New Zealand in Australia 2011-12 November 26, 2011

Howard, selectors test depth at their disposal

37

Australia have turned an injury predicament into a selection opportunity by naming four potential debutants in the squad for the first Test against New Zealand. They are unlikely to be the last tyros tried this summer.

Under the authority of the team performance manager Pat Howard, the new panel of John Inverarity, captain Michael Clarke, coach Mickey Arthur, Rod Marsh and Andy Bichel are intent on expanding the group of cricketers capable of playing Test cricket, eventually hoping to have as many as 25 players ready for the baggy green at any moment in the calendar.

"This summer we are taking on a squad mentality and building depth," Howard said. "Players are going to come in and out regardless of who they are. We will take performances on board to try and build the strength of depth that we really need - that's regardless of the 18-year-old or the 36-year-old."

To that end David Warner, Ben Cutting, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc were named in the 12 for the Gabba, an accent on youth and current form ruling out the likes of Trent Copeland, Ben Hilfenhaus and the Australia A centurion Ed Cowan. The latter trio might all have been selected at another time, but a series against New Zealand has been judged the ideal moment to explore the selectors' options for the future.

"We've got very much an eye to the future, it is a disappointing we've got so many injuries, but the injuries have created a wonderful opportunity for young cricketers," Inverarity said in Brisbane. "The way ahead for Australia is to see how good these young players are, and it is a fantastic opportunity for these young men.

"We were hoping that those who were pressing for selection would be in the younger age bracket, and that's exactly what was the case. They were the ones who were really impressive, they were performing, they were looking good. We need to develop a very good squad of players, particularly a squad of faster bowlers. There's a very heavy workload and that workload needs to be shared. To have promising young 22, 23-year-old pace bowlers is very encouraging."

Copeland is known to be extremely disappointed at missing out on a berth for the first Test, having contributed to Australia's Test series win in Sri Lanka then serving as first reserve in South Africa. Inverarity pointed out that Copeland had lacked for bowling and wickets in recent weeks.

"Trent has been slightly a victim of opportunity," Inverarity said. "Since the beginning of October he's in his fifth game since than, and if you look at his stats, in the last eight weeks he's only taken one wicket for about 250 runs, so just at the moment he wasn't pressing for selection. But knowing the sort of young man and bowler he is, we're hoping he can start racking up performance and knocking on the door again - we need depth of bowlers."

While the fast bowling and wicket-keeping spots are the subject of some debate, Inverarity indicated that the likes of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey are not yet being sufficiently pushed by batsmen beneath them in domestic cricket. The selection panel would dearly like a return to the heavy runs being made by the batsmen in line a decade ago.

"We want lots more batsmen knocking on the door," Inverarity said. "You pick your best time always with an eye to the future. If there are some senior batsmen to be replaced, then it's got to be the younger batsmen who are making the quantity of runs that presses their claims.

"We're delighted we've got two young 'keepers in the wings. The strength of any sporting team has got a great deal to do with the depth of the squad, and we're delighted we have those two 'keepers and a number of fast bowlers pushing."

In its first major squad since convening, the selection panel sought a balance between choosing fit and in-form cricketers but also making them earn a place in the team. Howard, who also sits in on selection meetings, said there would be other times in the future when players would not be asked to carry niggling injuries through five days of a Test because of the greater squad depth presently being grown.

"It is a fine balance, you don't want to cheapen the baggy green, but you've got to make sure you're putting players onto the field that are in absolutely tip-top condition," Howard said. "There are some players who are 80% or 70% and sometimes you'll give them the Test off to come back at 100%, means you're putting the best players on the field for each game.

"This game we have the opportunity to put the best players in the best conditions, who are performing, who give the selectors a group or a bevy of players to put forward. What we hope is to manage the players outside the team very strongly to give the selectors more of a headache over the coming weeks."

Arthur has arrived in Brisbane to join Howard, Inverarity, Marsh and Bichel, and will meet with Clarke for the first time on Sunday, before addressing the squad once it assembles at the team hotel in Brisbane.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • crickprof on November 29, 2011, 22:58 GMT

    usman khawaja is very talented player, he must be in test squad permanently now.......

  • Green_and_Gold on November 28, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    Perhaps the selectors want to see how these new fellas bowl at an international level against the Kiwis before the series with India. The have seen copeland bowl and know what he does - this is a chance to see 2 new faces in action (and from memory there were a lot of comments in the past calling for this). Lets just see what happens - either way it finally looks like we are going to blood some new talent. Also regarding Haddin - he played a match winning innings in the last game - thats what he is capable of and thats why he is still in the side. Even he knows he is on thin ice so if he pulls his head in and performs with the bat over the next series he should be safe otherwise we all know he will be dropped.

  • Matt. on November 28, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    Hopefully the only reason Haddin is still there is because they are waiting for Paine to recover

  • RandyOZ on November 28, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    @MinusZero, well put. You can add Bollinger's paultry 8 wickets against top ranked nations to that list as well as Siddle's ability to get carted around every park he plays on to that list. These reasons are why I never want to see these 3 players near our team again.

  • zenboomerang on November 28, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    @KarthikR... should have added Coulter-Nile is out injured as well... Re: Clint McKay... yes seems to be on the edge & only ever given 1 Test - his bowling is nearly as good as Butterworth & also a handy lower order batsman, though not as good as Butterworth... seems neither will be given the chance though their stats & current form show them up there with the best at FC level...

  • zenboomerang on November 28, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    @KarthikR... Bollinger - groin... Butterworth the same... Hastings = shoulder & another 4-6 months... Paine still in rehab from finger surgery - 2nd broken finger in 15 mths... Marsh out till Boxing Day Test at least said coach... Watson & Johnson awaiting more tests...

  • Kart_in_Quartz on November 28, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    Why not Bolly and McKay? Surely they deserve another go along with 1 - 2 newcomers in the pace department... Or am I missing out any injuries here?

  • cricket-vid on November 28, 2011, 1:09 GMT

    All I want from the selectors is consistency - This is the new selection panels 1st real pick of players. A core group of players like we picked in the mid / late 80's is what we need. I'll give these guys the benefit of the doubt - but please don't pick players on a test by test basis otherwise the stability this team so badly needs will be lacking. And that mentality will show in the results ahead.

  • zenboomerang on November 28, 2011, 1:05 GMT

    @Peterincanada... agree with your bowling attack... Starc should be the drinks waiter - but being a left-hander may get the nod for variability - aka Johnson... Hauritz & Doherty have bowled reasonably well at the Gabba in previous Tests... Lyon may get smashed a bit but will get wickets in return... Clarke may have to stand up & be counted as a bowler... The Gabba has branches growing out of it at present so the first 3 days will be important...

  • Meety on November 28, 2011, 0:03 GMT

    @Hyclass - one last point on Hodge, in fairness he did average 84 @#5 with 100+ S/R from 7 innings.

  • crickprof on November 29, 2011, 22:58 GMT

    usman khawaja is very talented player, he must be in test squad permanently now.......

  • Green_and_Gold on November 28, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    Perhaps the selectors want to see how these new fellas bowl at an international level against the Kiwis before the series with India. The have seen copeland bowl and know what he does - this is a chance to see 2 new faces in action (and from memory there were a lot of comments in the past calling for this). Lets just see what happens - either way it finally looks like we are going to blood some new talent. Also regarding Haddin - he played a match winning innings in the last game - thats what he is capable of and thats why he is still in the side. Even he knows he is on thin ice so if he pulls his head in and performs with the bat over the next series he should be safe otherwise we all know he will be dropped.

  • Matt. on November 28, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    Hopefully the only reason Haddin is still there is because they are waiting for Paine to recover

  • RandyOZ on November 28, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    @MinusZero, well put. You can add Bollinger's paultry 8 wickets against top ranked nations to that list as well as Siddle's ability to get carted around every park he plays on to that list. These reasons are why I never want to see these 3 players near our team again.

  • zenboomerang on November 28, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    @KarthikR... should have added Coulter-Nile is out injured as well... Re: Clint McKay... yes seems to be on the edge & only ever given 1 Test - his bowling is nearly as good as Butterworth & also a handy lower order batsman, though not as good as Butterworth... seems neither will be given the chance though their stats & current form show them up there with the best at FC level...

  • zenboomerang on November 28, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    @KarthikR... Bollinger - groin... Butterworth the same... Hastings = shoulder & another 4-6 months... Paine still in rehab from finger surgery - 2nd broken finger in 15 mths... Marsh out till Boxing Day Test at least said coach... Watson & Johnson awaiting more tests...

  • Kart_in_Quartz on November 28, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    Why not Bolly and McKay? Surely they deserve another go along with 1 - 2 newcomers in the pace department... Or am I missing out any injuries here?

  • cricket-vid on November 28, 2011, 1:09 GMT

    All I want from the selectors is consistency - This is the new selection panels 1st real pick of players. A core group of players like we picked in the mid / late 80's is what we need. I'll give these guys the benefit of the doubt - but please don't pick players on a test by test basis otherwise the stability this team so badly needs will be lacking. And that mentality will show in the results ahead.

  • zenboomerang on November 28, 2011, 1:05 GMT

    @Peterincanada... agree with your bowling attack... Starc should be the drinks waiter - but being a left-hander may get the nod for variability - aka Johnson... Hauritz & Doherty have bowled reasonably well at the Gabba in previous Tests... Lyon may get smashed a bit but will get wickets in return... Clarke may have to stand up & be counted as a bowler... The Gabba has branches growing out of it at present so the first 3 days will be important...

  • Meety on November 28, 2011, 0:03 GMT

    @Hyclass - one last point on Hodge, in fairness he did average 84 @#5 with 100+ S/R from 7 innings.

  • Meety on November 28, 2011, 0:00 GMT

    @hyclass - no arguements here re: Rogers, but... "...Neither has made the effort to play county cricket..." you must be aware that the Import rules in County cricket has changed over the years & generally speaking, unless you COULD have a British passport (Jaques) or can enter under Kolpak (Saffas/Ireland) - with the reduced quota's - its much harder to get signed (barring guest stints in T20 formats). On the topic of Hodge - several things 1) Thought he has retired from International cricket, 2) He has NEVER batted at #7 for Oz & only TWICE @ #6. ALMOST 60% of his innings have been @ "..3 or 4 where he is a master at building innings for his state.." emphasis on STATE! Hodge is unfortunate victim of both circumstance & PERCEIVED square peg round hole personality - whatever that means! Interestingly, Hodge averaged @#3 - 1.83 from 6 ODI innings & 20 @4 from 6 innings. That works out as an average of FIVE from his "master" positions! Please put the Hodge was robbed arguement to bed!

  • Soupietwist on November 27, 2011, 23:28 GMT

    Too many contradictions with selections & players jumping queue. In Sri Lanka Copeland picked in 11, Siddle then jumps in front after performing well in 3rd Sri Lanka test and jumps past Copeland for first Sth Africa test. Then Cummins jumps in front of Copeland for final test without even playing any 1st class cricket since fin Shield final. If they did a proper job Copeland would have been sent home early from South Africa to play Shield. Then selectors say they are choosing players that will bowl well in Brisbane, no other test teams does this, they just keep choosing their best 4 bowlers each game. Does this mean come Hobart that Hilfy comes back in because he bowls well at Hobart then McKay comes in for Melbourne Test. Realise injuries have created issues with selections but they are not consistent with messages. Re: Copeland is a victim of opportunity, on that notion Khawaja should have not been picked for last test in Sth Africa as he had hardly batted on tour.

  • MinusZero on November 27, 2011, 23:07 GMT

    @the lone stranger. Hilfenhaus was cut due to his inability to bowl well at test level. His record speaks for itself. He is an opening bowler and never had a 5WI in 17 tests. 55 wickets at 34.65 and a bowling strike rate of 68.7. You expect much more from an opening bowler. Some have it, some don't, Hilfenhaus doesn't.

  • Peterincanada on November 27, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    The A match was disappointing. Admittedly the pitch was flat but the attack lacked penetration. Lyon improved his standing by not playing. Smith and Beer should never ever see the test team. I would go with Pattinson, Cutting Siddle and Lyon. I would definitely not go with four seamers as they have not shown they are good enough and a spinner will likely be needed to bowl quite a few overs. In spite of what happened I still think our attack is better than the Kiwis.

  • on November 27, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    Copeland has a very solid series in Sri Lanka only to then be suddenly dropped for Siddle (!), never to be seen again; put well down in the pecking order behind even Starc? And what about Bollinger? He was essentially a walk-up selection very recently... Not a very promising start from the new selection panel. *sigh*

  • MenFromMarts on November 27, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    No you don't cheapen the baggy green. Then how about going to the guys who already own one. Copeland, George, Rogers, McKay, Bollinger, Katich, Krezja etc. All were worthy, still have State contracts and good form. They are not bolters or newbies to suffer any pressure. And all of them bar Katich have only played a handful of Tests. I think I like the harder to get out of theory than harder to get into with the Test team. On another note off the track. Can someone from the Tasmanian selection panel please answer why Jackson Bird did not play the One Dayer today??

  • brucemckenna on November 27, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    I really dont know if the selection policy is going to make for attractive cricket,batsman wont be so positive as to attack the bowling(remember the steve waugh era)people will be to scared to have a go in fear of losing there test spots

  • on November 27, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    My biggest issue is with Haddin. I wanted his head on a platter after that fiasco of a shot he played in the 47 run disaster. He is a poor keeper whose bye stats speak volumes. I know we were always going to struggle after an exception like Gilchrist, but gosh surely we can do better?

  • on November 27, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    the new selection panel has just said we expect to win the NZ series comfortably so we're gonna throw a few youngsters in there and see how they do. Copeland and Hilfy, proven test performers, are shown the door (hopefully with an explanation) whilst cutting starc and pattinson, who took 16 wickets for 900 runs against NZ mid week, are shown the fast round into a baggy green. Mitchell Starc is the worst player since scott muller to play for australia, he will get SMASHED!! Why doesn't O'Keefe get a look in? What does Dan Christian have to do, score more centuries and take more wickets? And Ed Cowan would be the perfect foil for Hughes (not that i'm dissing Warner). Jury is out till we see the performance on thursday.

  • TheLoneStranger on November 27, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    I wonder what Hilfy did wrong? He's fit and bowling quite well. Beats me.

  • RandyOZ on November 27, 2011, 1:49 GMT

    The selection policies still seem to boggle the mind. How is haddin still in the team? I am dismayed that the greatest cricketing nation on earth has fallen so far (in tests that is, we are still #1 in ODIs).

  • Dashgar on November 27, 2011, 1:33 GMT

    Copeland may be unlucky but the fact is that the few games he has squeezed in between being 12th man he has been disappointing. Even last innings when WA were bowled out for 150 Copeland didn't get a wicket. He needs to regain form. The previous selectors may have treated him wrong but that isn't the new guy's fault. Australia need to pick their best XI. Right now Copeland is not part of it.

  • finncam on November 27, 2011, 1:17 GMT

    "Search for depth" seems to mean search for more flashy batsmen and fast bowlers. What's the point of 4 quicks? Copeland would've brought a change of pace, Cowan or Rogers stability. Whatever happened to classic players?

  • HatsforBats on November 26, 2011, 23:59 GMT

    @ Hyclass, you can believe the rhetoric up to a point, I would imagine the age cut-off is around 31 (unless you're already in the team). Rogers & Hodge are victims of timing and poor performances; both were called in as injury or form replacements and neither performed. Rogers failed in his opportunity (filling in for Hayden's injury) and the next opportunity was taken by Hughes, who made the most of it. You can reminisce about Hodge's 200 all day but he also had 6 scores under 30 whilst players debuting through the same period like Hussey & Jacques made multiple & consecutive centuries. I do agree he would be good in the odi side.

  • OhhhhMattyMatty on November 26, 2011, 23:08 GMT

    Australia haven't got a Scooby Doo. George, Copeland, Bollinger, Hazlewood etc were all thrown in and have now falled behind others. Johnson, Siddle and Hilfenhaus have proven they aren't good enough to beat England. Now there's a new set of kids coming in. If they're the answer, I'd love to know the question! LOL!

  • on November 26, 2011, 22:50 GMT

    Copeland's the new Bichel (even Lee was at one point)? He'll be a 12th man veteran soon enough.

  • KBCA on November 26, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    If they havent picked Copeland now i dont really see how he can expect to be picked in future. unless these new guys play really terribly and the likes of watson, johnson and harris remain injured. I feel that the selectors Clarke included) just dont trust his lack of pace.

  • Beertjie on November 26, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    The message from Howard reminds me of Dingo Deans' approach to the Wallabies - building depth. It sounds like a good call, but does this mean that they'll take a few bolters to the Carribbean next April? Could be interesting because there aren't many "easy" series to experiment. Should be fun second-guessing this new lot, then.

  • on November 26, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    It sounds like they are taking the team in a positive direction, and it sounds like they have a plan to do it. I am looking forward to the first test and seeing what these young guys can do.

  • tfjones1978 on November 26, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    The only thing that I disagree with is that batsmen arent putting the runs on the board. Cowan has scored 750 runs from 17 innings in the last 6 months, with an average of 50. Ponting however is scoring at around 20 per wicket for the last year and less then 30 for the past two years. What does players like Cowan need to do to get into the Australian side? I would have put Cowan in instead of Ponting and Wade in instead of Haddin. Even though thats 5 or 6 on debut and 8 or 9 with less then 10 tests, I think Australia needs to test its depth and ensure that the inform players are playing!

  • bumsonseats on November 26, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    as they went from top to 5th/6th in in tests something had to change. other than injuries this might not have happened. they should have done this after the ashes, but as they say a new broom and all that. now maybe that plethora of talent thats talked about can be seen. india are there for the taking, so make the changes that you have done against nz run in to that series. i expect the aussies to win both series 2 - 0. against india if they are good cricket wickets as they normally are in oz. their pace attack should not hurt you, but if you dont score big their spinners may. look foreward to the indian series. as i watch over xmas and the new year from the uk. dpk

  • hyclass on November 26, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    Id also be interested to test their 'age is no boundary' rhetoric in regard to Hodge as a ODI player. He already has 255 runs at 63 in 4 List A games this season with 1 century. In the 2009/10 season,he scored 622 ListA runs at 69 with 4 100s. In the 2010/11 season, he scored 560 List A runs at 62 with 3 100s. Im fascinated,given Australias mediocre performance at this years WC for the excuse for not playing him.In fact,since 2006,he has over 3800 runs in List A at 58 with 19 centuries,playing in NZ,WI,England,India & Australia.Some point to his ODI average for Australia of 30 as proof of some failing. Ive heard the same people dismissing his 203 in a Test in perth or his 503 runs in only 6 Tests at 56.When tried for Australia,like David Hussey,he was forced to bat in the closing over at 6 or 7 in the batting order instead of 3 or 4 where he is a master at building innings for his state.With over 17000 1st class runs, 51 1st class centuries & 29 List A centuries,its been our loss.

  • hyclass on November 26, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    How many 100s would Chris Rogers have to score to be selected? I hear them touting age as no barrier but I havent seen the slightest proof. Rogers has 2 100s in Shield already this year including one in his last game. He has 3 in his last 7 1st class matches & 51 career 100s at an average above 51. Unlike so many of the kids who are being hyped on little or no evidence & then rushed into the national side,Rogers has performed as a total professional over many seasons,both in Australia & for county sides in England. I have little sympathy for guys like Marsh & Warner. Marsh barely gets on the field for WA,makes his very rare 100s-7 in 11 years,on flat tracks against modest attacks & is constantly injured. Like Warner,he made his name in the weak IPL competition on flat wickets against modest attacks & fast small grounds. Neither has made the effort to play county cricket to improve their games,instead choosing the easy money of 20/20.How is that adding value to the baggy green Invers?

  • Sutiro on November 26, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    Is this new selection regime!!! Everyone has complained about the revolving door policy of the past couple of years and the huge uncertainty it places on developing players. Now this more have alleviated that criticism by saying it is now official policy! Copeland and Hilfenhaus must be wondering what has changed.

    Great that Ben Cutting gets his chance and I hope the door revolves enough times to give one Danial Christian a go.

    The jury is still out on all this.

  • peeeeet on November 26, 2011, 9:41 GMT

    Sure Copeland hasn't bowled much in recent times, but thats because he'd been picked as the 12th man for 3 test matches! How is he meant to get wickets if he's not playing? Would have picked him instead of Starc or Pattinson. They're trying to use this "performing" line. Well Copeland has been the best performed first class bowler since he debuted. And without Watson, he would add control and variety to the attack. Looking forward to seeing how Warner and Cutting go. A lot being said about them, hope they perform.

  • RameshSubramaniam on November 26, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    I feel sorry for Copeland and Aus selection dilemma continues. You select Copeland as a reserver and Keep him out of eleven. Now tell him you do not have bowling for last few weeks. I do not see Australia getting better anytime sooner.

  • Meety on November 26, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    "...you don't want to cheapen the baggy green..." - interesting statement, given that every man & his dog have played for the Wallabies over the years. That dig aside though, I think they have done the right thing, but they need to be in Copelands ear, letting him know that he just has to keep what his doing & will get back in.

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  • Meety on November 26, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    "...you don't want to cheapen the baggy green..." - interesting statement, given that every man & his dog have played for the Wallabies over the years. That dig aside though, I think they have done the right thing, but they need to be in Copelands ear, letting him know that he just has to keep what his doing & will get back in.

  • RameshSubramaniam on November 26, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    I feel sorry for Copeland and Aus selection dilemma continues. You select Copeland as a reserver and Keep him out of eleven. Now tell him you do not have bowling for last few weeks. I do not see Australia getting better anytime sooner.

  • peeeeet on November 26, 2011, 9:41 GMT

    Sure Copeland hasn't bowled much in recent times, but thats because he'd been picked as the 12th man for 3 test matches! How is he meant to get wickets if he's not playing? Would have picked him instead of Starc or Pattinson. They're trying to use this "performing" line. Well Copeland has been the best performed first class bowler since he debuted. And without Watson, he would add control and variety to the attack. Looking forward to seeing how Warner and Cutting go. A lot being said about them, hope they perform.

  • Sutiro on November 26, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    Is this new selection regime!!! Everyone has complained about the revolving door policy of the past couple of years and the huge uncertainty it places on developing players. Now this more have alleviated that criticism by saying it is now official policy! Copeland and Hilfenhaus must be wondering what has changed.

    Great that Ben Cutting gets his chance and I hope the door revolves enough times to give one Danial Christian a go.

    The jury is still out on all this.

  • hyclass on November 26, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    How many 100s would Chris Rogers have to score to be selected? I hear them touting age as no barrier but I havent seen the slightest proof. Rogers has 2 100s in Shield already this year including one in his last game. He has 3 in his last 7 1st class matches & 51 career 100s at an average above 51. Unlike so many of the kids who are being hyped on little or no evidence & then rushed into the national side,Rogers has performed as a total professional over many seasons,both in Australia & for county sides in England. I have little sympathy for guys like Marsh & Warner. Marsh barely gets on the field for WA,makes his very rare 100s-7 in 11 years,on flat tracks against modest attacks & is constantly injured. Like Warner,he made his name in the weak IPL competition on flat wickets against modest attacks & fast small grounds. Neither has made the effort to play county cricket to improve their games,instead choosing the easy money of 20/20.How is that adding value to the baggy green Invers?

  • hyclass on November 26, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    Id also be interested to test their 'age is no boundary' rhetoric in regard to Hodge as a ODI player. He already has 255 runs at 63 in 4 List A games this season with 1 century. In the 2009/10 season,he scored 622 ListA runs at 69 with 4 100s. In the 2010/11 season, he scored 560 List A runs at 62 with 3 100s. Im fascinated,given Australias mediocre performance at this years WC for the excuse for not playing him.In fact,since 2006,he has over 3800 runs in List A at 58 with 19 centuries,playing in NZ,WI,England,India & Australia.Some point to his ODI average for Australia of 30 as proof of some failing. Ive heard the same people dismissing his 203 in a Test in perth or his 503 runs in only 6 Tests at 56.When tried for Australia,like David Hussey,he was forced to bat in the closing over at 6 or 7 in the batting order instead of 3 or 4 where he is a master at building innings for his state.With over 17000 1st class runs, 51 1st class centuries & 29 List A centuries,its been our loss.

  • bumsonseats on November 26, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    as they went from top to 5th/6th in in tests something had to change. other than injuries this might not have happened. they should have done this after the ashes, but as they say a new broom and all that. now maybe that plethora of talent thats talked about can be seen. india are there for the taking, so make the changes that you have done against nz run in to that series. i expect the aussies to win both series 2 - 0. against india if they are good cricket wickets as they normally are in oz. their pace attack should not hurt you, but if you dont score big their spinners may. look foreward to the indian series. as i watch over xmas and the new year from the uk. dpk

  • tfjones1978 on November 26, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    The only thing that I disagree with is that batsmen arent putting the runs on the board. Cowan has scored 750 runs from 17 innings in the last 6 months, with an average of 50. Ponting however is scoring at around 20 per wicket for the last year and less then 30 for the past two years. What does players like Cowan need to do to get into the Australian side? I would have put Cowan in instead of Ponting and Wade in instead of Haddin. Even though thats 5 or 6 on debut and 8 or 9 with less then 10 tests, I think Australia needs to test its depth and ensure that the inform players are playing!

  • on November 26, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    It sounds like they are taking the team in a positive direction, and it sounds like they have a plan to do it. I am looking forward to the first test and seeing what these young guys can do.

  • Beertjie on November 26, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    The message from Howard reminds me of Dingo Deans' approach to the Wallabies - building depth. It sounds like a good call, but does this mean that they'll take a few bolters to the Carribbean next April? Could be interesting because there aren't many "easy" series to experiment. Should be fun second-guessing this new lot, then.