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Patrick Moran

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Joined February 2018

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In the ODI side, Warner, Finch, Smith, Labuschagne, and Maxwell all walk into the XI. Throw in a wicketkeeper, and four specialist bowlers, and there’s only one position left. If a second keeper is picked, they come at the expense of the sixth bowling option. Of course with the next 50 over World Cup in India, Maxwell and Labuschagne may be a viable fifth bowler combination, but for now I’d prefer to have the bowling option of either Stoinis, M Marsh or Henriques.

On another note, the other player I’d like to see in the ODI side is Peter Handscomb. In 2019, he had a 14 game stint in the ODI side, averaging 40.25 with a SR of 96.6. He was excellent against spin through the middle overs, and accelerated nicely at the back end of the innings. I can’t see a place for him at the moment, but in the event of an injury (or player being rested) I hope he gets another opportunity. To me Indian conditions at the next World Cup will suit him perfectly.

On the T20 side of things, there are only 6 batting spots available with Agar (or Sams if he improves his bowling) balancing the side at number 7. If we accept that Warner, Finch, Smith, and Maxwell once again walk into the XI, plus one keeper, then there’s only one spot left. Two keepers is a possibility, but I’d probably rather one with Dan Christian picked as a death hitter and spare bowling option.

I’m not opposed to multiple wicketkeepers (in fact I rate all three of the players mentioned in the article), but I probably wouldn’t do it now. As the article alluded to, it’s probably a post- Warner, Finch, Smith, Maxwell ploy. I’m pretty sure Finch and Warner aim to be at the 2023 World Cup though, so it may be a few years away.

Australia should think about playing three 'keepers

I think England remain the pre-eminent ODI batting lineup. Each of their first choice top 6 average 40+ since the end of the 2015 World Cup, with 3 of them scoring at better than a run a ball.

As the article highlights, the issue is bowling. England had four solid ODI bowlers at the World Cup, 3 of whom were pivotal in the four years prior:
Liam Plunkett- 96 wickets @ 28.01 (from end of 2015WC to end of 2019WC)
Chris Woakes- 95 wickets @ 28.6
Adil Rashid- 140 wickets @ 31.11
Jofra Archer- 23 wickets @ 24.73

Since the World Cup, England have played 10 matches- Rashid has played 9 of them, but Woakes has only played 6, Archer 4, and Plunkett 1. As Ronan pointed out, they need a replacement for Plunkett, and a better second spinner than Moeen Ali. I struggle to see why Moeen has played 107 ODIs, averaging 25 with the bat, and 50 with the ball, whilst Liam Dawson has been used just 3 times and averages 30 with bat and ball in List A cricket.

England's era of ODI pre-eminence could be over

A really interesting article. I think number 4 is a difficult position to fill in 50 over cricket, because the players who typically bat there in Test cricket prefer number 3 in the white ball game (Smith, Kohli, Root, Babar). If we accept that most ODI sides should have two anchors batting at 3 and 4, then 4 is really the second (and least accomplished) of that pair. That being said, I don’t think number 4 is an issue for most sides at the moment- Ross Taylor has a better ODI average than Kane Williamson, Marnus Labuschagne has started his ODI career nicely, Shreyas Iyer has an excellent record, and Eoin Morgan has done well with a very different attacking approach.

Whilst my preference is to have anchors who bat through at 3 and 4, there are other approaches. It was interesting when England played Alex Hales at number 3 as a third attacking opener, which pushed Root to 4 and Morgan to 5. Where teams are really struggling to find a number 4, I think this is a model they can look to pursue.

The conundrum of the number four position in Indian white-ball cricket

Not sure about tried and found wanting. Dan Christian has batted 7 times in T20 Internationals- a tiny sample size considering the hit and miss nature of the T20 format, particularly for late order hitters. Henriques on the other hand averages 31.42 at a strike rate of 135.8 in T20 Internationals- a good record.

Stoinis had his chance for Australia, now it's time for Christian and Henriques in T20s

Stoinis is a strange one. I feel like he’s improving his lower order batting, but he still seems frustratingly stagnant when he first comes to the crease. He did very well in the last IPL batting mostly at number 6, and has compiled 240 runs @ 40 (SR 146.34) since his T20I recall last winter. If we take out the Hamilton innings, then we’re still looking at some handy cameos (162 runs @ 32.4, SR 127.56). I remain undecided.

I felt for Marsh being pushed below Agar. He batted well in the first match, and the final T20 in England last year, and I feel 7 was a bit too low for him. I reckon he has something to offer in this format, but he could find himself squeezed out.

To me Christian is a no brainer- a highly experienced specialist finisher, who plays purely T20 cricket is perfect. He has to be in the squad if not the 11.

Henriques also deserves the opportunity. He has the best T20 International record of the 4, played well against India, and has strong BBL and IPL records. My only concern here is that his best cricket in the BBL, IPL, and internationals has come at number 3 and 4, rather than number 5 or 6. Nonetheless, he deserves the chance to prove that he can play the lower order role.

It will be interesting to see which of these four are used at the World Cup. I assume that World Cup squads will be larger than the typical 15, given the difficulty in replacing players with COVID restrictions. With that in mind I think Australia could feasibly bring 3, if not all 4 of Marsh, Stoinis, Christian and Henriques, depending on how large the squad ends up. I’d probably have Christian in my XI, with Henriques and Stoinis as squad members, and Marsh’s place contingent upon the size of the squad.

Stoinis had his chance for Australia, now it's time for Christian and Henriques in T20s

It is a reasonable sample size, but we all know that he’s a fish out of water down the order, so I’m not too interested in those innings- to me he opens or doesn’t play.

Breaking up Finch and Warner has worked before in the tri-series, and fills what has been a massive hole for a number of years with an experienced and fluent batsman. To be clear, I don’t see this move purely as a way of accomodating Wade, but more as a way of solving the middle order problem. If we’re going down this path, then I’d absolutely give Wade the first go at opening, given his excellent record at the top of the order. His last 3 innings may be substandard, but the 2 before that were excellent. If he continues to falter, then Philippe could quite easily take the opening position- a far more familiar role for him than number 5 or 6.

Matthew Wade's time is up. Josh Philippe must take the gloves

The away stat is interesting. To me it further reflects the fact he needs to open. He has opened in 4/8 innings in home T20 internationals, and 4/19 innings away. The discrepancy is largely a result of him being used in a more appropriate position at home, and capitalising on those opportunities. Admittedly he hasn’t exactly flourished in his 4 innings at the top of the order overseas, but 4 innings is hardly a significant sample size.

Matthew Wade's time is up. Josh Philippe must take the gloves

I also tend to prefer the second lineup. That tri-series is the main reason I’m such a fan of Finch at 5. Too often Australia has got off to a good start, and faltered in the middle overs- having a brutal number 5 really made the difference. It’s not like we missed him at the top either, because from memory Short was firing in that series.

Matthew Wade's time is up. Josh Philippe must take the gloves

I’d have to disagree in this one. Wade has opened 8 times in T20I cricket, with an excellent record: 275 runs @ 34.38, SR 150.27, 3 50s. Prior to this series, his most recent two innings were both half centuries. I struggle to see how a 3 match form slump is enough to justify axing a player in the game’s most hit and miss format. Remember of course that Agar was considered ‘under pressure’ before yesterday.

I get the argument that the keeper has to bat in the middle order, and in truth, Wade’s record when he doesn’t open is awful. Personally I would keep him at the top of the order, even when Warner returns. Finch is a high quality finisher, with a strong record down the order in both the IPL, and international cricket. His best spot is probably 5, where he averages 32 (SR 146) in the IPL, and has 89 runs without being dismissed (SR 193) in T20Internationals. Warner averages 53 at number 4 for Sunrisers Hyderabad, and batted at 3 and 4 in the last T20 World Cup.

The idea that Wade, as the least credentialed of the trio, should be the one to move down the order is flawed. Good openers grow on trees, whilst good middle order batsmen are hard to find and win matches. Both Finch and Warner play the middle overs well. Moving one of them down the order is not a waste, but rather strengthens the weakest component of the batting lineup.

To me Australia’s best top 6 is one of the following:
Finch, Wade wk, Smith, Warner, Maxwell, All-rounder (Stoinis, Marsh, Henriques, Christian)
Warner, Wade wk, Smith, Maxwell, Finch, All-rounder

Matthew Wade's time is up. Josh Philippe must take the gloves

We had this conversation two years ago, and he bounced back well for the ODI World Cup, so I’d back him to find form again. The bigger concern for the T20 World Cup is finding finishers with bat and ball.

When does Aaron Finch’s form become a World Cup worry?

Travis Head since the start of the 2019 Ashes: 35, 51, 7, 42*, 0, 25, 19, 12, 24, 56, 5, 114, 28, 10, 7, 38, 17. 490 runs, AVG 30.63, 2 50s, 1 100.

Whilst much is made of Head’s near 40 career average, the reality is that he has underperformed for 18 months. With Henriques presenting the only viable alternative, its a great pity that Maxwell hasn’t played a FC match since last summer. He certainly adds the firepower to the middle order, in addition to a spin bowling option.

I think it is worth noting that Paine has batted a bit more fluently in the last 18 months though. In terms of replacements, I’d be happy for either Inglis or Carey to be given the opportunity. I think either of them could be the fluent player required in the middle order.

The other name to consider is Nic Maddinson. With the South Africa tour postponed, he now has a Shield stint to prove himself before the next Test squad is announced. He was unlucky to be mostly batting for declarations in the first few Shield games, so hopefully he can recapture his form from the last couple of seasons. He’s always been a reasonable quick scorer.

An attacking Josh Inglis could be Australia's Test answer to Rishabh Pant and Ben Stokes

1. Warner (Stoinis in NZ)
2. Wade
3. Smith (McDermott in NZ)
4. Maxwell
5. Finch
6. Marsh/ Stoinis/ Henriques (Marsh in NZ if Stoinis opens)

Finch averages 32, SR 146 at number 5 in the IPL, and Wade is one of the most brutal T20 openers in the country. Swapping them makes perfect sense to me.

Australia's middle order stands between them and T20 World Cup glory

He is 37, so they probably left him out in favour of long term prospects. The problem is though, the most important focus for the T20 side should be the short term, with two World Cups coming up.

Australia confirm their two squads for tours of New Zealand and South Africa

Mitchell Marsh this BBL: 253 runs @ 42.16, SR 148.82. Surely thats enough to warrant a place in the squad.
Ashton Agar has 30 wickets @ 20.86 ECON 6.87 in T20 Internationals, which is far from ‘very little’ at that level. I get that he hasn’t been playing, but normally people with a strong record return immediately from injuries.

Don’t disagree that there were better options than Turner, whilst Short didn’t do enough to command a spot after an underwhelming international series against India.

Australia confirm their two squads for tours of New Zealand and South Africa

Ashton Turner’s selection is interesting. Whilst I’m happy to see someone selected on the back of form as a finisher (given Australia’s struggles outside the top 4 in T20 Internationals), I can’t help but feel others performed better at the back end of the innings this BBL season:

Turner: 183 runs @ 23, SR 154.62
Christian: 232 runs @ 36, SR 186.66
Cartwright: 239 runs @ 29.87, SR 143.97 (including 122 runs @ 30.5, SR 169.44 at number 5/6)
Silk: 365 runs @ 36.5, SR 144.26
Weatherald: 401 runs @ 36.45, SR 143.72 (including 114 runs @ 38, SR 154.05 at number 5/6)

On the plus side, Mitchell Marsh and Daniel Sams have been two of the best finishers this tournament, and have both been selected, whilst Stoinis performed well down the order in the IPL.

Australia confirm their two squads for tours of New Zealand and South Africa

I don’t think they need to change heaps. Shaw is certainly under pressure at the top, but you would think they would stick with him one Test in. You could also make a case for Pant over Saha given the loss of Kohli, but Melbourne is generally a pretty good batting wicket anyway:

Shaw
Agarwal
Pujara
Vihari
Rahane
Jadeja (fitness pending)
Saha
Ashwin
Yadav
Bumrah
Siraj

My India XI for the Boxing Day Test

I feel for Wade. If it weren’t for the injuries to Warner and Pucovski, then my gut feel is he would have held his middle order spot ahead of Green. But as the article points out, once Green debuts, he’s unlikely to be dropped any time soon (if at all). With Head being younger, a future leadership option, and having started his career well, I can’t see Wade getting that spot either. In short, barring an injury or dramatic form slump from Head, Wade is unlikely to get his middle order spot back. He now has to bat out of position against a strong opponent with a pink ball in order to save his career. Even if he performs well in Adelaide, he’s stuck up the top of the order, meaning he needs to reinvent his career a second time in order to hold his spot going forward. He’s certainly being thrown into the deep end.

Matthew Wade opening against India isn't as mad as it sounds

I’m all for Maddinson, given his performances since moving to Victoria, but I’m not sure he can be picked on recent form. His FC scores this summer: 22, 27*, 39, 23, 19, 14 (144 runs @ 28.8). By comparison, Henriques has piled on 338 runs @ 67.6 in 3 Shield games with 2 centuries.

Australia forced into yet another squad change for first Test

Fair point. I don’t think an average of almost 80 is a true reflection of where he’s at. That said, he has to be a Test option in light of his consistency in recent years- last season he made a century and 95 at the SCG, 2 50s at the Adelaide Oval, and a half century in Hobart, so (relatively) recent performances suggest he can bat at Test venues.

Out of curiosity, where did you find ground specific Shield stats?

Selectors ignore ideal stop-gap in Khawaja

I think Khawaja would be a good choice to fill in. At the end of the day, he averages 40 at Test level, which is certainly a pass mark. He also averages 53 in Australia, which highlights his reliability at home (obviously a different story overseas, but it hardly matters if he’s a one test stopgap).
A few have mentioned Shaun Marsh as an option, and I’m not opposed to that either. He’s in as good a form as anyone, and has opened before. I’ve always thought Marsh’s problem at Test level has been nerves early in his innings, often brought about by pressure to retain his spot. If he’s told that he’s got one Test as a fill in, and will probably never play again, that selection pressure dissipates. He can just go out there and bat normally, without worrying about the consequences. I’d argue he’s never had this level of freedom at Test level. He’d have nothing to lose, and I’d therefore back him to cash in.
The other left-field name that I’d put forward would be Nic Maddinson. He batted at 6 in the first tour match, but may bat higher in a weaker side. What happens if he bats in the top 3 today and outperforms both Harris and Burns? Given that he’s averaged 79.5 since moving to Victoria, I don’t think anyone can begrudge him selection. He doesn’t always open, but he did a bit last season.
Burns is way off at the moment, and Harris averages 24 at Test level. I would back any of these 3 to make more runs than Harris or Burns, which at the end of the day, is all that matters.

Selectors ignore ideal stop-gap in Khawaja

Given the public backing of Burns, I can’t see this happening, but I agree it’s probably the best option if Warner isn’t available. Warner-Pucovski is my preferred opening pair, but if Warner can’t play, then I think playing Green instead of Burns is justified.

If you can bat at 3 in Test cricket, then opening isn’t that different- particularly given how early Marnus batted in the Ashes.

Green ton makes tough call even tougher

True, but my point was more that Starc has hardly had the ‘horrendous decline’ you speak of- his World Cup alone speaks to that, as do his number relative to his teammates.

Zampa and Maxwell have been key to Australia's ODI resurgence

Yes, you are correct. On Statsguru, you can find stats for games involving certain players. Here are the numbers:

Matches involving Starc since Langer took over:
Runs per wicket: 35.27
Runs per over: 5.79

Matches involving Cummins since Langer took over:
RPW: 34.95
RPO: 5.73

Matches involving Hazlewood since Langer took over:
RPW: 35.6
RPO: 5.64

So yes, all three have been above average by comparison to those they have played with and against. It’s hardly surprising though- you would expect frontline bowlers to be above average, and the fifth and sixth bowlers to be below.

Zampa and Maxwell have been key to Australia's ODI resurgence

Since Langer took over:
Starc- 43 wickets @ 30.41 (including 27 wickets @ 18.59 in World Cup)
Cummins- 47 wickets @ 29.23
Hazlewood- 19 wickets @ 33.1

Form slump- yes
Horrendous decline- no

Zampa and Maxwell have been key to Australia's ODI resurgence

Head’s a strange one for ODIs. He seems to have the attributes to play a number of roles, yet isn’t the best option for any of them.

He averages 41 as an opener, yet can’t dislodge Finch and Warner.

He bats at 3 in Domestic One Day matches, and plays spin well, but Smith and Labuschagne beat him to the number 3 and 4 spots.

He was the fifth bowler in the ODI side for a while, but is well behind M Marsh/Stoinis with the ball.

He’s a powerful hitter, yet doesn’t have the same finishing ability as Maxwell.

He could literally bat anywhere from 1-7 (which is actually quite unusual), but isn’t the best option for any of those positions. Perhaps he would be a good squad player at a World Cup, capable of filling in wherever a gap opens up.

Zampa and Maxwell have been key to Australia's ODI resurgence