Australia v India, 3rd ODI, Melbourne January 16, 2016

Hastings raises three-allrounder possibility


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'Strange for me to hit 140kph' - Hastings

During the World Cup last year, Australia's selectors found it hard to fit James Faulkner and Mitchell Marsh into the same line-up, viewing the two allrounders as bringing similar qualities to the XI. Now they face the prospect of squeezing three pace-bowling allrounders into the ODI outfit, with John Hastings having impressed in the win over India in Brisbane, where he replaced the resting Marsh.

Of course, during the World Cup there was also a need to fit Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood in; Johnson is now retired, Starc is recovering from an ankle injury, and Hazlewood is being rested for the remainder of the summer. It is much less of a stretch to drop one of Kane Richardson, Joel Paris or Scott Boland to accommodate the three allrounders.

That is the scenario for the upcoming third ODI on Sunday in Melbourne, where Marsh rejoins the squad and presumably will walk straight back into the XI alongside Faulkner. At the Gabba, Hastings put up a strong case for his retention by taking 1 for 46 from eight overs on a pitch offering very little, and captain Steven Smith was rewarded for trusting Hastings with the 50th over, which cost only four runs.

"I thought the way that he bowled was excellent," Aaron Finch said after the win. "He bowled at some difficult times. Rohit [Sharma] and Virat [Kohli] were batting beautifully through that period when John got the ball for the first time and ... the way that he's got his cutters going - legcutters, offcutters, seam-up, cross-seam - I think that he's a really attractive package for the one-day game."

Should Hastings keep his place at the MCG it will be quite a vote of confidence given he was added only after the Perth win and would be taking the place of one of the original squad members. But Australia's selectors have shown their willingness in recent times to stack the team with allrounders, and the pace depth is being tested in any case.

"There's a lot of injuries in Australian cricket, most of our express bowlers are out," Hastings said after arriving in Melbourne on Saturday. "James Faulkner has got a really unique skill-set, Mitch Marsh has got another unique skill-set, and I offer something different as well. I think there's definitely scope for it … I think it can work."

During the Gabba ODI Hastings even broke the 140kph barrier, unusually quick by his standards, though in white-ball cricket it is his variations that make him an attractive bowling prospect. Hastings said Australia's attack deserved credit for restricting India to 75 runs for the loss of six wickets in their last 10 overs on a pitch that offered very little for the bowlers.

"It was probably on the slower side of a Gabba wicket that I've seen for quite some time," he said. "But there just wasn't any sideways movement or receptiveness to gripping slower balls or cross-seam deliveries. There just wasn't much there. For us to pull it back like we did, I think the bowling group really needs to have a pat on the back for that, because they were two down going into the last ten overs, you can really get anything."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Craig on January 17, 2016, 5:00 GMT

    Why would we need to go back in time with Bollinger and Hilfy? Perhaps McKay who is still a very clever bowler and is in form. I say stick with these boys . Without their death bowling India would have got 350 in both games.

  • Craig on January 17, 2016, 2:32 GMT

    Someone posted their side for third ODI v India. Where is Smith, Bailey...two best limited overs players we have. Yes Khawaja, Head and James Faulkner. Prefer Paine to Dunk...better keeper. Not sold on Lyon is short format cricket. Too predictable.

  • Craig on January 17, 2016, 2:17 GMT

    Good death bowlers are as scarce as hen's teeth. So keep Hastings for the remainder of the series. Richardson or Paris will likely make way for Marsh. Richo had an off day but is very experienced in limited overs cricket. Remember Paris got pumelled in his debut match.

  • Basil on January 17, 2016, 0:54 GMT

    I like Hastings, he's always seemed to be a real fighter, a little bit like a less talented Ryan Harris. Considering from the World Cup squad, Jonson has retired, Starc and Cummins are injured, Hazlewood is being rested and that the back up, Coulter-Nile is also injured this is a pretty good showing. Australia are blooding new guys that are not necessarily the next in line. What I mean by that is that if this were a World Cup, Boland and Paris would not be in. The selectors may have been forced to rely on experience with guys like Bollinger, Hilfy, McKay etc. so in a way this is almost a 3 or 4th string attack bowling on absolute roads and keeping India in check.

  • Matthew on January 17, 2016, 0:36 GMT

    @sharron - Paris and Boland both made their debuts this series and are both under 23. If you'd read the article or watched either of the games, you'd have seen there is nothing there to help the bowlers bar the big boundaries. Not sure how much more you can expect? 300 has been easily chasable so clearly they're not giving up too many runs and blooding youngsters. The only valid point you made is about travis head but pushing the Reardon and Dunk barrow? Don't get me wrong, Reardon is a solid state level player but international he is not and Dunk hasn't kept in close to a year and is out of form in the BBL.

  • kieran on January 17, 2016, 0:31 GMT

    Surely Richardson is the one to miss out? Their List A records are similar, but Hastings has the experience, variations, and the lower order hitting to be more useful on the absolute roads that are being turned out in this series.

  • MehulG on January 17, 2016, 0:24 GMT

    Wish there could be a Like and Dislike buttons in comments. Often we want but cannot appreciate best comments. @COOLCAPRICORN, I loved your one in particular. There are few others too.

    Dhoni don't like Rishi but it wont make any difference in result, I guess. Rishi will not be so bad compared to Ishant, Ashwin, Yadav and Jadoo. None of these are workable solution on Aussie pitches so far, and if anything is possible then it will be only good for the team by adding Rishi. I would have preferred Gurk in place of Ashwin for batting and Rishi for Ishant. Pandey can open and SDhawan can be rested. Balanced Team can be Pandey, Rohit, Kohli, Rahane, Gurk, Dhoni, Jadoo, Rishi, Bhuvi, Yadav, Sran. Easily, you got tons of all-rounder options. Four seamers and two possible spinners, one part-timer in Rohit. Team can be asked to go from ball one in that case. Jadoo, Gurk or Rishi can be asked to go as hitting opener while Rohit settle down just in case. If Dhoni wants my advise, just in case.

  • Chris on January 17, 2016, 0:08 GMT

    How is Hastings an allrounder? He averages 18 with the bat in List A.

  • Peter on January 16, 2016, 22:38 GMT

    @DUNGER.BOB. Yep, agree, Hastings is a very good lower order batsman, but all-rounder? He fills in this current specific role when so many of our key players (bowlers) are out of action for various reasons. Not a bad back-up I would suggest.

  • Garry on January 16, 2016, 21:48 GMT

    Two all rounders and Mitch Marsh. Pattinson, Cummings and Coulter-Nile also not fit makes this bowling lineline up look toothless. We are just lucky the Indian bowlers are more useless, especially those spinners.

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