Australia news May 23, 2011

Beer, Krejza duel for Sri Lanka berth


Michael Beer and Jason Krejza have both been included in the squad for Australia A's tour of Zimbabwe, and will use the opportunity to duel for a Test spin-bowling berth. Ben Hilfenhaus has been given a chance to show his international career is not fading away after the Ashes. The squad for the four-day matches against Zimbabwe was announced on Monday and has a strong Test team component, as the national selectors ponder their options ahead of tours to Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Usman Khawaja, Phillip Hughes, and the tour captain Tim Paine have all played recent Test cricket for Australia, while the likes of Callum Ferguson, Trent Copeland, Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner will all be in serious contention for the Sri Lanka touring party.

The most pointed battle will be between Beer, who played the spin role in the final Ashes Test at the SCG and bowled better than his figures suggested, and Krejza, the enigmatic slow bowler with the sharpest offbreak in the country but a mixed international record. Krejza went to the World Cup after injuries ruled out Xavier Doherty and Nathan Hauritz, and it appears that he remains ahead of that pair.

"It's really just a matter of trying to get as much exposure for our spin bowlers as possible so we can keep working out just where our stocks are," the national selector Greg Chappell told ESPNcricinfo. "It's pretty open. It's no secret that spin bowling is an area that we're keen to get at, finalise or make some ground on. We haven't really for one reason or another, either through injury or form had much consistency in that area.

"Spin bowling's not a straightforward issue. It is easily crowded by the success that Shane Warne had but most countries take time to find spin bowlers and good ones certainly don't just drop out of mid-air. I think we've got about seven spinners in our sights, the four going there, Hauritz, Doherty and Steve Smith. So there's about seven guys there and nobody's really nailed the spot down at this stage.

"We're trying to give as many of them opportunities as we can and find out which ones have what we're looking for. It's about trying to find the right people for the right conditions and that can vary depending on where you're playing, South Africa will be different from Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka's different from India even - it was quite remarkable watching the Sri Lankans and Indians play in each other's country."

While Hauritz is still recovering from a dislocated shoulder and is at long odds to be limber enough for Sri Lanka, Doherty is fit but not selected. His place in the limited overs squad has been taken by South Australia's Nathan Lyon, a classical offspin bowler who enjoyed a surreal promotion from the Adelaide Oval ground staff to the Redbacks' XI last summer.

Hilfenhaus, meanwhile, will need to show evidence he can regain the knack for taking wickets, after his spells grew increasingly unthreatening against England at home, resulting in the paltry return of seven wickets at 59.28 in four matches.

Tasmanians Faulkner and Luke Butterworth were rewarded for their prolific wicket-taking for the Tigers during their Shield-winning 2010-11 campaign, and may be considered with an eye towards the humid air and seaming pitches that can sometimes be encountered in Sri Lanka.

The teenagers Nic Maddinson and Mitch Marsh have been included in both squads, better to aid their development as Test players of the future, while Cricket Australia eyes will be narrowed on the captaincy progress of Paine and his deputy Ferguson, who spent the Indian Premier League together in with the Pune franchise. Another IPL commodity, David Warner, has the chance to defy his stereotype with runs in both formats.

Chris Lynn, the promising Queensland batsman, is a notable inclusion to the limited-overs squad having missed out on selection in the provisional 25, but will need to pass a fitness test on a finger injury before travelling. Stephen O'Keefe has the chance to press his case as a spinning allrounder in the shorter formats.

Even though the tour program is still being finalised, the squad is booked to leave Australia on June 25 and return on July 25, about the same time as the senior squad ventures to Sri Lanka. The A squad will take part in a pre-tour camp in Brisbane in early June.

Australia A four-day squad Tim Paine (capt, wk), David Warner, Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson, Nic Maddinson, Mitch Marsh, Luke Butterworth, James Faulkner, Jason Krejza, Trent Copeland, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitch Starc, Michael Beer.

One-day squad Tim Paine (capt, wk), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Callum Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Nic Maddison, Mitch Marsh, Luke Butterworth, Stephen O'Keefe, James Faulkner, Ben Hilfenhaus, Trent Copeland, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Starc.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on May 26, 2011, 23:21 GMT

    @Lachlan McLean - re: AB Mac, yeah he is a bit of a forgotten hero. I think it would of been interesting if earlier in the Shield season he hadn't have got injured after the twin centuries against NSW, whether he could of made the squad for the 2nd Test. He should be considered more than what appears to be the case at the moment.

  • Dummy4 on May 26, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    i dont see why andrew mcdonald isnt being picked in these sides, played test cricket, one of the most consistent domestic performers, bat and ball of the last few years, surely he deserves a crack, otherwise very happy with the squad at hand

  • Dummy4 on May 26, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    O'Keffe looks to be a good option other than Krezja and Steve Smith.Good chance for Mitch Marsh,Warner,Hilfaneous,Paine,Khwaja and Chris Lynn to impress the selectors.

  • wayne on May 26, 2011, 2:51 GMT

    @Inxia - I was there the night that two blonde walruses named Peacock flew in on the back of a Muchness, planted themselves upside down in a fig tree and announced in pitch-perfect Esperanto that Nathan Lyon was the anointed one, before then decreeing that Salvador Dali's moustache was to be Optimus Prime Minister of the Internet for a day in 1963. The bus ride on the way home was hell. Definitely surreal.

  • Andrew on May 25, 2011, 23:58 GMT

    @hyclass - mate there has been heaps to gripe about with the selection proceses these last 4 or 5 yrs, this squad is one of the best they've selected for the purpose. I agree O'Keefe has been getting the raw prawn, but I suspect he has his passport ready for the Tests in SL. I think it is a good pair of squads, but some players are selected in the wrong squads (i.e O'Keefe & Lynn). I'd also like to see the selectors make Paine look over his shoulder by selecting Wade for the ODI squad. I'd like to have seen if there was a spot for the Sth Ozzy quick Richardson AND leggie Bailey. Not to be. The selection of Lyon was a good one. Dissappointed for Cummins as he seems like he would of toured which would of been good. The odd selection of Hilfy was explained by Chappell, so all in all they did a fairly good job me thinks!

  • Christopher on May 25, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    Im not a Marcus North fan,but i find it galling that 3 of the so called spinners in this squad have poorer bowling records than him.At least he was honest enough to call himself a part timer with 128 1st class wickets at 40.9 and he bats.Doherty(98 wickets in 10 years at 48),Krezja(96 wickets in 6 years at 48) and Beer(27 wickets at 48) remind me of that famous Warne catchcry-cant bat,cant bowl.Only O'Keefe(52 wickets at 24 in 5 1/2 years) is a genuine 1st class spin bowler and one who is an accomplished batsman(544 runs at 36).His shabby treatment is right up there with Hodge,David Hussey,Hauritz and Hughes.When will player records be a factor in selection.These squads are more like a drunken raffle down the pub.Warner is rarely picked for his state side and has 2 fair innings from 12 starts.Mitch Marsh is the same.Ferguson wouldnt dare change to NSW because he wouldnt get a game.Doherty,Krezja,Paine?Thats what happens when the test captain and 2 selectors are from the same state.

  • Andrew on May 25, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    @Wozza-CY - I liked the article where Chappell explained why a seasoned veteran like Hilfy was shipped off on the Oz A tour. It made sense to me as I had felt that Hilfy was the odd one out of that squad. To me the 4-day squad was quite good except for the O'Keefe no show. Conversely I thought the ODI squad was not so good for the inclusion of O'Keefe & Copeland. Stoked that Lynn, Maddinson & Lyon get a crack, but why O'Keefe plays in statistically his worst format & left out of his best is just plain weird. Copeland is a lion-hearted young cricketer, but from what I've seen of him, I would ban him from short formats of the game. Why risk him for no real gain? It will be interesting to see how Faulkner & Butterworth go as my only nagging concern about those two is that they got their wickets on a helpful Belrieve oval. In the Shield Final, the pitch was much more test like & Butterworth in particular wasn't as damaging. Not going to get too concerned over 1 game though!

  • Warrick on May 24, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    Exciting squads both of them and I look forward to seeing how these players go about their task in Zim.....hope the games are televised? Like others here, I would have preferred to see O'Keefe in the 4 day squad (he would replace Krezja for me, already seen what he does) and Copeland's record on limited overs is nowhere near as good as it is in the longer format. I would worry that one or two poor performances in limited overs would effect his selection in his speciality, the longer format. Looking forward to seeing where Butterworth is as an international all rounder & hope Faulkner continues his prolific wicket taking. Don't want to read too much into non-selections & what they mean for SL, cos that would drive you batty!!

  • Anish on May 24, 2011, 4:04 GMT

    Does this mean Shaun Marsh, David Hussey and Xavier Doherty are certain in the Senior side ?

  • rajat on May 24, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    i think dey would be resting shaun nd making him all fir nd hungry for the sl tour..!! its a very imp tour for them..bcoz its an away series...nd if dey flourish deir will give dem a hell lot of confidence to future matches...which dey srsly need at dis time...!!!

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