Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Analysis of Australia's Test Squad for India

Squad David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Matthew Wade (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Jackson Bird, Xavier Doherty, Nathan Lyon.

 Bemused is a term that is used a lot by us 60+ types in this Modern Age, but on seeing the naming of this ' Australian Test Squad', I feel the need to replace that 'B' word with one with a bit more clout in 'Bewilderment'

In point form

1, What has been the criteria for selection for this tour?

"It is a large squad and we felt as though we needed that for flexibility," ( John Inverarity )

In response to this quote from the Head of Selectors John Inverarity, Test Cricket has always been a game for specialists, whereas he has defined the term 'flexibility' by selecting a whole host of bit and pieces players as though it is an ODI/T20 match. 

The Selection of players like Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith and Xavier Doherty for Test Cricket is incomprehensible. With none having any stake for a place in Test Cricket going on their performances....

Firstly on Steve Smith, how in the Hell can you justify his selection in what Inverarity defined as 'the back up batsman' when he has only averaged 37.5 in first class cricket this season. Obviously his leg spin bowling has impacted on this decision, but it is just a pity that he rarely bowls any more with only 15 overs bowled in 5 matches. His average of 71 during those overs reminded all of how crap he is as a leg spin bowler, and he has chosen to spare himself of further humiliation

Then there is Xavier Doherty........seen as the left arm spin variety so needed in India, and talked up by Inverarity as having
 been bowling very well lately..........

Ummmmmmmm John,,,,,,,,,what relevance has bowling returns in ODI/T20 got to do with a players potential in Tests?

Especially when you take into account that Doherty has averaged 80 with the ball in First Class Cricket this year and 44.78 over his career. Coupled by him being exposed as an impostor in Test Cricket as his return of 3 wickets at an average of 103 shows.......

Greater sense would have been seen in these 3 being overlooked and the left arm spin of Steve O'Keefe preferred. Who is most definitely a far superior spinner to all of them, and arguably a better batsman too!

2 Where has there been an attempt to add some experience and leadership to the Team in the wake of Mike Hussey's and Ricky Ponting's retirement?

In the wake of Ricky Ponting retirement followed up by Mike HUssey's announcement the realisation was that Australia was going to be forced to leave its shores with its least experienced Team in 30 years

The huge void left in the side from an experience point of view and the leadership and guidance it represents was picked up by Coach Mickey Arthur who talked up candidates with these qualities....

So what happened?

No George Bailey....No Adam Voges and no Brad Haddin...

Meaning the batting is full of inexperience and the Team in general being devoid of that crucial entity. Which as a result will rob the Team of the leadership support that Michael Clarke will desperately need on a challenging tour.

Curious to say the least!

3, How can you go to India with not only just one Wicket Keeper in Matthew Wade, but a glove man that has been berated for his fallibility behind the Stumps? 

Ian Healy has savaged Matthew Wade's wicketkeeping as inappropriate for the Test team.

Wade's several missed stumping opportunities and tough dropped catches when standing up to the stumps added pressure to others trying to make their way in international cricket.

"Even some of the basic stuff that he's not tidying up - he's not getting to the stumps, he's not taking returns well (and) he's not sharpening up the fielding effort," Healy said.

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These words have great weight with them coming from an Aussie commentator and ex great Keeper in Ian Healy who is renowned for his supreme bias towards all Aussie players. Seeing all through Rose Coloured Glasses meaning for him to be so damning of Wade means there is a huge issue

The view have great validity too with objective fans seeing how much of a liability Wade is behind the Stumps. Made even more pertinent with his clueless nature in standing up to the spinners, and this squad being named for India where spinners will bowl the majority of the overs

So why has this issue not been addressed or at least covered with a back up keeper being selector instead of heads being buried setting up the Team for a HUGE fall

One of experience in Brad Haddin would have been brilliant or even a left of field selection in Tim Paine

5, How can Shane Watson be selected without him even proving his fitness?

Constantly injured and selected without even proving his fitness by playing in a few four day Sheffield Shield games. Admittedly  he is crucial to the Team, but at least make sure he is fit before selecting him!

6, Batting has been the Teams greatest weakness, and made more dramatic by Husseys retirement, but only 6 specialist batsmen have been selected in the Squad?

Batting has been the Teams greatest weakness with these being the averages of the top 6 with only Michael Clarke and the retired Michael Hussey averaging over 50 in 2012. 

Of the rest, Dave Warner was the next best with and average of 43.77, and the next closest in the top 6 being Phil Hughes with an average of 37.33.

So why hasn't this been taken into account, and rather than so many bits and pieces players selected a few specialist batsmen were instead included?

In the Squad, only 6 specialist batsmen have been chosen with many pointing to Shane Watson making this number at 7. But Shane struggles himself with his identity at Test level and his  2 year average of just 27.77 with no centuries in 12 Tests puts a huge question mark against Watsons name in regards to his credentials as a Test batsman....

Point fucken blank- Alex Doolan should have been selected and George Bailey....or at least one specialist batsmen to add some support to a line up that has questions against 5 of the top 6.

How strong is your back Michael Clarke to carry this bunch of unproven batsmen without Husseys support or any Veteran presence to guide the young with you?


  1. I have to agree on the bits and pieces players. Sadly I suspect that one of Maxwell or Smith will be played to start with as a 2nd/3rd spinner along with overs from Warner and Clarke whilst the side will include three seamers.

    Also the Australian batting, which was suspect against SA even with Ponting and Hussey in the side, look extremely fragile in the face of the Indian spinners, who whilst not world beaters, will have more than enough to trouble the visitors.

    1. Thank you for the comment Gareth, and yes, I think the Aussies might make a very average Indian side look good