With the next phase of the tour against England, the Remains ODI series and two Twenty20's are now the focus point.
I have decided to take the time to write a squad spotter regarding our ODI team, and it's important all the critics know this team are also in a rebuilding stage, so it will be another hard-fought series, but I am feeling pretty good about the team, and can't critic the selectors on my part.
The Twenty20 team selected has also been a good strategic move by the NSP.
The pain of the Ashes loss is starting to wear off, but for my article regarding my opinion's and views on the series CLICK HERE or scroll down to the previous article! Be sure to read the comments as there are some excellent bits of input from a lot of the regular chirpers.
Here's the squad spotter for the selected men to wear the Green and Gold for those of you who may not be aware of the team!
Watto was given the daunting, almost urgent toss into the top order in the Ashes series. Familiar to him for the Queensland Bulls (while not very successful) but not in International Test cricket, especially in an Ashes series. But he played well, but this will be familiarity to him. Watto opened the batting against Pakistan this year, where he made his second century in some warm conditions, and last year stepped up to the task where he made his debut ton. He contributes strongly, and his style of batting is so well suited to ODI cricket. When he needs to graft he can and when he needs to slaughter the bowling attack, oh boy can he! The recent time in Test cricket will have benefited him for patience. I think the only thing to monitor is whether or not he is bowling fit for 50 over cricket.
Michael Clarke (Stand in Captain/ Vice-Captain):
Michael will have the big responsibility as stand in Captain until Rick Ponting joins the team. His ODI abilities were cemented after the 2007 World Cup where he was fourth in the run-scoring stats and ended averaging 80. He has played some match-winning innings' in recent times, and is able to modify his game quite drastically to suit ODI cricket. A backward-point specialist and lightning quick to get into the action, he is a great asset to the field. Having stated that, his ODI game in recent times has been rather inconsistent and he also had to slot in as an opener in Shaun Marsh' absence in the series against South Africa. Back at number 4 will be his ideal placement in the batting order where he tends to settle better into whatever stage is set for the innings, and with his experience he can alter the course if needed.
Ricky Ponting (Captain):
Punter is Australia's best ODI batsman by a long shot with far more runs than any other player. One may argue that this is due to the young age at which he debuted, and it is a form of the game he was more consistent in. However he has played many, many memorable innings' and can change the course of a match, not to mention has played significant roles in all the World Cup victories he has been apart of. A big score from Punter in the 50 over game usually results in victory. After a busy time in the Ashes series, he will be joining the team later in the series. He has been relatively ineffective recently, but a ton is still looming for him, one he will be desperate to reach.
As for Captaincy, he must go on with Clarke stepping in when needed but for Twenty20 that must be Clarke's domain now.
Huss has had a tough run in Test cricket, but has continued to play his natural game and after endless support to see him get the big ton, it was great to see him reach a century in the final innings of the Ashes. What many forget is that Huss' ODI form is still very good and he has a great ability to turn an innings around the last 5-10 overs. He plays a very similar role to that Michael Bevan played for us back in the day. After the breath of life into Huss' Test game, I really believe he will play a big role for us in this ODI series and has some good momentum. I just never under-estimate his hard work and raw abilities.
Fergal has been our ODI player find! He's was tested with the Redbacks, where he faced success and then slightly bleaker performances. However some strong performances in the Ford Ranger series gave him the needed call-up last summer. He has only impressed! Fergal is a great bloke and I am proud to see him go about his batting with a cool attitude and just doing what is expected of him with little fuss. He has been our most consistent middle-order batsmen and has not let us down! Of his 13 innings, he has scored 3 fifties, and been stranded twice in the 40's and out once. To convert these to fifty would have been great. Funny enough 41 seems to be his unlucky number! But his career has started off strongly, and I reckon his batting style will work well in England. This is a guy I want around for many years to come!
While Graham Manou is a brilliant wicket-keeper (in my honest opinion better than Hads), Tim Paine is more suited to One Day cricket.
Brad Haddin is a good one-day cricketer and since taking on the opening duties it seemed to benefit him. In the Test arena he will have to keep his intensity and consistency behind the stumps with Manou on the prow but Hads is a fine batsman, and this gives him the definite edge! But as for Tim Paine, his inclusion has been a great move by the NSP and as a young 24 year old bloke, he has done well in both first-class and 50over cricket for Tazzie, and if you were concerned about Aussie not having anymore explosive Keeper/Batsman, he has the goods. The great part about Tim is that he has adapted to the opening spot well (he played magnificently in the OD series for Aus A vs Pakistan A) and can bat in the middle-order too. This is a great attribute especially after losing Had's for the series as he has to have surgery now on his finger. If he (Paine) were to debut I am not sure he would be tossed into open immediately, but himself, Voges, Hopes and Clarke are the guys looking to open with Shane Watson.
'Catfish' has been around a while now. His batting has been on the ascendancy while his bowling hasn't seen too much progression to the average viewer like myself. He has become valuable to the lower-mid order portion of our batting, and showed a lot of courage against the Proteas. His bowling has been costly, and if he is bowling alongside a spinner (like Hauritz) or another medium pacer (Bracken) he can be a really tight support bowler to either and he has the ability to apply pressure with consistent line-and-length and grab the partnership splitting wicket.
Since making his debut in ODI cricket, 'The Bear' has had little impact. An explosive batsman who really is made for the shorter form of the game, he has yet to prove to onlookers just what he has achieved for Victoria, where is also the State Captain. A useful part-time spinner and flexible in the batting order, his inclusion won't upset too many and I don't see any issues in giving him another chance, this time in England. His Test career didn't amount too much, so I hope his ODI game does.
Mitch started out as a young ODI bowler knocking over the stumps of some of the best batsmen in world-cricket. But his name has been elevated purely upon his Test match performances. While he didn't play how we would liked him to during the Ashes, the reality he is still far from his best in One Day cricket and expectations will be far less, hopefully less pressure on him. While he is seen as an expected pick for Test cricket, ODI cricket is a bit of different scenario and his wayward style can prove costly. He can still do damage at the top of the order against the opposition.
Brett has to play! I'd be more in favour to see Mitch given a rest while Brett takes the new ball. He has dead-eye accuracy on his day, he has so much experience to offer and after not playing one game in the Ashes, and losing the series, there will be plenty frustration waiting to be unleashed at 150km/h. He will be mighty anxious to get out there and I hope he does get the new ball. He can hit the ball a good few meters too! Bring on the Bing factor!
Nathan has done well in the 50 over game. He showed a hell of a lot of guts and courage in the Ashes series, and if the conditions are permitting (hopefully not misread) Ritz' will be more than ready for the challenge. He provided some very useful lower order knocks with Michael Hussey in the away series vs the Proteas so he has the gift to get runs when needed from a lower-order batsman. His defensive tactics (while he doesn't want to be titled 'defensive', fair enough) work well in this form of the game!
I would have preferred for Doug Bollinger to have come in for Sid's purely to give him a rest. But with only 1 ODI to his name, it would be a good challenge for him after the Ashes to now have another bash at the English team. I don't think he will be a guaranteed pick by any means like Mitch, but he'll give it his all as always if given the nod for the 7 match series.
Bracks is maestro of economical bowling but last summer he struggled for not only consistency, but also variation in challenging his opposition. The Proteas made life difficult for him, and the runs were churning out around 5 an over and his wicket taking dried up a fair bit.
Maybe some time away from the International scene has re-energised his body and hopefully we'll see more attitude and a real fighting display from one of our no.1 bowlers, more respectfully one of the best in One Day cricket! I do expect a lot more achievements from Bracks and he is now a senior player and needs to lead by example, and he can play a massive role for the younger guys coming through. Hope the effectiveness wasn't bashed out in South Africa.
Hilfy, Hilfy, Hilfy! He only has a handful of ODI's behind his name, but I look forward to seeing him the ODI scene a lot more. I think in these early stages of his career he will be finding some days that he may be getting smashed all around the ground, but there will be many days where his slight deviation in his deliveries, or hopefully the massive swing we saw in his Twenty20 debut, will pester the oppositions top order and may generate a few outside edges, LBW's and even some deflections!
The only concern I would have for Hilfy is he is now prone to quite a few no-balls, and with the free hit system well in place and how those potential extra 1-6 runs can make a significant difference if scored, it is something he will need to be aware of so we don't end up screaming in frustration at the tele. I still stand by my belief that he has something really special to offer Australian cricket in the long run.
As for England, the players I am on the watch out for are; Luke Wright, James Anderson, Andrew Strauss, Stuart Broad and Owais Shah.
Another player, Eoin Morgan, is now representing England. I always thought he had a lot to offer Ireland. I'm upset he is playing for England now (any other team would have done), but he deserves the opportunity as he is a good cricketer.