What does Bob have to do to earn a call-up?!?
This desperate cry could be heard a million times in the last weeks, in particular in the context of Steve O'Keefe, Steven Smith, David Hussey, Andrew McDonald, Mark Cameron, Brad Hodge and, since last night, Nathan Hauritz.
Ritz, taking seven wickets in his latest Perth match [scorecard], and adding three more in an aggressive bowling performance, and a whopping 146 runs in the second innings of NSW's recent match against the Redbacks (more about that later), would certainly have been the prime target of the selectors' attention, or so everybody assumed, including me, only two days ago.
Instead they went for Michael Beer, who has even less experience than Steve O'Keefe, but a significantly higher average, no international appearances under his belt at all and especially not the sounding name of Kevin Pietersen on his list of victims.
|Dan Christian bowling |
legspin (different deliveries)
Don't get me wrong, I've had my eye on Beer, after all he is the No. 5 on my watch list of blond left arm finger spinners, after Danny Briggs, SOK, Liam Dawson and Xavier Doherty, but he was not supposed to get unearthed, dragged to light and thrown at the beasts by the selectors before I've approved of such action.
The rest of the selectorial decisions just make me shrug. Mitchell Johnson's magical improvement away from any field after taking one wicket or less in eight of his last ten Test innings led to his recall, while Bolly was put to the chopping block. But who knows, perhaps his new homeground can put the Magic back into Johnson... Phil Hughes had been considered the expectable replacement of Katich beforehand, so no surprises here. Would have rather liked Yawn Marsh instead of the still too inconsistent little Flap, but you can't have everything. Go Flap!
North got the boot a whole year after he was due, Legsmith comes in for him as a batsman, I think this is the only decision that will be welcomed with wise nods all around. So if Australia go in with four quicks, which is not that unlikely -not as unlikely as Warne's return- Smithy will then have to fill the boots of a frontline spinner. How practical that he grabbed eight scalps (four each) in the recent NSW-SA clash:
NSW Blues v Redbacks (Shield) Day 4
The Redbacks lost but I don't really care about this defeat because we saw extremely important, outstanding performances by many players.
The above mentioned Ritz heroics, accompanied by a magnificent ton from Peter Nevill, and the adventures of the Legsmith stuck out on the light blue side (we shall spread the veil of silence over Moises); while the not so little red riding hoods savoured just another top 100odd knock from Dan frickn Christian (his maiden 1st class ton according to my calculations) and a mighty good century from Callum Ferguson as well.
The latter might have come too late for the selectors to really consider Fergs for the No. 6 spot, but reaching a ton against the excellent NSW attack won't have done his post-Hussey prospects any harm. It was an absolute treat to see these two guys build a strong partnership and smash the NSW bowlers across the park. Fantastic. I'm especially proud of DC, who seems to be striding from strength to strength.
Cherry on top of the cream: I saw Dan Christian bowl legspin. Yes. Legspin. I think everybody who says there is nothing beautiful about DC should get hit on the head with a stick :D