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JamesH

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Joined February 2016

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Essendon fan, cricket fan. Not necessarily in that order.

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Lynn just can’t be a part of our World Cup plans. His all-or-nothing approach won’t work in the middle order and he’s got too much competition for a top 3 spot. He’s also a liability in the field.

I’d definitely still be looking at him for the T20I team but that’s it.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

I still think Maxwell is wasted anywhere other than the final 20 overs of an innings, but in that lineup I’d probably go for someone like Ashton Turner or D’Arcy Short at 7.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

Australia did *not* bowl well until the 35th over. They were on a steady decline from about the 20-25 over mark. They didn’t even bowl that well to Markram, who was going along nicely til he was caught down leg.

I lost count of the amount of times I looked at the field and thought ‘okay, he has to bowl X or Y delivery to this field’, only for the bowler to bowl exactly what the batsman wanted. Surprisingly, Cummins and Hazlewood were the worst offenders.

The big 3’s early spells were all great, but most of what followed was inconsistent. I mean, Maxwell was our best bowler through the middle overs. Maxwell.

Missed chances hurt but our bowling lineup is capable of better.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

How many more times do you need to watch Australia send Maxwell in too early and then stagnate late in the innings because he’s out? His strength is lifting the tempo late in an innings. We don’t have anyone else who can consistently do that.

Stoinis and Marsh did fail to turn the strike over early and it was probably costly. That just means we need to re-evaluate who we pick for the middle order (e.g. Ferguson, Handscomb). It’s not a good reason to waste Maxwell.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

Carey played perfectly until his dismissal. Came in and didn’t miss a beat. Maxwell needed either Carey or Marsh at the other end.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

Well said, Ouch. Obviously Miller didn’t think the decision was a howler. He and Faf uhmed and ahed over it for way too long. In the end they probably only reviewed it because they had no genuinely good batsmen left.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

Finch for Hendricks, Maxwell for Klaasen, Stoinis for Pretorius and Starc/Cummins for Ngidi. I think a 7-4 split between the respective sides’ personnel is about right.

Maybe also S Marsh for Markram purely on current output, but Markram will be an absolute gun.

A team without purpose

Since Jason Sangha, you mean 😉

The new breed of cricketers with the world at their feet

Really? Our batsmen will be fine on the roads CA will serve up.

We're in for an Intriguing Australia vs India Test series

Me too. He edges out either Ishant or – more likely – Bhuvi. Pant will bat at 6 with Jadeja or Ashwin at 7.

Vijay/Shaw
Rahul
Pujara
Kohli
Rahane
Pant
Jadeja/Ashwin
Shami
Umesh
Bumrah
Ishant/Bhuvi

As for the contest, it’s basically our bowlers vs Kohli. That’s where the series will be won or lost. Unless Rahul suddenly fulfills his potential, India can’t score enough runs in Australia if Kohli has anything less than an excellent tour.

I’m not actually that worried about our batting on flat Australian decks. The Marsh boys will get back to their best at home (before they both struggle in England in 2019), while Khawaja, if fit, will continue his strong form. I think we’ll see some good returns from Renshaw too.

We're in for an Intriguing Australia vs India Test series

The problem with bowling allrounders like Faulkner and Pattinson (when they aren’t injured) is that you can’t justify batting them at 6, especially when the rest of our batting lineup has been so fragile. The only way they play is if (a) they hold down a spot on bowling alone, in which case they bat at 8, or (b) we have a keeper-batsman who can hold down the number 6 spot, in which case they bat at 7.

Pattinson and Faulkner could potentially command a spot at 8 with some solid form under their belt, but neither would displace Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins or Lyon. And Paine is a reliable batsman but he’s not a test number 6, meaning he stays at 7.

The comparison to Mitch Marsh is flawed, too, since he got picked well before he’d earned the number 6 spot. You can’t fix one mistake with another. A number 6 has to have the potential to average somewhere near 40 in tests and neither Faulkner nor Pattinson have demonstrated that they are capable of doing so. Maybe they will this summer, but it’s unlikely.

James Faulkner: Australia’s forgotten man

Can you blame him? Finch showed no faith in Zampa at all. Yes, he bowled a couple of poor overs early in game 2 but he bounced back well with the match on the line. Then he was bowling well in game three and got dragged, never to be seen again.

Either give someone support or don’t play them at all.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

Maxwell batted at roughly the right point in the innings, it was just too big a mountain to climb. When Carey came in it was still a bit early for Maxy. If he’d come in during the middle of the innings and failed then we’d have had no one down the order to lift the run rate and probably would have lost by more.

BTW, you can stream the matches FREE from the CA website. You just need to create a CA account.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

True. But Coulter-Nile would only play as a fourth seamer or if there was an injury. And They’ve picked Zampa so I hope they show more faith in him.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

Ronan, I think you’re being way too kind to our bowlers. There seemed to be no discipline whatsoever. It was as if we just assumed we’d get that 4th wicket and the Saffas would crumble.

I was sitting in the stand with my head in my hands. Finch would put men out on the off side with fine leg and square leg in the circle, and the bowler would duly put it back of a length on leg stump. Then Finch would bring mid off and cover up and the next ball was a half volley outside off. You could have scripted it. And at the death there was waaaaay too much length stuff with very few changes of pace.

That’s not to say Finch’s captaincy was blameless, though. Miller is clearly a front-foot dominant player and looked uncomfortable on the pull until late in his innings, while Du Plessis has also been susceptible to the bumper in the past because he hooks and pulls compulsively. Yet there was no plan to test either of them with short stuff. Finch also showed zero faith in Zampa, who made du Plessis and Miller look uncomfortable at times. The poor bloke’s confidence must be utterly shot.

And although Stoinis and Marsh got going eventually, their inability to rotate the strike really hurt us. It was always a boundary or nothing. Our top 4 could really learn a lot from the way Carey looks for the singles as soon as he gets to the crease. He was excellent in supporting Marsh.

On a positive not, we FINALLY got Maxwell in at roughly the right stage of the innings. It was too big a mountain to climb in the end but at least he forced du Plessis to think about his field settings, which had been a well-oiled machine to that point.

In summary: right now, we really lack intelligent death bowling and batsmen who can rotate the strike. It’s been a problem since the last World Cup.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

Finch was such a major culprit. He was so slow to react to the Miller catch. The gulf between their infielders and ours is enormous. We have Maxwell, and that’s it. Everyone else in our side (excluding Carey) is a bog-average fielder by international standards.

Australia's top order fails again as Proteas win to clinch 2-1 series lead

Carey was the second top run scorer in the BBL and he opened the batting for the Strikers. It’s not as silly an idea as you’re making out.

Australia finally end ODI losing streak

I think some of the dismissals were less about shot selection and more about poor execution. Head, Finch and Maxwell all played reasonable shots in the circumstances but the execution was off. Rock-bottom confidence will do that.

Australia finally end ODI losing streak

Give it a rest. You can’t punish people forever.

Australia finally end ODI losing streak

Your lineup also lacks a 6th bowling option. It doesn’t even have Maxwell as a backup.

Lynn would be a terrible number 5. He can’t rotate the strike. He should be batting top 3 if he plays.

Australia finally end ODI losing streak

How is a test series against Pakistan an ‘irrelevant series’?!? You want him to miss that but play Shield? Bizarre.

Australia finally end ODI losing streak

37 is a good ODI average. Not amazing, but good.

Australia finally end ODI losing streak

As Matt H says, none of the players you mentioned can play Maxwell’s role like he can. Yes, we need batsmen who can take us through to the last 15 overs. Those batsmen should not be replacing Maxwell; they should be complimenting him.

Your argument that Maxwell should not be dropped because he is failing to steady the innings is like saying Starc should be dropped for not being a miserly line-and-length bowler. You’re basically saying ‘we are not doing a particular job well enough, let’s drop a guy who shouldn’t be doing that job’.

Accumulation is not (or at least, should not be) Maxwell’s role. Put your accumulators in at 4-5 and then have Maxwell come in later. Float him down the order if you need to.

It is time for 'The Big Show' to be shown the door

Max, you’ve touched on the problem in that comment without realising it. You’re comparing apples and oranges. Literally none of the guys you listed have Maxwell’s skillset.

I don’t see how you can write an article about Maxwell’s place in the team without properly considering how he should be used. His strength is his ability to accelerate and find the boundary late in an innings with the field spread. I’d go as far as saying that, in this particular skill, he is unrivaled in Australia. He is hands-down the best in the business.

The problem is that Maxwell is regularly coming in too early – either because he is batting too high in the order or the guys above him are failing. Someone with his talents should be batting between overs 35-50. That’s where an average of 32 and a strike rate of 121 are actually decent numbers.

Unfortunately, Maxwell is constantly coming in during the middle of the innings at a time that should be spent consolidating or steadying. He looks stuck somewhere between his responsibility to the side and his natural game.

Just look at numbers 3-5 in the last ODI: Short, Lynn, Carey. Where are the reliable middle-order batsmen to set the platform? I’d love to see Callum Ferguson given a role at number 4 (not so much the others you mentioned but that’s another topic). Maybe he would help balance our lineup and give guys like Maxwell, Stoinis and Coulter-Nile the chance to come in and accelerate late in the innings.

Bottom line: Maxwell is not being used properly. Team balance is way off and it’s hurting his effectiveness.

It is time for 'The Big Show' to be shown the door

The chairperson of any entity should be both a figurehead (i.e. someone with a strong public image) and someone who knows the ins and outs of their organisation’s subject matter intimately. In the case of cricket that’s not just the national side, but everything down to grass roots.

The directors with financial, legal, marketing, corporate etc. expertise should be the ones supporting the chair, not the other way around. The chair is responsible for steering the ship as a whole. You need someone whose primary focus is on what the goals of the organisation are, not the finer points of how it operates.

From what I know of Clark she would seem to be a decent option for chair. Clearly that won’t happen in the short term, though.

The answer to Cricket Australia's shattered image was there all the time