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Patrick Moran

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Joined February 2018









Not a bad side. Personally I feel Babar Azam is a bit low at 5. I think ideally the anchors bat 3 and 4, not 4 and 5:
1. David Warner
2. Rohit Sharma
3. Virat Kohli
4. Babar Azam
5. Ben Stokes
6. Jos Buttler wk
7. Imad Wasim
8. Rashid Khan
9. Mitchell Starc
10. Pat Cummins
11. Jasprit Bumrah

The best ODI XI in the world right now

Some interesting picks. Personally I’d have my keeper down the order, and a spinner in the side.
Obviously conditions would change my selections, but my generic team would be this:

Warner, Pujara, Williamson, Smith, Kohli, Watling wk, Jadeja, Holder, Cummins, Wagner, Bumrah (Rabada 12th man)

Pujara opening is a bit weird, but I can’t squeeze him in at 3, and I think his game is well suited to the position. Labuschagne is unlucky, but to me Williamson’s experience and longevity gets him over the line.

Bowling wise, leaving Rabada out is a really tough call, but Wagner and Bumrah are both really impressive, and both have quite a unique style. I don’t think Holder can be left out either, after a couple of fantastic years in succession.

The current world's best Test XI

I think the key to it is that a good captain knows their players well. BBL Franchises have fairly similar lists from year to year- the domestic players in the squad are largely similar to the year before. This allows the captain to develop a working relationship with the squad, not just from a team bonding perspective, but also a tactical one. A captain that knows a bowler’s strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies, will invariably set a better field than a captain that isn’t privy to this knowledge.

The reality is that there’s a high turnover of overseas players in the BBL, which makes it tricky for a foreign player to develop the same relationships with their team. Firstly, the longer season often means that an overseas player will only play half a season. More importantly, overseas players change considerably from year to year. Last season, 23 overseas players played in the BBL- only 8 of them played for the same franchise the previous year. Sure, some domestic players change franchises, but the vast majority spend longer at a club than an overseas player, making them a better candidate for captaincy.

Why does the Big Bash League only have Aussie captains?

I see where your coming from Brian, but I think your misinterpreting what I’m trying to argue. The article was never intended to provide any sort of ranking of the world’s current keeper batsmen- if it was, then I agree that Watling should have been included. The comparisons to other number 7 batsman (only 4 of the 12 included bowl by the way) were included to highlight:
1. Paine’s unusually slow SR in a typically attacking position
2. Paine’s ability to spend an unusually long period of time at the crease for a number 7.
3. That this different approach can still be effective.
The basic argument that underpins all of this is that Paine’s approach to batting is unusual for a modern number 7, yet is still effective. His ability to occupy the crease, and consistently contribute culminates in valuable partnerships, not just with Steve Smith, but often with tail enders. BJ Watling’s batting doesn’t change my view that Paine performs a valuable role for Australia, which at the end of the day, is all that I’m trying to argue.

Tim Paine's batting deserves more credit

Two other names that I’d throw in would be Glenn Maxwell and Peter Handscomb. Assuming the Bangladesh tour is rescheduled at some point after next summer, it gives both of these guys the chance to press their claim. To me, both are suited to playing in Asian conditions, but don’t warrant selection on the basis of the last Shield season.

I think Maxwell is certainly capable at FC level, but has struggled to play enough Shield games, given his white ball commitments. I’d love to see him press his case again. With O’Keefe retired, Swepson inexperienced, Agar struggling, and Holland performing poorly in his last Test assignment, I think there’s a case for playing all three of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins in Asia. Lyon could be assisted by a combination of Labushcagne and Maxwell.

I think Handscomb would also perform well if given an opportunity in Bangladesh. Despite the many flaws in his game, he’s a fantastic player of spin. We saw this in his stellar ODI form leading into the World Cup. A few seasons ago, he was one of the leading batsman in domestic cricket- a strong shield season could book his ticket.

Tremain's inclusion makes NSW firm Shield favourites

Thanks Paul. Definitely agree in relation to batting collapses. I think this was certainly evident in the last Ashes series. Whilst Smith and Labuschagne get most of the credit, Head, Wade, Paine, Cummins, Siddle, and Lyon all knuckled down in valuable partnerships with Smith at some point in the series. None of these guys had a terrific series with the bat, but they ensured that our lowest team total was 179.
In 2015, we had scores of 60 and 136- despite playing some terrific cricket that series, these two collapses lost us two test matches. This was a key difference between 2015 and 2019. Yes, Smith and Labuschagne were terrific, but we’ve seen before that even the best players can run out of partners- Smith was 48* in the Hobart 85.

The Haddin v Paine comparison is interesting. As mentioned in the article, Haddin was dismissed for less than 20 in half of his Test innings, compared to Paine in just 32%. Haddin’s 18 50s and four centuries, compared to Paine’s 7 50s suggest that Haddin capitalised more on his starts (Haddin passed 50 in 19.64% of his innings, in comparison to Paine’s 14%). Paine consistently makes 20-40ish, whilst Haddin was often <20 or 50+.

Tim Paine's batting deserves more credit

Fair enough. Found a couple of articles which refer to him as retired, but I’m not sure of their validity. Neither of them are specifically about his retirement, but both refer to him as retired.
Happy to replace him though. Looking at alternatives, Rafique seems like a decent option, as does Majid Haq from Scotland. I kind of wanted Ryan Ten Doeschate (to bat 5, and push everyone down), but I think he’s still technically available, despite not playing an ODI since 2011.

The best ODI XI of players who retired in the 21st century

Good point about trusting the tail. His approach would probably be different with four number 11s in the side.

Tim Paine's batting deserves more credit

The description I read of him, admittedly on Wikipedia, suggests that he still plays Test cricket, but has retired from limited overs cricket (hasn’t played an ODI since 2014). Wouldn’t this make him eligible for a limited overs retired XI?

The best ODI XI of players who retired in the 21st century

Went something slightly different. Bowler heavy, but still bats as low as 8.
1. Ed Joyce
2. Sachin Tendulkar
3. Brian Lara
4. AB De Villiers
5. Michael Bevan
6. Andrew Flintoff
7. Heath Streak
8. Wasim Akram
9. Abdur Razzaq
10. Shane Bond
11. Muttiah Muralitharan

The best ODI XI of players who retired in the 21st century

True. Although the top 6 you mentioned is stronger than the one I selected. Presumebly your bottom 5 would be Bashar (or a Bangladesh bowler/ all-rounder), Chris Cairns?, Akram, Nabi, Murali.

The best Test XI of players who retired in the 21st century

I agree Kallis/Akram are a better duo than Pollock/Khan. My only concern is the weakness of batting from number 6 down. Bashar only averaged 30, Akram 22, and Nabi only 5.5 (24 in FC cricket though, which is a better sample size). Its a very long tail, that would rely heavily on the top 5, which is admittedly very strong.

The best Test XI of players who retired in the 21st century

I think the first thing to establish is who represents the lower ranked sides. Flower is self-explanatory, and I think Bashar is probably Bangladesh’s best retired player. Nabi seems like a good option, for his late order hitting, and hopefully second spin option.

1. Alastair Cook
2. Virender Sehwag
3. Stephen Fleming
4. Younis Khan
5. Andy Flower wk
6. Habibul Bashar
7. Shaun Pollock
8. Mohammad Nabi
9. Curtly Ambrose
10. Muttiah Muralitharan
11. Glenn McGrath

I feel like including Murali strengthens your bowling lineup. The only concern I have is Bashar’s batting at 6- so I went Pollock over Steyn for a bit of extra batting down the order.

Theres an argument for Kallis as well- At 7, I think I would rather Pollock for the superior bowling though. I contemplated Kallis and Akram (over Pollock and Khan), but felt the team didn’t bat deep enough that way.

The best Test XI of players who retired in the 21st century

You make some good points Pierro, but I’d diasagree, and say that Paine has done a good job on the whole. You correctly point to some mistakes in the Ashes, but on the other hand he played an important hand with the bat at Old Trafford, and made what proved to be a good decision in throwing Labuschagne the ball on Day 5.

In terms of Smith and Cummins winning him Test matches- I think if you take the two best players out of any team, they won’t win too many matches. Even then, it wasn’t just Smith and Cummins. In most innings during the Ashes, someone put on a noteworthy partnership with Smith or Labushagne, preventing the horror collapses that we’ve seen in previous Ashes tours. Head did it in both innings at Edgbaston, Wade made two centuries, Paine put on 76 with Wade at Edgbaston, 60 with Smith at Lords, and 145 with Smith at Old Trafford. This may not seem important, but Smith needs partners- remember the 85 all out in Hobart (where Smith finished on 48*)?

In terms of losing to India- that was a horrible batting lineup. No Smith, no Warner, Labuschagne yet to emerge. Its hard to expect a different result. As for losing to Sth Africa on home soil- I assume your referring to the ODI series that summer, but Paine didn’t play in it.

Of course he gets some ‘easy’ wins on home soil. Most captains do. If you look at Smith’s captaincy record, it’s even more home dominant. He won one away series against NZ, but lost away to SA, Sri Lanka (3-0), and India, and drew against Bangladesh. He dropped a home Test series to South Africa, but has otherwise beaten teams that haven’t really competed- much like Paine. I’m not sure a couple of Ashes mistakes override the significant cultural changes he’s made to that team, or warrant putting the man that led the team into the crisis back in charge.

How good has the 'Tim Paine era' been for Australian cricket?

I know Malan has been fantastic, but he’s only played 10 matches, so I think you start Root ahead of him. Personally I’d go for the experience in a World Cup. For your reserve opener, assuming they still don’t want Hales, I think there’s an argument for Tom Banton over Livingstone- this team bats deep, so you might as well pick the fast scorers.
XI: Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan c, Stokes, Buttler wk, Ali, T Curran, Rashid, Archer, Jordan.
Reserves: Banton, Malan, Lewis Gregory, Pat Brown.

Last two reserves are debatable- Gregory’s a bit expensive, but scores quickly with the bat, and provides a solid bowling option. Overall, I think he’s an upgrade on S Curran. Brown seems to have a good T20 record, although you could probably throw a blanket over numerous names for the final bowling spot.

Who should be in England's squad for the T20 World Cup?

“But is this the beginning of a new era or is he retiring soon?”
– I suspect it’s both. He’ll probably stay until the WTC final, or maybe even the next Ashes series. With the fixturing uncertainty due to the COVID situation, it’s a bit hard to predict, but he’s certainly at the back end of his career. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t the beginning of a new era. One would hope that the cultural changes made under Paine’s leadership last long after he has retired.

How good has the 'Tim Paine era' been for Australian cricket?

I’d certainly agree that Gayle deserves to be considered among the T20 greats, but I wouldn’t describe him as Bradman-esque. Bradman’s average is literally 36.5 runs better than the next best (min 20 innings), and even then, that’s Marnus Labuschagne, whose only played 14 Tests. He’s just so far ahead of the pack. Gayle, on the other hand, I would place among the leading pack, but not ahead of it. By virtue of opening, and playing so many matches, he has heaps of hundreds, but otherwise, I think others are just as valuable.
AB De Villiers, for example, averages 37.15, with a SR of 149.77 in T20s. He only has 4 hundreds, in comparison to Gayle’s 22, but he bats at number 4- he doesn’t have as much time. For a middle order player, this is an exceptional record.
In terms of Gayle being the “most explosive player”, there are middle-lower order players who score faster- the high risk nature of their game just means they average less. Andre Russell has a T20 SR of over 170, whilst Glenn Maxwell’s is 154 (160 in internationals). Gayle’s by comparison is 146, despite the benefit of batting in the power play.
I don’t think there is a clear cut GOAT in the T20 format- unlike FC cricket, I think there are a range of different roles in a T20 side- openers, anchors (Kohli, Smith, etc), and middle-late order hitters (Russell, Maxwell). I wouldn’t say one role is more important than another. Therefore, I wouldn’t say that Gayle is more valuable than some of the great middle order players, or death hitters, but rather on a par. Bradman, on the other hand, had a record that clearly eclipsed all others, in a format where there is less distinction between different roles.

Chris Gayle is the Don Bradman of T20 cricket

I tend to agree that no one is demanding an incumbent to be dropped- the closest is probably Maddinson. Personally I would be keeping the same top 6 for the next a test series.

In relation to Head- he’s had a very impressive start to his career, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying his place is guaranteed- which should be a prerequisite for captaincy.

Is Steve Smith Australia's best captain?

I’m not sure there’s really any conjecture surrounding who will captain at the T20 World Cup. Finch has done a good job as captain, so the only justification for replacing him would be poor form. But his form is exceptional. Last summer, Finch played 9 T20 Internationals, and scored 318 runs @ 45.42, with a SR of 155.88.

The much bigger question is who will be Australia’s next Test Captain. Personally, I thought Paine had a terrific summer behind the stumps, and contributed useful runs in all three first innings against NZ (scores of 39, 79, & 35). Therefore I wouldn’t be pushing him out.

When it is time for a new test skipper, I reckon I’d go Cummins. He strikes me as a much more natural leader than Smith, and he’s done an apprenticeship as VC. I would make Smith VC. Without the stress of being in charge, I think he could contribute tactically. He may not have been a great captain, but his experience is certainly a valuable asset. In the same way Dhoni often took over when Kohli went into the outfield, Smith/Head can help out when Cummins is at fine leg, needs a second opinion etc.

I’m happy for Head to remain a VC, but until he’s 100% cemented his spot, he shouldn’t be captain. I’d say at the moment, Wade (or Burns) would be the most likely batsmen to be dropped (not that I think any batsmen should be dropped right now). However, it probably only takes one Wade hundred, for him to jump Head in the pecking order.

Is Steve Smith Australia's best captain?

This is tricky. I really want to get Steve Smith and Steve Waugh in, but I can’t see where.
Equally, looking at the bowling numbers, the big name West Indian quicks all have fantastic records in England. Whilst they’re better overall bowlers than Alderman, 10 5 wickets hauls in 12 matches is incredible.

The all-time Rest of the World XI to play England in England

I think at this point 9 of the first choice XI are already decided: Finch, Warner, Smith, Maxwell, Carey, Agar, Cummins, Starc, Zampa. It’s the number 5, and final bowling spot that remain up for grabs. I think you need both Agar and Zampa in your starting XI. Look at their numbers in last summer’s T20Is (vs SL, PAK, and SA (away))
Agar: 9 matches, 15 wickets @ 13.53, ECON 5.8
Zampa: 8 matches, 10 wickets @ 18.1, ECON 6.35
Personally, I don’t rate Stoinis down the order- to me he opens or doesn’t play. Therefore, Mitch Marsh and Wells are competing to bat at 5. Bowling wise, Kane Richardson has done a good job (10 wickets @ 20.6, ECON 6.65 in his last 9 T20Is), and probably deserves the third seam bowling spot.
For the four reserves, I think you need one opener, one middle order bat, one wicketkeeper (ideally), and two reserve bowlers (both seamers, as there are already two spinners in the squad).
That leaves Stoinis (BBL9: 705 runs @ 54.23, SR 136.62), Wade (351 @ 50.14, SR 171.21), and Short (357 @ 44.62, SR 131.25) competing for the opening spot. Personally I’m taking Wade, for the superior SR, and back-up keeping option. You don’t need the bowling of Stoinis or Short, with five bowlers and Maxwell in the XI.
For the bowling reserves, I think Sean Abbott is a logical choice, having been one of the premier BBL bowlers for a number of years. Personally, I’d take J Richardson over Sams- this is more of a gut feel than anything else, but Richardson has impressed internationally in all-3 formats.
1. Finch
2. Warner
3. Smith
4. Maxwell
5. Wells/Marsh
6. Carey
7. Agar
8. Starc
9. Cummins
10. Zampa
11. K. Richardson
Reserves: Wade, Wells/Marsh, J Richardson, Abbott.
The only other thing I’d like to trial at some stage before the WC, is moving Finch down to 5- He batted there in the tri-series with England and NZ a couple of years ago and did really well. In an era where Australia has lots of capable players to bat in the top 3, and very few in the middle order, I think this is worth another try. I know the sample size is small, but in his 5 T20I innings at number 5 or 6, Finch has made 142 runs without being dismissed, at a SR of 179.75. It won’t happen- why would the captain move himself down the order?- but personally I’d like to see it trialled.

Who should be in Australia's squad for the T20 World Cup?

Not sure about Moeen Ali as 12th man. A bowling average of 37, and batting average of 29 is a genuine bits and pieces all-rounder. I get the appeal of a batting number eight, but at the end of the day, you have to pick your four best bowlers from 8-11.
Surely Hoggard or Harmison would be more deserving of the back-up bowling position.

The greatest England Test XI this century

Agreed. I’d love to see Bangladesh tour Australia. As you pointed out, Shakib al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mominul Haque, and Tamim Iqbal are all accomplished cricketers. There are a few good players coming through the ranks as well- Liton Das just made 2 ODI hundreds in 3 innings, and with a FC average of 48, I’d say he’s bound to improve at Test level. Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, and Mustafizur Rahman all seem to be promising bowlers too.

Thats a very solid foundation to build a team around, and considering they just won the under 19 World Cup, I’d say there’s more young talent coming through.

You mentioned that there’s a large Bangladeshi population in Canberra- perhaps that’s the perfect venue for a Bangladesh Test. The first Canberra Test was well attended, and the venue is probably the perfect size.

Cricket Australia's treatment of Bangladesh is an insult

Hard to disagree with the top 6. Personally I would have been tempted to play all three of Hobbs, Hutton, and Sutcliffe, with one of them batting three. Most of them are part time, but all of your top 5 had decent records with the ball at FC level:
Hobbs- 108 wickets @ 25.03
Hutton- 173 wickets @ 29.51
Hammond- 723 wickets @ 30.58, 83 Test wickets @ 37.8
Compton- 622 wickets @ 32.27
Barrington- 273 wickets @ 32.61

Given the strength of the top 5, you probably made the right call including Botham, but it’s a bit of a shame, as a top 6 of Hutton, Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hammond, Compton, and Barrington would have been incredibly imposing.

England's greatest ever Test XI

Nice side. I can see why you’ve prioritised performances in New Zealand, but if this were to actually occur, the side would look entirely different. Hence, this reads more like a ‘Players who did well in NZ XI’, rather than a genuine World XI. I get there are certain players that aren’t suited to certain conditions (Anderson in Australia), but surely its worth giving Pat Cummins a shot- he averages under 30 in every continent, so he’s fairly adaptable.
Equally, I wouldn’t want to tour anywhere without Bumrah- he only played 2 Tests in NZ, and was hardly terrible. Jason Holder has only bowled in one innings in NZ. Surely 53 Test wickets @ 14.23 in his last two years outweighs one poor innings in NZ. As you pointed out, NZ conditions suit guys who do well in England- Mohammad Abbas is literally the perfect bowler for this. I’d also go Lyon, for his experience over Maharaj.

Similarly, with the batting, I’d give Warner a chance- he’s only batted 3 times in NZ. I’d also pick Labuschagne- arguably the form batsmen in world cricket, so certainly deserving.

XI: Warner, Iqbal, Smith, Kohli, Labuschagne, Shakib, de Kock, Cummins, Abbas, Lyon, Bumrah.
Reserves: Holder, Babar, Elgar, Maharaj, Chandimal.

I think as a general rule, you take the best players, unless there’s a large sample size which suggests they struggle in certain conditions.

The Rest of the World team to take on New Zealand