Siddle should be well back in Ashes pecking order

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    The veterans keep dominating, young guns are pushing for ODI spots, and WA will meet either SA or Victoria in the final. These are some of the major talking points from the JLT Cup.

    Nic Maddinson is a strong ODI prospect
    Maddinson has scored more runs than any other batsman over the past three domestic one-day tournaments, with 1070 runs at an average of 56 and a blazing strike rate of 96. He topped the runscorers list this tournament, after the six qualifying rounds, with 398 runs at 66, after being the eighth and third highest runmaker in the previous two summers, respectively.

    These numbers would normally demand consideration for the ODI side. The problem for Maddinson is that he’s played mostly as an opening batsman over those past three prolific seasons and Australia are flush with top order options.

    David Warner and Steve Smith are entrenched in the top three, leaving Maddinson to vie for the other position with Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh ā€“ seriously tough competition.

    Cameron Bancroft emerges as smokey for ODI keeping spot
    The Australian selectors think highly enough of Cameron Banrcroft’s keeping that they handed him the gloves, ahead of Peter Handscomb, during Australia A’s 50-over series last year against South Africa A, India A and the Australian National Performance Squad.

    Like Handscomb, Bancroft entered the domestic scene as a wicketkeeper only to find that another gloveman already had that position cemented. In Handscomb’s case that player was Matthew Wade, and for Bancroft it was Sam Whiteman who was ahead of him.

    With Whiteman out injured, Bancroft kept for WA in this current tournament and was outstanding. Not only was his glovework neat, but the 24-year-old displayed newfound dynamism batting at first drop, with a scorching strike rate of 110 while averaging 47.

    That was his third brilliant 50-over tournament on the trot ā€“ Bancroft has piled up 701 runs at 50 over the past three summers.

    Peter Siddle takes 50-over bowling back to the 1980s
    The former Test quick turned in arguably the most remarkable performance of the tournament by giving up just 3.35 runs per over across his six matches. Such a miserly economy rate has been virtually unheard of in the 50-over format for the past 20 years or so.

    This has prompted calls for him to be in contention for the Ashes. But Siddle never had a problem keeping things tight in Test cricket, it was his serious lack of penetration over the past four years in Tests which hurt his claims.

    Siddle remains a solid back-up should Australia suffer a raft of injuries to Test quicks. But he should be behind the likes of Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers and Jason Behrendorff in the Test pecking order.

    Peter Siddle claims a hatrick in an Ashes Test at the Gabba.

    (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

    Daniel Hughes continues his extraordinary run
    After 14 List A matches, Hughes has the phenomenal career record of 782 runs at 65. Last year he was the third highest runscorer in the tournament and this summer he is second only to Maddinson so far. Like Maddinson, though, he has massive competition to squeeze into the ODI side because of Australia’s wealth of opening options.

    With Australia in greater need of a reliable middle order batsman, Hughes and Maddinson may find themselves overlooked when the ODI selectors reach down to pluck a batsman from the domestic scene.

    The veterans just won’t quit
    George Bailey (35 years old), Shaun Marsh (34), Cameron White (34), Callum Ferguson (32) and Michael Klinger (37) all are good enough to be playing ODI cricket right now.

    That group have been consistently commanding List A batsmen for years now but have been victims of the strong depth of Australia’s ODI batting stocks, as well as a tendency for the selectors to favour younger batsmen in the ODI line-up.

    This tournament Marsh is averaging 95, Klinger 67, Bailey 62, Ferguson 53 and White 50. Yet there is a good chance that none of them will again play for Australia in limited overs cricket.

    Australian batsman George Bailey plays a shot against England in the fifth Ashes Test

    (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

    Labuschagne and Patterson are future ODI middle order options
    A wonky middle order is the glaring weakness in Australia’s misfiring ODI team. While Australia’s top seven has tended to boast heavy hitting power, what it has lacked is another sturdy middle-order batsman to glue the line-up together.

    The likes of Ferguson, Shaun Marsh, Bailey or White could fill that role, but you sense the selectors may have moved on from those players. As I argued recently, I think Peter Handscomb can fix this problem as well as the wicketkeeping issue.

    But if the selectors don’t go with Handscomb, or they do and he fails, then youngsters Marnus Labuschagne and Kurtis Patterson are ready for a crack at ODIs.

    Queensland number four Labuschagne won the player of the tournament last season as a 22-year-old and was equally impressive this time around, with 291 runs at 48. Patterson, meanwhile, shone again in the middle order for NSW and the 24-year-old has made just under 500 runs at 46 across the past two tournaments.

    Crucially, both men have strong techniques and fine temperaments which is why they’ve also experienced decent success at first-class level for such young cricketers. This is the type of player Australia require in their middle order, rather than another hitter who relies on scoring boundaries.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (53)

    • Roar Pro

      October 19th 2017 @ 7:29am
      Andy Hill said | October 19th 2017 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      Good article. All good points well made. In regards to Siddle, I think he could still play a role in the Ashes if Hazlewood is out injured. As part of a three man pace bowling attack, Australia needs one man who can keep it tight at one end.

      Agree though that if either Cummins or Starc are out injured, the likes of Behrendroff, Tremain and NCN come into contention ahead of Siddle. And Sayers in the right conditions.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 19th 2017 @ 8:38am
        Matthew Pearce said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        Andy didn’t even mention Maxwell and you still managed to drag him into your rant. Give it a rest.

      • October 19th 2017 @ 8:59pm
        Don Freo said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

        The Hazlewood replacement would be Behrendorff. He can bowl all day as tight as. The Siddle type of bowling is done better by Joe Mennie and Simon Mackin than it is by Peter Siddle.

    • October 19th 2017 @ 7:44am
      qwetzen said | October 19th 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      I’d opine that using the last 3 seasons DOD stats is seriously flawed as during that time NSW have played (I think) all bar two of their games in Sydney, usually on the traditional bowlers graveyards of Hurstville Oval and NSO.

      • Columnist

        October 19th 2017 @ 7:53am
        Ronan O'Connell said | October 19th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

        “Iā€™d opine that using the last 3 seasons DOD stats is seriously flawed”

        I agree with your opination, I think all current assessments of Australia’s 50-over players should be made on their efforts from 4 seasons ago and previous.

        • Roar Guru

          October 19th 2017 @ 9:04am
          JamesH said | October 19th 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report


          We need to be a bit careful tho about overplaying the efforts of batsmen on roads (particularly roads in their own backyards). I do have my doubts about Maddinson’s ability to score in less favourable conditions. An analysis of the circumstances in which each of the batsmen you’ve mentioned have scored their runs would be interesting, if time-consuming.

          Assuming Handscomb keeps, the top 7 without injuries should look something like this:


          (I wouldn’t mind seeing Smith at 4 or even 5, just to break up the less experienced players a bit.)

          That lineup is probably pretty settled, given Maxwell’s poor ODI run. The question is more about who is next in line to come in.

          • October 19th 2017 @ 9:01pm
            Don Freo said | October 19th 2017 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

            That’s why Marsh (s) and Bancroft are so impressive. Batting on the WACA this year instead of 20 metre boundaries.

        • October 19th 2017 @ 10:39am
          qwetzen said | October 19th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

          Good one. Nowhere near as funny as touting a batsman for a Tight Yellow when he’s played the overwhelming majority of his innings on roads, but still humourous.

          • Roar Rookie

            October 19th 2017 @ 11:00am
            Matthew Pearce said | October 19th 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

            You can only play what’s in front of you, and quite a few players haven’t managed anywhere near as well on those so-called roads.

            QLD’s entire line-up is a good example.

            • October 19th 2017 @ 11:04am
              Joe Bell said | October 19th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report


              • Roar Rookie

                October 19th 2017 @ 11:12am
                Matthew Pearce said | October 19th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                Has done well, though I was talking in relation to Maddinson (who I’m presuming this was about).

            • October 19th 2017 @ 11:13am
              qwetzen said | October 19th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

              Ashley, they did pretty well with the bat this season (see “roads”), the bowling however was as penetrative and economical as Question Time in Canberra.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 19th 2017 @ 11:23am
                Matthew Pearce said | October 19th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

                We collapsed awfully against SA, we were going to be slaughtered by WA until Neser rescued us, and we should have gotten 300+ against NSW but dropped the ball in the last ten overs. Our batting was all over the place, barely anyone scored runs consistently.

                But yes, sadly, our bowling was even worse. Has been for a few years now.

    • October 19th 2017 @ 8:05am
      Mike Dugg said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:05am | ! Report

      You know what you’re going to get from Siddle. Holding down an end for little runs. No big bags of wickets but picks up important ones. He should factor in the ashes pecking order as a reserve with The Dorff. Hazlewood is inconsistent and hasn’t played much cricket lately. Same with Starc. Who knows how Cummins will go in Australia. There’s something to be said for a tried and true veteran

      • October 19th 2017 @ 8:26am
        Curious George said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

        Picking Siddle is paddling backwards and not progressive however given the trash decision made by our selectors in years of yore i wouldnt batter an eyelid if he were picked

        move forward not back

        We will slightly lose this Ashes series based on poor poor poor selections

        e.g. Maxwell at 6 (seriously!? to think this spot was once Husseys is just horrid)

        • October 19th 2017 @ 8:48am
          Basil said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          Sayers continues to perform. We have to reward performance or else the Shield is a waste of time. Starc, Hazlewood, and Cummins are the first choice attack at this stage no doubt and Dorff is also very good but if there is an injury I would love to see Chadd get first crack especially for the 2nd Test under lights at AO. As Philanderer has shown us, 140+ isn’t everything.

          • Roar Guru

            October 19th 2017 @ 9:06am
            JamesH said | October 19th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

            With Bird injured I think Sayers should definitely be first in line as cover for Hazlewood. Dorff to cover for either Starc or Cummins.

            • October 19th 2017 @ 9:14am
              Basil said | October 19th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

              It makes sense James, but I can’t help but think the only exemption to that rule would be for the D/N Test where Sayers should be cover for all 3 as his record with the pink ball is incredible.

              • Roar Guru

                October 19th 2017 @ 2:41pm
                JamesH said | October 19th 2017 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Fair point.

          • October 19th 2017 @ 10:50am
            qwetzen said | October 19th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

            It’s too early for trying to pick the bowling, not that I think the selectors will take long to pick them, for two reasons;

            1. Given the recent fragility of Oz quicks, picking anyone a month out from T1 is a bit silly.
            2. We don’t know what the Pom batting will be. eg. If they pick a squadron of RHBs for T1 shouldn’t the option of two leftie quicks be considered? I suspect the Goat would vote for it.

      • Columnist

        October 19th 2017 @ 8:44am
        Ronan O'Connell said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        “Hazlewood is inconsistent”

        Plus Starc is tiny, Renshaw is geriatric and Lyon is gorgeous.

        • Roar Rookie

          October 19th 2017 @ 9:12am
          Matthew Pearce said | October 19th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          Hey, come on, that’s a little harsh on the GOAT. He’s doing his best with what he’s got.

        • October 19th 2017 @ 12:24pm
          matth said | October 19th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

          You are in a droll mood this morning!

    • October 19th 2017 @ 8:24am
      Curious George said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      Selectors wont give the young blokes a run

      thye will pick the same old tired ODI side

      Im talking

      Maxwell – not brilliant and no big scores all hit and giggle/massively overrated
      Finch – good and horrible/ replace with maddinson
      Uzzy – not an ODI player
      Smith – stick to tests snowflake
      Bailey – put him in as an anchor

      Stop the love fest with all rounders or we will have zero chance (we do already) of winning the next WC in the 3rd world

    • Roar Guru

      October 19th 2017 @ 8:35am
      Ryan H said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      The ODI side could still use another reliable middle order rock I think; so any of the veterans listed could do such job; particularly Ferguson in my view. Can’t see any playing a role in the Ashes however, unless places open up through injury.

      With respect to Siddle, he’s basically no chance; the only pace bowling position he could take would be Hazlewood’s, and even then he is likely still behind Sayers and Bird for that role.

      • Columnist

        October 19th 2017 @ 8:50am
        Ronan O'Connell said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        I think Ferguson has been extremely hard done by not to have been given another crack at ODIs given how well he did in his 1st stint (663 runs at 41) and his consistently commanding efforts in domestic one dayers.

        After Handscomb (playing as keeper) Ferguson would be my next pick to bat 4/5 and add some steel to the ODI top six. He’s young enough to still be in his prime come the World Cup in 19 months’ time.

    • October 19th 2017 @ 8:44am
      Joe Bell said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      Does anyone else have big wraps on Weatherald down at SA? He looks a very good batsman to me. I think potentially picking up singles and rotating the strike slightly more would have a big impact but I suspect there is a big future for him

      • October 19th 2017 @ 9:10am
        Basil said | October 19th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        He’s a gun. Hopefully a big Shield season (if that counts for anything) will start pressing his claims.

        • Columnist

          October 19th 2017 @ 6:26pm
          Ronan O'Connell said | October 19th 2017 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

          Weatherald is a very good prospect, hugely powerful batsman for a small guy.

          He’s cracked 116 from 121 runs today in the elimination final against a strong Victorian attack. That’s left him with 333 runs at 48 (strike rate 97) for the tournament.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 11:36am
            Joe Bell said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            I watched that innings too. Amazing ball striking. Interestingly played and missed what must have been 25+ times… sometimes the luck runs with you. Carey played a very good knock too. Stocks rising for both of them

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