Henriques a No.4? I don’t think so

Alec Swann Columnist

By Alec Swann, Alec Swann is a Roar Expert

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31 Have your say

    Obvious allegiances aside, I have a bit of sympathy for Australia.

    To exit a tournament having failed to complete any of your three group fixtures must grate, even for the most phlegmatic of individuals.

    In the ICC Champions Trophy, Australia were certainly behind the eight ball against New Zealand, but may have been able to alter the momentum and come out on top.

    It is hardly stretching logic to suggest that Bangladesh would’ve been seen off comfortably – then again they might have not – and although England were safely on course to overhaul the Aussies’ target, teams occasionally snatch defeat from the jaws of near-certain victory, so very few predictions are 100 per cent secure.

    However, Steve Smith’s men were off the pace in their opener, recovered to be pretty good next time out before – once again at Edgbaston, which really isn’t their happiest of hunting grounds – being under par in the decider.

    In such a truncated event, where the vast majority of games have something riding on them, this kind of form – and I’m sure the South Africans would agree – is just asking for trouble and a premature business class flight home.

    Myriad factors could be presented as to why Australia fluffed their lines – a lack of adequate preparation, a much-vaunted seam attack firing on less than all available cylinders, the inclement English weather – but let’s concentrate on one in particular: Moises Henriques.

    The New South Welshman is a good, honest-as-the-day-is-long cricketer. He has a decent record, he doesn’t let anybody down and would command more plusses than minuses if a report card was to be produced.

    He isn’t, however, an international number four.

    And as long as there are 24 hours in a day, my golf game is wildly inconsistent and the American president has skin a curiously pallid shade of orange, he never will be.

    I’d have backed Mark Waugh to have produced a more convincing display in the same position, and I don’t mean the mid-1990s vintage but the 52-year-old of 2017.

    I thought the bits-and-pieces cricketer was a thing of the past, a trend that worked for a short while until it was discovered that those who specialise in a particular discipline are, by and large, more productive.

    That said, there is no reason why a cricketer like Henriques couldn’t play a role in the national side, but batting at seven or eight and bowling a few overs would be a far more natural fit. After all, square pegs really don’t go into round holes.

    As a result, a top six containing five batsmen proved to be short-sighted at best. Not fancying the chances of your five-man attack to do a job is one thing, but weakening the batting to cover the potential cracks is another.

    With a format that has accelerated at express pace to the run gluts now commonplace, it makes little sense to gamble in such a way, especially when, in Glenn Maxwell, you already have a sixth bowler.

    Yes, you expect Smith, David Warner and Aaron Finch to dictate terms and win games but limiting their available support will have a detrimental effect on too many occasions. A weak link is a weak link and any opposition would rather see Henriques walking in at second drop than Chris Lynn or any other frontline batsman.

    And the sight of Bangladesh facing India in the semi-finals should be enough of a jab in the ribs to bring about the necessary changes the next time Australia feature in an ODI.

    Alec Swann
    Alec Swann

    Alec Swann is a former Northants and Lancashire opener turned cricket writer. Outside of the joys of a Test match, Newcastle United and golf generally occupy his other sporting interests with a soft spot for the Newcastle Knights.

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    The Crowd Says (31)

    • June 14th 2017 @ 8:13am
      Jameswm said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      Agreed Alec. Our batting lineup is wrong.

      Khawaja should open.

      Handscomb to 4 or 5.

      Lynn in too if there’s room.

      • June 15th 2017 @ 11:11am
        Stephen said | June 15th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

        Khawaja should have opened or at least be at 4, how could we leave such a solid batsman back home with a allrounder at 4

    • Roar Rookie

      June 14th 2017 @ 9:25am
      Bunney said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Yep – Head and Maxwell are good enough for 10 overs.

      Not sure why you’d bring Lynn over and not play him – especially for a toiler like Henriques. Someone on another thread pointed out the form they both brought from the IPL, and Lynn’s was far superior. Dumb call by the Aussies.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 9:36am
        jameswm said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        Yep. some odd selections

        Team should be like this, and it’s pretty obvious I’d have thought. Mitch Marsh may push back in when he’s back in full flight. He’s a very good white ball cricketer.

        1. Warner
        2. Khawaja
        3. Smith
        4. Handscomb
        5. Head
        6. Maxwell
        7. Wade
        8. Cummins/Faulkner
        9. Starc
        10. Hazlewood
        11. Zampa

        Lynn can only really come in if Handscomb keeps – and I’d like that. Otherwise, I guess Lynn could come in to the middle order if Head opens instead of Khawaja. .

        • Roar Guru

          June 14th 2017 @ 11:54am
          Chris Kettlewell said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

          Considering Maxwell simply isn’t being used as a bowler, and really doesn’t have much recent form with the bat, you could potentially put in Lynn in place of Maxwell in that lineup. Of course, then you really do only have 5 bowlers in the side, one of whom is Head, with only the real part timers of Smith and Warner offering anything else, so it doesn’t give you any real back up options. Most sides would want a 6th bowler in ODI’s.

        • June 14th 2017 @ 6:37pm
          Simoc said | June 14th 2017 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

          Handscomb isn’t a wicketkeeper. He’s a backstop when there is no wicketkeeper.

          Henriques was a poor selection and always has been at international level.
          Maxwell is only a batsman in a Smith captained team.
          Smith only goes to spin as a last resort and then not to Maxwell if possible.

          Hopefully he’ll improve his captaincy in time.

        • June 14th 2017 @ 8:57pm
          jammel said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:57pm | ! Report

          Too many bits and pieces players – we really only had 3 specialist batsmen, or four if you count Head. Other teams have six or seven sometimes (England have Moeen at #7)!

          We missed proper batsmen like Khawaja in particular. Maybe Bailey too. We need 5 proper batsmen as a minimum. We also missed Faulkner IMO – I said this before the tournament in relation to both UTK and Faulkner.

          Now’s the time in 50 over cricket to start building for the future (I wouldn’t continue with the likes of Wade/Bailey/SMarsh/Hastings/even Finch). Henriques is gone. Patto needs to focus on economy too if he’s to be a chance.

          I’d go with a best XI (and reserves) like the following:

          Warner V
          Smith C
          Handscomb +
          Head (or Maxwell if/when he finds some form)
          Faulkner (or MMarsh or Stoinis if you need even more batting)
          Zampa (or Behrendorff – you could play Head and Maxwell instead of Faulkner)

    • June 14th 2017 @ 9:33am
      TomCarter'ssprintcoach said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      I would gladly watch Mark Waugh go around again in ODIs again….

    • Roar Guru

      June 14th 2017 @ 9:35am
      Giri Subramanian said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      Henriques was selected as an All-rounder and not as top order batter. Australia should have at least 5 regular batters before the bits and pieces players play. Once Shaun Marsh gets in. this should be their X1.

      Steven Smith
      Shaun Marsh
      Travis Head
      Glenn Maxwell
      Mitchell Marsh/Henriques
      James Faulkner
      Adam Zampa
      Mitchell Starc
      Pat Cummins

      No matter what people say, I would play James Faulkner in the X1. The guy is quality and is one of the best bowlers in the world in the slog overs.

      The above team has depth and quality. Australia will have Handscomb and Khawaja to pick from the reserves if needed.

      Usman Khawaja – Can play as an opener or at number 3
      Peter Handscomb – Backup for the middleorder
      Chris Lynn
      Another spinner? – Australia has 4 pace bowlers

      I am not very convinced about James Pattinson in ODI.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 9:37am
        jameswm said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        You’d keep Finch? Really?

        Marsh ahead of Handscomb?

        No Hazlewood?

        Who is keeping?

        • Roar Guru

          June 14th 2017 @ 9:47am
          Giri Subramanian said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          I think I was in a hurry to pick the squad and missed out quite a few. Here is my revised X1.

          Steven Smith
          Shaun Marsh
          Travis Head
          Glenn Maxwell
          James Faulkner
          Matthew Wade
          Adam Zampa
          Mitchell Starc

          Usman Khawaja – Can play as an opener or at number 3
          Pat Cummins
          Peter Handscomb – Backup for the middleorder
          Chris Lynn

          Yes I will still keep Finch as he did well for Australia in Champions Trophy.

    • June 14th 2017 @ 9:54am
      E-Meter said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

      The selection was scandalous. He must have been over there on a holiday to get a spot in the team.

    • Roar Guru

      June 14th 2017 @ 10:10am
      Rellum said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      It is part of our desperation to get as many all-rounders into the team. Right now we have what I consider to be 1.5 all-rounders in the team, others would argue that we have 3. Either way I am sure the selectors want to get more all-rounders in the rteam. If we could bring back Marsh and have him open instead of Finch or replace Zampa I think the selectors and maybe even Smith would be more comfortable.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 11:52am
        James said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

        I blame Freddie still. He did such a good job in 2005 that Australia has been obsessed with trying to replicate him with batsmen who can bowl a little and bowlers who can bat a little and calling them all rounders.

        • Roar Guru

          June 14th 2017 @ 11:57am
          Chris Kettlewell said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report

          I don’t think that’s got much to do with it in ODI’s. You generally want 6 decent bowling options in ODI’s as you have to have 5 bowlers minimum for 10 overs each, so if one goes down or has a really off day you need at least one back up in the side. So that makes a big difference to tests, where it is actually possible to play 4 bowlers, in ODI’s you really need 2 more bowling options than the minimum you can play in tests.

        • Roar Guru

          June 14th 2017 @ 11:59am
          Rellum said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

          Everybody blames Freddy, but after 12 years maybe we can move on from the thinking. There have been signs we have in Tests with us picking mostly 6 batsmen since Hobart.

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