All the shuffling and tinkering of the batting order during the Ashes has, finally, at least led to one thing.
We now know that Warner, Rogers, Watto, Pup and Steven Smith are our top five Test batsmen. The missing part of this puzzle is now the no 6 batsman that can lend real solidity to this lineup.
Who are the candidates really? 3 names spring to mind.
1. Phil Hughes – Gutsy and talented but found out in more than one way on the international stage. Must further improve and solidify his game to be considered.
2. Usman Khawaja – Caught out by Swann and some good English bowling. A real talent, worth persisting. Needs to clear his mind and just bat, bat and bat
3. George Bailey – My pick! A mature and calm head, has leadership skills and has shown great fighting qualities in the shorter formats. Can be a great personality to be placed at the crucial no 6 spot. I was surprised he was not in the squad of 17 for the first Ashes series.
Others in the fray may be Maddinson, Burns and Doolan, but they must all be given another Shield season so that they are really toughened up and ready for the big stage.
Another point is that Pup, Watto and Rogers are in the 30s. So, this time CA must ensure that adequate replacements are sought and groomed now when these 3 retire. These might typically come from the host of talented batsmen (See prev article) which includes the aforementioned Maddinson, Burns and Doolan..
Also, would be worth seeing if Boof can put some temperament into the heads of Finch and Maxwell, both prodigious talents with a great eye.