Cricket Australia has announced the following line up under the banner of “Australia A” to take on an English XI at Bellerive Oval between 6 and 9 November:
Moises Henriques (capt), Glenn Maxwell, Trent Copeland, Ben Cutting, Alex Doolan, Callum Ferguson, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Michael Klinger, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine
I have no real cavil with this team as selected. Indeed I like the batting line up that has been selected noting the failure to inclusion Aaron Finch for the first class fixture which I believe is the right move.
That said, it is the names that are missing from the Australia A team sheet that gives an eye to who will be in the first test match squad for the game at the Gabba.
It is understood that Cricket Australia will announce the line up for the 1st test at the Gabba on 12 November. Frankly though, why do they not just name the team now? The logic here is simple: there are 3 first class games between now and 21 November. One of those matches starts after 12 November so form in that match will not count for anything. Players currently in India with the Australian team will not return in time to play in the first Shield game which starts this Wednesday. And, finally and most compellingly, George Bailey has not been selected in the Australia A team. Nor has Fawad Ahmed.
All of this suggests to me that Cricket Australia already knows who it will select for the 1st test. This is because, absent such a decision already having been made I feel absolutely certain George Bailey would be in the Australia A line up. I am even more certain that Fawad Ahmed would be in the line up.
If Cricket Australia have already made up their minds: why continue with the charade of the Sheffield Shield rounds being a selection trial that they obviously are not? Why not just name the team for the first test now and be done with it?
The first test team will be as follows regardless of Sheffield Shield form:
Clarke (c), Warner, Rogers, Watson, Bailey, Smith, Haddin, Johnson, Harris, Siddle, Lyon, Ahmed (12th man)
Indeed: David Warner could score 4 ducks in four innings of the two Sheffield Shield games before the first test team is names and he will still be selected. That is how sure I am CA already know the team they will select. I hope I am wrong but the predictability of Cricket Australia at the moment tells me that, absent an injury, I am a short price favourite to resoundingly right.