Alright alright. It looked like Australia’s selectors were just as cranky as England’s hopeless trio. Australia made three contested selections in the first Test. Young Cameron Bancroft replaced Matt Renshaw, older Tim Paine replaced Nevill/Wade, and even older Shaun Marsh was recalled ahead of the Hilton Cartwright (sounds a bit like an upscale hotel).
While I doubt this pick will have a significant impact on the result for the Ashes – Bancroft is in better form than Renshaw – I’ve always been fair to Marsh and England always have the better The keeper and batsman – Australia’s selectors caused quite a stir as Down Under was looked after. In fact, quite a few Aussie fans spend big bucks to throw away their toys. We know how kids feel!
I think selectors see Marsh and Paine as the new Hussey and Haddin (though not as good) and don’t trust the young ones much. This seems fair to me. It does make Australia look a bit uneasy, though. Who knows, maybe England’s morale will get a boost in time?
Tom Sturrock, an enthusiastic Australian and longtime contributor to the site, emailed me to express his displeasure. It’s a very pleasant rant. Thanks Tom! Good to know Australians are already on the run. Um.
Here’s what Tom had to say:
“British fans may not be familiar with Cameron Bancroft, but he was picked ahead of Matt Renshaw because of his outstanding domestic form – he went unbeaten for Western Australia earlier this week. The double century. Renshaw, on the other hand, lacks running.
So Warner and Bancroft, then Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith (in any order), then Peter Handscomb at 5, then… this is where it gets weird… Shaun Marsh and 6 and Tim Paine at 7.
Those last two names would cause untimely gnashing of teeth. Prior to Ashes, the 6th and 7th spots were hotly debated. Bancroft’s subsequent move to Renshaw was widely accepted. But going back to 34-year-old Marsh and calling Paine from the wild would make people spin.
Let’s start with Marsh…
Australia have held on to adding a bowling option to the top six for the better part of a decade. This was used to justify wearing Shane Watson for five years. Even Mitchell Marsh was gifted with 20 Tests…all because there was clearly a desperate need for an all-around player.
This is complicated by the fact that Australia has no golden all-rounder – despite the so-so Glenn Maxwell scoring four Tests and striking six in India a century ago. Marcus Stoinis and Moises Henriques could be other options. Hilton Cartwright turned his arm too.
But now the magic rule of needing an all-rounder has been set aside…just so they can try Shaun Marsh again. The decision to not need an all-around player is shocking enough, but going back to Sean Marsh makes it even more telling. It looks like the selectors have decided they only want top-six hitters in the country. But on the East Coast, it would be frustrating for Marsh to be considered one of them. What if one of them breaks fast?
The media now refers to Marsh as “the cat with the bat” – he was recalled 8 times, so he probably had 9 lives. That’s even more than Gary Ballance, right? It’s crazy. Despite being the leading scorer in domestic cricket last year, Ed Cowan has even been banned from playing for NSW this season because he is deemed too old. Cowan is 35 years old. Marsh is 34 years old but has been recalled!
Marsh is 34 years old, with a test average of 36 and FC average of 40. His state in the country has been very cold. Why break the rules of picking an all-rounder for someone like him? incredible. The selectors just seem to like the swamp boys. Australians throw their TimTams onto their TV screens.
As for Tim Paine…
Paine’s choice is less annoying to people, but just as surprising. Paine took part in the Test for the first time in 2010 and was even considered a potential future captain at one point. He averaged 35 points in four Tests before a chronic finger injury ended his career.
Matthew Wade was the referee, leading the team into the Ashes. Sure, he’s under pressure, but likely contenders to replace him are Peter Neville and Alex Carey, the latter of whom has yet to get a cap. Paine wasn’t even in the conversation…but here he was.
Let me explain how shocking this is. Payne and Wade both play for Tasmania. Wade kept the wicket for the first three games of the domestic season, while Payne (in the one game he actually played) appeared elsewhere. So Paine isn’t even Tasmania’s first choice – unless they feel the need to glove Wade because he’s the defending Test. no longer!
If you go to this newspaper website, there is an interactive feature for people to choose their own Australian team. You can also see who the “experts” voted for, and the total number of people’s votes (http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/ashes-201718-pick-your-own-australian-team-20171107 -gzgft0.html). None of them mentioned Marsh or Paine. There was no mention of Bancroft either, but the domestic form is easier to explain the change.
It has only been 12 months since Australia went on a cleanse and said they were working on a new curriculum with their young batsmen. They drafted Renshaw, Handscomb and Maddinson, all under 25 at the time. But apparently it was just a weird spasm, and the pendulum has now swung the other way.
No one can explain the choices. The official justification is incoherent. no plan, no police