The Aussie Batsmen Selectors MUST Pick For Sydney
This XI is not perfect. But we firmly believe it's the team for troubled times.
UPDATE: One change to squad (or should that be one "chagne")
Australian selectors have brought in Queensland all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne to the squad for Sydney.
That squad is:
Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc.
Frankly, we're disappointed, and we expect you may be too even if you don't agree with our suggested team line-up -- which you can see below in our story from earlier today.
BELOW: Our story from earlier today
The Australian batting line-up is broken. But so is the cricket season.
There is no Sheffield Shield cricket taking place right now, which is ludicrous given a Test series is happening. If a Test player loses form -- as several have -- where is the replacement supposed to come from?
From the Big Bash? From T20 to Tests? Hardly. BAD SCHEDULING AREAS, Cricket Australia.
Notwithstanding the deep, systemic issues underpinning our batting woes -- compounded of course by the absence of the suspended Smith and Warner -- we can still do better than the current line-up.
Here is our line-up. Note that it's a Marsh-free zone, which won't please everyone.
The 10 daily good areas Sydney team
Has done enough, just, to retain his place in the team. Gets starts but it goes without saying he needs to go on and make a big one. At least he looks reasonably comfortable at the crease, which is more than you can say for Aaron Finch.
He's been good in the Sheffield Shield this year without being spectacular (472 runs at an average of 47 with four fifties). But the 29-year-old Queenslander has three Test centuries and he knows how to see off the new ball. Deserves another go.
There's a push to open with Ussie, but then who would bat at number three? Best, we think, to try to find a decent opener and leave Khawaja to hold the innings together should an early wicket fall.
The best batsman in the country normally comes in at number four. Was that person ever Shaun Marsh? No. Is it Matthew Wade? Well, we're as surprised as you are, but right now, he is the form batsman in the country in both Shield and T20 cricket. Also, he has scored a Test century at the SCG before against a sub-continent attack. A must-pick.
He gets one more go. Head has looked good before having one bad ball where he doesn't move his feet or lifts his head. And of course, it only takes one ball to get out. People talk about batsmen as "long-term investments". There's that argument about Aaron Finch, and those who argue he should be moved to the middle order. For now, we'll keep Head there instead.
His numbers aren't great but it's his time again. Has only passed 50 once in 14 Test innings, but that was a good century against India in India. The selectors have to use a bit of gut in times of crisis, and all that raw Glenn Maxwell talent has to be worth another chance. A few overs of spin in Sydney will come in handy too.
A few more runs from the skipper would be nice. He's another who is reaching 20-30 without too many problems, then getting out. But other areas of his game -- including the important sledging component -- are going well.
Australia's best bowler, fielder AND batsman in Melbourne. Clone him.
On his day, Australia's most lethal bowler. Needs to have more of those days.
Made his name in Sheffield Shield cricket at the SCG, where he averages an excellent 23 (runs per wicket) in Tests compared to his career Test average of 26. Australia needs another huge one from him next week.
35-years-old, 36 Tests, 34 average. He's had more than enough chances.
T20 and One Day champ but not a Test batsman. Back to white ball formats for Finchy.