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Ask TMC: Who can save the Aussie Ashes?

With Australia two-nil down with three to play, and little having been shown so far that indicates that this is a trend that will reverse, the selectors and coach must be scratching their collective heads trying to think what can possibly be done. It must be a tough job, so I thought I’d ask around TMC to find out what our writers would do: who they would select and why.

Alex Britten

Who
Silk, Rogers, Warner, Khawaja, Clarke *, Smith, Wade +, Siddle, Harris, Bird, Lyon

Why
Jordan Silk is an impressive domestic cricketer who has the appetite for the long game – Shane Watson’s negative body language and hoodoo with James Anderson is dragging the team down. Moreover, Silk has the benefit of being the ‘unknown’ entity, though he is incredibly green to First Class cricket so he would be a brave call. Throwing Warner in at 3 adds a bit of ballast, though he too is a cricketer who might not have the application for 5 day stuff. Matthew Wade, in my opinion, should have been named vice-captain after the Watson incident in India. Talented batsman and capable keeper, though not great standing up. Natural fighter and good leader. Siddle and Harris have to play, as the only two seamers who have had any sort of control on their game in the two games played already, Jackson Bird is a wicket-to-wicket bowler who tore apart Sri Lanka in a Test earlier this year. He’s tall, quick and should have started the series – as Nathan Lyon should have done. Always improving as an off-spinner, whereas Agar’s naivety got shown up at Lord’s, Lyon can hold up and end and winkle a few wickets out.

 

Jeff Snowden

Who
Rogers, Warner, Clarke *, Khawaja, Hughes/Watson, Smith, Haddin +, Faulkner, Agar/Lyon, Siddle, Harris

Why
I think that Watson will possibly go, I don’t think he should as he is hitting the ball so well, he just needs to come in a bit lower for me. He goes and you lose the bowling option he gives and I actually think he’s in good nick with the bat. Agar and Lyon I think may be head to head against Sussex. Faulkner gives more strength to the batting, although I was surprised Starc went in the first (not so much after seeing Harris bowl) but I didn’t think he performed too badly in the 1st. Haddin stays for me. I think Warner opens as either Watson stays and bats down or Hughes stays and I don’t think they’ll risk opening with him.

I’m not sure they’ll take Katich but I reckon it would be an inspired choice right now. I think Clarke has to man up and bat 3. He’s the best player (possibly in the world at the mo, let alone Australia) and the best bat has to be at 3 for me. Plus the way they’re batting he is coming in when there are too many wickets down and backs are already against the wall.

Bit on the fence but hard to say how far you go with Australia at the moment. It needs a shake for this tour for sure but time will tell and think there is talent there, they just need to be patient and develop it as they have before.

 

John Woodbridge
Who
Rogers, Watson, Khawaja, Clarke *, Warner, Smith/Maxwell, Haddin +, Agar, Siddle, Bird/Starc, Harris.

Why
Both openers have talent, they need to be given time to settle together. Hughes is out, apart from his 81*, he’s had 0,1,1. Dismal. Warner in, although I’m dubious of his hundred as the conditions in SA were meant to be a batsman’s paradise, but you can’t argue with 193. Smith was a tough choice, but he’s taken some wickets, which makes him more useful than Hughes. I might switch him out for Maxwell, depending on how he bowls in SA. I wouldn’t change the bowling much, it’s just a question of who comes in for Pattinson. Starc will probably get the nod because he adds some variety, but I think Bird could do some real damage with his nagging line and length.

 

Martin Jones

Who
Rogers, Robson, Khawaja, Warner, Clarke *, Katich, Paine +, Siddle, Harris, Lyon, Bird

Why
When you are 2-0 down with three to play, it’s the time for desperate measures. The Australians will have to do anything and pick anyone they can to try to reverse the slide that seems completely irreversible. To do this, I offer a recall to Simon Katich, who has scored so many runs for Lancashire that he has made Andrew Hilditch look like a complete fool for ever dropping him. David Warner comes back into the side in the same spot as he has belted a huge century for the ‘A’ team in South Africa, allowing Clarke to bat at his preferred number five. I also offer a debut to Sam Robson, Middlesex’s Australian-born opener, in the hope that he can continue his fine form and find some chemistry with Chris Rogers. Tim Paine comes in as he is a better gloveman than Haddin or Wade, and Jackson Bird offers consistency with the ball. Nathan Lyon replaces Ashton Agar as he is probably the better bowler at this moment in time.

 

Nigel Armitage

Who
Rogers, Katich, Voges, Warner, Clarke *, Finch, Paine +, Henriques, Faulkner, Harris, Lyon.

Why
For me, the Ashes squad itself is not right and currently the ‘A’ squad looks stronger, so I would bring the best of that squad into my XI.

 

As you can see, there is no real consistency among our ideas. Across just five selections, there are three different glovemen and six openers. Every one of us has selected a different opening partner to go with Chris Rogers, and the fact that our views all differ so greatly should be something of an insight as to what must be going on in the halls of Cricket Australia as I write. The fact is, you can make so many arguments for and against so many selections that it will be almost impossible to make “the right call”.

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