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Patrick Moran

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Joined February 2018

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Nice side. I went a little differently myself:
1. Alistair Cook
2. Virender Sehwag
3. Kumar Sangakkara
4. Jaques Kallis
5. Andy Flower wk
6. Shakib al Hasan
7. Kevin O’Brien
8. Jason Holder
9. Shane Warne
10. Mohammad Abbas
11. Neil Wagner

My all-time Test XI of the 21st century

I think I’d also have him in that category Ryan. I think I’d be more likely to pick him overseas though, where his patience can be an asset. I think there are more fluent options for home Tests.

The leg side problem was interesting. Perhaps its all related- we’ve seen Sibley get his feet stuck, and repeatedly get caught on the leg side. When your feet plant, your legs can get a bit tangled, so perhaps the compulsive move across the crease has facilitated the problem?

Can Bancroft bounce back?

Some good ideas Paul. I’m all for training camps, and improving conditions for spinners domestically. Shield conditions are terrible for spinners- Dan Brettig did an interview with Mitch Swepson in the last week or so, which pointed out his lack of opportunities in fourth innings.
I think part of the problem stems from the fact that there’s only one spin spot available in the Test XI (or 2 in Asia). By comparison, seamers can compete for three spots (which change more regularly due to injury/rotation), and batsman 6. Even wicketkeepers can find a place as a batsman, just look at Wade. Unless they can bat, there’s really a limit of one spin bowling spot, which is hardly an incentive to pursue red ball cricket.
By comparison, there are 8 BBL franchises, and numerous leagues around the world, in a format where multiple spinners are often picked. I can see why a spinner would rather pursue this option than wait for Lyon to retire, and hope for the occasional game in Asia.
A couple of random thoughts to address this in addition to your suggestions:
– Could we have a red ball spin development contract, where we pay promising spinners to concentrate on red ball cricket, and not play T20 until a certain age? This certainly improves the incentive.
– More Australia A/youth tours to Asia.

What does Australian cricket need to do about our Test spinner stocks?

I’m not sure he was an automatic return, he just pushed his way in through county runs and the unbeaten 93 on the minefield in Southampton. By comparison, Burns had only just returned from chronic fatigue, and Harris hadn’t capitalised against Sri Lanka after a reasonable series against India. In hindsight they should have gone Burns, but I can see why they went Bancroft at the time.

For reference, he averaged 30.92 in his first 8 Tests with 3 50s.

Can Bancroft bounce back?

I think the difference between Bancroft and Smith technically is that Bancroft’s technique causes problems for him. Smith has an eccentric trigger movement, whereas Bancroft compulsively falls over towards the off side- it means his head often isn’t still when he plays the ball. By comparison, Smith is in a good position at the point of contact.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should be putting a red line through Bancroft based on technique alone- as I mentioned in the article he’s got a lot going for him. I just think he’s got a significant technical challenge to overcome, where Smith doesn’t.

Can Bancroft bounce back?

Your right about 2018. He probably should have played the Perth Ashes Test over Mitch Marsh in December 2017 on the back of his 278 (I know Marsh did well in the end). Then he got flown to Johannesburg to carry drinks after the ball tampering, before being messed around for the UAE series, where he was overlooked for a bits and pieces player (at the time) in Labuschagne.

What standards should we judge ultra-high risk batsmen by?

Fantastic summary. I think a FC average of 39.81 is pretty solid- there aren’t that many current Australians who average more, and even then most are only slightly ahead:
Steve Smith (57.95), Daniel Solway (55.33 but only 7 matches), David Warner (49.13), Cameron Green (43.84), Chris Lynn (43.53, although we can give up on his FC career), Marnus Labuschagne (43.15), Will Pucovski (42.24), Usman Khawaja (41.96), Kurtis Patterson (41.09), Matthew Wade (41.01), Shaun Marsh (40.96), Nic Maddinson (40.33), Joe Burns (40.33).
His Shield average across the last five seasons (45.47) is also right up there, behind only:
Smith (56.38), Chris Hartley (56, but 14 not outs and no longer available anyway), S Marsh (52.93), Pucovski (51.35), Ed Cowan (49.05, now retired), Wade (48.08), and Marcus Harris (47.47). (min 20 innings)
Unless I’ve missed anything, he ranks 14th for FC average and 8th for last 5 years, but if you take out Solway and Lynn, consider the limited sample size of Green and Pucovski, the age of Shaun Marsh, and the retirements of Hartley and Cowan, then he should probably rank a bit higher.
I’d like to see him get another chance at Test level. Perhaps when the Bangladesh tour is rescheduled, they could drop Wade for Maxwell, rather than a quick for Swepson?

What standards should we judge ultra-high risk batsmen by?

I think you make a good point Paul. The funny thing that people forget is that virtually everyone is hit and miss. People talk about Maxwell being inconsistent, and playing too many risky shots early in his innings- the reality is that everyone’s vulnerable early in their innings. Maxwell just cops the criticism for the manner in which is dismissed. 45.65% of Maxwell’s completed ODI innings he scores less than 20
For comparison:
Jos Buttler- 56.7%
Jason Roy- 44.83%
Steve Smith- 43.88%
David Warner- 42.37%
Virat Kohli- 38.5%
AB De Villiers- 37.99%

Most of these guys are slightly below Maxwell, but that’s to be expected as (Buttler aside) they have longer to get in. Why does Maxwell average lower? It’s not that he’s less consistent, or irresponsible early in his innings, but the fact he has shorter to bat, so makes 50s instead of 100s.

What standards should we judge ultra-high risk batsmen by?

That’s a really impressive victory. It was particularly pleasing to see the batting from 5-7 excel, where Australia has had some problems in recent years.

Carey in particular was fantastic in the third game. Prior to the innings he was probably under a bit of pressure, having failed to reach a significant score since the World Cup. Equally, it was nice to see Maxwell make a successful comeback after a substandard World Cup, whilst I thought Mitchell Marsh played an important hand in game 1, and offered a solid bowling option throughout. Hopefully these three can lock down those spots from 5-7.

On another note, Adam Zampa was very impressive. He’d done well in ODI cricket prior, but this is probably a career best series off the top of my head. With the next World Cup in India, it’s important to have strong spinners, so Zampa’s performance is really encouraging.

WATCH: Maxwell and Carey magic stuns England as Australia win ODI series

In fairness, it is a team of the 21st Century, so Taylor and Matthews aren’t really in the picture. I would say that performances in ODIs since 2000 are the criteria for selection. If you look at the ODI records of Hauritz, Lyon, and MacGill since 2000, I don’t think Hauritz is such a bad selection:
Hauritz: 58 matches, 63 wickets @ 34.15, 4.74 rpo (plus 336 runs @ 22.4, SR 96.27)
MacGill: 3 Matches, 6 wickets @ 17.5, 3.5 rpo.
Lyon: 29 matches, 29 wickets @ 46, 4.92 rpo.
I’d say the only argument against Hauritz would be to play four seamers, with Michael Clarke (57 wickets @ 37.64, 4.98 rpo) as the spinner.
I do tend to agree on Waugh over Katich. His record in the time period is better (1249 runs @ 41.63, vs 1324 runs @ 35.78), and he’s clearly better suited to the middle order role.

NSW's ODI XI of the 21st century

I’d say your predicted XI is pretty accurate. The final middle order spot is probably between Wade and Marsh, based on a variety of comments made by Larger/Finch. Personally, I’m really hoping that Carey and whoever gets the number 5 spot make runs this series- number 5-6 are probably the missing pieces in the Australian batting lineup at the moment.

On the bowling front, I’d probably stick with Richardson, as the incumbent whose done pretty well. There are probably a few people competing for the third seamer spot, but I’d place him at the front of the queue. It will be interesting to see if Behrendorff pushes for a spot this summer- the delayed World Cup probably helps him, and I reckon he’s a very good T20 bowler.

Australia’s UK tour takes on importance of a different kind

You make a good point about keeping the Finch-Warner partnership together. I’d say in all likelihood, the selectors will share this view, and opt for one of Labuschagne, Marsh, or Wade at 5. It will be particularly interesting to see how Marnus goes if he gets the chance- personally I think he’d be well suited to number 5 (although his T20 record probably doesn’t warrant an opportunity).
I think there is merit to moving Finch down though. Often you find in T20s that a team will get off to a flyer, and then stagnate when wickets fall. I don’t see this stagnation happening with a Maxwell/Finch middle order combo. Last time Finch had a stint at 5, he scored 20* (5 balls), 36* (14 balls), and 18* (13 balls). Those three matches included Australia chasing down 138 inside 15 overs (run rate of 9.5), and chasing down 244 (admittedly at Eden Park, but even so). If they can get Wade firing at the top, this is possibly the highest scoring combination.
That said, the sample size is small- too small to come to any final conclusions. To be honest, I think it’s worth trying both options- there’s time before the World Cups- and then deciding which one works best.

What role could Labuschagne play in the T20 side?

I tend to agree that there’s little justification for Labuschagne’s selection, but I do think it’s a genuine possibility.
With the squad selected, its probably Labuschagne and Marsh competing for a middle order spot, although Wade has been used there as well. If he outperforms those two in the warmup games, there’s every chance they go for him, considering that the majority of those T20 games were before the considerable improvement he’s demonstrated in the last 12 months.

What role could Labuschagne play in the T20 side?

I think this is pretty much on the money, although Prithvi Shaw or Shubman Gill may put pressure on Rohit Sharma, who struggles away from home.
With Ashwin having performed poorly in Australia in the past, I’d back Jadeja to be selected, whilst I’d bank on Pant over Saha based on the pattern of recent selections. They same to play five bowlers and Saha at home (with Jadeja at 6), and four bowlers and Pant away to bolster the batting in foreign conditions- quite smart in my opinion.

Meet the Indian Test XI that will face the Aussies this summer

Yeah, Henriques certainly flies under the radar. Over the last 10 Shield seasons, he’s averaged 40.2, with 10 centuries, so I’d say he’s better than his FC AVG of 35. He would also be a handy bowling option if needed. Personally I’d rather go down this path, and give Green another year to develop in the Shield.

What should Australia’s Test squad look like?

Also, if some guys are missing for the IPL, wouldn’t Finch be in the same boat?

What should Australia’s Test squad look like?

An interesting piece. I’d like to see Neser in there though, after two outstanding shield seasons. I can’t see how Meredith is ahead of him- he goes at 3.62 rpo at FC level.
If your speculated omissions are correct, here’s my XI:
Burns, Maddinson, Labuschagne, Head, Wade, Henriques, Paine, Neser, Pattinson, Starc, Lyon.
I think Maddinson and Henriques were two of the standout batsmen of the last shield season. I’m not entirely sold on Maddinson as an opener, but I’d like to see his domestic performances rewarded if Smith and Warner are absent.
My eleven reserves, including the four you’ve asterisked:
Warner, Khawaja, Smith, Pucovski, Patterson, Green, Carey, Cummins, J Richardson (If fit, Copeland If not), Swepson, Hazlewood

What should Australia’s Test squad look like?

How can you show temperament in English conditions when you never get the chance? Aside from a handful of white ball games a decade ago, Alam hasn’t really played in England or South Africa.
By contrast, Shafiq’s record in these two countries is poor:
8 Tests in England, 31.23 AVG
6 Tests in Sth Africa, 32.08 AVG
On the whole, Shafiq averages 48.85 in Asia, and 27.3 outside of Asia- He’s exactly the flat track bully that you describe Alam to be.
Equally, Azhar Ali averages 27.64 from 14 Tests in England, and 16 from 6 Tests in South Africa. On the whole, he averages 53.47 in Asia, and 30.42 elsewhere.

It’s hard to justify leaving out someone with a FC average of 56, on an unproven assumption that they’re a flat track bully, when those that you pick ahead of him have demonstrated that very problem.

Was Fawad Alam ready for Southampton?

Some well justified selections. Personally I’ve got a couple of differences. In a condensed summer, I think 5 bowlers is working well for England, and with Stokes out I’d stick with that structure.
Within the constraints of the squad they have selected, I think Crawley definitely plays- personally I’d put heaps of players ahead of him (he has a FC avg of 30), but none are in the squad, so it’s a moot point.

With five bowlers theres probably only room for one of Buttler and Foakes- I agree that Foakes is the better keeper (and on record the better FC batsman), but I can’t justify dropping Buttler on form (not that you were proposing that).

In terms of the bowlers, I’d just swap Anderson for Sam Curran. Anderson seems a bit down on form, and back to back tests are tricky at 38. Curran bolsters the batting, and provides a different left-arm option. On a minor note, Bess shouldn’t bat 11- he’s not bad for a tail ender, and has batted well this season (31*, 3, 31*, 18*, 1, 0*).
XI: Sibley, Burns, Crawley, Root, Pope, Buttler, Woakes, Curran, Bess, Broad, Archer

The XI England should pick for the second Test against Pakistan

I’d probably take Roy over Pietersen. Pietersen barely opened, and Roy has been fantastic in recent years. I can’t fault number 3-7, but would probably take Plunkett out for a second spinner (You already have Flintoff, Gough, Woakes, and Stokes). As England’s leading ODI wicket-taker, Jimmy Anderson would surely be in contention too. I like teams that bat deep, so it’s probably Gough rather than Woakes who makes way.
1. Bairstow
2. Roy
3. Root
4. Morgan c
5. Stokes
6. Buttler wk
7. Flintoff
8. Woakes
9. Rashid
10. Swann
11. Anderson

My England ODI XI of the 21st century

I’m not too sure to be honest. At the very least, it ensures you play 6 different teams over a cycle, meaning Australia should play the West Indies more often than they have recently (although admittedly there are no AUS-WI Tests in the current cycle). You make a good point though, it’s hard to see CA being forced into playing Bangladesh at home for example, so they probably have more influence than I assumed.

Cricket Australia must invite the West Indies Down Under

Partially agree. As you point out, the West Indian bowling lineup has improved considerably.

That said, I’m not sure the West Indies will be as competitive as you suggest. The gulf between the batting of the two sides is significant. We saw New Zealand struggle with the bat last summer, despite a strong bowling attack (minus Santner), and I suspect the West Indies might be the same but worse- no one of the calibre of Williamson, Taylor, Latham.

I’m not sure about the whole ‘Cricket Australia should invite the West Indies’ either. I would have thought that the WTC schedule largely dictates who Australia play, taking the decision out of CA’s hands.

Cricket Australia must invite the West Indies Down Under

Agreed on Finch as a T20 finisher. I really rate him at 5. Personally I like Wade as a T20 opener over Philippe- averaged 50+ with 170 SR last BBL. To me, the top five has to be one of these two options:
1: Warner, Wade, Smith, Maxwell, Finch
2: Warner, Finch, Smith, Maxwell, M Marsh/Wells.
Its worth noting that Finch hasn’t played much down the order, but has done well there. In 5 innings at 5 or 6 in T20 Internationals, he has 142 runs without being dismissed, at a SR of 179.75. I’d say this is worth another try, given the lack of lower order options available, by contrast to the plethora of openers- can’t see it happening though now Finch is captain.

Australia names squad for England tour - in case it actually happens

A bit disappointing to see Jono Wells left out. Obviously he wouldn’t be needed for the 50-over portion of the tour, but he’s one of the few players in the country to excel batting lower than 3 in T20 cricket. Of the players selected, Warner, Finch, Wade, Khawaja, Philippe, Short, and Stoinis all open in T20s. Surely Wells could have been included at the expense of one of these guys, or Ben McDermott, who averaged mid 20s in the last BBL at a strike rate of only 122.

Australia names squad for England tour - in case it actually happens

An interesting exercise. Heres a current XI off limited research. I assume Bresnan can be classed as current, given he still plays FC cricket.
XI: Liton Das, Fakhar Zaman, Joe Denly, Rassie Van Der Dussen, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Rizwan, Tim Paine c/wk, Tim Bresnan, Mitchell Starc, Dilruwan Perera, Jack Leach.

Squad members: Ashton Agar, Shimron Hetmyer, Sami Aslam, Alex Hales, Daniel Flynn (also still playing FC cricket)

The best nervous 90s Test team