his first born after him?

          • Roar Rookie

            January 10th 2013 @ 2:47pm
            Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

            You knew what I meant o’holy one

      • Roar Rookie

        January 10th 2013 @ 1:45pm
        Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

        Hey James, I’m sorry I should have made it more precise it’s what I believe will be our likely top 7. You may think Watson will be playing the first test and fair enough, that’s your point of view, I disagree. He’s not in our 7 best batsmen, but don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Cowan is either. Joe Burns would have to be a strong candidate to go to India as well as the ashes, he averages 46 from 2 seasons at shield level. He’s a prospect for sure.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 3:31pm
        Rohit said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

        Ideally i would have Khawaa at 4 and Clarke at 5 as Clarke has got a truck load of runs at 5 and Khawaja is more suited to higher in the order.

    • January 10th 2013 @ 1:13pm
      The Dish said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

      Interesting article, although in regards to Phil Hughes I think you’ll find he has played in the sub-continent before (Sri-lanka 2011) and didn’t do too badly, hitting a century in one of the tests.

      Given this, if you factor in his considerable improvement since that series and the weak Indian bowling line-up he should be hitting a century roughly every innings.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 10th 2013 @ 2:05pm
        Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

        Thanks Dish for the feedback, I hope it was a good read. Yes Hughes did hit a century in Sri Lanka and I had the pleasure of watching it online, that was back in the day where he was offside dominant, he has improved markedly I will admit. He did play both Herath and Dilshan well last test whilst Cowan looked 100 years old on his feet, so you may well be right. All will be revealed soon enough.

    • Roar Rookie

      January 10th 2013 @ 2:18pm
      josh said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

      I’d like to think Maxwell’s selection was a case of CA trying to show the BBL can lead to bigger things.

      Cowan will probably be on the plane but rather than this magical allrounder, Australia need to take another batsman, maybe two depending on Watson (based on comments above). Who they are I don’t know. But CA and NSP will probably pick a flash in the pan like Doolan

      • Roar Rookie

        January 10th 2013 @ 2:20pm
        Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

        Knowing the NSP that is exactly what they will do, but at the same time they have to select a side that can hold its own against a potent spin line up. Watson is perhaps even worse at playing spin than Cowan, whilst Maxwell is raw and underdeveloped, he can use his feet to great affect and will look to score, can Doolan play spin relatively well? If he can’t, sending him off to India to make his debut will be a death sentence.

      • January 11th 2013 @ 5:44am
        Sanjay said | January 11th 2013 @ 5:44am | ! Report

        Maxwell for me isn’t good enough for test level
        Yet, let his batting and especially his bowling develop, there are other better all rounders to pick from

    • Columnist

      January 10th 2013 @ 2:33pm
      Brett McKay said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

      Justin, Matthew Hayden wasn’t a natural sweeper of the ball either, but it was somethig he quickly got into his game, and used to great success in that 2001 tour. You’d like to hope the likes of Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja and co are smart enough to realise they need it, and dedicated enough to make it part of their game.

      You’re right though, aside from Clarke, no other quality players of spin stand out. Why won’t players leave their crease any more?

      • Roar Rookie

        January 10th 2013 @ 2:36pm
        josh said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

        You don’t need to sweep anymore, just switch hit. I would like to see Warner switch hit a few in India.

        • Roar Rookie

          January 10th 2013 @ 2:40pm
          Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

          It’s a very difficult shot to master and to be honest I have only ever seen Warner play it, but I did mention he might look to use it in India.

          • Roar Rookie

            January 10th 2013 @ 2:43pm
            josh said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

            KP did it first (well at least in a televised international match I’ve seen).

        • Columnist

          January 10th 2013 @ 2:50pm
          Brett McKay said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

          I don’t think relying on the switch hit is that smart a plan, to be perfectly honest, Josh…

      • Roar Rookie

        January 10th 2013 @ 2:38pm
        Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

        Hey Brett, thanks for taking the time to read my article. Yes you are most correct! And I would hope the batsmen use Hayden as a good starting point on how to go about it in India, but I’m not sure whether the batsmen you mentioned have enough time between now and February to get themselves sorted? It will be interesting to watch for sure, it’s going to be a great series.

        • Columnist

          January 10th 2013 @ 2:55pm
          Brett McKay said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

          Justin, it arguably comes easier for lefties facing RH bowlers, and even LAOs coming around the wicket, just because the starting line means it will almost certainly be pitching outside leg. So they have the advantage in being able to just plonk the front pad down and swing around it. That’s the starting point, at least.

          I have to admit, it took me until my mid-20s to see the obvious advantage, but I got a lot of use (and success) out of the sweep for the last ten years of my grade career. Plus, you also get the chance to nail short leg every now and again 😉

      • January 10th 2013 @ 3:35pm
        Rohit said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

        You are righ Brett, Clarke is our best spin batsman by a mile but i have watched some of Khawaja’s innings and he is using his feet very well to them which he didn do earlier in his career, and his sweep shots look more solid then Cowan. But Clarke in my opinion is the bes batsman against spin at present.

        • Roar Rookie

          January 10th 2013 @ 3:41pm
          Justin Ware said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

          I think everyone knows that Clarke should and will do well in India. And yes Rohit you are on the money my friend, I have watched some of his innings too and this is why he is in my best 7 batsmen going to India, he is wristy and can use his feet fairly well, as well as pouncing on anything short.

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