Why Chadd Sayers should make his Test debut in South Africa

Zac Standish Roar Pro

By Zac Standish, Zac Standish is a Roar Pro

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    Fresh from belting the Poms in a 4-0 Ashes rout it doesn’t make a lot of sense to change the winning formula that is Australia’s fast bowling attack.

    However, with a four Test series coming up against South Africa I feel that there is a huge role that could be played by South Australian swing bowler Chadd Sayers.

    We all know the story of Chadd Sayers, he takes wickets at will in the Sheffield Shield, gets picked in the Australian Test squad and narrowly misses the final eleven. This will again most likely be the case, which I feel is the wrong move for a number of reasons.

    Lets just get this out of the way quickly, I am all for going into the first test in Durban with the Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins fast bowling trio that has experienced so much success in recent times.

    They are by far Australia’s best fast bowlers and deserve to be on the park together when they are all fit and conditions suit fast bowling.

    The reason I feel Sayers should play some time in this series is to do with the work load of these bowlers, as in the last four months they have played five test matches (Starc four) and a five-match one-day series where all three were given rest games throughout.

    The one problem with this fast bowling attack is fitness as none of them have really proved they can go through an extended period of time without any sort of injury.

    Pat Cummins in particular worries me, as prior to last year he sat out of red ball cricket for six years as he dealt with a number of serious injuries.

    With this Test series being played over just 30 days, there is the potential for the Australians to be playing in 25 of those, which is definitely concerning with a player such as Cummins.

    Starc has also been under a foot injury cloud for much of the summer, which saw him miss one of the Ashes tests, whilst Josh Hazlewood had his own injury struggles in the lead up top the Australian summer.

    The role of the first reserve bowler in this series will be vital, and I feel that this should without a doubt be the seasoned Chadd Sayers and not the raw and inexperienced Jhye Richardson.

    In his 60 matches of first class cricket, Sayers has taken a total of 246 wickets including two Sheffield Shield leading wicket-taker awards (2012-13, 2016-17) and overall player of the series award in 2016-17.

    The man also averages an exceptional 24.11 with the ball at an economy of 2.67 proving just how skilful he is at his craft. Sayers has also proven he can take wickets in clumps with 13 five wicket hauls and two ten-wicket matches.

    All of the statistics point to a player accomplished enough to be a test cricketer representing his country.

    However, for some reason Sayers is still yet to be given the Baggy Green that he so desperately craves and frankly deserves. Despite his sublime record the selectors always opt against him for selection, with the obvious reason being his speed.

    Unlike the big three Australian quicks, Sayers does not go out there and intimidate with his pace and bounce, rather he outwits the batsmen with his skills in swinging the ball and tempting the opposition into false strokes.

    Although I am happy with the current fast bowlers, I feel Australia do need a bowler of this sort from time to time to put the batsmen under pressure and consistently but the ball on a certain spot.

    The bowler I would liken Sayers to on the world cricket scene at the moment would ironically have to be South African Vernon Philander.

    Bursting onto the scene in 2011, Philander has been consistently one of the best bowlers in world cricket for a long time now due to his crafty skill and consistent line and length.

    Much like Sayers, Philander only needs the pitch to do just a little bit to have an extravagant impact on the game.

    Take South Africa’s last tour of Australia for example as on a green top in Hobart he tore the hosts to pieces with 5/21 of 10.1 overs, leading the way in an eventual innings victory.

    With 188 wickets from 50 tests, Philander has shown the effectiveness a slower seam bowler can have at test level and why Sayers should have at least had a shot in the Australian side.

    So, where does Chadd Sayers fit in this hectic schedule of test cricket.

    With the matches being played in quick succession I feel that the third test in Cape Town is the perfect opportunity for Sayers to debut for his country.

    Two Tests into the series is the perfect juncture to inject some life into the team, and with the heavy workload Cummins and company are likely to receive the inclusion of Sayers could revitalise the attack.

    Whether the team is 2-0, 0-2 or the series is locked away at 1-1 he will definitely give the South Africans something new to think about as he is substantially different to what they would have been receiving in the first two matches.

    Along with the fitness issues of the frontline Australian quicks, the Cape Town pitch has tended to offer a lot to bowlers that can swing and seam the ball with Vernon Philander in particular having lots of success at the venue.

    The most recent match at Newlands saw South Africa defeat the number one ranked Indian team, as Philander played an integral part with figures of 3/33 and 6/42 in each respective innings.

    In his eight Test matches at the venue, Philander has taken an astounding 47 wickets at an average of 16.34 as he simply takes advantage of the pitches bowler friendly traits.

    Although the form of Philander at Newlands doesn’t correlate to a definite strong performance from Sayers, it does bode well for a bowler that can put the ball in good areas and get it to do just enough to draw mistakes from the batsmen.

    So, with this much anticipated test series just one week away I hope we will finally get to see Chadd Sayers receive the Baggy Green that has forever eluded him.

    His statistics prove he is more than capable to slot into this side and in conditions that suit him (such as Newlands) he could even play a pivotal role for the Australian side.

    Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are undoubtedly the future of Australian fast bowling and at peak health should all be selected, however, in such a crucial series the team can’t risk one of them breaking down mid game.

    This is the time for a Chadd Sayers debut, as he is a talent the world definitely needs to see even if it is just for one game.

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • February 23rd 2018 @ 10:15am
      Brian said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

      Not sure how they are going to play 25 days in 4 tests. 20 days maximum I would think.
      After last night Handscomb 0, Bancroft not out and the bowlers firing the team would be set

    • Columnist

      February 23rd 2018 @ 10:35am
      Ronan O'Connell said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

      With this Test series being played over just 30 days, there is the potential for the Australians to be playing in 25 of those,

      Hi Zac, the SA Test series is actually being played over a 34-day period, with a maximum of 20 days of play in that time.

      In terms of injury concerns for the Big Three, I’d argue Cummins is the least worrisome at the moment given he’s gone uninjured through 17 months of almost non-stop cricket now since returning in the domestic 50-over comp at the start of the 2016-17 summer.

      Over that period, Cummins has played a massive 49 limited overs matches and 12 first-class matches (including 9 Tests).

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2018 @ 10:44am
        JamesH said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        I agree, and Hazlewood still looked pretty fresh in the ODIs.

        Starc is the biggest injury concern with his foot troubles, and Richardson looms as the man most likely to replace him. I’d probably give Sayers the nod if Cummins or Hazlewood goes down though.

    • February 23rd 2018 @ 10:46am
      Paul said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      Sayers has had a good Shield career, but this season has not been one of his best. He got some early wickets but has not had the sort of impact I’d expect from a Test ready quick, especially after the New Year.

      The only way he’ll get a run is through injury and/or of Australia has already won the series and the selectors think it’s time to rest an injured bowler.

      By the way, Philander’s record is not great; 188 wickets in 50 Tests at less than 4 wickets per game. Merv Hughes for example took 212 wickets at 4 per test which seems to indicate getting someone with a bit of pace might be a better answer. Philander’s still most effective both when the wickets suit, but when he’s bowling with a Morkel, Steyn or Rabrada.

      Good luck to Sayers if he gets a run but unfortunately he might have to do a Mike Hussey and wait quite a while yet.

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2018 @ 11:48am
        JamesH said | February 23rd 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        Philander has struggled on certain surfaces but his record at home is phenomenal – 25 matches, 118 wickets (better than 4.7 per match), averaging 18.5 at a strike rate of 40.5.

        He still averages under 27 at a strike rate of 61 away from home, which isn’t exactly bad.

    • February 23rd 2018 @ 12:38pm
      Trevor said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

      The bowlers are injury prone not because they bowl too much, but too little. These days they only play 5 tests and 5 one dayers. Back in the 80s and 90s a summer consisted of 5 tests, as well as 14 matches in the one day series. They would all back up and play for their states at any available opportunity and if nothing else was on would play grade cricket. They bowled a lot more and were injured a lot less.

      If we want bowlers to not get injured they need to bowl more, especially at junior levels. Remove over restrictions after Under 12s and we will have a robust, strong group of players who no longer go from bowling 8 overs max on a weekend, to 25 overs in a day.

      • February 23rd 2018 @ 6:10pm
        Geoff Foley said | February 23rd 2018 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

        In contrast to this I cite Dennis Lillee, Bruce Reid, Glenn McGrath etc. Back injuries have plagues fast bowlers forever. That more other injuries like bone spurs and shoulder injuries happen now is a result of greater intensity and the lack of proper downtime throughout a 4 year cycle.

      • February 24th 2018 @ 12:11am
        JoM said | February 24th 2018 @ 12:11am | ! Report

        Their bodies aren’t ready at Under 13 to bowl that many overs, All you need to do is look at some of the younger ones in 1st grade and ask any of them how many back/side/foot problems they have had and most of that is because they are overbowled at training and have been since Under 10 level where plenty of coaches get the “good bowlers” to do nothing but bowl for 2 hours. They get tired and their action gets sloppy and they get injured. Pat Cummins is a perfect example. He was having back problems before Under 16 level and played games as a batsman but wasn’t allowed to bowl as instructed by Cricket NSW. He was still age restricted when he got to 1st grade and I think it was a shield final he was asked to bowl over 50 overs as a 17 year old when in grade he would have been restricted to 18 or 20 overs

    • February 23rd 2018 @ 12:39pm
      qwetzen said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

      “Despite his sublime record the selectors always opt against him for selection, with the obvious reason being his speed.”

      Nahhh. The “obvious reason” why he doesn’t get picked is because he’s not from a certain State. And in a few months he’ll be 31 and therefore officially “too old” to debut.

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2018 @ 2:10pm
        Ryan H said | February 23rd 2018 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

        I still think the speed is their biggest barrier to not selecting him so far. Lehmann’s obsession with 140km/h + pace is not as prevalent now I don’t think, but the preference is still there.

        Not sure playing for SA is impacting him, seeing as they were happy enough to include Mennie and Ferguson in the test side in the last 18 months – albeit for one sole test. Further to that, there’s several players being picked for limited overs sides that play for SA, like Carey, Zampa and Richardson

        • February 23rd 2018 @ 6:12pm
          Geoff Foley said | February 23rd 2018 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

          The reason he is isn’t picked is the state players don’t rate him as highly as Bird in conditions away from the Adelaide Oval. He might get a shot at Newlands though if someone needs a rest- as noted above.

          • February 23rd 2018 @ 6:25pm
            qwetzen said | February 23rd 2018 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

            “The reason he is isn’t picked is the state players don’t rate him as highly as Bird in conditions away from the Adelaide Oval.”

            Is there a competition for ‘Most Bizarre Statement of the Year’ that I don’t know about?

          • Roar Guru

            February 24th 2018 @ 11:13am
            Ryan H said | February 24th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

            What difference does it make what the rest of the state players think, though?

    • February 23rd 2018 @ 2:46pm
      Christo the Daddyo said | February 23rd 2018 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

      If Starc/Cummins/Hazlewood are fit and available they should be picked. I see no reason to not play one of them because of the possibility they might get injured.

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