|One Last Chance For Ricky Ponting|
Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Ed Cowan, Dave Warner, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey Dan Christian, Shaun Marsh, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon
The main question arising from the announcement of the Squad was in regards to they made changes to the Team. In the dropping of both Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja that was necessary, but then the showing of faith in the under performing Veterans in Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey made you query their wisdom.
In truth, the injury that kept Shane Watson out of this Test saved one of the two feeling the axe.
Let us dissect the rest of the Squad starting with the batting.
Automatically, the batting looks more stoic with the omission of the technically deficient Phil Hughes and the drowning but not floating Usman Khawaja. The selection of Ed Cowan is an excellent choice in the knowledge that he is an old fashioned defence minded opening batsman that will be like a Simno Katich clone. In the sense, that he will never give a way his wicket, and if successful at the level will restore the balance in the batting line up, that has so sadly been lacking since Katich's inexplicable axing.
He will open the batting, and form a perfect opening partner on paper next to the attack minded Dave Warner.
If Shaun Marsh can prove his fitness, he will slot in at 3 in the line up, and form what potentially is a very solid, and refined top 3 with the ability to ascend to the top echelon in the game. Conversely, if he is unable to play, it leaves the Team either having to revert the vastly diminished Ponting to the number 3 position or give Michael Clarke a tap on the shoulder, and tell him 'it is time to stop hiding at number 5'
Marsh or Clarke would be excellent options at three, whereas Ponting would better serve the Team by resting in his arm chair in retirement, and cheering them on from the comforts of home.
In truth, the two veterans in Ponting and Hussey in the naming of this squad are assured of their place due to the absence of any other batsmen. Only the all rounder Dan Christian is an option to be chosen in place of one of the two, but that is unlikely to happen.
The only chance of Dan Christian getting his first Baggy Green on Boxing Day is if Marsh is ruled out, and then it is likely he will slot into the line up at 6.
Lastly, the selectors have resisted the temptation to drop Brad Haddin for the precociously talented Matthew Wade, but patience must be running low on the incumbent keeper/batsman.......
The Selectors must be commended in choosing Ben Hilfenhaus. Who in the lead up to the ill fated Ashes of last year had the reputation of being one of the best swing bowlers in World Cricket. Only for an unfortunate drip in form facilitated by injury making him a shadow of the bowler that we know he can be.
It is hoped that he is selected for the Test due to his immense skill and experience, but it seems that the left handedness of Mitchell Starc means he will be preferred. The Victorian duo of James Pattinson and Peter Siddle are assured of a place in the Team alongside the remarkable off spinner Nathan Lyon.
The bowling unit is a very threatening quartet of bowlers, especially if Hilfenhaus is selected. For he like the rest of the pacemen will keep the Indians under relentless pressure with their quality combined with their accuracy, whereas Mitchell Starc will be decent in future, but at present lacks real Test class. In view of his inability to maintain his line and length as shown by a juicy buffet ball every over. Which against this Indian batting line up will duly be gobbled up with glee.
If I had the final say, this would be the Team
Ed Cowan, Dave Warner, Shaun Marsh, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Dan Christian, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Ben Hilfenhaus.