A while ago I wrote an article about not picking Steve Smith and Dave Warner for the World Cup and the Ashes, and I received a lot of negative comments.
Many of you focussed on how we shouldn’t pick a second-rate team. Well, our second-rate team is looking pretty good to me. Without Smith and Warner, Glenn Maxwell is shining. He is back to his mercurial best with the bat and has even played an important role with the ball.
Look at Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb – they just scored their first ODI centuries. Without the presence of our two big guns we have unearthed Ashton Turner. Suddenly they are beating India in India. Not bad for second-raters. Give them time and they may become world-beaters!
And the best part? No-one seems to be cheating or carrying on like bogans.
I repeat, Smith and Warner need to earn their spots. Imagine if we beat England in the Ashes without them. I can now.
Some of you focussed on the extreme punishments they received and that not picking them will extend their already harsh penalties. But how would you explain them being picked ahead of the incumbents? Who would you drop from the current crop of 15 in India? Aaron Finch (maybe), Usman Khawaja (surely not!), Marcus Stoinis (harsh), Shaun Marsh (four centuries in last dozen hits, very harsh), Peter Handscomb (he just got his first ton and can keep), Glenn Maxwell (not a chance) or Ashton Turner (really?)?
I am starting to believe the selectors may back these guys. If they perform against Pakistan, which is likely as they have named a weakened team, then perhaps Smith and Warner may not be the shoo-ins everyone seems to expect them to be.
Others suggested that I’m deluded if I think they are the only ones who cheated. I don’t have any evidence of any others. I suspect several, but I can’t find them guilty without a hearing.
Another excuse is that people in higher places were responsible for encouraging cheating – but what are we, kids in grade three?
Finally I am proud to be an Australian cricket supporter. We have happy, friendly and talented cricketers who have beaten India in a T20 series and are now locked 2-2 in a one-day series with the World Cup favourites! Who would have thought it possible?
I knew it was a matter of time – and patience and the absence of admitted cheats.