Who Stays? Who Goes? Our Aussie Team For This Summer's First Test
In the end, the 2-2 Ashes series result was about right.
Australia had two almost superhuman performers in Steve Smith and Pat Cummins, while England had a more even set of contributors across the board.
Now it's time to rebuild the Test team. Australia, too, must find regular contributors to support the superstars, especially among the batsmen.
The key questions, ahead of a summer in which we'll play two Tests against Pakistan, then three against New Zealand, are these:
- How long do we persist with Dave Warner if he brings his woeful England form home to Australia? And who are the other contenders for opener?
- Is it all over for Usman Khawaja? He still has a decent overall Test average of 40, but it's 52 in Australia. He turns 33 in December. Is he still in the mix?
- NSW left-hander Kurtis Patterson was catapulted from the Australia A team into the Test squad against Sri Lanka last summer. He batted twice, for 30 and 114 not out. Then he was mysteriously forgotten about for The Ashes. A recall?
- Travis Head is seen as a potential future leader. But the South Australian leftie had eight Ashes innings or just one score of 50+ and an average of 27, then lost his place for the fifth Test. Should he be reinstated?
- Does Mitchell Marsh deserve yet another, 'nother, 'nother, 'nother go? Actually we'll answer that one. He is likeable, and he bowled well at The Oval in the first innings of the Fifth Test. But his batting is just not consistent enough. No.
- At what point does Alex Carey take Tim Paine's spot? The former GWS Giant impressed with the bat in the World Cup, and everyone knows he's our gloveman in waiting. Paine is needed for captaincy duties until Steve Smith's leadership ban expires in 2020, but he made some terrible leadership errors in this Ashes series -- from his DRS and field-setting failures at Headingley, to his decision to bowl at The Oval. He's unquestionably a good guy, but that never won anyone a Test berth. Should he stay?
Anyway here's our team for the first Test at The Gabba, starting November 21. As mentioned, Paine and Warner in particular are on borrowed time.
Joe Burns (why he was dropped for The Ashes is anyone's guess)
Dave Warner (for now)
Marnus Labuschagne (find of The Ashes, but still needs a Test century)
Steve Smith (can we clone him?)
Matthew Wade (two Ashes centuries, but still on notice)
Kurtis Patterson (see Joe Burns)
Tim Paine (for now)
Pat Cummins (see Steve Smith)
Mitchell Starc (better in Australia)
Josh Hazlewood (how was he not considered for the first Ashes Test?)
Nathan Lyon (Garrrrry)
We'd welcome your thoughts/arguments/outrage on this.