Who will bat at No. 6 for Australia in the first Test?

Eddie Otto Roar Guru

By Eddie Otto, Eddie Otto is a Roar Guru

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    With a big Ashes summer on the horizon, we need to look at the likely candidates for the contentious Number 6 position in the Australian Test team.

    Whilst the preference has often been to play an all-rounder over the past few years, no player has made the position their own. With Usman Khawaja likely to bat Number 3, and Matthew Renshaw and Peter Handscomb cementing their spots in the Test side, the Number 6 position looks the only real spot up for grabs.

    Here we look at all the candidates, by dissecting their respective ages, averages and current form, and predicting where they might sit in the current pecking order, with three important Shield games before the first Test in Brisbane on 23 November.

    Front runners
    Glenn Maxwell – Age 28

    Test Averages (7 Matches @ 26 Batting Average, 8 Wickets @ 42 Bowling Average)
    ODI Averages (80 Matches @ 32 Batting Average, 45 Wickets @ 38 Bowling Average)

    First Class Averages (51 Matches @ 39 Batting Average, 57 wickets @ 41 Bowling Average)
    2016/2017 Sheffield Shield Averages (3 Matches @ 25 Batting Average, 1 Wicket @ 86 Bowling Average)

    Form/Stats Breakdown – Maxwell’s form has really fluctuated in the past 12 months despite a breakthrough century in Test Cricket.

    What should have been the catalyst for a prolonged period in the Test team, his 104 in the Third Test in Ranchi against India has instead resulted in some indifferent form in both Test and ODI cricket. Whilst Maxwell has played five straight Test matches, it comes at a time when his ODI form has been disastrous over the past 12 months, and he could only average 25 from three Shield games last season.

    Maxwell has been a complete non-factor with the ball of late, barely getting a bowl in Test and ODI cricket despite conditions favouring the spinners in both India and Bangladesh. Maxwell took just one Shield wicket in the three matches he played last summer, suggesting his days as a genuine option with the ball might be numbered unless he can reinvent himself.

    Verdict – Maxwell holds the advantage of being the incumbent, however his hold on the Number 6 position looks tenuous at best. I have been a huge fan of his talent over the years, however now it’s time to back it up with consistent performances.

    Being dropped in India from the ODI side is a sign that the selectors are far from sold on Maxwell. The message is clear – at 28 years of age, it’s time to turn glimpses of brilliance into more consistent results.

    In Maxwell’s defence, all of his seven Test Match appearances have come in Asia, generally with Australia on the back foot in the game, on turning tracks, with close fielders surrounding the bat.

    He would relish a chance in home conditions, but he has to earn it first. His off spinners have diminished to such as extent that you can hardly call Maxwell an all-rounder these days, if you discount his outlandish fielding ability.

    Given the fact his bowling is hardly a genuine fifth option, he needs to be averaging close to 40 in the Test side with the bat to justify his place in the side in the long term. I believe he needs strong early season form for Victoria to be there in Brisbane.

    Australia Test player Glenn Maxwell raises his bat

    (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

    Marcus Stoinis – Age 28
    Test Averages – Yet to debut
    ODI Averages – (8 Matches @ 85 Batting Average, 5 wickets @ 60 Bowling Average)

    First Class Averages (43 Matches @ 35 Bowling Average, 33 Wickets @ 48 Bowling Average)
    2016/17 Sheffield Shield (7 Matches @ 17 Batting Average, 8 Wickets @ 43 Bowling Average)

    Form/Stats – If you’re looking for the form player right now of all the contenders, Stoinis is the man, despite all of his good performances having come in white ball cricket. Not only has he starred recently with his stunning 146 n/o in New Zealand, but he backed it up with some strong performances in an otherwise failing Australian middle order in the recent ODI series against India.

    Stoinis managed 153 runs, and was only twice dismissed in the series, averaging 76 with the bat in a series in which the hosts dominated. The black mark against his name would have been a dismal 2016/17 Shield season where he averaged just 17 with the bat. His First Class average is only modest at 35, with just four centuries.

    The fact he averages less than a wicket per game in four-day cricket suggests his bowling is more suited to the shorter form of the game.

    Verdict – Personally I think Stoinis is the player that is firmly in the selectors’ minds at the moment. I think, given they persisted so long with a player like Mitchell Marsh, Stoinis is the sort of “project player” that fits the mould of a batting all-rounder, that bowls seam at a decent enough pace, to be considered a fifth bowling option.

    With the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins as strike bowlers that bowl in short spells and are susceptible to injuries, this elevates Stoinis’ case further. Not only does he have recent form on the board in ODI cricket, but by all accounts he is a highly intelligent cricketer who works on his game harder than most.

    From what I have seen, his personality and belief don’t appear to shrink at the International level. He owned some recent games in New Zealand and India, and looks comfortable in hostile environments.

    However, considering poor Shield form last season, he would need to produce some runs, especially for Western Australia in the first three Shield games. I think he is right in the mix, if not the outright favourite at this stage. Whether he deserves to be, or not, is another question.

    Hilton Cartwright – Age 25
    Test Averages (2 Matches @ 27 Batting Average, 0 wickets)
    ODI Averages (2 matches @ 1 Batting Average, 0 Wickets)

    First Class Averages (23 Matches @ 50 Batting Average, 18 Wickets @ 45 Bowling Average)
    2016/17 Sheffield Shield Averages (10 Matches @ 53 Batting Average, 7 Wickets @ 64 Batting Average)

    – The first thing that strikes me about Cartwright is his eye watering First Class average of 50. Not many players going around Shield cricket these days put up this sort of number, even though it is early in his career. The fact he bats in the top order gives that average even more credence, pumping out some large scores with five First Class centuries already to his name.

    He has an experienced and battle-hardened coach, Justin Langer in his corner singing his praises who would have been watching his four-day cricket closely. His two Test matches and two ODI appearances haven’t really showcased his abilities, as he has been there to plug holes in different spots in the team.

    The fact he hasn’t taken a wicket in all four of his International games for Australia could count against him, if the selectors prefer to go for an all-rounder capable of taking a few key wickets.

    Verdict – I believe, long term, Cartwright is going to be vying for positions a lot higher than 6 in the pecking order. However, at this point that is all that looks available.

    I think in the long term Cartwright could easily bat Number 3 or 4 for Australia in Test Cricket if his trajectory continues along this path. Cartwright’s bowling looks more military medium pace than anything that could take regular important wickets at the highest level, and that could count against him in the battle for selection in the first Test.

    Hilton Cartwright of Australia bowls

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    However, that’s not to say he can’t become a useful fifth bowling option on seaming wickets with his big frame. If the selectors are looking for purely the best batsman for Number 6, of all the contenders, Cartwright has strong claims for selection. At 25 years of age, and with a First Class average of 50, the selectors will be looking to get him in the mix sooner rather than later.

    Given he has some leadership credentials, down the track the selectors might see the Number 6 position as the perfect way to ease into the team. I believe, in Australian conditions, he is definitely in the leading few contenders to be there in Brisbane.

    The chasing pack
    Moises Henriques – Age 30

    Test Averages (4 Matches @ 23 Batting Average, 2 Wickets @ 82 Bowling Average)
    ODI Averages (11 Matches @ 9 Batting Average, 7 Wickets @ 43 Bowling Average)

    First Class Averages (72 Matches @ 35 Batting Average, 101 Wickets @ 31 Bowling Average)
    2016/2017 Sheffield Shield Averages (9 Matches @ 64 Batting Average, 3 Wickets @ 67 Bowling Average)

    Form/Stats Breakdown – Henriques missed a golden opportunity in the recent Champions Trophy in England when he was elevated to the Number 4 position and was out with a couple of soft dismissals. Just when the door appeared to be closing, he emerged with a 60 n/o against India in the recent T20 series, to win a game for Australia.

    His First Class batting average of 35 is only moderate for a player of high talent and suggests, just when he has gathered momentum in Shield cricket or the BBL over the past few years, he has suffered an untimely injury or a poor run of form.

    Last season Henriques was one of the dominant few batsmen in Shield Cricket, averaging 64 from 9 matches and showing the class he possesses with his natural technique and powerful striking off front and back foot.

    I think those injuries have knocked the edge off him as a bowler, losing some pace as well as a reluctance to bowl long spells. Whilst his 101 First Class wickets at an average of 31 is handy enough, he only took 3 Shield wickets last season at an average over 60.

    Verdict – I’m a big fan of Henriques as a batsman as I think technically he is sound off both front and back foot, and he looks like he has plenty of time. Just like Maxwell, Henriques’ Test appearances have all come in Asian conditions when Australia have been struggling as a team, and in a pressure cooker environment.

    Whilst he has not taken his opportunities, the timing for his inclusions have been tough. I get the feeling the selectors would like to give him the opportunity, however he needs to have faith in his own ability at International level, as well as having his body hold together for long enough.

    I feel, in International Cricket, he has played defensively and not felt like he belonged. He really needs a breakthrough innings, as I believe he is a confidence player. The fact his Shield form was really strong last year, and the selectors sent him to India, shows they are still keen on him, I believe, as a potential Number 6 in the Test team.

    Henriques has been a player I have long admired, however the clock appears to be ticking fast in his bid to become the long term Test Cricketer that his talent probably deserves. He needs to get massive runs in the early Shield games, as his bowling appears to be on the decline through injuries.

    Travis Head – Age 23
    Test Average – Yet to debut
    ODI Averages (30 Matches @ 37 Batting Average, 12 Wickets @ 55 Bowling Average)

    First Class Averages (54 Matches @ 34 Batting Average, 26 Wickets @ 57 Bowling Average)
    2016/17 Sheffield Shield Averages (9 Matches @ 43 Batting Average, 12 Wickets @ 45 Bowling Average)

    Form/Stats Breakdown – Whilst his Shield record is moderate, averaging 35 overall, Head scored over 600 runs at 43 last summer, in a sign he is becoming a more complete player.

    However, given a golden opportunity in the recent ODI series in India, Head struggled to find any runs and admitted himself he missed a golden opportunity to really put his name up in lights. Head has performed really well, on the whole, in ODI cricket, averaging close to 40 and striking at close to 90 in his 30 ODI matches to date.

    He has also been given plenty of overs in ODI cricket and Shield cricket to try and push his cause as a fifth bowler, capable of taking a few wickets, at the highest level. Whilst his bowling record is moderate, he has clearly outperformed Glenn Maxwell in the past 12 months and, interestingly, has been relied upon to provide the majority of the spinning overs between the pair.

    Verdict – Travis Head is probably one of the smokies to win a position at Number 6 in the Test Team this summer, given his moderate First Class record, and the fact his spinners are more part time than anything at this point.

    It’s not necessarily his First Class form line or record, but more the fact he has risen to the occasion in the ODI arena, at both the top of the order and the middle order, which would have impressed selectors.

    Head has provided not only some later order power hitting, but been a busy and reliable player, capable of manipulating the ball into different areas and clearing the ropes. However, in his favour is the fact he has proven at the International level that he can produce, and that his personality with the bat remains the same.

    Unlike Henriques, his game actually elevated once he got picked for Australia, and he looked at home in the team. I believe another factor in his favour is the fact he has leadership potential, and the selectors are always looking around for players that could be Captain. Like all players in contention, if he makes big runs and takes a few wickets for South Australia early in the season, he is not out of the race.

    Travis Head of Australia celebrates after scoring a century

    (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

    Kurtis Patterson – Age 24

    Test Average – Yet to debut
    ODI Averages – Yet to Debut

    First Class Averages (40 Matches @ 42 Batting Average, 0 Wickets)
    2016/17 Sheffield Shield Averages (10 Matches @ 44 Batting Average, 0 Wickets)

    Stats/Form – Patterson has a really solid First Class record for a guy that doesn’t seem to get too many headlines. The fact he already averages 42, at 24 years of age, suggests that his average is only going to go up, if you consider most batsmen’s best years are in their late 20s and early 30s. Patterson doesn’t get as much exposure as some of his fellow contenders, given he is not considered a great white ball player, even though his List A record is decent, averaging 36 from 34 games.

    Verdict – Patterson was right in the mix for a position higher in the Test batting order before the likes of Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb took a strangle hold on the opening spot and Number 5 positions.

    In an era when selectors have churned through plenty of players, it seems a little strange that Patterson hasn’t been given an opportunity. He is perhaps an old fashioned type of cricketer, and unfashionable contender for a middle order slot given he doesn’t bowl, is not a noted athlete, and is more an accumulator of runs than a power hitter.

    However, for mine, he is the classiest and most measured batsman, alongside Cartwright, of all the contenders. Patterson, at 24 years of age, has time on his side, and could yet push for a spot higher in the order as a genuine batsman in the team.

    I think he will become a regular Test batsman in time; however, for the current Number 6 position, he would be a genuine outsider, given he doesn’t bowl at all.

    Ashton Agar – Age 24
    Test Averages (4 Matches @ 32 Batting Average, 9 Wickets @ 45 Bowling Average)
    ODI Averages (4 Matches @ 7 Batting Average, 4 Wickets @ 45 Batting Average)

    First Class Averages (46 matches @ Batting Average 26, 121 wickets @ 39 Bowling Average)
    2016/17 Sheffield Shield Averages (4 Matches @ 19 Batting Average, 16 Wickets @ 27 Bowling Average)

    Stats/Form – Agar did well on the recent tour of Bangladesh, scoring some handy late order runs and picking up some good wickets. His batting average of 32 in four Tests is good, however generally he has been considered more a Number 8 rather than a Number 6.

    His First Class batting average of 26 suggests he has more work to do if he is to be considered as a genuine all-rounder that can bat in the Top 6. Whilst his First Class bowling average of 39 might seem a tad high, it’s pretty good going for a young left arm orthodox spinner on wickets that generally don’t break up.

    Verdict – I was impressed by Agar’s performances in Bangladesh, where he looked like a much-improved cricketer to the raw youngster that debuted in England. His bowling was a lot more accurate and controlled, which is what you expect from a left arm orthodox spinner.

    There is no doubt he is a strike weapon with the bat down the order, and he batted with real freedom against Bangladesh, as well as being responsible when required. However, he is nowhere near surpassing Nathan Lyon as Australia’s Number 1 spinner, and his numbers are nowhere near good enough yet to be considered for the Number 6 position.

    I think the selectors will hope he has another strong year in Shield Cricket, hopefully batting around Number 6 or 7 for Western Australia, before be becomes a genuine contender for an all-rounder spot in the Test team.

    Have Your Say

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    The Crowd Says (85)

    • Roar Pro

      October 16th 2017 @ 4:01am
      Adam Hayward said | October 16th 2017 @ 4:01am | ! Report

      The selectors need to be thinking about a specialist batsman for the number 6 spot, to cover for the lack of runs from whichever keeper they select. Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood can handle the brunt of the attack without the need for an all-rounder. If Smith needs a 5th bowling option, then Warner, Khawaja and himself are more than capable rolling the arm over.

      McGrath, Gillespie, Lee, Bichel and Kasperwicz never needed an all-rounder to back them up.

      In my opinion the logical option to bat at 6 would be George Bailey. He’s in form and he’s scored a mountain of first class runs in the past 2 years. Forget blooding young players for the future, this is an ashes series. Pick the best 11 available. If I was a selector, I’d also monitor the form of Joe Burns and Callum Ferguson as potential specialist batsman to bat at 6.

      If they’re going to stick with their obsession with playing an all-rounder, I’d give Stoinis a go. Mainly because the others haven’t been good enough to cement their spot.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 7:05am
        dangertroy said | October 16th 2017 @ 7:05am | ! Report

        Definitely agree that’s we don’t need to be picking an all-rounder at 6, it’s been the selectors obsession since flintoffs success in 2005, despite winning close to a billion test matches without one in the previous decade.
        The other factor leading to us not needing one is the emergence of Nathan Lyon. Lyon has always been an attacking option but until recently he couldn’t always build pressure. Now he can tie an end down which means longer spells and more rest for the quicks.
        All of this being said, England play 37 all-rounders in their side, so if they have any success on this tour what so ever, we’re going to find Mitch Marsh and Travis Head pening the batting in our next series in South Africa.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 10:33am
        Rob JM said | October 16th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        Maxwell and Cartwright are clearly batsmen who are as good if not better than their 1st class contemporaries. They are not being picked for their bowling. Maxwell showed he was one of our better players of spin but has had no games in australia. While Cartwright is clearly the best batsmen outside the team. There are only two options and niether is a batting liability on paper.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 7:19pm
        Eddie Otto said | October 16th 2017 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

        I don’t mind that sort of old school thinking to be fair. When Australia had Gilchrist at 7 you could afford a number 6 that averaged somewhere the Mid 30s. These days I’m not sure we can get away with it, although in home conditions our top 5 can go big. I would probably pick Cartwright all things being equal. I just tried to look at it from the selectors viewpoint based on recent history.

    • Columnist

      October 16th 2017 @ 7:36am
      Ronan O'Connell said | October 16th 2017 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      Hi Eddie, great article mate.

      The one guy you didn’t mention who I think is a smokey is Joe Burns. He started his Test career batting at 6 and played some really good knocks over his 13 Tests, he has become a forgotten man.

      The number 6 spot is particularly wide open because of the fact that there are 3 rounds of the Shield before the 1st Test XI will be picked so contenders could rise or fall massively over those 5-6 knocks in the Shield.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 8:22am
        Curious George said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        Ronan, good points however I fail to beleive the selectors will change their mind on their obsession with Maxwell.

        Even if he got 6 ducks and cartwrigth got 6 tonnes in the 3 shield matches they would pick maxwell and roll out some excuse like : oh the bloke has the x-factor

        Blokes I wanna see struggle in the first 3 shield rounds:
        Wade – would love 6 ducks and a pile of missed chances
        Maxwell – out playing stupid shots to bad balls
        Mitch Marsh

        Blokes I wanna see succeed in the first 3 shield rounds:
        Alex Carey
        Peter Nevill
        Kurtis Patterson
        Hilton Cartwright
        Joe Burns

        Verdict: the boys club will pick Maxwell and Wade , both of who are deep in Smiths pocket

        • October 16th 2017 @ 9:03am
          Don Freo said | October 16th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

          Bad luck for you on the Mitch Marsh one.

          Eddie left out Shaun Marsh, too.

          These two won’t go away. They keep scoring runs.

          • October 16th 2017 @ 9:44am
            Curious George said | October 16th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

            Hey Don

            Mitch Marsh might be the king of state cricket but he a flop on the big stage

            A free wicket @ 6

            The aussie public (outside WA) will scream for his blood if re-selected.

            Plus the bloke cant bowl until December

            I wouldnt mind if Shaun Marsh got picked for 6, but he is same age as me which means he will be gone in a season or 2 (max)

            Maxwell is a clown though, hits a boundary and then holes out going for an out of stadium 6……much like the old warner

            • October 16th 2017 @ 11:14am
              Don Freo said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

              Hardly a failure. Just not a raging success. Mitch has hardly played a Shield game for the past 3 seasons. His shoulder injury now gives him a chance to just bat. It is already shining through.

              Funny, you guys that want his career to be finished. Watch his captaincy too. He was always headed for Test captaincy.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 3:54pm
                Ben Brown said | October 16th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

                Don Freo what are you smoking mate? Everyone knows the Marsh brothers are spuds, Shaun averages a paltry 40 at First-Class level and he’s 34 years of age. Time to call it quits on his international career.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 4:35pm
                Don Freo said | October 16th 2017 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

                There’d be a lot of top order batsmen who’d be happy with a 40 average. You operating a handicap system?

                A Marsh needs 10 more than others.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 8:02pm
                Ben Brown said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

                A lot would be, but Test cricket demands more than that. And the players should expect more of themselves. Mitch and Shaun Marsh are proven failures at test level, time and time again.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 8:31pm
                Don Freo said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:31pm | ! Report

                Shaun is a proven success. He just has not…YET…proven to be the best batsman in the world.

            • Roar Guru

              October 16th 2017 @ 1:51pm
              Chris Kettlewell said | October 16th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

              Mitch’s record at first class level suggests he’s more a bowling allrounder than a batting allrounder. In ODI’s he’s definitely got a place when healthy, but in the long form, his bowling has been stronger than his batting. His record puts him more alongside guys like Starc and Cummins, quality lower order batsmen, rather than legit allrounders. He certainly has the chance to change that. His best chance to play tests again has to be to score lots of first class runs. It’s hard to see him being selected as a bowling allrounder (which basically means you are picked as one of the four main bowlers, and your batting is a bonus). Two many bowlers ahead of him for that. But if he can start scoring some serious runs with regularity then he’s got a chance of coming back to that #6 spot. I think he needs more than just three shield matches for that though. He needs to put in a good season at least.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 2:31pm
                Don Freo said | October 16th 2017 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

                Not a big Shield sample for Mitch. I think he averaged 50 last Shield season (from one innings)…although that might have been the year before. He has barely played Shield cricket.

                Those that watch him play know that he is a better batsman than he is a bowler. He just needs the numbers to show that now.

                Most of the season as a batsman will be a turning point.

              • Columnist

                October 16th 2017 @ 6:33pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | October 16th 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

                MMarsh has played just 4 Shield games across the past 3 seasons and averaged 16 with the bat

          • Roar Pro

            October 16th 2017 @ 4:59pm
            Adam Hayward said | October 16th 2017 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

            Mitch Marsh is injured and is restricted to batting only until the end of December. So, if they were to pick Mitch Marsh at 6, it would be as a specialist batsman because he can’t bowl

            • October 16th 2017 @ 6:46pm
              Don Freo said | October 16th 2017 @ 6:46pm | ! Report

              Yes…I told you that above…but we already know that.

          • Roar Pro

            October 16th 2017 @ 4:59pm
            Adam Hayward said | October 16th 2017 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

        • Roar Guru

          October 16th 2017 @ 11:23am
          The Bush said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

          Why would you wish that someone struggles? What is the point about being nasty? I don’t want to see Wade in the team, but I don’t wish him ill when he does play cricket. I’d much rather that everyone does well and the selectors just select the best performer (for once).

          • Roar Guru

            October 16th 2017 @ 2:00pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | October 16th 2017 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

            Agreed. Although, I do get his point. If there are players who you feel are a liability in the national team, you’d rather other players get selected, but there are a few matches for players to audition for the national team, it’s hard for part of you to not hope they don’t have a few good matches that makes selectors think it’s worth sticking with them, only for them to get into the national team and perform poorly again.

            Of course, if the players also play for states other than yours, that makes it easier to hope they don’t do well also.

            I certainly don’t wish ill on anyone, but I must admit to having the feeling that I hope Wade doesn’t do just enough in those shield matches for the selectors to feel they should persist with him, only for him to barely reach double figures in the Ashes while missing some critical chances along the way.

            There can be a real frustration of players who continually struggle only to manage to pull out some sort of performance when they are basically up to their last chance, to get themselves a lifeline, then they go back to poor scores only to pull out another decent one when they are about to get dropped again, and on they go like this, underperforming, yet staying in the team.

            • Roar Guru

              October 16th 2017 @ 5:00pm
              The Bush said | October 16th 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report


              At the end of the day, if a player does what you mean, then they’re overall performance will not be up to scratch and they should be dropped. It is always the selectors fault for selecting players ahead of better performing players. I understand what you mean, but it is really the selectors fault for hanging their hat on that type of performance (i.e. “finding” a way to select a guy who simply isn’t doing as well as his competitors).

        • Roar Rookie

          October 16th 2017 @ 12:55pm
          Disco Stu said | October 16th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          I’d agree Smith is a big fan of Wade, but I can’t see that Maxwell is in Smith’s pocket.

          Smith fined him last year for his comments about Wade when he wasn’t really obliged to issue any punishment. Plus Smith almost never bowls him, even when he’s been named specifically as an all-rounder and is playing in India.

          • October 16th 2017 @ 1:22pm
            Curious George said | October 16th 2017 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

            The rot set in during the Clarke era when he would have his favourites who would get picked and invited to the private disco parties in his hotel room.

            Smith would have his own bunch of guys lined up as yes men
            e.g. Wade who would be a loud mouth and enforcer for smith the snowflake if things got rough at a pub (see stokes incident recently) and could protect him

      • October 16th 2017 @ 7:21pm
        Eddie Otto said | October 16th 2017 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

        Ronan, appreciate the feedback thank you. Your 100% right Joe Burns is the forgotten man. I probably should have included him in my roughies given his decent Test and First class average. He never really looked like a comfortable opening batsman for mine at Test level despite performing well at times. Good on flat tracks, but plays a lot behind square.

      • October 20th 2017 @ 6:15pm
        John Erichsen said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

        Some of us have always felt that Joe Burns is far better suited, in the longer format) to bat in the middle order then as a opener. Some big shield runs early this summer for Joe could have him in the mix. Of course, with a FC average of 38, should he even be considered at all? That is the scary part of this conversation. Average over 36 in Domestic cricket and now you are a test option. It used to be 45+ to even be looked at… and some wonder why we have more test batting collapses now than we had in the previous 40 years.

    • October 16th 2017 @ 7:58am
      John said | October 16th 2017 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      Jake Lehmann has a first class average of 43 think he is 1 to watch.

      • Roar Guru

        October 16th 2017 @ 11:17am
        Cadfael said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

        Agree. Thesix batting position needs to be filled by a batsman. Lehmann, Patterson, Burns are three names that come to mind.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 11:40am
        JB said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

        Agree Love how he makes his run too can really tear apart an attack scores runs all over the ground. Important few shield games coming up.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 11:47am
        dan ced said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        The reason I follow domestic cricket is that they don’t choose the best players for Australia.

        Maxwell is not the best bowler, batter, or all rounder in the country.
        Wade is one of the poorest keepers in the country.
        Cummins got rocketed straight back up to the top with almost zero merit.

        That’s not counting the players that score consistent runs under all conditions but get ignored, like Klinger!

        Lehmann, Ferguson, Cooper, Patterson, even someone like Travis Dean could do a better job than the idiots they keep picking.

        • Roar Guru

          October 16th 2017 @ 2:55pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | October 16th 2017 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

          I love how people keep talking about Klinger like he’s in the Brad Hodge club of hard done by cricketers. He has a sub-40 career first class average, which doesn’t scream out consistent runs scored under all conditions. He’s certainly had some periods in his career when he’s been in great form and scored lots of runs, but has had just as many when he’s not done well.

          And if you can’t see why the selectors would want to have Cummins in the side then you probably need your eyes checked.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 6:19pm
            John Erichsen said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

            Well said Chris! If Klinger really deserved test selection, his first class average would be much higher than 39. He isn’t a Chris Rogers type (selected late but averaging 50+).
            Any concerns about Cummins should be solely based around fitness. Not selecting him for any other reason would be like turning the clock back to the mid 70’s and not picking Lillee or Thommo.

        • Roar Guru

          October 16th 2017 @ 3:09pm
          JamesH said | October 16th 2017 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

          I agree in principle, but Cummins is not a good example. He is clearly one of the top handful of pace bowlers in the country, regardless of the format. He is a freak.

          Sometimes a player is just so obviously talented that you take the risk and put them in even with limited first class experience. It worked out pretty well for guys like Warne, Ponting, McGrath and Clarke. Getting picked without playing many matches is not analogous to getting picked despite modest performances (e.g. Maddinson, Agar, Henriques).

          On the flipside, I get the feeling that the likes of Klinger, Patterson, Sayers and Burns get left out because they are perceived to be less naturally talented, despite performing consistently in the Shield. That’s definitely wrong.

        • October 16th 2017 @ 4:40pm
          matth said | October 16th 2017 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

          Check out Ferguson’s Marsh-like career figures despite playing his entire career in SA. Cooper’s record is worse. Travis Dean has possibilities but has a way to go. Patterson is right up there with Burns and Cartwrigiht as the next best young batsmen. Klingner is a solid shield player, but his career has not screamed ‘pick me’.

          Hard to argue on Wade, but if you can’t see what Cummins brings then you are not watching.

          And Maxwell has a career average the same as Klingner and Ferguson, who you say are hard done by, and this is with him rarely getting a consistent run in first class cricket due to his white ball commitments, and with him being forced to play at number 7 for Victoria last year so Captain Wade could go up the order and push his own selection chances.

          • October 18th 2017 @ 1:26pm
            dan ced said | October 18th 2017 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

            Maxwell has been given a chance, and not produced the goods, the others mentioned haven’t been given a go (I suppose with 1 test Ferguson has been too.. lol). Klinger passed his T20I audition with flying colours but hasn’t been given another cap.

      • Roar Guru

        October 16th 2017 @ 2:52pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | October 16th 2017 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

        I thought Lehmann could have been a good chance last summer when they did the big mass clean out of the test team for the Adelaide test, but just at the time when batsmen needed to just come out and score some runs to put their names forward, Lehmann hit a form trough. But I think he’s still one of those possible fringe players. There would definitely still be a few ahead of him at this point though. But a big pile of runs can always change that.

    • October 16th 2017 @ 8:18am
      Curious George said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      If we pick Maxwell we will go around and around and around on this annoyong all-rounder merry-go-round that has not worked for Australia!!

      He will fail with the bat and be binned and the selectors will wonder what went wrong!

      If he is picked for 1st test he wont be there @ the end

      Give Cartwright a go if we need an all rounder

      otherwise stick to a goddamn batsman

      I actually hope we lose a test to teach the selectors that picking Maxwell/Wade combo is just DUMB

    • Roar Guru

      October 16th 2017 @ 8:36am
      Ryan H said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      They will almost certainly start with Maxwell in Brisbane, unless another batsman completely stands out in the first three Shield matches, and Maxwell’s form is so-so.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 8:57am
        Curious George said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        Ryan, why do you reckon they will go with “hit n giggle” maxwell over Cartwright (the superior batsman)

        Do yu think there is ANY chance of a pure batsman getting the #6 spot?

        • October 16th 2017 @ 9:07am
          Don Freo said | October 16th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          Head is a pure batsman.

          The Shield games will determine things. I’d guess that the selectors, like us, are waiting to see who puts their hand up.

          The Marsh boys and Callum Ferguson are in front right now (plus Maxi Klinger).

          • October 16th 2017 @ 12:23pm
            dan ced said | October 16th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

            In my soul searching for a worthy Maxwell replacement I came up with Tom Cooper, bowls offies, fields well, and a more reliable batsman than Maxwell, currently in good form.

            Since they seem to pidgeonhole players into positions and roles.. Shaun won’t get in at 6, Mitch won’t either because they think he’s an all rounder who cannot physically bowl at the moment.

            Ferguson has a real shot if they refuse to go for youth, Head if they “devil you know”, and Lehmann if they want to blood someone..

            I also think they should throw Carey in the deep end, he has the maturity and skill to make it work. What do you reckon?

            • October 16th 2017 @ 5:42pm
              Nudge said | October 16th 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

              I reckon you’ve been drinking if you’re suggesting Cooper

              • Columnist

                October 16th 2017 @ 6:37pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | October 16th 2017 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

                To be fair Dan Ced is a diehard SA fan, he’d probably be happy if Maxwell and Wade were replaced by Scuderi and Manou!

              • Roar Guru

                October 16th 2017 @ 6:48pm
                Rellum said | October 16th 2017 @ 6:48pm | ! Report

                Woah there Ronan, Scuderi be from QLD!!!

              • Columnist

                October 16th 2017 @ 10:50pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | October 16th 2017 @ 10:50pm | ! Report

                Scuderi was still cranking out runs for the Italian national team until he was 40!

        • October 16th 2017 @ 9:11am
          Timmuh said | October 16th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

          The selectors love “x-factor”, whatever that is. And Maxwell did score runs in India once he got the chance and to a lesser extent Bangladesh. I think he’ll get first crack. I don’t trust his brain, but on sheer skill he’s as good as anyone we’ve got.
          His bowling, though, is utter tripe in the long form – Smith is right not to bowl him, he would be better off bowling himself.

          The chances of the selectors picking six batsman on batting alone are zero. That said, after India, Maxwell might (dubious, but might) be in that six – as much as it shocks me to write that.

          I do think Burns would be better down the order, but he has been playing as an opener for three years now. Him and Maddinson should swap states, so they could swap positions in the batting order and revert to their better slots.

        • Roar Rookie

          October 16th 2017 @ 12:47pm
          Disco Stu said | October 16th 2017 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

          What exactly is it about Cartwright’s 50 average that makes him not a pure batsman?

          The fact that he bowls as well doesn’t make him an all-rounder. It makes him a batsman who can bowl a bit.

        • Roar Guru

          October 16th 2017 @ 3:57pm
          Ryan H said | October 16th 2017 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

          There is a chance of a pure batsman getting the spot, of course. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with Maxwell taking the number six spot in Brisbane, it’s just what I think will happen. The way I look at it, he was the number six in Australia’s most recent tests, and so, if he gets runs in the first three Shield rounds, it’s hard to see him being replaced unless somebody else performs so outstandingly well in that time to trump him.

        • October 16th 2017 @ 6:39pm
          Ben said | October 16th 2017 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

          Cartwright has been a failure overseas.
          Maxwell should be given a chance in Australian conditions.
          He got a 100 at number 6 something Mitch marsh didn’t.
          If he fails in the first test that may be his last chance.

    • October 16th 2017 @ 9:53am
      Curious George said | October 16th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      based on our misguided selectors and factoring in Smiths boys club, here is the XI for Brisbane:

      Shaun Marsh
      Mitch Marsh

      Which would lose to the Poms

      • October 16th 2017 @ 11:43am
        JB said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        What’s your 11 CG?

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