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Monday, November 15, 2010

Ashes series - Is the new Australia same as old England?

Years ago, when the Aussies were beating anyone and everyone who played them in test matches, England were a sorry lot. They picked players in the hope that they would perform. A player would be selected for a match only to be dropped the next one, without any reason. Even captains were not spared - the English team resembled the tube stations that dot all across the country - players going in and out of the team regularly.

How times have changed - Australia are resembling their ashes counterpart now. Today's announcement was something that would have done the English team proud. SEVENTEEN!!! 17 players for the first test in Brisbane. What were the selectors thinking? 

Going into details of the squad, let us see was it really required?  The players selected include - Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Marcus North, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin (wk), Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Xavier Doherty, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Doug Bollinger

The players likely to play the test at this time are Katich, Watson, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz. The remaining 3 slots are open - one is the No.6 slot where North seems to be the front-runner and in all likelihood will play in the first test. The other two are the slots of the pace bowlers - Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus will be the first choices with Bollinger in the hunt in case of an injury.

Why then did the selectors choose 4-5 more players than the usual list? Of course, injury worries are there but that doesn't necessitate the selection of so many players. Are the selectors trying to confuse their opponents? Michael Hussey is too good a player who can be replaced given the current status of Aussie cricket - then, why go for players like Ferguson? Is it the presence of a person by name Greg Chappell, who is introducing these "novel" ideas? Or are the Aussies really confused? Whatever it is, they are probably the New England team now. Will their performance resemble the English also? Time will tell.
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