Australian selectors need to be bold

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    The Ashes are beginning to look more and more one-sided, the closer it gets. With scandal after scandal hitting Cricket Australia, it is clear that Australian cricket needs a clean out.

    The choices made by the board of selectors have been far too safe to bring them out of the hole they are digging.

    Selecting Cowan over and over again has been a massive mistake. Why not develop a young opener?

    Someone like Nic Maddinson would be a perfect replacement. Maddinson has been playing in the Sheffield Shield over the last couple of years for New South Wales, and put on a 100-run stand with Jordan Silk on his way to a knock of 181 in Australia A’s ongoing game against Gloucestershire.

    Additionally, why not get someone new in the middle order, at six? Let someone like Joe Burns find his feet at Test level. Why not throw a youngster in the deep end?

    Cricket Australia should look to the future instead of trying to salvage the present. The future will never develop if they are not given the opportunity.

    If they are looking for an all-rounder, then why pick Shane Watson?

    Watson has his moments, but his body is fragile and one can see his Test career drawing to a close in the near future.

    Why not pick James Faulkner, who averages 22 with the ball and 30 with the bat?

    He will only improve with time in the Test team, and brings a left-arm bowling option as well. He has more control than Starc and more consistent swing, which could help him become one of the great all-rounders in years to come.

    Cricket Australia needs to be bold when it comes to selections, if we are to see any success in the near future. Things are not going to change if things stay the same.

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    The Crowd Says (65)

    • June 22nd 2013 @ 4:15am
      Silver_Sovereign said | June 22nd 2013 @ 4:15am | ! Report

      To me Faulkner is another Hastings, not enough penetration at test level. But a decent ODI player

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 5:06am
        The Gospel Luke said | June 22nd 2013 @ 5:06am | ! Report

        Agree. And i wish people would stop saying he is an allrounder (that is good enough to bat in the top 7). He is a lower order slogger. Plus in the article u say he has more consistent swing than Starc (i dont think ive ever seen him swing a ball, he is bolt upright with some good changes of pace).

        • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:39am
          James P said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:39am | ! Report

          No one knows how good Faulkner would be at bowling at test level. You can not judge how he would bowl in a test based on how he bowls in a one dayer as any decent bowler will change how they approach the task

          However, his shield first class bowling record is incredibly solid in averaging around 22 particularly compared to Starc who averages over 30.

          His batting is a very nice addition. Those who think he is just a late order slogger have probably been watching his one day batting where he comes in toward the end of the innings.

          • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:45am
            brahthar said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:45am | ! Report

            Faulkner is very much an un-known. This makes him dangerous. Faulkner will improve with the bat and i think Nick was trying to say he would take a bowlers spot, because he has said that Burns to bat at 6.

        • June 22nd 2013 @ 2:09pm
          Adam said | June 22nd 2013 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

          starc is rubbish, relys on bounce and cannot get a batsman of any decent quality out. before commenting on falkner go and watch the guy play, he has good control, pase and gets the ball to move both ways, he can hit, but has a good technique. Austraian cricket needs a cleanout instead of trying the same old dude time time out, if do not start soon, Australian cricket will go the way of the Great West Indies, to nothing more than a minor team, full of individuals, Warner’s Watson & so on

        • June 22nd 2013 @ 5:43pm
          Harry from Floreat said | June 22nd 2013 @ 5:43pm | ! Report


    • June 22nd 2013 @ 7:14am
      Christo the Daddyo said | June 22nd 2013 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      Cowan has been a “massive” mistake?

      Sure, he hasn’t set the world on fire, but describing him as a “massive” mistake is over the top. It also implies there is a standout alternative. There isn’t.

      • Roar Guru

        June 22nd 2013 @ 7:30am
        Tim Holt said | June 22nd 2013 @ 7:30am | ! Report

        Agree Christo, Cowan indeed has been disappointing, but from the point of view that he is one of the few ( maybe Khawaja ) that has an identifiable Test technique and temperament, but has teased more than pleased. I thought after his hundred against RSa that he would kick on, but again went into his shell and frustrated

        • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:48am
          brahthar said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          I think Cowan is too old to be picked and not performing, when a younger replacement would bring similar qualities.

          • June 22nd 2013 @ 11:29am
            Tim said | June 22nd 2013 @ 11:29am | ! Report

            So by that rationale brahthar- you also think watson should go- seeing he is older than Cowan

            • June 22nd 2013 @ 3:58pm
              Figs gaga said | June 22nd 2013 @ 3:58pm | ! Report


    • June 22nd 2013 @ 7:37am
      Frankie Hughes said | June 22nd 2013 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      Prior to Maddinson’s two innings against Ireland and Gloucester, he had an average of 34.

      Hardly worthy of donning the Baggy Green

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:27am
        Paddy o furniture said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        There would hardly be any batsmen if average was the only prerequisite. Identify the best talent and make them put the necessary work in to improve to test standard, youth had always been encouraged in Australian cricket until the dreaded $$$$ took over

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:45am
        Nudge said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        He is 21 though and looks the goods. Similar average and age to Clarke when he was blooded early shield runs this summer and get him in.

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 9:51am
        davos44 said | June 22nd 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        Amazing how a good knock brings the knee jerk reaction…sure its very exciting about madinson he has been a prospect for a while now and overnight he has hit a sparkling 181…well right that’s it then lets drop cowan who has been proven solid at test level (which is exactly what we will require in the coming weeks.).and lets rush in madinson .
        I think a lot of australias problem is that it has consistently selected players on promise…..let them prove themselves first .
        Sure there is a good argument for Faulkner and he has good stats … and I have been quietly excited about Madinson for a while now since watching him play futures a few years back and he could well be our answer as an opener in the future …but we need to see much more and consistent scores.

        • Roar Guru

          June 22nd 2013 @ 10:45am
          nick richardson said | June 22nd 2013 @ 10:45am | ! Report

          It his his second hundred in English conditions.
          Cowan is solid, solidly average. 4 county 50’s this year not a score above 81. Maddinson made 2 higher scores in three games.

          • June 22nd 2013 @ 1:40pm
            davos44 said | June 22nd 2013 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

            maddinson has never played test cricket and is unproven…. Cowan has the experience to fall back on and he is the incumbent with a good test cent against S Africa…I certainly agree Cowan needs to do more …and he would have no excuses should he fail in this ashes series….I would not be dropping him to rush maddinson in before this ashes …quite happy to see Madinson claim the posn thru sheeer weight of runs and performance …he needs to earn it …a few more scores such as this and he will be well on his way …although the runs he recently made are not against a test quality attack and I think Gloustershire is only second div county

            • Roar Guru

              June 22nd 2013 @ 1:55pm
              nick richardson said | June 22nd 2013 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

              It is that the runs were made in English conditions. A lot of Australia’s top order will struggle in the English conditions, Warner and Watson come to mind. Sam Robson if he wants to play for Aus should be deserving his test spot along with his Middlesex opener.

              • June 22nd 2013 @ 2:41pm
                davos44 said | June 22nd 2013 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Sam is an interesting one… I was watching him as far back as u/12’s rep and emerging blues…he knew how to make a score even way back then…..and agreed he is going very well in 1st div English cond …but isn’t it an aussie requirement that he would need to hit shield runs and declare his availability for oz ?…last I heard he was close to securing the right to play for England if good enough…

              • Roar Guru

                June 22nd 2013 @ 3:14pm
                nick richardson said | June 22nd 2013 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

                It is sad isn’t it.
                If he does choose England I respect his decision, but i don’t think the 100,000 on boxing day will be so kind.

              • June 22nd 2013 @ 3:36pm
                Bearfax said | June 22nd 2013 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

                I’m certainly not wanting to rush young Maddison. I was merely pointing out that I would chose him well before a Marsh, Quiney, Cowen, Christian, Voges, Bailey because he is performing well and is still very young. The others are at the likely peak of their game and are averaging no better.. Maddison is starting out and his performances are encouraging. I might, if performances go really bad, risk him just to see what he’s got. Like the other young batsmen he will probably be found out and have to go away and work further on his game. But that’s how our best test cricketers learn.

              • June 22nd 2013 @ 5:26pm
                davos44 said | June 22nd 2013 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

                Hey Bearfax I know its a bit unfashionable on this site ….and im waiting for the hordes to descend ….but I actually think we still might salvage something with S Marsh and that he may well have more to offer…hes 29 and nowhere near old enough to write off…and if he can finally knuckle down with the right mental attitude who knows …allways thought the guy has a touch of class about his batting…some of theses KIDS don’t get there brains till around 28 or so

              • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:04pm
                Bearfax said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

                I think davos44 you are enamoured by Marsh’s occasional spectacular and flashy innings usually in T20 and ODI matches, and in those matches he is impressive and continues to be. But there is much different as you well know between ODI and test matches and often never the twain shall meet. ODI matches are designed to give advantage batsmen with baseball like talent to swing away because its attractive to watch. It occurs because of the spacing of the field that is allowed and the limited time a top bowler has to work at a batsman. But in test cricket patience, selective shots usually along the ground, more aggressive field placements and the advantage of a couple of top bowlers to work at a batsman’s weaknesses and perseverance apply.

                Marsh may have natural ability, but he has obviously many flaws in his play, not the least patience under accurate bowling. You may say he can improve but most batsmen by the time they reach 30, and he is 30 in two weeks, have reached close to their prime and problems that they may have have generally been worked on and more or less resolved.

                Marsh has a first class average short of 36. That’s less than Cowan. He has played 77 first class matches for 140 innings, yet he has scored only 7 centuries or once every 20 innings. A test player should be scoring centuries at least around every 10 or so innings at first class level because the bowling is going to be even tougher at test level. He’s not the sort of player who is going to win you matches. And he’s been playing first class matches for over 13 years so surely he should be showing his worth by now.

                This is not anything to do with what’s fashionable. This is to do with pure facts. The guy is just not up to it. In a year or so from now players like Maddison, Silk, Burns, Bosisto, perhaps even Doolan will be showing their worth with averages well in the forties, but I suspect Marsh will still be in the mid 30s. Its not personal and its not against older batsmen…I fully hope Rogers is in the test team and I hope David Hussey can get his form back because those guys can bat and score big hundreds.

              • June 23rd 2013 @ 5:06pm
                davos44 said | June 23rd 2013 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

                Yeah agree about D hussy being able to put a score together …you make a very strong argument backed up by stats regarding marsh …and its hard to disagree…just have a gut feeling he may well knuckle down and give things one last big shot…some batsman take a long time to come …he would wanna do it soon or his time will be over …with hopefully a strong pol of young bats coming thru…

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 12:17pm
        James said | June 22nd 2013 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        we have to stop thinking that there is a bench mark skill requirement to represent australia. most people, can only remember australia winning and winning well. australia was insanely lucky for a decade or so, they also had a good system but luck was also a huge reason for the success. to have a warne, mcgrath, gilchrist, ponting in the same side is insane and just beneath them in greatness to have hayden, langer, border, waughs, gilchrist, hussey, taylor, slater etc. have to stop looking for the next of those, well actually look for them but dont expect. the problem is that most of the players in the side are arguably the best in australia at the moment. hope for the next ponting but be prepared for warners and cowans and turn them into players that can be good enough.

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 10:18pm
        Nick said | June 22nd 2013 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

        Dan Bretig’s cricinfo article on Maddinson’s innings outlines some temperament issues. I think he’s a great prospect but wouldn’t be inclined to throw him in yet. He’s only 22 or thereabouts so he can play shield and county for a few years yet and earn his stripes. I would prefer Burns was given a run at some stage but he too is not settling the world on fire in county.

    • June 22nd 2013 @ 7:40am
      Nudge said | June 22nd 2013 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      Yeah and khawaja didn’t get a chance again last night. 30 not out and the Aussies declare. How bloody stupid let him bat and make a good score he had a start let him go and get some confidence. How dumb

      • Roar Guru

        June 22nd 2013 @ 7:42am
        Tim Holt said | June 22nd 2013 @ 7:42am | ! Report

        Agree 100%, especially when batting is the teams weakness

        • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:17am
          Nudge said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:17am | ! Report

          The only thing I can think of its going to poor rain for 2 days and needed to get some bowling into Harris and bird

          • Columnist

            June 22nd 2013 @ 11:05am
            Ronan O'Connell said | June 22nd 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            That declaration was gobsmacking considering Khawaja desperately needed a big score and the team had batted for less than 50 overs. As far as Maddinson is concerned it is awesome to see him churning out big hundreds, but I would be far more pleased to see him scoring 180 off 300 balls rather than from 140 balls. The chances are slim of him successfully replicating such an aggressive approach against a good Test attack. He is a huge talent who began his career as very much a conventional opener so having now honed his ability to manhandle attacks it would be great to see him balance that with greater patience. We don’t need another Warner-style opener. He and young Silk could form a terrific left-right opening combination in a few years.

            • Roar Guru

              June 22nd 2013 @ 11:13am
              nick richardson said | June 22nd 2013 @ 11:13am | ! Report

              They made a hundred opening partnership last night. They would compliment each other well. Maddinson could attack like he has shown he can and Silk could play slow. Silk’s shield final hundred showed great poise.
              Could you imagine Silk’s 300+ ball hundred with Maddinson’s 57 ball hundred.

        • June 23rd 2013 @ 4:43pm
          Disco said | June 23rd 2013 @ 4:43pm | ! Report


      • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:49am
        brahthar said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        Maybe they had seen enough with Madddinson’s blistering 180.

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:58am
        Praveen said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        Yes dissapointing as UTK would have done well with a longer hit, at least let him get to a 50

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 9:53am
        davos44 said | June 22nd 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        well smith is captain …and he is vying for a spot in the batting order as well as khawaja

        • June 22nd 2013 @ 11:15am
          John Edgar said | June 22nd 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

          Well batted Maddinson, a real talent of the future for us. Praveen is spot on this was a very bad declaration by smith, both Khawaja and Wade could have done with time in the middle given they are in the ashes squad and for some reason Smith declares in a warm up match at tea, what’s he trying to achieve.The purpose is to give our ashes batsman a hit not pull off a great win.

          • Roar Guru

            June 22nd 2013 @ 1:38pm
            nick richardson said | June 22nd 2013 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

            He’s proving his captaincy ability i would say.

    • June 22nd 2013 @ 9:09am
      Praveen said | June 22nd 2013 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Maddinson continues to impresses me

    • June 22nd 2013 @ 10:15am
      Bearfax said | June 22nd 2013 @ 10:15am | ! Report

      Though I think its wise to not rush players into test teams, Australia needs to build up their batting strength instead of relying on tried and realistically failed 30 year olds like Cowan and the again being media promoted Shaun Marsh.

      If they are going to pick older players, pick the ones who have succeed in getting first class averages over 45 over their career. Rogers definitely and he should be in the first test. David Hussey can still make it if he gets his performances in the next Shield series back up. Not Voges, Bailey etc because they are sub 40 first class batsmen despite their impressive one day performances. Different game and style completely.

      The performances of Nic Maddison in recent games have been most encouraging and it is a player like this that should at some stage soon be given a taste of test cricket. Silk is perhaps a year or two behind but he’s up there. Their averages are less important at this stage because they have only just started out and are learning the trade and building up. The fact that Maddison has an average comparable to Shaun Marsh at his age, shows just how much better a batsman he is and is going to be. I would certainly consider Maddision at some stage during the two Ashes series. Burns must be in the mix and some effective trainer has to get hold of Cosgrove and get that weight off him over the next year, otherwise I suspect we will loose a very talented and potentially top line test batsman under the lard.

      Good to see Hughes compiled a steady 47. I know it was against weak bowling, but this kid just needs time in the middle to get his mojo back. That little innings could be what he needed. And what of Smith. I would definitely have him ahead of Watson in my test team. He’s the future Watson’s the past. Just hope Khawaja can get a good score in one of these last trials otherwise it will be a long wait again for him.

      As for Faulkner, I think with one so young to have his averages with bat and ball at first class level suggests he should be considered ahead of Watson if an all rounder must be in the team. Personally I would go for Smith, but I’m not a selector am I and dont know these things.

      • Roar Guru

        June 22nd 2013 @ 10:25am
        nick richardson said | June 22nd 2013 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        Well said Bearfax.

        Maddinson’s found form should really be concerning to Cowan.

        Why not use Maddinson while his form is red hot?
        Two 300 runs in his last 2 innings, also in English conditions.
        Form is temporary, so make the most of it. Better to find your test feet with some form.

        • June 22nd 2013 @ 12:26pm
          MervUK said | June 22nd 2013 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          Lets put his runs in perspective, they were against Ireland and glos, I’m not saying he hasn’t played well because I bet he did, I’m saying you shouldn’t rush him into the squad on these performances. The other point I here a lot relates to averages with bar and ball. For instance maddinson average being at 34 previously does not mean he isn’t a good player. England take the opposite approach, they not worry too much about averages, they bring players into the squad who they like technically and more importantly since Andy flower took charge- mentally, who will not wilt at test level, I.e. Phil Hughes. Case in point joe root, and a while back Stuart broad. I think Faulkner should be in the mix, not because of his average, as 22 with the ball is not a reflection of his bowling, that’s sub standard shield cricket- he’s not that good. But he is mentally impressive, and looks like he has the right attitude for test cricket.

          • Roar Guru

            June 22nd 2013 @ 1:41pm
            nick richardson said | June 22nd 2013 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

            Faulkner on recent form is a better player than Watson in both disciplines.
            Faulkners determination is a big plus, you are right.
            Hughes does lack that mental edge. Warner is no different, his decision making is woeful at best.

          • June 22nd 2013 @ 3:27pm
            Bearfax said | June 22nd 2013 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

            Merv do you really think that a batsman averaging in the low to mid 30s at first class level who is already at the peak of his game being in or about his 30s, is going to be a success at test level, a step higher. Averages tell you an awful lot about the player, their staying power, their temperament, their ability against good bowling and to learn from their mistakes. Being technically correct alone will get you no where unless you have those other qualities, and having a technique that is contrary to what is considered appropriate, has consistently shown to be irrelevant if a player has those other qualities, as has been shown in batsmen all the way back to Bradman. I remember commentators raving about how technically correct a batsman called Paul Shehan was, and what a world beater he was going to be because of it. Lasted a few tests and disappeared..

            • June 24th 2013 @ 12:54pm
              Chris B said | June 24th 2013 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

              Actually Sheahan was just getting his s#@$t together as a player when he retired at 29 (from memory) to concentrate on his career- as players did in those non-professional days.
              Averages are somewhat overrated unless looking back at a long-term career (and even then they can be somewhat misleading).
              Given batsmen are generally regarded as being at their peak between (roughly) 27 and 34, most are not going to be at their statistical apex when first selected – unless you are in a period of tremendous strength a la Australia in the recent golden era. At most other times, you are going to picking some players on hunch and faith, hence why selectors are generally ex-test players (in the theory that they can sniff out genuine talent or determination).
              It’s worth picking Rogers and one of Bailey and Voges for the next year or two, but going forward we’re going to have look at the likes of Burns, Silk, Maddinson etc, and these straw man arguments of “he’s not averaging 40” will have to be ignored in many cases. As has happened often in the past, a player’s statistical performance has risen with age and maturity and test match responsibility.
              As an aside, I suggest you read about Sabermetrics. These were developed by a baseball stats expert who argued that a lot of long-standing, well-regarded statistical measures in baseball were worth squat when it came to actually winning games. He developed a whole-range of new stats, or heralded the value of other overlooked stats. His approach is now widely adopted or used as a guide by MLB teams.

              • June 24th 2013 @ 1:33pm
                Bearfax said | June 24th 2013 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

                I hope you are agreeing with me here Chris because what you are saying is no different from what I am saying. A player at 30 has usually come close to his peak, his best average. Thats why picking the Cowans, Shaun Marshs, Voges, Baileys etc is fraught with folly. I’ve already remarked that you can overlook the averages of those in the 20-27 years or so range because they are still learning and their averages are still climbing. As for Rogers, David Hussey etc, their averages prove they are quality players who are worth risking in test matches.

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 6:28pm
        Gr8rWeStr said | June 22nd 2013 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

        Well said Bearfax! Agree with everything you said, except Hughes just needing time in the middle.

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