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Can we cool it about Cameron Green?

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Roar Guru
20th November, 2019
39

I get it, I do. Really. A fast bowler who scores fast runs is very exciting.

It combines the two most alpha things you can do in cricket – bowl bouncers and hit sixes.

Jack Gregory. Keith Miller. Imran Khan. Ian Botham. Kapil Dev. Andrew Flintoff. Ben Stokes.

And now… Cameron Green.

Off the back of some good innings in a Sheffield Shield match and one day game, he’s the latest Hot Young Thing in Australian cricket.

A generational talent, said one report. The next Nathan Coulter-Nile said another.

A future Andy Flintoff said Ryan Harris.

Green is hot stuff.

Like I say, I’m sympathetic.

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In a summer where three of the most thrilling batsmen in the country are having a mental health break, the bowling order is super settled and the opening slot is being fought over by the been-around-for-a-while troika of Marcus Harris, Joe Burns and Cam Bancroft… who doesn’t like the idea of an Aussie Flintoff?

It’s a bright, shiny new toy to talk about.

A couple of things to keep in mind, though.

First – can we be careful of hyping this kid? To be fair, all the articles hyping him are careful to go “give him time”, “it’s early days”, all that stuff – but they’re still hyping him.

Sometimes too much: I feel the highly respected Ryan Harris invoking the name of Andy Flintoff at this stage of the game is terribly unhelpful. And unfair.

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Because Australia doesn’t have a terrific track record of finding the next Keith Miller at Test level. They tend to either flop (Phil Carlson, Simon O’Donnell, Mitch Marsh), get injured and leave the game really young (Ron Archer), or be crushed under unrealistic expectations: Gary Gilmour and Shane Watson both had a couple of great years in red ball cricket but most of the time seemed to have “unfulfilled potential” tattooed to their foreheads.

Second – if Green does maintain his current form, can we actually give some thought as to how he might fit in the national side in a way that’s useful? Far too often with all rounders the temptation is to go “quick, quick, get them in before they go stale” without figuring how best to go about it.

Cameron Green

Cameron Green is a rising star of Australian cricket. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

If we’re incredibly lucky and he’s like Adam Gilchrist or Kapil Dev, good enough to be picked for one discipline alone, then it’s easy – just pick him for that job, and whatever else he can do is a fabulous bonus.

But most all rounders aren’t like that – normally they’re not quite good enough to be a specialist bowler or batsman. Flintoff wasn’t. Stokes isn’t. Marsh isn’t. Greg Matthews wasn’t. Watson was for a few years when opening with Katich, then kind of was, then wasn’t.

Which is fine – as long as you accept they need to be counter balanced by another all rounder. If not, you risk either weakening the batting or the bowling… something that happened for too often to England when Flintoff played, and to Australia when Greg Matthews played. And Simon O’Donnell. And Shane Watson. And Moises Henriques. And Mitch Marsh.

England learned their lesson with Stokes and make sure he’s complemented by another all rounder (Moeen Ali, Sam Curran)… Has Australia also learned?

Anyway, welcome to the spotlight, Cameron Green. It might make you thrive, or wilt, or have no effect. But it’s on you now.

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Can we just dim it a little for the bloke?

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