Damien Fleming reveals his Australian XI for The Ashes

Benjamin Conkey Editor

By Benjamin Conkey, Benjamin Conkey is a Roar Editor

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69 Have your say

    With just 40 days until the first ball is bowled in anger between Australia and England, Damien Fleming has put his selection cap on for The Roar and picked the team he thinks can reclaim that tiny urn.

    The former Australian fast bowler is happy with the current crop of speedsters Australia has at its disposal and would keep Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc as the guys to do the damage to England’s top order.

    He admits players like Chadd Sayers would be unlucky to miss out.

    “He can’t do any more at domestic level, but you’re behind a lot of excellent quicks,” Fleming said.

    “But I’d be hoping Chadd would be going on an England tour, A South African tour, a New Zealand tour – you know those ones that really suit his bowling.”

    “But I mean what about Jackson Bird? He bowled beautiful last summer.
 We know he’s the Test standard fast bowler.”

    Fleming would also keep Nathan Lyon in the 11. His average of 34.55 with the ball in Australian conditions is among the best for spin bowlers in recent times.

    “You look at Harbhajan Singh, Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) – look at their records in Australia. They’re two of the best off-spinners to play the game. They average about 70 to 80.”

    To take the pressure off Lyon, Fleming would also pick Glenn Maxwell who he feels is more than capable of tieing down an end with the ball and also blasting the opposition with the bat.

    Glenn Maxwell Cricket Australia 2017

    (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

    “If the pitches are the way they normally are, he’s going to score four fifties at least at a run ball,” Fleming said.

    “He averages over 40 for Victoria for a fair period of time. He’s going to open up Test matches at number 6. He’s also a brilliant fielder and a handy bowler.”

    In terms of the rest of the batting, Fleming would stick with Peter Handscomb and Usman Khawaja, who he was quick to point out averages more than 60 with the bat in Australia.

    The biggest concern for the 47-year-old is the wicketkeeping and the inconsistency of Matthew Wade.

    “Big wrap for Wade’s batting but it just hasn’t clicked has it (with the keeping)? You know I think he’s a fine batsman.”

    “I like Peter Nevill’s keeping. I know he’d average 25 or 30 and Alex Carey I haven’t seen much of but they’ve got big raps on him.”

    According to the former swing bowler-turned commentator, it all comes down to the Sheffield Shield games before the first Test to ultimately decide the wicketkeeper.

    “I tell you what guys. I’d be trying to score runs in those first two games. I reckon that’s really open (who gets the keeper spot).”

    Matt Renshaw bats during a test match against India

    (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

    Damien Fleming’s Australian team for the first Ashes Test

    1. David Warner (vc)
    2. Matt Renshaw
    3. Usman Khawaja
    4. Steve Smith (c)
    5. Peter Handscomb
    6. Glenn Maxwell
    7. Matthew Wade/Peter Nevill or Alex Carey
    8. Mitchell Starc
    9. Pat Cummins
    10. Josh Hazlewood
    11. Nathan Lyon

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    The Crowd Says (69)

    • October 13th 2017 @ 7:35am
      Chris said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      Soft Flem!
      Wade out – Neville in. The only real decision to be made. Neville should never have been dropped. As a Victorian cricket lover, who hates the overt sledging, Wade is unfortunately not good enough: so he is Tasmanian! 🙂
      Hopefully Maxwell gets 50 on a green top in the first test, or he will get dropped for a NSW player; rarely bats and bats on roads

      • October 13th 2017 @ 10:59am
        dan ced said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        Nevill scored about 2 runs over 20 innings. He should’ve been dropped. He couldn’t hack it at an international level.

        Carey needs to come in.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 11:20am
          Ouch said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          To be fair, Nevill was often coming in after the top order had collapsed and had to try and rescue the innings with Mitch Marsh.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 12:20pm
          George said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

          He made an unbeaten half century in his second-last Test.

          • October 13th 2017 @ 1:34pm
            Pedro the Maroon said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

            OK Nevill’s average at test level is a few runs under that of Wade. 22 vs 28.
            Wade is not a very good keeper though. Is he even among the 210 best in the country. His whole career has been like Brad Haddin’s horrible final 2 years – without the occasional good knock when we needed it.
            If you want a decent keeper with guaranteed runs then you should be calling for Whiteman. He’s only 25.
            I am happy with Nevill for the Ashes though.

            • Roar Rookie

              October 13th 2017 @ 3:48pm
              Matthew Pearce said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

              Whiteman’s injured, won’t be playing most of the season.

          • Roar Rookie

            October 13th 2017 @ 1:47pm
            Matthew Pearce said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

            How quickly everyone’s forgotten that. Combined with SOK for an entire session in Sri Lanka as well. Nothing wrong with his batting and his keeping is top tier. Should never have been dropped in the first place.

            • October 13th 2017 @ 2:34pm
              George said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

              Indeed. Just not bogan enough.

            • October 13th 2017 @ 3:09pm
              Mike Dugg said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

              Nothing wrong? Averaging 20 after 17 tests is not good enough. If we had a strong batting lineup it’d be ok to carry him. But we have a vulnerable one and need more from our keeper with the bat. If we are going to have a keeper averaging 20, I’d much rather have someone younger and who is a better glove man

              • Roar Rookie

                October 13th 2017 @ 3:53pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

                He’s averaging 22 because he only ever came in when we were either 5/50 or 5/500. Made a few very tough knocks when everyone else was failing, including top-scoring in the second innings of the Perth test vs SA. Then went back to Shield cricket and averaged >50. So no, nothing wrong with his batting.

                A) Who is this younger, better gloveman? Nevill’s the best keeper in the country since Hartley retired. B) So it’s ok to have a young bloke in the team and have them underperform, but not an older player? Pick the best player for the position, currently that’s Nevill.

              • October 13th 2017 @ 5:05pm
                Don Freo said | October 13th 2017 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

                I think Nevill might be the man to keep the seat warm until Whiteman’s finger heals but Carey is a younger better gloveman. Broke all keeping records last Shield season.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 13th 2017 @ 6:43pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 13th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

                Not meaning to bag Carey, but how much does getting to keep to Sayers, Mennie & co. play into it? Is there any other indication he’s a better gloveman?

              • October 13th 2017 @ 6:49pm
                Don Freo said | October 13th 2017 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

                Why would keeping to them give him an advantage over NSW’s band of quicks and spinners?

              • Roar Rookie

                October 13th 2017 @ 7:02pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

                Blokes like Starc, Lyon, SOK, Bollinger & co. seem to aim for slips/LBW/outfield as much as the keeper. Whereas the SA bowlers as a whole seem to operate mainly around knicking him to the keeper/bowling him.

                Just my uninformed observations though.

              • October 13th 2017 @ 9:14pm
                Basil said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:14pm | ! Report

                Uninformed, yes.
                Sayers for instance gets a lot of wickets bowled and LBW.
                I know it’s hard for some to accept that a guy wearing a red state cap is good enough to play for the national team, but the young man is a true talent.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 13th 2017 @ 9:34pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:34pm | ! Report

                Sure, but operating down that corridor most of the time means he would also get more edges to the keeper than most, he’s not looking for blokes to go after him and get caught in the outfield. Mennie and Worrall seem to be similar.

                Classic. Everyone’s biased against SA. Keep whinging, you’ve had more players selected for national duty over the past ten years than QLD, despite not winning as many domestic comps. Start producing more international quality players, then you can whinge.

    • October 13th 2017 @ 7:38am
      Andrew said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:38am | ! Report

      Didn’t Pattinson hurt his back? I doubt he’ll be making 12th man. My 11 is similar but I’d like to see Stoinis at 6. From what I have seen of Stoinis, I believe he can be just as destructive at Maxwell but with far fewer brain fadesand his bowling isn’t bad either. For 12th man since Pattinson is unavailable, I’d like to see Behrindorf in. Wish there was a spot for him but that’s how it goes.

      Behrindorf 12th man.

      • October 13th 2017 @ 8:09am
        Curious George said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        Stonis!? Are you insane?

        One good ODI game and he is the belle of the ball

        wake up and smell the cheddar

        Burns in at 6

        No need for an allrounder

        Poms are going to mop us up with this fragile batting lineup…..stonis and maxwell, this isnt T20 , dooder!

        • Roar Rookie

          October 13th 2017 @ 9:36am
          Matthew Pearce said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

          “Poms are going to mop us up”. What, having an allrounder at 6 makes our batting lineup fragile? Don’t be so dramatic.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 12:59pm
          Andrew said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

          I agree there doesn’t need to be an allrounder at 6 and I would have a pure bat in at 6, however the selectors are going to pick one and we all know it. Maxwell for me can’t cut it (far too many brain fades/gifted wickets) leaving Cartwright or Stoinis as their likely choices.

          • October 13th 2017 @ 4:48pm
            Shane Warner said | October 13th 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

            I say pick an early 20s fearless batsman at 6, like a young Ricky Ponting. I can see Moeen ali trying to tie up an end and getting slogged around a bit if Aus can wear down the quicks

        • October 13th 2017 @ 1:36pm
          Pedro the Maroon said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

          Stoinis? You might as well say a fit Chris Lynn.
          12th man – Chad Sayers. Give some experience in the rooms helping Davey Warner with his Sodoku puzzles.

      • Roar Guru

        October 13th 2017 @ 10:07am
        Ryan H said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        No chance Stoinis should get the first crack, despite blistering ODI form for the last 12 months.

        Let him improve on last years paltry FC showing, and then he might deserve a look. Even then, Maxwell and Cartwright and arguably Burns all start ahead of him in the pecking order for number six, so it could be a while yet.

        Having said that, eye-catching ODI performances alone are often enough to vault someone into the side ie. Bailey

    • October 13th 2017 @ 7:44am
      sportstragic said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      I like Flemings team. And i hope the selectors will go with this team. With Neville the keeper. Unless Wade comes out and scores centuries in the first few shield games he doesnt deserve to be there. Maxwell deserves a chance in Australia. And what is with Pattinson 12th man??? Gone again unforetunately.

      • Editor

        October 13th 2017 @ 7:53am
        Benjamin Conkey said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

        We chatted to Flem just before Pattinson was injured. Have taken him out of his team now. He also had raps on Jackson Bird who is also injured. Hopefully none of the rest of Flem’s picks get a niggle now!

        • October 13th 2017 @ 8:10am
          Curious George said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

          Sounds like Flem has “raps” on everyone

          Pretty soft article from one of the best cricketing brains (Flem not you Benny Boy)

          • Roar Guru

            October 13th 2017 @ 9:46am
            JamesH said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

            The Bowlologist is one of the best cicketing brains? Please. He is hands down the worst commentator on the 10 team, and that includes Howie.

            I agree 100% on the article tho. All he’s done here is pick the most obvious side and dithered on the one hard choice that needs to be made.

            • October 13th 2017 @ 10:18am
              Ouch said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

              I liked Flem when he commentated for the ABC. He knows his stuff.

            • October 13th 2017 @ 12:22pm
              George said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

              Agreed. Repeatedly reciting that made-up word and crapping on about ’80s hair metal is hardly insight.

    • October 13th 2017 @ 8:45am
      NSW Cock gogglers said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      Nevill is a hack and should NEVER return to test cricket.

      Move on.

    • October 13th 2017 @ 9:14am
      Ouch said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Pretty much the team i’d go with. Keeper is the only position not cemented in for me.

    • October 13th 2017 @ 9:35am
      Paul said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      It’s not clear from this article whether the words used are from Fleming or from the editor. If they’re from Fleming, I have grave doubts about his ability to read the game.

      A part of the article claims Maxwell should be chosen because “he feels (Maxwell) is more than capable of tieing down an end” with his bowling. Based on what? He averages over 41 in first class games with his bowling and goes at 3.45 runs per over. That’s not tieing down an end, that’s giving the opposition free runs.

      In terms of his batting apparently “he’ll score at least four fifties: if pitches are the way they’ve been”. This is NOT what we need from our number 6. Australia has consistently collapsed with it’s batting and we need a guy to sum up the situation and bat accordingly. This is something Maxwell has done exactly once in his Test career and it brought him a Test century. The rest of the time, he has been a batting liability.

      I’m also not clear how Wade can be described as a fine batsman, when he was dropped from one of the Australian sides and is on notice because he isn’t getting any runs? There are at least 2 other guys who are better with the gloves and are more confident with the bat right now.

      Both Maxwell & Wade must score good runs in the 3 Shield games to make the First Test side. They then need to prove their capable of playing the role assigned to them consistently if they are selected.

      Personally I have my doubts

      • October 13th 2017 @ 11:18am
        dan ced said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:18am | ! Report

        I like someone like Head or Cooper.. or even Marnus Lasagnatrain in Maxwell’s place, surely their offies/leggies are almost as useful.. I don’t think Maxwell’s fielding makes up for his scarily inconsistent batting in longer forms. I’ll give Head the nod since they know him from ODI’s now.

        Renshaw Warner Klinger! Smith Handscomb Head Carey+ Starc Cummins Sayers Lyon (Hazelwood)

        • October 13th 2017 @ 5:15pm
          Don Freo said | October 13th 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

          Can’t you get Valente and Winter in as well?

          • October 13th 2017 @ 9:18pm
            Basil said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

            Don Freo having a go at someone with a state bias? This is brilliant….

            • October 13th 2017 @ 9:35pm
              Nudge said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

              That was flamen funny though from Don

            • October 14th 2017 @ 12:52am
              Don Freo said | October 14th 2017 @ 12:52am | ! Report

              Dan ced a I are OK. He knows Klinger isn’t going to get a game just like I know Tim Zoehrer is no longer on selectors’ minds.

              You misread the lay of the land a fair bit, Basil.

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