Australia news November 4, 2013

England exam for Ponting's pupil

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Were Ricky Ponting not Australia's most prolific international batsman of all, and Alex Doolan, the Tasmania batsman, not a studious Test match aspirant, the younger man could have been accused last summer of sustaining a level of fascination that bordered on the unhealthy. Seeking a way to graduate from the ranks of mid-tier Sheffield Shield players to those who played for their country, Doolan shadowed his fellow Launceston native with rare persistence.

No longer part of Australia's limited-overs or Twenty20 teams, Ponting spent a rare extended period with Tasmania during the 2012-13 season. Doolan took full advantage, spending every available minute watching how Ponting batted, fielded, trained and prepared for Tasmania. Even Ponting's eating and drinking habits were dissected. At some point it is not hard to imagine Ponting raising a quizzical eye to his pupil and muttering the words "still here?"

The answer, of course, was yes, and Doolan used the knowledge he was gaining to major effect, peeling off centuries against Victoria and then the touring South Africans that showcased an elegant top order method. Following a winter's learning on various overseas assignments - none of them of the T20 variety - a match-winning Sheffield Shield hundred for the Tigers against New South Wales has set Doolan up for a major examination with Australia A against the English tourists in Hobart. More runs on his home ground this week may well push Doolan into the Ashes squad.

"I think I came on in leaps and bounds last year thanks mainly to Ricky Ponting," Doolan said. "Under his tutelage, I learned more in 12 months than I had in the first five years of my career. I've got a lot to thank him for. It's not necessarily what he's said or how he's spoken to me, it's just what I did was sit back and watch him.

"I watched him play, I watched him train, I watched him eat, I watched him drink, I pretty much just watched him 24/7 every opportunity I got. So it wasn't necessarily anything he said to me but it was just an opportunity to play with the best player I've ever seen and also just be able to learn how the best player goes about it."

There is a wider truth to the Doolan example, one that Ponting himself has been pressing on his current tour of the country in promotion of his autobiography. Young players will learn most fruitfully by close observation of and advice from the players who have successfully traversed Australia's cricket grounds before them.

"Alex was a guy who averaged high 20s in first-class cricket, but the times I batted with him last year he got a hundred every time," Ponting said last month. "It's just that stuff that can't be replaced and that's not happening down through the system."

Ponting's advice and example arrived at a time when Doolan was maturing in other ways. Having moved down from Launceston as a teenager to pursue cricket, he had taken time to grow from rookie to fringe player, to consistent selection, to batting leader. Nearing 28, Doolan is batting and speaking like an adult. He has the chance from Wednesday on to show how much he has grown, and how much Ponting's example can be emulated.

"I'm not entirely sure how to put my finger on it, [but] I've grown up a lot in the last couple of years," he said. "I've gone from being a player who is just in the team to maybe someone the rest of the team is looking on to perform. It's no secret the Australian team hasn't been performing the way everyone would've liked, so I'm lucky I'm in the boat with quite a few others and fortunate to be playing this game against England."

Doolan seems at ease with the fact his summer, and perhaps his life, could turn on the events of the next week, and it helps that he has, to some degree, been here before. Asked often about playing Test cricket in the days after his unbeaten 161 against Dale Steyn and company last November, Doolan was unable to follow up the innings in a meaningful way. This was partly due to a pick and mix schedule that had him looking fluent for Tasmania one week, then sitting on the bench for the Melbourne Renegades the next.

"A lot of water has passed under the bridge since [the unbeaten 161]. Back then it was a real thrill to play against the best Test playing nation in the world. I enjoyed that a lot. It was lucky I had the success that I did. But I don't think you take that into this game," Doolan said. "To be jumping between formats from first-class cricket to one-day cricket to T20 cricket is a challenge for any player. But it was such a long time ago that it's right at the back of my mind at the moment."

Instead, Doolan's mind is full of four-day batting thoughts, the elegant shots he played at Blacktown to vanquish the Blues, and the example of Ponting. It is no surprise to learn that Doolan is reading the book of his mentor, though he used its 700-page length as a sidestep around the current controversies surrounding its publication. "I don't know exactly what's been said, I'm not up to that chapter in Ricky's book yet, so maybe when I get there I'll be able to comment a little more..."

Doolan will hope he can frustrate England's bowlers with similar deftness.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shaggy076 on November 6, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    Mary_786; ps I'm willing to listen to reason, now I wait for your first ever post from you that is reasonable to all players.

  • Shaggy076 on November 6, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    Mary_786; I have. never called Sunil a liar as he has never claimed that it was a dodgy decision or to have seen it. The rest of you in high probability is the same person. Firstly what negative comment have I made about Khawajain this post, I have stated a fact that he was out and I haven't crucified him for it.Secondly, when you originally said I saw it and was missing leg in the game comments and now claim to have seen it and he hit it -you are clearly lying. Thirdly, I was at the game there was no really professional set up for video and have spoken to friends who have said the live streaming was quite average and inconclusive. Finally. if you have found the link that conclusively shows the footage pleas just post the link here and we will all decide. Bottom line is he was out and there was nothing slightly doubtful about it. My objective is nothing anti Khawaja but to correct the inaccuracies of your post.

  • Mary_786 on November 6, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Shaggy i guess Paul, Amith, Sunil, myself, Fleming, Edward and Hyclass are all liars and you are the one that's correct, seriously i wont' waste another second trying to convince you, bottom line is that if so many folks are stating that the kid wasn't out its fair to say that there was doubt in his decision. Anyway it all doesn't matter now,what matters is the games for this round. Good luck in all your negative comments on Khawaja, you obviously won't listen to reason and i wish you the best with your comments.

  • Chris_P on November 5, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    @Milhouse79. I think you totally underestimate Warner's efforts on home soil. The guy averages 50 at home & 25 away. I'll let you in on a secret, whether FC is played in front of 2 people or 2000, imakes no difference. It is the quality of tough high standard cricket that counts. I would suggest Vaughan & Trescothick performed quite admirably in county cricket before being called up. Even the POMS didn't call up players without any form whatsoever. Doolan has really shone in first class cricket, while his record in the shorter form is very average, yet you advocate his inclusion while lambasting using First Class form as a guide? Very interesting take.

  • Shaggy076 on November 5, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    Mitch Fleming; I'm supposed to believe you when you first posted you saw it from behind the bowlers arm, and now you say you have seen it on video footage. You have also changed from missing leg to nicked it. You have changed your tune so many times. Fact is it was given out and the cricket Australia commentary backs up my view. Who do you think is more credible. I would say the person that has,never changed it tune. I have seen the replay on fox sports nothing to suggest a nick to me. The way O see it there are 4 psudonymys posting pretty much the same post, with grammar very similar, their is a high chance I am only calling one person a liar..

  • Flemo_Gilly on November 5, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    Shaggy can you please stop calling so many folks liars, there were replays for each of the shield games on the CA site and fox sports had replays as well due to the large interest in these games due to the ashes. He wasn't out from what i saw as well and from what about 10 other folks on this forum have said, perhaps its time to give it a rest. Lets focus on the game tomorrow bud.

  • Shaggy076 on November 5, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Sunil Batra; My post is nothing against Khawaja just reporting the truth to dispel the lies from Mary786, Edwards_Anderson, HycIass and Mitch_Fleming. Please put Khawaja case forward but dont use lies to push his case. Mary786; You are telling me to watch the replay, from a game at Glenelg oval a suburban adelaide ground where there is no footage conclusive of the incident. If there is please post the link to me. You ecpect me to believe that you have seen the replay when in the post on the game you agreed it was going down leg side and now you are convinced he nicked it. You have changed your story and people wouldnt have to read my posts if you wouldnt persist with this lie.

  • dunger.bob on November 5, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    @ Sunil_Batra : re. Johnson. I don't mind if you talk up Johnson and you put up a short but effective argument. I'm a big Mitch fan myself, but, and this is the thing for me, he seems to struggle against England. The same bowler who blew a strong South Africa apart seems incapable of hitting the pitch if he's bowling to anyone in an England outfit. It's got to be mental. Has to be something in his mind. The dude is capable of some kick-butt spells against just about every other team but seems to go blind against England. ... Going with your flow though, wouldn't it be beautiful to see Mitch put in one of his "specials" and cut the legs off the Poms before they can even blink. "He bowls to the left, he bowls the right, he makes England's best batsmen look shyte". .. It's good to have a dream my mum always said.

  • popcorn on November 5, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    Alex Doolan's following of Ricky Ponting reminds me of the days when the teenager Ricky Ponting would drive on his BMX bike to EVERY GAME that the older cricketers played at Mowbrays Cricket Club in Launceston, and lap up EVERY WORD they spoke after the day's play, and learnt so much about the game!

  • Sunil_Batra on November 5, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    I am Khawaja's biggest fan but lets keep the focus on Doolan and the wider Aus A game tomorrow. Shaggy can you please give up your endless commentory against Khawaja, who cares if he was out or not, if he gets a century tomorrow it won't matter.And im gonna stick my neck out and talk up Johnson who a few folks have put down, Johnson is in the form of his carreer and he could well be one of our most potent bowlers …and then maybe he isn't and probably he wont …but apparently he is looking pretty sharp and bowling some heat…the poms wont much like his slingy action especially if he can get the ball in the right areas

  • Shaggy076 on November 6, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    Mary_786; ps I'm willing to listen to reason, now I wait for your first ever post from you that is reasonable to all players.

  • Shaggy076 on November 6, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    Mary_786; I have. never called Sunil a liar as he has never claimed that it was a dodgy decision or to have seen it. The rest of you in high probability is the same person. Firstly what negative comment have I made about Khawajain this post, I have stated a fact that he was out and I haven't crucified him for it.Secondly, when you originally said I saw it and was missing leg in the game comments and now claim to have seen it and he hit it -you are clearly lying. Thirdly, I was at the game there was no really professional set up for video and have spoken to friends who have said the live streaming was quite average and inconclusive. Finally. if you have found the link that conclusively shows the footage pleas just post the link here and we will all decide. Bottom line is he was out and there was nothing slightly doubtful about it. My objective is nothing anti Khawaja but to correct the inaccuracies of your post.

  • Mary_786 on November 6, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Shaggy i guess Paul, Amith, Sunil, myself, Fleming, Edward and Hyclass are all liars and you are the one that's correct, seriously i wont' waste another second trying to convince you, bottom line is that if so many folks are stating that the kid wasn't out its fair to say that there was doubt in his decision. Anyway it all doesn't matter now,what matters is the games for this round. Good luck in all your negative comments on Khawaja, you obviously won't listen to reason and i wish you the best with your comments.

  • Chris_P on November 5, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    @Milhouse79. I think you totally underestimate Warner's efforts on home soil. The guy averages 50 at home & 25 away. I'll let you in on a secret, whether FC is played in front of 2 people or 2000, imakes no difference. It is the quality of tough high standard cricket that counts. I would suggest Vaughan & Trescothick performed quite admirably in county cricket before being called up. Even the POMS didn't call up players without any form whatsoever. Doolan has really shone in first class cricket, while his record in the shorter form is very average, yet you advocate his inclusion while lambasting using First Class form as a guide? Very interesting take.

  • Shaggy076 on November 5, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    Mitch Fleming; I'm supposed to believe you when you first posted you saw it from behind the bowlers arm, and now you say you have seen it on video footage. You have also changed from missing leg to nicked it. You have changed your tune so many times. Fact is it was given out and the cricket Australia commentary backs up my view. Who do you think is more credible. I would say the person that has,never changed it tune. I have seen the replay on fox sports nothing to suggest a nick to me. The way O see it there are 4 psudonymys posting pretty much the same post, with grammar very similar, their is a high chance I am only calling one person a liar..

  • Flemo_Gilly on November 5, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    Shaggy can you please stop calling so many folks liars, there were replays for each of the shield games on the CA site and fox sports had replays as well due to the large interest in these games due to the ashes. He wasn't out from what i saw as well and from what about 10 other folks on this forum have said, perhaps its time to give it a rest. Lets focus on the game tomorrow bud.

  • Shaggy076 on November 5, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Sunil Batra; My post is nothing against Khawaja just reporting the truth to dispel the lies from Mary786, Edwards_Anderson, HycIass and Mitch_Fleming. Please put Khawaja case forward but dont use lies to push his case. Mary786; You are telling me to watch the replay, from a game at Glenelg oval a suburban adelaide ground where there is no footage conclusive of the incident. If there is please post the link to me. You ecpect me to believe that you have seen the replay when in the post on the game you agreed it was going down leg side and now you are convinced he nicked it. You have changed your story and people wouldnt have to read my posts if you wouldnt persist with this lie.

  • dunger.bob on November 5, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    @ Sunil_Batra : re. Johnson. I don't mind if you talk up Johnson and you put up a short but effective argument. I'm a big Mitch fan myself, but, and this is the thing for me, he seems to struggle against England. The same bowler who blew a strong South Africa apart seems incapable of hitting the pitch if he's bowling to anyone in an England outfit. It's got to be mental. Has to be something in his mind. The dude is capable of some kick-butt spells against just about every other team but seems to go blind against England. ... Going with your flow though, wouldn't it be beautiful to see Mitch put in one of his "specials" and cut the legs off the Poms before they can even blink. "He bowls to the left, he bowls the right, he makes England's best batsmen look shyte". .. It's good to have a dream my mum always said.

  • popcorn on November 5, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    Alex Doolan's following of Ricky Ponting reminds me of the days when the teenager Ricky Ponting would drive on his BMX bike to EVERY GAME that the older cricketers played at Mowbrays Cricket Club in Launceston, and lap up EVERY WORD they spoke after the day's play, and learnt so much about the game!

  • Sunil_Batra on November 5, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    I am Khawaja's biggest fan but lets keep the focus on Doolan and the wider Aus A game tomorrow. Shaggy can you please give up your endless commentory against Khawaja, who cares if he was out or not, if he gets a century tomorrow it won't matter.And im gonna stick my neck out and talk up Johnson who a few folks have put down, Johnson is in the form of his carreer and he could well be one of our most potent bowlers …and then maybe he isn't and probably he wont …but apparently he is looking pretty sharp and bowling some heat…the poms wont much like his slingy action especially if he can get the ball in the right areas

  • dunger.bob on November 5, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    Doolan clearly isn't a Ponting. Sorry, but he ain't. Doolan is 28 and a raging hot "maybe" for his Test debut. At the same age Ponting was an established global menace with the bat. Keeping it all p.c, except in India where he never, ever did any good which shall be a blight on his claim to greatness forever and ever, Amen. On top of that Ricky was already an integral member of a team giga-watts stronger than the current one. There is NO similarity between the relative merits of the pair as batsmen.

    Still, while someone of Ricky's calibre would be like manna from heaven, we'll take anyone with a bit of class and an equal measure of guts. Alex might be our guy. At least he sounds as though he's interested in being a Test cricketer as opposed to a tinsel millionaire, so that's a very big point in his favour.

    I'm gunna wait till the Aus A. game before I make up my mind between about the #3 spot. Atm it's between Doolan and Bailey for me but that could change.

  • Mary_786 on November 5, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    @Shaggy just look at the replay, he wasn't out, its really as simple as that, why are you wasting everyone's time on this discussion. Lets focus on the coming games tomorrow, very exciting to see Doolan, Khawaja and Marsh in action together

  • popcorn on November 5, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    I vividly remember Captain George Bailey's comments when he saw Alex Doolan batting with Ricky Ponting in a Shield game: " I was out of my depth when I batted with Ricky Ponting, but Alex Doolan showed the same class as Ponting when the two batted together".

  • Rowayton on November 5, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Dunno if I'd risk Watson. Don't forget there's no runners in Tests any more so if Watson exacerbates his injury he may not only stuff up his own game but that of some other batsmen in the team as well. And actually, I've said this before but Khawaja getting out LBW off an inside edge isn't that unlucky - it's a technical not out rather than a good shot badly called. You can get bowled off an inside edge, so not being able to be out LBW is a bonus to the batsman. And as a captain once said to me when I complained about it "You're supposed to hit the ball with the middle of the bat mate, not the edge

  • Shaggy076 on November 5, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    Amith_S and Paul_Rampley; I highly doubt your version of events. It was played at suburban ground with no sound and the video quality was quite poor. Khawaja stood around as he had been owned by Botha and was disappointed. It's nothing to do with Khawaja but as a South Australian fan I find it an insult that your saying we didn't deserve that wicket. I have also said I wouldn't disregard Khawaja selection on one failure so it is nothing personal against him. It was plumb, I very much doubt you have even seen it and the entire media coverage there has been not one article to cooberate your version of events. The cricket Australia page your talking about said in there own commentary it was plumb. I just don't like people putting out a version of events that is incorrect (which is too kind as it is a straight out lie).

  • Mitty2 on November 5, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    @milhouse79, sorry... You have two really conflicting points there - and btw, Cowan certainly DOES have the technique for test cricket, he just gets out too much after making a start. You implicitly state that the FC system is pointless and you can't judge one's talent from there (then how can you tell?) and yet you say give Doolan a go when the only reason we'd give him a go is because of his FC form. All of Cowan, Hughes and Khawaja were selected on FC form and as you say they haven't succeeded, so what should we do, select those with bad FC records and assume that they'll be better? Please explain, I'm really struggling here.

    And Warner averages high 40s at home... He scored a century against SA and nearly a match winning innings on a green monster at Hobart - certainly indicates to me that he's quality, and far better than Woakes, Bopara, Morgan, Bairstow, etc.

  • Paul_Rampley on November 5, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    Given that Watto reckon's he'll be right for Brissie, the "lucky" player may end up being recruited as cover.Though with even a grade 1 tear, there is no way Watto could field with confidence, let alone bowl at Brisbane. Even if it's only a strain he's taking a big risk. Not sure the selectors will be as confident as Watto, given his history.I think the selectors will wait until the conclusion of the Aus A and SS round and its all dependent on results from this week but my gut feel is that Khawaja will get the number 3 slot(as he impressed me tremendously in the Ryobi both with the bat and his catching) and Faulkner the allrounder slot batting at 7 as he was very impressive in India. But as Aussie fans we are all hoping Watson comes through as he adds alot of balance to the side.

  • Amith_S on November 5, 2013, 5:04 GMT

    Shaggy i also saw the replay on CA website and Khawaja was not out, the ball was going straigh on but he inside edged it on to his pads and which is why he stood his ground. I know you said you were at the game but you probably didn't see the replays. In interational cricket he could have reviewed that. Let me see if i can find the replay on some other site as CA has added new videos on and i will send you the link so you can confirm for yourself.Cricket can be such a cruel game. One batsman is given out LBW, refers it and Hawkeye shows it barely grazing leg stump and he's given out, another is given not out and the fielding team refers it, and Hawkeye shows the ball crashing into leg stump, but with the centre of the ball a millimetre past the centre of the leg stump, so they are given not out and go onto a big score.It happens all the time. There is a lot of luck involved in cricket.

  • hycIass on November 5, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    @Shaggy076 i saw the replay on CA site last week and Khawaja got an inside edge on the ball and it was a bad call, you need to take your focus from putting Khawaja down and move on bud. Anyway i don't want to waste my time on that. Its an exciting round of shield matches coming up from tomorrow and i am tipping big games from Khawaja and Klinger tomorrow. We must ultimately pick your 6 best batsmen, our 3 best fast bowlers, our best spinner and your best wicketkeeper. That is how you pick a test team. Australia has paid too much for wanting the luxury of an all-rounder. Lets not forget the poor form Watson had in tests as a batsmen before he took advantage of a weakened English bowling attack in the last test to get a ton. Did his work with the ball really make up for what another batsmen might have done in his place? I am not against picking Faulkner or Henriques as i rate them as good players but we must only pick them if they add to the balance of the side.

  • Rowayton on November 5, 2013, 2:17 GMT

    I think the interesting point about Doolan following Ponting around is that it demonstrates how much we have lost by having a Shield competition where the Test players hardly ever play. Apart from improving the competition itself, having the Test players around also helps develop the next level down. CA have to find a way to get the top level more involved.

  • JAH123 on November 5, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    The thing Australia needs more than anything else right now is a solid no. 3. Hughes, Watson, Khawaja and Quiney have all been tried in that role in the last 2 years with limited success. I think (as I always have) that Watson needs to bat 6 if he's fit so he can be a genuine allrounder and Hughes needs to open, assuming he warrants selection ahead of Warner. That leaves Bailey, Khawaja and Doolan battling it out for the no. 3 spot. Khawaja looked mentally shot after the last Ashes and should be given time to re-establish himself at shield level this season. I'd love to see Bailey in the side but he would neet to bat 4-6 because he is a middle order player, which in my mind makes him insurance for Watson. That basically leaves Doolan as the best option at 3. It would be ideal if Aus could bat him at 5 or 6 first to give him some experience (as was done with Ponting) but they just don't have that luxury right now. If he bats well in Hobart, get him in there.

  • Shaggy076 on November 4, 2013, 21:53 GMT

    Mitch_Fleming, Mary_786; I'm not going to let you continue to post the lie that Khawaja got a bad call in the Ryobi cup. Mitch_Fleming in another post you said you were right behind the bowlers arm it wasn't out and now you say from the replays make up your mind which lie you are going to use and stick to it. I'm a South Australian supporter and if your going to complain about that decision you might as well not walk when you hit it straight to cover. It was dead plumb, the cricket Australian commentary said it was plumb. No report has ever mentioned dubious decision yet you continue to propagate this lie. Why?

  • Jaffa79 on November 4, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    Some players do little or nothing in FC cricket and then thrive in Tests. Everywhere in the world, FC cricket is played in front of 3 men and a dog on result wickets, so it really isn't a barometer of quality. Trescothick and Vaughan did nothing of note in FC before playing Tests and there are many more examples too. Give Doolan his head. Why go back to Cowan and Hughes? They just don't have the technique for it, Warner will just swish like a tailender and Khawaja doesn't have the minerals. What have Aus got to lose?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 4, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    They should give him a go. Aus just need someone, anyone to kick start their transition phase. With such a horrenous test top order and a captain that continuously hides down the lower-middle order, they should give Doolan a try. Even if he's Doo-Little he can't be as brittle as the current crop.

  • Chris_P on November 4, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    @Syed Khurram Quaseem. Having seen Doolan bat on a few occasions, let me assure you, he is much more than an average player. He certainly isn't a superstar, but he has a very sound technique, patience & application to pick off the loose ball, usually to the boundary. Wait, aren't they the ingredients required for tests? This guy ticks off most of the boxes you look for in a test batsman, & he isn't even from my state! He was the standout batsmen I saw in the recent Shield game, & by a fair margin too, on a pitch favouring bowlers, something a few of our one day batsman continue to find daunting.

  • Windywiper on November 4, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    If you want a decent team for the first test you have to go Rodgers.Warner.Hughes.Smith.Clarke.Bailey.Haddin.Johnson.Siddle.Harris.Lyon. I would almost argue there is batting till 11. Smith and Hughes need to step up but why let them both play as much international cricket as they have if you just try someone else. This is the team to pick for the 5 games and if injuries come into play like watson's then cutting, bollinger or faulkner but lets see who's in form from the sheild games.

  • Beertjie on November 4, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    Agree @Syed Khurram Quaseem on (November 4, 2013, 9:57 GMT) that he's got a long way to go, but currently he's near the front of an ever-changing queue! Agree @Sunil_Batra on (November 4, 2013, 11:12 GMT) about Watto being irreplaceable in his particular role, so that will affect the selection of candidates. The Gabba needs to have a holding bowler as well as a fifth bowler in case Ryano breaks down. No spinner means too much sameness. Not sure what could be done to find a battting spinning all-rounder who can keep it tight. They may as well go for Faulkner and retain Lyon. Any thoughts?

  • Amith_S on November 4, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    A little outfield by how about Mcdonald as the replacement allrounder, does anyone know why he is not playing at present. I know his injury from last year was horrendous but i thought he would be back by now. I'm one of Khawaja's biggest fans, but CA has to stop this business of picking them for one Test and then getting rid of, so if he comes in at 3 then put him there for the full series and sticking with him there for the whole series, or Clarke do what's required and bats 3 and stops the rot!

  • PrasPunter on November 4, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Thank God !! Atleast one upcoming Aussie batsman has set his focus right !! With the shorter formats becoming more and more batsmen friendly, greatness will be measured on how good a player is with the longer formats.

  • Sunil_Batra on November 4, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    If they are thinking it's going to be a pace bowlers pitch and the spinner would only bowl a few overs here and there rather than bowling long spells, then they may consider Smith can serve that purpose and thus allow them to pick four picks. Picking Faulkner as an allrounder really feels like it's drastically weakening the batting, but if you have him at 8, Johnson at 9 followed by Siddle and Harris, that becomes a pretty deep batting lineup with someone like Khawaja at 3. I would think that the Aus A game will be a bat off between Khawaja and Doolan and i just think after a shocker lbw call last week against Khawaja in the shield game he will get a big one this week to continue his Ryobi form. Pretty tough on Lyon though if he was to be dropped. But it's the sort of tough call that has to be made. Having that solid pace bowling allrounder in the squad who can bowl tight, move the ball a bit and pick up the odd wicket while giving the other quicks a rest just makes such a difference.

  • Flemo_Gilly on November 4, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    I agree that you need 2 players to replace Watson, We went and watch NSW and QLD Ryobi final and Khawaja batted really well. Would like to see him in. Where will he bat in the Aus A game, Hopefully at 3 and if he does well there maybe give him a go at 3. From the replays it seemed he got a bad call in the shield game and only got to bat once. Also are they likely to bring in Faulkner now ahead of Bailey, assuming Watson is out? I still think you need a bowler with good pace to open the bowling with Harris and with our injuries only Johnson has that, until Pattinson is right again. If eitehr Faulkner or Moses plays then it would mean that Haddin would have to bat at 6, don't think Faulkner or Moses is good enough yet to bat there. It should be all about performance in the Aus A game and whoever in the top 4 scores should come in, i am tipping it will be Khawaja. However I am not at all sure now what the team will be if Watson is out.

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on November 4, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    I'd like to see Doolan have a go, why not? Seems to like going big, has a patient game. It's fine that ex players rate the likes of Hughes, Watson and even Khawaja but we need runs, not potential. Warne having a go at Ponting is neither here nor there, both had great careers. Clarke's might not be remembered so fondly, let's see. I hope he is a winning ashes captain but I have doubts he will even make it through the series.

  • Mary_786 on November 4, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    I think if Watson is out, or his bowling limited, it is a fatal blow that Australia cannot recover from.With him arguably being the best defensive/holding bowler in world cricket, that would allow the inclusion of an attack minder bowler like johnson or Cutting. If he is out, there is no replacement for his defensive dexterity with ball in hand and how he completes the attack. In his absence, that role will fall more on the likes of Lyon….From the batting side of things, we will need a solid top order batsman with either Khawaja or Doolan coming in. Khawaja was in great form in Ryobi getting a match winning 100 in the final and got a dubious lbw call in the last sheild game and Doolan batted well in the last game. It will come down to the Aus A game and that should be exciting. For the allrounders Faulkner and Henriques are my tips.

  • Bonehead_maz on November 4, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    "I learned more in 12 months than I had in the first five years of my career......... it wasn't necessarily anything he said to me but it was just an opportunity to play with the best player I've ever seen.......... "

    Can someone explain to me why we have so many coaches and no payment system to have players "retire"into first class and grade cricket ? I was thinking same when Marcus North was with young Bosisto in his first game. Agree with Chris_ DSPT & Mitty..... This story reminds me of what I saw from Stuart Law when Graeme Hick came to QLD

  • Mitty2 on November 4, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    @DSPT, great call, the talent is certainly there but the set up is terrible. The youth aspect of the Future's League has to be scrapped and so it's made available to more older and experienced cricketers. Another way of improving the Shield is to get more international players and get rid of that 1 player only rule (just don't allow Indians to play - we can't play in the Ranchi after all). Oh but you'll find that the Ryobi Cup had a very good balance between experience and youth - with the older S Marsh, Bollinger, Klinger and White all having dominant series - and that's why it was such high quality and why the final beat the record of TV viewings by much more than double.

    Doolan, Bailey, Hughes, Khawaja, Faulkner, Wade/Paine, Ahmed, Hazlewood, Johnson and Cutting are the next cabs off the rank. And with MJ certain to play, and Twatto injured there's just 3 and 6 open. Doolan at 3 would be great, Hughes won't get a look in so it's out of JF and Bailey for 6... I'd go Bailey.

  • on November 4, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    Doolan rise is so surprising that when I started looking at high scores by him, I was thinking of him as a newcomer having loads of talents. It is always good to know, see and watch how an average player like him has worked hard with whatever resources he can get and transforms into a star performer.

    Still long way to go Doolan, but at least you are on the right track! Good Luck!

  • Mitty2 on November 4, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    @willsrustynuts, world's best *legitimate* spinner - just to make a few SL fans happy ;)

    @Chris_Howard, and it's looking like that Hussey's end of year stint with the Warriors has had a positive effect on the side with the worst batting line up in the Shield. Both of M Marsh and Harris have been hailed previously as extreme talents, had terrific tour games against Eng despite having less than average FC records. Doolan was hailed as Ponting's Tasmanian counterpart a few years ago despite a poor average, and now over the last two years he's doing well under Ponting's tutelage. You know, while we're at it, we should get every 2000-2007/8 Australian test player back in the Shield and get Brad Hodge and Stuart law in the test team - just for a bit of fun.

  • DSPT on November 4, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    Adding to the comment by Chris_Howard, this is why it is important for senior players to play shield cricket full stop. Not Australia A, not Ryonbi cup, 4 day shield cricket with the young talent mixed with the proven test performers. This is how Australia cricket will grow strong again, mixing experience with youth. It is rare that all players are available for Shield cricket, and when they are finally available they get weekend to appease the England touring party. If the WA XI wasn't up to standard than why did they score 451 dec. From what I have seen from Alex Doolan the last 2 years he has impressed me greatly, keep this form up and should find himself in the Baggy green before to long.

  • willsrustynuts on November 4, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Shane Warne thinks that 3 time Ashes losing captain Ricky Ponting was overrated. And if Shame Warned thinks that then all fair dinkum Aussies must agree...he was the World's second best spinner after all?

  • Chris_Howard on November 4, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    And this is why it's so important for ex-Test players to go back and spend some time in Shield cricket before fully retiring. We had too many years in the 2000s where it wasn't happening and now we're paying the price.

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  • Chris_Howard on November 4, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    And this is why it's so important for ex-Test players to go back and spend some time in Shield cricket before fully retiring. We had too many years in the 2000s where it wasn't happening and now we're paying the price.

  • willsrustynuts on November 4, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Shane Warne thinks that 3 time Ashes losing captain Ricky Ponting was overrated. And if Shame Warned thinks that then all fair dinkum Aussies must agree...he was the World's second best spinner after all?

  • DSPT on November 4, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    Adding to the comment by Chris_Howard, this is why it is important for senior players to play shield cricket full stop. Not Australia A, not Ryonbi cup, 4 day shield cricket with the young talent mixed with the proven test performers. This is how Australia cricket will grow strong again, mixing experience with youth. It is rare that all players are available for Shield cricket, and when they are finally available they get weekend to appease the England touring party. If the WA XI wasn't up to standard than why did they score 451 dec. From what I have seen from Alex Doolan the last 2 years he has impressed me greatly, keep this form up and should find himself in the Baggy green before to long.

  • Mitty2 on November 4, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    @willsrustynuts, world's best *legitimate* spinner - just to make a few SL fans happy ;)

    @Chris_Howard, and it's looking like that Hussey's end of year stint with the Warriors has had a positive effect on the side with the worst batting line up in the Shield. Both of M Marsh and Harris have been hailed previously as extreme talents, had terrific tour games against Eng despite having less than average FC records. Doolan was hailed as Ponting's Tasmanian counterpart a few years ago despite a poor average, and now over the last two years he's doing well under Ponting's tutelage. You know, while we're at it, we should get every 2000-2007/8 Australian test player back in the Shield and get Brad Hodge and Stuart law in the test team - just for a bit of fun.

  • on November 4, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    Doolan rise is so surprising that when I started looking at high scores by him, I was thinking of him as a newcomer having loads of talents. It is always good to know, see and watch how an average player like him has worked hard with whatever resources he can get and transforms into a star performer.

    Still long way to go Doolan, but at least you are on the right track! Good Luck!

  • Mitty2 on November 4, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    @DSPT, great call, the talent is certainly there but the set up is terrible. The youth aspect of the Future's League has to be scrapped and so it's made available to more older and experienced cricketers. Another way of improving the Shield is to get more international players and get rid of that 1 player only rule (just don't allow Indians to play - we can't play in the Ranchi after all). Oh but you'll find that the Ryobi Cup had a very good balance between experience and youth - with the older S Marsh, Bollinger, Klinger and White all having dominant series - and that's why it was such high quality and why the final beat the record of TV viewings by much more than double.

    Doolan, Bailey, Hughes, Khawaja, Faulkner, Wade/Paine, Ahmed, Hazlewood, Johnson and Cutting are the next cabs off the rank. And with MJ certain to play, and Twatto injured there's just 3 and 6 open. Doolan at 3 would be great, Hughes won't get a look in so it's out of JF and Bailey for 6... I'd go Bailey.

  • Bonehead_maz on November 4, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    "I learned more in 12 months than I had in the first five years of my career......... it wasn't necessarily anything he said to me but it was just an opportunity to play with the best player I've ever seen.......... "

    Can someone explain to me why we have so many coaches and no payment system to have players "retire"into first class and grade cricket ? I was thinking same when Marcus North was with young Bosisto in his first game. Agree with Chris_ DSPT & Mitty..... This story reminds me of what I saw from Stuart Law when Graeme Hick came to QLD

  • Mary_786 on November 4, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    I think if Watson is out, or his bowling limited, it is a fatal blow that Australia cannot recover from.With him arguably being the best defensive/holding bowler in world cricket, that would allow the inclusion of an attack minder bowler like johnson or Cutting. If he is out, there is no replacement for his defensive dexterity with ball in hand and how he completes the attack. In his absence, that role will fall more on the likes of Lyon….From the batting side of things, we will need a solid top order batsman with either Khawaja or Doolan coming in. Khawaja was in great form in Ryobi getting a match winning 100 in the final and got a dubious lbw call in the last sheild game and Doolan batted well in the last game. It will come down to the Aus A game and that should be exciting. For the allrounders Faulkner and Henriques are my tips.

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on November 4, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    I'd like to see Doolan have a go, why not? Seems to like going big, has a patient game. It's fine that ex players rate the likes of Hughes, Watson and even Khawaja but we need runs, not potential. Warne having a go at Ponting is neither here nor there, both had great careers. Clarke's might not be remembered so fondly, let's see. I hope he is a winning ashes captain but I have doubts he will even make it through the series.

  • Flemo_Gilly on November 4, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    I agree that you need 2 players to replace Watson, We went and watch NSW and QLD Ryobi final and Khawaja batted really well. Would like to see him in. Where will he bat in the Aus A game, Hopefully at 3 and if he does well there maybe give him a go at 3. From the replays it seemed he got a bad call in the shield game and only got to bat once. Also are they likely to bring in Faulkner now ahead of Bailey, assuming Watson is out? I still think you need a bowler with good pace to open the bowling with Harris and with our injuries only Johnson has that, until Pattinson is right again. If eitehr Faulkner or Moses plays then it would mean that Haddin would have to bat at 6, don't think Faulkner or Moses is good enough yet to bat there. It should be all about performance in the Aus A game and whoever in the top 4 scores should come in, i am tipping it will be Khawaja. However I am not at all sure now what the team will be if Watson is out.