*Update: Listen to the blog's first Podcast regarding Mickey Arthur's appointment as Head Coach and the new selectors by visiting the previous post here or find the Podcast widget in the side bar.
Damn, Hilditch and his cronies had some tough moments but wow, the new selectors really have a tough task for the 1st Test of the Chappell-Hadlee series, nevermind the entire summer!
Australia ‘A’ have found themselves on the back foot against the New Zealanders XI, which seems to have only made one thing clear at present and that is David Warner is almost certain to make his debut after posting 65 runs.
While I did state in the blog's first Podcast that I do not see the aggressive/aggressive combo being the solution to add stability to the top of the order in Test cricket, Hughesy and David have played a fair share of cricket for New South Wales and built some good partnerships.
I am sure many out there will understandably be opposed to David's inclusion but I remain convinced he has tweaked his game in order to reach his dream to represent the Baggy Greens. For this reason, despite my gripes about the top order imbalance, I will support him 100%.
Otherwise it still seems open for discussion.
In the injury bin we have;
Valuable batsman and golden arm bowler lost. Likely to only miss this series. Please move him down the order John and co.
Injuries becoming a massive worry for his career. He may be out for some time.
His confidence seems all over the show and the injury may give him time to “clear his mind”. Imagine he won’t be out for too long before having another chance to give the selectors enough confidence to keep him in the starting XI.
Patty has been rested for pre-cautionary reasons. His work load management will be what assists his longevity. Hoping for a strong recovery!
Gutted about his loss due to injury. I've been thoroughly enjoying his entrance to Test cricket but I believe he is still in a fair bit of discomfort after that injury he picked up. Hope he makes the Border-Gavaskar series.
James Pattinson took four wickets and looks the best of the younger prospects, taking into consideration he was selected for Australia ‘A’ for a reason.
Mitchell Starc, who I'd like to see in the Green & Gold gear next year, also managed three wickets but leaked plenty of runs. The catch here is with four bowlers out due to injury (what a terrible set back, especially for Patty Cummins) their places must be filled and the 1st Test will unlikely be a set squad for the summer.
Instead it will be a team that will have to be strategic enough to claim a victory to provide the different elements of what is missing.
You lose Ryan Harris who handles the new ball? Ben Hilfenhaus would then seem the best option with decent experience as well (plus a man-of-the-match award at the Gabba for the Baggy Greens) but despite his decent Sheffield season thus far, he hasn’t been dominant with the wicket takings having the new ball in hand.
Doug Bollinger's stamina and fitness is still a major area where I think he will be monitored for high intensity Test cricket and although I wouldn't mind seeing Douggie out there again, he has pulled up with an ankle injury recently for NSW.
Patrick Cummins is a very young bloke and showed incredible control and mental strength on debut, having also been at the crease with the bat in hand for the ODI series win and the 2nd Test win in South Africa. His injury will upset many Gabba attendees who were hoping to watch him.
A youngster to replace a youngster? That would give Pattinson a probable call-up, who I am quite fond of.
Peter George (currently playing in the Redbacks Sheffield game against the Bulls) shouldn't be forgotten about any time soon. He does have a Baggy Green cap after debuting against India last year.
Then we have Mitchell Johnson out injured. Who to pick?
Peter Siddle has the experience now but is similar to Mitch that on a bad day he will leak plenty of runs and not look threatening from an onlookers perspective. That lack of variation will come up again.
He has lacked top order wickets now, a similar issue to Hilfy. It's also not the MCG, Pedro's home ground where he is usually a menace.
We could talk about all the other options but a probable side has definitely come to the surface, so we’ll focus on them.
Trent Copeland has been eager to get his re-call to the starting XI and lose the 12th man duties having last played in Sri Lanka, but I can’t imagine him and Hilfy in the same starting XI, despite the fact the Gabba will offer Hilfy some assistance with the new ball.
TC gives that consistency and his First-class record is a reflection of his abilities but we may be facing three bowlers who could (I’m assuming here) struggle for 10 wickets an innings in the sense of “going for the kill”, going with TC, Pedro and Hilfy.
Nathan Lyon will probably hold his spot as the spinner and will become a more important member of this side with “key players” out injured. Not sure how Roscoe and his team will handle the spin on offer. Nate is improving game by game. This is why we must stick with him.
The injuries to Watto and Shaun Marsh have given Ricky Ponting another chance, where experience will be needed between himself, Michael Clarke (his first full-time home series as Skipper) and Michael Hussey due to the loss of Watto and Shaun as strength players.
Punter has a golden ticket to make a statement with his game, having recently made a press statement that he acknowledges the sun is on the horizon for his career and runs plus slight adjustment in his game will be crucial to see out the summer.
Hopefully he gets the send off he deserves. He has nothing left to prove other than he may still have a century or two left in him.
As a Punter supporter I won’t even shy away from the fact it is a major opportunity for him.
Maybe we get lucky to see a few more innings of class from the maestro. This does impact on that progress everyone is talking about.
Lastly, let’s talk about Brad Haddin.
I don’t believe he is a certainty for the first Test. It remains clear that the general views amongst the supporters is that had Tim Paine been fit Brad would have probably been out of the starting XI by now.
Now there’s another bloke knocking on the door and he is unbeaten at the other end with Eddie Cowan for the current Australia ‘A’ fixture. That man is Matt Wade who I am definitely not overlooking to replace Hads, especially if he gets some solid time at the AB field.
It would be seen as bold to debut a second Keeper a year and a bit after Tim debuted but Hads is unquestionably under pressure.
For the sake of progression (as much as it bites to talk about a blokes career winding up at the elite level) and Hads’ obvious drop in form, I can’t see him holding the Keeper job for much longer.
I am not convinced his performance in the 2nd innings will be enough to justify his place in the team with the new selection panel in place, even though I was mighty proud of Hads for the way he contributed to that record run chase!
Come Saturday we will most probably have a Squad announcement.
I plan to do another audio post (Podcast) regarding this upcoming series and how it could potentially shape things up for the summer.
Until then, please discuss!
Welcome to The Baggy Green Blog!
Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.
To comment on this article, click on the 'Comments' tag at the end of the article.