In a modern day cricketing landscape dominated by short, sharp and action-packed T20 matches, other formats of the game are slowly dying at domestic level.
The ‘best of the rest’ refers to the best 11 players in their given role who didn’t feature in any of the Test matches in the series against India.
These players may have done a better job than the other players that were selected by Australia in the four-match Test series.
Prior to the series, Justin Langer said in relation to Virat Kohli’s unavailability: “That’s like taking Dustin Martin out of Richmond isn’t it? Of course it’ll have an impact.”
What Langer said may have motivated the Indian squad. If anything, it made the Indian team more unpredictable, not having Kohli for three of the four Tests due to flying home for the birth of his child.
There’s a strong possibility Kohli will slot straight back into the Indian 11, but his absence meant other players had to step up, which many did.
In contrast to Australia’s lack of squad rotation and therefore selection changes, India used a lot of players. Some of them were forced changes due to injury and other reasons, but whatever selection decision they made it appeared to work, as they won the series 2-1; full credit to them.
Even though this a hypothetical exercise the players selected may have helped Australia win the series. Check out the 11 players that should’ve played in at least one game of the four match series against India:
1- Usman Khawaja (Queensland)
2- Matt Renshaw (Queensland)
3- Ben McDermott (Tasmania)
4- Moises Henriques (Captain, New South Wales)
5- Peter Handscomb (Victoria)
6- Jimmy Peirson (Wicketkeeper, Queensland)
7- Sean Abbott (New South Wales)
8- Michael Neser (Queensland)
9- Jackson Bird (Tasmania)
10- Scott Boland (Victoria)
11- Mitchell Swepson (Queensland)
1- Usman Khawaja (Left Hand Batsman)– Khawaja may be 36 years old, but he is in good form and has a good record at Test level with an average 40.66 in 44 matches and 77 innings.
He has played really well opening the batting in BBL 10. Obviously Test match cricket is different, but I think he could do well opening the batting.
He has shown great character playing domestic cricket in Australia. He could easily have been despondent and given up the game all together. That’s another reason why he should be considered to play for Australia again as he has grown into a leader.
2- Matt Renshaw (Left Hand Batsman, Right Arm Off Break- Part Time)– Renshaw would take to the role of opening the batting for Australia. He is having an excellent season of Sheffield Shield cricket, with an average of 92 in five innings.
In 20 innings for Australia in Test cricket he has an average of 33.47 runs, which is reasonable.
3- Ben McDermott (Right Hand Batsman)– McDermott is having a good season in Sheffield Shield cricket. He has an average of 59.16 in seven innings. His best position is batting at number 3, which can be shown by his form in the big bash batting at number 3.
That’s despite it being a different format of the game. He would also be a handy back up wicketkeeper for Jimmy Peirson should he get injured.
4- Moises Henriques (Right Hand Batsman, Right Arm Fast Medium- Allrounder)– Henriques has been in good form in this Sheffield Shield season. He has an average of 67.60 in six innings with the bat.
It’s disappointing that he didn’t feature in at least one Test match in the four-match series against India. He is a great leader, which is why he has been selected as captain in this hypothetical exercise. He also gives the team another option with his bowling.
5- Peter Handscomb (Right Hand Batsman)– Handscomb has been in good form with an average of 48 runs in three innings Sheffield Shield cricket. He averages 38.91 in 29 innings in Test cricket for Australia. He is an extremely calm player and doesn’t seem to get flustered.
He is also another option as a wicketkeeper, should the number two wicketkeeper, in this case McDermott, get injured.
6- Jimmy Peirson (Right Hand Batsman/Wicketkeeper)– Peirson has averaged 61.25 runs in four innings in Sheffield Shield this season. He is a player of immense talent. He always appears to look calm and composed. He has plenty of potential to improve his batting and be the number wicketkeeper for Australia.
7- Michael Neser (Right Hand Batsman, Right arm Medium Fast- Bowling Allrounder)– Neser has been in great form in Sheffield Shield cricket. He has taken ten wickets in six innings at an average of 24.40. He has been impressive with the bat. He has an average of 48.33 in three innings. He has earned the chance to wear the baggy green cap!
8- Sean Abbott (Right Hand Batsman, Right Arm Fast Medium- Bowler)– Abbott has taken 14 wickets in five innings. He has an average of 17.92, which is impressive.
He has also been batting well with an average of 130.5 in five innings when batting, which is impressive.
9- Jackson Bird (Right Hand Batsman, Right Arm Fast Medium- Bowler)– Bird has taken 15 wickets, the second most of any bowler thus far this season in Sheffield Shield. He has played well when playing for Australia at Test level as he has taken 34 wickets in nine Test matches.
10- Scott Boland (Right Hand Batsman, Right Arm Fast Medium- Bowler)– Boland has taken 11 wickets in three innings this Sheffield Shield season. He is a player that deserves to play for Australia at Test level.
11- Mitchell Swepson (Right Hand Batsman, Right Arm Leg Break- Bowler)– Swepson has taken 23 wickets this Sheffield Shield season, eight more than any other bowler.
It was an error in judgement that he was in the Test squad, but he didn’t feature in at least one Test match.