Why Lehmann should bring in the County busters

Dave Richardson Roar Pro

By Dave Richardson, Dave Richardson is a Roar Pro

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    Australia's Marcus North in action against New Zealand. AAP Images/NZPA, Ross Setford

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    Australia can always look to the counties? An Englishman in Australia writes that the often maligned County system could be their Ashes saviour and calls for Watson, Hughes, and Khawaja to be dropped.

    The Australian second innings at Lord’s should be career-defining one for some of the top six.

    The game is gone and it looks like Australia will need to win the last three Test matches to regain the Ashes, an unlikely scenario.

    The top six are struggling, the bowlers lack penetration and the spinners are better batsman than bowlers.

    It’s not good and things could possibly get worse rather than better unless some radical action is taken. It’s time to call in the County Busters.

    A glance through the current County squads provides the Australian selectors with ample alternative options to enable them to make the hard decisions and replace Watson, Hughes and Khawaja.

    The other three get to stay, Clarke (of course), Rogers (because he deserves more than two matches) and Smith (horrible to look at but he has improved)

    Unless Shane Watson scores a century at Lord’s he should be dropped for the next Test match, even he does he should be dropped in the longer term.

    Put aside the negative of broken/fractured relationship with Clarke, his equivalence of penis envy when it comes to the DRS (he’s yet to realise he’s hasn’t got one) or the positive of his useful medium pace, the simple fact he is in the team as a batsman and ‘he ain’t up to the job’.

    An analysis of his stats since the beginning of 2011 (up to this match 30 innings for 799 runs at the average of nearing 26) is simply not good enough and the selectors need to have a quiet chat and put him out of his misery.

    Let him be a one-day and T20 specialist and everyone can move on.

    But who to replace him with?

    Many will say bring Hughes back to open and will offer the view that his technique has improved and ‘he will come good’ in the long term.

    Not so and the Aussies would be better off cutting their losses now.

    He has a lot of the Watsons about him, so much so that his stats make very similar reading (last 30 Test innings for an average of nearly 29).

    Ok a useful 80-odd in the first Test, but he always run hot and cold and in the long term is not the answer.

    Neither is Khawaja, and anyone who kept an eye on his sojourn over to Blighty when he played for Derbyshire will know he’s not a good option for English conditions (even given the current heatwave).

    His form in England was indifferent, in his 13 innings there were only two of note and his first innings display made nonsense of Clarke’s statement he was ready for the number three spot.

    No doubt he is talented but he’s like a young racehorse that he needs to mature more and in his case score more runs at the first class level before coming back to the fold.

    And what about Cowan?

    Probably harshly dropped but hasn’t done enough and not sure he has the confidence of either coach or captain, and then of course Warner- at best he could make the last two Tests but he is so out form (on all fronts) it might just be best to rule a line through the tour for him.

    Droppings done, now for the County saviours. The current list of Aussies playing County cricket makes interesting reading and their merits are briefly considered:

    Marcus North
    Tried and tested but form patchy, off spin would help on the spinning front but not enough runs to come under serious consideration.

    Michael Klinger
    Experienced campaigner, in form and would bring a calm hand to proceedings.

    Daniel Christian
    Only over in England for the T20’s but the Aussies already have Faulkner who is yet to play. Unlikely.

    George Bailey
    Played for Hampshire early in the season but is probably back in Australia. If not is a favourite of the selectors and might be good in a crisis

    Simon Katich
    He’s the man if Clarke can swallow his pride. In form, experienced and proven. Make the phone call.

    Joe Burns
    Talented but too early.

    Adam Voges
    Should have played Test cricket before now and should also get a call.

    Cameron White
    Only in England for the T20s but there would be worse options.

    Glenn Maxwell
    Tried in India and not ready. Leave him be.

    Phil Jacques
    Experience and has much in common with Chris Rogers. Probably not a serious option but he has been in form.

    David Hussey
    The forgotten one. Not in great form but he’s a Hussey and has the experience to do a job over three Tests.

    So there you have it and if the selectors really want to get through this series, ‘a horses for courses’ and pragmatic approach may be the way to go.

    Out of the above Katich, Voges, Klinger, Hussey and Bailey could all fit the bill, with a top six potentially looking like:
    1. Chris Rogers
    2. Michael Klinger
    3. Simon Katich
    4. Adam Voges
    5. Michael Clarke
    6. Steven Smith

    Alternatively move Haddin up to six and slot James Faulkner into the number seven spot, giving the captain another bowling option.

    Either way (and even for the most loyal of Australian followers) it is hard to argue that these options do not have robustness about them compared to the current fragile look.

    A quick word on the bowlers: Pattison looks out of sorts and will need a rest. Lacking penetration, possibly struggling with the Duke ball and holds no demons for the English batsman.

    I think the same could be said of Starc so recommend leaving him on the bench. Australia will be hoping Harris can back up at Old Trafford and that Siddle will continue to hold things together.

    Either way with Pattison rested/dropped it is time to give Jackson Bird a go, he impressed in his first couple of Tests and looks like he has control.

    Of course the selectors are unlikely to succumb to the pressure and stick by the players they selected in the first place but another dismal batting performance overnight and the County busters just might get a look in.

    But what do I care, stick with Watto, Hughesy and Usie!

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    The Crowd Says (52)

    • Roar Guru

      July 22nd 2013 @ 9:15am
      DingoGray said | July 22nd 2013 @ 9:15am | ! Report

      So you keep Rogers on the proviso of he needs more than 2 Tests….

      Yet get rid of Usi after 1Test, yet keep Steve Smith who has clearly shown doesn’t have the technique for English conditions.

      • July 22nd 2013 @ 9:31am
        Dave Richardson said | July 22nd 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        Fair call and Khawaja keeps his spot after his 50, generally agree with your comments re Smith but just think they will stick with him for now. Thanks for reading the article, the aim was to get some debate going, ie current squad versus county options

        • July 22nd 2013 @ 10:51am
          Amith said | July 22nd 2013 @ 10:51am | ! Report

          I think this article was written before Khawaja’s classy innings today. Our batting talent is not as bad we think, Khawaja showed his class today with a tough 50 in very tough conditions against Swan. He will kick on from this and establish himself as our 3. Smith has improved his batting and was unlucky to be given out. Outside the team the likes of Maddinson and Burns are future batsman. We will come back sooner rather later.

          • July 22nd 2013 @ 8:10pm
            Deep Thinker said | July 22nd 2013 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

            It was an ugly 50 and there is nothing classy about getting to 50 and then getting out. It is a touch of the Watsons.

      • July 22nd 2013 @ 11:29am
        Chui said | July 22nd 2013 @ 11:29am | ! Report

        Interesting about Khawaja. Listening to Bumble Lloyd commentating last night. He mentioned watching Khawaja in the nets, and seeing him play every shot in the book without a problem, but it’s just not the same guy that walks out to bat.

        A mental issue, or just scared given his treatment in the past?

        • July 22nd 2013 @ 11:49am
          Bearfax said | July 22nd 2013 @ 11:49am | ! Report

          I think its mental for both Khawaja and Hughes. They are struggling for confidence. Once these two have scored a good century or two at this stage, I think they’ll kick on to become the top class batsmen I think they promise to be.

    • July 22nd 2013 @ 9:16am
      Pete said | July 22nd 2013 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      Mate, as a kiwi I never thought I’d feel sorry for the Aussie cricket team. I remember in the 1990s that there were enough good Aussie batsmen (15-20) for three teams. Now there is Clarke and um… Time to bake some humble pie and give Katich a call

    • July 22nd 2013 @ 9:20am
      AGB said | July 22nd 2013 @ 9:20am | ! Report

      Spot on analysis….desperate times desperate measures

      • Columnist

        July 23rd 2013 @ 10:13pm
        Glenn Mitchell said | July 23rd 2013 @ 10:13pm | ! Report

        Unfortunately, I think you will find that Katich is not available for Test selection as he has retired from first-class cricket in AUS and therefore cannot be chosen in accordance with CA’s selection rules. Remember when Brad Hodge flirted with a Test comeback an hoped to be chosen for this Ashes series, he had to get a first-class match with Vic before he could even be considered. He ended up abandoning the idea.

    • July 22nd 2013 @ 9:26am
      cwrigh13 said | July 22nd 2013 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      Watson is clearly not interested in playing test cricket. He lacks stamina and concentration. I still think Khawaja deserves a chance to claim first drop as his own. Bringing in fringe Australian county players seems like the only reasonable option at the moment. Katich, Klinger, Voges and Bailey surely couldn’t do any worse than the current mob. Although it’s not really a long-term solution.

      • July 22nd 2013 @ 11:00am
        Matt said | July 22nd 2013 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        That was part of Watson’s appeal. Similar to Warner. The catch being, you have to be in good form for the aggressive style of play to work. When it does it’s great – fast start, throws the ballers off their game early, doesn’t let them get into a rhythm.

    • July 22nd 2013 @ 9:35am
      buddha9 said | July 22nd 2013 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      Thats right good advice — drop ’em all — you’re a man for a crisis you are — what a donkey — my bet is you haven’t even seen half these county players play — your last sentence gives it all away, after all if you don’t give a toss about what you’re saying why should we?

    • July 22nd 2013 @ 10:06am
      Mick Strong said | July 22nd 2013 @ 10:06am | ! Report

      Khawaja got 800-odd runs for Derbyshire at an average of 45 which would suggest he can cope with English conditions, if not the step up in class. Much like Rogers, in fact, who regularly flays county attacks but looks just short of test class. Most of your other suggestions are laughable, if only that you might as well go down 0-5 with some youngsters in the team – it might toughen them up and make them realise being an Australian cricketer isn’t all starring in ads for fried chicken and mobile phones – as lose 0-3 by bringing in old faces with no future like North and Klinger.

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