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Cam

14 man squad for 2 test's. Seems hefty. Plenty of batting too with Hughes and Smith as backups. I'd say they have no idea what Clarke's plans are.

Russ

Strange squad. Harris seems a very negative selection. What happened to picking quicks on potential?

Smith is an odd one too. Back up for North? Back up for Hauritz? A belief that we might play two spinners on a NZ green top?

Hughes, I can't say I'm pleased with. At least he's started to score runs in the Shield, but is he in line for a spot? And who for, Clarke? North with Watson to move (or not)?

And what does Klinger need to do to get a look in? 2000 runs at 70 demands a spot in the squad. Preferably at 3, with Ponting moving down.

Still, pat will be happy, notwithstanding the snub of Copeland, Khawaja, Jaques and god knows who else in the NSW side.

Cam

Smith's an exciting selection from a team balance point of view. If he can leaprog Hauritz as the number one spinner and hold down a spot at 6 or 7 we could play a bowling all-rounder (Christian/Henriques) at 8. Batting and bowling depth.

Russ

Cam, that is a very big "if". Smith's bowling is pretty ordinary from what I have seen of it.

patard

Yes, quite agree with the comments here especially Cams. Henriques is more than due for a call up and Smith's selection shows great foresight and perspicacity on behalf of the selectors.

The non selection of Thornely took me by surprise and I thought Warner deserved a go with Hughes but, you can't have it all your own way.

One thing I'd really like to see is Dog get dropped and replaced by Cameron White. He's future Test Captain material and you should always have at least one Mexican in the team is my theory. But only one, so a few others have to go.

And having White as Captain or in the team we can all get to legitimately wear t-shirts with "White Powa!" emblazoned across them.

Tony

You forgot Wayne Holdsworth.

patard

Correction Tones: I'll never forget the mighty Cracker!

I saw him at Bankstown many a day that I can't remember. Not due to Cracker's bowling though.

The best quick to never play for Australia. Sacrificed for the dregs from the other states. Long may Cracker reign, God bless his 41 year old soul.

I do remember seeing Steve Rixon's daughter there once though. Bloody hot, hot, hot!

Cam

The loyalty shown to North (out for 3 today at the Gabba) could have something to do with the Clarke situation. North's captaincy is highly regarded by shield followers and at 30 y.o. he should have some time left in the team provided he can regain form.

patard

There was a spin bowler from Bankstown who Was Legend.

Ken Hall was his name.

A man's man.

Bring him back I say. Sidney Nolan shoul've done a series on him as well.

Dog's song.

Lou

Khawaja deserves a shot. Technically good from what I have seen.

In fact, I'd get Khawaja in before Hughes as he doesn't feel impelled to back off from his stumps to slog through offside like a bloody tail-ender who has somehow stumbled into opening.

Lou

It just sounds peculiar to talk about Smith leapfrogging Hauritz. In the light of the face-off between their first class bowling averages.

Is this what we have come to?

Ordinary doesn't begin to describe it.

m0nty

LOL at them including McKay in the squad, as if he'll actually play with all those NSWmen in front of him.

Tony

Are there eight Walers? Flippin' Barrenjoey!!!

Cam

Sorry Lou and Russ, i meant he could become our no.1 spinner in a couple of years not on this tour. I'm probably more excited with the idea of Smith rather than the reality.

Tony

Pity Steve Smith is such a boring - not to mention, unoriginal - name.

How about Doyen Smith?

NSW chairman of selectors and former Test wicketkeeper Brian Taber said Smith reminded him of Richie Benaud.

"He's without doubt one of the best young talents to have emerged for quite a while," Taber said.

"Smith is the complete package, he's an outstanding bat, can bowl leg spin and is one of the best fielders in the game today.

"He reminds me very much of Richie Benaud.

"It was Benaud's batting that first got him into the Test team until he got to develop his spin bowling.

"Smith was first noticed as a batsman who could bowl a few leggies.

"But his spin bowling has come on in leaps and bounds since he began to work closely with Shane Warne."

Tony

Marvellous.

Cam

Taber then continued

"I have no idea how he fits it all in. I mean these other nancy boy pro cricketers are alway whingeing about scheduling but this kid manages a cricket career then moonlights as
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the House in his spare time".

Russ

One might reasonably ask how Benaud's batting got him in the side when he was averaging just on 30 with the bat, and somewhere near 40 with the ball. Is the plan then for Smith to let him hang around the side for half a dozen years doing nothing (including wasting the best spinner's deck in the history of the game), before blossoming into a fairly useful player? Maybe we should just six years and then play him.

Is there any evidence that Smith can even average less than 40 with the ball?

Hewy

...only just recovered from someone mentioning Moises Henriques and Test cricket in the same sentence (without the words 'will never play' in there).

The Steve Smith selection is an interesting one but essentially he would be picked as a no.6. His first class bowling record is rubbish. Is he a test match no.6? Well maybe but I'm never a fan of picking kids for potential - you don't get a baggygreen with trainer wheels. You should know your game to play test cricket for Australia.
Having said that, I'm a fan, but if they're going to pick him why isn't he playing ODIs for Australia???
Also anyone noticed his action has completely changed over 12 months - he's now a Warne clone. No bad thing if it works.

Russ

While I am ranting... what actually, has Harris done to get in the side? A career average over 30? A single Shield game this season with little to show? Since when has taking a few wickets in the slog overs of one-dayers against the two worst touring sides in living memory made you capable of playing test cricket?

Is it too much to hope the Kiwis embarrass us?

Tony

From the lips of Andrew:

"Ryan Harris, having overcome injuries at the start of the season, has played really well for Australia in the shorter formats of the game."
Tony

Maybe Taber's mad. That's right: he is.

Hewy

Well Harris has done okay this season for Aus. Good pace and swing.
Not sure who else they'd pick instead of him. Certainly not Mckay who is a ODI bowler - not sure why he's there.
But Harris is very much just keeping a seat warm till everyone's fit - unless he rips through the Kiwis.

Speaking of which, maximum of 10 days of test cricket until the Ashes. It's going to be an interesting selection dilemma regarding guys like Hilfie, Siddle, Bollinger, Harris etc with very little 1st class cricket between then and now.

Cam

Hewy we've got a couple of Tests against the Pakis in England during the winter.

Tony

Just in time for Bat Stevens to be reappointed skipper.

Tony

I'm a day behind, but I see Smith got another ton.

Lou

That's understandable, Cam. I'm excited about the idea of Mitchell Marsh playing at 3 after Punter retires... and he just got dropped from the WA starting 11. Ha, ha, ha.

Lou

I hope MJ follows up with his decent bowling in the test matches. It has been almost shocking for him to know where the 'channel' is.

Has he been to hypnotherapy or something?

Hewy

oh yeah. Make that 20 days!
I had forgot it was on, but the fact it's not actually listed on the Australian fixtures page, or indeed anywhere on their official site didn't help to jog my memory!


Tony

John Benaud's judgement calls are rarely wrong:

NSW tyro Steven Smith hits another ton as Test stocks soar

Former national selector John Benaud said yesterday Australian cricket should look to the future - specifically next summer's Ashes - by slotting Smith in at number six.

"Smith looks like a dynamic young cricketer," Benaud said.

"He looks confident, not cocky. Australia needs someone like that in the No 6 role."

Playing Smith also gave the selectors and skipper Ricky Ponting precious bowling options.

Benaud said Smith was an aggressive bowler in the traditional Australian mould.

"I like his bowling because he's got self-belief and a leg-spinner needs that," Benaud said.

"It'd be really nice to get a leg-spinner in against England.

"I'm not suggesting that this kid's anything like a (Shane) Warne. But he's more in the Warne or (Stuart) MacGill mould than anything we've got."

Russ

The Bangles and Poms are finally playing a test. On reflection, one-dayers at the start of a tour are actually more boring than at the end. At the end of a tour I can just switch off and pretend they don't exist. At the start of a tour I'm twiddling my thumbs and waiting for them to finish.

Anyway, strange decision to bowl first by Shakib. What is the minimum acceptable score at lunch on the first day, on a pitch expected to break up, when your side has four spinners?

Big Ramifications

Do you know who else hated freedom, Tony?

patard

The Doyen looks like he's been vajazzled.

Such pure cuntentment on his face.

Big Ramifications

The Doyen looks like he's been vajazzled.

Win!

The Doyen Ivagelated

Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Wild, wild horses, couldn't drag me away

The Doyen Vajazzled

Well I followed her to the station
With a suitcase in my hand

The Doyen Succumbs

Awake.
Shake dreams from your hair
my pretty child, my sweet one.
Choose the day and choose the sign of your day
the day's divinity
First thing you see.

Choose me,
...The Doyen!

The Doyen Blesses Himself

The Doyen Resubmits.

RT

North a golden duck yesterday and averaging around 10 since he came back to Shield cricket. Smith hitting 100's at will and now finally a 7/60 odd. If Shield form has any relevance North will have wasted an 8 hr flight.

Tony

Rich,

If, as reported in the Age Thursday, the selectors are serious about tuning up for the Ashes, and given the comparative form of Smith (100s, bags, well, bag, classic catches) and North (0s, empty bags, classic howlers), then Smith should be a lock for the first Test.

Bruce
MARCUS North looks certain to hold his Test spot ahead of Steve Smith after a sizzling net session at Westpac Stadium yesterday.

Selection by media buzz continues.

Tony

Ed Cowan Tweets:

are they serious? http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/net-profit-20100317-qfnc.html VERY CONCERNING when people start talking up your nets.
Russ

Must say this caught my eye:

"The practice pitches have been lively and the Test pitch is green, so the new ball will be a challenge for the top-order batsmen."

Smith or North? Who would you bet on to arrest our inevitable opening morning collapse?

Will Ricky back up his flippant dismissal of suggestions that he made the wrong choice in Sydney and bat first again?

Tony

One outcome made from two options: 1) Ponting wins the toss and bats; and 2) Vettori wins the toss and bowls.

Lou

I hope the Aussies bat in any case. The first innings in Sydney was bloody hilarious considering Punter bare-facedly talked about how green the pitch was before saying 'we'll bat.' He hasn't been punished for that one yet.

Lou

Michael Vaughan talked up his own net form while his test career was going into the nose dive of no return. It sounded really dumb then and sounds no better coming from Langer.

Tony

That was a funny saga listing to Vaughan continue to proclaim that "I'm hitting 'em well in the nets."

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