The squad for Australia’s first Test against India this summer has been selected and comprises mostly tried-and-tested names and just two newcomers.
Chris Tremain and Marcus Harris have been named in the squad, but the former looks certain to miss out as Australia already have one of the most lethal bowling attacks in the world, and though the latter may get a chance to debut, it feels like he is on trial in the ongoing Shield match, in which he scored a useful 60-odd yesterday.
Coming to the selectors, Trevor Hohns and Greg Chappell have been constants on the selection panel. Now that Justin Langer has joined them, the coach is more empowered in making selections.
With many Cricket Australia and team support staff officials resigning recently, why have no questions or objections been raised by any official committee or review about the selectors? They must be equally responsible for the team’s up-and-down results in the last few years. Should selector appointments not also be based on performance?
There are a good few reasons why they should be. The selectors have a pool of players from which they have been selecting in the last two to three years, and they don’t seem willing to look beyond this stale and hit-and-miss group.
On the few occasions they have given opportunities to youngsters or new players, they have been really impatient – one bad series or two bad Tests cost the new players a place in the team. Joe Burns was out after one bad series, and Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb were dropped after few bad matches.
I don’t know the basis of selecting Marnus Labuschagne in the first place, but after two average Tests and despite some signs of improvement, he’s out.
Who has survived this treatment? The ‘pool’ players. Shaun and Mitch Marsh get chance after chance. Despite lots of rash shots, low scores and missed chances to show potential, Glenn Maxwell is still in the side.
Whenever the Test quicks are not available for the ODIs, Nathan-Coulter Nile finds himself in the team. Andrew Tye has a reasonable record in international white-ball cricket, but how many times has he come up trumps against batsmen who decide to whack him from the start?
What do Chris Tremain, Jhye Richardson or Gabe Bell think of the move to bring back Peter Siddle? The same Siddle who is thoroughly military medium without the control required at that pace? With a good chance to blood a new keeper last season, the selectors went back to their pre-decided option of Tim Paine. Yes, he did extremely well in that series, but what about the long-term prospects for that position?
Matthew Wade and Jackson Bird are few more examples that come to mind as being of the preferred pool of players – and adding to this ‘pool-only’ selection method, there are now some BBL picks finding their way in, like D’Arcy Short and Chris Lynn.
The only point I want to make is that the selectors have been hesitant to blood new players. Even on the few occasions on which they have done so, they have not backed those players in the way Allan Border or Mark Waugh did; they found comfort in going back to the same stale, beaten pool of players.
The Capetown incident should have been seen as a chance to rebuild the team that has been transitioning after the domination era. New players should have taken up the Test batting spots, and they should be persisting with complete faith for the next two seasons. After all these years of short-term thinking by the selectors it’s time to think long term.
The clean-up in Cricket Australia will be complete by letting the incumbent selectors go and bringing in bold, fresh ideas.