Australia news

Warner and Cowan in line to lead

Daniel Brettig

December 30, 2012

Comments: 116 | Text size: A | A

David Warner and Ed Cowan added 214 for the first wicket, Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 2nd day, January 14, 2012
After Clarke and Watson, the next in line for the Australia Test captaincy are David Warner and Ed Cowan © Getty Images
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David Warner and Ed Cowan must contemplate leading Australia after Michael Hussey's retirement added further to the leadership conundrum created by Michael Clarke's tender hamstring and Shane Watson's uncertain international future. The loss of Hussey and Ponting in the space of three Test matches means Australia are not only without two of their most seasoned batsmen but also the likely candidates to lead the Test team in the event of Clarke and Watson being unavailable.

Watson has already been ruled out of the New Year's Test in Sydney due to a calf problem that may well sound the final knell for his attempts to maintain fitness as a Test match allrounder, and Clarke is again in some doubt with a strained hamstring. Hussey's decision to retire shocked Clarke and Australia's coach Mickey Arthur, leaving them short not only of their most complete batsman but also a safe candidate for short-term leadership duty.

Arthur had been digesting Watson's confession that he may no longer be an allrounder in the future in the hours following the Boxing Day Test when he felt a tap on the shoulder. Hussey requested an audience with Arthur and Clarke, whereupon the 37-year-old confirmed his intention to retire at summer's end. The instant response of Clarke and Arthur was to leave Hussey room to reconsider.

"We'd done our selection meetings, we'd got everything out of the way, and Watto and I had a chat to see where he was with his injury and Watto hinted that he might just consider being used as a batsman from now on, so that was a little bit of a shock," Arthur told ESPNcricinfo. "And then I thought I'd just have a beer now and enjoy the win and Mike Hussey tapped me on the shoulder.

"So my first reaction was 'wow', it was myself and Michael Clarke and Huss together, Clarkey and I looked at each other and it was just 'wow, what do we do'. We congratulated him on a fantastic career and said 'are you sure?' but Huss had made his mind up and like a true champion he's done it very well."

Warner and Cowan have both been mentioned as potential captains, after leading various teams in the past 12 months. Warner led the Sydney Thunder and a CA Chairman's XI last summer, while Cowan guided Australia A on their winter tour of England and showed his batting could benefit from the extra responsibility by comfortably topping the tour aggregates.

Australia's plans for the tours of India and England in 2013 had been drawn up with Hussey as a central part, especially after Ponting's loss of form had hastened his exit from the national team. Arthur said a swift change of tack was now required, and he placed onus on the likes of Warner, Cowan and Watson when he returned to fitness to step into the breach.

"We were certainly building a top six around that," Arthur said. "We always knew Clarke was there, and once Ponting went we knew we had Hussey. We had all our plans in place, so with no warning it was a shock, but I totally understand his reasoning and respect his decision. He deserves to go out the way he is. But for us now it's about moulding a top six that's going to win us a Test series in India and win us an Ashes - an enormous task.

"In our Test team you've got to hope that David Warner and Shane Watson really step up now. I'm pretty confident they'll do that. In Ed Cowan you've got a very wise head, a very good, calming leader around the group. So they need to stand up. I said to the group when Ricky left I wanted everyone to stand up and give us 5% more, now we're going to have to ask everyone to stand up and give 15% more, because we need to fill that void now that we've lost, and we need to fill it very quickly."

That void was painfully evident on last year's ODI tour of England, when a team minus Ponting and Hussey - who missed the trip for family reasons - was battered 4-0. Arthur said that while excesses of rain and inadequate preparation factored into that result, he acknowledged the team dynamic was changing enormously without the guidance and example offered by Hussey.

"We were outplayed in that one-day series, but there were so many mitigating factors," Arthur said. "We couldn't train with rain, we'd come basically out of an off-season, whereas now we wouldn't have, our planning is in place and is spot on in terms of giving guys enough cricket and preparation leading into that first Ashes Test match. That won't be a problem, but what we are looking for is some guys to really stand up and take the opportunity because there are opportunities out there for somebody to make it his own.

"The team dynamic's definitely changed a massive amount when you consider you've lost Ponting and Hussey in a couple of Test matches. Mike Hussey's a phenomenal player and I was gutted when he told me because he's been such a reliable batsman. But you've got to look to the future, you've got to look to who's going to step up. We've got so many options available and I'm so excited to see who steps up and who takes on what is a really demanding year for us."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 2, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

@ zenboomerang You call Perth a "narrow victory" with Aus short 5 top bowlers. Is Starc then no.6, Hastings 7, Bird 8? Lyon & Watson aren't in your top 5, but surely precede Johnson, making him no.11? Midge, in Melbourne, out-bowled Siddle, Watto, Bird & lyon, had top batting figs - stranded on 92* - was MoM- and he's no.11!

You say a 3rd string attack conceded a "narrow victory" of 309 runs. Really? Did they make Aus fold for 163 1st inns, when Hastings outscored all but Wade? Overall, Hastings/Johnson/Starc** scored 130, or 26.8% of team runs, same as Warner/Cowan/Watson & 31 more than Punter/Clarke/Hussey.

You claim Aus had young & inexperienced players? Johnson 31, 49 tests. Clarke 31, 88 tests. Warner 26, 14 tests. Hussey 37, 78 tests. Cowan 30, 12 tests. Lyon 25, 18 tests. Watson 31, 38 tests. Ponting, 38, 168 tests.

Old hands, not 3rd string rookies, lost in Perth. Your excuses are absurd & demean "your nation & people." Find some integrity & man up, like Punter & Pup did

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 2, 2013, 0:19 GMT)

@ Shaggy076. I've often given Aus credit, here on Cricinfo, for their fighting performance against SA. Adelaide test, 1st day match report, 8th post down, read my comment posted Nov 23 2012, 04:35 AM GMT - a clear example of me crediting the Aus batting, & even defending Aus against unwarranted attack! Link: http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-south-africa-2012/content/story/592364.html

You can also see mikey76 & Milhouse79 have a go at me thinking I'm an Aussie after I replied to FFL's attack on Warner. It's funny, 2 Eng posters addressing a Saffer, thinking he's an Aussie. First & third posts down - just 6 above your post Dec 25 2012, 07:17 AM GMT, responding to the ever objectionable Lunge. http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-sri-lanka-2012/content/story/598422.html

Marcio - take a look. Might learn a bit

Cricinfo - please publish. We regulars here rarely get to see the bigger picture of other posters, & get to know each other a little better. Thanks in advance, I hope.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 1, 2013, 22:39 GMT)

@ Not_Another_Keybord_Expert Soon as a team gets the top ranking they are horribly overhyped, & that adversely affects them. SA were well below average in tests 1 & 2, & were only good at "not losing," an unglamorous but still critical skill for a top test team. Effective at the end of the day, but not inspiring.

This team is not SA's best ever - the 69/70 team was. Lawry, Mallet & Ian Chappel would agree - in the only squad to face that team, they NEVER forgot it!

Aus have to fix their batting. Their bowling is the deepest/strongest around. If, BIG IF, Johnson keeps his regained form, is he Aus' best all-rounder? Bye bye Watto? Pattinson & Starc have shown they can bat, but can they play real spin? On recent test form only, Johnson, Pattinson & Starc could bat 6, 7, 8. Add Siddle, Cummins & a spinner & the quicks don't work hard & get hurt! Sort out the top 3, bat Clarke at 4, Wade at 5 & that is a fearsome squad. A fantasy team perhaps, but a nightmare for Poms - he he he he he

Posted by zenboomerang on (January 1, 2013, 22:03 GMT)

@Greatest_Game... Your comms to Marcio are your own business - I replied to your absurd outburst against my national team & players, so if you want to sledge my nation & people, then you will always get a reply that reflects your comms - regardless of who you are posting to...

Posted by mikey76 on (January 1, 2013, 21:07 GMT)

@Zenboomerang. Not really sure of the point you're trying to make. Quite happy to acknowledge if we're beaten. I'm not crowing over our superiority over Aus it's just that its a fact. We won easily the last time we played in alien conditions. If anything Australia are weaker now without Hussey, whereas England have currently 5 players you could label world class with the likes of Bell, Trott and (when fit) Broad pushing hard for that label. I just don't see how such an inexperienced and technically flawed top order can consistently score runs in England. Eng aren't a great side, but they are very good and seem to got over that glitch in form that plagued us for much of 2012.

Posted by Not_Another_Keybord_Expert on (January 1, 2013, 7:09 GMT)

@greatest_game i agree,SA deserved to win the series,i just think they are overhyped,i thought they would perform alot better.SA were being billed as the best SA team ever but i couldn't see them beating SA of 10 or so years ago,with the likes of Donald and Pollock .As for Aus we are in big trouble,with the ashes coming we are in for a bit of a spanking if our batting keeps collapsing clarke cant do it on his own forever.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 1, 2013, 6:57 GMT)

GreatestGame - Your points are valid and to any observer it is clear man to man the South African side is better than the Australian side, that being said you must give Australia credit for creating opportunities to win cricket games. Unfortunately they didnt win. It apperas due to the cattle on the park many teams and supporters are underestimating Australia but in the end over the last 16 months they have played some very good cricket. Joseph Langford Cowan and Hughes earned there chances by being the highest scores at shield cricket. Cowan has performed ok to keep his position. Hughes has just had 3 knocks since returning and the only pressure knock he made 80 runs. Khawaja will get his chance shortly.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 1, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

Not_Another_Keybord_Expert & zenboomerang. My comments were for Marcio who attacked me when I characterized Clarke and Hussey as the only 2 batsmen who TRULY troubled SA in the series. It's not my habit to gloat, but I wished to make clear to Marcio that despite all the excuses like "third string attack" or "weakest team in years," the fact is that Aus had the chance to win in Adelaide, & failed. However, in Perth SA took the game away from Aus.

Ponting said "They put us under more pressure than I think we have been under for a long time so they thoroughly deserved to win this series." http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-south-africa-2012/content/story/594932.html.

Clarke said ""They showed why they're the No.1 Test team in the world." http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-south-africa-2012/content/story/594943.html

Read the articles. The Clarke piece supports my point, stating clearly that Aus' top 3 failed - i.e. Cowan & Warner did not trouble SA. Marcio can't accept that

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 1, 2013, 5:36 GMT)

@ Marcio. I'm not prepared to admit to using phrases that YOU made up! My original comment was that the retirement of Hussey is a great loss to Australia, but you had a hissy fit because because I said that Hussey and Clarke were the only 2 bats to TRULY TROUBLE SA. Not trouble a little bit, but TRULY TROUBLE - as in potentially take the game away and win. Just because Cowan and Warner each scored a century & averaged in the low forties, does not mean that they really threatened SA. Clarke & Hussey threatened SA. Warner and Cowan did not.

Warner could be a really troubling batsman, but fails too often. Cowan is a slower grafter, but he too fails too often. Du Plessis, Amla, Kllis, De Villiers and Smith all scored more runs than Warner & Cowan, & only Smith had a lower ave than Cowan. Warner's was even lower.

Ultimately, my point must stand. Australia could not win one game - they did not trouble SA enough to win one match, because they only had 2 batsmen who truly troubled SA.

Posted by Not_Another_Keybord_Expert on (January 1, 2013, 5:03 GMT)

@greatest_game thats funny coming from u, SA were outplayed in 2 of 3 tests,hardly dominated by this "unstoppable" SA team and this was against our worst team in years LOL

Posted by zenboomerang on (January 1, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

@mikey76... So your excuse is that Eng were at the bottom of the pit in '89?... So now Oz have the youngest squad in cricket with least experience & will be massive underdogs over the next 18mths yet you continually crow about your superiority... Yeah right - get real... You dish it out, but can't take it - can you?... lol...

Posted by zenboomerang on (January 1, 2013, 3:45 GMT)

@Greatest_Game... Your gloating over a narrow victory is very hollow... Oz were without Pattinson, Siddle, Cummins, Harris, Hilfenhaus - so what you faced in Perth was a third string attack - wonder how the Saffa's would have performed without their best 5 bowlers?... lol... We have the youngest & least experienced players in the top 5 nations & are growing - see you in 3 years as these players start to peak...

Posted by Marcio on (January 1, 2013, 2:43 GMT)

OK, @Greatest Game, good to know that Tony Greig, Ian Botham, MarkWaugh, David Gower, Gilchrist etc. we're no trouble to the opposition, with averages around the mid forties and lower. Clearly you can't use such a phrase for guys averaging in the 40s. Shaun Marsh didn't trouble the opposition last season, averaging 2.8. That is a reasonable comment. My point remains true. You were failing to acknowledge some super innings in the series with your general coverall statement. You may have missed thise innings, where they tore the SA attack to shreds. Many others saw the stress inflicted on the opposition by those centuries. Is it really that hard to admit you used an unsuitable term?

Posted by Dr.Qwert on (January 1, 2013, 0:19 GMT)

This is troubling, Warner I'm still not convinced with, when the team is going well, he can capitilise like in Adelaide and Melbourne, when the going is tough, he struggles, like Perth. Cowan has never looked overly comfortable. Both will be found out against England who are probably the best at forming and bowling to a plan against individual batsmen.

I'd like to see someone come in who is a proven runscorer in England, regardless of age. Most logically either D. Huss or Rogers. Meanwhile let the younger batsmen rack up first class runs, like Hussey, Katich and many before them did. The likes of Khawaja, Doolan, Maddison etc. etc.

Top 7 of Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, D. Huss, Watson, Wade

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 1, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

Mikey76- Yes England are favourites but Australia recent cricket record (since the tour of Sri Lanka) has been very good. Its not going to be a walk in the park for England. Even over Englands "dominance" of Australia there has been moments on those tours where it looked like Australia would win. To say we are deluded for thinking that we will put up a great fight, well then I'm deluded.

Posted by frankc1974 on (December 31, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

Agree with mikey76. The 89 Aussies actually had some good lead up form prior to going to England. In saying this, I think our bowling is it in bad stead but our batting looks brittle. I would really like Khawaja to be brought back into the side; I think we can be competitive against England but fact is we need to build for the future; Khawaja is the better long-term option in my view. My best XI without Hussey would be: Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, Khawaja, Watson, Wade, Johnson, Siddle, Pattinson and Lyon.

Posted by ozwriter on (December 31, 2012, 22:41 GMT)

joseph langford. i tend to agree with what you have said. clarke is playing favouritism and he's getting away with it coz he is scoring runs. soon the time will come when he is in a slump. then selecting his 'mates' isn't going to help him out. interestingly what do you think was said to hussey before the last innings? the retirement does seem like a bomb shell

Posted by mikey76 on (December 31, 2012, 21:23 GMT)

Jono Makin. The 86/87 Eng side were also labelled the worst to tour Australia yet were victorious. In 1989 England were in a poor state. We had lost to Pakistan in 87 then were thumped by the Windies in 88. Our batting was Ok but the bowling was terrible. The 89 Aussies had the seeds of the first great side under Border in 93. This current side has nothing of the pedigree of the 89 Aussies. Anybody who thinks Aus are going to win the ashes in England are seriously deluded.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (December 31, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

@ Marcio G'day Mate. Are you all mixed up again? My original post stated that "Clarke & Hussey were the only bats that truly troubled SA." Please note that "truly troubled is the key phrase. I never wrote "hardly troubled!" I later posted that "SA were really not troubled by Cowan and Warner." I wrote "not troubled," I did not write "hardly troubled" - the phrase you called "rubbish" - you made that up! You wrote that these words: "hardly troubled" means rubbish, and is not a suitable phrase." I NEVER USED THE PHRASE - YOU DID….ONLY YOU!!! You simply made that up and then claimed that I wrote it!

One match decided the series. In that match, NO Oz batsman troubled SA. No Oz bowler troubled SA. SA bowlers and batsmen rolled Oz over, plundered them, spanked them, humbled them, humiliated them, dominated them, crushed them.

In the other matches, Oz had the upper hand, and CHOKED. End of story.

Please stop making up quotes and them claiming that I wrote them. That troubles me!

Posted by symsun on (December 31, 2012, 15:02 GMT)

M.Hussey - truly a better player than Clarke for all true cricket lovers and players across all countries, but never got the recognition within the team and his country. Hussey should have been their 1st choice Captain ahead of Clarke. But for some unknown reasons, their selectors and Clarke sidelined him. I wish M.Hussey writes a book and brings out the truth behind his exit as soon as he retires.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

@ RednWhiteArmy ..... Steve Smith is not a Clarke-man and will not get a look in. @ PFEL ..... I reckon that Hussey was told something he didn't like before he went out to bat against SL in his last innings. If you get the chance watch it again and listen to the commentary. But you are right Clarke doesn't want him to leave ..... NOW!!! 12- months ago it was a different story when Hughes ( Clarke-man) ultra-poor form saw him dropped !!! @ Marcio ..... you must be blind

Warner ..... NSW Cowan ..... ex-NSW Hughes ..... NSW Clarke ..... NSW

Wade saved Clarke's butt in West Indies so he was welcomed into the club. To bad he has problems keeping!!!

Khawaja did something to upset someone because he wasn't just dropped form the Australian Team but also the NSW Team. He moved to Queensland and has one of the best averages in the Sheffield Shield ..... then they chose Quiney against SA. GO FIGURE!!!

The list goes on and I could write a whole story about it

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

@Simon Nicholas Worden & Hammond, the thing is, back in '89 the English team had a pretty reasonable core of players. Nothing wrong with Gower, Gooch, Lamb, Broad and Smith all in the top six and were coming off two strong series wins. While Australia's team in hindsight looks very good, in particular the batting, at the time they had just a handful of centuries between them, Border aside. Waugh and Taylor started the series yet to make test centuries. The rest is history and 16 years of domination followed. The '89 team was labelled the worst in history to tour England. While Australia looks vunerable, they have plenty of good young talent in the batting, a great skipper and as much raw potential as could be hoped for in the fast bowling stocks. If we were showing up with a bunch of middle aged batsman with ten thousand runs at 35 and some medium paced trundlers i'd be worried, but we're not, there's plenty of scope for improvement with this lot and so i'm midly optimistic.

Posted by Marcio on (December 31, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

Thanks for agreeing with me, @greatest game. Now go and take a look at the stats for the SA batsmen. Other than the last innings of the tour, most did not trouble AUS either (if you use your definition) and at much slower scoring rates. I simply qualified your statement that no AUS batsmen "troubled" SA other than two, a qualification that is justified, by definition of the word "troubled". Averaging in the mid 40s in test cricket is good. "hardly troubled" means rubbish, and is not a suitable phrase.

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (December 31, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

Its Australian Cricket Board's fault that M Hussey is retiring a little early by not making M Hussey at least alternate captain after Clarke and Watson.....they had continuously ignored him for the highest post and not giving him enough appreciation even after he was 2nd most successful batsman in recent tours only after Clarke..........

Posted by Greatest_Game on (December 31, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

@ Marcio - G'day Mate. SA were really not troubled by Cowan and Warner. A series where lots of runs were scored, Warner averaged 41.2 & Cowan 45.6, each making 1 century that upped their average. Nothing special, nothing troubling. Pattinson averaged 71! HASTINGS - remember him - matched Cowan & outscored Warner in the 3rd test. Starc & Wade outscored both in test 3. Clarke averaged 144, & Hussey averaged 59. They DID trouble SA. (Interestingly, Du Plessis averaged higher than Clarke - 146.5!)

Take a look at the tour averages - don't base your assumptions on the fact that Cowan & Warner played 1 good innings each. You really do need to learn to study the stats of tours and matches - it will help you to gain a clearer perspective and a better understanding

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/averages/batting_bowling_by_team.html?id=7494;team=3;type=series

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/averages/batting_bowling_by_team.html?id=7494;team=2;type=series

Posted by Anand2kau on (December 31, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

Though i feel it was a huge loss to world cricket, i am happy that he is not touring India for tests, he may be the difference in batting like pietersen for england.

Posted by nandhi on (December 31, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

Yes now every one is sympathising for Australia's greats retiring and feel for the team...But how is it that the same sympathy is not shown for a struggling Indian team minus the great stalwarts.... And for the craz schedule of Indian cricket + IPL, on any standards...this Indian team cannot do better than this...one should compare the number of matches in a year other teams play and the Indian team plays...It is great business..but the players are human beings...with all this aspects,Dhoni being what he is...Man take a bow for his resilience and capabilities....

Posted by hycIass on (December 31, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

I think Warner,Cowan and the younger players can fill the leadership void, this will push them so please don't go backward in picking a 35 year old. @Junikamra is correct on Khawaja, has to be the man coming in now, looked fantastic last night in the big bash. He deserves another opportunity, as highlighted by his selection once again as cover for Clarke for the SCG Test.At 26 and with a first-class career average of 45, he is one of the more successful fringe players in the country.Will be good to see him get a go for a full series as opposed to coming in as injury cover as has always been the case with him.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

Probably Arthur should update his attitude a bit and show gratitude towards the exemplary service provided by Hussey rather than prepare an alibi for future failures and blame Hussey. Shameful.

Posted by PFEL on (December 31, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

Joseph Langford, you really couldn't be more wrong. Hussey has always been a Clarke-man and i guarantee you that the Last thing Clarke wants is for Hussey to be retiring. It's 100% his choice.

Posted by disco_bob on (December 31, 2012, 2:44 GMT)

@voma " Australia are going to have to play 100% better than they did against SA" But you guys got whitewashed at home by SA while we lost a hard fought series 1-0. Also your dreams of whitewashing us are a bit premature as a 5-0 whitewash has only occurred one time in the entire history of the Ashes.

I'm amazed that even after losing your no. 1 status almost as soon as getting it, you still cling to these absurd dreams. I sincerely hope we give you lot a good well deserved caning because like India, it seems to be the only way to stop your hubristic predictions.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

I think if we are worried about experience there is always haddin who could play as a batsmen. Between Cowan and Warner i think Cowan is best for one off, and probably vice captain to clarkey long term, but with the end goal being warner taking over captaincy from clarke when he retires.

Line-up i think should be Cowan (c), Warner, Hughes, Khawaja, Johnson/Maxwell, Hussey (vc), Wade, Siddle, Lyon, Bird, Starc

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (December 31, 2012, 1:36 GMT)

Australia will win in India quite easily as India is such a pathetic test team right now. However, current Australian team does not offer much hope. Australia's opening batsmen are inexperienced bunch. Australia's middle order after Huss's retirement create a vacuum bigger than grand canyon. Australia's best spin bowler is Nathan Lyon( Who?). Australian fast bowlers are broken. Australia's current wicket keeper is not Adam Glichrist anymore. Australia's embarrassing loss to Pakistan in T20 world cup suggests that they will struggle against quality spin bowlers on spinning tracks. Michael Hussy was a player who was Australia's answer in such conditions. Australia will be fine against India as India has no quality spinners, however, pitch Australia against Pakistan in UAE against Ajmal and Co and they will suffer a major white wash similar to what England did! Mind you, England still had better/experienced players of spin,e.g Strauss, Pieterson, Trott Etc! Bottomline: Austrlia is doomed!

Posted by meursault on (December 31, 2012, 1:17 GMT)

Surely, Khawaja should be recalled now, preferably in Sydney already. I like Maxwell's attitude, but he's not a test match number 6. If they don't use the Sydney dead rubber to integrate Khawaja, they should've tried out one of these two young leggies (Boyce or Zampa) and temporarily batted Wade at 6 & Johnson at 7.

Posted by Hammond on (December 31, 2012, 1:14 GMT)

@Jono Makim- actually, either of those 1989 sides would wipe the floor with the rag tag cobbled together rabble that will tour next winter. I suppose Australian fans can always play the "our best team isn't there due to injuries" card, you will need it, because the next 18 months are going to be a nightmare for Australian cricket in general. Apart from that, get your excuses well ready. You would have to go back to 1985 or 1978 to find a worse Australian team (and really they weren't even that bad).

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 31, 2012, 0:09 GMT)

I reckon you Steve Smith should be the Test Captain. Or you could try Nathan Hauritz.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 31, 2012, 0:02 GMT)

There appears to be a bit too much panic for the loss of our #6 batsman. We will have Clarkes leadership come the Ashes it is only a hypothetical question if Clarme was unable to get up for a dead rubber game. So what harm is there if Warner or Cowan captained this one off game. Winning the Ashes has got a little harder by losing Hussey but not impossible.Im sure we can find someone to average around 40 thus only losing 10 runs an innings. There are no stars in the top order but Im confident Cowan, Hughes and Warner will be ready when the time comes.

Posted by KhanMitch on (December 30, 2012, 23:54 GMT)

@Spadeaspade I think ultimately Khawaja is our best number 3 but in the interest of the team he should come in to replace Hussey at 4 as this will allow Watson to bat at 6 and bowl more overs, we need Watson both batting and bowling. And also think that its rubbish those who are saying Hussey left because of Clarke, Hussey was our best batsman after Clarke so why would Clarke want that, people need to start giving Clarke credit, he is a very good captain.

Posted by wix99 on (December 30, 2012, 23:37 GMT)

Warner should be made captain of the T20 team and also given the opportunity to captain some ODIs. There is no point in getting too hung up about who the next captain will be though. Pick the best 11 players and then one of them will be the captain.

Posted by featurewriter on (December 30, 2012, 23:30 GMT)

I hope they give David Hussey a baggy green. I'd sooner see us utilise his skill and experience for the next two years while better preparing Khawaja. If they throw Khawaja in now they'll be doing more harm than good. The kid still isn't quite ready for Test cricket. I hope the selectors also consider Andrew McDonald, Luke Butterworth and Adam Voges. I think Doolan needs to prove himself beyond one good season.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 30, 2012, 23:09 GMT)

Hussey clearly is not a fan of Michael Clarke and it's not hard to see why. With Hussey's departure, there goes any hope in hell of Australia competing at the next Ashes against England's supreme bowling attack.

Posted by Marcio on (December 30, 2012, 22:53 GMT)

There really are a heap of pessimists out there. Hussey is only one player in the team, and others will continue to improve. It's a young and mostly inexperienced team. Too many people are looking at a worst possible scenario. Clarke will continue to lead the team well, and theres no reason to believe that losing one player - who has been through slumps himself - is the end of the wotld. India have a much weaker team than us, and ENG peaked two years ago. Most of their players are good, but hardly a terrifying prospect to face. They may be favourites at home, but In the long run we are in a good position. @Greatest Game, I seem to recall scintillating centuries from Warner and Cowan. Or weren't SA "troubled" by those?

Posted by Marcio on (December 30, 2012, 22:37 GMT)

@Joseph Langford, I must be one of the blind ones. The fact is that there isn't one shred of evidence for anything you say. Nothing. Not even a rumour on social media. And this idea of a NSW conspiracy is just sad - sad that someone would take a line on a map so seriously. Hussey has told it like it is. He's 37 and wants to spend time with his wife and four young kids.

Posted by Markus971 on (December 30, 2012, 22:35 GMT)

E.Cowan may have a wise head, but so what! Mickey is drawing at straws, because of our lack of depth in the Batting stakes.. so traditionally Aus. would name the Wicky v/c. Your up M.Wade... What He has done to this point holds Him in good regards with Me. -Hopefully another Good Batsman, capable of Marshalling Men, will come along soon! Or how about P.Siddle as v/c?

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

Difference being Jono Makim (to 1989)? That THIS time? England have one of their best-ever teams for a long, LONG time if not ever & one that is widely acknowledged as such rather than the hapless rabble & pathetic mishmash that were waiting for Aus' when you landed on these shores in 1989.

Am not saying we WILL hand out a battering as 'tis foolish to make such predictions This early but with a team whose core have experienced success in 3 out of the last 4 Ashes series, a hard core who are both consistent & formed of good players with a LOT of experience & ability? Well let's just say I think THIS time? Predictions of a heavy home victory & retention of the Ashes by England again? May be to wide of the mark in view of who we will (perhaps more importantly?) Will NOT face come the Ashes. How different this is to not to long ago when I & my fellow English could see NO end to Aussie dominance; Methinks you're starting to learn that feeling now - Funny how time changes things.......

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 30, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

Tough, tough times for we Aussies. There's no point in getting all depressed about it though. .. all we can do is what we've always done. ie try to make the best choice in our selection and simply get on with it. .. We could go with Dave Hussey or try out one of the young blokes. ... it's very hard to see how we can beat India or England but hope springs eternal and I guess you just never know. C'mon Aussies, lets get stuck into it...

Posted by disco_bob on (December 30, 2012, 21:18 GMT)

@ sonicattack, I have to agree with your analysis. Given some more thought, it seems obvious that even if Clarke was up for this game he should still pass, to allow The Huss to captain and leave in style. On a more subtle note it would also show appropriate respect for the spineless display of the lankans while giving a clear message to Cowan, Warner, et all that 'you're not there yet'.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 21:05 GMT)

Oh please ..... Hussey is out because he is not a Clarke-man. Last year while being the best batsman on the team, better recent form than Clarke, Ponting, Hughes and Watson, he was under most pressure to get runs. Despite his great form with the bat (only behind Clarke because of dropped catches, missed stumpings etc etc) and in the field he has been pushed aside by Clarke in leadership roles because he is not a Clarke-man.

Only a blind man couldn't see that David Warner is being primed for the role. He has the two most important qualities - 1) he is a Clarke-man; 2) he is a New South Welshman. He had already been put in front of Hussey in the media and interviews, and how couldn't have missed his recent inclusion in television adds with Clarke.

Principle Clarke-men - Warner, Hughes, Wade.

Ps. How many people think that Clarke would have retired early in the first test if he hadn't got out??

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

What about Chris Rogers? He may be 35 years of age but he is still a quality player (judging by his statistics). He averages the best part of 50 and has scored 56 FC hundreds and has experience in both Australian and English conditions. This surely would be invaluable for the young inexperienced players. However, whoever the Assies pick, I can't see you doing very well in India or in either Ashes series going in with 1 batsman, no good spinner and 2 decent seamers.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:48 GMT)

Warner?! Siddle?! Are you serious? Both are immature little boys who throw their toys far too often. Under either one of these guys AUS will again become a bad mannered and ill-tempered team!! Please NO!! Not sure about Cowan in the future but not now.

Posted by brusselslion on (December 30, 2012, 20:24 GMT)

I must be ill as I find myself thinking: That's quite a sensible comment (@jonesy2 on December 30 2012, 08:29 AM GMT).

Posted by Greatest_Game on (December 30, 2012, 20:21 GMT)

Tough news for Australia. Clarke & Hussey were the only bats that truly troubled SA and were indisputably the backbone of that series. Hussey's departure leaves a huge hole in this team that has been beginning to resemble the Aus we have been used to. It will be up to Clarke to carry this team to success - plenty of talent & skill in this team, but he is the only real leader. Without him Eng will take the Ashes, but with him I think that they will be in a real fight.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:18 GMT)

Dear me, what's all this navel-gazing about the next Aussie captain, or next but one etc? What happened to the old Aus tradition? Just pick the best eleven blokes, and pick one of them as the skipper. Easy!

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

Sorry to say it my dear English friends, but it appears Australia will be touring England with its worst team since 1989. What a lowly one man band we are, our sincerest apologies in advance, pip pip old chap.

Posted by SpadeaSpade on (December 30, 2012, 19:04 GMT)

Dropping hughes the first time and putting the alrounder as opener is coming back to bite us now, The departure of Punter and Huss cannot be seen as a surprise. If Khawaja is the next batsmen in line as it would seem, Australia now have how many top order plays in our line-up. The problem is going to find the right batting line-up without playing people out of position or causing minor niggle amongst aggreived batsmen feeling they should be elsewhere in the line-up. Personally I'd go with Cowan , Hughes , Warner , Khawaja , Clarke , Watson as my top six. But the planning seems to be a shambles. IN addition Watson only scores heavily when he opens and now he doesn't want to bowl so is he a number six. I actually think warner would make a terrifc number 6 but has been groomed as a test openner, like Hughes, Cowan & Watson. I Also think it very possible that Khawaja could become a good number 3 he has the technique but needs time to find his feet at test level.

Posted by mikey76 on (December 30, 2012, 18:43 GMT)

Marcio, 600/2 is almost as bad as 517/1. The skies were pretty dry then and Siddle and Hilfenhaus didnt exactly break the speed gun. The skies were also dry in Adelaide when Anderson had you at sixes and sevens. What do you think is going to happen at Old Trafford on an overcast day and green wicket? The current Australia side is a joke, thats the equivalent of making Nick Compton or Joe Root captain, its laughable. Good luck in India, let alone England.

Posted by nev57 on (December 30, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

Have to agree with Chickenwire. Why can't the Aussie's continue with a Hussey in their side, just David instead of Mike. I have never understood why a player with over a hundred ODI's and a first class average of over 53 (better then his brothers!) has never made it into the Test team. For the games against India and the back to back Ashes games, he seems to me like the ideal player. Experience and runs. After that, then yes, look for a long term replacement.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

Australia really seem to have some issues regarding leadership here! With all his grit and determination, Ed Cowan has still not been able to convince me that he's good enough to retain a spot in the team for too much longer. So he's cant be in contention for captaincy. Among the others too, no one seems to have been able to retain their places with consistancy, and so its a very tough call! The one person who comes to mind is Mitchell Johnson, and again, though his place is not a certainity in itself, he clearly does well when given the responsibility, both with bat and ball. Also, his experience can come in handy. As of not, the best Australia can do is keep their fingers crossed on Clarke's awesome run continuing, because these days, 60% of the teams runs seem to come from his bat!

Posted by Marcio on (December 30, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

Yep. @ohmattymatty. The prospect of facing Bresnan, and Broad with his remodelled 125km /hr darts must be terrifying. Better hope for lots of rain again. No surprise the SA team rattled up 600/2 as soon as the skies dried up last time.

Posted by Chickenwire on (December 30, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

To be frank I don't think for a minute that 'England is loving this'. To be frank England would like to take on the best side possible, and with Hussey retiring it's going to be nowhere near the best side. More of a worry is all the injuries to your better young quick bowlers; you've a good handful who are doubts for the tour of England, and, as Mitchell Johnson doesn't instil fear into the England team due to the sheer chance of everything falling into place for him as it did for a game against SL outweighing me winning the lottery (and I don't play) it looks like t'other Mitchell, the Yorkshire one, who's going to be carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders. The best thing you Aussies can do is bring in Mr Cricket's brother and plan ahead for two or three years down the line.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 16:45 GMT)

They should bring in a new guy and make him captain a la Graeme Smith. Time for Clarkey to retire as well ..

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

As much as I enjoy his articles on Cricinfo, Ed Cowan has yet to convince me that he's a test opener, never mind that he should be the Australian captain! If he took over it'd send Australia back to the dark days of the Kim Hughes era. Warner is a hell of a talent but i doubt he'll be able to adjust his game quickly enough to be successful in English conditions against the swinging and seaming ball. Phil Hughes looks like he's sorted out his technique but now Hussey, a great and seriously under-rated player, is retiring which will leave a massive hole.

Arthur and Clarke must be wishing 'Mr. Cricket' well for the future through gritted teeth. With 4 tests v India away followed by back to back Ashes series, he couldn't have picked a worse time to retire, especially when he's still in great nick!

Posted by voma on (December 30, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

Who is going to score the runs in England next year ?, if clarke or watson gets injured . We all remember phillip hughes efforts last time , it could be a whitewash this time . Australia are going to have to play 100% better than they did against SA .

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 30, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

I agree that there were mitigating factors in Australia's ODI series loss to England but it was a rather comprehensive loss and that can't all be put down to external factors. Many said at the time that it was a view into a future without Hussey and it wasn't pretty. That future has arrived sooner than anyone expected and, if they weren't already, I'd say that England would have to be favourites for the first leg at least of the upcoming Ashes double-header. Did anyone else notice that Arthur said that the loss of Hussey required twice as much extra input from the rest of the team as the loss of Ponting?

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 30, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

This has got to be some sort of practical joke: Warner or Cowan next captain? Why not just recall Nathan Hauritz and give it to him? What a state Australian cricket is in, not even the Christmas Minnow Big Bash can be handled without another slide further down the ladder into the recesses of cricket obscurity. England must be loving this.

Posted by alarky on (December 30, 2012, 14:28 GMT)

Mike Hussey would be greatly missed by the Australian team. He is the most COMPLETE BATSMAN of the modern era - He performed in EVERY BATTING POSTION with the same IMPECCABLE SUCCESS. His biggest competitor for COMPLETENESS is Rahul Dravid; but I think Hussey has the edge by a fair margin. I also think that if he were given the chance during his more YOUTHFUL years to play at the highest level, his record would have dwarfed that of lots of some of the big names who played from childhood until almost the end of their lives. Pontin proved that he could only bat at No.3 and Michael Clarke has shown so far that he can only bat at No.5. But if Hussey was asked to pen the innings, you can rely on him for the same satisfactory performance that you get from him when he bats ANYWHERE in the middle order. And, unlike lots of those who don't know when to go, he has gone with his belt very much intact. Good luck in your future endeavours Mike.

Posted by Carllll on (December 30, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

Isnt George Bailey our specialist captain?

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 30, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

Cowan or Warner to captain. Is it April fools day or am I early?

Posted by Junikamra on (December 30, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

usman khawaja has to be the hussey replacement i think heis technically very strong and he has ability to perform well.... selector mst give him a go he might be the man to perform well in england in ashes as he play realy well for derbyshire last season..

Posted by Surajrises on (December 30, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

With the exit of Michael Hussey, things are going to become even more difficult for the Aussies... Very tough to be honest... No Ricky and No Hussey for India! Now then how are they going to put up a good playing 11 to defend the Border Gavaskar Trophy???

Posted by OhhhhhMattyMatty on (December 30, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

Australia in disarray! Can you imagine Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja and Quiney in a top 6 against England's attack! LOL! 200 all out every innings with Clarke scoring 85% of the runs.

Posted by bazza8 on (December 30, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

Khawaja should lead...this is the future

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 30, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

Interesting. Back in September you had to think that the playing field had levelled for the Ashes next summer and possibly even inclining Australia's way. Now, it is beginning to look like England are again the more settled and confident side, with plenty of questions about the Australians. A lot of English fans suspect that Warner will struggle on pitches with lateral movement where technique is critical, in the same way that Phil Hughes has. It could well be that the more solid, but less spectacular Watson and Cowan will be the key,

Posted by sonicattack on (December 30, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

In all the years that I have been following cricket (mid 1960's) I think that, without exception (unless anyone can tell me differently), Aus have always chosen a captain who really deserves his place in the team. For whatever reason I don't think that Warner/Cowan have 100% backing from Aus fans, especially Cowan....so there is a problem. If Aus were to follow their usual principle should Clarke not play, then surely Hussey should be the captain?

Posted by hycIass on (December 30, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

Edward_A i also like David Hussey but he just hasn't clicked in shield cricket this year and the current NSP panel do reward performances. Khawaja has rebounded from the disappointment of last summer to force his way back into Test reckoning with solid form for Queensland. Having been nominated as stand-by for Clarke, he should get first crack at replacing Hussey. Time is also on the 26-year-old's side.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 30, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

Warner as captain? The cupboard really must be bare. What's next, Quade Cooper to captain the rugby team?

Posted by Gordo85 on (December 30, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

Lets be serious here. David Warner should never become Test captain. I know the coach likes the guy and says he has all the right stuff to be a captain one day but I hope it doesn't happen. I can see it happening though maybe the Twenty/20 side and maybe in the ODI's but the problem with the ODI's are that he never plays very well in them.

Posted by Doonish on (December 30, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

It's one test in a dead rubber and Clarke will probably get up. Without wanting to diminish the institution, does it much matter who gets the captaincy for this one?

Becomes more interesting longer term if Watson isn't considered good enough to play merely as a batsman.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (December 30, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

If Khawaja comes in to replace Hussey then he should bat at 4 as this will allow Watson to bat at 6 and bowl more overs, we need Watson both batting and bowling. I would have considered D Hussey but at 35, the younger Hussey brother would only be a short-term solution nor has it been a happy Shield season for him this summer with 120 runs at 17.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (December 30, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

@Gilly4ever I think Khawaja has to be Hussey's replacement once he goes. Looked a class above today with 70 odd in the big bash game against the Sydney Sixers and is much sharper in the field and between wickets now. Land47 yes i would get Khawaja but I would have Burns as my backup batsman and yes Hussey should captain the last test, great way for the champion to go out.

Posted by D-Train on (December 30, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

Thank god David O'Sullivan isn't on the selection panel. His team chosen shows that he doesn't know much about Australian cricket. Marsh can't make the warriors side, pain is an ordinary batsman and you have 5 bowlers? You should never have 5 bowlers in test match. Exposes the tail too early and puts way too much pressure on the top order.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 30, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

and all this uncertainty in the build up to the twin ashes year. Maybe you could bring the pakistan born lad in as captain?

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (December 30, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

Khawaja in for Clarke so who in for M Hussey? Do we bring Quiney in? Or go for D Hussey? Or do we go to George Bailey? Or is there another?

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

Australian Team for ashes should be: Warner S Marsh Clarke (C) Paine (WK) Kawaja Watson Johnson Siddle Pattison Cummins Lyon 12th Man-Starc

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

@Dismayed - S Smith? Australia's most overrated player? Let's check Statsguru for first class bowling figures for 2012 - 10 matches, 3 wickets at 70! G Maxwell - 6 matches, 11 wickets at 25... even S O'Keefe with 9 matches, 12 wickets at 46 would be more likely! There's more to Australian cricket than NSW, you know...

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 30, 2012, 11:23 GMT)

Sam Morris - I'm glad it seems obvious to you, it seems ridiculous to me. Wade has bowled one over in first class cricket and your turning him into an allrounder. If he doesnt keep he doesnt have the batting record to stay in the team. That said with the team quite young I cant see any value replacing a 24 year old with a 36 year old. If CLarke and Watson to be injured who are captain and vice captain it is quite reasonable to expect that someone who hasnt guaranteed there spot in the team will have to captain. Cant see Hussey taking the job in the last game so I would have thought it would have to be Cowan. Warner to me seems to lack a lot of things to be captain however, i have been relatively immpressed with his recent batting, but I would have thought he would never have the character, or ability to engage an order to captain (he seems a little simple and self centred).

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

Although Cowan needs to develop more scoring avenues for his game, he is the best leaver of a cricket ball I have seen in a long time. He is a batsmen ready made for good bowling conditions and could be critical to our chances of seeing of the new ball in England. A good 35 or 40 opening the innings is absolute Gold in conditions where the ball is jagging around especially if it is part of an unbroken partnership with Warner of 50-100 runs. Admittedly he needs to learn to turn over the strike more readily to Warner who has the game to relieve the scoring pressure. More quick singles from Cowan and I'm happy!

Posted by rtruth90 on (December 30, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

Bailey is good batsmen, I request Cricket Australia to select him for Tests to fill the vaccum created by hussey at No.6 position. I have been a die hard Aussie fan since Steve Waugh times.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

I'm still bemused about Maxwell being selected, Steve O'keefe should have been picked, particularly if they have India in mind. You need 2 first class spinners in the team in India, not one spinner and a batting all-rounder. do the Australian selectors remember what happened to Cameron White?

Posted by shayad on (December 30, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

Refresh 11 Warner(c),Cowan,Khawaja,Hughes,Wade (w),Maxwell,Johnson,Siddle,Starc,Bird,Lyon

its good to see how aus will perform without clark,huss and ponting

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

Johnson's back in the playing group. After Clarke & Watson he's the most experienced player in the side now that Hussey's going. Johnson's first international match was in a one-day game against New Zealand in late 2005. Siddle has only been in the team since Australia's tour of India in late 2008, Warner came into the side in a T20 game during the 2008-9 summer. If the manner to which he carefully constructed his 92 not out innings against Sri Lanka and persevered despite South Africa's 2nd innings batting dominance in Perth he SHOULD be given the fill-in captaincy job and to shut down the allrounder debate in the continuing instances of Watson breaking down Johnson should be given team allrounder status. If Watson is fit to play in future games then good but if not the allrounder berth is Johnson's to take care of.

Posted by SagirParkar on (December 30, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

i suppose Cowan will get it.. ever since i laid eyes on him in his first series, i got a sense of calm collected attitude about him. he has a thinking brain unlike Warner and Siddle, whom someone has proposed forward for the leader's role. Siddle, in my opinion is a worker.. he does as he is told and keeps plugging at it. a tactician he is not and what purpose is a leader when the leader does not know what to do.. as a farewell, Hussey could be made captain for this test and rewarded for his services to his country. it would be an apt farewell. and then start grooming Cowan. now if only Cowan could improve his form and cement his place at the top.

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 30, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

well before the 2 mentioned players are considered as vice captains, they have to be certain they merit a place in the team. cowans maybe but the other is just a t20 / odi

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

I'd like to suggest the answer no one will consider. Bring Haddin back, he was the obvious choice before his loss of form. Wade is good enough to stay on as a dedicated batsman and he can work his way up as a part time bowler, he'd make an excellent slip as well in Hussey's absence. It seems obvious to me, but I don't think the selectors would be as receptive taking a keeper away from his duties.

Posted by chrynnon on (December 30, 2012, 9:12 GMT)

Warner still behaves like a T20 player who's been misallocated. He should be batting 5 or 6 where he can score his runs quickly like he always does without doing damage to the rest of the batting order. Almost anyone would be a better opener.

Of the newbies, Cowan is clearly the one most likely to captain a successful side. He can (a) think; and (b) communicate.

Posted by Dismayed on (December 30, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

The suggestion of Cowan leading the team is ridiculous, he should be the first to go to make any so called rebuild happen. He will forever make fighting 30s, 40s and 50s, we have Watson to do this so Ed must go. David Hussey or even Bailey are better options for the next 2 years until S.Smith gets his deserved recall. WE have good young batmen around the country. Ed was only ever going to be stop gap measure this is what makes this discussion so laughable.

Posted by DylanBrah on (December 30, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

I will support England before I support Australia with Cowan as the captain. He is as average as they come and shouldn't even be in the side, let alone captain the side. The fact he was even mentioned as a possible captain is embarrassing as an Australian.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

I would also plumb for Cowan, did a great job on the Aus A tour to England. Warner is still trying to find his feet as a test batsman from a mental game plan point of view. I don't want to see him having other responsibilities put on him right now.

Posted by Mighty_Hawk on (December 30, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

@ dismayed LOL S. Smith? with what batting technique? As a legspin bowler who bowls offspin now? Give me a break. S. Okeefe? Again LOL got ur blues cap on much? How about Khawaja for his technique? Might be slow but u have to give him time. How about Klinger to fill a void for 2-3 years same with Dave Hussey.

Posted by jonesy2 on (December 30, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

i dont see the issue. if clarke doesnt get up for this test which is a remote possibility because im fairly sure he is fine, the hussey captains in his last match. it would be a great honour for a legendary cricketer

Posted by errolrac on (December 30, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

What about Brad Haddin to return as Captain and keeper,batsman.Think he has the experience,ability and GRIT to do it all. In Australia"s parlous position with retirements,injuries and the like,bring back someone who probably shouldnt have been left out in the first place.Come to think of it,wicketkeepers seem to have something special- think of Mark Boucher,Haddin and Matt Prior. All have that something extra.A never-say-die attitude which a lot of the more glamorous players lack. Ithink the Aussies would look a lot more formidable with Haddin at the helm than Warner,Cowan or Watson who really dont seem to have great leadership qualities.

Posted by righthandbat on (December 30, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

Siddle or Warner are realistically the only choices at this point in time.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

Anyone concider the last captian to be a bowler was Richie Benaud & he was an all rounder

Posted by Dismayed on (December 30, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

David Hussey should be selected and lead the team. Cowan should be dropped, if Watson is to be selected he now must open as his bowling will continue to diminish,one only has to watch him in the field to see he has no confidence in his body, his chasing of the ball and running between wickers is a disgrace. S.Smith and S.O'keefe deserve to be selected before Maxwell.

Posted by Marcio on (December 30, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

It's only a one-off, given that Clarke is only 31. In fact we now have gone from a team which two years ago had 4 guys who were 35+, to a team where the oldest guy is 31. Six of the top 7 will basically be relative newbies in this next test. Not great for the next year, but may work well after a year or two. Hussey won't accept captaincy (certain) so its Warner or Cowan. They'll give it to the latter, I suspect. It will be great honour for either.

Posted by Okakaboka on (December 30, 2012, 7:44 GMT)

MacDonald would be the best option but unfortunately he breaks down as often as Watson. Seriously, these two are as physically reliable as was a 1980's Fairlane.

Posted by D.V.C. on (December 30, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

Why not a bowler? I know this is an unconventional view, but Siddle has shown leadership qualities. He's tough and unlikely to be phased by taking on the captaincy. He's also more experienced than either batsmen... And sturdy, he hasn't shown a susceptibility to injury. Ok, he might not be the greatest tactician (who knows?) but he will lead from the front.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

Not Warner. Too early. I think Captaincy would affect his performance. Cowan seems to be by far the better choice in my opinion

Posted by AnImpatientFan on (December 30, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

Warner yes. Cowan no.

Cowan has a cricket brain but just isn't confident enough in his role as an opening batsmen let alone being the captain the Australian cricket team. I feel the same about Watson and Wade.

Peter Siddle could be a (very) short term leadership option if things go to hell roster wise.

Posted by disco_bob on (December 30, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

I feel very enthused for Australia's future. The hit and miss batsmen with potential are going to have to step up now and with our newly tapped deep reserves in bowling maybe having Watto as a batsman only will be the trigger for him to start making those tons we all know he should be making. Plus in the event of a stubborn partnership, I'm sure a couple of overs here and there from him would still be on the cards.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (December 30, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

My Aussie Test XI for India: Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Watson, Clarke, Callum Ferguson, Wade,Johnson,Starc, Siddle and Lyon. The reserves are: Paine(keeper), Hilfenhaus, Ryan Harris,Khwaja.(can't pick any second spinner because of lack of options).

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (December 30, 2012, 6:35 GMT)

Give it to Hussey to see him off or Warner if they don't give it Hussey.

Posted by landl47 on (December 30, 2012, 6:34 GMT)

The top six now picks itself pretty much by default- Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Watson, Clarke, Khawaja. Then there's Wade and the bowlers. I guess Maxwell, on the back of his selection for the squad for the last SL test, is in the mix and if Quiney was good enough to be selected this season he must be in there, too. Joe Burns seems like the pick of the younger batsmen.

As Mickey Arthur says, they're going to have to stand up.

Posted by saaduddinShafi on (December 30, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

Pointing has recovered and in top form in the current 20/20 league, and hence should be persuaded for a recall, as a special case ....

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 30, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

Warner to me seems the best option. He plays all formats (even though thats not a necessity nowadays) and the ideal age difference for a future captain (5-8 years). Cowan still has to do more to cement his spot in the team, but i would personally make Mike Hussey captain to see him off his last game.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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