Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Australia Needs to See The 'Context' in Their Schooling About India

The lead up to any clash in Sport is about dissecting the strengths and weaknesses of your opposition and being schooled over how to conquer them. India's shock loss to England showed that the once Master maulers of spin have lost their peerless strength against the slow men leaving them open to future exploitation.

Australia was obviously immersed in every second of this series with them selecting a 16 man Squad full of spinners and part time spinners. Even going to the point of considering adding Ashton Agar, a 19 year old veteran of 2 State games as yet another spinners making 5 in the squad. The sad reality of the spinners chosen was the fact that when glossing over the names you came to the inclusion that Michael Clarke was indeed still Australia's best spinner...

This realisation leads into the irony of the events, and the reaction from the Aussie Selectors in that you can commend their schooling of a weakness in India's set up but then be bemused by their inability to grasp the context of this. The previous series showed that indeed India was ripped to ribbons by the English spin duo of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar with 37 wickets at an combined average of 25.07. But the context for Australia is the fact that Graeme Swann is arguably the best spinner in the World and Monty Panesar is also a high class bowler. Whereas Australia's preferred duo of Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty are a million miles a way from their English counterparts calibre. With Lyon being a C Grade Test bowler with heart, but no discernible pedigree or know how and Doherty not even having the class to be a regular in his State Team. A justifiably omission when you take into account his bowling average has been north of 80 this season.

If both are selected for the 1st Test the biggest cheer will indeed come from the Indian camp.

I would go so far the say that both will get new corn shoots ripped for them. But one needs to be played for the variety he can offer and the fact that he can be used in a situational manner so as to be shielded from any Team damaging assault. A bit like in an ODI game where a Captain uses a lesser bowler in the 'phoney war' overs of the game.

The best policy for Australia in this series is to back their strength in regards to the high class pace resources they have. Rather than picking two specialist spinners who are not Test class as well as floating the idea of playing Glenn Maxwell as a 'spinning all rounder' at 6. A decision that will not only weaken the bone china fragile Aussie top 6, but further play into India's hands by offering another buffet bowler.

An attack of Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc with Nathan Lyon as the sole spinner would be my choice. The omission of Jackson Bird is a tough choice, but I preferred Pattinson to him in the knowledge that with India having a new opening partnership the new ball attack of Pattinson and Starc with their pace, aggression and swing would more than likely rattle some cages. The excellent Peter Siddle would round out the attack with his relentless line and length that will likely bare fruit on thankless pitches. Lyon would carry the spin duties with the support of Michael Clarke and Dave Warne if he is fit.

Lastly with the huge loss of Shane Watsons bowling to the Team with his mastery of reverse swing being lethal in Asia this needs to be replaced meaning Moises Henriques gets his debut Baggy Green in the Chennai first Test. A young precocious all round talent that is equally adept at reverse swing

My 1st Test Team

Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Watson, Clarke, Henriques, Wade, Pattinson, Starc, Siddle, Lyon

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