The PlanetCricket View: The Aussie selectors...cracks are appearing

sifter132

Panel of Selectors
Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Location
NSW
Online Cricket Games Owned
It's been a very interesting week for the Aussie selectors, essentially ending Ricky Ponting's ODI career. The decision to drop Ponting is, in isolation, not a ridiculous call. A tad harsh given his Test form and imposing career? Yes. But saying it's definitely the wrong decision is tough given his age and lack of runs in the last two weeks. I however have issue with the mixed messages and inconsistency shown by the new panel of Aussie selectors in the last couple of weeks and I aim to discuss a few of them here.

1) The youth policy - part 1. Ponting has essentially lost his spot in the XI to David Hussey (of course both could play with Watson injured). Forrest is really the reserve batsman, not in the starting XI. so his status isn't quite so relevant. If the 2015 World Cup is the goal as Inverarity claims, is it really forward looking to drop your 37 year old (Ponting) for a guy who's 35 in a few months (D.Hussey)?

2) The youth policy - part 2. If 2015 is the goal, then why has Ryan Harris come back into the squad in place of Mitchell Starc? Harris was unlucky at times in the first couple of ODIs, but in general his bowling was no better than Starc's was. Arguably worse. Given Harris' constant injury risk and age, I would have thought there would be little to gain from giving him more ODIs at this point in his career as compared to Starc. Going by the 'old players need to perform' hypothesis that seemed to be in vogue for Ponting, why has it not applied to Harris? Similarly, Brett Lee was rushed back into the squad despite knowing he would be pushing the pain barrier. Lee can't be in the 2015 plans either and there are a few young bowlers around Australia that I'm sure the selectors would like to see at some point eg. McDermott, Coulter-Nile, Faulkner. Now Lee proved the other night that he can still bowl very well, so his individual selection really isn't in question, but I maintain that the selectors are mixing their messages a bit here.

3) The captaincy. It's a little baffling how Ponting can be ELEVATED to the captaincy a mere two games before he is dropped for good. For starters, how does that make David Warner's vice-captaincy look? Essentially, he's been overlooked for the captaincy for a dead man walking . It was hard to be a supporter of Warner's premature elevation to vice-captaincy anyway, but Ponting's appointment and then quick turfing proves Warner as VC really is a sham.

It also makes it equally baffling that a mere week before he was dropped, Ponting's praises were being sung lustily by the Cricket Australia team as they announced him temporary leader. Did they really not decide to drop him until this week? Was it based on Watson's fitness? Either way, he'll be now on record as having played his last game as captain. How often has a captain been dropped mid series? Better yet, how often has a captain (or even a mere player) been dropped after a 110 run win over the world champs?

4) The precedent. With Ponting dropped mid series for bad form, will that not make every other senior player feel nervous? How is Mike Hussey going to feel when he puts 3 or 4 bad scores together in a row? Ponting, a legend of Aussie cricket and still one of the best fieldsmen in the team got 5 poor innings. On that logic, Hussey should probably get less than 5 innings before he gets dropped. Surely good selection policy says that players with promise, talent, AND established class get the chance to turn their form around in a series. See Shaun Marsh in the Test series for example. See Dave Warner in this current series, clearly out of touch, but deserves more opportunities. It's easy to think Ponting should have been afforded a similar courtesy, given he's Australia's leading run scorer of all time, his recent Test series, and his productive 2011 in ODIs (average of 40, S/R of 80).

Ponting has faced a mere 66 balls this series. Is 66 balls enough to say a player is done? Why didn't the selectors make a similar decision when Ponting scratched around Hobart against NZ in a Test earlier in the summer? Is the competition for ODI spots that much stronger than the Test side? Is Peter Forrest so much better than Usman Khawaja? Interesting questions to me. Australia lost in Hobart, whereas they are on top of the CB series table. Strikes me as strange to drop him now, but not after that Test loss.

5) The indecision. Brad Haddin was apparently rested for the first 3 ODIs, but it has since become clear that he was dropped. Haddin spilled the beans on this in interviews he had with the media, and Steve Waugh publically questioned the selectors in the following week or two. Then last week we finally hear from the selectors that Haddin in fact HAS been dropped. This smacks of indecision. They have essentially trialled Wade in the first 3 ODIs, probably hoping that Haddin found some runs in the Shield or his club game, and they could have easily made the swap back to Haddin. However once Haddin showed no improvement and Wade did well, they decided to put a line through Haddin's name. That's some hardcore fence-sitting. Or maybe it's slightly better, a communication breakdown, but neither of those are good for selectors. It's not just been Haddin vs Wade either. Mitchell Marsh and Dan Christian have been fighting for the all-rounder spot since the T20Is began. The selectors seem unsure of how to get Marsh into international cricket, giving him 2 games off to play for WA to get him some action. Couple that with the imminent return of the #1 all-rounder Watson, and one wonders what Marsh was actually going to do in the Aussie XI.


I was a definite fan of the new Aussie selection panel in their first month or two. Cowan and Warner deserved and were given shots in the Test side. Pattinson and Hilfenhaus too. Yet this last couple of weeks has me scratching my head a little bit (and I haven't even mentioned George Bailey :eek:). Here's to hoping that things are a bit clearer going forward.
 

formula1man

International Cricketer
Joined
Apr 4, 2007
Location
Western Australia
Online Cricket Games Owned
I agree some of their decisions havent been the clearest but I am pretty happy about the state of the team now tbh.
 

Sedition

Panel of Selectors
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Location
Country NSW
Online Cricket Games Owned
Some good points there, but I'm not too worried about the selector's decisions at this stage. Going through your points:

1. Dave Hussey is probably facing the fiercest competition of anyone for his spot. Batting at #6 and not bowling much, virtually any batsman could replace him, with or without some shuffling of the order.
There are quite a few all-rounders in the system too, but apart from Christian, I'm not sure their batting is at the level of Dave's, but again with some shuffling (Wade at 4, Christian at 6), the #7 spot opens up for a Marsh or Maxwell.

This point was supposed to be about the WC, but I guess the point I'm trying to make is that Dave is killing it despite being under fire from just about anyone. Yeah he's almost 35, but you wouldn't say age has slowed him down at all and for me he's been a vital part of our short formats for some time. If he crashes and burns before the cup, then it could be a problem.. but until then, he's in my XI every day.


2. Agree about Starc vs. Harris. Starc has definitely looked more threatening with the ball to me and not only that, is better with the bat and in the field.

Lee needs to be phased out at some point, but there's just something about seeing that name in your bowling attack that gives you confidence.. Once Pattinson and/or Cummins are fit though, they're the guys to me that will take that mantle. Throw in NCN and McDermott as you mentioned and Lee probably doesn't leave a big hole.


3. The captaincy thing I'm rather non-caring about. Probably because I think they did the right thing appointing Ponting and also dropping him. Warner as VC is a good option to blood him for future captaincy, but no way he could have made a better stand-in captain than Ponting. I didn't see any issue at all with how it was handled, and Steve Waugh came off as a bit of a dick about Ponting/Warner and Wade/Haddin. NSW bias? I would think Steve is above that, but maybe not.


4. Good point about how the senior players might get a bit nervous about seeing Ponting axed, it certainly sends a message, hopefully it doesn't backfire. I was a bit surprised that they essentially dropped Ponting for good, but after calling for his head for some months, I'm glad they're finally making moves towards phasing him out. It's a good example of why we'll always be one step ahead of India, who are too afraid to move on, even when Ponting is a more valuable player than Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman etc.


5. I quite liked how the Wade/Haddin and Christian/Marsh battles were done. Wade deserved his chance and took it, Haddin continued to fail.. the door should have been left open for Hads, but with Wade stepping up and Haddin making a pair, it was slammed shut.
Christian also deserved his chance ahead of Marsh after being so close to making the test XI and he was impressive.. Dave Hussey also solidified his spot, so unfortunately for Marsh, he can't break in just yet and needs to keep performing at state level to make it hard not to select him.

Might not have addressed all your points concisely, just a few things that came to mind.
 

aussie1st

Retired Administrator
Joined
Dec 16, 2003
Location
Auckland
They must see Dussey in their plans for the 2015 WC. And with the form he is displaying he will be hard to drop, key for him is continuing it as the youngsters will be hitting their peak in a couple of years just in time for the WC.

I do agree, the cracks have been slowly progressing ever since Bailey was made captain. You had Forrest making his debut which I can understand but then Shield form being used not to pick Ferguson. The whole Haddin saga was a complete mess. At least with the Ponting one there was no "resting" term used, we got the straight answer this time.
 

Sedition

Panel of Selectors
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Location
Country NSW
Online Cricket Games Owned
Yeah, Ferguson was a bit hard done by. Don't think the Haddin situation was handled badly. He would've played a few ODIs by now if Wade didn't impress in the T20's, and since then has made himself impossible to drop.
 

angryangy

ICC Chairman
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
I think the World Cup is a target but not anything like the targets in Test cricket, at least not this far away from a World Cup. I don't think handing Starc back to NSW for the rest of the season hurts his chances of playing in 2015, but it can only help his chances of going to the West Indies. I don't think they've definitively done anything yet except to say that Ponting and probably Haddin won't be there.

Dropping Ponting is definitely a serious precedent for Pontings. Otherwise, it's following the precedent set for Hughes, Marsh and Haddin. A player might get support if he can make 30 here and there, but those strings of really low scores, particularly when they look systemic, put players in a lot of trouble.

Looking at the way batsmen have been dealing with new balls at both ends, I'm even thinking it's currently harder to bat at the top of the order in ODIs than Tests, at least locally, considering Sehwag's recent 200. Ponting was largely getting done by straight bowling and the feeling might be that while he's managed to work it out in Tests, the pressures of ODIs leave him suspect. Maybe they're not even that convinced by his Test form.

Though clearly with Haddin they were hedging their bets so if he started to look like the best option they didn't have to renege. It clearly became seen as a mistake; in practice it's doesn't look like they've accidentally dropped the better player; but the significance will tell in future years.

I do wonder if there's too much made of dropping a player. I mean internationals can play at 3 levels simultaneously; 4 in fact when you consider how Pattinson chose to play club then 2nd XI as part of his injury recovery. And for a lot of club players, the job is similar, you take games at whatever grade you can get them. However, at the top level, the premise is that only younger, fringier players can get the 'soft drop' in the hopes of finding form. Getting dropped could stand to be less fatalistic.

Finally I just plain do not like that they bother to name a VC. Especially with the captain's power at the moment, what does it matter? Even while there is a stand-in captain, Clarke has power over the squad. Having a publicly designated 2IC is just a hindrance.
 

StinkyBoHoon

National Board President
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Location
Glasgow, Scotland
it is a pretty standard way of going about things in almost all sports. in football this week, despite having been told on numerous occassions chelsea have hired villa-boas to focus on long term development his job is hanging by a thread because the short term results have been disappointing. (sorry to the people that are completely unaware of english football, I do envy you though)

'focusing on the future' essentially just means winning just as much but with younger players. as soon as the winning part comes under threat though most teams in any sport seem to send out a lot contradictory messages.
 

angryangy

ICC Chairman
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
This dependence on media doesn't help. Most people are better off saying significantly less than they could, but if you don't include the media, that in itself looks bad and so there's a lot of talking for the sake of talking. The outcome is press conferences like Ponting's this week where he didn't even commit to retiring from ODIs.
 

Sedition

Panel of Selectors
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Location
Country NSW
Online Cricket Games Owned
Referencing soccer amongst Australians usually results in being stoned to death, and not the good kind.
 

Sedition

Panel of Selectors
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Location
Country NSW
Online Cricket Games Owned
I've developed a habit of off-topic posting lately, so one more won't hurt. Kinda hard to measure people's interest I guess, but some of these numbers suggest otherwise:

Average attendance in 2010/11
AFL 36,425
NRL 17,243
A-League 8,752

Rugby League has overtaken Australian Rules Football as the most popular sporting code in Australia.... In 2009, rugby league claimed an aggregate television audience on free-to-air and pay-TV of 128.5 million compared to AFL's 124.3 million.
http://tvnz.co.nz/rugby-league-news/league-becomes-australia-s-top-sport-3315931

From 2011
"Overall, the NRL delivered a total cumulative audience of 120.6 million across all coverage compared to the 111.1 million for the AFL," the report said.
Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian

Registered players:
Aussie Rules - 693,052
Rugby League - 466,182
Soccer - 389,000 fairies

Not the most definitive report, but I think it's safe to say that the NRL and AFL leave soccer in the dust where it belongs.
 

formula1man

International Cricketer
Joined
Apr 4, 2007
Location
Western Australia
Online Cricket Games Owned
NRL sucks, it makes no sense. Soccer is better, but not the A-League, that is crap.
for me it goes:
Cricket
Formula One
Football
Soccer
Cycling
Tennis

haha.
 

puddleduck

Chairman of Selectors
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Location
Uk
Online Cricket Games Owned
I'm not even Australian and I know that Aussie Rules and League dominate their sporting coverage. So much so that last I heard, Union was actually showing worryingly dwindling numbers, and soccer was struggling to ever take off.

Oh, on topic, I'm all for some crazy Aussie selectors for a while. About time Law, Lehman and Hodge got a run in the top 5 I feel. Overdue by ten years.
 

angryangy

ICC Chairman
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Anyone who had an interest before 2004 would still be following the Premier League and internationals like they always did. I don't know if A League is a significant portion or not. People definitely come out of the woodwork around World Cup time. Same with Rugby. I think AFL and NRL are the only sports that really polarise people. Well, NFL too now, but it's obviously a lot more niche. I can't say I've seen someone get so much as a funny look for being a soccer fan.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top