Why Darren Lehmann shouldn’t be a selector

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    There’s an unwritten rule among Australian cricket selectors – only the chairman explains to the media once a team has been released.

    Unless you’re Darren Lehmann.

    Yesterday, the Australian coach-selector made it crystal clear Mitchell Marsh will replace the out-of-form Peter Handscomb in the baggy green line-up for the third Ashes Test against England at the WACA.

    “We’ve got all the reports back and JL [Western Australian coach Justin Langer] has been really impressed with him,” Lehmann said.

    “He’s surprised by bowling a couple of games ago, he surprised us as well to be perfectly honest. His batting has been exceptional all summer and he’s led from the front as captain. He deserves his chance.”

    Really?

    There’s another unwritten rule – if the team ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Australia leads two-nil after a ten-wicket win at the Gabba and a 120-run success in Adelaide. Fairly comprehensive in the real world.

    Just to prove the point, so far Australia has lost just 28 wickets for 1081 – the average per wicket stands at a healthy 38.61.

    Beleaguered England has lost the maximum 40 wickets for 957 – their average per wicket an unhealthy 23.93.

    So why is there any reason to make a change?

    Sure Usman Khawaja and Handscomb are the only two Australian batsmen below par, averaging 28 and 20 respectively in the two Tests, but both have career form on Australian wickets to retain their spots.

    Australian batsman Usman Khawaja

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Until Lehmann chirped yesterday; the wrap he gave Mitchell Marsh bordered on the second coming.

    There are two very valid reasons why Lehmann, as national coach, shouldn’t be a selector.

    How does any out-of-form Australian Test batsman go to his coach asking for help when the coach is a selector? That move would be the kiss of death.

    The selectors should only be Trevor Hohns, Mark Waugh, and Greg Chappell – a more than capable trifecta.

    So what does Mitchell Marsh offer the baggy greens at the WACA above Glenn Maxwell?

    Marsh has scored 402 Sheffield Shield runs as captain of Western Australia this season at 44.66, with top scores of 141 and 95.

    But in his last 36 Test digs, Marsh has only cracked 50 once, so why is he on the brink to be in the XI for Perth?

    Lehmann made the comment that Marsh has started to bowl again in the last three weeks after a nine-month break following shoulder surgery.

    His figures of 2-49, and 0-47 are hardly riveting enough to demand inclusion.

    Maxwell tops the Shield batting averages with 73.75, thanks to his 590 runs that include a career-high 278, as well as 96, 64 and 60.

    He’s a world-class fieldsman, Marsh isn’t, and Maxwell has the capabilities of being a world-class batsman if he becomes responsible, while Marsh will never reach that level.

    But both Marsh and Maxwell will never trouble good opposition batsmen, let alone Test quality ones, with their bowling.

    The more sensible selection would be to retain Peter Handscomb. Who’s to say he won’t relish a belter of a WACA wicket to crack three figures?

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (30)

    • Roar Guru

      December 11th 2017 @ 8:09am
      Atawhai Drive said | December 11th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      Even the 1948 Invincibles made changes to their winning line-up.

      Bill Brown was dropped after the second Test.

      • December 11th 2017 @ 9:34am
        paul said | December 11th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        The first 5 batsmen in the next Test were Barnes, Morris, Bradman, Hassett and Miller. All were in form and were dominating a pop gun English attack. The guy they brought in, Sam Loxton, had come off a complete Shield series where he’d made significant contributions with bat and ball.

        I can see the point you’re trying to make, but there are no comparisons at all with the current situation

        • Roar Guru

          December 11th 2017 @ 10:59am
          Atawhai Drive said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

          Who said anything about comparisons with the current situation?

          The point, simply, was that Bill Brown was dropped after two Tests. A winning team made a selection change.

      • December 12th 2017 @ 12:39am
        Realist said | December 12th 2017 @ 12:39am | ! Report

        Lordy this is the right article about the wrong bloke

        It’s Michael Chieka who needs to be removed from the selection committee if the country is to unite behind the national rugby union team (not just Sydney)

    • December 11th 2017 @ 8:27am
      Pope Paul VII said | December 11th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      I agree Lordy. A test player’s form is down and the last bloke they want to approach is the coach.

    • December 11th 2017 @ 9:20am
      paul said | December 11th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

      Boof’s love affair with having an all rounder in the side is well known. He seems to not care whether that player is Test quality or not and MM is not. It seems to me Boof has manufactured a reason to bring MM back into the side – the pitch MIGHT be a road, our bowlers MIGHT need a fifth bowling option and there is only ONE cricketer in the country who can help them out.

      You’ve summarised the situation perfectly David – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

      • December 11th 2017 @ 8:17pm
        cos1 said | December 11th 2017 @ 8:17pm | ! Report

        Somehow, someone always manages to manufacture a way to bring the Marsh brothers back in. (That being said, Shaun is making their critics look a little silly at the moment).

        You got it spot on re quality. It’s one thing to say a players’ skill sets match a strategic requirement or percieved needs in relation to team balance – which is what they harp on about endlessly nowadays. Its another thing entirely to say a player’s skills are adequate for a given level. In the case of Mitch Marsh, he has the lowest batting average of a number 6 in the history of test cricket – lower than Starc’s, off memory. And his bowling average is nearly 40. His figures, by comparison, make Shane Watson look like a Gary Sobers or Jacques Kallis. And no one can say he has not had a fair crack of the whip.

        The biggest problem has always been his batting. There is no way, on past form, he is fit to be a number 6, and it is crazy to say he should be regarded as a better batting option than either Hanscomb or Maxwell. It will be interesting to see if Mitch Marsh has made serious inroads in improving his technique, or if the good form is a temporary deviation from the norm. Either way, I don’t see the rush to bring him back when he is really there for the bowling, but has bowled 22 overs in two games – that’s an average of 11 a match and about five an innings. That doesn’t shout out match fit to me.

        We have heard a lot from Justin Langer lately. Justin Langer is an Australian great. He supports his local boys and believes in them and fair enough, you would expect nothing less. You can’t blame him for anything he has said, but people listening to his advice need to put what he says into perspective.

    • December 11th 2017 @ 9:41am
      Alan said | December 11th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      Geoff Lemon made the salient (imo) point that Lehman doesn’t rate as a cricketer anyone he doesn’t like as a bloke. That’s a problem for anyone outside the clique.

      • December 11th 2017 @ 10:55am
        bigbaz said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

        this

      • December 11th 2017 @ 11:27am
        George said | December 11th 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        Spot on.

      • December 11th 2017 @ 12:21pm
        beepee said | December 11th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

        Yep!

    • Roar Rookie

      December 11th 2017 @ 10:24am
      Don said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      The contradiction of opinion on whether the coach should be a selector goes on.
      Personally, I think they should have a spot on a 3 person panel as we see today. However, my caveat would be that the other selectors have no existing State or ACB roles.

      But I find it interesting that David has long been an advocate of Boof not being a selector yet argued strongly against the notion that Michael Cheika should not be sole selector of the Wallabies on this same site a year or so ago. David found the idea that Cheika should have a panel of selectors involved with Wallabies picks untenable and unnecessary.

      My only issue with Boof is how he is prepared to give opinion in detail on player’s form and allows his assistant coaches to offer in depth opinion as well.
      Whilst we all enjoy honesty and insight, I can’t help but think the media needs to be played with a few more cliches when it comes down to possible selections.

    • December 11th 2017 @ 11:24am
      George said | December 11th 2017 @ 11:24am | ! Report

      Hear, hear! Probably shouldn’t still be coach either.

      • Roar Guru

        December 11th 2017 @ 11:34am
        pformagg said | December 11th 2017 @ 11:34am | ! Report

        JL should be it.

        • December 11th 2017 @ 11:37am
          JoM said | December 11th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

          Gillespie

        • December 11th 2017 @ 12:08pm
          twodogs said | December 11th 2017 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

          Excessively biased.

        • December 11th 2017 @ 2:10pm
          Basil said | December 11th 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

          No. I don’t think we’d be able to spot the difference between the Aussie team and the Warriors if JL was coach.

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