November 15, 2010

Ashes

Australia’s 17: a clever move or pure confusion?

Dustin Silgardo

In the Age, Peter Roebuck says Australia’s 17-strong squad for the first Ashes Test may seem shambolic at first sight, but is actually a sound strategic move and shows the selectors won’t be pressurised by marketers into showing their hand early.

Evidently, the panel was not prepared to commit itself to anything before it was ready. Certainly it was not willing to be rushed by a bunch of marketers. Selectors get panned enough as it is. Accordingly, they kept options open. Admittedly, they overdid it by including three spinners but the strategy is sound and all and sundry have been offered an insight into their thinking. After all, it is Australia's team, not Cricket Australia's. In truth, the squad - though tis more like a battalion - named yesterday does not matter a hoot. Only 11 can take the field at the Gabba and the rest is sound and fury.

Meanwhile, the BBC’s Jonathan Agnew says that the Aussie selectors’ decision is a sign that they don’t know who their best eleven are.

The announcement that Australia have named a 17-strong squad for the first Ashes Test against England has certainly got people talking down under. They aim to take only 12 or 13 to Brisbane, where the first Test starts on 25 November, but this underlines the uncertainty that exists over the form and fitness of several players. It seems as though they have no real idea what their starting XI will be, and that must be a concern for them.

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Dustin Silgardo is a former sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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