Ashes Q&A with Brad Hogg: Who to pick at six and seven?

Tristan Knell Roar Rookie

By Tristan Knell, Tristan Knell is a Roar Rookie

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9 Have your say

    With the Ashes kicking off at the Gabba on November 23, the debate over the makeup of the Aussie cricket team continues.

    Bowlers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood and Nathan Lyon will form the best attack we have seen in years if they are at 100 per cent fitness.

    The top order of Matt Renshaw, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and Peter Handscomb seems to be a lock, which leaves the number six and the wicketkeeper as the most highly debated topics in the game.

    The contenders for number six are Hilton Cartwright, Shaun Marsh, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey, Callum Ferguson, Nic Maddison, Daniel Hughes, Moises Henriques and Marcus Stoinis.

    The keeping contenders are Peter Nevill, Alex Carey and the incumbent Matthew Wade.

    I caught up for a chat with Brad Hogg on my Talking with TK Podcast to ask him for his opinion on the Ashes debate while also catching up about his travelling prior to his season of 20/20 with the Melbourne Renegades.

    Catch the entire show here.

    If you love your cricket, the likes of Steve Waugh, Damien Fleming, Brad Haddin, Greg Chappell, Merv Hughes and John Buchanan have all had a chat on the podcast.

    Now to the Q & A with Hoggy:

    TK – Brad, having a look to the Ashes, you’re a big fan of Alex Carey for the wicketkeeper role, which he is contesting with Matthew Wade and Peter Nevill. All three of them didn’t do much to stand out on the weekend, what’s your take on it?

    Brad Hogg – Nevill had a great season in Shield cricket last year, I think he averaged 50 with the bat. Australia has to make the decision, the keeper for me is the energy in the team. If you look at when Australia has been successful they have had Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist behind the stumps, for a good decade they were the mainstay players in the team.

    When you look at it, Matthew Wade and Peter Nevill, both have had a hard time on the selection process, being in and out of the team and neither has had a real good go at it, well both haven’t taken their opportunities despite being talented players.

    If I was looking at it I’d say we got Warner, we got Steve Smith that’s making runs and Renshaw has done alright at the top. But after that our batters aren’t doing enough so we are looking for the keeper who is batting well and scoring runs.

    But the keepers aren’t scoring runs so we’ve struggled in that department over the last couple of years.

    For me, I’d say Carey you got this spot for a couple of years, so make the best out of the opportunity. The only other guy that I would have looked at is Sam Whiteman, but he’s broken his finger and he’s out for the whole season. Timing is everything.

    There has been a lot of talk about Carey, but for me he’s young, he’s going to be around for a long time, so get him in there.

    TK – I spoke to Steve Waugh last week and he said something similar to you in pick and stick, that they need to show confidence in someone young?

    BH – I’ve got no qualms putting in an experienced batter in there, in that middle order to strengthen it because the young players coming through aren’t performing and if you look at the one day series, all the Indian batsmen averaged between 40 and 55, all the Australian batsmen were averaging from high 20s to David Warner and Steve Smith who averaged 50s.


    (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

    Other than those two everyone was below 40.

    When you’re sizing the two teams up that’s a huge problem for the Australians moving forward. They’ve got to work out what youngsters are coming through, who has got the mental aptitude to deal with the pressure out in the middle and turn those low averages out to bigger averages.

    TK – Do we place too much an emphasis on having an all-rounder at number six Brad?

    BH – The all-rounder. Yes, I do unless you got a Ben Stokes there is no point trying to fill that role with someone who has got potential. As far as I’m concerned when you look at when Australia has been dominant, players have dominated Shield cricket.

    You look at the Mike Husseys, didn’t get a game till very late, Justin Langer till very late, Matthew Hayden.

    These guys learnt their craft in Shield cricket, it was made tough for them to get into the Australian team and when they got in they knew that it was going to be a limited opportunity and they made the most of it.

    I don’t think we are doing that enough these days, we’ve just gone to bring youth through.

    If you look at the last Shield game, Ed Cowan was the highest run scorer for NSW, won the award for NSW and those guys are not playing in the strongest team. As far as I’m concerned that is a backward step.

    If you’re not playing the best people in Shield cricket and giving them a run and an opportunity to represent their country when they’ve got the runs on the board, it’s making it too easy for the youngsters to get lengthy opportunities when they haven’t quite deserved it.

    TK – So if you could pick one player to be the number six for Australia who would it be?

    BH – For my liking, you haven’t got an all-rounder like Ben Stokes, you’re looking at a bits and pieces player. For mine, we got a great bowling attack and there needs to someone extremely experienced at number six, so if we haven’t got a quality all-rounder whose making runs we have got to go for the experienced option.

    There is no reason why we can’t go for George Bailey who averaged 50 last year in Shield cricket, he scored a double 100 and has the performances on the board.

    George Bailey of Australia

    (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

    He should be playing one day cricket, he’s a quality player, he’s one of those players that’s been hard done by. You look at Ed Cowan who made a lot of runs last year but I don’t think he would be the perfect fit at number six, I think his role is more at the top of the order probably at number three or even opening, but he’s not going to get a go there.

    Then you got Hilton Cartwright who they gave a coupl of opportunities to and he averaged 50 last year. If they are going to go for an all-rounder, then they have to go for the experience of George Bailey or the young feller who put on the performances last year.

    They gave him a go in the last Test series and I think it would be quite rude for him not to get a go. It’s either maturity or if they go with the young feller they got to give him a go for a very long time at least three or four Test matches in a row.

    TK’s verdict
    I tend to agree with Hoggy that we do need an experienced six to take the pressure off the seven. With the calibre of the bowling line up we have, there is less need on a bowling all-rounder to carry the load.

    Within the team, both Smith and Warner can bowl a few overs if the four top liners need a few overs off.

    At the six either Shaun Marsh or Hilton Cartwright will get the nod. Hilton is a better batsman than he gets credit for and we should place less emphasis on him to be a bowler.

    This will allow us to go back to Nevill’s finer keeper skills, and I think Carey needs a bumper season in the Shield this year to unseat his more experienced rival.

    Who are your picks for the number six and seven as we move forward towards an exciting Test series?

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • Roar Guru

      November 8th 2017 @ 9:22am
      JamesH said | November 8th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Like pretty much everyone else I love Hoggy, but this is a confusing interview. On one hand he is saying he wants Carey to keep because he’s young and has time on his side, but on the other he is lamenting the fact that young players are getting promoted ahead of more experienced players who have done the hard yards and it’s wrecking the Shield comp.

      My philosophy is that you pick based on merit first, and then if there isn’t much between multiple candidates that’s when you promote youth. On that basis you could mount an argument for either Nevill or Carey. I agree that it probably comes down to who you pick at #6, since you wouldn’t want two very raw players at 6 & 7. If Maxwell is picked over Cartwright – which would be my guess at this point – then that helps Carey’s case.

      The one exception to the above philosophy is where you have an obviously elite young talent who has so much potential that it’s worth the gamble to get them in ahead of schedule; e.g. Ponting, Clarke, McGrath. The qualifier to that exception is the need to have a settled side around the young player.

      For me, our batting isn’t stable enough to do something like this at 6 or 7 (and to be honest I’m not sure we have any standout young talent at that sort of level who would fit the bill in either case). In terms of bowling, Pat Cummins is probably the only one, although he did well enough in Asia to simply retain his spot anyway.

      • Roar Rookie

        November 8th 2017 @ 9:43am
        Tristan Knell said | November 8th 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

        Cheers for the comment mate. He does make some good points though on having to do the hard yards and be successful in Shield cricket first. That’s why I think that both Carey and Cartwright should put together another decenet shield year first.

        Cartwright had 2 ducks vs NSW so I think he is gone now. 6 now I think is between Maxwell and Shaun Marsh, both have good credentials, I think Neville is getting support in the right circles also.

        • November 8th 2017 @ 12:33pm
          bazza said | November 8th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

          I suppose the 2 ducks were against a top pace attack as well in being against the Australian Attack pretty much which would have more weight as well

        • Roar Guru

          November 9th 2017 @ 8:47am
          JamesH said | November 9th 2017 @ 8:47am | ! Report

          I’d say Lehmann is a third contender for the spot, but Maxwell just has to not do anything silly between now and the Gabba and he should play.

    • November 8th 2017 @ 11:46am
      ethan said | November 8th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

      If you pick an experienced batsmen at six – a Marsh or a Bailey, then you should simply pick the best keeper available regardless of batting ability.

      If you go for a weak batting all rounder at six, then picking a keeper who can bat becomes more important.

      But do we have a genuine keeper-batsmen? Wade’s test average is only 28. Neville’s is 22, so despite all we hear about Wade being the better batsmen, there’s not that much between them. Meanwhile, Neville has the better first class average (40 vs 37), and is clearly the superior keeper. Alex Carey’s first class average is only 25, so on form he’s not a genuine keeper-batsmen either. Tim Paine has a test average of 36 and first class 29, yet has never been given a look in.

      Haven’t seen much of Paine recently but he should’ve been the guy picked a few years back. If he’s not as good as was, then Neville ticks the most boxes.

    • November 8th 2017 @ 2:16pm
      paul said | November 8th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

      George Bailey, eh? Wasn’t he the same guy who was found wanting against virtually the same fast bowling attack, last Ashes series in Australia? Don’t get me wrong, I reckon he’s a champion bloke, but am not sure his technique is up to Test standards.

      I’ve been assuming, rightly or wrongly, the number 6 position is Maxwell’s to lose, being the incumbent. In other words, if he had a string of failures in the Shield games, he’d be gone. So far, he’s under performed in one game then batted well in the next. If he gets runs in the last game, he’ll start the in the first two tests for sure.

      It’s concerning that Cartwright’s been written off because he got a pair. So what, look at what he’s done over a period of time.

      I think Hogg, Waugh and others are wrong about the keeping position. In an ideal world, “pick and stick” is the way to go for sure, but the bloke with potentially the strongest claims is on the sidelines injured. If he was fit, it’s pretty safe he’d be a shoe in for the First Test.

      If I was a selector, I’d pick the best keeper available for this year only, with a view to changing selections when Whiteman’s available (and assuming he’s fit). I’d then get in the ear of the 6 batsmen and tell them clearly to get runs, because we’re not likely to see much production from numbers 7 – 11

    • November 8th 2017 @ 7:23pm
      John Erichsen said | November 8th 2017 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

      I see John Buchanan has voiced his frustration of the selectors push for youth in recent times at the expense of more experienced players. As far as batsmen go, which more experienced players are performing considerably better than the 25 year olds? Cowan, last year perhaps, but he’s been shunned by the selectors. Most other experienced batsmen struggle to average more than the younglings. If the gap is minimal, youth wins.
      As far as Hoggy’s claims that promoting youth is wrecking the comp, I am not sure how, unless he means by the selection panel deciding which players states select and where they bat, etc. I think being selected too young and getting dropped may wreck the young players confidence more than it wrecks the domestic comp.

    • November 8th 2017 @ 11:36pm
      TheCunningLinguistic said | November 8th 2017 @ 11:36pm | ! Report

      S. Marsh at 6, Bancroft at 7 & WK. Experience & youth, and both in good form. Makes sense…

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