The big questions for Australia after England’s ODI whitewash

Stephen Vagg Roar Guru

By Stephen Vagg, Stephen Vagg is a Roar Guru


55 Have your say

    Could it have gone worse than six-nil?

    Well, yes, actually. No-one died. No-one got sent home for cheating or failing a drug test. No-one was revealed to have signed for a rival cricketing tour. We did win two tour games. Things have been worse.

    It was still pretty bad but, let’s look at how the squad did.

    1. Travis Head
    Mixed success. Several 50s but never really went on with the job. He threatened to have a big breakthrough but never quite got there, a common story with Head. Still, it was encouraging – he and Finch look as though they could make a decent combination up the top of the order.

    Big question: Why is he never bowled any more?

    2. Aaron Finch
    His was a good tour at the top of the order. He was tried down the order, an experiment which received some criticism, but I didn’t mind it – it was worth a shot even if it did fail. His consistent good form is a rare positive for Australian one-day cricket.

    Big question: is he going to be captain? By all rights he should be. An established player, very experienced in captaincy – he should’ve been captain in England. I get the feeling Langer will want to push for Mitch Marsh, though. Langer simply has more invested in Marsh’s success than Finch’s and will have greater control over the team through Marsh. I could be totally wrong about this. But we’ll see.

    Aaron Finch plays a square drive

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    3. D’Arcy Short
    A bolter for the tour and a pet of Justin Langer, but I can see the selectors’ point. His domestic one-day record isn’t bad. He averages only 31 but has a strike rate of 100 and offers a bowling and good fielder option, something Usman Khawaja, for example, does not. He didn’t have a great tour but I wouldn’t mind seeing him tried down the order for a few more games before he’s discarded.

    Big question: is he capable of scoring runs on anything other than bouncy Australian wickets?

    4. Shaun Marsh
    A success story. The senior Marsh has long had a decent one-day record domestically – he averages 43 at a strike rate of 80 – and a pretty good one internationally. The ascension of Langer saw him get another chance in the not-particularly-good-fielder-but-stylish-batsman slot that Khawaja wants. Khawaja averages 45 in domestic one-dayers at a strike rate of 86 but only averages 31 in ODIs, and he has played 18.

    Big question: should Australia play him and Khawaja at the same time?

    5. Marcus Stoinis
    The sexy success story in recent years, but despite starting with a century against Sussex, he was found out a little on this tour and his ODI average is drifting back to his List A figure of 33. He should be put back down the order, where Australia badly needs his explosive strength. His bowling is erratic but useful.

    Big question: can he get his groove back?

    Marcus Stoinis of Australia celebrates on reaching his maiden century

    (AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

    6. Glenn Maxwell
    At one stage it looked as though he wasn’t even going to be in the first ODI, and he responded with a 60-plus score. He didn’t catch fire in the other two games and missed the last two for injury. Langer doesn’t seem to be a fan, but Ponting, who is in the set-up and has a soft spot for erratic geniuses, is. An Australian team shorn of star power needs Maxwell, let’s hope it can work out.

    Big question: can Maxwell thrive under Langer?

    7. Tim Paine
    Urgh. Most of us thought Paine would struggle – his domestic one-day strike rate is 71 after 132 games – but not this badly. I thought he might at least get, say, a fighting 50 in a losing cause or something, but it was a personal disaster.

    He was lucky to go on the tour – or so he thought; his reputation would’ve been better had he missed it. I can’t see him playing ODI cricket for Australia again. They’ll go for Alex Carey, and if Carey doesn’t work out, I think they’ll look elsewhere.

    Big question: how long will Paine last as Australian captain in Test cricket? If he loses to India at home I get the feeling he won’t make it to the Ashes – too many people above him will be looking to protect their own jobs.

    8. Alex Carey
    Carey is an exciting player although, as some have pointed out, his domestic one-day record with the bat actually isn’t awesome – he has an average of 29 and a strike rate of 77 – and is much less impressive than his T20 stats. He got to play some games as a specialist bat, which were a waste of time with Usman Khawaja in the actual country. He deserves a decent run before being turfed, though.

    Big question(s): how will his batting go in ODIs and who is our back-up option if Carey doesn’t cut it? Could it be Jimmy Pierson, with a domestic average of 24 with a strike rate of 84? Seb Gotch (30/74)? Peter Nevill (22/74)? Sam Harper (23/93)? Sam Whiteman (20/67)? Josh Inglis (31/110, albeit with only 11 games)? Do they bring back Matthew Wade (25/82)? I think they’ve got to commit to Carey.

    9. Ashton Agar
    Another favourite of Langer’s, Agar has entered his fifth year of being promising. It’s hard to get excited about his batting or bowling, but to be fair both were pretty good. He offers some starch down the order and while watching him bowl you can’t help wonder if we’d be better off with a leg spinner (Fawad Ahmed? Mitchell Swepson?) he was better than most of the pace bowlers. His one-day domestic strike rate is 92 but he does only average 22.

    Big question: is he good enough to bat at number seven internationally? Is he good enough to be a front-line bowler?

    10. Kane Richardson
    Did he play? That’s right, he did.

    Big question: do we persist or try someone new?

    11. Jhye Richardson
    More Langer favourites. Did he play? That’s right, he did. He did better than Kane, and he’s younger.

    Big question: do we persist or try someone new?

    12. Bill Stanlake
    “He’s tall! He’s fast! He’s tall! He’s fast!” Does he actually get wickets? “He’s tall! He’s fast!” Look, I’ll give Stanlake the benefit of the doubt – he was the best of a dodgy batch – but can we hear a little less from journos about how he “hits the pitch at 145”? It’s not the only thing you need in a bowler.

    Big question: when does the spate of injuries start?

    Billy Stanlake of Australia celebrates

    (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

    13. Michael Neser
    I’ve got a soft spot for Neser, but he was picked for a one-day tour on Shield form more than domestic one-day form, with a batting average of 24, a strike rate of 85, a bowling average of 36.7 and an economy rate of 5.3. I don’t think he’s ever going to turn into the James Faulkner that the selectors want him to be, though. By the way, what did happen to James Faulkner?

    Big question: do we persist or try someone new?

    14. Nathan Lyon
    One of our best-ever bowlers looks as though he might get a decent crack at one-day cricket, and I’m glad. Agar’s superior batting might give him the edge, but with our bowling struggles we need Lyon’s skill too. Why can’t we play two spinners? Because of Australian prejudice, that’s why. But at the moment an attack including Agar and Lyon is our best option.

    Big question: can Australia get over their prejudice against spinners who aren’t Shane Warne?

    15. Andrew Tye
    A T20 success story, very unproven at one-day cricket. Another Langer pet project.

    Big question: do we persist or try someone new?

    Nathan Lyon of Australia prepares to bowl

    (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

    16. Justin Langer
    This was very much a Justin Langer team, packed full of West Australians, but he fronted the end of the tour armed and ready with excuses. “We’re missing six top players” – we used to lose with them in the team too. “We’re a young team” – they could’ve picked players like George Bailey, Cameron White or Khawaja.

    “England are settled” – Australia didn’t have to chop and change. “The domestic one-day competition has been stuffed around” – this is a completely accurate observation.

    What to do about moving forward? To be fair to the selectors, it’s not easy – but this disaster has in part been due to some weird selection policies (Sam Heazlett?). At least the top three seems settled. That just leaves the middle order, lower middle order, keeper and bowling attack.

    Every cricket fan will throw in their ten cents, but here is mine. This is the team I’d be going for

    1. Aaron Finch (captain)
    2. Travis Head (vice-captain)
    3. Shaun Marsh
    4. Glenn Maxwell
    5. D’Arcy Short or Nic Maddinson (worth a punt)
    6. Marcus Stoinis
    7. Ashton Agar
    8. Alex Carey (take the pressure off him a little batting down the order, encourage him to go for it)
    9. Some bowler (I honestly don’t know with the bowlers – Joe Mennie?)
    10. Billy Stanlake
    11. Nathan Lyon

    I’d also bring George Bailey into the squad to help with maturity, He’s still scoring runs, he’s only a year older than Marsh and the World Cup is only next year and teams tend to win when Bailey’s in them. Think about Khawaja and Joe Mennie.

    And most of all, play a lot more one-day cricket against spinners.

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    The Crowd Says (55)

    • June 30th 2018 @ 3:07am
      KenoathCarnt said | June 30th 2018 @ 3:07am | ! Report

      Khawaja has to be given a shot

      Full strength team

      Mitch Marsh

      • June 30th 2018 @ 11:39am
        George said | June 30th 2018 @ 11:39am | ! Report

        Must get Khawaja in, his form short term and long term is absurdly good

      • June 30th 2018 @ 11:41am
        Krishna Singh said | June 30th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        Steve Smith and David warner will be welcomed back into the team after there ban and i don’t mind that but you can’t give him any leadership roles but just get them to play. Khawaja for me is a must in all 3 formats. And when will starc be fit

      • June 30th 2018 @ 11:57am
        Stephen Vagg said | June 30th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

        thing is, we won’t have some of those players for a while. We need to build our bench strength. Great opportunity for some players be interested to see who takes it.

      • Roar Guru

        June 30th 2018 @ 7:49pm
        Ryan H said | June 30th 2018 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

        If you’re going to have that top six, surely you just open with Finch and have Khawaja at 3? Finch has done all his good work at ODI level at the top, so not sure why everyone wants to shuffle him around. I get that Khawaja might be more dynamic as an opener but he’s at least played a lot of cricket at number 3.

        • June 30th 2018 @ 7:58pm
          Krishna Singh said | June 30th 2018 @ 7:58pm | ! Report

          I wuld also go for khawaja at 3, but he can easily open as he is very dynamic in the power play

        • July 1st 2018 @ 2:52pm
          Stephen Vagg said | July 1st 2018 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

          I think it was worth seeing how Finch did down the order – I was curious based on his strong T20 results down there – but they’ve tried it, he’s more effective up the top, lets keep him up there. As Ian Chappell said, don’t weaken a strength to strengthen a weakness.

        • July 1st 2018 @ 7:37pm
          KenoathCarnt said | July 1st 2018 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

          I still think Finch would be good at first drop and gives Khawaja a license to let loose in the powerplay with reliable Finch to come in. It also let’s Finch face more of the spin which is what we need most.

    • Roar Guru

      June 30th 2018 @ 7:26am
      Saurabh Gandle said | June 30th 2018 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      What happened to Bailey?

      • June 30th 2018 @ 11:50am
        Stephen Vagg said | June 30th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

        The selectors got sick of him because of his age and weird stance (despite still scoring runs) and he was punted. The Australian one day team has never been good since. I’m not saying this was the direct cause but it definitely didn’t help.

    • June 30th 2018 @ 8:17am
      Paul said | June 30th 2018 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      Can the “genius” tag please be removed from Glenn Maxwells name. He’s literally had hundreds of chances across the different formats of the game and has done little to justify this accolade, especially in recent years. He should have stood up as a senior player in England but hardly rated a mention. If you want to tag a “genius” Jos Buttler’s the one.

      Stephen, a big part of the reason Australia’s doing so badly at ODI cricket is because we simply don’t have enough quality players to choose from. If all were available, only 6 would be locks to play in Australia’s best ODI side (Warner, Finch, Smith, Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood). The rest have records that are second tier at best or poor at worst. The problem is, we have no one coming through who’s any better.

      Me thinks we’ll have an early exit from the WC next year.

      • June 30th 2018 @ 11:42am
        Krishna Singh said | June 30th 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

        If Khawaja can get just a third of the chances the big show gets

      • June 30th 2018 @ 11:56am
        Stephen Vagg said | June 30th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

        Maxwell has come through at certain times – his form in the World Cup was incredible. Ditto the recent T20 series against England at home. Agree he’s inconsistent but he plays in an unsettled, unconfident side, unlike Buttler.

        I agree there does seem to be a depth in player choices for one day cricket. In T20 cricket there seem to be a lot of options. No sure if it’s because we play less one day cricket these days or the talent simply isn’t there.

        I feel the 2015 World Cup victory hid some flaws – we’ve been a weak one day country for a while, but got past it in the World Cup due to playing at home (i.e. we didn’t even need to have a spinner) and got the last out of old time champs like Watson and Clarke.

        Agree our chances in 2019 don’t look good. But you never know – sometimes teams “click” at just the right time. And sometimes teams who’ve been in good knick start to flounder. I remember in 1992 everyone thought Australia would win easily at home but then the team floundered and Pakistan clicked at the right time. So who knows.

    • June 30th 2018 @ 10:17am
      Don Freo said | June 30th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      A really b1tchy article with this ‘pet’ of Langer stuff. Yet you identify your own ‘favourites’.

      Hard to get excited about Agar?

      He scored good runs…probably our most reliable all rounder with the bat for a decade…and was our most economical bowler in almost every game. I’d like to see Fawad or Swepson field like Agar.

      • June 30th 2018 @ 11:42am
        Krishna Singh said | June 30th 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

        I actually dont mind mitch being captin, good long term option

      • June 30th 2018 @ 12:20pm
        George said | June 30th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

        Langer’s parochialism will cost the team.

        • June 30th 2018 @ 2:12pm
          Don Freo said | June 30th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

          I think you’ll find it’s only Stephen suggesting such oarochialism. He left out Tye and Richardson for many games.

          • June 30th 2018 @ 3:01pm
            James said | June 30th 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

            It was a little whiney the article but you cant say that the author is the only one suggesting such when you are literally replying to someone else who is suggesting such.

            • June 30th 2018 @ 3:36pm
              Stephen Vagg said | June 30th 2018 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

              Hey. The article was a lot whiny thank you 🙂

          • July 1st 2018 @ 12:32pm
            George said | July 1st 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            One game featured 6 of your boys.

            On what planet should Short be picked ahead of Khawaja? Richardson better than Tremain – really? Stoinis – do me a favour.

            • July 1st 2018 @ 1:49pm
              Don Freo said | July 1st 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

              Perhaps you missed last year’s white ball season. Picked on form. You’ll find that Short’s chinamen are better than Khawaja’s. What a strange either/or.

            • July 2nd 2018 @ 11:18am
              Stephen Vagg said | July 2nd 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

              I am attracted to Short’s strike rate in domestic one dayers and am keen to see what he could do down the order.

              • July 2nd 2018 @ 5:39pm
                Krishna Singh said | July 2nd 2018 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

                Shorts selection ahead of khawaja was a joke

    • June 30th 2018 @ 1:12pm
      BurgyGreen said | June 30th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

      “Langer doesn’t seem to be a fan [of Maxwell]”

      Actually my impression has been that Langer rates Maxwell. He said before the tour that he felt that Maxwell was close to a big score. He’s certainly no Lehmann II when it comes to Maxwell.

      • June 30th 2018 @ 3:55pm
        Stephen Vagg said | June 30th 2018 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

        I said “seem” because honestly Im not sure. Langer has supported Maxwell but also did things like suggest he might be dropped for the first ODI for an extra bowler, and Maxwell isn’t in the Australian A squad. Some have suggested that’s because Maxwell’s place for the UAE is secure but with Maxwell’s history with selectors I would doubt it.

        My feeling is that Langer isn’t particularly a fan but Ponting is, and Langer rates Ponting, so Maxwell gets in under the wire that way.

        This is guessing. I don’t get the sense of hostility towards Maxwell that Lehmann seemed to give off.

    • June 30th 2018 @ 4:42pm
      Ernest said | June 30th 2018 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

      We all know one thing for sure, Langer is no fan of Joe Burns! He’s made sure that there’s one less in competition for an opening spot with a definite favourite Cameron Bancroft. The Test top six against Pakistan in the UAE will be – Renshaw, Khawaja, S.Marsh, Handscombe, Maxwell, M.Marsh.

      • June 30th 2018 @ 5:19pm
        Stephen Vagg said | June 30th 2018 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

        think you’re right – Pattinson going on the Australia A tour instead of Burns isn’t a good sign for him.

        Burns will be kicking himself he didn’t organise a season of county cricket this winter to press his claims (it’s worked wonders for Renshaw and Khawaja… not so well for Cartwright)