Simon Katich (NSW)
Shane Watson (NSW)
Ricky Ponting (TAS, Captain)
Michael Hussey (WA)
Michael Clarke (NSW, Vice-Captain)
Marcus North (WA)
Brad Haddin (NSW, W/K)
Mitchell Johnson (WA)
Nathan Hauritz (NSW)
Peter Siddle (VIC)
Ben Hilfenhaus (TAS)
Doug Bollinger (NSW)
So what do you all make of this squad?
I am not surprised that neither Phil Jaques, Chris Rogers or Phillip Hughes were selected. I think the NSP wants to trial the Katich/Watson duo a bit longer, but in the next 4 years someone will be stepping in when Katto retires.
Doug Bollinger was always going to be in competition with Stuart Clark.
I have often compared Stuart to Brad Hodge, who is with no doubt the unluckiest Australian cricketer in recent years. He had a few blunders but continued to play better than any other player at Domestic level who had represented Australia. Simon Katich had a similar fate but worked his way back into the team with a monstrous season which resulted in a call-up to play the Windies in 2008, where Hodge made his last Test appearance too in Michael Clarke's absence. But the Victorian has been overlooked many times, and now it is Stuart's turn. But it is the shape of things to come as I often state.
Stuart has played a fine game for NSW recently, looking alot better than Douggie, but that is a story similar to Hodge.
Doug can generate good pace off the wicket, with really awkward bounce angled up at the batsman, which is a useful tactic in Test cricket. But, we will see how/if he is used.
Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus retain their spots.
I am excited to see Ben Hilfenhaus make his first possible Test appearance on Australian soil. I think many people have forgotten what a big role he played in the Ashes. It wasn't Hilfy who underperformed to what the media expected from him, he also didn't lose his entire rythm due to issues beyond his control, and he also didn't bowl when we were looking for that final wicket in the 1st Test at Cardiff.
This isn't a blame statement I am making, but more a realistic statement and that people ought to give the bloke a chance before dismissing him as a dull swing bowler.
He has alot too offer, but this isn't meant to impose negativity on what I believe Mitch and Sid's bring to the side. Not to mention they both received well deserved ICC awards this year! Think of the flack Peter Siddle was given when he started?
If Mitchell is confident going into this Test series and gets off to a flyer as a genuine match winner, it will have a strong, positive effect on both Hilfy and Siddle. I just hope Siddle runs in with that aggressive ambition again, because the Windies love a bit of that!
The question here is will it be a four paceman attack? To toss in the Hauritz factor? And where will Bollinger slot in?
The other talk has been over Nathan Hauritz and Jason Krejza. There have been a few spinners who have come and gone with the NSP and their pathetic panic tactics, but there is definite talk out there as to whether Krejza, who is an attacking guy with no fear to toss it up and risk being smacked for plenty runs to get the wickets, or whether Hauritz will play. Ritz has been dubbed a more defensive bowler and he got wind of this, and notably in his ODI game you can see the difference in not only the better turn he generates but the risk factor he has added to his game.
While he may be more defensive than Krejza, he holds the run-rate back a bit, and can bat a bit too. Ritz will still be playing knowing a few guys are hot on his heels although his improvement is evident.
Otherwise the batting was predictable, and while there are contenders on the side line (as there are for the bowling too) the experience factor is the great point to emphasise on here.
Michael Hussey has held his spot, largely owing to his awesome performances in the ODI squad which have really been solid. But this is his final Test opportunity and I hope he can hold his head up high and not let the confidence nail him if a few things go sour. Hopefully after regaining better form away from Australia, he will be more at ease in familiar grounds.
Brad Haddin makes his return, and that is a certain watch and see how he goes scenario, although his recovery seems to have been a smooth one.
All the other guys on that list have been in top form, with Clarke getting better assurance after scoring a century for NSW in their Sheffield match vs Tasmania.
Now we wait for the 1st Test. After the 1st Test the feeling out there is that immediate assessment will be dealt with.
And what outstanding English statements, metaphors, similies and adjectives has Mark Nicholas been putting together in his time off?