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Josh H

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Joined February 2019

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Doesn’t look too bad, but just my take.

Warner should open over Stoinis. Form is temporary, class is permanent. Self-explanatory.

Smith has to be 3. In T20 cricket, your anchor has to be in as early as possible as they’re generally your best all-round batsman. 95% of the time that is no.3, and the exception is when you have players like Kohli and Azam – who open. There’s too few balls to waste without your best bat in T20 cricket. Given Smith is arguably the most defensive of the lineup, you must not introduce him too late.

You seem to be placing a lot of weight in Sams’ batting, when his BBL last year was shocking with the bat. From memory, he averaged less than 10! But the solution to that problem is pretty easy, and comes in your no.3 pick. Carey was outstanding as a finisher during the world cup and would be well-equipped bat 5-6 (push Maxwell to 4).

We probably missed a trick by not bringing along Jonathan Wells to the tour, because he’s easily been the best BBL middle order bat over the last 3 years.

Bowling attack largely looks pretty good but Hazlewood is a brilliant death bowler – he’s got a great slower ball and he bowls a lot of bouncers in the last few overs, a point of variation from Starc’s yorkers. Richardson is really good T20 bowler, don’t get me wrong, but just doesn’t have the international calibre that the Hoff does.

My starting 11 for Australia’s first T20

There’s only been 20 years this century. Good chance he knows the best ones by heart, like the rest of us

NSW's Test XI of the 21st century

Agreed. Out of all the rookie coaches I’d probably trust Ryles the most given his history under Bellamy, but I’m happier to stick with Hannay over Payten. Woolf and Payten obviously have history up in NQ but Woolf has just gone to St Helens and I don’t think Payten is the defensive coach we need.

Wane has been talked about as well, and has had plenty of praise for what he’s done in England. He might be a solid option.

Out of all the experienced NRL coaches around, Griffin will probably be the best in terms of results, but you’re gonna be sacrificing a lot in man-management if you want to take that route.

Todd Payten eyes Cowboys coaching gig

Really good comment this.

Back in the early days of England’s T20 blast, it was a real trend to see specialist keepers get picked for their work behind the stumps, like Chris Read, James Foster, and more recently (and interestingly) Michael Bates, who generally batted 10 and definitely didn’t have the international prestige of the former two. Bates in particular was a sensation and regularly went up to the stumps no matter who was bowling. Sadly, his county decided to sign a point fielder with gloves and that was the end of that, but Bates’ example showed that it could work.

Given the propensity for pace bowlers to bowl slower balls at the death, the idea of an exceptional keeper standing up to the stumps to stop last over byes is a very shrewd one.

Australia's all time T20I XI

The 2000s Australian and 1980s Windies players are all products of their own environment.

Of the team that Peter selected, only S Waugh I can remember ever wearing a cap going out to bat (maybe Junior might have been briefly in that era too), so I don’t think you can use the argument that the Aussies wouldn’t be great without helmets – after all, we not only never got the chance to see them in floppies, but they were literally bred through the system as helmet-wearers, because that’s where the sport was at the time.

We can romanticise over Viv potentially defying the norm in today’s game and batting in a cap, but at the end of the day, ICC laws compel players to wear sufficient protective equipment. If Viv was around in the 2000s, he would be forced to wear a helmet, just like Ponting et al were.

Times change.

Clash of the greats: The 1984 West Indians versus the 2001 Aussies

I live in Townsville and there hasn’t been a T20 fixture hosted here since the old big bash. That’s well over 10 years ago. Townsville can host the odd shield game because hardly anyone attends them anyway – but there are literally only 1000 seats at the stadium and a scattering of a grassy areas either side of it. Is that a good venue proposal for a league you want to become more serious than the CPL?

The PNG/Pacific idea is too unsustainable for mine – you’re asking for two countries with zero cricketing history, grounding and most importantly, money, to try and fund the development of players for a professional league? PNG only became an associate member 3 years ago. The Vanuatu inclusion seems a bit flavour of the month, probably seeing as they were the only cricket league still going on during Covid. What achievements have they had on the international cricket stage? Who are these “potential T20 stars” you speak of and why are you so sure of their quality when they’ve had zero full member opposition?

Tim David, the Scorchers player, is a superstar in associate matches. He averages 93 in List A matches and 47 in T20s for Singapore. He can’t even get a run in the BBL. There’s a huge disparity between associate competitions and professional T20 leagues.

Papua and the Pacific islands are distinctly rugby league territory. The limited diaspora scattered across North Queensland already have a sport they follow. Remember the failure of the NQ Fury?

And how can Townsville get behind a team that isn’t even theirs to begin with? Not sure if this is the best idea mate.

The five moves that would revive the Big Bash

Great series with a great (if surprising) finale. Looks like you did a lot of research for this, and I 100% applaud the inclusion of Richards and Procter despite them not meeting the minimum games requirements. Both would easily walk into an all-time RSA team.
That being said, including them might open up a can of worms with regard to others who didn’t play much due to political issues – I’d say a few unfortunates who would have played during WW2 might have been worth a mention as well.
But overall though, excellent stuff

Born to rule: The top two cricketing birthplaces

All good haha, there’s Mustafizur Rahman in the Bangladesh team too – too many Rahmans and Rahims I say!

The best all-time combined Test team

Shouldn’t it be Mushfiqur Rahim?

The best all-time combined Test team

Great article Jon. Look forward to seeing the rest of the series.

Based on a lot of the conversations in the comments, Sydney seems to be insurmountably strong. Have you considered adding a Sydney 2 or Sydney 3 to your list?

It’ll be interesting to see who places near the top. From my knowledge Barbados has had a fair few handy cricketers, the majority I’d assume would come from Bridgetown, the capital? Could be a potential 2nd place option if so. We’ll see if I’m on the money soon!

Born to rule: Which cities have produced the best Test players?

Warnie reckons Meredith would be a great pick if we wanted some variation in the attack with his 145+ clicks. Thing is, we already have 4 145+ click bowlers in Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood and Pattinson – so the only variation Meredith brings to the attack is his first-class economy of nearly 4.

You can probably connect the dots as to why there’s not a single other soul supporting him.

The next best uncapped Test players from each state

Yeah sorry mate this one’s a bit of a mess

As many have pointed out, your very first line is particularly damning as your entire article proves the opposite.

I decided to give you a chance after that, but I was out pretty soon after, when you called Daniel Hughes a no.3 (he opens) and Doran an opener (he’s never opened).

As for your picks, Hughes is a bit of a no-brainer and Green is quality, but otherwise pretty contentious.

I’d have thought seeing as Neser’s become the new Bichel in terms of 12th man selections, he’d be the first man considered. But obviously not, seeing as Swepson’s first-class average of 35 is too difficult to pass up.

Your choice for Victoria is quite frankly, bizarre. You’re picking McGurk due to him being a player for the future, yet you’re missing the guy that Australia’s hyped the most, Pucovski? Otherwise, you could have chosen two of the most consistent Shield bowlers of the past decade in Boland (225 wkts at 27) and Tremain (244 wkts at 24)?

Tasmania is always going to be difficult, but I think you should have really outlined that in your spiel about Doran, because hyping up a first-class batting average of 27 for an opening spot does not do your article any favours. Neither does talking about Kumara and Pradeep as “some of the best Test bowlers”. I’d have said Gabe Bell. Small sample size, but 83 wickets at less than 25 in 22 first class games is pretty solid.

And South Australia, lol. Heard of Carey? The guy who out of everyone is literally guaranteed to get a baggy green?

The next best uncapped Test players from each state

Not Hogg’s fault no one could pick his wrong’un. Also at the time that Chappelli reckons he faced Hogg, Hogg was 25, and was a batting all-rounder at the time, hardly the seasoned veteran wrist spinner he was when people raved about him

Ian Chappell absolutely savages Brad Hogg's bowling

Quiney very stiff to miss out, excellent top order for the Stars though

Greatest ever BBL teams: Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades

Huh? Talk about totally missing the point

Greatest ever BBL teams: Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades

Yeah, definitely Green over Nair, Green has had genuine success for the Thunder and has been a BBL made star. Green has literally been recruited by CPL as an overseas player and even earnt an IPL contract. Nair isn’t even a certainty in the Thunder now.
Vince is a good shout too. Really don’t remember Lumb being all that flash to be honest. I disagree that there’s a strong case for Hales, I’d be much happier including another overseas player like Kallis or Morgan, who were world class. Hales was good, but hot and cold.
Lyon would be my other question, yes he’s been great when called upon, but gee, you can’t be leaving out Brett Lee.

Greatest ever BBL teams: Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder

This is a pretty good selection of players I think. Haven’t actually heard of that Jackson fellow, I’d probably have tried to fit Shreyas Iyer in that Indian team myself – he does have a first class average of 52 and has already been excellent in ODIs.

For the Australians though, not sure about Gotch as a specialist bat. While his FC average is solid he’s never actually played as a pure batsman until briefly earlier this season. In terms of batsmen Tom Cooper is probably the strongest.

While I love both Solway and Street it’s probably a little premature for them too. I’d go for slightly more experienced first class players, like Weatherald and Turner, even though I’d probably have neither in the frame for test selection.

An uncapped Australia versus India Test match

Huh? How? Anderson’s had persistent injuries since 2018. Pretty difficult to fulfill your potential when your body fails you.

What if New Zealand had to field a side in all three formats at the same time?

You’ve sold that T20 team very short. For starters, Ross is far from an Australian player, he’s spent his entire career shipped around by clubs who didn’t want him? T20 is Stoinis and Maxwell’s best format, so they should easily swap with Ross and probably Henriques. Handscomb and Head should replace them in the ODI team.

Kane Richardson’s excellent big bash record should easily award him a spot in the T20 team and should replace Ahmed, who’s too slow and too much of a liability in the field. In place of Sams, who’s no Australian cricketer either, I’d play Agar, who’s tried and proven as a solid T20I performer.

Burns is also stiff to miss out. Warner is most needed in the ODI format (he’s our best player) so I’d happily replace Hughes with Davey and then slot Burns into the test team. Might be a bit premature for Maddinson yet, even though I rate him. Stick with Wade at 6.

What if Australia had to field a team in all three formats at the same time?

Law is an easy decision for Australia but I strongly disagree with Borthwick. Borthwick was lucky to get one test at all. At the time, he was an out of the blue pick because Panesar and Swann were unavailable, and they had literally no one else to bowl spin. Borthwick was picked only because he was in the country at the time playing grade cricket, where he was averaging 50 with the ball.

He wasn’t even a bowler either, he’s a batting all-rounder. Man is a top order batsman for Surrey, and he’s most recently been batting 3 and since young spinner Amar Virdi has come into the side he’s hardly bowled at all. He averages 39 in first class cricket with the ball and only 36 with the bat, which isn’t exactly compelling evidence.

Charles Marriott would be a much more suitable one-test wonder. He took 11 wickets in his only test, and took 711 first class wickets at 20.11 between 1919 and 1937.

Best cricketers for Australia and England who played only one Test

Most of my points have already been made by others but just a few things:
1. Swap Labs and Kanos – pretty self-explanatory, Kane should be batting higher because he’s simply more Test proven, and he bats 3 anyway.
2. Perera ain’t much of a keeper, Rahim is a considerably better option
3. There are plenty of superior openers to Masood at this point, Agarwal, Karunaratne, Iqbal, and honestly Masood isn’t even the best opener in his own team, Azhar Ali is (remember his 302 against WI?), idk if you did enough research here
4. Would definitely rather have Boult or Hoff over Abbott, yeah Kyle’s had a good county season but after so long out of the test arena he’s probably naturally going to be a bit off the pace
5. Shami would have to be close to Broad as well, him and Ishant are in excellent form; there’s also nothing wrong with having both Ashwin and Jadeja in the same team, especially when you have Stokes to bowl his meds

Otherwise though, a good effort.

World Test match: North versus South

Stats in what though? Batting? That really shouldn’t be your major qualification for a keeper. Bari was the best keeper out of them all, but if you wanted to minimise the shortfall in batting I’d pick Latif. Excellent keeper, probably 2nd tidiest for Pakistan after Bari, plus he averages a perfectly serviceable 29. Also, I’d hardly claim that Ahmed has much of a career ahead of him. He’s 32, was unceremoniously dropped last year and Rizwan seems to have taken over his role pretty well so far.

My all-time Pakistan Test XI

You could very well play Akram as a no.7, the guy has a test double and averages mid-20s

My all-time Pakistan Test XI

Zaheer Abbas and Sarfraz Nawaz unlucky not to get a look in, and I’d probably prefer Saqlain over Mushy for variation, but my main qualm is about the keeping position.

There is no way, in the 60-odd years that Pakistan have played test cricket, that Sarfraz Ahmed has been their best keeper. You have so many candidates aside from him! Rashid Latif, Wasim Bari, Moin Khan – all different in what they bring to the table, but all considerably better than Sarfraz. Just because he captained doesn’t really mean anything.

My all-time Pakistan Test XI

Spruce, I voted for Hutton too, but you’re taking what is a fun online vote way, way too seriously.

There’s really no reason to disparage those who voted for Hayden. Yeah, they’ve picked a bloke with a considerably weaker Ashes record, but you’ve got to understand that many cricket fans not only never watched Hutton play, they wouldn’t even know his name from a bar of soap. Hayden is one of Australia’s greatest openers ever. I don’t blame them for connecting two with two.

“Sometimes the voters are wrong” – like come on, this is democracy. No one answer is “right” or “wrong”. There are worse things happening in the world right now. It’s not the end of the universe if people don’t vote according to what you like.

Pick The Roar's greatest Ashes XI of all time: Matthew Hayden vs Len Hutton