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My T20 world XI

While my Test and ODI world XI teams were decided on performances in international cricket, my T20 world XI encompasses all T20 cricket, reflecting the high standard of franchise cricket around the world.

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The Test match world XI

As the sporting world takes a break in the middle of a global pandemic, sports lovers are finding other ways to pursue their passion; reliving classic matches, hypothesising about makeshift season details and constructing hypothetical line-ups.

It wasn’t mentioned in the article, but other news sites are reporting that the ECB is investigating how the footage (allegedly filmed by Graham Thorpe) became public. The ECB is apparently unfazed by the behaviour of the players.

Judging by some comments, it seems a number of people have overlooked this detail, and jumped to the conclusion that the players involved are under investigation.

'Time for bed': ECB to investigate Root and Anderson drinking session with Aussie stars

They’re spraying it, not drinking it

'The boys have my back': Khawaja reveals how much Cummins' champagne gesture meant to him

Hi Trent, good to have another one of these articles. I think Khawaja seems content with what he’s achieved and views every Test as a bonus now, which is a mindset that seems to be helping him.

On a different topic, I think quite a few people, myself included, were surprised to see Alana King selected over Amanda-Jade Wellington in the Women’s Ashes squad. Selectors indicated that the reason was King’s flatter bowling, making her a like for like replacement for Wareham. As you’ve worked with King in the past, I’m sure you’ll advocate for her, but nonetheless I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this selection.

DEEP POINT: Khawaja reaches total control of his game, Harris can return, Green’s a freak

Thanks for the article Trent. I really enjoy your insights, but I’m a bit confused about this whole needing aggressive players thing. At lunch on day 1, Warner was 20 (72 balls), and Labuschagne was 16 (54). Steve Smith was 18 (71) at stumps on day one. Didn’t Australia highlight the importance of occupying the crease in Adelaide?

A question for next week:
Cameron Green was bowled in both the first and second Tests. Where Smith and Labuschagne have moved both feet prior to the ball being delivered, Green moves his back foot across while his front foot remains outside leg stump until the ball is bowled. Is Green’s trigger movement causing problems for him, or are his bowled dismissals merely coincidental?

Deep Point: What makes Marnus world's No.1, and why the Joe Root pile on is 'absolute bulls--t'

Yeah that is interesting. Similarly, I saw a stat recently on this site about Mitchell Starc starting series well, and ending them poorly. I wonder if statistically, Test series become more weighted towards the bat from the third Test onwards, as bowlers tire, and batting lineups become more familiar with conditions and opponents.

Stokes, Woakes and Foakes: Why England should dump Buttler

It’s hard to understand how England continue to ignore Foakes. From what I’ve seen of his keeping in his limited Test opportunities to date, I would have to agree with Alec Stewart’s assessment that he’s the best in the world. He also averages 38 with the bat at First Class level, compared to Buttler’s 32. Both have similar Test records with the bat.

I think England (wrongly) view Foakes as a specialist keeper who can’t bat. He’s spent more time at number 8 than number 7, and 6 of his 8 Tests were in Asia, where keeping is difficult and Moeen Ali plays to add some lower order batting.
Considering he only gets overseas assignments, Foakes has actually batted pretty well at Test level.

The other thing to consider is that both keepers can play. Buttler averages 47 at number 6, and certainly holds his own among an English top 6 that mostly average in the high 20s or low 30s at Test level. The problem is that when two keepers are played, it’s typically Buttler and Bairstow, not Foakes. Bairstow shouldn’t be there any more. Since 2018, he averages 24.88 at Test level, and Foakes is the superior keeper.

Stokes, Woakes and Foakes: Why England should dump Buttler

An interesting read, and thanks for answering my question from last week.

“I’m thinking it should be almost mandatory that all batsmen in youth development squads are being taught as wicketkeepers as well.”

I think this is a really interesting point. We have seen in T20 cricket, Australia has struggled to find reliable keepers, but haven’t had the part-time keeping options to go to instead. By contrast, when Seifert was struggling, New Zealand handed the gloves to Devon Conway, and also had Glenn Phillips as an option. If Warner of Finch could keep, that would give the T20 XI so much more flexibility. Whilst Wade did well at the World Cup, the keeping position has often been a problem in the T20 side since Gilchrist retired.

For next week’s column, I’m curious on your thoughts about Glenn Maxwell as a Test cricketer. Unfortunately we haven’t seen him in the Shield since 2019, but with Asian tours coming up, he may have one last chance to wear the baggy green again. Do you think Maxwell still has the ingredients to succeed at Test level, or has his game changed too much since he last played FC cricket?

Deep Point: 'Whatever we're spending, quadruple it' - How Australia's dropped the ball in key area

Agree on Agar and his value in Asia. I think his style of bowling is more suited to Asian conditions than Swepson, plus his batting can also add value. At a stetch, Agar could even bat at 7, allowing Australia to play all three spinners (personally I would probably avoid this, as it can be useful to bat deep in foreign conditions).

On the point of the all-rounder’s importance to compensate the loss of the third seamer, I think it’s a pity that Jack Wildermuth has struggled so far this season. Over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 summers, he took 38 wickets @ 23.05, and scored 656 runs @ 36.44 in FC cricket, including strong performances for Australia A against the England Lions, and touring Indian side. Unlike the likes of Green, Marsh, Stoinis, etc, he’s a genuine frontline bowler (who often opens the bowling), rather than providing a few part time overs. Unfortunately this season, he’s averaged 11.66 with the bat, and more than 40 with the ball, so not a Test contender at this stage. I’m hoping his back half of the season is better, because he could be a useful option at number 7, with the keeper batting at 6.

Agar's 2022 prospects, India-NZ draw: Talking points from the world of cricket

De Villiers really was a one of a kind player. I think this piece really highlights the fact that, despite his array of shots in T20 cricket, his game was built around a really solid technique. What to me is most incredible about him is the range of gears he has- he can literally bat at any pace, from saving Test matches to world record speed hundreds. It’s incredibly rare actually. A lot of white ball ‘anchors’ will slide down the order if a team doesn’t lose early wickets, in order to elevate hitters to maintain the run rate. De Villiers would never slide. In most teams he was the best anchor and the best hitter. To me, he’s the best 3-format batter we’ve seen yet (although Kohli also has a strong case).

Lastly, a question for next week:
What do you think is the key to making the transition from First Class to Test cricket? We’ve seen numerous guys with good FC records struggle in Tests, whilst England have counterintuitively picked guys with modest FC records (Crawley, Hameed) at Test level. Are the guys who succeed at FC level best placed to succeed in Test cricket, or is there something else that you look for that means average county/shield cricketers can make the cut at Test level?

Deep Point: 'Some of the world's greatest players watched his sessions in awe'

Cartwright is a strange one. He averages 38 across his Shield career, which is a fairly respectable record considering Australia don’t have that many guys averaging 40+ in FC cricket. Most of these runs came in 2015-16 (409 @ 68.17), and 2016-17 (861 @ 53.81), culminating in a Test debut. He has since averaged 25 in 2018-19, and was picked for just 6 Shield games across the 2019-20 and 2020-21 summers. His early form this season has come after three barren years.
He’s never taken more than 10 wickets in a Shield season, and has overall taken 31 wickets @ 38.96 in a 48 (now in 49th) game Shield career. Australia picked him as an all-rounder, but he seems pretty part-time. This season for example, he probably wouldn’t have got a bowl, had Jhye Richardson not gone off injured.
Yet, somehow, he has 51 FC wickets @ 33 in 60 matches. Factor in two wicketless Tests, and 31 wickets in 48 Shield games, and that means he has played 10 other FC matches, picking up 20 wickets @ 22.2!! I assume these were for Australia A, but I can’t find any record of it. Maybe he can bowl after all.
In terms of where he’s at selection-wise, I think he’s a bit back in the queue. He’s done well so far this season, but it has come after three mediocre years of FC cricket. For much of this period, he wasn’t even in Western Australia’s best XI. That said, his record isn’t terrible, so a couple of good seasons could take his Shield average above 40, which well and truly puts him back in the mix. Just not yet.
I’d also keep him on the radar from a T20 perspective. I thought he did a pretty good job partnering Stoinis at the top of the order in the 2019-20 BBL, whilst he played some powerful cameos from number 6 last season. I don’t think he’s in Australia’s best T20 XI, but with an injury or two to key players, he could be a decent replacement option to play as a finisher.

Could Hilton Cartwright be recalled for the Ashes?

I have heard of him, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near Test level yet. All of the guys I mentioned have achieved far more in FC cricket.

I agree he’s done pretty well this season, but he only has one FC hundred to date, and it came at Karen Rolton Oval. Not sure what hundred in Queensland your talking about… he made a 57* in a game where a wicket fell every 68 runs at the Gabba last season??

He may well turn out to be Test quality, but lets give him some time to prove that, rather than rushing him in after a decent three-game stint.

Get Carder: Kerry O'Keeffe's huge Ashes opener call, Marsh pushes for return

This has to be one of the most bizarre proposed XI’s I’ve seen so far.
Carder is surely behind Warner, Pucovski (if fit), Harris, Burns, Bancroft, Whiteman, Hughes, Weatherald, and Street. Makeshift (part-time) openers like Maddinson, Khawaja, S Marsh, Renshaw, and Labuschagne would probably also do a better job.
Not sure why M Marsh would play alongside Green- if he does, he should bat at 7, where he should have batted in his Tests to date (all of the keepers he has played with are stronger with the bat). If we’re looking for an additional all-rounder, I feel like Wildermuth is a better option (although his Shield form to date has been poor), whilst Neser, Abbott, and Ashton Agar could arguably bat at 7 if we really want the extra bowler.
The better option in my view is to just pick an in-form batter at number 5. There are a few options- Khawaja, Maddinson, Head, Renshaw… These guys are far more logical inclusions than M Marsh. Also, if we’re going to go with someone with no recent FC cricket behind him, get Maxwell in!!

Get Carder: Kerry O'Keeffe's huge Ashes opener call, Marsh pushes for return

“Neither Bancroft or Harris has a Test century, while Warner has 24. In the midst of a tough era for openers around the world, Warner has remained Australia’s first-choice opener for a decade.”

I know you were arguing Australia should be prepared to drop him, but I think here you’ve highlighted the reason Warner must play. Last summer, he wasn’t fully fit, but he was rushed back because there’s really no alternative.

In relation to his recent form, Warner summed it up well when he pointed out that he’s barely played any cricket of late (talking about his T20 form). When you look purely at red-ball cricket, he’s played just two games since the pandemic began. It would be a stretch to say he’s out of form. The thing is, I’m not sure a lack of FC cricket is an issue for him- as you point out, he’s largely bypassed the Shield, and has spent most of his career shifting between formats. In some ways a T20 World Cup is perfect Ashes preparation for him, particularly as he started to find some form this morning.

As for the remained of the batting lineup, I wouldn’t be so confident about Head. Since the start of the 2019 Ashes, he’s averaged 30.62 in Test cricket. I’m not opposed to him by any means, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near a sure selection. On form, I would be putting Khawaja into the side instead.

1. Warner
2. Pucovski
3. Labuschagne
4. Smith
5. Khawaja
6. Green

I know many would swap Pucovski and Khawaja, but with Pucovski now opening for Victoria, and Khawaja batting at number four for Queensland, I think it would be more logical to give both players similar roles to the ones they play domestically.

Australia must be prepared to drop David Warner

Yeah, they certainly moved him up and down. In fairness, I can see the logic in trying to turn him into a top order player. England have struggled to find players to bat in the top 3, with most averaging about 25-30 in recent years. If they could get Moeen to match this output, then they lose nothing at the top of the order, whilst fitting in an extra bowler, and allowing Root, Stokes and Buttler to bat in preferred positions down the order.

But yes, despite the logic behind the experiment, your right that it was ultimately unsuccessful (although his numbers at number 4 are strong) and detrimental to his career. Batting everywhere from 1-9 can’t have been easy.

Shield begins, Moeen Ali calls stumps and Ashes latest: Takes from the week in cricket

I think we all know that Warner is a flat track bully, but the issue is finding an alternative. Marcus Harris averages 24 in Test cricket, Joe Burns averages 37, but has mostly been picked for easier assignments. Khawaja is an option, but his overseas record is worse than Warner’s. I like Will Pucovski, but you need two openers.

I also don’t think we should underestimate Warner’s home runs. If it was easy to make Test runs at home, everyone would make them, but I’m yet to see Harris, or Burns, or any of these alternatives match Warner’s output in Australia.

The truth is that the Sheffield Shield is doing a poor job of preparing players for overseas Test assignments. Warner is a symptom of this, not the problem. In fact, relative to some of his teammates, an overseas average of 34.5, with 6 centuries and 18 50s is actually not such a bad effort.

We need to stop carrying David Warner

Moeen Ali took his wickets at a better strike rate than Nathan Lyon, and averaged almost 30 with the bat. It’s a great pity he wasn’t more economical, because he could have been a world class all-rounder. He’s in a rare category of genuine wicket takers that are a bit too expensive with the ball. In fact, of players to take at least 50 Test wickets at a strike rate as good as or better than Moeen Ali, only 3 have a worse bowling average:

– Fidel Edwards (WI): 165 wickets, SR: 58.1, AVG: 37.87
– Arnoldus Blignaut (ZIM): 53 wickets, SR: 59.8, AVG: 37.05
– Ashantha de Mel (SL): 59 wickets, SR 59.6, AVG: 36.94
– Moeen Ali (ENG): 195 wickets, SR: 60.7, AVG: 36.66

Nonetheless, he’s had a very good career. He took his wickets at virtually the same strike rate as Graeme Swann, and passed 50 on 19 occasions with the bat- certainly a useful cricketer.

Shield begins, Moeen Ali calls stumps and Ashes latest: Takes from the week in cricket

Jadeja at 5 is interesting, but I don’t see why he can’t bat higher than 7.

On Rahane, I think part of the appeal is that he performs better away from home. Like all nations, India have heaps of guys that can perform at home, but not so many that can perform well overseas. But yes, you are correct. For a guy that only averages a tick over 40, he walks very easily into the side- probably too easily. There are other options too. In addition to the guys you named in the article, there’s Karun Nair, who has a Test triple hundred (hasn’t played a FC match for a while though), and Shreyas Iyer, who averages 52 in FC cricket.

Never mind England, India’s batting lineup needs re-jigging

Alex Carey averages 11 in T20 Internationals. His omission really shouldn’t be surprising. Great to see Inglis there. I’m really excited to see him play, so hopefully he starts ahead of Wade.

It’s interesting that they didn’t bring more players, now that squads can be larger than 15. I reckon I would’ve tried to squeeze in Labuschagne as a 16th player. On the whole though, I think it’s a well selected squad which really picks itself.

Bailey's first big call: Surprise selections as Australia names squad for the T20 World Cup

‘Harrowing humiliation’ feels a bit over the top. I get that England were in a reasonable position at the end of day 4, but India are clearly the stronger side, so no one should be surprised. The only thing that will help England compete this series are home conditions. They’ve got one batsman, and are playing against one of the best teams in the world.

'Cock up': Root takes blame, English media reacts to 'harrowing humiliation' against India

Whatever the reasoning for his exclusion, I agree Munro should have been included.

Looking at the squad selected, Chapman seems the most obvious guy to drop out. He’s got an ordinary record, and seems a bit bits and pieces to be honest. The other one is Seifert. With Conway and Phillips in the squad, they don’t need him to keep, and Munro and Finn Allen are both better openers.

Their best batting lineup probably looks something like this:

1. Guptill
2. Munro
3. Williamson c
4. Conway wk
5. Phillips
6. Neesham
7. Mitchell/Santner

Colin Munro axing a dangerous precedent from Kiwi selectors

I like Sams, and agree he’s probably the most logical replacement for Christian. The issue that I have with him is that he’s only really had one good season with the bat to date. Whilst my gut feel is that he offers a very good hitting option, we need to remember he only averages 13 in T20 cricket. At this stage, his selection should really be contingent upon his bowling. Unfortunately he’s conceded almost 11.5 runs per over in his international career to date. I know he’s only played four games, but he conceded more than 10 rpo in all 4 games, so it’s not like one bad match skewed his figures. I don’t want to draw a line through him, because I think he’s got the attributes to be a good player for Australia in T20 cricket- I just don’t know if he’s there yet.

Personally I would prefer to stick with Christian, given his experience in T20 cricket across the globe. If you pull together his performances in the BBL, PSL, and T20 Blast over the last year or so, he’s done particularly well as a death hitter, even if we haven’t quite seen the best of him at international level. I’ll admit that it’s probably a decision that could go either way.

The squad Australia should take to the T20 World Cup

Not sure whether your questioning having 7 frontline bowlers in the squad, or having 7 bowling options (4 frontline and 3 all-rounders) in the XI, so I’ll address both.

From a squad perspective, there are 7 bowlers included for the same reason that there are 10 options to bat in the top 7 (11 if you include Agar). The extras are covering injury, form, or tactical decisions to change the bowling lineup due to conditions or opposition.

In terms of the XI, I think you should ideally have 6 bowling options, as it provides a safety net. If one guy is getting smashed (which can happen to anyone in T20), then you don’t want to be forced to bowl him for 4 overs. Having the sixth bowling option helps alleviate this. I’ve included 7 bowling options instead of 6, largely because I would have selected all three all-rounders on batting alone. Maxwell would make Australia’s all-time T20 XI, Marsh is in career best form, and Stoinis has performed well in a role that many have struggled in.

“we need more guys who can bat longer than 10 balls” – If your reference point are the recent tours of Bangladesh and the West Indies, then I agree. I’d argue that with Finch, Warner, and Smith (or Labuschagne) returning, and Marsh in excellent form, the top 4 are all pretty capable of batting deep into the innings. It’s also worth noting that the team bats pretty deep with Agar at 8- you would hope that a full-strength team with a number 8 with 3 First Class centuries to his name would be capable of lasting 120 balls.

The squad Australia should take to the T20 World Cup

On Maxwell, I think Australia needs to be flexible with where he bats. If they get off to a flier, then it makes sense to send him in at 4 or even 3, to maintain the run rate. If they’ve lost a couple of quick wickets and need to consolidate for a few overs, then maybe they send someone else in- I reckon Inglis would be good in this situation, but that’s just a gut feel.

I share the concerns about Christian, hence why I left him out of the 11. For some time, I’ve wanted to see him given an opportunity, considering his performances around the globe in franchise cricket. I’m glad he was selected for these tours, but agree that he didn’t grasp the opportunity as well as he could have. So yes, his selection in my squad is certainly speculative, and based partly on my personal preference, and hope that he can replicate domestic form on the international stage. I think it’s important to remember though, that in his T20 International career to date, he’s only had 8 completed innings. There isn’t a huge body of work to make judgement on, particularly given he’s playing a high risk role. I’m far from sold on him, but I don’t see too many guys making a stronger case for the late order hitting role (except those who made my 11). Out of curiosity, who would you have chosen instead of him?

The squad Australia should take to the T20 World Cup

Conflicting emotions seems to sum it up well. They were a goalkeeping error and disallowed goal away from the Olympic final- clearly the Matildas can match it with the best. With a touch of luck they win that game, which is staggering given their form leading in. That said, it’s a huge missed opportunity- with the US losing to Canada, they might have blown their best ever chance to win a major tournament.

There remain a few areas for improvement. Defensively, there’s work to do, considering Sweden smashed home four goals in the group game, and England three in the quarter final. In truth, they have too many lapses. It shouldn’t be surprising- they played a very makeshift defence. I don’t know why they didn’t play Carpenter at right-wing back, with Polkinghorne and Kennedy both starting (instead of one or the other). This would allow them to play one of Raso and Simon in attack with the other coming off the bench, instead of using Raso slightly out of position. They also rely heavily on Kerr to score the goals- which was problematic last night when she was exhausted.

Considering the makeshift defence, and Kerr reliance, it’s incredible to think they could still win an Olympic medal. Imagine what they could do if they solve these problems!

'Can’t lose sight of the long game': Conflicting emotions as Matildas aim for bronze

Yeah, 5 wickets in the second innings. In fairness, it looks like a fairly strong Pakistan A side.

Test XIs we should have had: India 2013