Australian cricket July 16, 2012

Australia's batting woes come into focus

Jack Mendel
With the likes of Michael Hussey, David Hussey and Ponting getting old, Australia team is losing players who scored in bulk. They have inexperienced batsmen who are not yet ready to fill their predecessors' shoes
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Before the first ODI at Lords between England and Australia, Shane Watson, Australia's opening batsmen and allrounder, had said England didn't have enough batting depth and that their line-up with five specialist bowlers (including Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann who can all bat) was too bowler heavy. The comment seemed a little out of place because it is clearly the Australian batting line-up that has some serious issues relating to depth.

Watson and Warner get them off to a solid start, but besides them, only Michael Clarke offers any substantial resistance. In the absence of Michael Hussey, who skipped the tour due to personal reasons, Australia sent Steven Smith, a leg-spinning allrounder who led Sydney Sixers to the Big Bash League title last season, at No. 6. He can bat in an unorthodox fashion at that position, but having not bowled, he is essentially reduced to a batsman, who has performed poorly with the bat.

Australia need some more batsmen. With the likes of Michael Hussey, now 37, David Hussey (not picked for Test matches anyway) and Ponting getting old, Australia team is losing players who scored in bulk. They have inexperienced batsmen who are not yet ready to fill their predecessors' shoes. Even Watson and Warner, the supposedly more solid players, are not doing well. Watson has a large number of half-centuries (28) in 154 ODIs, but only six hundreds. In Tests, he has scored only two centuries. Warner, likewise, has only got two tons each in Test and ODI cricket. I think it would be more valuable to score a fifty at No. 5 or No. 6 instead of one at the top of the batting order. Watson bragging about depth should drop down the order to give his side some depth. Phil Hughes should come in. Clarke has 52 fifties and just seven tons in 217 games. Despite this he is now ranked eighth in the ODIs and as the leading batsman he is the only genuine solid option. I feel he should be at No. 3, but he is not converting enough starts to hundreds.

Let's look at some other domestic cricketers. Phil Hughes has been dominant in England. On the other hand he failed to make a century during the last Australian domestic season and seemed to have been worked out. Although, he wasn't incredible in the Ashes but his domestic first-class record is too good to ignore. The amount of runs he has scored is simply staggering. At just 23, he has 17 hundreds and 5810 runs. How can Australia possibly ignore this run machine? Get him in the side, straighten out his flaws and make him a master of his art.

Chris Rogers, who has been in the form of his life playing for Middlesex in all forms of cricket, is a little older and is still waiting, like David Hussey, for a proper chance to play Tests. He has been churning out runs for a long time. In Sheffield Shield trophy this season, he hit 781 runs including three centuries to be among the top run-getters.

Likewise, there is Marcus North who despite already having had a shot at Test cricket was chucked for not being good enough. He is a stylish attacking batsman who can bowl.

Also, seasoned professionals like 32-year old Adam Voges, Michael Klinger and Phil Jacques have all been on the fringes for a long time. Klinger, who was the fourth-highest run scorer in the 2011-12 season, has not been able to break into the side. He scored one century in 19 innings, which isn't breathtaking for one of the top scorers in the domestic league.

Phil Jacques has become so fed up with Australia selection that he has now said he wants to play for English counties. Rob Quiney and Liam Davis have both scored profusely and but have gone unnoticed. Perhaps Davis's long-term record is not outstanding, but having scored three of his four centuries in the 2011-12 season including a triple-century, credit should be given where it is due. If a player is successful then he should get some acknowledgement, bearing in mind the alternatives - Smith, Forrest and George Bailey, and no one else really.

The top century makers in Australia's domestic league were Ed Cowan, Quiney, David Hussey, Forrest, Bailey, Davis and Rogers with three centuries apiece.

The likes of Usman Khawaja, Bailey and Forrest are all decent players or they wouldn't get in the Test side, but they haven't set the world alight and are clearly not ready for international cricket. Who are the fringe players pushing for a spot in the side?

I can't see anyone, which is really worrying, as those in the Test, ODI and T20 side are simply not performing to a high standard. I hope Australia soon find a new Ponting or Michael Hussey because at the moment they are an inexperienced side. I am sure in three to four years there will be good players worthy of international cricket, but until then, Australia need some serious runs from some experienced batsmen.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Belles on August 2, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    Pakistan Team seems to be full of zeal after long rest they will be in action it will be ineettsring series but its upset to see big Australian Players are not coming to play, but Pakistan is still full of zeal and i would love to watch their win hopefully!.

  • Dr. Ahad Khan on August 2, 2012, 0:32 GMT

    South Africa has the BEST Fast Bowling attack in the world today. Usman Khawaja,in making a solid & a dour 78 runs,withstanding this World's best Fast Bowling attack & won us the Test match against South Africa, from a very impossible situation. The Selectors need to stick with him & give him a longer run. Usman Khawaja has shown his mettle as a no. 3 Batsman. Dr. Ahad Khan

  • Mirka on July 31, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    hahaha.I am not sure anyone wants to see the pelope who is rested. may be ponting. What happen to Mr.cricket. He is in worse slump than dravid. May be pelope figured out his weakness.I really think anyone who is out of form , real reason is they lost mojo , too much sex not much exercize or energy left.if you are fit , you will never be out of form..

  • danoz on July 24, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    for 1 dayers i would open with warner and clarke(clarkes is very good at running singles and doubles and keep the run rate at a run a ball and bat the whole innings,whilst warner is good at belting 6's and 4's, with warner and watson to often where 2 down for not many) have forrest and bailey at 3 and 4 where they can build a innings at a strike rate at 75%,have watson at 5 m,hussey at 6 and wade at 7 this way australia have fire power at the end of a innings.

    mike hussey will be to old to play in the next world cup,so the selectors will have to find a young player to replace him,so australia should find a big hitter like m,marsh,white,s,smith.

    you could use the number 5 position as the spot to blood youngsters like khawaja,s,marsh,hughes,maddison,fergonson on a rotation policy.

    for the bowling line up i would create a rotation policy give young players experience(cummings,pattison,starc,siddle) and existing players(johnson,bollinger,hilfenhaus) time in the middle.

  • Jack Mendel on July 23, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    What i tried to get across in my article, was that anyone scoring domestic runs is already in the national side on some level. They have no domestic depth to call upon.

    When i say 'in possession' i am referring to their place in the side such as George Bailey.. currently in possession not only as a batsmen but as the skipper of the T20

    Phil Hughes is so consistent in the counties and has such a good average and simply scores so many runs it is un ignorable. In a way it is similar to Cook. lots of runs very young . no way you can really ignore him. much better to try and change him a little to bring out the best !

    (i am very happy t get my article here btw.. not annoyed about the editing at all.. but as you say it takes some of the substance away)

  • Jack Mendel on July 23, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    What i tried to get across in my article, was that anyone scoring domestic runs is already in the national side on some level. They have no domestic depth to call upon.

    When i say 'in possession' i am referring to their place in the side such as George Bailey.. currently in possession not only as a batsmen but as the skipper of the T20

    Phil Hughes is so consistent in the counties and has such a good average and simply scores so many runs it is un ignorable. In a way it is similar to Cook. lots of runs very young . no way you can really ignore him. much better to try and change him a little to bring out the best !

    (i am very happy t get my article here btw.. not annoyed about the editing at all.. but as you say it takes some of the substance away)

  • Hyclass on July 20, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    It should be evident that in principle,Argus has accomplished nothing.The methods of selection,planning & accountability that were the hallmark of 17 years of quality output between '89 & '06 were undermined,reversed or completely ignored from 06 onwards.The reversal of any successful process will result in an equivalent reversal of outcomes.The system that Sutherland/Jack Clarke led CA inherited in 06/07 was peerless,internationally respected and emulated.It was devised to prevent the dearth of results that have beset the current team and players.The purpose of CA was to make Test,Shield and ODI cricket appear so fallible that BBL 20/20 would appear a better option.Hayden,as a CA Board member made an unrefuted public statement of non-investment in traditional cricket that told all.He subsequently acquired a BBL side-a clear conflict of interests.The public,State Boards,curators,Shield,Tests,older players & different styles have all been the subject of a deliberate & spiteful CA agenda

  • Roger on July 19, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    For the ODIS, I would pick Phil Hughes to open in ODIs but not for Tests. He, along with David Warner, could either score big, or a zero.Shane Watson should be slotted at Number 3.He has the aggressive, yet responsible style of Ricky Ponting. George Bailey is steady at Number 4.Clarke at 5,David Hussey at 6, Mathew Wade at 7. Notice that I am looking at Australia post the retirement of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, though David Hussey is close to retirement too. Maybe Callum Ferguson come in his place.For Tests, - Watson,Warner,Forrest,Bailey,Clarke,Khawaja,Wade,then 8 to 11.

  • Meety on July 19, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    @Jack mendel - sorry to hear that editing altered the substance of what you were saying, that would be annoying. That being said, perhaps you can correct them in commenting on here? BTW - what do you mean by "..in possession.."? Please clarify "Phil Jacques has become so fed up with Australia selection that he has now said he wants to play for English counties" - as that is not the drift of several articles on 31st jan & 1st Feb this year (on cricinfo website) indicated? I feel your article was a retort to an unwise comment by Watson & it flip flops from ODIs to Tests & T20s.

  • Jahid Russel on July 18, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    Australia's pace bowling may not be as good as England, or South Africa, but still they can and will give a fight. In terms of spin bowling (oneday) they are worst among all ten test teams. Lyon seems alright for test. Too much dependence on 35+ batsmen is not good. They need to find replacements/understudies in middle order soon. Watson-Warner, opening is okay, not great.

  • Belles on August 2, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    Pakistan Team seems to be full of zeal after long rest they will be in action it will be ineettsring series but its upset to see big Australian Players are not coming to play, but Pakistan is still full of zeal and i would love to watch their win hopefully!.

  • Dr. Ahad Khan on August 2, 2012, 0:32 GMT

    South Africa has the BEST Fast Bowling attack in the world today. Usman Khawaja,in making a solid & a dour 78 runs,withstanding this World's best Fast Bowling attack & won us the Test match against South Africa, from a very impossible situation. The Selectors need to stick with him & give him a longer run. Usman Khawaja has shown his mettle as a no. 3 Batsman. Dr. Ahad Khan

  • Mirka on July 31, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    hahaha.I am not sure anyone wants to see the pelope who is rested. may be ponting. What happen to Mr.cricket. He is in worse slump than dravid. May be pelope figured out his weakness.I really think anyone who is out of form , real reason is they lost mojo , too much sex not much exercize or energy left.if you are fit , you will never be out of form..

  • danoz on July 24, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    for 1 dayers i would open with warner and clarke(clarkes is very good at running singles and doubles and keep the run rate at a run a ball and bat the whole innings,whilst warner is good at belting 6's and 4's, with warner and watson to often where 2 down for not many) have forrest and bailey at 3 and 4 where they can build a innings at a strike rate at 75%,have watson at 5 m,hussey at 6 and wade at 7 this way australia have fire power at the end of a innings.

    mike hussey will be to old to play in the next world cup,so the selectors will have to find a young player to replace him,so australia should find a big hitter like m,marsh,white,s,smith.

    you could use the number 5 position as the spot to blood youngsters like khawaja,s,marsh,hughes,maddison,fergonson on a rotation policy.

    for the bowling line up i would create a rotation policy give young players experience(cummings,pattison,starc,siddle) and existing players(johnson,bollinger,hilfenhaus) time in the middle.

  • Jack Mendel on July 23, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    What i tried to get across in my article, was that anyone scoring domestic runs is already in the national side on some level. They have no domestic depth to call upon.

    When i say 'in possession' i am referring to their place in the side such as George Bailey.. currently in possession not only as a batsmen but as the skipper of the T20

    Phil Hughes is so consistent in the counties and has such a good average and simply scores so many runs it is un ignorable. In a way it is similar to Cook. lots of runs very young . no way you can really ignore him. much better to try and change him a little to bring out the best !

    (i am very happy t get my article here btw.. not annoyed about the editing at all.. but as you say it takes some of the substance away)

  • Jack Mendel on July 23, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    What i tried to get across in my article, was that anyone scoring domestic runs is already in the national side on some level. They have no domestic depth to call upon.

    When i say 'in possession' i am referring to their place in the side such as George Bailey.. currently in possession not only as a batsmen but as the skipper of the T20

    Phil Hughes is so consistent in the counties and has such a good average and simply scores so many runs it is un ignorable. In a way it is similar to Cook. lots of runs very young . no way you can really ignore him. much better to try and change him a little to bring out the best !

    (i am very happy t get my article here btw.. not annoyed about the editing at all.. but as you say it takes some of the substance away)

  • Hyclass on July 20, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    It should be evident that in principle,Argus has accomplished nothing.The methods of selection,planning & accountability that were the hallmark of 17 years of quality output between '89 & '06 were undermined,reversed or completely ignored from 06 onwards.The reversal of any successful process will result in an equivalent reversal of outcomes.The system that Sutherland/Jack Clarke led CA inherited in 06/07 was peerless,internationally respected and emulated.It was devised to prevent the dearth of results that have beset the current team and players.The purpose of CA was to make Test,Shield and ODI cricket appear so fallible that BBL 20/20 would appear a better option.Hayden,as a CA Board member made an unrefuted public statement of non-investment in traditional cricket that told all.He subsequently acquired a BBL side-a clear conflict of interests.The public,State Boards,curators,Shield,Tests,older players & different styles have all been the subject of a deliberate & spiteful CA agenda

  • Roger on July 19, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    For the ODIS, I would pick Phil Hughes to open in ODIs but not for Tests. He, along with David Warner, could either score big, or a zero.Shane Watson should be slotted at Number 3.He has the aggressive, yet responsible style of Ricky Ponting. George Bailey is steady at Number 4.Clarke at 5,David Hussey at 6, Mathew Wade at 7. Notice that I am looking at Australia post the retirement of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, though David Hussey is close to retirement too. Maybe Callum Ferguson come in his place.For Tests, - Watson,Warner,Forrest,Bailey,Clarke,Khawaja,Wade,then 8 to 11.

  • Meety on July 19, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    @Jack mendel - sorry to hear that editing altered the substance of what you were saying, that would be annoying. That being said, perhaps you can correct them in commenting on here? BTW - what do you mean by "..in possession.."? Please clarify "Phil Jacques has become so fed up with Australia selection that he has now said he wants to play for English counties" - as that is not the drift of several articles on 31st jan & 1st Feb this year (on cricinfo website) indicated? I feel your article was a retort to an unwise comment by Watson & it flip flops from ODIs to Tests & T20s.

  • Jahid Russel on July 18, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    Australia's pace bowling may not be as good as England, or South Africa, but still they can and will give a fight. In terms of spin bowling (oneday) they are worst among all ten test teams. Lyon seems alright for test. Too much dependence on 35+ batsmen is not good. They need to find replacements/understudies in middle order soon. Watson-Warner, opening is okay, not great.

  • Jack mendel on July 18, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    There is a few bits of unfair criticism here i think :(

    I don't think its un educated.. When talking about in possession i wasn't talking specifically tests. A lot of players in the side whether odi t20 or test are not performing

    I think a lot has been edited out of here and it doesn't make as much sense as a result. Not really fair :(

  • Jack mendel on July 18, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    Why not Marcus North or someone of similar experience, The people currently in possession are not experienced enough and are simply not performing

  • Jack mendel on July 18, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    I had some things edited from this :( Plenty of my points have had things removed that completed my argument :(

  • bobagorof on July 18, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    I'm looking forward to Khawaja making some runs (for Queensland, unfortunately) and pushing his way back into the team in a year or so. Hughes should be a better player for a season in England. Bailey looks to have good temperament in his first handful of games and I expect his stock to rise. Ferguson and Shaun Marsh will be hoping to have good seasons to put them back in the selectors' minds. Forrest is still a Test option if he can back up his efforts last season with another good one. Cowan has admitted to a steep learning curve outside of Australia but he's also playing in England so he could be around for a while. No-one is screaming out for selection, but there are still a few decent options around the country and that's not even considering one-game (so far) wonder Kurtis Patterson from NSW.

  • bobagorof on July 18, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    Hi Noman - YOU MIGHT LIKE TO CHECK, BUT HUSSEY HAS BEEN INCLUDED IN THE SQUAD FOR PAKISTAN. Also, please turn caps-lock off. Cheers.

  • matt h on July 18, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    Interesting that the selectros often get panned for ignoring form shield batsmen and that is the thrust of this article, but in noting the top century makers in this year's Sheffield Shield, 4 of the 7 were picked in Tests, One Day Matches or both. the other three top order spots are Clarke, Watson and Warner, so I don;t see that anyone in form has been ignored as such

  • matt h on July 18, 2012, 2:19 GMT

    Broadly agree with all that, but a few point to note. While Shane Watson's conversion rate in Tests is dreadful, to be fair in one-dayers, he spent a signficant part of his career down the order, so the number of centuries is not a great surprise compared to career openers. Similarly with Clarke, the small number of centuries relfects most of his career batting behind Hayden, Gilchrest, Ponting and Martin in the one day side. He was rarely in early enough to score one!

  • Lewis on July 17, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    Khawaja is the player I would get in to the team, got a century for Derbyshire yesterday and plenty more runs to come.

  • Sree on July 17, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    Sounds eerily similar to the drying up of the Windies fast bowling line up. After the Roberts-Marshall-Holding-Garner to Walsh-Ambrose they too suffered similarly. The above mentioned names like Hughes, Khwaja, Cowan and Forrest simply don't sound threatening! Have the Aussies blundered like the Windies? Only time will tell!

  • Ben on July 17, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Reads a bit like any armchair analysis. Honestly, what do people have against George Bailey? Averaging above 40 after 9 ODIs, strike rate just under 80. Only a year older than Hussey when he made his debut. What's the problem here?

  • noman khizar on July 17, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    HI"THIS IS NOMAN HERE IT SEEMS THAT PAKISTAN TEAM WILL RUN THROUGH THIS AUSTALIAN SIDE WITH EASE BECAUSE NO PONTING NO HUSSEY THAT ALWAYS SCORES HEAVILY AGAINST PAKISTAN AND NOW IF LOOK AT THE PAKISTANI TEAM THEY ARE A WELL BALANCED SIDE WITH THE LIKES OF HAFEEZ AND AZHER ALI IN THE TOP ORDER AND IN MIDDLE ORDER THEY HAVE SOLID PLAYERS LIKE YOUNUS KHAN ASAD SHAFIQUE MISBAH UL HAQ AND WHO CAN FORGET UMER AKMAL AND BOOM BO0M AFRIDI DOWN THE ORDER WHO CAN DEMOLISH ANY TEAM WHEN HE IS ON SONG WHILE IN THE BOWLING DEPARTMENT PAKISTAN HAVE THE SERVICES OF AJMAL,SOHAIL TANVEER,AND GULLDOZER. ON THE OTHER HAND THRER IS NO BRETT LEE,SHAUN TAIT, AUR MICHEL JOHNSON IN THE AUSTRALIAN RANKS,ALAS IT WILL BE A GREAT GAME OF CRICKET IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST KKEP YOUR FINGERS CROOSED BECAUSE INSHALLAH WITH THE BLESSING OF ALL MIGHTY ALLAH PAKISTAN WILL BE THE WINNERS OF THE SEREAS.

  • Matt on July 17, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    Some good and some terrible points. Watson moving down the order, yes. Marcus North? No...so much no

  • Nickelarse on July 17, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    Australia have tried a whole generation of batsmen who were to eventually step up and replace Ponting and Hussey. In the past four years Australia have tried, Cam White, North, Sean Marsh, Hughes, Khawaja, Rogers at test level and the likes of D Hussey, Voges, Smith, Forrest, Ferguson at ODI level. None have taken their chances at international level. Is it a mental thing? Surely it must be. You could certainly argue some have been mistreated - Jacques averages 50 and D Hussey never got a chance at test level. But others have had more than enough chances to step up and make runs. I question whether Justin Langer is the right man to coach the batsmen. Just hearing him on commentary makes me want to puke up a crystal and hemp toga. Tooo away with the magical spiritual fairies. Get AB or Boonie or Rodney Marsh in there to give this whole generation some gumption. Keep G Chappel out of the setup and let Justin Langer go back to his dojo.

  • Mad Hamish on July 17, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    you really might want to do some more research before writing. In list A Hughes has 4 100s and only strikes at 75. His 20-20 strike rate is pretty low and I suspect that facing international attacks he'll be found out in it as well. Bailey and Forrest haven't been picked in the test side and neither of them have played that much in internationals yet. Post back injury Jaques did sod all for a spot. Phil Hughes is now averaging 47 in first class cricket, a couple of years ago it was around 60. Marcus North averaged 35 in tests and averages 35 in list A. Most of the players you mention are a fair bit over 30. Watson has batted down the order in a fair few of his one dayers so little chance of making 100s there. Liam Davis 54 innings 1901 runs hs 303* average 35. Probably needs to produce for more than 1 season. And who calls Warner "solid"? Quiney has 7 100s in 83 first class innings and 1 100 in 46 list a innings...

  • Nigel on July 17, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    Absolutely right, none of the young guys are scoring enough runs. There is a philosophical selection issue though in picking the likes of Rogers, North, Jacques, Klinger and Hussey. They are all good players but none of them will be around in 3 or 4 years. Do we then want the whole side (Ponting and M Hussey included) leaving and being replaced by players with no test experience at all? I think we just have to keep giving some young guys who show a bit of promise a go and accept that there will be failures and lost matches along the way. That is the nature of generational change.

  • Meety on July 17, 2012, 0:18 GMT

    This is an appallingly innaccurate article. Re: Jacques - he got injured, had reasonably serious personal issues, & had a lack of form. He barely averaged more than 30 in his last 2 or 3 seasons in Oz. Re: Clarke - his conversions are low in ODIs as he bats lower in the order, 1/3 of his innings are from BELOW #4, Sachin's record @ #4 is 4 tons in 61 innings, Kevin Pietersens is 2/67, compared to Clarke's 4/96 would suggest his conversions are a product of his role. Bevan's conversion rate was low - is anyone saying he wasn't a great ODI batsmen? Warner "only 2 tons each in Test & ODI's" - the reality is, Warner's test career has just started. He (Warner) has a batting average that is better than Strauss, he has carried his bat once, & only ONCE failed to convert a 50 into a ton in Tests. Warner's ODI career is also early in its development & is improving. Watson's comments were (poor IMO), but in context of ODIs, of which Oz have plenty of options - Ferguson, Voges, Burns, AB Mac etc

  • @maskdcommenter on July 16, 2012, 23:56 GMT

    Good article, totally agree about Watson. As good as people claim him to be, he doesnt have the temperament of a test opener. His inability to score centuries would be better served in the lower order, maybe 5 or 6.

  • bc on July 16, 2012, 23:55 GMT

    So Bailey and Forrest aren't ready, but Davis is? Furthermore, you should research the Aus A side.

  • bobagorof on July 16, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    A less educated piece is hard to come by. There are a number of glaring factual errors: "The likes of Usman Khawaja, Bailey and Forrest are all decent players or they wouldn't get in the Test side" - of those three, only Khawaja has actually gotten into the Test side. Phil Jaques suffered from a severe back injury several years ago that kept him out of cricket for a long time, and when he came back he wasn't anywhere near as dominant. Also, Clarke has batted at Number 4 for most of his ODI career, with a strong opening partnership and Ricky Ponting above him - it's not surprising that he wouldn't get the chance to score many hundreds. Paul Colingwood only scored 5 from 197 games. Kevin Pietersen only scored 2 from 67 attempts at No. 4, as opposed to Clarke's 4 from 98. Watson could move down the order but there needs to be a decent option to replace him. Hughes might be worth a go, but he needs to convince people that he's overcome the weaknesses exposed at the top level.

  • landl47 on July 16, 2012, 23:14 GMT

    Australia's test performances since the last Ashes series have masked somewhat the extent of the problem. Clarke has batted brilliantly himself; Ponting had a good series against the lacklustre Indians, Warner has had a couple of good innings, Wade made a century, Hussey has chipped in... The bowling has been generally good, with Cummins and Pattinson showing promise and Siddle and Hilf trying hard as always. However, the danger signs are clear to all but the most myopic supporters. Reliance on two batsmen who are 37; Watson's decreasing effectiveness with the bat; Warner's inconsistency; Cowan averaging under 30. Most disturbingly, there's no-one out there pushing for inclusion through weight of runs except Hughes and his 9 innings for 154 runs against England and fragility against New Zealand suggest he had some issues that needed to be fixed. Maybe he should be given another chance to show whether he has fixed them- Aus desperately needs someone.

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  • landl47 on July 16, 2012, 23:14 GMT

    Australia's test performances since the last Ashes series have masked somewhat the extent of the problem. Clarke has batted brilliantly himself; Ponting had a good series against the lacklustre Indians, Warner has had a couple of good innings, Wade made a century, Hussey has chipped in... The bowling has been generally good, with Cummins and Pattinson showing promise and Siddle and Hilf trying hard as always. However, the danger signs are clear to all but the most myopic supporters. Reliance on two batsmen who are 37; Watson's decreasing effectiveness with the bat; Warner's inconsistency; Cowan averaging under 30. Most disturbingly, there's no-one out there pushing for inclusion through weight of runs except Hughes and his 9 innings for 154 runs against England and fragility against New Zealand suggest he had some issues that needed to be fixed. Maybe he should be given another chance to show whether he has fixed them- Aus desperately needs someone.

  • bobagorof on July 16, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    A less educated piece is hard to come by. There are a number of glaring factual errors: "The likes of Usman Khawaja, Bailey and Forrest are all decent players or they wouldn't get in the Test side" - of those three, only Khawaja has actually gotten into the Test side. Phil Jaques suffered from a severe back injury several years ago that kept him out of cricket for a long time, and when he came back he wasn't anywhere near as dominant. Also, Clarke has batted at Number 4 for most of his ODI career, with a strong opening partnership and Ricky Ponting above him - it's not surprising that he wouldn't get the chance to score many hundreds. Paul Colingwood only scored 5 from 197 games. Kevin Pietersen only scored 2 from 67 attempts at No. 4, as opposed to Clarke's 4 from 98. Watson could move down the order but there needs to be a decent option to replace him. Hughes might be worth a go, but he needs to convince people that he's overcome the weaknesses exposed at the top level.

  • bc on July 16, 2012, 23:55 GMT

    So Bailey and Forrest aren't ready, but Davis is? Furthermore, you should research the Aus A side.

  • @maskdcommenter on July 16, 2012, 23:56 GMT

    Good article, totally agree about Watson. As good as people claim him to be, he doesnt have the temperament of a test opener. His inability to score centuries would be better served in the lower order, maybe 5 or 6.

  • Meety on July 17, 2012, 0:18 GMT

    This is an appallingly innaccurate article. Re: Jacques - he got injured, had reasonably serious personal issues, & had a lack of form. He barely averaged more than 30 in his last 2 or 3 seasons in Oz. Re: Clarke - his conversions are low in ODIs as he bats lower in the order, 1/3 of his innings are from BELOW #4, Sachin's record @ #4 is 4 tons in 61 innings, Kevin Pietersens is 2/67, compared to Clarke's 4/96 would suggest his conversions are a product of his role. Bevan's conversion rate was low - is anyone saying he wasn't a great ODI batsmen? Warner "only 2 tons each in Test & ODI's" - the reality is, Warner's test career has just started. He (Warner) has a batting average that is better than Strauss, he has carried his bat once, & only ONCE failed to convert a 50 into a ton in Tests. Warner's ODI career is also early in its development & is improving. Watson's comments were (poor IMO), but in context of ODIs, of which Oz have plenty of options - Ferguson, Voges, Burns, AB Mac etc

  • Nigel on July 17, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    Absolutely right, none of the young guys are scoring enough runs. There is a philosophical selection issue though in picking the likes of Rogers, North, Jacques, Klinger and Hussey. They are all good players but none of them will be around in 3 or 4 years. Do we then want the whole side (Ponting and M Hussey included) leaving and being replaced by players with no test experience at all? I think we just have to keep giving some young guys who show a bit of promise a go and accept that there will be failures and lost matches along the way. That is the nature of generational change.

  • Mad Hamish on July 17, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    you really might want to do some more research before writing. In list A Hughes has 4 100s and only strikes at 75. His 20-20 strike rate is pretty low and I suspect that facing international attacks he'll be found out in it as well. Bailey and Forrest haven't been picked in the test side and neither of them have played that much in internationals yet. Post back injury Jaques did sod all for a spot. Phil Hughes is now averaging 47 in first class cricket, a couple of years ago it was around 60. Marcus North averaged 35 in tests and averages 35 in list A. Most of the players you mention are a fair bit over 30. Watson has batted down the order in a fair few of his one dayers so little chance of making 100s there. Liam Davis 54 innings 1901 runs hs 303* average 35. Probably needs to produce for more than 1 season. And who calls Warner "solid"? Quiney has 7 100s in 83 first class innings and 1 100 in 46 list a innings...

  • Nickelarse on July 17, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    Australia have tried a whole generation of batsmen who were to eventually step up and replace Ponting and Hussey. In the past four years Australia have tried, Cam White, North, Sean Marsh, Hughes, Khawaja, Rogers at test level and the likes of D Hussey, Voges, Smith, Forrest, Ferguson at ODI level. None have taken their chances at international level. Is it a mental thing? Surely it must be. You could certainly argue some have been mistreated - Jacques averages 50 and D Hussey never got a chance at test level. But others have had more than enough chances to step up and make runs. I question whether Justin Langer is the right man to coach the batsmen. Just hearing him on commentary makes me want to puke up a crystal and hemp toga. Tooo away with the magical spiritual fairies. Get AB or Boonie or Rodney Marsh in there to give this whole generation some gumption. Keep G Chappel out of the setup and let Justin Langer go back to his dojo.

  • Matt on July 17, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    Some good and some terrible points. Watson moving down the order, yes. Marcus North? No...so much no

  • noman khizar on July 17, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    HI"THIS IS NOMAN HERE IT SEEMS THAT PAKISTAN TEAM WILL RUN THROUGH THIS AUSTALIAN SIDE WITH EASE BECAUSE NO PONTING NO HUSSEY THAT ALWAYS SCORES HEAVILY AGAINST PAKISTAN AND NOW IF LOOK AT THE PAKISTANI TEAM THEY ARE A WELL BALANCED SIDE WITH THE LIKES OF HAFEEZ AND AZHER ALI IN THE TOP ORDER AND IN MIDDLE ORDER THEY HAVE SOLID PLAYERS LIKE YOUNUS KHAN ASAD SHAFIQUE MISBAH UL HAQ AND WHO CAN FORGET UMER AKMAL AND BOOM BO0M AFRIDI DOWN THE ORDER WHO CAN DEMOLISH ANY TEAM WHEN HE IS ON SONG WHILE IN THE BOWLING DEPARTMENT PAKISTAN HAVE THE SERVICES OF AJMAL,SOHAIL TANVEER,AND GULLDOZER. ON THE OTHER HAND THRER IS NO BRETT LEE,SHAUN TAIT, AUR MICHEL JOHNSON IN THE AUSTRALIAN RANKS,ALAS IT WILL BE A GREAT GAME OF CRICKET IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST KKEP YOUR FINGERS CROOSED BECAUSE INSHALLAH WITH THE BLESSING OF ALL MIGHTY ALLAH PAKISTAN WILL BE THE WINNERS OF THE SEREAS.