Who to take on the tour of India

Graham Smith Roar Guru

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    Dear Trevor, Mark, Greg and Darren, I hope I’m not too late. No doubt you have received plenty of suggestions from past players and media pundits regarding the squad selection for the Indian tour.

    It is every Australian cricket follower’s right to match their skills with the national selectors, so here is my squad to tour India. It is based on both what I would do and what I think the selectors will do.

    David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Stephen O’Keefe, Shaun Marsh, James Faulkner, Adam Zampa, Jackson Bird, and Glenn Maxwell.

    I think there will be two changes to the XI from Sydney to the first Test in Pune.

    My first assumption is they will play two fast and two spin bowlers with a batting all-rounder at number six.

    In my mind, there are only two genuine batting all-rounders in Australia capable of batting at Test level and having an impact with the ball. One is Moises Henriques and given he is currently not bowling due to injury, the other gets my nod and that is Mitch Marsh.

    Shaun Marsh reacts with brother Mitchell

    I select him to replace Hilton Cartwright. He has been getting some runs in the limited overs game and can bowl at 140km which will be more useful on Indian wickets than the pies being floated up by others at the moment.

    The other change would be Peter Nevill replacing Matthew Wade as the keeper. We cannot risk chances being missed in the field and for that reason, Nevill has the best glovework. Being a right-handed batsman is also favourable in negating Ravi Ashwin’s off-spin and leaving Wade out reduces the number of left-handed bats in the team.

    The five other positions in the squad are for plan B or even plan C if things get ugly as the series goes on.

    Should they decide to play a sixth specialist batsman I would select Shaun Marsh. His experience in India and success on an early tour of Sri Lanka gives him the advantage even though it goes against the notion of promoting youth.

    A third seamer may be used. To this end, I have chosen James Faulkner. The reluctance to push Pat Cummins (and rightly so) means there is a real lack of fast bowlers available. In Sri Lanka, apart from Starc, the rest of the bowlers were made to look inadequate until I saw Faulkner in the ODIs. He bowled his off-pace cutters, running his fingers over the ball and getting as much turn or movement as Nathan Lyon and Jon Holland had in the Tests.

    It was here I thought Faulkner would be handy in India, as the batsmen have trouble picking up his change of pace. His batting would also be useful in the lower order and he has IPL experience.

    They must take a third spinner and a leg spinner for variety. Here I pick Adam Zampa. He was a major wicket-taker in ODIs in 2016 and he would present a different option should Lyon and O’Keefe fail.

    Jackson Bird will reprise his role from the recent SL tour and go as an extra fast bowling cover but in reality, he will be going on an all expenses paid holiday to India. I hope he takes some good reading material.

    The last spot goes to Glenn Maxwell. The spare batsman. It’s hard to justify given he couldn’t make the XI for the ODIs against New Zealand and was also left out of Victoria’s Shield team early in the year.

    Glenn Maxwell hits a six

    Everyone’s view of him being a good player stems from his hitting and fast scoring in T20 cricket. I have put him in as Plan C. He is also a right-handed batsman and a good fielder, although I fear his bowling won’t be giving Virat Kohli and co any great nightmares.

    So there we have it. I am really looking forward to this tour and my hope is Steve Smith’s men put up a good account of themselves. Cricket Australia seemingly has in place a strategy for this tour unlike their early summer efforts leading into the South Africa series.

    The key word will be patience. To lose patience will be to lose the series. What did Mick Malthouse quote from Confucius, “the ox is slow but the earth is patient”?

    They must go to India and embrace the culture, put a smile on their face and enjoy the moment. Be patient with their batting and bowling, things don’t happen very quickly in the Tests until there is a real rush on the last couple of days.

    Kohli will be in their face and trying to break them as quickly as he can, but if the Aussies can have some wins early in the first Test, the Indians will fracture under the intense pressure their own crowds exert on them to perform.

    The crowds also like to support their local players so if some one is down on form and not from their state, they will find themselves under enormous pressure.

    Overall, I’m sure the squad announcement will be different to the above but they will still have the support of this cricket follower.

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    The Crowd Says (30)

    • January 9th 2017 @ 9:51am
      Rob JM said | January 9th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      Its a tough challenge trying to balance batting and bowling in India. We don’t have a single allrounder who demands selection as either a batsmen or bowler, and our keepers are not good enough to bat at 6. We also need to fit Sean Marsh back in the side as one of our best players of spin yet none of the top 5 deserve to be dropped.
      Our only option, and fortunately our best is to play 6 batsmen and two spinners in the first test.
      Lyon has a good record against india, and is a good attacking bowler, he is much better when bowled in tandem with a defensive bowler like SOK. Lyon is also a good first innings bowler while SOK comes into his own when the pitch starts breaking up.
      Our best back up fast bowler is probably Sayers as he is a swing bowling specialist, keeps it tight and can bowl long spells.
      By the second test we may be able to figure out which batsmen are out of their depth and bring in one of the all rounders. Maxwell is the most likely although his form has been poor. Ashton Turner would be the strongest spin bowler of the options for no 6, while they might go for Mitchell Marsh if they want a third seamer.

    • January 9th 2017 @ 11:30am
      Sam Backhoe said | January 9th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

      Although not necessarily disagreeing with your selections, you are basing it almost entirely on performances in the T20 and ODI arenas.
      Especially Shaun Marsh’s supposed experience in India, where he has never played a test.

      • January 9th 2017 @ 11:48am
        Free 2 Fly said | January 9th 2017 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        To be fair to Marsh, no one has ever said that he will be good in India, just that based off of past performances in other sub-continental conditions and against other spin bowlers he has played well and as such is considered a good player of spin.

    • January 9th 2017 @ 11:46am
      Oingo Boingo said | January 9th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report


    • January 9th 2017 @ 12:13pm
      handles said | January 9th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

      Shaun Marsh’s first series against India, 4 tests, he scored 0,3,0,11,3 and 0. This was a series where Australian batsmen dominated. He has a career average against them of 22.

      But Khawaja has two poor tests in Sri Lanka, and his card is marked.

      • January 9th 2017 @ 1:28pm
        Rob JM said | January 9th 2017 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

        Mark Waugh was a very good player of spin yet he scored four ducks in a row in his first tour of Sri Lanka.
        S Marsh’s horror run was due to Zaheer Khan, a now retired fast bowler. It has no relavance to if he can play spin well. Play him at six in the first test, then bring in an all rounder for the weakest batsman.

        • January 9th 2017 @ 2:26pm
          Rob said | January 9th 2017 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

          Exactly. Khan and Yadav give Marsh more problems than spinners. Duminy, J.Root and K.Williamson have knocked over Khawaja. Swan was having as much fun with Khawaja as Warne had with Cullinan. Ashwin will be laughing at the sight of Khawaja at home.

          • January 9th 2017 @ 4:45pm
            jameswm said | January 9th 2017 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

            People can improve you know, Rob.

            With how Khawaja has been playing of late, he earns the start. Ditto Renshaw.

    • January 9th 2017 @ 1:32pm
      Sam Backhoe said | January 9th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

      as best as I can see, there are 4 test matches in India and no other games (after 3 ODIs in NZ).
      anyway, that’s what the cricinfo schedule indicates.

      so, in my opinion, Renshaw and Khawaja should be picked for the first 2 tests at least.
      they have earned their place. dropping either after one test would be a mistake.
      not so sure that Cartwright deserves the same treatment.
      my limited viewing of him bowling doesn’t push his case as an all rounder.

      i’m also of the opinion that Wade has been given a reasonable chance, in favourable conditions, and not taken it.
      Neville should get the nod, in my book.

      so, who to pick at no 6 is the biggest question for mine.
      either Cartwright or Shaun Marsh would be a reasonable selection, if batting was the only criteria.
      if not, then perhaps Mitchell Marsh with some bowling responsibility going to Smith.
      Faulkner isn’t an option for me. he’s basically got 2 shots and the indian spinners would tie him in knots.
      sorry, but I can’t come at Head or Maxwell as spin bowling options.
      just because they bowl slow stuff in T20, incurring minimal damage, does not make them 5-day game spin bowlers.
      in short, I just don’t know who I would pick at six. dart board time, perhaps?

    • January 9th 2017 @ 1:58pm
      dan ced said | January 9th 2017 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

      Maxwell and Zampa are locks for the squad, but not 100% sure they will play.. it will be a battle between Maxwell and Head for the #6 spot I reckon.

      Sayers in for variety, I still maintain despite Bird’s favourable performances he is just too similar to Hazelwood and Starc. Sayers has the swing, is shorter, can bowl literally all day.

      I think Hartley should keep, Wade is garbage, Nevill was dropped for valid reasons, Whiteman should probably not be blooded in India.

      I think they might leave Renshaw out of the XI for Smersh. Warner, Smersh, Khawaja, Smith, Handscomb, Maxwell, Hartley, Starc, Hazelwood, Lyon, O’Keefe (Sayers, Zampa, Renshaw, Head, Bird)

      • January 9th 2017 @ 2:21pm
        Sam Backhoe said | January 9th 2017 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

        Hartley is an accomplished keeper/batsman – no question.
        but he is three and a half years older than Nevill.
        come to think of it, Paine is also younger than Hartley.

        • January 9th 2017 @ 2:25pm
          dan ced said | January 9th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

          Nevill failed at test level with the bat despite his very nice shield stats, Paine isn’t even playing shield and you’d be crucified for using his current domestic T20 form to justify his test selection (funnily enough Ben Dunk is slightly ahead of him in the stats this year).

          I like Whiteman, and I like Alex Carey. I still also have time for Tim Ludeman who keeps beautifully and CAN bat (but on the outer of his shield side like Paine), he would do much better than Matthew Wade with gloves and bat.

          Hartley is playing shield still, has improved his batting average a lot in the past few seasons, and is a better keeper than almost any other available.

          • January 9th 2017 @ 2:37pm
            Sam Backhoe said | January 9th 2017 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

            i would agree that Hartley represents the best fit of keeper & batsman.
            i don’t know much about keeping, but Hartley “looks to be” as good or better than Nevill with the gloves.

            i was really only raising their ages as something that selectors would definitely consider.

            I’m still a bit perplexed by Paine not getting a go in their shield team.
            Dunk is a limited batsman and looks an ordinary keeper to me (see disclaimer above).
            He may be Paine by name and painful by nature, perhaps?

            • January 9th 2017 @ 3:17pm
              Casper said | January 9th 2017 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

              Dunk left Qld because he was about number five keeper & you can see why. If Hartley is good enough (yes IMO) then he is young enough, it worked in reverse for Renshaw. .
              Sean Marsh has this great rep as a player of spin, but what was the quality he faced when he scored runs, certainly never did it against India.

            • January 9th 2017 @ 3:19pm
              dan ced said | January 9th 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

              They have been putting their eggs in the Jake Doran basket as far as keeping goes, I think they also tried Ben McDermott with the gloves. They can’t make up their mind! Dunk is there as a pure bat (had a great shield season last year)

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