As promised, the Australian squad for the first Ashes test was announced this morning. Bizarrely however, rather than the usual 12 or possibly 13 a board would normally name for a home test, a bloated squad of 17 players has been announced. We, the fans, already knew that there was a degree of confusion as to the Australian selector’s views on the best eleven – yet we didn’t quite expect this.
In the squad there are:
- 7 batsmen (Katich, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, North, Khawaja, Ferguson)
- 2 all rounders (Smith and Watson)
- 1 keeper (Haddin)
- 2 spinners (Doherty and Hauritz)
- 5 seamers (Johnson, Bollinger, Harris, Siddle and Hilfenhaus)
This is a tour squad for a 5 test series – not one for a single test!
What we suspect is going to happen is that after much praising of the youngsters and talking about their various ‘big futures’ the eleven will line up as follows:
Essentially more or less exactly the same as the side that just lost to India 2-0 and, from an English point of view, exactly the one we would want to face. The only confusion here would be who to play out of the seamers as one of Hilfenhaus, Siddle and Bollinger would have to bow out.
An alternative side (and one which we would feel more nervous playing against) would see Smith come in for Hauritz, and Khawaja and Ferguson in for Hussey and North. Mind you if the Compulsive Hooker had been asked our opinion by the ACB we might have recommended the two Phils, Jacques and Hughes, as well. After all there is not much difference between 17 and 19 is there?
If the Aussies do name the 12 as above (with possible variations on the seamers) quite frankly it all seems a ridiculous exercise and one that can’t help but give the English a little more confidence. This Ashes is being competed by two ‘mid table’ sides and, without either side having the true stand out players of the early part of the decade, confidence and a settled side may well end up being the deciding factor.
If we were Australian we’d be worried that all Andrew Hilditch and company are doing is undermining this!