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Klaus Nannestad

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Joined July 2015

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Is he likely to open, or will Dean and Harris continue at the top of the order? Either way, he, Maxwell and White give Victoria some nice firepower.

Nic Maddinson named in Victoria's JLT Cup squad, Chris Lynn to captain Queensland

I often feel this way too. I think it feels a bit like all the spinners who were picked after Warne retired. Rather than pick someone who was a consistent performer like Steve O’Keefe, the selectors looked to find “the next Warne”, picking inexperienced players in the hope they would be brilliant.

Maxwell, Burns and Tremain were robbed by Aussie selectors

I completely agree about the lack of reasonable explanations. If the selections had some overarching logic, like that they wanted some more youth in the side, or wanted good players of spin, then you could understand some surprises, but there does not appear to be any such thoughts behind these selections.

Maxwell, Burns and Tremain were robbed by Aussie selectors

It’s very hard to understand these selections. I like Doggett and Labuschagne, but I think it sends a very negative message to other domestic players who are trying to get in the side, when players are selected on the selectors whims rather than their performances.

Maxwell, Burns and Tremain were robbed by Aussie selectors

It’s also hard to see who has the potential to be the next great opener now that Warner is out of the picture. Lokesh Rahul for India and Aiden Markram for South Africa are perhaps the best hopes.

Alastair Cook: Good or great?

It’s an interesting point about comparing him with other openers. I think opening the batting is more difficult in some era than others. Think of the 90’s where openers had to face Ambrose, McGrath, Walsh, Donald, Wasim, Waqar, and even players like Srinath and Gough. I think openers like Atherton and Taylor would have average much more in another era.

Alastair Cook: Good or great?

I think his averages in his last few years were bumped up by a few massive innings. His 2017/18 Ashes epitomises this. He had a pretty poor series, but his double hundred in Melbourne meant he finished the series with a decent average.

Alastair Cook: Good or great?

Bailey’s a good shout. It’s not just this season he has been good either, but the last couple. Hobart isn’t the easiest place to bat either.

Who makes Australia's second Test XI?

“Even if he should score a century and take ten stumpings in the first Test, Paine’s selection falls into that category. Beyond rationality.”

I really like this point you make near the end of the article. Paine’s selection isn’t bad because of his quality, he’s a good player. His selection is bad because of the logic, or lack-thereof, in his selection, it simply seems like a hunch from the selectors.

A history of Australia's wicked wicketkeeping

I think that point about Cowan is a really good one. It seems a complete contradictions in values to have Cowan dropped for NSW and Marsh selected for Australia.

I actually like Marsh as a batsman, but it is difficult to figure out how he was selected above the other candidates.

Selectors have created a real Paine in the Marsh

Nice list. I particularly like the idea of Botham and Gilchrist at 6 and 7, certainly wouldn’t be dull.

The greatest Ashes XI of all time

This Bannerman guy seems to have some potential, maybe if Shaun Marsh doesn’t perform the selectors could call him up.

The very first Test match revisited: Australia vs England 'live' blog, Day 1, March 15, 1877

Exactly. There isn’t a clear logic to the selection. Why pick Marsh over all these players, its not like he is younger, nor in better form.

Maxwell is a really good example, plus he is a brilliant fielder, can bowl part time, and adds aggression to the lower order batting, which might be handy as Tim Paine is a pretty conservative batter by modern standards.

Australia's Ashes selections were fuelled by panic

I think it seems panicked because the selectors have reverted to their old method of selecting players that largely ignored long-term development.

Bancroft certainly merits a spot on form. But there are many players who have shown similar or better form than Marsh who are either younger or who have performed domestically over a larger period of time. And having played just 3 first class games in 2 years, Tim Paine doesn’t really have any form in the long format.

I think the selectors have therefore panicked and selected on hunches, rather than on the new post-Hobart methods which forced them to do things differently.

Australia's Ashes selections were fuelled by panic

This is a really interesting list, and it actually makes me a bit more optimistic about Australia’s keeping options as there are some pretty talented players here.

I also like that Wade is made captain. I know a lot of people criticize him for his glovework, but I think his days of captaining Victoria have showed him to be a really astute tactician, perhaps as a result of learning under Cameron White who was similarly a very good captain.

What would an Australian wicketkeepers XI look like?

Khawaja is certainly worth a shout with the runs he has made at home. If I was to put him it the team it would be for either Ali or Handscomb. But one thing to consider is that Khawaja isn’t the greatest fielder, whereas Ali is quite good in the field and Handscomb is brilliant.

Who makes my Ashes combined XI?

If not for Stokes’ situation he is certainly a shoe in. I don’t think there is a pace bowling allrounder in the world that comes close to him at the moment.

An allrounder like him also makes it easier to find a balance to the side, which I’m sure England will find if his situation isn’t resolved before the first test.

Who makes my Ashes combined XI?

That’s a good point.

I left Khawaja out mainly because he has been in and out of the team. But in Australia his form has been exceptional.

Who makes my Ashes combined XI?

If fit Australia do certainly have a very strong looking pace line-up.

I replied to your comment on Anderson’s ability away from home, as I think his recent statistics in this area are a bit misleading.

For me, if there is a pace bowling position up for grabs its Hazlewood in for Anderson still. I think Broad’s record in recent years, and his record against Australia is too impressive to overlook. Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc are certainly beating some very tough competition to get in the Australian side, but I still think if Broad was Australian he’d almost definitely be selected.

However, I do really hope Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood are all fit for the series. If they manage to get through a couple of years without any major fitness concerns they could be a truly great pace attack, but unfortunately that’s a pretty big if.

Who makes my Ashes combined XI?

He is still certainly at his best at home, but I think you have to consider the nature of the away games he played.

In the UAE he was superb on pitches that offered absolutely nothing. He really stood out there.

His figures in India weren’t great, but by all reports he was one of the better bowlers for England, and I think he also had a few drops off his bowling as England were terrible in the field in that series. Once again, the pitches there offered little for pace, so his performances there were impressive even if his statistics weren’t.

His SA tour was not great, but from memory that came at the end of a ridiculous amount of test matches England had played. As you say, he is 35, and I think he showed it a bit there.

I therefore think that while he is not as complete as say Dale Steyn, he has shown he can perform in unhelpful condition. I also think his lack of pace hasn’t hampered his bowling as well, he seems to be pretty close to his peek right now.

But there are certainly some solid pace options between the two sides.

Who makes my Ashes combined XI?

Cummins was hard to consider for this reason.

He is brilliant when he hits his stride, but whether he can be bowl at that level over a prolonged period of time is still unknown, whereas Broad and Anderson have proved that they can beyond doubt.

Who makes my Ashes combined XI?

Hi Savage.

Any particular reason for the Root and Smith swap? I don’t really have a preference but I’m interested to hear your reasoning.

Its also a decent point on Hazlewood. He is in better form than Broad, but I also considered Broad’s performances against Australia and also in Australia. When England were whitewashed here in 2013/4, I felt Broad and Stokes were the only English players who had decent series, with Broad being easily their highest wicket-taker. His 8-15 in the last Ashes series was also a factor in picking him, he really plays at his best against Australia. But I think either of them would be a good fit.

Who makes my Ashes combined XI?

I think Anderson’s improved his versatility a lot in recent years. He had really impressive tours of India and Pakistan despite his team under-performing. His form this year is also incredible, so his longevity is not the only reason I picked him, as I think he is a far better bowler now than he was at the beginning of his career.

That said, Hazlewood is very good and well rounded player, and its a good point that the fact he is keeping the likes of Siddle out of the team shows his talent. I think any three of those four pacers would make a pretty nice line-up.

Who makes my Ashes combined XI?

Really good article Nachiket.
One thing I got out of this is that England seem to be have a similar problem with their batting depth to Australia. I think Stoneman, Ballance and Malan are all good players, but Ballance has struggled in test cricket for a while now, and Malan and Stoneman haven’t cemented their spots yet. There might be a lot of pressure on Root and Cook up top.

Predicting England's XI at the Gabba

Foakes is certainly a good player. I think if he were Australian he’d have played a few tests by now, and would maybe even be their first choice keeper.

How England may look without Ben Stokes