Is it time to rest the Australian selectors?
The cricket calendar is so jam-packed these days that there is little point talking of a “summer” of cricket as it is pretty much a non-stop year-long spectacle. Much is made of the impact this has on players. I would argue that it is starting to take its toll on the selectors who appear to have parted company with their senses in selecting the squad for first games of the one-day series against Sri Lanka.
As a format one day cricket is already in all sorts of strife, caught in a no man’s land between the strategic elegance of Test Cricket and the rock and roll of 20-20.
Its days have been numbered for a long time, and can probably be traced back to the many innings where blokes like Michael Bevan batted like accountants, working out that with ten overs to go at a rate of 3.9 runs per over they could get Australia over the line by taking three dozen singles and a four.
Sport is all about marketing and the selectors have done everything they can to trash a brand which is already struggling, if not doomed, by picking a bunch of no-names to represent Australia in the ODIs. It’s the silliest thing since the ill-conceived Australia versus Australia A experiment of the early nineties, except this time there is only Australia A. Just three of the current Test players will line up against Sri Lanka, with the most inexplicable omissions being Dave Warner and Michael Hussey.
Warner is exactly the kind of bloke cricket needs, and which our team now needs, light on as it now is for relentlessly attacking batsmen such as an Adam Gilchrist, the constantly aggressive captaincy of a Steve Waugh, or game-changing bowlers such as a Glenn McGrath or Shane Warne. Even at its best the current team is only mildly exciting compared to most of those from the past three decades and the selectors have picked what is easily the least exciting formation from those available.
Warner, who owes much to Hookesy in his belief that cricketers are there to entertain, not play themselves in or keep their spot, could give the selectors a lesson in the concept of value for money. If I had bought I ticket for me and the kids to either of these first two games I’d be toying with the idea of asking for a refund or putting them on Ebay.
As for Hussey’s absence, God only knows what was going through the selectors heads as they watched his final test at the SCG over the past few days. This was about the most energised crowd to have ever watched a Test, going bananas every time Hussey did anything, such as taking the ball for the final over before stumps on Saturday, or cheering Clarke’s dismissal late yesterday which brought our number five to the crease.
A spell on the sidelines could do a couple of these electors the world of good as the demands of this now-endless summer appear to be taking a toll.
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