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Chris Kettlewell

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Joined August 2013

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And probably to help them build some confidence in those net sessions!

Australia vs Sri Lanka: First Test preview and prediction

To be clear, I don’t actually have a problem with it. Clearly he had an issue with keeping concentration once getting past 50 as he often was able to get that far without going on with it. He’s shown in the last couple of months that he’s been able to go on with those starts, which may suggest he’s come up with ways to improve his concentration (or it may suggest he’s just got away with his lapses of concentration, which has then re-focussed him to go on with it! Can’t tell you which as I didn’t see the innings!)

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

True, lack of footwork often leads to players overbalancing, or their head not being well in line with the ball to play a shot, etc. It’s not just about playing away from the body, or nobody could ever play a cut shot or a square drive.

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

They won’t be Uzzie’s last two tests. If he completely fails in England then he won’t survive the series, but he will certainly start the first test in England.

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

Head may miss out at some point, but I expect him to make the initial cut. He’s probably done just enough in his tests so far to be the most secure of the insecure bunch. I expect that, with Patterson getting picked for this test, and therefore surely playing, and surely needing to have more than 2 tests in that case, that the top 6 for the first Ashes test will almost certainly be:
Warner
Harris
Khawaja
Smith
Patterson
Head

It may well not still be the top 6 by the end of the Ashes, but I’d back that to be the top 6 for that first Ashes test.

Trevor Hohns doubles down on two VC folly

Didn’t Ritchie basically start his career as a batsman and then develop his bowling more as he went along, and by the end of it he was more known for his bowling than his batting? It was before my time, but I’m sure that’s what I’ve heard.

Trevor Hohns doubles down on two VC folly

He didn’t say there has never been a case where a bowler was a captain. It is true there have been some, but it isn’t a big list, and it’s notable that a high percentage of that list you give are players who would be considered allrounders too. Also, a lot of those bowlers who did captain their country it wasn’t for a long time, the majority would be less than 20 tests in charge.
But the point is, that certainly there seems to be a reluctance, in general, across all countries, to appoint bowlers as captains. Which would certainly count against Cummins chance of being a captain.

Trevor Hohns doubles down on two VC folly

Until the Patterson inclusion I was pretty sure he was picked to play. But thinking about it as I put a comment on a different article, I can’t go past the fact that in 2 tests time when Warner and Smith are straight back in, Khawaja will remain, Head will remain likely even if he can’t reach double figures in these matches, he’s probably earned himself a few more tests, and Patterson, assuming he plays here, has to get more than 2 tests before dropping him you’d think. Meaning the top 6 for the first Ashes test is:
Warner
Harris
Khawaja
Smith
Head
Patterson
So others are just filling in for these two tests. If I’m therefore really considering the others just filling in for these two tests (obviously there is an outside chance they can perform out of their skin and put pressure on one of these guys) I’d be more likely to go with Burns and Labuschagne and leave Pucovski out.

Australia vs Sri Lanka: First Test preview and prediction

NOTE: Having just worked through this, and coming to the conclusion that the above is highly likely to be the top-6 for the first Ashes test now that Patterson is in the team, I think it’s more likely to not give Pucovski his debut here, just let him get the experience being “around the group” knowing he will come into calculations again pretty soon. Burns and Labuschagne get the next to tests and then make way for Warner and Smith.

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

Sorry, forgot about Lyon. Yes, he’s the other experienced player. But he’s the team song guy. Can the same person be the team song guy and VC? 😛

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

Ronan, I get that, but the impending return of Warner and Smith is the thing that might swing their thinking. The selection for opening isn’t really going to be a long term selection. Nobody has come close to what performing in a way to put the immediate return of Warner at threat. So come the Ashes, he’s opening.
So in selecting Burns to open they either are giving him the chance to leapfrog Harris to claim that one available opening berth for the Ashes, or they are just giving him those two games with no real thought to anything beyond that.
If you then assume the top 4 come the first Ashes test is going to be Warner, Harris, Khawaja, Smith, pretty much guaranteed, with Head having probably done enough so that he’d need to fail pretty miserably in these two tests to not be there. So really, you have one spot up for grabs. And the question then becomes – do they want to give Pucovski the chance to push for that position?
The inclusion of Patterson, assuming they play him, which surely they must, would be a selection where you’d surely need to give him more than just two tests to work his way into test cricket. So therefore he should get that spot, meaning there’s not much to fight for, the top 6 for the first Ashes test, barring injury or major form issues will be:
Warner
Harris
Khawaja
Smith
Head
Patterson
The others are fighting for the chance to be backups in England. (And since I’m highly dubious that 6 would get through the series unscathed, being a backup in England gives you a good chance of playing!)
Renshaw is so out of form he won’t play these 2 tests. So it’s really between Burns, Labushagne and Pucovski as to who the selectors want to give these next two tests to, knowing they won’t be playing the test after that.

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

The selectors have done lots of things lately that anyone prior to the selection would have said “it’s hard to see them doing that” if such a thing was suggested. Jhye Richardson has been on fire in all forms of the game. I could easily see them playing him. I don’t think Siddle being retained in the test squad necessarily suggests he’s automatically the next one picked. Anyway, we’ll find out tomorrow I guess.

Australia vs Sri Lanka: First Test preview and prediction

I don’t think it will be an issue for Head. He was lumped with the captaincy of South Australia while still trying to find his way as a first class cricketer. He’s obviously seen as someone who has good leadership qualities. And I don’t know about it meaning he’s a lock for the Ashes. Mitch Marsh getting the VC didn’t make him a lock. But Head has done enough this season to earn at least the first couple of Ashes tests.

Australia vs Sri Lanka: First Test preview and prediction

Richardson should play. I must admit, part of me wonders if the reason the selectors kept Siddle around while sending other bowlers, like Tremain, back to Shield cricket was because his experience was good to have around the group even if not playing, and the younger bowlers they’d rather send back to their states to actually get some game-time in.
Here’s hoping anyway.
I think Richardson gives a good variety simply by his height. While there seems to be this idea that for fast bowlers, being tall is a massive bonus, it doesn’t have to be, and having one of the three be a more short, skiddy fast bowler is probably a good thing. (I actually think that the fact India had some shorter fast bowlers might have helped on the slower surfaces. If a bowler is more skiddy, then the ball likely won’t get held up in a slow wicket as much. Of course, this test match is the one that really doesn’t need that so much, there will be plenty of pace and bounce on offer!)

Australia vs Sri Lanka: First Test preview and prediction

Fortunately they’ve shown with Mitch Marsh that they aren’t going to let the “VC” thing mean they won’t drop him for poor performance. But with such an inexperienced team, there aren’t a lot of options. Cummins was also selected as VC, and outside of him there’s really only Starc and Khawaja who are senior players, and both of them have been a bit under the pump for their performances of late too.

Head has captained his state since he was really young. So clearly people on the inside see him as being someone with good leadership qualities.

The thing I don’t get is the 2 VC thing. The VC needs to take control on the field if the captain is off the field for any reason. So who would do that? Of course, with the keeper being the captain, this is less likely to happen. Other players might pop off for a few overs for different things, keepers will rarely do that as it’s too much trouble to have to pad up someone else to keep for a few overs!

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

I think Patterson’s big issue has been the penchant to lose a bit of concentration and get out after getting to 50. He’s now made a few hundreds in a short period of time, so hopefully that issue is something he’s been able to get past.

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

It would be a brave person to suggest they know what’s on the selectors minds. Clearly the Ashes are on their mind though, the inclusion of Renshaw was proof of that. He’s been horribly out of form this season, yet they picked him in the squad and the reasoning was that he scored lots in County cricket last year and the Ashes are coming up.
But even with that in mind, there are different ways they could play it. Picking Burns could be considered just plugging the gap until Warner returns, or they could say that if he seriously out-performs Harris in these two tests he’s a chance to leapfrog him in the pecking order to be Warner’s partner in England.
At the moment there are basically 3 middle-order batsmen fighting for 2 middle order positions once Smith returns. Do they pick Pucovski and make that a fourth? Or do they just keep him earmarked for the near future and just give him this time in the squad as being good experience for him?

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

I think Patterson should pretty much be a lock to play. You don’t bring in a player in this way and then not play him. But then, I guess you can’t put anything past these selectors!

To me, Renshaw is out, Patterson is in, and it’s between Labushagne, Burns and Pucovski for the last two spots. It seems highly likely Labushagne will continue his inexplicable selection having made the highest score among those three in the warm-up game. So it’s down to whether the selectors select Burns to open or Pucovski in the middle order.

And frankly, with these selectors, I have no idea which of those two is most likely.

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

” the main difference between Patterson and most of Australia’s recently-elevated Test batsmen is that he has been picked due to consistency, rather than a purple patch”
I have to disagree with this statement.
While it is good that Patterson has a much more consistent last few seasons of first class cricket behind him than just about every other debutant selected over the last 12 months, despite that he still hadn’t been selected until coming out and scoring these two not-out hundreds to back up the one he got in the Shield earlier in the season. So really, while he’s got the consistency the others have, it’s still been a “purple patch” that’s pushed the selectors to actually pick him!

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

To me it more comes down to whether they go with Burns of Pucovski. If they want to go for Pucovski then Khawaja opens, if they go for Burns then Khawaja bat’s at #3.

Khawaja opening is fine. He has a decent record as an opener. And it’s only for these two tests against a team without a particularly strong new ball attack. The next test to be played after these Warner will be back opening. So I suppose the question is whether they just put in a placeholder opener for these two tests, or if they seriously consider it a battle between Burns and Harris to see who will partner Warner in England, or if they stick with Khawaja opening for these two tests and pick the extra middle order batsman to battle for the remaining spots after Smith and Warner return.

How Kurtis Patterson became a Test cricketer

Smith’s really been working on his bowling during his period on the sidelines! Maybe he can do the job and we don’t need another alrounder! 😛

Kurtis Patterson added to Australian Test squad to play Sri Lanka

Paine will last out at least the next 12 months I’d think before his performance even really starts to come under the microscope. After that, Smith’s ban on captaincy is over, and in the absence of better alternatives he may well step straight back into the job.

Kurtis Patterson added to Australian Test squad to play Sri Lanka

Bancroft hasn’t played any long form cricket since his return from suspension, and unlike Smith and Warner who have years of being comfortably our two best test batsmen under their belts, Bancroft had only barely earned test selection in the first place due to one perfectly timed innings and was a long way from having established himself in the team when the suspension came. So where Smith and Warner you’d just slot straight back in, Bancroft you’d probably want him to at least play a few Shield matches first. He will have that chance before the season is over though. If he can light up the Shield in the last part of the season, he’s every chance to make the plane to England. (Largely because nobody else has cemented themselves in either!)

Kurtis Patterson added to Australian Test squad to play Sri Lanka

With Shaun Marsh he’d done absolutely nothing since last summer, couldn’t buy a run in South Africa or the UAE. While Khawaja got that big hundred there. Also Khawaja came in off an injury rather than having a good prep like Shaun Marsh got. There’s definitely the feeling that if he’s able to have that form in the Shield and ODI’s, but still fail so miserably in tests, then it’s just time to move on.
Then there’s the “2 men running away from a Lion” thing. Don’t have to outrun the lion, just need to outrun the other guy. As someone pointed out above, a real potential batting lineup for the next test includes 5 batsmen with a combined total of 12 tests, plus Khawaja. They are going to want to keep at least one batsman with more than 20 tests to his name, and Uzzie seems the least worst of those options.

Kurtis Patterson added to Australian Test squad to play Sri Lanka

The alternatives in the squad are only Burns and Renshaw who only have 14 and 11 tests respectively. So you hardly include them instead of these guys on the basis of experience. I think they are hoping that the opposition will be poor enough that they can get away with it, and it will give them a good chance to see who will stay and who will be the two to make way when Smith and Warner return.

I think Patterson and Pucovski are going to be in. Out of the squad picked, I think it would have to be something like this:
Harris
Khawaja
Patterson
Head
Labuschagne
Pucovski
Paine
Starc
Cummins
Richardson
Lyon

An inexperienced team, sure, but one I’d back over the other teams picked so far this season.

I reckon the selectors were hoping one of Burns or Renshaw would perform in the tour game so they could pick one of them to open with Harris and drop Khawaja back to 3 and probably Labuschagne would be the one left out. But that didn’t happen, so I reckon something more like the above is likely what they’ll go with. Not sure about the batting order. They have three guys who all bat at 3 for their states. I’d go for the eldest and most experienced of them, Patterson, to take #3 for these tests with Khawaja opening.

Kurtis Patterson added to Australian Test squad to play Sri Lanka