Australia has announced the squad to take on the old foe England in the first Ashes test starting on 23 November at the Gabba.
Wade Out Paine In
In one of the biggest shock selections in recent history, Tim Paine has been handed the Wicket Keeper gloves. Usurping Wade as the incumbent test gloveman, the selection of Paine has sent Cricket aficionado’s heads spinning.
Twitter lit up after the announcement and even former legends like Stuart MacGill got in on the act.
Ashes selections…. made by morons mascarading as mentors. Times up gents. https://t.co/LIfRIK1B41
— stu macgill (@scgmacgill) November 16, 2017
The Stats Don’t Add Up
Paine isn’t even the first choice Keeper for the Tasmanian first IX. He started the 2017 shield season behind Ben Dunk. Not only that his first class average with the bat is a mere 29 and his last ton was in 2006.
Chairman of selector’s Trevor Hohns was quoted as saying:
“Tim was identified as an international player a long time ago and has always been renowned as a very good gloveman…”
But at 32 years of age with questionable first class stats, it seems weird to drop Wade and bring in a keeper in the back end years of his cricketing career.
Other Puzzling Selections
The other selection that just doesn’t make sense is Shaun Marsh.
While Cricket Australia are still trying to solve their decade long search for an all-rounder, the number 6 spot has been won by a specialist batsmen. Who, much like Paine, is slim in the runs department.
Averaging just on 36.00 with the bat, Marsh doesn’t bowl. Usually you would take someone with an average in the mid-thirties at number six. Providing you could also get 10-15 overs a day out of them and a couple of Wickets.
A Different Scenario
In the last couple of years Cricket Australia have made a point of trying to blood new talent. Trying Burns and Renshaw in the openers spots.
Renshaw has now been dropped for Bancroft. Who was earmarked a couple of years ago to take over the openers spot with Warner.
If you were going to replace Maxwell at 6 (A Batting all-rounder) with a specialist batsmen, why not go with Renshaw at 6, who you have sunk time money and effort into developing and leave Marsh out of the side.
Can the Bowling Squad Deliver
With a specialist no 6. Added pressure gets dumped on the shoulders of Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon. The selectors are obviously confident this bowling line up has what it takes to take 20 wickets in a match. Without the need of an all-rounder to pitch in.
The Australian Squad:
David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Chadd Sayers, Jackson Bird.