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Stephen Vagg

Roar Guru

Joined February 2014

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A Queenslander never forgets a selection slight.

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In fairness cricket Oz have done some great things this decade – the Big Bash, women’s cricket… and it is hard managing the modern game.

But I feel at the top they overcomplicated it. We have a good first class system – keep that as strong and competitive as you can (encourage top players to stay as long as they can don’t kick them out of the game), make it hard to get in the test team, pick players based on consistent domestic form.

An overview of Australian Cricket in the 2010s

Thanks for your nice words and for disagreeing in a polite way.

I would argue they’ve never given Mennie, Sayers, Copeland and Bird an extended run. Mennie and Sayers have played one test, Copeland three.

re: Mitch Marsh – I would argue 32 tests in which he’s performed well in maybe five is a lot of favouritism. But every journo likes him. His teammates love him. Saying “Australia hates me” was masterful. I’m sure it’s all unconscious on his part but he’s a great operator.

re: overseas tours… we lost all the time overseas in the 80s when they played lots of tour games… so lack of tour games doesn’t help… but it isn’t eveything… I do feel it’s a shame cricketers play less League/county cricket than they used to

An overview of Australian Cricket in the 2010s

Love a piece on the Shield – thanks for this Ronan!

For what it’s worth feel Wildermuth should only be played in tandem with another all rounder, like Mitch Marsh. Not worth it at test level, but maybe at ODI level?

I’d also keep an eye on Matt Short.

My fave keeper is Jimmy Pierson but he seems off most people’s radar outside Qld.

For spinners I think O’Keeffe and Holland would be decent back ups for Lyon (why not give Holland another go)… they may look at Swepson though who is more of a wicket taker, although expensive.

I actually don’t think there’s any need to blood new players this summer – there’s a lot around who’ve played a few tests who could do with a decent run… but they won’t be able to resist the sexiness of a bolter pick.

Five players to watch in the Sheffield Shield

He did get $200k tax free for touring South Africa so it wasn’t nothing… but yes agree he would have been a star today. People like him, David Hookes, Wayne Phillips I think would have been lapped up by the T20 brigade.

Remembering the other Steve Smith

I think your memory is correct… they were going to drop Phillips for Smith in the first test but then Woolley broke his finger and Phillips played as a keeper. They kept shifting the batting order around. I get why they did it in the Windies but feel they should have changed it in the home summer in 1984-85. Rixon kept brilliantly against the spinners especially – I remember him at the SCG against Holland and Bennett. As a general rule I think it’s never good to replace an excellent keeper who is so-so with the bat with a so-so keeper who is a better batsmen… any extra runs you get with the bat won’t make up for the lost wickets.

Remembering the other Steve Smith

I feel the mistake was in 83-84 when they picked Roger Woolley to keep in the Windies… they should have gone for Steve Rixon who was clearly the second best keeper in the country. They were so desperate to take positives out of the Windies tour they kept Phillips as keeper permanently afterwards (he’d scored a century) not really appreciating how hard it is to wicket keep. Philips was a very exciting opening batsman who could have played for years at the top. They did try him as a batsman and Zoehrer as keeper on the 86 New Zealand tour, but he only played three tests (Philips that is) and was never picked again.

Remembering the other Steve Smith

Yes that’s right – a great runner which was one of the reasons he did so well at ODI cricket. Very good fielder too.

Remembering the other Steve Smith

When on song he was brilliant to watch

Remembering the other Steve Smith

i think batting at home is different to batting in england… so i’m giving them an extra chance… i’m not a harris fan (i’d open with khwaja and warner) but i’m trying to break the cycle of selectors constantly re-imagining the batting line up… drawing a line in the sand

Constantly reshuffling the batting order doesn’t work

i just want to draw the line in the sand somewhere – if it were me i’d open with khwaja and warner, but then i’d have maxwell at six… i just want them to draw a line in the sand and move forward and if harris wasn’t worth an extended trial then he had no business being picked in the first place

Constantly reshuffling the batting order doesn’t work

i used to think along these lines but should we pick solely off a few games just before hand? some batsmen audition better than others – mitch marsh is fantastic at auditions – i’m not convinced it’s the best guide

lets just keep that fourth test time, and if someone goes great in the first few rounds then they can be next cab in the rank

Constantly reshuffling the batting order doesn’t work

I accept Harris struggled big time – personally I’d open with Khwaja and Warner – but we need to break the cycle somewhere and it’s as good a spot as any

Constantly reshuffling the batting order doesn’t work

I still feel he was picked too early. It’s paid off but a lot of time these selections don’t pay off – look at Renshaw, he was rushed into the test side and he’s really struggled since.

We won the Ashes because our terrible selectors were less terrible than England's

Thanks for your nice words and I’m totally aware I talk too much about Mitch Marsh but they just keep picking him. The favouritism is relentless and unjustified and just depresses me especially when he has such a big lobby still pushing for him.

We won the Ashes because our terrible selectors were less terrible than England's

damn right! 🙂

We won the Ashes because our terrible selectors were less terrible than England's

Josh do you mean Hazlewood? He was available for selection wasn’t he? They just didn’t pick him.

I do admire the way Langer has turned things around – by not trying to be England, by picking experienced players in the side (Khawaja, Lyon). He also had the benefit of Mitchell Starc.

The main mistake they made during the World Cup IMHO was not picking middle order back up. They had four openers but only two middle order batsmen, both all rounders.

But anyways my point is that he’s had a world Cup why not give someone else a go?

Justin Langer should stand down as ODI coach

I think all countries should have separate coaches for separate formats. It’s simply too hard for them to stay on top of their game in all three.

Also maybe Stanlake and Short will come good – just feel they should learn their trade at domestic level a bit more. I actually thought it was worth playing Short in the middle order a bit more – but they gave him this long run as opener when we had plenty of opening options.

Justin Langer should stand down as ODI coach

isn’t there already a director type figure? whoever took over Pat Howard’s job?

Justin Langer should stand down as ODI coach

If it’s a clear cut selection, absolutely. But I think if players are about even – and Shaun Marsh has similar numbers to a Bailey or a White – you look at what else the players bring. For whatever reason Marsh has been given little captaincy responsibility. Bailey and White are two of the most successful of all time. I think their presence in the group would have added immeasurably in leadership ways even if they weren’t captain. I think it was Ian Chappell (it might have been someone else) who once said every team should have about five or six alternate captains. In the 2010s there have been a number of times when Australia had a lack of captaincy options and I think it hurt the team.

Eleven Australian batsmen given the flick for Shaun Marsh

He had a knack of not getting runs whenever spots were available. I remember being surprised Marcus North got the nod over him – he was a contender that far back.

Eleven Australian batsmen given the flick for Shaun Marsh

Yes I should have made clearer – none of this is Shaun Marsh’s fault. It’s not his fault he gets picked

Eleven Australian batsmen given the flick for Shaun Marsh

I would’ve gone (1) Warner (2) Finch (iwth Khawaja as next cab on the rank for either) (3) Smith (4) Handscomb (5) Maxwell (6) Turner

Lessons learned from Australia's World Cup failures

I remember that game – they were just unlucky Bevan was one of the all time great rescue artists.

If it makes you feel any better you did roll us in 1992! I reckon the semis of this one will be between England, India, NZ and South Africa – not that that’s v patriotic of me.

Lessons learned from Australia's World Cup failures

My worry is that our squad is overloaded with top of the order players. However Smith’s innings the other day gives me hope maybe he could do well down the order. Maybe it’s worth trying him at five?

Lessons learned from Australia's World Cup failures

Australia is exceedingly spoilt when it comes to World Cups. The lack of opposition in 2003 and 2007 is really surprising.

Lessons learned from Australia's World Cup failures