Maddinson and Renshaw must play Shield cricket

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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24 Have your say

    Young batsmen trying to find their feet in the Test side should be getting out in the middle as much as possible.

    You’d think this would be fairly well understood, and one those cases where common sense surely must prevail.

    Yet there was a little bit of talk at the end of the Third Test win over South Africa last Sunday evening that it was a far from a done deal that any Australian players not required for the three-match ODI series against New Zealand starting on Sunday afternoon.

    With the ODI squad named just prior to the pink-ball Test in Adelaide last week, Test players Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon, and 12th man Chadd Sayers are all – in theory – free to play the round of Sheffield Shield games starting next Monday.

    In truth, they all should be playing in the three Shield games around the country. This round of matches is the last before the break for the Big Bash League, and all will be played with a pink Kookaburra as a day/night fixture.

    There is also a full week before the end of Shield games and the first day of the First Test against Pakistan, with Brisbane to make its pink-ball debut on December 15.

    Hopefully common sense find a way through, and all fit and available players do play. With the exception of Khawaja – who might have played his best Test innings – all of them will benefit from more First Class cricket, and none more so than Maddinson and Renshaw.

    It’s fair to suggest the New South Welshman’s Test debut didn’t go the way he dreamed it would.

    By his own admission leading into the Adelaide Test, Maddison admitted that he had trouble against the pink ball at the Adelaide Oval, the sort of admission that you wouldn’t even entertain making public before the selectors met!

    Regardless, his honesty played out in front of everyone’s eyes: feet rooted to the crease, playing and missing, before ultimately being bowled twelve balls later by a pretty handy in-swinging yorker from Kagiso Rabada.

    New South Wales head back to Adelaide next week to face South Australia, meaning Maddinson not only needs to put his disappointment behind him, but he also needs to deal with his pink-Kooka-at-the-Adelaide-Oval issues all over again.

    But there’s no point in trying to avoid this type of thing. If Maddinson couldn’t get a look at the pink rock under lights in Brisbane in his next innings, then the next best thing for him is to tackle the issue at the Adelaide Oval again.

    It’s been a very up and down season for Maddinson so far. Two centuries in his last twelve innings looks ok on paper, and the last of them was only a month ago in a Shield game, but that same piece of paper will also show only one more score of the remaining ten above 36, and six of them under 13. Worse still, he’s made four single-figure scores in his last four games.

    For Maddinson to find his feet and become a fixture in the Test side, he needs to find form rapidly. With the selectors undertaking such a bold overhaul of the batting order, they would be mad now to make any further unforced changes.

    They’ve pumped for youth, and now they need to back them.

    Maddinson needs to know he can play this Shield game with no fear of losing his spot in the Test side to yet another mid-season change of tack by the selectors. And then he needs to be told he’s got three Tests to prepare for and to play his best cricket of the season in.

    Free him of any unnecessary anxiety and mental hurdles, and let him be the stroke-maker in the Australian side he was selected to be.

    Those same freedoms should definitely be afforded to young opener Matt Renshaw.

    How a split screen comparison of the debutant and Matthew Hayden wasn’t pulled out and featured heavily during the third Test coverage, I’ll never know. Maybe Channel Nine forgot about it during the second innings rush to condemn a batsman on debut and simultaneously sound clueless.

    But Renshaw needs to play in Queensland’s trip to Perth to face Western Australia – also under lights – not because he needs runs or is under any pressure, but simply because his Test Debut was just his 13th First Class match!

    The only player who should be told to make runs in this game at the WACA is Shaun Marsh, and suggestion that he should come straight back into the Test side if fit is as premature as it is short-sighted.

    Renshaw is far from a finished product, but few 20-year-old bats are. But there is a lot to like about him as an opener, and a First Class of strike rate in the low 40s is exactly the kind of approach that has been needed in an overly cavalier top order.

    Let these guys play, and let them play without the pressure of thinking their spot is on the line. Let them walk out to bat in these Shield games for the enjoyment of the game, and to bat the way they enjoy batting the most.

    Just make sure they walk out to bat next week.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • December 1st 2016 @ 4:47am
      Broken-hearted Toy said | December 1st 2016 @ 4:47am | ! Report

      Not so sure about Maddinson as a set member of the team, I’d imagine if Shaun Marsh was fit, he’d be in the team? Given that he was for the first test against SA. If Shaun Marsh is fit, they’d probably just pick him and send Maddinson back to first class cricket.

      • December 1st 2016 @ 9:31am
        Billary Swamper said | December 1st 2016 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        If Maddinson was not from NSW he would not even be mentioned in regards to playing for Australia. Weird this obsession with NSW people, and they are largely crap. When did they actually last win a Shield?

        • December 1st 2016 @ 9:48pm
          Geoff Foley said | December 1st 2016 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

          That would be 2013/14 at Manuka against WA, when Hazlewood took a bag and Moises scored a ton. M Marsh scored an excellent 92 not in the first innings too and B’Dorff took 6.

      • Columnist

        December 1st 2016 @ 11:49am
        Brett McKay said | December 1st 2016 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        he’s a long way from being set, BHT, but we can’t keep picking and ditching blokes. They’ve gone with youth, they need to back them for the rest of the summer now..

        • December 1st 2016 @ 12:49pm
          Don Freo said | December 1st 2016 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

          Don’t think of it as “picking and ditching”. If you refer to it as “replacing then returning” it is has connotations of a squad, unity, teamwork and process.

          It’s all in the language.

    • December 1st 2016 @ 5:45am
      Rob JM said | December 1st 2016 @ 5:45am | ! Report

      I’m pretty sure Renshaw, Maddinson and to a lesser extent Handscomb were in a bat off during the test to see who would not be replaced by the returning Marsh. Sure Maddinson deserves more than one innings but sometimes you get unlucky. If he struggles with the pink ball that is even more reason to be left out.

      • December 1st 2016 @ 8:57am
        Perry Bridge said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        I wonder whether Maddinson is a PONI (player of national interest) such that he’ll have a preferred selection status – or – whether we don’t use the test team as a player development school (leave that for shield and Aust A) and pick the best available (in which case Cam White should slot in at #6.
        Renshaw to me is a question of how many tests do we expect him to play at present because he was thrown in early and his game I think is not quite there – doubtless it will evolve and develop even more – I just worry that he was a fraction out of his depth and they need to not damage him. I guess a home track test v Pak should be safe enough?

        • December 1st 2016 @ 12:54pm
          Don Freo said | December 1st 2016 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

          White? You may as well pick Hartley (averaging 80 this season) and get a bonus best keeper in the country.

          • December 1st 2016 @ 2:17pm
            Pedro the Maroon said | December 1st 2016 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

            Another forgotten man. If he were playing for NSW, he’d be onto his 70th test by now. Would have slotted straight in after Gilly retired. Instead we got Brad “Swing and a miss” Haddin (who did save our bacon a few times against the Poms).

          • December 1st 2016 @ 4:15pm
            steve said | December 1st 2016 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

            Agree Don. Its a travesty that Chris Hartley hasn’t played test cricket. Has been the best keeper in the country for a decade.

    • December 1st 2016 @ 8:19am
      Matthew H said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      It does seem obvious that all should play in the Shield doesn’t it? I think it’s great that we potentially have more than 6 in form batsmen vying for selection in a team that has just won. Whichever way they go there will be the knowledge that there is another guy who could do your job, that can only be good.

    • Roar Guru

      December 1st 2016 @ 8:48am
      Michael Keeffe said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      If they don’t play the next Shield match including the bowlers then something is seriously wrong with those in power at CA. It’s a no brainer

    • Roar Guru

      December 1st 2016 @ 8:55am
      Chris Kettlewell said | December 1st 2016 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      Definitely need to be playing more cricket, not less. If the shield matches finished 2 days before the test that might be another story, but the best thing for a batsman is to bat. So definitely need to be sending them to play for their states.

      I agree that all three need to be given until the end of the Pakistan series. Shaun Marsh has shown some form of late, and he played in the first test in Perth before being injured. But you can hardly use the word “incumbent” on a batsman when the last match they played was only the second of 2 consecutive tests they’d been selected in, and he was actually selected to replace a different player each time. The first being selected to replace Khawaja at 3 who just looked all out of sorts against Sri Lanka’s spinners, and then coming back to Australia picked to open the batting, then gets injured. An incumbent player is someone who’s solidly in the side, not someone who’s been in and out and happened to be back in for a match or two before getting injured.

      Shaun Marsh has been picked on “potential” despite not deserving selection through his performances his entire career up to the last couple of years. So yes, it might be a bit ironic that when he’s finally reached a point where he’s warranting selection for his performances that he might instead be overlooked for a younger player with promise who hasn’t necessarily earned his spot with performances. But that’s life. Having made the youth selection they should stick with them through the Pakistan series, and Marsh needs to just be batting well and scoring runs and if any of them fail miserably he can be the one to come in, and even if they don’t, he will almost certainly find himself in the touring team to India.

    • December 1st 2016 @ 9:16am
      Lancey5times said | December 1st 2016 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      Has there actually been talk of them not playing the Shield round?

      • Columnist

        December 1st 2016 @ 11:45am
        Brett McKay said | December 1st 2016 @ 11:45am | ! Report

        There was some over the weekend Lancey, as I suggested..

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