The Roar
The Roar

Ronan O'Connell

Expert

Joined April 2013

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Ronan has been a reporter for 15 years and now travels the world as a photojournalist, contributing words and images to more than 70 magazines and newspapers across the US, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He contributes travel, culture and current affairs features to the likes of CNN, BBC, The San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star, The Independent (UK), The Guardian, Irish Examiner, Australian Financial Review, South China Morning Post, Singapore Straits Times, The National, News Ltd, The West Australian, and many travel magazines and in-flight publications. Ronan's photojournalism work has taken him to more than 50 countries. Before becoming a freelance photojournalist he spent nine years working at daily newspapers in W.A. where he variously was a chief crime reporter, political writer, health reporter, features writer and sports reporter.

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I’d really like to see Zampa get a go in the ODIs next month, Australia’s attack looked so much better balanced when he was in good form 18 months ago.

Head, Finch and Holland will play Pakistan Tests

Bryant incredibly was on 69 from just 27 balls today against a very strong SA attack featuring four guys who’ve recently played for Australia – Richardson, Mennie, Sayers and Zampa.

Head, Finch and Holland will play Pakistan Tests

The

Max Bryant is a massive talent for a 19 year old, he looks like such a great white ball prospect for Australia going forward.

After 9 List A matches, he has 320 runs at 36 with a scorching strike rate of 125.

Head, Finch and Holland will play Pakistan Tests

Siddle over Tremain is a complete head scratcher.

Head, Finch and Holland will play Pakistan Tests

Harvey did you watch Agar bat in the Tests in Bangladesh last winter?

He batted for two-and-a-half hours in making a crucial 41no after coming to the crease with Australia in tatters at 7 for 124.

He also made a sprightly 22 in the second Test which helped push Australia up to a match-winning first innings score.

A first-class batting average of 26, with two tons and a 98, is indicative of someone who really adds value down the order.

Head, Finch and Holland will play Pakistan Tests

I think both Holland and Agar are good options.

I think the selectors will pick Holland but I’d probably lean towards Agar because he bowled well in Bangladesh last year, and offers so much more than Holland as an all-round cricketer.

Head, Finch and Holland will play Pakistan Tests

Rellum is spot on there, with Australia only picking one genuine wicket taking quick in Starc they need to select their two most attacking spin options if they’re going to take 20 wickets on UAE pitches, which tend to be good for batting.

Head, Finch and Holland will play Pakistan Tests

Head’s career FC average is a bit misleading because it’s skewed by his struggles as a teenager when he was thrown to the wolves because SA had such a small batting talent pool.

Most batsmen don’t become fixtures of their Shield team until they’re 21 or older whereas Head was a fixture of the SA team at 18 and he wasn’t ready, SA just had no one else so they gave him a go.

Head played 20 Shield matches while he was still a teenager. As a comparison, guys like Hilton Cartwright and Jake Lehmann didn’t reach 20 Shield matches until they were 24 years old, they never had their FC records skewed by trying to play Shield at 18/19 years old like Head.

Head’s FC record:

As a teenager – 660 runs at 25

In his 20s – 3,931 runs at 40

Most importantly, Head’s FC batting returns are on a clear upward curve – he’s made nearly 2,000 runs at 43 in the past two years and that includes 8 matches he’s played in the foreign conditions of England and India, where he made 545 runs at 39.

All this explains why I think it’s misleading to just look at his career FC average of 36.

Head, Finch and Holland will play Pakistan Tests

Head did bat really well in India A, he looked in great touch, but I’ve really got no idea how well he’ll do in the UAE.

Finch I’ve got a gut feeling is going to have a good series against Pakistan, this Test debut just could not have come at a better time for him he’s in the form of his life and must be swollen with confidence.

Head, Finch and Holland will play Pakistan Tests

You do realise that Hazlewood and Trent Copeland were in the St George bowling attack that Warner smashed?

Those two guys have nearly 600 first-class wickets between them.

Warner and Smith hit form in grade cricket

It’s an interesting stat Pope, but since then Siddle has averaged a paltry 12 with the bat from 21 Tests.

Those are the numbers of a genuine number 11, as is his career Test average of 14.

Finch set for Ashes trial in UAE

Who knows John, it is nearly impossible to guess what the selectors will do for any given series, in any format.

Finch set for Ashes trial in UAE

Head did bat surprisingly well against spin in India this past month, in both the red ball and white ball matches, will be very interested to see if he can continue that in the UAE.

Finch set for Ashes trial in UAE

That’s the same XI I’d pick from this squad, but as far as the selectors go I’m certain they’ll pick Siddle instead of Neser.

That’s going to leave Australia with a very weak tail, with basically three number 11s in Lyon, Holland and Siddle.

Finch set for Ashes trial in UAE

Normally I’d say if a guy averages 35 in his first series that’s a pass mark, particularly away from home.

But that’s not a hard and fast rule because obviously an average alone doesn’t reflect the circumstances in which someone scores their runs.

Finch set for Ashes trial in UAE

30s are the new Test metric apparently!

Finch set for Ashes trial in UAE

Maxwell did bowl in 3 of his 4 ODIs in Australia’s last series, in England, so I’m hopeful that the new people in charge of the Aussie ODI team may recognise that he’s been criminally underused since the last WC.

I also believe Maxwell was at his best as an ODI batsman when he was bowling in every game – like it does with a lot of all-rounders this took some pressure off his batting and freed his mind.

Who will be in Australia’s world cup squad?

Yeah no I did understand that Burgy, but I also think you’re right that that team balance is probably what the selectors will be leaning towards.

Marsh and Stoinis would be two bowlers who I think could really go the journey on flat English decks with small boundaries.

Stoinis had figures of 3 for 233 in the ODIs in England and was smashed at nearly 7 runs per over.

I’d be only looking to give maybe 5 overs a match to Marsh or Stoinis, and try to get the other 5 overs out of Maxwell.

25 overs of pace and 25 of spin seems like a good balance in English ODI conditions. Certainly need to bowl 20 overs of spin minimum.

Who will be in Australia’s world cup squad?

The issue I have with that team Ken is the lack of batting dynamism.

You have only 3 batsmen in that top 7 who strike at better than 90 in ODI cricket, and one of those guys (Carey) has only done that over 3 matches so the sample size is too small.

That is a recipe for disaster against a team like England who often have 5 out of their top 7 striking at 100 or better.

That’s why Maxwell is so crucial because his extraordinary strike rate of 121 makes up for the slow scoring of others.

As an example, Khawaja scores at 4.9 runs per over in ODIs compared to 7.2rpo for Maxwell. If a slower scorer like Khawaja plays then a fellow slower scorer like Smith would have to be dropped, there’s no room for both.

Who will be in Australia’s world cup squad?

If they do pick such a team for the WC Burgy I reckon they’ll have their bowling balance wrong.

That side would be bowling 35-40 overs of pace an innings, which is definitely too much in English ODI conditions.

The pitches are so flat, and the boundaries so small for ODIs in England, that it’s really hard work for the quicks, even the really good ones.

ODI batting in England is more and more similar to T20 batting I reckon, with a heavy focus on attack, and so spinners are the key, just as they are in T20.

Consider the economy rates of the Aussie bowlers in the ODIs in England this year:

Spinners (Agar/Lyon/Maxwell) – 5.2 runs per over

Quicks (Stanlake/Neser/Tye/Stoinis/Richardson x 2) – 6.9 runs per over

I think Australia should be looking to bowl close to 25 overs of spin per innings in the World Cup – play 2 specialist spinners (Agar plus Lyon/Zampa) and also get a few overs out of Maxwell.

1. Finch
2. Warner
3. Smith
4. Ferguson
5. Stoinis/MMarsh
6. Maxwell
7. Carey
8. Agar
9. Starc
10. Hazlewood
11. Lyon/Zampa

Who will be in Australia’s world cup squad?

I actually thought Agar did a solid job with the ball in the ODIs in England this year despite being on a hiding to nothing.

The odds were massively stacked against him – he was surrounded by struggling rookie quicks, playing against the world’s best batting side on absolute roads.

In light of that Agar did well to be economical at 5.52rpo, which was good going in the circumstances.

Agar’s only played 9 ODIs across the past three years, he needs to actually be given some time to settle into his role.

And his batting gives Australia some crucial balance down the order, something they’ve badly lacked since Faulkner’s batting fell off.

Agar made 130 runs at 26 in that series against England and consistently chipped in.

In modern ODIs, with 350+ totals now common, there is pressure on the top seven to go hard throughout the innings pretty much, not just tick along at 5 to 5.5rpo for most of the innings before launching in the final 10 overs, like teams used to.

This means that its crucial to have a bit more batting depth as insurance, to allow the top 7 to have the freedom and confidence to attack.

If Agar can become a solid spin option – not a match winner, just reliable – then he’ll really give Australia that balance they’ve long lacked.

Who will be in Australia’s world cup squad?

Zampa should be right in the mix for the World Cup.

He bowled really well today against NSW, taking 3-37 from 10 overs, and also had a good winter in T20 cricket, taking 21 wickets at 19 in matches in the CPL and England’s T20 comp.

Who will be in Australia’s world cup squad?

Paul, Starc has played on dozens of very flat ODI tracks with short boundaries and still has one of the best ODI records in history, averaging 20.

I wouldn’t be worried about him.

Who will be in Australia’s world cup squad?

Yep there’s some great talent in the early 20s age range too with Renshaw, Doran, Jhye, Stanlake, Heazlett, McDermott, plus the likes of Nair (20) and Sangha (19).

There’s a lot of exagerrated doom and gloom about a supposed dearth of young talent in Australian cricket.

The five teenagers lighting up Australian cricket

I love how still Bryant stays as the ball is released, he really sets himself a great foundation. He looks like he could be a fantastic ODI and T20 prospect down the line.

The five teenagers lighting up Australian cricket