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Australia Ashes squad - a case for selecting players in the short term

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Post by king_carlos Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:37 pm

Just read this interesting article on cricinfo arguing the case for some experienced players currently out of favour with the Aussie selectors to be included to bolster the squad. Whilst it's a subject much thought about and discussed by cricket fans with the Ashes coming up I thought it was a nice article which argued the case well and simply.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/the-ashes-2013/content/current/story/631533.html

Given the struggles of Australia's batsmen especially of late there is a very real and compelling discussion for including players such as Chris Roger, David Hussey and Brad Haddin even if they may not be around for more than 6-12 months in the side. As an England fan I view it as a simple question of which side I'd hold more fear of playing against.

1.Cowan
2.Warner
3.Hughes
4.Clarke (c)
5.Watson
6.Smith/Maxwell
7.Wade (wk)
8.Starc
9.Siddle
10.Pattinson
11.Lyon

Whilst the pace bowling looks strong especially once you add in Cummins, Johnson, Harris and even Hilfenhaus in English conditions to the above. However the batting looks unreliable to say the least with Hughes, Cowan, Smith and Wade all yet to find real consistency in tests, Warner/Watson looked of the pace in India and Clarke, whilst magnificent of late, has been injured. Compare that to:

1.Rogers
2.Warner
3.Hughes/Cowan
4.Clarke (c)
5.Watson
6.D Hussey
7.Haddin (wk)
8.Starc
9.Siddle
10.Pattinson
11.Lyon

Obviously the best bowling line-up can be debated but the two batting line-ups are a class apart IMO. Hussey and Rogers are proven quality players in English conditions coming of the back of good Australian summers and holding a FC average of over 50 during long careers. Haddin's has had a good summer in Australia, adds some experience to the decision making in the field which would help Clarke and is a more reliable glove man that Wade.

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Post by Mike Selig Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:44 pm

The only one there is a serious case for picking IMO is Rogers; Hussey is not test class for me, obvious weakness against the short ball and tendancy to fend outside off; Wade is a better all-round player than Haddin.

Beyond that, I personally don't think Watson should play test cricket unless he opens and/or bowls. As a batsman he doesn't bring enough anywhere else in the line-up.

Putting aside their horror tour of India (although they competed better than England in the UAE I'd argue), the recent results of this Aus side have been reasonable. There's potential there, and I think they'll surprise a few. A lot of England fans IMO are being very over-confident, particularly given their recent form is nothing to write home about.

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Post by ShankyCricket Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:51 pm

Mike Selig wrote:The only one there is a serious case for picking IMO is Rogers; Hussey is not test class for me, obvious weakness against the short ball and tendancy to fend outside off; Wade is a better all-round player than Haddin.

Beyond that, I personally don't think Watson should play test cricket unless he opens and/or bowls. As a batsman he doesn't bring enough anywhere else in the line-up.

Putting aside their horror tour of India (although they competed better than England in the UAE I'd argue), the recent results of this Aus side have been reasonable. There's potential there, and I think they'll surprise a few. A lot of England fans IMO are being very over-confident, particularly given their recent form is nothing to write home about.
Err no, England at least bowled well in the UAE.

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Post by Mike Selig Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:14 pm

ShankyCricket wrote:
Mike Selig wrote:The only one there is a serious case for picking IMO is Rogers; Hussey is not test class for me, obvious weakness against the short ball and tendancy to fend outside off; Wade is a better all-round player than Haddin.

Beyond that, I personally don't think Watson should play test cricket unless he opens and/or bowls. As a batsman he doesn't bring enough anywhere else in the line-up.

Putting aside their horror tour of India (although they competed better than England in the UAE I'd argue), the recent results of this Aus side have been reasonable. There's potential there, and I think they'll surprise a few. A lot of England fans IMO are being very over-confident, particularly given their recent form is nothing to write home about.
Err no, England at least bowled well in the UAE.

Apart from the 2nd test, England were never in the game by mid-way through the 2nd innings of the test. Australia apart from the 2nd test always were. For me, Australia competed for longer stretches.

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Post by Shelsey93 Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:41 am

This squad is extremely difficult to predict, reflecting Australia's current disarray. Here's the selection I've come to:

Openers

I think Australia are set on the two openers that will start the series - Warner and Cowan. That's fair enough as Cowan did OK in India and should be useful in England, whilst Warner has been one of the better contributors over the last 2 and a half years. I think Watson will tour and if anything goes wrong up top he'll step up.

Middle Order

Clarke will bat at either 3 or 4. I'd put him at 4 - 3 too much of a jump from 5 - and stick Watson in at 3. Shane has big issues to address with his Test cricket, but in terms of pure ability he's probably still Australia's 2nd or 3rd best batsman. For that reason I feel I have to pick him.

Phil Hughes would then be squeezed out - its a shame for him as he's made some progress but with his record v England, and his tour of India I can't select him this time. Steve Smith has been in good form and should probably get a go, but at 6. Which leaves 5 open for a relatively experienced played. I'd pick Bailey - I know he has a moderate FC record, but I like what I've seen in ODIs and believe he'd be more reliable than people like Maxwell or even some of the older players being banded around. Henriques would be taken as a spare part by me, for use if they feel they should go to 5 bowlers.

Wicket-Keepers

I'd take both Brad Haddin and Matt Wade. Haddin's been in good form, and I always thought he was better than some people made out. I'm tempted to make him first choice due to Wade's poor keeping but that might be one to sort out after the CT and the tour games. In any case Haddin would be a very useful reserve as he's potential cover at 5 and 6 too.

Seam Bowlers

I'd say that Siddle, Pattinson and Starc are nailed on. Ryan Harris is fit and should probably go as a weapon to unleash later in the series - he's probably the best Australian bowler, but his injuries have wrecked his career. Then Mitch Johnson (good form) and Ben Hilfenhaus (for swinging conditions) would complete my six. Hilfenhaus faces a challenge from Jackson Bird, but I think experience will win the day in the end.

Spin Bowler

I'd take just the one spinner which after a decent tour of India will be Lyon. Australia could play four seamers at Lord's and Chester-le-Street and so its best to have the depth in seam bowling options.

Warner, Cowan, Watson, Clarke, Bailey, Smith, Henriques, Wade, Haddin, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc, Hilfenhaus, Harris, Johnson, Lyon

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Post by msp83 Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:24 pm

Indications are that Haddin will be made Clarke's deputy, and he'll be the first choice wicketkeeper. Shaun Marsh too, is in line for a recall, suggests cricinfo.
http://www.espncricinfo.com/the-ashes-2013/content/current/story/631745.html

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Post by Shelsey93 Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:16 pm

I'm not sure about Dan Brettig's article to be honest. He may be right on Haddin and Marsh - he wouldn't say that without some grounds to do so - but Mitchell Johnson will almost certainly go and I'd be gobsmacked if they pick Ashton Agar.

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Post by ShankyCricket Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:37 pm

Get ready to be gobsmacked then, Shels, I have read even in Indian newspapers here that Agar is "almost certain" to be picked and I'm not sure why they'd report a story about another country (which is fairly irrelevant to Indian cricket) unless there are some genuine grounds to it.

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Post by ShankyCricket Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:16 pm

Presumably the Champions Trophy squad and the Australia A squad will be named alongwith this one as I can see the Test specialists (who are not a part of the CT squad) being named in the Aus A squad to acclimatize early.

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Post by ShankyCricket Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:18 pm

Mike Selig wrote:
ShankyCricket wrote:
Mike Selig wrote:The only one there is a serious case for picking IMO is Rogers; Hussey is not test class for me, obvious weakness against the short ball and tendancy to fend outside off; Wade is a better all-round player than Haddin.

Beyond that, I personally don't think Watson should play test cricket unless he opens and/or bowls. As a batsman he doesn't bring enough anywhere else in the line-up.

Putting aside their horror tour of India (although they competed better than England in the UAE I'd argue), the recent results of this Aus side have been reasonable. There's potential there, and I think they'll surprise a few. A lot of England fans IMO are being very over-confident, particularly given their recent form is nothing to write home about.
Err no, England at least bowled well in the UAE.

Apart from the 2nd test, England were never in the game by mid-way through the 2nd innings of the test. Australia apart from the 2nd test always were. For me, Australia competed for longer stretches.
England had a 1st innings lead in 2 out of the 3 Tests. Aus didn't have in even 1 out of 4.

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Post by msp83 Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:36 pm

Like shelsey, I'll be very surprised if Agar is picked. But then, the Australian selection committee has been surprising people for some time now.

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Post by ShankyCricket Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:44 pm

MY squad :

Rogers
Cosgrove
Cowan
Warner
Clarke
Smith (Muppet, if he's bowling)
Haddin (wk)
Siddle
Pattinson
Lyon
Bird


Starc
Harris/Coulter Nile
Faulkner
Ahmed/Agar/O'Keefe
Doolan
Wade (I'd prefer Time Paine, actually)

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Post by Pal Joey Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:17 am

The official Australian 16-man Squad:

Michael Clarke (c)
Brad Haddin (vc)
Shane Watson
David Warner
Phil Hughes
Usman Khawaja
Chris Rogers
Ed Cowan
Matthew Wade
James Faulkner
Nathan Lyon
Peter Siddle
James Pattinson
Jackson Bird
Ryan Harris
Mitchell Starc

No Mitchell Johnson, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Xavier Doherty. Fawad Ahmed remains in contention as soon as he becomes eligible.

Probably the best we can do at the minute. Many people are happy to see Chris Rogers given an opportunity but batting still a bit short. We will need all 7 to step up at some stage or else somebody from the A team might get a look in... or in a real crisis, an experienced batsman like David Hussey.

The bowling selections look very strong and they should be able to take 20 wickets each Test in English conditions. Everybody here is comparing the situation to 1985-86 or even 1989. In a way, this suits our approach but I don't believe we need to keep reminding England of that Ashes tour. Can't we just bottle it and keep our minds on the upcoming task ahead? The less said the better, imo.

I still think England will prevail. 3-1... or something like that.

Australia A Squad:

Brad Haddin (c)
Steve Smith (vc)
Jordan Silk
Alex Doolan
Usman Khawaja
Nic Maddinson
Chadd Sayers
Jackson Bird
Ryan Harris
James Pattinson
Peter Siddle
Nathan Lyon
Ashton Agar
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Post by alfie Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:38 am

Interesting. Some of the "leaks" proved to be figments of journalistic imagination Smile

Not a bad selection I suppose given the lack of recent FC cricket. Couple of unlucky players : Smith is entitled to feel a little disappointed to see his name missing while Hughes , Khawaja , Rogers are all included...and since O'Keefe can't even command a spot in the "A" team you have to wonder if his papers have been marked - why I couldn't say...

Rogers may well be an OK choice by the way , though they seem to be rather loading the squad up with openers !

Fast bowling roughly as expected. Harris if fit is fair enough , not really room for Starc and Johnson , and if Johnson isn't going and Watson can bowl then perhaps Faulkner is a better all rounder option than Henriques. I would have preferred Bird even had Hilfenhaus been fit , so no complaints there.

Wade will be disappointed , but Haddin is arguably the better bet at this time (agree it is not clear cut , but the experience angle helps...of course they could both play , given the shortage of true middle order bats.)

I would never write off an Australian team in advance , but I do suspect they will have batting problems in England , and believe the home team will prevail. Probably not as easily as many seem to expect though.

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Post by Shelsey93 Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:17 am

I do have a couple of issues with this squad.

Firstly, I think that Steve Smith ought to have been included. He looks to me to have worked very hard on his game, and performed well in India. Either as number 6 or first reserve, I reckon he'd have been a better pick than Khawaja.

I have no major issues with the choice of Rogers, though I do feel that it slightly addresses the wrong area - I'd have thought Warner, Cowan and Watson were nailed on to bat 1, 2 and 3. That leaves a big question over who will bat six - Khawaja? Hughes? Rogers? Wade?

James Faulkner is an interesting pick. His figures are good (I haven't seen much of him), but it strikes of a team in trouble that he's jumped at least three seamers who featured during the Australian season (Hastings, Johnson, Hilfenhaus).

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Post by Pal Joey Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:29 am

Steve Smith will be around the scene so should anyone falter - he may well get his chance after the 1st Test. Agree with you though, Shelsey. I'm just happy to see him near the action and he can be called on if required.
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Post by Mike Selig Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:20 am

Don't see what Smith has done wrong TBH. No particular issues with Rogers. I remain surprised by just how far off the radar Shaun Marsh has fallen (not even in the A squad) since his one poor series against India (admittedly catastrophic).

No need for 2 spinners in England, so good to see Australia haven't wasted a spot there.

Surprised to see Faulkner in, although he's a good bowler, but strikes me as more effective in the one-day stuff.

Apart from the Smith call (which I don't like), it's a reasonable squad, but I'm not sure about the balance. There's 4 openers in there + Hughes. I remain unconvinced Watson can bat anywhere but opener in tests, so maybe Warner moves to 3? But then what's Rogers there for? and who plays 6, Hughes? Khawaja? Both are more natural top 4 than middle-order... Hence the strange omission of Smith.

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Post by msp83 Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:22 am

The selection of Steve Smith was a bit of a surprise for the India tour. But dropping him after the tour, well, I must say is ridiculous. Other than Michael Clarke, he was the only batsmen who looked capable of scoring runs in India, Cowan did score a few, but even he didn't look secure like Smith managed. Philip Hughes, who was absolutely awful in the business end of the tour, who had problems against quality pace in the past, who had to be protected against Steyn and Philander, has been selected, but not Smith, who has been a performer. Didn't Usman Khawaja had 'attitude problems'? He didn't play a game in India, yet he's picked, and the performing Smith consigned to the A team. Pathetic selection that is, I have to say. I am not particularly critical of Khawaja's and even Hughes'(don't see a lot of merit to all the investment on him at this stage though) selection, but the dropping of Smith is a pretty poor call, one that sends absolutely the wrong message, that performance doesn't really matter.
The rest of the squad is fine, a reasonable job in my view, considering the apparent lack of quality batting reserves.

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Post by Shelsey93 Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:24 am

I sense a little bit of not wanting to include players with mental scarring from previous efforts against England... hence the omission of Smith and Johnson. But if you're going to exclude them on that basis, then why not Hughes too?

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Post by msp83 Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:18 am

Flintoff and Harmison were having lots of funn at Hughes' expense last time round. Perhaps he's included because the 2 of them aren't around any more!. Ridiculous!.

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Post by ShankyCricket Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:19 pm

Shelsey93 wrote:I sense a little bit of not wanting to include players with mental scarring from previous efforts against England... hence the omission of Smith and Johnson. But if you're going to exclude them on that basis, then why not Hughes too?
Smith averaged 33 in those 3 Tests vs England and he hasn't played a Test vs England in England yet. Not really that bad, better than Hughes for sure.

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Post by Shelsey93 Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:25 pm

ShankyCricket wrote:
Shelsey93 wrote:I sense a little bit of not wanting to include players with mental scarring from previous efforts against England... hence the omission of Smith and Johnson. But if you're going to exclude them on that basis, then why not Hughes too?
Smith averaged 33 in those 3 Tests vs England and he hasn't played a Test vs England in England yet. Not really that bad, better than Hughes for sure.

Agreed. Very small sample size too.

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