3 September 2010

Aussies On The Autobahn!

The Australian Test squad for the tour of India:

Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke (vice-capt), Doug Bollinger, Peter George, Nathan Hauritz, Josh Hazlewood, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Marcus North, Tim Paine (wk), Steven Smith and Shane Watson

Quite a surprise in parts, and while I understand and welcome most of the selections I am also wondering about a few of them. Let's start with the positive surprises:

Peter George, aka "Tall, thin and married", who was the talk of the town and got labelled as the next Glenn McGrath not long ago when he sliced through the Sri Lankans (read me here and here), has been included in the squad, and perhaps the selectors have also considered his impressive performance in the recent Top End T20 challenge. And BTW, his first class figures are awesome. Congrats Peter, well-deserved.

(c) Getty Images
Peter George talks about his call-up and his experience on Indian wickets: 

We will also have a chance to see Josh Hazelwood with the drinks in hand, who unforgettably rattled Craig Kieswetter's middle stump in the ODI series against England.

Peter Siddle is still on the comeback trail from injury, albeit playing at the Top End Challenge and the Champions League, and thus didn't receive the call, and as we all know the Indian wickets are not too kind to the fast bowlers; so it is good to include two hopeful rookies as backups, especially if we remember how well this strategy has worked last year in the ODIs. Clint McKay has not earned a call this time, given his recent performance sadly I understand why.

I would have also liked to see Steve O'Keefe or some other tweaker in the list, you never know how long Ritzy's foot lasts, and I am not sure if the two part-timers North and Smith will be enough to compensate a Nathan Hauritz,  but I guess we can't have everything.

Brad Haddin hasn't recovered from his elbow niggle in time and this will bestow another Timmy viewing upon us. Yes yes a thousand times yes! :D

The selection of Phillip Hughes is, as usual, a big question mark to me. He is not in great form and currently trying to find his feet at Hampshire. He was as severely injured as Siddle, who got omitted, and I am not sure if a backup batsman is needed in place of another bowler. And if there is really the need to stuff another willow wielder into the squad I would have much preferred to see Usman Khawaja return to the troop, apart from that Hughesless would never in his whole life write a tour diary as hilarious as Usman did.

The rest of the squad basically selected themselves, especially and obviously Marcus North. I could now emit a ton of blabla about what AUS will have to achieve in India and who in particular has to find form before the Ashes and blablablubb but 
a) it goes without saying really, and 
b) I am sure you can read that elsewhere. 

Bring it on!



Suhas said...

It's tough on Khawaja. A trip to India would have been a good opportunity for the selectors to decide whether he might be a part of their ashes plans. It looks like they're sticking to the tried and tested for ashes, so O'Keefe will have to wait too. Looking forward to watching Hazelwood and George though I wonder if they'll get a game.

I suppose Hughes gets the nod based on the fact that he also opens the batting. But Phil Jacques seems to be scoring heavily for Worcesteshire and has done the job before, have the selectors drawn a line against his name?

Mudassar @ CricketVibe.com said...

Australia v India is a good contest these days but the only disappointment is going to be the pitches if they made usual flat ones. So that will also mean some hard work for bowlers against a strong batting line up, no more Pakistan there for cheap five-for aka North n Watto fiver.

But batsmen will find it easy there no more Amer and Asif plus flat pitches but not an ideal Ashes practice on low bounce pitches.

Anyway it is going to be a cracking series I hope.

Sidthegnomenator said...

I can't imagine Hughes actually playing any of the tests, unless either Katto or TWatto get injured. Why break up a happy marriage. If he is struggling for form, letting him play a couple of tour matches might be just what he needs. If either of the opening girlies gets injured during the Ashes, we'll be wanting Phil ready for action.

I have to admit PG is all new to me, but if you say he deserves a shot then I'm convinced. Plus, we've got some oldies in the side and need to try out new blood sometime. Better in India than during the Ashes.

Can you tell I'm a bit excited about the Ashes? It's all I talk about ...

Wes ~PFCNFS~ said...

Neither Hughes nor any other potential 12th man is actually going to play simply because the Ashes lineup will not get tinkered with unless one of the players gets injured during the first Test. The two Tests are the only practice they still receive before the Ashes. No chance for experiments given the dire state of the batting line-up. Agreement on Phil Jacques.