Friday, November 25, 2011

My Australian Team For The 1st New Zealand Test

The injuries to several Australia key men has certainly put the cat among the pigeons for the new Selection panel. All of Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Ryan Harris, and the wonder kid speedster Pat Cummins will be missing. Creating a lot of intrigue about who will be announced in the Squad for the 1st test against New Zealand.

Mitchell Johnson is also on the sidelines, but in truth that is a blessing in disguise for the Australian Team, and a cause of grief for the Kiwis. Due to the fact that he has been dressing as Santa for all opposition batting line ups with his gift laden toiletry bowling for near on 2 years now.

The replacements for these injured players will likely come from the Australian A Team being played against New Zealand at present. 

Though greater sense would be seen in rewarding some of the long term performers in the Australian First Class scene. Keeping this in mind, this would be my 12 for the 1st Test

Ed Cowan

A solid technically correct batsman, that has been a run machine since his move from New South Wales to Tasmania last year. He was second on the batting averages in the Sheffield Shield last year, despite batting on the most bowling friendly pitches in Australia in Tasmania.

He would provide balance at the top of the order with his defence minded traditional style of opening being a perfect foil for the attack minded Dave Warner. A balance, that has so sadly been lacking since the inexplicable axing of Simon Katich.

David Warner

I am the biggest cynic about T20, and any performances in it. Especially when trying to relate it to being relative to a player being capable of Test Cricket. Contradicting this is one of the true poster children of T20 Cricket in David Warner. Who just has something about him, that makes you believe he can make it in the Test arena. Maybe it has been his exceptional play in the A tours he has been on or similar mastery shown in the First Class 4 day games, but he just has it.

Plenty have remarked on this as well even during his characteristic T20 massacres. For they are symbolised by just good cricket shots propelled by immense force. Rather than some wafty slogs to cow corner.

Usman Khawaja

The Pakistani born top order batsman has made his name as a number three for New South Wales. Though, Shaun Marsh seems like a long term remedy for the Aussies at number three. In South Africa in the 2nd Test for the first time in his short Test career Khawaja gave a glimpse that he might have the calibre to be a success at the top level.

I would see him in the short term warming the seat for Shaun Marsh at number 3, and long term a perfect answer for Australia as a defence minded opener

Ricky Ponting

If it wasn't for the injuries, after the South African tour, I would have told Ponting, it is your choice to either retire or be dropped. For there is no sense at all in him remaining in the Team. Mostly because of his terrible form for near on two years now, but also the position he takes away from a young player.

He should use this series as a farewell from International cricket with a fitting finale being at his home ground of Hobart in the 2nd Test

Michael Clarke

Fabulous player, who is starting to rediscover some of his best for as he showed initially in Sri Lanka. Then compellingly in South Africa with a true master class of an innings against the fire of Steyn & Co on a bowling friendly pitch in Capetown.

His Captaincy has been both inventive and imaginary, and it is apparent that the playing group have fuddle tight behind him in their support.

Mike Hussey

The Mr reliable of Australia cricket, who had a tough tour of South Africa. Which means you can bank that a performer who as proud as Mr Cricket will hit back with vengeance in this Tour. The Kiwi bowlers will need to be at their very best to stop Hussey from having a dominating series against them. As he did in the series in New Zealand at the start of 2010

Brad Haddin

I am tempted to drop Haddin, and include the excellent keeper from Victoria in Matthew Wade. Though I think too many changes to the line up especially in discarding respected long term warriors like Haddin would destabilise the Team too much, and give the Kiwis a great chance of an upset.

Haddin looked better in a typical backs to the wall batting effort in the miraculous 2nd Test win against South Africa, and that duly saved his career

James Faulkner.

There is little doubt in my mind that the Selectors will lend into the huge New South Wales bias, and select the left armer Mitchell Starc. Which wouldn't be out of place, for Starc has been a fine performer in the initial stages of the Sheffield Shield with the ball.

Though in the all rounder Faulkner, you not only get his very heady left arm bowling that is around 135 kms, but also his batting. That will develop into a class individual that is able to bat in the Australian top 6.

The next big thing in Aussie cricket alongside Pat Cummings

Ben Hilfenhaus

One of the true mysteries of the Ashes shame. In the respect that most had this very skilled swing bowler as having the potential of ripping the English batting to shreds, but he descended into being money for old rope.

He has now rediscovered his form, and at a pet Ground in the GABBA, do not be surprised if he gives a few Kiwi batsmen cold sweats

Peter Siddle

The injuries have arguably saved Siddle from the axe. Though I am a fan of Siddle's big hearted and skilled bowling. Duly, I take his rather abject performance in South Africa as an aberration, and his wondrous bowling on a true road in Sri Lanka as a clearer indicator of his calibre.

He would be entrusted with leading the attack for this Test, and knowing of him personally from his time at my old Club in Melbourne. He is known as an individual that rises to a challenge, and duly can see him rediscovering form in this Test

Nathan Lyon

A rather nondescript soul, that has nothing that stands out, but he just does the job with a minimum of fuss. In South Africa, he made some crucial breakthroughs that really gives him some brownie points for being in the Team long term

My Best Australian Team

If everyone is fit, this would be my line up

Usman Khawaja, Dave Warner, Shaun Marsh, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Shane Watson, Tim Paine (wk), James Faulkner, Pat Cummins, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon

The notable absetees would be Ricky Ponting who should retire, and Mitchell Johnson, who should be sent back to State Cricket. Khawaja and Warner would be given the Indian series to see if they can gell as a long term Australian opening partnership with Shaun Marsh as a long term number 3.

Shane Watson would move down to 6, so as to fully use his bowling threat. As well as to reinvigorate his batting away from the new ball.

I would also replace Brad Haddin behind the stumps with the exceptional Keeper/Batsman in Tim Paine. Who when he returns to fitness should be the long term gloveman for Australia. Also Faulkner would be groomed as Australia's answer as a viable all round, who can be in the side as solely a batsman or bowler. Initially bedding him in at 8 in the line up


  1. awesome what's your view on this series sir?

  2. Thank you for the comment my friend, I have a feeling that New Zealand might win 1 nil

  3. Really it is an excellent article Tim. You gave it with explanations of each individuals. But am not convinced with Ricky's decision, every cricketer has bad patches, after seeing his 2nd innings I feel still more cricket is left in him and he will bounce back. Only hting we can do is "wait and watch". I still believe in Ricky, and India's series is the last chance from my side....

  4. I wouldn't pick Cowen and Hilphenous but otherwise I agree with you really good article