This morning Cricket Australia’s National Selection Panel announced it’s squad for two T20 games against Sri Lanka on 26 and 28 January 2013. The squad is:
- George Bailey (c)
- Ben Cutting
- Xavier Doherty
- James Faulkner
- Aaron Finch
- Ben Laughlin
- Shaun Marsh
- Glenn Maxwell
- Mitchell Starc
- Adam Voges
- Matthew Wade
- David Warner
There are few ommisions from and inclusions in the team that stick out like the proverbial and warrant comment. First let me be clear: I have no cavil with the selections of Bailey, Warner, Starc and Wade and make no comment on their lack of form or otherwise in the BBL because they either did not play in it or did not play enough for a good guide to be found. I would have replaced Wade with T Ludeman if I had my choice but he is the incumbent and has earned his spot.
I am delighted that Shaun Marsh has received a second opportunity having, seemingly, been in the wilderness after his test form left him and I am also delighted Messrs Finch, Faulkner and Laughlin have received call ups after an excellent BBL season. There my delight ends.
The failure by NSP to select either of Luke Pomersbach or Ben Rohrer who, along with Shaun Marsh, were the stand out batsmen of the tournament for mine is just incomprehensible. Rohrer’s performances for the Renegades were every bit as compelling as those of Aaron Finch and drove them to only being one game short of the final and the efforts of Luke Pomersbach were second only to those of Shaun Marsh in the run scoring takes. In their place are Adam Voges and Glenn Maxwell. Voges is a fine player but at nearly 34 one must question the longevity of his selection. Maxwell is so out of form at the moment he can not make the, in must be conceded, below par Australian ODI team and is coming off a seven game stint for the Melbourne Stars where, again, he failed to take a wicket and only got past 20 once.
Surely this was an opportunity to reward an excellent BBL summer from two players who have been on the fringes for a long time with selection. In going with an older player unlikely to have a long stint in the team and a player out fo form and out of answers yet again the NSP is sending the message that, on the one hand whilst they say they are preparing for the future they actually are not, and, on the other hand, if you are one of their “project players” it matters not what form that player is in. These are ubundantly the wrong messages in my opinion.
Of course there is also the problem that the team that won the competition again appears to be underrepresented. I am an unabashed Queensland (Brisbane) fan I concede however it remains incomprehensible to me that a team that wins both the Sheffield Shield and the BBL can only have one player worthy enough for selection in this nations teams in red ball cricket, ODIs and T20. Forget the argument about whether Chris Hartley is the best wicket keeper in the country; Burns and McDermott are also stars of the future that, if the NSP is genuine in its alleged remit to develop the teams of the future, then surely they, along with the many other young players knocking on the door, should be in the frame for selection rather than seemingly forgotten.
Innings of 170, 74 and 9/220 (off the back of our number 10 batsman) should be the wake up call that the NSP needs to look hard the top six and truly select a top six that they see representing Australia at the next World Cup in 2015. Of the current top six can anyone genuinely see, on current form and noting age, the names Bailey, Hussey and Maxwell in that team? Surely now is the time to genuinely plan for 2015 and blood players like Finch, Khawaja, Burns and Lynn (if a spin bowling batsman is needed) with an eye on the future rather than using one day internationals a forums for centre wicket practices for the Ashes as the NSP appears to be.
Don’t get me wrong, selecting any sort of team is a tough job. As a fan of the game though, I crave consistency in selection and at present the messages being given by the selection panel, being the failure to select based on domestic form, the continued selection of “project players” and dropping players after a single opportunity, could be nothing further from consistent.