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Australia unveil shock selection to replace Hazlewood for Bangladesh tour

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    Australia has made the sensational decision to recall left-arm spinner Stephen O’Keefe for the remainder of the Bangladesh tour after Josh Hazlewood was ruled out with a side strain.

    Hazlewood succumbed to the injury on the third day’s play of the first Test while bowling in the second innings.

    With a second Test starting on Monday in Chittagong, and Hazlewood being ruled out of both the remainder of this tour and the upcoming ODI series against India, Australia have promptly named O’Keefe as the replacement, despite the swap being anything but like-for-like.

    O’Keefe was left out of the touring party for Bangladesh after playing against India during March. At the time, national selector Trevor Hohns said O’Keefe’s performances weren’t up to standard on that tour to warrant selection this time around, despite spinning Australia to victory in Pune.

    Instead, Australia went with Nathan Lyon, Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson as the three tweakers, while all-rounder Glenn Maxwell was also included in the squad.

    “Whilst Steve O’Keefe bowled well in Pune, he did not maintain this level in the remaining matches of the series and we believe the timing is right for Ashton to enter the set-up and test his all-rounder ability,” Hohns said at the time.

    Now recalled for Hazlewood, it sets an intriguing scenario for the Aussies, who may opt to make a double change for the second Test.

    While Hazlewood is likely to be replaced by the only other pace bowler in the squad, Jackson Bird, there is also a chance that one of the batsmen – possibly Usman Khawaja, who scored just two runs in the first Test – could be dropped.

    That would pave the way for O’Keefe to strengthen the tail, with Ashton Agar, who made Australia’s second highest score with 41 in the first innings, to bat at No.7 while everyone shuffles up a spot.

    With Swepson also in the squad, and arguments being made each way about the batsmen, Australia may only stick with the single change, bringing Bird in for Hazlewood, but recalling O’Keefe creates plenty of intrigue around the XI for the second Test.

    Hazlewood is expected to bat in the second innings if required before flying home. Australia are currently 2 for 109, requiring 265 for victory with David Warner and Steve Smith at the crease.

    It’s expected Hazlewood will be fit to play the Ashes, starting in November.

    Day 4 resumes at 2pm (AEST) on Wednesday and you can join The Roar for live coverage.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1200 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • August 30th 2017 @ 11:08am
      Basil said | August 30th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      I wouldn’t have thought of it but now that I see it I hope they replace Halewood with SOK in the starting XI. No point bringing in a seamer in these conditions. I wouldn’t drop a batsman but rather go in with 3 front line spinners as the home team does.

      • Roar Guru

        August 30th 2017 @ 11:20am
        Chris Kettlewell said | August 30th 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

        I’d actually said that in comments on another article before this came up, that I’d be tempted to replace Hazlewood with Swepson rather than Bird. Cummins is there to try to grab some quick wickets with the new ball and then bowl short, sharp spells of pace and (hopefully) reverse swing through the innings while the spinners do the rest of the work. If the pitch for the second test is similar to this one, I’d be tempted to do that.

        If they do jettison Khawaja for Cartwright without giving him another chance to try and get over his demons and score some runs, then that would increase my thought of doing this even more as Cartwright could role out a few overs of medium pace here and there if needed.

      • Roar Guru

        August 30th 2017 @ 11:21am
        Scott Pryde said | August 30th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        They don’t have three frontline spinners though – Shakib bats at five, he just happens to be one of the best spin bowlers in the world.

        • August 30th 2017 @ 11:40am
          Basil said | August 30th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

          Just because he can bat doesn’t mean he’s not a front line spinner. He could be chosen on his bowling alone.
          It’s what makes genuine allrounders valuable.

          • Roar Guru

            August 30th 2017 @ 11:42am
            Scott Pryde said | August 30th 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

            Sorry, that came out the wrong way. Yes, he is a front line spinner and I agree with what you’re saying. I was more referencing that Bangladesh still have two quicks – if Australia played three front line spinners, it would be Agar batting at 7, which is an option to keep two quicks.

            • August 30th 2017 @ 11:50am
              Rob JM said | August 30th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

              The last thing we need to do is weaken the batting order.

            • August 30th 2017 @ 12:17pm
              Basil said | August 30th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

              Agar stays at 8.
              Only change is O’Keefe in for Hazelewood. That’s it.
              Bangladesh seamers have bowled 15 overs in this match.
              Beat them at there own game I say.

            • Roar Guru

              August 30th 2017 @ 12:19pm
              Chris Kettlewell said | August 30th 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

              Regardless of where Shakib bats, he is still one of the frontline spinners. He’s one of the two that bowled the most overs in the first innings. They are a good case in point. One of the specialist spinners they picked batted at 9 and only bowled 8 overs. They picked a pace bowler who opened the bowling for them, batted at 10 and only bowled 6 overs. Meanwhile Shakib and Mehiy bowl 26 overs each.

              So it feels like they had more bowlers than they really needed. And that’s how it always feels with a third spinner.

              Even with 2 spinners, Lyon bowled a lot more overs than Agar, and Maxwell only bowled 5 overs per innings as the third spinner.

              Basically, because you can have two of your bowlers bowl the vast majority of your overs in these sorts of spinning conditions, you can actually do with one less specialist bowler, especially if you’ve got a couple of allrounders in the side.

              • August 30th 2017 @ 9:13pm
                Ross said | August 30th 2017 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

                So we lose 5-39 today and people talk about weakening the batting , keep tbr batting as it is and Sok replaces nazewleood

    • Roar Guru

      August 30th 2017 @ 11:16am
      Chris Kettlewell said | August 30th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

      It’s an interesting selection. I don’t know how you call replacing a batsman with a bowler strengthening the tail. That’s actually just weakening the batting lineup. Replacing Hazlewood with O’Keefe could technically strengthen the tail (going by O’Keefe’s overall record, though he hasn’t done a lot lately to suggest he’d do much better than Hazlewood with the bat!) but to replace a batsman with a bowler and lengthen the tail is hardly “strengthening the tail”.

      That’s just a weird statement.

      I really don’t get the point of that selection. The only really viable reason I see for the O’Keefe selection is if you are going to drop Agar for O’Keefe. If they decided to bring in a third spinner and play Cummins as the only pace bowler (which wouldn’t be the stupidist idea. If they did decide to jettison Khawaja after just the one poor test and not give him the chance to try and redeem himself and brought in Cartwright, then having Cartwright sort of as the second seamer and picking a third specialist spinner might make sense) I would think they’d probably then be better off having that third one be the variety of Swepson rather than having two left-arm orthodox spinners and two off-spinners in the team.

      The only other thing I can think is that they are making the selection not because they intend to play him, with either like-for-like Bird for Hazlewood, or go harder on the spin and pick Swepson being the options, but the selection of SOK is more a case of extending the olive branch and sort of inviting him back into the fold and just letting him know that he’s not been completely cast away by the selectors because of his indiscretions, and if he keeps bowling well he’s still in with a chance of higher honours.

      • August 30th 2017 @ 11:58am
        Rob JM said | August 30th 2017 @ 11:58am | ! Report

        SOK is clearly in the best 11. It the selectors way of saying that winning is more important than disipline!

        • Roar Guru

          August 30th 2017 @ 12:22pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | August 30th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

          But how is he in the best eleven? Are the going to drop Agar for SOK? Agar took 5/100 for the test and played an invaluable 41 not out in the first innings. Or are they going to replace Hazlewood with SOK and have 3 spinners, in which case the third of them likely bowls barely enough overs to even bother having them there. Which is why I suggested replacing Hazlewood with Cartwright and playing the extra batsman. But if you do that, who gets dropped for SOK? I really don’t see how you can drop Agar after his performance in this test, and if he’s not getting dropped there’s simply no space for SOK that I can see, regardless of whether he should be part of the best eleven or not.

      • August 30th 2017 @ 1:38pm
        Coriander Son said | August 30th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

        If the pitch for the 2nd test is similar to the 1st test, the team management would probably replace Hazlewood with SOK and one of either Khawaja or Maxwell with Cartwright. Khawaja should be the one to go but the captain and coach dont appear to be backers of Maxwell. Probably move Agar up the order instead. Khawaja looks like he is trying too hard and doesnt back his game.

    • August 30th 2017 @ 11:59am
      The Fatman said | August 30th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      Great pick. O’Keefe is a good bowler. Straight change for Hazelwood.

    • August 30th 2017 @ 12:39pm
      Pope Paul VII said | August 30th 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

      This is strange. The spinners ripped it up. Three spinners is unnecessary. It’s the same when they get excited every year and say they will pick 4 quicks for Brissie and Perth beofre inevitably going for the sensible 3. Patty Cummins as your solo pacemen is risky. What if he breaks down? Just put Jackie Bird in.

      Dunno what Paris Hilton Cartwright is bowling like but he looked to be straining in Sydney last year.

      • August 30th 2017 @ 12:42pm
        Basil said | August 30th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

        If Aussies win this Test expect a raging turner for the 2nd, if they lose, expect a road. Maybe the selection of SOK is just covering the bases?

    • August 30th 2017 @ 12:49pm
      BurgyGreen said | August 30th 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

      People suggesting Cartwright for Hazlewood are crazy. Cartwright’s bowling adds pretty much nothing to the side. He’s in the top 6 as a batsman or he doesn’t play.

      Straight swap Bird for Hazlewood is the obvious and obviously correct option. Let Khawaja have the two Tests. If he fails again then you think about whether he should be picked for future Asian tours.

      O’Keefe’s selection is bizarre and pointless. There’s already a backup spinner in the squad and playing three spinners would be foolhardy anyway. Bird will lock up an end nicely and Agar and Lyon can continue to do a solid job as they have in this Test, with Cummins steaming in for short and lethal spells.

    • August 30th 2017 @ 1:19pm
      peter chrisp said | August 30th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

      Well is it a good choice, from what i understood SOK was dropped for disciplinary reasons so i guess the way i look at it are we trying to beat them at their own game by playing 3 spinners & as a back up Maxwell too? Realistically we now have 4 although Maxwell is an all rounder? Well the main focus of course is todays crucial game can we get over the line?

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