Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Look at the Australia Test Squad for the Caribbean.

Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Michael Beer, Ed Cowan, Peter Forrest, Brad Haddin (wk), Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner 

These were the names announced for the up coming 3 Test series against the West Indies making up a squad with few surprises and devoid of the imagination or forward thinking that could have been used.

I say this for with all due respect to the West Indies Team they are a shadow of their former self and a very weak Test Team.

Duly with a eye to to the 2013 Ashes would greater sense have been seen in the resting of veterans such as Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, who are both 30/70 chances to be in that series and younger players blooded in this series?

If I was selecting the Squad this would have been the names I would have picked

Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, George Bailey, Ed Cowan, Peter Forrest, Joe Burns, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nic Maddinson, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Cameron Boyce, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner  

Class- Joe Burns!
My rationale behind these selections is the fact that the tour would have offered a perfect opportunity to run the rule over batsmen like George Bailey. Who has been a consistent performer in Australian First Class Cricket for a long while now as well as being probably the best Captain in Australian domestic Cricket. Which would have been a great add on to a Team that is in transition. Then young tyros like middle order batsman Joe Burns and opener Nic Maddinson are the future of Australia's Test batting and could have been either blooded on this tour or taken as part of their development.

The naming of Maddinson would have also given a chance to try to develop a long term answer for the Teams greatest weakness in the batting in the opening role. People will automatically point to Shane Watson's return to fitness as an answer for this issue for the Team. But Watson as his average of under 25 at the top of the order in the last year shows that he is not suited for this role. Then, the fact that he has become a very accomplished Test bowler with a real mastery of reverse swing means the team should fully utilise this by having him bat at 5 or 6.

It is reported that he will bat at 3 in this series, but that is a move lacking insight with Australia's best option at three being Michael Clarke taking on that role.

On a positive note, Peter Forrest's inclusion needs to be commended as reward for being a fabulous performer in the Australian domestic game for a while now. He showed real pedigree in the ODI games he played recently, and is the type of technically correct player with a sound temperament that should excel in the Test game. Hopefully he gets to play in this series.

Away from the batting side of things the Soap Opera that has become Brad Haddin continues on unabated with him being selected in the side and given a promise of a place in the 1st Test. Silly to be frank for Matthew Wade has proven his pedigree for the role, and if Tim Paine was fit it would have ended Haddin's career.

Duly Wade should be given the gloves and Haddin a hand shake and his pension cheque from Cricket Australia.

The bowling pretty much has picked itself with Australia having a stable of fast bowling stars to choose from, but the back up spinners choice caught my attention.
Leg Spinner- Cam Boyce
In Michael Beer, the selectors made a safe selection of a bowler who has a defensive mindset without leaking many runs, but also lacking any real threat. A more insightful selection would have been the young leg spinner Cam Boyce, who is of an attacking mindset and has shown glimpses of real calibre during this Shield season. Definitely enough pedigree to view him as a player that should be in the reckoning for the 2013 Ashes.

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