The Roar
The Roar

Ryan O'Connell

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Joined February 2011

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"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words, it is war minus the shooting." - George Orwell

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You’ve spent a great deal of time (and words) discussing this, and I appreciate the chat; especially exposing a slight flaw in the thinking around relying on Warner’s average on home soil as the reason to select him.

I can keep this pretty simple: I think Warner’s home record, overall Test numbers, and Shield century, put him at the top of the list for the choices to open the batting in the First Test.

You think his average on Australian soil is largely irrelevant, and want to drop him on account of his average/performance in the last Test series, picking “on form”.

By your very own rationale, that also rules out Bancroft and Harris as well, who ‘performed’ at almost the same level as Warner in the Ashes.

Renshaw is definitely out. And probably Khawaja too, if you’re a proponent of ignoring home averages.

So seriously, who is opening the batting for Australia with Burns, if not Warner?

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Small, but important, point: he’s not averaging 10 in Tests. He’s averaging 46. I know you know this, but he averaged 10 in England, and that’s simply not where the next Tests are being played. You think that last point should be ignored, I don’t. Guess we’re at impasse there.

But answer me this, if Warner scores another Shield century before selection, and no one else gets runs, would you pick Warner for the first Test?

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Actually, I did mention which facts you ignored. Namely, that if Warner is going to be dropped, then someone has to replace him, and you didn’t say who. And still haven’t, incidentally.

I think that’s the most important point there is, more so than Warner’s home average. The reason that number is even relevant, is because it can become a ’tie-breaker’ of sorts when choosing between batsmen, especially in the absence of anyone knocking down the door to replace him.

And given that, the fact Warner has the 5th highest average (of all time) in Australia (of those that have scored 1000+ runs) is pretty salient, rather than ‘rancid logic’.

Nope, not denying that Warner is a serial knucklehead, and has embarrassed his country on numerous occasions. Just not sure of its relevance when discussing the notion of “perform or get dropped”?

Warner was terrible in England, as you pointed out. But so were the other openers, no? That puts them on level pegging, I would argue. But surely Warner’s experience and record gets his nose in front?

Another contender is Renshaw, who has been nowhere in Shield for over a year now, which I’d say rules him out too. So the opposition for Warner’s spot is limited, which brings his home record into play. That’s my point.

The other contender, for mine, was Khawaja, who averages 97 as a Test opener (albeit in a small sample size). And I had actually dropped Warner in my original piece for this article, and had Uzzy and Burns opening. But once Khawaja failed, and Warner got a hundred, things became pretty clear that Warner should get first crack.

Hopefully that answer, in total, answers your last question. Specifically, that selectors will look at whatever information they need to make a choice, including someone’s impressive home record. I hope and doubt it ever gets down to venue-by-venue selection, and think that’s a very big stretch from ‘home record’ to ‘venue-by-venue’.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

I think you underestimate, or just plain don’t understand, the power of the Australian cricket selectors. They are not sounding boards for the coach; the selectors are . . . selectors.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

You’re being a little selective with your facts there. As has been pointed out, it’s not just the fact that Warner is great on home soil that ensures he deserves selection. For starters, you spent a lengthy comment disparaging Warner, but didn’t actually mention who he should be dropped for. That’s kind of an important point here. You can ‘deserve it’ if there’s no one more deserving.
You also think the logic is ‘rancid’ of picking someone based on their previous record in relevant conditions. Let’s flip that on its head then: we won’t pick someone despite the fact that evidence points to the fact he’ll probably do well. Hhhmm, I know which logic sounds more dubious to me.
Calling Warner a “serial knucklehead” probably revealed your irrational bias here, and why you’re choosing to ignore facts/numbers: you just don’t like Warner. That’s fine and acceptable. But just say that. It’s way more credible than trying to build a case for Warner not to be picked based on his exceptional home record; which is so nonsensical, it was actually difficult to write.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Sadly, we’ve actually done a lot of that lately! 36 would have seen you close to dropped from your Shield side at one point! (Slight hyperbole…)

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

My apologies, I was quoting a stat from the time he was selected in the Ashes series. Good correction.

Don’t disagree on the ‘promising’ vs ‘brilliant’, or the need for hundreds. But that wasn’t quite the point; it was about him being labelled a ‘lock’. And I think any young player, in an era, who averaged 50 in the previous series, would be one.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Forget his overall Test average – he’s still in the infancy of his career for that to be too big of a concern – and look at his average in his last series.

Against a quality attack, away from home, he averaged 50. Plus he looked real solid doing it. He was also the leading run scorer in ALL of county cricket. He’s then come back and scored 69 and 52 in the first Shield game.

I’m sorry, but in any era, that would have almost made him a lock.

And today’s era, it’s almost enough to make him vice-captain!

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Shaun Marsh . . . please, no! We’ve seen this movie before!

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

hahaha! That may some merit! The funniest thing is that even Ronan called me Ronan one day!

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Considering there’s not 10 or so batsmen averaging over 50 in Shield like the ‘good old days’, you could make a strong case for some left-field thinking, like picking Carey as a specialist bat. Personally, I wouldn’t – I think he needs way more runs before that’s a consideration. But he’s certainly next in line for Paine’s position.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Geez, harsh marker! He averaged over 50 in the Ashes series, and looked rock solid in doing so. He also just scored 69 & 52 in the Shield game. You would hope that classifies you as a ‘lock’. And that’s before we even consider Australia’s lack of batting depth.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Are you advocating picking Carey as a specialist batsman? That would be a massive call, for mine. That century – on an absolute highway – was just his third First Class hundred, with an average of 33. Surely there are plenty of batsmen options ahead of him in the queue?

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

If he piles on another double hundred, he might!

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Or, a Paine… (boom tish!)

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Oh dear. No comment! (For now . . . I have another piece on the way on Paine!)

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Haha! I’m actually a Paine fan, so that comment could open up a can of worms! And a whole different discussion.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

As I said, it’s an interesting strategy, and if you can bowl a team out so cheaply that you don’t need the runs that 6 frontline batsmen can score, then it has merit.

However, I think it’s too risky and unnecessary. I’m happy to back 3 quicks and Lyon to do the job on Australian wickets, and think only picking 5 bats is just weakening a weakness.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Yep, no arguments there.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

I don’t disagree with that. But after this Ashes series is really the first time that Warner’s position has been under heavy threat/scrutiny (emphasis on ‘heavy’ there). He’s both lucky he survived, but also lucky the players behind him aren’t/weren’t applying much pressure, in the form of mountains of runs.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Well, with a well-argued point like that, I should probably reconsider my view!

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Let’s re-examine and re-post exactly what I said, because it not only answers your questions, but should squash any suggestion that it was ‘bait’.
“However, looking at the scorecard and highlights, the Junction Oval wicket was an absolute road, which unfortunately puts a small asterisk against Harris’ century.
As crazy as it sounds, he probably needed an unbeaten double hundred to gain any real kudos from that game.”

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Five quality bats could arguably do the job of scoring enough runs to win a Test match. Problem is, Australia don’t have 5 at the moment. We have Smith, and maybe Labuschange. So we need to pick at least 6 batsman.

(And no, I wouldn’t be picking Marsh. That’s not what I was/am advocating.)

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Our bowling hasn’t really been an issue, but you think we should pick 5 bowlers, and leave us a batsman short, when runs have been the biggest concern for Australia for some time?

That’s . . . ‘interesting’ . . .

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test

Yeah, I actually would. I also understand that opinion can be fairly criticised.

David Warner and Joe Burns should be the openers for the First Test