Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rating the Australian Ashes Squad

Ashes squad 

Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin (vice-capt, wk), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Chris Rogers, Matthew Wade (wk), James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.

'On the announcement of the 
Ashes Squad you could see a very real attempt has been made to steady a ship that sunk without trace during the humiliating Indian Whitewash. The Selectors have thankfully seen the errors of their ways from that embarrassing Tour with the jettisoning of the T20 bits and pieces players that were very much behind the malaise and replacing them with hardened types with either proven calibre or at least identifiable potential.

Significantly, the appointment of Brad Haddin as Vice captain, even if it is in a short term tenure gives Michael Clarke some much needed support after having to put up with the undermining and boorish antics of Shane Watson as his Deputy for all too long.

These positives aside, the Squad will arrive on English soil with most certainly the mantle as the 'Worst Aussie Ashes Team Ever' from both the Countries Media. Which on paper is indeed a justified tag. Unlike India, where the team was dead on arrival because of the massive selection gaffs at least here they have picked the best Squad from the talent available in the hope of a miraculous upset

So let us dissect the Squad further

A Grade Players

Michael Clarke 

The Australian Captain alongside Hashim Amla and Alastair Cook has claim to being the best batsmen in the World. In fact a good case could be made for him assuming this mantle by the fact that most of his runs have been scored under pressure and with little support. Again during the Ashes he will be expected to be the main man and carry the batting which makes you question how long can he maintain his excellence till the pressure gets to him. Add to the burden a troublesome back and Clarke will have to be at his very best to excel

- Clarke is class, but the English are very tactically savvy meaning if he is left to carry the load then they will just focus on him making his Life very tough......

This being said, there is plenty of fight in the Aussie Skipper, so expect him to be a huge factor once more in this series

James Pattinson 

Exceptional bowler with everything in his kit bag to finish his career as a vindicated great spearhead. He has pace with the ability to make the ball go through the air or talk off the pitch completed with a nice bit of nastiness and sincere hatred for batsmen. His bowling aside, he is also a very dangerous lower order batsman.

The only downside to Pattinson is his bodies habit of breaking down too much

- If he is fit, he could run through any batting line up in the World, but sadly on the treatment table more than he is on the field.

Crucially for Australia's prospects, he needs to be managed before the Ashes meaning it would be insanity to select him in the Champions League ODI farce

Ryan Harris 

When he is fit, Harris is in the top 5 fast bowlers in Test Cricket....

But, he is rarely if ever fit.........

Assuming he is fit for the Ashes, he will give the English batting cold sweats with his skill with the ball in hand. Then more worrying for the hosts is he is one of the most astute 'thinking bowlers' you could see. Which in this Age over matches most.....


Very much identical to Pattinson's write up in regards too if he is fit he could and most likely will devastate

B Grade Players

Peter Siddle 

Big hearted quick, that would gleefully traverse through the pits of Hell for the Baggy Green...

Regrettably for Siddle with the frequent injuries to the Teams spearheads is  that he has been expected to assume the role as spearhead when he is the perfect first change bowler. The greatest compliment is that despite this obvious burden with little support, Siddle has still excelled taking 53 wickets at an average of just over 25 in his last two years of Test Cricket.

- You know Siddle will be a factor, but he might become an unexpected force if Pattinson and Harris are fit which will mean the batsmen will be more occupied with those two allowing him to get some cheaper wickets

Jackson Bird 

Only played two Tests where he ran through a disinterested Sri Lankan Team, but his style and skill is perfect for test Cricket. In a sense, he is a bit like Vernon Philander with him landing the ball incessantly on off stump with a bit of swing and nibble off the pitch. Meaning that most batsmen have not the temperament to deal with his relentless barrage and duly succumb

- Given a chance, he will announce his real Test pedigree during this series in conditions that are tailor made for him.

C Grade Players

Brad Haddin 

I fully support Haddin's selection and choice as Vice Captain. Firstly on his keeping, the move had to be made on the bumbling Matthew Wade who nullified one of the teams few strengths in their bowling with his frequent inexplicable gaffs. Haddin is a neat and tidy keeper that will rarely let the Team down

He is the archetypal Team man too allowing Michael Clarke to sleep soundly at night knowing he has the support of his Deputy rather than the selfish persona of Shane Watson.

Lastly, his batting is not what it once was, but he is still a warrior in a Team full of flashy types

- Will not excel in any regard, but will make a real difference to the team by providing a safe glove man behind the stumps and a very able Deputy.

Ed Cowan 

He hardly has a record to support this grading, but is one of the few that approaches the game with a respectable technique and temperament. Meaning that he could go from being a borderline Test player to being a vindicated one if he can turn his 30's into big innings

Prospects- Time and patience are starting to run out on Cowan, but you just get the feeling that if he starts to believe then the rest could fall into place for him...

Nathan Lyon

Lyon like every spinner after Warne has struggled with the expectation to replicate one that is arguable the best ever....

Needless to say, that is never going to happen. But what Lyon has provided is a good honest performer that will rarely excel or put in match winning displays, but he will never let the Team down.

- You can see him being useful without ever being decisive

Usman Khawaja

Can anyone explain why Khawaja has not been in the Test Team after being dropped after the New Zealand series of 2011?

Inexplicably Rob Quiney was preferred to him against South Africa recently and then he had the likes of Glenn Maxwell and  Steve Smith preferred to him in India

Very curious to be kind!

Even the Selection of Phil Hughes with his kit bag full of weaknesses before him truly astounds

- Given a chance, you can see Khawaja never being a Test batting star, but he could develop into a solid and dependable batsman.

Just what Australia needs!


Dave Warner 

Warner is very much hit or miss and for the most part miss.....

Then he confounds himself by attracting unnecessary pressure to himself by being like a yapping dog in the field...

He lacks discretion in his shot play with him being a natural dasher that has at times devastated oppositions, but when the pitches are not true and the opposition more noteworthy he lacks the ability to dig in

- I think he will get destroyed in England in the bowling friendly confines


Shane Watson

It is a simple scenario with Watson in regards to if he can bowl he is one of the first chosen, but if he is solely a batsman he is not even warranted a place in the Squad

He lacks an ability to read situations when he bats with his choice of shots being dismal and then his running between wickets is an accident waiting to happen. He is solely a boundary hitter with him being unable to accumulate runs...

Away from his batting, his bowling and his mastery of reverse swing is L.E.T.H.A.L

- I hold little hope for Watson, and would not have selected him

Mitchell Starc 

The boy is very raw, but has real skill to swing the ball and can get it through with real pace....

But like all youngsters lacks consistency and can be erratic which can cost the Team big...

Away from his bowling, he is a very dangerous lower order batsman that could develop into a Wasim Akram ( in batting ability ) all rounder

- Like the Little Girl with the Curl- he could be astoundingly good or dreadful


Matthew Wade

A true accident waiting to happen with the gloves, and then very average with the bat

The Australian version of Kamran Akmal

Phil Hughes

On watching Hughes being made to look like a fool against spin in India the first thing I thought was that he is worse against Swing

England='s Swing, so Hughes will be like a Dead Man Walking

Chris Rogers 

The Selectors have to be commended for them identifying the need for experience....

But, they seem to have overlooked know how in the Selecting of Rogers who is a million miles a way from Test Class

They should have grown a pair, swallowed their pride and rang Simon Katich........


James Faulkner 

Faulkner was deserving of selection, but he is very much a Mitchell Starc clone without Statc's pace. He has the tools to be a Test standard player, but for team balance on this Tour, it might have been greater sense in eith selecting the right arm bowling all rounder Luke Butterworth or the young spinning all rounder Ashton Agar


The selectors are to be commended for selecting the best squad from the available talent available. The sad part of this is the Squad might give the best chance of pulling off a real upset, but that is in truth a snow balls chance in Hell.

Mainly because the batting is diabolical, and if people had their heads in hands with their struggles against spin, then they are worse against swing. In England they will face a high class cocktail of both swing and spin.... So success is reliant on some one raising or in fact a few to support Michael Clarke with the bat...

Do you have faith in this happening?

So, you can see the Australian bowling being very effective and on occasion devastating in the series, but have their fine work constantly undermined by the paper thin batting

England to win the series 4 nil

1 comment:

  1. Think this series will be closer than you think Tim but I'll be happy if you're right & we win 4-0 ;)