Khawaja, Short and Lynn are key to rebuilding the Australian ODI team

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

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

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    Australia should include blasters D’Arcy Short, Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell in their ODI line-up for the upcoming five-match series in England in an effort to match the batting power of the hosts.

    Short, Lynn and Maxwell should play in the June series in the absence of the banned Steve Smith and David Warner and the injured Mitch Marsh.

    The Aussies will also need a replacement for Mitchell Starc, who has a shin injury, with WA pace pair Andrew Tye and Jhye Richardson the best options given the unavailability of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff.

    Meanwhile, I would give Usman Khawaja the chance to lock down Australia’s number three spot, playing the Joe Root-style anchor role in a top-six otherwise filled with brutal ball strikers.

    1. D’Arcy Short
    2. Aaron Finch (c)
    3. Usman Khawaja
    4. Chris Lynn
    5. Glenn Maxwell
    6. Marcus Stoinis
    7. Tim Paine (wk)
    8. Ashton Agar
    9. Pat Cummins
    10. Andrew Tye
    11. Josh Hazlewood

    Reserves: Travis Head, Jhye Richardson, Adam Zampa, James Faulkner.

    Khawaja’s inclusion would be at the expense of Travis Head. Head opens for SA in domestic 50-over cricket and it is clearly his best position in the format, as evidenced by his 290 runs at 58 at the top of the order in ODIs.

    But with David Warner unavailable and England being such a high-scoring opponent, Australia needs to replace Warner with a similarly powerful striker at the top of the order. Short is the obvious option, keeping the valuable left-hand/right-hand opening combination and also adding a very handy wrist spin option to complement the finger spin of Ashton Agar and Maxwell.

    D'Arcy Short

    (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

    Short has a solid bowling record in his brief List A career, taking 12 wickets from 12 matches at an average of 33 and with a decent economy rate of 5.19 runs per over.

    It would be a harsh call on Head, but one which would leave Australia better equipped to make or chase the kinds of huge totals required to beat England, the most explosive batting side in ODIs.

    Unlike Warner, who seeks to tear into the new ball bowlers, Head prefers to get himself set before accelerating. This would be fine if Head’s opening partner were a Warner-type.

    But incumbent opener Finch has had his greatest success playing within himself in the opening 10 overs, so he is best complemented by a dasher like Short.

    There is a case to play Head at first drop, behind Warner and Short, but I think this is a perfect time to give Khawaja what could be his final chance to cement an ODI spot.

    Lynn at four is a risk due to his physical frailty yet if he can stay healthy he has the ability to plunder the solid but unspectacular England attack.

    The same goes for Maxwell at five. The Victorian should be used more flexibly in the ODI batting order – held back if Australia has a top-order collapse, or promoted to pile on the pain if they get off to a flying start.

    Glenn Maxwell

    (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

    Behind Maxwell at six, Stoinis has shown commendable adaptability in his brief ODI career, either steadying the ship when necessary or ending the team’s innings with a savage flourish. With 566 runs at 63 in ODIs, at a strike rate of 105, he has quickly made himself one of Australia’s most pivotal players.

    While Stoinis and Maxwell pick themselves, the wicketkeeper position is up for grabs. I would favour Peter Handscomb or Alex Carey over the incumbent Tim Paine. But, realistically, there is zero chance the new Australian Test captain will get dropped for this ODI series in England.

    On the bowling front, Australia should invest in Agar, who was the standout bowler in the recent Twenty20 Tri-Series against England and New Zealand, taking seven wickets at 16 with a sensational economy rate of just 6.38rpo.

    Agar showed in that series he has the accuracy and unflappable temperament to withstand heavy aggression from world-class batsmen. That is telling given England’s ODI team will go after whichever spinner Australia field.

    Agar also has the advantage of being a fine fieldsman and a free-scoring lower-order batsman. The latter of these skills would help balance the Australian team, allowing the likes of Maxwell and Lynn to tee off knowing they have depth in batting with Agar at 8 and Cummins at 9.

    Andrew Tye should get the first crack at filling the void left by Starc, with Jhye Richardson and James Faulkner waiting in the wings if Tye struggles. Australia will be massively weakened by the unavailability of three elite ODI cricketers in Starc, Warner and Smith.

    But the above XI would provide them with the kind of batting power and bowling variety teams require to compete with the impressive England ODI team.

    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 (74)

    • April 10th 2018 @ 6:49am
      Basil 1 of 2 said | April 10th 2018 @ 6:49am | ! Report

      Carey for Paine.

      • Roar Guru

        April 10th 2018 @ 9:37am
        Matt H said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        I would normally agree, but with the sudden shock to Australian cricket, there needs to be some stability and calm heads on the field. You can;t leave Finch all on his own.

        • April 10th 2018 @ 9:53am
          jameswm said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:53am | ! Report

          He’d have cool heads and experience like Khawaja, Maxwell, Hazelwood etc.

        • Roar Guru

          April 10th 2018 @ 10:00am
          JamesH said | April 10th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          Finch wouldn’t be on his own. Khawaja and Maxwell have loads of experience as international players and leaders, while Lynn has captained the Heat.

          I’d still play Carey over Paine but I think Ronan is right – the selectors will be a bit conservative and keep Paine around the team.

        • April 10th 2018 @ 4:48pm
          Basil 1 of 2 said | April 10th 2018 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

          By all means keep Paine as the Test glove an but why hold back Carey? He’s got a cool head, he’s an extremely good keeper, and better suited to batting in limited overs cricket than Paine.

          • Roar Guru

            April 10th 2018 @ 10:27pm
            Ryan H said | April 10th 2018 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

            Definitely better suited, and I don’t think Ronan is doubting that either. Paine in the ODI side over Carey in the next 12 months would be about stability and leadership more than anything.

            • Roar Rookie

              April 11th 2018 @ 9:27am
              Pedro The Fisherman said | April 11th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

              Yet he claims that Head, who is one of Australia’s better performed ODI players of late and would offer some stability to the ODI side, should be dropped in favour of someone that can have a bash ast the top of the order (D’Arcy Short).
              Lets drop someone who captains his State in Shield, ODI and T20 and averages 53 for Australia when opening shall we? That should help stability and leadership.

              • Columnist

                April 11th 2018 @ 5:08pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | April 11th 2018 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

                Pedro just let us all know he didn’t watch Australia’s last ODI series

    • Roar Guru

      April 10th 2018 @ 7:45am
      The Bush said | April 10th 2018 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      I like the line up Ronan, hard to fault. I also agree about the holding back of Maxwell if necessary.

      With respect to Paine, the Australian’s just need to use him wisely. If we have a batting collapse, then send him in ahead of Maxwel and Stoinis.

      If we’ve only got a few overs left to tonk, then I’d send Agar (and even Cummins) ahead of him. Mind you, while he’s never going to be as explosive as Maxwell, Stoinis or M Marsh, there’s no reason why he can’t play his part at the end of the innings. Someone has to be down the other end to the sloggers.

      • April 10th 2018 @ 9:53am
        jameswm said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        Maxwell is more adaptable than he’s given credit for.

        • Roar Guru

          April 10th 2018 @ 10:56am
          The Bush said | April 10th 2018 @ 10:56am | ! Report

          I agree, but if you’ve lost early wickets, I’d rather send out Paine to rebuild the innings and saving Maxwell to do his thing at the end (which Paine cannot do).

      • Columnist

        April 10th 2018 @ 2:36pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | April 10th 2018 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

        Bush you’re right on the use of Paine – if Australia are 2-20 then promote him to steady things up and hold back Lynn/Maxwell to hopefully be able to go hard once Paine has righted the ship.

        Australia have been far too inflexible with their ODI batting lineup.

    • April 10th 2018 @ 8:07am
      Pope Paul VII said | April 10th 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      It’s a tricky one. Khawaja is better suited to opening in limited overs I reckon. I think he’s also better suited to opening in test cricket as well.

      • Roar Guru

        April 10th 2018 @ 8:55am
        Chris Kettlewell said | April 10th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        I agree with Khawaja at the top in ODI’s. He’s shown that he is great starting out with the field up and making the most of those powerplay overs. If anything, I might be tempted to switch Khawaja and Finch and put Finch in at 3. He actually seems to look to play less the really explosing innings but more the slow burn, going for the long innings while maintaining a decent strike rate, could be good at the number 3 spot.

        • April 10th 2018 @ 9:18am
          Christo the Daddyo said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

          Yep – agree with swapping Khawaja and Finch.

        • April 10th 2018 @ 9:19am
          Pope Paul VII said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          Yep sounds good.

        • Roar Guru

          April 10th 2018 @ 9:39am
          Matt H said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          The fact is, Lynn will likely never get an extended run in the side, so there is room for Khawaja, Head and Finch. I agree with the consensus that if Khawaja is ever going to make it in limited overs, it’s as an opener. Then Head can come in at three and Finch as four where he has had recent success.

          • Roar Guru

            April 10th 2018 @ 9:48am
            Chris Kettlewell said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

            I would really love it for him to get past the injuries and be able to get an extended run, but the more time goes on and he gets more and more injuries, the harder it is to see it happening.

          • Roar Rookie

            April 10th 2018 @ 8:24pm
            Don said | April 10th 2018 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

            Lynn is 28.
            Lets say he is fit again for a while – he’s back playing now.

            Why can’t he give us 6 years in the ODI and T20 sides?

            And the guy was a bee’s appendage off being in the test squad a few years ago when he was top scorer in an Aus A side before he was forced out for a while lest he lose a gonad. After that he had the 2 shoulder injuries and the knee injury…

        • April 10th 2018 @ 9:54am
          jameswm said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Problem is if you swap Khawaja and Finch, the opponents will open with a right arm offie, who we’ll find hard to tonk in the first 10 overs.

          • April 10th 2018 @ 10:36am
            Brian said | April 10th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            I wouldn’t have Khawaja near the ODI team. When as he ever performed? He’s last 8 ODI scores are 17, 14, 0, 6, 82*, 17, 9, 30. The 82 was against Ireland. His Test form is terrible. Give Head a chance. World Cup wise Smith will then replace one of Head or Lynn.

            Otherwise I’d have Carey for Paine and Zampa for Agar but I can see why not as well.

            • April 10th 2018 @ 1:11pm
              jameswm said | April 10th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

              Nah Ussie is a good enough batsman. The only thing that could keep him out of the team is his fielding.

          • April 10th 2018 @ 11:57am
            Adam said | April 10th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

            Lol so true.jameswm

          • April 10th 2018 @ 12:01pm
            Pope Paul VII said | April 10th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

            The pitches are flat. The seamers like the harder ball. There are two batsmen out there. The field is up. Don’t have to deal with fatigue if batting second.

      • Columnist

        April 10th 2018 @ 2:58pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | April 10th 2018 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

        I think swapping Khawaja and Finch could work. The way Finch has batted recently he doesn’t rely on the field being up during the Power Play to get him going so he could probably adapt to 3.

        • April 10th 2018 @ 3:50pm
          Perry Bridge said | April 10th 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

          I tend to avoidance of tinkering with something that ain’t broke – – i.e. Finch stays at the top of the order – based on recent form.

          Is Short such a given? He’s a T20 lock for now – but in the longer formats I’m far from convinced – let alone top of the order – perhaps he’s a power play special?

          • Columnist

            April 10th 2018 @ 4:36pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | April 10th 2018 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

            I think Short really adds value with his bowling too. He’s bowled well for WA in 50-over cricket and having the option of a left arm wrist spinner is great for the variety of an attack.

            Against a team who bats as aggressively as England I think variety of bowlers is key to try to prevent them from getting into a rhythm.

        • April 10th 2018 @ 4:37pm
          KenoathCarnt said | April 10th 2018 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

          Khawaja is better suited for the shorter format he is a brilliant stroke maker and giving freedom to play shots preferably opening will only increase his performance. Having Finch at 3 will mean he gets to face more spin which couldn’t work out any better for Australia seeing it is something they struggle against.

          • Columnist

            April 10th 2018 @ 8:08pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | April 10th 2018 @ 8:08pm | ! Report

            Finch doesn’t struggle against spin he plays it better than any other Aussie bar Smith. That’s why he has a very good IPL record.

            • April 10th 2018 @ 9:12pm
              KenoathCarnt said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

              Yea that was my point I would like to see Gotch in the team he averaged 50 in the JLT and looks very confident against spin.

      • Roar Guru

        April 10th 2018 @ 10:28pm
        Ryan H said | April 10th 2018 @ 10:28pm | ! Report

        Yeah Khawaja has to open I’d think, his blistering efforts in recent years for QLD and the Sydney Thunder have come opening up.

    • April 10th 2018 @ 8:24am
      Paul said | April 10th 2018 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      Every time I see Lynn’s name mentioned, I cringe, not because he’s not a fine player, but because of his injury record. I can see the logic in your selections Ronan, but his is a gamble, solely on fitness.

      Your comments about Maxwell are interesting in light of your recent article, where you pointed out how badly he’s been done by Test selectors, who have moved him all over the shop in the batting order. Aren’t you suggesting the same here? It’s obvious these are two different formats, but the side you’ve chosen can all hit, once they get going. If the openers get off to a flyer, Lynn or Stoinis are just as capable as Maxwell at getting things moving. Kahwaja’s no slouch either.

      Faulkner is there based on what? Hos recent ODI record hasn’t been great, so not sure why he’s in your squad.

      • Roar Guru

        April 10th 2018 @ 8:56am
        Chris Kettlewell said | April 10th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        Yea, my first reaction on seeing the headline is “I hope we don’t need to rely on Lynn too much or we could be in trouble because he can barely stay on the park!”

      • Roar Guru

        April 10th 2018 @ 1:36pm
        JamesH said | April 10th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        IMO Lynn would just be keeping the seat warm for Mitch Marsh anyway. It’s hard to see Lynn having any lengthy career outside of T20.

      • Columnist

        April 10th 2018 @ 3:07pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | April 10th 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

        Paul I can’t pull up Faulkner’s stats on my phone but you’ll find that his “bad form” with the ball in ODIs has been overstated and that he’s only really struggled against India who have really worked him out via all the IPL exposure.

        Faulkner’s bowling record has otherwise been good in ODIs since the last World Cup.

        With Starc out Faulkner offers a left arm option and lots of experience

    • April 10th 2018 @ 8:44am
      bowledover said | April 10th 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      I like this, agree especially with your bowling options.

      I would think about giving Finch captaincy and swapping Carey for Paine. (Carey strikes me as more than just a dasher and is the future of the Wicket keeping for Aus **Whiteman, where are you?). I think Paine would also work, but I don’t think he is the right choice.

      The Lynn problem is not easily solvable. Lynn is a game winner if he comes off, but his poor injury record and limited exposure in ODIs might count against him. Given this, I would be highly tempted to keep Head in the top 4.

      I also wonder if there might be some flexibility with Finch batting a bit further down, allowing Khawaja (who I think is a good pick and brings some experience to the side) to open and Head to bat at 3? Finch has show he can do it elsewhere.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 10th 2018 @ 8:49am
      Tom VDS said | April 10th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      Completely agree with this. Will be interesting to see if the selectors will be bold and pick such a team though, as we were so dramatically off the pace of ODI cricket against England during the summer…

      Paine should play instead of Carey for the minute, so he can remain the figurehead of a side that is already going through immense change. Also, rather than hold Maxwell back, as top order player at Shield level now for Victoria is he better equiped to get through tough periods early in the innings? Already got the likes of Lynn and Stoinis in there who can whack it to all parts later on

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