24 May 2010

Pom Hunters, on your marks!

The long awaited squad announcement for the Australian Euro campaign is out!!!

Twenty20 squad 
Shane Watson, David Warner, Michael Clarke (capt), Cameron White, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Daniel Christian, Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait
The T20 squad remains unchanged, the Australian selectors always prefer stability over experiments, nothing wrong with that in this case. But it also means that they furthermore pursue the plan to forcefully press Pup into the captain's role in all formats. Well-founded criticism of this strategy can be found here. I would describe the strategy as "putting some bread in your mouth and chewing it until it eventually gets sweet". Well I hope it helps. Pup needs a 'leading edge', a bit of angry barking instead of puppy yelps, some Biffish bellowing, he needs to start loving the fire. In brief: confidence in his game plan, his shots, and the capabilities of his boys. And he won't have much time to develop it.

ODI squad
Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Cameron White, Brad Haddin, Steven Smith, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Clint McKay, Doug Bollinger
Blahhh. I knew the day would come, but it arrived too soon. As much as ODIs are fun, there are some people I don't really want to see, but unfortunately they keep getting selected. No big surprises here except for the inclusion of Legsmith; I also hope Klint gets a game. Pity that Adam Voges is missing out. Pup will have the chance to learn from the master how to cover up cluelessness with a thick arm pelt.

Australia A
Four-day squad Ed Cowan, Usman Khawaja, Michael Klinger, George Bailey (capt), Peter Forrest, Andrew McDonald, Tim Paine, Mitchell Marsh, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Hilfenhaus, Josh Hazlewood, Peter George, Mitchell Starc 
One-day squad Tim Paine, Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges, George Bailey (capt), Travis Birt, Aaron Finch, Andrew McDonald, Mitchell Marsh, Xavier Doherty, Brendan Drew, James Pattinson, Jake Haberfield, Josh Hazlewood
Mitch Marsh in both teams it pretty much awesome, I prefer him over his brother. Hilfy is back and carefully dips a toe into the water, but the most interesting thing is, from my personal point of view, the appearance of Klinger and Haberfield!!! Klinger is the man as most of you will confirm, and Haberfield is a great wicket taker and one of SA's most important bowlers, hope he can kick some butt. Peter George is the third Redback playing for his country, I see some positive development here, except, of course, for a massive lack of Cosgrove.

Tim Paine
You can hear general moans about Timmy not being included in either of the short format squads and I am naturally moaning along here. He has already proven what valuable asset he is in the limited overs forms and Haddin could really need some .... rest; he will play in the Tests after all and the Ashes are not that far away either. GRRRRR. Ian suspects there is a plan behind Tim's selection into the 4-day A squad but Ian is optimism on two legs, I hope the selectors didn't just 'park' Tim there but are really trying to learn more about his suitability for the long format.

Click to enlarge, then click again to magnify
Steven Smith
Smithy is slowly but steadily working his way up to the top, as a bowler, mind you. Having overtaken Nathan Hauritz as the stock T20 spinner he is now also in the position to cement a spot in the ODI side. In the World T20 he has proven to be an attacking spin option, sharing the second rank in the bowling table with Charl Langeveldt (see table on the left). In other words: the only guy who took more wickets is Dirk Nannes. It also means that he finished ahead of Graeme Swann. Har Har.

There are still people doubting Smith's  potential and speaking of hype. Understandably, but this is not Phil Hughes II ^^ but Steven Smith I and he deserves to get looked at. Consequently, he got selected for the 50-over leg of the tour. I am sure Nathan isn't feeling too comfortable with the fresh light blue breath of his NSW team mate in the neck. Ritz has always suffered from the unlimited expectation people had of him as a successor of Shane Warne, and now that a legspinner is popping his head out, only 20 years young and equipped with evergrowing confidence -a field in which Ritz always needed some additional lessons- I am sure Good King Nate is a little bit worried. On the one hand I think that Nathan will get matches as he needs to run warm for the Ashes, and the two Tests against Pakistan are not enough especially if you consider that he isn't a part of either of the A-squads. But admittedly the English summer is the perfect opportunity for the selectors to check Smithy out on a larger scale. Nevertheless Ritz plays the Ashes, so I think he and Smith will maybe get juggled during the ODIs or maybe even celebrate a joined appearance, how'd be that!!! It would sure be worth a try to see how these guys get along together, I could imagine a double spin attack on several occasions, depending on Smithy's further performances.

Worcestershire, the club that contracted him for the Friends Provident T20 campaign, will probably not be too happy about Smith's selection. Below you can see a juxtaposition of the Australian tour dates and the Friends Provident T20 fixtures, Worcs play either on the same day as the Australian ODI/T20 team, or one day before/after, but Smith could appear in the matches played from the 9th of July onwards, which are still quite a few, I imagine playing at the side of Shakib Al Hasan is quite an adventure. But we are also still waiting for the announcement of the Test squad and as long as the latter isn't out yet I am bearing the hope to see his name there, too.

Other Australians that will hop on or off the train at some point to join or leave their English clubs are Dussey and Nanny for Nottinghamshire, with Dussey skippering Notts through the T20 tournament, mind you these two guys can take something... only real battle hogs survive playing alongside the unholy trinity of Barbie, Sidebottom and Swann. David Warner joins Middlesex (good boy :P) and will fight side by side with Adam Gilchrist there, should be funny; Klint plays for Yorkshire, I hope he gets a couple of games -good luck Klint-; Ryan Harris is listed as a Yorkshire player too, I expect him to be called up for the Tests as well, but this doesn't mean that these replacement players are all obliged to be present, unless Oz need them as drinks carriers/sub fielders. Taitmaster plays for Glamorgan, can't wait to see him team up with Cos, in fact the mere idea makes me sigh in nostalgic reverie. Kato plays for Lancashire but I have no clue if they'll pick him for the FP T20, but he should be joining the Oz Tests against Pakistan; Leicestershire man Andrew McDonald will head home for the Oz A matches against Sri Lanka A, and on a sidenote, Andrew Symonds joins Surrey... just saying.

That's it for now, my head is buzzing so much that I completely forgot the point of all this doodle... oh yes: Pom hunt!!!



Lou said...

Good stuff, Wes. I like watching Yawn Marsh bat purely from the loveliness of his shots, but he can be a real bore at international level. I was kind of glad that he couldn't be part of the 20/20 team as we already have one stodge too many there.

I am more interested in watching his wee bro as well. He looks smarter, more exciting and more talented. Needs to learn to catch a bit better though.

Wes said...

Hello Lou, thank you, very kind,
glad you agree, and even use these silly names, cheers!

Sidthegnomenator said...

Nice to see Mitchy Jnr and Jimmy Stewart on the Australia A teams. That's probably who I'll get to see at Derbyshire to be fair, so I hope they do well.

Purna said...

Who is going to take over the gloves if Haddin is injured or fined? Really CA spends too much on flying players back and forth :P.

Wes said...

Sid, Jimmy Stewart???

Pu that'd be T-Paine then, he'll arrive with the Test boys but yes he should be there for the one dayers, too, I agree. They are played in rapid succession, no clue what Oz would do in the case of an injury. God sometimes I wish Hads would just go away or so.

greyblazer said...

I would like to watch Khawaja bat.

Shaen said...

G'day Wes, Took me a while to get over the 20 final but now I'm really enjoying this site. Between you and Ian I'm looking forward to some more pommy bashing.
What's wrong with Hads?..I like his cricket.

Wes said...

Shaen glad to hear you are over it! Hads is alright but I'm a Timmy supporter. You see, cricket is a very emotional and personal matter...

Mahek said...

If you took a closer look at the list of highest wicket-takers you'll see Swann has a better average and economy rate than Smith. What the list doesn't tell you is most of Smith's wickets came after his fast bowling teammates had ripped through the top order while Swann didn't have that luxury (Comparatively).

Wes said...

Mahek a closer look is only needed if you are myopic, but I extra enlarged the table for better viewing, so it shouldn't be a problem for anybody to compare Smith's and Swann's figures without getting extra explanation.
I am blatantly campaigning for Smith, and in order to see that you don't have to look very closely either :)

Mahek said...

I think a closer look is needed only if you're on the Steven Smith bandwagon :)

I don't mind people campaigning for Smith. Makes it easier to teams playing Australia.

Mahek said...

Oops, I meant easier FOR teams playing Australia.

Wes said...

Well just click the Smith label and your toenails will roll up if you read the other posts I wrote about him B) He has something very likeable and hope-inducing about him. Apart from that it just occurred to me that not Swann but Hauritz is the scale for him, and the selectors, at first.