Sunday, 4 September 2011

The future of Australian cricket

More than just a wrap of the first test this is comment on what will be the next 10 years of Australian cricket. It's tempting to generalise from one test - especially when on the winning side - but perhaps more informative is posing questions which need to be answered along the line.

Clarke commenced his captaincy with a comprehensive win but more importantly is how he went about it. Clarke has demonstrated a desire to attack reflected by his field settings. As a batsman he was aggressive but sensible but time will tell to what extent captaincy affects his other role. In his vice-captain he has a partnership breaker with the ball and a flaying opening bat. You can't help admire how Watson has found his place and continues to impress. Can Watson remain an opener? Should he? It appears the middle order is not in anyone's mind for Watto in the foreseeable future.

This author is critical of Ponting playing at all. If he doesn't make runs in this or the next series, why on Earth would you wait for him to get through a lean patch? His runs could be being made by Marsh or Ferguson and for that reason in this author's view he is being selfish and should get the shoulder tap.

Harris has returned with aplomb and the pace attack seems to be the least of Aus' worries. Copeland is the new Clark and Pattison, Starc and others wait with Bollinger in the wings. The big question is spin and Lyon grabbed a Michelle on debut; on the best day to bowl at Galle. His 2nd innings figures are nothing to write home about but he hopefully has 2 more tests against some quality batsmen to show his diversity and application. Johnson will just always mix brilliance with crap; although he looked to be a bit more consistent in the first test.

Hughes has clearly worked hard and looks to be determined to prove people wrong. Some believe he is simply not test level but few people fluke tons against quality bowling attacks. He and Khawaja deserve time to solidify their spots now they have been given the opportunity. The indicator of change in selection policy will be there for all to see during this and the next 3 series (vs South Africa away - 2 tests - and then the summer at home against NZ and India). If the baggy green door revolves as frequently as it has previously noone has learned a thing and we can expect more hesitant and defensive cricket from players unsure of themselves and their place in the team.

The one guy who should be looking over his shoulder is Haddin. Paine is a better keeper and a polished batsman; also likely to take over captaincy from Clarke in time. I wouldn't be surprised if Paine is behind the stumps this summer. Hussey, enough said. He is the man.

At the end of the day it's just great to have test cricket back.

Down the Wicket